Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chou Grillé + Spain

I started this post back in December, when I thought it was strange of me to post a salad recipe just before Christmas when everyone (including myself, obviously) is eating way too much. And then I left Switzerland to visit Spain (Bilbao, Madrid and a few smaller places inbetween) and ate so.much! Spain is not the best country to travel to as a vegetarian, but we always found something to eat, and had a few wonderful Pintxos in Bilbao that I think I want to recreat now that I am home. (I still have to get over my reluctance to deep frying for that though, it is a miracle the Basque don't also fry the bread that is the base for all the lovely pintxos they serve)

But now I am back home, and craving salad and greens and vegetables and good pasta like a crazy person. I am not one to make New Year's resolutions, mostly because I know I can in no way ever keep them, so please don't look at this sort of kale salad as something you have to get yourself to eat now that it is January and the pants are tight and you are starting to plan your summer holidays.
This salad of sorts is the other gem Amy, Nicole and I had at Le Mary Celeste back in November in Paris and it is one of the best things I ate last year. Carrots and cabbage are such humble ingredients, but together with the spicy dressing the taste anything but virtuous. This is a dish I think about often, you really should give this a try!

Roasted Kale and Carrots in Chili Bean Sauce
Note: Adjust the amount of chili bean sauce depending on how spicy you like it. And as you see in the title, this dish was originally called chou grillé, so if you have any way of grilling the carrots and cabbage, please give it a try. I don't so I did not test it, but I imagine you'll have to precook the carrots and cabbage for a bit longer to avoid having charred carrots that are still hard inside.

1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into pieces about 3-4 cm long (if they are huge, you might want to cut the pieces in half or quarters)
1 pound kale or savoy cabbage, the cabbage leaves cut into strips (I actually preferred the cabbage version I made the first time, but kale is lovely too)

1 tbsp chili bean sauce
1 tbsp chinkiang vinegar
1/2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Start with bringing a pot of salted water to boil and precooking first the carrots for 2 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and then the cabbage for 1 minutes.  Let them cool down and dry before proceeding.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Add the carrots and cabbage to a bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and salt massage the olive oil into the leaves of the cabbage. Put the vegetables on a baking sheet and roast until the carrots are fairly brown (for about 40 minutes). If the cabbage leaves seem to be getting to dark, remove them and finish roasting them.
In the meantime, wisk together the chili bean sauce, the vinegar and the soy sauce.
In a small skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds until you hear them pop.

While the carrots and the cabbage are still warm, drizzle on the dressing and mix well. Sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds and serve.

Serves 4 or so as a salad.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Endives au Tamarin

Two weeks ago I went to Paris and I returned with only a few pictures, almost none of food and just one Instagram photo of Amy who I spent most weekend with. I feel like I returned with one of those stupid t-shirts for you instead of a great souvenir. I am sorry for that, but I do bring back a recipe for the best endives you'll ever have. At least that was our verdict after having a plate of Endives au Tamarin en salad, échalotes, menthe, coriandre at Le Mary Celeste. The Chou Grillé (more on that one at some later point I hope, still trying to figure how to replicate this at home) and the deviled eggs were amazing too, I'd consider our dinner there one of the most memorable meals ever.


We visited the Le Mary Celeste after reading a post by David Lebovitz (there are some great pictures over on his blog, it was way too dark to take pictures when we were there) and originally only wanted to drop in after eating at Candelaria but ended up ordering quite a bit of food, wine and a couple of drinks. We were the first to turn up after they opened the Restaurant/Bar but all regular tables were reservées so we were sat at the bar, which turned out to be great spot. A French hipster with a very nice moustache spent the whole evening shucking oysters right in front of us and answered all of our questions regarding the dishes we had ordered.
I tried making the endives first on the Friday after returning home, and today I want to share a somewhat improved version. You should give this salad a try, these really were the best endives we ever had.

Endives au Tamarin
Note: Until now I did not find a subtle way to add shallot. Next time I'll try a quick-pickled version and might update this recipe then if it turns out well. Adding it straight to the dressing gave off a too strong flavor after marinating and frying the shallots (as seen in the pictures on this post) is way to strong, too. The salad is fantastic as is, though.

