• Polish countryside 2017 | totallybydesign.com
    Food,  Table Styling

    Thanksgiving table inspiration from the Polish countryside

    The unassuming and humble materials for the table decor are all around us, even in the city. The sidewalk, the frozen over container vegetable garden, community garden, few supermarket chrysanthemums,  usually dismissed in favor of flashier roses.  This year, having just returned from the trip to the southern Poland, my inspiration was hiding in the photos. Dried basil branches are standing in for the dreamy grasses, but bring the same earthiness and whimsy to the table, and the fragrance is just a bonus. I like the tone-on-tone assembly of linen tablecloth and napkins made from the same batch of fabric. This is just a quick afternoon project, that really pays…

  • White Mountains camping | totallybydesign.com
    Food

    Mountains and campfire cooking

    Every year around third week of August the reality of summer ending soon seems to arrive with a bit of anxiety. How many times did we go camping this year? How many times did we go to the beach? While I can let the beach go, camping – not so much. For the single fact that I find no good substitute for an old fashioned campfire. In New England, we head north to the White Mountains National Forest. I hesitated to give away our favorite spot, but here it is: Russell Pond. Over years, and through experience, we made a decision to stay only in National Forest campgrounds, and not…

  • Summer Dessert | totallybydesign.com
    Food,  Garden

    Simple summer dessert

    For the longest time I could not make this desert ‘properly’, not because of its complicated recipe, or ingredient list, but simply because I did not have the right vessel for it.  Custard glass cups from the supermarket just would not do it.  My lucky break came earlier this summer at a small yard sale north of the city.  I instantly scooped up a set of four. They remind me of much larger ones we had always used for desserts in my family. They still sit on the upper shelves in my parents’ pantry in my hometown in Poland.  They don’t make appearance all that often now, everyone seems to…

  • Strawberry dessert | totallybydesign.com
    Food,  Garden

    Homemade strawberry dessert

    Once a year, when the strawberry season is in full swing, we head to Cape Ann in Massachusetts, to  our favorite pick-your-own farm. I confess, I only eat strawberries when in season, and when I pick them myself. The entire experience can sustain me for a year. I get the fix of all things strawberry by making the seasonal treats that childhood memories are made of: strawberry pierogies, strawberry sirup for winter tea, and this Polish dessert. Recipe below. The recipe: 3 eggs 3 tablespoon flour 500ml milk 300g powdered sugar 250g unsalted butter very ripe strawberries 2 packages ladyfinger cookies Boil milk and completely cool. Beat eggs with flour…

  • Raspberry and Chocolate cake | totallybydesign.com
    Food

    Bittersweet melted chocolate and raspberries cake

    This Valentines’s day is all about chocolate and fresh raspberries, both rather rare in this household. Never been much into chocolate, with the exception maybe of a good Polish milk and whole hazelnuts chocolate from Wedel. Also, I never buy fruit out of season, raspberries usually make appearance in mid July, we stuff  ourselves with them for a couple of weeks and then we say goodbye for a year, except for the pick-your-own leftovers in the freezer.  But this year, since I ruthlessly pulled Marie Kondo on my home studio and that includes books, I was left with a handful of only favorites, and that included Sweet Paul’s Eat and…

  • Midsummer gathering | totallybydesign.com
    Food,  Garden

    Summer solstice gathering

    Every year when jasmine (Philadelphus or mock-orange) and peonies start to bloom, I can time days and hours to my favorite time of the year. The longest days, the still-crisp nights, and the heady, perfumed air. It is Midsummer time, which has nothing to do with middle of the summer, after all it is about to begin, but an old North and Central European celebrations of flowers, fire, and dance. June 24th, St. John’s Day, and the night leading to it, is the time to toss the handmade flower crowns in the streams and rivers, and to celebrate. This year, I was fortunate to have spent few days at my…