Thursday, 25 June 2015


There are little things
that sometimes surprise you as if they were oh so big.
Because they're tiny, delicate, and yet so powerful and unexpected.
Such as picking the ingredients for your next recipe at the park.

Now, imagine the usual routine that comes before your fragrant cake or crunchy salad. Unless you're lucky enough to have a grandma that will give the above-mentioned cake ready to eat (best case scenario even just taken out of the oven), or the above-mentioned salad just to be washed, you're likely to be one of the hundreds that goes to a huge supermarket. You'll have to overcome the first light and thermic shock due to neon lights and air conditioning and, once you're sure you can make it, you'll have to sail your way dribbling busy people talking at two phones and crazy kids that were recklessly entrusted with a cart. You'll get your ingredients with packages much bigger than their products, and you'll head to the cash desk, praying that no one of the people in front of you will have to empty their overflowing carts for the self-scan check.
You're lucky, only three out of four.
You included, of course.

And then, imagine yourself in a big park, blooming, perfumed trees all around, stopping every two steps to close your eyes and face the sun, soaking in all that warm, gorgeous sunshine. Imagine yourself looking at people lazily sunbathing on the grass, others playing frisbee, some friends looking at them while sipping a beer. There are dogs running happily, and cats suspiciously looking at them from up a rock. There's the pond full of mama-ducks and their newborn baby-ducks. And everything around is colour. For the few steps during which your eyes are actually open, you look around for your ingredient until, all of a sudden, there it is, your flower.
Bunches of teeny tiny white flowers, on a huge, dark green bush. So you start picking them, bunch by bunch, almost dizzy with their sweet yet pungent perfume.
And when your little bag is plump with them, you walk back home, 'cause those little flowers, a lemon and two spoons of honey are everything you need to make your most delicious summer lemonade.

Now, all you have to do is to put the flowers -stems removed- and the lemon -thinly sliced- in a pot. Bring a liter of water to a boil, melt two spoons of honey in it, and pour it over your flowers.
Let it rest for 2-3 days, stirring once a day, then filter and drink!
For the first batch you'll really have to trust your feelings, as there are no real measures, but only your taste.
I can tell you that to me the magic combination is 1 full bag of flowers (one of those plastic bags you would use to freeze things, smallest size), 1 and a half lemon, 2 spoons of honey, 1 liter and a half water.
Then we drink it as 2/3 lemonade and 1/3 sparkling water.
And it's summer.

You can find the original recipe on "The Green Kitchen", the awesome cookbook from Green Kitchen Stories.

Oh, and the flower is elderflower.

Thursday, 11 June 2015


Summer has arrived!
Here in Belgium, people are sitting on any possible surface to catch till the last second of sunshine and everybody's smiling. To you passing, to dogs passing, to planes passing, to anything really, just smiling. It must be the sun. Or drinking beers, in the sun. But hey, we've been waiting for it 345 days, so now we're gonna enjoy it!

We've had peaks of 29°(say whaaaaat?) so I give them a few days before they call it a "heat wave".
As an Italian I feel it's my duty to make fun of northern people and the whole drama of these 29° when, where I come from, you start saying "It's getting quite hot" when it goes over 38°.
On the other hand, they make fun of me and my furry ear-warmers the other above mentioned 345 days of winter, so I guess the joke is actually on me.

Anyway, the real news is we can finally eat salads!
We've been eating them all winter long, I know, but let's be honest, that was mainly out of lazyness (or desperation. See HERE for details.) And it's now, eating in the garden under the sun of 9pm (again, say whaaaaat? Only, for real this time) that we're really gonna enjoy the refreshing juicyness of fresh vegetables.

So, this evening we've had butterhead lettuce (honestly, how beautiful is it?), red paprika, cucumber, feta cheese and olive oil. Never missing: freshly ground black pepper. Extra plus point, all the vegetables had been grown in Belgium so, km0: check.

- chop
- ground
- eat

What's your salad today?

Thursday, 2 April 2015


Here we go, with the second episode of Project 365!
These are the little moments that I've captured along this second week.

The sun keeps on hiding, I keep on eating soup.

I want to believe.
Sooner or later, spring will arrive.
Meanwhile, I'm getting ready with some pastel nail polish.

