Never ending succulent love

When someone asks me about having any pets, I always answer: ‘No, but I have 12 succulents.’ The truth is, I liked them way before they were cool!

Succulents are plants that can contain water in their thick leaves, roots or stems. This means they are capable to survive dry weather conditions. Although they are originally from Africa, America and Australia, they became quite popular in the last deacades while they are very easy to take care of. Succulents have many families but the most popular ones are cacti, aloe plants, crassula, agaves and some people even count orchids into this species.

I have many reasons for loving them.
First of all they are such grateful plants! They require watering only once a week (make sure not to over-water them, because that can lead to their death). They like the sun, so their ideal place would be on the windowsill.
They grow slowly, so they don’t take much of your aparment, even if you have a lot of them.
They don’t get pests or any kind of illness.
They don’t have to be replanted.
They come in various shapes, sizes, colours, with or without flowers, so anyone can find his or her favourite. Christmas cactus, crown of thorns, panda plant… even their names are cool, aren’t they?
As all plants, they produce oxygen and purify the air, so they are beneficial to your health too.

Here is the newest member of my succulents family, it is called ‘Buddha’s Temple’:

Clafoutis, the French custard

I have to admit that when I first tried this recipe, I was looking for a French cookie with a cool name and didn’t expect a lot from it. I would have liked it if it turned out to be bad, only because it was French. Fortunately, it became great (and very easy to prepare!). But let’s say a few words about the magnificent clafoutis. Originally it was made from black cherries with their seeds left inside, but nowadays you can use basically any kind of fruit you want such as red-currants, raspberries, bluberries, sour cherries or regular cherries.
Here is the recipe of this very easy, but wonderful dessert.

Ingredients:
– 3 eggs
– a pinch of salt
– 6 tablespoons of sugar
– 2 bags of vanilla sugar
– 8 tablespoons of flour
– 3 dl milk
– 30 dkg fruit

What to do next?
First of all, clean the fruit you chose and then let them dry until you’ll need them. Set your oven for 180 degrees. Now take a bowl and put the eggs, the salt, the sugar and the vanilla sugar in it. Mix them altogether with a mixer for 3 minutes. After that add the flour in smaller portions and make sure your paste isn’t snagged. Add the milk and mix everything together, it will become like a sick pancake paste. Pour it into a round frame and sprinkle the fruit on top. You have to bake it for 30 minutes. If it’s cold, serve your clafoutis with powdered sugar on top, cream or ice cream on the side.

Bon appétit!

Easter in Hungary

Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Its date is different every year because its the first Sunday that follows the vernal equinox and the full moon that comes after that. The first national holiday is Good Friday, than Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday and it ends with Easter Monday.
The main tokens of the Easter holiday are eggs, bunnies and lambs. Eggs symbolise fertility, the bunnies’ inception is currently unknown and lambs mean sacrifice.
The preparation for this holiday starts a week before already. People decorate their homes with catkin branches and hang eggs on them or they make ‘bunny nests’ with grass with eggs, but bunny or chicken statues are very popular too.
On Easter Monday boys and men visit their female relatives, friends or neighbours to sprinkle water (or perfume these days as well) on them, because women are like beautiful flowers and they don’t want them to be withered. This tradition starts with the men reciting a poem and asking at the end if they can sprinkle the water. After that in return of the ‘sprinkling’ they get painted eggs, chocolate or money.
Egg painting has a very serious tradition in Hungary. In the old days people used natural colouring such as the fluid of onion and red cabbage. Nowadays people use artifical dye or stickers, but the stores are full of eggs and rabbit statues that are made of chocolate. Hungarian folk artists decorate eggs with the famous Kalocsa pattern and use duck or goose eggs because they are bigger than the regular chicken ones.
Children always get presents from their parents and relatives. They are often challenged with an egg hunt in the house or in the garden.
A typical Hungarian Easter breakfast contains boiled ham and eggs (boiled or stuffed) with fresh bread, horse radish and seasonal vegetables such as regular radish. Another dish is a milk-loaf that is made in a braided pattern.

I wish you all a happy Easter! 🙂

Favourites of March 2018

Book experience of the month:
First of all I read The white king written by Hungarian writer, György Dragomán because I saw the trailer of the movie that was made from the novel last year. I haven’t seen the it yet because I wanted to wait until I read the book. The book reminded me of Imre Kertész’s Fateless because it explains a tragic period of history from the point of view of a young person and the way he sees that world doesn’t seem as terrible as it actually was.
Then I moved on to something completely different with Alice Wonder’s Paris, c’est le vie. Alice is a Hungarian lady who spent 7 years living in the ‘City of lights’ and she shares her experiences with her readers in a smart and funny way. I loved it, can’t wait to read the other three books of her series.

