As Cool as Cucumber

Hello, my dear Friends,

Today is Sunday and many of you get your pretty bodies out…I guess you are not in front of your computer screens now. And this is very right, weekend is the time to relax with  bodies and souls. I was also out, thus could not prepare a new Sunday Series video.  “Oh, no!” somebody of you will say…but do not be in despair, I’ve prepared something delicious for you,  I beg you pardon, something cool! Cucumber-4

Cool cucumbers dropped in for the summer photo session to me. I was taken aback by their willingness and serious interest in presenting their shapes as best as possible. They are very different from human models. Not so capricious, not so demanding (no private massage, no diamonds left afterwards, etc) and very easy-going. They can turn to any sides and take any pose. What a delight!

Cucumber-2Their road to our tables was a very long one. Foreigners from India captured our vegetable world quickly and painless. We happily met them and quickly sliced  to our salads. Also we found an approach to them and persuaded  to reproduction. Awareness that there can be more little cucumbers at our tables brought peace to our minds and welcoming sounds from our stomachs. Cucumbers are so delicious and useful to be neglected as very healthy vegetables (though in some countries they are regarded as fruits, lol). Just chewing them makes us loose calories and wash our bodies with the water filtered through their veins. No wonder the feeling is great when we apply cucumber slices to bruises under our pretty swollen eyes.Cucumber-5

Cucumbers are familiar to every Ukrainian. As an agricultural country we harvest cucumbers every year and try to supply every home with juicy and crunchy taste. However, last several years Ukrainians faced problems growing them. Due to global warming and raise of ozone layer climate in our country has drastically been changed. Our always rich soil has been conquered by many pests and lack of rain. Consequently, we harvest less cucumbers every year, which automatically rises the prices at the markets. Unfortunately, farmers use their methods to fight against it. As a result, cucumbers may be not free from nitrates that turns this veggie to not useful one. What a shame!

Cucumber-6

Cucumbers are great in salads, smoothies and by themselves, but many people are discovering that along with all of the above benefits, cucumber water is a healthy, refreshing beverage. This treat used to be found at spas but is fast becoming mainstream.

Cucumber-8

As to Ukrainian cuisine, cucumbers dance together with tomatoes. We have never been warned that cucumbers and tomatoes are not compatible. None of us ever thought that such beautiful red and green colors are not in tandem, even more when they reach the stomach and the process of fermentation starts, the acid released in the abdominal cavity for digestion can cause numerous digestive problems. Who would have thought? Tons of such mix has been consumed and probably will be more no matter of sound aftereffects. We still love it!

Cucumber-11

Did you get used to pile cucumbers? Do not do it again. Eating cucumbers with the peel provides the maximum amount of nutrients. And their peel is so crispy! Cucumbers can be eaten fresh or pickled. They can be enjoyed as a  snack or used to add flavor in a variety of dishes. If you have a Ukrainian friend or you have ever been to any Ukrainian home, you know that Ukrainians cook a lot of home tins with pickled cucumbers. Receipts can be different as well as tastes, however, there is nothing better than to open a tin of your cucumbers at cold winter days.

Cucumber-9

July is the high season for cucumbers. You must have cucumbers at your gardens. They are very gracefully growing with the yellow flower first. Later you can spot a cute baby cucumber who grows as fast as sun kisses its head. Growing them can help you release your stress and improve your daily life. They are very healthy and photogenic! I believe my photo session was pretty successful. Thank you for my models and thank you!

Do you have cucumbers in your menu today? No, then I am coming to you! Ha-ha!

Have July Sunday!

Yours Food Specialist

P.S. This post was sponsored by…”CUCUMBERS Association of Ukraine” !