Flowers after the storm.
They really, really hope as well spring will come.

First sunny day!
Although, because of the wind, the perceived temperature was of -1°C.
Keep your hopes reasonably moderate.

Travelling by train.

Our Sunday was filled with rain, wind, biking in the rain against the wind and other delights.
Tea is always the solution.

We've got sun on two Mondays out of two! (And I went picking daisies.)
Looks like this day's trying its best to be the one everyone is looking for.
Never thought I would say that but, I love Mondays.

What beautiful things have happened to you? Share your links!

Sunday, 29 March 2015


Happy Sunday!

I really hope it's a beautiful sunny day wherever you are, and that you'll be able to enjoy the most of it outside.
However, if it isn't, you can always relax reading these.

Whatever you'll do, have a lovely day.

This beautiful picture is taken from "The wandering girl".

Friday, 27 March 2015


Yes, spring it's beautiful because of the blooming, and the birds, and the first warm days.
But that's not all. I'm sorry to be reminding of this, but spring can be aweful. As in: it rains con-stant-ly. I know you were all trying to ignore this fact, but there it is.
I guess I'm a little frustrated by the fact that it's the 10th day of rain in a row.
Well, that's actually not true, but it feels like it.
Belgium and spring are a very bed combination.

But let's go and take a walk on the bright side 'cause, when it's 7°C outside, you deserve to eat a worm, thick and comforting soup. And I love to be comforted by soup.
For this one, my inspiration was this recipe from The Kitchn, but it's been quite heavily readapted. This is just my favourite way of cooking: getting inspiration here and there, and then throwing in our pots whatever we have around that smells nice.
However, should any one of you try and make that soup, please let me know, cause it sounds real yummy.

So, for mine I used:

- A lot of onions. Say 4.
- Some carrots. Say 3.
- Bay leaf. 1. (I knew this one).
- Garlic cloves. Say 4.
- White beans. Quite some.
- Barley. A cup?
-Tomato sauce. Half a bottle.
- Olive oil. A lot.
- White wine. A splash.

Execution time: 2 days

This can be explaind in two ways, both absolutely true.

1- To speed the boiling up, you might want to soak the barley overnight. It's not essential, but it works a bit like beans so, if you don't soak it in advance, prepare for a loooong boiling time.
Same thing for the beans, if you don't use canned ones.

2- Most soups are just sooooo much better the day after. You might even consider preparing it on Tuesday to eat it specifically on Wednesday. Or just make a lot and eat it both days.


well, once your barley and beans are rinsed, you proceed pretty much as you would do for most soups.
1-You need to cook your chopped onions in quite some olive oil on a medium-low fire.
2-Meanwhile cut the carrots and throw them in, together with the bay leaf. When they start to fizzle, pour a splash of white wine and let it reduce.
3-Only afterwards add the roughly chopped garlic and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
4- Add the beans, the barley and the tomato sauce. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Cook for 5 minutes.
5- Cover everything with vegetable broth, bring to a boil and leave it on the fire until beans and barley are soft.
6-Serve with a last splash of olive oil.

Advice: you might want to add the vegetable broth a bit a time, so that you don't get to watery a soup.

Thursday, 26 March 2015


Today Project 365 officially begins!
Well, it started a week ago, actually, but I had to test if I was really going to follow through.
Even though Week #1 finished on Monday and this is published just now, I think I'm gonna be great.

The idea of the project is that there is something beautiful in everyday, just sometimes we are to lazy to look for it. Some other times, and that's the case here, we are very much aware of how special a moment is but, being it physically impossible to hold on to every single memory, after a while some are just gone.
I don't want any beautiful memory to be gone so, with good grace of my P, that is majorly annoyed by picture time, I've decided to give it a try.

Well, here we are, and this was week #1:

Ozzi engaged in sleeping activity.
I couldn't resist: two seconds after shooting the pic I grabbed him to cuddle.
I ended up scratched and he nowhere to be found.

Spring decorating project.
Last week I've eventually removed our Christmas decorations.
Now I intend to fill our house with origami birds.

On Thursday I've started a new novel: "Moon Palace" by Paul Auster.
I've been wanting to read something by him since I read the back cover of "Travels in the scriptorium" (still on the list).
With "Moon palace", so far so good.

