The Swiss Alps, Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate & The End

I’m in crazy, stupid, love with Chamonix. Like, head-over-heels, #takemeback, sing-out-loud-when-I-think-about-it, if-I-went-to-a-therapist-and-he-said-go-to-your-happy-place-this-would-be-it kinda love. If I ever disappear to ‘find myself’, it’ll likely be because I succumbed to that popular hipster quote superimposed on filtered pictures that say ‘the mountains are calling and I must go’. If I had to choose anywhere in the world to live, it would be near a mountain. I cannot stress how much snow-capped mountains enchant me. Climbing Everest isn’t a realistic bucket list dream for me (especially after having seen the Everest movie recently), but living in view of a mountain is.



Although I pretty much relied on my friend to plan the week of visits (Nice, Monaco, Marseille, Geneva, Yvoire, Eze), the only place I insisted on was Chamonix. I badly wanted to go to the Swiss Alps. She came through brilliantly although she suffered from sinus issues for days because of the height that we got to so quickly. Sorry Nads :(


Chamonix totally ties with Rome as the best place I’ve ever been to. It’s a landscape of the indescribably beautiful Mont Blanc Mountain Range, part of the Swiss Alps, with the quaintest mountain town at it’s base. You board the Aiguille de Midi cable car and ascend into the heavens, seeing the endearing, postcard-type town of Chamonix slowly retreat below your feet. You glide higher and higher and the lush green hills and sounds of life slowly fall away as your world becomes whiter and greyer and bluer and quieter. You’ll even begin to speak in reverent, hushed whispers without even realizing it. At 3842 feet, you’ll disembark and immediately be enveloped in impossible silence. You’ll look around in awe, and you’ll actively have to work to distinguish between the clouds and the snow. The mountain peaks are at your eye level, and you’re actually looking over the clouds. It is a humbling experience.




This was one of my earlier trips, so I was in full tourist mode at this point. We had lunch in the mountains – cheeses and mushrooms and bread and salad pine nuts and balsamic vinaigrette and chocolate molten lava cake and wine. I was seriously living the dream.

When I think about snow, my mind immediately switches to ski lodges and hot beverages. To be perfectly honest, I’m a huge fan of hot beverages, regardless of weather. I live in a tropical country but most of the time, all I want is a nice cup of tea or coffee. Hot chocolate is rarely a choice for me in regular circumstances, but for some reason, but when you’re in the mountains (or imagining yourself in the mountains!), it just fits, right? Pair that with Uggs and a big sweater and you might even call me a basic b*tch. I don’t even care.

The hot chocolate I’m sharing with you today is incredibly indulgent. It’s like birthday cake or cheesecake, or an ice cold glass of coke. It’s sugary and sweet and hits all the good spots, but drink more than a cup (or eat more than a slice) and you might as well put on your workout clothes while you’re drinking it. I added peanut butter because that nutty, warm, earthy flavour pairs so well with chocolate. Rab didn’t even notice the peanut butter in it, but I thought that it was the first thing you tasted. Ah well. I guess that means you can add even more peanut butter if you’d like.

Indulgent Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 1/2 cup Milk
2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tsp smooth Peanut Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
Pinch of Espresso Powder (optional)
Mini Marshmallows (optional)

Pour milk into a small pot. On low heat, add ingredients and whisk all ingredients until combined. Heat to desired temperature. Top with marshmallows if desired.

I’m linking up over at Fiesta Friday today and A Dish of Daily Life.

So this is the end of my Travel Series. It was great reliving the experience through food, memories and pictures. I hope I wasn’t too maudlin or too over the top, but it was a great trip and thanks again to the friends & family that I met along the way. Now that the series has ended, I have a pretty big (blog related!) announcement to make in my next post. I’m still finalizing a few things, but suffice it to say that I’m thrilled at the direction that my writing and my Company (MCreative) is heading. Have a fantastic weekend, enjoy the return of all your favourite TV shows, and OMG how is it October already?!

