GreenMa tea tube infuser
Are you a tea drinker? Black, green or white? I have been drinking tea since my early childhood, black Mango tea most of the time. Nowadays I like a bit more variety and prefer green tea. Ordering a tea in a French café, often results in a pot of boiled water and a bag of breakfast or lemon tea. Not really my cup of tea ;) That's why I generally drink tea at home. Last year I discovered French lifestyle brand GreenMa. They create organic teas, soaps, and candles that are better for the environment, with biodegradable packaging, with a focus on #zerowaste. Their organic soaps changed my life... or at least changed the life of my skin. No more itchy skin since I replaced my shower cream with organic GreenMa soap!
GreenMa is also known for their organic teas and herbal teas. I've been drinking their teas using my Tea Sub infuser or a mesh strainer, but it's been so messy and always a struggle to clean them. When I met Cécile at Maison & Objet, she asked me test and try me their latest GreenMa product at home. The GreenMa tea tube is a perforated glass tea infuser that replaces tea bags or mesh strainers, and that looks elegant as well! I tried it and love it! No more mess: because the glass tube is wider than a regular test lab tube, it is surprisingly easy to clean. And it also means: no more disposable tea bags!
The GreenMa Relax tea that you see in the photos above, has this beautiful green/blue color that comes from its blue mallow flowers and lavender. I also tried the sweet Mango Cranberry tea that reminds me of the Mango tea we drank in the eighties, but better! I love that there are entire cranberries in the mix and with the tea tube you can actually see and recognize the ingredients of the tea while you're making a cup. If you like, have a look at my highlighted Instagram Stories called "Tea!" to see how it works!
So, who's coming over for a cup of tea?
Full disclosure: I published these photos on my Instagram earlier, as I partnered with GreenMa to give away a set of the Tea Infuser and 2 teas. After sharing my experience with the Tea Tube in my Instagram Stories, I've received so many reactions that we thought it would be fun to giveaway a set of the Tea Tube and 2 teas.
Playful Babel designs by iBride + giveaway!
It is one of the "design trends" that I spotted (and liked!) a lot in 2017: playfulness. Designs that change shape, that have different uses or that evolve over time. Nothing too serious, nice curves that you want to touch and overall: fun!
Today I would like to introduce you to one of these designs. As you may have seen I spotted these new stackable tableware sets for the first time at Maison & Objet in September. They are designed by French company iBride, that created 3 sleek Babel towers in melamine that consist of cups, bowls, plates and dishes. They look great when stacked, but it's also a lot of fun to create new shapes and turn them into presentation dishes or other surprising combinations: (scroll down for the giveaway details!)
The outsides of the Babel towers have a beautiful matte finish and on the inside the designers Rachel & Benoît Convers added small colorful illustrations that highlight the primary senses connected to food: sight, smell, taste and touch.
iBride is a small design company based in the Bourgogne France Comté region in Eastern France and was founded 20 years ago by Carine Jannin and her sister Rachel Convers and brother-in-law Benoît Convers. They are known for their creative tableware and small furniture. The word "ibride" itself is a French wordplay for "hybrid", and many of iBride's pieces do indeed combine several forms and functions. Like new Babel range.
Through an ingenious and beautiful 3D surface pattern, the bowls and cups fit perfectly into eachother:
The Babel towers are not only playful: their surface pattern also gives a nice haptic feedback on touch:
All three designs are dishwasher safe, made of durable food grade melamine. And they come in nice boxes that emphasise their individual fonctions: drink, eat or make:
And voilà: the inside! green, mustard, mint and black & white illustrations by Rachel Convers:
So my idea was to show you a table full of food and snacks, but when taking pictures it wasn't dinner or apéro time (yet) so instead I gathered the ingredients for our taco dinner. Well, when I say our taco dinner: I mean the dinner Robert prepared for us. Because apart from the occasional baking session, I still never cook. I do love to eat though ;)
And now comes the good news: you can get to play with the Babel tower of your choice too! Together with iBride I get to giveaway a Babel EAT (light grey), Babel DRINK (dark grey) or Babel MAKE (white).
For a chance to win:
► Follow @joelixjoelix and @ibride_design on Instagram
► Leave a comment on this Instagram post with the Babel you would like to win
► Tag two friends in your comment, that would love a Babel too
Giveaway is open to anyone in Europe until December 18th 2017. The winner will be announced on Tuesday December 19th, like an early Christmas gift, in a comment on the Instagram post and via Instagram direct message. Fingers crossed!
This giveaway is now closed. The winner has been contacted. Thank you all for playing!
This blogpost was made in collaboration with iBride. They kindly provided me with the Babel towers, but all photos, opinions and words are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep JOELIX.com going!
mini guide Brussels
When visiting our family in Holland, we always (always!) pass by Brussels. And in fifteen years we never ever stopped there. Which turned out, is a pity because Brussels is a sweet and diverse city, well worth a visit.
Igor and I were in Bruxelles recently to promote our book and to host a plant hanger workshop and had an extra day to explore. There were quite a few places that I really loved (and want to revisit on our next trip to Holland!) that go well beyond Manneken Pis, chocolate and beer. So here we go with some of the places you don't want to miss on your next citytrip to Bruxelles, Brussel, or just Brussels.
By the way, I still have no clue which language you're supposed to speak in Brussels. Speaking English seemed safer than French or Dutch, because the Bruxellois would either be insulted by Dutch or by French and reply in a different language. As long as you understand each other, it's OK, but it felt confusing either way.
► I'm still dreaming of the iced coffee I had at Aksum, an Ethiopian coffee house, not far from the Grand Place. My number one reason to go back to Brussels, and I'm not even a coffee-addict. Warmly (or ice-coldly ;) ) recommended!
► The prettiest plant shop in Brussels: BRUT. A real jungle vibe, with lots of pink grow lights, lush plants and vintage rattan furniture. We created an entire blogpost about Brut on Urban Jungle Bloggers if you like to take a look inside. Next time I also want to visit their newly opened sister-boutique La Pharmacie with more vintage & plants.
► Good design and vintage shopping in the Rue Blaes, including Atat and Welcome Gallery with some very nice Calder-inspired stabiles!
► The glazed shopping arcade Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert is a bit touristy (check the first picture above), but there are a few nice design and interior shops inside and... Meert ;) Need I say more?!
► Forget waffles with too many toppings: go to Aux Merveilleux de Fred for a raisin cramique. Super soft fluffy bread with raisins. Or indulge in his merveilleux.
► Dinner at La Cantina Brasil for nice brasilian food in a kitschy jungle decor. Not tested, but I was recommended to have dinner at Jour de Fête.
► On Sunday, wake up early to visit the Marché du Midi, the fruit and flower and plant market near the Bruxelles Midi trainstation. It is huge and has so many beautiful flowers, very cheap houseplants and the most wonderful fruit en veggies. If you visit at the end of the market day, at around 13:30, you can find the best bargains.
► If you woke up early to visit the market and did some grocery shopping, or maybe even adopted a new plant, walk towards the Marolles area, just south from the Marché du Midi. On the Place du Jeu de Balle, there's a large Sunday fleamarket where you can find anything from complete tourist traps, to the best vintage finds ever. I found it to be rather inexpensive, the vendors were willing to negotiate and easier than the French folks at the vide greniers we usually visit here in France.
► fter (or before!) a stroll around the fleamarket: go for Sunday brunch at Chaff, great for people watching as it's right along the brocante square.
Do you have more Brussels tips? I can't wait to go back, have a nice Aksum coffee, a cramique and for some more junkhunting at the Place du Jeu de Balle ;)
Casa Bonay in Barcelona
I've said it before, but I seriously can't wait for the day that teleportation becomes reality. Like at this very moment: I'd love to be in Barcelona right now for a drink at the gorgeous Casa Bonay! To sit back and relax in one of their comfy velvet couches, staring at the beautiful Cirio Circular lights from Santa & Cole and enjoy some good company.
During our Sunny Design Days tour through Spain last year, Nina Masó from Santa & Cole took us to Casa Bonay after visiting the amazing Parc de Belloch just outside Barcelona. She wanted to show us the Santa & Cole products in a real setting and introduce us to this wonderful place that is called Casa Bonay. It is really a family house, in the middle of the Eixample Dret and first opened its doors in 1869. And now, almost 150 years later, it is a place to have fun. You can sleep here in one of the comfortable rooms of the hotel, have cocktails in the beautiful lobby/bar/café, do some shopping, enjoy a delicious Asian dinner, enjoy the view on the rooftop, read a book or magazine, or get some really good coffee at the neighbors from Satan's. Sounds pretty good, right?!
When Nina told us more about what Casa Bonay is all about, one of the main things that made a real impression on me, is that the owners gathered a team of creatives to work with, based on how much they liked them. They work with friends. Of course they kept the results of re-opening Casa Bonay in mind, but the process of creating this new place was just as important. They worked with Nina from Santa & Cole for all the lights, Mucho for their graphic design, Basta Basta for the uniforms of the staff and wallpaper and pillow covers, Alejandra the gardener, Marc Morro for furniture and many more. It makes that the place doesn't only look good, it feels really nice and welcoming too.
CASA BONAY in their own words:
Let’s have some fun.
The awesome fabrics from Basta Basta are used for some of the pillows in the lobby bar:
For the best coffee in Barcelona, head to the neighbors at Satan's Coffee:
So who's in? Cocktails at Casa Bonay in 15 minutes from now? Let's teleport there straight away!
Casa Bonay /// Gran Vía de les Corts Catalanes 700 /// 08008 Barcelona /// +34 93 545 80 70
boutique hotel - shop - music - restaurant - rooftop - shop
Peonies Café et Fleurs in Paris
Plants are my thing, but I also really enjoy flowers. But not nearly as much as my flower friend Elodie from Madame Love. Earlier this summer we picked the most beautiful Café au Lait Dahlias in her second home here in the Oise. The other day we had lunch at a brand new café in Paris: Peonies café et fleurs.
The concept is as simple as delicious: Peonies is a café where you can sit down at one of the pink terrazzo tables, have a coffee or lunch/brekkie/brunch/cake and buy a nice bouquet for a friend or yourself. Model and DJ Clémentine Lévy recently opened this hybrid cafe. She learned how to create her bouquets at Flower School Catherine Muller and now works with seasonal field flowers that come from growers from l'Île-de-France, the region around Paris. A very refreshing florist with natural flowers:
Homemade jams, with mouthwatering combinations like grapefruit & orange blossom, strawberry & mint and apricot & lavender to takeaway:
The Poenies icon on the flowerwrappers is really cute too:
Clémentine's Peonies menu is simple and delicious. If you're looking for a lunch café with dozens of options, this is not your place. But if you like some Avocado toast with cacao nibs, homemade granola, grilled cheese or a healthy salad, this is where to go. Elodie and I also had a really nice tea à la Rose from Les Jardins de Gaïa. No dessert for us this time, but I think we need to go back for a slice of yummy cake or a cookie. Some are even vegan and glutenfree, if you prefer.
Golden (brass) flatware... nothing less:
And what do you do when you visit a cute flowery café like this? You Instagram it... of course. Right, Elodie?
Peonies Café et Fleurs /// 81 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis /// 75010 Paris
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10-19 and on Sunday from 10-16
Garden banquet with my LZF family
It's the last day of summer and today I want to share with you one of my most memorable evenings of this summer: the garden banquet at LZF Lamps in Spain. As part of Sunny Design Days, our group of bloggers and journalists was invited to attend a garden banquet in Chiva, a small town near Valencia. Little did we know we were invited into a family, the LZF family with the most welcoming, creative, friendly, down-to-earth and talented people. It was a magical evening where everything was so perfect, from the warm welcoming words, to the mini pineapples in our cocktails, to the beautifully designed name badges and dinner menus, to the glorious Spanish food, to all the team members, the garden setting with stunning LZF lighting, the music (yes! even the music was REALLY good!), the chefs, the people from KlunderBie that couldn't be there and created a video message for us. Seriously, everything felt just right. Not over-the-top, but taken care of with such eye for detail, taste and good vibes that it was mindblowing. I felt right at home and didn't want to leave. When Sandro told us, he didn't know how to do these kind of events in any other way, I thought that was SO touching. If the only way that you know how to invite people, is like this... by creating a heartwarming connection and invite complete strangers into your own personal world. That is where the magic happens. Let me try to show you a few bits and pieces of that magic.
