Cupcakes Always Win


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Vegan Chai + A Great Chai Wallah

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While travelling around India I met a numerous amount of incredibly inspiring people at chai stands. It was one place I could always expect a great discussion, story, or new friend(s). Each stand varies with which spices are used and where milk is sourced from, but just like any other delicious addictive beverage everyone has individual preferences. My most memorable chai wallah (tea seller/server) was found near my hostel, who’s art is pictured within this post. He was kind enough to allow me to take photos while he made tea, and now I can share them with you!

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His set up was nothing elaborate, but the end result was an explosion of flavour! The steps I followed to make my recipe were from watching him make tea multiple times. I don’t know the exact spices he used, but I have an idea. It’s good to keep some things a secret now and again. Especially if you want returning customers!

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Now chai isn’t a daily ritual which is probably a good thing! But with all this snow and cold weather my winter weekends usually start with a glass of chai. Be sure to check out Liz’s post on Lemongrass Ginger Chai, we met up in Mumbai and shared a couple glasses of chai, which was great!

My recipe is not a strict one, go with the flow, you might have to test run you spice mixture a couple of times but then you’ll have a secret of your own!

Thanks for stopping by, and hope to see you again soon!
oxxoxo

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Vietnamese Baguette (Bánh my)

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When travelling in Vietnam it’s not uncommon to see baskets upon baskets of Vietnamese style baguettes. Bikes loaded up with the crispy loaves wheeling their way around each city block. It’s extremely difficult to resist purchasing one of these delicious snacks. It was also easy to find sandwich stalls on street corners which would usually serve a pork on bread style sandwich with loads of toppings. It was possible to get vegetarian options as well but that depended largely communicating correctly with the vendor. Thankfully I had a non-vegetarian friend who would gratefully accept extra pork on his sandwich.

Now that I am back in Canada, I was given a Vietnamese cookbook for Christmas Real Vietnamese Cooking by: Tracey Lister and Andreas Pohl, and I have been studying it as though every time I enter the kitchen there will be an exam as to whether or not the food is exactly how I remember it. The first recipe I attempted is the Vietnamese baguette, which was not an original food to be found in Vietnam. It was introduced by the French during the colonial period. The main difference between the French and Vietnamese baguette is the addition of rice flour in the Vietnamese version.

I made this recipe several times to test it out and get it just the way I wanted. I settled on making three baguettes vs. six which is what the recipe suggests. This way I have larger baguettes and can make beautiful sandwiches to share. The baguettes do require a little longer baking time though, but it’s totally worth it!
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I’ve also included a few snaps from our adventures in Vietnam. We spent a month there and had an amazing time hiking, walking, biking, meeting new people, and of course eating! Every city/village/town has a dish specialty, and it was always exciting to see what that dish would be upon arrival.
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In Vietnam we didn’t always arrive at our destination with an arrangement for a place to stay. This was usually ok, but there were a few times when we were walking in small towns and really didn’t know where we were and couldn’t find any sort of lodging options. The locals were always so helpful in showing us the way to a safe place to stay! We were even invited for dinner one night with the friendliest family, it was such an amazing evening. It’s super inspiring that strangers are so accommodating, I hope to help other strangers whenever I can, and maybe even feed them a few cookies and tea!
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Back to the bread! An opportune moment for butter is fresh bread from the oven. Now you can devour this loaf instantly with the butter melting on a warm(HOT) slice. Or you can wait a few minutes until is cools enough to make a sandwich! I made vegetarian sandwiches like I would have ordered in Vietnam with scrambled egg, veggies, cilantro, and a spicy chili sauce.
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Hope you enjoy this recipe, and thanks for stopping by! See you again soon,
Anna
xoxoxo
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Japan: Volunteering in Nirasaki at Koma Farm

Since my last post, we’ve been travelling Japan, and it has been amazing! It’s rainy season here so there has been some cloudy days. We spent a week near Nirasaki at a beautiful vegetable farm in the mountains volunteering in exchange for a place to stay and food to eat. Our hosts Ryo and Chiharu from Koma Farm were amazing! We felt like family! We still dream about the amazing vegetables we were able to eat, and the fun times we had working together. Here are a few shots that I took while we were at the farm. Hope you enjoy!

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We got to experience so many new flavours, I am totally inspired to make some recipes either while travelling or once I return home! One very interesting thing was naturally occurring sparking water near where the farm was. It was the most interesting taste, a little fizzy, and a little salty. If you are ever in the area it may be hard to find but it is a pretty unique experience.

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Thanks to all who are following my travels! I will try to keep the updates coming, but it’s sometimes tough with no internet! Much love,

Anna xoxoxoxo


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Vegan Ice Cream – No Ice Cream Maker Needed!

VeganBananaCoconutIceCream-11 Coconut milk is my best friend when it comes to making vegan recipes. It is high in fat and provides a richness and flavour that is perfect when not using butter, whipping cream, yogurt, or milk. It’s especially important in this ice cream recipe, a delicious treat to enjoy after a long day of outdoor adventures.

Speaking of adventures, it’s time I share that I am adventuring around the world again for several months! I brought my running shoes, journal, and laptop to keep friends, family, and avid recipe makers posted on my travels. This time around the world I will be with my adventure partner Alex. He’s awesome and plays a yukelele, which is what every adventurer needs!!!

Today this post has some photos from hiking in and around the Capilano River Park in Vancouver. It was very easy hiking, but convenient to get to by bus. The weather was stunning, and I can’t wait to do some more hiking in the Vancouver area. VeganBananaCoconutIceCream-13 VeganBananaCoconutIceCream-20 VeganBananaCoconutIceCream-16 VeganBananaCoconutIceCream-22

While walking through the forest I couldn’t help but feel as though I was in a rainforest, with ferns everywhere you look it reminded me of hiking in Tanah Rata, Malaysia. Stunning to know that you can find that same beauty in Canada!
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Back to the kitchen adventure! You might find it odd to see vodka in the list of ingredients but don’t fret! Since vodka doesn’t freeze it helps the ice cream from not crystallizing when not using an ice-cream maker, and it also makes it easier to scoop when serving.
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When making this ice cream get creative! Feel free to add any sort of nut, chocolate or candy that you can’t live without. You don’t have to use a banana either, I just used it for added sweetness. Share your favourite ice cream recipes below! Do you use an ice cream maker? Or churn it by hand?

Hope you enjoy this recipe, and stay tuned for more recipes, and world adventures! Our next stop is Japan!

Anna xoxoxoxox

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Trail Mix Cookies

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Travelling is best way to find inspiration when it comes to photography and food. I always like to be prepared when I am about to hit the road! Snacks, drinks, a good playlist (or dj), and road trip games are what make being on the road a break from a normal day. It also gives me an excuse to feed people yummy things like these trail mix cookies.

I was recently in Chicago and had an amazing time, great food, great music, inspiring art, and absolutely stunning architecture. I only took a few snaps while strolling, but I thought I would share them with you.
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Realistically, trail mix is the perfect in between snack that helps me to get by until the next meal. It also leads to several 1/8th full bags in my ingredient cabinet leaving me with the perfectly balanced add-ins for a cookie. These cookies are best if you make them a day in advance and freeze them overnight. They will be the most chewy and you will want to make them again!
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What are your essential snacks on the road?
Thanks for passing through and hope to see you again soon!
Much love,
Anna oxoxoxo
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>Meals of Macau

It has been about four months since I have been out on my own travelling and I really miss it. I am not worried though because I have an extreme case of the travel bug… which means I can’t wait to get back out there!

Anyways, I want to dedicate this blog post to my dear friends in Hong Kong. They are such lovely people and really made my trip to Hong Kong and Macau so, so wonderful. We travelled to Macau for the weekend and I turned to my friend and asked, “What is there to do in Macau?” her response was along the lines of “Eating the many delicious foods!”

Now I thought that sounded like a really great adventure. Friends and food always go hand in hand. What I didn’t realize was that we actually were going to eat like dinosaurs and have no sense of time… only sense of taste. First stop, Portuguese egg tarts

 Wake up and walk to the famous egg tart cafe… heck yes! The photo on the left displays just how popular these egg tarts are, everyone is lined up to get their own fresh batch… SO fresh that it was lava hot when eating. I love the chewy texture of the pastry and the creamy flavour of the custard. Next stop, steamed milk custard

These were a little bland but had just enough sweetness in them, it was another perfect thing to have in the morning. I sought out a recipe and hope to try and make it at home. It has egg whites in it which works to give the custard a firm texture and just a dab of sugar.

The day has barely begun, it is not even noon yet and next on the menu is more dessert! Yay!

The restaurant we went to had a fabulous patio that we fully enjoyed with more treats. The desserts were wonderful. Pictured above is mango mousse, strawberry mousse and a slice of cake (forget the flavour).

I should mention that my friends had brought ‘the book’ with them and ‘the book’ was a recent restaurant guide to Macau with the most famous places to go and eat at. I placed my trust in food with my friends and of course they did not disappoint. Next stop a questionable delicacy, shark fin soup

Now this was the only thing I only had a small sample of and could not eat a full serving. I felt really guilty and I really did not like the taste of it. I respect and admire Cantonese food and delicacies but this was one thing I could not give in to.

Next stop… shrimp paste noodles

At this point in the day it was early afternoon, our stomachs were on the verge of really needing a break. But when in Macau… you eat!

Next stop, dumpling soup

This was another dish I didn’t participate in because meat was involved. And I think I was ok with that, my stomach was but my heart wanted more! After this dish we took a well deserved break and checked-in to probably the nicest hotel I will ever stay in, The Venetian http://www.venetianmacao.com/ . After being in some cheap dorm rooms in SE Asia… this was more than a treat. Running on a treadmill with a man handing me water, apples and a towel and swimming in oasis style pools with glamourous lounge chairs and lounges around the perimeters of the pool. It was a nice break for a few days… the final stop for day one was a Portuguese restaurant,

We took a local bus out to the beach where there is a famous Portuguese restaurant. It was a great atmosphere with good drinks and food. I learned some really entertaining games to play while waiting for a table at a restaurant! After this we called it a night but started bright and early in the morning to get our full days worth!

We went to another area in Macau and all the restaurants were closed because it was a Sunday and it was too early for them to be open. We had a few snacks but I didn’t take any photos. This photo above displays the exact moment when I fell in love with Hong Kong style milk tea. This bun with the yellow is a pineapple bun and it was so fresh and simply easy to gobble down.

I will admit I have been scavenging the Chinese bakeries in Toronto to find a similar taste but have not found what I am looking for yet.

Next stop, fish ball soup

This was the last meal I photographed. We had two more meals before calling it quits. At this point I had about 3 more days in Hong Kong before I was to leave to go to Canada and I really cannot thank my friends enough for really showing me around and making sure I had such a great time. I learned so much about the Hong Kong lifestyle and food. I will forever be grateful for their kindness!

I hope that I can return the favour when they come to Canada!

Hope you enjoyed my Macau food adventures, give me some feedback! I love hearing from you,

Much Love,

Anna xoxox