Baked Pasta and Egg. Happy First Day of Fall!

Today is the first day of the fall.  My appetite is bigger than ever.  I'm not pregnant or anything, just to clarify.  The fall air always inspired me to cook and eat well.  I'm sure many people out there are feeling the same.  Since I don't have to pick up my daughter from school around lunch time anymore, I've been making my lunch home more.  I'm alone at the house and it is the best time to come up with something fun and easy to cook in peace and quiet.  

My lunch is usually made of something left over in the fridge.  Today I made this baked pasta.  I happen to have a small batch of quinoa and brown rice pasta that I didn't know what to do with for a while.  I'm not gluten intolerant but I eat gluten free stuff often.  Just because I live in Seattle? Maybe? They are just very available and fun to try out.  I must say I'm not a huge fun of gluten free pasta.  The texture and tastes are still a bit off.  But I don't mind them eating baked because it seems to be more forgiving with the texture.

I bought this small cast iron pan that I thought I'd be using a lot more.  I liked the idea of using this pan all the time.  But cleaning this thing isn't simple.  Maybe as I use it more, I'll get used to it. 

Anyway, using this pan to cook just for me seemed like a fun idea.  When I see this pan, it reminds me of baked eggs.  I eat eggs every day and I like to eat them raw sometimes.  I have 5 grown chickens.  Sadly I don't get to eat my chickens' eggs every day.  They are not laying much lately.  I guess they are molting because of the change of the season.  The thought of butchering them instead of almost keeping as pets cross my mind all the time.  But I'm not a real farmer and the kids name our chickens. Hence the family insists on keeping them even if they never lay eggs.  Luckily I had 3 of our eggs still in the fridge from the last week.  

This is a super easy dish to make for one or two people and it kinda made my day special.  Warm and cozy feeling was all around. Have a happy fall cooking everyone!!


Summing Up the Summer Adventures

I am sad that the feeling of summer is ending.  But at the same time I am starting to feel the creative force within me triggered by the beginning of the feeling of Fall in the air.

I wanted to spend a lot of quality time with the kids this summer before school started.  My daughter is 6 years old and started kindergarten this week.  It's bitter sweet.  I do miss having her around with me all the time.  It felt like school took her away from me and even entertained the idea of home schooling on the day one last week.  Then I quickly realized I'm being way too sentimental and home schooling is for me.  She doesn't need me to baby her all day anymore.  She's ready to take care of herself way more than I can admit.  

Anyhow, back to the summer adventures. This summer was filled with many outdoor adventures for us.  We started crabbing, rode our bikes everywhere and went camping trips a few times.  

Breakfast is my favorite thing when we camp.  I love smelling the foresty air and sip on a good cup of coffee in my enamel camping mug.  I'm literally a happy camper with my cup of joe.  I also brought a batch of muesli.  

The Pacific Northwest is undoubtedly one of the best camping regions.  There are all types of camping available all around.  We have two small kids, so our choices are more towards kids friendly ones.  At the beginning of summer, we went to Camano Island, 20 miles north of Seattle.  One of the easiest, cleanest, closest, safest camping places around Seattle.  The camp ground is right above the ocean.  We went crabbing on our little inflatable boat and actually caught a couple of crabs which made the kids all excited. 

I made this crab salad with carrots and kale.  We ate it with home made ponzu dressing and it was so clean and good.  Ponzu is usually just mixed with soy sauce and lemon or lime juice.  

Though Camano Island was relaxing and fun, I wouldn't call it an adventure. It was more like a warm up for our upcoming bigger trip.  We go to our annual camping trip with a group of friends to Banks Lake, WA.  It is about 3.5 hours of driving east of Seattle.  It is one of the most mesmerizing landscapes I have ever ever seen in my life.  The lake is surrounded by gorgeous canyons.  We usually ride on our friends' boat to get to the beach that we camp, so the spot is isolated from the crowd and very private.  This feels like the escape from our life at home. 

This year was unfortunately much cooler than usual. Usually we jump in the water in the morning and stay at the beach all day and sun bath. But we still we managed to have an amazing time.  We fished in our boat (it needs a name!), water tubed from the big boats, swam in the narrows in the lake,  and ate very well.  

Cooking out here is always fun for me.  This year, my main dishes were smoked trouts, grilled trouts and Japanese yakitori (skewered grilled chicken).  It's so much fun to cook out in the wild. 

Here are some photos from the trip.  Our summer went bye bye quickly but it was filled with family quality time and look forward to more adventures next year!  I'm thinking a van and road trip...


Nectarine Tarts for Summerly Teats

Hope you all are having a great summer! This summer has gone by super quickly for me so far.  I am trying to do so much with the kids before they go back to school and still try to get some work squeezed in.  It's been a great summer here in Seattle.  The sun is shinning away almost every day and people are actually getting tanned without going to warm places.  

This heat is also contributing the quick growth of flowers, fruits and vegetables around our house and I am behind picking them and eating them.  I wish they grow one thing at a time through the year...  I've made plans to cook our own harvests and post some photos here and I hope I will, starting with my next post.

For now, I made these tarts with nectarine requested by my 6 year old daughter.  She wanted to have a tea party with her friends.  Nectarines/peaches are big favorites at our house.  I haven't done much baking lately and this sure was fun and easy making.  

Enjoy your summer and enjoy your harvests!  See you in the next post!


Eating Around London: Borough Market

I have been sorting out my archive from the last year.  I do edit and retouch images after any shoot or project, but sometimes it's a big challenge to sort through so many images at once and I can't believe it's been already 15 months since we took the trip!   

I made a short trip to London to attend the opening reception of the Food Photographer of the Year last April.   The trip was packed with planned and unplanned visits to all the places we wanted to eat at mostly.  I've been to London 5-6 times over the last 10+years.  I adore the city.  It really is a charming place.  I feel very comfortable, happy and inspired.  I love ll the parks just pop us all around the city to just sit and breeze.  I used to love watching people over a cheap cup of tea and eat greasy deep dried street food.  It's amazing how the food scene has completely changed and took over the city in the past 10 years.  

I've never visited Borough Market before in my past visits in London, but it seemed like the right time to finally make a visit for the occasion.  It was slightly more touristic than I expected. Nevertheless it was fun and interesting to see all the great products like baked goods, cheese, meat, seafood, chocolate, etc.  We tried some tasty food like parrilla and sausages and they were delicious.  We talked to some of the cheese makers and I was delighted to see how most of them are just excited to talk about their cheeses. 

We walked around the market for a couple of hours, stopped by at Monmouth Coffee for a little break.   I love how they just out a bunch of baguettes and jars of jams on the table and people just help themselves (not free).  I have never seen something cool like that before.  I wish there were a place in Seattle like this rustic and cozy ; (

Enjoy browsing through some of the snap shots.  I'll be making more posts with images from London  here and there when the mood strikes!

A fishmonger at Borough Market.

An oyster shop in Borough Market.

Fresh figs at the market.

A charcuterie at the market.

Assorted local cheese.

I do love Union Jack.

Grilled sausages at the market.

This is cheese, just fyi.

I've done this at home too.

I've never done this though...

Another passionate producer who makes his own mushroom paste.  We bought one and it was heavenly.

A wine bar right outside the market.

Hello hanesome!

This paella tasted as good as its looks.

A typical pub scene right outside the market. 

A cool way to welcome people in.


Monmouth Coffee.

It's not for sampling, but a cool way to serve anyway. 

Yeah, this cup of cappuccino. went right down.

Monmouth at Borough Market felt cheeky and I like that.

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