Friday Finds

April has come and gone, so hello May! On Sunday we are celebrating the very special women in our lives. Let’s show how much we love and appreciate them! Wish all of you a very happy Mother’s Day! My picks for the week below.

The eclectic chic chill out area in this Ibiza beach house designed by Caroline Legrand:

160429 Friday Finds beach house

Words of the great painter:

160429 Friday Finds motivation

These matte + metallic pebbles made by Nikolista of basteln malen Kochen backen:

160429 Friday Finds pebbles

Island of Sv. Nikola in Montenegro (Photo by Elena Nikolaeva):

160429 Friday Finds Montenegro

Joy the Baker‘s whole roasted onions:

160429 Friday Finds onions

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

A Nation’s Favorite: Túrógombóc

A Nations Favorite title image

Update: now that I know more about dairy, I’d translate túró to quark instead of cottage cheese as this Hungarian product made from soured milk is closer to the German-style curd cheese.

‘No, thanks’- said no Hungarian ever, when offered the dessert I brought to you today. On the other hand, not one of my foreign friends who even bothered to try it (in restaurants, that is) was convinced. This is shaping up to be a controversial post and to make matters worse, what follows will definitely raise some eyebrows among my fellow countrymen and women as well. I warned you!

So what is this unpronounceable thing then? Well, it translates to cottage cheese dumpling. Yes, it is a dessert made of fresh cheese curd, and yes, it’s sweet. Some people for some reason find that gross interesting, but excusez-moi… cheesecake? You like THAT, don’t you! Anyway, all I ask of you is be daring enough and bear with me on this one, because your tummy will not be let down.

We have quite an extensive dumpling culture in Hungary which means of course there is no universal recipe: everyone uses a very own ‘the one and only true’ method. Basic ingredients include cottage cheese, flour, egg and breadcrumbs but as you’d expect, there may be additions and instructions, as well as proportions do sometimes differ significantly.

Anyone who says is a bigger fan of these than I am is a liar, but I admittedly don’t eat túrógombóc anywhere else but home anymore. The reason? They are simply never to my taste. Too hard, too floury, not sweet enough, the list goes on and on… so I decided to share my take on the subject. Who knows, maybe, just maybe, some of you will see the light too! 🙂

The recipe my family is sticking to was acquired a long-long time ago from an old lady in my grandmother’s village and immediately made all the rest look like a bad joke. The only change my mother made was swapping some of the granulated sugar for vanilla sugar. Never had a túrógombóc anything like this and all who tried ours, being suspicious at first as they were, was very pleasantly surprised. And now I’ll let you in on the secret and you are absolutely welcome to pass it on! Prepare for a jiggly, dreamy-creamy, soft and sweet on the inside and crispy on the outside treat you won’t want to live without.

The Not-Your-Average Cottage Cheese Dumpling:

Ingredients:

250 g unsalted cottage cheese

15 g vanilla sugar

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1 medium-size egg, whole

1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

1/8 tsp salt

40 g all-purpose flour

40 g semolina (grits)

For rolling:

75 g breadcrumbs

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp granulated sugar

A Nations Favorite ingredients

Instructions:

In a medium-sized bowl, mix all ingredients well and let sit.

A Nations Favorite batter

Meanwhile, in a pan on medium-high heat brown breadcrumbs on butter, add sugar, set aside.

A Nations Favorite breadcrumb collage

Put water on the stove, add a pinch of salt. Make dumplings, about 4 cm in diameter from batter and gently put in boiling water. Carefully stir so dumplings don’t stick to bottom. They are ready as soon as they emerge to the surface: using a slotted spoon, transfer them to pan and roll to cover in breadcrumbs.

A Nations Favorite cooking collage

Best served fresh. Makes about 10 dumplings. Recipe can (and should!) be doubled, just as you can see on the image of ingredients. Enjoy as dessert or as second course after hearty soups.

A Nations Favorite ready with fork

And my experience-based advice to go along the recipe: I’m pro health&fitness and all, but don’t use low-fat cottage cheese this time. I never pound my cheese because I like a rustic texture with visible crumbs. Be careful not to add sugar to browned breadcrumbs too soon, you don’t want it caramelizing. While you can totally make the dumplings with wet hands, I prefer keeping mine clean and use a tablespoon to shape them (safer to put them in boiling water too). Start with a test-dumpling to see if batter holds. If it falls apart, add some more semolina. Don’t put more than 4-5 dumplings in water at a time to avoid overcooking. We eat them plain, but feel free to pour sour cream on, sprinkle with cinnamon and/or powdered sugar, add jam, poppy seed or whatever floats your boat.

