As I’ve mentioned, it’s only around a month til my friend Steph and I leave for the Camino. A lot of well-meaning peeps have been giving us tips and hints, as well as remarking on how they can’t wait to see how fit and thin we are on our return. (Not that we are super unfit and ginormous now, I might add.) I remind those people that one of my favourite lunches on my last trip to Spain was a potato omelette on a giant bread roll – now that’s carb loading. And then there’s the wine – I am sure that it’s culturally insensitive to refuse.
So, we really don’t know what impact the 800km will have on us. Sure, it’s a lot more walking than we’d normally do each day in our office jobs, but then there are the delicious (and not always healthy) foods along the way, undoubtedly an important part of the journey. So maybe it’ll just even out and we’ll come back looking EXACTLY THE SAME. Just warning you now – it’s definitely a possibility.
One of the many books that I’m reading is ‘Guide to the Camino’ by an Australian lady, Trish Clark. Trish includes local delicacies in her book – food and drink that walkers should try in each town. As I read the list for one town, I felt the weight stacking on:
And then I read about another town and realised that – at least for me on my bull-free diet – this stop might be a lean one:
So, looks like there will be lots of exercise and lots of fried bread and pancakes (and bull hoof stew) – life is all about balance, right?!
So, I know this isn’t a food blog, but it is a blog about everyday things that add sparks to our lives – and in winter, I say that includes tasty soup. And when I was sent a new flavour of Pitango organic soup to try, I told myself that it could only really count as an everyday spark if it was delicious. It was, so here we are.
I really like soup in winter – preferably when it’s cooked by other people. My mum is an excellent soup-maker, even if she can’t be completely trusted about the ingredients. She recently gave me some allegedly meat-free minestrone and, when I detected something chewy halfway through and said “um, is this bacon?” she looked genuinely puzzled for a moment and then said, “oh, yes, sorry – I didn’t put that much in there, so I forgot”. Now, if the surprise ingredient had been chunks of lamb or beef, things would not have ended well, I tell you.
I also like quinoa (‘keen-wa’) – sometimes known as the rich man’s cous cous (not really, I just made that up). Quinoa gets a bad reputation because a lot of fancy pants hipster types have adopted it as the grain du jour. Which is kinda funny, since our South American friends have been using quinoa as a key grain in their diet for – like – ever. The Incas even considered it sacred, apparently. Long before our local organic store started selling it at extortionate prices.
Anyways, I digress. Back to the Pitango soup that I tried – it’s organic, gluten-free and made in New Zealand (a description that actually reminds me of my blogging buddy Jo at This Sydney Life), but please don’t let any of those things put you off. The new flavour that I tried was vegetable & quinoa and it was very tasty – with enough of a hint of Mexican flavours to make me add a dollop of guacamole to my next serving. I could be a Masterchef yet, my friends!
I was just looking on the Pitango website (it’s here if you would like to check out their range) and noticed the claim that the United Nations has declared 2013 ‘International Year Of The Quinoa’. Maybe you keep track of these things better than I do, but I totally missed that – and it’s already mid-July. Must talk to my brother about that cookbook: “Listening to Quinoa” could be an unexpected global hit! In the meantime, this Pitango soup is definitely a winner. The proof is below.
I wrote last week that some friends from Ireland were visiting Australia for the Lions tour, spending this past week here in amazingly sunny Sydney. I haven’t yet processed my feelings about the match on Saturday night, where I was the lone little Wallabies supporter in a block of hundreds and hundreds of Lions fans, but I’ll try to write about it another day.
Anyways, my lovely friend Gavan brought me out a bag of treats from Ireland as an international gesture of goodwill. I’m not sure who started this crazy contest – I have been known to send over hideous Austrayan goodies (mostly to remove them from our shops) from time to time – but this bag o’ crap from Dublin’s finest tourist store has really raised the bar. In fact, it has inspired me to put together a Diddly Dee Oirish showbag for next year’s Easter Show in Sydney. It will go off like a leprechaun in a pot of gold, so it will.
Here are some pics of my gifts – do let me know if you would like to borrow anything…
I’ll stop there, even though I’ve only covered maybe half of the contents of the bag. But you get the idea. Although, I do need to add one more highlight – I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Tayto, the Irish crisps that backpackers miss so much that they have their family post out boxes to them (well, they used to, until an entrepreneur started importing them to Australia and charging extortionate prices for a taste of home). Anyways, the flagship flavour is cheese & onion and they’re pretty much a national treasure. So, what else to do but release a limited edition treat – embed the chips into chocolate bars and sell them to the general public. I’ve tried it and it’s pretty much as horrible as you might imagine: some things were just not meant to be, Tayto.
Huge thanks to my friend Gavan for this bag of treats – I don’t know that I’ve ever had such a thoughtful/generous/funny/scary/sickening gift all in one bag. Now the stakes have been raised, I’m off to find some hideous Australiana to further advance global cultural understanding and tolerance. Or something like that.
I have a blog crush. The blog is Sally’s Baking Addiction. I want to make and eat pretty much everything on Sally’s blog – especially the things with brightly coloured sprinkles. Which is A LOT of the things, thankfully. According to her brief bio, Sally is a ‘food writer, recipe developer, picture-taker, lover of peanut butter, and obsessed with sprinkles’. Sounds pretty great to me!
Even if you’re not into baking, you can surely appreciate the food porn value of Sally’s blog – and it’s calorie-free if you just look at the pictures. But don’t just take my word for it – check out these photos of some of my favourites…
Ok, I have to stop now or I will go into a virtual sugar coma. But if you’re looking for some sweet inspiration, including healthy(ish) options, gluten-free options, no-bake options and lots of sprinkles, then Sally’s Baking Addiction is the place to visit. The recipes are detailed and easy to follow, supported by amazing photos. As with any temptation, EverydaySparks of course urges moderation in your consumption of Sally’s treats. But there’s no harm in looking…
This post was made possible by our EverydaySparks correspondent in Dublin (aka my Irish sista Aoife), who somehow stumbled across this site and thought I might like it. And I do. A great find, thanks AB!
The site in question is Jim’s Pancakes and I was pretty impressed by the home page header alone, where Jim has taken word art to a whole new level and made his site name out of little pancakes. Then there’s the understated tag line: ‘just trying to make some cool pancakes for my daughter’. And that’s what he did…
Jim made Star Wars pancakes:
Jim made a romantic gift box pancake stack for his wife:
Jim made candy cane pancakes for Christmas:
Jim made a burger and fries pancake extravaganza:
And probably my favourite. Jim’s bling pancakes – a whole chain of pancakes worthy of any sweet rhymin’ rapper.
You can check out Jim’s Pancakes here and if you’re feeling particularly inspired, Jim has a book for sale, with a very exciting title: OMG PANCAKES!