Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Never having enough of Sweet and Sara Marshmallows

the little package with the lovely sweets
I tried as much as possible to keep the bowl out of sight
The sponsorship generously offered by Need Sweets is one of the most delicious opportunity I had by far. Don't hurry up to conclude that such a promotional opening line is understandable because they covered me in marshmallows and I lost the journalistic direction.

My version of the truth is that: I love marshmallows - I even considered once to prepare my own marshmallows following a recipe I've seen once - and I have already a good experience of tasting marshmallows and deciding what is like and what not. And Sweet and Sara, vegan, kosher with hechsher the International Kosher Council (I personally do not know too much about them, except that they gave authorization to not a few restaurants in Brooklyn), are delicious. Only thinking about them and my mouth is watering.

Shortly after the marvellous little box arrived at my door - very very fast delivery, by the way - and after I tasted curiously one white delicious marshmallow, my obsession was how to maintain them in my kitchen at least for a short treat in the evening and as part of the rich breakfast in the morning. The recommendation is to consume them within six weeks of purchase.

My first move was to arrange them in a nice bowl and to taste only one of the three types: the white ones (number one favourite), the coconut (number one favourite) ones and those with a delicate jam feeling (favourite as well). Once the tasting and the photo shooting were done, I kept them at the room temperature and tried to have a short sleep before the early morning breakfast.

Sweet childhood memories
The lovely marshmallows offered me the opportunity to turn an old passion from my childhood into reality: cocoa with hot milk sweetened with delicious white marshmallows. I heated 250 ml milk, added one tablespoon cocoa and added two puffy marshmallows. I waited for 10 minutes till the marshmallows started to dissolve into the milk and drunk it slowly slowly. What a pleasure, what a smell in my kitchen, what a special sweetness that did not experience before, as I used to add to the hot cocoa only the classical sugar. With such a fresh start, no wonder that I was able to cope very well with the day. Of course this is not another advertising aimed to end the article gloriously! Who does not need sweets, after all?

The avocado for my hands

If I was able to survive for a couple of months without a proper face cream, when it comes to taking care of my hands, I can hardly live without a good one for more than 24 hours. One of the most serious reasons is that the water in Germany is not too much appreciated by my precious skin and without proper protection I start feeling more and more like a reptile. 

Another secret of mine is that I love avocado almost as much as olive oil. Nothing useful in such a revelation. Long time ago I used to chose the food because of the colour till I noticed that there it is not fashion week of the food. Similarly, there it is not a menu for cosmetics, theoretically. The difference may be that very often many of the good vegetables and fruits can produce beneficial effects to the skin. As someone that fought for a long time with allergies, I can testify this. 

After switching from Nivea products, I've found some consolation in the wonderful recipes of the Sea of Spa cosmetics and for over two years I am regularly using their avocado hand cream. I can't think ever changing it, as my hands look always delicate and velvet-like. There it is not a special smell and the cream is oily but instantly absorbed by the skin. I forget about applying a cream seconds after I used it and this is how I will define an almost perfect hand cream. 

Olive oil on my face

I don't know exactly why for a couple of months I completely neglected taking care of my face. One of the serious reasons was that I was looking for healthy products, but I was also ready to take the challenge of checking out what will happen with my face if I don't use any beauty products at all.

My face did not suffer too much and did not start looking older instantly. But especially after the winter season started I considered that it is about time to get some new products for my precious face. The face, the woman's mirror to the world, or something like that as I was told long ago. 

Because I am in love with the olive oil - in the salad, in the hair and on my face - Florena day cream based on the precious ingredient was the logical choice. It is a bit oily - how else - maybe too greasy, but I feel its protective powers during the day. Since October, applying it on my face early in the morning was introduced on the daily agenda and, as usual, I do not feel the need to change anything. If I remember correctly, I used intensively Nivea for 4 years almost, and Garnier for another 2 and there are many positive signs that my relationship with olive oil day cream will last many years from now. Last but not least, the design of the little box is not bad at all: simple, with an inspiring green that attracts instantly the connoisseurs of everything olive oil related.

