Canada Cupcake Café

About a year ago, I had for the first time come across the website Workaway.

The concept is simple: people all over the world offer food and accomodation, or sometimes just accomodation, in exchange for a few hours of work every day. I had idly browsed the website, between helping in farms in New Zealand, or pubs in Ireland, or hostels in Ibiza, or babysitting in Brazil… but I was on the track to domestic life, at that time, so the workaway experience had been filed among those things that I would no longer have the chance to do.

So, after the life-earthquake, I went and opened an account on the website.

And that is how I somehow ended up in Alicante, Spain, helping out the owners of the lovely Canada Cupcake Café!

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Shawn and Arthur are lovely, friendly and easygoing. They moved to Alicante from Canada a couple of years ago and opened this bakery/café, where they also hold weekly ‘language exchange’ nights, and are full of ideas and plans for future initiatives. I help out in the Café before opening and after closing time – cleaning, doing the washing up, setting the chairs and tables outside. I love hanging out in Shawn’s kitchen – all those tiny instruments and colorful icing are spellbinding, and I look at them curiously as I wash them veery carefully, wiping all traces of yummy sugary icing, and melted chocolate, and ice cream…

So far, my favourite have been the carrot & ginger ice cream – YUM! – and the chocolate vanilla cupcake, paired with a nice Iced caramel Macchiato… which I now know not to stir before drinking as it makes it much yummier, thank you Shawn for the tip :). I have now spotted an Oreos cupcake in the shop window. I have a feeling tomorrow it will be mine…

Check out pictures of their yummy cupcakes on their FB page...

I also am in charge of groceries and dinner, and since Shawn and Arthur are vegetarian, I found myself with an interesting challenge – while I’m not a huge meat eater, I do tend to have some cold cuts or a bit of fish or chicken with most meals. And I confess, most of the veggie cooking is done by my wonderfully talented grandma! Balancing proteins and making sure the meal is complete just with vegetables is something I never really had to think about before, but I think – according to my hosts’ comments 😉 – that I’m doing pretty well!

The meals so far have been:

– rice with zucchini and sautéed mushrooms with spinach and cheese on the side;

– potato-and-cheese croquettes with beans, onion and tomatoes salad;

– potato omelette, onion omelette, sautéed mushrooms;

– quinoa with broccoli plus carrots cooked with butter and garlic;

And for tonight I have made from scratch burgers of mashed lentils, carrots, onions and a sprinkling of curry, and they’ll be served in bread buns with salad and a garlicky yoghurt sauce. Nom! It was a bit of a fight… first the blender wouldn’t comply, getting clogged with all the lentils. Then the burgers would refuse to remain in one piece when I put them in the pan, crumbling. Then they just wouldn’t cook properly, remaining either half burned and half raw… phew! I’m glad to report that a good sprinkling of breadcrumbs did the trick and held the burgers together. I still have a ton of boiled lentils in the fridge – I wonder whatever shall I do with them? Any ideas?

I wanted to tell you all more about Alicante and about the other exciting workaway plans I have lined up, but it’s time to get back to translating. I am way behind on work, which annoys me to no end. 2014 had started out so well in terms of productivity, for me – finally at home, stable, able to focus on my work! But alas, it was not meant to be. Back to work, then, and tomorrow I shall have an Oreos cupcake as a reward!

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