New Sweets Discovery Around Me - Fräulein Büker

>> January 26, 2014

We regularly pass by Fräulein Büker shop every time we do our grocery, although I have never seen it open because we almost always do our grocery at night. One thing that I find so remarkable is their shop's logo - a silhouette of a maiden and a cat. Yes, a cat! Enough to turn my curiosity switch on. And today, we finally get to visit. It's a friend's birthday and we wanted to bring something sweet to the party. Fortunately, they also offer vegan pastries - perfect for Mark.

 Fräulein Büker is apparently not only a bake shop, but also a baking school. I met the fräulein and gave me an overview of the courses she offers. Cupcake decoration is one of their most popular course. She speaks English too, so if you are an expat living within the area and interested to learn baking, this is a great place to be.

The bake shop's facade. So cute!
Some pastries and cookies.
Chocolate slice I randomly picked because it just looks so yummy and tasty.

Fine, this is what really sold the goodies to me :P.
The sweetness level is just perfect. One reasons why I'm not so much of a big fan of pastries, cakes and cookies is because it's almost always too sweet for my taste and makes me get sick of it quickly. This one's a winner though. Not too sweet! Just right!


No Subject

>> January 24, 2014

No, I didn't forget to blog. It's just that it seems the 365 project is becoming more personal than what I hope it to be. Not everything interesting to me may be interesting to you and I don' t want to bore people to death with what's happening (big or small) in my life. So I'm moving my 365 days of Lekker project in a personal journal, and will continue to just share useful stuff in this blog. I've been moving away from the original purpose of this blog and I want to make it concentrated on cooking, house keeping and matters related to that - but oh boy, I am easily distracted. So I will do my best to manage my interest.

ciao for now!


Succulents and Cacti Craze

>> January 20, 2014

I'm crazy about cacti and succulents. I always find myself drawn to these plants every time I see them in garden centers. Aside from the fact that they are low maintenance, it has this unique beauty in them. Every succulent and cactus has its own personality and that's what I love about them. My husband asked me why I loved them so much and if it means anything to me - like do I see my personality in them? In a way, maybe, yes. But I think that question was meant to be a joke.

I can hardly wait to finish my succulents and cacti project. Pictures coming soon!


Simple Raw Kale Salad

>> January 19, 2014

This is the first time I prepared raw kale. I was a bit hesitant in the beginning thinking that the raw leaves would taste differently like it might come off too strong for a salad. But then again, arugula is used for salad, and it's undeniably strong tasting. Inspired by kale salad recipes I found online, I jumped to the unknown. It turned out quite simple tasting, just like any simple tossed salad. I guess what really made this special is that you can fully take advantage of the nutrients of kale, given that it's served raw. 


200 g (approximate) shredded raw kale. Stems removed.
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice or juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp agave or honey
salt and pepper to taste


some roasted cashes and pine nuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries

(Note: Add more kale if you feel like 200g is too small)
1. Wash the kale and dry on a salad spinner to remove excess water.
2. Shred the kale and set aside.
3. Mix the olive oil, lemon and honey in a small bowl. If it's too sour for your taste, adjust by adding more honey. Add some salt according to your liking.
4. In a salad bowl, toss the kale and about 2 tbsp of the dressing. Toss until the kale is well coated adding more dressing gradually as necessary (this will be according to your taste). Set aside and let it sip the dressing. This will also help soften the kale leaves.
5. Heat a small pan. Toss the nuts and stir often so it doesn't burn. Once it's turning a bit brown and fragrant, transfer the nuts in a bowl and set aside.
6. When ready to serve, add the nuts and cranberries to the salad and toss well.


Our Weekend Walkathon

>> January 18, 2014

I finally get to see some sun today! The weather has been really dull the previous week - all grey, cloudy, and sometimes rainy. I never thought I'd ever say this, but I kinda miss the hot, sunny Manila weather. But what can I say? I think nature is teaching me a lesson of appreciation. The warm weather and the sun didn't mean much to me back in Manila. But now that I do not have the tropical weather anymore, I get to realize its importance in my life.

