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.


Portuguese Seafood Stew

I think this is one of those moments that came from a total inspiration to cook for the ones you love.  My husband and our neighbor have been working their butts off for the new sunroom we are adding to the front of our house.  It has been 2 months now since they started and their bodies are hurting.  James accidentally stepped on a screw and Brad's back is filled with pain.  I told them jokingly "no pain no gain!", but then I felt sorry for them.  They love doing the project together as a guy thing, but they could use a little more loving support.  

I've been feeding them quick and easy meals here and there, but I realized that I should appreciated them with a special dish. To cheer them up a bit.  

James loves shrimps. And he likes them prepared either in a Norwegian way or Portuguese way the best.  I have never made this stew before but we ate this a plenty of times when we were living in Portugal back in 2004.  We were there for my photo documentary project for 9 months.  We drove around the country up and down, left and right, all over the place with our tiny cruddy fiat.  

We were on a super tight budget, so we ate mostly street food like bifana (grilled pork sandwich) or frango (grilled open chicken)
 and they were amazing of course.  But once in a while, we treated ourselves at restaurants and we quickly fell in love with seafood stew.  

It's been a long time since I had it in Portugal, but I tried to recreate the stews I remember and make it into my version of it.  I made it with fresh filet of cod, shrimps, craw fish, linguisa (Portuguese sausage) and rice.   It turned out pretty tasty I have to say.   I think stews are really fun to make once you know the basic ingredients and you can make up all kinds. 

This dish was so fun to make and  we talked about all the crazy stuff that happened to us in Portugal.   I miss  our time in Portugal.  I never felt more free, adventurous, curious, energized and clueless the whole time.  That was just such a great experience that I hope to do it again maybe when the kids are bit older.  That'd be sweet!


Chicken Salad Sandwiches for Teachers!

Do you have any feelings about chicken salad sandwiches?  I do in a very settled way.  Whenever I order a sandwich, I always look for chicken salad on the menu whether I end up ordering it or not.  Chicken salad sandwiches aren't usually Kings of the sandwich world-- more like knights.  Think Chess here.  They aren't flashy visible but stand there with a reliable attitude you can count on.  I can always fall back on a chicken salad sandwich if I don't have anything special in mind that I need to eat.

Here are some great things about chicken salad sandwiches:

1. Super easy to make
2. Can be made with any kind of left over cooked chicken, and I tend to have that
3. Can be super fun to make into different international versions with things like pesto, aioli, curry, avocado, sesame oil, miso, chili, lemon,  etc...
4. Has what I love in life. And lots of it.  Mayonnaise!

I appreciate chicken salad sandwiches.   They're simple, flexible and inexpensive.  Not much messing around and they almost always turn out yummy.  

Speaking of appreciation, I made this tray of sandwiches to honor the teachers and staff at my son's school for the teacher appreciation luncheon.  This inspired me to put in a few thoughts about chicken salad sandwiches.  I wouldn't have naturally thought this sandwich was the one to step it up for such an occasion.  But it is.  It was so much fun to make it for the teachers because I had to think how can I put it in to make it fun and extra tasty to show I appreciate the hard work they do for our kids.  You can see the bits and pieces of my appreciation ingredients in the recipe.  It's an overload!


Ricotta Pancake Tower and Mother's Day Treat at the Oxbow Farm

I hope all the hard working moms had a smashing Mother's Day!  Mine wasn't quite smashing but it was a nice relaxing day surrounded with all the things and people I enjoy and love.  

I made these decadent ricotta pancakes to kick off the day.  I am not a huge pancake fan unlike the rest of my family members, but once in a while I do crave for this pancake.  This is probably my favorite pancake I've ever eaten.  Ricotta makes the most moist and fluffy pancakes.  I slammed the homemade strawberry jam between the pancake layers and topped it with crème fraîche and cream cheese frosting.  Done.  I made myself feel very special and proud.  My family also treated me with a beautiful bouquet and cozy breakfast to start off the day before we headed out to the Oxbow Farm in the countryside.

Our friends invited us to join them at this charming farm called the Oxbow Farm in Carnation, WA, about 45 minutes drive east from Seattle.

When we got to this lovely farm, they told us that they were offering a few events and one of them was a foraging walk around the farm.  I didn't know anything about their events, but I've been more and more interested in foraging plants lately and even rented a book about it from the library.  So I was super excited to hear about a foraging walk.  I immediately told my husband about it and he kindly took the kids with him so that I could take up this opportunity.  

This foraging walk led by local ethnobotanist Heidi Bohan was a bonus event for me.  She talked about the Pacific Northwest plants that are traditionally harvested for food and medicine by the local tribal people.  Listening to her, it reminded me how my grandma used to harvest plants and told me the flowers I could eat around the fields.  

We had a nice little picnic, even grabbed a few plants to add to the garden and headed to the nearby river for a little walk.  The kids were happy running around like little puppies.  It was a great Mother's Day for me.  Nothing to hassle about and I felt well rested and recharged.  Sending all the good wishes and energy to fellow moms out there and a little extra for moms with little kids!

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