roamingtaste.com » Where foreign and local combine

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A few weeks ago on a lazy Friday night, my roomy and I gave cauliflower pizza and raw snacks a go and since we have been addicted.

Ad.dic.ted!

Not a weekend has gone by where either of us have made something new to snack on during the week. These are rather pricey to make, but perfectly gluten free and vegan for any diet and packed full of flavour. The pride you’ll feel when you take your first bite into these will have your eyes widen and your palate screaming with surprise at how incredibly tasty these are. It’s a different pride than when you bake something you’ve never made before and have a taste, maybe because these are no bake or because there is no butter, sugar or flour in them, they carry a hit of flavor you’ll want more of.

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When I was ten-years-old, my mother took us to a country she had already fallen in love on a girls trip the previous year. It was our first time on a vacation outside the country together as a family and after only a few hours of flying, we landed on a tiny piece of paradise in the pacific called Vanuatu.

The dense humid air hits like a wall as we exited the plane and in the darkness our first steps in this spectacular land were taken. After getting our inviting beverages and lei’s at the hotel that night, we awoke the next morning to the enveloping warmth that is so constant in the pacific and discovered the gems that are everywhere in this very underrated nation.

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While in Austin with my friend James, our days entailed very late nights of watching Matt Damon movies and hanging out with his friends. They were so late that it would be early morning by the time we fell into the world of sleep. Then we would awaken mid morning and our day would begin, throwing my breakfast routine of eating pre-11am out the window. One morning after another late night of watching movies, we opted to go straight downtown instead of eating granola and soon we were walking into Easy Tiger where we sat in the garden and devoured our midday breaking fast.

When I departed Austin a few days later, that sandwich came under the umbrella of wonderful memories I took from my visit in Austin. It’s a place I look forward to returning to with the culture of the people so chill and embracing of a more natural life, a hippy beach town sitting hours from the ocean. It’s the kind of place that will make you feel comfy real quick.

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Trudging through the warm air south of Liberty Bell towards what has to be the most famous piece of Philadelphia cuisine, I was determined despite having only just landed and the impending darkness. Nothing was going to get in the way of me and my cheese steak, even the warning about the area I was walking to from one of the girls in the hostel could not deter me.

I walked up to the window and despite feeling confident about my order, I fumbled the words out “one with” and within five minutes I had consumed the whole thing. The feeling of success at my first meal in Philly being a home town icon was almost worthy of throwing my hands up in victory. So here today is a truly authentic cheese steak even though the Liberty Bell is thousands of miles away, proving this is a meal you can make almost anywhere.

In the effort to make a truly authentic cheese steak I discovered the need for cheese wiz, in fact, without cheese wiz your sandwich wouldn’t be the real deal like eating one of these incredible pieces of Philadelphia. Once you have cheese wiz in your hands the sandwich is as easy to make as cook sliced steak and some onion if you like them, top with the cheese and consume!

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Spontaneity is something that begins to fall more and more by the wayside the older we get. All plans with friends nowadays always involve the date, time and place we will go and all details can found online (if not, the black hole of ‘what do I expect’ is all that fills the mind). I can probably count on a couple of fingers the times I was truly spontaneous since moving to London.

Yesterday, I received an email from my best friend asking what I’m doing between four days next month. My response was ‘nothing’ and then the plot thickened as to why these dates mattered. Within a few hours I was offering my bed and great meals in London as an idea to visit had come into her mind and I am fully supporting this last minute idea.

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Have you ever kept a journal? Maybe intended to write every day for a year into a perfectly lined book? Or attempted to write your way through a journey? Well, that was my full intention when descending upon Paris. To be fully immersed as a writer and artist for a long weekend, but needless to say, the last half day of that adventure was completed a few months after I had already departed, yes, sticking to a journal is not for the faint hearted.

The city of light and love though is an artists paradise and really, the French love their art and the amount of artists drawn to this country throughout history is innumerable. Maybe it’s the way the language sounds like heaven with each mouthful. Or maybe it’s the French culture where they are partially rigid in certain ways and yet in others are not prudish like the English.

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On my first solo trip overseas, I went from Thanksgiving in Mississippi to Costa Rica and it’s Gallo Pinto to Mexico and it’s tortillas and beans from morning until evening. All this food was tasty, but I yearned for a plain old boring sandwich like I was used to and my two week stay in LA landed me with my now best friend and her mom who have roots in El Salavador so there was more beans.

Now, on one particular day, driving in Hollywood, a lively conversation ensued about some great burritos to buy nearby so off we went. When they asked what I preferred my response was prompt and unthankful “I just want a sandwich” and my best friends mother’s response was affirmative “oh that’s so boring.”

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IMG_9445Being without the other people in an inside joke is somewhat awkward when something reminds you of it. Having to try and withhold a smile for no obvious reason while walking down the street and definitely not laughing out loud at the thought of that joke without those other people there. Than trying to explain aspects of the inside joke to others when you reference it makes things awkward too, because as an outsider they won’t understand the context.

