Pumpkin Violina Soup with Homemade Croutons

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Sometimes I like to buy some vegetables just by the look of it. I use them as a decoration before deciding what to do with them. Well this pumpkin Violin I have since the beginning of Autumn season in Bulgaria which was pretty much the beginning of October. But today was the day for it to fulfill its destiny.

So..

Pumpkin and Carrots Soup with Homemade Croutons and a bunch of other Vitamins

For the Soup: 4 serves

- One small pumpkin – around 400g without the seeds, pealed.

- small piece of leek – around 20cm long

- 3 carrots

- 2 potatoes

small stem of celery – with leaves removed (but we are gonna use them later ); 3 tsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp curry.

For the croutons

- 3 large slices of any bread you prefer – I used wheat bread – remove the crusts and cut in cubes

- 2-3cloves of garlic – smashed; 1 tbsp olive oil

White cheese and parsley to serve

Directions:

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Cut the vegetables and the stem of celery into cubes and put them them in salted boiling water. Meanwhile chop the leaves and mix them together with the olive oil and the curry and leave them aside.

Prepare the croutons – put the cubes in a bowl, sprinkle with the olive oil and put the garlic. I also sprinkled some red pepper. Place a baking paper in a baking pan, pour the croutons over and spread them so that the have space and are not covering each other. Bake them in a preheated oven until they get golden brown. You need to very careful here and watch after them cause they are small pieces and get easily burnt (as I did with mine…:| ).

5 min before the vegetables are ready, pour the mixture with the curry. Remove from the heat when ready and use a blender to puree the soup well. Add salt and pepper by flavor.

Serve with the croutons, chopped cheese and parsley.

IMG_0881mm…

Back to Christmas Stuff – Lintser Biscuits with Chocolate Ganache

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Writing a post with a hang over is definitely not an easy thing to do. I got my friend over last night for a little chatting after work however it turned into something else…. I took out the food, she brought the alcohol and what happened after is better not to tell.

mThis is her by the way and it’s better her boyfriend took her at some point as we were unstoppable and I believe we would be able to drink out the whole world last night having in mind we haven’t seen each other for pretty long time.

Anyway I’m having my post-party hangover plan today. I took a long bath with a loooot of aroma oils.. took one milk thistle pill and and had a very good breakfast: egg on a toast, yogurt with raspberries, blueberries and some cereals and a huge glass of fresh orange juice. This is what is saving my life each time I try to kill myself with wine or whiskey.

oThe orange lamp by the way was a cute idea I saw in a magazine for a candle holder, right?

But OK let’s go back to the point after all.

The Lintser Biscuits are perfect for every occasion. They take a little more time to prepare but there is nothing complicated so you don’t need to worry about anything…

 

Ingredients:

For the biscuits:

- 250g fine sugar

- 1tsp corn starch

- 650g flour

- salt

- 1 vanilla

- 400g soft butter

- 1 egg

For the chocolate ganache:

- 100ml liquid cream; 100g dark chocolate

Put the sugar, flour, starch, vanilla and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and beat with a mixer on a low level until you get a friable mixture. Add the egg and beat again until you get a homogeneous dough. Fold in folio and put in the fridge for at least 30min.

Roll out the dough until it gets around 0.5mm thick. Cut different forms and bake them in a heated oven on 180°C for 10-12mins. I chose stars and circles. All have to be even number as we are going to stick them with the ganache. I did both stars and circles as follows: even number with a whole in the middles and even number normal ones.

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To prepare the ganache heat the cream until it boils and pour it over the dark chocolate which you must break into pieces first. Mix until you get homogeneous cream and put it in the fridge for a little bit.

After baked use a syringe to sprinkle ganache on the part of the biscuits with whole in the middle. They of course would be the upper part of the biscuits.

IMG_0705-1Once the ganache tights stick the sprinkled ones with the left ones using the chocolate ganache.

And you are done.

Unfortunately I couldn’t take photos of the ready ones as I wrapped them to for presents too quickly. But you can make them and see for yourself:)

Jouir!!!

 

 

 

Oeufs en Croustade….ok, french it is..

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I ate so much at this Christmas time of the year that I’m planning to be on a detox diet for at least…. forever.. I know I have some more sweets to present but I decided to break the line with one of the dishes (of course we had more than 1 having in mind we both love eating) I made for my boyfriend for the our Christmas dinner.

I have tones of cooking books and to be honest I don’t have any cookery that I prefer to make. I love them all. I have Italian, Argentinean, British, French and lots of Bulgarian of course. So this time it was French.

What I usually do is giving Hristian the library and asking: “What do you want?” He liked this:

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So let it be OEUFS EN CROUSTADE or Poached Eggs on Bread with Hollandaise Sauce. A croustade is a hollowed-out piece of bread that has been fried or baked to make a firm little case for fillings. Croustades provide the perfect base for poached eggs.

Ingredients for 4 serves:

For the Croustades:

1 stale unsliced loaf white bread; 50g butter, melted; 1 garlic clove, crushed

For the Hollandaise Sauce:

2 egg yolks; 2 teaspoons lemon juice; 90g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

4 eggs; 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley

To make the croustades, preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut four 3cm thick slices from the bread and remove the crusts. Cut each piece of bread into a 9cm squares then use around 6.5 cm round cutter to cut a circle in the center of the bread without cutting all the way through. Use a knife to scoop out the bread from the center to form a hollow.

Mix together the melted butter and garlic and brush all over the bread. Place on a baking pan and bake for about 8 min until crisp and lightly golden. Keep them warm.

To make the hollandaise sauce, put the egg yolks and lemon juice in a saucepan over very low heat. Whisk continuously adding the butter piece by piece until the sauce thickens. Please mind not to overheat or the eggs will scramble. Season with salt and pepper. The sauce should be of pouring consistently – if it is a little too thick add 1-2 tablespoons of hot water to thin it a little.

To poach the eggs bring a pan of water to the boil. Crack an egg into a small bowl, reduce the heat and slide the egg into a simmering water. Poach for around 3 min then remove carefully with a slotted spoon and drain in paper towels.  Poach the other 3 eggs in the same way.

Gently place each egg into each croustade. Pour over a little hollandaise sauce and sprinkle with parsley.

And ..oh my got.. what we get is amazing… We almost ate it at once before I could take any pictures….

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This perfectly goes with any type of wine and….

…. may be some french chansons…:)

 

Christmas Stuff – Chocolate Cookies with Orange peels

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Hi everyone! Christmas is gone but it doesn’t stop us continue to eat, right?

I think that these were my favorite (but don’t believe me each time I say that cause usually all of them are my favorite:) ) I love chocolate… and everything cooked with it. I was talking with a friend of mine the other day as we both love chocolate and I was saying that from all sweets I adore the chocolate ones or those made of cheesy creams and so on.

Anyway back to the subject. These Cookies look very sophisticated and at the same time are very easy to be done, which makes them perfect to prepare if you wish to surprise family and friends.

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Ingredients:

- 300g chocolate biscuits broke in pieces

- 140g candied orange peels cut in very small pieces

- 350g dark chocolate

- 100g butter

- 100g honey

You will need a baking pan with sizes 20x30cm. Cover it with baking pan. Mix the biscuits pieces with 2/3 of the orange peels and leave them aside. Melt the chocolate butter and honey and stir constantly until you get a soft mixture. Add it to the biscuits and mix well. Pour them into the pan and even the surface. It doesn’t need to be perfectly even. Sprinkle the rest of the orange peels and put in the fridge for at least two hours or a whole night. Then take them out and cut them into small quadrangles or any other shape you like.

And then eat and eat and eat.

By the way they go perfectly well with a glass of wine or not very sweet fruit tea…

 

Christmas Stuff – Lime Biscuits with Egg Cream

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Merry Christmas everyone!!!

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As today is the day I would like to wish everyone happiness and heath, lots of real friends and make (not let) all you wishes come true!!!I know it’s getting late to post Christmas stuff as I guess you probably prepared all for the Christmas table, but after all this stuff is perfect to be done for any other occasion.

