24 hours of food: London

Around a week ago I got back from an amazing trip to London. I don’t know what it is about this city but every time I come back from there I always feel very energized and fulfilled with positive energy ( and with about 2kg heavier). As you could guess eating is an essential part of my stay in my travels, so while I was in the UK I just couldn’t resist eating my way through it and trying out the hottest places. London is such a big city and therefore always has a new restaurant, cafe or bar opening. It would be almost impossible to keep up. I think I still managed to visit some of the trendiest restaurants and bars which were all recommended to me by locals. In this blogpost I am going to share with you some of those places and describe how my perfect foodie day in London looked like:

10:00 – Coppa Club

My first day in London started out with a breakfast with a view shared with great company. Situated next to London bridge exactly on the river, Coppa Club is said to be one of the hottest spots in London right now. The thing that makes it so special and unique among locals and tourists are the igloos in which you can dine, chat with your friends in private and enjoy the view of the river. In addition to the unique experience of sitting in a glass igloo the restaurant itself has a wide variety of breakfast/brunch options. Honestly from such a trendy place I didn’t expect much from the food but everything we had from the breakfast menu was very delicious and surprisingly not too pricey.

Favorite dish – Avocado Toast with Poached Egg and Salmon

12:00 – Roasting plant – After our fulfilling breakfast we headed to the other side of the river. Since I still hadn’t had my daily dose of caffeine I was in a desperate search of a nice cafe. On our way to Borough market we randomly stumbled across this newly opened café. Right after stepping in, our noses were hit by the aromatic smell of freshly roasted coffee. The thing that probably impressed us most, were the rows of gleaming glass vats of beans – all filled with different coffee varieties. The Javabot is the main event in this coffee place. The machine sends beans from the vats into tubes that snake across the ceiling and over your head. Request whatever taste profile you would like and the super friendly staff will press a few buttons on the till and will make your coffee right ahead.

Favorite drink – Late with Oat Milk

14:30 – Caravan restaurant – With a few locations in London this Australian influenced restaurant offers a wide variety of interesting dishes suited for all diet types. We had a pretty hard time choosing our order so we ended up getting what seemed like almost half of the menu. After a short period of time our food was served by the kind and friendly staff members. Everything was plated extraordinarily and tasted extremely good.

Favorite dish – Roasted Cabbage with Blue Cheese

roasted cabbage with blue cheese

16:00 – L’Eto – Even thought my tummy was pretty full from all the food I had already had for lunch and breakfast I was still craving something sweet. I headed to one of my favorite bakeries in the city. It offers a wide variety of cakes and pastries which not only look exceptionally good but also have a very unique taste.

Favorite dessert – Lemon Meringue Tart

19:30 – Chicama – If you follow me on instagram you have probably noticed how many times I have posted about this place. No doubt this is my favorite place to dine in London. This Peruvian restaurant situated in Chelsea focuses on freshness and the quality of the ingredients prepared in an unusual way. The interior of the restaurant is very minimal – a great mix of millennial pink with marble. On the menu you can expect to find lots of veggie and seafood dishes all of which will satisfy your taste buds. And since it is a Peruvian restaurant I also strongly suggest for you to try one of their ceviches.

Tuna ceviche

Sea bass ceviche
Miso aubergine
Credits: https://www.theupcoming.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Chicama-Bar-Dining-1600×1066-1000×600.jpg

Favorite dish: Miso Eggplant

10:00 – Eggbreak – To end this 24 hours foodie marathon we headed to Nottinghill to try one of the trendiest spots in the neighborhood. As you could probably guess from the name, eggs are running the show in this place, so you can find them prepared in almost every single way possible – from poached to fried. My friend and I had a hard time choosing which egg dish to get so we decided to get 2 different things and share them. While enjoying our lovely egg feast we quietly jammed to songs from the awesome playlist they had on playing. We ended up liking it so much that we added it to our own Spotify.

Favorite dish – …

well, that’s all from my London foodie trip. Subscribe to my blog for more tasty adventures!

