Perfect contrasts

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Feeding swans

Plan all you want, but most absolutely perfect moments tend to require a bit of serendipity, rather than choreography.

Take, for instance, the example of photographer Marcin Ryczek, who recently happened to be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to capture one of the most visually perfect pictures I’ve recently seen. In the photo, a man in dark clothes stands atop a snowy bank in Krakow, Poland, feeding ducks and swans as they float in the water (which is as dark as the snow is bright). Further delineating these stark contrasts, the photo is in black-and-white. All of the elements combine to turn a simple feeding into an almost unreal expression of contrast and symmetry.

A perfect harmony.

(via FastCoCreate)

Pavè Milano

pave 1

pave 3

pave 2

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pave 4Ristorante Italiano

I’m looking forward THIS much to my next trip to Milano with Charlotte in May! It’s been a while since we diva city tripped together, so it will be a great opportunity to catch up. It’s hard to not talk every single day about what a beautiful country Italy actually is. Each two weeks, my Italian friend, Chiara, still sends me a text message to ask me how I’m doing. Talkin’ about a great friend!

Today, I came across this nice place in Milano on Pinterest (hey, follow me!) and I instantly cheered up when I saw the bright colours. This makes me want to visit Milano (although it will be my 7th time) even more!!

(:

Cranberries

cranberries

I love everything about cranberries

Their dark pinkish red color, their sweet taste, their nutrient content and antioxidant qualities ànd the fact that you can process them into many different products. Think about cranberry juice, cranberry sauce, cranberry jam and sweetened dried cranberries. The last mentioned is my winning combination together with some oatmeal and almonds during chill wintermornings.

Cranberry sauce is regarded as an indispensable part of traditional American and Canadian Thanksgiving menus, but this sauce will also rock my Christmas table here in Europe, together with some yummy deer stew.  

I always tought cranberries were cultivated from trees. But nothing is further from the truth. Cranberries grow in vineyards, like grapes, with the big difference that the vines are watered frequently during the first few weeks until roots form and new shoots grow.During the growing season, cranberry beds are not flooded, but are irrigated regularly to keep the soil moisturized. Beds are flooded again in autumn to facilitate harvest and again during the winter to protect against low temperatures.

Lately, I came across this awesome video of a Red Bull wakeskating session on a watered cranberryvineyard. What a perfect way to spend your day!

Almost Christmas!

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Dear sunshine,

sun?…where are you??

 

In need of a vitamin boost?

vitamin boosters

Me too! Cold days coming up, brrr….

Mo Sistas: #Snorrewijven

deborah & jasmina wasbar gent

I moustache you a question but I’ll shave it for later

Movember (the month formerly known as November) is a yearly moustache growing charity event, held during November, that raises funds and awareness for men’s health issues. Movember moustaches were first grown in Australia back in 2003 and since that time word of Movember and its men’s health messages have spread across the globe. Since the beginning of November, tons of men were turned into Mo Bros. Along the way, they raised awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer.

But not only men could raise awareness, also Belgian women were turned into Mo Sistas. Ghent based arty girl @Sstrid came up with a clever idea during Movember. She photographed each day women with a ‘Mo’ (slang for moustache) for her #Snorrewijven project, ’cause not only men can grow moustaches. Mo’gnificent. Check out the cappuccino milk foam mo’s that Jasmina & I created at Wasbar. You can find all the pictures of the Mo Sistas here.

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Flair Fridays: tagliatelle with walnut-sauce and broccoli

Our first recipe for Flair is a super easy pasta dish: tagliatelle with walnut-sauce and broccoli

15 minutes, 604 kcal per person

Serves 2 people:
1/2 broccoli, cut into florets
1 chilli pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
100 g toasted and chopped walnuts
150 g chestnut mushrooms (the brown ones)
250 g tagliatelle (preferably fresh)
5 tablespoons of mascarpone
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 handful of grated pecorino or parmesan
1 dash of olive oil
salt and pepper
a bit cooking water of the pasta

How to make it:
1. Let lightly salted water in two saucepans boil and add the broccoli and tagliatelle. Cook until both are al dente. Keep the cooking water separately, as you will need that to make the sauce. Don’t pour it away!
2. Glaze the garlic and the chilli in a little olive oil.
3. Add in the mushrooms and cook them.
4. Then add the mascarpone and let the sauce warm without letting it boil.
5. Season with the zest of the lemon, some lemon juice and salt + pepper.
6. Add a little bit cooking water from the pasta to your sauce so you obtain a creamy consistency.
7. Gently stir in 300 g of walnuts and spoon the sauce together with broccoli + pasta.
8. Garnish with freshly grated pecorino or parmesan cheese.
9. Buon appetito!

Picture by © Wout Hendrickx

Real

Ah. November. You are the month of haze & autumn leaves, covered with a bit of spirituality.

It’s good to think about life every once in a while. Therefore, it’s the perfect month to snuggle down with a good book. Today, I started reading ‘Echt’ (that’s Dutch for ‘Real’) from former advertising man Guillaume Van der Stighelen. He wrote this essay for the second edition of the “Spiritual Month”. I have been stuck with my nose in it for hours; it’s great!

The book is an exploration of our dealings with authenticity. Guillaume is using a pendulum, like the one you find in science classrooms, to describe his meaning of life. From being out of balance, you can find rest. That rest can be disturbed by a host of other elements that are also desperately seeking some kind of balance themselves. ‘Echt’ is a useful reference point for a world ruled by social networks and collective experiences. 

This book is shining a different light on how I think about spirituality and life.

Highly recommended.

