Whether you are aware or not, two weeks ago I came back from my Moroccan adventure. Despite the many sights we visited, we also managed to try all kinds of traditional dishes. One soup in particular got my taste buds going mad! We had it served in a beautiful restaurant in the medina in Marrakech and I can still taste the deliciousness of this bowl of soup whenever I think about it. This particular soup was made with pumpkin and orange. At first it sounded like a rather strange combination since it was made with pumpkin and orange, but after taking my first bite, I kept craving more and more. Even after coming back to Sofia, I still wanted to have the lovely soup, so I decided to put my own spin to it and recreate my own version. Because it’s not really pumpkin season, I used carrots and it tasted even better. Even if you are not a fan of soups in general, I can guarantee you that you will most certainly adore this one.
10 medium sized carrots
1 clove garlic
1 tsp thyme
1 orange (zest+juice)
What to do?
1. You start by putting your finely chopped onion into the pot and sweat it off
2. When onion is softened, add the minced garlic
3. Add the thyme and chopped carrots to the pot
4. Cover with water and let it simmer until your carrots are soft enough
5. Either use a hand mixer or just put everything in your blender and pulse until it is all well-mixed
6. Move back to the pot and add the juice and zest of your orange, salt and pepper
Voilá! That was is it. I personally also like to top it off with some roasted pumpkin seeds for some extra crunch. As you can see the soup literally requires a few basic ingredients, but tastes magnificently.
Two days ago I came back from one of the most exciting and unforgettable trips in my life. For my 18th birthday I wanted to do something special. My best friend Rumi, my parents and I wanted to experience what the country of Morocco hides. We stayed in the oriental paradise for a week in total and traveled more than 600km. For me Morocco was a journey to discovering a whole new world full with vibrant culture and enriched history. Every day we stopped at a different city or town in order to make the most of our short stay and fill it with as many fun activities and beautiful sights as possible. The first stop of our Moroccan route was the famous city Marrakech or as otherwise known the pink city (since all the buildings are in pink). Marrakech is the perfect mix between authenticity and modernism and that’s why it is the country’s most preferred city by tourists and locals. With just a 2 day stay planned for our visit there, here is how our 24 hours in Marrakech looked like.
11:00 – Le jardin Majorelle – We kick started our day off with this beautiful green paradise from the 1920s. Planted with more than 300 different plants and trees from all around the globe, this breathtaking oasis left me in awe. Honestly I had never seen something as stunning and aesthetically pleasing for the eye in my life. All the colorfully painted buildings contrasting with the different nuances of leafy green make this whole garden a magnificent piece of art. You could never guess that such a hectic and loud city as Marrakech can hide an entire hidden oasis behind some walls. I really do recommend you booking tickets in advance since Jardin Majorell is one of the city’s most famous sights and the wait can get pretty annoying.
12:00 – After walking and enjoying our time in the calming gardens we headed next door to the well-known museum of one of the world’s best designer brands-YSL. For those of you who are not aware, the fashion designer spent a lot of time in Marrakech and that was his influence for many of his most successful fashion pieces. 50 years after his first visit in 1966 this modern house has now been turned into a museum, dedicated to the work of the fashion legend. Looking carefully you can notice that the outside is supposed to evoke weft and wrap fabric, while the inside evokes the lining of a couture jacket. The rooms in the house are filled with inspiring design pieces and explain a more about the life and career of YSL himself. Even if you are not a fashion guru, the museum by all means is a sight worth seeing, even if it is just to admire its mesmerizing architecture and breathtaking interior.
13:30 – After doing some cultural sightseeing in the more civil part of Marrakech we headed to the old town (the medina). Surrounded by crowds of people, shops with cheeky traders, bikes and mopeds, we wandered in the streets for a few hours. Thanks to our awesome tour guide we even got the opportunity to visit some of the local firms and learn how carpets and cosmetics are being made. Since Morocco is known for its craftsmen and handmade goodies I was very intrigued to see how all those things were actually made. We also bought a bunch of small souvenirs, spices and for a second almost a carpet, so I warn you to keep in mind that you easily may end up buying a lot of unnecessary things. Also don’t hesitate to bargain since most of the traders will probably give you a higher price just because they recognized you are a tourist.
