I can't believe my luck! Even to this day, I feel like if I talk about it, I might jinx it... do you ever get that feeling?... I'm leaving today for Brussels and if everything goes well (and it should!), I'll get to spend 2 days in Paris and meet friends I haven't seen in ages, like my roommate Caroline with whom I shared a room near the Luxembourg gardens (photo #2) for 2 years :)
I'm also hoping to see Dinda, my cooking mate from the Cooking Playdate who just moved to Amsterdam... Can't wait to hear her stories of the Berlin Film Festival and all about the move! 

All photos found via Pinterest



I cannot believe what is happening in one week's time: I'll be leaving for Brussels!! The land that brought us Tintin and the Smurfs... and also where I lived for 6 years by the way :)
I've been dreaming of going back and seeing my best friend, My-Lan, but well plane tickets don't come cheap so I was optimistic yet realistic that one day I'll go back but not any time soon. Until the famous confirmation from an NGO in Brussels inviting me to make a few presentations about YUM and our work dealing with clean water.

The photo above is me and My-Lan in 2003 when I went to Brussels for My-Lan's wedding. I can't wait to see her 2 kids and her husband Attila... then we're planning on a girls' trip to Paris for 2 days to see some friends... Woohoo! I wish I had more time so I could go meet my family in the south of France but I'll have to come back for that one, and that time it'll have to be with Amal :) 



I have finally found my happiness in a guilt-free low-calorie very moist chocolate cupcake! Believe me, you will never have thought that this cupcake is low fat and low calorie because it's very chocolate-y and very moist.

Guess which ones I frosted and which ones Amal did? :)

Yesterday, I was spending time at home and asked Amal if he wanted us to bake something and as usual, the answer was: yes, chocolate cake! However, I've been thinking lately how much I've enjoyed the lovely huge kitchen at my parents' place and made way too many fattening cakes and that there must be some type of low-calorie chocolate cake out there.
So I googled and I got lucky cause I found this amazing recipe! The blog has a real easy step-by-step explanation of how to make the cupcakes (with photos), so I won't give you the full version. I highly recommend you go to the website but if you want to stay here, here's the recipe:

100 Calorie Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

makes 9

  • 1 cup nonfat or lowfat dairy or nondairy
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce* (use "apel malang" for this)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (I used 200 degrees, but it depends on your oven). Line a standard cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a small bowl, stir together milk and vinegar **. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, coca powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, applesauce and vanilla. Pour in the now curdled milk (tastes a bit like liquid yoghurt) and mix all ingredients well.

Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. The batter will be think and wet, similar to a runny pancake batter. Divide it evenly among the prepared muffin tin cups.
The recipe says to bake them for 18 minutes but mine took almost 45 minutes, but again, it depends on each oven. The cupcakes are cooked when you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Once the cupcakes are cool, top them with a frosting also found on the blog called Best Whipped Frosting. Trust me, it's one of the best frostings I've ever tasted! It's light and not too sweet. I used half the quantities of the recipe for my 9 cupcakes and still have some leftover for next time.

* to make applesauce, just cut apple into small pieces, put in a pan with a little bit of water until apples are cooked and can be easily crushed.
** if you like, you could actually just buy liquid plain yoghurt.

The most amazing part: no oil, no butter, no eggs!!



There's something about this video which completely left me speechless... I definitely wish I were in her shoes, not literally but her life seems so simple and classy. I especially love the scenes at the market and the breakfast table (of course!)... Enjoy!


image by Garance Dore

This week, I'm trying something new which I hope will completely change my life. I'm going to try to: never use water (and soap) to clean my face ever again!
You probably think this is crazy (or if you don't and have proof of success, please let me know!) but as I was reading Garance Dore's blog, I had some sort of epiphany and realized that yes, in the last year or so where I've been cleaning my face only with water & soap, it has actually gotten worse! And I'm not the type of person to wear lots of makeup, foundation, powder, etc and I put on a moisturizer daily, so why was this happening?

Then I realized that the only time when my face was smooth was during my stay in Paris. Ok you can say that the air there was probably much better, but I was never washing my face with soap & water, I was using a milk cleanser & a tonic, which is exactly what is recommended by Garance's dermatologist. 
As I am in no capability to buy the 3 items on the list: 1/ The milk makeup remover Hydrabio Lait 2/ Avène’s Thermal Spring Water and 3/ The moisturizing cream Ictyane H.D. “for severe dry skin”, I am using locally made products, making sure they don't have too many chemicals or alcohol in them and hoping they'll do the trick.

I'll keep you posted! :)



Yesterday was the bi-monthly organic vegetables delivery from the Cipanas Organic Farm, and I discovered that I had received beets, carrots and turnips (I love just being surprised by what they're harvesting!).
I usually eat my beets pre-cooked in salads and my turnips in a french beef soup (Pot au Feu), but this time, I felt like doing things differently so I went online and checked out some recipes.

I remember seeing somewhere that you could mix potatoes and turnips into a mash, so I did just that:


4 potatoes
1 large turnip (lobak)
2 tbsp of unsalted butter
3/4 cup of milk
a dash of cream
salt and pepper

Slice the potatoes and turnips and cook in boiling water for around 20 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain the water and start mashing with a potato masher. Add the butter, salt and pepper, milk and cream. Taste and add according to your liking.

The great thing about potatoes and turnip mash is that your child doesn't even realize that he's eating a vegetable high in vitamin C :)

I also wanted to try roasting beets, so I discovered a video of Jamie Oliver where he did just that and kind of inspired myself from it:


6 organic carrots, cut around 2cm thick
3 small beets, peeled and cut in half
olive oil
salt and pepper
balsamic vinegar
juice of 1/2 orange
herbs (thyme, mint, oregano, rosemary, lavender)

Preheat your oven at 220 degrees celsius.
Mix your beets and carrots separately.
Beets: mix with salt, pepper, dash of balsamic vinegar, lavender/rosemary, garlic and olive oil.
Carrots: mix with salt, pepper, juice of 1/2 and orange, thyme/mint, garlic and olive oil.
You can put your carrots and beets in one tray but try to separate them.
Cook for about 45 minutes (you may want to cover with aluminum foil if it takes too long to cook. They should be between crunchy and tender after the allotted cooking time.
Sprinkle some feta cheese on top before serving.

Eat with roasted chicken!



photo taken from davidrocco.com

Last night, I saw an episode of David Rocco's italian adventures and he was eating this really delicious-looking sandwich, which consisted of 2 slices of bread, melting mozzarella, an anchovy, dipped in egg and fried. Today, I tried it out for Amal's afternoon snack and it was delicious! So easy to make:

Mozzarella in Carrozza


8 slices of bread, crust removed (I used whole wheat)
1 pack of mozzarella cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
4 anchovy filets (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil

How to do it:

Take 2 pieces of bread and fill with mozzarella (and 1 anchovy filet if you like).
Beat the eggs and milk together in a bowl.
Dip the carrozza sandwich into the egg mixture until fully coated.
In a pan, heat the olive oil and cook the sandwiches until golden brown on each side.
Add a dash of salt and serve immediately.

For 4 servings