Eating vegan for a month? – my personal experience and thoughts

As a person who loves challenging herself and her body I frequently like to switch up my food regime and experiment with new diets. For a second year in a row I ate like a vegan for 30 days. I know that for many of you that may sound a bit odd but trust me veganism is not something you have to be afraid of or judge. Nourishing your body with only plant-based foods may actually benefit your health and make you feel and look healthier. Before I start explaining how it felt to be vegan for 30 days, I want to put a big disclaimer that this blog post is not supposed to promote this type of lifestyle to anyone because we can all decide for ourselves what’s best. I just want to share with you my personal experience and highlight the pros and cons of a plant-based diet.

Week 1

Even before going fully vegan I had already stopped eating meat and most dairy products in order to not drastically shock my body. I believe that this small step was key, because unlike most people who decide to try and become vegan I was no longer craving any animal products. I can say that the first week was fairly easy. For breakfast I would normally have yoghurt with granola and fruits which I would switch up with either some homemade oatmeal or overnight oats. Probably the only thing that was a bit harder was that I had to cook two separate meals – one for me and one for my family because they refused eating without meat. In the end of the week I noticed that my face had cleared out a bit which I guess was because I did not eat any dairy.

My usual breakfast

Week 2 – wasn’t that much different from the previous. I started experimenting a bit more in the kitchen and tried out a few vegan recipes. For the first time in my life I cooked tofu and honestly I was pretty impressed by the taste. I made a vegan pad Thai and instead of chicken I marinated the tofu in Soy Sauce and spices. The only negative thing I noticed was that due to the lack of animal products rich in Vitamin B12 and Calcium I was frequently moody and tired.

My top vegan recipe are the 5 – Minute Chickpea pancakes with avocado basil cream

Week 3

This had to be the most enjoyable week of all. 14 days had passed quickly by and I found myself beginning to enjoy the vegan lifestyle. I was eating much cleaner and my daily diet included much more fruit and vegetables. The only “struggle” so to speak, was during the weekend. A few very close friends of mine and I were supposed to go skiing and stay together in an apartment. That meant that we had to cook meals which will suit every single diet and preference. Luckily, my friends were very open minded and were totally on board to have vegan meals for dinner at least on the first night. So we made a few tasty salads, hummus and surprisingly they also ended up liking it. I also talked to a few people who were vegan and asked them to recommend me some vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Sofia. Surprisingly, there were a lot of spots that were new for me, so I really enjoyed trying what they had to offer.

Sun&Moon will probably always be one of my absolute favorite vegan places in Sofia

Week 4

Although it was the last week it was probably the hardest one. You know what people say the closer you are to the end the further it feels. My week was fulfilled with social activities because Christmas was just a week away. Most of the time I had to eat outside and due to vegan culture not being that much in “In” Sofia, there are only a few vegan food spots, it proved to be a bit of a struggle for me. Every time I went to a non-vegan restaurant I had to explain to the waiter why I want a meal without dairy or meat. Sometimes I even had to hide that I was vegan because not all the people are as tolerant and start looking you strangely when saying the v-word. Because of this I understood how hard is to be a non-animal eater in Sofia. Sadly most of the people here don’t tolerate this way of eating and start to judge your decision. They believe that being vegan is just a way to draw attention to yourself or some kind of diet when it is really not. In fact it is totally the opposite thing. Even though I am against food restrictions I still believe that veganism is a lifestyle which as everything else in this world has its pros and cons and no one should be criticized or mocked for it. We should all respect other people’s opinions!

Final thoughts: Honestly after the 4 weeks of being vegan I felt pretty good, I had lost a few pounds and even my skin had cleared out a bit. I was able also to try a lot of delicious vegan dishes and experiment in the kitchen. Although veganism had a lot of pros, it still had its down sides. For example as I mentioned above I had frequent mood switches and energy spanks due to the lack of essential vitamins my body didn’t get. Another hard thing was eating out while being vegan. As I said not many people are as accepting and understanding, so I had a few slips with that. For example when I asked a waiter whether they could make a plant-based alternative of a meal on the menu, they looked at me very judgementally, which made me feel uncomfortable and bad for my new eating habit.

Finally I can say that for now I will probably stick to my usual eating routine and not switch to a vegan one but honestly these 30 days were a great cleanse for my body from all the excessive fat I normally consume. I would love to hear your own thoughts on the plant-based diet, so leave me a comment down below with your thoughts and experiences!

