Dolce Vita in town

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My dear food-lovers, how are you?

I ignored this blog for way too long, I know (like, that’s the phrase all of my blogposts start with). Last time I made a post it was about grey skies and by now we’re blessed with hot sun and long nights. So to have you pardon me my absence quickly, I will draw on some really cheap method (the one that always works, though): Ice cream!

I was working on some projects lately (damn, that sounds important), so I did not really have time to cook a lot. And when I did it was not quite worthy of being taken pictures of.  I basically ate pasta, pasta and again, pasta (Can one ever have enough of pasta?!). Food-blogger-wise, however, that’s a shame and I am so gonna change that from now on: In order to trick myself into the kitchen, I bought tons of veggies yesterday. Fingers crossed that my “no-food-waste-gene” will make sure I really use them. But before that, let’s turn to the real good stuff, the sweet and refreshing dolce vita!

This week, I had a day off. Like, off-off. It’s been the first day in ages that I did not have any obligations. So, what was I gonna do on that day to live up to its singularity? Eat shiploads of ice cream, of course! And doing so, I managed to carve out the three most awesome Gelaterie in my beautiful little town Basel (this said, I wanna mention that there really are other lovely places and that I do not claim this list to be complete!). So: Let’s go!

Glatscharia Üna

Glatscharia is the Rhaeto-Roman (one of the four vernaculars of Switzerland) word for ice cream shop or Gelateria. It serves ice cream made from organic milk and best products. Try popcorn, ovomaltine (I might say, the national drink of Switzerland) or honey ice creams!

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Now one of the main reasons for me to do this post is that I always love to get tips by locals when I travel. And recently, there have been surprisingly many tourists in my town (not only because of the famous art exhibition). They usually stumble into the bar I work at and then they do two things: 1. They smile happily when they realise that I do speak English and that I can explain them where to find all the sites they are looking for (Mostly: the Münster, the Ferries over the Rhine and the Tinguely-Fountain) and 2. they tell me how small Basel is and that they thought it was one of the bigger cities in Switzerland. It is indeed. But Switzerland is tiny. So at least they can get ice cream to get over the size-disappointment. The other ice cream shop I simply adore is at the same time in a great location that absolutely needs to be recommended: the Markthalle. Great food stands place side by side. You can get everything edible, ranging from Vietnamese to Kurdish to Caribbean. And, as I said, great ice cream:

Eisuru

Eisuru’s ice cream is produced on site, their flavours are extraordinary and the cups and cones are filled and handed out almost meditatively. Try basil-strawberry, black sesame or guava.

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The last one is my personal favourite because of it’s awesome location. It’s close to the border of the rhine where literally everyone loves to hang out in summer.

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Other than that, the small Gelateria I am talking about offers awesome food, concerts (!!!) and is vegan friendly as well. How could anyone possibly resist? Have a look at:

Acero

I have been to Acero the first time only recently and I immediately felt ashamed I did not go there earlier. It’ s on the other side of the Rhine from where I live (the Kleinbasel or little Basel) and I was simply too lazy to go there because it seemed so far. Yes, that is the point where all tourists in the world who have visited Basel may laugh at me real hard! So please go and try the vegan sesame ice cream, the lemony panna cotta or basil-flavour!

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Now with this sugar-overdose (oh, glad you ask, yes I did have a weird tummy after my big ice cream tour!) I leave you today, but I will be back soon!

In the meantime, I will be happy to receive tips for amazing ice cream places all over the world, just comment below! I’m gonna stay in my lovely hometown until the end of July and then I’ll be off to chilly Norway.

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Enjoy these beautiful days with your beloved ones! See you soon,

Sincerely, your professional ice-cream-tastress, Florence

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Sweden: 3 cities, grey skies, and a shipload of sins

Hello there, everyone! Doing fine? Now as for me, the semester at university has started again and there was only one possible way to face that: Go on holidays! (To the country which, according to many Americans I have met, is exactly the same thing as Switzerland: Sweden.) And now, after a short encounter with winter winds, tons of sweets and pastry, I am back home and I guess there is no more running away from being a serious academic no more. Yet, what’s the first thing I do? Talk to you guys, of course!

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Now, let me get two things straight: First of all, don’t got to the south of Sweden in winter in times of climate change, when what used to be snow becomes rain and what used to be ice-crystal-cold becomes humid bleakness. Secondly, don’t plan to visit three Swedish cities in 6 days, or don’t plan to drive over 650 kilometers in 6 days. You will end up saying “Wow, I imagine this city must be really cool, it’s a pity we have to leave already again” all the damn time. Should have known better? Yes. But! I got to see a lot of lovely cafés thanks to that one fact that made me tell you not to go to Sweden in winter. The weather was mostly awful. A cosy 5 degrees and drizzly rain, topped with brisk wind, changing for thick snow up in pretty Stockholm. Should have known that one better as well? Yes. Anyways, it’s kinda good for you people, because I found some really warm and cosy gems up there that made everything seem very heartwarming and sweet again and that I absolutely wanna share with you.

