A seriously beautiful autumnal day today right?! I had all the cosy feels walking around in my leaf-print skirt and my mustard scarf looking like a gal from a cheesy Next catalogue shoot. I haven’t spent an autumn in England for about 3 years and I’m seriously resisting the urge to pick up every single leaf I see, reminding myself that collaging is no longer a thing and to stop being such a hoarder. Luckily the weather hasn’t crispened up yet otherwise I’d have most definitely fallen mercy to all the holiday treats which for some reason we all think are okay to shove down by the bucket load because yano it’s cold out there and we need more ‘warmth’. Last time I checked Aldi’s Christmas stollen definitely didn’t come with a built in heater…. but who’s asking questions right?
Anywhooooo, for those who follow my Insta @charlotravel will know that I’m experiencing a few wee withdrawal symptoms since returning from South America, and although I am absolutely LOVIN’ living in London and I wouldn’t trade my new lil dwelling for the world, there are a few tugs on my travel strings that are making me miss being on the road. I had my friend round for an evening of scrabble and Asian food the other night (yes, it was as amazing as it sounds) and after wolfing down my gloriousss marinated tofu stir fry with brown rice vermicelli noodles and pomegranate seeds (drooling rn) he commented on how cool my place was. Filled with weird and wonderful things from all over the world, and after gazing around me I noticed all the little bits and bobs I’d picked up along the way. It was like a mini bazaar in there! I always collect a postcard from every new place I go and I’m not a tat person so everything I pick up is always of meaning, beautiful artifacts that remind me of special parts of my trip.
A singing bowl from the hill temples in Chiang Mai, Thailand, a CD of meditational music played by a Peruvian native I’d watched perform in Cusco, Peru, handmade chopsticks from Vietnam or even a poppy I picked from the fields of Passchendaele, Belgium. All these little bits and bobs not only make my house a pretty interesting place to explore, they also remind me of the amazing things I’ve experienced over the years. However unfortunately you can never bring everything home with you and I often find myself really cravin’ the amazing foods I discover while being away. I always do my best to replicate them but they just never quite make the cut and taste as yummy. So I thought I’d share some of the foods I miss the most with you so we can all crave together… you’re welcome.
Italian Hot Chocolate
Holyyyyyy mama if you have never had a true Italian Hot Chocolate before I suggest you get on skyscanner ASAP and book yourself onto the first flight you find. I’m not usually a hot chocolate drinker unless it’s the 100% cacao superfood-type as it’s always full of nasties and things I can’t pronounce, however I will most definitely make an exception for the rich and soup-like coco you find in any bar on the streets of Italia. This stuff is thick like a custard and comes hot hot hot, filling you to the brim with warming, gooey goodness that tastes like nothing else and can often be purchased for just €1 making it a super naw’ty and very dangerous treat.
Sorry but Italy has a lot of food and the pizza definitely deserves its own mention. Although the pasta in Italy is obviously beautiful, it’s not that difficult to replicate a similar if not identical dish back home. However the pizza is on a whole other level. I’ve had the pleasure of living and growing fat in Italy twice and I very much plan on doing it a third time. Unfortunately nature is against me and my gluten intolerance has developed into a more coeliac situation so I can’t fully enjoy all the dreamworthy nibbles Italy has to offer, but I have come across some crackin’ GF pizzas in Italy that mimic the original so brilliantly that I can barely tell the difference. What is it with these people that they can create such Godly dough with their bare hands? Must be in the DNA.
You know when you’re travelling and you have to throw all your diet plans and healthy preferences down the drain or you’ll die of hunger, well this dish as well as being delicious will nourish you with all the goodies that the body needs to rejuvenate, hydrate and heal. A base of flat rice noodles swimmin’ in a fragrant stock flavoured with fresh chillies, garlic, star anis, cloves, cinnamon, fresh ginger etc. And topped with wilted pak choi, shiitake mushrooms, cilantro, spring onions and fresh lime juice. INSANELY tasty and amazing for the body I often find myself craving a hot steamin’ bowl after a messy night out or a long day at work.
It doesn’t have to be Cambodian of course, there are many countries that offer the glorious juice fresh from the fruit with just a straw poking out of the top. However I’ve had my BEST coconut whilst chilling on the uninhabited beaches of the quiet island of Koh Rong, just off mainland Cambodia. I’ve tried the coconuts in England and they are simply not the same, whether that was due to the coconut not being fresh or the lack of sun and turquoise ocean, I don’t know.
My newest and most recent craving from South America. The simple and extraordinary cooked ‘plantain’. I’d never even heard of it before I arrived in Peru and after I first tried it I began questioning my whole exsistance and snacking history. A starchier type of banana the ‘plantain’ is often found in sugar coated chip form or can be baked or fried for a energy boosting breakfast item. Obviously discovered in Cusco where the need for high energy foods is high due to the treks the plantain has quickly crept its way into my list of worldly cravings for its morish mentality and naturally sweet taste. Luckily they sell them in Brixton market so I needn’t walk far for my fix, however eating them in my living room instead of on the rocks of the Salkantay mountain just isn’t the same.
Red Thai Tea
Luckily I carted a big ol’ bag of this rusty-coloured loose leaf tea home with me so I could keep myself going until either myself or someone I know makes the trip back to the land of smiles. Be it in hot tea, iced tea or latte form this rich, aromatic brew was a must-have morning beverage during my 20 day stay on Koh Tao and gulped down in ice form on a hot humid day in the jungle.
As for me, I arrived at my friends house and she surprised me with a vegan sushi burrito …. I almost cried. True love.
Sleep well loves