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Chamomile and Saffron Crème Caramel
  As a child of the 80s, the crème caramel was the epitome of all desserts for me. As a daughter of an hotelier I spent a lot of the 80s giving into the gentle jiggling charm of this dessert. Somewhere into the 90s the dessert disappeared from its pedestal of fame. Apparently the crème caramel had occupied a huge amount of space on restaurant menus around the world for a large part of the 20th century and probably had to make room for the liquid nitrogen dessert trends that took the 2000s over by storm. Or how about the fusion of any two ingredients possible – cronut or cruffin anyone?  For me the crème caramel will always have a wobbly satisfaction that smooth silky custard-type desserts usually do. Bathing in the luscious syrupy caramel sauce, the dessert becomes a magical experience that no unicorn fabled dessert (or drink) can ever match. It certainly is time for a revival of this culinary classic. Many good things came from the 80s and this certainly is right up there on the list.the ideal custard for a crème caramel should be delicately flavored - not too rich or sweet At the heart of the crème caramel is of course, custard. Like all custards it starts with eggs, mixed with milk and heated to the required consistency. But not all custards are made alike – a rich crème anglaise, for example, should be thin enough to pour. The crème caramel is a set-custard baked and usually protected from the dry heat of the oven with a water bath and set firm enough to easily turn it on a plate. The firmness of the custard depends on the proportion of egg whites, because the whites form a matrix of albumen creating a gel, which helps to set the custard. The more egg white included, the firmer the custard. Custards cooked in this way were also called douchets and includes classics like bread and butter pudding, crème brûlée and of course our hero the crème caramel. The sublime smoky and caramel-ly aroma, with a hint of liquorice just makes this crème caramel better.For me, the ideal custard for a crème caramel should be delicately flavoured - not too rich or sweet as it will fight with the caramel topping. I prefer a smooth creamy texture and usually go for whole eggs and twice the number of egg yolks – it is wonderfully egg-y but not overwhelmingly so! When it comes to the diary I am all for plain milk. In my opinion cream, although will make the custard softer and richer it is not required here. The milk and the eggs complete the job of making this a robust yet rich dessert. Finally for the caramel, I have come to love the flavor of muscovado sugar – it literally knocks my socks off! I add equal parts of the light brown sugar with a fine granulated sugar. The sublime smoky and caramel-ly aroma, with a hint of liquorice just makes this crème caramel better. The complexity of the custard comes from the way the caramel is absorbed by the custard over the time they spend togetherThe complexity of the custard comes from the way the caramel is absorbed by the custard over the time they spend together in the fridge and sitting on the counter top. Crème caramel is at its best eaten at room temperature! Too cold and it will dull the perception of taste, and this is where you want liquid warmth, not the chill of an ice cream.The crème caramel takes very kindly to being infused with herbs, flowers and spices.While I adore the traditional version with just a touch of vanilla to the custard, I often like playing with subtle flavorings. The crème caramel takes very kindly to being infused with herbs, flowers and spices. In this version I use mild flavors of chamomile and a pinch of saffron giving it a luxurious flavor. The quiet gentle flavor of chamomile, very much like crisp apples, carries hints of apple and floral sweetness while the subtle yet complex saffron adds a slight smoky aroma with tones of honey. A word of advice for both ingredients - please use in moderation. Both, chamomile and saffron can become overpowering fairly quickly if used abundantly. It is one of the easiest desserts to make and following my tips and notes below I promise you will be whipping up the smoothest silky custard in no time. Making the caramel is probably the most challenging part of the dessert but with the step by step instructions this favorite is surprisingly easy to make. ENJOY!Recipe: Chamomile and Saffron Crème CaramelPrint Recipe By Meeta K. WolffPrep Time: 20 minutesTotal Time: 50 minutes Serves: 6 IngredientsFor the caramel: 60g fine granulated sugar60g light muscovado sugarFor the creme:butter for greasing forms500ml whole milk10g dried chamomile flowersPinch of saffron100g fine granulated sugar2 eggs plus 4 yolksMethodGrease six ramekins or aluminum forms with butter and set aside. Pour the milk into a small pan, add the chamomile flowers and saffron and allow the milk to come to a simmer. Make sure you do not boil the milk. Turn off the heat, cover and leave to infuse while you make the caramel.In a deep saucepan put the two sugars for the caramel and add just enough water to barely cover the sugar - start with about 2 tablespoons. Heat slowly, stirring gently with a metal tablespoon until the sugar has dissolved. The base of the pan should no longer feel gritty when you run the spoon over it. As the water evaporates, the syrup will become thicker and the bubbles on the surface will get bigger. Do not stir the syrup during this time.When the syrup starts to turn golden at the edges, swirl the pan to ensure even coloring. Do not stir! When the syrup has turned a rich golden caramel color and has a sweet toasty fragrance, remove from heat. Divide the syrup between the molds, working quickly before it sets, and swirling to cover the bases. Set aside.Strain the milk. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the eggs and the eggs yolks. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until combined. Slowly pour the milk into the bowl, stirring all the time, then leave to settle for 15 minutes while the caramel sets. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 150C and boil a kettle.If there is any foam on the surface of the custard mixture skim then pour through a sieve into the ramekins and cover each one tightly with foil. Place the ramekins into a roasting pan. Pour hot water into the pan to two-thirds of the way up the ramekins. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 12-15 minutes, or until the custard is just set but still slightly wobbles at the center. Remove from the bain-marie and leave to cool. Refrigerate until completely cold.To unmold, run a slim knife around the outside of each mold and invert on to plates. Serve at room temperatureNotesFor a really smooth and creamy finish be as gentle as possible to avoid adding a lot of air in the mixture. Keep the heat moderate while cooking the custard to ensure you get a really fine creme caramel.I prefer a more liquid syrup to my creme caramel. If you like it thicker add less water and allow it to thicken more. Verdict This rich custard is an elegant and slightly extravagant stunning dessert. The sweet golden caramel offers beautiful smoky notes that pair so well with the chamomile and saffron. A perfect indulgent dessert with the way the almost-burnt caramel layer fuses on, and becomes one with, the creamy custard. It is nothing short of magic and worthy of being titled the “Greatest Dessert in the World!” More custard desserts from What’s for lunch, Honey?: Banana Brioche Pudding with Baileys Caramel Cream Crème Caramel - Chocolate and Raspberry Blood Orange Pot-Au-Creme with Dulche De LecheAll photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2017 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

German Style Smoked Gammon and Split Pea Stew
Imagine that stories were like a stew or a soup. People could weave their stories with ladles of wonderful rich, thick and flavorsome ingredients, adding their own culturally unique seasoning to their tales. Just like stews, all cultures and each tradition intertwines its own specific aromas and tastes – and so their stories could be spicy, sweet, bitter or pungent. Imagine however if we were served the same bland broth every day. There was nothing saucy or spicy about it, lacking in zest and taste, we were confronted with a flat insipid brew day-in-day-out. Our stews requires a skilful cook to combine diverse ingredients, cleverly pairing an assortment of flavors and aromas to create a soul satisfying dish, in the same way our stories depend on the variety of cultures, religions and traditions represented by the people who stand behind them. The storyteller’s experiences pepper his story making it distinct, compelling, exotic and engaging to the rest of us. Just like we have no appetite for a watery and tasteless broth, our inner core has no desire for banal and characterless fables. Building a wall around our wisdom and intelligence and banning cultures and societies has all the makings of that very bland broth we do not want to be served. Not today, not tomorrow – never – not when we know that there are vibrant ingredients and piquant expertise to enrich and spice up our way of life. If we can open up our kitchens to foreign and exotic ingredients and flavors allowing Indian spices, Mexican jalapeños, Arabic zaatar, African yams, Chinese noodles or Japanese rice to enrich our stews, opening our hearts to the stories from foreign cultures will cultivate and season our minds.  Yesterday my shopping route took me, besides my regular market visit, to the Asian store, the Syrian store, the Turkish store then the organic store. As I got into the car to head back home I thought how absolutely lucky I am to have the luxury of this diverse range. I felt enriched and happier as at each of these stores I chatted to the store owners. We talked politics (number one topic currently), told stories of our family issues and shared food recipes and tips. If Germany's immigrant policy would have been any different, I / we would not have this huge advantage of diverse lifestyles and wonderful insight and exchange of cultures. At the university where I work, we have a saying "Wir sind bunt!" It translates to "We are colorful!" reinstating it, it is not just the color of skin but also the colorful characters, vibrant cultures, insightful religions and knowledgeable experience that makes for a very flavorful stew! My smoked gammon and split pea soup is very much inspired by the German kitchen. The “Erbsensuppe” is a well known stew served commonly during winter at many ski resorts in Germany and Austria. While Weimar certainly is not a ski resort but the last few weeks it has been freakishly cold. While thick socks, fleecy blankets and flannels did a lot to keep the cold away we relied on such hearty stews to warm us from the inside. There are so many wonderful layers of flavors in this stew making it not only a grand weeknight family dinner but can very well be served as an informal dinner with friends. Smoked gammon adds that amazing husky rustic aroma to the soup. While the root vegetables bring out the slight sweetness, the split peas emphasize the bold rustic taste. Note: Many people get confused by the difference between gammon and ham. There is not much of a difference to be honest! Both gammon and ham are cuts from the hind legs of a pig, and are either salted, brined, or smoked. Salting preserves food by drawing the moisture out, therefore allowing the meat to mature safely and to develop flavor. If you cannot find gammon in your stores by all means use a good cured ham instead.Recipe: Smoked Gammon and Split Pea StewPrint Recipe By Meeta K. Wolff Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 2 hours Serves: 6 Ingredients400g green split peas, picked through, small stones discarded2 tablespoons olive oil1 large carrot, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped1 large clove garlic, smashed1 bay leaf3-5 springs each marjoram and thyme 2 litres vegetable stock900g smoked gammon, sliced and cut into cubes100g bacon cubespinch of brown sugarDrizzle of extra virgin olive oil50g pumpkin seedsParsleySalt and pepperMethodPut the split peas in a bowl, cover with water and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add carrot, onion and parsnip and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften - this should take about 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Drain the split peas and add them to the pot. Add the bay leaf, herbs, broth and approx. 