• Food,  Table Styling

    Harvest Tales

    October in Poland had been really good to me for the past few years. Sun on the face that feels warm, but never overbearing, evenings still warm enough, at least occasionally, to have a bonfire and grill goat cheese and yes, foraged mushrooms. This year was a year of walnuts. We would start every day by rushing into the garden to play a game who can fill the basket first. Never mind we needed gloves to fend off the morning frost, on some mornings…And then, there was a constant shuffle of our bounty for the last of the sun rays to dry.  The days were shorter, for sure, but there lies the magic of the moody light…

     The soul of the Carpathian Mountains casts a spell on you, oh so quickly…The nature is at arms’ reach. Every year, and this year was no different, I style a scene at my parents, which is also my childhood home, that feels like a pure joy to create. This year the theme was set,  by accident as always, by the tablecloth I intuitively picked up at H&heading to a bus station in Krakow. I always loved mustard yellow, and this linen tablecloth is a perfection! An apple cake from Our Food Stories recipe was a delight to make,  even though it caused initially some raised eyebrows with my parents! They loved it though, and nothing screams more like family bonding than baking in my childhood kitchen.  I raised the bar though, I insisted on picking my apples on an abandoned, semi wild orchard, and they never tasted better! I also discovered miniature, but very sweet tasting pears. Narnia comes to life…

  • Holiday tea and cake | totallybydesign.com

    Tea and a cake break – for the holidays

    This is for any of the weary souls during the holiday season, tea and cake is good for you. If you light a candle because the days are already oh-so-short, and if you bake the cake yourself, it becomes this slow living ritual that unlocks the creativity, connect you with the person next to you, and allows you to take a deep breath.Holiday tea and cake | totallybydesign.comHoliday tea and cake | totallybydesign.comHoliday tea and cake | totallybydesign.comHoliday tea and cake | totallybydesign.com

    I see this recipe every time I rummage through my “best of” folder. I keep here all my Mom’s recipes she has been sending me in letters for years, those dictated to me we while I visit, those copied from fabulous 1960 and 70 Polish cookbooks. This particular one, I know very well from experience…We call it a “TV cake” or “placek-torcik telewizyjny” in Polish, for the simple reason that we used to eat it while watching movies together as a family, still warm, not because the recipe comes from a TV show! There is also a canned peach version, but apple was usually easier, considering the orchard surrounding my childhood home.

    For the table decor, I did not venture any further than neighboring street and an empty house waiting for remodel, but covered to the roof with vines with orange berries. Added some dried Thai basil sprigs (still very fragrant!), and few dried rose petals from my “May Flowers” rose, and done.  The making of a small afternoon ritual…

    Holiday tea and cake | totallybydesign.comHoliday tea and cake | totallybydesign.com