Our trip to London in October was one I certainly will never forget. Traveling halfway around the world with my love, without any major plans beyond knowing where to stay, a list of restaurants as dishes I had to have and a few sights that were “musts” and not much more. Such a wonderful way to travel.
Staying in the Shoreditch neighborhood in London was the perfect place for us. The grit of a big city matched with the deeply rooted history of London, it was the perfect edgy urban vibe that we love! The streets of “The Ditch”, as locals call it, are lined with charming cafes, coffee shops and restaurants, beautiful street art tucked into the most unsuspecting corners – it’s got that cutting edge vibe that juxtaposes the proper bits of London, just so perfectly.
Being in London I was able to safely eat gluten-free easier than probably any other city I have ever visited and the food was incredible – I was stunned, not at all what I had expected nor remembered from my trip to the UK over 15 years ago. I plan to write up a post sharing some of my personal favorites from the Trip, but in the meantime I wanted to share my single most-favorite dish from all of my UK travels, shoot maybe all of my European travels, even.
There are some blogs and cookbooks that I feel like were created just for me, thumbing through the pages or scrolling past the recipes, I feel like every beautiful photo was taken for me, each recipe created with my eating choices in mind. While I am not so arrogant to believe this to be actually true, it is really amazing to know that there are people out there, just like me, eating intuitively – loving and celebrating all of the beautiful, seasonal, healthy whole foods available to us. When I started reading The Year in Food, sometime last year, I instantly felt connected to Kimberley Hasselbrink, the creative mastermind behind all of the recipes and beautiful photos. Like me, Kimberley has a background in design, she, hailing from the world of furniture design, me, from a life of graphic design and it is clear in every recipe she develops. Her creativity shines brightly, as she creates a feast for the eyes by combining colors, textures, and flavors into her gorgeous, dynamic dishes. When I heard of her brand new book, VIBRANT FOOD, I knew right away before ever seeing it, that this was a book that I would absolutely love and would become a resource I turn to often. I was right.
It is clear that Kimberley’s look at food is viewed through the eyes of an artist in search of beauty as well as flavor and that she’s wildly inspired by the vivid hues of produce. In her debut book, Vibrant Food Kimberley captures the radiant colors of each of the seasons with recipes that transform meals into captivating works of art. It is apparent the passion that Kimberley has for cooking, each recipe a celebration of color, flavor and mood. Besides being an inspiration in the kitchen, it is hard not to be inspired visually, as well, as you make your way through the incredible, drool-worthly photographs on each page.
Vibrant Food invites you to look at ingredients differently and let their colors inspire you: the shocking fluorescent pink of a chard stem, the deep reds and purples of baby kale leaves, the bright shades of green that emerge in the spring, and even the calm yellows and whites of so many winter vegetables. As Kimberley mentions at the start of the book, “when we intuitively let the colors guide our choices, we can trust that we are eating well, and taking care of ourselves and celebrating food for its dynamism, its vibrancy, its flavor and its colors, as much as we are for its benefits to our health.”
Thankfully it has since broke, but this past week, we had the most insane heat wave here in Southern California. After living here just over a year, I haven’t felt anything quite like this. Several days of right around 100ºF and many days even a few degrees more. Now, we don’t get any of that nasty humidity I am used to from my days on the East Coast, but mugginess or not, 100 degrees is DAMN hot.
Early in the week, we had been in the desert, in Palm Springs, on a much needed anniversary getaway and we came home ready to work our butts off on the various projects we have going on in our cooler beach breeze town of Long Beach. Instead, without any air conditioning and not a breeze to be found, we found ourselves doing a lot of laying around in undergarments, drinking tons of water and we planned lots of meals at restaurants in air conditioning. Seriously guys, I sweat in places this week, that I didn’t even know was possible.
After our lovely organic farmer, Tony, dropped off our CSA box on Wednesday afternoon, I took a peek inside at the goodies and saw some beautiful freshly picked apricots and I instantly thought that they would be perfect for some boozy popsicles for the next day, that might help take my mind off of the furnace we were living in.
I feel like I am constantly reiterating how aloof I am about most sweets, but here I am again. I honestly just don’t have much of a sweet tooth, never have. Yet, as of late, I feel like I am constantly creating and sharing sweets and baked good recipes. I was thinking about why that might be – as someone who is much more into savory cooking. I started to realize that it was a subconscious decision I was making because of how much happiness sweets bring people and how intimidating baking and desserts can be with a restricted diet.
More specifically when I say “people” – besides all of my lovely readers, I really mean my husband, Mark. He is a self-professed sweets junkie. He loves any and all sweets and has been known to eat a slice of cake for breakfast, on occasion. So, whenever I can create a healthier sweet that not only works for my dietary restrictions, but also makes him very happy, it is a HUGE win, in my book. I have been on a roll lately, so I am just going with it. Read the rest of this entry »