My entire trip in Vietnam was centered around food: the first thing I would do before going to a new city was doing research on what and where to get the best food. And before taking the train and bus to Hanoi I had already booked two cooking classes to learn how to make some of the refined Vietnamese dishes the cuisine is known for.
I was eager to learn, but unfortunately I was a bit disappointed. The cooking classes, not surprisingly though, target audience are tourists who are looking for a fun activity during their travelling, not necessarily people who love cooking and do it regulary. So in the “hands-on” cooking classes I barely did any cooking myself, but luckily I learned a lot of new things, like the big spoon is called a tablespoon and the small spoon is called a teaspoon..
I started a new teaching job a couple of weeks ago. There’s a lot to say about the Chinese education system and the way students are being educated. The combination of its education system and the one child policy does not really make for an ideal situation.. surprise. The way these kids are growing up is so much different from the way I grew up. It is not uncommon for a kid in primary school to have extra English classes at night after having a normal 7.30 am to 7 pm school day. I had half the amount of classes and I didn’t even have any homework at that time.
Even though I’m neither a fan of the education system nor of many of the teaching methods, I am a big fan of the kids. They are so sweet, playful, smart and they are studying so hard. Too bad my already crappy immune system can’t handle full days of 4-10 year olds coughing and sneezing in my face. So along with the new job I also got a nonstop cold.
If I’m really going to pursue this teaching career I should probably build up my immune system a bit better and a vitamin overdose should help me with that. Preferably something with exotic flavors that makes me think I’m in a warm, sunny place, instead of freezing, smoggy Beijing.
It was a year full of ups and downs, maybe more downs than ups, but it ended a way lot better than it started. This year I had to learn for the first time how to really be alone, and this isn’t always easy (understatement), but I really treasure all the lessons that I’m learning from it and all the new opportunities that it gives me. Having the complete responsibility over my own life is sometimes a bit scary, but when it turns out well and/or I’m learning a lot from it, it gives me such confidence. Next semester I’ll graduate in here Beijing and even though I still don’t know where life will take me afterwards, I’m pretty sure it will turn out fine. But before that happens I’m planning to travel a lot within China and Southeast Asia, stay fit and healthy and work on new Martetatin projects, I can’t wait!
These 10 recipes are my favorite posts from 2013. It’s not a very objective list, as I’ve been missing cooking, Western food and the access to certain ingredients. It was a hard list to make, unfortunately I had to leave out the incredibly moist and flavorful coconut and lemon cake, my new love for carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, the super simple but oh so fragrant scallion noodles, but I think I ended up with a pretty neat list.
As I’m writing this post I’m already dressed up to party into the new year, including a pretty dress, high heels and new earrings. I wish everybody a Happy New Year, a wonderful 2014 with lots of fun, success and love!
I’ve booked my ticket back to Beijing, which means I’m going back in a little over a month. Mixed feelings (as usual) about me moving back, but I’m mostly feeling excited. This upcoming month I’ll be very busy studying for a big Chinese test, hanging out with friends and visiting family, teaching little kids Chinese (culture) as my internship, but mostly I’ll be cooking up a storm and posting it either on this blog, or on my youtube channel.
Let’s talk about this salad. Actually, there’s not a lot to tell, accept that it’s a recipe from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem, and knowing this should be enough reason to try it out. Ottolenghi is a genius when it comes to comparing exciting textures, pungent flavors and gorgeous colors. I haven’t heard anyone reviewing his latest book in a negative way, and I will definitely not be the first.
When the carrots were roasting in the oven and the scent of garlic mixed with cumin and coriander spread through the house, when the oranges were segmented and when the slices of perfectly ripe avocado were mixed with a little bit of olive oil, orange juice and salt, I had my hopes set high.
But I was still overwhelmed when I took my first bite. The combination of different spices, flavors, textures and temperatures took me completely by surprise and knocked me off my feet.
I ate this salad with a friend, but not a single word was spoken during lunch, we were too busy enjoying the salad and going for seconds and thirds.
This was the first time I had quinoa – I’m way behind on trying out the hip health foods, at least I’ve been eating chia seeds daily since months already – and I really liked it. It was also the first time that I cooked duck and even though I cooked it a little bit too long, the meat was still very tender and the skin was as crispy as it should. Two foods I had never cooked before in one recipe.. living on the edge.
Every morning I check out the new posts on all the foodblogs I’m following, but I never get as excited as when there’s a new post on my all-time favorite blog: So Delushious – a new post always makes my day. Delicious food, sarcastic humor, a love for fried chicken and spicy food and all written by the gorgeous Chrissy Teigen – I don’t know how anyone could not be a fan.
This salad is one of the mouthwatering recipes on her blog. It’s crazy ass spicy, it’s authentic Thai and (thus) incredibly flavorful, and not unimportant, also very healthy – it’s just so delushious.
Last winter when I was all homesick and feeling down I bought a new cookbook to cheer myself up, even though I knew I had to wait at least half a year before having the opportunity again to be back in the kitchen.
This Heston Blumenthal cookbook has recipes that are, compared to his other recipes, quite doable to prepare at home, but almost all the recipes require various complicated steps and fairly advanced cooking skills. So to play it safe I started with the easiest recipe from the book, it’s actually so easy that I’m a bit embarrassed that from all the adventurous and challenging recipes in the book I chose this recipe that even the biggest douche could make in his sleep.
But I know why I chose this recipe to be the first one: Heston Blumenthal calls this his secret vice. And if one of the best chefs in the world, someone who can create the most amazing and complicated dishes, calls a simple prawn cocktail his secret vice, all the adventurous recipes have to wait cause this will simple salad had to be put on top of the list.