Discovering new food in St Petersburg

Lunch in Helsinki: check! Next stop is St Petersburg!
In about three hours by train you can easily and comfortably reach St Petersburg from Helsinki and I would advice everyone to take the train as you go through some amazing woods and landscape, an extremely pleasant and relaxing ride before arriving in one of the most charming cities I have ever visited.

I fell in love with this city as soon as I got off from the train and every place I have visited it definitely kept up with my expectations. I had a clear idea of what to visit and where to go in terms of museums and historical hotspots and I was certainly looking for the performance at the Mariinsky Theatre, but I have to admit that food wise I had no expectations at all and I am glad to say that I was very pleasantly surprised.

Following our Lonely Planet’s advice, we had lunch in “stolovaya” (canteen): if you like fine dining and fancy atmosphere, you should not go there, if you are instead interested in a authentic dining experience with locals and some traditional and simple food, then this is the sort of places to go. Every canteen gives you the possibility to choose among a few options of warm food, salads, drinks and desserts for a very cheap price, yet the food is really nice. We had borscht every day, both the cold and warm version…delicious!

Another great discovery I made in Russia was…Georgian food. Yes, one day we were hungry and tired after a huge walk and many hours spent visiting the Hermitage (I would need an entire dedicated blog to describe how fantastic is this museum and the Winter Palace!) and we literally entered the first restaurant we found, and I am so glad we did as that was my introduction to such an amazing cuisine. The restaurant is called Baje and it’s a tiny, hidden place not far from the Admiralteyskaya metro station and it’s totally worth a visit.

Here below  few photos of some of the food we had during our stay. I hope I will be able to post a few recipes in the near future!

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Aubergine and walnut salad

Georgian lemonade

Georgian Lemonade

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Aubergine rolls with cheese and walnuts

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Beef stew with sour cream and sesame

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Salmon and caviar

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Beef stroganoff

Lobiani bread

Lobiani bread

Asparagus soup with parmesan crispy waffles

It’s been a while since my last post…last days have been super hectic. I have started a new job and tried to settle down a bit. I am happy to say so far so good!

The British summer is slowly arriving and I am trying to re-adjust my menu accordingly.
Today I would like to suggest you a quick and easy recipe: Asparagus soup, with a little Italian twist parmesan crispy waffles.

“OMG soup is not a summer dish” you might say…I disagree! It’s light, quick and easy to make, refreshing, and it doesn’t have to be boiling hot when you eat it.

All you need to do is boiling a few asparagus, then put them in the mixer till they became a smooth cream and eventually add some olive oil, salt and pepper.

The parmesan waffles are also extremely easy to make. All you need to do it putting some grated parmesan on a baking sheet (you can choose the shape, I made them rounded) and bake them for 2-3 mins until they turn golden. Once ready let them cool down or you won’t be able to remove them from the baking sheet.

Enjoy it! 🙂

Asparagus soup

Asparagus soup

If online life met real life

“I wrote on your wall”
“I am following you on Twitter”
“I have tagged you in my photo album”

These are just a few example of the most common actions in our everyday (online) life. But what would happen if we started acting like this in our real life? How would people react?

I think this video is a really funny example:

Also, how would it be a conversation if instant messaging were real?
How would we “translate” all those LOLs, ROTFLs and funny faces?

Someone has already tried to explain it:

Enjoy!

Playing with make up: chameleon girl

Video

Among all the make-up artists on Youtube, this girl is definitely one of the best!

Her name is Promise Tamang Phan, she’s from Nepal and apparently she’s the sister in law on Youtube guru Michelle Phan.

With the simple use of brushes and a few clever tricks, she manages to obtain a super effective impression of some of the most famous Hollywood stars and super models.

Have a look at the pictures below and try to guess who she’s impersonating:

Pocahontas

Pocahontas

 

Angelina Jolie

 

Megan Fox

 

Adriana Lima

 

All pictures are taken from Repubblica.it .

Light Spring lunch!

The sun is shining in London town and what’s best than a colorful and light lunch in the balcony?