Intensive spa solutions

Sometimes, I am very happy to be lucky. My daily life is hectic, the daily agenda is full and obviously, in some cases there are successes, in others failures. Some packages are right in time at my door, others are arriving too late to be a surprise for anyone. However, if one looks at the bright side of life, there it is always enough space for hope and pleasant surprises.

Months ago, I ordered some online products from Israel and the package was a bit too late than expected. But I was happy to receive it after all. At the bottom of the box, it was a nice surprise waiting for me: a couple of samples from Intensive Spa that keep my busy for a bit in the next evenings, while trying to discover their secrets.

One of the best, by far was the mud mask - the face was cleaned perfectly and it worked in the classical way of the quality Dead Sea products. After keeping it for 5-10 minutes, I was feeling as fresh as early in the spring. The night cream smells too much for my taste, but it produces a welcomed silky effect. I used the eye serum twice, but for long lasting effects, I will need to check more than one small package. The pearl mask looks gorgeous: silky pearly pink, not too perfumed. I don't have nothing against the body butter. 

Most probably, will need to pay a visit to the Intensive Spa soon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Perfume of the week: Escale à Portofino

Escale à Portofino is a fragrance that must be associated with a Mediterranean journey. It combines the essence of citrus, orange blossom and bitter almond. For me, the orange blossom plays a very important role in the overall composition of the fragrance and thus, I am not very enthusiastic about it. It smells as a good soap or as a body cream, but it is not the perfume I will be happy to wear at work or to smell early in the morning. 

Somehow, too much flowers put together can confuse the bees and this is what I felt as well about this perfume. It is too fresh and delicate and too sparkling for my taste, but I suppose that someone with a sport attitude and a bold sight would love it. It suits very well an early morning on the yacht, at the beginning of a full day of sailing. 

Short story of the Canadian cuisine

A couple of weeks ago, a word caught my attention: the Canadian cuisine. There were no more mentions in the article I was writing, but the combination of two words was enough to stir my curiosity. Of course there must be a Canadian cuisine, I said to myself, but what does it mean this cuisine, apparently so mysterious for me. I remember once some jokes between my Canadian and American friends about their different Thanksgiving, but more than that I did not have culinary memories about what can be on an usual Canadian plate.

The following article is a proof of how my training as a historian can (hope, happily) meet my interest for food blogging.

Canada is a country of immigrants and the national cuisine means a lot of influences from all over the world. It is a combination of tastes and spices brought from the North American and French, the Carribean, Indian, Chinese and Eastern European dishes. 

The basic ingredients of the Canadian meals before the immingration developed were beans, corn and squash. At the beginning, the agriculture and the hunting were the predominant activities and this type of food still is part of the regional meals - elk, moose, buffalo and deer are very much appreciated -, together with the fish - one of the favorite being the Pacific salmon. Those interested in the taste of an original Eskimo meal must try the famous muktuk, made of whale skin and blubber, eaten with soy sauce or simple. 
A visual sample of Poutine

The most famous meal associated with the Canadian cuisine is the Poutine (a Galicization of the 'pudding', according to some linguists). It reminds to the American Gravy Cheese Fries and it is basically made of: French fries, bacon gravy and curd cheese. As meat, one can use: lamb, rabbit. The most extravagant options include caviar, truffles and lobster. Equaly famous is the macaroni and cheese dinner meal or tourtiere, a meat pie (based on ground veal, beef or pork). Some may eat in the morning beans and toast. 

One of the delicacies I would love to try as soon as possible is the Montreal-style smoked meat, the famous kosher pastrami brought at the end of the 19th century by the Aaron Sanft, from his Jewish Romanian Jasi. It is the base of many sandwiches with pickles and coleslaw and some potato chips. 

The Russian pierogies (meat, potatoes and cheese) are equally appreciated, as everywhere in the world. 

When it comes to the sweet section, the base is represented by chocolate and creams. In many recipes the Maple syrup is strongly recommended. This is the case of the May West - a round cake with a creamy center covered in chocolate; the Nanaimo bars - a combination of many layers of custard, melted chocolate and thick crumbs.

One of the fannies recipes I've found when documenting the Canadian cuisine is the one called 'beaver tails': whole wheat pastry flattened to ressemble a beaver tail, with sweet cinnamon sugar sauce.