800g of the gammon cubes. Give it a good stir, bringing the liquid to a boil over high heat. Make sure you stir regular to keep the peas from sticking to the bottom and scorching. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for a good hour / hour and half or until the split peas are are soft and have broken down and the soup is thickened considerably. If you find it too thick just add some water or stock if available. While the soup is simmering heat a non-stick frying pan on high heat. Add the bacon cubes and fry until the fat is released, then add the remaining 100g gammon cubes. Sprinkle with a pinch of sugar to allow the bacon and gammon to caramelize in their own fat. Stir to keep form sticking to pan. Taste the stew and adjust seasoning accordingly. To serve, ladle the stew into bowls, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with bacon and gammon, a few pumpkin seeds and scatter with chopped parsleyVerdict What I truly love about this stew, besides the wonderful savory and hearty taste, is the amazing textures that come together. It is the kind of soulfood that one needs to comfort when the world looses its balance and you need a moment to find your bearings. When much around you stops making sense and within a matter of two weeks a lot of what was valued and cherished seems to have come undone. This stew is not the answer but it is a booster to help us resist! Rome 2017 | Food Photography and Styling RetreatPower-packed 2-day photography retreat in the stunning rolling hills of Sabina! Meet like-minded people and focus on your passion for food / lifestyle photography in a positive and encouraging environment. I believe in providing a memorable experience - be it the stunning landscapes, the delectable dishes we cook, the knowledgeable tours we take and the incredible insight of the people connected with the workshops. Detailed Workshop Information, Complete Programme and TicketsYou might like these super stews and soups from What’s for lunch, Honey?: Kohlrabi Celeriac and Parsnip Soup with Chilli Chia Seed Tempering Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan Cauliflower Crumbs Pumpkin and Persimmon Soup with Wild HerbsAll photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2017 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Cardamom And Orange Infused Quarkbällchen / Doughnuts
The last couple of weeks I’ve had my head down (mostly) and have been trying to get a lot of paperwork and organization done. The big “T” has been looming in our house and I have been procrastinating on this for as long as I possibly can.  The big “T” word? That would be the tax return paperwork! It’s the kind of job I dislike doing and although it really is a no brainer - just listing and sorting the paperwork I always seem to find something more urgent, creative, and interesting to do. Doughnut or Donut?The official dictionary spelling of the word is doughnut with donut generally being listed as a variant of the preferred original spelling. Add to this more paperwork in the form of invoicing, working on a script for a new concept with a client, and help on 9th Grade assignments I was feeling kind of low. Although I have had my camera in my hands a few times it was mostly for quick test shoots to test a background or an idea. My day job at the university was also sucking the last bit from me and I was missing the creativityI covet a few continuous hours where I can simply cook and photograph a few recipes for the blog! I admire those people who find the time and the focus to experiment and work on their creativity. Although my ideas are oozing, I am not finding the time to really realize them at the moment. Dunkin’ Donuts was founded in 1950, and that is precisely when the use of donut first started to pick up steam. Ten years later in 1960 it went up like a rocket. A forced break – often a must to review and to get a better overview, took me into the kitchen in search of something to cook and experiment. The look on my face must have alerted my husband as he warned that paperwork for the tax return really needed priority. I do not remember what I barked but obviously I bit hard as he retreated to tend to the wound. I had no time to be sorry or to tend to my guilty conscious my mind was set and I really needed to satisfy a deep inner craving. My deep fat frying cravings are – well hidden fairly deeply! I hardly ever deep fat fry – usually turn to baking the items or simply not going there at all. It would be like waking up the sleeping giant. But every now and then I will buy an extra bottle of oil for the sole purpose of making pakoras, churros or … doughnuts. Preferred Spelling?Although both spellings are acceptable, many style guides prefer the traditional doughnut, a preference that is also supported by popular usage. Garner’s Modern American Usage list doughnut as the preferred spelling. It states that donut or worse yet do-nut “should be reserved for eatery names and advertising,” not the world of publishing. So as last week seemed longer than usual and I needed something to nibble on and I wanted to work on bringing my creative photography mojo back to the surface after being buried under all the paperwork for days! The kitchen, my favorite spice, a jar of tangy quark, flour ... the deep fat fryer and me! What happened was sublime in more ways than one. Quarkbällchen are a popular treat in Germany and are often sold at markets and bakeries. What makes them quintessentially different, and much tastier than its American counterpart the doughnut, is that it makes use of quark (find my homemade recipe for quark), which is a silky yogurt-like fresh cheese widely available in Germany. The quark adds extra moisture, giving the treats a milky flavor and a lighter smoother texture. Literally translated Quarkbällchen means “little quark balls” and although small do not be mislead – they are dangerous and one will never be enough. In my version I infused the batter with a good pinch of cardamom and orange zest to give it a warm, zesty flavor. Both work amazingly with the tangy quark. Recipe: Cardamom And Orange Infused Quark DoughnutsPrint Recipe By Meeta K. WolffPrep Time: 20 minutesTotal Time: 40 minutes Makes roughly 20 doughnuts Ingredients250g flour125g sugar250g quark1 teaspoon cardamom powderzest of 1 organic orange2 eggs2 teaspoons baking powderpinch of saltextra sugar to coat the doughnuts500g neutral flavored oil to deep fat fryMethodUsing your fingers rub together the orange zest and sugar to really get the flavors out. In a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together flour, sugar and orange zest, quark, baking powder, salt and cardamom powder into a thick and sticky dough.Pour the oil in a pot and bring it up to approx. 170 C (see note below). Alternatively, use a deep fat fryer.Using an ice-cream scoop, scoop out balls of dough and roll them quickly in the palm of your hands. Carefully drop into the oil - one by one. Make sure never to overfill the pot with your doughnuts, otherwise the temperature of the oil will drop and the dough will soak up too much fat.Fry the doughnuts for 3 to 5 minutes turning them around with a slotted spoon to ensure they are evenly colored on all sides. Spread out some paper towels on a plate. Put the extra sugar into a plate. Take the doughnuts our of the hot oil and allow to drip on the paper towels. While the doughuts are still hot, place them on the plate with extra sugar and coat them well. Serve while still warm!NotesTo test for the perfect temperature - immerse a wooden skewer into the oil and if bubbles start forming around it - the oil has reached the right temperature to fry.To ensure crispy and not soggy doughnuts it is vital to keep the temperature of the oil at a constant level - 170 C is perfectAs always with dealing with hot oil - be careful not to splash and keep a good distance from the pot when dropping in the doughnutsVerdict These are fluffy, soft and light, these sweet sugared pillowy balls of dough will melt in your mouth. You will notice after your first bite that they are moister and tangier than the American style donuts. That is the first realization and as you continue you will taste the tangy quark, infused with my favorite cardamom and that wonderful not of orange to perk up the flavors. It was the much needed break to get me back in front of my desk, of course with a few of these and a cup of steaming green chai! Rome 2017 | Food & Lifestyle Photography and Styling RetreatJoin us for a ower-packed 2-day photography retreat in the stunning rolling hills of Sabina! We still have a tickets for this small and intensive workshop. Meet like-minded people and focus on your passion for food / lifestyle photography in a positive and encouraging environment. It will be a memorable experience - be it the stunning landscapes, the delectable dishes we cook, the knowledgeable tours we take and the incredible insight of the people connected with the workshops. Detailed Workshop Information, Complete Programme and Tickets  You might like these special sweet treats from What’s for lunch, Honey?: Saffron and Cardamom Doughnuts with Pistachios Kanelbullar–Swedish Cinnamon Buns Semlor - Swedish Cream BunsAll photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2017 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Ramen Bowl with Sesame Poppy Seed Venison and Ginger Chili Kale and Swede
