Tuesday, November 27, 2018

THE Book about Waffles is Finally Here

 As I will - hopefully - write in a later book one day, I am pretty late in the field of food, with my first cooking and baking experiences done in my 30s. In the last few years I tried to improve my skills and learn as much as I can, either on my own or by taking various cooking classes.  
My academic background helped me to research extensively about spices, methods and directions and therefore I've reached a certain acceptable level that allowed me to prepare a full wedding catering menu a couple of years ago and even being paid for it (by some happy customers).
As my son grew up, finding those kids' friendly menus and after trying a lot of variants, we went stuck with the waffles. They are easy to make - as long as you have a machine, and the easiest one is doing its job properly - its ingredients can be combined in different ways and the results are always tasty. 
After over a year of trying, I ended up by collecting all the recipes and create a freshly baked book of recipes: Waffles All Day, Every Day
Waffles with a heavy jam topping is a great favorite of mine. And of my son too!

The book, the result of the work of my love - for waffles, but also for food and writing - will help the waffle lover in you to find the right recipe and ingredients for any occasions, from a friendly brunch to a relaxing breakfast on your own. The recipes are simple, without too many ingredients and with a preparation time of under 30 minutes. All you need to know about waffles - such as what machine to use, what toppings to add, how to prepare them - is in the book.

Ready to try some savory waffles recipes too?

I always love to take challenges, so in this book I tried besides the classical sweet variants, also a couple of savory recipes. And the results were...at least as delicious. So, as usual, when one challenge was accepted, the next one followed, with trying again something new: for instance, matching waffles recipes with various Jewish holidays. It worked again...
Once my recipes went through one or two testing stages, it was about time to collect them all and bring them together in a nice book of recipes that is ready to land on a Kindle next to your kitchen counter.
It took me a bit of time and effort and energy, but I am happy that my first foodie book ever is ready! Can't wait to see what my readers are thinking and tasting about!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Why You Need a Job Coaching (at least once in a while)

As a single mother with an active baby, who found herself in the middle of things without any clear idea how to handle them, but still went on against the mainstream(s), finding the right job and professional direction after two years of staying at home was not an easy task. Although I had 10+ years of experience, a lot of foreign languages in my pocket and an impressive list of professional and academic achievements, being strong enough and motivated enough to continue, once my boy started his kindergarten was a bit complicated.
I had the idea, I had the good health and also some basic resources, but how to continue my life normally, given the time and financial limitations I had to cope right now required a bit of professional help. Without a responsible father to provide us a basic help, things got rough some times. Finding different gigs and work assignments was more than a way to fill my time and put my brains at work, it had to do with survival and my obligation to offer to my son all the comfort and amenities needed for his age. I had hobby classes to pay, clothes and kindergarten fees, babysitter once in a while or various development games. Besides, I also had to pay rent, buy food, clothes and pay taxes and fees and insurances. Last but not least, I needed to maintain a certain level of sanity and go out with my friends once in a while. 
Plus, I had other plans too: building up my own business and communication boutique, keeping myself in good shape and continuing my travels and world adventures.
Job Coaching - a training which I booked for three months until the end of 2018 helped me tremendously not only to figure out my priorities, set up better professional aims and follow my plans consciously, but also to get in touch with other single mothers, their struggles and challenges. As all the trainig is taking place in German, it was also the welcomed linguistic challenge that I was waiting for, and in less than 2 months, my professional fluency improved. 
With so many people coming from so many completely different lawns of life, with the help of good coaches and inspiration, now I feel much closer to reach my potential. Although I am stubborn enough to keep believing that I will manage to follow both my business and academic plans - which at the moment are completely different, and will use all my resources I've built in the last years therefore not stay focused on one and only project - a better task management is very important to achieve what I have in mind. Changing my mindset and my attitude towards my own priorities and success in general requires time, but all those small exercises I am doing right now are helping me tremendously to see everything in a much clearer and even more glittering light.
This year - more about this in a next post - I understand how important is to build and find time for yourself. Create opportunities and challenge yourself to that 'me time' where you can just relax, close your eyes and enjoy your time, without being always under the pressure of taking care of other people's needs all the time. Being generous is a great character feature, but if you cannot do things first for yourself, sharing with others is a half-job. Also, if you are unhappy and not healthy in mind and body, how can you be a good caregiver to your children and loved ones?
Therefore, my advice to all those looking for a better direction, shift and encouragement: take the challenge, find the right job coach or job coaching program and work a bit your aims and dreams. With a little motivation and help, you can definitely get things on a much better track.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Tasty Story of the Mooncake