Since it's a sunny Saturday, we took advantage of the day by strolling around the city. It was still cold despite the sun, but then the sight of the bright sun is good enough to keep my heart warm.

Started out with a retro photo booth. Photos are in B&W and took 5 mins to develop.
Got some vegan cheese at Veganz in Friedrichshain, Berlin

Some colorful food joint with lotsa grafitti on the wall. 

An interesting elf looking statue we found on the way to Vöner. Mark decided to sit on its lap.

Vöner, a vegan döner place. I find it intimidating to get in at first because of the unusual looking facade. But to be honest, this is not really unusual for Berlin standards.  The inside was great though, intimate and warm.
And this is my vöner plate! Yum!
After the lunch, we passed by this food joint. The name is quite funny.
Then passed by Spielwiese. It's like a snack house filled with different board games you can play while you hang out and eat. The games are not for sale though.
These are just some of the games they have in huge shelves.
So you order your snack, sit down with your friends and pick some board game. What an awesome idea! We just checked out the place but we will definitely come back with more people for the games!

I'm tired and really sleepy. It's a day well-spent!


Baked Hash Brown Inspired Potato Cake

>> January 13, 2014

I've been meaning to try this recipe I found from one of my favorite blogs, Two Tarts -  baked eggs with crispy hash brown  for a while now, but had few issues: 1. I did not have a cast iron pan; 2. My husband's vegan. But now that I have a cute cast iron pan, I only have to resolve one more thing - make this vegan.

What I really like about this recipe is the idea of pressing the shredded potatoes in the iron pan. Just thinking about it makes me imagine how crispy it can get when done right. Since I can't top it with eggs, I thought I should just add more shredded vegetables on top turning it to a sort of pancake - only, crunchy at the bottom.

1 1/2 cup shredded/grated potatoes (I used food processor to grate the veggies)
1/2 zucchini, shredded/grated
1 small carrots, shredded/grated
some paprika powder
some garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste  

1. Extract as much water as you can from the potatoes, this is the key to get it crisp. I used a potato presser so it's easier to dehydrate. Do the same to the carrots and zucchini.

2.  Combine the shredded potatoes, zucchini and carrots. Sprinkle some paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper according to your liking. Mix well.

3. Heat iron pan and oil it.

4. When warm enough, pour the mixture and spread it all over the pan. Press it flat on the pan with the use of the back of a spoon. Set the stove to medium heat so that it doesn't burn the bottom. Leave it and let it cook for about 5-10 minutes, or until it's crispy golden brown at the bottom. You can check this by lifting the sides.

5. Heat oven to about 175 C. Set it to broiler mode.

6. Place the cast iron pan inside the oven and let it cook for about 10-15 minutes, depending how cooked you want the top to be. It's nice when it's golden brown :).\


3 Days Catching Up

>> January 12, 2014

It's been an eventful 3 days for me and although I missed every opportunity to photograph the things I did and cooked for the last 3 days, I'm happy that I lived the moment rather than stressing on getting good photographs out for the blog. 

So on Mark's birthday, I made him 3 gift certificates he can choose from. One is he can get any of the items he listed in his Amazon wish list. Second, he can get a backpack of his choice, and lastly, a year membership in a gym. He still have not decided which one he will "redeem", but I think I just made the choice easier for him because I broke his bag :P. Then after a long day of working, we went out to a nice, intimate Italian dinner with family.

The next day, we woke up early to start cleaning up and prepare the house for the house warming + birthday celebration. We finally took down the tree, which was a bit sad to see. The living room feels empty now that we took down all of our decorations. In any case, it's also a new opportunity for me to get some DIY projects to keep me busy in the coming weeks. The party wasn't something I have expected, it was rather quiet in the beginning but really had fun and interesting conversations with Mark's friend from high school, Amerika, who was our first guest (technically). We talked about a number of food ideas that got me inspired to veganize more meat dishes. And then later in the evening a few friends came in too and celebrated. I specially liked the part where Mark's brother and his girl friend brought little cakes with sparklers. I was touched because I didn't get Mark something like that and that made the evening special. Anyways, this being one of the rare occasions I get to socialize, and kinda the first time in many months I've drank so much, I kinda got overwhelmed and started talking so much. It felt like I missed having friends so bad that I forgot that the guests don't know me, and probably don't know my humor, so I don't know. I probably made a bad impression. So that is me under the influence of alcohol, and I'm not really proud of it. In fact I really feel bad about myself I want to be a turtle and hide my head inside my shell.

Sunday's an easy one. I was surprised to wake up the house is so clean. Apparently my husband cleaned up before he went to bed. Isn't that sweet? The entire Sunday was easy going as he promised. We just stayed in bed almost all day, watching different video clips, talking, napping and cuddling with our cats.

This evening, aside from the fact I still feel shit about myself and can't stop pondering about how I can redeem my self-esteem, I feel so thankful to have Mark with me. At times when I feel I'm out of place, and I feel like I try so hard to belong, Mark is always my comfort. He's my home. 


Wednesday Blah Blahs

>> January 8, 2014

Wednesday was quite busy work wise (which is always good) and I'm quite disappointed that I didn't get much of the personal and house related chores done. I'm honestly exhausted that just the smell of my pillow can make me fall asleep. I'm quite stressing on the up coming events - Mark's birthday celebration and house warming (finally wee!) on the weekend. I've got the recipes lined up (thank goodness), however, there's still plenty of cleanup to do in this house that has to happen before the weekend. We haven't even put down our Christmas tree because as a yearly tradition, it has to stay until Mark's birthday.

Then comes the grocery shopping. I used to enjoy grocery shopping, but I don't know what happened to me. Lately, it kinda feels like a drag. I only enjoy it when I shop with Mark. I guess it's the cold weather. It might also be because it's almost always a struggle to find what I need and what I want because I don't understand the language. Or, maybe I'm just such a spoiled brat, too used to the convenience of my grocery shopping activities back in Manila where I have people to help me carry heavy bags of supplies, take it to my car, drive to my condo, and then take it to the elevator to bring it all up. Now everything is manual, and we live in the 4th floor - no elevator. Grocery is not too far though, I'm just a doll shit :P.

Tonight's dinner was quite simple but delightful. I was in the mood for something light and simple, but tasty. I was browsing online and found a new favorite food blog with interesting recipes. Good Girl Gone Green's basic vegetable soup recipe is guaranteed superb! It's too bad I did not have the time (err let's just say too lazy)  to setup everything and take photos of the end results of my cooking, but I must say Mark and I really enjoyed it.

Visit the Good Girl Gone Green's Basic Vegetable Soup to get the recipe.


Good Karma Tuesday

>> January 7, 2014

Tuesday may not be as eventful and active as I want it to be, but the day ended up with a good news. Unfortunately, I do not have the liberty to disclose it (I'm not pregnant if that's what you are thinking), but I just want to take note of today as an awesome day! Looking back to my 2013, where I'm mostly discontented with a number of things - my stagnant career, my inability to adapt to my new environment, unable to make new friends, little to no chance to socialize, inadequate social skills to make socialization happen, it seems that good karma is starting to come in :). I feel good. I'm hyped to work more than ever and excited for the coming days.

Oh, I didn't cook tonight. We just went to our favorite Indonesian restaurant around the corner - Nusantara.


Good Old Monday - Back to Regular Programming

>> January 6, 2014

The holiday fever is officially over and Mark has to go back to work. It was a bit of struggle to get up this morning because we kinda got used to sleeping and getting up late the past few days. On the other hand it was quite a relief that holiday's over. I can finally get back to my routines (boring) and get hyped with work again.

And even though Monday sounded like an ordinary day, it doesn't mean that it's not lekker. I'm quite happy I had a productive work day with no distraction (Mark). And of course, having my cats around give me so much joy.

What I'm not quite happy about is I'm not taking good food pictures lately. Quite disappointing, really. It's because it's either I'm always rushed to finish and don't really have time to focus on composition, or we are just too hungry I want to get over it. Or maybe the fact that after all these time, we still haven't cleaned up and organized our supposedly workshop/studio room where creativity is suppose to happen... But yeah, enough excuses, I'm sharing it anyways.