The apples were brought by the French at the beginning of the 17th century and the Canadians developed various types of local apples, the most famous being the Macintosh type. 

The Canadians love to drink a lot of beers and there are many breweries around the country, especially in Vancouver and Toronto (Mill Street Brewery). The alternatives are Ginger Ale or the local brand of whisky, Yukon Jack. As for cocktails, a recommended type is Caesar: Clamato juice (tomato juice+different spices), tabasco, worcestershire sauce and vodka.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Visiting the North Indian cuisine from my kitchen

Annoyed about so much discussion and reading about Indian cuisine, but so little experience, I decided to start my own culinary tour of some local dishes. 

The first try was dilly style palak paneer, considered a popular vegetarian dish in North India, common to both Pakistani and Indian cuisine. Paneer is the tender Indian cheese, very sweet and a real pleasure for the palate. The small chunks of cheese are covered in a combination of fresh spinach leaves, butter, onion, tomatoes and a lot of aromatic spices that unfortunatelly I cannot name exactly. It is not considered very hot, but after two seconds you will feel a wave of hot temperature bursting from your mouth. You do not throw out flames; not yet. Most probably my big mistake is that I did not know that I may need some yogurt dressing or a simple boiled rice pr even better, a chunk of Indian bread for diminishing the hotness. 

Without moving from North India, I switched the next day to a different (still vegetarian) dish, also based on paneer - mutter (or mattar, according to some prononciations) paneer. It is less spicey that the palak one. It has: peas, tomatoes and a bunch of spices that I do not know too much about. Some recipes include a local type of potato, but I did not feel something was missing out of my dish. If you would love to taste it in a local restaurant, you may be offered some Indian bread on the side. 

Both dishes can be prepared at home, but I would prefer a basic training in portioning and calculating the right concentration of spices. 

Return to simplicity: the bedouin beauty secrets

This is the pill of beauty and wellness for the day, from the Desert Daughter:
Beauty secrets from Israel’s Desert Daughter-17-Jan-2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Need sweets?

credit: NeedSweets
Did I promise a couple of days ago that this blog will get an impressive reboot in terms of content? This is just the beginning of what I wish to be a very rich year of posting and tasting interesting products, recipes and  chasing top-notch subjects. 

This gorgeous menu will start with a very delicious portion of sweets from Need Sweets, a company based in UK but delivering sweet treats for customers all over the world. Orders over £50, there is a free delivery waiting for you. And, there are kosher marshmallows too!

Nick and Elisa Edwards, the bright minds behind this funny sweet brand took a bit of their busy time for talking with me about their never ending love for quality vegetarian desserts and their plans for the next 12 months.

How did you have the idea of creating this company?

The concept of Need Sweets was born a few years ago out of frustration. We were two sweet toothed vegetarians with over 18 years of vegetarian living between us. We had managed to get our sugar fix from the small range of vegetarian sweets on offer at our local organic food shop but mainly from chocolate and ice lollies which is all very well but its not the same as sweeties and marshmallows! 

Children and life have delayed things for a few years but in October 2012 we launched Need Sweets online. Being keen internet shoppers ourselves and aware of the benefits of specialist products being delivered to your door we decided to create a one stop shop so that any vegetarian can buy their favourite treats with ease and confidence.

‘’Our vegan products do not contain any dairy, eggs or any other products which are derived from animals or use animal based components in their production’’.

What do you bring new on the market compared with other similar companies?

Years of trawling through endless lists of ingredients only to find the disappointing “gelatine” told us that vegetarians find it hardest to find suitable gummy sweets and almost impossible to find marshmallows they can enjoy. Our aim is to offer our vegetarian customers a genuine choice from a range that includes high-street brands and artisan producers. We carefully select each of our products by taste testing them first, something we see as a perk rather than a chore! 

Currently we stock a wide range of marshmallows from 4 producers and 20 lines of sweets which are all suitable for vegetarians. We are currently expanding our vegan range but as it stands all of our marshmallows and 7 of our sweets lines are suitable for vegans. All our products are suitable for lacto-ovo-vegetarians (who eat both dairy products and eggs) and our list of approved ingredients is as defined by the Vegetarian society. Our vegan products do not contain any dairy, eggs or any other products which are derived from animals or use animal based components in their production.

