Aubergine couscous salad

This summer I rediscovered once again my obsession with aubergines. Spending almost a month in Greece, the one thing that I consumed every single day was and honestly I never got tired of it. When I came back home I still found myself craving and wanting to have it on a day to day basis. Inspired from my trip to Morocco this year, especially the traditional spice mixture from its cuisine, I created this simple and quick cous cous with aubergine. As most of my recipes it takes almost no time to make, it tastes delicious and you can eat it on its is own or serve it as a side to your main dish. The best thing about it is that it’s budget friendly and you most probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of cous cous

1 large or 2 medium sized Aubergines

Feta cheese(optional)

One bunch of mint leafs

1 lemon

1 tsp. Cumin

1tsp. Paprika

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 cup – walnuts

Olive oil

What to do?

1. Cut the aubergines into round circles and place them on a baking sheet

2. Salt them and let them sit for 15min. – in this way you dry out the moisture and make them taste less bitter

3. After the time has passed brush them with olive oil and place in the 180 preheated oven until ready( 20-25min.)

4. In the meantime mix the half a cup of cous cous with a 1tsp. Olive oil, the zest of one lemon and a few fresh mint leafs

5. Pour hot water over the cous cous mixture and let it sit for around 5 min. or until all the water is absorbed

6. Fluff the cous cous with a fork

7. When your aubergines are already baked, chop them into small pieces and add them to the cous cous

8. Season with your remaining spices, chopped mint leafs, juice of one lemon and generous amount of olive oil

9. Roughly chop the walnuts and add them on top

There you have it! A simple and delicious weekly dinner or lunch idea! Hope you enjoy it!

LOOK BOOK : Autumn Vintage

I don’t know why but when the beginning of Autumn comes, I get very nostalgic and that definitely reflects on my overall style. I’ve always adored vintage fashion pieces and from time to time when I lack a style inspiration, I look threw my mother’s clothes from the 90s or scroll threw some vintage fashion Instagram accounts. Soon enough I concluded that during this time of year my style consists mainly of second-hand clothing items or borrowed clothing pieces from my mother and grandma. For this reason, I decided to create this mini look book, in which I have styled my two current favorite vintage pieces. Along with my fellow friend and talented photographer @m.art.in.photo, we shot this vintage detail editorial.

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The shirt in this look book is probably my favorite thrifted item. I got it about a month ago from a small second-hand boutique located in Sofia on Angel Kanchen street. Its vintage Ralph Lauren, which I got for 12 leva (or around 6 euro). If that isn’t a good deal, than I don’t know what is. The best thing about wearing the shirt is that whether you style it with jeans or a skirt, it adds a very subtle touch of class to the whole look.

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Sunglasses: H&M

Jewelry: unknown

The bag I got from a random shop in Fez, Morocco, but I am sure you can find a similar one almost every where since they are so trendy right now. For example I saw nice models in Zara.

The jeans were worn by my mother about 20 years ago and have stayed in her closet ever since. About a year ago, she gave them to me and until now, they are one of my most worn piece. I think that they are the perfect denim color and compliment my style and fit really well.

I really hope you enjoyed this mini look book. If you would like to see more amazing photos, go follow @m.art.in.photo on Instagram!

5 – Minute Chickpea pancakes with avocado basil cream

We all have those days where we want to cook something special for ourselves or our friends and family but don’t have that much time on our hands. One of my favorite bloggers Deliciously Ella inspired me to develop a quick and easy recipe that will definitely wow the crowd. Continue reading “5 – Minute Chickpea pancakes with avocado basil cream”

A beginners guide to a healthy lifestyle

Hey lovely people! Today I was feeling inspired and thought that it is time for me to share how I manage to maintain my mindful and healthy lifestyle. Hearing the word healthy probably the first association that pops into your mind is diet and weight-loss. Well this blog post has nothing to do with that. I just want to give you some simple tips, which can drastically change your mindset and body in a positive way without harming your psyche or making you starve.

