I am Carmen, or by my friends, CarmenCita.
I am originally from Calabria, a sunny place in the South of Italy.
I left home in 2015 with a backpack full of dreams. After three years in Dublin and a few months volunteering and backpacking around Central America, I settled in Bristol, where I live today.
I love books, nature and travels and my backpack and trekking shoes are always at hand, anticipating the next adventure.
I love cooking and I strongly believe that food is the fuel we need to keep our body and mind healthy. I also believe that our eating habits determine the life and future of our planet and of all the generations to come.
For this reason, I started my own peaceful revolution whose manifesto is that “Eating without causing the exploitation of animals, vulnerable populations and the Planet, it’s possible and delicious!”
Spending most of my childhood in the kitchen with my mother and great-grandmother, my passion for homemade food grew as part of my identity. There’s something extra special about women in the South of Italy and their relationship with food: there is no measuring of ingredients and everything is cooked from scratch. It’s their love for food that pours into each dish that makes it so tasty and special!
My love of cooking lay dormant until I moved to university. There, I started cooking for my flatmates where each meal was a feast and I soon realised that cooking for others is my way to express my love for them.
My passion flourished when I decided to go plant-based as it opened up a whole new world of ingredients and flavours that I had never before explored. My appreciation for all the delicious veggie-based recipes that had been part of my childhood grew even more!
The idea of creating my own blog has always been in the back of my mind, but I kept procrastinating because “I was too busy”. Then the pandemic happened and I had no excuse, so in May 2020 The Cooking Flea was born.
I initially thought it would be just a hobby and that I would share recipes in my spare time, mainly on social media, but it turned out to be a lot more than that. It takes quite some time, passion and effort to cook, film, photograph, write and post recipes, but hey, I enjoy it!
The aim of the blog is to share simple, easy and affordable plant-based recipes with fresh and seasonal ingredients that can be found in supermarkets or local markets and that anyone can cook.
At some point though, I felt that the blog was not enough and deep inside of me there was a voice suggesting that I should take the next step further and share my culinary creations with people in real life.
Nothing makes me happier than having guests around my table enjoying homemade food, sharing laughs and chit chats. After all, for us Italian, eating is an act of sharing and it’s all about the “convivialità”.
With this in mind, I decided to open the doors of my kitchen to the public and in February 2022 I launched The Cooking Flea Supper Club. I am loving this journey and every week I look forward to tying up my apron, ready to welcome new guests.
In the meantime, I’ve also attended a vegan cookery school and obtained a Level 2 Vegan Diploma to improve my skills and to take my knowledge and creations to the next level.
I have so many projects brewing; they’re all about creating and sharing a more compassionate and cruelty-free way of eating.
I am not here to convert anyone to a plant-based lifestyle, because forcing others it’s not the way it works. I believe we need to be open and kind to each other and understand that each one of us is different. As long as we are aware of the consequences caused by the food we choose to eat and make an effort to have more plant-based meals, then that’s definitely better than nothing at all!
In this place and in my kitchen, there’s no space for hate or violence: I won’t talk about the conditions animals live in nor judge you for your choices which may be different than mine. My way of doing activism is through delicious recipes. Food is my language. That’s it.
Thanks for reading thus far. I hope you enjoy my recipes and if you try any of them or if you join our supper club, don’t forget to tag me on your social media.