Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lobster Orange Salad - My Recipe for March 8th



We're almost there, almost celebrating the 8th of March, and whether you want to surprise your mother, girlfriend or wife, it's always a good idea to go out to a nice or new place, or to prepare something special to eat yourself.

Most of the time I consider it more intimate and more personal to cook something yourself, but many people are quickly scared by the idea of "something special". Newsflash: something special is not necessarily something difficult.


Here a quick idea:
Lobster Orange Salad
  • I took for mine:
  • 1 lobster
  • 2 oranges
  • some eisberg salad leaves
  • baby spinach leaves
  • radish sprouts
  • black sesame seeds
  • olive oil
  • pistachio oil
  • salt

Take the lobster and cook it (or get an already cooked one, if you have that option)!
Take the challenge - one of you is going to win, and it should be you, so smash that shell open and get the good pieces of lobster-meat out!


Throw the leaves together some radish sprouts in a bowl. Not too many sprouts,..as these are a bit spicy. Remember, they are there to underline the main taste, that of the lobster, who should be the star of your salad.
Finely cut the orange, so that you do not  keep the white bits from the inner peel. These add a bit of sweetness and acidity, so you don't need any balsamic or other type of vinegar.
Add the orange bits to the salad.


Add olive oil and salt.
Add not more than a table spoon of pistachio oil. It adds some extra flavour to the salad, but this oil is very strong in taste, so use with caution.
Mix everything.
Do the plating of the salad mixture, add the lobster bits on top.


In the end, add some black sesame seeds and lots of LOVE! This is what will make the difference.


Oh, and let's not forget,...enjoy it with the dearest woman in your life! And with at least a glass of Champagne!



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wild Olive - An Artisan's Love




Time. This is one of the most precious gifts, someone can offer you. 

It takes time to find the people you love and who love you back, but even more time to grow this love into a beautiful relationship that can last you a lifetime. It takes passion and dedication for that person, in order to learn their habits, their needs and desires. And it takes time to make everything happen for you, the both of you, together.


As you well know, I don’t like grabbing something off a shelf in order to complete a task, but I like to personalize every present. This is why, when I also find a product which has been designed and crafted by artisans, who have dedicated their passion, love and respect of the natural and organic into creating and sharing a work of art with the world, then I know, this is the right kind of gift of love.


The philosophy behind the Willd Olive range is exactly what I defined above: starting from a spark of inspiration, following a creative path, using local, organic, natural products and taking the time for the long skilled and trained hands to process and to finalize a product that is art.

Pantifolia lignosa (woody vanilla forest composition), Rosaria (Wild Olive’s interpretation of the rose), Flora Capensis (real African perfume, composed with indigenious Fynbos), Florae (the white flower composition) and Vetiveria Citrata (fresh, citrusy perfume) are all extremely elaborate and in such a balance with the world they come from, that they are both suited for women and men.
A perfect gift on any occasion. And especially on Valentine ’s Day, when you are truly seeking for that special something for your special someone. 

So why not visit them at their luxurious shop, located in 4 General Eremia Grigorescu Street, Gradina Icoanei area, to find that perfect gift of love.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A French Chocolate Kiss (by zChocolat)


No place speaks ROMANCE more than France. It’s probably every woman’s dream to be proposed for in Paris, the city of love, or simply to just spend time there with her better half, walking hand in hand the large boulevards where fashion, love and gastronomy are at home.

For Valentine’s day (but also for any romantic occasion), the French chocolate maker brand zChocolat has created the Romantic Collection.


 

In two of my previous posts on the blog I had mentioned zChocolat and will quote now the most important information you should know about them:

The chocolates are handcrafted in France by the World Champion Chocolatier and Meilleur Ouvrier, Pascal Caffet. For him, chocolate is an experience, which you will surely understand once you taste one of his 26 recipes created especially for zChocolat, for which he uses no preservatives, no artificial colouring, 100% pure cocoa butter, modest sugar, high cocoa content, no alcohol, and only the best choice for the other ingredients as well, such as Piedmont hazelnuts, Iranian pistaccio, violets, raspberry, Sri Lankan coconut etc. However, not only choosing the best chocolate was a priority for this brand, but offering a customizable service of offering was also top of the list. The handmade packaging can be chosen as well, and it can be personalized with messages, just like my box was. You can choose the name of the receiver to be attached to the box, to give it the ultimate personal feel, you can also have an image put there, choose the personal assortment which will be, for example, sealed in the box with a coded heart-shaped lock...just let your imagination wander,...and zChocolat will offer you the service

 




I was lucky enough to receive the Valentine’s Day zBox 42, containing the already known and loved numbered collection, of which every flavour mix I had described here and here, combined with a 12 piece assortment of heart-shaped chocolates, in dark, milk, white and red couvertures.


Mystique – a bourbon vanilla caramel dressed in 70% dark Venezuelan chocolate

Amore – dark chocolate ganache infused with bergamot (which for me gave the taste a floral but also fruity note) covered in white chocolate (with a red colouring)

Toquade – strong contrast between 62% dark chocolate ganache covered in smooth white chocolate

Supreme – contrast between smoothness of the milk chocolate cover and the crunchy Piedmont hazelnut praline interior

While I tasted the chocolates from the collection, I stopped for a moment, because I understood why these 4 hearts had been created the way they had. It is telling the story of my boyfriend and I, telling the story of every couple in the world.

It is stating the clear fact that opposites attract. That people (and flavours), even if they seem to have very little in common, if put together, they can evolve into a beautiful relationship, into what I call harmony. Two ingredients can give you the impression of simplicity,but put together, they will create a moment you will never forget. 

It is creating a whole experience, beyond mere flavour and aroma. It is a creation of love.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Change is the Law of Life


So I said to myself on Saturday morning, and after I took a stroll through the historic part of Bucharest with my sister to book the New Year's Eve 2014 party location and had a quick brunch with her, we made our way to the hairdresser I had booked for a haircut. No need to tell you how long I have looked for the right person to do this job, but I have have found her! So I leave you with the pictures of my transformation and some quotes about change... For me this was a great change, but I feel amazing ever since. What will you do to feel the same?


You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Mahatma Gandhi


Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
Barack Obama


All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.
Anatole France


Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw


To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.
Winston Churchill
 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

PEARLS at the V&A, London


"A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls" Coco Chanel



Or at least look once at such "ropes", and what better place to do that now, than at London's V&A Museum. Together with the Qatar Museums Authority and sponsored by Shell, the V&A museum presents until the 19th of January 2014 an exhibition around the topic "pearls". These are one of my favourite items of jewelry, however, I have not just admired them, but I have had the chance to learn a lot on my visit there: history, art, biology, conchology, struggle for survival, symbolism, fashion, democratization...you can touch all these topics while admiring some of nature's most wonderful gifts to us.

(Photos taken by me at the V&A museum London)

What I regret most was, however, that you are not allowed to take pictures or even sketch drawings, however, there is a great video online which shows you a lot from the exhibition I encourage you to visit while you still have the chance.

Enjoy the wonderful voice of Zoe Wanamaker while you sit back, relax and watch this video, before getting out of the house to see the real deal at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

(Video source: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/exhibition-pearls/video-pearls/)


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

zChocolat - Share the Joy


Although we tend to live in a fast-paced world, where capitalism drives traditions into becoming commercial acts, such as seeing Christmas decorations in shops in mid September, like I was "lucky" to see in Stuttgart this year...or Easter bunnies hopping all over starting February...there is still a part of us that expects those holidays because they mean more, if you want to! They bring happiness, joy and smiles on so many faces, because holidays and traditions especially are meant to bring the loved ones together.

It is also a time when we tend to relax, slow down the pace, lay back and ...why not...relish...
So what better time than to receive another amazing package from zChocolat?!


I have mentioned zChocolat in the past as well on my blog, for their summer offering, and will quote the most important from that post: 

The chocolates are handcrafted in France by the World Champion Chocolatier and Meilleur Ouvrier, Pascal Caffet. For him, chocolate is an experience, which you will surely understand once you taste one of his 26 recipes created especially for ZChocolat, for which he uses no preservatives, no artificial colouring, 100% pure cocoa butter, modest sugar, high cocoa content, no alcohol, and only the best choice for the other ingredients as well, such as Piedmont hazelnuts, Iranian pistaccio, violets, raspberry, Sri Lankan coconut etc. However, not only choosing the best chocolate was a priority for this brand, but offering a customizable service of offering was also top of the list. The handmade packaging can be chosen as well, and it can be personalized with messages, just like my box was. You can choose the name of the receiver to be attached to the box, to give it the ultimate personal feel, you can also have an image put there, choose the personal assortment which will be, for example, sealed in the box with a coded heart-shaped lock...just let your imagination wander,...and ZChocolat will offer you the service


For the winter holidays, zChocolat has another seasonal line to offer: the holiday zBox, basswood or mahogany box collection. I got lucky and received the amazing mahogany Holiday Ruby box. What a delight - to finally hold the entire collection and taste all those different creations!

I took some days to do this, because THIS chocolate is not something you just eat,...but one praline is enough to fill your entire day with joy, taste, colour, music. It is amazing how many stories you can cover/go through by just one bite. It is time to close one's eyes and disappear...enjoy the experiences!
So here are mine - decided to let you in on just some I hadn't presented last time (see previous post), because THOSE were particularly amazing and the best reason to explain WHY this box is just the PERFECT seasonal gift ... This small box helped me travel through time and space and helped me reunite with people and moments which are set a long time in the past. Enjoy!



#22 - immediate beaming to distant places - the citrus and coriander combination embraced by Ivory Coast milk chocolate seamed a rather strange one, however I have immediately fallen in love with it. It's not that cold outside, but one does need a sweater and a warm jacket when you go out...but I didn't need to go all that trouble because my mind was already in warm climate countries thanks to this amazing chocolate. Even 10 minutes after tasting it, my palate was still embracing those distant places

#21 - I must admit, if I had to choose between white, milk and dark chocolate - the latter would always win my heart - so #21 is one of my favorites - dark with dark with almonds and roses...mmmmmm...the flowery note just adds that little something which was missing to perfection. I would order a box only with this one. I most specially adore the creaminess of it all - almost like a pleasant sin.


#19 - crunchy texture wrapped by smooth dark chocolate, a fine combination of contrasts. Best for those who cannot decide if they are tough or soft :)

#15 - dark chocolate delight with a fresh citrus note. I would compare it to a good night's sleep and to the refreshing start into the next day...relaxing but also offering new energy

#12 - this one would fit perfectly with #22 - sesamy, crunchyness, all these make me think of oriental deserts or even amazingly tasting salty main dishes. It's like I've been to a feast with only one bite.


#0 – crunchy, nutty… There used to be a time when gifts for Christmas consisted also in hazelnuts – and this praline wrapped in Ivory Coast chocolate is exactly as those type of gifts.

#1 – reminded me of my year spent on the Cote d’Azur, especially of the flower market Sunday in Nice. Although Provence is well-known for lavender, it was in Nice that I used to buy it. This vanilla-lavender filling in the 70% dark Venezuelan chocolate is again a time and space travel for me. All the good moments I associate with lavender just exploded in my mind once I let this praline melt on my tongue. Amazing how flowers are not just nice to look, not just nice to smell, but also give a distinct taste, a strong personality to things they mix with.

#4 – peanuts – remind me of parties and get-togethers with good family friends, where peanuts wouldn’t miss. It’s normal for me/us to serve something for guests, even if it’s just a small snack to go with drinks, but peanuts would never miss. It seems just normal that once I tasted this praline with peanuts and covered in 40% Ivory Coast milk chocolate, that I would feel so familiar and that I would think of all the loved ones.

#5 – dark. Inside and out! Sinful! Perfect

#6 – mmmm! Like a wafer in a small deluxe dark packaging.

#7 – this one was a strong one. Like a shot of espresso coffee, but crunchy and chocolaty! And very international: coffee beans from Kenya and Nicaragua and 70% Venezuelan dark chocolate.


(Photos taken by me)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fight the Grey Outside With Green Interior Design


After a short weekend in one of Europe's biggest capital cities, I stopped to wonder how a person living in such a city can "fight" the grey surrounding, can make their life more peaceful and green. Luckily, today, while browsing for "cool new it-things" and "designer-gadgets", I stumbled upon a really interesting website called CoolThings, from which I am now sharing some ideas:

1. Aquaponics Fish Garden (pictures 1-3) is a combination of a mini indoor-garden with a mini self-cleaning fish-tank. Ideal for someone who needs a green spot and a relaxation-spot, but does not have all that time for cleaning, nor doesn't want to take the effort. This solution comes at ThinkGeek for the price of $59.99.


2. The table lamp incorporating a terrarium/garden/display case is a place efficient use of the table-lamp and is also very decorative. You can use it to create a terrarium for a small lizard - although I am sure it will not be as easy to maintain as the fish-tank above,  You can also just put in some plants who don't need a lot of watering...or simply use it as a display case for whatever you find interesting enough to put in there. I suppose while cleaning/watering, you have to remove the upper part - I did not find the exact description for this. All in all - I find this lamp a superb design piece - which does come at a price - to be found on Etsy for $210.


3. The Mono Hanging Bowls are also in the range of designer-items - I would see them hanging above a  dinner table - my ideal place for them, just below the hanging lamp - so that they are beautifully displayed and so they can ad an extra touch of green to your dinners. These are also not cheap, having a starting price of 102 Euros.


4. Now this is an option for something I thing should not be missing from any kitchen - a herb garden. Fresh basil, rosemary, sage, thyme, mint...picked directly from your small kitchen garden - always add an extra freshness flavour to your food and/or cocktails. The problem with the flower pots is mostly a storage problem - many have a small kitchen in their flats - so here I stumbled upon 2 options - one being #4 of the green-makers: the freestanding wall garden - a vertical garden with 40 separate planting cells. You can put it up just like in the picture below, on a separation wall to you dining area - or on your balcony wall. Available at Williams-Sonoma for $499.95.


5. If you want a smaller vertical garden, with blackboard included, to name/label the different plants you have in your apartment garden, Willians-Sonoma have another option for you, called GroVert Chalkboard Wall Planter, priced at $129.95.


6. Last, but not least, you can make your own small apartment green-house, by buying this cheaper Ikea Socker, priced at $19.99.


All in all, there are a lot of options for making your life more green - while being limited to a small flat. You can always make your life better - all you need is to be a bit creative.

(Picture source: http://www.coolthings.com)
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