1. Sleep more – I am sure you have heard this one at least a thousand times from your parents or overly protective grandma, who is concerned about your well-being, and it may be hard to admit but both your grandma and mother were right this time. Good night sleep plays an essential role in our physical life, because without it our body does not function properly. When you don’t sleep enough your cortisol(stress hormone) rises and in many cases can lead to fat gain. Without the needed sleep our brain activates and starts searching for food. You have probably noticed that after a long night out with your friends, you end up stuffing yourself with all the leftovers in the fridge the day after. Due to the lack of sleep our brain hunts for food, which can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

2. Eat 5 times per day – this one is most certainly my top tip and my most followed rule. Dividing my food into smaller meals through out the day has helped me reduce my weight and helped me feel fuller. Eating 5 times a day stops you from feeling hungry and doesn’t allow you to overeat. For example I normally have 3 main meals(breakfast, dinner and lunch) and two snacks in between(fresh fruit, raw bars, nuts).

3. Drink more water – Although this may sound a bit too cliched, it definitely shouldn’t be missed. If you have payed even a little attention in your biology class in school, you are aware that the human body is made out of approximately 60% water. Our body uses all of that water in all of its cells, organs and to help regulate the temperature and other bodily functions. In other words water plays the leading role for good health and well-being. Not only does it increase our metabolism, but it also cools us down in the summer, helps us digest food and alcohol faster, and on top of that fools our body when hungry. Next time you think your stomach is empty, don’t head immediately for that tempting box of Oreos. Firstly drink a glass of water and see whether you are still feeling hungry. *Bonus tip – if you don’t like the taste of plain water, simply add some lemon or fresh fruits in it.

4. Take your time – The benefits of slow eating are numerous. Not only that it helps for better digestion, better hydration, easier maintenance of your desired weight, but it also makes your brain realize when you are actually full. We all have a very fast and buzzed life, so we rarely have the time to sit down, enjoy our meal or even chew it properly. What I would suggest doing is to try and take all your time during lunch break. Switch off your phone or any other devices that may bother you and just rest and truly enjoy your meal. Trust me, this will not only help you lose weight, but it will save you from consuming a couple of additional calories.

5. Move it, move it – We have all been told that physical activity plays a vital role when wanting to lose weight. Well, that may be true, but lets be honest it is almost impossible to hit the gym everyday. But what we can do everyday is walk. Whether you plan to go to school or work on foot, take your dog on a walk or even stroll through the park with a friend, all of this benefits your body and health. Not only that in some cases walking can save you money from public transport and taxis, but it also refreshes your day and makes it much more enjoyable. I personally have set an everyday goal of 10,000 steps per day. If you are someone like me, who also doesn’t enjoy doing intense cardio work-outs, you can take up yoga classes. A few months ago I started doing yoga more regularly and I can really see the positive change it has done to my mind and body.

6. Self love – My last tip may sound a little bit too psychological, but don’t underestimate it. From my personal experience I have learned that when you learn to love yourself and your outer appearance that is when you can really follow the desired healthy lifestyle. No matter how many hours you spend at the gym or how many unhealthy foods you try to restrict from your diet, at the end of the day, all that matters is how you actually feel on the inside. Every person has a different body type, which is often controlled by our genetics. For this reason you must understand that you are beautiful just the way you are and all your little blemishes make you special and unique.

Lastly, I would like to make a disclaimer that I am no professional expert and all the tips are based on personal experience. I really do hope that some of them really help you live more mindful and healthy.

Rome: NON-touristy guide

In the beginning of August my two best friends from middle school and I spontaneously decided to pack our suitcases and go on a low-budget trip to Rome. Since we all had visited the city before, we really wanted to experience Rome in a more local way and do things off the beaten touristy track. Although it was a bit hard to avoid all the touristy sights, we still managed to see the city in an entirely new light.. In this blog post I am going to share with you my favorite things we did in Rome and I would strongly recommend you doing at least a few if visiting the Italian capital.

1. Explore the local districts of the city – Apart from its beautiful center, Rome has many other neighborhoods such as Trappicino, San Lorenzo and etc.. They are often underestimated or unknown by most tourists. My personal favorite district was Trastevere. Situated on the other side of the river, Trastevere is full with small boutiques, local restaurants and bars, and breathtaking historical buildings. While we were there we also walked around the Botanical garden, which unfortunately didn’t have such a wide variety of plants, but was still a nice place for wandering around and taking cool pictures.

