• 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…

  • Denmark North Zealand | totallybydesign.com
    Interiors,  Travel

    Wanderlust: Denmark part 2

    Traveling through North Zealand  part of Denmark felt like discovering one of the biggest secrets of Instagram.  So this is how people get to take these perfectly moody blue/gray photos! Of course, before Instagram this was  called the painters’ light, as my Danish friend Sussi reminded me when we pulled up to a particularly stunning vista. Our day started in Hundested, a small, coastal town northwest of Copenhagen. Then, onto Torup, and heading towards the sea, I encountered my first Danish fairytale village.  It was 10 in the morning, as we meandered through the village’s country lanes, only greeted by a lone dog walker. No cars, no crowds, the only…

  • Strawberry basil lemonade | totallybydesign.com
    Garden

    Homemade strawberry and basil lemonade

    Lets’ continue our summer backyard entertaining series, shall we? By the time the 2nd pick-your-own strawberries adventure happened this June, we were already through strawberry dessert, strawberry pierogies, and generally eating strawberries and (and cream!) for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It was time for some experiments to get through the rest. Looking at a huge basil plant in the back yard with its glossy, bright green leaves, an idea hatched. I remembered that I have seen a recipe for a strawberry and basil lemonade with bourbon, another ingredient from clean-your-pantry-shelf list. The loosely adapted recipe follows. Start with ripe strawberries, and I promise, it will work, everything else is just…

  • 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…

  • Interiors,  Travel

    Wanderlust: Copenhagen

    The story starts in a restaurant with a drawing of a greenhouse in its logo. Instantly smitten, right? I went to Väkst (Danish for ‘growth’) with my Danish friend Sussi to celebrate my birthday. I was not taking any chances. Only few hours after arriving in Copenhagen, I stood at the door right at the opening time, bright eyed, bushy tailed, and giddy with anticipation. Since we were so early, I was able to take photos before the place filled up.  But when the food started arriving, I put my camera down to enjoy the red sorrel until the last tiny leaf, and the sourdough bread until the last crumb…And that…

  • Boston Day Trips | totallybydesign.com
    Travel

    Boston Day Trips

    A typical New England spring Sunday, when we actually decide to go out of town, might look like this, perfected by years of habit inducing repetition: Lunch at Essex Seafood. Many locals, quiet if you arrive early, feel free to discuss Manchester-by-the-Sea movie with people at neighboring table, kind of place. Post lunch stroll at Cox Reservation. Birds, wild flowers, watercolor painters in fields, never a shortage of subjects to watch. Smelling the flowers and daydreaming at Long Hill Reservation. Where the imaginations runs wild through the garden paths and house reminiscent of more rural and subdued (and more charming!) Great Gatsby era.

  • Tulips styling | totallybydesign.com
    Garden

    Backyard decorating

    Spring has arrived suddenly this year. On a weekend. Clothed in heavy, almost humid air. The cat darted outside to inspect backyard planters for even smallest leaves of grass, anything chewable, really, would do.  No such luck yet, but we both started pottering around, turning wooden crates upside down, sweeping winter-worth of compacted leaves, pulling vines off of the fence, already battered by recent damaging winds. The vines became 5 minute wreaths, adorned with some faux succulents I was given recently. The fruit crate landed on a rusty chair for an impromptu tulip vignette styling. This is when I am the happiest, in the backyard, rearranging, repurposing, crafting decor out…

  • 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…

  • Carpathian harvest fairytale | totallybydesign.com
    Travel

    Carpathian harvest fairytale

    Fairytales happens when you believe in them. In the power of ordinary, imperfect, wabi-sabi that is….The power of little, but emotionally charged things, the power of imagination, the power of child-like (not childish!) enthusiasm. I headed to my hometown in Southern Poland recently knowing that some lovely objects are waiting there for me, thoughtfully gathered by my Father just for my photo storytelling. An old kitchen hutch, a table with peeling paint, but gorgeously preserved top by years of oil cloth cover up, a bench. They all come from an old log cabin home nestled on my parents property waiting to be re-invented, re-imagined and hopefully relocated, although this might…

  • Culinary Rome | totallybydesign.com
    Travel

    Wanderlust: Rome part II, the culinary adventure

    I did not expect to be so smitten by the food culture in Rome. I know, seriously, how was that possible? How many cookbooks on Italian cooking can be found in an average bookshop? How many cooking shows are out there? Well, I do have an excuse here – I hardly ever watch tv. But the true reason is different, and so prosaic…that is downright silly.  Years ago, I worked in an American-Italian cafe as a cook. Menu was very limited, and while the wood oven pizza, which I had nothing to do with, was great, the pasta with alfredo sauce or shrimp scampi must have turned my taste buds…