Eat Live & Breathe

For Lovers of Food, Travelling & Life

Starbucks or Starsucks?

I don’t really have a vice of any kind. I don’t drink, smoke, eat too many sweets or chocolates, and when it comes to food I insist on the very best and healthiest of choices. Coffee has also been off my diet for the past several years, until I was introduced to the wonders of the Nespresso machine at work one tiresome afternoon.

It had literally been a month since I began my 1-coffee-a-week regime when I arrived in the land of Starbucks. And I asked myself, “where has Starbucks been all my life?!” It being 28 odd degrees in New York City at the time I opted for a tall, skinny, coffee frappucino. (That’s a small, low-fat iced-coffee drink to those not familiar with the local lingo.) I had one everyday, and since my return to Amsterdam I have been in pursuit of finding the next best thing, sadly nothing even comes close.

This past week I did make a trip back to my own hometown in London, and was pleasatly surprised to find a Starbucks at Amsterdam’s Schippol Airport, and not only that, London has its own fairshare of the coffee chain. Now back on Dutch turf or water, I am obsessed in finding a Starbucks closer to home, and thanks to a quick search online, there appears to be one at Amsterdam Central Station!

But having revealed my new obsession to my partner in crime, he was quick to send me this shocking (and dear I say tear jerking) link today: Ten of the Worst Artery Cloggers in America. Ten guesses what was at the top of the list? Yup, FRAPPUCINOS.

Well, I always ordered the tall skinny ones, but according to this article that’s a no-no as well. Well, all I can say is, it was good while it lasted ūüôā

You Can’t Visit NYC and Not Have a Burger…

It’s confession time. Though I love all kinds of food, I am also a health addict at heart. It took me a whole 5 days, and even a shocking hour before my ride came to drop me off at JFK airport, to eat my first New York burger. And if that wasn’t enough, I couldn’t settle for just any old burger, it had to be the best!

And boy was it tasty…. I stepped into the Rare Bar & Grill on Lexington Avenue and coyly revealed my story to the waiter. “I want the best burger that you have,” I declared. ¬†A while later he returned with my order: KOBE TERIYAKI (topped with their Teriyaki sauce and sauteed scallions.)

Rare Bar Grill's Kobe Teriyaki Burger

Rare Bar Grill's Kobe Teriyaki Burger

It wasn’t exactly the kind of burger I expected to eat on my trip, but it certainly was tasty, excellent quality beef with very little fat dripping on my plate – which is always good in my opinion. It would have been a nice treat to have had some fries on the side but my neither my stomach nor my conscious would let me…

I am also very proud to report that NYC’s infamous Hot Dog’s never made it to my belly. I saw a documentary in my hotel room about how they are made – and it didn’t exactly make me crave one, if you know what I mean. But if junk food is what you’re into, don’t let me stop you… According to the same documentary, New Yorker’s eat an average of 60 Hot Dogs a year! And here’s me who couldn’t eat even one…

New York Bagel with Lox Spread

Still buzzing from my first New York City adventure, I wanted to share with you one of my morning delights on my week-long escapade: the infamous New York Bagel. Available almost everywhere, these donut shaped treats are served with a variety of toppings, most common of which is cream cheese. 

As a soul searching for absolute gastronomic satisfaction I embarked with my partner in all things hot and spicy to H&H Bagels¬†where we indulged in what became a morning breakfast tradition. As a native English speaker I thought I knew it all, until I was confronted by ‘lox’ which stared back at me from the menu. Searching through my travel guide book like a confused tourist in a¬†foreign¬†land I became educated on one of New York City’s colloquial terms. Lox = Smoked Salmon.¬†

H&H Bagel: Cream Cheese with Lox Spread

 

Lox is usually served in two ways: either chopped and mixed with cream cheese (Bagel with Lox Spread,) or as thin slivers sitting on top of a cream cheese bagel (Bagel with Cream Cheese and Lox.) My choice can be seen in the image above.

I highly recommend these bagels. though I also tried other local bagel stores and they were equally pleasing. Whatever you do on your next or first trip to New York, don’t forget to try out this New York tradition, and if you can’t wait, try out my recipe here.

Till next time, eet smakelijk!

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Big Apple Posts Coming Soon!

Sorry guys for not keeping up with my posts! I’ve been super busy and have just jetted back from a my first trip to New York. It was a blast! But know that I have not deserted you guys, and thought constantly about food food food! I took plenty of photos and inspiration along my trip, and I can’t wait to share them with you..

So do drop back soon and find out which treats are coming your way!

Delicious Banoffee Pie

I have to confess, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth – I’ll take a slice of buttered toast over a mars bar any day. But there is one sweet dish I don’t mind whipping out the whisk for – and that’s the delicious, creamy and sweet Banoffee Pie…

I learnt this recipe from a Greek friend of mine at University. She was married and had her own house, so we often popped over to hang at hers, and on many occasions enjoy Greek delicacies. Banoffee Pie however, is not Greek at all. Since, I’ve taken her recipe and have made it my own, and with many attempts behind me, I decided to make it for the¬†umpteenth¬†time.

Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie

I recommend serving the pie as illustrated above, once I decided to go all out and made individual Banoffee Pie’s in glasses. Boy they were a bugger to eat, with the biscuit base rock solid at the bottom of the glass. I swear it was like working off the calories as we ate! If only it can be as easy as that…

Anyway, this is a real quick and easy treat for lovers of all things sweet. Just make sure you have plenty of people to help you eat it! Bon appetite!

Ingredients:

1 packet of Digestive Biscuits

50g melted Unsalted Butter

1 tin of Condensed Milk

4 large Bananas sliced

1 tub of Double Cream whipped

Method:

Boil the tin of Condensed Milk for 1 hour on a medium-low heat. Then remove from water and allow to cool.

Beat the Biscuits in a bag with a rolling pin till they are all crumbled up. Add enough melted butter to the biscuit mix so that it binds together. Try to use the butter sparingly – we don’t want to add extraneous amounts of calories if we don’t have to. Press the biscuit mixture into the base of a dessert dish (approximately 8″) and refridgerate for 20 minutes.

The next step is to spread the biscuit base with a thin layer of the boiled condensed milk, which should now have a thick toffee like consistency. Try to resist the urge to lick your fingers…you might not stop!

Finally, add a layer of sliced bananas on top of the toffee layer and then cover generously with whipped cream. As the dish is sweet enough, it’s best to use plain whipping cream – don’t cheat by using the pre-whipped sweeetened stuff. The cream is meant to balance off the pie.

Your Banoffee Pie is then ready to serve, with a few shavings or sprinking of chocolate if it tickles your fancy!

Enjoy!

Last post on Rome…for a while…I promise

I’m sure you’re all busting for me to move on to the next hot topic, but I seriously need to get a few last things off my chest about Rome (sorry Hugo!)

The best way to get from Rome Fiumicino Airport to the city center is to take the Leonardo Express Train, which runs every half-hour and takes about the same time to reach Termini. Now, beware that a taxi from the station to the River Tiber should cost you no more than 10 euro on the meter. Anyone trying to charge you 25 euro is clearly ripping you off.  From Termini to Piazza Venezia for example, a taxi should cost about 6 euro.

Some of the coolest things to do in Rome (depending on the weather of course) is just to find a nice spot and chill. We spent many relaxed afternoons lazing on the sidewalk of Piazza Navona, in Villa Borghese, and let’s not forget Rome’s hidden treasure, Island Tiberina; Rome’s ‘island’ on the River Tiber.

A few last tips: In Villa Borghese – one of Rome’s parks, it’s nice to rent a bicycle and make a trip around the park, which also makes a nice break from all the walking one does in Rome.

Other places on the MUST visit list: Fontana di Trevi, Pantheon; Piazza Navona, Campo Dei Fiori, Colosseum, Palatine Hill/Roman Forum, and Piazza Venezia.

Finally, when in Rome do take the effort to walk around and find hidden treasures of your own. Don’t settle for what’s on your hotel doorstep, and do not make the mistake of asking your hotel to recommend a place either… It’s most likely going to be a neighboring place with whom they have a ‘convenient’ partnership. Albeit that they might have good food, it’s your holiday, so create your own adventure!

Oh, and do drop back. I would love to hear about your great Roman finds!

Roman Delights

The spring is fast upon us (and with any luck the summer will be too) and there’s no better time to visit Rome, than right now. Rome is one of my favorite European cities, it has so much character, history and great food packed in. It was – as I promised myself some 11 years ago – the first official holiday I took alone (excluding my visit to Amsterdam of course!)

So you’ve got a few days spare, or maybe you just fancy a weekend city break, whatever your excuse, if you plan to visit Rome DO NOT miss some of these great highlights!

And in true Eat, Live, Breathe tradition, I begin with the absolute essential: food.

Across the River Tiber is Trastevere, which is without a doubt the BEST place to eat in Rome. The cobbled, small streets make a nice little romantic wander, and the restaurants are filled with locals tucking into their primi’s and wine. Almost any restaurant here will be top-notch, but up there with the best of them is Enzo a Trastevere (Via dei Vascellari 29), a quiet little eatery with quality food, service and atmosphere.¬†

Another place to visit is Felice a Testaccio (Via Mastro Giorgio 29), which was highly recommended to me by an Italian colleague of mine. Only drawback with this place is that it’s so popular amongst the locals that you will have to reserve a table at least a day or two in advance. So be warned.¬†

But wherever you decide to settle down to eat, don’t feel obliged to order a primi, secondi and dolce, because though they may appear to be a starter and main course, individually they’re more than enough to fill any hungry tummy. Must-try local delicacies include Pasta Arrabiata (spicy), Pollo alla Romana, Cacio e Pepe, and on Thursday only, Gnocci.¬†

And when in Rome, you feel like doing what the Romans do, then stop by Giolitti (Via degli Uffici del Vicaro 40) a few steps from the Pantheon, for some Ice cream between 4-5pm. 

Drop back soon for some more tips!