Yvoire, Almond Crepes & Bonding

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Yvoire is the kind of place you want to visit with a good friend. You’ll navigate through the charmingly uneven cobblestoned and perfectly paved streets of this medieval village, stop for a double scoop of ice cream at 10:00 a.m, discuss the best location of the tables at your hypothetical wedding reception to ensure maximum sea view, and in lieu of making lunch reservations, you’ll spent about 40 minutes wandering from full restaurant to full restaurant, looking increasingly pathetic and hoping that some kindly restaurateur will let you spend your money there. You’ll eventually walk confidently into a restaurant and sit like you’re supposed to be there, order a bottle of wine and proceed to while away the hours bonding over every topic under the sun.




Yvoire is the quintessential French village – it overlooks the crystal blue sea and stone buildings make you want to bust into a rendition of any song from Beauty and the Beast. I may or may not have looked for Gaston (he’s roughly the size of a barge). It also helps that Yvoire has been classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. I think that it would be lovely to live in a postcard town like this. I’d manage a small café and spend my days meeting new people, pouring copious amounts of coffee, inhaling chestnut paste smeared on freshly baked croissants, stumbling upon chateaus and finding nooks where I could read Sartre, Zola and Hugo. I’m also fluent in French in this fantasy and clearly kind of a douche.



But then reality steps in and I realize that I sometimes dislike talking to people, chestnut paste is nice but not food marriage material, and I‘m really not that into classic literature. Plus I don’t speak French. Ah well. I still know all the lyrics (and ok – lines as well) from Beauty and the Beast. Another unfortunate reality? Yvoire’s famous dish, Lake Perch & French Fries, isn’t that great. A little too saltless for this salt loving gal.

Visiting the Garden of the 5 Senses was a memorable experience although I’ll admit – I got a little mad. The concept of the Garden is that the type of the plants encourage you to use all 5 senses to truly enjoy the experience – but isn’t that the purpose of all gardens? Clever marketing, but when you think about it, any place can do that. Are you reading this, Guyana Tourism Authority?

What sense do I tickle next?

What sense do I tickle next?

I’ve always turned down the opportunity to eat a crepe for some reason. It happened again in Yvoire (see aforementioned ice cream break above), but I decided to give crepes their due this time. I chose a simple recipe from Alton Brown, but added Almond extract because almonds in every form are the fricking bomb.

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I’ve never been good at making perfectly shaped pancakes, and I realized too late that the pan that I was using was a little too large to get that lovely round shape. My first few crepes ended up looking like a pokemon, and it got so addictive that eventually I embraced it and tried to catch ’em all.

Pikachu? Jigglypuff?

Pikachu? Jigglypuff?

Almond Crepes

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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2 Eggs
3/4 cup Milk
1/2 cup Water
1 cup Flour
1 tsp Almond Extract
3 tablespoons Butter, melted
Butter, for coating the pan

Toasted Slivered Almonds
Powdered Sugar


Pulse all ingredients in a blender until smooth, about 10-15 seconds. Place in fridge for at least an hour (this is supposed to minimized tearing of crepes during cooking). Heat a small pan on medium heat and coat pan with butter. Pour 1/8 cup of batter into pan and swirl around to distribute evenly. Let cook for about 30 seconds, then flip and cook for another 10-15 seconds.

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Remove from heat, add desired toppings and enjoy!

NB: According to Alton Brown, you can keep the batter in your fridge for up to 48 hours. Pretty cool for a Saturday or Sunday morning quick and fancy breakfast!

Linking up with Angie and the gals at Fiesta Friday this week, as well as Michelle over at A Dish of Daily Life.

See you back here next week for my last travel post! Who knows, I might even post it this week! i’m crazy like that :)

Marseille, Romance & Lazy Bouillabaisse

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Marseille feels like such a romantic place. The beauty, the personality, the grittiness of the city all make you feel like this is a place you could fall in love with. To be honest, it crept up on me. It wasn’t my favourite city when we got there, but the more I think back about it, the more I realize what depth the city has. There’s the Vieux Port (Old Port) with a London-Eye type ferris wheel, restaurant daily specials are determined by whatever the catch of the day is, and if you need directions, you either go ‘to the left’ or ‘to the right’ of the Port. The city’s Notre Dame Church overlooks the town, quietly and peacefully illuminated at night so wherever you are, you can always look up and see that beacon. It comforts you somehow. There are the Calanques that transport you to another world, a simple cross erected along the coast, meant to protect the fishermen that sail out every morning and return them safely to land. From land, you can just make out the Chateau d’If, a real prison that features in the fictional novel, the Count of Monte Cristo, written by Alexander Dumas. How can you not fall in love with the world?