Tell me something about the preparation of your products.

Our vegan marshmallows are our flagship products. We started off by sourcing Sweet & Sara marshmallows which are produced in the USA and have a large fan base in their home country. They are a delicious, chewy hand-made marshmallow which are fully vegan, kosher and made with natural ingredients. 

Next we found some chocolate coated, agar based marshmallows from a Polish producer. These have a firmer bite to them and are really more-ish with a hot drink. Then the UK came up trumps as we found the lightest and fluffiest range of marshmallow sticks and minis from Sweet Vegan. 

The minis are great in hot chocolate and the cubes in the Vanilla stick toast just like their gelatinous air-puffed cousins, better in fact. We are just beginning to stock some lines from Ananda's agar based UK produced range. We particularly like using their mini marshmallows in our home baking.

Our sweets are carefully sourced and currently all hand packed however we will be expanding our range to include more pre-packaged, natural and organic gummy sweets in 2013. We are currently experimenting with recipes for our own products but they're not ready to go to market yet.

What were the most successful products in 2012?

Our bestsellers of 2012 were our Sweet & Sara Vanilla marshmallows (£6.49 for 170g), our vegan marshmallow sticks in “try me” selection pack  (£3.50 for 100g) and mini marshmallows (£4.50 for 150g). 

Our most popular lines of sweets were cola bottles but vegans embraced the fizzy fish and flying saucers. (All sweets currently £1.49 in our January sale until midnight 31/01/2013, usual price £1.99.)

What are your plans for 2013?

We will continue to expand both our marshmallow and sweet ranges further in 2013. We are excited about developing our own range and will continue to drive forward in that direction so that we will have something new to offer soon. 

We are looking forward to meeting some like minded people at Vegfest (Europe's biggest vegan festival) 24th-26th May 2013 at the Harbourside in Bristol. We'll be there with our marshmallows in the Amphitheatre marquee on Saturday and Sunday and we're offering free sweets with every purchase. It's a fully vegan festival with stalls, markets and music so there's no excuse for not coming and finding us there if you're within easy reach of Bristol.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The elegant discretion of the fine Alessi

Alessi launch designed products that are displayed in museums. If you do not know what it is so special about it, I will tell you that I was impressed by the simplicity of the line and their full functionality, especially for busy chefs with high aesthetical expectations. I love a lot the China sets, and I can imagine the pure white of the cups matching aquarelle table clothes and any other sweet colors that I want to have in my kitchen.

The Alessi shop from KDW store, Germany
Interesting too are the silver and copper pans. The collection made of plastic looks like the toys of smart children. One of my favorite products, besides the gracious China sets, is this bread basket which gives the impression of accomplishment and generosity to any table. 

The seasonal offers
The prices are in general aimed to middle class to high-end customers. There it is possible to order online from the website, with most of the payment methods accepted. 

Alessi is an Italian family compant, which appeared at the end of the 1930s and developed permanently ever since. It is creative and suprise the customers with new collections twice the year, as a serious fashion brand for the kitchen. 

Alessi's philosophy: 'A true work of design must be able to move people, to convey feelings, to trigger memories, to surprise, to do against the grani...We work on expressive languages and on the expressive potential of the items...From this point of view, design conjure up images in people's minds, which makes them a bit happier, still has a tremendous potential'.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fragrance of the week: Balenciaga, Florabotanica

Source: Banciaga website
I must confess that I can hardly resist the temptation of not trying a perfume with such an inviting cover: flowers and butterflies always remind me of the spring and summer time in June. It smells as the summer in the big cities. Think about elegant ladies in flowerly dresses in a late summer on Broadway, walking slowly and laughing loudly, showing off without allowing the passers-by to approach them. Bubbling with energy and joy, because it will be a pitty to do not show to the world how happy and beautiful they are. This is how I felt after I tried Florabotanica, by Balenciaga

Good news: Content redesign

The blogging is getting very intense in the last weeks, and I wish I will continue at the same pace. However, as I dedicate more and more time and energy to my online writing life, I decided that it is about time to diversify the topics covered by this blog. 