 

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Hello Hal

Dear Friends, recently I have visited one interesting place, which gave me an inspiration to try myself as ad/review writer.  And look what came of that:

Hello Hal Fishbar

The “Hello Hal” is a fishbar situated in the heart of Budapest,5F59A260-BA03-4B69-BD95-4C7DD83B0B46 the capital that arose controversial feelings in me. At a first glance it looks beautiful and captivating, while at a second intent glance it seems to be noisy and chaotic. Large cities, large problems. Yet you can always find there something unique and lovely. From my long-term observations and study of Hungarian cuisine I may bravely claim that Hungarians can be hardly called “fish lovers”.  Their cuisine is meat-oriented, there is no time for fish bones. Or maybe they are too lazy to look them for.  That is why such fishbar is a real godsend for fish gourmands. I confess that is my second visit to this place, since firstly I came across it in Tiszaörvény last summer (http://hellohal.hu/kapcsolat/).

The fishbar is located in a rather unknown district of Budapest that is quite easy to miss.  There was no big table to attract my attention, thus I did not find it at once. Moreover, the bar’s table was invisible behind the reconstruction panels at the entrance. decor Let us be not too strict, I believe this is temporary, the place is brand new one.

As you enter the place you are welcomed by a magnificent wooden setting, a delightful marriage of home coziness with pillows at windows and the luxuries of modernity. Almost at once my gaze fell on the big wall decoration showing the map of fish places. A lovely idea that catches your attention. The wooden décor allows the simplistic beauty of food to shine, though beauty is not the only thing bringing folks to Hello Hal. In hot season you may enjoy the table outside. Inkeddecor1_LIThis time I voted for the table on the second floor where I had the best view of the entire place. Rooms for ladies and gentlemen are amusingly doorplated.first floor

As soon as I walked in the waiter gladly offered us a table and brought a menu. The waiters were in black special uniform, which harmonized the modern décor. menu The menu offers a wide variety of mouth-watering fish dishes. I ordered the fish soup with carp “tiszai halaszle” (in Hungarian) and “brossoi halpecsenye” (baked fish with potatoes and vegetables). They were very delicious and beautifully served. I have to admit that in the menu you can find both small and large portions, which is very beneficial to both customer and owner, there is no waste of food. soupYour meal can be followed by typical Hungarian dessert “túrógombóc gyümölcsvelővel” (cottage cheese balls), though my stomach waterline was already reached. secondmacro

Fish was fresh and the dishes were properly served and spiced. Moreover, the waiter provided us with an additional set of salt and pepper. pepperAs for drinks I preferred to please myself with a classic home-made lemonade that was perfect in a very hot day. My tongue dived blissfully to the refreshing bath and enjoyed the coolness of the drink. The fishbar caters for all fish tastes by providing a large selection of fish dishes, which are pricy as well. T

The service did accompany the high-quality of the cooking, however, my general impression was slightly spoiled by the lack of attention in the end of my meal. Unfortunately, I could not wait so long and went for my bill to cashier on my own. The waiters seemed to be engaged into their own world. This should be definitely taken into consideration and improved. The customer should get his/her bill in time not to become too excited on the possibility to leave without paying.

genral

Despite some petty details, I had a lovely dining experience with fish food of the great flavors. I highly recommend going to the fishbar Hello Hal and enjoy their exquisite food. I have no doubt that this place will quickly become popular not only among locals, but also among city guests.

http://hellohal.hu/

 

I should state that this review was written based on my independent experience and is not sponsored by anyone. I just visited this place, tasted their food and made up this review. My opinions are objective and can be different from others. I certainly enjoyed this experience and would eagerly work in this field. In case you or your family, friends, acquittances have some business which should be advertised, please contact me and I will willingly help you with it. From now and on I will publish my best ad/review samples to give you an insight into my writing skills. Frankly I would prefer doing it for free, though I am forced to ask as minimum price as possible – 10$ per ad/review of the size presented (larger ads/reviews are possible at additional prices) or for free in case you invite me to visit your place and taste your food. Furthermore, any ad/review can be translated from English/German into my native languages (UK/Ru) at the rate of 12$ per ad. I am eager to make your place/website/company attractive to your future visitors and increase your profits. Let us make our cooperation fruitful for both.