Bavaria meets Asia! One of the current projects I am working on for a new Travel, Food and Lifestyle magazine, will take me to Bavaria a couple of times this year. I am really looking forward to it as not only does the State of Bavaria have a uniquely varied landscape and wonderfully multi-faceted locals, but also the Bavarian cuisine, which is hearty and rustic traditionally, has been undergoing an impressive reform. That is where my project docks on and takes it a step further. First allow me to welcome all the new German – Bavarian readers to my blog coming from the Bavarian magazine. For you I have published the recipe in German in a printable form. Ihr findet das Link zum Rezept in Deutsch unten. Ich hoffe es schmeckt euch! For my regular readers here is a bit more about the project! Traditional Bavarian food is generally hearty and very filling, with many meat and potato-based dishes. However, many chefs are now experimenting with new creations, making their menus healthier and lighter or fusing traditional ingredients with international influences. I have been very keen to discover the trend. When the client, a publishing house in Germany, called, explaining their focus on Bavaria: travel, lifestyle and culinary experiences and they wanted me to help them with the culinary aspect of the magazine I instantly knew which way to go!The challenge I take on is to come back and prepare another more international dish using the same ingredients.In the next few months, I will meet up with a few talented chefs and cooks in their kitchens across Bavaria. They will prepare a Bavarian dish they choose, with their specific signature and I will photograph their special dish and interview them. However, it does not end here, the challenge I take on is to come back and prepare another more international dish using the same ingredients. It's an exciting concept that I helped to develop with the client. Late January I headed to Nürnberg for my first job at the Zirbelstube Restaurant & Hotel. Nürnberg is situated in the Bavarian region of Franconia and as I got the gist while I did some research, that there are often huge differences between the different regions of the state – mostly however in people’s minds! Nürnberg is best known for its famous Christmas market – the Christkindle Markt – or the very popular small and piquant Nürnberger sausages. The ginger and chili were my guiding ingredients!I, however, was not at the Zirbelstube Restaurant for sausages! Sebastian Kunkel the young and sincere chef of the restaurant was going to share his special dish with me. The dish prepared was venison with white poppy seeds, celeriac mash, ginger and chili kale served with dried fruit compote. When Sebastian sent me his suggestion for the dish per email I instinctively knew which direction I was going to take my own creation. The ginger and chili were my guiding ingredients! While Sebastian used a variety of dried fruit, like figs, cranberries, plums and apricot for his bold compote rounded off with typical Bavarian “Weißbier”, I chose to use only plums deglazing it with some Mirin rice wine. The magazine is due out next week and I really wanted to share my version with you. I loved all the ingredients that Sebastian used as they were versatile and easily transferable to the idea I had in my head. Ginger and chili embraced the dish and I kept Sebastian’s idea of using it in the kale, but also spiced up my swede, which I cut into juliennes and gently sautéed. Sebastian used a spice mix which included aromatic spices like juniper berries, cloves, all spice, star anise, mustard seeds. I used the idea and some of the similar spices and created my own using cumin and fennel seeds, star anise and a bit of cinnamon for a wonderful savory mix for the meat and the vegetables. While Sebastian used a variety of dried fruit, like figs, cranberries, plums and apricot for his bold compote rounded off with typical Bavarian “Weißbier”, I chose to use only plums deglazing it with some Mirin rice wine. Making this simple bowlful of ramen noodles topped off with nourishing veggies and a piquant sweet and sour dried fruit and served with succulent venison filet strips is somewhere between home-y and fine-dining. The venison, used distinctively for the project, can be easily substituted with the more common beef or pork filet. For vegetarians use big meaty oyster mushrooms instead. As each item is prepared individually for the ramen bowl the steps are not complicated and anyone who has made your typical “bowl food” or ramen bowls will appreciate the simplicity of the dish. As one dish it is just explosive! What I love about meals like this is that the ingredients complement each other by counterbalancing the flavors perfectly. So while you have the chili and ginger in the kale, swede and plum compote, they work and taste differently with each pairing. As one dish it is just explosive! Recipe: Ramen Bowl with Sesame Poppy Seed Venison Ginger Chili Kale and SwedePrint Recipe By Meeta K. WolffPrep Time: 20 minutesTotal Time: 1 hour Serves: 4 Ingredients2 star anise2 teaspoons cumin seeds1 teaspoon whole cloves1 teaspoon fennel seeds1 teaspoon coriander seeds1 cassia cinnamon1 teaspoon mustard seeds1 teaspoon dried lemon peel300g Venison, cut in approx. 2 cm slices 200g fresh kale, washed and and the leaves removed from the stem. 1 small swede, cut in fine strips4-6 com thick piece ginger, finely chopped2 red chilies, finely chopped3 cloves garlic, finely chopped300g ramen noodles100g poppy seeds100g sesame seeds80g dried plumsCoconut oilSesame seed oilMirin - rice wine1 teaspoon brown sugar1 bunch spring onionsMethodTo make the spice mix put all the whole spices except the lemon peel in a skillet and gently heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant. Then place everything including the lemon peel in a spice grinder and grind until fine. You will have a lot more than you need for this recipe. Place in a clean dry jar and store for up to a month.Bring some salted water to a boil in a pot. Add the kale in portions and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and put the leaves in ice cold water. This will slow down further cooking and retain the vibrant green color. In a small heat about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil on high heat. Add 2 teaspoon each of ginger and garlic, 1/2 teaspoon chili and 1/2 teaspoon of the spice mix - sauté until onions are transparent and fragrant. Reduce heat and then add the swede strips, toss well to coat - sauté well until soft. Add a few drops of sesame oil, season and remove from wok. Keep warm.Reheat the wok and add 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil. Again add 1 teaspoon each ginger and garlic, 1/2 teaspoon chili - sauté for a few minutes. Add the kale and toss well and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Add a few splashes of mirin and a drizzle of sesame oil. The kale should still be crunchy and vibrant green in color. Cook ramen noodles according to packet instructions. In the meantime throw in the rest of the ginger, garlic in 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil in the hot wok. Add the dried plums, 1/2 teaspoon spice mix and stir well. Pour about 1/2 liter mirin, add the brown sugar and allow everything to caramelize and thicken for 3 to 5 minutes. Pat the venison dry. Season with salt and cracked pepper and some spice mix. Heat a skillet with some coconut oil and brown the venison on each side for about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to rest. In the meantime begin assembling the bowls by dividing the ramen noodles in four bowls. Top with the swede strips, kale, spring onion slices and the caramelized plum compote. Mix the sesame and poppy seeds in a plate and coat the venison slices with the seeds. Cut in strips and place on top of the noodles. Sprinkle with some poppy seed and sesame mix and serve hot. Rezept in Deutsch findet iht hier!Verdict I hope you enjoyed the little insight to one of my projects. I love sharing the images and recipes here and allow you to be a part of it. The ramen bowl is big on flavor and just needs a bit of prep to make sure you can follow the steps one after the other without much fuss. The leftover spice mix can be stored in a jar and used to season, other meat and veggie dishes. The spices in the mix are typically found in cuisines from India, Middle East and other Asian countries so you can use it in everything from curries to tagines. Rome 2017 | Food & Lifestyle Photography and Styling RetreatPower-packed 2-day photography retreat in the stunning rolling hills of Sabina!Meet like-minded people and focus on your passion for food / lifestyle photography in a positive and encouraging environment. I believe in providing a memorable experience - be it the stunning landscapes, the delectable dishes we cook, the knowledgeable tours we take and the incredible insight of the people connected with the workshops.   Detailed Workshop Information, Complete Programme and Tickets  You might like these fusion influences from What’s for lunch, honey?:Thuringia Meets Asia: Dumpling Sushi and Dim SumThai inspired Zucchini Mango SaladMiso Ramen with Miso Glazed Chicken, Enoki and Shimeji Mushrooms All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2017 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Punjabi Style Curried Lamb and Peas - Keema Matar
My life – most of it – has always revolved around food. My mother’s father was a hotel / restaurant inspector and my father is a hotelier. As a little girl I spent most of my time in the various kitchens of the hotels. I watched as the pastry chef made my sweet patisserie dreams come true, squealed in disgust as the butcher axed the chickens, was intrigued by the way the sous chef magically whipped up the smoothest sauce béarnaise or waited impatiently as the trucks came into the delivery loaded with tropical fruit and vegetables from all over the world. The bustle that probably looked like chaos from the outside worked in fact like a perfectly tuned engine. Each person knew what his or her job was, where to step and most importantly when! The professionalism really fascinated me.There was always a lot of bustle in my grandmother’s kitchen. When we visited my grandparents during our vacations it was always a warm reunion of several family members gathering from different parts of the world in their comfortable colonial Delhi home. Like a moth to the flame I was drawn to the fire of the stoves in the kitchen. There were no fancy gadgets like those in the big shiny hotel kitchens. Instead her kitchen was powered with a mortar and pestle, rolling pins, old sharp knives, cast iron pots and skillets. My grandmother was a phenomenal cook who could whip up a meal for a party with such ease it was almost like alchemy. A pinch of woody coriander, a dash of earthy cumin or peppery turmeric came together with ripe tomatoes, sweet onions and garlic. Succulent chunks of roasted lamb simmered until it melted at the touch of a fork, long grains of perfectly steamed Basmati rice perfumed with cloves and coriander and a touch of saffron – watching her in the kitchen was pure magic. Luckily my mother was an avid learner and once back home, she was able to recreate several of my grandmother’s dishes, with her own special touch. I remember my mother’s incredibly rich vegetable biryani with soft pieces of spiced cauliflower and potatoes cooked on a slow flame until everything is