Friday, August 7, 2015

Omas Garten

During my trip home and to the West of Ireland, I stayed at my Oma's house as always and had to take some snaps in her beautiful garden.

I love my Oma's garden because it is colorful, wild and overgrown. 

I will always prefer mess and disorganisation over neatness and perfection, in pretty much all aspects of life.

Multiple species of flowers and plants run into, over and across one another, and there is always a cat or dog (or both!) running by or dozing quietly, just about visible amogst the tall grass or flowerbeds.

Having a garden is something I very much miss living in the city, and while I make the most of it by spending as much time as possible visiting the wonderful parks and public gardens here, there is definitely something to be said about having your very own outdoor space all to yourself; for you to care for, relax in and just be.

I can't wait to have my own someday!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Thoughts on baking

I'll admit it.  I am most definitely a pastry fiend.

I have always had a sweet tooth.  As a toddler, I was found on numerous occasions with a slightly guilty, somewhat unapologetic chocolate smeared face; an empty box sitting next to me.  

Cleaning out containers of mascarpone was another favorite past-time, which is doubtless the reason why Tiramisu will always be my absolute favorite dessert.  It reminds me of childhood, it  reminds me of home, it reminds me of Italian summers and it reminds me of my Mom, whose traditional Tiramisu recipe (handed down to her by my Italian ancestors) cannot be upstaged by anyone in my eyes.

Over the years, my taste has altered a lot:

I prefer savory over sweet.  
I am not a big chocolate lover.
I don't really like cakes.  
I evolved from baking constantly (something which always helped me to relax and momentarily cease my ever-frantic stream of consciousness) to cooking often.

I was known as the baker of the family, but this changed as I became much more interested in the more experimental and creative aspects found in cooking.

Nowadays, I don't eat or enjoy sweets half as often as I used to, and since moving to New York last summer I have not baked once in my apartment; something which a few short years ago would have sounded absolutely ludicrous to me.  

Me, a former passionate and highly invested baker, living a life without baking??!

Truth be told, I miss baking like hell sometimes.  

While baking, I could always concentrate fully on the manual task at hand and zone out every (negative or positive) influence around me.  I could exist in my own world. Even in a large, homey kitchen very often loud and busy with the sounds of family, friends, relatives, neighbors- I could exist quietly.

I don't want to say that I have given up on baking for good, because I most certainly have not. Personally I cannot wait for the day to come around when I can call myself a baker again.

One thing that never changed for me, was my love for pastries.  
In fact, my love for pastries has only grown stronger, and become more refined.  

My favorite pastries will always be Italian pastries, and perhaps I'm biased.  But I really don't think so.  Whenever I visit Italy I usually consume multiple pastries a day.  What can I say, maybe I'm making up for the 96% of the year I am not in my favorite country and therefore lacking access to said pastries!

So imagine my surprise this year when I recently visited Portugal for the very first time, and I found myself firstly in awe of and secondly falling in love with the traditional Portuguese pastry scene.  Naturally I conducted research by indulging in a LOT of pastries.  And somewhere along the way I decided I needed to write a post on the topic.  I admit I didn't know much about Portugal in general before I traveled there.  However I had no idea that  I was about to be so impressed.

All I can say is, the Italian pasticceria scene has found an opponent just as worthy and deserving of high praise in the Portuguese confeitaria scene.  And I'm okay with that. 

All photos included in this post showcase just a mere fraction of what Portuguese bakeries are capable of.  You're welcome.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

revisiting the west

At the beginning of June I returned to Europe for a short trip home and then some.  

Visiting Galway + Connemara was top of my list of things to do as I wanted to see my family there and reacquaint myself with my favorite part of Ireland- the West.  

The West of Ireland has never not been my favorite, and if I was to move back to Ireland at some point in the future or even just own a home there someday, I wouldn't have to think twice about it.

It's my very personal opinion of course, but the West to me means peacefulness, nature, open space, purity. It represents the most authentic, traditional Ireland and it is overflowing with beautiful fields, sheep, lakes, mountains, forests, hills.  

It's the one place in which I find it easiest to think and breathe.

The quiet + abundant nature is something I miss while living in such a big, busy city as New York.  I didn't even realize how much I truly appreciated and missed it until returning home!

Now everyone go visit.