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Now, my first stop was that city with the cute name (true: my family used to name our plush toys after it): Malmö. In a nutshell, a really easy going city. No fancy or thrilling sites, though, but that is actually what I really appreciated. For it meant that there weren’t that many tourists and I did not feel like rushing from one attraction to another. Now, one of the first things that stroke me, was that every single bakery not only had tons of cinnamon buns (I had expected those), but also tons of brownish balls, rolled in coconut rasps. I tried one (as I do with everything that is edible) and, honestly, I fell in love.

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Fun fact: In Sweden, the official day to eat sweets for kids is mostly Saturday. The only sweet that is allowed on weekdays is the aforesaid chocolate ball. However, I don’t really understand that, most of the time, that nasty thing basically consists of butter. Lot’s of butter. That is why I particularly fancied the one of a small café I visited, for it was vegan and no less yummy than the other ones. The Lite Off Salladsbar, by the way, also has some pretty awesome baristas.

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And I am over here working in my bar like, “your Cappuccino-foam does look a tiny little bit like a heart, tho?!”

So on the the next stop: Växjö, self-claimed greenest city in Europe and home of many students. Well, in winter it looks pretty brownish, to be frank. But what doesn’t? We stayed a little outside the city in a small hotel by a lake, and let me tell you that: Go there! Their in-house bakery and their breakfast or afternoon tea (Fika in Swedish) are well worth a quick stop-over: Toftastrand Hotell. Pure dolce vita!  

After that short intermezzo, I made my way a many kilometers further north: to Sweden’s charming capital city. Landscapes changed gradually, so did climate. The only opportunities to eat on the way were three different, equally globalized, fast-food chains. Blessed be the generous breakfast, again!

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Now, in summer Stockholm might very well become one of my absolute favorite cities. There is something relaxed and welcoming about that city. Winter, however, was brisk (except for the one evening most of my pictures were taken on – classic). Other than that, I was gifted with tons of snow and icy winds which made me start the cinnamon-bun competition: Where do I get the best ones? I can tell you one thing: there is an odds-on favorite for sure: the Fabrique. Okay, it’s a chain, but really, I have never had such a nastily delicious and deliciously nasty cinnamon bun in my whole life.

The other challenge that was going on was: how to eat inexpensive and tasty simultaneously. After days of roaming around, I accidentally ran into the most charming and heartwarming little café one possibly wish for: Bistro Matgatan 22. They serve a great selection of vegan as well as non-vegan lunches, with free salad, bread and lemonade for more than fair prices in a living-room-ish atmosphere. Awesome. And last but not least, in the very same street in Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town (yes, it is mostly as touristic as it sounds), I found a vegan and organic bakery with all the nasty pastry they sell everywhere but with the awesome difference that it is dairy- and sugar-free. How cool is that? Go to: Naturbageriet Sativa.

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Now, after all those treats you might imagine that I felt pretty much like going cold turkey when I came home. And as I am also opting for a vegan nutrition at the moment, what I did was an attempt at my one true love, Swedish chocolate balls, vegan edition. Here you go:

vegan Swedish chocolate balls

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ingredients:

  • 500 g date paste
  • 200 g dark chocolate
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup hashed and roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 4 tablespoons flax-seed oil
  • coconut flour or coconut rasps

preparation:

  1. melt chocolate with flax-seed oil
  2. mix all ingredients and knead well
  3. form balls, roll in coconut rasps and put in the fridge for an hour
  4. enjoy with chai latte or coffee

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I wish you some sweet days, my dear fellows and a lovely beginning of spring

Sincerely, your professional chocolate-ball-addict

It’s all about brunching – 3 awesome brunching recipes trying to keep up with Basel’s best brunching-place!

Hello again after a very long time of silence! What’s up, dear fellows? I got some pretty tempting food-stuff coming up today, hopefully not only capturing your attention, but also our taste buds!

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After weeks, months even, in my University’s library, tons of coffee and a lot whining I am finally back on track. I had my Bachelor’s exam in december and since then, I basically spend my days sleeping, cooking, brunching and looking for jobs, mostly in exactly this sequence and with unequal distribution of personal priorities. Now, to feel a little more useful doing all this, I decided to write a post on brunching. Okay, yes, it’s definitely not the most urgent thing to do in my life. But it is the most appealing one indeed, for: whoever does not love a colorful brunch with friends when every single one of them has nothing but time on their hands because they all belong to that lazy species of human beings called students?

So that is why this post includes (as the title already reveals, actually): an absolute must-go-brunching-place in my sweet Swiss hometown Basel plus a couple of recipes for the absolutely most yummy, healthy and easily prepared Brunch ever. Here we go!

