Tarte au Sucre – French Canadian Sugar Tart

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This week is a short week and everyone is excited for one less day of work and more time in leisure with people we’re not paid to be around. So friends, what are you planning on doing this weekend?

Spending time with family? Or going out of town for a short break?

Having only been working for three days after almost three weeks off, the appreciation for a day off isn’t fully cultivated yet and somehow there is another long weekend in only a few weeks.

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Amsterdam

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One of the first things my dear friend Nina said as we walked through Amsterdam was “coffee shops mean something different here.”

And welcome to the city of many many coffee shops.

Let’s not be narrow minded though. Amsterdam has much much more to offer than legalized weed. It’s also lined with bikes as far as the eye can see and when your eye loses sight of parked bikes someone will go by on one.

Bikes

Bikes

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Ostend, Belgium

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The beach town of Ostend isn’t necessarily somewhere you would go for it’s exciting pace nor is it a beach town to soak up the heat of summer as the average is more warm than hot.

But stepping off the train and walking down the shop laden street down to the shoreline, the appeal of this delightful seaside town was evident immediately.

A little over an hour from Brussels and approximately 15 minutes from Bruges this ‘city by the sea’ is worth a stop while in the land of beer and waffles.

Church watcher/Open hallway

Church watcher/Open hallway

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Banana Cake with Whiskey Caramel Glaze

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When you have no employment the days can pass by in a blaze of fog. Between traveling and applying for jobs I have succeeded in watching ‘Enchanted’ approximately three times in the past few days.

Mornings no longer have that rush like working days and weekdays and weekends all become one endless long Sunday. So in the spirit of Sunday feels, lets eat like it’s actually Sunday and enjoy cake with a little whiskey inside and on the glaze.

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Bruges – Rustic and Charming

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Whether you call it Brugge or Bruges, this Belgian city has its soul proudly on display and its well worn heart held closely on its sleeve.

An hour by train from Brussels, it’s easily seen in a weekend stay, although it may catch your heart off guard with it’s cobbled streets and historical charm. The historically well kept city center is a UNESCO heritage site, which locals and tourists alike clearly cherish.

Crowds of tourist/Concert Hall square

Crowds of tourists/Concert Hall square

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Soy Glazed Pumpkin Salad

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After a week of catching trains and seeing sights for the first time I’m back in London.

The rush of excitement that runs through veins as you go off on another adventure to somewhere you’ve never set foot in can’t quite be described. Europe is so small and connected that it can be easy to see a lot in a short amount of time and there will be many posts over the next coming weeks of my adventures, but sandwiched between of course, are many dishes that I’ve been making in my kitchen.

Being back now means it’s time to find another job and get back to ‘normal’ life. Whatever normal life is meant to feel like. Being back in the kitchen is always one thing to get excited about when returning.

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March 2014 – Saw/Ate/Read

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March was full on photography in my neck of the woods. With lighter days and brighter colors out and about I shot a series of ‘Spring in London’ shots which I’m still working my way through as well as getting to more locations in the next week or so.

And then of course, the last week there was Belgium and Holland. So much to see and do and photograph for you all to see.

I can’t quite believe that 1) It’s April!?!!! and 2) I left New Zealand almost a year ago. Where were you a year ago? And more importantly, how is life now than it was then?

Many of the photos today will be snippets of posts to come throughout April on the locations I’ve had the luck of visiting in those European countries. Here are the 31 days in photos:

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Pear Custard Hand Pies

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Before I get on the Eurostar to Belgium for my week in Europe I wanted to share this recipe.

Pies are a big hit in New Zealand although they contain meat, but they are shaped to fit into hands perfectly so it’s no surprise that hand pies are something I’ve fallen in love with.

In fact, these are so easy to transport that I am taking some across to the mainland as a snack.

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Caramel Hazelnut Cookies

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“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

While thinking about the situation of being told my contract has not been renewed and my last day of work is next week I considered this phrase. Then I googled it. And in the ever wise website of Wikipedia a poetic rendition of that saying was found from 1940.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Slice

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Getting to walk past Buckingham Palace every morning or coming out of the Tube at Westminster, only to look up and see Big Ben standing across the black cabbed road, it can all seem kind of surreal to live here.

And when busy life takes hold it can also be extremely easy to forget where you are or what you can see just by deliberately getting lost. So on Friday night, my friend Pilar and I got deliberately lost after downing an Elvis shake at The Breakfast Club and walked the streets near Piccadilly Circus, through Chinatown and wherever else the narrow streets lead us.

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Eggs Benedict

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Having recently completed the 30 days to 200 squat challenge I have now found this week of egg dishes to be like that challenge, some dishes are easy and other’s a little more difficult and this one seems like a dish that is just slightly too difficult to make at home.

Therefore I am putting a challenge before you (not the squats, although that is a good one and here is the link). No, I would love for you to give eggs benedict a go this weekend and tag #roamingtaste in (either Facebook or Instagram) so I can see how you go. If your vegetarian, you can always add spinach, kale or smoked salmon instead of bacon as your ‘bed’ for the poached eggs.

Truly, eggs benedict is one of those dishes where you think ‘oh this is cafe food because it’s too difficult for a home coom.’ I was one of those people, now I know the truth, that the key is all in the sauce and the rest is about layering. So if you have a blender then the rest of the ingredients are pretty easy to get your hands on to give this a go.

City that never sleeps

City that never sleeps

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Huevos a la Mexicana – Mexican Scrambled Eggs

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Mexico is a world of difference from it’s neighbors and it behaves like it’s always having more fun, maybe because the sun shines more.

Or because they began each day with a ¡Hola! so full of life that the rest of the day can only be lived to that high enthusiasm.

The week in Baja was certainly not enough to fully enjoy all that this varied country has to offer. If you’ve been to Mexico, what would you want to see and do again? Or where would you go for a first time and why?

Where the mountains come to swim

Where the mountains come to swim

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Huevos Rotos – Broken Eggs

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In my eating and research of European food and obvious availability throughout history it has become clear how much potatoes and Western European diets go hand-in-hand.

I say this in part because my German born mother would and could eat potatoes every night for dinner if I hadn’t of whined so much about disliking them.

This recipe is as much comfort food as it is Spanish food and it’s super simple (a word I throw around a lot, but truly this really is foolproof).

Shining Light on Barcelona

Shining Light on Barcelona

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Scotch Eggs

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If you’ve been lucky (or unlucky in health terms) to try a sausage roll then scotch eggs are similar. Except they’re inside out and there’s no pastry, but they taste similar while being rather different.

All a little confusing to explain, but I wasn’t sure what to expect when I made these eggs as I had never tried them before. Odd considering I’ve lived here for almost a year, but somehow, it’s not something anyones made and picking them up from the supermarket ready made have never tempted me enough.

Looking for the right recipe also entailed looking at a variety of sources due to the way people consider the ‘perfect’ scotch egg being. Not much meat, perfectly boiled. Slightly runny. Lots of meat packaging. These are neither simple nor straightforward from one source to the next.

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Union Jacks and the Chiming Clock

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