3 endives (about 500g), leaves separated
2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp mint leaves
1 tbsp cilantro leaves

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

In a small bowl mix together the tamarind paste, the sugar and the sesame oil. Layer one third of the endive leaves in a bowl, drizzle on one third of the tamarind dressing and massage in gently with your hands. You want all the leaves to be dressed lightly. Repeat for the other two thirds. Add the mint and cilantro leaves, toss gently and let the salad marinate for at least an hour. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds right before serving.

Serves 1-4, depending on how willing to share you are.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Packing List

This is the first time in my life that I travel that long and through such different climates, so I was and am a bit nervous about packing (as I have mentioned before). So it does not surprise that I have a very detailed packing list written out for this trip.

There were a few things to consider that made writing that list out a bit more difficult. We travel from Santa Cruz, with its tropical climate up to the Andean Plateau then back down to foggy Lima and a few weeks spent in hot Cuba. So I have to pack everything from thermal underwear to bikinis and sundresses. With the help of the site HerPackingList, I put this list together that I hope does contain everything I'll need during this trip (and I'll come back after the trip and update the list, because I am sure there are a few things that I would do differently then, despite all the planning)

2 pairs of long trousers (one lighter pair and one heavier, probably jeans)
1 pair of shorts
1 pair of leggings (thermal leggings that I plan to wear in bed, in the bus, underneath the long trousers, under the dress I bring, for just about anything)
1-2 dresses (I think one dress that can be worn with the leggings and a sweater and one light sundress)
6 Tshirts
1 thick pullover (I bought a Merino hoodie just for this trip, it helps me stay warm and stays unsmelly for quite a while)
2 lighter sweaters
7 pairs of socks + 7 pairs of underwear
3 bras
1 or 2 bikinis (I am not sure yet, it might be a good idea to have one to wear and one to dry in Cuba)
1 scarf
1 waterproof coat
1 beanie

trekking shoes
flip flops
1 pair of nicer shoes (I pack ballet flats)
1 small nicer bag

body cream + face cream
lip balm
wet wipes
shampoo + conditioner (a 2in1 product)
sunscreen (50+)
toothbrush + toothpaste
hair brush
hair ties
razor + foam

Pain killer (Paracetamol)
Med against travel sickness
strong moscito repellent
fever thermometer
medical tape
meds for treating allergic reactions (a cream to use on moscito bites and antihistamine pills)
Imodium (anti-diarrheal)
Fluimucil (a mucolytic agent)
Malaria stand-by treatment (Malarone)
band aids, desinfectant, 

Camera + charger
iPod + charger
phone + charger
kindle + charger
maybe a netbook
small padlock
quick drying towel
small sewing kit
detergent for hand washing
travel pillow (maybe)
pocket knife
water sterilizer tablets
small umbrella
little journal + pens
daypack + backpack
rain cover for backpacks
passport + visa + other documents

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mrs. Garlic Head travels - Packing Madness

My Bach Leap 30 on the right and my Tatonka daypack on the left
Since I'll be traveling for quite a bit this summer, I thought I'd share some of my preparation for this trip and hopefully a few updates while I am on the road. (I won't be cooking much during this time). I hope you like this change of topic here.

One month before the longest and most adventurous trip of my life to date, I find myself in a state of packing madness. In the last few days I packed my backpack no less than three times. Three times.
I have always been an early packer, I like looking at my backpack standing there in my bedroom, all packed and ready to go with the toiletry bag sitting next to it, waiting for the toothbrush and a few other things I'd still need in the few days before leaving. But one month before leaving?
The thing is, I don't really think about packing to get things to already get ready for the trip. I test-pack my backpack because it seems absurd to be able to fit all of my clothing into my 30l Bach backpack. I have never before been a minimalist packer. I think I usually fit somewhere in the middle between minimalist and having luggage that is too heavy for myself to lift.
But this time, everything I need for an almost three month trip to Bolivia, Peru and Cuba fits in one bag, with a few small things in an other backpack that is going to be my daypack. And a few things might end up in my boyfriend's huge backpack, but right now it looks like I don't need any additional space in his backpack, and I also don't only carry enough clothes for tree days. I actually can't quite wrap my head around it right now (Hence the repeated test-packing).