As a frequent visitor of the Asian supermarkets in my area - I am happy enough to have at a distance of less than one hour two gorgeous places where I realize I need a life and a little bit more to try and understand everything - in the last months I noticed some fancy square or round cakes, mostly packed in glamorous boxes. Labelled as 'mooncakes' and sold for an average of around 4 Euro the piece, those delicious cakes are part of the Asian Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations. 
A fix during the celebrations in mainland China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and all over the world where Asian communities are living, the mooncakes are usually filled with a lotus, red bean, jasmin, durian, green tea or peanut cream, and eaten in the company of a cup of tea, eventually while admiring the moon. Shared with friends and business partners, they are glazed with yolks from salted duck eggs on the top, usually with the name of the bakery they are produced stamped on the top. The average cake has around 10 cm. diameter and a 3-4 cm. high. As a meal, they are fulfilling enough for a couple of hours, the time spent outside under the moonlight. 
The mid-autumn festival is one of the most important Chinese festivals, celebrated late September, beginning of October, according to the Gregorian calender.  
I personally tried in the last weeks several variants of cakes, my favorite so far being the red beans. I loved the perfect match between the mild pastry flavor and the heavy consistency of the filling. 
Will I be ever able to prepare one? Wishful thinking, but until then I do my careful research getting the last bites of the left-over mooncakes from the time of the festival.  

Saturday, November 17, 2018

An Easy Nourishing Pumpkin Cream Soup

I am so bad with soups. I hardly have any favourite myself and I haven't cooked too many in my life. Time for a challenge! My plan is to make the next days and weeks, until mid-December, the latest, the days of soup, putting my imagination and modest cooking skills at work, while preparing at least once the week a nourishing soup for me and my lovely little family.
The first installment in the series, a nourishing pumpkin cream soup as you never ever tasted before (be aware, there are many spices involved - as usual).


- 1 medium sized pumpkin, without seeds, sliced into quarters
- 50 gr. unsalted cashews, turned into powder in the food processor
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 tableespoon Aleppo Pepper from Spice Kitchen UK, part of their Brand Ambassador Program
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teasopoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoon olive oil


In one lukewarm liter of salty water at 250C, add the pumpkin and let it boil until very soft. When ready, add it to the food processor together with the ginger and turn it into purée at medium speed for at least 2 minutes. In a pan, add one by one the purée, the turmeric, the oil, salt, Aleppo Pepper, cashews and 1/3 cup water. Simmer slowly until boiling. Let it boil for another 5 minutes.

The taste of all this? Eclectic, nourishing and complex. The ginger brings some sparkle where the cashews and pumpkin and the olive oil are nourishing. The Aleppo Pepper and salt are the spicy balance that you need to lighten out, while the turmeric adds a special taste and colouring. I would bring some sesame salty crackers as a company, but maybe the next time, as this time, excitment was so great that I hardly had the patience to snap some pics for the blog.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

Serves: 2

Bon Appétit!

