The Globetrotter Cookbook

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Globetrotter Gaffes: My Foggy Failure on the London Eye

If you have come here to delight in spectacular views of London, I regret to inform you that you have been misguided. The following tale is not even slightly uplifting, and the grey haze overwhelming the accompanying pictures will not inspire any #wanderlust or retweets.

To those who read this post to its tragic end, I can offer one consolation.  Such accomplishment merits a drink, and I have provided a tasty recipe that may just be enough to drag you out of your impending depression. Alas, the London Fog is not an alcoholic beverage, so you will almost immediately be met with further disappointment and woe. You’re probably best skipping this blog post altogether and visiting happier places on the internet such as here or here.

Still reading? This isn’t reverse psychology, I promise. Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Foggy london eye up close

A tragically artsy-fartsy photo from my miserable misadventure.

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Cooking with Couchsurfers: Victor from Taiwan

Victor is a wine aficionado from Taiwan, and the first Couchsurfing guest to appear in the Globetrotter Cookbook blog. He spent a month travelling through Spain, staying mostly with generous hosts who showed him the best places to sip the country’s famous vinos – from fruity red Rioja in Logroño to the dry Fino sherry in Jerez.

Victor couchsurfing taiwan

Meet Victor!

Txokos: The secret societies of Basque Country

Naturally, wine pairs best with food. While planning his trip to the Iberian Peninsula, Victor stumbled upon the secret world of txokos (pronounced tcho-koh): private gastronomical societies scattered around Basque Country. Members gather to cook, drink and socialize in restaurant-grade facilities. To participate, members bring the ingredients, and under an honour system deposit dues into a wooden box. These fees are put toward cleaning and maintaining the basic stock and supplies.

A typical txoko in Basque Country

A typical txoko in Basque Country

Victor was disheartened to learn that txokos are exclusive societies and do not open their doors to tourists. By chance, his Couchsurfing host in San Sebastian, Antonio, was a txoko member, and invited Victor along to cook with him and his friends. His  Couchsurfing experience was transformed into something even more special and authentic, proving that connecting with locals is the best way to travel!

Cooking in a txoko in Basque Country

An exclusive look into the txoko kitchen.

Couchsurfing dinner in the txoko.

Couchsurfing dinner in the txoko.

Vegetarian food in Taiwan

Sharing is my favourite part about hosting travellers – and Victor shared many interesting things about food culture in Taipai, Taiwan. I learned that not only is Taiwan home to many vegetarian Buddhists, cooking at home is not so common because kitchens are small and stocking cupboards with ingredients is less economical than eating out. Cities offer many street food stands that provide cheap food and lots of vegetarian and vegan options.

In the Couchsurfing spirit of sharing, Victor cooked me up two Taiwanese vegetable recipes straight from his mum’s kitchen.  Now, prepare for your mouths to water because I’m going to share them with you.

Taiwanese vegan rice bowl

Taiwanese veggie rice bowl

Print Recipe
Victor's Taiwanese Cabbage and Mushrooms
These vegetable side dishes were shared by my Couchsurfer friend, Victor, and are a staple in Taiwanese cuisine. Eat them alone with rice for a vegan option, or put an egg on it for extra protein and deliciousness!
Taiwanese vegan rice bowl
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Taiwanese Cabbage
Taiwanese Mushrooms
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Taiwanese Cabbage
Taiwanese Mushrooms
Taiwanese vegan rice bowl
Instructions
Taiwanese Cabbage
  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large pan to high heat. Throw in the halved garlic cloves and sautée until they are brown in colour, but not burnt (about 1-2 minutes)
  2. Add in your chilli and minced garlic and sautée for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Toss in your cabbage and mix together. Sprinkle with salt to help the cabbage cook down. Cook until wilted, but still crunchy (about 3 minutes). Serve with rice.
Taiwanese Mushrooms
  1. Marinade your mushrooms in the alcohol for about 5-10 minutes. This step is optional, but it will give your mushrooms a sweeter taste.
  2. Toast your ginger on medium heat for about 2 minutes, then add the sesame oil and cook for another 3 minutes.
  3. Once the ginger is tender, add in your mushrooms and sautée until cooked through (about 5-7 minutes).
  4. Season with salt to taste, and serve with rice.
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These recipes are a great addition to your travel-recipe arsenal because the ingredients are cheap and easy to find. You don’t even need soy sauce because the garlic and salt bring out all the flavour you need – I was skeptical, but trust me on this one! Both dishes are vegan, but if you are vegetarian, I strongly recommend topping your dish with a fried egg with a runny yolk. No explanation needed.