 

It is really easy and quite quick to prepare:

  1. Preheat over to 180°C
  2. Prepare 2 bowls: one with beaten egg and the other one with a mix of breadcrumbs, sesame and poppy flower seeds
  3. Dip the chicken first into the egg, shaking off any excess and finally into the bread and seeds mix
  4. lay the breaded chicken on the baking sheet and bake for a few minutes (depending on the thickness of the chicken) on each side.
  5. When it’s ready, put it in a big plate with all your fav raw veggies and enjoy!
Have a lovely sunny day!
🙂

 

Flower stickers to decorate your walls

I found these stickers in IKEA and it’s been love at first sight!
I love flowers and this colour is just a perfect match with the curtains and duvet! Plus I think they look gorgeous on the white wall.

..and this is how the room looks like

I think it’s cute..and most of all it was very cheap!
The duvet cover is from Primark (I think I paid it around 14£), the stickers cost around 8£ and the curtains are from a street market in Italy…so nothing expensive, but they look good all together!

What do you think?

First thought after relocation: be aware of estate agents!

It’s been a while since the last time I wrote something, but I think I have a pretty good excuse!

The last 2-3 weeks have been craaaaaazy! What I did?
Well, first of all I resigned from my job, second..I left Switzerland and relocated to London (as I am sure you have already figured out from the title!).

Getting things -properly- done in such a short time has been a challenge..this was not the first time I relocated from one country to another, but really..leaving Switzerland is just incredibly hard! Well, not hard, but if you will ever have to do that, then be prepared to fill in A LOT of forms and documents! I think I will write a whatToDoWhenYouLeaveSwitzerland post at some point, and I hope it will be helpful to someone out there.

Anyway, after almost three weeks we are almost settled down. I say almost because we had a bit of a rough start!
When we arrived we had a studio booked for one week which was great because it gave us the time to look for a proper flat. We booked it through HomeTrip which I think is an amazing website, I suggest you to spend 10-15 minutes on it and I am sure you will like it! The studio itself was not too bad, cozy and quite new..I was just a bit disappointed because it was not super clean!

As I said we gave ourselves one week to find a more permanent place..which considering the huge house offer you have in London is absolutely feasible!
We spent the first day in town house hunting and we were so proud of ourselves because in the evening we came back home with an holding contract signed with an agency for a great flat.
Yes, the flat was great and the estate agent was even more great in convincing us in taking that flat…yes, we have been absolutely brainwashed and when we left his office we were even thinking “OMG, he’s so professional and so good, we have been so lucky”.

Unfortunately that was only apparent luck! Let me tell you how things really went.

We were sitting in a Starbucks, browsing the flat’s section on Gumtree when we came across an advert for a flat that really sounded great. I immediately called the number on the advert to set a view. First of all the advert was listed as “private”, but no, it was an agency instead (I have later found out that 90% of ads listed as private belongs to agencies in the reality!)..anyway the guy was really friendly and told me that that particular flat was already taken (again, I have then realised that this is a very common technique for agencies..advertise the cool flat and then showing you the crappy one) but he had another great flat and suggested to meet up in his office and that he would have driven us there.

In my ingenuity and still confused by all the relocation related mess, I thought “how nice”..and I went to the meeting full of hopes and with a very good feeling…I guess that this was an excellent example of women’s sixth sense’s big, massive fail!

We arrived to the office on time and had to wait something like 15/20 mins because the agent was with a costumer (technique #3)..when he was eventually free he came to us, introduces in an extremely pleasant way and walked us to his car..and this is when his brainwashing attitude started. I know, it’s a sales role, so presentation and communication are key skills, but that was really too much!

Anyway, we eventually arrived to the flat, the guy talked so much that we litterally didn’t realised how much he drove, furthermore he kept saying “it’s just 5 mins away” – yes sure, then why are you driving us there rather than just walking? When we arrived to the flat, I admit it, it was cool..newly decorated and very spacious.
When we pointed out there was mould around the windows he blamed it on the previous tenants saying that this is caused to the fact they never opened the windows..the worst thing is that we trusted him! I mean, seriously? We normally are smart guys, how did we let him fool us in this way?

After all the bla bla bla about how great was the flat, the location – he assured me several times that was a super safe area – and how many other people would have came to see it in that afternoon, we were completely convinced that we had to go and sign the contract.

We went back to the office and basically we signed this “holding contract” in which was stated that we had to pay 1000£ and the agency would have kept the flat for us and started the references check process and suggested us as new tenants to the landlord. If the landlord refused us, we would have lost part of the 1000£ to cover admin cost, if we would have withdrawn our application, we would have lost all of them. Now, how can a honest agency have this unfair kind of contract? And how can two relatively smart people accept to sign it? Well, I don’t know..but we did!