3 healthy and easy party bite ideas

December was a month full of family and friend gatherings combined with Christmas parties. I am not complaining of course, but at a certain period, I felt drained from all that buzz and people. It was the end of the year and I had one last party left – New Year’s Eve. I was supposed to spend it with a few of my closest friends, so that is why I really wanted to surprise them with a few different kinds of party bites. As I already mentioned I was pretty tired and I did not want to spend hours in the kitchen, so I came up with these three recipes, which are not only healthy and nutritious, but also don’t cost you a fortune, and take only a little time to make. I can assure you that they taste great, because even before we had a couple of drinks, the snacks were already demolished. They are also great to be served as appetizers or snacks while throwing a cocktail party or just having a wine glass or two.

Zucchini bites

Ingredients:

Basil

1 Zucchini

1 red pepper

Dried tomatoes

Vegan cheese or regular cheese spread

Arugula

What to do?

Very thinly cut your zucchini lengthwise, I used a normal vegetable peeler to do so. Smudge one side of the zucchini with the vegan cheese, place a little bit of the arugula, two pieces of the red pepper(diced lengthwise) and add the small piece of the sundried tomato and basil. Then roll the zucchini and voila, you have yourself a small raw zucchini bite. Continue doing the same with the remaining ingredients.

Greek salad bites

2 cucumbers (preferably larger)

1 tomato

150g feta cheese

50 g yoghurt

1tbsp olive oil

*For a vegan swap, you can stuff the cucumbers with guacamole

What to do?

First make your cheese spread by combining in a bowl your; crumbled cheese, yoghurt, oregano, pinch of salt and 1 tsp. of olive oil. Then cut the cucumber in thicker pieces, remove the flesh and pat them until dry. Lastly fill your cucumber cups with the cheese spread and add a few cubed sliced tomatoes.

Aubergine bites (vegan)

Hummus

2 Aubergines

1 Pomegranate

Cilantro(optional)

What to do?

Slice round your aubergines, salt them gently and leave them aside for 20 minutes. This way they won’t have a bitter taste. After 20 minutes, pat them dry and grill them until ready. Cut them in bite pieces, spread them with hummus and finish them off with the pomegranate and cilantro.

Well, there you have it! 3 delicious party bites that don’t require anything more than 30 minutes, love and creativity. Don’t hesitate to experiment and change up the recipes to your own liking, I would love to see your own creations!

“Meatless” balls with roasted red pepper sauce

It’s December, the temperature outside is below 0 degrees. Meaning that the only thing I am willing to do in this freezing weather is to sit at home and enjoy myself. But let’s be honest what’s a perfect day at home without a favorite comfort meal? As every other Sunday when I have finished all my work, I like to head to the kitchen and experiment with different ingredients and dishes. This particular Sunday I was craving a comfort meal, which could still be healthy and delicious. Inspired by the famous American recipe – meatballs in tomato sauce, I came up with the so called “meatless” balls, which consist of buckwheat and spices. To level up the traditional tomato sauce, I added some roasted peppers, which gave the dish a nice kick. Since I felt like my Sunday experiment was successful, I decided to share it with you. It’s fairly easy to make and it is perfect for a family lunch or dinner.

Ingredients:

For the “meatless” balls:

1/2 cup of buckwheat

1 carrot

1 onion

1 garlic clove

1 tsp. Cumin

1 tsp. Oregano

1 tsp. Paprika

1/2 tsp. Nutmeg

Parsley

2 tbsp. Flour

*Note: feel free to replace the buckwheat with lentils, chickpeas or any other legume

Salt & Pepper

For the sauce:

1 can tomatoes

1 clove of garlic

3 roasted peppers ( you can also use raw)

1 tsp. Basil

Salt & Pepper

1 tsp. Spicy paprika(optional)

Salt & Pepper

What to do?

  1. Cook your buckwheat according to the instructions on the package until softened
  2. Meanwhile, cook onion and carrot in a pan with some olive oil until softened
  3. When your buckwheat is ready, drain it and wash it thoroughly with some cold water to stop the cooking process
  4. In a blender, process first the parsley, veggie mixture and spices
  5. Add the buckwheat and blend again
  6. Transfer in a big bowl add the flour, mix with your hands and start forming medium sized balls as you would to for regular meatballs
  7. When done, place in the 190 C preheated oven and cook for about 25 minutes or until firm and golden brown
  8. While waiting for the meatless balls to cook, make the red pepper sauce
  9. In a pan add some olive oil and roasted peppers
  10. Cook for about 3 minutes and add the spices
  11. Pour the tomatoes along with a dash of sugar
  12. Let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes or until thickened
  13. When ready, process the sauce in a blender until smooth
  14. After your balls and sauce are done, it is time to plate
  15. In a spaghetti bowl, place some of the sauce on the bottom and put your balls on top, for some additional color chop up some parsley
  16. **For extra flavoring feel free to also add some Parmesan or any other kind of cheese

I hope you enjoy the recipe and let me know if you end up making it!!

