Barcelona

eat, see & do!

estamos en barcelona!! 

that's spanish for "we're in barcelona (and i'm suuper excited about it)". or at least we were in barcelona, we arrived in madrid earlier this afternoon. barcelona was beautiful and i can't wait to go back there for a night before we fly back to australia again in a few weeks. we've done a lot of stuff here (hence the insane amount of photos in this blog post) and you'll find a list of eats, sees and dos down below. 

it's been a long time since i've been on this space (hello, i've missed you!) but it feels good to be back at blogging again. i needed the break a bit to regroup as well as focus on school which is absolutely crazy at the moment, or was rather - thank god for school holidays. 

i think probably the highlight from our first week in spain has been that a) spain is absolutely gorgeous and b) that my calves have been shaping up nicely due to the amount of walking we did in barcelona. i went on the metro twice (!!) and once was to catch the metro to sants estacion to leave town for madrid. ooh and the fact that all the gaudi stuff is really curvy and colourful, hellooo mosaic tiles. 

i can speak spanish (ish) but i've been enjoying listening to the lovely accent that the catalan people speak english with. my most commonly used phrases in barcelona were : donde estan los banos (where are the bathrooms??), un cafe con leche de soya por favor (soy latte please!!!!!!) and tapas!! tapas!! tapas!! (small plates of food!! small plates of food!! more small plates of food!!). 

okay this is a food blog and i love lists, so onto the lists of food! or at least some of it...

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eat

lunch at federal cafe - gothic quarter (barrio gΓ³tico). one of three australian run cafes in barcelona all by the same name, with a great atmosphere and a wide menu selection (um helloooo breakfast that runs into early afternoon :D).  waiters speak english so language wasn't an issue, and the coffee was some of the best we had in the city. the food was great - i went for the poached eggs with avo and crusty bread!!! read more about federal cafe in barcelona here for a full review or here for their website. 

gelato around the corner from the sagrada familia. i had strawberry, tom had cookies and cream! it was delicious and creamy and very refreshing on a hot afternoon. walk down av. de gaudi and it's the light blue store at the end with a whole cabinet full of dairy-free choices!

seafood paella filled with chorizo, prawns and the most delicious sauce. the waiter dished it up straight from the pan right in front of me which meant i got all the delicious caramelised bits on the bottom as well! this delicious dinner was off passeig de gracia in el nacional's seafood restaurant called la llotja

the paella was followed up with selections of nougatoh gosh my mouth had never tasted anything more delectable. the only sad thing was that i was too full to eat all of it. 

we returned to el nacional to try their tapas restaurant called la taperia  a few nights later where we just about ate our body weights in tapas. there was red tuna tapas, lightly fried calamari tapas, seafood and bean salad, pork belly in sauce, meatballs and cuttlefish...the list goes on.  

coffee and a croissant from ququ on passeig de gracia on our first morning in barcelona. croissant was a little flaky, but the atmosphere of the place was really nice, sitting outside on the street in the shade, watching the cars go by, listening to people yapping in spanish. 

gluten and dairy free donut from this cute little all gluten-free and mostly dairy-free cafe!! we spent a long time looking for it but boy oh boy! was it worth the walking :D i giggled when i walked in and had to ask the lady at the counter three times in two languages if the foods really all were dairy-free. then she giggled (probably at my bewilderment) so we giggled together over donuts. the place was called patesseria jansana

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see

la sagrada familia in the northern part of the city. it's a still-under-construction-but-looks-like-a-majestic-forest church that's unlike anything i've ever seen before. there's a towery thing at the top and rainbow windows. we went in and saw the view and climbed down precarious looking windy stairs. it's set to be finished in 2026, so i joked with dad that we'll have to go back in ten years to see what the complete basilica looks like! (get the audioguide! and book your tickets the day before!)

all of picasso's beautiful paintings in the picasso museum (get an audioguide cos otherwise you'd have no idea what you're looking at.....unless you're very well read on picasso in which case i tip my fedora at you *curtseys*). but! make sure you go there in the morning (try ten o'clock) because spain is a bit sleepy in the morning so things don't really start happening until about ten thirty. by getting to all the museums etc... relatively soon after they open, you skip all the queues! here's the link. 