The food and the kitchen will be the main topics of interest. I will share - I hope - interesting posts about my adventures in the kitchen and the fancy meals I am preparing or discovering. I will try regularly to write extended posts about regional and local cuisines. Right now, I document a post about Canadian cuisine and I am reading a book about the Hungarian cuisine and I will continue regularly to offer historical perspectives not only about various styles of cooking, but also about dishes with local flavors.

The books and publications about cooking will be featured more frequently. In addition, when possible, I will try to get more interviews with authors and food writers, as well as with chefs. Before cooking food, I always cooked words and I want to try now to make a perfect cocktail for increasing the quality of the blog.

I intend to add more interesting pictures and find out interesting photographers that focus on food. There it is a long term project and a lot of research will be involved as well.

I tried a couple of months ago to introduce some kitchen products reviews and I will continue doing so regularly in the future. I have in sight some nice sponsorships, but till there it is not a final deal reached, I prefer to keep silent. 

As this blog is equally about healthy life, there will be at least one weekly review about some healthy cosmetics and perfumes. I do not want to switch this blog into another blog about fashion, but I felt very often the need to cover more topics related to healthy life and various ideas that implies DIY, such as how to prepare your own soap or cream. I know, I need to take some basic classes in video production. Maybe the last half of this year, I promise.

I am lately interested as well in kitchen design and kitchen interior design and I intend to write as often as possible about what I find appealing in this domain. I have in mind some interviews with designers and participation at special fairs and events, but this will happen only when this blog will grow big enough to be noticed by the big brands. Till then, I will humbly do my job of writing food chronicles. 

Time for a delicious pogacsa

While preparing my post about Hungarian food, I decided that I do not need only to try remembering my childhood memories, but also to try cooking myself some of the most famous or not-so-famous but too delicious to miss dishes. 

As usual, when it comes to many of the meals in Central and Eastern Europe, if you want to find out more about, you should go back to a history book or at least to know some linguistics to identify the roots of the food. In the case of pogacsa, the root may be Latin - a modification of the word for bread 'focacius'. The majority of pogacsa recipes are from the bread type and the result is very similar to a croissant or a dinner roll. I saw some ready-made ingredients for a Turkish pogacsa at my Turkish shop, made by Dr. Oetker, many Austrian bakeries sell 'pogatschen' as a delicious offer for the breakfast. The Slovakians included pogacsa as part of their cuisine, especially in the areas near the border to Hungary. 

From a region to another and a country to another, the recipes differ and I noticed various recipes based on cheese, bacon, cheese and bacon (not my cup of pogacsa), jam or no filling at all. As I needed some appetizers for Shabbat morning and I know that simple dough will not be accepted, I picked up the following cheese-based solution:

My pogacsa were not very good looking but delicious

300 gr. cottage cheese
600 ml. warm milk
1 package dry yeast
500 gr. flour
2 eggs beaten
120 gr. butter or margarine
cummin for the cheese combination
1 pinch of salt

1. Disolve the yeast in the warm milk
2. Add the flour, the margarine and the flour, together with the eggs
3. Let the dough rest for around 30 minutes
4. Knead the dough for around 10 minutes and roll it. Put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
5. Cut the dough and add the cheese filling. Put them on the baking paper of the tray.
6. Wait for the pogacsa to get baked at around 250 C for 15-20 minutes. 

It is relatively easy to prepare and without too many expensive ingredients. My problem is when I should roll and add the filling and roll it back in a good-looking way. You can decorate the pogacsa with some sesame seeds or even with poppy seeds. 