By far the best part of Marseille is the ocean and what lies in it. I had never head of the Calanques until the day we went to the ticket booth and bought the tickets, but seeing them was the best surprise destination of the trip – Being on the boat, navigating through narrow turquoise channels, seeing these formations rise out of the water looking like they came from Middle Earth or some Game of Thrones type land – I felt like a true adventurer, that anything was possible. My heart felt like it was floating. I half expected to see Jon Snow mingling with the sunbathers that dotted the various Calanques.



Because Marseille restaurants have the “we close at 10 and reopen at 12” habit, we spent the morning drinking coffee and beer and waiting for lunch. We even stumbled upon the Galeries Lafayette (a fantastic supermarket), where I had a nervous breakdown over the amount of vinegar, truffle oils, mustard (moutarde!) and finishing salts. I also fell in love with a French Adrien Brody lookalike who had better hair and a scarf that made me want to love him for infinity (get it?). I stepped up to peer between the line of people to attempt to decipher the French menu and he was ordering, but stopped to look at me charmingly and let me order ahead oh him. He also didn’t laugh when I ordered my food in slow and stilted French. Points to you, you handsome thing.

Is there a cart big enough to fit everything?

I’ll take one of each, please. Merci.

I left Marseille for one of the last recipes because: Bouillabaisse. Yes, I want to try it but I’m not good at cooking fish and if something is even slightly fishy it turns me off, so it’s very thin line to walk. After my disaster in Nice (the seafood Fruits la Mer), I was worried that I’d ruin the bouillabaisse. Plus it calls for fennel, the licorice tasting seed that I’m not a fan of. Plus I don’t have a saffron fund (that is one expensive spice!).  So I really didn’t want to put that much effort into doing something there was a good chance I’d dislike. But… “let’s challenge myself” and all that. Sometimes present me gets so mad at past me. And past me never thinks about future me’s feelings. Sigh. Those crazy b*tches need to work it out.

I struck a compromise among the ‘me-s’ and decided to try Julia Child’s Bouillabaisse with some amount of changes. Her full recipe is available here if you want to be better than me. Lol.

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My lazy recipe is below:

Lazy Bouillabaisse

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


For the Fish Soup Base:
1 3/4 cups minced onion
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic (mashed)
1 pound tomatoes (roughly chopped)
10 cups Water
6 fresh sprigs Parsley
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried Basil
1/8 teaspoon fennel
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 tbsp Salt

For the Bouillabaisse:

1 package Seafood Mix (Shrimp, Squid, Scallops, etc)
1/3 cup fresh Parsley (roughly chopped)

For the Rouille:

1/3 cup chopped Red Bell Pepper (simmered for several minutes in salted water and drained)
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 medium Potato (pierced a few times with a fork and cooked in the soup)
4 cloves minced Garlic
1 tsp dried Basil
5 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
2-3 tbsp hot Soup


Warm olive oil in a stockpot and add onions. Stir to coat. On medium heat, cook onions for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic & tomatoes and let cook for another 3 minutes. Add water, spices & herbs and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and keep a steady simmer and let cook for between 30-40 minutes. Remember to add the potato about halfway through. Remove potato and strain broth. Make sure to press the juices out of the solids.

While the Bouillabaisse is simmering, prep the ingredients for the rouille. Cook the red pepper in salted water for 5- 7 minutes, then drain. Add the ingredients to a food processor and when the broth is done, add the potato and soup to processor. Blend thoroughly.

Before you’re ready to eat, bring the broth to a boil and add the seafood mix to the broth. Let cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Spoon into bowls and serve immediately with rouille.

