Potato, Bean and Savoy Cabbage Vegan Soup

Last week we spent in the beautiful Azores islands, which is an autonomous region of Portugal. It is located in the middle of nowhere in the Atlantic Ocean. We booked this trip back in May after finding a really good deal and the vacation couldn't come soon enough. We were super lucky with the weather. November is considered to be a rainy season with temperatures hovering around +15+17C. We had no rain until the day we left and had sunny and warm weather the whole week.

There were a lot of tours, walking, and driving around. We learned a lot about the region, the island, economy, history, traditions. It was really cool seeing cows everywhere we went as dairy export is one of their main industries. The island where we stayed, São Miguel, is green with every shade of the colour present anywhere you look: Green pastures, green shrubs, green trees. Vegetation is surprising and unique - north american maple and oak trees with their leaves turning yellow and falling live in perfect harmony with tropical palm trees, exotic eucalyptus, birch, and evergreens. It's jarring and beautiful seeing mixed forests like this.

Food. How can I not mention food? If I had to describe the trip in one word, it would be coffee. If I could describe it in four, it would be long espresso with milk. Every restaurant, every little cafe, every snack bar had an espresso machine. Even a food truck at the top of a mountain serving stale chips, water, and beer had an espresso machine. And those long beautiful rich espressos served with steamed milk were about 80 cents on average. We had 3-4 a day.

Potato, Bean and Savoy Cabbage Vegan Soup - rich and filling soup, perfect for cold weather and quick to make

Funny thing about coffee, first day my husband ordered a cappuccino at a cafe, he got some kind of sweetened concoction. Later that day, at a different place he tried ordering a cappuccino again - this time it was hot chocolate with whipped cream. Later we saw other people ordering cappuccinos and getting some strange sweetened drinks. So, apparently cappuccino in the Azores means something different. Long espresso with steamed milk, on the other hand, is something that you can get everywhere.

Food was simple - grilled fish, stewed meat, fried sausages, all served with boiled potatoes. Lunches were mostly provided during tours, but we got to venture on our own for dinners. We had grilled whole fish, portuguese tapas, lots of cheese and bread, beer and wine. Oh, and pastries. Delicious Portuguese pastries. 

People that we talked to at the hotel mentioned a Bean and Cabbage soup that they had at a restaurant in a small village and loved. The description of the soup stuck with me and I wanted to create a simple dish with easy ingredients. Beans and potatoes in the soup make it filling, savoy cabbage provides texture. The combination of these ingredients makes a rich and satisfying stew, perfect for cold winter, yet easy and fast to make. 

Potato, Bean and Savoy Cabbage Vegan Soup - rich and filling soup, perfect for cold weather and quick to make

Potato, Bean and Savoy Cabbage Vegan Soup

Olive oil - 1 tablespoon
Onion, diced - 1 large
Garlic, minced - 1 clove
Thyme - 2 sprigs
Vegetable stock - 2 litres
Potatoes, peeled, diced into 1/2 inch pieces - 2 pounds
Beans (kidney and/or white) - 2 cans (540 ml each)
Bay leaf - 2
Black peppercorns - 5
Salt, pepper - to taste
Savoy cabbage, shredded - 1 pound
  • Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot.
  • Add the onion, garlic, thyme and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes until onion is softened and golden.
  • Add the vegetable stock.
  • Add the potatoes, beans with all the liquid from the cans, bay leaf, peppercorns, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook for about 15 minutes until potatoes just start to get tender.
  • Add the savoy cabbage and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until both potatoes and cabbage are cooked.
  • Serve with parsley and crackers.
Potato, Bean and Savoy Cabbage Vegan Soup - rich and filling soup, perfect for cold weather and quick to make
Posted on November 30, 2015 and filed under Recipe.

Ricotta and Brie Scrambled Eggs

I am away next week in Azores, so there will be no posts, but check out my Instagram for photos of my travels.

Confabulation is my new favourite word. I only learned it recently when I read The Confabulist by Steven Galloway. I have a terrible memory, so over the past few days I was wondering if those childhood moments that I go back to over and over again, those almost-forgotten smells, the faded colours, fleeting association are real. I swear I remember baking my first cookies at the age of six. I can picture opening the oven door; I can see myself being scared to light a match; I hear the sound the gas made when it lit; I can see the colour of the flames. My mom said it never happened. Is it just her forgetting something since it was so long ago or is it my confabulation?

Confabulation (verb: confabulate) is a memory disturbance, defined as the production of fabricated, distorted or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive. Confabulation is distinguished from lying as there is no intent to deceive and the person is unaware the information is false.

