Thursday, September 28, 2017

What is Kvas?

As a long time traveler, planning to see all the countries in the world at least twice, I love, besides the food, to taste local drinks too. And it does not apply always to wine. 
When I visited the capital of Moldova, Kishinev, a couple of years ago, I was charmed by a fizzy malt tasting non-alcoholic drink, served on the street. In just a couple of hours, I was so enamorated with it that I preferred to move mostly within acceptable distance from the street stands and their kvasniki - sellers of kvas.
In Berlin, I've found it available as a normal bottle drink, distributed under various brands in the Russian stores. The legend says that this fermented beverage was mentioned as far as the year 986, in the old Russian chronicles. In Slavic, kvas means leaven, reference to the fact that this drink is made of rye bread. Nowadays, is also made of apples, berries or herbs. 
A saying goes that 'a bad kvass is better than good water'. As someone who doesn't drink or fancy too much water, I can recommend to match it with every kind of food, for every meal of the day. A very oily and heavy food might be better diggested when a glass or two or kvas keep them company. In any case, it tastes better and much refreshing when served cold. 
As for me, I am more than happy to look for different brands and various combinations of ingredients. It is just the beginning of a beautiful foodie story.

Soup of the week: Red Orach leaves with other Veggies

My soup experiment continues. This time, I recreated a childhood recipe when I was still living in the old country based on some mysterious - but good looking colourful leaves - plant named in the local language 'loboda', and apparently translated into English as red orach. Adorned with sour cream, we used to have it cold, especially in the summer, when probably the plants were in bloom. Here, in Germany, I've accidentally found it at the veggies section from NETTO and was brave enough to try it at home. The result didn't taste exactly as I remember in my childhood, but was good enough to disappear from the pot in less than two days, which given our limited appetite for soups, was a real achievement. 
250 gr. red orach
1 medium onion, cut into cubes
1 medium red pepper, cut into cubes
1 medium carrot, cut into cubes
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1.5 liter cold water
2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon walnut oil
1 egg
150 ml. butter milk or yoghurt
Clean the red orach leaves one by one, preferably under cold water.
In a pan, add the walnut oil, the pepper, and the onion and fry at 250C until onion turns gold. 
Add the cold water and the oil, pour all the veggies and the salt and let it boil. After at least 15 minutes, add the red orach leaves - eventually halved - and keep mixing well. Very short - as the red orach is boiling very fast, the soup will have a beautiful reddish colour.  Add the yoghurt or the butter milk and mix again for a couple of minutes.
At the end, add the egg, previously beaten. In fact, the egg is not compulsory, so after all it is a matter of taste to have it or not. I would have enjoy the soup without it as well. If you finally decide to do it, you must be careful to mix it well, otherwise you will have an omelett in the middle of the soup - and you don't need it. 

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45-50 minutes
Serves: 5

Bon Appétit!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Ruths Keramik, a beautiful journey of colours

One of my favorite part of participating to different local events around the city is having the chance to discover local artists and manufacturers that otherwise do not make themselves known outside a limited circle of specialists and people with a clear interest in their work. Everything in Germany is so specialized and focused that such a marketing move make sense. Except that there are always people, like me, keen to get to known different arts and skills and always happy when I discover them. At the last fair in Moabit, I got to know the colourful and elegant works created by Ruths Keramik, an impressive journey of good taste and creativity.
First and foremost, there were the diversity of colours which left a strong visual impression. The pastels alternate with powerful reds or blacks, which create a powerful contrast. There is hardly any surface of the ceramic art left uncovered. Sometimes, there are some random traces of paint on a plate, and it is enough to challenge the monotony.
While browsing the beauty of colours and shape, I stop to wonder what is the use of some of the objects. For instance, those round pebble shaped recipients covered in holes of different shapes. Did you already guess? The holes are there to hold flowers, therefore to create an equally colourful arrangement...
The more I look around, the more I am in love with those ceramic works. The good news is that actually you can learn how to do it yourself, as the website announces classes organised by the artist herself. 
Some of the items can be also used for decorating a space, making it a great interior design ideas. Sharing the love as often as possible is a healing exercise for any heart and when there is so much beauty around, life can shine only better and better each and every day.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Morning Healthy Treats: Pomegranate Juice with Honey