Even after that we were very excited and were really looking forward to moving in the new flat..until..the following night we were out and quite close to that area and we thought of going to see how it looked like at night.

That was the best idea ever as it actually turned out one of the worst experience I have ever had. The area was all but safe! A lot of dodgy people around! It was relatively early, it was no later than 9pm, but the only people you could see in the streets were suspicious looking men in the corners of the street, no women, no families, only men.
That’s not all..once arrived in from of our flat, there was an awful smell of meat coming from the butchery which was right under the bedrooms windows. The air was almost unbreathable!  We were shocked!

We came back home incredibly sad and with the awful feeling of having been scammed! We then started browsing the net and found a lot of bad reviews for this agency and this made us even more pissed off.

The next day we went back to the office, claiming our money back (because in the meantime we had already paid 6 week deposit + one month rent) and the guy turned into an incredibly different person.

Fortunately we managed to get most of the money back and “only” lost those 1000£..that was a shocking experience! We still wonder how we let this guy convince us to take that flat and give them all that money. I tell you they are REALLY good in selling their properties, in brainwashing and confusing you with all their nice talks! BE AWARE! Never trust agencies!

Fortunately we had then found another nice flat in a nicer and safer area, no agencies involved and a (so far) nice landlord.

Thomas Cook photo competition!

I was going through some photos looking for an inspiring one..and I found this picture taken last December in Bavaria.

Neuschwanstein Castle

This is the Neuschwanstein Castle wrapped into a thick mist which gives it a magical look.
The castle was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria at the end of the XIX century, as a homage to Richard Wagner and intended as a personal refuge for the king. I really like the fact that the project was drafted by a stage designer and only in a second time reviewed by an architect.

Walt Disney’s logo is inspired to it, as well as the Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

The castle is incredibly beautiful and walking through its huge rooms will make you feel like you are living in a fairy tale.

I entered the Flythomascook Photography Competition:

Flythomascook Photography Competition

 

How to start your weekend: spinach and ricotta ravioli

Hi all!
I woke up in a very good mood this morning and I felt like preparing something nice for lunch.
I opened the fridge to get some inspiration and I thought “mmh ravioli! it’s been a while since the last time i ate them!”
I have seen my mum preparing them thousands of times but I had never tried to make them myself. I must admit it has been pretty easy, but you just need quite a lot of time to prepare the whole thing.
First of all I have boiled some fresh spinach and let them cool down.
Once they are cold, smash them a bit with a fork and then add ricotta, parmigiano cheese, one egg, salt, nutmeg and a bit of ground pepper.
The tricky part is preparing the pasta dough! You might think “easy, it’ just a matter of mixing all the ingredients together..well yes, sort of! You really have to be careful to get the correct texture..not too sticky nor too dry!
I have used two eggs and for the flour..well, you just have to add it little by little until you get the right texture.
Once the dough is ready, you can start filling it: add one full teaspoon of ricotta & spinach filling and put it on the dough at a distance of about 5 cm from each other. Once you have filled one whole line, fold it and then finally shape your ravioli.
How to cook and dress ravioli: boil the ravioli in some salty water till they start floating.
When they are ready put them in a pan with some melted butter and sage. Stir fry for few seconds, add a lot of parmigiano cheese and enjoy!!!

Butter&Sage ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta

 

Butter&Sage ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta

Hi-Fun: trendy ideas for your iPhone!

Browsing on the internet I bumped into this colorful website which really got my attention.
I was really excited in finding out that this company is 100% Italian and even more when by reading the “about us” section I discovered how young are its founders! Well done guys! 🙂

“Italian fashion gadgets for iPhone, iPod, iPad & digital reader” a simple line that couldn’t describe any better the content of this website.

They produce and sell a lot of nice gadgets and I really fell in love with two of them:

  • hi-Ring: a telephone handset for your iPhone, iPad, Mac etc etc. It is just lovely and it comes in many different colours. I really like the idea of using this fashionable, vintage handset..it brings me back to my childhood.

hi-Ring!

  • hi-Sun: which is at the same time a bag, a beach towel and a speaker!

hi-Sun

Congrats guys! You really have so many brilliant ideas for very cool gadgets!
I am so curious to try a few of them!