Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Scottish epic journey for Freeeedommm!

My mind was full of imagination about strong Scots, like William Wallace or poetic souls, like Sir Walter Scot; On contrary, my stomach was about to devour me from the inside when shortbread or butterscotch biscuits became the conversation of ours on the journey to... well, well, well- Scotland! That is how it has all started.

I guess, I might have fallen into a slightly nostalgic or melancholic mood, when I have realized that the journey was prolonging and my eyes were unable to slip through the pages of Harry Potter, as they were doing so since the early hours of the morning.  However, then when we crossed the border, everything has changed...

Frankly saying, I started to laugh as the landscape has changed drastically and surprises such as these cows became common for our week and a half journey from then onward....

I have to admit as well that I am indeed fond of culinary travelling, where I can explore different foods and indulge into regional classics, which would never taste the same if I had tried to make them at home. It does not have to be in places, which are rated 5 stars on Tripadvisor; to be honest, they don't even have to be on any websites, but they have to put a milestone on my experience of an amateur in a kitchen, as well as fill the stomachs of my family.

Yes, this is a pie. Seems to be ordinary, like any pie, as if Philip Larkin wished it to be ordinary, like in the poem 'Born Yesterday' for Sally Amis. However, it was extremely tasty, the filling was piping hot with the tempting chicken divining the flavour with the slightly salty bacon, slipping outside the crust whilst I was cutting it and making sure it mixes well with the HP brown sauce, which I have tried for the first time in my life. Additionally, the irresistible wedges accompanied the main dish with the well-spiced coleslaw and salad, which tasted truly home-made, like my mum's! Are you asking now, where have I found such exceptional meal? Well, it was a little cafe next to a farm in the middle of a mountainous and lake land area. I can't even remember the name. Shame, isn't it? But unrivaled.

You might have probably posed a question: Why is there a pie before... wait for it, wait for it...

                                                    HAGGIS NEEPS AND TATTIES!!??

And my answer is: I have no idea, but there you go... there is your (and mine, obviously...)

                                                    HAGGIS NEEPS AND TATTIES!!!!

I adore comfort food and heart-warming dishes, such as this one. I also have to add that you can try it at a descent price at Wetherspoon (a little advert from me as well as the lovely San Pellegrino lemonade :) Personally, I prefer the orange flavour from the lemon; Sadly, I still have not been given a chance to taste the other two. But well, let's look on the bright side of life and say that this is not the last holiday in my life ;)). However, relating back to my "wonderful" and surely "professional" photography, I can not resist admitting that I truly understand why Haggis is the Scottish national dish! My German teacher rests with my opinion from before the end of the school year that I was afraid to try it after having a good read on Wikipedia. On the other hand, now, I plan to prepare it for lunch next weekend! Haggis consists of surely fatty flavours, but also of a great combination of them, prefect for the rainy weather outside, as it keeps you warm and ready for new challenges. I can imagine that it is what William Wallace had before the battle...

Perhaps my description is not very detailed, as I would never be able to compare it to the masterpiece of Robert Burns in his poem "Address to a Haggis". What I can only say, it is "Warm-reekin, rich"!

And now, changing the story, for you my dear readers, who might prefer more of the literary heritage story, I would like to relate back to what I am more fond of than Haggis or furry cows in the Scottish countryside, it is as you could remember: Harry Potter! Do you recognize this bridge? Do you remember the film? It is the Glenfinnan Viaduct, where the Hogwarts Express hurried to get all the students in school on time before the feast. Ohh, I want that roast! Or the pies! Or even the porridge!

Again changing the story, as I relate back to Scottish dishes once more, for those readers, who rather travel with a geographical manner, as I guess we all should; I also got a chance to visit the famous Scottish Lochs (YES! Inculding Loch Ness, but even with my particularly good sight, I was unable to spot Nessie, sorry... :( ) Therefore, imagine, that you just turn around from that look of the bridge and you see a magnificent landscape with a Loch in the middle of high steep mountains and hills covered with straps of grass; They lead you to wherever you dream of, if you pull the strings of your imagination intensely enough and with true passion of a indefatigable traveler, who wishes to explore the unexplored. I feel like one sometimes, do you feel the same during your journeys? Right your experience in the comments below!