I remember dinner parties when I was little. I see my mom dicing and slicing and stirring and cooking. I remember the dishes, textures, table arrangements. I remember the anticipation of sitting down to eat all those rare and special creations. But I don't remember many everyday dinners. The ones that are stuck in my mind are what is considered to be breakfast in North America. We had crepes, pancakes and eggs for dinner more often than for breakfast (or is it another false memory distorted by decades of new experiences?).

On occasion those memories flicker in my head and I start longing to have eggs for dinner. This recipe is one of those. I came home late after work and my husband was away for the evening. I wanted something warm, savoury, and comforting. Something easy and quick. These Ricotta and Brie Scrambled Eggs satisfied all those criteria. Ricotta provided body for the eggs and gave them some bulk. Brie, melted into the curds, added saltiness and sharpness. Fresh summery dill cut through the creaminess of the melted cheese and brightened up the flavour. These eggs were done in under five minutes, so they'd be perfect for a quick workday breakfast too. I always rush in the mornings, but wouldn't it be great to be able to take a moment and sit? Just spend five minutes before the beginning of another rush day to pause, reflect, and make memories.

Ricotta and Brie Scrambled Eggs - easy and quick breakfast or even dinner. Bright flavour of dill, saltiness of brie and creamy ricotta make these eggs delicious and special

Ricotta and Brie Scrambled Eggs

1 serving

Butter - 1 teaspoon
Eggs - 2 large
Ricotta - 1 tablespoon
Brie, rinds removed, roughly chopped - 25 g (about 1 or 1 1/2 tablespoons)
Dill - 5 g (about 4 sprigs without stalks)
  • In a small pan melt the butter on medium-low heat.
  • Add the eggs and start mixing them with a spatula. Since the heat is medium-low, the eggs won't cook too fast.
  • Add the ricotta, mix it in and cook for about 3 minutes, constantly mixing, so that the eggs won't get too hard.
  • Add Brie, mix it in until it's starting to melt.
  • Add the dill, mix and serve.


- I like my scrambled eggs creamy, so I always cook them on medium-low or sometimes even low heat and mix constantly. This way big thick curds do not form, instead the eggs have a consistency that is closer to a thick sauce that started to curdle. If you prefer a more traditional scrambled eggs texture, then by all means cook them the way you like best.

Ricotta and Brie Scrambled Eggs - easy and quick breakfast or even dinner. Bright flavour of dill, saltiness of brie and creamy ricotta make these eggs delicious and special
Posted on November 19, 2015 and filed under Recipe.


Today I am not going describe some cute story about my life. Today there will be no words about easy and delicious food. Today there's no recipe.

Dozens of sites and seminars tell us how to run a successful blog, how to get readers. Post constantly and consistently, they say. Don't post content that is out of character for the blog, they preach. But today I am breaking these rules. Today I can't worry about the number of visitors. Today I feel helpless.

On Friday I left the subway after work, got into my car, and turned on the radio. The constant droning of 680 news radio station was comforting and familiar. It took me about five minutes to register what they were saying. Paris. Bombing. Attacks. Just as my mind started to awake and comprehend the situation, the radio went into a commercial break. It felt jarring listening to someone trying to cheerfully sell me a car while Paris was hurting. The commercial was over and I finally knew what happened. Again, just like many other times, I felt shocked. Shocked at the events, at how easily human life was traded in this big pointless game by so many people. I had tears in my eyes.

I remember a few months ago I was talking to my mom. She told me about some act of terror that happened in Russia. Dozens were killed. Yet, that event, just like many others, went virtually unnoticed by the twitter universe and as such was not publicized. Just like the Beirut bombing that happened a day before Paris that I did not know about. I sat helplessly at the kitchen table then and complained out loud about the world and where we were headed. My husband's response surprised me. " Actually," he said, "we live in the most peaceful and prosperous time." He proceeded to explain how with the official and organized countries and democracies there are fewer wars and casualties. How there's less violence in families and on the streets. How capital punishment is not common anymore. How with the advances in science and medicine there's less suffering and people live longer. For a moment I felt better.

We are caught like flies in the world wide web. The net of information connects us and makes knowledge instantaneous. A few clicks of a virtual keyboard let us know of something happening on the other end of the world. By a random stroke of luck (or not) an event may (or not) grow on twitter into an avalanche of news that enters our lives and our hearts in a matter of minutes. The wonder of the Internet - so beautiful and so painful. Stop the world, I want to get off.

I don't pray, but if I were I would not pray for Paris. I would not even pray for the world. I'd pray for humanity. I am not going to be original and I won't say anything profound, just... Imagine all the people living life in peace...

Posted on November 16, 2015 and filed under Personal.