Mexico

Mi Vida en La Selva


Getting some vitamin D on the dock, surrounded by clean fresh water and mangrove jungle.

¡Hola amigos! Been thinking of you all, from my little jungle casita by the lake in the southern Yucatan peninsula, Mexico. My partner and I have been getting by quite nicely, living off the grid without a car. Of course there are many challenges, like: getting ice and food, getting online, getting to town generally - which means catching a ride with a neighbor, the hot and humid +35C (and rising) days, the voracious insects: biting flies, mosquitos, hoards of ants, scorpions, tarantulas...  Otherwise, life is splendid and serene out here. Here are a few random travel pics to enjoy.


Fantastic feast at our favourite family-run restaurant in Cozumel: fresh fish with garlic, enchiladas with chocolaty mole, guacamole, hamaica to drink (hisbiscus flower ice tea)... ricisimo riquisimo! (Spanish for very rich/delicious!)


Mmm, more guacamole. The avocados here are buttery and divine. We make variations of guacamole, depending on what we have available. Additions include: lime, salt, garlic, onion, jalapeno, cilantro.


Sapote. This fruit is new to me: peachy flesh that's delicious, mild, soft and sweet. Great in an agua de fruta (a blend of fruit with some water and ice).


One of my favourite sweet treats is this chocolate amaranth cookie. They have a lot of amaranth treats out here in the Yucatan, though they are hard to find in the rural areas. I stock up when I go to the city.


Two Yucatecan molcajetes (mortars) - one for sweet spices, the other for savoury. I had to venture to the city (the old market of Chetumal) to find stone (piedra) molcajetes (they're actually cement). I'm not sure why these are always shaped like dogs pigs down here.


Lovely local spices: cinnamon, star anise, allspice, black pepper, cloves - ready to be pulverised in the molcajete. These are some of the flavours I've been adding to my thick spicy hot chocolates. I'll share my recipe when it's just right - or when I'm back online, and in civilization. Sigh.

Hasta pronto!
See you soon!

PS - I've noticed a lot of new visitors checking out my blog - hi, welcome, and thanks for all the great feedback! It's truly a pleasure connecting with other healthy fine foodies out there.

Photos: Thanks for the pic of me on the dock, our Cozumel feast, and the sapote Crispin - te amo!

¡Bienvenidos a la jungla!


Every day, we devour stellar tropical fruit salads made with fresh local pineapple, papaya, bananas, mangos - or whatever's in season.

Greetings from the jungle! I'm in a little cafe with wifi in town right now, and have 5 minutes to post this, so here goes. I'm having a fantastic time and learning so much about nature in the tropics, and how to live off the grid here in Mexico. Cooking with all the fresh local ingredients is a joy. I've even managed to bake-up some sweet healthy treats in the frying pan - stay tuned for Steamed Banana Cakes with Chocolate Black Bean Paste... It's fun being creative and resourceful out here.

¡Disfruta! (Enjoy!)
Patty


La cocina. (The kitchen). We managed to borrow most of the wares, including the "fridge" and gas stove from generous neighbours who had extra stuff.


Vanilla custard rice pudding with papaya pan-seared in butter with freshly toasted pepitas.

piña con tequila, limon y sal

I´m currently off the grid, on a lovely tropical lake, surrounded by jungle in the Southern Yucatan, Mexico. My posts will be very sporadic for the next little while... I´ve been experimenting with the wonderful fresh local ingredients down here - here´s a sweet little recipe:

One lovely (and simple) way to enjoy fresh pineapple (which is abundant in these parts) is this:

piña con tequila, limon y sal
(pineapple with tequila, lime, and salt)

cut a fresh pineapple into large bite-sized chunks
place in a shallow serving bowl (or plate)
sprinkle with 1 shot of fine sipping tequilla (choose a reposado, or añejo)
squeeze the juice of 1 small lime all over
sprinkle a bit of fresh sea salt on top
enjoy right away!