I love healthy mornings, and drinking something fresh is part of my daily ritual. Either tea or some smoothie is definitely worth to wake up 10 minutes early to have enough time to prepare and clean the utensils.
As the Jewish New Year traditionally involves using a lot of pomegranates - and honey too - after everything is over, there are a couple of bowls full of seeds left over that I don't have the heart to throw to the trash. The easiest way to use them, besides adding them to some salads or maybe to a batch of cake is by making a juice out of them. As simple as that!
For one glass of juice, I used the seeds from one medium-sized pomegranate, plus one tablespoon of honey and one glass of cold water. Added all those ingredients in the smoothie maker and blended at moderate speed for 2 minutes.
The most complicated - but not impossible - part is to come: the pomegranate do have strong seeds that during the blending process are took out, but should be filtered through a strainer. It takes another minute to do so and after that your juice is ready. 
As I had the curiosity to taste various ready-made pomegranate juices, I enjoyed mine much better, as it has the right sweet balance and the original taste, which I do not fancy, is diluted. Therefore, at least for the winter, I might consider including pomegranate part of my regular diet, given also its natural qualities, which go beyond the skin-care protection generously offered. For instance, pomegranate seeds contain antioxidants which fight cholesterol, increase oxygen levels to the heart, fight cell damage and can also balance your weight. Compared to other fruits, the pomegranate juice has the same healthy concentration as the fruits and the seeds. 

Beauty Review: Gold&Horse Oil Black Sheet Face Pack by Mitomo

Another week, another experience with the Mitomo masks generously offered to test by the company. This time, I tried something a bit special, ingredients-wise, at least for the Western way of looking at beauty and skin care products. 
The mask I chose for refreshing my skin after an exhausting day was Gold&Horse Oil Black Sheet Face Pack
The mask looks completely black, with some glittering and a discrete smell. It is highly moisturized but the effect on skin is so soothing and relaxing that I could leave it on my face over the recommended 20-30 minutes. The black colour is the result of using charcoal. After removing the mask, I massages the skin with the remaining liquid. As I usually use those masks in the evening, I leave the chance to the ingredients to develop over night. It is recommended for pore care.
The horse oil is a very popular ingredient for skin care products in Asia, particularly in Korea. It is assumed rejuvenating effects and promises a flawless skin, with highly moisturizing capabilities. I was personally more than happy with the mask and would definitely not only use it again, but recommend it to any skin-care conscious lady around.

Disclaimer: Products offered by Mitomo, but the opinions are, as usual, my own  

Simply-Needles: Creative Recycling Made in Berlin

As a child, I used to read a book about German children from the GDR doing intensively and wholeheartedly recycling, starting the day with a stop to leave the bag full of bottles or plastic at the recycling points before going to school. In our corner of communist paradise, we used to make fun of the monthly recycling plan requested to every school to fulfill in terms of paper, metal or plastic but as I would later realize living in the happy West and in Germany, it was not such a bad idea. Nowadays, I am a modest supporter of the separation of garbage, a habit I acquired during my year in Japan, where the selection reached deeply complex levels - you have even bins for chopsticks, among other 19+ sortiments.
But there is life after recycling and some skilled artists succeeded to achieve some interesting works. While visiting a local fair in the Moabit borrough of Berlin the last week, I discovered some colourful practical products made by Simply Needles using packages of famous brands. 
You can find your favorite Milka chocolate, Haribo bag or Leibnitz biscuits metamorphosed into a handy holder or purse or make-up holder. Even your favorite cat food package can make it into art!
It doesn't have to do anything with sophistication or fashion trends, but with practical products aimed to serve you well.
The prices are moderate - each item can be purchased, including online, from the website - with less than 20 EUR. for each item. A great investment for the environmental conscious consumer, yet a funny item to carry your valuable with. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How to Make Faloodeh Persian Dessert