tender and aromatic. Sometimes she added a touch of sweetness with sprinkles of raisins or nutty cashews. Then there was her wonderful keema – a flavor packed dish made with ground lamb laced with whole and ground spices and sweet green peas. It was a small feast, especially when served with her rich parathas. My dad however loved to scoop up the ground meat with morsels of brown pita bread – a specific kind he buys at a Syrian bakery in Dubai. A few weeks ago my son and husband spent a couple of days in Bavaria on a boy’s trip. I was home alone one evening feeling homesick and craving my mum's meals. Keema craving to be specific. As I started to prepare my own dish I chatted with mum via Skype. "You know mama it never quite tastes the way you or nani made it!" My mum laughed and said "That is because you spice it with your own special memories unique only to either nani or me!" Then she told me to make sure I add fresh tomatoes and not to forget the eggs. "Then think of nani just before you take your first bite!" You know what? It was the best keema I ever made. My mum always topped her keema with boiled eggs. Like jewels they would sit on top of the browned curried lamb and we would all grab large spoonfuls of the meat with half an egg balancing precariously on the serving spoon. Wrapped in memories of my grandparents and parents each bite was just like I remembered. The best part was I was able to find a similar brown Syrian pita bread that my dad enjoyed. Do you have a favorite dish that you remember your parents or grandparents making? Recipe: Punjabi Style Curried Lamb and Peas - Keema Matar Print Recipe By Meeta K. WolffPrep Time: 20 minutesTotal Time: 45 minutes Serves: 4 Ingredients700g ground lamb1 red onion, chopped2 cloves garlic, finely chopped1.5 inch piece ginger, mashed250g frozen or fresh peas1 green chilli, finely chopped1/2 teaspoon chilli powder1 teaspoon coriander powder1 teaspoon cumin powder1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder2 tablespoons thick Greel yogurt2 tablespoons tomato puree2 tomatoes, chopped4 eggs, hard boiled1 bunch coriander leaves1 tablespoon gheeWhole Garam Masala: 4 cloves, 4 cardamoms, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 4-5 wild long black peppers MethodHeat the ghee in a large skillet. Add the whole garam masala spices and as they begin to splutter, add the onions and sauté until brown - this should take about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to fry for a further few minutes.Add all the spice powders (chilli, coriander, cumin and turmeric) except for the garam masala powder. Incorporate and sauté to approx.. 10 minutes stirring constantly. If the masala begins to stick to the bottom add a few splashes of water to deglaze the pan.Add the tomato puree, fresh tomatoes. Mix well then add the Greek yogurt. Sauté for a few minutes. Lower the heat and simmer for about 5-8 minutes until the oil begins to appear through the masala. Turn up the heat again and the green chilli and the lamb. Mix well, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon.Once the meat has browned evenly, add about half a cup of water and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the peas and finally the garam masala powder and season to taste. Cook for a few minutes until the peas have cooked through. The consistency of the dish should be moist but without any liquid or sauce. Sprinkle with coriander leaves, cut the hard bowl eggs in half and spread over the meat.Serve this with pita bread, rotis or parathas. I love warming the pita bread in some wet parchment paper, wrap tightly and nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds. Then spread with some ghee sprinkled with a few chilli flakes.Verdict This dish for me has all the flavors of pure umami – that unexplainable flavor that sets not just one taste bud reeling, but seems to get all of them working overtime. It is as spicy as you want to make it, sweet, savory and aromatic – our Indian answer to the Italian Ragù or the Mexican Chili! The key to this recipe is using the whole spices and roasting them in the ghee to release all the powerful aromas and locking them right at the beginning. Make sure the spices you use are fresh and if you can grind them freshly in a mortar and pestle or a electric grinder. You won’t regret it. In my Spice Infusions series I share a lot of useful details about the Indian spices and how to use them and in my Enspiceopedia - Spices of India I explain how various Indian spices are used. Worth checking out if you are unfamiliar with some of the spices. Rome 2017 | Food Photography and Styling RetreatPower-packed 2-day photography retreat in the stunning rolling hills of Sabina! Currently participants are coming from California, Switzerland and Italy - join us! Meet like-minded people and focus on your passion for food / lifestyle photography in a positive and encouraging environment. I believe in providing a memorable experience - be it the stunning landscapes, the delectable dishes we cook, the knowledgeable tours we take and the incredible insight of the people connected with the workshops. Detailed Workshop Information, Complete Programme and TicketsYou might like these Indian curries from What’s for lunch. Honey?: Pork Vindaloo with Cashew Nuts Lamb Balti Creamy Butter ChickenAll photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2017 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Raspberry Rose Coconut Smoothie Bowl with Almond Butter Fruit and Nut Granola
Allow me to out myself first: Smoothie bowls are not my most favorite breakfast. Now that we have set that straight let me tell you a bit about my reasons and what I have observed about these very attractive looking super bowls that seem to be taking everyone by storm and is the big trend raging through social media and across many blogs. I also break down the smoothie bowl and consider the practicality of the super smoothie bowl vs. the real smoothie bowl! Oh yes there are many questions I need answers to! Those who visit me here often will know how big I am on breakfast. As I often have a very busy schedule during the day I make sure to feed my body and my mind properly right at the start of the day. It is not only my favorite meal of the day but a vital one. Once I have had a good nutritional breakfast I know that I won’t be snacking and picking at food all dayMy sugar levels are balanced and I will not suffer any bouts of dizzinessIf I have to miss lunch I am still going to be fine What does like my breakfast look like? Well have a look at my breakfast of champions and see for yourself! When it comes to smoothies I prefer them in a tall glass or bottle rather than in a bowl. If I want the toppings and fruit I prefer to have them over unsweetened natural or almond yogurt or in the winters over porridge. So the smoothie bowl does not have it easy with me unfortunately.Let’s go back a few steps though. If you are unfamiliar with the super smoothie bowls – where have you been all this time? – they are just regular smoothies, a little thicker and served in a bowl with a spoon! A selection of toppings, ranging from fruit, seeds, nuts, chocolate, and so on, are very artistically arranged on top of the super smoothies. So how did this very elementary dish get so hyped? I personally believe the hype originated – as do most hypes these days – from Instagram. Many of the wellness gurus and / or social media influencers needed to create something that not only looked sexy and extremely photogenic on a photograph but also some new, over-the-top creation to garner more likes, comments and followers. It did not take very long for this breakfast, in all its prettiness, to boom across social media and food blogs. My issue with many super smoothie bowls I see on social media is the practicality of the whole dish. The more I looked at the pictures of super smoothie bowls the more questions buzzed through my head. Are these bowls really edible? Why is there a carved mango with the peel on, on top – how does one eat that without making a mess? How long did it take to carve all the figs, kiwis, dragonfruit in the shapes of hearts, flowers? Why is the peel still on, on those orange slices? Why are there so many inedible flowers on that bowl? Is that really a smoothie under all that – I thought it was a fruit basket? Why are the green tops still on the strawberries? Why is there a bowlful of frozen fruit on top on the smoothie? Why are the lychees only peeled on the tops? Why is there a huge slab of chocolate on top (ok I can work with this one)? Why is the thick smoothie oozing over the rim of the bowl – so messy?As a food photographer and stylist I totally get the idea of making food look attractive for a picture. I mean it’s my job; it’s what I talk about in all the workshops and e-courses I give. Right there with you on making it pretty, appealing, appetizing and mouthwatering. However, even while taking care to create tempting and pretty food photos a couple of things must not be forgotten – the truth and the common sense. One would never place a corkscrew next to a bottle of beer regardless of how vintage, amazing or unique the corkscrew looked. Nor would one cover up a perfectly grilled T-bone steak in an overload of vegetables or sauce, regardless how fresh and colorful it made the picture look. Right? I am not entirely scorning the good-looking super smoothie bowl – they truly are works of art. Being a curious and inquiring person I am always keen to try out something to make my own opinion. The basic idea of a smoothie bowl is great – an easy, filling and often a nutritional way to enjoy fruit, vegetables and proteins to kick-off the day. Adding simple and fuss-free toppings give more time to eat rather than carving and shaping! Why not take this Instagram super smoothie bowl breakfast trend and make it a power “real” breakfast? No one said you cannot make the simpler version also look good! I took the challenge and went about putting together my smoothie bowl with some fresh ingredients and uncomplicated toppings. Something that is easy to make and that I could really eat with a spoon and not need my fingers or a knife J I also broke down the components of creating such a bowl for those of you who have enjoyed looking at all the pretty pictures but were feeling overwhelmed by the task. They do not take much time to make – if you stick to simple toppings that is. Furthermore, just like a regular smoothie I personally enjoy pairing flavors of fruit and vegetables together. I like my smoothie bowls thicker – if I am going to be spooning it then it should have the thick creamy soft-serve-like consistency. If you prefer your smoothie bowl thinner add more liquid than I did. While it can be tempting to dress up your bowls with lots of fruit, granola, chocolate and other toppings, be mindful of portion size. All those extras can make the calories and sugar content skyrocket. Additionally, aim for a proper balance between carbohydrates, fats and proteins. For instance, if you incorporate a heaping amount of dates to the smoothie base, use them and other sweet toppings like