Here is how I fit everything I need into this small(-ish) backpack:

  •  Most importantly, this backpack is cleverly built and is easy to pack. If the backpack is awkwardly built, the available space in it might actually seem a lot smaller.
  • This is an old trick, but it makes a huge difference: Roll your clothes. They take up a lot less space that way. 
  • Leave anything behind that you don't use. Had I decided to take a sleeping bag, I'd have to have a backpack at least 10 l bigger than the one I have now. Similarly, using a kindle instead of books, planning on layering clothes instead of carrying lots of warm clothes that then can't be used in warmer climate can save lots of packing space.
I'll post my definite packing list for this trip later, and a few things to consider when travel to cold and warm climates in one single trip. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Americano + And A Little Love From Italy

Michael and I spent Easter in Italy, in Imperia to be precise, a small town on the Ligurian coast, close to the French border. I realize that Imperia sounds a lot less intriguing than Rome, Florence or Paris, another big city that we could travel to rather easily from Switzerland. But Imperia was all we needed, a not-so-touristy, small and rather quiet coastal town. There was little to do, but lots of sun, cheap and strong espressos, walks along the sea front, and the occasional aperitivo.

I felt very grown up for drinking the typical Italian aperitivos instead of the beer I usually order. The Italians drank several different aperitivos that were all based on Campari, Vermouth, Aperol and other liquors that are similarly bitter and herby. We ordered Americanos, Negronis and a Campari Soda, but I have seen people order Aperol with Soda, too, and other similar drinks that I was not able to identify. Of the three drinks I had, I liked the Americano best. An Americano is a lot classier than most cocktails, it does not scream bachelorette party like the Sex on the Beach or the Piña Colada (can you see I am not much a fan of these kind of drinks?). In fact, wikipedia tells me that this is the first drink James Bond orders in the short story "From a View to a Kill". And I have to say, if it is good enough for James Bond, it is good enough for me, and far enough from the mental image of bachelorette parties, too.

The Americano is perfect for an aperitivo, even before lunch when you feel it might normally be too early to have a drink but since you are on vacation it might be okay!? The Negroni is similar, with added gin, and I feel more appropriate for an after dinner drink than an aperitivo. Both are really good, though.
P.S. Do you see that rice "pie" in the first picture? It is a tortaverde, a pie with an olive oil dough and a filling of rice, spinach and zucchini, and I think I need to make this one soon and share here. I really loved it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Travelling Eastern Europe

In the past few days we visited Zagreb, Belgrade and Sofia, travelling from one city to the next by train.
We spend our days walking, eating, drinking beer, walking and reading; but while I really enjoy all of it, but I miss you,too and just wanted to come here to share a few pictures.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Travelling France

If you ever travel to France, and plan on seeing more of the country than just Paris, might I humbly suggest you do so by bicycle?  This summer, for the fourth time in total, we took our bicycles on to a train and we were off to France. So let me make my point.

France is beautiful. I mean it really is. And on a bicycle you slow down enough to be able to really appreciate its beauty, but still get to see different parts of a region in a relatively short amount of time.
When you spend more than half the day pedaling, you can eat as much as you want. Croissants for breakfast? Sure! Lots of cheese and baguette for lunch? Why not! And a lovely dinner with a glass or two, three of wine? A must. And to snack on in between of meals, there is a huge variety of fruit available in the supermarkets.

I already mentioned food and wine, but what we always look forward to when travelling to France is the cidre, the French cider. I am completely ignorant as to how different ciders are produced,  but the French cider is much more natural tasting than the German or English cider I know.
And did I mention you can eat as much as you want?

Do you see what I mean? Travelling France with the license to eat as much as you want? Bliss for a foodie.

Expect for one thing. The French seem to be oblivious to the concept of a vegetarian meal. Just look at a menu, they go from salads directly to meat, fish and finish with desserts. If you are not vegetarian, no problem. Go eat yourself happy, that's what we did the first year we travelled France by bike. But the last two years, our options were limited.
If you do want to hear our recommendations on eating in France as a vegetarian, please let me know. I'd be happy to share.

The pictures of this post were taken during our travels to France this and last summer. This summer we were in the Burgundy region, last year we started in Brittany, followed to coat line to the Loire and then followed the Loire up to Tours. And I'd like to excuse my lack of food photos from these travels. It's just that I usually was too hungry to take pictures of my food before eating.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Coffee Energy Bars

Last saturday I got up relatively early to go to the farmers market. The farmers market here in Berne is quite big and is open year round, on Tuesdays and Saturdays. With my move I now am a lot closer to it, and I have already  been a few times over the last few weeks.
I recently discovered a bakery stand there, selling french croissants. I have the fondest memories of french croissants, the ones I ate for breakfast last two summers that we spent in Northern France. Swiss croissants are buttery and flakey, too, but french croissants are on a whole other level, you can barely eat them without being covered in buttery delicate flakes. I eat them plain, savoring every bite. The croissants I bought today were good, but not as good as the french croissants.

