Cooking could be a anything from a necessity to survive to a loving hobby. In my family cooking is most important on Sunday as we all come together for lunch-dinner (#liner) at around 16 o’ clock. Well, at least this is how I remember it when I was living with my parents.

It was important to learn how to cook, I am proud to say I could do the basics before I went to university. During university cooking was rather more of a time management thing. And trust me I was bad at time management at 17.  Even nowadays I feel like I am out of touch with time at times, wanting to escape and throw away my watch… But that is a post for another time 😉

Getting to know a cute guy- it is always a guy, isn’t it?- I was intrigued to understand better where he is coming from, his culture and his people’s habits. And what a better place to start than cooking! Before I knew it, I had found a course in Aargau, registered and a few months later I was standing in front of a group of strangers who had the same curiosity as I did. A couple had received the course as a gift, another couple were friends of the Chef (Andreas was his name I believe) as I understood it, and there was even a couple that had met through these cooking courses and got married! They even shared with us the story of their marriage and the food -yes, it was ALL about food that day-  Andreas had prepared for them. With every story I was thinking to myself “Shit! How did you manage to come here alone?” But that is a story for another time 😉

In the beginning the team enjoyed a little bit of freshly made bread, which was melting in your mouth 🙂 The kitchen was smelling herby, italian herby. Wine and water were complementing our late afternoons. We were all instructed to wear white aprons and wash our hands. The aprons had a bright white color, and a rather complicated mechanism for adjusting the “tails” of the apron. You see, we were given two tails of cloth. Each had at a button at one end, which would help the tail stay fixed. The other end would go through a tiny hole of the apron. Once this was done on both holes – I feel so naughty…- we would basically tie the apron with the tails around our waist. My days… this is harder to describe than to actually do! You get the picture, the complicated picture! I was expecting to where one of those tall Chef hats as well, but I guess I am in a hurry lol. One needs to deserve “The Hat”, it is like the stars of a military uniform I guess.

The Chef and the Sous-chef explained the several dishes for us. The newbie might have felt overwhelmed in the beginning – I felt that way too, especially when hearing all those new names of dishes and ingredients and trying to remember how to do each dish. Eleven or so dishes, different ingredients, different techniques and tools. Apparently there were easy and not so easy dishes. Thankfully we were each responsible for 1-2 dishes which did not lead to a catastrophe, i.e. burning the place down, which would have been a shame because they had recently renovated the place.  

Now first things first. The meat was a priority because it would have to go in the oven asap for all those beautiful spices to marry together with the protein. I do not cook lamb at home but you never know when you are going to need a recipe like this one. “So focus Sabrina and record this- in your mind that is because your phone battery just died.”

Then it was our turn. As we all began cooking, I could hear the hustle and bustle in the kitchen. Everyone was talking, trying to figure out what was supposed to go down. The uncertainty mixed with a feeling of excitement were lingering in the air. A part of me was glad because I was a bit lost as well.

In the end I prepared the desert, which was rather chosen for me – I guess I was the only one looking baklavish enough. The desert, muttabaq I think was its name, did not seem THAT complicated, it was all about understanding the steps and following the recipe. Now, understanding a recipe is not that easy, especially when there are several bowls and tools lying on your station. And you are thinking to yourself, “OK, what is this for? Well, if this is for this, then what the fuck does this do?”. Both Andreas and the Sous-Chef (sorry, didn’t catch the second’s name) were always going around, checking if someone needed help, explaining the steps. And that was lovely, because I did not really know how to start. Anyways, after I got into it and finished the sweet, I put it in the oven and then it was time for the sirup. Now a sirup I CAN do and I felt I wanted to just play a little bit 🙂

So I started using all those fascinating ingredients I could find. I was so intrigued and started opening all kinds of bottles of spices! There were some I knew but others I have never heard of. Just by sniffing a bit, one could intuitively figure out which spices to sprinkle like magic dust in the sirup, which is usually nothing but water and sugar dissolved above a heat source to speed things up and help them marry better together. The whole process was just amazing. I love playing around with spices!

By this time the kitchen was smelling like Morocco, or at least as if we were transported to a region of the arab world.

This is the end result right here:

 

 

Lucky for us, there was a Thermomix lying around and the poached peaches were made by another team member, or as we could be called in the kitchen, little Cook de Partie.

The most beautiful thing however came once we were all done cooking. The Chef and Sous-Chef had prepared a wonderful homy table for us. We all served  ourselves and sat together in good company enjoying all our efforts together.