Let's first start with the brand itself. LZF (Luzifer) Lamps is an established Spanish design brand that was founded by artist Mariví Calvo and musician Sandro Tothill in 1994. The couple started their business in a small studio in Valencia's historic center and when they grew bigger, they moved to this charming old winery location in Chiva, just outside the city. From the beginning they focus on wood veneer lamps, made by hand. The veneer is incredibly soft to touch and creates a unique light. The veneer is thin enough to allow some light to pass through. Which results in two very different colors & effects when the lamps are switched on or off. But LZF is not only about beautiful lighting, it's also about making, producing and communicating their work in their own personal way. With a little hint of the devil ;)
Throughout our visit we got to see these three sides parts of LZF: we started by visiting the mix-match offices of the LZF team where ideas, prototypes, color tests, plants, sketches and computers lay side-by-side. It felt very boho yet designy, and seeing the graphic designer's offices I could totally see myself working there... sipping a perfect pear-sage cocktail with a mini pineapple, of course. When we moved on from one room to the next, there was always a new surprise: were it the music starring LZF lamps, including CD/record sleeves and music posters (a campaigne that was awarded with several Red Dot awards), or the larger-than-life wooden animals called Funny Farm: it was a labyrinth of people working with other people. One of the values that showed throughout the evening was that they truly value other people's talents and ideas. They give carte-blanche (or lots of freedom) to designers, musicians, photographers, crafters, engineers to create what they think is best. Mutual respect, passion and talents, that is, also, where you'll find the magic at LZF.
We continued our visit through several rooms where all LZF lamps are produced, wrapped and shipped. All products come to life right here: in this former winery building in Chiva! Every lamp even has its own identifier which allows to trace which member of the LZF team created that specific lamp.
After this labyrinth visit, we were invited to join the LZF family outside in the garden for a Spanish feast of cheese, charcuterie, paella (which is a typical Valencianan dish, the rice paddies are just outside the city), salads, deconstructed cheese cake and lovely wine. We made polaroid photos to take home as a souvenir, watched videos of past and current LZF project campaigns in the outdoor cinema(!) and talked, laughed and ate for hours from mismatched tableware that Sandro inherited from his family in Australia.... As you can imagine, we didn't want to leave our new LZF family. I leave you with some more photos by the talented Maria Mira (and a few by me too, when I wasn't too busy enjoying the evening).
Photography by Miria Mira (5-6-11-13-16-17-19-20-21), rest by me (Judith de Graaff). More photos on LZF's blog.
Santa & Cole at Parc de Belloch
Santa & Cole is this brand that you know unconsciously. At least I did. Their street lights brighten several big avenues in Barcelona (and other cities) and their lamps and furniture reside in many homes, hotels and offices around the world. Santa & Cole actually don't design their products themselves, they are an editing company, which means they publish designs from others. Timeless, high quality pieces from well selected materials. That you instantly recognize once you flip through their catalogue.
During Sunny Design Days, we were invited to meet one of the founders of Santa & Cole, Nina Masó, at their headquarters at Parc de Belloch, a knowledge parc near Barcelona, that they acquired in 2003. The large parc and school building from the 1960s were not for sale at the time, but the Santa & Cole team somehow managed to become owners of the parc, which now focuses on communication and industrial design. The story of the building, a former school, and their intention to turn it into something good, totally hit home for me. Our own building, also from the 1960s, wasn't for sale either and look where we live now, twelve years later.
Parc de Belloch is a peaceful haven at 30 km from Barcelona, it's spacious and located on a hilltop, with wide open spaces, covered passages, large lawns and lots of pines and palm trees. The main building has a contemporary feel with a hint of midcentury. Inside, Nina Masó kindly introduced us to Santa & Cole, and their philosphy of editing other designer's designs. I loved how we got to peek into their creative workspaces, where designs in different stadiums of development where laying and hanging around in what used to be classrooms of the school.
Speaking of hanging around: pinewood structures of the famous Santa & Cole Cestita lamp hanging from the ceiling:
Everywhere in the building are small, or bigger details, that remind you of the previous function of the building, like this music ♬ blackboard:
Cesta, Cestita and their metallic brothers and sisters:
Prototypes of different lampshades:
Below you see the M64 lamp by Miguel Mila, designed in 1964 and reedited in 2013. The new version features a very flat LED light that simply carries the lampshade. When you lift the lampshade you can easily take it off and change it for a different shade, like any of the designs on the table:
Big Leonardo lamps catching the golden hour light:
What's not to love: palm trees and wall art:
Another highlight of the Parc de Belloch, is the former church, that is not in use as such anymore. Nina told us she and the other Santa & Cole co-founders, used to go to church here when they were kids. Nowadays they get to work in this same place! The top image of this post is from the Cirio circular in the church. Don't you think it looks stunning?
The luxury of spacious offices and outdoor gardens, terraces and covered passages, at Parc de Belloch:
After our visit of the Santa & Cole headquarters, a long table with lovely food and drinks waited for us under the trees in the garden. The team of La Horta de Belloch prepared us beautiful locally grown, organic and vegetarian food which tasted so good. All beautifully displayed on and under Santa & Cole's Blancowhite table tamps:
Al fresco dinner under the trees in the parc:
Flowers from the garden and sponge cakes wrapped in leaves (paired with apricot jam they were to die for!) Also served: fresh yogurt with myrtilles, homemade gazpacho, falafel with tsatsiki, a fresh cucumber salad, Spanish omelette, zucchini pie with goat cheese... and wines, craft beer and homemade ice tea to go with it. Yummm!
La Horta de Belloch is an agro-ecological project located in the heart of Parc de Belloch. All the vegetables are grown organically, without machines, collected by hand in the morning and slow cooked. Honest, simple and sooo good! I hope you can tell from the pictures, and if not: just believe me ;)
Muchas gracias Santa & Cole, Nina and Raquel and the guys from La Horta de Belloch for the memorable visit and dinner!
More photos from our visit on Santa & Cole's blog!
Solomillo restaurant in Barcelona
One of the highlights of Sunny Design Days, the week long tour through Spain to discover the best in Spanish design, was the food. Beautiful fresh Spanish food. Flavourful tomatoes, jamón, cheeses, olives, paellas... paired with strong and sweet wines. It's in moments like these that I realize I'm not a food blogger: as soon as there is food on the table, I'm in the moment and forget about taking photos. Please tell me I'm not the only one ;)
During the week, we had two memorable meals at Restaurante Solomillo in Barcelona. Solomillo is a brand new restaurante in the Eixample area, close to the Passeig de Gràcia. Downstairs you'll find a charcutería where you can get all kinds of iberic hams, cold cuts and cheese plates and on the first floor is a gastronomic brasserie, that serves "meat by weight" and the best Solomillo (tenderloin beef) in town.
An important asset of Solomillo is its cosy atmosphere. The interior design focuses on classic Spanish roots and was created with contemporary Spanish designs only. We had the opportunity to meet Maria and Jorge, the interior architects from Borrell & Jover, that designed Solomillo's space. They explained that they aimed to create a look and feel that is timeless yet modern. I think they succeeded that challenge: it's hard to define the date that the restaurant was designed. And it's wonderful to see famous Spanish brands like Nanimarquina (Medina rugs), Santa&Cole (Básica Mínima lamps), Cosentino (marble table tops), Marset (Funiculí lamps) and Expormim (Huma chairs) in one place.
In line with the cosy, classic and contemporary decor style, the staff at Solomillo is equally friendly and likes to explain everything about the food they serve. My absolute favorite dish was the buffalo mozzarella with Spanish tomatoes. It was succulent! Obviously not pictured, I was too busy spoiling my taste buds ;) However, I managed to capture the iberic jamón:
The view from the bar, with Funiculí lamps by Marset:
Cheeses, from smooth and soft raw cheeses to spicier aged ones:
Basica Minima lamps from Spanish editor Santa&Cole:
I love the design of the paper table runner design where you can ✓ the doneness of your meat: bleu, saignant, à point, 3/4, bien cuit.
One detail that comes back in both the charcutería and the restaurant are the ceramic tiles. Maria and Jorge choose a basic designed tile, normally used for skirting board(!) and painted it in a meaty color. Around 7300 pieces were used at Solomillo, all assembled one by one. It looks glossy, chic and is a perfect fit for a restaurant that focuses on meat!
Below: this CaressLamp from Obvious is even cooler in person: when you gently caress the lamp it will slowly go on or off (see the video here), which is very addictive ;).
The Huma chairs are by Expormim, another Spanish design brand that we had the chance to visit during Sunny Design Days. I actually saw one of these chairs being made (by hand of course): so fascinating! Will show you more about that soon.
The perfect treat after a delicous meal at Solomillo: delightful chocolate truffles:
Solomillo Charcutería y Carne al Peso /// C/ Mallorca, 251 /// Barcelona /// +34 934 67 77 55
Wild & the Moon in Paris
The other day I passed by this window on my way between two client meetings in Paris. Especially now that we're working on #urbanjunglebook I see plants everywhere. So I couldn't not go in here and take a look at all those plants. I was pleasantly surprised: this café and restaurant looks really nice: old moulures on the ceiling, a tiled white counter, hanging plants everywhere and a big table in the back where you can work in an urban jungle. I was so obsessed with all the plants, that I only realized Wild & the Moon actually serve raw and vegan food when I paid for my drinks at the counter.
Wild & the Moon is not just about the nice interior (which I loved) but about the food. In their own words: We go for wild, local, plant-based, ethically sourced, seasonal and pure. We use vegetables, fruits, herbs, roots, nuts and super food. And we like to serve them that way: cold-pressed, raw, intact, and prepared with love. No processed ingredients, no additives, no chemicals, no GMOs, no gluten, no dairy, no refined sugar.
Personally I'm not vegan or a raw food addict, but I like pure ingredients and food prepared with love. I promise that next time I'll be at Wild & the Moon I'll focus on the food instead of the plants ;)
I mean look at those ferns above! There are also mini Hypoestes plants on every table in all kinds of mix-matched plant pots.
A string of hearts (Ceropegia woodii) and a string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus), casually hanging out in front of the window:
A very graphic display with the different Smoothies, vitality shots, le plat du jour and coffees:
Imagine this window display without the plants... impossible right?!
The hanging jungle in the back with ferns, rhipsalis, pothos, zigzag cactus, philodendron, above a large table where you can plug in your laptop and work :)
Wild & the Moon /// 55 Rue Charlot /// 75003 Paris /// +33 9 51 80 22 33
Open Tue - Fri: 8-19 and Sat - Sun: 9-19
Ipi Kulmakuppila in Helsinki
Last week we were interviewed by Radio Helsinki about our trip to the Finnish capital as #HelsinkiSecret residents. Live on air (you can listen to the podcast here), we met ice hockey player Eetu Pöysti from the Helsinki Jokerit and Minna Särelä, CEO of Design District Helsinki. Together we spoke about Finnish food, design, my Instagram husband, the specific light in the city and the humbleness of the Finnish people. Eetu told us about his favorite neighborhood in Helsinki, called Kallio, that had a bit of a Berlin-vibe according to him. So of course we had to check it out.
And indeed, the area is a bit rough around the edges with lots of second hand shops and a few cool cafés. My favorite was Ipi Kulmakuppila (in Finnish: Ipi corner café), a very cosy designed café with lots of wood, bright white walls, leather cushions and butterfly chairs. And lots of plants. In the back there's even a giant plant that is taking over the entire wall!
The interior design of Ipi Kulmakuppila was designed by talented Petra Majantie and the graphic design (including the wall decoration pictured above) is by Dog Design & Timo Ripatti. It's a very warm and friendly space, where students, elderly people, businessmen and young moms enjoy their coffee, brunch, lunch or afternoon cake here. And just as good as the look and feel of Ipi corner café, is the concept behind it: it's also a social workspace, where a dozen disabled people and their tutors work every day. No wonder why Ipi feels like such a warm space: there's a good mix of people, design, food and plants!
Besides the plants, the Aim pendant lights by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec for Flos were my favorite: they add a playful touch to the space. The wooden Hiroshima armchairs by Naoto Fukasawa for Maruni and the Osso bar stools by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec for Mattiazzi are also very pretty and add just the right amount of wood and comfort. Oh and don't miss the toilets either... they're gorgeous with a dash of bright yellow!
I also really liked the story behind the name of Ipi Kulmakuppila:
The café was named after Pekka Hämäläinen (1938 - 2013), a senior lawyer based in Helsinki. He was a very loved man with a positive outlook on life and people. After his death, an idea of setting up a “monument” for him in Helsinki started spreading among people who knew him. Hämäläinen’s first grandchild was born in 1986, with Down syndrome. Hämäläinen had a positive, constructive attitude to life and people, and the disability of his grandchild did not change this. He was a loving grandfather to all his grandchildren and took genuine interest in them. Pekka Hämäläinen’s children and grandchildren knew him by one name, and that name was Ipi. Thus, the café was named after the nickname of Pekka “Ipi” Hämäläinen, a lover of good food and a famous figure in Helsinki. You can almost hear Ipi greet his guests at the door.
Super comfy butterfly chairs surrounded by lots of plants in terracotta pots, on the mezzanine:
And the tea and coffee weren't so bad either:
In my book you never go wrong when you add several plants to your home / shop / café / workspace / whatever ;)
Ipi Kulmakuppila /// Porthaninkatu 13 /// 00530 Helsinki /// +358 45 6164776
Open Monday to Friday: 8 - 20, Saturday: 10 - 17
Yes, I'm going bananas! It has nothing to do with minions, but with a crazy ear infection that's been chasing me for the past month. The different kinds of pills ease the pain but make me nauseous and I don't feel strong enough to run (so frustrating!). And overall I feel a bit bleh, despite long nights of sleep, vitamin boosts and a caring husband.
But on the other hand: there's a lot of good stuff going on. Our new bathroom is FINISHED! And it was sooo worth the 18 months of mess: it's pure luxury to take a shower in a real and heated bathroom and I can't wait to take some decent photos and share the final result with you. Also, two restaurant-letters were entirely renovated & painted and attached to the wall of the bathroom and have light (triple yay!). And in the past few weeks Igor and I have been outlining some very exciting Urban Jungle Bloggers projects for 2016. It included a daytrip to Holland by plane, which felt a bit crazy, especially with an ear infection, but it was a very fun experience. We will tell you all about it soon!
And on a more personal note: Robert and I planned our first 2 trips of the new year. We are staying here in the Oise... and we're going to Helsinki!
And I'm also going bananas for REAL bananas... banana trees to be exact. In our AirBnB garden near Valencia grew a gorgeous and big banana tree with 2 banana bunches and a beautiful inflorescence (above). Every day a dark purple burgundy petal would fall off. A few years ago I had a little banana plant, but Wally liked munching on the leaves and totally destroyed it. Maybe I should try again and grow some in the greenhouse? They have this instant tropical vibe, right?!
Do you like bananas? Or banana plants? In any case, I hope you are well and not too stressed out by any Xmas preparations!
Dulce de Leche in Valencia
Coming home after a three and a half week break meant it was back-to-business straight away. It felt like we hit the ground running: new projects, new clients, a weekend in a cabin on the water, and a bathroom that needed our attention too. Knowing that I have so many sun-drowned photos and stories that I want to share here... oh sometimes I wish I could skip some work and go straight to photo editing and blogging. And go back to Valencia to have a delicious raspberry muffin at Pastelería Dulce de Leche:
Souraya from Binti Home has a big crush on the city of Valencia and when we met at Meet the Blogger in Amsterdam in October (we were actually on stage together!), she suggested me to check out the tips on her blog. I did and had to check out Pastelería Dulce de Leche, because it's not only a bakery, they also sell beautiful lifestyle products... and plants!
It was super busy when we visited Dulce de Leche. Really: coffee, cake and plants are such a successful combination! And their staff is super friendly and laid-back, like most of the people we met in Valencia. The neighborhood Ruzafa is probably the hippest area of the city, lots of fellow graphic designers have their studios in Ruzafa and there are some really nice boutiques, restaurants and coffeehouses too. If you're in the area: don't forget to visit the Ruzafa food market. It's so vibrant!
I'm not sure if it's the delicious cakes, the abundance of sanseveria, monstera or rubber plants, or the nice coffee, but everyone at Dulce de Leche was smiling. Including us, because what's not to love when you're in a lovely and sunny city with your favorite person, eating cake, drinking coffee, surrounded by plants? Yes, I know, I want to go back too ;)
Funny detail: I immediately recognized the ochre plant pot that Souraya has in her plant hanger, next to the counter:
Pastelería Dulce de Leche /// Carrer de Cuba, 43 /// 46006 València, Spain /// +34 (0) 960 03 59 49
Open every day from 9AM to 9:15PM
Sugarfree lemon meringue pie
When life gives you lemons... or when a styling project leaves you with a basket of lemons: make lemon pie! That exactly what I did when I didn't really know what to do with the lemons I used in the IKEA Go Green photoshoot. There's only so much lemon water that you can drink in a day, right?
Ever since I had this Saturday job as a teenager at a meringue factory (yes they exist!), I haven't eaten a single meringue. But a sugarfree option sounded like a fun challenge. This is my very first lemon meringue pie and because I had lots of fun making it (and instagramming about it) and it turned out pretty good, I wanted to share my recipe. I can tell: the filling is very delicious!
First, start with a simple pie crust. I went straight to The Lemony Goodness and rushed the pie crust and that was not a good idea. It's not as tasty as it should be. I simply mixed flour, butter, 1 egg and some sucralose and baked it for 25 minutes on 175°C. But you can make it as fancy as you like.
Oh and by the way I love using my Rosti Mepal Margrethe bowls. These melamine bowls were a kitchen staple in my mom's kitchen, but my husband, the chef at home, only uses professional stainless steel bowls and I cannot get used to them. Now that I'm baking sugarfree treats more often, I wanted my own mixing bowls with their clever anti-slip ring. In bright & beautiful colors of course!
My bakerella sister offered me a set for Christmas and Rosti Mepal sent me their new tower set in retro colors. I love the sturdy melamine and the clean & practical Danish design. To me it's obvious why these bowls celebrated their 60th birthday last year ;)
Now let's get on with The Lemony Goodness filling:
► 12 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
► 2 cups of water
► 1/3 of a cup of lemon juice
► 3 egg yolks
► 3 tablespoons of butter
► 1 1/4 cup of agave syrup
Mix the agave syrup and flour together and warm it au-bain-marie. Add the two cups of water. Combine egg yolks with lemon juice and beat until well mixed. Add this to the rest of the agave mixture. Cook over boiling water au-bain-marie until it thickens (it took me about 20 minutes). Add the butter and pour mixture into the pie crust, and let it all cool.
The "Meringue" topping:
► 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
► 2 tablespoons of cold water
► 1/2 cup of boiling water
► 3 egg whites (I used the ones left over from The Lemony Goodness)
► 6 Tablespoons of agave syrup
► 1 pinch of salt
Mix together the flour and cold water in a saucepan. Add boiling water, and cook, stirring until clear and thickened. Let your mixture sit until it's cold. Now wbeat the egg whites until foamy and gradually add the agave syrup and beat until stiff and add the pinch of salt. Gradually beat in the completely cold flour mixture. Spread meringue over cooled pie filling and then bake the whole thing at 175°C for 10 minutes (or until the top is lightly browned). Decorate with some slices of lemon.
A set of 3 bowls was sent to me by Mepal Rosti (they also carry durable tableware (servies in Dutch), but all photos and opinions are my own. Merci Rosti Mepal!
Recipe freely inspired by Easy Sugar Free Recipes.
Sla Amsterdam salad bar
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that I was in Amsterdam the other day. I met up with my blog pals Deepa and Giova for coffee and pancakes and a stroll around de Pijp. They know me well and took me to Sla, because it's a true Urban Jungle Bloggers hotspot. Ever since I saw pictures on blogs and Instagram of this small chain of salad bars, I loved their look. Delicious veggies and lots green plants hanging around.
But when we had a closer look we realized the "famous" hanging plants in the baskets are artificial plants! Wow! I thought this was very surprising, especially since the salad bar was drenched in sunlight. I'm sure real plants, like a string of pearls or some ivy would survive here with a little bit of love and attention. Anyway, I'm happy to tell that most of the other plants were real. In the end, Sla looks stunning and you can't go wrong with a delicious salad with lots of veggies and healthy ingredients. I wish more restaurants would work with vegetables, like Ottolenghi who made veggies sexy again ;)
Sla also carries a nice selection of healthy cooking books, like The Green Kitchen, and the lovely Bag to Nature herbs:
We already had lunch, so we didn't get ourselves something to eat here, but the food looked really good. I'll keep it in mind for my next trip to Amsterdam.
After this tiny plant disillusion, Deepa & Giova took me to Circle of Trust, a new concept store just around the corner from Sla. And they got it: real cacti and succulents everywhere (and not just on their wall!)!
Do you have any other green recommendations in Amsterdam? And did you ever have lunch at any of the five Sla restaurants?
Lunch at Ottolenghi London
This lunch in London was a much anticipated one. Ever since I visited the Ottolenghi deli in Notting Hill this spring, I planned to come back and indulge. The large dishes with gorgeous veggies and the most perfect pastries called my name.
Back then I didn't know much about chef Yotam Ottolenghi, I liked the logo and the food looked so good (I must have been hungry!) but realized later that he is actually very famous! He's the chef that "made vegetables sexy again". And who writes good looking books, like Jerusalem and his latest Plenty More. I read that some Parisians even take the Eurostar to have lunch at Ottolenghi...
So there we were, ready to eat! Look at those platters full of salads! Don't they look appetizing?
We ordered different kinds of veggies, a beef dish and a selection of bread:
Doesn't this sound nice?
Mixed green beans with fennel, grilled spring onion, tarragon, lemon zest and fennel seeds
Roasted saffron cauliflower with dates, crispy capers, red onion and parsley
Roasted mixed peppers with burnt aubergine tahini sauce, pomegranate seeds, Urfa chilli and herbs
Roasted aubergine with almond yoghurt, pickled chilli and paprika toasted almonds
I love how eating at Ottolenghi's deli was so laid-back, "just" good food & drinks and a sleek interior. Other people were celebrating their child's birthday with a pastry and candles and catching up with friends. Down to earth, simple and honest food.
Look, that's a gorgeous cookbook right?
That piece of bread on the right... I'm still dreaming of it, I still have no idea of the herbs that were in it, but believe me: it was succulent!
Then it was time for dessert...
Dripped caramel cakes:
As you can imagine, it took me a while to choose from this all. This vanilla and almond financier topped with blackberries and mascarpone cream and pistachio had my name written all over it:
And really, it didn't disappoint. It was very rich and sweet, especially since I rarely eat sugar anymore. Obviously I took eating it VERY seriously ;)
Together with the yummy lunch at Al Boeuc it has been one of my favorite foodie moments of the year and found a new London tradition: to eat at Ottolenghi's ;)
Ottolengi restaurant & deli /// 287 Upper Street /// London N1 2TZ
mon to sat: 8am - 10:30pm sun: 9am - 7pm
In London there are 4 locations: Islington, Notting Hill, Belgravia and Nopi.
September means maize
Remember how I told you I loved working this summer while everyone seemed to be on holiday? Well, people are back and it's very busy/. Back to school (or work) means that soon the maize will be harvested. As a teenager I biked past these same kind of maize fields every day to go to school. In September the crops would be high and you would spot many maize ears between the leaves. And then suddenly, after the first few weeks at school, the fields would be empty again. It changed the entire perspective.
Everyone always told me these kernels aren't edible (they are used as fodder) and I always believed it. But I also always have the urge to peel a few ears and eat them... do you know if you can? Are these edible or not? Could I even turn them into popcorn? If so, I'll go back to these fields nearby and pick some for this weekend's movie date ;)
By the way, did you enter my running giveaway yet? I know many of you are not into running at all, but you can enter and try to win a pair for your partner, friend or a family member. Always a nice surprise... in September!
Mama mia, Mamama!
A pale pink stand and a brand called Mamama: for an instant I thought this had to do something to do with mamas and children. But mama mia! I was wrong! Mamama is a French design company specializing in innovative tableware. At Maison & Objet they presented their Sfumato collection with 2 cups and 3 plates. The names explain it all: volcano, mountain, lake. These shapes help to dress a plate and serve a beautiful dish.
Six times a year, mamama invites food celebrities, chefs, bloggers or enthusiasts to put their mark on the design of the collection. Hmmm this looks very graphic and tasty!
mamama ma mama mama mia ! mama miam mmmh, aaah... ma+ma = ma
"Brochettes gently lean against the mountain, sauce coats the lake, stock gives off steam as from a volcano".
The beautiful pure identity was designed by WA75. Somehow it looks very Dutch to me, this makes me so proud, because I'm slightly frustrated with French graphic design. Merci!!!
More of my favorites from Maison & Objet, right here.
How is your week? Rainy? Still en vacances? Mine has been busy and also included 2 interviews about my blog after a surprise article in the newspaper last weekend. Fun! The journalist who wrote this, found me through Pinterest! Double fun ;)
These are a few photos of the beautiful artichokes that grew in the Jardins de Montplaisir. I love their color and shape... and eating them too!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Blueberries and pinkberries
It's August! Can you believe it? These are some pictures of the 63 blueberries before I turned them into yogurt granola bars. We picked almost a kilo of blueberries at the wonderful Jardin de Montplaisir. I loved their pink, blue and purple hues and the way my sister's dress matched ;)
Have a wonderful weekend! (Oh and there's still time to join my giveaway and win a Flower Power!)
Blueberry Yogurt Granola Bars
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I'm currently slightly obsessed with making icecream. It's summer and we're not going on holiday anytime soon, so a (n)ice cold treat is more than welcome.
With exactly 63 of the blueberries (picked at the Jardin de Montplaisir) I made these frozen yogurt granola bars. The berries looked amazing on the bushes in the jardin and they tasted just as good in my mouth ;) Almost a kilo of blueberries disappeared in no time. Fruitjunkie!
My recipe is, as always, simple. Mix 750gr of full fat yogurt, 150ml of coconut milk and some sweetener (honey, agave syrup or sugar substitute). Taste the mixture and add more sweetener or coconut milk if needed. Pour it in a flat baking pan and make sure it's about 1,5 cm high.
Neatly place the blueberries (or raspberries, blackberries) and hazelnuts on top of the cream. And then: the most fun part: push the berries & nuts in the cream. It feels like drowning these little buds, pop, pop, pop. On top add a thin layer of granola. Put it in the freezer for 2 hours. Cut the yogurt in bars. And voilà: your desert is ready! Bon appétit!
Les Jardins de Montplaisir
Remember when I mentioned that I wish we had a Farmer's Market around here? Well we still don't have one, but we do have a garden in the Oise where you can pick your own fruit, veggies and flowers, called les Jardins de Montplaisir. All seasonal, natural, although not 100% organic. I loved it, it was so much fun to to pick our own strawberries, blueberries, wander around and of course I finally (!) got me some more green peas!
There were a lot of families with small children around as well. It's a nice way to make your (urban) kids more aware of how fruit and veggies grow and to introduce them to the taste of freshness. Growing your own fruit and vegetables makes you super proud, but picking your own is a good second ;)
Can you spot the melons here:
The first blackberries of the season:
The flower beds had many colorful Lillies and Gladiolus:
Les Jardins de Montplaisir /// Hameau de Montplaisir /// 60680 Jonquières (near Compiègne)
all current products are updated on the website!
Is there a pick-your-own garden near your place? Do you ever go there?
On a quest for peas
I wouldn't suggest it's the secret to a happy marriage, but our Sunday walks are pretty good. Robert and I tend to walk somewhere between 12 to 17 kms and bring water and snacks. Usually I whip up some sugar-free cookies or little cakes and we always bring some fruit too. Although it's so much better to pick them straight from the trees, like these delicious plums:
A few weeks ago, we spent a weekend in a chambre d'hôte at 10 minutes from our home, where we tested a new sports program (including balance ball yoga which was a lot of fun!) and where I received a blissful massage. In stead of having a siesta afterwards (I felt SO relaxed!), we went for a randonnée in the fields and forests and I picked some of the most delicious things I've ever tasted: these fresh green peas. Ever since, I've been wanting to go back for more. But unfortunately it was mostly cereals and corn this time:
I'm totally guilty of digging up plants along the side of the road to see what it is. Which was relatively easy because the soil was soaked by the rain:
Not sure if it was because of le 14 Juillet, but I loved these colorful buntings:
I've never seen any fresh peas at our grocery store or even at our market. Makes me wish we had a Farmer's market around here: the only local fruit comes from the Strawberry Man... I hope the peas I potted will sprout somehow. If not, my goal for 2015 will be to grow my own peas!
► A few pictures from previous walks: here, here and here.
Sweet green peas
The other day I picked a few beans from a field. At home I watched more closely and realized it were green peas! I cooked them and ate them straight away. They were so very delicious and sweet and had the most beautiful pale green color. Now all I want to do is go back for more. Of course I also planted a few peas... let's see if they will grow. Have a very happy weekend!
Super easy Cherry ice cream
We had a busy and hot week so I made this very easy ice cream... twice! First with some beautiful strawberries from a local farmer and then again with these pretty cherries. Both flavors tasted really good and refreshing and it's actually a pretty healthy treat too. So I decided to share the super easy recipe today. You only need 4 ingredients! Fruit, water, coconut milk and sweetener (sugar, honey or sugar substitute).
First prepare the fruit. This is where it became a little messy, but I loved the color of the cherry juice so much!
Look at that deep red color! I added water and a little bit of sucralose to the splashed cherries. But you can also add sugar, honey or agave sirop.
Then blend the cherries and add half a can of coconut milk:
When the mixture tastes good (add some more water or honey or cherries if needed), pour it in the ice machine. If you don't have an ice maker, use a metal bowl that you put in the freezer and wisk every 20-30 minutes. I set the timer on my phone to remind me. It took about 2 hours. But an ice maker is slightly better because it creates ice with less ice cristals, which means more creamy.
Tadaaaah, there you have it: homemade ice cream that tastes really good. The only disappointing thing with the cherry ice cream is the color. While I loooooved the color of the juice, the final result has a rather boring antique pink hue ;) But yummm!
I wish you a nice ice cream worthy weekend!
Frozen Indian Cress
Do you recognize this? That you want to try something because you saw it somewhere, without knowing where you saw it?
That's what happened to me last week when I wanted to freeze a bunch of Indian cress flowers. One of my Nasturtium plants is growing so fast that we can't keep up eating flowers in our salads. The plant has tentacles in all directions growing fast through our greenhouse. It reminds me of my melon plant last year!
So finally I realized I saw the #frozenflowers project on Emily's instagram. It was fun to try and it looks pretty cute, although the flowers don't taste as fresh & fruity anymore after freezing them. But it looks great in a glass of water... or a cocktail! Cheers!
sugar free Rhubarb cake
Rhubarb always reminds me of the sugary rhubarb compote my mom used to make us as a kid. As we kind of banned sugar from our kitchen, I wondered what to make of these beautiful rhubarb stalks:
On Instagram, Jessica suggested to use agave syrup in stead of sugar, which worked like a charm. Just add some agave syrup and sucralose (50/50) and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract to the chopped rhubarb and stir on a low fire for 15 minutes.
In the meantime I prepared a simple dough: 200gr self-rising flour, 100gr butter, 2 eggs, a bit of sucralose and vanilla extract. By the time the dough was ready, the rhubarb looked pink and creamy:
I added 80% of the rhubarb to the dough mixture and baked 2 flat cakes in 15 minutes at 180°C. The last bit of rhubarb was used as a topping:
And actually, I was surprised by how nice and sweet it tasted. Not bad at all for a non bakerella ;) I added a Union Jack on top, because when you read this I'll be in a Eurostar between Paris and London to attend Blogtacular. It has been over 2 years since my last visit and I can't wait!
See you next week... and bon appétit!
Happy Easter! I wish you all a sunny and cosy Sunday with your loved ones. I know I'll be eating an extra egg today (without cactus of course) ;)
Yummy lunch at Al Boeuc
One of the things that I was looking forward to in Italy, was the delicious food. Not that I lack of delicious food here at home: we have so many beautiful French products and of course I have my own private chef. But still: Italian food also has a reputation ;) Of course our lovely guide knew exactly where to take us for the perfect lunch. Nothing ultra gourmet or fine cuisine, but beautiful local products, wine from the next village and a friendly owner.
Welcome to Al Boeuc, a wine bar where they serve typical Piemontese food. We ordered a cheese & meat platter, bruschetta (toasted bread with different toppings like truffle & mushroom, radicchio cream and tomato & basil). And of course the famous Bagna Caöda: a hot dip made of garlic, anchovies, olive oil, butter and cream. You eat it by dipping raw veggies. Accompagnied by a fruity wine and nice conversations, this lunch was so so good!
Al Boeuc serves simple and honest dishes and it's all very tasty. If you're ever in the Lake area, this place deserves your visit! Buon appetito!
Enoteca Al Boeuc /// Via Bersani, 28 /// Orta San Giulio, Italy /// +39 3395840039
open every wednesday to monday from 11-15:30 and 18:30-01:00
sugar free Orange cookies
When I posted the above picture of a homemade sugar free orange cookie on Instagram yesterday, Anne, Nanette and Cindy asked for the recipe. So ladies: you are served ;)
My recipe for any kind of cookies is simple: taste the dough and adjust. If it tastes good the cookies will be delicious. Sugar free cookies are different: not as chewy because sugar changes the structure of a cookie. But the orange zests and sucralose make them edible and a nice sweet treat for a monday afternoon.
► 200gr flour
► 100gr butter
► 2 small oranges
► 1 egg
► pinch of salt
► 20gr sucralose (or any other sugar substitute like stevia, you can also use guave sirop)
Grate the oranges and add to the mixture of flour, butter, egg and salt. Squeeze 1 orange directly over the dough. Don't pour in too much orange juice, because it makes the dough liquid and sticky. Add as much sucralose as you think tastes good. Make small balls of the dough, press them on a baking tray and bake the cookies in the oven at 175°C for 20 minutes. I checked, but they needed 10 more minutes. Bon appétit ladies!
Rock 'n Rucola
Secretly I hope the Winter King will forget about France and that we'll head straight from fall into spring. I can't wait to get my hards dirty and prepare a little vegetable garden and take my plants out of their winter storage into the greenhouse.
In 5 to 8 weeks I hope to harvest my first vegetables from the little Seed for Food bags that I won at Nu Interieur Ontwerp. I think their rucola has the best name ever:
The eco friendly square bags are super convenient, you simply add some water to the bags, keep them on your window sill and wait...
The other little bags contain lovely lettuce and rapid radish. Yummm! I remember I was so ridiculously proud of my radishes last year. Do you ever grow veggies or herbs in your kitchen?
PCM Reversed Volumes
Another coup de coeur from Maison & Objet is this collection of bowls designed by Austrian design studio mischer'traxler. The idea of capturing the imprint of fruits and vegetables is so obvious, simple and beautifully executed in matte resin. And look at those colors! ♥
The Reversed Volumes collection is edited by PCM and very affordable too (via designmarketo!).
And by now you know I'm easily seduced when a brand has a beautiful identity:
What do you think of these bowls? And which one would you choose if you'd buy one? I think I'd go for the cabbage or cauliflower...
After a weird week and an intense weekend (due to the passing of my uncle), I'm slowly getting back into the blogging rhythm. And I'm excited! My head is full of ideas and wishes and you know what? Finally I'll be doing another Styloise feature soon. It has been way too long and I miss it. Taking pictures of strangers in my neighborhood has been such a great learning experience. It helped me to overcome some kind of shyness and made me realize most people are simply honored and surprised. Very few people refuse to have their picture taken, although some ethnicities are harder to convince. I once approached this guy that didn't want to pose in front of my camera because he was illegal. Oops!
And what about these pink lychees? Well I simply love their shape and taste... and colors! Especially the pearlish pink on the inside.
tea towel by TextielLab via Wannekes
My sister decided to send me more snail mail and told me I should write about it on my blog. So I will! Always listen to your little sister!
A while ago she sent me this card by Marije Vogelzang, a well-known Dutch eating designer. Marije designs with food because nothing comes as close to humans as food: "it's something you put inside your body which means it also effects the user of your product". Discover more about her vision on food in this video or on her website.
So, back to the card, it reads: I wish you were a little egg, I would sit on you to breed you. Well, I'm not a little egg dear little sister ;) but I love eating eggs. The fresher, the better. If we wouldn't have hungry foxes around here, I would consider having a few chicken and a rooster to wake us up... just like the one below:
Of course I'd also have some chicks:
Want to see more hens and roosters? My grandma used to keep hens and I shared my little story here.
Butternut squash spice cake
When in Marseille a few weeks ago, I stole one of these Halloween posters announcing the local Trick or Treat festival. It was designed by Sylvain Havec, a French illustrator. I love the clever use of neon orange and the hilarious illustration. Perfect or our kitchen door ;) Not for too long though, because you know... it's orange, my husband's trauma color!
And do you remember these bubble gum cupcakes that I made for Halloween last year? This year I decided upon something slightly less chemical: a butternut squash spice cake. So here we go for the recipe. All you need is:
► one butternut pumpkin, which looks like this:
► 500gr plain flower
► 250gr sugar (or honey or sucralose)
► 150ml sunflower oil (or any kind of butter if you prefer)
► 15mg baking powder
► 3 eggs
► salt, cinnamon, grinded white pepper, 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
It keeps surprising me that the inside of a butternut is bright orange and not white or beige like the outside:
Remove the skin and scoop out the seeds. Then grate the butternut like you would grate carrots.
Add the grated butternut to the mix of flower, sugar, oil, baking powder and eggs. And blend with a fork until you get a nice thick batter. Poor it into a buttered pan and bake for at least 50 minutes at 160°C. Bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. According to Kate a cake without frosting is just insane, but I really liked mine plain and gooey ;) Bon appétit!
mini guide Copenhagen
Some of my favorite places in Copenhagen:
► Cinnober /// Landemærket 9 /// mon-fr 11-17:30 sat 11-15 /// Independent bookshop with a lovely selection of books (graphic design, illustration, architecture, street art, fashion, industrial design), paper products and prints.
► Another Nué /// Krystalgade 3 /// mon-thu 11-18 fri 11-18:30 sat 11-16 /// Nice selection of women's fashion (V Ave Shoe Repair, Camilla Skovgaard, Vibe Johansson, ...), jewelry, shoes and handbags. Just across the street is Henrik Vibskov, also worth checking out.
► Kompa'9 /// Kompagnistræde 9 /// mon-fri 8-18 sat 10-17 /// Good (eco) coffee, a nice spot for breakfast with croissants and yogurt with granola. They also serve delicious sandwiches for lunch.
► Lego store /// Vimmelskaftet 37 /// mon-thu+sat 10-18 fri 10-19 sun 11-17 /// I love Lego, and second best after the Lego theme park in Billund is the Copenhagen store. Build your own minifig, buy a limited edition set or play with some bricks ;)
Off to Copenhagen and Malmö
After an entire summer in France, I'm flying to Copenhagen today! I visited Copenhagen during our Scandinavian roadtrip two years ago and at the time I liked it even better than Stockholm and Oslo. After exploring Stockholm earlier this year, I can't wait to see more of Copenhagen, indulge in Danish pastries and meet up with friends in kaffehusets...
I will also cross the bridge between Denmark and Sweden to visit the charming city of Malmö. Have you ever been there? Any recommendations? I know there is a Granit store that I'm looking forward to visit ;)
Oh and of course you can follow me along on instagram and twitter if you like.
Ever since my trip to Berlin in May, I dream of frozen yogurt. Somehow Berlin has this froyo culture which we don't quite have in France. So I decided to make some myself. And it turns out, it's super easy! As I'm not very fond of toppings and like the pure taste of frozen yogurt, I only used 4 ingredients.
► you'll need:
750g yogurt (I used 0% but you can also use a richer kind like Greek yogurt)
100g sugar (for me this was too much, next time I'll use 25-50gr)
3 tbs honey
► Mix the yogurt + cream + sugar. Stir until it's mixed and add the honey. Taste it! Adjust if needed. If you like it: freeze in the ice machine for about 45 minutes or place the bowl in the freezer and stir every 30 minutes until creamy & frozen. Serve & enjoy! Bon appétit!
More ice cream recipes: frozen honeydew • frozen fraises • frozen cantaloupes
Better than a Bounty
I know, there is a lot of neon pink going on in this recipe. Simply to make up for the lack of complexity of this pie, because four ingredients is all you need! No baking talent is required either, which is perfect since I'm no bakerella.
It started with a pack of shredded coconut. I didn't know what to do with it, until I found this super easy recipe. You'll need:
► 450gr of shredded coconut
► 60gr butter
► 225gr dark chocolat
► 300ml cream
Mix the butter and coconut flakes:
Press the coconut mixture in a low pie dish, I used 2 mini pizza plates. Preheat the oven at 175°C and bake the pie(s) for about 15 minutes until the crust starts to brown. Let it cool down.
Start making the filling. You can use excellent dark chocolate or some simple kitchen chocolate:
Boil the cream in a small saucepan and add the chocolate squares. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
Pour the melted chocolate into the crust. Let it cool down and place the pie in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
And tadaaaaa: the perfect mini farewell pie for Rose! Five months flew by so we needed something sweet to ease the adieu. And believe me, it tasted better than a Bounty!
► For more recipes, check out my sister's site Chez Djeenie. She's a true bakerella and makes the most delicious treats! (simply use Google Translate for translation)
mini guide Berlin
A few of my favorite places in Berlin:
► Factory Girl /// Auguststraße 29 /// mon-sun 10-20 /// Super nice cafe (their fresh ginger tea comes with honey and a cute felt sleeve), with very friendly staff and fresh food. Hmmm!
From your comfy chair at Factory Girl you have the perfect view on the huge JR stencil outside. Many people stop to snap a picture so you can sit here for hours and enjoy the people watching. Giova looked so tiny:
► Hüttenpalast /// Hobrechtstraße 66 /// Café, hotel and garden: enjoy campinglife in the middle of the city at this "indoor campsite" with comfortable hotel beds, breakfast and nice cafe. I blogged about it here.
► Prinzessinnengarten /// Moritzplatz - Prinzenstrasse 35-38 /// Community garden in the center of Kreuzberg with gardencafe and restaurant with homegrown fruit and veggies.
► Wostel /// Hobrechtstraße 66 /// mon-fri 9-18 /// Creative co-working + event space with furniture from the 30s to 60s.
► Voo store /// Oranienstraße 24 /// Concept store with fashion & design objects and a coffee shop by Companion Coffee. Really liked their selection of fragrances like Henrik Vibskov and Carven...
► Street Food Thursday /// Markthalle9 Eisenbahnstraße 42 /// every thursday 17-22 /// Eclectic food from around the globe: every thursday night at Markthalle9. Great atmosphere, friendly chefs and delicious food. And frozen yogurt from Mr. Whippy of course! I blogged about it here.
► Fräulein Frost /// Friedelstr. 39 /// mon-fri 13-late sat-sun 12-late /// Delicious homemade (bio & vegan) ice cream and cafe (with terrace!). In Mitte you can also get some delicious frozen yogurt at GoodQ. Hmmm!
► Do you read me? /// Auguststraße 28 /// mon-sat 10-19:30 /// A wonderful selection of magazines from around the world... try leaving this store empty-handed ;) Nearby are many art galeries, small design and fashion boutiques or go for a dance at Clärchens Ballhaus (on sunday afternoons).
► Modulor /// Prinzenstraße 85 /// mon-fri 9-20 sat 10-18 /// A.k.a. material heaven: at Modulor you can get any kind of material for your DIY project: foam rubber, wooden balls, glass, bamboo, paper, aluminium, silver. Very basic, in any color, size and shape. There's also a furniture shop (with Hay, Muuto, Wilkhahn, Minimum...), a catering supply store, print shop, tools & machine rental service, workshops and more... heaven!
► Flamingo fresh food bar /// Neustädtische Kirchstraße 8 /// mon-fri 7:30-18 /// Great place for a quick lunch, theirs soupes are delicious (and fresh!).
► Westberlin /// Friedrichstrasse 215 (near Checkpoint Charlie) /// mon-fri 8:30-19 sat-sun 10-19 /// Coffee & Mediashop, which means lots of good coffee, fresh drinks & sandwiches plus magazines, books and free wifi. And lots of nice designer chairs (Muuto, J110 windsor chairs...).
► Tempelhof Park /// U-bahn Tempelhof (simply look for the "empty" spot on the city map) /// open from sunrise to sunset /// This abandoned airport in the middle of the city is the perfect place for a picknick, some community gardening, kiteboarding or jogging. Or simply for a nice walk on the former runway, like I did with Lena. You can actually see the horizon here!
What are your favorite places in Berlin? Any recommendations?
The first radishes
It's almost ridiculous how proud you can be of something that grows without any effort, like a radish. No green fingers or any particular talents are needed to grow them. But knowing that they come from my own tiny vegetable garden makes me happy. And now there's finally some space for the melon seedlings!
Did you eat anything from your garden yet?
Street Food Thursday in Berlin
I wish I were in Berlin tonight so that I could visit Street Food Thursday at Markthalle9 in Kreuzberg again. On my first night in Berlin last week I walked there from my apartment and really really enjoyed it. The relaxed athmosphere, the friendly vendors, the good looking food booths, but above all: the delicious food!
Every Thursday night, young chefs & food enthusiastics propose a large variety of eclectic food from around the globe. In the markethall, built in 1891, you can try anything from smoked bbq, gluten-free bakings, Korean kimchi, English pies, Spanish tapas, Mexican tostadas, fish tacos, cheese platters, Vietnamese Bánh mì to French crêpes with cidre... I had some delicious vegan springrolls, a fresh Thai salad and a mango lassi and bumped into my blogfriend Eleanor from e.m.papers who also loved it here. Fun!