put an egg on the veg

I was a little upset that I broke my yolk for the photo, but my tastebuds sure didn’t complain!

Do you Couchsurf? What have you cooked up for your hosts? Let me know in the comments!

4 Oven-less Christmas recipes

Are you spending Christmas in hostels rather than at home? Have you only got a backpack and passport to your name? Are you going to be missing the comforts of roast dinners that normally symbolize the holidays? If you answered yes to the previous questions, I dedicate this post to you!

Food and family sum up the holidays for me, and if I can’t afford a ticket home to Vancouver this year to see my parents and sister, well I simply refuse to also forgo stuffing my gut with delicious Christmas grub.

christmas dinner

As such, I have developed FOUR holiday recipes that can be made with very few supplies, and best of all, NO OVEN NEEDED! You can make ALL of these recipes with only a frying pan or pot, a knife for chopping, a spoon for stirring, and a stove top. Each recipe calls for very few ingredients and is cheap and quick to make. Make them for your Couchsurfing host, or gather your hostel buddies together for a globetrotter Christmas feast!

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Vegan tapa series: setas al ajillo

I remember back in 2013 when I moved to Madrid and discovered setas al ajillo, a garlicky, earthy tapa often served in a sizzling in a clay-dish in the north of Spain. Making them at home is a whiz – only 5 ingredients (minus the salt), and it only takes 15 minutes to whip up! Plus, is there anything more fabulous then garlic sizzling in olive oil perfuming the house? I don’t think so! After devouring, make sure you’ve got some bread to wipe up the drippings, that’s the best part!

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Nostalgia bites: vegan sausage rolls

I finally have my Christmas-NYE plans: I’m going to LONDON! My god was it ever complicated! I had expected it to be expensive, but it turns out throwing money in exchange for a roof is complicated in this city during the holidays.  What seemed like one million attempts later, after sorting through scams and making multiple phone calls, my boyfriend and I have FINALLY booked an Airbnb. Hurrah!

This calls for celebration! And of course if you know me, that means popping open a bottle of wine and snarfing down on something delicious whipped up in my kitchen!

I present to you: VEGAN SAUSAGE ROLLS!

Vegan sausage rolls, served with harissa and ketchup dipping sauce.

Vegan sausage rolls, served with harissa and ketchup dipping sauce.

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Fried eggplant with honey (vegan tapa series)

Crispy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside, this tapa is the perfect balance between sweet and savoury.  I’m talking about berenjenas con miel, fried eggplant with honey drizzled overtop, my go-to vegetarian sharing plate.

crescent-berenjena-con-miel-bite

These little fried disks of heaven are on almost every menu in Spain, and it’s not just a vegetarian favourite – my omnivore friends insist on ordering it every time we go out.

Traditionally, this tapa is dressed with honey, which is not exactly vegan-friendly (depending on who you ask). I have also seen it served with molasses, but it’s not as common, at least in the south of Spain. At home, you can use agave or maple syrup – my personal choice – in place of honey if you’re bee-sensitive. If you want one more twist, dribble on some balsamic crema. You do you!

Canada meets Spain in a pancake-style tapa of eggplant and maple syrup.

Canada meets Spain in a pancake-style stack of eggplant and maple syrup.

