Boy do I have some exciting news to share with you today! By now you know that cooking is one of my greatest passions. One of the reasons I simply felt I had to start this blog was precisely that. In spite of having day job completely unrelated to food, from the moment I wake up to the moment my head hits the pillow, I’m constantly thinking about testing out a new recipe, how to improve what I just cooked for lunch, about crazy flavor combinations that pop into my head, and most definitely, simple cooking tips, tricks and combinations I can share with all my wonderful readers. This blog was just bursting out of me when I started it, and it still is, almost two years after the first post went live.
This amazing love for food and cooking was instilled in me pretty early on, since I come from a family of not only amazing home cooks, but of die hard food fans. I know what you’re thinking, everyone’s a fan of food. Well, in my family it was practically an olympic sport. Nowhere else (at least in my small perspective of the world back then) were dishes and dishes of potato latkes made just to test out the perfect method for crispness. Nowhere else were omelette flipping techniques practiced just like you practice your charts before your piano teacher arrives. In spite of all of this, cooking had nothing on eating. We Sujo’s ate at mealtimes, after mealtimes, in between mealtimes, had scheduled afternoon tea with pastries (and we weren’t British!), and elaborate dinner parties and snacks. Ever since I was a little girl, kitchens equalled love, time spent together, and lots and lots of food. Thinking about this got me browsing old photo albums last weekend to see if I was remembering things correctly.
I think you’ve seen this one in a previous post, but come on! My pijamas match the donuts! A whole tray of home cooked mini donuts with strawberry pink icing just for me. Baking was definitely my initiation into cooking as a teeny weeny child, probably because kids can easily bake something yummy without using an open flame or a knife. My mother was constantly creating baking projects for me to help her with.
With that in mind, I had a serious obsession with Hansel and Gretel for years, and one day my mother took my favorite book and told me: ‘we’re doing it!’. Doesn’t it look remarkably similar? I must have been five years old when we made this, and I can remember that day so clearly! I was so excited, it was as if someone had laced my kool-aid with something naughty.
Yes, you bet we got to eat it. We invited all our neighbors and we hacked into that poor house!
Then came a tradition that would start around that age and continue until the year my mother passed. The baking and hand painting of our famous Christmas angel cookies. This was a process that took days and days, and everyone who came over to our house had to decorate at least one no matter how terrible their drawing techniques were. Each angel cookie was as deserving as the next. Bet you can guess who painted the one with the baby in the front and center of the photo, who looks like they’ve just told her that The Newsroom got cancelled (was that just me?! I’m still upset over it!). When all the cookies were ready, we wrapped them up in pretty packages and gave them away as presents.
Fast forward through many years of brownie baking, the invention of the crazy caterpillar cookie (more on that story in this post), and many more sweet treats, until we reach the first savory dish I ever learned how to cook: sushi! Sounds too advanced? Sushi is actually all about assembly and pretty easy to master once you learn how to cook the rice. The truth is I was 15, and sushi was my mother’s absolute favorite dish on the planet. One of my high school friends had taken a class and I asked her to teach me how to make it. After many crazy and failed attempts I finally got better at it. I was around 17 by then and it happened just in time for my mom’s birthday, for which I planned a whole party and made sushi for over 30 people! By then I knew it. I had fallen in love with savory cooking, and the journey was just beginning. I have never stopped cooking since then.
When I was 18 I met the man who is now my husband. He had, and still has, a total sweet tooth. That meant both savory and sweet treats would have a spot in my mother’s kitchen, then my own kitchen, and then our kitchen.
Here I was during the first winter after moving to Spain, teaching my little cousin how to cook gnocchi. She stood on a stool and was very serious and focused the whole time which almost made me cry out of sheer cuteness! For me, cooking equals family and family memories have always happened around the kitchen or the table.
Something magical happened though, the moment I became vegan. It was as if every recipe I had done in the past was just a trial run for what I now feel is the most fun and natural way of cooking: cooking with plants. If you think I cooked a lot back then, you should know that I’m minutes away from putting a bed in my kitchen and/or a kitchen in my bedroom. The wonderful adventure of using completely basic ingredients that come from the earth, and turning them into mouthwatering family favorites is truly special. I have now officially become obsessed with vegan cooking and baking.
Did you guess it already? It’s time for me to tell you what my big big news is. Are you ready?!
Tomorrow, I embark on a six month culinary adventure, studying a professional plant based certification cooking course through the amazing and innovative system that is revolutionizing cooking schools around the world: Rouxbe. The lack of vegan cooking schools in Spain had put a little black cloud over my dream of going to culinary school someday, but thanks to Rouxbe, I will be able to study under some of the most influential vegan chefs in the US, and complete a professional program backed by the ACF (American Culinary Federation) even from a distance. Of course, you’re coming with me on this adventure as I share stories from my kitchen over the next few months, and hopefully, after I’ve completed it, you’ll have an even bigger surprise in store, but that’s still in the works and a story for a later time. Rest assured, exciting things are coming!
Here’s the last photo I want to share with you. The photo of the birthday cake I had on every single one of my birthdays for years and years. A very rich pistachio and chocolate cake with a little pink rose on top. I can still remember the taste and texture when I close my eyes, and I’ve never eaten a cake that even came close to that incredible flavor. Sadly, I also never got the chance to ask my mom where she used to buy it before she passed. I have never been able to have it again, and my mission, and I have chosen to accept it, is to create the perfect pistachio and chocolate cake after I’ve received my extensive six month training. I’m calling it my “celebrate-I-finished-a-professional-vegan-cooking-course without-ever-studying-cooking- before-and-I’m-not-sure-I-can-do-it-but-I-will-cake”. How about that?! Is this whole thing exciting or what? I’m taking you along for the ride folks! Posts might be a little shorter and more photo and story based, but they’ll keep coming while I embark on my little vegan culinary adventure. After that, you guessed it! You’ll have a lot of vegan food coming your way.
Yes, if the cake is successful, you’ll be the first to get the recipe!