For today's lekker food dig, here's a simple thai inspired noodle soup that I discovered from Pinterest. What I love about this soup is not exactly what is in it, but the broth itself.


3 Tbsp tom yum paste (or use the entire pack if you have the ones that come in a sachet)
320ml Coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Some vegetable (or egg) noodles - cooked and set aside.
Some zucchini, cut into little sticks
Some red bell pepper, cut in to little sticks
Some sliced mushrooms (optional)
Some fried tofu for toppings(optional)
Some Thai basil for toppings

1. Heat oil in a pot.
2. Saute the tom yum paste for about 2 minutes.
3. Add vegetable broth, water and coconut milk. Bring to a boil.
4. Simmer for about 3 minutes.
5. Add the vegetables and simmer for another 2 minutes, just enough to get them tender but not over cooked.
6. If needed, add salt to taste.
7. Get some of the cooked egg noodles in a bowl, and add the broth. Top it with thai basil for added flavor.
7. You can also top it with fried tofu if you want it to be filling.


Tofu Steak

>> January 5, 2014

Being in a vegan home, tofu is one of the food you will regularly see in our fridge. It is one of the staple foods in this house. You may think it can get boring, but not really. It's just a matter of knowing ways to prepare it. In fact, it's very versatile. I made a number of yummy dishes from it such as a mock feta cheese, scrambled eggs, and a meat substitute for my favorite Filipino dishes (tinola, adobo, bistek tagalog and many more!). The easiest, simplest, and by far, my favorite is of course, fried.

We have enjoyed this Tofu Steak recipe a number of times. I first discovered the preparation from Youtube - runnyrunny999 channel, and its actually quite addicting. The only cooking involved is frying the tofu. The rest just involves chopping and mixing. Enjoy!

1 firm tofu (extra firm if you may, good for frying)
2 white onions, finely chopped
1 ripe tomato, chopped OR
4 pcs cherry tomatoes, quartered
some fresh chopped parsley
some all purpose flour for tofu coating
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Ketchap Manis (optional)

1. Pat the tofu dry. Remove water from tofu as much as you can by wrapping it in a paper towel and putting a small plate on top of it so that it presses the tofu. Set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, pour extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, ketchap manis, and mix well. This step is actually going to depend on your taste. If you feel like adding more olive oil, or balsamic vinegar or soysauce, or maybe add a bit of salt and pepper, it's all up to you.

3. Add the chopped onions and tomatoes and coat well. Again, this is also according to your liking. If you want more tomatoes in the toppings, feel free to add more. On the other hand, I'm a fan of onions so I like to have the onions dominate the toppings ;).

4. Sprinkle some chopped parsley.

5. When the tofu is drained slice the tofu. You can either slice it in half, or make it thinner by slicing it horizontally. It's really up to you.

6. Dust the tofu with some all purpose flour. Now you are ready to fry.

7. Heat oil in pan. When it's hot enough, begin frying the tofu.

8. Fry the tofu on all sides, making sure it gives you that crunchy golden brown crust.

9. When done, blot it with paper towel to remove excess oil.

10. Top with the steak dressing and serve.

Check this Youtube link to get to the original recipe. The video is so easy to follow :).


Today's Lekker - Visit to Yellow Sunshine

>> January 4, 2014

After visiting a flea market to scout for a lamp that would fit our bedroom, we ate a very late lunch - can actually be considered as an early dinner at Yellow Sunshine, a warm, laid back, vegetarian/vegan food joint. Their menu consists of a number of delicious vegetarian/vegan burgers and some classic menus such as vegetarian steak and schnitzel. I ordered vegetarian steak topped with caramelized onions, with overflowing french fries that also came with a bowl of packed garden fresh salad. Totally enjoyed. Price is just right, spent about EUR10 for a meal.

Some photos to share:

Yellow Sunshine ceiling.

Some markings on the wall i found interesting.

A bowl of packed garden fresh salad.

Vegetarian steak with yummy caramelized onions.


The First Friday Of the Year

>> January 3, 2014

Been enjoying Mark's company since the 23rd since his boss gave them a holiday break until January 6. Isn't that awesome? In fact, I really appreciate having Mark around all the time to keep me company because I kinda need it. On December 24th, I lost a very close friend who I considered and loved as a family. He was very young and his death shook our world. 2013 was a weird year, we actually lost 2 friends before the end of 2013.  It was sort of a struggle for me to digest these events and I am having this secret anxiety of being alone. I'm just thankful that I have Mark available to me during these times. I think I'm doing better now.

Tonight, being the first Friday of the month, and being the last day of Mark's holiday, we decided to just take it easy and stay home with our 6 cats. I made sandwich burger and sweet potato fries we ate on the couch while watching a movie - laid back lekker night!

I failed to find burger buns so we settled with burger sandwiches.

Cold evening, warmed by our baby cats :).


Sweet Potato-Ginger Soup

>> January 2, 2014

I know a lot of people who doesn't like the taste of ginger. I like to think of it as a taste/flavor you acquire. Definitely not something you will instantly like. I used to hate it as a kid, but as I grew up and explored the wonders of cooking, I kinda developed a taste bud for it.

This recipe was inspired by potato ginger soup I tried at Casa Matti, an Italian resto we visited a month ago. It's the first time I tried ginger in a soup and I really enjoyed the flavor. So here's my take.

2 Tbsp olive oil
600g sweet potato, peeled and cut in chunks
1 medium sized white onion, sliced
1 large clove of garlic, sliced
1 Tbsp. grated ginger
1 cup vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 1/2 cup soy milk
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a pot.
2. Saute garlic and onion for a minute.
3. Add ginger and saute for a minute.
4. Add sweet potato cubes and saute, stirring often so that the vegetables don't burn. Saute for about 5 minutes.
5. Lower the heat. Add vegetable broth and water. Simmer until sweet potatoes are soft. If potatoes aren't soft yet and it's getting dry, just add more water.
6. When potatoes are soft, use a blender or food processor to puree. Depending on the size of your food processor, divide the mixture in portions. Transfer the chunks of sweet potatoes and the broth in the blender/food processor and puree.
7. When done, return it back to the pot and continue to simmer.
8. Add the soy milk and stir. The consistency should be nice and thick and not runny. If it gets too thick, adjust by adding water gradually until you get the consistency you prefer.
9. Add salt and pepper according to your taste.

You can serve it with crouton toppings. In this particular recipe, I garnished it with roasted shiitake mushrooms.


Kale Chips

>> January 1, 2014

One of the many produce I have been wanting to get my hands on is kale. I've always searched for this back in Manila, and although I heard from friends that they have seen kale sold in some major supermarkets, I always fail to find them. Now that I'm here, I've been enjoying kale since the beginning of winter. I made numerous dishes with kale that I failed to blog about. But then again, it will still be winter for the next couple of months so kale will not be so hard to get, I might be able to recreate and document those that I already cooked.

Today's lekker is kale chips. So easy and simple to make. So healthy and so yummy at the same time.

A bunch of kale
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Chili flakes (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 200 C.
2. Rinse the kale. Remove the hard stems.
3. The key to a crispy kale chips is to completely dry them. The kale sold here is pre-washed so it's not a problem, but I still used paper towels to completely dry the leaves.
4. Sprinkle some olive oil on the kale leaves. Use your fingers to massage the oil completely on the leaves.
5. Lay them flat on a baking pan, sprinkle some salt and pepper and some chili flakes.
6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until it's done. Check on it from time to time so to make sure they don't burn.


Bubble Blahs

I work and live at night time. I am a person deprived of natural light. I rarely cook in the morning as I'm almost always asleep, else busy with house chores. As much as I love natural light in my photography, I'm afraid I don't usually have that luxury, unless I sacrifice my sleep, or make an effort to stay up longer during the day to do a cooking + photo session. So I depend on my flash, and sometimes, available light from my fluorescent bulbs. Although, in my opinion, nothing beats the natural light, I am, so far, satisfied with my shots using my flash that I learned to love.

I always look forward to the weekends for some sunlight.

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