Aubergine couscous salad

This summer I rediscovered once again my obsession with aubergines. Spending almost a month in Greece, the one thing that I consumed every single day was and honestly I never got tired of it. When I came back home I still found myself craving and wanting to have it on a day to day basis. Inspired from my trip to Morocco this year, especially the traditional spice mixture from its cuisine, I created this simple and quick cous cous with aubergine. As most of my recipes it takes almost no time to make, it tastes delicious and you can eat it on its is own or serve it as a side to your main dish. The best thing about it is that it’s budget friendly and you most probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of cous cous

1 large or 2 medium sized Aubergines

Feta cheese(optional)

One bunch of mint leafs

1 lemon

1 tsp. Cumin

1tsp. Paprika

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 cup – walnuts

Olive oil

What to do?

1. Cut the aubergines into round circles and place them on a baking sheet

2. Salt them and let them sit for 15min. – in this way you dry out the moisture and make them taste less bitter

3. After the time has passed brush them with olive oil and place in the 180 preheated oven until ready( 20-25min.)

4. In the meantime mix the half a cup of cous cous with a 1tsp. Olive oil, the zest of one lemon and a few fresh mint leafs

5. Pour hot water over the cous cous mixture and let it sit for around 5 min. or until all the water is absorbed

6. Fluff the cous cous with a fork

7. When your aubergines are already baked, chop them into small pieces and add them to the cous cous

8. Season with your remaining spices, chopped mint leafs, juice of one lemon and generous amount of olive oil

9. Roughly chop the walnuts and add them on top

There you have it! A simple and delicious weekly dinner or lunch idea! Hope you enjoy it!

Beginner’s guide to London’s street food markets

Oh London! One of Europes liveliest cities. A city where you can never get bored, every day there is an event happening or a new trendy bar or restaurant is opening. All the different mixes of cultures and nationalities, which fulfill the British capital, have made its food scene so popular all around the world. Home of exactly 70 Michelin starred restaurants London is every foodies dream destination.. Unfortunately in most cases a meal at those restaurants costs a fortune and after paying your bill there, you will probably have to live on toasts and canned soup for the next week. Luckily the inhabitants of the city have figured out a smart and cheap way in which you can try and enjoy incredibly delicious gourmet-worthy food, without doing a serious damage to your wallet. It’s a well-known fact that London’s street food scene is growing and growing and the standards of the food trucks and stalls are rising higher ans higher. Most of the street food markets are crowded with people, who love the mixture between well-prepared food with a friendly atmosphere. Due to this fact New markets are popping up all around London with more street food vans and vendors offering all type of British and international cuisine. Whether you are craving Korean fried chicken or some classic fish and chips, London’s street food scene has it all. During my recent visit to the vibrant capital I made it my goal to make a special guide for all of you curious foodie lovers and guide you through some of Londons best street food markets.

1. Borough market – Established in the 1850s, Borough market still remains the most preferred market in this metropolitan capital. Every day you can see massive crowds of hungry locals and tourists, who are on the hunt for the best street food. From locally grown fruits and veggies to international delicacies, vegan dishes, a range of spices and Asian street food, there is plenty of delicious indulgences, which you can try at one of Londons oldest street food markets. During all my visits to London, I have always taken some spare time and go to this market. Every special treat I have tried has always left me more than satisfied, but honestly my favorite thing about Borough are the free food gourmet samples.