Another great thing about this recipe is that you probably have most of the ingredients on hand: an eggplant, flour, (veggie)milk, oil, salt, and liquid sweetener. We will also be making a flax “egg” to bind the dry ingredients to the eggplant slices. It sounds intimidating, but all you need is ground flax and water, mix ‘er up and leave for 15 minutes in the fridge. To make the eggplant extra crispy, dip the disks in breadcrumbs. It’s not traditional, but you’ll thank me once you take a bite!

berenjenas-con-miel-eggplants-and-honey-ingredients

Crispy, savoury, sweet AND fried. Can it get any better?

The final product!

Print Recipe
Berenjenas fritas (fried eggplant)
"Berenjenas con miel" or fried eggplant with honey, is by far one of my favourite vegetarian tapas in Spain. Here you have a vegan version to make at home!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Passive Time 1-2 hours
Servings
people (as a side dish or tapa)
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Passive Time 1-2 hours
Servings
people (as a side dish or tapa)
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Slice eggplant into disks no thicker than 1 cm. Cover with milk and add a pinch of salt. Let soak for 1 hour. This will help get rid of the eggplant's natural bitterness and also help to avoid it absorbing too much oil when frying.
  2. Combine ground flax and water and refrigerate for at least 10-15 minutes or until it reaches a gelatinous consistency.
  3. Drain your eggplant. Set up a dredging station with flour and your flax "egg". Pat your eggplant slices dry, dip into the flax egg and then coat with flour. If using breadcrumbs, first dredge in flour, then the flax egg, then the breadcrumbs.
  4. Heat oil in a frying pan to medium-high heat. Once hot, add your eggplant slices in batches. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan or your oil will cool and your eggplant won't cook evenly. Fry on each side for about 4 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Transfer to a dish lined with paper towel to absorb the oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt immediately.
  6. Drizzle with maple syrup or molasses and serve immediately.
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Of course, you gluten-free folk, I’ve got you covered! This recipe is totally adaptable and doable with G-F flour and breadcrumbs.

If you make this, let me know in the comments or tag me on instagram with your photos! I love seeing what you cook up!

Arte y Sabor: Spanish fusion food in Seville

It’s a really strange day for all of us after the US election results were revealed last night. I notice a lot of people are expressing disbelief and fear on social media, many declaring that they will leave the USA. I am not an American, and I have no intention for this website to get political, but I do want to say a few words. I encourage everyone to travel, to see other cultures, to experience life in a different way, broaden your horizons and all that beautiful shit, BUT PLEASE don’t do it to escape. NEWSFLASH, this phenomenon of anti-establishment voting and xenophobia is being felt in many Western countries. (Remember Brexit? Look at Greece and France too!)  No matter how or whether or not you voted in this election, it’s our responsibility as citizens of ALL COUNTRIES to protect the vulnerable and stand up for our rights. Do not let fear defeat you, let it motivate you.

Posted last night on my instagram.

Posted last night on my instagram.

Now that’s off my chest, I’m not gonna lie, you may want to escape temporarily for a quick vacation to close your eyes to the chaos. Well, last weekend I was in Seville and went to a favourite restaurant of mine that I think you should visit too, Arte y Sabor!

arte-y-sabor-instagram

Credit to Arte y Sabor instagram

Arte y Sabor is a vegetarian/vegan friendly restaurant nestled in the Alameda de Hercules in the city centre. In order to appeal to Spanish locals who are slow convincing to join the veggie game, it offers meat and fish dishes, but almost everything on the menu has a veggie option. It tips its hat to classic Spanish cuisine while incorporating flavours from other parts of the world. The atmosphere of the restaurant is artsy, yet simple and unpresumptuous, and their sharing plates follow suit with fair prices. I almost always stop here for a tapa when in Seville, and I think you’ll understand why when you see the pictures!

olives-and-canas

In true Spanish style, we were served complimentary olives to whet our palate. I love the aceitunas here as they are coated in parsley and cumin seeds, a small ode to the head chef’s birthplace, Morocco. I thought they were a bit stingier on the quantity than past visits, so they were devoured pretty quick.