see the roman wall in the gothis quarter which parts of were built in the fourth century (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). have your mind appropriately blown by it's age, and then wonder how many people have seen that wall before you did. 

the gaudi houses! we saw casa batllo (and we went inside!) and walked around casa mila (a.k.a. la predrera). casa batllo was so pretty and the windows were amazing! my favourite part though, was the mushroom fireplace. i think we'll be needing one of those upstairs outside my bedroom. i'll have to add it to the christmas list. 

the inexplicable amount of pigeons in place de la cataluyna??? then go to the shops. 

la cathedral! the big one! right in the middle! but hide the miniskirts cos they're strict on that. also wave to the geese/swans (i wasn't sure, but they honked?!) as you enter via the side entrance. cheer loudly if there are two little men singing opera outside the side exit, and give them big smiles for me. 

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do

meander around park guell and think "those houses look like they're made of gingerbread iced for fairies" and also wonder if you can diy a cookie (or three) to look like the mosaic tiles with the limited art skills you have. but maybe book your tickets online the day before because the session times that you can buy for as you arrive often are a few hours later than you want. 

get asked a bajillion times to take some strangers photo (hello random people! you were all so nice!) because you have a dslr in your hand. also decide that a bajillion is an appropriate unit of measure for quantity. 

get lost in the metro stations, get un-lost, and then save your poor little toes from walking around the city all the days by buying a ten trip ticket and taking the air conditioned metro everywhere!

do some more meandering through the gothic quarter and find the rubber ducky shop! 

go to fnac. my family loves fnac. i love fnac. go fnac!

rent bikes and ride along the beach! stop for lunch at one of the restaurants, have some tapas and ride back to *home base* via the arc de triomf and the big park. we ate at the restaurant with many colours and hanging baskets as lights. the tapas were large serves, but delicious and satisfying after the closest thing to proper exercise i'd had in over a week.

frolic down la rambla all the way to the beach, but stop to look at the mercado de la boqueria on your way down! but maybe only buy snacks there (like olives! jamon! fresh fruit!) as the seafoody lunch offers tended to be overpriced for tourists.   


so that's a wrap on barcelona! we're in madrid at the moment (do you have any madrid recs? is there another ducky store here??!!?) so i'll tell you all about our time there soon. but for now it's time for my siesta so byeee! 

- jess (which in spanish is pronounce hess)

Vegan Chocolate Popsicles #PopsicleWeek

what an exciting week!! bloggers all over the world come together to make popsicles of all different colours and flavours!! (want the list? check this link here!). i'm so into it.

it feels very counter intuitive to be eating popsicles at this time of year, especially since it's been grey and gloomy all week. but - exciting times ahead because school holidays started this weekend!!  yay! i can't tell you how long i have waited for this mid-year break, i think most students would tell you that they are so exhausted right now *slurps tea* tea has caffeine in it right?!?!?

i thought that this week i'd give you all a bit of an insight into how i plan make a recipe here on ALA, so i'm gonna walk you through the popsicle planning process! 

it began with planning a breakfast berry option - before remembering how annoying getting frozen berries to not taste icy after re-freezing them is *gah*, so in the trash that idea went. i then moved onto contemplating a raspberry lemonade situation, before remembering the great raspberry lemonade overdose of 2009 and thinking that i've still got at least 2 years before i don't break into a sweat at the thought of the stuff. 

to be honest i had to have a sit down and a cup of tea after that. 

i then proceeded to imagine a tea flavoured one - perhaps matcha? - but then remembered that i've used matcha here, here and here already on ALA. the thought of green matcha led me to green smoothies and hey how about a green smoothie popsicle! i asked a friend at this point (i thought i'd made serious ground here) and she said jess people h8 green smoothies in liquid form and now you want to feed them frozen kale and spinach on a stick????????.