Movie experience of the month:
If you want to just sit down and laugh, Central intelligence will be a great choice for you. It stars the Rock as a wierd but lovable CIA agent who gets in touch with his old high school pal.
Planetarium tells the story of the sisters (Nathalie Portman and Lily-Rose Depp), who make a living from performing paranormal seances. Very sensitive story.
To see the reflection of current society’s, watch Manifesto with Cate Blanchett starring in 13 different roles. A teacher, a homeless guy, a scientist… all played by her.

Cinema experience of the month:
March has been a very busy month. First I saw Fifty shades freed, but it was a bit of a disappointment for me… It was a crime story filled with some romantic scenes. I still think the first movie was the best of the trilogy.
I absolutely loved the new Tomb Raider movie! Alicia Vikander is such a lovely and talented actress, I really adore her.
And finally, Red Sparrow. Most of the scenes were shot in Hungary, it was amazing to see Jennifer Lawrence walking to Nyugati Railway station, where I’ve been a couple of weeks as well. Some Hungarian actors appeared in the movie too. The thriller is about an Russian ex-ballerina who becomes an intelligence officer because she has to support her mother. I don’t want to make spoilers but it is a great movie if you want to get to know more about true human nature.

Travelling experience of the month:
15th March is a national holiday because of the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence 1848-49. So that weekend I went to a Hungarian spa town, Harkány with 3 of my very best childhood friends. A blog post come soon with pictures, I promise! 🙂

Food experience of the month:
It recently became clear that I’m lactose intolerant, so one of my friends suggested me to try almond milk. Yummi, yummi!

‘All the Rage’ fashion exhibition in Wroclaw

In July 2016 I visited the National Museum in Wroclaw where in that time was an extraordinary exhibition of clothes and accessories that has been worn by the elite in the Communist era /1945-1989/. While ordinary costumers couldn’t afford silk dresses or any kind of designer clothing, privileged people of that time followed the fashion trends of Paris. There has been Polish designers and brands who released their collections frequently such as Moda Polska, Cora, Telimena and Dany, their products were unavailable to the public and made only for export. The exhibition was organised by Małgorzata Możdżyńska-Nawotka and Joanna Regina Kowalska and it debuted in Kraków first. According to Ms. Nawotka, ‘It makes an attempt to examine fashion as an area of artistic creation and designers’ creativity’. The exhibited items included dresses, overcoats, jackets, jumpsuits, evening gowns, wedding dresses, hats, clutches and shoes. It was open to public from May to August 2016.

What to visit in the Czech Republic?

5 years ago I spent 5 days in the Czech capital for a sightseeing vacation with my family and I fell in love with this beautiful, historical metropolis. While the country has a continental climate, I recommend you not to go in the summer, because the city will be full of tourists. So grab your jacket and prepare yourself for the best beer in Prague!

Here are the places I’ve been to in Prague and highly recommend:
– Old Town Square with Orloj (the Astronomical Clock), Tyn Church and a Salvador Dalí and Mucha collection
– Josefov, the Jewish quarter with Old New Synagogue, Old Jewish Cemetery and Franz Kafka’s birthplace
– Charles Bridge
– Hrad with St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George Basilica, Zlatá ulička (the Golden Lane), the Powder Tower and the Picture Gallery
– New Town area with the National Museum
– National Gallery in Veletrzní Palace
– St. Nicholas Church
– John Lennon Wall
– Dancing House

I also had one-day trips to Český Krumlov and České Budějovice. They are both close to the Northern Austrian border, so they are perfect for short trips. Krumlov is famous for its historical quarter that is part of the UNESCO’s World Heritage and Budějovice is the hometown of Budweiser, the beer they are making since the 13rd century.

And there I still many places I want to visit such as:
– Brno
– Karlovy vary
– Kutná Hora
– Telc
– Lednice
– Olomouc

Annie Leibovitz teaches photography!

‘There’s this idea that in portaiture it’s the photographer’s job to set the subject at ease. I don’t believe that. Robert Penn Warren was writing about dying and death and I just asked him to take his shirt off, but it was more like I wanted to see his skeleton. He didn’t have any guard or shield. What are my favourite photographs? Agnes Martin sitting in her painting studio. She said to me, ‘I sit here and I wait to be inspired’. I’d loved that. And so I said, ‘I just want you to sit there’. Isn’t that what we all do? We wait to be inspired. All the work that I’ve ever done, the ideas emanate from that person. Stand over here. Present yourself. We are so complicated as human beings, there are so many parts to us, that’s where the ideas come from. Even in the most set up situation I believe there is something really going on. ‘I’m so not a technical photographer.’ If that’s what you’re thinking about, you are not taking pictures. When you first start off, stay with one lens and see what it does. Photograph the people close to you. Your family, your friends. That’s how I learned. When you photograph people, it’s about history, it’s about looking in our time, our culture and our society – through portraits. Don’t be afraid to be obsessed. Take the camera, go out in the world, and find a way to tell a story that means something to you.’ /Annie Leibovitz/

Click here to find out more!