What we ordered:

Croquetas caseras de espinacas con salsa de ajo blanco (Homemade spinach croquettes served with ajo blanco sauce – vegan)

spinach-croquettes-with-ajo-blanco-sauce-2
Croquettes are usually made with lots of butter and milk, so I was really surprised at how creamy the vegan version was. I don’t usually like cream sauces paired with fried foods, but as ajo blanco sauce is made from almonds, bread, garlic, oil and water, it didn’t seem heavy and added a nice additional flavour.

Salteado de setas al Pedro Ximenez (Sautéed Wild Mushrooms in Sweet Sherry Wine – vegan)

salteada-de-setas
On the menu this dish is usually served with foie, but we got the vegan option without. The medley of mushrooms was tasty paired with grainy bread, and the sweet Pedro Ximenez crema balanced out the dish rather well. I do think this would be very easy to replicate at home though, so maybe try ordering one of their other options and wait for my copycat recipe which will come out soon!

Timbal vegetariano  de queso granulado, almendras, cebolla y berenjena  sobre salsa de tomate (Vegetarian Timbale made with ricotta, almonds, onion and eggplant on top tomato sauce)

timbal-cheesy-goodness
As much as I’d have liked to try to make this a vegan day, we simply couldn’t resist ordering one cheesy dish. No regrets! Layers of eggplant sandwiching warm ricotta cheese and torched mozzarella on top swimming in a tomato sauce that was the perfect balance of sweet and acid. The little almond slivers gave a surprising crunchy element to the dish.

The total for this meal along with 4 small beers came to about 25 euros, split between two people. I totally recommend Arte y Sabor for vegans, vegetarians and the omnivorous among you looking for Spanish fusion food.

Other plates not pictured that I recommend (not pictured):

  • Ensalada de champiñones con queso gorgonzola (Mushroom salad with blue cheese)
  • Crema de coliflor (Cauliflower soup)

What are your favourite Spanish fusion dishes? Where is a restaurant that you always go back to? Let me know in the comments!

Information:
Website ۰ Facebook ۰ Instagram

Alameda de Hércules, 85, 41002. SEVILLA

Introducing the VEGAN TAPA series! : Ensaladilla Rusa

I feel like sometimes I complain too much about Spain’s food because of its inflexibility on the vegetarian scene. It’s not really fair for me to judge, I’ve come to live here out of my own free will, and it’s up to me to adapt my lifestyle while living here, not the other way around. That’s why I’ve decided to introduce a new series to the blog – THE VEGAN TAPA SERIES!

Turns out they do exist – although they can be hard to track down, especially in the Cadiz region where Serrano ham is basically considered a vegetable among most locals. For the next few weeks, you can expect to be introduced to several typical Spanish tapas – some naturally vegan, others adapted by yours truly for all to enjoy.

Tapas on the Terraza.

Tapas on the Terraza.

Starting off this week we have a timeless tapa that you can find in most bars all around Spain: la Ensaladilla Rusa. Yes, I know, its name translates to “Russian Salad”, but Spaniards have adopted it into their national cuisine. La Ensaladilla Rusa was actually invented by a Belgian chef working in Moscow, and the original recipe included many ingredients unsavoury to the vegetarian palate such as veal tongue and crayfish tails. The Spanish version is at best vegetarian since it includes mayonnaise smothered potatoes, carrots, roasted pepper and capers. Many bars will also throw in some tuna or langoustines for good measure.

close-up-ensaladilla-rusa-tapa

First off, here is the vegan mayonnaise you NEED in your kitchen. Guys, I’m not kidding, it’s life changing. It’s not only incredibly cheap and simple to make, but it lasts a month in the fridge and tastes better than any name brand mayo out there. You can let your imagination go wild with it – this mayo is delicious not only as a sandwich spread but also as a base for ranch dressing, alioli or other creamy dips.