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Result: Fantastic frickin’ broth and rouille. Forget the seafood, throw veggies and the rouille in it and you’ve got yourself a hearty meal. If you really love your seafood then it’s still a good meal, just don’t overcook the seafood in the broth. Also, although I didn’t add fish, I think that a fillet would have flaked and melted into the soup nicely.

I’m also linking up at Fiesta Friday today, visiting Angie and the gals, including this week’s co-hosts, Kaila @ GF Lfe 24/7 & Jenny @ Dragonfly Home Recipes!


Blueberry Almond Granola & Emergency Snack Preparedness

I’m taking a break from my travel posts today to talk about a very important snack: Granola. has an ongoing healthy snacking campaign and I’m excited to be a part of it by sharing a recipe and giving others snacking inspiration. When I think about a healthy breakfast or a snack, my mind always hops over to Granola-ville. I’ve always considered it to be the first “adult” food I ever started liking, and it’s a staple in my diet up to today.

Hazelnut Coconut Granola & Blueberry Almond Granola

Hazelnut Coconut Granola & Blueberry Almond Granola

I started my lifelong affair with Granola after I first tasted Chewy Bars made by Quaker Oats. In my mind, I still have to call them “Chewy Tendre” because the boxes that we used to get had the French “tendre” right underneath in the same size font so it looked like it was one phrase. I later moved to Alpen, Nature Valley and Kind with the occasional Luna or Clif Bar. When I got married and embraced cooking and domesticity, I found out about the extent of sugar and random ingredients that go into making one granola bar. It’s insane, and some popular granola bars have had it on lists for products with the highest sugar content. Suffice it to say that when I came across the concept of making my own bars, I was more than intrigued. I thought it sounded incredibly cool and hippie which to be honest, added to the appeal :) I am absolutely amazed at the different granola bar variations out there. I personally have made dozens of variations, used dozens of ingredients and have made granola in squares, rectangles, clumps, loose, and they’ve all been delicious. I don’t think I’ve ever met a granola recipe that I didn’t like.

Making your own granola is quick and simple and easily customized. I’ve used so many different combinations of ingredients and I have never taken more than about 15 minutes (excluding baking) any time. Imagine that – 15 minutes (no I’m not gonna save you 15% or more on car insurance) is all it takes to make breakfast for the week! Or snacks that help you stick to your diet or healthy eating plan! I honestly think that the achilles heel of any diet is the snacks. You spend so much time focusing on eating your healthy or well portioned meals, and forget that at 2:30 when you want a cup of coffee, you want a snack to go with it. And thus comes a defining moment in your diet – fight to eat healthy or flight to the corner cafe to stuff your face with cupcakes? Failing to plan your snacks means that you’re one brownie or cookie away from ruining your diet. Which I often do. We’re all human.

Another benefit is that you can hide so many different ingredients in granola, including those that you know are superfoods but don’t want to or like to eat by itself. You can add so many ingredients and have so many variations – Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Almonds, Peanuts, Cashews, Pistachios, Macadamia, Hazelnuts, Chia Seeds, Ground Flaxseed, Shredded / Flaked Coconut, Chocolate Chips, White chocolate chips, Dark chocolate chips, Peppermint chips, Butterscotch chips, Dried Cranberries, Apricots, Blueberries, Raisins, Currants, Goji Berries, Acai Berries, Vanilla Extract, Almond Extract, Lemon Extract, Mint Extract, Pine Extract, Protein Powder, Matcha Green Tea Powder, Espresso Powder, and Ginger Powder. This is by no means an exhaustive list. But it sounds delicious, doesn’t it?

It’s not unusual for me to find bags of crushed and unrecognizable snacks in my purse with no recollection of when or how they got there. I seem to have a squirrel mentality…gotta store up those snacks in the inevitable event that I get hungry and mad and can’t concentrate on anything else until I eat! Finally figuring out that I should keep an emergency snack drawer at work was one of my greatest revelations. Up to a few years ago I had a pretty awesome emergency snack drawer at work, but in recent years my drawer deteriorated to a pathetic corner of the top drawer of my desk. I’ve been trying to rectify that, and the granola recipe I’m sharing with you today is item #1 in my new and improved snack drawer.