...and be sure to drink the juice that´s left in the bowl after. :)

Sweet Treats from the Merida Market

I'm back on the grid and enjoying the island life and food in Cozumel: fresh fish, pineapple, papayas, avocados - I was made to eat like this. I also started an intensive Spanish course here, so I'll be inserting little bits of it into my blog entries...

Not too long ago, I visited the big beautiful bustling colonial city of Merida. The highlight for me was the enormous Yucatecan market. (That's me in the market surrounded by spices, seeds, fruit, honey... Thanks for the photo Crispin!) Local goods from pineapples to machetes to sandals made from old tires are all for sale in this vibrant downtown market. To me it felt like a curios mix of Mayan, Mexican, Cuban, and Spanish. (Martha Stewart has some great pics from the same market here.) Here are a few of my scores:

Pumpkin seed marzipan (Mazapan de pepita). As far as I know, this is a Yucatecan specialty. They shape and colour it to look like miniature corn cobs, hot peppers, and other produce. Some pieces are dusted with wonderfully aromatic cinnamon (canela). Amazing to nibble on while sipping a dark coffee or espresso.

Another score from the confection stand were these 3 sweet treats (left to right): toasted pepitas with sugar and honey, toasted amaranth with raisins and seeds and nuts, pepita nougat. I'm not sure what these are called - so please let me know if you do - but they are all incredibly delicious. (Since they're packed with healthy stuff like pepitas and amaranth, they're pretty good for you too!)

More to come mañana... ;) Stay warm amigos!

In the Tropics

I've been off the grid, somewhere in Mexico for the last couple of weeks enjoying the jungle, beaches, and aromatic Mayan honey - si si! Tropical posts coming once I'm back in civilization...

The Noble Pineapple


photo by Ian Britton

As a child, I have fond memories of eating fresh sweet juicy pineapple on the beaches of Southern Spain. Young gypsies were selling it, walking on the hot sands yelling "brrrrrrrrr pina!". I still love scoring a beautiful fragrant pineapple :-)

While visiting Mexico last winter, we would buy it from women selling it at the side of the highways, who would offer it to you as you crept over the massive speed-bumps designed to slow-down vehicles near towns. The women included a little pouch of chili spice to sprinkle on the fruit: I highly recommend eating fresh pineapple with chili spice!

Recently, I've rediscovered pineapple and have been enjoying it almost every day. First, it's a gorgeous thing, and I love spotting a particularly nice one at the fruit stand, bringing it home, and then staring at it for a day or two. Next, cutting it up is quite satisfying and easy to do - my partner usually gets to do this. Finally the booty: sweet fragrant juicy fruit! Besides being awesome tasting, pineapple is very healthy, full of vitamin C, manganese, and the enzyme bromelain that helps you digest protein - this is why it's particularly good with fish and meat.

Bonus: the noble pineapple happens to be the food of the week on the world's healthiest foods.

I will post some super pineapple recipes next...

Happy New Year!


On top of the world at Calakmul.

Happy New Year!

For my first post of 2008 I would like to share some highlights from the past year, and let you know what's percolating for this year. 2007 was a productive adventurous year for me, and for pattycake.ca.

goat suckers

sweet goat suckersucculent suckers - goat milk caramel from Mexico

Goat milk caramel lollipops from Mexico. These are awesome. They only have 4 ingredients: goat milk, sugar, corn syrup, and salt.

Healthy Mexican Treats

Honey Candy
Sweet hard honey candies with sesame seeds: mmm

Check out these fine treats I scored from a little grocery store in Puerto Morellos, Mexico.

happy birthday to me!


it's my birthday!

Just returned from fabulous Mexico - and it was just my birthday too :-) Here's the beautiful cake I made for the occasion: a superb Mexican Dark Chocolate Torte with Honey Vanilla Marshmallow Icing. The cake was a hit: striking and delicious.

Curious about the shirt? So was I when I bought it in the Mayan town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, not knowing anything about Maria Sabina other than she was obviously an important woman... actually she was a shaman!