Print Recipe
Super QUICK and CHEAP Vegan Mayonnaise
This vegan staple is ready in less than a minute! Great on sandwiches, as a base for creamy salad dressings or dipping sauce. It tastes better than the store bought stuff, and you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry anyway!
Cook Time 1 minute
Servings
500g jar
Ingredients
Cook Time 1 minute
Servings
500g jar
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Throw all of the ingredients into a blender except for the oil. Blend on high speed and gradually add the oil until it thickens to the texture of mayonnaise. Transfer to a jar and keep it up to 3 weeks in the fridge.
Recipe Notes

Don't use olive oil for this recipe - I know it's healthier, but the flavour is much too overpowering.

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ensaladilla-ingredients

To make a traditional Ensaladilla, I’ve used all of the classic ingredients. However, The best part about this recipe is that it’s super adaptable! Try adding corn, pickles, beets, onion or any of your other favourite veg! For a sweet surprise, add some apple! Yum!

Print Recipe
VEGAN Ensaladilla Rusa
The classic tapa enjoyed all over the world. Here is a veganized version of the Spanish take on the "Russian Salad".
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
people (as a tapa)
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
people (as a tapa)
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Peel the carrots, place in a pot with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for 5-10 minutes. You want your carrots to be tender, but firm. Drain and run under cold water until manageable. Cut into cubes and mix them in a bowl with your peas. Splash some apple cider vinegar over the vegetables and set aside.
  2. Place potatoes in a pot of cold water and a tsp of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until they can be pierced with a fork, but not too long otherwise they will break apart (15-20 minutes depending on the size). I suggest choosing potatoes that are the same size otherwise they won't cook evenly. Drain and run under cold water until manageable. Remove the skins and cut into small cubes.
  3. Thinly slice your red pepper into short strips.
  4. Combine all of the vegetables in a medium-sized bowl along with your capers. Fold in the mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Store in the fridge until cold or overnight before eating. Serve with breadsticks, and enjoy as a tapa or side dish.
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What are some other Spanish tapas you’d like featured or veganized as part of the series?

The Ultimate Beetroot Falafels – Vegan and Gluten-Free!

In last week’s blogpost  on how to stick to a vegetarian diet abroad, I showed you a picture of the vegetable basket that I ordered from my local food coop, La Reverde. It’s always fun because you never know exactly what is going to be in the box, as it all depends on what is harvested that week.

A delivery of mixed veg from La Reverde

A delivery of mixed veg from La Reverde

I wanted to make a recipe using most of the basket ingredients, and what turned out was absolutely delicious, colourful and different. I served them at a potluck last weekend, and it was the first plate to empty!

ingredients-beet-falafel

Print Recipe
The Ultimate Beetroot Falafel
These falafels are sure to impress with their bright colour. The tamari adds an umami flavour when paired with the traditional middle eastern spices, which brings this dish to the next level!
Prep Time 20
Cook Time 10
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 20
Cook Time 10
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Drain your chickpeas and rinse them well to avoid any gassy catastrophes. Discard the leaves of the beetroot and scrub well to remove dirt, then grate them.
  2. Add all of the ingredients except for the oil, flour, fresh herbs and sesame, cumin and pumpkin seeds into a food processor and pulse until combined. You want your falafel to have texture, not have it turn into hummus. Combine the fresh herbs, pumpkin seeds and mix in flour until you have an easily moldable mixture.
  3. Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat. While the oil heats up, roll your falafels into small golf-sized balls and dip into a small bowl of sesame seeds. Flatten the balls in the pan, cooking for 3-5 minutes on each side.
  4. Serve alone with salad and dipping sauces, or in a pita wrap with fresh vegetables.
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Try these falafels with sriracha, my vegan sweet tahini sauce or fresh yogurt dip (for non-vegans).

What would you have made with these vegetables? Let me know in the comments!

Sweet Mint Tahini Dressing – Vegan and Gluten Free!

Print Recipe
Sweet Mint Tahini Dressing - Vegan!
A delicious vegan dressing that can be used in pita wraps. Try dipping apples in it for a healthy, satiating snack!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
people (as dressing for falafels)
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
people (as dressing for falafels)
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine all wet ingredients, adding more water for thinner dressing. Roll the mint leaves together and slice into ribbons. Mix them into your dressing. Add a pinch of salt to taste, and enjoy!
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