so i made another cup of tea. 

a few slurps, some marshmallows and an episode of OINTB later, i decided to ditch the greens and stick with the smoothie idea. how about oats, peanut butter and banana? apple and raspberry? orange and strawberries? mixed berries? no...wait....i got it: a vegan breakfasty popsicle. oats, banana, cacao and some awesome chocolate almond milk with some cheeky goji berries. 

so i tested it. and tested it. and tested it some more. and finally we have a beautiful recipe for you all!!! yay!! 

these popsicles are vegan, but i used honey to sweeten as a personal preference. agave syrup is a great substitute if it suits you better. if goji berries aren't your thing, some awesome alternatives are nuts (peanuts! hazelnuts! almonds!), seeds (chia seeds! sesame seeds! pumpkin seeds!), coconut and dried raspberries.  


vegan chocolate popsicles

{makes 4 popsicles}

ingredients

1/4 c rolled oats

2 ripe bananas

1 1/2 tsp raw cacao powder

1 tb  honey (or agave syrup for vegan option)

100 ml chocolate almond milk

50g dark chocoalte, melted

1 tb goji berries (optional)

method

blend all the ingredients together until smooth. divide the mix evenly between the popsicle mold containers. add the sticks to each popsicle and freeze for between  1 1/2 - 2 hours.

remove the popsicles from the molds and drizzle them with chocolate. sprinkle some goji berries if desired and serve immediately. 


want more popsicle goodness? use the hashtag #popsicleweek on your socials to find other cool bloggers and recipes! 

thanks to almond breeze for sending me the milk used in this post. find the link here!

Weekend Drinks: Pineapple & Lime Smoothie

it's been deliciously foggy and cloudy here lately and whilst i was driving this morning i could have sworn the leaves and wind and rain was going to wooosh! me away (it didn't, thankfully). my chai late flavoured candle has officially been burnt meaning that *coughs* the cold is officially here. along with the cold has come the rain, thicker blankets and my musky perfume because i read somewhere once that being chic meant having winter and summer musks. and no we don't call them scents we call them musks. because apparently i'm a chic lady now.

anyway, i decided that in the midst of the grey i'd make a tropical smoothie for those of us who'd like to be somewhere warmer. or maybe you are somewhere warm at the moment (aka, the northern hemisphere). it's full of pineapple and lime and a teeeeensy bit of coconut for that i'm on an island* vibe. now i love the cold and the chai lattes and the coats, but sometimes, when the rare cravings strike - tropical fruit is the only solution. 

*naturally, of course, all my islands are warm. and have coconuts

pineapple, i think, is one of the most misunderstood fruits. most people run a mile because it's high maintenance, spiky and doesn't let home-made jelly set. but, if you give it a chance, pineapple can really show it's stuff. it's tangy and sweet and light all at the same time. it's bright and happy and makes you happy too! (have you ever seen a sad person eating pineapple? me neither). 

you'll notice that i didn't strain or juice the pineapple, rather blended it straight into the smoothie as chunks. this will mean that you need to consume the smoothie immediately or alternatively stir up the solid/liquid sediments with time. the reason that i blended the pineapple as a whole was to prevent the loss of fibre (this is why i prefer smoothies to juices). you can read more about the benefits of fibre and how they affect the way your body processes sugar here. for the purposes of this recipe, juicing it would work just as well - if pulp isn't your thing. i used chilled water, as the pineapple is quite chunky to begin with, but if you prefer thicker smoothies, adding ice would work just as well (i've listed a quantity in the recipe for you down below). enjoy! 


Pineapple & Lime Smoothie

{serves 2.....or one very thirsty food blogger}

ingredients

approx 500g fresh pineapple

1 lime

60 ml chilled water or 1/4 c ice cubes

2 tsp shredded coconut

method

juice the lime and chop the pineapple into small cubes. add all the ingredients (except the pineapple) into a blender. blend until smooth. 

split the mixture between two glasses (or pour into one tall glass) and sprinkle with coconut. stir before drinking & serve immediately! 


- jess x