Botanical Gardens

2. Do your sightseeing at night – As you know Rome has become one of the most preferred and common tourist destinations in the world. Due to its many historical sights the capital is filled with tourists all year round. If you are a person who dislikes crowded and hectic places, but still want to explore the ancient sights, then going on a night trip through the city is your savior. After sun dawn, at around 11/12 at night, most of the tourists are already exhausted from their long day of sightseeing and go back to their hotel rooms. At this time the streets get emptier and you can really get a close look of some of Rome’s most famous sights. All the buildings and monuments are lit up nicely and in my opinion look even better than during the day. If you are not a night owl and care about your good night sleep, another good time to avoid the touristy crowds, is really early in the morning.

National history museum

3. Simply wander – The city is full with small streets and hidden corners, so don’t be scared to get lost. When wandering in the small streets without a guided way you never know what you might find. What my girls and I loved to do was to sneak in some of the buildings when the door was open and sit at the patio of the building, if of course there was one. And even if at some moment you feel too lost, don’t worry about asking a local to show you the way. Italians are known to be very friendly and warm, so I am sure that they would love to help you.

hidden patio we found

4. Eat – You already are aware that Italian cuisine is awarded to be one of the best and most adored in the world. When staying in its capital, you shall forget about dieting and truly enjoy all the food choices you have. Wherever you turn around you can smell and taste amazing and reasonably priced pasta, pizza and gelato.

5. Start your morning at a local cafe – Another very common thing you will find everywhere around Rome is good coffee. To be honest, the best coffee is not at a fancy cafe or at a hipster trendy café. If you really want to sip on some real Italian espresso, go to your next door cafe and enjoy your 80 cent coffee alongside some delicious homemade pastry.

Pizza from Bonci Pizzarium
Dinner at Obicá

6. Grab a drink and hang out in Piazza Madonna dei Monti – Rione Monti is a very trendy neighborhood among young Romans. There, the locals like to shop in the alternative boutiques or hang out with their friends after work or on the weekends. After the sun sets down, the small square turns into a vibrant meeting point for creative and stylish people. My girlfriends and I decided to walk around Monti and eat some pizza and pasta at local Italian restaurant. After fulfilling our stomachs with delicious Italian goodness we went to buy some ice-cream from “Fatamorgana”(outrageous flavors) and sat with a bottle of wine at the piazza. While drinking my wine and chatting with my girlfriends, for just a moment I felt as if I was living in some kind of parallel perfect world.

7. Rent a bike – my best friend is a really big fan of biking in general, so when she heard that we have a bike rental place just a few blocks away from our airbnb, she just couldn’t miss that opportunity. At first I was a bit skeptical to ride a bike in Rome, because most of the streets are very small and crowded and also there aren’t many special biking routes. Surprisingly, at the end of the day, I was actually happy with the whole biking experience. Not only that it saved us time and money from going to one point to another, but we also rode along the river, where there were not as many people and you could get a beautiful look of the city. If you don’t feel sure in your biking skills, you could also sign up for a guided biking tour!

View from the river

Places we ate at: Frigidarium – Rome’s first gelateria

Ginger – great place for a healthy meal

Fatamorgana – extraordinary and non-traditional ice-cream flavors

Bonci Pizzarium – most famous pizza place in Rome and a definitive must on your foodie list

Obica – mozzarella bar – great place for cocktails and finger food

That’s all from our small vacation in Rome. Hope this non-touristy tips really help experience the city in a whole new and exciting way.

24 hours of food: Berlin, Germany

A few days ago my best friend and I decided to go for the weekend to Berlin in order to spend some quality time together and visit some friends there. Since it wasn’t our first time in the city we really wanted to explore it as locals and avoid the basic tourist traps. Knowing me and knowing about my crazy passion for food, our short holiday quickly turned into a mini – foodie adventure. We visited a lot of the local’s favorite bars and restaurants. So here is how our foodie day in Berlin looked like:

11:00 Silo Café – After our flight was delayed with 4 hours and we landed at 5 am In Berlin, we decided to go to sleep and get up a bit later. Waking up, we were both craving for a good breakfast and an energizing cup of quality coffee, which would help us go on with our tightly planed day in Berlin. That’s why we headed all the way to Friedrichschein to try one of the city’s best cafes. Silo Café is a true breakfast and coffee heaven. The menu is full of deliciously sounding traditional breakfasts options but with a twist. My best friend and I wanted something salty, so we shared a traditional avocado toast with poached egg and the eggs in tomato sauce . While waiting for our food we drank a lovely coffee and enjoyed the minimalistic interior of the cafe. After a short wait we diged into our food. As expected, everything was incredible, but I warn you if you don’t like spicy food don’t order the eggs in tomato sauce.