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Vintage food

I have no idea what this food is about and what are the ingredients included, but I've found the vintage look very attractive for a Friday picture. It was taken at a Lindner shop.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fast lunch with my dear okra

During the normal lunch time I have a lot of work to do or to be finished as soon as possible and the time is the most precious asset. However, this is the time of the day when the school finish and the hungry diamonds are back and I better be ready to welcome them with the open heart and a warm food.
Thanks to my imagination, I do my lunch homeworks well and in due time. Take, for instance, yesterday, when I combined the following ingredients:

200 gr. okra, finelly chopped
100 gr. white mushrooms, finelly chopped as well
150 gr. cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon coriander
1/4 tablespoon cayenne
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon almonds
150 cl. sunflower oil - butter or vegetable margarine can be used as well

All the above ingredients were added in the pan and fried together for around 20 minutes. In less than half an hour, the healthy lunch was ready to be eaten. 

Bon Appetit!

The quinoa connection

Yesterday, I was in the mood for something delicious, fresh, easy to make and that will cut my hunger for at least the following 10 hours to come. I had a look at my cooking corner and in my fridge and decided that it should be sweet and with quinoa as the main ingredient. 
I added to it:
2 tablespoon grated coconut
100 gr. blueberries
3 tablespoon blackcurrant jam
whipped cream

First, you need to boil the quinoa for around 10 minutes. Eventually, if you like a sweeter taste, add two piches of sugar while boiling. When everything is done add the coconut, the blueberries and the whipped cream. 

I double-checked and it is nothing else to be done that wait that it cools down and taste it. 

I was told that my recipe has a Carribean flavor, and I am not very sure about it. As for the taste, I am more than sure that it is beyond delicious.

Bon Appetit

Omelette confiture?

It was not my question, when reading this lovely recipe by Luisa Weiss. But, I have the tragic fate of a queen reigning in a democracy and thus, each time I want to try some very interesting recipe, I should get used with a lot of resistance against change. In other words, why I can't behave properly and try once again the old good recipe of pasta and spend my time finishing my reading projects? It may not be a good topic to blog about, but at least the bellies are full with the simple food. 

So, shortly after I enthusiastically suggested this recipe and the eyes were rolling around me, I decided that I better offer myself a special breakfast. I started with some French toast and camembert and kept the omelette confiture as a started before the coffee. 

I felt the need to change a bit the number of eggs used for preparing the recipe, the result being the following list of ingredients:

2 big eggs, instead of one in the original recipe
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon vegetable margarine 
a very small pinch of salt
1 big tablespoon of blackcurrant jam

Separate the eggs. Beat the white with the salt till it holds soft peaks, and the yolks with the milk till it gets smooth. Meanwhile, the margarine is melting in the pan. I found the idea of using magarine or butter smarter than the oil, as it does not interfere with the sweet taste of the jam. Mix the yolk and white compositions and pour it in the pan. Your omelette will be ready in 3-4 minutes. Add the jam and, eventually, a leaf or 2 of mint (something that I did not have at home when I was preparing the recipe). 

The taste was not bad, but not outrageously delicious either. A combination that you need time to get used with, but not repulsive either. 

Bon Appetit!

Polenta Citrus Sable Cookies

I am a very big fan of FoodWanderings and I tried several tasty recipes posted there. The last try is not only very easy, but addictively tasty. It was a bit beyond my imagination to prepare cookies with cornmeal, but there are a lot of food combinations that are not obvious for my cooking code. I did not change anything from the original recipe, except adding the zest from 2 oranges instead of 1.  

2 sticks (8oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
Zest from one organic orange
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 3/4 all purpose flour
1/4 cup polenta

There were produced around 30 nice cookies - the quantities are for 50 - that I tasted with one of the 3-4 big cups of coffees the day. 
The recipe can be prepared very fast, but you need more patience for the dough. You better prepare the dough late in the evening and keep in the the fridge overnight in order to have the cookies ready for a delicious breakfast. 

Bon Appetit! And thousand of thanks to Food Wanderings for the amazing recipes!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Cooking library: Vegetarian Living

Late in December, I grabbed the February issue of Vegetarian Living, impressed at the first sight by the extraordinary quality of the cover. My sight was also get caught by the interview with Yotam Ottolenghi, but before reaching the page with the interview, there were many other dozen of interesing things to take a look at. 

What I love about this review are not only the recipes - I expected such a summary in a publication about cooking - but the features about vegetarian life-style, and healthy products and other healthy tips. But this is why it is called Vegetarian Living, and not plainly Vegetarian Cooking, isn't it?