chocolate, sparingly or consider a different unsweetened add-on.The Key Components of a Real Smoothie BowlThickening Protein - roughly about 2 tablespoons: nut butters, Greek, coconut or almond yogurt, protein powder (can be plant-based), hemp seeds. If you want to experiment try tofu or cooked kidney beans.Liquid: between 60ml to 120ml depending on your other ingredients: coconut water, milk, nut milks, veggie or fruit juices or just water. Start with a little and gradually add a small amount at a time to ensure you achieve your desired consistency.Fruit to thicken – around 250 to 300g: frozen fruit is the best to really thicken the smoothie up and give it that soft-serve like consistency. If you are using fresh fruit just make sure to add some ice cubes. Fresh fruit like apples, pineapples or peaches are great, while bananas, berries and mangoes work extremely well frozen.Vegetables – approximately a handful: kale, red cabbage, beets, baby spinach, chard, cucumber or lettuce are all vegetables I have used in my smoothies and love when paired with the fruit. You can also try celery, carrots and pumpkins as popular smoothie veggie bases.Healthy fats - about 1 to 2 tablespoons: avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut oilToppings – a tablespoon each: granola, shredded unsweetened coconut, fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, chia / flax seeds, cocoa nibs, bee pollen, dark chocolate or muesli – if you are going to use flowers, make sure they actually are edible. Limit yourself to 2 to 4 toppings max to ensure that you do not have an extreme intake of sugars and calories. I reached out to my Facebook friends and group buddies to check how they were creating their smoothie bowls. I wanted help from them to find some pretty yet realistic and simple smoothie bowls where everyone can actually enjoy eating breakfast. They did not let me down! Over on the Pinterest board “The Real Smoothies” you will find an awesome selection of beautiful, healthy and practical smoothie bowls. We hope these ideas stimulate your appetite! In my smoothie bowl I experimented with adding some rosewater for a bit of an exotic flavor and yes – I used edible organic rose buds to give it the extra pretty look! Besides the frozen raspberries and banana, I use nut butter and avocado to thicken the smoothie further and for the extra healthy fats and protein. I chose the lighter coconut water instead of milk to reduce additional intake of calories and while the milk will give you a thicker consistency by adding more fruit and using coconut water you have a healthier version of the smoothie. Although the passion fruit half is placed directly in the smoothie bowl (I washed it well before), the pulp can easily be scooped up with the spoon. My other toppings include a tablespoon of my almond butter seed fruit and nut granola, which is gluten free and vegan and contains gorgeous nutty, seedy and dried fruit goodness. And because I love fresh raspberries -  a small handful to make my pink prettiness complete.Recipe: Raspberry Rose Coconut Smoothie Bowl Print Recipe By Meeta K. Wolff Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Serves: 1  Ingredients1 frozen banana250g frozen raspberries (or other berries)1/2 avocado100ml coconut water50ml rosewater2 tablespoons almond butter50g fresh raspberries1 passion fruit60-80g from my Almond Butter Seed Fruit and Nut Granola MethodAdd all ingredients into a blender (except for the granola, fresh raspberries and passion fruit) and process until smooth. Pour into serving bowl and garnish with fresh raspberries, the granola and passion fruit cut in half. Great to scoop out with the smoothie.Verdict Those of us who spend time in the kitchen making real food for our families will know what it means to be making easy simple, meals everyday. Although I have a pretty independent teen at home my day is packed with work at the university, photo jobs and projects or travel assignment. Add to that time to manage the family and home - I am sure many of you will relate with me. While I am very keen on the aesthetics of making food look good - even when it is not a hero of one of my photo shoots - I am particular that it remains within the realms of “real food”! Smoothie bowls if prepared with good, healthy ingredients and for a proper meal rather that just for the social media can be a great and quick breakfast for busy days. My raspberry rose coconut smoothie bowl brings it all together as I envisage a smoothie bowl to be - fuss-free yet with all the important aspects needed for a breakfast. It also fits the vegan, gluten-free and grain-free diet if you are following any of these. To top it off it really looks good too! I hope this post helps you to build your perfect smoothie bowl to fit your lifestyle. My friends have given perfect and appetizing ideas of how a range of ingredients can be used to fit any diet. Rome 2017 | Food Photography and Styling RetreatPower-packed 2-day photography retreat in the stunning rolling hills of Sabina! Currently participants are coming from California, Switzerland and Italy - join us! Meet like-minded people and focus on your passion for food / lifestyle photography in a positive and encouraging environment. I believe in providing a memorable experience - be it the stunning landscapes, the delectable dishes we cook, the knowledgeable tours we take and the incredible insight of the people connected with the workshops. Detailed Workshop Information, Complete Programme and Tickets   You might like these healthy and nutritional breakfast ideas from What’s for lunch, Honey?: Vanilla Spelt Porridge with Caramelized Quince and Cranberries Tropical Fruit, Nut and Spelt Granola Nutty Amaranth Granola with Fresh BerriesAll photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2017 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Almond Butter Seed Fruit and Nut Granola
“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” ~ Steve Jobs My 2017 mantra is Focus and Simple! Keeping all aspects of my life clean, simple and clutter-free is something I have been aiming to achieve for a while. I am on the right path I know it – but I still tend to fall back on some old habits. That is why I have chosen to make 2017 a year where I consciously push out all the toxic junk and matter and open up to purity, to grace and to calmness. My core desires are to feel balanced and relaxed – not allowing people and pressure to upturn my equilibrium. I want to keep my focus on issues that matter, energized by the good around me and radiate with the love that is bestowed upon me every day. My body, mind and soul shall be nourished appropriately – about that I feel strongly! Finally my goal to finding simplicity will be challenging as I tend – probably like many – to complicate things. I sometimes get trapped in my own head, thoughts and the heart too. I then need to really reboot myself to find an easier path or solution. While yoga and meditation, prayers and positivity and dietary modifications all help in that direction, there is no one magic pill. I am however, teaching myself to relax, to focus and to observe – to trust my own voice and be more self-aware, to understand that the things that are happening on the surface is a reflection of what is going on underneath. It is going to be an interesting year and I believe that this will be more of a lifetime goal but I hope that ultimately it will make me more in touch and self-ware of my thoughts and feelings to achieve that simplicity and focus. Resolutions are never my thing – I do not do new year diets, dry January or detox, nor do I make resolutions to work out more and all that. Instead I always try to have focused goals and I truly believe in core desires – looking into myself and see what and how I want to feel, allowing this to be the guiding light for the future. A clean slate – some say – but really an opportunity to look back and readjust the sails for the journey ahead, finding the right wind to take you towards your dreams and goals. What are your goals, resolutions or mantra for 2017?    While there are times when I will cook lengthy meals and traditional dishes – my style of cooking and my manifesto for food is keeping it simple. While organic is important I would rather have apples that are local/regional, grown on orchards in Thuringia (my region) than those organic apples that have been flown in from New Zealand. I believe in using fresh regional produce and ingredients to produce satisfying, good honest dishes. In my kitchen it seems I have found the key to simplicity! As many know breakfast is my favorite meal of the day – in any form and at all times. I love eggs, savory pancakes as much as I love porridge, smoothies and muesli. Thick creamy almond yogurt, with a drizzling of raw honey, flavored with cinnamon and sesame, some fresh fruit and a crunchy topping of homemade granola – this is my most reliable and fancied breakfast indulgence. This granola is a concentration of power food in one mix. It is grain-free, gluten-free, vegan and suits the Paleo diet – not that I am observing any of the above, but for those who need to watch for these restrictions it is an easy and simple way to get the most energizing power boost right at the start of the day. A creamy mix of almond butter and maple syrup coats the granola giving it a serious maple-y nutty crunch. I was keen to make something that was not loaded with refined sugars and was not so high on the carbs as during the week I like to keep the carb level on the lower side of the scale. The best part is – this is not just a breakfast topper but is great on desserts or just to snack on all on its own. I made a wonderful almond-y creamy dessert and a beautiful elegant smoothie bowl where the crunchy mix plays a vital role and I will be sharing those recipes in the coming weeks. For now though double the batch and store bags of this everywhere from your office to your car – perfect for the kids’ lunchboxes and great snacking for a movie night on the sofa. Enjoy! If you are a breakfast person like me I know you will just love my Big on Breakfast - The Big Breakfast Post with several ideas for the first - second or even last meal of the day. Many of my friends on the social networks have also shared their ideas of a perfect breakfast. Recipe: Almond Butter Seed Fruit and Nut GranolaPrint Recipe By Meeta K. Wolff Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes Serves: 12 Ingredients235g coconut flakes250g almonds, coarsely chopped125g pecan nuts, coarsely chopped125g cashew nuts125g sunflower seed125g pumpkin seed100g sesame seeds75g goji berries100g dried cranberries100g dried apricots, coarsely chopped55g coconut oil, melted60 ml maple syrup60g almond butter1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamonPinch of fleur de selMethodPreheat oven to 180 degrees C.Place all the nuts and seeds, cinnamon and fleur de sell in a large mixing bowl and mix together well, put aside.Melt the coconut oil for about 30 seconds in the microwave, or alternative in a pan over low-heat. Pour this into a small ball, followed by the maple syrup and the almond