Thursday 30 August 2012

In the Italian mountains, the village Stilfs and herbal teas of Siegi and Traude

Welcome to the charming mountain village Stilfs, in the middle of Vinschgau (Südtirol/Alto Adige)! Now please take a a deep breath and let the fresh aroma of the herbal gardens of Siegi Platzer fill in your whole body&soul! In this tiny and cozy place at 1500m the local nature lover&connoisseur Siegi together with his partner Traude grow and collect organic flowers in the middle of the National Park Stilfser Joch. Their herbal tea collections and dried cooking plants are heaven not only for tea lovers. The mixtures take you on the trip in colours, flavours and pleasure, without any added aromas (and no green or black tea leaves)...

Today I will take you behind the scenes and we may see how Siegi and Traude collects every day the flowers on their herbal fields. In the middle of the rainbow colours of marigolds, mallows, cornflowers, chamomile, mint and sage...after the picking process you are also welcome to have a look in the colourful herbs drying hall...Last but not least once dried the manually collected herbs are mixed to different aromatic combination just before being dispatched to the final customer. If you are curious about the available flowers and plants as well as tea mixtures, please visit their absolutely beautiful homepage.

And below is a panorama of the village where the teas of Siegi and Traude grow and collect the Italian sun, Stilfs!

Sunday 19 August 2012

Summer on my balcony: green herbs and colourful edible flowers!

Even if I don't have a garden, I never stopped loving having green plants around me. So during the warm moths of the year the balcony at home becomes our ("tiny") garden, thanks to the great care&dedication of Nico. Due to its limited size (1 by 3 meters) its of course nothing big, but I am so happy with our yummy selection of green herbs and colourful flowers.
We have been growing and enjoying watching following plants&herbs in the past months:
-> rosmarin and basil (for giving the final touch to Italian dishes and salads);
-> 3 types of peppermint, lemon verbena  and camomile for fresh&delicious teas (or ice-teas depending on the weather);
-> marigold and cornflower for their fantastic colours but also for their healing powers ( for wound-cremes or in teas);
-> sky blue borage and yellow& red nasturtium: for their edible blossoms (the first one has a refreshing cucumber flavour, while the yellow/red/orange flowers of the second surprises one after the first honey touch with its peppery aftertaste);
-> and last but not least my absolutely favourite flowers (my great-grandmother was always having some in her garden): the pansies (in Bulgarian "теменужки");
And here today I am sharing also some impressions of how I do use this yummy green treasures while cooking.  Personally I do love to add freshly cut mint leaves to my fruit salad (like in the picture above). I have also put on the top for the salad the edible flowers of borage&nasturtium. The blue borage flowers decorate on the next picture as well my home-made tiramisu desserts! The drying herbs (for teas in the coming winter months) are a lovely&aromatic deco at home too... Hope you have enjoyed my balcony-flower-herbs-tour!

Friday 10 August 2012

Colourful houses in Alsace...

Maisons Alsace
The region Alsace in North of France is very famous for its wine, hills and food! However I do love it for its colourful and happy-making houses!
Maisons Alsace
Maisons Alsace
One could see that most of the owners simply love to decorate and make their own house cute and beautiful...Not only tons of flower pots make the drive through the small villages pleasant for the eyes, its simply fantastic to enjoy the different colours of the facades of the beautiful timbered houses.
Maisons Alsace
On our way we passed by this bus stop painted with pictures of badgers!
Maisons Alsace

Monday 6 August 2012

Scheveningen, the beach of the Hague in summer...

When the temperatures gets over 25 degrees and the sky stays blue for few days the Dutch beach gets crowded! Around a  week ago we had a lovely, warm and sunny week of 25+ degrees. So one evening after work we biked to the beach:-)) It gets dark pretty late here, something after 10 pm, so first I put my feet in the water then I enjoyed a walk in the sand and ten fish dinner in the harvour of Scheveningen, the beach of the Hague. 
I always have to laugh when Ithink about a funny fact connecting to its difficult pronunciation. During the Second World War the Dutch soldates were checking if there are not Germny spies among them by asking everyone to say the name "Scheveningen". In Dutch the correct pronunciation requires quite some special skilss of getting out the sound "sghhhh" for the combination "sch".
Above on the picture is me in the water in the line of sunshine:-))

Wednesday 1 August 2012

The weekly market in Jakoruda, Bulgaria

The small and cozy mountain town Jakoruda (the birth place of my grand-mother, nowadays with some 5.600 inhabitants) is located at the feet of mountain Rila. I have spent many weeks in my summer vacations here, at the birth house of my grand-mother, enjoying the green landscapes, the fresh air, the singing birds and the coziness of this hidden gem...
Every Saturday a colourful market takes place. Fruits, veggies, food and tools are available. People are like busy bees, greeting and talking to eachother, checking the different stands and living the market with hand full with bags...End of July and the watermelons and honeymelons were again there, I had some there were simply amazing. I also got one jar of honey, some fresh tomatoes, and, and....:-)).
The two pictures below are from the birth house of my grand-mother...