Copyrights of my dad :)

I feel as if this journey to such a wonderful greenery area has fulfilled my expectations, but I can't end this post with such a smooth mood, therefore I need to add that I have spent a long time looking at the lake described because I was trying to take a perfect photo of my Starbucks mug in the landscape... Ooops, but well, I enjoyed that too and in the end I have chosen a different landscape for it:

The only thing is that I get really annoyed when they can't spell my name: it is not that hard to ask if they are unsure!!!

Personally, I would love to study at a really good university in the future, not only because I can get a a great job later, but also because some of them (which I am interested in) have beautiful architecture; The stone buildings and long history accompany the study perfectly, as well as give a hint of enchanting mood every time you need to get from your house to the lecture. Imagine rushing through the cobbled streets with you leather satchel unpinned because of heavy books and quick last-minute notes for the essays folded in the small pockets at the front; As if you were another Hermione Granger rushing for the next lesson with Mr Flitwick. Ahhh, Oxford, Cambridge, Durham and... St Andrew's? Yes, that is another university town that I had a pleasure to visit and my favorite
photograph, simply speaks for itself:

Lastly, I could never forget about afternoon teas, where I never have a proper cuppa, but well at least cake is in it place. In my last post, my dear readers, you were able to see the greatest place in Edinburgh and link to my profile on Tripadvisor. Here I must, not only wish to, present Henry's Coffee House in Dundee, where I unfortunately, did not get a chance to try a true Dundee Cake. Real shame, real shame... But this means, however, I need to come back to do so! :)

As they say, always look at the bright side of life! :)

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Where the magic began...

Hello again my dear readers! Sorry that you haven't seen any new posts recently, however I had to pass through the most difficult journey of my life so far- GRUESOME EXAMS. As I am one of those people, who like to do more work than they need to, I ended up having additional exams, which added up to nearly thirty! Horrendous...

But what kept me going? What helped me survive in that battle against the behemoths (especially English Language exam)- indeed it was Harry Potter, as I was able to dive into spellbinding stories on my hour-journey home, where I could have imagined that instead of writing essays about Cold War, I could be like Hermione, who was running out of parchments for her homework about history of Hogwarts.

And then, and then when I have reached the true Garden of Eden, which was nothing more than my big mug with funny ducks full of hot chocolate on Friday evening with a thick layer of whipped cream and an encouraging sprinkle of chocolate (from my new Cadbury's Sprinkler :)) to top it off; I have finally relaxed finishing the second book. At that point, I was able to admit- I had become a Potter-maniac! Nothing more, nothing less, so then the new paradise came and thanks to my dad I ended up visiting the "birthplace" of Harry Potter in Edinburgh about a week later.

So, let's start the topic of this post now!
                                                                      ... slightly too low down the page, I guess.

I have to say, this coffee house is one of the best I have ever been to! Lovely atmosphere and I have learned something- there are so many various books about elephants! When you walk around the streets of Edinburgh with a running nose as it is slightly chilly but also as it rains every other minute; you start to fill peckish (even after haggis) and continually hear the pipes music in the background, the only thing you want to do is indulge into a generous piece of cake with a hot drink- so this is the right place for you and I strongly recommend vanilla cheesecake and a cup of milky latte.

                                                                            Believe me, you won't regret it.

Now, as an earlier mentioned Harry Potter fan, tears filled my eyes when I saw articles hanging on the walls with J. K. Rowling and her beginnings. Such sentimental moments encompassed me whilst sitting in a comfortable chair and thinking that it is going to be me one day with that cool Macbook sitting in the corner and revising, but at the same time sipping my hot beverage and enjoying the atmosphere- like that university student that I saw there.

P.S. Toilets were the true surprise :) and for more information look on my review on Tripadvisor. Get ready: Italian breakfast and Scotland posts will be up soon!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Vive la Marseille!

Vive la France tout le monde!

In today's post I would like to show you a little bit of my incredible trip to Marseille in PAC region, which I got told that stands for: la Provence, les Alpes and le Côte d'Azur! I have to admit, it was one of the best things which happened to me in my whole life :)

View at the port

Living there in a nice villa with an outdoor pool and french food lovers, I have explored the best parts of the culture, especially the gastronomy and le grasse-matinée :D

La salade niçoise- I was really afraid to try, but it was worth it!
 For sure, not only my language got more french, but also my stomach with the lazy mornings full of Nesquik and Ricoré, as well as les tartines de baguette avec de la confiture and le jus d'orange. These were always followed by le déjeuner and le dessert. (and obviously l'apéro avec du fromage, le saucisson et la baguette) I felt like I was in heaven!

Park near the place where I lived
We walked through the narrow streets, feeling the breeze from the sea or to be more precise le Mistral, but still boiling because of the Sun of the South.

That was the artistic street where paintings were presented from the beginning to the end
The colours of houses were slightly pale but still rich because of long rose vain tossing the balconies  
 I am really ashamed of myself, as I had quite a lot of pizza, however we have found a cameral pizzeria on the beach called Tropicana, which was hidden below the Pascal kitchen. Have a look below. :D

Pizzeria heaven during the sunset
My dad was always interested in the natural side of holidays and there was never a chance to rest, so this time I, myself, kept the tradition by doing some hiking to the other side of the mountains with my friends.

Perfect view of the Mediterranean coast 
Déjeuner- le sandwich, les tomates et les abricots pour le dessert
I couldn't miss a chance to buy le sandwich made from a fresh baguette in a local boulangerie!

Maybe not too french- but my second favourite pudding after.. guess and write in comments :)
Please write in comments how your perfect holiday looked like or could look like. Tell me about your visit to Marseille and what have I missed. Joyeux Noël for now my dear readers!

First time trying foie gras- I was full for the whole day ;)

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Le Pain Quotidien

My favourite place- nice atmosphere, style, but most important... hot chocolate with a little Sunday treat, whilst shopping on Oxford Street :-D

I know, it's a bit late to post it, as I went to Le Pain Quotidien in July. However, I just had to put this picture on the blog ;-) and I've had some spare time before Geography trip, where I was measuring pebbles, yay!

This restaurant is the one, I've had always dreamed about going to. Long wooden tables with special spreads for well- baked, aromatic bread, put on them; that smell of freshly brewed coffee and unforgettable brunches served around me, as I have arrived in quite early hours.

Personally, I have tried an Apple and Cinnamon Muffin and obviously hot chocolate. This surprised me a little bit, but in a good way. The hot chocolate looked like an actual melted bar, the one I used for my coffee cake, it was so thick and rich in taste! What was even better- hot milk was given in 'le bol'* (about which I have written in my first post and which is the best for breakfast, when you eat typical french one, like I do B-)). Big layer of froth was just waiting to pour over the chocolate and create some #chocoart . Just one mouthful made me feel like this was my new home.

That's my coffee cake, you can get a recipe here in polish, but write in comments, if you want me to translate it for you (just to let you know, there is more chocolate than coffee in there :))
Furthermore, as you know that I like adding bits about culture and history, and it's good, as Forbes says, if you want to study business at University. Everyone says it's french, but it was actually opened by a Belgian baker! If you want to search more, have a look at the website, link is above. When I started reading, it just caught me in and I have also found out that they serve drinks in these little bowls, because every time the founder, Alain Coumont was visiting his grandma on cold days, he was receiving a hot drink in a bowl like that from her. How cute :-o

*About 'le bol', you can buy it on their American website at quite a cheap price, $5, $6 or $7, depending on size! Write in comments if you have one, reviews are welcomed :-)

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

My favorite... Green tea on Friday afternoon

It is amazing how good it is for us!

I have just read some statistics and facts, whilst drinking a cup of that extraordinary beverage:

1. It has cancer- fighting properties and lowers the risk of breast cancer in women by 22% and prostate cancer in men by 44%!
2. Helps metabolism, however this depends more on individuals
3. Protects against heart disease, as it lowers the level of bad cholesterol in your blood (LDL) and inhibits good cholesterol in the arteries (HDL)
4. What's even better is that it helps your brain focus and learn more- yes, students, especially in the exams period! ;)
5. If you are allergic, it is good for you too, as it can help fight allergies and also improves your immunity against viruses, such as flu!
6. Last, but not least, it can protect against Alzheimer's disease, so elderly are lucky with this super food beverage!

So let's sit and during our afternoon tea, enjoy this beverage instead of black tea with milk and think about small changes, step by step to healthier lives! My favorite one is organic Clipper with a hint of lemon. Remember it's Fartrade!

If you have any more interesting facts, write down in comments :)

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Is it the time for Fika now?

Yes, it is at all times. Swedes can have it after breakfast, during Midday, just before lunch of after, just before dinner, as well as as the last snack of the day in the late evening. I would call it the Afternoon Tea in England, le Goûter in France or Podwieczorek in Poland, however there is a a little trick here, because there is no set time for it and Fika usually happens few times a day and Swedes spend about an hour daily in total on that "coffee break". Why? Because Swedes are on the second position after Finns in drinking coffee in Europe or maybe even if the whole world. It just became an institution in culture of this Scandinavian country.

What is the best aspect of Fika? Without consideration, it is surly the sweet bun, which comes with it. Sometimes it can be a sandwich, but mostly it is the vetebröd, so the sweet yeasted bread, kanelbullar- the cinnamon bun or lussekatter, which is a saffron bun.

The funny thing is that coffee was not widely accepted until about 18th century, when first cafés were  opened in Stockholm, but negatively they were opened only for elite men, where they could talk politics for example. Women had to meet at home, which later on changed into the habit of meeting for a cup of coffee.

On the other hand, the beginning of coffee adventure in Sweden dates back to 1685, when King Karol XII wanted to import some to his country after his trip to Turkey, where he tried this mysterious beverage. Few hundreds years later Gustav III was strongly against it and wanted to carry on an experiment, so he freed twin prisoners, however what they had to do was: one of them had to drink cup of tea three times a day and, not suprisingly, the other had to drink three cups of coffee. Unfortunately, doctors and the King died before the end of experiment, but the results were that the one drinking tea died at the age of 85 (which was a lot at that time) and (this time- suprisingly!) the other twin overlived him!

Where I am trying to get with this is that I have a really easy recipe for you for the cinnamon buns, which was originally in polish from a website: http://kuchnia.wp.pl/id,9128,title,Cynamonowe-buleczki,przepis.html?ticaid=113260 , but I translated it for you, so more people can try it!

So it goes like that:
Ingredients for the dough:
- 4 glasses or flour
- sprinkle of salt
- 125g of melted butter
- 30g of fresh yeast
- 80g of sugar
- 2 eggs

For the filling:
- 2 tablespoons of melted butter
- 1 and a half tablespoons of cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons of sugar

For the icing:
- 200g of caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons of water or orange juice

How to do it?
Warm up the milk in the pan (but don't boil it), add sugar and mix it thoroughly. To this mixture, add the broken yeast and leave for few minutes.

Sieve the flour and add salt. After mixing, add eggs, melted and cooled down a little bit butter and the milk and yeast mixture. Knead the dough and if needed, add some flour (well I needed milk, but I think that it just depends how precise you are with the ingredients). Grease a bowl with olive oil and put the dough in it. Cover it with a linen cloth. Leave it for an hour in a warm place.

On a breadboard (I just did it on the worktop) roll out the dough to get a thickness of a 0,5 cm in a shape of a rectangle (30x50 cm). Grease the dough with butter and then sprinkle it with cinnamon mixed with sugar (leave 2 cm on sides, so that it is easier to stick it together later). Roll the dough and cut in slices with a thickness of 2-3 cm and leave for 45 minutes.  Then, bake it in the oven with a temperature of 180 degrees Celcius for 15-20 minutes.