Keeping in mind the resolution of trying every week, at least, some new recipe or challenging my tastes with something out of my comfort zone, I was inspired by some Tweet posts to give a cooking try to the popular Persian dessert Faloodeh. I must confess that I haven't heard about it before, but it was looking both tempting as a taste and easy to make therefore I went on with my plan to prepare it.
Apparently, Faloodeh is a very popular dish, introduced on the menu in the 16th-18th century, during the Mughal kings who also ruled India and the Indian subcontinent. Nowadays, it is served in ice cream stores, with an addition of pistacchio and saffran, which might taste as delicious as it sounds.
I used a recipe found on the, a site dedicated to Persian cuisine.
The list of ingredients looks very easy and affordable too:
100 gr. vermicelli rice noodles, break into small pieces
1 cup white sugar
1 lime
1/4 cup rose water
1 cup warm water
However, as it is often the case, I had to cope with some particular problem that those familiar with the recipe would usually avoid. My issue was related to the choice of the vermicelli. I went first for some bean-based one, which after being soaked in cold water was still looking like some glass hair impossible to break. Therefore, I had to throw up everything and return to the Asian store for something more breakable.
This time I was luckier, buying original rice vermicelli from Singapore. I've read later that in fact, the best is to make your own vermicelli batter which is an aim I still have to figure out how to reach. After finding the right vermicelli noodles, the rest of the recipe went as fast as expected - preparation time 30 minutes.
In the cup of water, add the sugar and the rose water and stir well. Pour the composition over the noodles and leave it to rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, add the lime juice and stir it again. If you want a stronger sweetness, you can leave it even more, but I've found that the half of hour was perfectly well for my taste. After that time, take out the extra liquid.
The citrus sparkling taste is a perfect match for the overwhelming sweetness and therefore it makes it a good balanced taste in the end.
Leave it in the fridge for around one hour. You can serve it adorned by a some mint leaves or some pistachio. I personally added a teaspoon of rose jam, because the smell of rose water was so strong that I needed to have a taste of the roses too!

Bon Appétit!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Perfectly easy recipe of mashed potatoes

If you wonder why someone able to make complicated recipes seems to have so much fear of preparing very simple recipes, like mashed potatoes, I do wonder too. Maybe I have to call a special therapy session where I have to deal with my (apparently many) stumbling blocks against fully developing my cooking skills. 
However, until such a serious encounter will take place, I will rather take care of my problems by myself, by simply setting a daily cooking objective and following it. Today, it was the mashed potatoes, a meal I only tried to prepare a couple of times, without satisfactory results.
Time for a change.
8 moderate potatoes, peeled and put to boil for around 30 minutes in 2 liter salty water
1 tablespoon butter with Skyr. Skyr is a fantastic traditional Icelandic dairy product that I will feature extensively on a next post.
1 teaspoon salt
100 ml. cold milk
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Osem seasoning mix 
When the potatoes are soft enough to be easily mashed, take them out of the boiling pot and mash them. You can do it in the food processor or by using a special tool, as mine, which has a grill-like end. Press the grill on the potatoes until you have a perfectly compact purée. Add the butter, the salt and pepper, and the seasoning mix and pour the milk. Add the composition back in the pan and stir it slowly at 250C temperature for another 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves: 4

Bon Appétit!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Secrets and Tips for a Successful Online Dating Experience

Online dating, hate it and love it, but we are all giving it a chance when time has come to be single again. It is not a shame or a sign of romantic failure, but could be instead a smart way to find someone, and in my books, it can work the same way as the good ol' matchmaking, except that you are the one who needs to browse through the profiles. I personally love those sites where you can be actually virtually matched and showed those singles with a similar profile as yours. The rest, is a matter of luck, fate and careful consideration of the candidates.
Especially if you are a freelancer the chances to meet a work crush and to go to after-work parties, therefore, all you are left with is to open an account on many of the online apps and, start swiping - right or left, depending of what you see in the front of your eyes. 
But it is important to do it right, especially if you are new into the scenery. For the skeptical and the beginner, but also for those who are not sure what they did wrong - if ever - there are books to deal with and experts to ask. Brent Louis Miller is one of them. Author of '101 Protocols for Online Dating', he is sharing with my readers some advice about how to find your half in the virtual world. 

