A Big Place of Heaven: Whole Foods Market – London

June 22, 2014 3 Comments

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I don’t remember when I heard about Whole Foods Market for the first time but it was a while ago. I knew I had to visit at least one store as soon as I can. This waited until June, 2014 when I traveled to London to Food Blogger Connect conference. To make the story short I visited a few stores in London and of course my favorite one was the Kensington High Street one.

At 80,000 square feet, the Kensington home is the largest of the 5 London shops, indeed the largest in the world, which means that they can offer you more of the things that you love. Features within their foodie heaven: coffee and juice bar; in-house restaurant venues including pizza & calzones, wok station, texas BBQ, burritos, & tacos with vegetarian and vegan options; omlette station with your choice of veggies and cheeses; made in-store pastries, breads, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and sweet bars; 3 salad bars, one hot bar and one soup bar with hundreds of meal choices; all-natural and organic produce; etc.

If you are in London, please do not miss this place! :)

Photo heavy post!!!

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Whole Foods Market – Kensington
63-97 Kensington High Street
The Barkers Building
London
W8 5SE
http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/kensington

Monday to Saturday 8am to 10pm (restaurants close 30 minutes before store closes)
Sunday in-store browsing from 11am; sales 12 noon to 6pm; restaurants open 10am to 5:30pm

Coconut Almond Granola

May 13, 2014 2 Comments

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Since Adam was born we have been eating oatmeal or ricemeal (from rolled rice) for breakfast with different kind of toppings (almond butter, fruits, seeds and nuts) but no sugar, honey or any kind of sweetener is added to it. We really love it, Adam also, so we can’t stop eating it!

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A few days ago I had the crave for granola… I don’t know about you but I get some serious granola cravings at times. So I headed to the kitchen and made this coconut almond granola which is absolutely the best granola I have ever tasted! It’s so yummy and healthy, I even ate it as a snack with my 70% dark chocolate pieces in the evenings. :)

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It’s very easy to make and you can bake it in 15-20 minutes. I added a little bit of maple syrup to sweeten but you can make it with honey, rice syrup or without any sweetener.

Coconut Almond Granola

Ingredients

- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup almond, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 175C (347F) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients: rolled oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, desiccated coconut and salt. Add maple syrup and coconut oil. Mix all the ingredients together and spread the mixture evenly on to the baking tray. Bake for 6-8 minutes, then turn everything around with a wooden spoon. Bake again for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

Store in an air-tight jar!

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The First Birthday Cake

April 30, 2014 2 Comments

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We have reached a huge milestone… or at least this is what I think. Adam is one year old!!! Oh My! How could this happen? I remember the first days when I had problems with the breastfeeding and now he is one year old! Everything happened so quickly. Being a parent can be wonderful and rewarding, but it can also be difficult and unpleasant. This is what Ivan and I learnt in the last year.

On this beautiful day we had a quick porridge breakfast together then Adam got a few small presents and got his first birthday cake. I cooked a vegan pancake cake for him without sugar of couse. See the photos below how Adam enjoyed his birthday cake. It was kind of the most adorable thing I have ever seen. (Plus, recipe of the cake is at the end of the post.)

We love you, Adam! Mom & Dad

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“Let me see what mom cooked for me! “

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“Oh, la la! As a French would say…”

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“Oh My! This is so exciting!”

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“Yum!”

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“This is getting more delicious!”

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“Mom, you are a super talented chef! I love you so much!” :)

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Vegan Banana Pancake Cake With Vegan Chocolate Ganache

I used carob powder to make the ganache. Carob is a tropical pod that contains a sweet, edible pulp and inedible seeds. After drying, the pulp is roasted and ground into a powder that resembles cocoa powder, but does not have the same flavor and texture of chocolate. Carob is naturally sweet, low in fat, high in fiber, has calcium, and most importantly no caffeine – that’s why I chose to add this to Adam.

Ingredients (to make 8-10 pancakes)

For the pancake
- 2 ripe bananas, smashed with a fork
- 40 g whole wheat spelt flour
- 60 g white spelt flour
- 150-200 ml rice milk (you can use oat or almond milk too)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeded
- coconut oil for cooking

For the chocolate ganache
- 1 medium ripe avocado, pitted
- 2 ripe bananas
- 2-3 tablespoons carob powder (you can use cacao powder)
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- small amount rice milk

Method

Place the ganache’s ingredients into the kitchen blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Place it in the fridge to chill.