The food was so good that I ate everything before taking any pictures. Hmmm!
Make sure to arrive with an empty stomach, bring some friends and try as much as you and your appetite will like. There are over 20 food booths, so it's rather difficult to choose...
For dessert I had a frozen yogurt (of course!) from Mr Whippy... although the Philly cheesecakes by Five Elephant looked very tempting too...
Street Food Thursday /// Markthalle9 /// Eisenbahnstraße 42 /// Berlin Kreuzberg
Every Thursday: 5PM - 10PM
Spending a long weekend in Holland with family and friends was really nice (and sounds like such a cliché, but it's true!). I also spent some time at the hospital... or better: at the recently opened restaurant Mariapaviljoen in the old sanatorium in Den Bosch.
Around the corner of where we used to live, you can now have eten+drinken (food+drinks) in this new old place designed by Studio Boot. Over 40 years ago my aunt was treated in one of these hospital rooms, but today the staff of Mariapaviljoen takes very good care of its "patients" too.
The modern interior contains a large collection of vintage medical equipment, skeletons, canvas emergency stretchers, folding screens, anatomy posters, and also this IXXI flamingo poster:
Hmmm always coca cola...
Spacious & bright makes you feel better:
With places like Eetbar Dit, Dit Ook and the new Mariapaviljoen, Den Bosch (in the south of the Netherlands) is so much hipper than the city that I used to know. A nice surprise! And an extra bonus: drinks and food are affordable: I payed about 2 euros for my diet coke, in stead of the regular 4 or even 5 here in Paris...
Mariapaviljoen /// Burgemeester Loeffplein 70 /// 5211RX Den Bosch /// +31 (0)73 303 1500
Open every Thursday through Sunday: 11AM - :o)
Golden Cheese cookies
I loved reading all your comments on my misfortune baking. It's so good to know that I'm not the only one who messes up simple recipes. And finally I made something edible that tasted good! Inspired by my bakerella sister's Pacman cheese cookies, I tried to make them last weekend. And everyone liked them! So here's the super easy recipe:
Mix 100gr cheese (whatever you have/like: I used gouda because we didn't have any parmesan as in the original recipe...), with 60gr melted butter and 125gr flour. Add some curry powder, a pinch of pepper and I also added a little salt. Knead little balls of the dough.
And roll these little balls in a tiny bowl with sesame seeds:
Then press them onto your baking mat and bake them in the oven for about 20-25 minutes at 180°C until they're golden brown.
Vitamin boost 2
It think I'm feeling it. After one week with a jet lagged feeling of Daylight Saving Time, I think I'm back on track. And I even experienced some spring cleaning urge!
As you may know I'm a fruitjunkie and love almost any fruit. So for some additional spring vitamins I turned 4 pink grapefruits from my favorite stall at the market into fresh juice.
The best feature of pink grapefruits is that it looks like they are blushing. I think it's so cute:
What are your healthy spring secrets?
Tea from a doctor
While I'm enjoying an early morning coffee* at Creative Mornings Paris ( a monthly breakfast lecture series for creative types ), I'd like to show you this herbal tea I got from Giova. She told me she primarily bought these teas because she loved the packaging so much. I'm a sucker for beautiful packaging too.
But not only the packaging (with funny illustrations!) is nice, Dr Stuart's tea itself tasted pretty good too: ginger & lemongrass. Hmmm ginger! Do you like that as much as I do?
*no no no, I never drink coffee in the morning, I'm probably drinking water right now ;o)
The worst cupcakes ever!
I'm a terrible bakerella: I can completely mess up ready-made cupcakes from a box. And that's exactly what happened with these raspberry cupcakes. The topping should have been pale pink, fluffy and tasty. I added some red food pigment because I thought that would be fun and used fromage blanc in stead of fromage frais... The cupcakes turned out acid & bright... and tasted absolutely awful!
Even the white chocolate on top didn't taste good. Does that ever happen to you too?
Carrot cake in a jar
My bakerella sister gave me this carrot cake in a jar. I'm not very good at baking and easily screw up the simplest recipes. Last week I even failed to boil some eggs... I had the flu, so there was an excuse, but still. I really enjoy baking though! And I also like eating carrot cake :o)
► In the jar: nuts, 300g brown sugar, spices, 250g flower, baking powder.
► Additional ingredients: 100g melted butter, 200ml olive oil, 4 eggs, 300g grated carrots, 250g cream cheese, 100ml cream.
Simply chop 2/3 of the nuts and roast them in a frying pan. In a large bowl, beat together butter, olive oil, 250g brown sugar (keep 50g separate for the frosting) until a smooth mixture. Add the egg yolks, grated carrots, flower, baking powder, spices and roasted nuts. Beat egg white until stiff and add it to the dough.
Pour into some baking moulds. Bake in a preheated oven (150°C) for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
For the frosting: mix the cream cheese with the cream and brown sugar until smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cakes and decorate with some nuts. Bon appétit!
These carrot cakes tasted pretty good, although I was very surprised that they are so rich! Lots of sugar & oil & butter & cream... but the perfect comfort food for these last snowy days of winter!
The heart shaped paper moulds are by HEMA.
mini shopping guide Stockholm
Some of my favorite places in Stockholm:
► Silververket /// Skånegatan 79 /// Silversmith material & jewelery maker tools & accessories /// mon-fri 11-18 sat 11-16
► Konsthantverkarna /// Södermalmtorg 4 /// Shop & gallery of contemporary crafts founded in 1951 /// mon-fri 11-18 sat 11-16
► Pärlans Konfektyr Stockholm /// Nytorgsgatan 38 /// Toffee caramels paradise! /// mon-fri 11-18 sat 11-17 sun 12-16
► Coffice ///
► Boqueria /// Jakobsbergsgatan 17 /// Very tasty tapas & seafood restaurant /// open: check website (and book a table, it's always very busy!)
► Papercut /// Krukmakargatan 24 /// Magazine (&book & stationary) heaven (Kinfolk, Frankie, Cereal, Acne Paper, ...) /// If you love brands like A.P.C., Isabel Marant, Jerôme Dreyfuss, Helmut Lang etc. also hop by neighbors Nitty Gritty /// mon - fri 11-18.30 sat 11-17 sun 12-16
Pärlans Konfektyr Stockholm
Usually I'm more into very contemporary places, but when it's done as well as at Pärlans, I'm more than happy to make an exception. Even more so if it comes with toffee caramels, sweet music and a fashionable staff. Pärlans is a cute little shop in Söder, Stockholm, where they make and sell delicious caramels. And serve great coffee too.
One of the things I realized when visiting several smaller craft shops in Stockholm, is that Swedes really like translating old fashioned traditions into 2013. Lisa, Pärlans' owner, told me she was inspired on a trip to Japan. The Japanese love candy. Back in Sweden she started trying different recipes and her friends really enjoyed the caramels she made.
She did some research and found out the caramel toffee rose to fame in the 1930s, the decade of the Lindy Hop dance. As a fervent Lindy Hop dancer, Lisa decided to open a caramel store and asked her swing dancer friends to help her make and sell the sweet candy. It became a huge success. Once I tasted a kola with ginger, I got it: these caramels are divine! Hmmm
Besides a very cute blog, Pärlans also published a beautiful book with stories and delicious recipes:
Through the window you can see how the caramel toffees are made & wrapped. It reminded me of Gränna in Sweden, where the famous Swedish peppermint candy comes from.
Oh and you should absolutely take a look at this lovely video by Ignant Travel. It's so sweet:
Pärlans Konfektyr Stockholm /// Nytorgsgatan 38 /// 116 40 Stockholm /// +46 (0) 86607010
Open monday through friday 11AM - 6PM, saturday 11AM - 5PM, sunday 12PM - 4PM
A tiny winter harvest
After reading Megan's harvest post on The Fresh Exchange ( check out her awesome blog! ), I was curious to see if there was anything left in my own vegetable garden... The 3 baby carrots I found were smaller than the size of my pinkie! My sister dug up some more impressive carrots.
Are you harvesting anything from your own garden this winter?
Antique bowl by Petrus Regout inherited from Ans. <3
The Typography of Travel 12
Beautiful BAKERY / PASTRY SHOP / BISCUIT FACTORY typography spotted on some of my travels:
Heudebert biscottes factory - Augy, France
Bread & pastry shop - Burgos, Spain
Biscuit manufacturer Mistral - Semur-en-Auxois, France
Bakery - Semur-en-Auxois, France
Bread & Pastry shop - Bayonne, France
Générale Biscuit France - Augy, France
To see more travel typography: part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5 and part 6 and part 7 and part 8 and part 9 and part 10 and part 11!
Les anis de Flavigny
Today let me take you to the village where the movie "Chocolat" was filmed. You know that movie with Johnny Depp & Juliette Binoche that you can't watch without craving something sweet?
When you walk along the streets of this (very pretty!) medieval village you smell something sweet. It's the anise & sugar used for the famous bonbons that are produced in the Abbey. I came here first when I was a little girl. Both my sister and I got car sick on our way in, but we calmed down as soon as we tasted a Flavigny bonbon.
When we visited the village last week, everything was closed for the holidays, including the factory and the cute little boutique. But gladly you can buy a little tin of Flavigny candy in many places around the world! They come in 10 different natural flavors: anise, of course, blackcurrant, lemon, orange blossom, ginger, tangerine, mint, liquorice, rose and violet. Hmmm!
Oh and for a mouth watering recipe for anise ice, inspired by the Flavigny bonbons, head over to Tarte Taart An ( English version here ).
Have you ever tasted one of these Flavigny bonbons?
A snow white recipe
After the past few hectic months, I wanted to create something quiet & soft. And delicious! When I stumbled upon this recipe by Lisa from MakeMyLemonade ( check her cute GIFs! ) I knew this was what I wanted. It's actually one of my favorite Vietnamese desserts with a twist. Very rich, soft and pretty. I just love the texture of tapioca pearls!
► You'll need:
200ml light coconut milk
3 tsp milk
100g tapioca pearls (at your Asian supermarket)
► Cook the tapioca pearls in water and stir until they become translucent. This took me so long! I read somewhere that you can also soak the pearls in water, so that's what I'll try next time. Sift the tapioca pearls and get rid of the sticky water mixture.
► Then cook the tapioca pearls in the milk and coconut milk for 3-4 minutes. Grate the ginger above the pan. Pour the tapioca milk over the sliced banana into your bowl or glass. Chill your dessert in the refrigerator before serving. Bon appétit!
Bowl & spoon by Ineke Hans for Royal VKB
Guest blog on Jillian in Italy
Earlier this week I was invited by Jillian to guest blog at Jillian in Italy while she is recovering from surgery. I'm sharing my absolute favorite xmas recipe ( by my mom! ) so please check it out here!
The Typography of Sint
This past weekend my family and I celebrated my favorite holiday: Saint Nicholas! Even though it's not nearly as much fun when you live in a country where noone celebrates Sinterklaas ( I know they do in the Alsace region... but it's not really the same... ) I still enjoyed gathering around 5 euro gifts and hilarious poems.
And what is Sinterklaas without the chocolate letters in that typical Sinterklaas typeface? This year I was lucky and even got a second letter G (first letter of my surname). Below is what is left of the J tonight: a comma!
( tea towel by Hay, DIY dotted plate by me )
This week was extremely busy and days are so short. Time for a vitamin boost! I blended a bunch of kiwis & two pears and added some water. I'm a true fruit junkie and this combination was pretty good. And healthy too!
In Antwerp we had lunch under a kiwi tree. Did you know kiwis grow like this? I didn't!