Well for the last few weeks I have returned to listening to my favourite podcast of Fletch, Vaughn and Megan, they are New Zealand morning radio show hosts who have been making me laugh for as long as I can remember. Before I left the land of the long white cloud they were on in the afternoons and ended every day perfectly with laughter on the journey home. Honestly, they are hilarious!

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Have you been pulled into the addictive material that is Serial? Now it seems this was everywhere at the end of last year, I couldn’t turn on my computer without seeing  a reference to this podcast and yet somehow everyone I’ve asked has answered “no,” they haven’t even heard of it so definitely haven’t had a listen. Then last Thursday, after much procrastination I thought ‘let’s give this a go.’ Then I proceeded to listen to all twelve episode in two days and read as many articles and interviews as I could get my hands on. It’s so engaging in this world of murder mystery shows that a real life story unfolding in your ears is almost to take a step back, yet it’s better than any episode of CSI I’ve ever seen.

Yes, this little podcast that blew itself out of the water for it’s real life ‘whodunnit’ is captivating and you’ll likely have a few theories by the end of it. Let’s make this clear though, it’s a podcast, or in better words a story told over twelve episodes of people who are still alive now. And the mystery is very much a huge part of this. It also is worth noting that after listening to all episodes it’s worth doing research and especially reading the Jay interviews and their teachers for a more rounded idea of who these people are/were when this story is set.

I would love to hear your theories? Or even what podcasts you’ve been listening to recently as I need something to accompany my morning walks?

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Most of the foreign food on this blog involves recipes that are in fact, very simple and not time consuming. That is one of the reasons why I created this website, to show you, wherever you may be, that foreign food doesn’t have to be daunting to attempt in your own kitchen. Most are quick to whip up or require little effort, I’m looking at you Cherry Clafoutis and Pavlova in that category.

A few have been time consuming, but those finicky ones, where you need to have read the recipe three times to know exactly what you are doing are usually the ones where you sit back and go “wow, I made that!?”. Baklava is definitely like that. In fact, I could barely believe my eyes when peeking into the oven, just on turning the temperature down and seeing golden rectangles of baklava sitting in my own kitchen.

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This past weekend I met up with a friend who I hadn’t seen in eight-and-a-half years. Truly a lifetime ago. We barely spoke or emailed over these years, but did keep in touch as we could through social media. But there were definite nerves on my part as to whether we would have anything to speak about, maybe we would be too different after all this time.

Walking beside the Thames showing him the most important sights for his very short stay we spoke about things from long ago, pieces of our history I’d forgotten or he’d forgotten and we also filled in so many gaps that can’t be shared through a social media feed. It was as though no time had passed and there we were reunited thousands of miles from where we once met as the two individuals whose lives collided for a brief time.

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And in one blink it was gone. Well maybe not quite for me, but it did go faster than anticipated, in usual fashion might I add. February was a mixed bag of things and there was even one dumping of snow to last through a morning.

Seeing kids throw snowballs at their parents as they walked to school made that slippery white stuff seem magical, even in the city. Catching up with someone this past weekend who I hadn’t seen in almost a decade was the best feature of an otherwise uneventful month. It was nice to speak with someone who knows a piece of my past and talk about us and those times.

Still reminiscing about the beauty of Istanbul, it was on my mind a lot this month with a few more photos shared on my Instagram. Otherwise, here is my month:

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There is a saying for people who move to London called the ‘Heathrow injection’, the reality of this saying is that on average someone puts on around 17 pounds within a year of arriving thanks to the amount of incredible food available all around us here. One of my roommates and I have really struggled with our own body image since arriving here almost two years ago and with the colder weather it feels like weight is just so much more comfortable multiplying.

Whilst we both put on the average weight after arrival, we have returned to our healthier ways and habits, but living here and not being as active as we were in our homeland means the body image can sometimes make everything feel worse. So tonight we are trying something new in the form of making raw bars and cauliflower crust pizza and eat without guilt.

There is an irony in what I’ve just been speaking about and today’s post, but hear me out. I was meant to post a salad recipe which is hidden in the shadows and instead when I awoke this morning it was Friday so obviously who cares about salad and let’s eat cookies. Plus these cookies by the ever talented Ashley were such an incredible hit that I was kinda sad I didn’t double the recipe and give away more. These are like the equivalent of cookie hotcakes, people will want more of these for sure.

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The howling icy wind got into my bones this weekend and that’s when it was all too much, somehow Winter, by far the worst season of all with a combined vote of thumbs down goes on for far far too long. We may not be in Boston, but argh to all the cold and layers and that icy wind that is the ultimate enemy.

Its right now that the ever continuing summer in my homeland where the grass has turned a slight shade of brown makes patience for less layers and more outdoor adventures more difficult. Let’s not get into the fact that this is my last official winter for a year-and-a-half, but it’s just the worst. And being just like my father the ability to deal with this season and all that comes with it just leads to more and more whining.

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