IMG_0721What we have here are the Lime Biscuits with Egg Cream…

What you need:

- 200g butter

- 140g sugar

- 1 egg yolk

- 1tsp vanilla extract

- the peel of 2 lemons and the juice of 1

- 280g flour and some more for rolling

- 150g egg cream

- 140g fine sugar

Mix the butter, sugar, yolk, vanilla and half of the lemon peel with wooden spoon. Add the flour, at the end you may need to use your hands. Put the dough on a flour surface, knead well and split it in halves. Roll it out and cut biscuits with any forms you like. They need to be even number as we are going to stick them with the cream after that. I used comet and Christmas tree:) Put them in a baking pan, cover with folio and cool for about 30 min.

Heat the oven to 200°C. Bake the biscuits for 8-12min until slightly brown and cool them. Then put cream on half of them and stick them to the other half. Add lemon juice to the fine sugar enough to get washy mixture and sprinkle over the biscuits. Also sprinkle the rest of the lemon peels and leave until the mixture thickens.

If you still have time, you may add them to the table.. They are so light and delicious and lime smelling and perfect:)

Merry Christmas… ho ho ho :)

Christmas Stuff – Chilli Chocolate Cookies

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The most easiest and may one of the most delicious cookies of all I presented yesterday.

IMG_0720These babies literally cook themselves:) All is needed from your side is just to mix the ingredients:

225g butter

100g sugar

175g brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla sugar

2 eggs crambled

300g flour

50g cacao

1 baking powder

1 1/2 tsp red hot chilli pepper

100gr dark chocolate, broke into pieces

To be served with Vanilla Ice Cream

Mix the butter with all 3 types of sugar and add the eggs. In another bowl mix the flour with the cacao, baking powder, red hot chilli pepper and a pinch of salt. Pour the flour mixture into the butter one add the chocolate pieces and crumble well.

Heat the oven to 180°C. In a baking pan covered with baking paper pour several spoons with the mixture with a good distance between each other as they will spread when baked and must not stick to each other. Please don’t worry about the imperfect form of each one – once they get in the oven they will turn into very beautiful cookies. They need to be baked not more than 10-12 min, however if you like them hard bake them some more time. Once they are ready, take them out the oven and leave them in the pan for 1 min.

After they are fully done, serve them with ice cream…

mmmm……..:)

 

Christmas Stuff – tired my budd off..

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I locked myself in the kitchen all week as I wanted to prepare some stuff for my colleagues and a couple of my best friends and of course for my brother who loves all kind of sweet stuff. I didn’t get the idea however that this will squeeze my energy out completely and bring me the hardest back pains. I swore to myself.. and everyone that I will not get in the kitchen for the next 2 months.. I doubt it.

I’m writing on the kitchen table in my parents’ house at the moment and my mom is making these beautiful and delicious rose cookies ( as she calls them ) and the smell is amazing but even this reminds me how dead I was during the last week.

IMG_0750-4All of this reminds me what I did after work – cooking and baking and mixing and rolling and sdjgksd… and now this smell…..

IMG_0755Anyway following my previous post I wanted to share with you what I cooked for my boyfriend and the presents I prepared for my family and friends.  As we are going to celebrate the Christmas holidays separated  I decided to make dinner just for both of us. Well this wasn’t easy as he said: “I’ll help with everything” but his help consisted pretty much of sleeping on the couch…of course I didn’t expect anything else.

Of course I did all of it with pleasure: and most of all my present was a Pasta Machine… and I loooved it!! Here’s what we enjoyed.

We started with Sandwiches with Poached eggs and Hollandaise Sauce recipe will follow:

IMG_0696Then continued with Roasted chicken with a coconut sauce – Recipe will follow:

IMG_0697And ended with a lot of wine and this amazing Creme Brulee – again recipe will follow:

IMG_0701mmm it was so sweet and light and…and…

I what my friends and colleagues enjoyed:

- Christmas cookies with icing;

- Lime biscuits with egg cream;

- Chilli chocolate cookies;

- Cookies with red berries and pistachios;

- Biscuits with chocolate ganache;

- Chocolate cookies with orange peels;

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All recipes will follow….:) Hope you enjoy them. And… Merry Christmas everyone!