butter. With a spatula mix well. Slowly pour wet mixture over dry ingredients, stirring to combine and coat all the nuts and seeds with the wet mixture. Spread granola out onto a greased baking tray and bake in oven for a total of 20 minutes stopping to stir after 10 minutes. After 15 minutes take out of the oven for one last time and add the dried fruit and coconut flakes, stir and put back in the oven.Allow granola to cool completely before transferring it into an airtight container. It can be stored in a cool dry place for up to 2 weeks.Nutty Granola Notes: You can use a variety of nuts and seeds for this granola. Use walnuts or pistachios. In terms of seeds I often add flax seeds or chia seeds. Of course the same applies to the fruit - dried cherries, mulberries or blueberries are great as are dates and figs.Try raw dark chocolate coarsely chopped or cocoa nibs. Add this only after the granola has cooled down completely. Verdict The subtle element of the fleur de sel is just beautiful here – it adds lovely slightly savory dimension to the granola. The flavor possibilities here however are quite endless and every time I have indulged in my yogurt snack I feel – light and full of energy. Rich in energy, protein, packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and much discussed omega-3 fatty acids, nuts and seeds have it all. This is really the simple way of being healthy!Rome 2017 | Food Photography and Styling RetreatPower-packed 2-day photography retreat in the stunning rolling hills of Sabina!Meet like-minded people and focus on your passion for food / lifestyle photography in a positive and encouraging environment. I believe in providing a memorable experience - be it the stunning landscapes, the delectable dishes we cook, the knowledgeable tours we take and the incredible insight of the people connected with the workshops. We are offering an Early Bird Special  all through January 2017. Till 31.01.2017 you have the opportunity to get tickets for the Rome Photography and Styling Retreat 2017 for a special offer.Detailed Workshop Information, Complete Programme and Tickets You might like these granola and muesli ideas from WFLH: Overnight 5 Grain Bircher Muesli With Goji berries and Green Apple Almond Milk Quinoa Breakfast with Fresh Fruit and Toasted Pecans Vanilla Poached Plums and Blueberry Granola Goat Cheese Cream VerrinesAll photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2017 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Christmas Cookie Post | Butter Spekulatius Dark Chocolate Orange Spritz Cookies & Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cranberry Pistachio Rocky Road
It does not feel very much like Christmas – weather-wise. After a few days of extreme cold with -10 degrees, where the entire landscape was frozen in sparkly white ice crystals, it is now too warm and a mix between windy grey skies and a moisture in the air.  Although Christmas is an adopted Holiday for me I love all of the magical charm Christmas brings along. The Advent calendar, candles, sparkly lights, baubles and decorations all enamour me immensely. My decorations are often natural with lots of wood, earthy colors, wreaths and spices. I like making more personal advent calendars for both my men. For Soeren I made one several years ago - I think he was three – using red and green felt I stitched small bags and decorated each with a Christmas motive and a number 1 through 24. Each year I pack the bags with his favorite chocolates and something small and useful. For my husband I made this grown up naughty boozy calendar with small bottles of schnapps or boozy chocolates - small surprises hidden in the boxes for each day till Christmas Eve. It was an easy readymade template that I put together in two evenings with a few glasses of wine and a piece or two of stollen and Michael Bublé humming through the speakers. The Advent season is an important rich in tradition time in Germany.  A big part of the Christmas culture in Germany is Advent, which starts punctually on the first day of December and/or first Advent. The Advent calendar is the first of the little surprises that actually chime in the countdown to Christmas. The traditional ones made out of card with a little treat hidden behind each “window” or “door” are popular and available in many stores. I prefer the more individual ones, which can be made with fir tree branches, a wreath or just a pieces of string with bags and boxes hanging from them. Families wake up every morning and often the first place they head to, is their own personal Advent calendar, feeling the bag or shaking the box trying to guess what is inside. The “Adventskranz” or Advent Wreath is another very German tradition here. Many families in Germany put an Advent wreath on the living room table on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. The wreaths have four large candles and, traditionally, pinecones and berries. Each Sunday before Christmas a candle will be lit until all four candles light the room. The Advent wreath tradition is especially observed in households where the decorated tree is not put up  until Christmas Eve. Until then, the Advent wreath provides the heart-warming candlelight and evergreen aroma throughout the month. Each Advent Sunday families gather around and enjoy an afternoon tea and coffee with homemade baked stollen and cookies. In our home we invite friends and family to enjoy the Christmas cookies, cakes and stollen – sometimes accompanied with some Glühwein. This is what my Adventskranz looks like this year. Over the years we have developed a ritual in our home and each Advent Sunday we bring down one or two pieces of Christmas decoration from our attic. The “Räuchermännchen” the classic incense smokers, the wooden pyramid with long stemmed candles or the “Schwibbogen” – a candle arch, given to me by my inlaws – handcarved from the Ore Mountains or my favorite Nutcracker I found last year at a second hand shop! Christmas markets adorn the center of almost every town and village in Germany. Although the more famous ones like the ones in Nuremburg, Dresden or Munich are well-known across the borders, those charming smaller ones often captivate me more. Apparently there are over 2,500 Christmas markets across Germany each inviting visitors to enter the festive mood. Markets commonly feature a nativity scene, and vendors offer a wide variety of gifts, including many that are still hand crafted, which make great unique presents. There is a wide array of mouthwatering foods like grilled sausages, freshly baked tarts and stuffed breads, fried fish on a fresh bread roll (Backfisch), sautéed mushrooms, roasted chestnuts and candied almonds. There will be fruit punch and Glühwein or mulled wine, crepes and doughnuts – all enticing to take a long stroll through the city. A pivotal part of the Christmas celebration is the Christmas tree and often a matter of great pride. In Germany the trees are commonly real trees and are usually conifers such as fir, spruce or pine. According to German custom the trees are usually brought into the house on Christmas Eve and decorated with candles or strings of lights, as well as a variety of intricate ornaments. The three of us usually pack a thermos with hot chocolate and a few cookies and head out to a little plantation of conifer trees. We walk through the rows and rows of trees, armed with an axe and a saw looking for our perfect three. When it snows there is a magical mood as the snow crackles under our feet and the flakes cover the needles and pinecones. If it rains, our boots squish in the muddy paths while the drops of water gleam on the tips of branches. Warm days and sunny blue skies light up the entire plantation with an uncharacteristic feel. Whatever the weather, our ceremony each year, after we have found that gorgeous tree and after it has slid into the net and loaded into the car, is to sit in the boot of the car, feet dangling and celebrate with our chocolate and those homemade cookies. Cookies are a big part of Christmas for us. Not only are they always the perfect treats during the Advent tea afternoons they make awesome gifts for colleagues, friends and teachers. I make sure to bake enough to give away as presents but also enough for us to indulge all the way till Christmas. This year I was invited to my best friend place to spend an evening of baking. While we baked we opened a nice bottle of wine, lit up candles and put on some Christmas music. My friend’s mother joined us and she brought along all her cookie baking know-how. I was thankful as she has the wonderful ability to shape and form the tiniest of cookies. She also brought along some small wooden spekulatius forms that allowed us to make picture perfect cookies. In my cookie box this year for you are these special butter spekulatius cookies – very traditional and very German, Spritz cookies infused with orange and dipped in rich dark chocolate and the rather untraditionally German, rocky road spiked with fleur de sel, pistachios, freeze dried raspberry and cranberries are decadent and just so good. Other cookies in my cookie box this year were these Norwegian Christmas cookies, my Vanilla Kipferl and these Linzer Cookies with Lingonberry and Cloudberry Jam from last year’s cookie post. Enjoy this year’s cookie post and I hope you find pleasure in baking some of these great recipes. Make enough as they are great gifts – spread the great Christmas spirit and tradition. Recipe: German Butter Spekulatius Print Recipe By Meeta K. Wolff Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes includes 3 hours resting time Makes: 50-60 small cookies Ingredients150g Butter, cold and cut into pieces125g brown sugar1 egg, medium1 teaspoon ground cinnamonpinch of ground clovespinch of ground cardamom1 teaspoon ginger podwerzest of 1 lemon60g very finely ground almonds300g flour1 teaspoon baking powderMethodIn a bowl of a stand mixer place the butter, egg and the sugar. With the whisk attachment beat the mixture for 10 minutes until fluffy. Add the lemon zest, ground almonds and the spices. With a spatula, mix into the mixture. Then add the baking powder and flour and once again with the spatula mix together. Then with your hands, quickly bring the dough together into a ball. Flatten into a disk, place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 1 hour.Line a baking tray with some baking paper. On a floured counter-top roll out the dough to about 4 mm thickness. Using a small cookie cutter cut out the cookies and place each on the tray. Using a cookie stamp / spekulatius roller, indent the motives on the cookies. Place the tray back into the fridge and allow to rest for 2 hour. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes. Watching them very carefully so that they do not darken. If you find they are place another baking tray under the cookie tray and cover the cookies with baking paper. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. For Perfect Spekulatius Cookies: Make sure you do not knead or handle the dough too much. It tends to loose structure and will become too crumbly to roll out so thinly. My mother-in-law prepares the shortcrust pastry a day earlier and leaves the dough to rest in a cool place closer to room temperature rather than the fridge. This gave the dough a very pliable consistency making it easy to roll out and work with. In the oven the spekulatius cookies tend to brown / burn very easily as they are very thin. Keep an eye on them through out the baking process.After baking and cooling the cookies should be crispy. Make sure the dough is rolled thinner as you normally would roll out the classic butter cookies.Store these cookies separately in a dry cookie tin. Make sure you do not store them with moister kinds of cookies - otherwise these become soggy!In Germany one can find special spekulatius spice mixes but I really prefer using my own individual whole spices and quickly grinding them. This is my favorite spice combination but you can also use ground nutmeg or allspice to complement the other spices. You really do not need the fancy cookie stamps if you do not have them any simple cookie cutter with different Christmas motives will work just as well. Recipe: Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cranberry Pistachio Rocky RoadPrint Recipe By Meeta K. Wolff Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 1 hour including refrigerator time Makes: 25 pieces Ingredients25 large marshmallows800g dark chocolate, melted1 1/2 tablespoons pistachios, coarsely choppeda few pinches of course sea salt2 tablespoons freeze dried raspberries, crushed2 tablespoons dried cranberries, unsweetenedMethodLine a baking tray approx. 20cm x 30cm with some baking paper. Arrange the marshmallows side-by-side in the tray. Pour over the melted dark chocolate and rap the tray a few times on the counter-top to get rid of any air bubbles and to evenly distribute the chocolate.Sprinkle the sea salt, crushed freeze dried raspberries, cranberries and pistachios over the chocolate.Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until the chocolate is set and firm. Using a sharp knife cut into bars or along the sides of each marshmallow for individual portions. These rocky roads will keep for up to a week in a cook dark place. Gift Ideas: To give these as gifts wrap the bars in some wax paper then wrap in wrapping paper, tying each end with some string. Decorate with wooden stars or pine cones. Individual pieces can be put in small brown paper bags and tied with colorful string and natural decorations - these will be a real eye-catcher. Recipe: Dark Chocolate and Orange Butter Spritz Cookies Print Recipe By Meeta K. Wolff Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 1 hour Makes: 35 cookies Ingredients200g Butter, softened100g sugar1 egg8 tablespoons milk 200g flour100g cornflour200g dark chocolate, meltedzest of 1 orange MethodIn a bowl of a standmixer place the butter and using the whisk attachement, whisk until creammy. Rub the orange zest into the sugar with your finger tips, then transfer into the bowl along with the egg and continue to whisk until smooth fluffy. Pour the milk and incorporate into the mixture. SIeve the flour with the cornflour and mix into the butter-sugar mixture. The entire mixture needs to have a smooth consistency easy to pipe. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Butter a baking tray then line with some baking paper. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.Fill a piping bag with the batter using a spoon to push the batter to the end. Using a star shaped tipp, pipe the batter in S-shapes or rings. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool completely. Dip half of each cookie into the melted dark chocolate then allow to drip on the wire rack.   Verdict I wish you all a very Merry and Happy Holidays – from my kitchen to yours – lots of icing, frosting, spice and sugar and sweetness, lots of tinsel, baubles and sparkles.If you are looking for some unique personal gift ideas from your kitchen make sure you check out my post edible gifts in jars. You will find some impressive ideas like these Raspberry Pine Nuts Muesli Bars. You might like these Christmas cookie ideas from What’s for lunch, Honey?: Hazelnut Marzipan Macaroons, Jam Drops with Morello Cherry Preserve and German Sptizbuben Almond Peanut Florentines, Chocolate Brushed Lebkuchen and Hazelnut Gianduia Spritz Cookies Linzer Jam Cookies, Chocolate Kipferl, Lemon Chocolate Spritz, Ischlers OrangeAll photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2016 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Christmas | Quark Butter Stollen and Cranberry Almond Butter Spelt Stollen
As the last of the golden leaves have fallen and the magnificent Autumnscape is replaced with barren trees and frosty fields, December comes around and I begin to crave spices, warming stews and curries. My kitchen itches for me to bring together flour, sugar and spice and that bottle of rum to plump up the dried fruit and maybe a nip between whisking and beating. While outside the gravel-grey skies are bare and the biting winter winds have stripped the last of the leaves from the trees, inside the inviting glow of the candles promise cosy warmth.  One of my favourite things to do as it begins to darken and the lights begin to come on from window to window, is to take a walk through my neighbourhood. December provides such a lovely, at times gaudy glimpse of living rooms and kitchens. I steal past the windows trying to catch glance of a Christmas tree, colourful baubles, decorative creations or sparkly fairy lights. On some lucky days a window will be tilted just slightly and the air is filled with scents of incense, citrus, spices and sumptuous aromas of a roast. Back in my own kitchen I turn on the kettle and welcome the sound of the rolling boil. Tea-leaves, ginger and whole spices come alive as they steep in the tea pot. My mind is inspired, awakened by the sensory experiences from my walk. The cold crisp air has not only stimulated my cheeks to colour red but has invigorated me with energy and ideas. Warmth floods the house as I light the candles and the strings of paper star fairy lights dangling from the staircase. It’s December and I submit myself to flour, sugar, spice and my annual stollen baking. What started as a simple experiment has developed into a pretty steadfast tradition at our home. When I first arrived in Germany over 20 years ago I brought with me my family’s traditional Fruitcake and I developed it to create the Florentine Christmas Fruitcake. Once I began to learn the Christmas rituals and heard the stories from my German husband’s mother and grandmother I was intrigued to try some of the German recipes from their cookbooks and recipes. A Christmas stollen is part of many German households. My mother-in-law told me stories of how “back in the old days” the entire family would get together several weeks before Christmas eve and the kitchen was transformed into a factory line of stollen making. Kneading, mixing, rising, shaping, - several stollen loaves would be made this way in 2 to 3 days. All of them were lined on baking trays and stacked on top of each other. Covered with kitchen towels they were then loaded onto handcarts and taken to the nearest bakery where they would be baked in a proper oven. Each family was given a special time to bring their stollen loaves and a time to pick them up. Often, while they waited for the stollens to be baked, many families would stroll in the park, sipping Glühwein and chatting to neighbours while the kids would play in the snow. I often have that romantic image in my head when I bake my own stollen now. I have to admit it is a tedious job and can understand why it was often a family affair back then – especially when 10 or 20 loaves were made. Today I have the help of my stand mixer and often make 2-4 stollen loaves, which my oven can handle quite well. This year I baked two different kinds of stollen. The fairly traditional quark and butter stollen with lots of fruit peel, dried fruit and butter is moist and the quark adds a light airiness to the cake. The recipe is adapted from an age old recipe my husband’s grandmother gave her daughter (my mother-in-law) who then shared with me. I tweaked it a bit adding the quark and the combination of spices. The original recipe included only cinnamon and vanilla. Recipe: Quark Butter StollenPrint Recipe By Meeta K. Wolff Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes Makes: 1 IngredientsZest of 1 organic lemon125g sultanas125g raisins25g candied lemon peel25g candied orange peel6 tablespoons dark rum600g flour + more22.5g baking powder250g sugar + more for sprinklingpinch of salt2 eggs250g butter, softened300g quark1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped4 teaspoon ground spices using ground cinnamon, anise seeds, coriander, cloves, allspice and cardamom125g ground hazelnuts200g sliced almondsMethodIn a bowl mix together the lemon zest, dried fruit, candied fruit peel and rum. Allow to soak for at least one hour. In a bowl of a stand mixer attached with the kneading hook add 600g flour, baking powder, sugar, 175g butter, quark and all the spices. Knead in the mixer until everything comes together. Turn the dough out on the counter and continue to knead with your hands. You should have a smooth, pliable dough. Add the rum soaked fruit and nuts and knead until evenly spread throughout the dough. Sprinkle some flour on the counter top and form the dough into and oval loaf then cut a groove down the middle of the loaf about 1 cm deep. Press the groove a little apart. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes. In the meantime pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and bake the stollen for a total of 1 1/2 hours. After a baking time of 1 hour cover the stollen with thick aluminium foil and place a second baking tray under the first one. Melt the remaining butter. Take the stollen out of the oven and while it is still hot brush generously with butter then sprinkle granulated sugar over the top.Allow the stollen to cool completely. Then wrap in waxed paper and aluminium foil and keep for one week in a cool and dry place. The stollen needs to mature or it will be bland and simply fall apart when you try to cut it.Stollen Notes: Butter is part of this recipe so please do not substitute this with margarine or any other fat. You can grate some marzipan into the dough as a moist alternative. When you add the soaked fruit and nuts, make sure you knead the dough well to really get the fruit into the dough. Butter and sugar give the stollen a longer shelf life. Apparently my mother-in-law has said up to 3 months. Our stollen has never lasted that long! You can freeze the complete stollen in the freezer and then allow to thaw at room temperature overnight. Make sure you pack the stollen well before freezing to avoid freezer burns! My experiment stollen this year was the divine cranberry spelt and almond butter stollen. Not traditional but so moreish – moist, boozy, fruity and nutty and definitely to become a classic flavour combination.Now is the perfect time to bake a stollen. It needs at least a week maturing time for all the aromas to unfold and the spices and fruit to mingle into a wonderful mix of flavours. These two are fantastic – however at the bottom of this post I have shared a couple other stollen recipes from past years. I am sure you will find one that entices you.Recipe: Cranberry Almond Butter Spelt StollenPrint Recipe By Meeta K. Wolff Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes Makes: 1 Stollen Ingredients250g unsweetened dried cranberries6 tablespoons dark rum750g spelt flour (Type 630)good pinch of cinnamon1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped16g dry yeast (2 packets)175ml milk150g brown sugarpinch of salt200g butter, melted + 100g butter, melted100g almond butter200g sliced almonds75g icing sugarMethodCoarsely shop the cranberries and allow to soak in the rum for at least one hour. Place the spelt flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and make a well in the middle. Add the yeast and sprinkle some of the sugar over the yeast, then pour about 50ml of the milk. Tightly cover the bowl and allow the yeast to stand. Once bubbles begin to rise from the yeast quickly stir the mixture. Then add all the ingredients except the cranberries and almond slices. Using the hook attachment of the stand mixer. knead the dough very well making sure it come together smoothly. Transfer the stollen dough to the counter top and add the cranberries and almonds. Give the dough another good knead to spread the fruit and nuts throughout the dough. Cover and allow to rise for an hour. Sprinkle some flour on the counter top and form the dough into and oval loaf then cut a groove down the middle of the loaf about 1 cm deep. Allow the stollen to rest for another hour.Line a baking tray with baking paper and bake the stollen for a total of 1 hour. Keep an eye on the stollen if it begins to darken cover the stollen with aluminium foil and place a second baking tray under the first one. Melt the remaining butter. Take the stollen out of the oven and while it is still hot brush generously with butter then sprinkle icing sugar over the top.While it is still warm wrap aluminium foil and keep for one week in a cool and dry place. The stollen needs to mature or it will be bland and simply fall apart when you try to cut it. The longer you allow it to mature the moister and tastier it will get.Stollen Notes: Butter is part of this recipe so please do not substitute this with margarine or any other fat. You can grate some marzipan into the dough as a moist alternative. When you add the soaked fruit and nuts, make sure you knead the dough well to really get the fruit into the dough. Butter and sugar give the stollen a longer shelf life. Apparently my mother-in-law has said up to 3 months. Our stollen has never lasted that long! You can freeze the complete stollen in the freezer and then allow to thaw at room temperature overnight. Make sure you pack the stollen well before freezing to avoid freezer burns! During the walks I take in the fields and around the neighbourhood I always find a few twigs and leaves that I bring back home to decorate a corner of the home with. I admit I often go without my camera so I can just clear the head. Especially in winter – even when most of the trees have shed their leaves there are always the berries or fruit that are left hanging on the branches. They make such unique pieces to decorate the house with. Together with the pomegranates and persimmons I found at the market I decided to spend an afternoon just shooting some still life – something I do not do often enough! Verdict Both these stollen recipes are grand and I feel accomplished at having tweaked the recipes so successfully. They make the perfect gifts for the family or as a bring along to a Christmas teas party or to indulge in at the office with your colleagues. I often shape the stollen in simple loaf forms as it is easier than the typical stollen form and I do not see the need in investing a special stollen form when my loaves look kind of pretty.  It’s December! So I hope you enjoy the month with baking, walking around the neighbourhood, relaxing and just taking a moment or two for yourself to reflect on the year past. Next week I will be back with my big Christmas cookie post so look out for that! Looking for more ideas for Christmas baking? I thought so! Earlier this week, I asked my friends and followers across my social media platforms to share their favourite Christmas cakes, baked goods, loaves and treats. As always I was not let down. From Facebook to Twitter - I got so many great suggestions and exceptional feedback that I am sure each one of you will find something special to bake. There are scones, brioche, scrolls, buns, logs, tarts, focaccia – and we literally will take you across the globe with all of these recipes. I have created a Pinterest board which includes over 100 recipes I got as a result of my request. Come on over and check out 2016’s …. PINTEREST BOARD: 100+ Best Christmas Baked Treats You will find a few awesome recipes from Brazil to Italy, from traditional to a little more modern and from Vegan, Eggless, Gluten Free to Paleo et al. I am still adding to the board so do keep checking for updates. A few that caught my eye were these divine treats: · Cranberry Pomegranate Pound Cake With Orange Cream Cheese Glaze by Cooking LSL · Rosa’s traditional Mince Pies · Pille’s lovely Christmas cake · Sanjana’s Cardamom Wreath with Rose Drizzle and Candied Lemon Peel · Sandhya’s Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting · Lemon Yogurt Bundt Cake from Skilliet to Plate · Gingerbread Bundt Cake With Vanilla Glaze from Living Sweet Moments · Italian Fresh Cream Lemon Cake via An Italian in my Kitchen · Lynn’s Poached Pears in a Chocolate, and Mascarpone Nutty Tart with Malbec Molasses Do you have a perfect festive baked treat that has to be a part of this board. Just add your link in the comment field and I will pin your recipe to the board. More stollen treats and ideas from What’s for lunch, honey?: Orange Marmalade Date Fig and Quark Stollen Chocolate Gianduia Stollen With Cranberries and Papaya Cranberry Orange Marzipan Stollen Buns All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2016 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

Thankful | for a Walk in the Park
Come take a seat next to me my friend. Rest. Breathe. Contemplate. The path seems to be a long hard one as challenging times lie ahead. Let us realign and unite for together we are stronger, we can make the difference. Let us take a moment to ignite the fire of love and respect, to find our inner strength, to be bold ... for these are not normal times. Over the past several weeks I have seen and heard such hate filled indoctrination and misleading disinformation that it scares me to the core. I live in Germany, am married to a German who grew up in the ex-East part of the country - yes the part behind the wall, his gandmother - a healthy 96 year old, still vividly remembers the tortures and the terror of World War II. She watches in disbelief that our generation can be so stupid - can forget. She hurts as she realizes that all those in her generation - those who warned us, told us about the hideous crimes, those who made sure that we never make that mistake again - they all have passed. And here we stand ... in 2016! I shudder in horror when I see neo-Nazis raise their hands to salute, a chill runs up my spine when I hear their hate-filled propaganda, it saddens my heart that when we all sit down to a warm meal under a solid roof there are those who are forced or bombed out of their houses and the land they call home. These alt right white supremacists speak of everything we people are not and can never be. We have come a long way to go back to the horrid suppression of the Nazi time. Hate is never the way forward it infests even the hardest of us to core bringing only destruction and utter sadness. That there are people who honestly believe the color of skin makes them superior - broken down to its simplest forms - this is the belief of an imbecile. A good friend recently wrote to me and told me this “In the end we are porous beings, not just our skin and bodies, but emotionally and mentally.” I agree. We soak up what is happening around on on many levels, consciously but also subconsciously, which always has the relevant effect on us. Hate, hostility, negativity, oppression and abuse will reap the same breed, will seep through our skins like harmful toxins, will poison our thoughts our minds and create a murky vision hindering us to be insightful and focus on constructive matters. We acknowledge false news with such a voracious appetite and spread it causally through the media. The sheer amount of negativity that accompanies this information is something we are just unable to process with the required reflection and empathy that is needed. It’s disconcerting! These are not normal times and if we have learnt anything from our grandparents, our elders and forefathers it is to stand up and fight against the normalization of all that is improper and unacceptable. “Half the evil in this world occurs while decent people stand by and do nothing wrong. It’s not enough to refrain from evil, Trell. People have to attempt to do right, even if they believe they cannot succeed.” “Even when it’s stupid to try?” he asked with savage sarcasm. “Especially then,” she replied sweetly. “That’s how it’s done, Trell. You break your heart against this stony world. You fling yourself at it, on the side of good, and you do not ask the cost. That’s how you do it.” ― Robin Hobb, Mad ShipI need time to recalibrate and redress - to find my balance and to shut out and filter, keeping my focus on positivity, respect, kindness, love and happiness. I am always the one to fling myself on “the side of good” because that is not just my moral obligation but also because I need to make sure that whatever part I have in this world, in this time, that whatever  I leave behind for my kid and future generation will not be looked at with dismay or regret. So I leave you with some positive vibes with these images - to help you find your balance, your good vibes and strength. On a lovely bank holiday Autumn afternoon, I packed my camera, my 14-year old and his camera and we headed out to the Belvedere Castle just a 10 minutes drive from where we live. We spent the most tranquil, enriching and valuable time together in a long time. We laughed, we talked and we took photos of the beauty around us. The castle houses an academy of music and as we walked through the gate of the orangery we were greeted by notes on the piano accompanied by the violin. We sat on the park bench and allowed the moment to permeate through us.I thank those who are strong everyday and fight, stand-up for and confront wrong and animosity with courage. Come take a seat, my friend. We need a moment to give thanks for what we have and a moment to think of where we want to go from here. Let's make it worthwhile. Breathe. All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2016 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First


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