This granola isn’t too sweet, so it doesn’t feel like dessert, but it doesn’t feel like a tasteless blend of ingredients either.

Blueberry Almond Granola

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

My right hand man. Food. And Coffee.

My right hand men: food and coffee.


2 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
1 cup whole Almonds
1 cup Sunflower Seeds
2/3 cups Dried Blueberries
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Agave (or Honey)
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1 tbsp dried Vanilla (or liquid vanilla extract)
1/4 cup Coconut Oil


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix dried ingredients in a bowl. Add agave, vanilla (if using extract) & oil. Mix well. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread mixture evenly on tray. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring at 20 minutes. Let cool and harden and store in an airtight container.

So check out for other snacking ideas and ingredients. Give this granola a try this weekend and start next week off right!

Geneva, Fondue, Bucket Lists & Poppies

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Today, I’m reminiscing about Geneva. My friend and I traipsed around Switzerland & the south of France for an entire week. Geneva itself is such a picturesque city. It’s clean and calm and modern, a haven for expats and a home to various international agencies. Lake Geneva is just big enough that you gaze at every lapping wave in awe, but just small enough where you stand that you don’t feel completely overwhelmed.


There are endless marinas and sculptures with very literal names (“boy with horse”), well manicured lawns that invite you to sit and stay as long as you want. The lake feels like it has a personality of its own. We started out at a section that felt uncharted and rugged…a little deserted, pebble beaches and shades of grey/green water. As we walked on though, the world started to become more vibrant, like someone took pencil crayons and coloured everything just a little bit brighter. The sun emerged from behind clouds, the boats in the marinas became whiter, bunches of flowers appeared and became brighter, the grass was greener, the water glittered with the rays of the sun.




There are cafes with platforms right over the water, strings of lights casually hung over the walls, families of ducks minding their own business in the water, the occasional bicycle resting against a railing, benches scattered about, and random telescopes dot the walkway in case the mood to see the town over the lake strikes you.


Every day I somehow managed to cross activities off of the Bucket List that I didn’t even know I wanted to do. We pretended to be drunkards passed out in front of Lake Geneva (photographic evidence available upon request) with a wine bottle that we discovered behind a bench, breakfasted with some birds, went exploring behind a random church, fell asleep on public transportation, ate an entire pizza at an almost empty bus stop at 11 p.m., and created an intensely wonderful “welcome to Geneva” Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing while cooking dinner in her apartment.

Another bucket list item? It all started in one of the most unique bars I’ve ever been in. Among it’s quirks, there was a piano in the bathroom and the walls were sponsored by Post-it. There were blank post-its around the place so you could write whatever you want and stick it to the wall. It felt like old school drunk texting. Make your professions of love, heartbreak, disappointment, jealousy, etc now people! Stick it on the wall! Hope that the object of your affection walks in and sees your brave revelation! Ah bar bathrooms. Where life happens. I of course professed my love for my friends because cocktails make me love everyone.

I’ve been told by many people that my singing voice borders on the offensive, so I tend not to participate in any karaoke type activities. However, my friend Nadine seems to be the kryptonite to my “no karaoke” will of steel. I’ve sung karaoke twice in my life and both times have been with her…the first was a few years ago when we killed a Taylor Swift song, and then again in Geneva. Sing karaoke in a Bar in Geneva with friends? Check.

One of my private moments of zen was on our way to the airport. We had to get two buses to make it and the stops were a short walk from each other. We jumped off Bus #1, practically ran uphill with our luggage, hoping that we wouldn’t see the Bus #2 fly by. To my right, there was an enormous fenced off grassy field, an unnaturally simple and beautiful expanse. From where I was standing, all I could see was green, light brown, and the bright blue of the sky and the cottony white of the clouds. As we were struggling up the incline, I glanced down and saw a single vibrantly red wild poppy growing on the little line of grass along the curb. Despite being born on Remembrance Day, I had never seen an actual poppy in real life. My poppy knowledge was limited to the felt & plastic pin distributed by the Red Cross, and to the tehnicolour field in Oz where Dorothy and her buddies take a power nap. To be honest, I never thought about the real flower, and it was never in the running as my favourite.