 

 

Christmas Cookies

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As the Holidays are coming, I plan to bombard you guys with several recipes for Christmas Cookies which I recently found is some magazines I use to buy and on the Internet. The first one is for the easiest and fast cookies I’ve ever done and the effect is fabulous.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened (NO substitutes)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

Preparation:

In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, orange juice, and vanilla and beat well to combine. Sift flour and baking powder and add to butter mixture. Mix until a dough forms. (What I did actually is split the dough in half and added to one of the parts 1 spoon full cacao) Cover and chill dough until firm, about 2-3 hours.

You can use any forms that you wish. I have so many that sometimes it makes it difficult to choose which ones to use:)

IMG_0622I used star, tree, angel, heart and flower.

When the dough is cooled enough take it out of the fridge and start rolling it out until it becomes around half centimeters thick. Please have in mind that it will soon start to stick to the surface because of the butter, so please be quick. Heat the oven to 170C. Cut different forms and arrange them in a baking pan covered with baking paper. Please mind that the cookies need not more than 5 min baking as they are very thin. Soon after the edges are slightly brown, they are ready.

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I like them with icing ( which is not obligatory ) but just in case below are the ingredients:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)

Mix the ingredients well. I personally used colors but they are pretty much beautiful if you don’t use any at all.

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As I really love the smell of mandarins in winter I used some mandarin essential oil to aroma the room and combined it with a little bit of Ella Fitzgerald:) Please try it!

Enjoy!

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The Fascinating Bulgaria – Russe

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I’ve recently discovered this is my favorite city in my country and I didn’t find out earlier simply because I’d never visited it before. My boyfriend, whose name is Hristian by the way, had lived his childhood  in Russe and he took me there some time after we met. I really love it because it’s like time has stopped there and it’s really fascinating by the way – people call it small Vienna and after a while you will see why. Well may be there is a small piece of me that loves it because of the fact my parents graduated there and they’ve told me so much about it, and that Hristian’s family still lives there but this is really not the main reason.

It’s the 5th biggest city in Bulgaria but at the moment it’s not as much industrial and populated as it was in the past. Unfortunately. I still feel sad the economy is moving to the capital and the rest of the cities are dying but that’s the way it is. May be some day things will change.

I went there for the 1st time I think 3 years ago, but I didn’t take any photos up to now. With no obvious reason.

OK. Day 1. We went to the Museum of Transport where I saw some things I never knew they existed.

This, my friends, is the train carriage of the so called Salon Wagon, constructed by the order of Tzar Ferdinand in 1911. The small post section IN the carriage..

This beautiful blue carriage is the authentic exponent of the Salon “Sultanie” – the special carriage of Sultan Abdul Azis built in 1866. And below is how it looks inside.

Let’s go out.

After traveling back in time we decided to take a walk through the city.

What actually happened however is Hristian got so bored of walking around in the city he walked around thousands of times as I was stopping at everything that took my attention ( and some shops for cosmetics ) that we merely had a fight. I don’t blame him. It was my fault that I took him with me when I just had to leave him do his work. And this is what happened. We split and everyone went to do his own stuff.

So I walked…

and walked…

and walked…but it’s started getting dark so there was pretty much no point of taking pictures anymore so I headed myself to a cafeteria which I like a lot and where I can drink some tea and wait for Hristian to come and pick me up. On the way I bought some cooking magazines and some books from a near store, took several more photos even though it was already night.

And he was finally happy.

Day 2. The next day we did pretty much nothing as I didn’t want to push his nerves again as there were some places I wanted to go and he had to bring me there as it was impossible for me to go by myself. So we just went out for a while, bought some food and stopped for a quick cup of tea.

Yes, he fights! But was happy now…

Day 3. I was happy that we caught a perfect weather as it is in the middle of Autumn now and the sun is no coming out of the clouds so often. But this day was perfect and I needed the sun cause the place we went was a lot colorful. This is a park a little outside the city ..amazing in Autumn.

I wonder where these stairs are going. They looks so magical but unfortunately we didn’t have time to find out as we had a lot more to walk and as it is November already it is getting dark a lot sooner and I didn’t want this to happen before I took everything I want. And I succeeded.

Oh.. hello!:)

OK. From what is following you will probably say: “Why the hell did you go to the concrete jungle after such a magnificent park?!” Well..to be honest I didn’t have a choice as Hristian wanted to show me the industrial area and especially TEPS – Russe Termo-Electric Power Station. By the way it was interesting and ….extremely enormous…

Just to mention these above the chimneys are not clouds but steam… and when when we stopped the car so that I can shoot, in a minute the front window was covered with small drops of water.