Robert's surpRICE pudding
When the IKEA Family Live team visited us in the early spring, my husband insisted on cooking for them. My husband is a very talented cook who never cooks by recipe, but always by flavor. This is why he rarely makes the same thing twice, so enjoy it while you can!
For the IKEA team he prepared 3 different dishes: a vegetarian dish, an Indonesian inspired dish with chicken & peanuts and a Mediterranean fish dish with pastis. For dessert he made a delicious rice pudding. IKEA convinced him to write down the recipe and so he did:
Robert's surpRICE pudding (serves 4)
Great for concluding an oriental dinner, easy to prepare (and you can prepare it way in advance).
2 cups rice (jasmin or basmati) ( serving a copious meal? Use only 1 cup of rice instead for smaller portions! )
2 mint leaves
1 tin coconut milk
This is how:
► Boil rice to about half the time normally required in plenty of water with the mint leaves
► Remove excess water and mint leaves ( don't leave them in, mint leaves actually taste horrible when cooked )
► Add coconut milk, vanilla essence, and ground red pepper
► Simmer whilst stirring until you get a porridge-like substance ( the pudding will thicken even more when cooling, don't cook it too thick or it will harden/dry out )
► Divide over 4 bowls and leave to cool ( if you happen to have any banana leaves lying around, serve on banana leaves instead! ). When cooled enough, place in the fridge until you wish to serve
► Before serving, sprinkle some ground red pepper on top, add 1-2 fresh mango slices on each bowl ( if you don't have fresh mango, any other oriental fruit will work, or mango jam )
Enjoy your surpRICE!
This recipe was published as a guest blog on the IKEA Family live blog. You can read it here.
Kanelbullar by my sister
I'm very lucky to be surrounded by great cooks. My husband is a true Cordon Bleu as you say in French, my mom always spoils everyone with lovely meals & delicious pies. And my sister is a real Bakerella. She's the queen of the brownies ( hers are the BEST! ) but she also makes beautiful wedding cakes, yummy cookies & cakes and spicy fusion food.
My little sister loves sharing her edible happiness with others so when she made a bit too many kanelbullar last week, she decided to offer them to her neighbors through a Dutch food-sharing website called Thuis Afgehaald. The next day several people picked up a some delicious kanelbullar at her place. As we live far away I simply enjoyed following the process on Instagram. Swedish cinnamon rolls a.k.a. kanelbullar are one of my favorite treats, especially since we've been to Scandinavia. My sister's kanelbullar looked so good that I asked her to share the recipe today!
550 gr flour /// 10 gr dry yeast /// 50 gr sugar /// 10 gr salt /// 240 gr whole milk, luke warm /// 125 gr soft unsalted butter /// 2 big whipped eggs
60 gr unsalted melted butter /// 150 gr brown sugar /// 1 - 1½ tablespoon of cinnamon
Plus: 2 greased round cake tins of about 22cm in diameter
► Mix flour, yeast, suger and salt. Add the eggs and milk and stir until mixed. Knead into dough and add butter in 2 seperate times. Continue kneading for about 10 minutes until you have a smooth dough.
Let rise in a greased bowl until doubled (about 45-60 minutes). Lay the lump of dough on a greased workspace and get rid of any air in the dough. Leave it covered in foil for about 15 minutes and then roll out a large rectangle of 55x30 cm.
► Spread with butter. Mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture over the buttered dough. Roll up into a big long roll. Firmly press and close the seam. Lay the dough roll on a cutting board with the seam to the bottom. Cut thick slices of +/- 1,5 cm and put them in a greased cake tin. Baste with melted butter.
► Let rise until doubled (about 45-60 minutes). Then bake the rolls in a preheated oven on 180°C for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Let them cool down for 10 minutes.
Serve & enjoy your kanelbullar!
Simply for the sake of Halloween, I made these prefab Bubble Gum cupcakes. They taste the way they look: extremely chemical. As an extra touch, I added 2 little selfmade cardboard bats on top.
In Belgium, on the way back home from Hello Etsy, I heard on AFN radio ( a tip if you like hilarious radio commercials! ) that you should keep your kids away from "suspicious unwrapped treats" at Halloween. So these cupcakes may be a little risky ;o)
Happy Halloween! Are you or your kids celebrating or dressing up? Or even trick or treating?
Baking some LEGO pastries
What do you do when it's raining & you've just found several new Lego sets in the stash of your husband? You build a Lego bakery! Including 1 croissant, 2 baguettes & cupcakes! Any idea what these stacks of tiny "balls" are? Maybe chouquettes? Or oranges?
Even though I'm not a big fan of pre-fab Lego, ( I rather prefer basic bricks ), the pastries are really cute!
Did you play with Lego as a kid? And do you or your kids still play with Lego?
Do you like fish?
During our holiday the ocean was never far. I had this very romantic idea of eating fresh fish from the bbq every night, but that experience turned out not so great. I completely overlooked that you have to clean a fish before cooking. Drama: the meat was tough and we, as true campers (not...), even watched a video on YouTube to learn how to do it. The result: no fish for dinner & a happy neighbor.
And you? Do you like fish?
Yummy food from Spain
When I saw this pretty "carolina" pastry in Bilbao, I knew I wanted to taste it. The lady from the pastelería wrapped it up for me & put toothsticks in it to prevent the pastry from any "damage": very cute. The looks are better than the taste: too much meringue / marshmallow on top of a rice pastry.
On the local market we bought the BEST BREAD EVER: dark with huge raisins & walnuts, crunchy and with a thick crust. One tiny slice is enough to get you through the day, but ohhhhh so delicious!
The fresh figs from the garden tasted like sunshine. Hmmm!
And now I'm hungry! What's your favorite Spanish food?
A Cantina @ Santiago
The only place on my wishlist of places to visit in Galicia was A Cidade da Cultura de Galicia in Santiago de Compostela: the regional cultural center. I was told it is a big modern building on the top of a hill. And that is exactly it. I think I've never seen any cultural site of this dimension: it is HUGE!
Before our trip, I read about the small bar & restaurant on Petite Passport which looked interesting. After a quick visit to the old city center of Santiago ( which we didn't like at all ) we sat down at A Cantina for drinks. Look at those beer taps, they're beautiful!
The view from the terrace was impressive & we couldn't wait to finish our drinks and walk around the site. Next time I'll take you further into the Cidade da Cultura, because there is much more to see!
Guest blog on IKEA Family live
Yeah, this week is yellow week on my blog, as today my first blogpost goes live as a guest blogger for IKEA Family Live! It includes a delicious recipe by my lovely husband: a true surpRICE! Check it out here.
And there's more IKEA news, as you can now read our home story online too, with some additional pictures from our home. By the way it feels a little weird to see myself on the cover photo of the IKEA FAMILY LIVE Facebook page:
DIY ABC plate
Besides giftwrapping & the occasional project, I'm usually not a true crafter. But I recently bought this porcelain paint in black & red so I had to do something with it. As I love typography, I decided to make a simple ABC plate.
It's pretty easy. I used a small IKEA 365+ breakfast plate. The most difficult part is to get the 26 letters to fit in the circle. To make that easier, I printed a circle ABC ( download my pattern here! ), cut it out and used it as a guide. With a pencil I drew 2 circle guidelines on the plate.
Then I started painting. My brush was a bit too big & the paint too transparent. But with a few extra layers it turned out okay. After 35 minutes in the oven, the plate became dishwasher proof.
I also made a simple dotted plate. I think I like it even better.
Do you see what's written in RED?
Of course you can write anything you like: the name of a loved one, your favorite city... You can download my pattern here!
Bold Blackberry Popsicle
As I told you on monday, I was planning on turning the freshly picked blackberries into some delicious ice pops. And that's what I did. I kept aside a few blackberries for decoration & blended the others.
Blended blackberries have this amazing color:
I couldn't help myself & added something to the mixture: a hint of Eristoff Black ( wild berry vodka ), because it's so well color & taste-coordinated. And some orange juice for sweetness. Then poured it into the ice popsicle molds. A few hours later I had 4 yummy blackberry popsicles. I added a berry on top just for the fun of it. So easy & refreshing!
What do you do when it's too hot? Keep calm and drink Pulco. Or anything refreshing really... But when I saw that the blackberries in our garden were fat & black I needed to pick them! They are bigger than past years. In comparison: the red ones are like regular-sized raspberries.
As soon as the temperatures will drop below 30°C I'll turn these bold blackberries into refreshing ice pops. Simply by blending them & pouring the blended berries into some popsicle molds. No need to add sugar, 100% pure frozen blackberries are the best!
Oh and I also picked a few strawberries ;o)
Are blackberries ripe & ready to be picked yet where you live?
One spilled carrot seed in my tiny vegetable garden grew into 1 beautiful carrot. I hung it with the kitchen tools for my husband to use in one of our meals :o)
Yesterday my Italian friend & I went for "fika" at the Swedish Institute in Paris. Fika means having a coffee break with pastries and as one of my Danish readers pointed out, fika is only used in Sweden ( and not in Denmark ).
I was looking forward to a delicious kanelbulle, but no luck: the Swedish Institute was closed for the entire summer. Paris is very slow & empty in August, which I think is bliss!, but some of these nice places like the SI with a beautiful courtyard are unfortunately closed.
Finally we ended up at Merci again for coffee and a refreshing citronade with ginger & mint. Not so bad either ;o)
Last weekend it was my birthday. My family came over from Holland and we spent the entire weekend in our garden, eating, drinking and having a good time. We started with a brunch in the shadow of a few trees in our front yard. Then headed to the back yard for drinks & a tompouce and my husband prepared a delicious bouillabaisse for dinner.
With a birthday in the 3rd week of July we were always on holiday in France when I was little. Since we once had some not-so-good apple beignets from a local French boulangerie, it's a tradition to eat self/ready-made tompouce pastries on my birthday. These tompouces come in a box, you only add milk & heat up the frosting au-bain-marie. Anyway, it's an easy sugary birthday treat!
What is your favorite birthday delicacy?
Once a week I try to go to the market for fresh fruit. I'm a fruitjunkie and love watching & eating seasonal fruits. On the market we have l'Homme des Fraises ( the Strawberry Man ) with lovely strawberries from Pontpoint, a nearby village. And there's the Melon Man who sells 2 cantaloupes for 3€. A few weeks ago, I told him it was too much. Too much for me to eat beside all the other fruits I already bought for the week. But he took it like: too expensive and said, well 1,50€ for 2 melons, what about that? An offer too good to refuse so I took them home. In stead of eating them as an appetizer with prosciutto, I turned them into some kind of sorbet ice.
Here is how:
Slice 2 cantaloupes into pieces (scoop out the seeds before!). Put them in a bowl and mix with a few tablespoons of cane sugar, two tablespoons of honey, some chopped fresh mint leaves, a hint of vodka and 2 cups of 0% yogurt. I wanted my ice to be bright orange, but of course the yogurt weakened the cantaloupe orange. I added a teaspoon of red food coloring powder but besides a spectacular blend in the first 5 seconds, it didn't really change the color.
Then chill this mixture in the fridge for a few hours and put it in the ice maker until the ice has your preferred texture. Serve with a few mint leaves on top. Bon appetit!
My personal chef ( a.k.a. my husband ) didn't like this ice cream at all. I must say he tasted 1 teaspoon while thinking he was having strawberry icecream, which makes the experience totally different, I think. He suggested to cook the mint leaves in water and add the minty water to the mixture instead of the chopped leaves. Fortunately our 3 guests liked it enough to finish their entire cup ;o)
I scream for ice cream!
Summer started in France & I couldn't be happier. I'm not sure if it's true, but most people prefer the season they were born in. I was born in the middle of the summer and it's absolutely my favorite season. Sunshine, people-watching from a sunny café terrace, leaving the house without a jacket, sunbathing & late dinners in the garden, cool drinks, life slowing down and of course ice cream!
