Mango and Avocado Salad
Noticing the freshly sprung green leaves today on my walk along the Seine with a friend of mine, Paris is truly spring-ing to life. The warm temperatures and sunny skies are enough to lift anyone’s spirits. As Parisians are slowly starting to strip away the winter layers of dark clothing and embracing the lightness, there is new inspiration in the air. This inspiration also transpires to the kitchen. The fruit markets are stocked with beautiful, fresh produce. From crisp asparagus to deep red strawberries, the bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables makes you want to stock up your pantry and fridge. With all the windows letting in the sunny breeze, it is the perfect time to start getting creative with salads. Salads are a great dish on their own, especially when cooking for one, yet they also add life to any other creation. For today’s salad inspiration, we are taking notes from the brightness of the weather with this delicious and nutritious mango and avocado salad.
Moving and living abroad you are often faced with questions that you don’t really know how to answer. A relatively simply put question such as “do you like your new city?” holds a lot of weight, that a direct answer doesn’t seem fitting or fair. So, when people ask me “do you like living in Paris?” I know that in general people want to hear a short answer in response to their straight-forward question, however it is not allows so easy to explain sentiments in regards to a city. In short, yes, I do love living in Paris. I mean all I have to do is step outside of my apartment and I am surrounded by an abundance of history, culture and everything else that this city has to offer. The found familiarity of Parisian streets and views along the Seine has allowed me to create a sense of belonging in what seems like a fury of scooters and hordes of people.
Spring is here
Spring has truly arrived in Paris, the sun is warm and the trees are beginning to bloom. It was a picturesque first day of spring, with a cloudless sky and a warm breeze; there is a renaissance in the Parisian streets. Cafés fill the sidewalks with people enjoying an espresso or a glass of wine, just like the blossoming cherry trees, there is rejuvenation on the streets of Paris. To celebrate both the warm weather and the first day of spring, I went to my favourite place: Île Saint-Louis. A true haven in the city, this little island in the middle of La Seine is the epitome of what Paris means to me.
Le Petit Lyon
There is nothing more comforting then hearing “Papa, on a le poisson?” in a restaurant when ordering. Turns out they did not have the fish special that day, but that hardly mattered as the rest of the menu looked equally appetizing. Family-run restaurants transport you to a place of familiarity within your own home and evoke a sense of warmth that is often found in restaurants where the owner has lost their relationship with their food and customers. While going out for spectacular meals and where the service and meals create an illusion to make you feel special, some of the most memorable, and delicious meals are those served from the heart. When cooking for family and friends, we always put in the extra effort behind our cooking to symbolize our love. This love for cooking and entertaining was felt in this little restaurant in the 9th arrondissement called “le Petit Lyon.”
Through my International Relations courses, I have learned that relationships are not too different. Especially when it comes to theories on allies. When starting a new relationship there are many situations that we cannot control as much as we would like to, namely the actions and feelings of others. Any beginning to a relationship is filled with waves of inexplicable happiness, with underlying doubt. Just like in International Relations, states in allied relationships are in a constant dilemma between a fear of entrapment and of abandonment. How can we be sure that we are not entering a relationship that in the end will hurt us? How do we know that we won’t be trapped in a situation we did not sign up for or to be left to our own devices? I suppose that is all part of the game. As much as we’d like to be honest with each other, we cannot always control our passions when unavoidably become emotionally vulnerable.
Designer Showcase: GlassCeiling
Vancouver, Canada based GlassCeiling jewellery is designed and created by Rachel McRory. Drawing inspiration from beach glass and antique china, her goal is to “breathe new life into these items by creating beautiful, quality jewellery” from otherwise discarded pieces. Her line of necklaces, bracelets and other types of jewellery are a reflection of her home and travels. Collecting materials from the West Coast, as well as Mexico, Atlantic Canada, Spain and England, each piece has it’s own unique story. Much like the antique china that Rachel uses, each individual piece of jewellery has a history that is being repurposed into feminine and standout pieces. GlassCeiling jewellery is a great way to dress up any outfit and is sure to start a conversation.
Soy Ahi Tuna and Bok Choy
At a recent dinner party with some of my close friends in Paris, I had a dish that reminded me of my trip to Laguna Beach last May. We were served a beautiful seared Ahi tuna along side a quinoa salad. The dish that I had in this little Laguna Beach restaurant was served with a soy glaze along some greens. The meaty rare fish made me reminisce about the warm Californian evenings and walking along the West Coast beach late into the evening. Now every time I have seared tuna, I cannot help but crave the California sea breeze. Ahi tuna is unlike any other fish; the stunning and flavourful fish is both satisfying and healthy. Best of all it does not require much cooking time, is sure to leave yourself and your dinner guests happy and well fed. Here is my version of the Laguna Beach inspired Ahi tuna with bok choy and a gluten-free soy glaze.
Amsterdam Diary : Part 2
Travelling exposes truths about yourself that you didn’t know where already there. It shows you that you are capable of finding your way when you are lost, it teaches us to be reliant on ourselves and it shows you that there is so much of the world that you have yet to explore. This is all especially true when travelling alone. While there is a sense of nakedness, being exposed to a new environment, travelling solo comes with a feeling of empowerment. Planning this trip to Amsterdam, I had little expectations of what I was to see. I have flown through Amsterdam many times, never actually having the opportunity to visit the city. The spontaneity of this trip allowed me to not set any ideals or promises. Least to say, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I had taken a liking to this city. I started my days at the Starbucks, what can I say; I need my soy latté fix if I was going to spend the whole day on my feet. I spent my mornings writing, working on my blog and just take in the sights of fellow morning coffee drinkers. I had even brought the novel “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald” by Therese Anne Fowler. It felt like the perfect fit, her life was just as much of a journey of self-discovery and finding a sense of self in an unknown world. For the first time in a couple of months I had actually started reading a book for pleasure, I had forgotten the joys of reading thanks to the fact that normally I am swamped with academic literature, which is not always as riveting as reading about stories of the roaring twenties in New York City and Paris.
Amsterdam Travel Diary
Once again, in a frenzy of disorientation I leave the train station with no sense of direction. Who did I inherit this from? Luckily enough the hotel was easy enough to find from the main train station. The next day I took to the streets of Amsterdam with no real goal other than to wander around and to enjoy the new discoveries along the way. The narrow, bicycle-filled streets are adorned by beautiful houses with massive windows, which allow you to peer inside the homes of locales. It is easy enough to say that I have fallen in love with the narrow homes and the simple architecture that is unique to this city. While each home is slightly unique to the next, there is uniformity in style that creates a beautiful scenery. Built along the canals, the cobblestoned streets are kept clean with the exception of masses of bicycles parked long the bridges and sides of homes. It is a wonder how anybody can find their bike!
There is something to be said about travelling by train. Compared to travelling by air, the railroads capture a sense of joy and relaxation that embodies a true feeling of holidaying. There are no security line ups or other similar airport hassles. No, it is simply you and your journey to a new city and adventure. Today, I left Paris from Gare du Nord en route to Amsterdam. Arriving a comfortable 10 minutes prior to my train’s departure, I felt a sense of ease which is rarely the case with air travel. The seats are comfortable and enough personal space to feel like you are flying in business class. Best of all, you can see that other travellers have the same sense of comfort. In the aisle next to me, a family of four enjoys a packed lunch of sandwiches, picnic-style, table cloth included. The mother is even mending a pair of pants. You just don’t get these sights on a plane.