And tea again..

Well.. ok, a cup of Cappuccino won’t hurt.

And at the very end – the Danube.

And just before it got completely dark, I was done!

The Fascinating Bulgaria – Autumn

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If this is not beautiful then what is? Since I haven’t been in the cooking area for some time, which is actually as much colorful as the autumn, I at least bring my camera with me all the time in case there is something to capture that matters. Well… Autumns matter! Much! Right?

By the way I was thinking it looks a little bit like ratatouille.. Just google the word and you’ll see the same colors. Ratatouille made by sky, clouds, trees and leaves. Mmm…

Or a Persian carpet…

I was traveling a way back from my home town to Sofia with my father, who by the way has very interesting eye on taking photos, and captured these. How lucky was I? You are still not able to see such colors in Sofia. I’m not sure if this is because of the dirty environment because of the traffic and so on…but you just can’t. Just tell me, how lucky was I?!

The Fascinating Bulgaria – The Beginning

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Hey people who read this blog at the moment thank you for being here as it is actually the first time I’m going to present my country to the world from my personal view. This is just something to begin with and I will actually show some very little but global view at the beginning – the nature. New categories will follow when ready and felt. My aim is for you, whoever you are and wherever you are located to have at least something in your mind when you hear about it. And…oh.. I’m open for any kind of questions.

Whatever you’ve heard by the way.. if you have ever heard anything at all is probably true:) So .. please – enjoy and share the beginning with me.

Save a Broken wine GLASS by turning it into Something Else…

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If you come to my house you will see that my shells are all covered with all kind of things – or say it in another way: pieces of unusable objects which I started to posses on some level that have no material value but mean something to me (or doesn’t mean anything but I just don’t want to throw them out as they stayed for too long). What I’m trying to say is that it’s difficult for me get rid of my old stuff even though it would be a great possibility to free a lot of space. I just love what I have. Look!

So what happened the other day is that I broke a glass of wine (from my favorite set at home)….well I broke two but that’s another story… and I felt so bad when I had to through it out so I decided not to do it but to use it for something else. So this became this:

This is actually pretty easy to do –> all you need is paint for glass and some old brushes or those the kids use to draw in school or kinder garden. You can buy it from every shop where they sell stuff for artists and painters, you cannot imagine what a huge variety of colors you will find. And also a lot of other equipment if you like the idea. It is good to buy a relief outliner  (the gold color above) as it is very easy to color in between the lines.

The good thing is that you can use it for any purpose. Me personally I bought dried aroma flowers and put them in there. The glass is now in my bathroom and the effect is amazing.

I can assure you once you start you’ll never gonna stop. I mean… come on .. not only you save you lovable set but it’s a perfect new decoration for your place and best thing is that it will definitely be unique. Just to throw you an idea I did it also to a wine bottle which I now use as a vase. And also with a bowl which is just full of some stones as a decoration. And now while I’m talking about it it came to my mind I can draw my jars for pasta and spices..hm..

Try it! You will love it!

Music according to season or Season according to Music – reworked

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What this post is all about is that Autumn came a bit late this year and the leaves in Bulgaria are still green when it is already almost middle October and usually at this time of the year I’m becoming a little more jazzy than usual. I’m really not the kind of person who adores only one type of music. Of course I have my styles…but anyway..

Have you ever think about connecting the season with a specific music style? It’s like what you choose to eat depending on the weather.  At summer time you prefer easy meals as the temperatures are killing you and it is too hot to eat hard stuff, let’s say, meat or anything with more fat. While in the winter people prefer The Hard Stuff, they don’t usually eat salads or fruits so much because this is actually what the body wants.

 What I mean is that people are so unaware or at least don’t think much of how the Earth reflects on our minds.   Let’s accept the fact that Spring is the Season which makes Nature and Humans wake up from the winter kind of living and life begins again….the  music I subconsciously start to look for is refreshing….vigorous, suitable for flirting. People start everything all over again – cleaning their houses, making plans (which most likely  they don’t carry out at all), start a small new life.