Variety of fresh fish

2. Maltby street food market – Just a few minutes away from Borough, you will find yourself in this small outdoor market. Hiding between the big modern buildings Maltby market offers all sorts of incredible foods and beverages, which will satisfy every foodies expectations. Opened about 8 years ago the market has already become a well-known weekend destination and can get pretty crowded when the sun comes out. When we went there we were quite hungry, so predictably we went a bit over board with our orders. We wanted to taste as much as we could, so everyone got something different. I personally am a big fan of gyozas, so when I saw a food stall, which specialized in gyozas, I immediately pulled my wallet and got their bento box. It costed me exactly 10 pounds, but the taste and the portion size were worth it. We also got some Korean fried curry chicken, grilled cheese sandwich with chorizo and my absolute favorite duck burger with goat cheese. Maltby market may look small in comparison to some other markets, but offers a rather wide range of food choices.

Grilled cheese with chorizo

Korean Curry Fried Chicken

Gyoza Bento Box

3. Shoreditch boxpark – Heading to East London(the hip side of the city), you shall surely make a pit stop at the Shoreditch boxpark. This contemporary art building made out of shipping containers plonked underneath the well-known Shoreditch High Street Overground Station is known to be Londons first pop up mall. On The second floor of the unusual “mall” you can experience several food and beverage stalls all hidden in small containers. The food park is home of the famous bubble waffle ice-cream, dirty fries and many other international stalls. The dish that blew my mind was the vegan pad-Thai from “Cookdaily”, which contained plant-based prawns. Having my first bite from this vegan madness, I couldn’t even realize that the prawn didn’t come directly from the sea. It really looked, tasted and even had the same texture as a real one. Even my father and sister, who are the biggest meat lovers I know couldn’t spot the difference.

4. Old Spitalfields market – Next stop on your foodie trip should be Spitalfields market. The market is one of Londons busiest shopping destinations and as you could probably guess it also has an amazing food court. Whether you are in the mood for something healthier like a poke bowl or want to enjoy a special meal on your cheat day, you will find several food options for every taste. My family and I are big fans of Asian cuisine, especially the dumplings. For this reason we decided to get the shrimp wontons with chili sauce from the “Dumpling shack”.

5. Brick lane market – Just next to Spitalfields market you will find yourself in the buzzing Brick lane market. The market is known best for its wide range of trendy vintage clothes. Despite that you can also enjoy a changing selection of street food that will keep you well-fueled while you browse through the several second-hand shops and retro goodies. I personally snacked on some sweet potato fries.

6. Kerb Camden market – the last stop on our street food adventure was Kerb in Camden market. From Chinese to French, KERB street food market holds 34 food stalls, which all offer mouth-watering dishes from all around the world. The food choices are endless and will leave even the pickiest eater happy. After wandering around the food stalls and trying to decide what I want to eat, I finally chose the atomic cookie ice-cream from “Chin Chin Labs” I enjoyed my scientific food creation along the beautiful canal.

Well, with an overfilled stomach and an unforgettable after taste, my foodie trip to some of London’s best street food markets ended. This guide is supposed to help all of you first time visitors, who want to enjoy the ultimate street food experience.
xoxo,
Afterthetaste

Carrot and orange soup

Whether you are aware or not, two weeks ago I came back from my Moroccan adventure. Despite the many sights we visited, we also managed to try all kinds of traditional dishes. One soup in particular got my taste buds going mad! We had it served in a beautiful restaurant in the medina in Marrakech and I can still taste the deliciousness of this bowl of soup whenever I think about it. This particular soup was made with pumpkin and orange. At first it sounded like a rather strange combination since it was made with pumpkin and orange, but after taking my first bite, I kept craving more and more. Even after coming back to Sofia, I still wanted to have the lovely soup, so I decided to put my own spin to it and recreate my own version. Because it’s not really pumpkin season, I used carrots and it tasted even better. Even if you are not a fan of soups in general, I can guarantee you that you will most certainly adore this one.

Ingredients:

10 medium sized carrots

1 onion

1 clove garlic

1 tsp thyme

1 orange (zest+juice)

What to do?

1. You start by putting your finely chopped onion into the pot and sweat it off

2. When onion is softened, add the minced garlic

3. Add the thyme and chopped carrots to the pot

4. Cover with water and let it simmer until your carrots are soft enough

5. Either use a hand mixer or just put everything in your blender and pulse until it is all well-mixed

6. Move back to the pot and add the juice and zest of your orange, salt and pepper

Voilá! That was is it. I personally also like to top it off with some roasted pumpkin seeds for some extra crunch. As you can see the soup literally requires a few basic ingredients, but tastes magnificently.