Have a delicious weekend!

Yours Ann

 

At the First Taste

Saturday evening, first weekend day after busy week, nice dancing music, cosy kitchen, delicious food and beautiful lady Ann…these are the main ingredients of today’s Chef master class.  You can not only find out a new receipt, but also have some fun spending time with Ann and her own Chef-Cook. And in the end of the film be ready for a surprise…not a word more, just click and make me happy with your comments below (I need them as fish water):

Have a great winter weekend!

Love you all,

Yours Film Director

Life Is So Endlessly Delicious

Hey, lads, is anybody hungry here? You are welcome to have some delicious minutes with me. But be aware there is no “taste” button here, you are unlikely to be able to taste anything. Don’t even think!

Fellows, I would like to steal your precious couple of minutes and introduce you some of our Ukrainian traditional food dishes. I promise not to talk too much or too long (although you know me, I hardly can keep this rule), but share with you something interesting about our typical cuisine!

Today in our menu is Vareniki (don’t look at me like that!), sweet Friends, I know that is a very odd word, which has no translation, don’t be in a hurry to your dictionary shelf, you won’t find this word anywhere, since this is a pure transliteration (a very professional term) of the Ukrainian so-called dumplings. Let’s get closer.

In Ukraine, it is said that no vareniki, no holiday! And the truth is it’s hard to imagine a Ukrainian who has never tried these wonderful stuffed dumplings. They were prepared by our grandmothers and are now one of the most beloved and popular dishes in the Ukrainian cuisine. A little history – vareniki are not only a tasty dish but they have a special meaning in Ukrainian culture. They are given to young people on the second day of their wedding (Ukrainian weddings last for 2 days) as a symbol of prosperity for the new family. And when new babies are born again friends and family hand vareniki to young mothers with the words – so that your belly is always full. It’s no wonder why we have so many fatty Ukrainians, they cannot imagine their life without vareniki. Stuffing can be different, typically meat, mushrooms, potatoes and cottage cheese. Almost anything you want. In the picture they are with cheese. Enjoy your meal (but there are only five vareniki and ask for more is not allowed)!

Vareniki

 And how about potatoes friend with onion? Huh! Personally I do not like friend onion, most probably I will take my magical shovel and start the digging. I may be lucky to find a lot of things, which I will put into somebody’s else plate. How smart! Changing the subject, Ukrainians (including me) do like eating potatoes, they adore potatoes and even can eat potatoes with potatoes. We are crazy about it. And you? Yeah, it’s not so healthy. As far as I know potatoes are about 80% of water, in fact, it is even good for our body, as we should drink more. That’s why I don’t see any serious reason not to eat it. I will, you cannot persuade me. Good news for fans of mash: humans can apparently survive on a diet of just potatoes, and milk or butter, which contain Vitamin A and D, the only vitamins missing from the humble spud. Getting back to history I remember that there is some argue about who and when brought potatoes to Europe. The most interesting is that many Europeans did not know what potatoes are, they were using its flower as decoration for their outfits. Can you believe? They were not so smart to check that under flower, somewhere deep, there is a vegetable that is eatable! Ancient folks! Do you like potatoes?

Potatoes

 Now it is salad’s turn. What do you think about salads? I do like them, especially fresh vegetable salads. It is a winter period here, and you almost cannot find fresh (not artificial) vegetables in our shops. If you are lucky, then they will cost a fortune. Many of us have to survive with some tins. Do you prepare tins for winter? No, lazy bones! I suppose Olivier salad should be known for you, but might not for all of you. I have some contradictory feelings towards it. This salad was very popular 25 years ago in USSR times (and I hate this time), but its taste is quite interesting. Olivier salad was discovered in 1860s by a Frenchman Lucien Olivier. He was the co-owner of one of the biggest Russian restaurants. As I heard he kept the receipt in secret and took it to his grave. Anyway, one of smart chef-cooks was able to find some information and create its approximate receipt. n different modern recipes, it is usually made with diced boiled potatoes, carrots, dill pickles, green peas, eggs, celeriac, onions, diced boiled chicken (or sometimes ham or bologna sausage), tart apples, with salt, pepper, and mustard added to enhance flavor, dressed with mayonnaise. Again not so healthy, I agree.

