Violife Vegan Cheese

Well hello cheddar cheese that is not cheese but is cheese.

I think I may be a little late to the party with this one but hey, better late than never. I discovered this cheese when I was watching a Youtube video and just became really curious as the Youtubers were discussing different types of vegan cheese, this was the one that they liked the most; they practically ate the whole thing (definitely something I’d do).

At the weekend I ventured to my local supermarket and came across it in the free from aisle and thought I’d give it a go. I have had vegan cheese in restaurants before but as part of a dish. I hadn’t actively bought it or tried to make my own at home – yet. As cheese goes, this was pretty damn good. It smells like cheddar cheese and the texture is pretty accurate. As for the flavour, it’s almost got this nuttiness about it (even though it has no nuts in it) which I really liked; it’s not as creamy as the standard cheddar cheese and the flavour doesn’t linger as much but this doesn’t make me like it any less.

All in all this is quite a good alternative to cheddar cheese, it definitely gets my vote and will be a product that I will purchase again.

2020-07-27 12.42.37

 

Lamb and Pea Stew

I remember when I went to university and left London, I had a chat with my mum about her food and some of her recipes; just so that I could have some of those home comforts when I was away. This dish was one of the recipes that I wanted, little did I know that it was SO easy to make and only consists of 6 components. I’m sorry but I won’t be sharing this recipe with you guys, it belongs to my mum- she’s the boss.

Yesterday I decided that I would make it for lunch today, only it was the first time (after all those years) that I would be making it for my parents too! Such a simple, no stress recipe and yet I was nervous as ever!
Fortunately it seemed to have gone down a treat, admittedly I thought it tasted quite nice but not as good as mum’s; I find that that will forever be the case with home cooked food.

This along with several other dishes resonates with my childhood; amazing flavour and so simple. Just reminds you that the nicest meals you can have do not have to be so complex.

6F4CEDF9-2198-42FA-9B7C-A1DC4C213A80

My First Bundt Cake!

I’ve never really had a massive sweet tooth, I am definitely a more savoury kind of girl; as I’m sure you’ve seen from my recipes they are more focused on more ‘main meals’ rather than sweets and desserts. To be honest, I don’t think I am very good at the whole ‘baking thing’, but hey, I do actually quite enjoy it and am willing to give it a go.

I was gifted a bundt tin a while ago now and hadn’t got round to using it. Of course, during this weird lockdown time I thought I’d do some experimenting and give it a whirl. For my first bundt cake bake I was quite proud of myself, it turned out better than I thought it would. I attempted to make a spiced bundt cake that consisted of ginger, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg-  delish, I know. There is definitely room for improvement though, I found that the spices were not as prominent as I’d’ve liked, the texture was soft but not as light (hence the icing to give it some added moisture) and the mixture rose a lot more than I thought it would; perhaps too much cake mix or baking powder. Considering the tin I have is smaller than the ‘standard’ sized bundt tins, the end result was bigger than I expected.

Now that I have given it a go I am slightly more confident to try again and to also try other bakes.

Hope you’re having a lovely friday 🙂

Carla x

70B6D07A-3FDD-41D7-95F3-7B8992C6A527

Eating dinner Armenian style. Homemade Lahmajoon.

Having a half Armenian half Arabic mother and an Italian father has opened my eyes to the diverse world of cuisine. I am so lucky to be exposed to so many different types of dishes and ingredients which daily broadens my knowledge of the food world. Even when I talk to fellow friends and colleagues about some ingredients which I have grown up with, most people are unaware of the names let alone what they are used for or how they can be used in cooking.

I have not had lahmajoon for a very long time (too long for my own liking) but now I have definitely rekindled that food romance! (It tastes SO good!) My stomach is perfectly satisfied; having said that as I look at the attached photograph it only makes my mouth water! (I hope yours is watering too!)