In a bowl mix together the flours, baking powder and vanilla. Add the smashed bananas, rice milk. Give the mixture a stir, combining the ingredients until mixed and smooth (if you find it too thick add a bit of rice milk 1 tablespoon at a time). Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the batter to rise.

Prepare a non-stick pan with 1 teaspoon coconut oil on medium heat. Spoon batter into pan, forming a pancake. Cook until lightly brown on the bottom. Turn and brown the other side. Let the pancakes cool.

To build the cake, place one pancake on a plate, spread some chocolate ganache on pancake and top with another pancake. Keep doing this until you’ve used all the pancakes. Keep some cream back for the top.

#MyHometownGuide – My 5 Favourite Places to Eat And Drink in Budapest

March 14, 2014 7 Comments

 hometown guide

 Thanks to Fiji Water for sponsoring this partner post about my 5 favourite places in Budapest, Hungary. All the opinions written in this post are my own. Click on the image above to enter the competition and win!

*****

1. Szimpla Ruin Pub & Farmers Market (Szimpla Kert és Szimpla Vasárnapi Háztáji Piac)

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The beginning of the 21st century was an exciting turning point in the nightlife of Budapest: in the central area of the city new places were opened one after another in tenement houses and factory buildings doomed to destruction. These were equipped with rejected furniture (every corner there is a surprise like an old bathtub functioning as a sofa) of old community centres, cinemas, and grandmothers’ flats, bringing a retro feeling into these places. They were soon called ruin pubs and became popular very fast among the youth of Budapest and tourists.

Szimpla Kert is one the oldest pubs and in 2012 it became the world’s third best bar according to Lonely Planet public vote. The place has a unique charm that you won’t see anywhere else in the world. It also became a social venue especially when the farmers market opened its doors and it became quickly a local favourite. It’s a great place to meet Hungarian farmers and artisan food (cheese, sausages, breads, pastries, spreads, etc.) makers. There is always live music, children programmes and charity lunch (for meat eaters and vegetarians too) organized by the pub, the farmers and a non-profit organization so noone goes home hungry. The market is held every Sunday from 9am until 2pm.

Szimpla Kert és Szimpla Vasárnapi Háztáji Piac
1075 Budapest (7th district)
Kazinczy utca 7.
Phone: +36 20 5404891
Website
Ruin Pub Facebook
Farmers Market Facebook

2. Organic Farmers Market (Biopiac)

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My favourite farmer couple: Matthew and his wife, Maria

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Organic products are becoming more and more popular in Hungary. The organic market in Budapest is held every Saturday between 6.30am and 1.00pm in the park at the MOM Cultural Community Center, where farmers, agriculturists and vendors of pre-packed foods sell their produce in kiosks made of wood and thatch. It is said that this is the biggest organic farmers market in Central-Eastern Europe. There is a cafe inside the community center that has a huge terrace – overlooking the market – where you can sit down and eat/drink what you bought at the market. It’s a children friendly place with playground and baby changing room.

The community is very strong, farmers are very friendly and you can easily ask advice from them on how to prepare a special vegetable that is new to you. On average 40-50 vendors are present offering a remarkably wide range of products (that can’t be found anywhere else in Hungary) including, fruits and vegetables, dairies, breads, pastries, honey, smoked meat, sausages, bacon, eggs, jams, juices, cereal germs and imported organic products. Within the organic market only products of strictly controlled ecologic farm provenance can be bought. The authenticity of these organic products is controlled and granted by Biokontroll Hungária Nonprofit Ltd.

The smells, the colors are wonderful and the market’s energy is very filling, so visiting the organic market is highly recommended. It’s my favorite thing to do on a Saturday morning.

Organic Farmers Market (Biopiac)
1124 Budapest (12th district)
Csörsz utca 18.
Post about the market

3. Gozsdu Courtyard (Gozsdu udvar)

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Image courtesy of Gozsdu Courtyard

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Image courtesy of Gozsdu Courtyard

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Image courtesy of Gozsdu Courtyard

Gozsdu Courtyard is a walkway that runs between Király utca and Dob utca.  There are seven buildings with one courtyard spanning a block. You can tell that in the last century it was a beautiful arcade inhabited by wealthy flat owners who had balconies overlooking the walkway below. A few years ago it was restored and today it is a new fresh location of Budapest, a lively, social meeting point where many restaurants (with traditional Hungarian cuisine, Italian, Thai, etc.), trendy cafes, pubs, bars and nightclubs serve the guests.

From April until the end of October a design fair is held where artisans, makers come to sell their jewelry, paintings, crafts and food (honey, chocolate, cakes, spices, etc.).

