Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Perfect cup o' cappuccino

The photo above is the best cappuccino I've ever had. It was perfect, foam lasted forever. Wasn't too hot to begin with and stayed hot as I drank it. And the flavor! Oh the flavor...

It was as at a chic little cafe called 2Periodico in one of the side streets of Rome, near the Coloseum. Capuccino and was only 1.50 Euro. 

My friend Andrea is half Italian. And when he was touring me around Osaka just a couple of months ago, the "best" coffee hot spots outnumbered the tourist destinations. Most of the time, he favored places with Italian coffee. When I challenged him that Japanese coffee was also very good, he was adamant that Italian coffee was not only better but cheaply priced as well. I dismissed his attitude as Italian coffee snobbery, but I think he may be right...

Egyptian Quick Fix: Just Falafel

My new quick fix in Cairo: falafel. 

Just Falafel is a chain that provides clean, healthy options of the Middle Eastern veg simple street fare, the falafel. Inexpensive and with a huge selection of different cultural takes on the falafel (other than the original with pickles, there is a Greek, Mexican, Japanese option, to name a few). 

The meal comes with the option of chips or french fries and a drink. Pictured above is a tasty and healthy hibiscus iced  tea. 

First Egyptian Dish: Koshary

A warm and grounding food welcome to Cairo. This is my first taste of Koshary, a traditional Egyptian dish, usually simple fare made up of a combination of pasta, rice cooked with lentils, tomato sauce, garbanzo beans and carmelized onion--which I, of course, topped with a local hot sauce and garlic water. Yum, hearty and veg friendly! This local street food made fashionable was enjoyed at Cairo Kitchen in Maadi. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Not kidding: a cup of hot chocolate!

Lovely treat from Cafe Nena. My latest discovery here in Barcelona. A very hip and wonderfully veg-friendly cafe in Gracia--near Yoga con Gracia where my friend teaches a mysore program.

I was in the mood for hot chocolate...

 Friday morning was a cool and overcast on in Barcelona. I already had a cappuccino en route to practice. I was expecting a drinkable liquid of chocolatey goodness when they brought me a cup of literally gooey warm cocolate, best eaten with a spoon, perfect for dipping the cookie or churros. 

Sometimes you get so much more than what you ask for or expect. And thank goodness!

My First Raw Cake

I will always have a love affair with baked goods. But having never learned the principles of baking myself, the raw cake is a delight to make. This raw project is possible because of a number of kitchen  goddesses who I've watched make some amazing watched amazing raw deserts. 

The principles are easy. There's some sticky bits. Some dry bits. Sweetness is up to you. And there is no baking necessary.

So this creation is a gift for my friend Gara who is a very inspiring chef and whose raw treats often have me oohing and aahhing. Right now I am staying with her in Barcelona. Being in her kitchen inspires me and this is what I made when I was waiting for her to come back from work. Places and people, I find, can often inspire one's cooking creativity. When you feel the itch, definitely you must scratch it. Let the moment take you...

1. Wet ingredients, which make up the binding quality of the cake base. 
Blend dates (add figs possible also) with a little oats, this also has carrot, dried coconut meat finely milled, water, a little of juice (this one has some lemon concentrate and apple). Blend into sticky paste. 

2. Mix in dry ingredients. More dried coconut meal, oats, carrots. You can add nuts, seeds, raisins. The possibilities are endless. Mix until it gets all clumpy and sticks together. Note this is a normal blender-- so you don't need a high powered Vitamix to get this going. 

3. Place cake mixture in mold. Press in. Then take out. 

4. Make "frosting." In this case, I hand mushed avocados with carob powder, a little palm syrup, and raw cacao nibs for chocolatey crunchiness. Then apple generously over cake. 

 5. Top with strips of dried coconut meat and cacao nibs. Refrigerate till ready to serve. Tada! All done, very easy! Sweeten to taste. The dates make the base sweet already and you can choose the sweetness level of frosting.