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Lately, it was a cold and sunny sunday morning and I was cranky from all the Bachelor-preparation, I decided to go out brunching. That is my solution to everything: treat yourself. Especially when you actually do not have time for stuff like this. Do it all the more!

So, since then I love starting my days off with hanging in bed for ages and then getting up to have an extended (means: till dinnertime) brunch with lots of yummy food, friends, talks and laughter (especially since I gotta wait 6 weeks for my Bachelor-results, how nerve-racking is that?!). This new food-passion was triggered by a pretty little restaurant in one of my favourite Baselean areas (for its ever changing, colorful character): The Kleinbasel around Klybeckstrasse and Feldbergstrasse.

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La fourchette, the fork, it is called and its interior looks like a classy vintage furniture shop. They offer heartwarming dinner and every first sunday of the month there is a huge brunch. And let me tell you one thing: It is worth every cent. After three hours in the warmth of la fourchette and the icy winter winds of Basel hissing outside, I had devoured tons of spinach rolls, croissants, sesame-bread-buns, humus, frittata, cheese, chestnut-cake and chocolate-tart. To sum it up: I felt like a double as heavy , double as lazy and double as satisfied version of myself.

So it was sealed: I needed to become the queen of brunching. And my long way up there is what you get to see now. First of all, there a a couple of things that should not be missing at any good vegetarian brunch:

  1. homemade bread
  2. eggs
  3. fresh fruit
  4. homemade granola
  5. yoghurt
  6. fresh brewed coffee and tea

And that is what I present you with now, in a special and healthy, yet no more complicated version: a homemade flax-seed bread, a slow cooked omelet which needs no supervision, and the perfect homemade granola with an awesome yoghurt-mix. Have a look:

flax-seed braided bread with walnut oil

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ingredients:

  • 500 g spelt flour
  • 2 tablespoons cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil (or any kind of oil you prefer)
  • 1 egg
  • 1,5 cups milk
  • 20 g fresh yeast

preparation:

  • mix flour, salt, sugar and flaxseeds
  • dissolve yeast in milk, add walnut oil
  • mix all ingredients, apart from the egg and knead well
  • cover with a warm and wet towel and let rise for 1,5 hours
  • preheat the oven to 180°C
  • divide dough in three, roll the parts between your hands an braid them
  • put on to a baking sheet and brush egg yolk on it
  • bake until golden-brown, about 30 minutes

slow-cooked omelet with feta, violet carrots and peppermint leaves

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ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 violet carrot
  • 1/4 feta cheese
  • 1 handful of peppermint leaves
  • olive oil

preparation:

  • preheat olive oil in a pan
  • with a potato peeler, peel off thin carrot stripes
  • mit eggs with milk, salt, and pepper
  • roast carrot stripes, then add egg-mix and turn down the heat to medium
  • add crumbled feta on top of the omelet, then put a lid on the pan and wait until egg thickens
  • top with peppermint and fresh carrot tripes and serve with bread and butter

homemade cinnamon granola (on berry-yoghurt with orange-flax-seed-oil)

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ingredients:

  • 500 g oatmeal
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 2 cups popped spelt
  • 1 cup pecan nuts
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup flax seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

yoghurt:

  • 2 cups frozen berries
  • 1 kg greek yoghurt
  • 4 tablespoons orange-flaxseed-oil (or any you like, I got mine at the health store and I love it!)

preparation:

  • preheat oven to 120°C
  • mix all ingredients and stir with your hands
  • spread mixture on 2 baking sheets
  • bake for about 40 minutes or until well-roasted and crunchy
  • for the berry-yoghurt

Now with these three recipes it is nearly impossible to fail any brunch-attempt. Also, they are easy to prepare ahead and allow you to be read for your guests and a cosy day in. Now I wish you an absolutely heartwarming winter-time with all your beloved ones. I myself am getting prepared for a trip to winter wonderland aka Québec next week. I hope to be back with lots of travel-and-food inspiration and chitchat for you guys! See you then!

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Lots of Love, xx Florence

cats, spinach and the golden leaves of Czechia

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My dear fellows, here I am again, already! I have taken the resolution to talk to you more often, so brace yourselves! I spent my last few days abroad and I came back tired, yet inspired (what an amazing rhyme to start off this blog post!). Today, you should thus be ready for: more autumn inspiration, vegan food and bewitching Czech Brno!

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After not having seen my lovely friend in three months (a horribly long time considering she almost lives on my sofa bed) I finally managed to visit her in that city that makes my tongue go crazy because I cannot role the R properly: Brno. And seriously? I am not sure I would ever have made it there had it not been for her. Shame on me (a geography student), I had not even heard of that city before it came out of her mouth and later made it right into her heart. Not a very good beginning to convince you all to go there, really. But you should. It is, for instance, perfect to visit when you’re based in larger cities like Vienna and Prague and want some quiet time off. And I will now give you three reasons to seriously consider it:

3 reasons to have a stop-over in Brno

#1: Less tourists, more fun. 