Besides the presentation of products and the interview, there are many competitions with a lot of products and foods to be won. I have a couple of recipes that I would love to try in the next weeks, including from the Nordic reservoir of cooking wisdom, Scandilicious Baking. In some cases, a modest look at the pictures discourage any attempts from an ignorant chef as me - I think about strawberry and chocolate ganache roulade, for instance, an impossible mission that I would love so much to offer to my guests. 

Many of the products presented can be found exclusively in the UK - unfortunatelly - but at least you can have a look at the ingredients and look for similar products in your home country. If you want to buy the next issue of Vegetarian Living and you are 100% sure that you cannot find it in your town, use the wonders of the 21st century and download the apps for Apple and Android.

Happy vegetarian living!

Easy alcoholic longdrinks

Are you looking for a special long drink for a rainy Monday evening? Or for any evening at the end of your very busy day?

I've found some nice ideas while reading a colorful leaflet published by Diageo

Smirnoff Lemon (11,8 g alcohol) is considered one of the most requested drinks in many bars. 
The perfect recipe includes:
- 4 cl. Smirnoff no. 21
- 12 cl. Schweppes Bitter Lemon
- 2 slices of limette

Many would equally love Vodka Cola, with the same alcohol content as the precious drink and where you should only replace the Schweppes with Cola. In both cases, don't forget to use a lot of ice.

Cape Cod may be less known but very delicious. It includes:
4 cl. Smirnoff no. 21
12 cl Cranberry juice
3 slices of limette

Moscow Mule is about vodka, but with a mild flavor. The same 4 cl. of Smirnoff no.21, plus 12 cl. Schweppes Ginger Ale and 2 slices of limette

If you ask me what I would like to drink one of those evenings, I would say instantly: 
Green Apple and Lemonade.
For preparing it, I will need: 4 cl. Smirnoff Green Apple, 12 cl. lemonade and 1 slice of apple

If you rather love more energy, Lime and Cola may answer your needs:
4 cl. Smirnoff Lime
12 cl. Cola
1 slice of limette

But let's go to more complicated things:
Grand'O tells a lot to the lovers of Grand Marnier. It has a concentration of 12.6 g alcohol. 
The recipe includes:
4 cl. Grand Marnier
6 cl. fresh Orange juice
8 cl. Schweppes Soda
seasonal fruits - such as blueberries, strawberries
5 ice cubes

As I am a very simple person, a Grand Mojito will make me as happy as a Green Apple and Lemonade. 
The main condition is to mix:
4 cl. Grand Marnier
12 cl. mineral water
1 cl. limette juice
7 leaves of mint
5 ice cubes
As in the previous case, the concentration of alcohol is of 12.6 g. 

For a sweet evening, the Baileys are the answer to all the stress accumulated over the day. 
You can try the very simple recipe of Baileys Latte (2.7 g. alcohol):
2 cl. Baileys Original Irish Cream
2 cl. Espresso
Grated chocolate

If you want a Baileys Hot Chocolate (6.7 g alcoholic concentration), you should add:
5 cl. Baileys Original Irish Cream
20 cl. hot chocolate
5 cl. whipped cream
pieces of chocolate

Men with personality will adore the following combination based on Johnnie Walker
The classical recipe that I know to prepare is: Whisky and Cola (12.6 alcohol):
4 cl. Johnnie Walker Red Label
16 cl. Cola
1 slice of lemon

For the Whisky and lemonade, one may need to add many ice cubes, plus:
4 cl. Johnnie Walker Red Label
16 cl. Lemonade
1 slice of limette 

Let's move to more complicated things and have - only if you are 18yo - a sip of Whisky Ginger:
4 cl. Johnnie Walker Red Label
16 cl. Schweppes Ginger Ale
1 slice of limette 
The alcohol concentration is 12.6 g.