However, I never knew that the petals looked like tissue paper and is an interrupted shade of fiery red. I’ve found my new favourite flower, which is funny because it should have been all along. Finding zen at the side of the road. I feel like a 90s song.

I actually didn't get a shot of the Poppy because of the aforementioned running for Bus #2

I actually didn’t get a shot of the Poppy because of the aforementioned running for Bus #2

So. I almost forgot about the food. I really wanted to try Fondue in the most irrational way. When I got there I found out that Fondue season was over. There’s a fondue SEASON?! These people limit your cheese intake!?! Unacceptable. I learned that Fondue, while delicious, is more about the social aspect of it. As my friend so realistically put it, “at the end of the day, it’s just cheese and bread” Lol I love her and all, but that kind of thinking can really damage a friendship :)

I adapted this recipe from the Nugget Market Gouda Fondue recipe, and also omitted the crostini and decided to go all out and bake it in a bowl of bread.

I’m also linking up at Fiesta Friday this week, hosted by Sarah at Sarah’s Little Kitchen and Kaila at GF Life 24/7.

Smoked Gouda & White Wine Fondue

  • Servings: 2-3 (or 1 if you love cheese)
  • Time: 15 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1lb round loaf crusty Bread of choice

1/2 lb Smoked Gouda, cubed
1 clove Garlic
1/2 cup White Wine
2 tbsp. Cornstarch
1/2 cup fresh Tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp. dried Basil
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt (or more to taste)
1/8 tsp Nutmeg

For dipping:

1 Pear, sliced
1 Apple, sliced
Cubed Bread from loaf


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a sharp serrated edge knife, carefully slice off the top of the bread (about 1/4 inch) and cut a hole / circle around the inside of the loaf, leaving about a 3/4 – 1 inch border on each side. Use your hands to pull out the middle bits of the bread, hollowing out the loaf and creating a “bowl”. Cube the removed bread and set aside for later. Place the bread on a baking sheet and warm in the oven for about 10-15 minutes

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Smash the garlic and rub on the inside of a saucepan. Use a spoon to break it up as much as possible. Warm the skillet on medium heat and add wine. Stir to incorporate garlic bits and wine. Toss the Gouda cubes with the cornstarch and add the cheese to the saucepan and stir constantly for about a minute to encourage melting and prevent scorching. Add basil, black pepper, salt, nutmeg & tomatoes. Keep stirring to ensure that all ingredients are incorporated and that cheese is melted. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Carefully pour mixture into bread bowl.

Serve with desired dipping instruments.

Note: I liked the crackers the most while Rabin thought the pears were the best. We both agreed that the bread bowl is the winner because it stays crispy, is already covered with melted cheese, and feels like round two when you finish eating all the rest. Ahh, compromise.

Monaco, Cocktails & Prison, please

When I say Monaco, what pops into your head? My first thought is James Bond in a white tux in a casino. The Sean Connery 007, please and thank you. Then I think of the Grand Prix. Then probably Princess Grace. If you’re Guyanese, I know that the local nightclub of the same name will feature in your thoughts at some point.

Monaco (the country, not the nightclub) is what you’d imagine – even during the day you just feel the place dripping with glamour. The impeccably maintained villas, the French Riviera gently lapping in the not-so-distant distance, the boats moored at the dock seemingly on standby in case a grand getaway is needed by a lady decked out in diamonds, heels, a mink stole and an evening gown that probably cost more than the GDP of a small country. Sean Connery is the Captain of the yacht, naturally.


Public streets look like works of art. You don’t even want to drive. We found a seagull clearly accustomed to tourists perched very calmly on a ledge overlooking the Riviera, ready and waiting to pose for the inevitable #seagullselfie. I mean, I took a selfie with the seagull as well. I’m not a Neanderthal.

Pastel colours are what the fabulously wealthy wear, right dahling?

Pastel colours are what the fabulously wealthy wear, right dahling?

As close as I was willing to go

As close as I was willing to go


Monaco also has some extremely cool architecture. There’s the Monaco Oceanographic Museum (Musée Océanographique de Monaco) where the curator was once Jacques Cousteau! How incredibly cool is that? The man who defined marine conservation & exploration and made the world collectively fall in love with the sea once worked in that building.


Not too far from the museum is the Prison. Yep, you read that right. The PRISON is tucked into a hill, and it overlooks the French Riviera. It’ not all easy living though – there’s the other side that doesn’t overlook the ocean – some of the windows are blocked by vividly green trees and flowers that populate that section. Quelle horreur! Those poor prisoners! I don’t know if there’s supposed to be some deeper meaning to having the museum & jail both sharing the same view – maybe regardless of where we are, we’re imprisoned by the land? That the sea is the only true freedom?

Man, I wish there was a job where I could just sit and find the symbolism and metaphors in stuff all day. Maybe at the Jail?


Yep, that’s the French Riviera right behind that prime real estate spot…the Jail.

Anyway. So seagull, jail and museum apart, there are the more popular sights – the Grand Prix track, which we got to drive on, the Monte Carlo Casino, and the Café de Paris. We also got to see the Monaco Grand Palace and see the changing of the Guard. The atmosphere just feels like everyone is on holiday and the entire place is a street fair.

Just call me *insert popular race car driver's name here*

Just call me *insert popular race car driver’s name here*


I thought that a cocktail would be much more fitting for this post. Very James Bond-esque and all that. This is a French Monaco Cocktail and is surprisingly easy to put together, plus I’m up for any cocktail that has beer in it. Who says I can’t be girly?

I adapted this recipe from Saveur but changed 2 out of the 3 items – I substituted Grenadine for Pomegranate Syrup and since a certain husband of mine drank the Stella that we had in the fridge, I used Heineken. You can really use any beer you like.

French Monaco Cocktail

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 2 mins
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print

Adapted from Saveur


1 1/2 oz Grenadine Syrup

2 oz. Lemonade

8 oz. Beer (pale lager – I used Heineken)

Ice, for Cocktail Shaker


Add Lemonade & Syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake (not stir!) and strain into a glass. Top with Beer.

Another plus to making this? This is a pretty easy drink to put together when you’re at a party and want to show people that no, you’re not too far gone to make a cocktail, okay? And hell yes, you can recite the alphabet backwards…Z Y X…and, um…you know the rest…and so forth…V T W and all that. :/

Cambridge, Supermarket Addiction & the “I didn’t go to Brussels”…Sprouts

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I had planned a Brussels visit toward the end of the trip. I was going to visit my brother in Cambridge and then hop on the train to Brussels for the day. But the London Rail is a thing to be reckoned with, and my super awesome planning skills clashed with a rail strike. Seriously, it started the day I arrived and finished the day I left. I did not feel like battling on the train for almost 2 hours to London, then possibly having my Brussels train delayed or cancelled. So I decided to save whatever little money I had left and go bankrupt in Cambridge instead of Brussels.

I spent about a week in Cambridge with my brother, chilling and catching up on some much needed sleep. We watched the entire “Burning Love” series, which was hilariously fantastic by the way, and a good portion of “the League”. Once again I failed to find “Its always Sunny in Philadelphia” very funny. For a genius, my brother keeps holding on to this irrational hope that I’ll find it hilarious and brilliant one day. I still hold out hope that Joey will leave Pacey for Dawson so we all have our impossible dreams.

We did go out quite a bit as well. Cambridge is everything you’d imagine a University town to be – collegiate, cultured, lots of cafes, old stone buildings, tree-lined walkways and grassy squares with groups of people lounging about and discussing something that will probably make me feel like Penny in the Big Bang Theory. I did just feel smarter being in the town. Those Cambridge people also live life on the edge – there is also the constant threat of being hit down by a cyclist. I cannot stress how many bicycles there are in this town.


Apart from these near death experiences, we visited King’s Chapel, saw Kitchen Bridge where Stephen Hawking & Jane Wilde courted (and is most recently featured in the Theory of Everything), and saw the Cambridge version of the Bridge of Sighs, which apparently leads to exam rooms at the end of the semester. Ah, genius humour.