On Friday I bought this basil plant.
It was so luxuriant, with those green, thick and plump leaves that I couldn't help taking some twenty pictures.

On Saturday a dear friend of ours has come for a brunch at our place.
It's been absolutely lovely: a lazy Saturday brunch and then an exhibition about criminal anthropology and depression.

That was an epic day: I've used my sewing machine for the very first time!
I made a few experiments on a nice fabric tissue of mine.
I'll never do that again.

This picture is symbolic of Monday. It was a glorious sunny day, so we went to the kennel to walk with a doggy.
Somehow, even if it feels like it's raining since forever, the trees are blooming, and it's just so beautiful.

And this was week #1!
What about you? Have you ever tried Project365?
Would you feel like joining?

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


People, it's time to make a wish list for this week!
Sorry, by "Wish list" i actually don't mean cute necklaces, lacy dresses and strawberry cakes.
It was meant more like a "tide up", "pack and store winter clothes" , "laundry" kind of thing.

Still, I hope you'll get a boost of positive attitude by the fact that it's called "Wish list", and not "To do list". "Doing the laundry" sounds so much better if it's on a wish list, rather than on a to do, doesn't it? *shiny smile

Seriously, try it.

In any case, turns out that making lists really helps getting things done. That's why I'm making one every day, and that's not freaky, but simply efficient. *shiny smile

So, Melyssa of The Nectar Collective made it a community thing, so that list makers from all over can get support and encouragement from each other. And God knows how much we need it when it comes to laundry.

So, take a pen and write down a few goals for this week. We'll meet again next Monday to see how good we've been. *blink

So, here goes mine:

1- Pick one of the thousands craft projects I've pinned on this board and actually make it. Like these awesome earrings.
These are actually pinned on this board.

2- Bake savoury muffins to have for breakfast. Like these Rosemary&Goat cheese muffins, for example.

Of curse, to do that,

it would be better if the the cake and cookies we baked this Sunday were finished, cause we absolutely don't want to waiste them.

So, I think it's fair to say: goal

3- Eat up the cake and cookies we baked on Sunday.

I think that's all for me.
What are your goals?

Sunday, 22 March 2015


I especially love Sunday mornings, maybe because here we've made it a little tradition of having a very cosy brunch every Sunday morning.
This is topped only by a SUNNY Sunday morning, when before brunch we might go and stroll around the flower market and, as soon as the weather gets warm enough, eat our brunch sitting in the sun.

You should make brunch a habit as well.

However, here the weather is not great these days, so today we might chill on the sofa with some interesting reading. Should you want to read something as well, you could take a look at these:

  • Sophie Isobel on conscious living.
  • Monica, with a recipe for olive oil croissants. I haven't tried making them yet, but her post is absolutely worth reading anyway. (ITA)
  • So good to be reminded of this.
  • Awesome restyling from Geneva.
  • Now try and say you don't identify with at least one of these.
  • A very interesting article (plus bibliography!) about "0km products", that could open a debate about a whole lot of different topics. (ITA)
  • A good kick from Melyssa.
  • A very interesting article on the damages created by intensive farming. Also very interesting to watch is the documentary "Unser täglich Brot" (Our daily bread). You can find the trailer here and the complete documentary here
 I hope you'll enjoy some of these articles, and maybe also a good book. 

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015


So, after succesfully postponing it for 7 (OMG!) years (pat pat, so smart), it has finally happened: last week I went, and I had my wisdom tooth pulled out.

Beside the tragredy of a much too late realization that a huge, beautiful tooth was no longer mine and I didn't even see it, there was also the tragedy of the eating practicality.
The doctor said I could eat after one hour, but she didn't have a huge hole in her mouth so... sorry, nothing personal, but I really couldn't trust you.

Silver lining of all this was that, while I was behaving as if I had just undergone major surgery, my girlfriend treated me exactly as such. (Yey!)
So I spent my afternoon on the sofa, getting regular refillings to my ice supply and watching movies.
If you're in pain and need something to cheer you up, here you go.

The above mentioned "eating practicality" was successfully avoided for the whole day but, the morning after, it was clear that I couldn't just avoid eating until complete healing.
So, we had to find solutions, and that worked out pretty well.