Do yourself a favor and try this whether you are local or not. As your self-elected Túrógombóc Ambassador, I can’t wait to hear about the experience!

Good luck & Jó étvágyat (Bon Appetit)!

Fruzsi

Friday Finds

Here’s to another lovely, sunny spring Friday!

A bouquet assembled from April flowers by Design Love Fest:

160422 Friday Finds bouquet

A note to be taken to heart:

160422 Friday Finds motivation

Magnolia Blossoms in the 16th arrondissement, Paris (photo by Georgianna Lane):

160422 Friday Finds Paris

Pretty details from a classic outdoor wedding photographed by Justine Milton:

160422 Friday Finds wedding

And this fox cub. Cuteness overload!

160422 Friday Finds fox

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

How to Make a Rosemary Topiary

How to Make a Rosemary Topiary title image

Did you know even the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were pruning plants into decorative shapes? It is said that topiary is an art form that takes dedication and time as you will be shaping your plants for years and the upkeep is continual. But don’t be scared off just yet, I’ll show you it’s a lot less complicated and time-consuming than you thought.

There is something chic about adding life to a space with topiaries. They can elevate a basic, traditional interior into something special, and work really good in modern spaces as well by reinforcing symmetry and creating balance. One or two will do wonders to your function-focused kitchen too!

How to Make a Rosemary Topiary tablescape
Modern-rustic tablescape with greenery

Traditionally, topiaries are made from plants like ivy, boxwood and myrtle, but they can be created from just about any woody perennial. Rosemary has a tendency to drape and grow into a shrub and is also ideal to be trimmed into a topiary sphere or an elongated pyramid. While training rosemary could take some time, it looks so elegant and provides herbs for your kitchen. Looks like we have a real win-win situation here!

Believe me, you want topiaries in your life. 🙂 Here’s how:

How to Make a Rosemary Topiary collage

Plant a rooted rosemary cutting (instructions on propagating here and on potting them here), prune the side shoots to encourage vertical growth. Stake the plant snugly with ties, and let it grow in a sunny spot, giving it plenty of water. Turn the plant weekly so it receives even sunlight. When it has reached the desired height, trim off its main vertical shoot. This will stop its upward growth and encourage branching. Then, strip the bottom two-thirds of the plant of all its shoots, leaving the top one-third and its branches for shaping. Don’t forget to loosen ties as the trunk grows in diameter. Pinch off growing tips to maintain a full, dense top and encourage further branching.

How to Make a Rosemary Topiary mini trees

My first mini rosemary trees turned one year old, and I planted new ones this year again. I prefer giving live flowers to go along gifts, and everyone absolutely adored these.

Another plant I’m planning on training is lavender, I’ll let you know how it goes. Also, feel free to ask me in the comments if you have any more questions!

Love,

Fruzsi

Tablescape by Alchemy Fine Events

Images featured in collage from Better Homes and Gardens

Rosemary “trees” image found on City Farmhouse

Friday Finds

Fri-nally! Below, a few insiping images I hope will brighten your day:

This gorgeous wreath of peonies created by Team LC (Photo by Stephanie Todaro):

160415 Friday Finds wreath

We should remember:

160415 Friday Finds motivation

This lovely coffee table by Liz of Love Grows Wild made by upcycling an old milk can:

160415 Friday Finds decor

Wanderlust: Amalfi Coast, Italy (Photo by Darin Images)

160415 Friday Finds Amalfi

Healthy and sooo yummy at the same time by Kwestia Smaku:

160415 Friday Finds slamon

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

 

Upcycled Beach Pebbles

UpcycledBeachPebblestitleimage

I’ve spent Easter in the fabulous city of Dubrovnik, Croatia with the Fiance and just had to collect pebbles from the beach. Again. I don’t think I will be able to resist the urge ever if I’m honest, but anyway. 🙂 This time I went for the bleached white flat ones and predictably, he asked what I plan to do with them. AND the ones from previous trips too, for that matter. Oooops…

Sadly he just won’t take the ‘it’s craft supply, it’ll be good for something eventually’ bulls**t anymore, but being the absolute sweetheart he is, we brought them home. And now I feel the pressure every time I look at them to come up with ideas.