I don't remember exactly the taste of Gordon's London Dry Gin, but I am not a great fan of gin in general.
Those who are, will love either the Gin Tonic (11.8g alcohol):
4 cl. Gordon's
12 cl. Schweppes Tonic Water
1 slice of limette

or the G.Whizz ( the same concentration of 11.8 g alcohol) which seems a very fresh treat:
4 cl. Gordon's London Dry Gin
6 cl. Schweppes tonic Water
6 cl. Ginger Ale
1 slice of limette

While preparing this article, I discovered that Captain Morgan is a rum.
It can be used for a funny recipe simply called: Captain and Cola:
4 cl. Captain Morgan original Spiced Gold
12 cl. Cola
1 slice of limette and, of course, many ice cubes.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

US vs. UK: Recipe terms

While in London a couple of weeks ago, I had a long discussion about why I can't find arugula - or ruccola, for the Latin lovers. After asking several times and being welcomed with a surprised face I gave up till I found the precious leaves in my salmon bagel the next day. 'Oh, you did finally find arugula, I said'. 'You mean rocket?', he said.

When reading the latest edition of Vegetarian Living, a very inspiring publication that I discovered during my trip, I found a long list of products and vegetables named differently on the two sides of the pound. I should admit that in most cases I am on the US side, but most probably I will better learn the proper English vocabulary.

UK: Aubergine                  US Eggplant
      Bicarbonate of soda   Baking soda
      Broad beans               Fava beans
      Celeriac                      Celery root
      Chickpeas                   Garbanzo beans
      Coriander                    Cilantro
      Cornflour                     Cornstarch
      Courgette                     Zucchini
      Double cream              Whipping cream
      French/green beans      String beans
      Groundnut oil                Peanut oil
      Haricot beans               Navy beans
      Icing sugar                    Confectioners' sugar
      Pepper (capsicum)        Bell pepper
      Polenta                         Cornmeal
      Rapeseed oil                 Canola oil
      Rocket                          Arugula
      Soya                             Soy
      Spring onion                  Scallion
      Swede                          Rutabaga
      Treacle                         Molasses


Thursday, January 3, 2013

A fruity raw sweet treat

I have a very good friend who switched her menu to raw for years and she has always amazing ideas for fruit salads and salads in general. Last week, she posted a delicious recipe: papaya, dates and banana. The colorful image associated with the tasty imagination of the combination of the three fruits haunted me for a very long time. After many unsuccessful attempts to find papaya, I ended up buying a dragon fruit that I added to the mixture of dates and bananas. I was tempted to add some honey or some brown sugar, but decided to leave it like that and do not change anything. 

I am still haunted by the deep taste of papaya, and hope to find it for the next week detox meal. Maybe I should try a different brand of dates as well. 

Morning delice

Memories of my late busy morning
My latest morning passion is a special type of French toast. I drop 2-3 tears of oil - preferably olive oil - in the pan and I turn the toast on both sides till it is only a bit crunchy. And to be eaten always warm, especially with some cheese - camembert works very well - with cherry tomatoes and some parsley maybe. This morning, I made two scrambled eggs and I had enough energy for a very busy writing day.

Guess what I eat while writing this post? A supper warm French toast with camembert and cherry tomatoes. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Aromatized chicken

What I had in the mixer (this time)
I do not eat too much meat and when I do, chicken is our family choice no. 1. The breast is the most wanted possibility, but the legs are highly appreciated. And the creative cook in me wants to offer each time a different surprise, the last time I explored the following combination:

- salted peanuts
- parsley
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- garlic
- sesame

Mix the combination in the mixer for 2-3 minutes. 'Paint' each leg with the combination and cook it in the oven for 30-45 minutes.

Bon Appetit!

Okra ideas

I am a late fan of okra, a vegetable that I discovered a couple of years ago only. At the beginning, I was not sure how I should cook it, but following some discussions with experienced chefs, I succeeded to find the perfect combination and to calculate correctly the cooking time.

I usually use okra for salads - always with olive oil - but especially together with pasta. But for me it is never enough, I gave a chance to a combination not included in any cookbook: peanuts - finelly chopped, with okra. You can fry them together in a pan for a couple of minutes, or eat it raw. I rather prefer the first possibility. Once you've found the right type of okra, fresh, without black traces, and the peanuts - the salted one - in less than 10 minutes your treat is ready. To be eated in the morning, at lunch or supper, as side dish or individual meal. 

Bon appetit!