Friday, 14 November 2014

Warsaw - Capital of Poland

My roommate and I found flights from London to Warsaw for £19 (£35 inc luggage) and we thought 'why not?'  Booked. Hostel booked.

A couple weeks later we remembered we need to get home somehow.  We had already discussed going to Krakow but flights from there, while still cheap, were expensive. We had a look at Skyscanner and saw that there were cheap flights out of Gdansk. 

We looked at the map, saw the Poland was about the size of Victoria and decided it wouldn't be that hard to get from Krakow to Gdansk. Another flight booked. 

So in the last week of October we packed our bag full of heavy winter gear - the weather report said it would get down to zero! brr!

We arrived into Warsaw around 4pm, got on the local bus that took us to the train station and that took us to downtown Warsaw.
The hostel we stayed at (TripAdvisor reviews here) did give us amazing directions but it was dark and a bit creepy, deserted looking when we emerged from the station. We flagged down a taxi and arrived at our hostel 5 minutes later. 

After settling in our room, our receptionist gave us directions to the closest restaurant serving gluten free food. Before leaving I had printed out a 'Coeliac Restaurant card' in Polish (this website has cards in almost every langauge) which spelled out what I can and can't eat.

La Cantina is an amazing Mediterranean restaurant and almost every dish comes gluten free! You can tell the difference as the chefs stick in little Bez Glutenu flags in the GF dishes.

I opted for a creamed sauce pizza and Cara went for a delicious sounding pizza - she got GF so we could go halfsies.


The food was so filling! Although we were stuffed from our mains, there is ALWAYS room for Creme Brulee!

We only had 2 nights in Warsaw so we were determined to make the most of our one full day. We found a free walking tour company (here) and did the Old Town Walking Tour with Blaise. Our tour guide had a lot of information on both the history of Warsaw and local legends.

During World War II around 90% of Warsaw was bombed and destroyed. After the war and during the Communist regime a lot of the buildings were restored and today it looks almost as if the city was untouched. 

market square
Warsaw has a rich history and is the home of a few famous people - Pope John Paul II and Marie Curie both hail from here. 

Marie Curie Museum
Marie Curie is the only woman who has received a Nobel Prize in two different categories - chemistry and physics. 
Narrowest house in Warsaw
Many would have heard the story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, but during World War II (1944) there was another Warsaw Uprising that involved all Poles. The Polish Resistance Home Army attempted to drive Nazi Germany out of Warsaw. The Uprising lasted for 63 days, with little outside support. The uprising ultimately failed and resulted in a massive loss of life through injury and mass executions.

A memorial showing the Polish Home Army using the sewer system to escape the Nazi occupation of Warsaw. 

The Old Town walking tour went for approximately 2.5 hours. The same company also offered a Jewish Walking Tour so Cara and I went of to lunch to wait out the 2 hours in between.

Blaise was our guide once again for our second tour.

The raised bit in the middle shows the walls of the Jewish Ghetto in 1940. 

Over the war years and with subsequent executions, rampant diseases and mass transportations, the ghetto got smaller and smaller.

As the ghetto was completely destroyed by the Nazis after liquidation, the boundary is now marked by pavers.

Our tour took us through what was the ghetto, which is now residential buildings, and ended at the Umschlagplatz memorial. 

This memorial stands where the Jewish people were gathered to be deported to the Treblinka Extermination Camp. On some days as many as 10,000 Jews were deported.

Warsaw is a vibrant city with a rich history and delicious food!. The 2 nights we spent there were definitely not enough and I would love to go back at some stage and explore the rest of the city. 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Dinner at Work - Zimbo-Italiano Veg Dish

Last night we had another culinary delight that tickled the tastebuds!

The amazing thing about food is that you can start your dish with one thing in mind (in this case the spicy tastes of Zimbabwe) and with just the additions of a few spices it can go in a completely different direction! Straight to Italy!

onion, sliced
tinned diced tomato
cabbage (darker the better), thinly sliced
garlic gloves, chopped
chilli powder
curry powder
fennel seeds
olive oil

veg stock

brown the onion with cinnamon
add garlic and stir
add the cabbage slices 
pour in the tinned tomatoes
add in the chilli powder, curry powder, fennel seeds, rosemary and oregano
stir, taste and adjust to your liking
add a touch of olive oil to bring it all together

In another pot add 2 cups of stock
pour in polenta WHILE stirring
constantly stir until thick
if it starts spitting at you, take of heat and continue stirring

once both are ready, serve and enjoy

** to have a more Zimbabwean tasting dish, leave out the fennel seeds, rosemary and oregano and replace with hemp seeds, garam masala and a touch more chilli powder

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Dinner at Work - Smoky Carrot and Broccoli Soup

Soup has seemed to be the theme of the week with the colder weather coming in. 
Yesterday we had a bag of carrots and quarter head of broccoli in the fridge that need to be used. 


Smoky Carrot and Broccoli Soup

1 onion sliced
5 medium carrots
Spring onion
Quarter of a brocoli
2 cloves garlic
Veg stock

Dried chillis
Garic granules
Smoked paprika

fry onion with cinnamon until golden

add chopped carrots
add 1 litre of veg stock and chilli
add chopped spring onions and stalk of broccoli
put lid on and bring to the boil
add the paprika, garlic granules, salt and pepper 
taste and adjust
stir, and garlic cloves, then take of heat to blend
add the broccoli florets
 replace lid and back on heat for a few minutes to cook broccoli 

serve and eat

Dinner at Work - Not-Peanut-Butter and Spinach Curry with Basmati and Wild Rice

One of my main duties in my job as a live-in carer is cooking. 
Some of my clients are cool to sit back and let me work my magic and some others like to make kitchen magic with me! 

Since the end of August I have been paired with a guy in Norwich who is a wizz in the kitchen. 

Due to the fact that I absolutely loath peanut butter with a vengeance and he really wanted a peanut butter curry he thought of a way to still make the curry, but delete peanut butter from the process.

I give you.....

Not-Peanut-Butter and Spinach Curry
with basmati and wild rice


Pumpkin seeds
sunflower seeds
fennel seeds
ground almonds
garlic cloves

olive oil
red wine vinegar

onion, sliced
veg stock
spinach (we used 6 frozen cubes)
tomato, diced
hot curry powder
garlic granules
chilli powder
garam masala

Cooking is very much a trial and error process, so we tend to just play it by ear with the amounts used. 

Don't forget your rice!


Put all of the ingredients into the blender and blend. You may need to add a dash of water to get it into that 'paste' consistency.

In the pot fry the onion with a coating of cinnamon. 
Add in a cup and a half of veg stock (you will get steam burn if you're not careful!)
Add in the spinach and tomato
Add in the pepper, salt, chilli powder, curry powder, garam masala and garlic granules
Stir and adjust for your taste
Once the paste is consistent add it to the pot and stir. It will thicken out and look a bit like baby's poo thanks to the spinach.

While that is infusing together, get your rice on to boil. 

Once your happy with your rice and curry serve it up and enjoy!