Problem number 1: COFFEE
According to my doctor, I could eat and drink, but only cold things. So here comes the solutions to morning coffee: affogato. When it's really the healthiest option for you to eat ice-cream for breakfast.

Problem number 2: ANY OTHER KIND OF FOOD
If you can blend it, you can eat it.
For a whole week my diet consisted primarily of smoothies and soups.
It's true that the weather is getting springier and springier but, at least here, in the evening it's still quite chilly, so being wrapped up in a blanket watching movies and eating soups was just so oh-so-cozy.
If now you also feel like you deserve some soup and blanky time, you can find some inspiration on my Pinterest board "Soups". 

Even though now I'm already happily munching nuts again, coziness is never too much so, if you have any recommendation for movies or soups, let me know!

Survival distraction: Big Fish.
Survival menu: affogato, banana smoothie, champignon soup.

That's really all you need. (And honestly, when you must eat ice-cream for breakfast, there's really not much else you need).

Credits: picture 1

Sunday, 8 February 2015


Has it ever happened to you that you're so hungry that you just start chomping on things and gulp them down, without even tasting them? Or, at least, not for the first half of whatever you're eating?

Or has it ever happened that you were so focused on the movie you were watching that, when someone asked you "How is it? Salty enough?" you suddenly realised that you didn't know?

Well, to me it's happened like, five minutes ago, and it was a real shame, cause it was really awesome. I was having my 4o'clock snack while reading a book, and I was so into it (it being the book) that it took me some 4 spoons to realise that I cannot do two things at the same time.
Well, that might be a bit harsh towards myself, there are things I can do at the same time. For sure, there are.. well, but the point is, sometimes you shouldn't. Because doing to many things at a time makes you actually more stressed and less efficient, and it doesn't make you taste your coconut milk.

Mindful eating is actually one of the first meditations you should try when you approach mindfulness.
It all start with a grape and an alien (you).
You have to pretend to be an alien, and pretend you're seeing a grape for the first time in your life and, therefore, eat it as such.
You should first touch it, analyse its shape and its texture, and the way it feels on your skin. Then you should smell it. Shake it next to your ear.
Only now you can put it in your mouth, and run over it with your tongue, feel its weight.
And then chew it, and feel the sweet explosion you were not expecting.
And so on.
Slow? For sure.
But some things are so delicious that they really deserve all that time. And if they don't maybe you shouldn't eat them at all.

Well, my 4o'clock snack was definitely worth putting the book aside.

You'll need:
  • banana
  • coconut milk
  • oats
  • raw cacao nibs 
All you need to do is to blend together half a banana and two or three (very generous) spoons of coconut milk. Pour your mixture over half a cup (or more. I guess it just depends on how hungry you are) of oats and sprinkle it all with raw cacao nibs.

It's really five minutes. (If you knew where your blender was, I'm sure it would be even less).

It's gonna take - i hope- much longer to eat it than to make it.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

HOW (NOT) TO: lemony belgian endive with brown sugar and coriander

 So, more or less a week ago I posted this recipe about filled Portobello without using any Portobello, fact that I classified as my very original twist to the recipe.

However, the self-contempt about my creativity lasted quite short; more precisely, until when my friend Pepe told me about his twist to the recipe: "Roasted portobello with kale" became "Roasted portobello (real portobello!) filled with zucchini flowers and topped with provolone".
So it was basically a totally different thing but, uuuhmm (read: *drooling).
So now I was all excited and ready to give a real twist to any recipe that would cross my way.
And there it came: "Belgian endive with orange, brown sugar and basil".
I didn't deliberately decide to totally re-write this recipe cause, honestly, it really sounded super yummy. Thing is that I forgot to buy oranges and basil. So, yah.

Anyway, the lemon-coriander thing is not really something you want to try.
The whole combination tasted sort of weird, a bit like a sour medicine that they tried to make palatable with all sort of sweeteners.

Instead of mine, I thought I'm gonna give you the original recipe.
Should you try it, let me know if it's really as good as it sounds.