Brno is not quite a tourist city. And that is exactly hat makes it extremely appealing to me. As a friend put it: Brno does not have any particular attractions to plan your day around, but it’s the perfect city to live in. Especially in autumn (and summer, I was told) it is simply amazing but at the same time does not make you feel like you should be running from sight to sight all day. Just chill – in Brno!

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#2: The 13th century Špilberk Castle.

What a great afternoon walk through golden leaves, what nice cafés on your way up (those cakes!) and what a lovely view up there! I went there twice: by night and by day. Don’t leave without having done that.

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#3: The most amazing cafés (and, yes, their beer).

So, first of all, I really tried not to list beer as a reason. That is why brackets. But after two months in Iceland it is simply incredible to get the best beer and wine for about a twelfth of the price I paid there. But this should really only be viewed as a side note. For, hold your hat: There is a cat café! Now maybe you hate cats. Or this is nothing special for you. But I had never been to one before and it was, to be frank, a dream come true. Other people have bungee jumps on their bucket list, I had the cat café instead. There were at least six fluffy kittens running around. Need I say more? Also one of my favourite places is the ultimate hipster café in town: Skog. They serve great drinks and great salads. I think in czech terms it’s rather expensive. In my Swiss terms amazingly cheap.

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Back home, I felt absolutely inspired by that yummy salad I enjoyed there. Also, I could use some fresh and healthy food after all the beer (okay, I promise this is the last time I mention beer in this post. It’s kinda possessing my mind).

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However, I did not have a lot of time to go for the big grocery shopping thing. I hate doing that. I can’t drive the car and I am pretty bad with my bike. So basically that makes me walk back like an overweight pack donkey every single time. Maybe that is why I like spinach. It’s so light! Also, it makes a great salad-basis. Very patient and flexible, for today it is topped with easy and clever left-over recycling:

Baby spinach salad with risotto-patties, caramelized curry-onions and dates

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ingredients (2 people)

  • 4 handful baby spinach
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 cm ginger, grated
  • canola oil
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tabelspoon agave syrup
  • risotto-leftovers (mine were from a mixture of rice, coconut milk, broth, ginger, curcuma and sweet potatoes)

preparation

  1. form small patties of the risotto-leftovers while preheating a pan with canola oil (be generous with it)
  2. fry the patties, then take out and roast the onions with curry powder and agave syrup
  3. top the baby spinach leaves with lemon juice and zest, canola oil, salt, pepper and grated ginger
  4. top with dates, onions and fried patties

Enjoy with flatbread and ginger tea (no beer for once, though!). And have a lovely weekend people!

x, Florence

northern memories, figs and autumn leaves

My dear friends, I am finally back alright – with a bag full of pretty memories and chitchat, my favourite autumn fruit (and a bunch of recipes circling around it), as well as with ultimate advice for the icy land on the 64th parallel.

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I have come home from Iceland three weeks ago already and, honestly, I thought it would be easy to get home. But it wasn’t, really. Basically, my first few days felt like an enormous sensory overload – so many houses, people, and noises. And after two months of counting seeds, cutting soil samples and collecting caterpillars while listening to the whimbrel’s ringing sound I now got my nose deep into linguistic books (time to bring my studies to an end – or, rather, graduation) and drink chai-tea while the trams rattle by.

One of the amazing things about being back – apart from seeing all the lovely people again – is cooking. I literally did not cook anything useful in eight weeks (the credit goes to the canteen on site, which absolutely made me wanna bathe in the classic Icelandic rúgbraud) ! But I did get a lot of fun food inspiration over there, although not everything is worth copying, to be sincere. From dried fish, fermented shark, liquorice-chocolate, flatbread to lamb-paste I tried pretty much everything edible and icelandic there was to try. My personal favourites (also including the food-related ones) are listed in todays special section “massive DOs in Iceland”, right after todays culinary chitchat and recipes.

With that said, let’s turn to my food star guest today: figs.

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During my last two weeks in Iceland, autumn was totally taking over, sending me back home in perfect mood for pumpkins, chestnuts, colourful leaves, spices, and, of course, figs. Let me tell you one thing: never buy figs in the stores, never! They are over-priced and often spoiled. Go take the time, grab your favourite people and do a little trip to a fresh food market nearby. It’s social, it’s fun, and, eventually, it’s also tasty.

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Having done so myself, I came back with fresh spinach, a bunch of organic carrots, flowers, sweet potatoes and Italian figs. I absolutely love their tender sweetness and variety when it comes to using them for cooking. Want proof? I have brought you three different recipes of how to use figs in your own little kitchen – in an incredibly quick and easy, healthy, surprising and tempting way. Let’s go!