I scream for ice cream reminds me of "Wij eisen ijs" ( we demand ice cream ) from Dutch children's book Floddertje by Annie M.G. Smidt. Fiep Westendorp's illustrations for this book are one of my favorites.
Mostly drawn to it by its color, I tasted my first Violette ice cream this week. Delicious! My sister went for mango & raspberry ;o) In Avignon I had the best caramel au beurre salé ice cream ever. Yummy! What's your favorite ice cream flavor?
Tomorrow I'll share a new ice cream recipe to keep you cool!
Always Coca Cola
You can use Coca Cola to clean your house or to get rust off a car bumper. I know it's not a very healthy drink, but it's one of my guilty pleasures: a daily sip of diet Coke. Not more than 1 glass a day and never regular cola ( makes me thirsty! ). The Coca Cola bottle above is a souvenir I brought home from Egypt. I've had it for a long time & still love it.
Do you have a daily guilty drink? Coffee? A glass of wine?
With high summer temperatures in mind, I tried to make a very refreshing treat: sorbet ice. For this ultra simple ( remember I never cook! ) and quite healthy recipe I used one very ripe Honeydew melon. Simply scoop out the seeds and spoon out the fruit.
Then mix this with a cup of water, two table spoons of vodka, some grinded black pepper and a hint of vanilla extract. Squeeze half a lemon and an entire orange into the mixture. Mix it with a hand mixer ( or a fancy KitchenAid! ), chill it in the fridge for a few hours and put it in the ice maker until your sorbet ice has the right texture. Enjoy!
Oh and if you'd like to see what Lein created inspired by my harvest-post, please like joelix.com on facebook.
Time to Harvest
Time to harvest! My first batch of radishes was ready to be harvested. As well as some strawberries from the plant that survived the winter without any special care. Both the radishes and the strawberries taste so much better than the ones from the market or supermarket.
It may seem very boring, but nothing helps me better to calm down when I'm stressed than putting my hands in the ground, do some weeding and of course the harvesting! I hope the lettuce I'm growing right now, won't be eaten by any bunnies or snails… because there's a lot of it and it looks very very tasty!
Oh and have a look at the peonies my sister gave me last weekend! I almost prefer their withered shapes over the fresh flowers. The white peonies are holding on just fine and still look super fresh & funky.
Inspired by the delicious Good Q Frozen Yogurt I tasted in Berlin and the super hot weather here in France, I made my first strawberry frozen yogurt ice cream. A super simple recipe: mix 500gr strawberries with 300gr 0% yogurt, a little bit of milk, some sugar and vanilla extract. As this recipe contains very little cream, large ice cristals form when you put it in the freezer for too long. It tastes best right out of the ice cream maker. Serve a large scoop of Frozen Fraises with some fresh strawberries.
Red Velvet Whoopies
My husband is the "chef" in our home. I never cook. But every once in a while I get into the mood to bake something. From the moment I saw these red velvet whoopies I knew I wanted to try to make them.
While shopping for the ingredients at my Asian grocery store, my hands turned red and yellow because the tiny jars with the food pigments were covered in colored powder. It made me wish the Color me Rad event would come to Europe.
The dough became a beautiful oxblood red. Not quite as flashy as the red cookies in the recipe. It tasted quite good though, very chocolaty & creamy.
Making the heart shapes turned out disastrous as the ziplock bag (which I used as a pastry bag) ripped open after a dozen of hearts. I decided to make some big round cookies with the leftover dough.
For the filling I used crème fraîche, sugar, a slice of butter and vanilla extract. Very rich and not so healthy. But none of the whoopies or big chewy sandwich cookies were left after serving!
What the jelly?
Bompas & Parr work with jelly ever so often, but take jelly to a whole new level. Sam Bompas & Harry Parr design spectacular architectural settings of jelly with a strong technology background. They collaborate with curators, cultural practitioners, and scientists for their projects. And recently with Kitchen Aid on a super cool project called A Culinary Odyssey, in order to look at the food of the future through prototyping the dishes of science fiction.
The event opens fresh areas for culinary speculation and food ethics by examining the physical, biological and astronomical possibilities of cocktails and canapes. The Experimental Cocktail Club (ECC) is making science fiction cocktails, Rhea Thierstein is designing sets that include the entire solar system in papier-mâché, Poietic Studio are building food levitation devices and the tropism well and Andrew Stellitano is developing the menu. On the evening, Future Laboratory will launch a report on science fiction prototyping and food preparation in the future.
The videos and photos of the event in London just look surreal. But what would this "cuisine extraordinaire" taste like?
(photos by Emilie Guelpa from Griottes)
Another great thing in London is that admission to most musea, except for mayor exhibitions, is free. I visited Tate Modern and the V&A. Unfortunately the Serpentine gallery in Hyde Park was closed while they were preparing the new On the Edgware Road exhibition.
I wasn't aware that The Obliteration room project was actually at the Tate, part of the huge Yayoi Kusama exhibition. It was smaller than the images I've seen, but ohhh the joy of colorful dots...
The huge Anthropologie store with women's clothing, accessories and home decor was another treat. They featured beautiful fake cactus plants by a local artist (who was proudly putting them in place herself). Some of the other highlights were the fabulous vertical wall covered in plants, kept alive with rainwater and UV lights and the huge dressing rooms which felt like my own spacious walk-in-closet.
And above all the store smells great. For a moment I forgot I was actually in the middle of one the most touristic areas in London.
Somehow London overall smelled quite bad. Maybe it's all the fish&chips they serve to tourists? I was lucky to have dinner at the Island restaurant, part of the Lancaster Hotel overlooking Hyde Park, where they serve simple but tasty meals. Even their fish&chips was really good! And the Banamel cheesecake was to die for...
Most of all I like his style (his gift guides are great too!) and the way he writes&tweets about this project really inspires me.
And in case you want to do some crafting yourself (or with your kids) during the holidays, you should definitely take a look at the Minieco tutorials. They have some simple and colorful ideas with super easy PDF templates. The crackers and paper gems are my favorites. Love it!
Remember my obsession with honey and beekeeping? The talented folks at Kinfolk shot a beautiful video on honey harvesting. Yummy!
Besides eating (of course) & the occasional baking, I really enjoy looking at beautiful food. Bakerella is one of the first places I go for over-the-top sweetness. A bit more down to earth is the work of Yvette van Boven, a Amsterdam & Paris based illustrator and foodstylist. She recently launched the book HOME MADE.
I really like the food photography on Not Without Salt. And did you see that gradient cake?
You can definitely tell Coco alias Caitlin has a background in graphic design: Roostblog is very pretty with a (huge) hint of romance.
Kinfolk is another gem. It's about the marriage of their appreciation for art & design and their love for spending time with family and friends. A guide for small gatherings. Love it! I also love how Meg Ray, owner of Miette Bakery in San Francisco tells about her breakfast habit: she eats cake every single morning.
And now I'm off having dinner! Bon appetit!
What is almost just as cool about honey are the endless options for packaging designs. Designing anything "honey" is a graphic designers dream project. Or at least for me it is. Inspiration is everywhere: the hexagonal honeycombes, the bees themselves, the flying swarms, the honey's texture and it's rich colors... One of my alltime favorite honey designs is by Ah&Oh Studio for Babees.
This is why I am so excited about this amazing new short film series called Made by Hand. Their videos celebrate the people who make things by hand: sustainably, locally, and with a love for their craft. The inaugural film, in which they visit the Breuckelen Distilling Company, is excellent. Go watch it!
As long as I know I've been intrigued by peppermint candy. A few months ago I saw how it's made for the first time (in Gränna, Sweden). I just cannot help myself but there's something magical about sweets. The team behind Papabubble fully agrees to that. In 2004 they opened their first shop in Barcelona and thanks to all it's loyal customers they opened shops all over the world: spreading the magic of delicious & beautiful handmade sweets. If you too are passionate about candy? Then you can now bring Papabubble to your part of the world by opening a Papabubble Concept store. How cool is that?
Another Icelandic gem is Fashion & Product Designer Sruli Recht. His work has this typical super creative & melancholic Icelandic vibe. He is actually recruiting a Junior Design Assistant at the moment. If I would have had any 3D modelling skills I would definitely have applied for this job. Working in Reykjavik for a while sounds tempting.
And when you'll stumble upon a piece of street art by the Ukranian Stanislava Pinchuk on your final destination, how nice would that be?
Don't forget to pack some cookies by Cookie Boy for on the road.
A light breeze
J3 Production published the 3rd edition of the At Your Leisure magazine full of inspiration and beautiful images.
Dutch family business in synthetic pottery Elho introduces the Elho raindrop water tank (on page 182-184). It looks amazing and makes using rainwater so easy!
Prepare a cool jelly pudding for your family or leave it for the jelly loving ants around the house.
A tip for parents traveling with their little ones this summer: in august Appracadabra will launch their new website & 1st app with wonderful children's apps in their own language. Each app will have a playful yet educational element and most of their apps are available in 16 different languages, ranging from Arabic to Lithuanian and Swiss German.
I had a real coup-de-cœur for the Liebe shop. Susan Liebe really amazed me with the styling of her cute little shop. Everything was so colorful, happy, and playful. A must visit if you're looking for the perfect gift for a newborn baby. The Stilleben shop in the same area of Copenhagen sells really beautiful tableware. Another coup-de-cœur I had for Granit with it's many smart solutions for storage, porcelain, glass, bathroom and kitchen products, spices, textiles and office supplies. They have stores in Sweden and Norway. Love love love!
At &pagne in Copenhagen I stumbled upon the beautiful leather bags by Yvonne Koné. At &pagne they also carry the brand Wackerhaus. I really liked the luxurious tissues Trine used for her SS11 collection.
AirBnB turned out to work just as good as I hoped. We stayed in great apartments which gave the sensation to be part of the city. It is so nice to have some space to relax and to be able to prepare your own breakfast.
Hungry? For the best burgers you should go to Illegal Burger in Oslo. They serve the best blåbær smoothies too.
Do the crayola
Time to bake the perfect crusty bread thanks to tips&tricks by French chef Richard Bertinet. Time to make my first ever fluffy homemade marshmallows: totally worth the mess according to Joy. And gaze at these incredible videos by Quayola in the mean time. Time to travel the world like James, to design my own shoes and to start exploring my city like Jørn. Time to do the crayola!
What the Jell'O
Happily ever after
This happy bright summer is almost over, but fortunately you can keep eating these beautiful icecreams all year round. If you like something to stay happy on a daily basis, have a look at these yummy sandwiches. And if you're hungry for some happy funky jewellery visit Denise's website. Her traditional costumes are worth a visit too! I've been looking for some nice bold socks (without Snoopy or teddy bears) and finally found Happy Socks. Bright, classic, happy! Sarah recently opened her supermarket. It's fun to shop around. For all the male fashion addicts around there, did you know these architectural designs by Nahum Villasana? And finally: a poetic video to get you through these last few weeks of summer.
Hungry for more
You can now feed your hunger for fashion and style trends at Trend de la Crème. Their theme series are very fresh and yummy. Some of you know how much i like my ring, but if one day i'll decide to change it, i'll be probably have been inspired by this great ring collection. Feed your fingers here!
I'm always hungry for aesthetics, and this shop i recently discovered sells lots of it. If you're hungry for more: you don't even have to be creative to create this beautiful experimental jewelry yourself. By submitting your own Radiolaria designs generated with the Nervous Applet you can order your own one-of-a-kind jewelry.
By the way some unfriendly monsters ate bits of my website and unfortunately many of the earlier news entries are gone. I restored everything I could save, but there are still some posts missing or incomplete. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, I hope they had a nice meal.
@joelixjoelix on instagram