Oh, the food was so delish! And the place was smelling so appetizing, my saliva was drooling! The meat was just sliding off the bone, it was tender and smooth, smelling warmth and home. And you know, the rest of the dishes were good 🙂 Well, I didn’t mean to make it sound like that. Let me try and save it: The beautiful little pitas with spinach and hot spices in them, man I can eat that for breakfast, lunch and dinner! What caught my tongue -are we allowed to say that?- was the oven-baked aubergines with sheep’s yoghurt, zatar and pomengranate. It was so appetising to the eye, I felt my pupil was going to come out and take a bite! I still make this dish on a regular basis. It is soooo easy and just makes me happy every time I taste it 🙂

Food and cooking brought once again a group of strangers together. There was small talk of course about what we do and how the weather is – yes, we are in Switzerland, these are two favourite topics in any convo- and then there was talk about finances, and food prices and genome modification of tomatoes.

By the end, we -minus moi because of the battery- had pictures as evidence to savour the experience. Then again, that was a great way of getting people’s digits 😉

Would I do this experience again? Absofuckinglutely!

And I did, but that is a story for another time! 😉

Want my fav recipes? Follow me through email and ask for them! I am preparing handmade recipe cards for a quick download and print as we speak!

Now, how about you? What brings your family together? What connects you to the world?

Can’t wait to hear from you, my lovely Curious Creature!

Till then, mwah!

 

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“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear …, Happy Birthday to you!”

Some of us have heard this song, others not. The Birthday song might be important for you and or might leave you indifferent.

When I was younger I did not really like to celebrate my birthday. I would say that the only birthday party that is still engraved in my hypothalamus is when I was turning 18. Before that I do not remember making such a fuss about a birthday party, even though I saw evidential photos of a time during my birthday party I vaguely remember. That must have been when I was 8. I was not looking excited! lol

I was born during midnight so I am blessed (or cursed, depending on how you choose to look at it) to listen to this song and accept “Happy Birthday” wishes 48 hours in a row. My sisters usually start a week ahead and prolong them for another week and at some years they have been doing it for months after or before it! A part of me disliked having all this attention, it was kind of losing its meaning. So you can imagine how delighted I was to realise that in the last couple of years, new beginnings in their lives took the attention away from me. I am now able to have some peace of mind and can be left alone to celebrate my birthday for the time I get to define.

My birthday(s) is important to me and I am always a bit taken aback when other people are indifferent, do not care or are sad during their birthdays. When I ask why they are feeling that way some say they consider it just a day like others with a typical “It is just a day, Sabrina”, others choose to stay silent and look at the floor as if they are regretting something, feeling sad or sorry they are growing up (or as they choose to see it, “getting older”). And when I ask “What do you want to do for your birthday?”, the reply has more often than usual rather the same tone and a simple word, “nothing”. Inside I am thinking, “Is that really true or are you expecting a surprise? How can you do nothing and expect nothing? Is that so bad? ” I eventually accept their opinion and switch to another topic.

Nowadays I am not the person that chooses to make a big birthday party. I would rather spend my birthday alone or in the company of special few people. And this depends naturally on which country I am and if I am actually on holidays during that time. In the past couple of years I allowed myself to be on holidays during the week(s) of my birthday and I must say it was the most I have enjoyed it, whether I was alone or with company. I prefer to be in nature, be either close to the beach or walk in the woods, up in the mountains of an unexplored, new area for me. Experiencing something new on my birthday is the most beautiful present I can give to myself and I gladly share this with beautiful people.

This year my sister Stef and I took a road trip in Scotland. Before we even began the trip I was clear that there will be a lot of walking/hiking and eating mostly vegetables, nuts and fruits. I must admit I had my doubts whether she will be willing to go with it or not. Less than 24 hours from flying we realised that we weren’t actually traveling to Edinburgh, we were actually traveling to Manchester. We were both taken by surprise! But Stef was a trooper, she booked the tickets, and soon we were on our way! My doubts were alleviated 🙂

Scotland is a beautiful land. We had the chance to visit several sites, see beautiful lakes and enjoy breath-taking views and sites. We stayed active by hiking up to Ben Nevis and around the regions of Loch Ness and Loch Lomond. We stayed -this time rather inactive-in a castle/hotel for the first time, enjoyed a luxurious “Tea Afternoon” – one the Queen of England would drool over- and stopped spontaneously throughout the road trip to practice our photography skills (mine currently at 0) and take in the views. We also managed to misfuel our little black and red Citroen, which was retrospectively one of the greatest sister bonding moments. Oh! And we managed to lose our way on the first day. Waze saved the day, or as we ended up calling the male voice behind it, “Louis” did. Within the midst of the adventure we realised that my sister could be allergic to a pinkish flower in Scotland, the ones you can see below. Well, either that or she managed to get a bit sicky. Yes, it was a new experience, full of mistakes and lessons. I would not change anything about it! It was loads of fun and a great way of unloading!