Salad

 At last, I found a good healthy salad for you. Guess, which one? Exactly, exotic salad with sea products. You will fall in love with it. It has a nice spicy taste. It contains different sea products and ginger. Taste is gorgeous, it’s finger-licking good! And the price is awfully uninviting. As soon as I bought it I quickly took the label with price off and threw it out not to cause a kind of heart attack. Unfortunately, in my country sea products are pretty high, Ukrainians almost forget the taste of usual calamaris. So, friends, if you have some extra sea products, don’t forget to share with us, we will appreciate it so much!

Exotic Salad

 Sushi, sushi, you can easily attract my tongue, and usually it’s difficult. Who wants sushi? I should tell in advance that in Ukraine we don’t have original sushi, I mean which should be made of raw fish. The only raw fish is salmon or trout. All other specific type of sea products and so on, are commonly fried or boiled. A typical Ukrainian won’t dare to put into his/her mouth anything which is moving yet. Believe me, it’s impossible. For many of us such exotic cuisine is still very strange. Though Ukrainians did get used to our own sushi and enjoy them with pleasure. Surely, it’s not cheap type food, but on special occasions we can let themselves!

Sushi

It’s all for today, but we will come back to Ukrainian cuisine and taste preferences. Our national cuisine is very rich in natural ingredients. Ukrainians do like food and prefer cooking at home. They are capricious and demanding. I hardly call them gourmets, but they do enjoy table party traditions. And you didn’t hear yet anything about our vodka…hm, be patient!

See you next time!

Yours Chef-Cook Ann

Quote Challenge Day 1: Smilefood

My dear Friends, you know how much I appreciate your support and kind attitude towards my modest splashes of creative imagination, it means a LOT to me! Always remember that each of you is unique, special, amazing and wonderful person, writer, photographer, poet, chef-cook and creator. Do not stop dreaming and believe in wonders, always believe in wonders. Life is one of the biggest wonders given to us. And today is special Monday, one of my sweet and dearest Friend, Maria Jansson from Maria Jansson Photography challenged me to participate in a three day quote challenge and I happily accept it. Thank you so much, dear Maria, it is a great honor for me! Your amazing photography and life path inspire me, I can learn a lot from you! 

Rules are the following:

  • Post for three consecutive days
  • Posts can be one or three quotes per day
  • Nominate three different blogs per day

Smilefood

“Food cooked without a smile is similar to life without being ever in love. Smile with every spoon of food prepared with love and passion!” (AnRo)

My sweet little Friends, I won’t be Ann if I do not not change some rules of the challenge. First of all, I dared to think of myself as one of the modern great philosophers, thus quote presented today and with every next picture will be mostly mine. Can you believe it? I know I am extremely immodest person, but now I am guided by my crazy imagination who can let herself anything, whatever she likes, I am not involved! Secondly, I would not like to simply nominate every three blogs per day, I am intended to do something even more interesting. I just would like to introduce my nice friends and their blogs! All of them are great creators who inspire me for my posts!

Please welcome (do not miss a chance to visit their blogs, they are awesome):

Monica from look around!, a very talented girl with a big heart and adventurous spirit. She cannot stop surprising me! Thank you, dear Monica, for being my dear Friend. You are the sunshine, keep it in mind and never stop dreaming!

Anil from Anil’s webspace, an amazing photographer and a connoisseur of art. He makes inspiring photos and introduces us his beautiful culture! Thank you, dear Anil, for being my lovely Friend who helps me to discover the unknown world!

And the last for today, but not least, definitely, Jim from The Daily Driver, a  virtuous writer, a master of beautiful words, and just a very interesting person. He writes as he lives and he lives as he writes. Thank you, my dear Jim, for being my sweet friend and soulmate!