King's Chapel

King’s Chapel

We also went punting on the River Cam, which is a classic and cool Cambridge experience. Tourists, parents, friends, (we even saw a wedding party!) get to sit quite comfortably in a little boat and travel down the river with guides using only their sense of balance and a long stick to navigate. It’s quite entertaining to see people that are not guides choose to navigate – let’s call it an aquatic version of bumper cars.

This is what happens when you're so busy getting the perfect picture that you don't notice someone about to run into you :/

This is what happens when you’re so busy getting the perfect picture that you don’t notice someone about to run into you :/

Generally, my brother tends to describe (apparently) odd things that I do as very “Indi”. So staying home one morning to wait for an Amazon delivery of the best cookies I have ever tasted in my life? Very Indi (and very worth it!). Geocaching? Indi. Listen to a guy performing in the square then finding him on Facebook to see if he has an album out? Indi. Leaving me for a second in the liquor aisle and coming back to find me in the same aisle with two new dinner plates in my basket? Indi. Going to a different supermarket to browse every single day? VERY Indi. One day we went twice. Don’t blame me. Blame my parents and grandparents. And ok, blame me a little. But I mean seriously, how can one resist the nearby Farmer’s Market, Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer? If I lived there I’d probably never spend my money on anything else.

Another “very Indi” thing is that when I travel, I get the urge to cook and try different ingredients that you wouldn’t normally get in Guyana (or is super expensive). I love restaurants, don’t get me wrong, and we went to our share of those, but I love the feeling of inspiration I inevitably get whenever I’m in the supermarket. It’s like crack to me. I pick up all these weird combos of stuff and can’t wait to go home and make it or eat it. How can you resist the impossibly cute vegetables in the produce aisle? I listened when the baby Brussels sprouts called out to me. Then I listened again when the cherries, zucchini, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and 3 types of lettuce greens called out to me as well. You can call me the Vegetable Whisperer. I don’t mind.

We generally ate at home in the mornings, a wonderful combo of fruits and veggies and hummus – a tub of which was somehow destroyed by yours truly in less than a week. Coffee was made by my brother in a cafetière (what a showoff). We usually ate out at lunch and dinner was either me cooking, or a guilty purchase, knowing that we had leftovers in the fridge. Our greatest triumph was ordering food online while we were out and having it arrive literally 5 minutes after we got home. These are honestly the little joys that I live for.

One night we decided to make dinner and clear out the remaining untouched veggies (basically brussels sprouts) in the fridge, partially because I wanted to cook, and also because nothing else could really fit in the fridge. I admit, I have made this dish for breakfast in the past, and it actually works as the first meal of the day. Have the Brussels sprouts with scrambled eggs and you’re good to good for the morning. It’s an incredibly simple recipe that I came up with a while back. I don’t know why people say that brussels sprouts are disgusting. I’ve never come across a green vegetable that I didn’t like except okra, but come on – the okra fan club is pretty small isn’t it?

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This is also a really simple side dish and is very low maintenance. You want the sprouts to get a little burned. It gives it that charred, BBQ-y vibe without too much effort.

I didnt go to Brussels...Sprouts

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: less than 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3 cups mini Brussels Sprouts (regular sprouts will work as well)
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/3 – 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 1/2 tbsp. Olive Oil

Cut Brussels sprouts in half lengthways. If using regular sized sprouts, cut into quarters. Warm Olive oil in a skillet, and swirl the pan around to make sure the oil is somewhat evenly distributed. Place Brussels spouts cut side down and season with 1/4 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp black pepper. Cover and let cook on medium heat for one minute. Remove cover and let cook for another minute.

Stir sprouts (you do not need to keep it facedown at this point), season with remaining salt & pepper and let char for another minute or two. Keep a close watch to make sure sprouts do not char beyond your desired texture. Add cheese to skillet, stir to distribute evenly. Let cook for another minute until sprouts are crispy and cheese bits are melted.

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In summary: Cambridge is great. The intricate history of each building, the collegiate rivalries, the eclectic combination of students, distinguished professors and parents glowing with pride fills the air with a calm frenzy and makes you ask yourself on more than one occasion – “London Who?”