bread stored at the local bakery
15:00 – Around that time we realized we were starving, so we sat at Terrasse des épices . Since it was a roof top restaurant we enjoyed our incredibly delicious Moroccan lunch while looking at the medina from above. Following getting full with all the oriental dishes from the menu we still wanted to go somewhere and try the well known drink of Moroccan – mint tea. The perfect place for sipping on some tea and escaping a bit from the hustle and bustle of the old town are the so called “Riads”. Translated from Arabic it means a large traditional house built around a central courtyard. However in the last few years most of the Riads left in the medina are turned into hotels, guesthouses or even shops. First we went to Jurdin Secret – a very big Riad renovated in the 20th century and works as a museum now. The courtyard holds two big stunning gardens and is perfect for taking nice pictures. Afterwards we headed to Riad Palais Sebban to relax for a bit and finally drink some of this magical tea. The space has actually three Riads inside with a shared pool and restaurant. It even has a big rooftop where you can sunbath and are gifted with a panoramic view of Marrakech.
entry way of the riad
le jardin secret
17:00 – Palais de la Bahia – Our next stop was Palais de la Bahia(the kings palace), which is now turned into a museum and is open for visitors all year round. There we really felt what it feels like to be a royalty in the monarchy. Probably the thing that I liked the most there was the calming blue colors of the walls inside and the several spacious courtyards.
19:30 – Before going back to our hotel we had only one last stop left and that was Jemaa el-Fnaa . We wanted to experience the city at night as locals, so that is why we headed to the main square for dinner. We went there at sunset in order to see how the market changes during the day compared to the night. Same as in the medina it was full with all kinds of people. Despite the surrounding chaos I found the whole experience very entertaining. All around us there were locals dressed in traditional costumes, ladies insisting on painting your hands with Henna. There were men holding monkeys and snakes and then putting them on a random walking tourists’ head, just for a picture. Keep in mind that most of the Moroccans at the market are poor, so keep your belongings close to you at all time and don’t forget that even a picture with a monkey costs money. After fooling around with the locals we finally went to my favorite part of the day – the food market. There you can find everything from fresh fruit and veggies to food stalls offering all sorts of traditional and exotic meals. I was even brave enough to try snails, which honestly tasted better than they looked.
Well, after our day full with activities we went to bed exhausted and got ready for the early morning call.
One of my favorite cuisines is the well-known Arabic oriental. The first dish that made me fall in love with this enriched world of flavors was a portion of falafels. Traditionally falafels are made from chickpeas and spices, and then rolled into small balls and deep fried until crisp and golden on the outside, and soft and creamy on the inside. This balance of textures makes the dish so enjoyable for many people. As I’ve mentioned before, I try to follow a healthy diet, which doesn’t include fried food. That’s why I challenged myself to make this fatty indulging dish into something as delicious, but better for my body and health. I came up with the idea, instead of frying the falafels to bake them and surprisingly they turned out tasting amazing. Complimented by some leafy greens and my special garlic tahini sauce, this falafel salad is bursting with fresh bright flavors from the cilantro and greens. It still makes a hefty hearty meal due to the protein rich chickpeas and fatty tahini dressing. Another great thing about baking falafels is that they can stay in the fridge for up to 5 days. Even if you are not a big salad lover, you can still have them on their own or serve them in some pita bread. Trust me after trying this recipe you will want to have this falafel salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Can of chickpeas
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp spicy paprika
1 tbsp. Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup of Parsley
For the garlic tahini dressing:
1 garlic clove(minced)
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp honey
What to do?:
In a food processor blend the onion, garlic and parsley
Add the spices and mix until nicely blended
Pour the thick mixture in a large bowl
Put the chickpeas in the food processor and blitz
Add the chickpeas to the spice mixture and stir until combined
Add a table spoon of flour
Form small thick patties and place on the baking your generously oiled baking thin, so they don’t stick
Place in the oven for 30minutes in total
After 15-20 minutes turn the patties over and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes
Meanwhile make the sauce, combine tahini, lemon juice, garlic and cumin in a glass and stir
To loosen up the dressing gradually add water
When your falafels look golden brown, take them out of the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes
Lastly plate everything and serve
There you have it! Your healthy version of the traditional falafel recipe. To make the salad taste even better I added also some hummus and chopped tomatoes.