Amici a Roma

Having an Italian origin has always played a major influence in my life and I am consistently eager to travel and visit Italy. This was my second visit to Rome accompanied by 4 wonderful friends where we shared a brilliant time enjoying each others company (they may say otherwise), laughing, appreciating the beauty of Rome and of course EATING!!! I must say every time I visit Italy I fall in love with it over and over again and it is truthful for me to say that I smile like a weirdo when I am there I feel so content and happy. But this trip was even more special because of the company that I was with.

Visiting Italy for short periods of time pays a price to my practice with the Italian language and I must say I was nervous to put my knowledge into action. Slowly, slowly it started to come back to me but still needs a hell lot of work (my companions can back me up on that one!).

Fortunately our place of accommodation was located in the heart of the city where the Colosseum was a short walk away. I must say at this point that Hotel Apollo provided us with a charming apartment which was a delightful place to stay. The gentleman who I believe owns or runs the establishment was incredibly welcoming and was able to cater to our needs. I would definitely recommend and revisit this hotel; it was truly wonderful.

Being the ‘Italian’ in the group I was assigned the job of navigator and translator for the duration of the trip- yes I had my own map which at the end of our 4 days was scrunched up but put to very good use. Having previously visited Rome I wanted to make sure that my friends gained the best experience and was adamant that they saw all the major cites and monuments. Yes, they were in for a real treat and a lot of walking!

My fellow travellers have been aware of my passion for Italian culture and food for a few years now and once we were in Italy I wanted them to understand, taste and fully agree that Italian food is simply wonderful!!! (Don’t deny it boys!) Even though I cannot state their opinions in this post I can confidently express that they love Italian food too! Particularly on one of the days in Rome we stopped off for lunch just opposite the Altare della Patria where one friend took the liberty of being slightly more adventurous with their food palate by trying Arancina or rice ball as we say in English. This is a dish that consists of a meat ragu which is then stuffed into a risotto rice ball and then deep fried. This is quite a common dish to find in numerous areas in Italy; it is truly delicious. On another day in Rome we had lunch just outside the Pantheon and it made me stop and think about how lucky I was to be in such a beautiful city, beautiful company and I didn’t want it to end; to be in a location with Dean Martin’s That’s Amore playing in the background is a memory that I will treasure.

Our time in Rome was ‘educational’ for one friend as his thought process included that when abroad in hot countries ones body is somewhat immune to the heat and regardless of our encouragement in using sun cream our dear friend remained unprotected for an entire day. Yes, you can see where I am going with this… He found out the hard way. He did however then purchase a delightful hat for protection for our remaining days in Rome which in all honesty did make him look mafioso and during our long wait for the Vatican it became a useful fan.

A daily ‘ritual’ was what one friend called Gelato Time, the part of the day where one could not refuse the amazingness that is Italian ice cream. During my travels to Italy it is of vital importance for my stomach to have bacio (kiss) ice cream as this is made with my favourite chocolate, Baci Perugina. Words cannot describe the taste of this ice cream, it is THAT good!  We were somewhat taken aback when we found viagra ice cream (yes, you did read that correctly). None of us were feeling quite adventurous for that flavour but apparently it is meant to taste rather nice- perhaps for another visit?

Rome is absolutely beautiful and my love of Italy just grows and grows. For my readers I would like to share some of my photos with you and I hope you enjoy looking through them. I would also like to leave a small message for my wonderful friends and would like to thank them for an amazing time in Rome. I truly had a fantastic four days with you guys and I will miss you all so much.

As we say in Italian ci vediamo presto!

Where have you had the best ‘spaghetti bolognese’?

If you were to visit Bologna in Italy, spaghetti bolognese is pretty much non existent! However, if you wanted tagliatelle al ragu then this is the dish you are looking for! Ragu is a meat based sauce born in the city of Bologna. Today this sauce has become this commercialised dish known as spaghetti bolognese; which its recipe is completely different to the original. What are your interpretations on making a bolognese/ ragu sauce?