  • 6pcs belgian endive
  • 2 oranges
  • 12 basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 TBS butter
  • salt&pepper
  1. Melt 1TBS butter in a pan. Meanwhile, cut the endives in halves, season with salt&pepper and lay them in the pan.
Now, the recipe says you have to squeeze the oranges over the endive, but it's not giving clear indication as of when. (In any case, before you squeeze them, grate the peel and set aside for final decorations).

  1. I would say you do that immediately. So, ... season with salt&pepper, squeeze your oranges and cover the pan with a top.
  2. When the endives are almost done, sprinkle them with brow sugar and cover again, so that the sugar caramelises.
Now, the recipe says "... after 20 minutes remove the endives from the fire." Once again, I find it's not really clear if it's  after 20 minutes in total, or 20 minutes after you sprinkled the sugar. In my case, after more or less 20/30 minutes (in total) the endive was perfectly done and the sugar caramelised.

     3. When the endives are ready, lay them on a serving plate and sprinkle with the basil leaves and  the orange zest.

Thursday, 22 January 2015


I'm totally shocked.

Yesterday night I was home alone, so i was cosy-ing up, ready to enjoy my evening: glorious leftover-dinner, blanket and DVD.
Sounds idyllic, doesn't it?
And it would have been, if this wasn't the DVD:

Of all the causes we want to support, i believe that this is one of the most important and pressing.
And the awesome thing is that we can do SO MUCH just thinking about the way we do everyday things.
To travel short distances, for example, we can enjoy a lovely bike ride rather than locking ourselves in a car and getting stuck in traffic (honestly, how much better does "the lovely bike ride" sound?); or we could just rethink that salad and those pale, sad-looking tomatoes cause, after all, it's still January, and make ourselves a warm, thick, pastinaak (parsnip) soup instead.
Because even the unbelievably easy act of buying local can have such a big impact.

Now go, watch the documentary and start saving our planet!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015


I'm right in the middle of a glorious day.

If i hadn't already spoilt it all with the title, I could have tried to let you guess what the rainbow-coloured source of all this time and serenity was but, there you go: it's my newly-refound-unemployment.

I'm usually a supporter of the refrain "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone" but, in this case, damn, didn't I know how much I was longing for some jobless time and, no, I don't miss my job.
However, I don't get any kind of social subsidy to finance my happiness, which honestly it's a kind of sad since it means that, one day or another, I'll have to get another job.
From my side, I'll try to hold on as long as I can 'cause, as we all know, money doesn't make you happy, happiness does.

I'm just back in Belgium after some very longed-for family-time (as strange as it sounds, you get to miss also a big, fat, invasive italian family when you're apart for long enough), where I enjoyed the cuddles of my grandma's (do you still get cuddled on the knees of your grandma? That's when I'm so thankful of being this tiny), the constant shouting of everyone else at any kind of gathering (yah, I enjoyed also that), and some awesome, fat italian food.
Because italian food can be much greasier than you think; especially if my grandma is somehow involved.

Anyway, as awesome as it was, it got to be a bit too much (the food. Well, the grease, actually), especially in consideration of the fact that, for the previous month, I had fed myself on seeds and berries.

So, here comes my first detox recipe that, luckily, is also SO tasty.

You can find the original recipe of these Roasted portobello with Kale following the link to Whole Living. I followed the original recipe step by step (ok, almost. But honestly, what am I supposed to do with half an onion? I might just as well chop it all, right?) so, I was saying, step by step but, since I didn't have any Portobello, i just used regular champignons (say 10 for two people. They shrink quite a lot) and it was just so good.
So, no stress about the Portobello's.

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar (personally, also a bit less would be fine)
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt&pepper
  • 10 champignons
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes (this makes it rather spicy)
  • a lot of sliced/chopped (?) kale
  1. To make the vinaigrette, combine vinegar, honey, two cloves of garlic (chopped) and a TBS olive oil in a little bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Arrange the mushrooms on a baking dish, drizzle with the vinaigrette and let marinate, covered, for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Turn the oven on to 400°F/200°C and roast the mushrooms for 30 mins, flipping once.
  4. Meanwhile, heat some oil in a pan and add your diced red onion, 2 cloves of garlic (sliced) and the chili flakes. cook more or less 5 mins. Add the kale and kook for another 4 mins.
  5. Serve the mushrooms topped with the kale.

    This is pop-art.
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