Friday, April 4, 2014

Russian-style Apple Pie

Yes, long-overdue, but here's another post! :D

This is probably the easiest thing you can make, I promise! I've tried a number of different apple pie recipes, but most North American recipes call for the typical crust-fruit-crust type of a pie. Being from Belarus, I'm used to more of a "mixed" pie variety (I might've commented on this before :P), some people would call that a tart.

I've made this Apple Pie before (a recipe from a Russian book I have), but it takes a bit of a commitment and I was feeling really lazy... So anyways, I was browsing on a Russian-language website and found this easy recipe of Sharlotka (aka Russian apple pie, or a Charlotte, if you will). I guarantee it, you'll love it! Minimal ingredients and depending on the type of apple you pick and the amount of sugar you use, it can be tart or sweet, or somewhere in between - the choice is yours!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Barcelona: Accommodations

I started my search for affordable accommodations as soon as I decided I wanted to go to Barcelona... Actually, no, I first considered Paris, and started looking for accommodations there. Prices in Paris are pretty steep (for me, anyways), even for February, so after having searched in vain for affordable accommodations in central Paris, I was pleasantly surprised how much of it is available in Barcelona (and I'm talking walking-distance-touristy part of Barcelona).

The options are plenty - hotels, hostels, inns, condos and so on. Of course, something like a condo might cost $400-500 per night; however, it often accommodates 6+ people, so you're looking at playing max $100 per night, if you travel in a group.

I read reviews, consulted various websites for deals, and eventually ended booking though, which gave me an option to pay at the hotel (and the ability to cancel 24 hours prior). I ended up choosing Hotel Jazz, a slick and modern hotel just steps away from La Rambla, a busy tourist street, and almost everything else that you'd want to see here. Although this hotel is ranked as 3 stars, I personally feel that is a 3.5 :))) (they could probably make it a 4-star hotel, if they spent a bit of money and gave it a facelift). But we found our room to be comfortable and larger than expected! Even the beds were listed as "single" were wider that one would expect. And the hotel's location is just PRIMO!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Barcelona Aquarium (L’Aquàrium de Barcelona)

So... I'm back! I won't bore you with the details of where I've been for the past 3+ months; as usual, I have too many grand plans, but little time.

Last week something happened that is actually worth sharing: I traveled to the beautiful Barcelona, Spain!!!
I spent 7 nights there and that definitely was NOT enough...

Let me share some highlights with you - up first, L’Aquàrium de Barcelona (Barcelona Aquarium). This place is great (this is my third aquarium) - cost: only €20. I say "only" because it's totally worth it given what it offers. First, its Oceanarium is unique in Europe and is its largest aquarium.

Here are its parameters:

Can you imagine - it holds 4,500,000 litres of water!
My sister and I were able to take our time and set our camera for a nice shot

Friday, October 25, 2013

Last days of autumn

This is my 15th autumn in Canada (wow... it felt weird writing that, AS IF it's been that long already!), and think this was by far the best fall weather I've experienced here. I figured it wouldn't last long, so we might as well enjoy it a little. Armed with my favourite possession, my camera, we headed just a short drive away to Gatineau Park a few weeks ago.

The colours on the hills and in the valley were breathtaking! We took a ski lift up & down (well, actually we thought of hiking down, but only mountain bikers could get off the lift at the top). Here are some photos for your enjoyment!
View from the ski lift

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Green Tomato Relish

What can I say... This recipe is simply delicious and VERY unexpected also! Because the fall is upon us and because the temperature was starting to dip low at night, we figured that it was time to pick the remainder (a large remainder) of our tomatoes before they got damaged by the frost (never mind this AWESOME stretch of weather we're currently on!). Aside from a few really nice ripe fruits, we had lots of green tomatoes... lots!

What to do with all of them? The only thing we've ever really done with green tomatoes back in my native country was to pickle them (they are delicious, might I add!). But I felt like I wanted to do something interesting instead.

Once again, I scoured the Internet for an idea... I found 3 or 4 interesting things, but finally stopped at a recipe for a Green Tomato Relish. Although I WAS hesitant at first (I'm not a big fan of relish), but I decided to give it a try, and I was not disappointed that I did! It's sweet, yet soft and mild, there is something about it that makes me want to put it on everything!

Green Tomato Relish