Lately, I found myself thinking how we humans have a tendency to overdo – whatever we are doing really. A cake has to have two icings, or more than two colours for decoration. A dress is too plain without an additional scarf or a necklace. Watching a movie and not having popcorn is unthinkable. Doing at least one more thing while we are on the phone, well we can’t imagine the other way around. The list can go on and on… and that is life these days. Continue reading
A few years ago, I believe it was about New Year’s time, one of our friends a practical and a well organised woman, made a statement regarding the presents. She implied that she liked handmade, unique, artistic and above all beautiful plates and all other bits and bobs that could come along. It was a pure, simple and clear statement, which made our lives much easier regarding any future present for her. Since then I’ve been truly enjoying buying presents for her as I too love the same bits and bobs and nothing gives me more pleasure. Strangely enough it never occurred to me that I might become a recipient of such beautiful presents myself, which brings us to the million dollar question – How do you see yourself (or how do other people see you)? What is it that you like and what is it that other people think you like? A totally different kind of theme, I know, but if one wants to make a connection between a plate, a cookie and a friendship – one can right? Continue reading
We host dinner parties at our place – quite often. Actually if I want to be honest that is the most common way of socialising lately (and by lately I mean for the last 5 years). It’s easy to make the decision between hiring a babysitter and leaving the house to see friends or staying home, cooking a wonderful dinner and having lots of fun. Staying home wins most of the time, which is absolutely fine if you are a such a keen cook and you have lots of help of course. My husband is more than happy to take care of supplies and the young one beside being a sous chef is into waitering/serving lately. He would even make a menu to look at – hilarious but also time consuming while dinner is getting cold. I guess at times like those we just have to remember that home entertaining dinner time is all about having fun and that applies to all of us!
These days surprisingly we have been rewarded with a few warm days after a very long and cold winter. I thought I’d ever say these words here in Melbourne as I always compare this winter with the one in Europe just to conclude that they are nothing alike. Continue reading
Very soon we will be travelling across the world to visit our family and friends. Now that we are so close to packing and leaving I can’t stop thinking about all the important and maybe not so important but inevitable things that I need to organise before the departure. Who is going to water our plants? The Christmas tree needs to survive because we will be back by then and we are going to need it and the blinds need to be fixed…but I better stop before you lose all interest.
Instead, let’s talk about things that we like to do or make, for people we love. Lately I am more for doing and making as opposed to buying, when it comes to showing emotions or gratitude. Maybe that is because I am in a very creative phase of my life but I have grown to like the idea so much that I might stick with it for a while. Creating a gift for someone is like giving away a bundle of feelings, more that anything else, and I find that absolutely precious. Raising a child has actually helped quite a bit with developing this idea. For example, Maksim’s last birthday party was done exactly the way he wanted, I just followed all his steps. Interestingly enough that didn’t include any presents from our side, instead he wanted us to make a 7 layered cake (most wedding cakes that I’ve seen would have been smaller) and we needed to add all the decorations he wanted and mostly, created himself. So we rolled up our sleeves, baked together, got dusty with flour and sugar, ended up covered in food colouring and most importantly, had heaps of fun. We had a special time for ourselves, created something magical and gave it away to the people who joined us at the party. I call that – a circle of happiness!
Friday is my day off – off everything else, except this space. I wake up, have a slow breakfast with my son, pack all our bits and bobs to take to the kinder with us and walk to the train station to catch the magical train. That is the favourite part of the week for my son – catching a train! It’s only a few stops, but we don’t miss the opportunity – it is so special. We ride mostly in silence, my son in his own thoughts, occasionally turning to me with a glazed look, with reflection of the buildings that he has just seen through the window, still in his eyes and whispering; I love trains! To me, it’s magical just to look at him but I love trains as well, the way they are, speedy on the outside but slow when you let a magic be involved in your ride. Except this time, the moment we walked into the carriage I was distracted by the rather loud conversation of two businessmen. Dark suits and red ties would indicate an importance in their work routine, the way they spoke as well, except they were talking about sharks and snakes! You can imagine what kind of conversation those two predators, as a main characters could have and since I don’t like that kind of action I have tried to exclude myself from listening by transferring to different cities and same life situations. Would I hear this kind of conversation in the London Tube or the Paris Metro? The New York Subway maybe? No, I can not recall any similar situation. In New York people are actually really quiet on trains or if they talk, they talk to themselves. London and Paris, well tourists mostly, even on a such an early ride, but…
“Mama, mum, look, I really like this tower with a clock on it..looks like Big Ben! and the building behind has a roof that looks like a Pyramid…”Well, what can I say, trains are special because they can transfer us to a different places – all the time.
If you are like me you would have the same thoughts each time you get intrigued by any ingredient. For example, yesterday I baked buckwheat cookies, out of habit, plus we love them and we can’t get enough of them. Buckwheat cookies come with different flour combinations and fillings but we call them buckwheat cookies because the main ingredient is – buckwheat flour. But something strange happened yesterday. While I was working on a familiar mixture, with a little twist of roasted walnuts, all I was thinking about was – black rice flour and black sesame seeds. I needed to combine those two – somehow. Cake? Hm, don’t feel like cake. Cookies? Yes, sounds like a good idea. That was it, really, the new goal was to be achieved and a few ideas were cooking up already. But then, a few attempts down the road, and I ended up using quinoa flour instead, but liked the combination so much that I decided to share it.
As for the actual cookies, well for me both ingredients with a nutty flavour (quinoa flour and sesame seed) match nicely together and with just a touch of the sugar, they are not too sweet, which is another thing I like about these cookies. They look a bit rustic, purely by accident, as I had a different shape in my mind for them. Then again, I grind my quinoa to get a quinoa flour and I have to admit patience is not my strongest virtue, especially with new recipes when I am all exited about the result, so with coarse flour you might get that harsh or rustic look…the truth is I am not too concerned by their look, simply because I like them the way they are, as I am sure you will too.
Buckwheat flour and I have a rather long history. The first thing that would cross my mind and is related to this flour, would have to be pastry sheets made of buckwheat flour and all the beautiful pies made out of them. Cheese and spinach to start with then apple pie, pumpkin pie and any berry pie and I can go on like this forever, obviously. I am quite sure you get the picture but just in case, I’ll tell you one more story: Last year my son and I made a trip across the world to visit the grandparents. We hadn’t seen each other for some time and we were all looking forward to it. Alas, when we arrived to my mum’s house late in the evening, we were all tired and Maksim had a temperature as well but I can still remember how my heart melted when I saw the choice of food my mum had made for us. A buckwheat filo pastry goat cheese and spinach pie. I could not think of anything that would make me happier or anything else that could bring back so many memories. Maksim didn’t eat much that evening or any other actually whereas with me it was quite the opposite.
You could think that this might be the wrong text for this post but so far I haven’t managed to find this filo pastry in this part of the world, so I might never have a chance to make a real post about it. I’ll just enjoy this one, entirely. So I played with buckwheat flour for some time and these beautiful cookies would always come back. In different shapes, different flour combinations beside buckwheat flour of course and always accompanied by chocolate. So finally I had to write down a recipe.