* If you want crispier outside here are my tips:
Make small thick patties
Refrigerate the mixture before forming into patties
As I mentioned in my previous blog post a few weeks ago I went on a small trip to Copenhagen. Despite the many mesmerizing sights we saw, the city also managed to satisfy our food cravings. Copenhagen is known to be one of Europe’s most preferred culinary destinations. Home of the world famous restaurant Noma, the vibrant city also has a lot of other incredible places, where you can try great food without needing to spend a fortune. If you know me, you are probably aware that food is my one and only true love and wherever I go, I always make a special list with certain food places I must try. Before even booking our airbnb I had already picked every single cafe, bar or restaurant, which we were going to visit and eat in.
1. Grød – The name translated from Danish means porridge and it reveals that the menu is based mainly on porridge. But forgetting about the sticky and tasteless oatmeal that your mom used to make you eat as a child, Grod has managed to make this dull looking breakfast item into something snazzy and insanely delicious. With its unique and creative porridge bowls, Grød has deserved its reputation for serving the best oatmeal in the world. All day round you can see a large queue of hungry clients waiting for their morning booster. After 20 minutes of questioning what to get, I finally made my choice – Oat Porridge 1(their signature item), which is based on water and whole milk, topped with apples, homemade caramel sauce, roasted almonds and cinnamon. I have no words to describe how good it was. Not only that it kept me energized for hours, but it also satisfied every single one of my taste buds. Open until 19:00 you can enjoy special breakfast, lunch and dinner menus in their 3 locations spread all around Copenhagen.
2. Falafel factory – If there is one food item, which I could have for the rest of my life that would most likely be falafels. As soon as I saw that there is a special eatery in Copenhagen that specializes in falafels, I was too interested to not go there. Falafel factory is a small fast food restaurant where you can customize your falafel pita as you may desire. For your base you can choose from three type of falafels and add all kinds of toppings and secret-recipe sauces. I personally went for a spicier option, with which I was extremely satisfied. If you are on a budget, want to have a quick bite or just love falafels internally as I do, “Falafel Factory” is a great option.
3. Next door cafe – As you could assume from the name, the cafe literally looks like your neighbor’s house. Starting from the cozy interior, the place really does remind you of a living room and has a very home-like and hipster vibe. Located on Lardbornstrasse, which is in the heart of Copenhagen, the cafe welcomes locals and tourists with freshly brewed coffee and delicious homemade food. I was impressed mostly by the artsy decor, and unusual details such as the notes, drawings, and pictures all tucked in by previous customers under the glass table. The cafe offers traditional breakfasts such as American pancakes and scrambled eggs, which all follow a recipe by the owner.
4. Moller – Winner of the title – The best breakfast in Copenhagen no doubt about it. The restaurant hides in the heart of the hip district Nørrebro and offers breakfast all day, every day. You can simply pick from their list with breakfast possibilities, tick your choice and hand it to the waiter. Within just a few minutes of waiting you will receive the most scrumptious breakfast. We ordered quite a few things both sweet and savory options, which all overwhelmed our expectations. Everything was brilliantly prepared and I personally can’t decide which food item is my favorite.
5. The food club – The only rule you have to follow if you want to be a member of the food club is to come with an empty stomach. Part of the Danish restaurant chain Madklubben, The food club is an upscale buffet packed with great food and beverages, varying throughout the week. The buffet focuses on sustainability and is all organic produced. To enjoy the wide array of incredibly delicious dishes and drinks you need to pay a fixed price depending on the time you spend there. Since it was an all you can eat restaurant, I went all out and stuffed my plate with everything that the buffet offered. The only thing that I was disappointed by was the lack of dessert options, but everything else compensated for it as the food was wonderful.
We also visited lot’s of other great food places in Copenhagen, but these 5 were my top choices.
Two weeks ago two of my dreams came true. I did a girls trip with my favorite person in the whole world – my cousin and together we visited the happiest city on Earth. If you have ever been to Copenhagen you will for sure remember your first time there. This utterly beautiful city is a stunning combination between the safety and calmness of a small town mixed with the buzz and vibrancy that matches the major European cities. Despite the cold weather, Copenhagen managed to warm my heart up. It was a true inspiration for me. Everywhere you turn you can see a stunning building in the minimalistic traditional Scandinavian style, smell the freshly roasted coffee coming from the nearest coffee joint or sense all the latest fashion trends worn by the people around you. Copenhagen has many fun activities to offer concluding that 3 days were definitely not enough, but here are the things you must see and do in Denmark’s capital.