Then the other day I found some olive patterned paper napkins in my pantry that got me thinking. The green-gray motif would go very well with off-white, so I decided to decoupage some of the stock, thus giving my pebbles a new look. I wrote about this easy technique earlier (read it here) and again, I’m happy with how the project turned out.

So without further ado, this is how decoupaged pebbles are made:

Supplies: pebbles, patterned 3-ply paper napkin or tissue of your choosing (got mine from H&M Home, but it’s from a previous collection), scissors, brush, decoupage glue.

Tip: Since you only need a small amount of glue, pour some into a jar lid or small glass bowl. If your glue has thickened, add a little water to dilute.

Upcycled Beach Pebbles collage

Cover your work surface, clean pebbles from dust/sand. Cut motifs to size, separate layers (you only need the top sheet). Apply glue on the pebbles, fit and smooth out cutouts on the surface. Give it a few minutes of dry time and finish off with 1-2 thin layers of glue to seal. Ready!

upcycled beach pebbles 2 ready

Upcycled Beach Pebbles ready 1

Upcycled Beach Pebbles ready 2

They look good in plant pots, decorative bowls, as vase fillers or simply displayed on their own. Also, grill season is upon us, but this year my stuff won’t get blown away thanks to these lovely weights.

Have fun making them!

Fruzsi

Friday Finds

House of Cards season finale, I’m coming for you! Wishing fabulous actress Robin Wright a very happy – I can hardly fathom – 50th birthday with this Netflix character image along with today’s finds.

house-of-cards-robin-wright-image

Bouquet styled to perfection by Bloom Social:

160408 Friday Finds bouquet

All those fresh colors, just amazing:

160408 Friday Finds quote

Tali Lennox’s paint-splattered apron is art in itself (photo by Winnie Au.)

160408 Friday Finds apron

These Sucre Shop disposable cheese knives are so chic you won’t want to throw them away:

160408 Friday Finds partyware

And me when someone tells me ‘try looking at things from a different perspective’:

160408 Friday Finds cat

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

Potting Herbs Is Easy

pottingherbsiseasytitleimage

Hey there new green thumbs! Hope things are looking good in your windowsills. By now the new additions to your home’s flora should show signs of growth. Isn’t it nice to watch them produce roots and leaves out of virtually nothing? Nature is indeed wonderful.

Brace yourselves, because we’ve arrived at a point where we need to get our hands a little dirty: it’s time to pot. Tools you’ll need include the pots and containers you decorated earlier, potting soil, bucket, newspaper, gloves and a trowel. You needn’t worry though, no degree in horticulture is necessary to carry on, not much to go wrong here.

Let’s get down to business! First things first, cover your work surface and collect all the necessary equipment around you. I know it’s obvious, but still… put your hand on your heart and tell me you never had to look for something in the middle of the process. I know I did. 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
general potting soil mix with good drainage

That said, pour some soil in the bucket, it’s less messy to deposit to the pots that way than from a big bag. Fill the pots with soil, push down a little to compress and add some more. Arrange and separate your cuttings, cut lowest leaves from stems. You may plant each in separate pots, or create a container garden of them. If you decide on the latter, make sure to use a spacious container and leave plenty of room between the herbs.

potting herbs is easy collage

Now what you do is simply make holes in the middle of the pots, gently put the lower 1/3 of the cuttings in it, cover with soil and push down lightly. Water them carefully but thoroughly, the little hollow at the root will make it easier. Label them with your shiny new herb markers and well, that’s basically it! Congratulations on your herb garden!

potting herbs is easy kitchen garden

Caring for them from now on is really just providing a place with plenty of sunshine and watering regularly. The soil should be moist but your plants should not stand in water as that can cause rotting of the roots. No need for pesticides, the essential oils in these herbs will protect them from most known deseases. You will start using fresh spices in your kitchen sooner than you think!

Take care,

Fruzsi

Images used in collage from Growing Chefs

Friday Finds

It’s the first day of April and on such a light-hearted Friday, a collection of fun images is in order. Do you celebrate April Fools’ where you live? I’d love to know how so tell me in the comments below!

Guess we have all been there. At least today there is an excuse. (tee available on Etsy):

160401 Friday Finds tshirt

This sums it up:

160401 Friday Finds quote

Favorite coaster (another Etsy found):

160401 Friday Finds coaster

This SHOULD be included in the Users’ Manual:

160401 Friday Finds owl

And this guy, who seems to have made a poor life choice (from Buzzfeed):

160401 Friday Finds cat2

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi