A new recipe everyday challenge

Hi guys 🙂

Anybody still there? 🙂 I hope… I guess the frequency of my posts was not that high lately but with good reasons as you will see. I will try to do better in the future.

There are some news, for better or for worse, as I have taken wedding vows and for my husband’s new job there was the necessity to transfer, we moved to Chisinau, in Moldova Republic. It seems my life is not so “settle in one place” type of life. The interesting part is that I always wanted to transfer often and experience the life in many different places. I just didn’t expect to get this wish. :)))

So, here we are. We moved and currently staying with a friend while looking for our own place. I am dreaming about a place with a lot of natural light and with a perfect kitchen. I hope we find it.

So, I find myself, contrary to what I experienced before, currently without a specific job. I guess this will happen soon enough, because, even If my husband is telling me everyday to be patient and  take advantage of the current status of looking for a home and arranging it, I just don’t know how to live without work. So for now, I am trying to take it as an interesting experience 🙂

Given the fact that unexpectedly I found myself in a better kitchen and with some time on my hands, I decided that I need to find a way to discover new things, not only outside, but also in the kitchen. So, I will challenge myself in cooking a new dish everyday. I hope I can make it, as long as I am not traveling.

Yesterday I started with homemade yogurt:

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Homemade yogurt is, as or course everybody knows, the natural alternative to the store bought one. So cheaper and better version. For me it was always a mystery and I thought it is time to learn it. The catch: having a spoon of yogurt before, the store one can work , but if you can find a good natural yogurt as a starter, the taste will be better. As a recipe, its not at all hard: you have to boil one liter of milk, taking out the cream that is forming during the boiling. After, you have to leave the milk to rest, slowly , as you see we put it with a towel wrapped around it. When the milk is just a little warm ( you should be able to stick your little finger in it and not get burned), you should take one spoon of the base yogurt put it in a plate and start adding slowly a few spoons from the warm milk to the plate with the yogurt spoon. The secret is not to mix the warm milk and the cold yogurt so fast, otherwise it will not get thick. So, by mixing some spoons back to the milk pot with the yogurt- milk mix, you should incorporate slowly all the yogurt into the milk. From this moment the pot should not be moved for several hours so be careful and put it from the begining in a place where this can be achieved. Cover it with another towel and keep it for 3- 4 hours like that. After, you can put it in the fridge.

For today I tried to prepare  Melanzane e zucchine  alla parmigiana ( Eggplants and zucchini with Parmesan cheese).  I am saying tried because I had some trouble while preparing it. Since I am new in this home I hadn’t used the oven yet. There was a trey in the cupboard and I used that one. The only trouble was that when I tried to put it in the oven it was too big for it. I tried to fit it, but..nothing. Finally I had to move all the composition in a different pan, while making a mess .:)) I also made the mistake of not cooking the vegetables before so I cannot say it was the best version. I would have to try it again in another way, countable as a new recipe I think. :)) It looks like that:

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I will post the foods everyday on Instagram, so please follow me. 😉

I am excited about sharing with you the adventures in this country and our new life!

I wish you a happy week! 🙂

 

 

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Cooking and travel

I was reading an article the other day about a Chef that was travelling the world tasting the food and recreating  the recipes that he was encountering along the way. He had traveled to 20 countries and he had learned how to prepare the meat or the cheese and so on, not simple recipes but the basic and big principles of preparing food, like smoking meat for example. I felt jealous, and it’s not my character. Actually, not jealousy was the main feeling, but frustration is a better word for it. Frustration that during my travels I didn’t think to pay so much attention to the cooking side of things. The usual “if I could do it all again” type of thing… 🙂

And then, I started to remember all my relationship with cooking. I was, since childhood, eager to try my mother’s recipes,  mainly for the cookies and sweets. I was 6 years old I think when they found me trying to bake some cookies together with my brother, who was 4 at the time 🙂 Of course the kitchen was a mess and this became one of the family go-to stories  proving  that I was such a naughty child (there are a lot of those :)) But the cookies were pretty good. Of course, my mother baked them, but still. :)))

During my teenage and university years I could cook, of course very rarely,(because, let’s face it, those years are pretty chaotic, finding your self takes a lot of energy and it’s not by far an organized event ;)) some complicated dishes that I was copying from some restaurants we were going to.

I remember the first dish I ever tried to imitate. We used to go, every time there was an event at my high-school, my father, my mother, my brother and I to a small restaurant that had these amazing fried pancakes filled with cheese and bacon. After a while I tried and succeeded to recreate them and actually they came out pretty good.   My mother was so proud of me  🙂  Every time we have guests she is trying to convince me to cook this recipe. Maybe it’s special for her also .If you guys are interested,tell me in the comments and I can prepare especially a post about these pancakes.

But the cooking in general was not part of my daily life. Sure, I could make some very complex and delicious omelettes and I am still the Sandwich Master in the eyes of my friends, but I didn’t know, nor cared, how to cook a simple soup.

Once I almost burned down the house once because I was trying to imitate a Gamberi aglio e olio recipe and poured quickly wine directly in the hot oil that spilled and caught fire. But, except for the tastes that I was trying to recreate, I hadn’t found yet the joy of cooking.

I counted. I visited 22 countries so far. I can remember clearly the food that I ate in all of them, and maybe I can try to recreate the recipes. At that age I was just thrilled to taste all the foods around the world, but never thought about the recipe or the chef’s efforts to make it perfect. I’m not sure why that was. It was maybe because I never thought cooking can play such an important role in my life and I didn’t think I could do some of the dishes I was being served. I didn’t know that the simple act of making an omelet should deserve respect. I didn’t pay any respect to it. But, always, always I liked to eat. I always spent a lot of money on restaurant bills, just for trying and enjoying as many dishes as possible. Oh well, we all have faults.. 🙂

Lately, in the last 2 -3 years, as my life changed and I became a wife, my priorities changed and I started cooking more in my kitchen. It was a time when I became acquainted with the Turkish cuisine also. Although I was still traveling extensively, I started to pay attention to the cooking side of the food I was trying. Going to talk to the Chef about the food I really like,  became a usual thing for me. The funny thing is my husband is encouraging me to do it. Maybe he is thinking about the food he will eat after. Or maybe he just knows it makes me happy.

I’m sure my story is normal, that it’s an absolutely usual rite of passage as maturity goes in becoming a woman and a wife . And, as many others before me, women and men, I found joy in it. And for this, I feel grateful. It’s one of the best feelings I have, I feel somehow connected to the people that cooked the same recipe before me, over generations. Cooking became for me a meditation and a source of pure joy.

One of my favorite movies is ” Julie & Julia”   and in it Amy Adams has a line at some point that might explain at least partially the relaxing side of cooking :

“I love that after a day when nothing is sure, and when I say ‘nothing’ I mean nothing, you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It’s such a comfort.” 

And it’s not all. Since I started the cooking class, I understood another thing. These people that are preparing our food, that comes plated so beautifully, they are working in a very hot and difficult environment, and they deserve respect. And, most importantly, they love what they are doing, and, as corny as it sounds, they enjoy that their food makes people happy.

So yes, if I could do it all again, I would care about it, all of it. I would ask the Chef to tell me the ingredients, though I am sure they never share their secrets. 😉  But still, I would be much closer to the possibility of cooking that same perfect dish.

And, after all these years, I understood it’s a very important experience for me. Maybe it’s not too late. I will get back to you about this. 😉

Below some food photos from my travels. Although at the time it seemed tacky to photograph it, now I regret not documenting it better…

Vietnam traditional food and shrimp in coconut milk:

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Brazil different types of beans ( I think it’s the country with the world’s best beans) and tapioca sweets with dulce de leche. The white drink is called batida and it’s a mix between the Brazil traditional drink –  cachaca and coconut milk. Near to it there are the world’s best chips : yucca chips.

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Seafood from Italy :

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Australia, kangaroo meat :

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Argentina, a great dish with beef of course, in one of the best places I’ve ever been , Floreria Atlantico, Buenos Aires:

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 Chile , a traditional drink with peaches and wheat and Peruan food, which was absolutely divine :
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Prague and the best sausages I’ve ever eaten:
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Amsterdam, again sausages and best eggs Benedict at 5&33. I would mention this restaurant in my top 10 ever best food.
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Of course, Turkey :
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And, ” very unexpectedly” now I am hungry  🙂 and I will go cook something.
Until next time, I wish you a happy week ! 🙂