Music Monday: Parov Stelar

Ceci n’est pas une feuille

Parov Stelar’s album “Seven and Storm” (°2005) is perfect for those crisp and warm autumn mornings. When you listen to it, you just want to walk around on unfinished oak floors in your pyjama’s with a cup of  Mexican hot chocolate in your hands. The melodies are clean and jazzy, bubbling with a city-slick groove, covered with an infectious slow rhythm and yet very thoughtfully constructed. “Autumn Song” is a track that calls to my mind the colors of different autumn leaves. I’ve been playing it on repeat this morning. Happy Monday!

Music Monday: breakfast mixtape

blueberry pancakes breakfast

Biscuits for breakfast

Weekend mornings in Gent are perfect for some rich breakfast. Homemade blueberrysmoothie with almond milk, blueberry pancakes with vanilla flavored soya yoghurt and Ikea cinnamon buns. No guiltyness, just sunshine, sweets and the newspaper!

I love making lists and I love making me some breakfast, so there was no way I’d take a pass on making a breakfast-themed list. I took a few rules in mind, after all, if you are sitting down, half awake, eyes still a bit closed, your first cup of coffee in front of you,… you want to awake slowly, don’t you? These were my rules for the mixtape: open quiet with gentle tunes that remain intriguing so that you don’t want to go back to sleep + built up the beats as the list progresses. Ideally, by the time you reach Feeling Good by Nina Simone, you will be fully energized and perfectly ready to start your day.

What do you think, does this mix comes in handy or did you fall back asleep? (: 

Fall Faves Friday

I love every season

The fresh vegetables & fruits, the colours around me, the smell of the air. Every season has its own charms, that’s why I can’t just pick out one favorite. I adore fall because the colors of the leaves are just perfect. It’s like you are walking around in a painting. Last week, I went to the woods together with my dog. We wandered around, looking for chestnuts. The shadows of the warm-colored October sun on the leaves really catched my eyes, a perfect way to sooth my mind.

While wandering around, I saw a group of people and a hippie-like guide who were gathered around some mushrooms. I decided to join the group. What followed were some pretty interesting stories about all kinds of mushrooms. Today, I will discuss one of them in my new blog categorie: Fall Faves Friday.

Amanita muscaria

The Amanita Muscaria is so woven into the history of man that chances are likely, when you ask a child to draw a mushroom, that this kind, with its red hat and white dots, appears on the paper. Muscaria means flies, and of course this name doensn’t come out of the blue. In the past, this mushroom was used as an insecticide. Soaked in milk, the toxins present in the mushroom attracted flies. When these drank the brew, they got intoxicated and died.

This mushroom also has psychoactive characteristics and is therefore famous to be used as a drug as it causes hallucinations. In Belgium, there is a famous nursery rhyme about a gnome and a mushroom. This song also doens’t come out of the blue… The fact is that when you eat little bits of these mushrooms, you will have the feeling that everything around you is bigger than it is in reality. But this mushroom isn’t only toxic for flies, but also for humans. The toxins present in the mushroom affect kidneys and liver. Men from Lapland found a solution for this problem. They let their wives eat Amanita Muscaria’s and afterwards drank their urine. The liver and kidneys of the wives had filtered out all of the toxic substances, but the effect remained the same. Clever boys!

Another story the hippie-guide told us about the Amanita Muscaria is that it is a natural means of abortion. Male deers would crush these mushrooms as soon as the female deers were in-calf. Clever deers! (:

Music Monday: Santigold

Don’t look ahead there’s stormy weather

This Music Monday goes out to my ‘bitchezz’ M & A. We went to Oslo together with three friends during the last week of June and had an amazing week. I will never forget the overdose of coffee (as our hotel was situated on top of a coffee bar), the delicious kanelboller (addicted much?), the salmon which we already had during the breakfast, the mini BBQ at the park, the most beautiful guy alive at Rodeløkken kafe at the peninsula of Bygdøy who served the perfect carrot cake (true story), our random swimming in lakes + being discoverd by the local policemen (funny true story, as we didn’t know we were swimming in Oslo drinking water, bitches be crazy!), our roadtrip  including singalong songs of Santigold and Kanye West, the proposal on top of the Oslo Opera House during Midsummernight, …  I wanna go back!

This weekend, my sister will visit Oslo together with her boyfriend. I’ll try to convince her to bring me some kanelboller. YUM! (:

I love fall

And pie.

Sweet Family Moments: An English Afternoon Tea

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Tea is undoubtedly the most popular beverage in the world, next to water, with the longest and richest history. Behind a cup of tea there is a whole culture. The Japanese see tea drinking as a spiritual ceremony, while the Russians gather around the samovar for a chat. The British ladies couldn’t live without their afternoon tea, and in Morocco, pouring tea, is just amale thing.

India is the world’s largest supplier of tea, but it was in 2727 BC in China where tea was invented. Rumor has it that leaves from a Chinese plant fell into the boiling water of the sleeping Emperor Shen Nun. When he woke up, an amazing fragrance had filled the air. The rest is history…

This weekend, master Tea Sommelier Ann Vansteenkiste gave my nieces, aunts and myself a sneak peak into life as it was for the Britisch ladies. Tea was brought to Europe by the Dutch and the Portuguese. But it were the British that popularized tea as they invented the afternoon tea and high tea. These are served in the second half of the afternoon.

We gathered around a big table in my aunts homey home and tasted different types of tea. Each accompagnied by savory and sweet snacks & stories told by Ann. My taste buds are still enjoying the amazing tastes (:

A great way to spend a Sunday autumn afternoon if you ask me.

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