Gozsdu Courtyard (Gozsdu udvar)
1075 Budapest (7th district)
Between Király utca 13. and Dob utca 16.
Website
Facebook

4. Ruszwurm Confectionery (Ruszwurm Cukrászda)

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The Ruszwurm confectioner’s is a magic from the past in the present in the Castle district in Budapest. It was founded by Ferenc Schwabl in 1827. The place named after one of the owners and managers, Vilmos Ruszwurm. Since 1990 the shop has been run by one of the most famous Hungarian confectioner family, Szamos. Nowadays the confectioner’s is one of the most popular sight of Budapest, the house and the interior (the counter made of cherry wood with mahogany inlay) are protected monuments.

The cream cake (krémes in Hungarian) is my favourite one here. It is made from real vanilla custard (mixed with whipped cream… Oh My, it’s a die for cake!) and sandwiched between very thin layers of flaky pastry and then dusted off with a layer of confectionary sugar. Cream cake is a pure naughty delight on all fronts. :) Don’t miss it!

Ruszwurm Confectionery (Ruszwurm Cukrászda)
1014 Budapest (1st district)
Szentháromság utca 7.
Phone: +36 1 3755284
Website

5. Napfényes Vegan Restaurant (Napfényes Étterem)

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Goulash soup / Stuffed pickled cabbage and filled pancake a’la Hortobágy style

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Fake curd dumplings with soy yoghurt (balls of millet covered in sweet breadcrumbs served with soy yoghurt and powder sugar)

Being a vegetarian I wanted to show you one of the best vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Budapest that serves Hungarian traditonal food (and international dishes as well) vegan style. The restaurant is situated in a basement but in a beautiful atmosphere and with a pretty vaulted brick ceiling. After you enter the place you pass by the kitchen, smelling the wonderful aroma coming out of it.

They have daily menu (even on weekends) and also a’la carte. The self-serve salad bar always has a selection of fresh, mixed and spicy salads. Apart from their home-made desserts, they also offer a selection of vegan pastries and raw cakes. All of their dishes are made with purified water. Portions are pretty big so go there hungry. The service is excellent, waiters/waitresses are friendly and they speak English. It’s not located in the center but close to it so it’s worth the walk.

Napfényes Vegan Restaurant (Napfényes Étterem)
1077 Budapest (7th district) Rózsa utca 39.
Phone: +36 1 3135555
Website
Facebook

*****

Show us your favorite spots to eat, stay and play in your hometown and win a getaway to any of the US cities featured in Earth’s Finest City Guide! To participate, just upload an image of your favorite spot in your hometown to Twitter or Instagram with hashtag #myhometownguide and tell us where you live and what makes the image special and you will be entered to win automatically.

Vegan Bean-Oat Burger

March 2, 2014 5 Comments

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It’s difficult to find really good vegetarian or vegan burgers in Hungary. At most places the only vegetarian options are made with cheese or mushroom. Restaurants and cafes are not very open to try new recipes and serve the needs of vegetarian customers. Although veggie burgers are a vegetarian delight, but meat-eaters are sure to love them, too.

This vegan beat-oat burger comes from a Hungarian vegetarian cookbook that was written by a vegetarian friend of mine. It satisfies your appetite for a great-tasting veggie burger that’s easy to make and it’s healthy because of using wholesome ingredients to make. Either you are a vegetarian or not , you will love this burger!

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Vegan Bean-Oat Burger

Ingredients (depending on size, it makes 12-20 patties)

- 125 g rolled oats, soaked in lukewarm salty water for 30 minutes
- 1 can of beans, drained and puréed
- 80-100 g whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1/2 a medium sized celery root, chopped
- small bunch of parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- salt, pepper
- olive oil
- serving: salad, mustard, ketchup, sliced red onion, sprouts, ciabatta or rolls

Method

Drain the soaked oat for a few minutes through a fine strainer. In a food processor chop all the vegetables (onion, garlic, carrot, celery).

In a pan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute onion, carrot and celery. After 2-3 minutes add garlic and a few pinches of salt. Saute for a few more minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a bowl mix together the soaked and drained rolled oats with puréed beans, sauted vegetables, parsley and season with lemon juice, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper. Add breadcrumbs and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Form pingpong ball sized balls from the mixture, flatten them with your palm or a spoon. Place the formed patties on a tray.

Heat 1-2 teaspoons olive oil in a pan, add patties and cook for about 5-7 minutes until golden brown. Flip the patties and cook them on their other side until golden. Cook the remaining patties too. Serve with ciabatta or rolls and with vegetables, ketchup, mustard.

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