Thursday, March 31, 2016

Gravina, Modern family, ancient history

Italy Italy Italy. I left off Part 1 with our first meal at Anna Maria and Vito's home in Gravina. Here are two of the best things I've ever ate. First, this glorious ricotta breakfast cake. It's beyond amazing. I swear I ate a whole one myself during my stay. I plan to share the recipe here but I have to convert it to British and/or American measurements. Second, Anna Maria's pressed figs. I even brought some home to boyfriend they were so good. We continued to eat with gusto for the next several days. But the highlight of my time in Gravina was definitely getting to know my extended family. I've determined laying out who these wonderful people are to me on this blog would be more confusing than beneficial.

Therefore, I'll suffice it to say they are all some kind of cousin. It's so interesting how much you can learn about a person's character without speaking the same language. I really expected it to be so much more of an issue than it was. We were able to communicate pretty clearly. Not with everything -- for example, I tried to teach them to play baseball. Card game instructions are always a bit difficult to convey but I needed a lot of help from Annie to get everyone on board. We had a fantastic time playing after we all caught on though! Click below to continue reading...

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Gravina, Finding a second home

When I decided to move to London, I knew it was a good time to do some travelling. Boyfriend's job would have him start right away across the pond, but I'd be job hunting regardless of timing. I always take advantage of gaps. Could be a reason I haven't had a job longer than a year since my Denver job...but I digress.

I've always wanted to spend a month in Italy. It's been my number one trip for years. I kept putting it off because I wanted it to be just right. Smart idea? ...yeah not so much. After some much needed encouragement and support (in the form of pup-sitting, among other things) from boyfriend, I finally decided now or never and booked the flights. It wasn't just perfect as I'd imagined but it was just right for right now. Click here to continue...

Friday, March 4, 2016

Updates and Things

Boyfriend's birthday and I'm totes broke (but that's another post). This year I can't afford to do anything really cool like rent a local brewery. I'm always so stressed about his birthday because he makes mine so special. He's been making it special since before we were dating! He threw me a surprise party and got me a cupcake piñata for Christ's sake. Anyway, once again, I have to settle on something simple. I took him to a Brazilian grill and got him a gelato cake. Both turned out great. I also picked him up a hilarious card with a penguin wearing sneakers, as all penguins should. I have a new past time of purchasing various greeting cards while inordinately pissed. Pretty sure the card I bought for Mother's Day has a swear word in it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Missing my New York Family

Boyfriend is lucky enough to get to jetset back to New York all the time for work. I'm trying not to be toooooo jealous. We have so many mutual friends in the city. We just got so so lucky during our time there to meet incredible people. Trust me, I've moved enough to know that is not always the case.
My lovely little North Carahl-i-na girlfriend Jen is one of the most genuine, just completely fun people I know. She's very honest and you can't not respect that. I miss chillin with her at her place after work and having someone to vent to about office drama. Her hubby, Mo (together, Jenmo), the European of the group, is German and has such an open heart. He's a great listener and now, living in another country, I completely understand why his face lit up every time we had German beer. Click below to continue reading...

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Recipe: Low Budget British Ramen

I've been wanting to make my own ramen for years. While I love ramen, some of the usual ingredients I could really do without (think niboshi and stringy onions). Last weekend, I decided to go for it. Keep in mind, I am budgeting so these are literally the cheapest ingredients available. And all found at your local London supermarket. I firmly believe you can make ramen with anything.

2 Chicken Breasts
1 Leek
1 Large Poblano Pepper
1/4 White Cabbage Head
1 Egg
Egg Noodles
Chicken Stock (I used the little potted version)
Lime Juice
Soy Sauce
Sriracha Sauce
Minced Garlic
Chili Flakes

1. Soft boil egg, set aside.
2. Bring the chicken stock to boil with minced garlic (about 1 full clove for a large stock pot), chives (about 4, make sure you have 1 left for garnish), soy sauce (about half a cup but mostly to taste), and spices (flakes, salt, pepper, and paprika) to taste. Turn to simmer for 10 minutes. I really like paprika flavor so I go a bit heavy there.
3. Bring back to boil and add full chicken breasts (best with a bit of fat left on, you can remove excess later). Boil for 10 minutes or until just slightly pink in the middle. Remove.
4. Chop leek by slicing in half long way and half again creating half inch strips.
5. Chop poblano short way creating small rings.
6. Chop cabbage in 4 inch strips.
7. Add sriracha sauce, 2 cap fulls of lime juice, and additional soy or spices to taste. Add leek and poblano to the pot and simmer for 5-10 minutes until veggies are soft bit still have some bite (to preference). Remove once at the desired texture.
8. Chop chicken in small strips (the thinner the better I think). Add salt and pepper directly.
9. Prepare your ramen bowl by placing the egg noodles at the bottom.
10. Bring the stock back to a boil and pour over egg noodles.

11. Cut boiled egg in half.
12. Place leeks, poblanos, chicken, cabbage strips, and eggs around the bowl. The chicken will finish cooking along with the noodles.
13. Garnish with chives and sriracha.

That's an embarrassing photo but hey! I was really proud.

Admittedly, I added quite a bit of chili flakes and sriracha so it was pretty spicy. Great thing about cooking at home, you can make it however you like,