Travel and Cooking – The Memory Catchers


I have to confess, over the last decade, wherever we traveled to, we’ve developed a habit of bringing back the food which natives eat and feed their loved ones. Spices from India, salt from Nepal, halvah from Turkey, tomatoes, aubergines, saffron, olive oil and oils from Morocco, artichokes from Spain, wine from France and Spain, coffee from Colombia, jasmine, chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, oranges, pepper and spices from Jordan and dried yogurt from beloved Syria and Israel and the list goes on…


This time we will leave the country with a suitcase full of avocados, tomatoes, onions, beetroots, mace, amaranth, salt, Peruvian cherimoya, star fruit, Pitahayas, and limes. Trust me, some of the names above I had to copy from notes written by women trading near to San Pedro market in Cusco. They asked us to buy as much as we can so that we could preserve all the good memories from Inca Valley. And that’s what we’re doing now (simultaneously testing my suitcase expandable capacities). Making preserves, putting things in small containers, jars, and bags and placing them in drawers allows me to keep places and people I met in my memory. Later, when I open kitchen cupboards, all the aromas conquer the house. Thanks to all these culinary purchases, we often make friends and these friendships last for years. In Peru, we met Vanessa, Jenny’s niece who’s the owner of a juice stand in San Pedro market. I will write about her soon. Meanwhile, I invite you to a thick tomato soup with avocado. As you know,  we’re carrying a suitcase packed with tomatoes and avocados which would feed half of my district.


Recipe: Prepare broth as if you were to make any standard soup. Put one chopped avocado, four cloves of garlic and a tablespoon of sugar cane into the pan and brown it a bit. Once the color is right, add a kilo of fresh tomatoes (use canned tomatoes if you’re short of fresh ones). Then season it all with pepper, salt and some chilli (you can also add oregano). Then mix the pan content with the broth and blend it together.

Take another avocado and if you do it Costa Rican style put one-half in the bowl or if Peruvian style is to be applied, cut it into cubes and also place in the bowl. Pour the soup. Lastly, you can sprinkle the top with some cheese (sybarite option). Do remember to get a few drops of lime juice and olive oil. Et voila!


You can go for vivid young Italian red with good acidity like a Rosso di Montalcino for a good finish.

rosso montalcino
I also have a recipe for a quinoa soup and a Peruvian chicken soup. Need to share it with you one day.

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