Monday, November 5, 2018

How to Build a Sustainable Home

One of my aims for this year was to improve the degree of sustainable living, but I mostly failed to my plans. My biggest concern, how to limit the consumption of plastic, hardly reached its aim, with a slight reduction of the average use of plastic in my household. However, I noticed that in fact I was doing some of the things right, like doing a regular decluttering, separating the garbage and investing smartly the money into reliable, ecologically-conscious pieces of furniture or clothing. 
Sustainable Home by Christine Liu takes every part of the house and recommends, for each and every room, solutions and recipes - not always food-related - aimed at creating a household with a higher awareness for the environment. Such an awareness means many things and the complexity of the book allows choices. Don't expect to achieve all the processes described overnight, but at least you can start somehow. For instance, by separating the garbage, adding more indoor plants to your home or even creating your own herb garden, repairing and/or repurposing clothes instead of just buying piles of unuseful outfits. The most complicated for me was the part about evaluating and eventually creating your own furniture, but with a bit of patience, this part of the plan can also work smoothly. 
At a certain extent and provided the limits of decency and moderation are maintained, Sustainable Home ofers tips and simple ideas for a different, less consumerist kind of life. It offers to the reader the option of picking up her or his own choices and adapting to his or her own household needs. I will not end up preparing my own toothpaste - except purely by curiosity for the challenge of doing it - or start creating my own furniture, but would prefer to make more balanced and realistic purchase decisions, based on my needs and not on the latest product trends (except books, obviously). 
Recommended if you are looking for a New Year's resolution or if you need more structure and aim in organising your medium or long-term decluttering plans.

Disclaimer: Book offered by the publisher in echange for an honest review  

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Baked Eggplant with Cheddar Cheese

My and eggplant...we have a very complicated story between us, but I keep doing it as much as I can, especially when my hungry imagination is ready to add some spices that may challenge my first (bad) impression about it. 
This time, I wanted to test my new Zwilling, a present from a dear friend, and decided that, among other things that I am planning to prepare, eggplant is the easiest, affordable one. Especially when some spices, courtesy of Spice Kitchen UK, part of their Brand Ambassador Program are added. The result was surprisingly tasty, rich in flavors and made it into a good side dish for a milky-/cheese-based meal. I will only add some fresh cucumber and tomato salad, for a touch of freshness and call it a good meal! 


- 1 medium-sized eggplant
- 3 cloves garlic, finelly minced
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Fenugreek
- 1/2 teaspoon Berbere which are a combination of many spices, such as red chilli, garlic, black peppercorns, cardamom, onion. It also has fenugreek, but I personally wanted a stronger presence of this spice, therefore I added it as a separate ingredient too.
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 slices of Cheddar Cheese - you can also use Edamer Cheese and any other hard cheese variant.


Roast the eggplant on the stove at 250C, turning it on all sides at least for 45 minutes. Peel it well, careful to clean all the black parts. Slice it and put it into the baking pan. Warm the oven at 250C, at least 10 minutes before starting the baking. Add the lemon zest, the salt, the spices, the garlic. Be sure that you turn the eggplant on both sides to smear the ingredients properly. Add the cheese on the top.
Bake it for around 45 minutes. 
Serve it warm. The spices and the lemon zest add a complex, sweet-sour taste and consistency to the eggplant. 

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: Roasting: 45 minutes. Baking: 45 minutes
Serves: 2

Bon Appétit!

Mozzarella Sandwich with a Special Guest Ingredient

Who doesn't fancy a good fat sandwich, as a post-training treat? Especially if you are longing for the an afternoon healthy yet consistent snack, finding the right combination of ingredients is a challenge I will always answer positively. Especially when it involves combining relatively unusual ingredients, such as fruits with cheese. What do you think, are you in?
I was inspired by the very talented Chanie from Busy in Brooklyn to dare to use the very complex persimmon fruit not only as part of a fruit salad, but also in a savory recipe. It was a right decision to do so.

- 1 fresh hamburger bun, halved
- 250 gr. Mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 2 tablespoons of fresh cheese or 2 tablespoon of goat cheese spread
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 1/2 persimmon fruit, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon of za'atar

Spread the goat cheese/fresh cheese on the bun. Add a slice of Mozarella, a slice of persimmon, another slice of Mozzarella, the za'atar, the avocado and the other half of the bun. Feel free to make your own combination, but I would keep the Mozzarella and the persimmon in. If you love goat cheese - I personally do - it adds a strong taste to the cheese combination, as it does the za'atar, otherwise you need to find some ingredient which balances the sweetness/neutrality of the taste. Persimmon is moderately sweet therefore it needs some smoothly contrast.
You can also add a slice of tomato, instead of avocado, for instance, or some coriander/parsley leaves. Maybe I just need to continue improving my sandwich preparation skills. It makes it into a great afternoon threat and it is a lot of tasty fun for hungry active children too.

To be served fresh, with a glass of mint lemonade.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2 hungry people

Bon Appétit!