Thursday, August 07, 2008

One Year In Europe Vegan Feast.....

This past week was my year in Europe celebration and part of me still can't believe that I quit my job, left Toronto, packed myself into an airplane and started something totally new in Brussels. I has all gone by so quickly, I worry that I have missed the chance to really think about all the things I have seen in the 11 countries I have visited this year, and all the amazing people I have met, the new challenges I have faced. Wow.

Maybe the great meal we made last night can stand in as a celebration of sorts? Sure, why not.

We had a great day at the sea yesterday, just lounging about and recovering from the hectic pace of Rome. Went to a great bio shop that I had been wanting to check out since we got here. It is called Bio Marche and a veg*ns heaven if they are vacationing in this part of Italy. I picked up some stuff that I am going to take home with me. We also nabbed some tiny and super hot peppers, which we grilled up at dinner, but plan to use for our supper on Thursday night.

I made three new recipes last night, well, one brand new and two that were revisions of previous goodies.

I made my very first focacciabread! It was pretty tasty, the consistency wasn't right, but I think I needed to give it more rising time and...maybe read a recipe or two. Kevin mentioned at the last minute, that he would like some bread with dinner...and since Lynnie ate the last of the bread the night before, she offered to wing it with the remaining flour.

First Time Focaccia


I can't give precise amounts because I really just eyeballed it and played around until I thought it looked acceptable. I let it rise for about 20 minutes and then shaped it into a little square and popped it into the oven.

I also reinvented the soyziki sauce of the other evening into a Creamy Cucumber Salad Dressing by reducing the cucumber and garlic, keeping the yogurt and adding a little oil, lemon juice and balsamic. It was delightfully refreshing as the topping to the Basil, Cucumber and Tomato Salad I served.

The protein component of the evening was taken care of with 2 marinated Tofu Steaks. Not the most innovative of recipes, but a good standby that has been serving me throughout these long vegan years. To marinate the 'fu I used: balsamic vinegar, the juice and bits of one garlic clove, olive oil, lemon juice and lots of love. We stuck them on the barbecue grill, along with another eggplant (I swear we have been eating other things) and enjoyed a great evening meal with each other.

Tonight is our LAST night in Italy, and then we head back to a new apartment that is in shambles and still needs us to take a few more trips to various furniture shops before it is totally ready. It has been a much loved holiday, full of adventure and explorations and great food. I feel that we have both relaxed and recovered from work and are ready to hit it again until the next big trip, which will take us to Canada in October. I am glad to be heading home though, my muscles ache for the gym and I miss my little home comforts and I am dying to get back into that new kitchen of mine. We are heading off to a day trip in London next weekend though...whoppp, whoopp. Looking forward to the British Museum and the shopping.


Anonymous said...

How wonderful to be able to live in a foreign country and visit so many other places. I have rarely been out of the US myself and only to go to Canada and the islands. I have been to many different states here at home which is nice but I long to go to Japan and also to the UK and Italy.

VeganCowGirl said...

Hey Nikki - if you ever want to make it over to Brussels you are always welcome - we could do up a great vegan feast! We also want to go to Japan - we have been to China, but want to explore other parts of that region.

I am very lucky and acknowledge that every day.

Lily said...

1 year of travel, 11 countries !
Even if it must hard to be far away for home (for a long time) I have to say : Lucky you !

Focaccia are delicious..yum yum

I went to Japan about 3 times so if you want some advices, ask me

Ricki said...

Oh, my goodness--a Torontonian in Brussels? HOW LUCKY ARE YOU??!! Thanks so much for your comment on my blog--it is much appreciated! And I'm so glad it brought me to yours so I can browse the archives, see some yummy recipes and live vicariously in Europe through you! :)

Bianca said...

Wow. I can't believe you eyeballed foccacia. That's amazing! I'm always scared to eyeball anything when baking. You got skillz.

Alice (in Veganland) said...

11 countries in 1 year? maybe I should travel more... Love the small hot peppers, they look really nice!

Mihl said...

Eleven countries in one year? That's why I love living in Europe. And Italy is one of the most beatiful countries, isn't it? And you already seem to be a Native if your making your own focaccia like you never did anything else...
These peppers look like Hungarina cherry peppers. Are they hot?

VeganCowGirl said...

Thanks -wasn't sure at all what they were called. Much appreciated. And yes, yes, yes they are mega hot.

Eleven countries in one year is so much - I am spoiled. Admittedly, a huge part of it is work related where I have the luxury of taxing on additional holiday time, and being in a relationship with someone from another country when we both live in a different country than either of our own means a lot of travel for holiday etc. in the centre of Europe helps quite a bit.

I do realize how lucky I am though, and try to do the travel as eco-friendly as possible.

Radish King said...

For your next focaccia foray, poke holes in the dough before you bake, and drizzle with olive oil. Put golden raisins in the holes. Yum.

Anonymous said...

Wowie! That focaccia looks insane!! Yum!

Rural Vegan said...

I think it's incredible that you made that big move and have seen so much of Europe in only one year. All that AND you make a man looking foccacia!

VeganCowGirl said...

Gliding Calm - Thank you! It needs some improving, but it was uber yummy.
Radish King - raisins! I never would have thought to add raisins. Thanks loads.
Rural Vegan - thank you for your words. To be honest, it has been a little tough, but well worth it.