When the buns cool down, we need to ice them on top. Water or orange juice (I used water, I am too afraid to put juice in this mixture) mix with caster sugar (the texture needs to be easy to spread). Enjoy!

In my opinion they ended up being to stiffy, but tell me in comments what do you get from this recipe and if you like it! A little help- I read on other blogs by Swedish people that it is good to put half or two thirds of the flour at first and after first rising of the dough, add the rest, because they are much lighter afterwards. Therefore that is my mistake that I have not read it before. Shame!

After trying the first, still hot bun with that cinnamon spilling out from the roll I thought about IKEA and what I then found was: http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_GB/pdf/Kanelbullar_RecipeCard_UK&IE_A5.pdf

I will try this one next time and also if you are going to one of the shops in a near future, look for recipes inside, because I found one for lussekatter in Croydon IKEA, as well as in Łomianki IKEA, so I have it in two languages and I still haven't tried it! Sorry...

The last thing... Have you ever thought, where the word Fika comes from? It is quite funny, because the word is inverted syllable slang term derived from "kaffi", the 19th century word for coffee, as that very interested blog has told me: http://food52.com/blog/9499-the-history-of-fika-swedish-coffee-break and this one confirmed: http://szwecja.net/NOW/fs-now/2013/kawa.html

There are also very interested statistics about Fika and drinking coffee in Sweden, but I will not get into details and I will check it personally, if I get a chance to visit that country, which hopefully, with my dad's enthusiasm to travelling could happen in a near, near future!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Les crêpes time

Do you often feel that you want to be at least a little bit healthier?
Do you often feel that fruit is what you need?
Do you often feel that now is the pancakes time?
                                                                                                         - Because I do...

And that is why I needed to find that middle between boring, buttery and flour pancakes à la nutella (about which I can't lie that when it comes to sweet time, I cannot resist, but let's say, it is not the case here because otherwise the whole post will be just a complete nonsense! However, isn't it already?)

I also have to admit that I am slightly addicted to fruit, especially bananas, they can be like bread for me (as they are in some exotic countries)! Therefore, it came to my mind once, the idea of mixing something as amazing as les crêpes, so my love to France, as well as bananas, which shows the addiction and healthy aspects of my life, at the same time! Clever, isn't it?

So, let's stop this prolong monologue and start cooking!
Let me explain to you that very difficult and complicated ingredients list:
- 1 banana
- 2 eggs
I know it was very, very long, but if you want to add some fancy flavors, what you can do is sprinkle the batter with some cinnamon and at the end, top it with fruit, honey or maple syrup and feel of ambrosia is guaranteed!

Well, should we start thinking what to do with banana and eggs? Firstly, crush the banana with a fork in one bowl and beat the eggs in the other. At the end, mix them together, until it is smooth and looks like a thick pancake batter (that's what it should be anyway)!

Heat the frying pan and put some fancy oil on it, like for example almond oil to receive that exotic taste, which will make that dish taste even better, if it can happen anyway :)

Put some batter on the frying pan, so that it looks like little circles, as you would normally do with other pancakes! It is just too hard to explain, how to put batter on the pan! That's why I am not an A* student in English... gosh...

Flip on the other side, when they are golden and serve when they are still hot or when they cool down a bit- the temperature does not make a colossal difference to the flavor, which can compete with freshly baked buns in the mum's home "bakery" or of the amazing Ratatouille, which brought back memories of that negative critic Anton Ego from Disney after which he opened his own restaurant with rats staff! Well, that is what happens when people get too nice food.


Oh and I forgot to mention, it tastes amazingly with peanut butter, especially when you put it when they are still hot, as it starts to melt... Hmmmm.... Yummy
Also try this out: http://spoonful.com/recipes/peanut-butter-pancakes

Any comments- if you like the recipe, if I write too much or if you enjoy that- please tell me!