#1 Spinach-Salad with figs, roasted nuts, broccoli, avocado, grilled halloumi and orange-mustard-curry dressing

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put together:

  • 4 broccoli florets, blanched
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 4 figs, sliced
  • 100 g halloumi cheese, roasted and finely sliced
  • 2 handful of young spinach
  • 1 handful of roasted walnuts and pumpkin seeds

blend:

  • 1 dl olive oil
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 0.5 dl vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt, pepper

#2 fig-carpaccio with caramelized walnuts, feta cheese, sesame oil and basil

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put together:

  • 6 figs, sliced
  • 1 feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil
  • pepper
  • hashed basil

roast:

  • 1 handful crushed walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

#3 vegan fig-caramel with almonds and cinnamon

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simmer, then blend:

  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 figs, sliced

You can have this nasty beauty on your toast, apple slices, as a cake topping, or just as it is – pure, sweet, perfection.

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But enough food-talk for today! As I did not really know where I would possibly start telling about my stay in Iceland I simply decided to go for a very straight forward version: The ultimate list of massive DOs in Iceland. And by “DO” I mean: really, really, really DO. I thought about including some DON’Ts, too. But then I figured that most of them are just things that you think you have to do when you are in Iceland for the first time, including me. So I guess you will do them anyways. As long as you make sure you have done the DOs, all is good:

The ultimate list of massive DOs in Iceland

#1: Go to Iceland in mid september, instead of June or July. I mean, it’s chilly there, anyways. So why not have included northern lights and amazing autumn landscapes (and a tiny, tiny, tiny little less tourists)? Especially nice in Skaftafell National Park, and around volcano Hekla (Do not go up there, though)!

#2: Buy wool and knit. It’s what me and my lovely companions did on rainy days: Sit in lovely cafés, chat, knit and feel very Icelandic (and have tourists take pictures of us).

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#3: get your holiday-reading right: pack Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir and, of course, Halldór Laxness.

#4: Go to Húsavík – it’s gorgeously cute. Actually, do go appreciate the whole north: Akureyri, Ásbergi, Myvatn. And pass the Westfjords on your way.

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#5: Participate in Réttir. It’s basically gathering all the sheep (they are everywhere!) and assigning them to their farmers. But it’s tough. Also, it is one of the most fun and Icelandic things I have done over there. Make sure you put on orange rain trousers and an Icelandic pullover. It’s THE dresscode.

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#6: Go collect wild thyme, crowberries and blueberries. At dawn.

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#7: Eat Lousiana Chicken Strips at Vegamót. Eat dessert at Grillmarkaðurinn.

#8: Check the aurora forecast. Rent a car. Drive some place where there are no artificial lights (not very hard to find in Iceland, really) and enjoy mother nature’s light show.

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#9: Buy: icelandic tomatoes, smoked haddock, blueberry skyr, flatbread with butter, rúgbraud.

#10: watch the sunset at the harbour of Stykkishólmur. On your way, stop for a hike at Eldborg, a volcanic caldera.

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#11: When in Snæfellsnes, look for Lýsuhóll hot spring and have a bath in hot fir green water. Or else consider these amazing suggestions (by one of my favourite icelandic bloggers): Drive it yourself for Snæfellsnes.

#12: Stay at least two weeks. At least. Believe me, you will need the time. You do not wanna be one of those people who try to drive around the whole island in one week.

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#13: Attend at least one concert. Even if it’s not your music style. I have randomly seen Páll Óskar and it was incredibly fun. Consider the event calendar and go to local events.

#14: Hike along Heimaey’s coastline up on Helgafell or Eldfell and enjoy the amazing view. Be prepared for wind. A hell lot of wind. And book your ferry ride there early!

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#15: Have a picnic in the warm black sand on one of the many amazing beaches of the south. But don’t try have a bath in the sea. It’s one of those things you only do once.

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#16: Make Icelandic friends. Let them show you the best places to eat out and drink. And go horse riding.

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#17: Stay flexible. Believe me, I am the very first to be stressed when I do not have things under control. So I had to learn to let all the amazing stuff I did not have in mind and did not expect happen.

With that incomplete list (I am open to any complements from your side) made of pure love for that quirky country, all that I have left to say for now is: enjoy your autumn, guys, stay curious and be open to all the amazing things life has to offer. I will do my best to be back soon, depending on how much my bachelor-exam readings are about to swallow and digest me.

Much love, Florence

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berries, coffee and the beautiful suðurland

Daginn from the beautiful Suðurland! I finally made it to Iceland. But do not fret, dear reader, there will be food around here, still! Do you remember those days when your Mom would pre-cook food for your dinner or lunch? Yes? That’s basically what I did, only virtually. Apart from that I do of course have some icy updates for you up my sleeve.

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Now, my first couple of days were, well, Icelandic. At. Its. Best. I spent my first day of work weighing caterpillars, counting seeds, painting my own coffee mug and keenly observing nearby volcano Hekla. Hilarious. You know, Icelanders are crazily particular about their coffee. There are about three or four different types of coffee I can get around here and whatever kind of working step you may have completed (be it driving the car or having a walk to another building), it will be rewared with a cup of coffee. So no surpise that everyone working here need their own coffee-mug. My second day was passed all outdoors and guess what: I got a sunburn, digging in the dirt from morning to evening (that might sound like a simplification of what I did but it’s not really).

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At night – daylight hours are still spoiling me and my dear colleagues here – we went out picking berries around the stunning area of Gunnarsholt, revived by the Soil Conservation Service. If you have time, go book a tour there and learn something about the area and big girl Hekla (about to erupt, they say – they have been saying that for a long time, though). Either way, I felt very hunters-gatherers. And seriously: that landscape with its wild thyme, crowberries, bilberry-bushes, limegrass, lupins (invasive plant, though) and the Eyjafjallajökull and all the other trouble-makers in the background is simply breathtaking!

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Talking of berry-picking brings me to your edible treatment today. Before I went, I prepared a neat little entrée (or afternoon-snack, or whatever-kind-of-daytime-treat) for you guys. Having picked the slightly sour and bitter crowberries yesterday, I thought it would probably taste even better with these, however, I used raspberries back then. Here you go:

goat cheese tartelettes with raspberries, onion, basil and balsamic

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INGREDIENTS (10 tartelettes)

  • 300 g spelt flour
  • 150 g butter, cold
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 150 g goat cheese
  • 1 handfull of raspberries
  • 1 onion
  • balsamic
  • 1 handful of basil
  • pepper

PREPARATION

  1. cut cold butter into small pieces, to salt and flour, then rub between your hands until everything’s evenly crumbly
  2. add the egg and merge to a smooth dough
  3. grease muffin tins and form little tartelettes out of the dough with the help of the tins, meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°
  4. bake the dough in the muffin tins until crunchy and golden-brown
  5. cut goat cheese and onion into thin slices
  6. Let the tartelettes cool down, then fill with goat cheese and onion-rings and top with basil, balsamic and raspberries
  7. Enjoy with fresh salad

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Hear from me soon! Bless bless!

summer in a jar

My friends! It’s getting hot out there!

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For the last couple of weeks I was kept busy with my very own naive attempt to reconcile my jobs, my bachelor thesis and several short holidays. Actually, it even worked, but only on the cost of my apartment, this blog and, oh well, my sporty activities. Above all that, there is one special thing particularly distracting my already pretty easily distracted mind: Iceland! In two weeks time I will be about 20 degrees of latitude farther north and I will return to my nicely warm climate zone in autumn only.

So what does this mean? Here’s a list:

  1. I will enjoy this heat as long as I can. Although I can’t stand heat.
  2. I will buy some warm pullovers. Midsummer in Iceland basically means cosy 14 degrees Celsius, just checked on that. Oh, and a good rain jacket, too. I’d better be ready.
  3. I will shower you with as many lovely recipes as possible, trying to preserve summer on this blog.

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So, having this clearified, let’s turn to my measures to preserve summer as well as possible:

SUMMER IN A JAR

I love jars. Especially when they are filled with something homemade. They make a lovely gift, look nice and don’t produce waste. Plus: They’re like an edible memory because they preserves foods so long. What a laudation on something as simple as jars! I might be suffering from a heat stroke. Anyways. I have three different and absolutely amazingly simple recipes for you, the product of which may or should be filled into jars. If it lives long enough. Probably it won’t. But if it does, make sure you fill it in hot. So have a look at these:

SMOKEY KETCHUP

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Homemade Ketchup is one of the easiest and best tings to do. i’d say it might even be legit to pour this one over spaghetti (just saying for all those sinners out there).

Let all those ingredients simmer for 40 minutes, then blend:

  • 1 tin peeled tomatoes
  • 4 tsp. balamic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tblsp. cane sugar
  • 1 tsp. chipotle seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. chile flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped

VEGAN MAPLE-ALMOND DULCE DE LECHE

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This one is pure sin. With a little bit of raw cacao powder it’s like vegan Nutella and you can add whatever spice you like or switch to any other kind of nut butter. I was inspired to this lovely sin by the awesome blog blissful basil. Enjoy with fruit, rusk or – like I do by spoonfuls – pure.

Let all the listed ingredients simmer with constant stirring until it get’s as thick and slightly sticky as caramel. Then fill into jars:

  • 2 cups almond butter
  • 2 cups maple syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 tblsp. coconut oil
  • a pinch of cinnamon

BASIL-OIL WITH LEMON PEPPER

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This quick, flavoured oil makes a gorgeous companion for baguette, tomatoes, mozzarella, fish or veggies.