1. Tovehallerne – Yes, you guessed it, our first stop was the most famous food market in Copenhagen. Surrounded by awesome food stalls, which offered traditional and non-traditional Danish dishes and drinks, we absolutely loved the market! It hides inside two big warehouses and you can choose to eat whatever you are craving. Since we got there early in the day with empty stomachs we wanted to buy something for breakfast, so we tried the most incredible porridge from Grød.
2. Botanical gardens – This is the perfect spot to visit when the weather in Copenhagen is not the best for a long day outside. Whether you are a fan of plants or not, the botanical gardens are absolutely free and perfect for taking cool pictures. Entering you feel as if you have teleported in some kind of tropical island and you can easily forget about the freezing wind outside.
3. The round tower – The architecture of the tower and the panoramic view from the top make “The round tower” one of the most visited sights in Copenhagen and certainly one of my favorite ones. We were lucky enough to catch a clear sky and admire the whole city from above.
4. Strøget – Strøget is Copenhagen’s longest pedestrian streets and is full with shops from high-end brands to not too expensive ones. If you want do some shopping, Strøget is the place to go.
5. Nyhavn – Probably this is one of the most iconic sceneries of Copenhagen. You can see it on every single postcard and travel guide about Copenhagen. Honestly it really looks just like the photos and maybe even better. The colorful buildings contrasting with the grey sky are a real eye-catcher. You can also sit at a cafe by the lake and enjoy the beautiful landscape while sipping on Danish coffee.
6. Glyptoteket – When we were in Copenhagen the weather was -3 and we were too tired and cold to continue walking around the city. We wanted to find a museum, where we could explore a nice exposition and warm ourselves up. I googled a few free museums and the one that popped out first was the New Carlsberg museum. At first I thought that I would be rather bored, because I am not that much into sculpture, but I ended up enjoying it immensely. The museum hosted a fascinating exhibit about the development and influence of art throughout the centuries. Even if you aren’t that much into paintings, you will be mesmerized by the entire design of the museum inside, which is a piece of art by itself. Giant white hallways, calming winter garden and several books about interior and architecture will make you want to extend your stay at the museum even more.
*it is free on Tuesday for everyone
7. Try Danish cuisine – Were you even in Copenhagen if you didn’t try their famous smørrebrød(open faced sandwich) or traditional Danish hot-dog. Despite all these traditional Danish dishes, the Nordics are also well-known for the so called New Nordic cuisine and you can find a Michelin-Star restaurant all around the city. A great place to try outstanding new nordic cuisine on a reasonable price is Manfreds. It was recommended to us by a friend of mine, who lives in Copenhagen. Sadly when we wanted to have dinner there it was already fully booked.
8. Walk around Nørrebro and Vasterbro – We wanted to escape the crowded tourist attractions and experience the city as locals. This two districts are ultra hip, trashy and trendy. Some of Copenhagen”s best bars, restaurants and vintage shops are spread all around the neighborhoods, so by any chance leave a day off just for exploring them.
9. Tivoli Gardens – Tivoli is Europe’s oldest theme park. It is full of amazing attractions for young and adults. Unfortunately it closes from November until April because of the weather conditions, so we weren’t able to go. You can still admire its beauty from the fences or have a bite at the Tivoli Food Market, which offers all kinds of international foods.
10. Christiana – I was really debating whether or not I should include this neighborhood in the blog post, because to be honest it didn’t live up to my expectations. You probably have heard about “Christiana” – the district in Copenhagen where everything is legal. Walking down the streets you can easily buy marijuana from the sellers and smoke it within the area. If not you can still look and photograph the hand-painted abandoned military barracks and “homemade” houses. Trust me it is not exciting as it sounds. Maybe before it really did represent the hippie culture, but now it has become too much of a tourist attraction.
That’s all from me. Hope this blog post helps you organize your trip to Copenhagen or makes you wanna go there.
The only thing that motivates me to wake up every morning and leave my cozy warm bed is breakfast. Without it, my whole day feels incomplete. I just don’t get people, who skip breakfast just because they don’t feel hungry or don’t have enough time. Breakfast is not only my personally most adored meal, but it also fuels your body with energy for starting the day. Continue reading “Morning Inspiration: Healthy and easy breakfast ideas”→
Many people assume that in Vienna it is a rarity to eat something besides schnitzel or wurst with French fries or the famous Sacher cake. Well, thanks to its vast cultural growth, you can now find many modern Continue reading “24 hours of food: Vienna edition”→