I also brought home a bag of mixed salad greens. These greens are sold seperately, all at the same price so you can go an choose the ones you like best. I always bring back a bag full to eat on the very day I bought them.
Being so close to the producer of the vegetables I buy feels good to me, the connection to the food is that much closer. And I can pick whatever produce looks best that day, choosing cherries over apricots because they look fresher. Picking up a few carrots, all differently coloured, just because they are so beautiful.
I am going to be away for a few days, for a rather spontaneous trip to France (hello flakey croissants) with my boyfriend and our bikes. And while I am looking forward to the croissants, I know that I'll have one problem that I always seem to have. Hunger attacks.

You should see me, pedaling my way through France, or hiking up a mountain, and I am fine, thinking I could go on forever, when suddenly a switch flips and I am starving. I have to eat right then and there, or else I become really mad at anyone near me. Coffee Energy Bars to the rescue. To save myself from a few hunger attacks, and my boyfriend from the resulting mood swings, I made these energy bars this weekend, to carry with me and snack on on our trip. They were really easy to make, and are easy customizable. I added coffee, because I thought that a little shot of caffeine is probably not a bad thing, and many other good things that hopefully keep my hunger at bay and give me a little push to keep pedaling.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


I meant to write about our stay in Berlin after our trip, and even created a map on google highlighting the places and restaurants we visited while we were there. And then I forgot. Only now that I was asked for recommendations did I remember my map and my post.
It has been quite a while since our trip, but we remember it fondly. Berlin is a great city, and while it has many museums and all that to offer, what we enjoyed the most was the lazy breakfasts, and just experiencing Berlin.We had our apartment just between a few districts, so it was rather calm, but we were not too far from the bustling nightlife and the restaurants.
And did we eat a lot. We started the days with lazy breakfasts at nearby cafés, most of which only started to serve breakfast at about 11 am, a time when in Switzerland there is no breakfast to be had (maybe except on Sundays). From there we mostly skipped lunch, visited a museum, a flea market or just strolled through the city. For dinner we always went back into the Kreuzberg district where a  friend of mine lives at the moment. You can find the places we visited on the map below.
Most of the places on the map are close to the subway station Schlesisches Tor, in the middle of Kreuzberg. Kreuzberg is the place to be in Berlin, though, so I guess that is not a bad thing.

View Berlin in a larger map
A few notes on my pins on the map:
There are many places where you can have a lovely breakfast, there are two on my map, Rootz, who served a delicious vegetarian breakfast with Hummus and Guacamole, among other things. They only serve breakfast on the weekend, though.
The other breakfast place on my map is the restaurant Silberlöffel. We went there twice, their cheese breakfast and the muesli breakfast were great, and there were many other, non-vegetarian options on the menu, too.
For dinner, there are three restaurants on the map, two close to the subway Schlesisches Tor, and one more in the center of the city. The two restaurants in Kreuzberg only serve food (Indian and Japanese/Vietnamese), while the restaurant in the center, White Trash Fast Food, also has concerts (mostly Rock 'n' Roll).
Foodwise we enjoyed the ones in Kreuzberg more, but the other one was fun, too.

There are also two bars on the map, both of them are located in run-down buildings that are typical for Kreuzberg, but somehow manage to have charm, too. This shabby/trendy look seems to be typical for Kreuzberg.

One more recommendation for Berlin: At the flea market Mauerpark, there is a burger joint in the middle that sells great vegan burgers with tofu and beets (and other good stuff I can't remember).

We also went to Potsdam for a day, where we rented bikes and rode through the Park Sanssouci with it's castle, to a former "Russian colony" with wooden houses and a Russian restaurant (we went there for a beer and something small to eat, and then somehow ended up ordering a hot chocolate with vodka. I guess just the word Russian makes you want to drink alcohol or something.--> Potsdam lies in the south-west of Berlin, I also added a pin for the Russian restauraunt) and through the Dutch quarter with it's quaint, red Dutch-style houses. We enjoyed our day there, so if you are Berlin for a little longer then I can certainly recommend the short trip out of Berlin.