Stay in tuned! I will keep on telling more compliments to all of you, my Fellows! I am here because of you!

Yours Ann

Titmouse is Neither a Tit, Nor a Mouse…But Rather a Tiny Bird

Titmouse

Hello, my sweet Friends! How are you doing today? What are your plans for Sunday? I guess you know what to do…I can picture that some of you are spending time at the kitchen to prepare food for the next week, while others try to clean out theirs houses…or your idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance. A bright person can always think of something better to do than housework and all of us are bright personalties, ain’t I right? And here comes Ann with her Sunday post devoted to titmouse…How do you find them? Don’t they look hungry?

Hungry Titmouse .jpg

By the way, winter is in full swing and many countries are under thick layer of snow now, so let us not forget to share our food with our little brothers, they are depended on us when the ground is hidden.

Titmouse Thinking

Titmouse is neither a tit, nor a mouse…The word titmouse descends from the Old English terms, tit (any small animal or object) and mase (small bird), essentially meaning one small, small bird.  Perhaps titmice are overlooked because they aren’t as flashy as so many other everyday avians. For instance, like this handsome woodpecker…

Woodpecker

Ukrainian titmice are typically slate yellow or blue above with lighter underparts. They have a blue hat on their heads and yellow coat, however, their fur and tail are a mixture of various colors. Elegant enough, but clearly not enough to put the bird on the map, but not for me! They are very intelligent and behave noble, almost like kings. I would guess that the titmouse enjoys more relative anonymity than other  birds because it is a birder’s bird! They will wait in a queue…

Titmouse and Hungry Sparrow

Not only are they sociable with other birds, but they hardly mind the presence of people. However, they need people and their help. Once I was walking through park and saw them – they were hungry and, surely, I did have food for them, I do not know how they knew it, but they came to me and asked to share food, they were sitting on my arms and in my hands…they landed on my palms and took seeds…they were not afraid of me! Although I should confess that I feed them almost every day, so it might be that they know me already. I walk and look for them, and when I see I put seeds and nuts everywhere, even where there are no feeders. Titmice have excellent eyesight, they see small black seeds on a big distance, I checked it. Sometimes when they are still afraid of me and do not dare to take a seed from my hand, I throw them seeds and they catch them at once. Fantastic!

Titmouse Looks At You

If you pay even the slightest attention anytime you’re in proximity to forest or feeder, you’re bound to hear the buzzy call or “peter, peter” song of a titmouse. I adore their songs, they are so melodic. They can make different sounds and I heard several variants. All of the songs mean different things. Some of the alert, some of them “thank you”. No, I am not kidding, they do know how to thank me, and I admire them for that!

Thank You Titmouse

Sweet little titmice are very useful to our gardens, they like chasing after different harmful worms that can destroy our fruit harvest, thus take care after titmice and welcome them to your gardens, you will not regret, trust me!

And now some interesting facts about their personal life from Net and my observations: sometimes, young titmice stay with their parents to help them take care of the next brood; the male feeds the female titmouse from the time they start building the nest until the time the eggs hatch, during which both parents look after their young; titmice mate for life once they have chosen their partner; sometimes, an older offspring stays with them along with other young birds to help them raise the coming years brood; titmouse is a very lively bird that is not shy to interact with human beings. Scientists claim that these birds are so curious about everything around them that they tend to react to human voices and noise just to find out what these are. They, for instance, travel in trees from their nests to the source of the noise whether this from humans talking or noise from street workers, drillers, or farmers. These birds are also known to be so intelligent that they are able to easily enter the most complicated feeder and find food there easily. Some minutes spent with them can make you feel very alive and happy! Do not forget to bring seeds or nuts next time you  go out…and prepare feeders with your children, in such a way you will have great fun and help titmice to survive during colder season! Remember they are our little Brothers…Food for Titmice

Take care! And if you need any additional information on them or their favorite food, do not hesitate to ask me!

Yours Ann