Blend all these ingredients in a cutter:

  • 1.5 dl olive oil
  • 2 handful of basil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • zest of 1/2 Lemon

That’s it for today, love. Enjoy summer and be ready for my new series “f(l)avourite places”. In the weeks to come I am gonna introduce you to my personal favourite spots all over the world. Of course, food will be involved, too. Looking forward to seeing you then, guys!

Honey, Honey, how you thrill me!

My friends! In a time where ABBA and honey, or both at the same time, seem most thrilling to me you might think things are not going really well. It’s something, however, and I am gonna endow you with some sweet guilty pleasures, too. Same rights for everyone.

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So, I planned on going to the Ticino (the Italian part of Switzerland) with my friend tomorrow and I hoped that I would be able to come back with a lot of charming insipration and a pinch of mediterraneo for you guys. Turns out you might need to get prepared for some soaking wet ideas: If you believe in the weather forecast (which is testing my trust a lot recently), then it will pour with rain next week. Well, all I can do now is hope that the weather forecast doesn’t decide to turn out to be right for once. Or that we get sudden inspiration where else to go. The place summer decided to go to a couple of weeks ago, for example. I don’t know where that is, though. Any hints are welcome!

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Anyways, back to more graspable stuff. More fun stuff. More reliable stuff. Food, basically.

I baked for the first time in like a thousand years yesterday. And well, looking at my casserole you can tell. Half of the guilty pleasure still sticks there and it’s quite persistent. But, insider’s tip from your kitchen-slob #1: you can save everything with a thick layer of sweet topping. Almost everything (not the casserole, though). So I saved what I could save and I was astonished to acknowledge that the result tasted more than okay. Also, it’s almost vegan (sometimes there just isn’t a substitute for honey). And pretty healthy. And there is a lot of coffee in there to keep you going. And chocoloate, honey and vanilla. So turn up ABBA, don’t get killed by the honey (seems to be likely, though, according to their song), and go prepare yourself some of these:

(almost) Vegan Honey-Mocca-Brownies with Cashewbutter-Topping

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ingredients (20):

  • 2 cups wholemeal spelt-flour
  • 2 cups ground cashews
  • 1 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons ground coffee
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup cashew butter
  • 2 teaspoons coffee
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 20 pecan nuts

Preparation:

  1. mix flour, coffee, cocoa, cashews, cane sugar, baking soda and cinnamon
  2. preheat a pan with coconut milk, coconut oil, honey and inner of vanilla beans and let simmer for 2-3 minutes
  3. blend all ingredients and stir well
  4. grease a large baking mould (like, really well) and preheat the oven to 180°
  5. bake for about 30 minutes, meanwhile blend cashew butter with honey and coffee
  6. let the brownies cool down, then cut and top with cashew butter and one pecan nut
  7. ENJOY with more coffee (depending on your wakefulness)

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See you soon, my sweet honey bees!

Yours, Florence

Ray, a drop of golden sun

I need sun. And I need a break. How are you, people?

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Now, to be fair: I did get some sun on the weekend. A hell lot of sun. And that’s why I need more now. Give me an inch and I will want the yard. But looking at myself in the mirror, I have to admit that it is probably not too bad that it’s raining all the time. And looking at the pile of work I gotta do, I have to say: I actually can’t use any kind of temptation. But as I am me, I had the glorious idea of packing my bags and sponateously rushing off to one of Switzerland’s most beautiful parts: the Val d’Anniviers. Under the pretext “I rent myself a room in the mountains to learn” I drove off and came back with a bad sunburn, wobbly legs (should hike more often) and a shipload of pictures in my camera. What I did not come back with, however, was a brain prepared for my finals and a finished bachelor thesis. What a surpise, huh?

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So, as I will keep the food-part short (but tasty!) today, let’s delve into that little trip of mine to the French part of Switzerland, the Valais. Well, let’s not talk about the French part in that because it is just a shame. My French is pretty much non-existent. Quelle honte! It’s a desperate mix of some French vocab from high school and – nice try – pronouncing English words with a French accent (with great hope of that very word having been one of the linguistic gifts Norman the Conqueror had brought the Brits in 1066).

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Well guys, it took me a while to get to that beautiful place, for the Val d’Anniviers is a pretty hidden corner of Switzerland. People are often laughing at me when I say that something is far away in tiny little Switzerland. But when you sit on a train with sweaty bikers, screaming kids, a teenager on her new phone and a snoring old man, train rides may seem really long. How naïve I was to think I might at least prepare my exams on the three hour train ride. I basically spent my ride hanging on my phone, like any digital native would, and eating my bunch of fresh, local, carrots like crazy.