 

Tony Robbins teaches the so called 6 Basic Human Needs:

Certainty/Security

Uncertainty/Variety

Love

Significance

Growth

Contribution

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I stand by them because so far I am able to recognize and identify why people do the things they do based on these 6 needs. You don’t have to be Tony Robbins though to understand how each of my needs have been fulfilled by simply taking this trip. And here is where I come to the meaning of birthdays. What birthdays really mean are connection, love, either with yourself, God or others, taking care of yourself -mind,  body, spirit- and learning through new experiences. Birthdays have been made to review, reflect, grow, act upon new beginnings or opportunities.

20180726_160651One was however missing: Contribution. Well, “What does even contribution mean to me?”, I asked myself. I am not sure I have a concrete answer yet but I knew I wanted to offer my services and knowledge for free, out of my heart. By offering people free coaching sessions I was able to start fulfilling this need. I guess, contribution is about transforming someone’s life because they choose so, because they are committed to do so, and you as their coach are there to support, accompany and help them see, touch, feel, hear and smell things they forgot how to, without expecting absolutely anything in return.

Personally I believe that birthdays are “The Celebration of the Self- Past, Present, Future” and shall you desire to experience it to the maximum, feel free to take the 6 Human Needs into consideration and take action in fulfilling each one of them, the best way you know possible.

Now, it is up to you! How do you choose to celebrate your birthday? How has the celebration of your birthday evolved or changed throughout the years? What could you do to fulfill all 6 basic human needs for your upcoming birthday?

Dedicated to my sister, Andrea

Lately, I was inspired by a friend of mine, let us call him Benjamin, to delve more into the topic of philosophy. He, himself, is one of those people you meet, with whom you can talk about anything and anyone! If you do not know such people, I urge to scout for one, and hold auditions, the more the merrier! I found myself being attracted to this kind of knowledge, maybe him as well 😉

pexels-photo-623046.jpegAfter a long day’s work, I usually have time to explore the small, cute kiosk in the main train station of Basel. This one is a bit bigger than your normal kiosk. Entering it, you see stands of colourful, categorised magazines, newspapers and books, knowledge written in German, English, French, Spanish or Italian. When I enter it, I feel little sparks of curiosity  bubbling around my head. 

One day, as I was in the kiosk, my eyed dropped on Philosophie Magazine, written in German. In my head, I could hear Benjy rambling about what democracy and meritocracy are and if they really exist.

pexels-photo-803844.jpegWhat intrigued me was of course the theme. The writers in that issue were exploring “Where does New come from?” and if new even exists. They dived into it by analysing and deepening opinions of past and new philosophers. I had decided not to buy the magazine. I wished to figure out an answer that is true to me, without any input or bias from others. Since then, questions like, “What is new?”, “Does New exist?” started bombarding my brain.  Personally, this would have never been a question I would ask myself, yet I found myself really searching for the answers, any answer! And the weeks were running faster than a peregrine falcon!

And so began the long, sometimes frustrating, other times confusing, and the rest of times inspiring story of defining what is new and if it really exists or not.

We call something old. This infers, therefore, that it used to be once new. As we were born in this world we were new to this world, and getting old with every fraction  of a minute. Yet, according to the CIA World Factbook and indexmundi.com there are 258 worldwide births per minute or 4.3 births every second (2016 est.) (PS: here you can find a live count of babies born www.theworldcounts.com)

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So being born or having birth is actually quite old, we have been propagating forever! Now, I can imagine a mother reading this and getting furious at what I am saying but looking at this objectively, couldn’t it be true? It might be. It is such a wawawoom statement to make, just to shake the waters. Believing it, however, breaks my heart and destroys my spirits. It is so contra-intuitive to exclaim such a thought! Even when I was writing it down, I felt a bit upset and sick inside. Vomitus alert!

After weeks of deliberation, confusion and so forth, I had decided to buy the magazine for some clarity. Something inside of me, till this day, does not allow me to open it up and read. So, I chose to discuss the topic with friends and colleague.

Benjamin came to the rescue! He gave me a clearer, more hopeful, inspiring and positive piece of his thoughts. He was looking at me curiously, almost weirdly suspiciously and gave me a little smile. He took a breath and said in a rather “I know it all” voice: “Being born might be nothing new to the world, unless you make it mean something. You being born to the world was new to your parents and you! The first time you ate, talked, walked was new to you and your environment.”

Suddenly, I had realised it all has to do with how we perceive the world and what kind of meaning we put to things and events that occur. “The Idea, the Power of New exists in relation to our perception!”, I exclaimed in brightness!

Hmm, doesn’t then everything and the meaning we allow and choose to give to anything happen in relation to our perception?

Now, now… That is enough food for our brain! And you guessed it! It’s your turn! When was the last time a magazine fascinated you? What magazines would you be interested to buy?

Be like Benjamin, be courageous and share a piece of your mind, even your opinion on “New” 🙂 I am curious to know what you think!