 In the summertime the party starts – holidays at the seaside, couples making out in the parks or wherever is possible and anything else connecting to night life – this is where the summer hits take place. Everyone remembers what it was like to be a teenager, or if you are one – you just re-discover your own world.

 Autumn is different …most people take it as sentimental and nostalgic season because the summer has ended and the party time finished with it. However I like the smell of rotten yellow and red leaves, the soft autumn rain and wind and the fact the people actually start building their rhythm again - kids start school, adults end their holidays and start moving their asses again at work. So for me this is the new beginning. You calm yourself by thinking that everything that wasn’t right so far will get better as the wheel started to roll again. What I do is just jazz it a little but mainly highlight on the brit/alternative rock part (this is the moment to admit that I’m a huge fan of the English music, not talking about the commercial one of course).

 And here comes the winter ….is there anybody who doesn’t like winter??? Everyone who lives or has lived in a place where there is snow in winter time, loves Winter, loves Christmas, loves warm evenings with friends/family/lovers/wine/frank Sinatra/black&white movies and everything else connected with this season, right? I call it “Time of Tom&Jerry music” Take time to watch one series of the cartoon and you’ll get what I mean.

So… Below is my seasonal playlist:

Any English bands or solo singers from each era – Spring

Reggae, smooth jazz, some summer selections, bosa nova – Summer

Britpop and alternative rock + music from old movies – Autumn

Winter – absolutely ultimatly Classic Jazz

Can you share the same? Or different? Or anything!?!??

The Place we Never Return to but we ever gonna Miss

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I’m a kind of a person who just have to shop in nostalgia stores or have one. If you are wondering what a nostalgia shop is – this is a kind of place where people sell things from the past, old stuff, objects nobody uses anymore like transistors, old gramophones with pipes like a trumpet and also those telephone devices with the disc in the middle if you remember.

All those objects mean a lot more to me than any smart phone or any other thing that makes life today run a lot faster than it actually does. Just think a little bit – those of you who remember the era with no cell phones and no e-mail addresses – people were less nervous, less worried and a lot more cheerful. Now if you call your mother and she doesn’t pick up on the third time the phone rings or doesn’t return the call you start worrying and thinking what the hell happened when she only was just in the bath or in the WC or her battery died while she was shopping outside. Another thing: I used to have pen palls when I was in high school before internet came in home (it’s Eastern Europe ladies and gentlemen, things used to happen more slowly here). But then after that when e-mails came into place we stopped writing to each other and I think the reason about it is that you know that you can do it whenever you want and the recipient will get it in a few seconds. So you just delay it for a bit later and later…..and later… And you never do it. That’s what happened to me though and everyone I know. So what I’m trying to say is that all these things that new technologies give us is nothing more than a faster way for unscrupulous people to get more money and to the rest – to forget what moral, romance and human attitude was all about. Some of you will say that what I’m saying is controversial having in mind I’m using my laptop at the moment but nowadays there would be no other successful ways to bring your real thoughts to a huge number of people.

So basically this was just a prelude to the following shots that mostly represent the  place that makes me feel a real person in the world I used to love some time ago.

Up there above this old TV are old photos of my father when he was a kid, his sister – my aunt, their friends and parents. Things were so different back then.

My uncle on the left and my father. The hat he wears is from a suit of mine when i was a kid. I hated it back then but love it now;)

My mom’s dried peppers. You can’t imagine what magical dishes she does with them but will show you some time later…

My nephew’s brunch. He is 1.5 years old..

No idea where she’s going..

Yammie..

The neighbor. Never lived outside the village. Doesn’t know what globalization means.

My brothers planting an apple tree… or was it a cherry?!?

My father working on the grill …

My nephew’s playground. Hope he loves the place at least 20% as I do.

The grapevine in front only shows the eternity the place brings.. at least to me.. and may be my parents.

After all everything needs fixing…

The figs in my childhood

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It’s very strange how you change but things don’t. I remember this view since I was a little girl and my grandma was taking care of me while my parents were at work. The sky in the early evening was exactly the same and the fig was still growing. It feels like it was billion years ago..while it was only 20 years back. The air is still the same even people ( those still alive ) are the same doing the same stuff. I wish I had a camera back then. The only difference would be a couple of new branches on the fig…

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