- How much dating changed after it was upgraded to the 'online' level?

Kismet is an old fashion term related to "fate" when it comes to finding dating made "Kismet" easier for more people. No longer did men and women have only their local "pool" of singles to consider, but suddenly, anybody in the world. For those living in a small town, that is a game changer! Also, the information you include in your profile and others include in theirs, based on nudging from the online dating sites makes it easier to "narrow down" options. For example, if smoking is a deal breaker and someone includes that they are a daily smoker, you can swipe left and keep going. 

- What would you say to someone skeptical to enter the online dating world? 

Give it a try! If you travel and you're out of your hometown area, then you can experiment with how it works without the fear of "running into someone" you know, if you aren't quite sure how it all works at first. 

One of the greatest benefits of trying is that people on a dating site are interested in dating, and many sites even give you an idea of their intent—whether marriage-minded or something more casual. You aren't having to wonder, as you do when you first meet someone, how interested they are in finding love, or at least a great friend.

You get to learn, by reading the person's profile, quickly, what their priorities and intentions are - which would be awkward to ask immediately of a stranger in many social gatherings when you stumble across someone who is intriguing. 

Online dating profiles offer a myriad of information about each person. Pictures (is it a selfie, is the person looking professional or half dressed, etc.) and a personally written introduction provide a glimpse of their personality, priorities, and interests—far more than you would learn during a mere chance encounter.   

- What is your advice for someone testing for the first time the waters of this kind of dating?

Start out slow, but don't necessarily turn into a pen pal either. Exchange some emails through the dating site. 
  • Does the person seem to have a grip on the English language? 
  • Does his story make sense or are his messages to you super generic like "You're Beautiful. I am honest man looking for a woman to treasure."? (real guys don't write messages like that - nor do they write like English is their second language!) -If you see this pattern, it's probably a fake profile. Just move on and check out the next profile. 
If you are interested in someone after some emails, maybe you or he will suggest a phone call. Talk a bit to see if you still think he's interesting and you have some things in common. Don't hand out your email too quickly - or set up an email that you only use for online dating without identifying information - such as your name - in the address. Your cell number is OK to give out after a few interactions. Generally women don't give out their last name before meeting and feeling pretty secure. Gentlemen who are hypersensitive to understanding women need to feel safe, generally will share their last name before meeting.

If you want to meet after this, then choose a safe place. Most seasoned online daters decide that a coffee date or lunch during the day or early evening is a great way to test the waters in person. If he's suggesting going for "adult beverages" or meeting at 9:00 p.m. at a place you've never been - probably not a good situation. Watching next time you're in Starbucks and I'll bet you'll be savvy enough to notice now that there are some "first dates" from online dating sites that are taking place - all different ages. And, just let a friend know where you are going and when. 

Unless you are looking for a "hook up" then don't put yourself for several dates in a situation that could imply that - don't invite him into your place and don't go to his place, just as you wouldn't someone that you've just met somewhere on your own.

If you follow this protocol, then you're on your way to seeing if you may be a good a match in the real world.

- What are the main risks?

Depending on your personality and how quickly you "fall" for a guy, take it slowly so that you don't get ahead of the situation and imagine the two of you "walking down the aisle" after a date or two. Be open to a new relationship, but don't run the risk of getting too invested too quickly. Dating sites are for people wanting to find their perfect match, but aren't filled with people desperately grabbing the first single they meet. 

Use common sense, just as you would in meeting someone out and about. Keep your personal infomation (last name, address, where you work) private until you get to know someone pretty well. (A reg flag should be raised when some ask too much personal information).  Meeting in a public place for the first couple of times and then safety should never be an issue. 

- What matters the most to have an attractive yet genuine online dating profile?

Your photos should really reflect who you are. It's impossible to stress strongly enough how important good photos are! Your photo is your first and best shot of capturing someone's attention as they are flipping through their potential matches whether on Tinder, or Plenty of Fish, etc. 

Some good choices for photos include one of you smiling, in action doing what you like to do (on a tennis court for example), showing more of you than just your face so that men can get a real sense of what you look like - they may well meet you in person, so don't act like you are an emaciated  92 pound girl, if you have a normal body (or larger - there's a match for everyone)

It is your profile pictures that entices someone to click and read more about you. Your dream date will never get to know how wonderful you really are unless your smiling face motivates them to click. 

And then, share a bit about yourself. A ridiculous number of unimaginative people write that they'd like to walk hand-in-hand on a beach at sunset - but come on, who does that in real life consistently?! If you're a woman who likes to watch sports - put it in your profile, guys like it - if you don't, just don't mention it. If you stay fit by hiking, playing a team sport with your friends, or work out, by all means mention it. If you are worried about catching the attention of men who are just wanting a physical relationship, by all means include "Not on here for a hookup" - you'll see that some men post that as well. 

Be who you are as you want to meet someone who is attracted to you as much as you are to them. Remember, you wouldn't interview someone to work with you only with the intent of getting them to accept the job offer. Same thing with dating, you want to be sure that the "candidate" is someone you want to spend time with as well.

Skin Care Recommendation: L'Oreal Hydra Active 3

Guaranteeing a minimal care to my skin is part of my early morning daily ritual. Given my busy schedule, I always need efficient products, and it goes equally to deos, skin care creams, make-ups and perfumes, with more than 12-hour protection offered.
L'Oreal Hydra Active 3 was a good choice in this respect. I am using it for more than a month and most probably I will keep doing it for as long as the product will be available on the market. It offers 24-hour active care, with a proper hydrated skin all round the day. The 50 ml. bottle looks simple and can be easily carried for short or long trips. It contains Vitamin E, ceramid and ingredients able to offer UV-protection. The cream doesn't smell and is recommended for sensible skin too. After weeks of using, I personally didn't experience any unpleasant effects.
I prefer to apply it first thing after I am out of bed, and wait at least one hour until applying make-up. The skin looks shining and smooth by touch.
I purchased the product from the Rossmann drugstore chain in Germany, at a very convenient price. 
Overall, I had a very good experience with L'Oreal Hydra Active 3 and I recommend it to anyone looking for a minimal daily skin-care menu.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Simple and Delicious Mushroom Soup

I have a very bad relationship with soups. First, I always thought there are too difficult to prepare, that kind of meal where homely experience is required and when it is absent, failure will be written everywhere, Second, I am not a big soup eater myself, therefore, why should I force myself to cook something I will anyway end up throwing in the garbage?
However, with a small hungry little baby at home, my (bad) eating habits are also challenges. For the sake of his health and his pleasure - he is a big soup lover - I decided to prepare every week a new soup. Because, when it comes to love, only the sky is the limit of our super(mom)powers.
For my first installment, I decided for a mushroom soup. The preparation went smoothly, and except the colour which was not necessarily the one I've seen in the many cooking books and videos I watched for preparing it, it tasted good and I was happy with my personal ingredients combinations. Probably, everything would have been different if I milk have been used, but I rather bet this time on a non-dairy recipe.

300 gr. fresh white mushrooms, chopped
1 medium-sized onion, cut
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon za'atar
3 tablespoons cooking oil 
1/4 cup Osem Seasoning Mix
4 cups warm water
100 gr. pearl barley

Stir for 10 minutes the mushrooms, onion, black pepper, salt, oil and za'atar in a pan, heated at 250C. Add the mix into a food processor for 3 minutes at medium speed. In another pot, bring the pearl barley to boil until ready.
Pour the composition into the water, add the seasoning and stir well for another 30 minutes. Add the pearl barley and continue to stir slowly.
If you want some dairy version, add some Greek Feta Cheese on the top.
To be served hot.

Preparation time: 1 hour
Serves: 6

Bon Appétit!

At home with Søstrene Grene

Born in 1973 in Aarhus, Denmakr, Søstrene Grene is the project of two sisters, Anna and Clara 'able to find beauty and happiness in even the smalles of things'. Their aim was to 'share their excitement with the rest of the world'. Since May, the lovers of Danish design, followers of the principle of 'only buy what you want' can admire the minimalist products in the newest store in Germany, on Boulevard Berlin Shopping Center, in Steglitz.
First and foremost, the pastel colours are charming, creating a oasis of peace in every corner of the home. From pieces of furniture to decorations for special occasions, one can find many reasons to boost the mood without suffering financial breakdowns. Because the prices are more than convenient, with a 100-euro investment worth a couple of good things to take at home. For instance, a bowl costs 3.90 EUR., a carpet in various shades of grey 20.79 EUR., a medium-sized mirror 27.70 EUR., small shelves 9.74 EUR.. Given the low rates, it makes it a smart investment for someone moving to a completely new and empty place - this is how most apartment for rent are offered in Germany.
I personally loved the pastel painted small cups, so delicate and wellbeing-inducing. I was also happy with the friendly customer service, always ready to help and guide your choices. Although the shop looks a bit crowded and the space is filled with many products, I was able to browse the shelves and thing if I really need any of them, despite the good visual impressions. In the end, I was just happy to know that such a shop exist and keep it in mind for my next home purchases. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The month of Mitomo masks

As I already announced a couple of days ago on Facebook, for the next week I am preparing many reviews of the Mitomo masks, a leader in the beauty products, with a presence of over 10 years in more than 60 countries. My offer of collaboration generously accepted by the company will include a couple of product tests of the best skin care products available right now on the market. 
I am a big supporter of the Asian masks, first and foremosts because they offer a perfect face coverage. The unique ingredients used are also exquisite, many of them innovative compositions completely unknown in Europe. 
What I noticed in the case of Mimoto masks is the attention for the smallest details, from the list of ingredients till the exquisite design of some of the products. My first experiences started with a category of masks using lithospermum essence, to which is added hyaluronic, Q10, respectively colagen. The covers reproduce episodes from the daily life in the old Japan, and for me are one of the most interesting choice of packaging for a beauty product. It looks like you are invited to imagine a traditional story while waiting for the masks to do their work. 
Each of the masks are soaked in liquid, which you have to leave to rest on your face for around 20-30 minutes. After you take it out, massage the skin with the liquid left to maintain the effects for a longer period of time. I haven't experienced any allergic reaction, but as usual in such situations, if you have a history in this respect, you better consult your dermatologist before applying it. The smell is very discrete and does not stay on the skin for longer. 
Lithospermum is a very popular ingredient of skin care products in Japan, made popular on local TV shows many years ago. A root belonging to the Boraginaceae family, it is considered to keep the skin looking fresh, young, healthy and beautiful. After each application of the masks, my skin indeed looked smoothy, fresh and healthy. 
The instructions - including visual directions - for applying the mask, as well as the comprehensive list of the ingredients is available on the package. 
My first experiences with Mitomo masks were very good, with satisfactory results. Every evening, I saved 30 minutes for my skin, which was a great change into my daily me-schedule, which I insist to keep on for the time being. 
Looking forward to sharing more beauty Mitomo reviews in my next posts! Stay tunned!

Disclaimer: The products were offered for review by Mitomo, but the opinions are, as usual, my own

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Top Destinations for Luxury Shopping in Berlin

Characterized by one of its former mayers as 'poor, but sexy', the city of Berlin is known worldwide for its affordable housing - not for too long though - cheap food and alternative style of living - especially in the Eastern part of the city. However, there are a couple of top luxury destinations too, where top brands are inviting you to stop and leave with the latest top notch items. For the luxury lovers, I went up and down to the Berlin shopping avenue, bringing you the top destinations.

Paris has Champs Elysees, London has Oxford Street, Berlin has its traditional shopping avenue: Ku'damm - or Kürfurstendamm. Situated in the Western part of the city, close to the Zoo metro station, this street is not only the destination for the top luxury brands, but also has a special architecture and a special bourgeois and luxury flair.
You will find here all the best luxury brand known worldwide: from Chanel to Louis Vuitton, Prada and Gucci, Cartier and Rolex. After you are done with the shopping, you can sip a coffee at Kempinski or have some sweet treats at Grosz, all famous foodie establishments of the West Berlin.


The luxury history of West Berlin cannot be told without mentioning the 110-year young KaDeWe, where you can find in one place almost all the famous brands in the world. You have them all just for you, from home products to interior design, fashion for men, women and children and a big food court too. 

Bikini Berlin

If you are more into alternative, yet luxury fashion designers, the newest kid on the top notch shopping block of the West - Bikini Berlin, is your answer. It might look like a reconditioned industrial factory, but it has regularly pop-up stores where the best of new designers are presenting their works. Don't worry, the prices are high and you have the advantage of wearing unique pieces of clothing, most of them limited editions created for a selective audience.

The Mall of Berlin
Talking about new kids...The Mall of Berlin whose opening created various controversies, is an unique presence in this shopping world.  270 shops covering a variety of products and brands are waiting for you in the newest and most dynamic part of the city - Potsdamer Platz. Berlin and Germany in general is not too keen on malls, prefering less glamorous investments and locations. However, keeping up with the world trends is hard therefore the city has - as for now - at least one such consummerist destination. 

The Corner Berlin
However, the shopping patterns are changing slowly, and most Berliners will prefer the comfort of a cozy location where they can browse at peace, and without too many people around, the best designer creations from all over the world. For such exquisite customers, The Corner Berlin, in Gendarmenmarkt, is the perfect destination. The shop is the location of high-fashion events too, such it was a couple of years ago for the launching of the book of the French stylish icon Garance Doré. If you cannot make it yet in person, you might know that online shopping is also possible.

Quartier 205 - Galeries Lafayette
All those locations are perfectly fine and many do have precious brands, many of them made in Berlin, but for me, nothing compares to the special feeling of walking the elegant location of Quartier 205. It breathes fashion and style, French style, for every step you take on the black and white squarred marble. After getting used with the overwhelming elegance, I always go on the other side of the building to have a look at the newest French products from the food section at Galeries Lafayette, the best gourmet food quarters in the city - sorry KaDeWe - especially for having a bit at some addictive pastry made according to the highest standards of the French cuisine. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Easy spinach recipe

I confess that I am not neutral when it comes to spinach. Although as a child I loved the watch the cartoons with Popeye the sailor, I wasn't such a blind admirer to follow his eating habits too, mainly his love for spinach. When I started my own foodie adventures, I rather tried to find reasons for not eating it, but somehow it was a very twisted argument: although my warning were scientifically based, it had to do only with the ready made frozen products - which I do not like anyway - and not with the fresh spinach. 
In fact, I was quite afraid to prepare a recipe from scratch. I had no idea how to mix ingredients, for how long to cook the leaves, what spices to add. It is a very common occurence to me, when my lack of experience in tastes and foods operates as a deterrent for improving my cooking skills. But I am brave enough to fight my fears therefore, I decided last week to do from scratch my own recipe of spinach.

The list of ingredients was very easy:
- 150 gr. fresh spinach leaves. I cleaned them throughout under cold and warm water several times and then chopped finely
- 3 big garlic cloves, finelly chopped
- 100 ml. walnut oil
- 1 tablespoon za'atar
- 3 big scallions, finelly chopped
- 100 ml. butter milk
- 50 gr. Emmentaler cheese, shredded
Preparation time: 15 minutes

Add the oil, za'atar, garlic and scallions in a pan heated at 250C. Mix well for around 5 minutes. Add the spinach leaves, batch by batch, and mix every time well. At the end, add the butter milk and the Emmentaler, and keep mixing. The dairy ingredients will give a special milk consistency to the ingredients.
Cooking time: 15 minutes
To be eaten warm, with some tomatoes slices, for the decoration and more freshness too. It can be accompanied by meat, pasta, and even fish. I personally eat it as a stand alone meal, but I was so excited by the results that I was hardly thinking about any foodie match.
Right now, I feel that I have so many open options to try that most probably I will keep sharing even more spinach-based recipes in the next weeks!

Bon Appétit!

How I Spent My August

Sometimes, you need to feel that only sky is the limit!
I am rarely - if ever - doing round up monthly posts, sharing my latest events, unless is there something special going on. Like the birth of a new baby, or a new job or some important blogging and writing milestone. This time, there is nothing that important I want to talk about, but just how, with a healthy mindset, a lot of motivation and discipline, I succeeded to have one of the most productive month of the year.
As a single mother with a busy life and a lot of interests, it is hardly a day where I am not doing or planning to do something new. Very often, my plans are rewarded and I am left with the feeling of the good job done, but also the obligation and motivation to continue. 
Why then this month was different of any other month? What made it so special for writing a full blog post about it? 
The difference was that compared to any other month of my life, at the very beginning of it, I said to myself and to my friend: 'This month, I want to take the full advantage of every day'. This is what I have in mind every single day, but I rarely made it public or keep repeating it often. I am just taking for granted every day but without openly expressing the gratitude or explaining how I will be grateful for. 
Once I made the statement, I observed more actively my eveyday schedule, with a specific focus on my achievements. Indeed, things looked much different and extremely refreshing. Every day I achieved and even overpassed my daily plan of steps; I started to walk barefoot in the garden; I started my days early in the morning, with a busy schedule ahead and planning to keep this schedule for at least 6 days the week; I concluded some interesting collaborations for my blogs; I covered a lot of topics and features on my blogs; I had some important meetings for my future professional plans; I was able to have at least two interesting trips, one of them abroad; I did some valuable and well paid freelance working; I've spent some quality time with my friends; I tried at least two new recipes; I tried to better organise my finances and manage my savings; I improved my social media coverage, by spending some targeted time networking on the right channels; I did an extensive blogging planning for the topics I want to cover in the next weeks. And there were for sure many more achievements, such as the interesting books I've read and reviewed, and the time shared helping people in need and also the unique time playing and learning together with my son. I also succeeded to worry less and avoid stresssful situations and individuals. 
Of course my life is far from being perfect and I am happy with that. But I cannot deny the positive effects of just a single sentence: 'This month, I want to take the full advantage of every day'. It gave me so much energy and motivation that I can go much easier over the tensed and unhappy moments. 
This is how I want to spend from now on, every month, finding the right motivation and strength to succeed, whatever the circumstances. Indeed, when you think that only sky is the limit, you end up feeling just like that!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Savory Muffins for the Win

The savory muffins are not new to me or my blog, given my experience with zucchini muffins, which were a long-time family win. Easy to make, tasty and healthy, all you need when you are out of time for an elaborated recipe. Yesterday, I tried a different recipe, which I created out of scratch, with the same feedback. Couple of hours later, it was none left.
- 500 gr. white flour
- 15 gr. backing powder
- 4 eggs beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 300 ml. butter milk
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 big scallions, finelly chopped
- 1 teaspoon Osem chicken soup consomme
- 100 gr. black sesame, to sprinkle on the top

Add all the ingredients, one by one, and mix well. 
Meanwhile, heat the oven at 250Celsius.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Pour the mix into 12 muffins/cupcake paper forms, sprinkle the black sesame on the top, and leave it in the oven for around 20-30 minutes.
Serves: 12

Bon Appétit!