13:00 – Markthalle Neun

Walking around the hidden streets and going shopping, we finally felt hungry and stopped for a quick lunch break at one of the best food markets in town. Markthalle Neun is a market full of local products. There you can find a wide variety of fruits and veggies, quality meat as well, sweet goodies and many more. An interesting fact about the place is that regularly it hosts a couple of interesting food events. For example every third Sunday of the month there is the so called “Breakfast market” and every Thursday night you can go on a street food adventure there. Unfortunately we weren’t lucky enough to catch any of those events, but we still enjoyed the amazing Bulgogi bowl from “Bone’s ” and treated ourselves with a scoop of gelato.

Bulgogi bowl

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15:30 – The store kitchen

Heading to a completely different part of Berlin, we were suggested by a couple of locals to leave some spare time and go to Soho house. Inside the elegant Soho house you can  not only shop luxury fashionable goods, admire the esthetic interior, listen to some good music, but as well as that enjoy a healthy meal at “the Store Kitchen”. Everyday you have the opportunity to choose your dish from their lunch and brunch menu, which main focus is on health and sustainability. I ordered their vegan laxa with tofu and noodles, which tasted, looked and smelled absolutely incredible.

17:00 – Paul Möhring – have you ever thought what if ice-cream was actually a gourmet dish. Well the guys from Paul Möhring have managed to make this dream into reality. For about a year now the small stylish shop offers its customers extraordinary soft-serve creations. The traditional ice cream flavors like vanilla and chocolate and their mix are daily produced from natural high-quality ingredients. What makes the ice-cream so special are actually the wildly combined toppings. You decide whether you want  Paul Mohrings already made crazy combinations like “Salty Baby”, “Bacon and Cream” and many more or customize your own ice-cream. In addition to the soft ice-cream you can also go for a vegan option such as the famous gin and tonic sorbet.

Soft serve with popcorn and red peppercorns

21:30 Holzmarkt – After a long day fullfilled with food and sightseeing, we really wanted to reward ourselves with a drink. That’s why we headed to Berlin’s Urban paradise situated along the river. About a year ago Holzmarkt celebrated its grand re-opening and since then it quickly became a locals favorite spot for a weekend hang out or even just a chill out night. The newly opened place comprises of several features such as restaurants, bars, cool food stalls and even an outdoor fire place, where you can sit and enjoy a drink or two with your friends. If you are lucky enough you can even enjoy a live music performance. Since the whole public area has an outdoor policy, everyone is welcomed to come. This makes the whole atmosphere really friendly and lively. Since this article is about food, I can’t miss to add that we also had an amazing veggie pizza there.

Veggie pizza

11:00 – Distrikt Coffee – Before going to the airport we had one last spot left on our Berlin food list. Distrikt Cafe is considered to be one of the city’s best brunch spots. The design of the cafe has a very modern industrial feel. Surrounded by brick walls, wood and leather[a] you can still feel very comfy and homie. Everything from the menu is freshly made and served to your table by the friendly staff members. We were looking for a rather lighter and healthier dish, so that’s why we got the superfood bowl and the yoghurt with apricots. Of course we couldn’t resist trying also their avocado toast with poached egg because after all can one call brunch a real brunch without the classic  avocado toast. If you are looking for a quiet Sunday getaway to catch up with a friend or even get some work done, Distrikt cafe is the place to go.

Superfood bowl

Well, that’s how our short foodie adventures in one of Europe’s most vibrant cities ended. Hope you liked it! See you soon with a new foodie adventure!

Beginner’s guide to London’s street food markets

Oh London! One of Europes liveliest cities. A city where you can never get bored, every day there is an event happening or a new trendy bar or restaurant is opening. All the different mixes of cultures and nationalities, which fulfill the British capital, have made its food scene so popular all around the world. Home of exactly 70 Michelin starred restaurants London is every foodies dream destination.. Unfortunately in most cases a meal at those restaurants costs a fortune and after paying your bill there, you will probably have to live on toasts and canned soup for the next week. Luckily the inhabitants of the city have figured out a smart and cheap way in which you can try and enjoy incredibly delicious gourmet-worthy food, without doing a serious damage to your wallet. It’s a well-known fact that London’s street food scene is growing and growing and the standards of the food trucks and stalls are rising higher ans higher. Most of the street food markets are crowded with people, who love the mixture between well-prepared food with a friendly atmosphere. Due to this fact New markets are popping up all around London with more street food vans and vendors offering all type of British and international cuisine. Whether you are craving Korean fried chicken or some classic fish and chips, London’s street food scene has it all. During my recent visit to the vibrant capital I made it my goal to make a special guide for all of you curious foodie lovers and guide you through some of Londons best street food markets.