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Thinking about it, that actually summarizes my being and my ideals quite well. I love regional food from markets and I am a great defender of public transport. So great that I don’t even have a driver’s license. I’d rather spend my money on my annual, all-inclusive, Swiss public transport ticket. I am not even sure if I use the train often enough for it to be worth the money, to be honest. But I genuinely believe in its positive effect on my travel-behaviour. Also, it makes me feel like I can use public transport for free anytime after the hurtful moment of paying the bill. I can be a really dull person, too. Dull, but environment-friendly, for most Swiss people seem to prefer building new tunnels and stuff. Okay, let’s not get started on Swiss politcs. It’s a pain in the ass, really. So, having arrived at the first of the many small villages of the Valley in the Valais, Vissoie, after an adventurous bus ride testing my strength of nerve, I checked in at a very cute Bed and Breakfast: Ancienne Poste. Apart from being a public-transport-ethusiast, I adore B&Bs. They are familial, you get great insider´s tips for activities and, especially in this case, awesome breakfast.

IMG_7364No, that’s not the B&B on the picture. Would be cool, though.

Vissoie was still very sleepy, as were its cable cars. This made me walk. A lot. A lot, like: I am not used to that as a lowlander. But I walked, fearlessly, bravely, until I reached the point where slippery melting snow would stop me. Only shortly before I had reached the initially targeted destination, the Hotel Weisshorn. Never mind.

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My sister spontaneously joined me the next day and although we ended up running through half of the Val d’Anniviers because we were simply too dumb to read bus schedules properly, we had an awesome time. Or maybe it was exactly because of that. It’s the weird, funny, face-palm-moments that make something special and unforgettable, right? Conclusion: The hiking tours there must be gorgeous with enough sunscreen on, water and without snow and wrong reading of the bus schedules. Back home, 30 kilometres distance and 1500 meters in height in total made me and my wobbly legs have a very good sleep and left me permantently hungry like mad for the next couple of days.

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Hungry, that’s a good cue, isn’t it? I guess I should slowly but surely bring this chitchat to an end, do something useful now and bring some edible sun into your four walls. Sounds good, right? Well, there is a lovely organic shop just around the corner of my new apartment. Adhering to my attempt to represent an environment-friendly nature, that’s basically where I hang out. Is that what the cool kids do? I guess not. But you’d probably find me there if ever you should be looking for me. Now that sounds like an invitation for stalkers. Whatever. Last week, they had wonderfully fresh herbs and giant tomatoes. Really, I have never seen such huge tomatoes before! So that’s what came out:

organic tomatoes and mozzarella di bufala with fresh herbs, olive oil, sea salt, cumin and balsamic

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ingredients (2 people)

  • 180 g mozzarella di bufala
  • 1-2 large tomatoes (the hugest oes you can possibly get)
  • 2 handful meadow herbs
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • a pinch of sea salt

So simple and so good! By the way, did you recognize where the blog-title is from? Little hint: It’s from a movie and it’s not quite a cool-kids-thing either.

So people, I hope you will take some downtime every now and then, too. For the weeks to come I will indulge in my bachelor thesis, try to cope with geographic computer programmes, work, hopefully cook every now and then and, most importanty, prepare myself for Iceland! I’ll be going there by the end of july and staying until late september for an internship. It’s still two months to go but I am already awfully excited about it. Ég hlakka mjög til þess. Or so.

With that said: have a wonderful beginning of the summer, people! Hear from you soon!

Lenses and Chickpeas

Hey my dear fellows,  how are you?

Recently, my days just don’t have enough hours for me to get to do everything I wanted to do. Or would have had to do. Anyways, here I am giving you a vital sign. At the advanced age of 22, I moved out. Well, I also moved in. Luckily. So the last couple of weeks were all about moving furniture, buying furniture and, most importantly, pretending to be an adult and to know what’s going on. This, in succession, made me spend a lot of money, basically. And then try to make money again, which left me pretty busy.

So after almost three weeks in the new apartment, you can really see what I assigned priority to. A little cupboard with exactly 21 different spices on it? Sure I have that! A wardrobe? Uhm, well… A desk? Who needs a desk when there is a sofa bed and a laptop?!

So while I am spending time with this virtual little bubble showering you with my daily struggles, I should actually be doing other stuff. But priorities, ya know…

And: I have a new camera which I am terribly in love with. It’s basically all I do at the moment: Carefully picking that beautiful thing up and taking pictures of everything and everyone not fast enough to do a runner. And it’s exactly why my days are too short and why I am skillfully ignoring my seminar paper and why my favourite curly-headed man only sees me in a static position, slightly bent, winking, with a huge black thing in front of my face, making click sounds. But now I’m back in familiar territory. With my sweet tooth whining. And my healthy and sporty part reasoning. That’s the result:

Mellow vegan and gluten-free orange-maple-brownies on chickpea-basis

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ingredients:

  • 1 ,5 cups chickpeas
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup cashew butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 4 tablespoons raw cocoa powder

preparation:

  1. blend chickpeas and coconut milk, then put into a bowl
  2. add all the other ingredients and stir well
  3. preheat the oven on 200°, fill dough into a baking mould of about 25×25 cm and bake for 20 minutes
  4. enjoy with warm coconut-rice milk