1. Borough market – Established in the 1850s, Borough market still remains the most preferred market in this metropolitan capital. Every day you can see massive crowds of hungry locals and tourists, who are on the hunt for the best street food. From locally grown fruits and veggies to international delicacies, vegan dishes, a range of spices and Asian street food, there is plenty of delicious indulgences, which you can try at one of Londons oldest street food markets. During all my visits to London, I have always taken some spare time and go to this market. Every special treat I have tried has always left me more than satisfied, but honestly my favorite thing about Borough are the free food gourmet samples.

Variety of fresh fish

2. Maltby street food market – Just a few minutes away from Borough, you will find yourself in this small outdoor market. Hiding between the big modern buildings Maltby market offers all sorts of incredible foods and beverages, which will satisfy every foodies expectations. Opened about 8 years ago the market has already become a well-known weekend destination and can get pretty crowded when the sun comes out. When we went there we were quite hungry, so predictably we went a bit over board with our orders. We wanted to taste as much as we could, so everyone got something different. I personally am a big fan of gyozas, so when I saw a food stall, which specialized in gyozas, I immediately pulled my wallet and got their bento box. It costed me exactly 10 pounds, but the taste and the portion size were worth it. We also got some Korean fried curry chicken, grilled cheese sandwich with chorizo and my absolute favorite duck burger with goat cheese. Maltby market may look small in comparison to some other markets, but offers a rather wide range of food choices.

Grilled cheese with chorizo

Korean Curry Fried Chicken

Gyoza Bento Box

3. Shoreditch boxpark – Heading to East London(the hip side of the city), you shall surely make a pit stop at the Shoreditch boxpark. This contemporary art building made out of shipping containers plonked underneath the well-known Shoreditch High Street Overground Station is known to be Londons first pop up mall. On The second floor of the unusual “mall” you can experience several food and beverage stalls all hidden in small containers. The food park is home of the famous bubble waffle ice-cream, dirty fries and many other international stalls. The dish that blew my mind was the vegan pad-Thai from “Cookdaily”, which contained plant-based prawns. Having my first bite from this vegan madness, I couldn’t even realize that the prawn didn’t come directly from the sea. It really looked, tasted and even had the same texture as a real one. Even my father and sister, who are the biggest meat lovers I know couldn’t spot the difference.

4. Old Spitalfields market – Next stop on your foodie trip should be Spitalfields market. The market is one of Londons busiest shopping destinations and as you could probably guess it also has an amazing food court. Whether you are in the mood for something healthier like a poke bowl or want to enjoy a special meal on your cheat day, you will find several food options for every taste. My family and I are big fans of Asian cuisine, especially the dumplings. For this reason we decided to get the shrimp wontons with chili sauce from the “Dumpling shack”.

5. Brick lane market – Just next to Spitalfields market you will find yourself in the buzzing Brick lane market. The market is known best for its wide range of trendy vintage clothes. Despite that you can also enjoy a changing selection of street food that will keep you well-fueled while you browse through the several second-hand shops and retro goodies. I personally snacked on some sweet potato fries.

6. Kerb Camden market – the last stop on our street food adventure was Kerb in Camden market. From Chinese to French, KERB street food market holds 34 food stalls, which all offer mouth-watering dishes from all around the world. The food choices are endless and will leave even the pickiest eater happy. After wandering around the food stalls and trying to decide what I want to eat, I finally chose the atomic cookie ice-cream from “Chin Chin Labs” I enjoyed my scientific food creation along the beautiful canal.

Well, with an overfilled stomach and an unforgettable after taste, my foodie trip to some of London’s best street food markets ended. This guide is supposed to help all of you first time visitors, who want to enjoy the ultimate street food experience.
xoxo,
Afterthetaste