Spontaneity. It used to be a part of my vocabulary. Somehow the years have started to chip away at it, giving way to control, structure and routine. I've never packed my bags, hustled over to the airport and picked out a random destination from the departure board - making the last minute booking to someplace I've never been. I've always had a reverence at such impulsiveness.
It seems rather disorienting to me and the lack of structure gives me cold feet. I wonder when that started to happen. Is it part of growing up? When did that happen? I wonder. Structure has always been important to me but I was able to be make spontaneous decisions and change a perfectly planned procedure on the spur of the moment if required. The comfort of knowing that a good plan would hold together if my impromptu ideas fell through was what kept those cold feet at bay. Structured spontaneity. I know an oxymoron - right!
Several years ago I did make an impulsive decision that changed the course of my life and it remains - to date - one of the best decisions I have ever made. After the 6 month period at the hotel I was training at, in south Germany, I went back to New York got my degree and as I stood in the cool and spacious library looking at travel guides deciding where to take the much deserved break I pulled out a magazine with a feature on south of Germany. I took the cue, packed up my bags and headed to back to Germany.
Germany invaded my senses, it challenged me and had me making instinctive and unplanned decisions. One such decision was to take up an offer of working at a big design and architecture company managing their international division. A few months later I was put on a team where a young engineer was heading the design work the company was carrying out for a cigarette factory being built in Kazakhstan. I met the engineer for the first time on the project on location and sixteen years later ... we're still together. Structured spontaneity. Worked for me.
As our son entered the world things took a change and the structured spontaneity evolved. When we hit parenthood all things spontaneous seems to vanish, responsibility replacing it. All of a sudden there is a helpless and needy bundle that needs hundred percent of our attention, protection and love. Being spontaneous seems like an irresponsible luxury at times. Responsible spontaneity - is there such a thing?
We are still finding out. Truth be told we are trying to fit spontaneous back into the routine.
We spent a few impromptu days in Berlin with a couple of planned highlights that once we arrived, were thrown overboard, playing it by the ear. It was fun as we just lazed into the days, slept late without any care of routine, no deadlines to meet. Long brunches were enjoyed, sipping chai lattes and hot chocolate, savoring Turkish eggs, tropical fruit on Greek yoghurt, Swiss cheese and baskets full of fresh crusty rolls warm from the oven, flaky pain au chocolat and fluffy pancakes.
Berlin - where you can casually savor the world on a plate. It was stress-free and no frantic dashing from museum to attractions, that a planned schedule often brings along with it.
We got very used to those long relaxed breakfasts and brunches, bringing it back home to last just a little longer. Pancake cravings! The perfect recipe came from the latest book by Donna Hay Fresh and Light, which was delivered to me a few weeks ago by the publisher to test and review. I am enjoying not only recipe testing but the photography has inspired me on many levels. The wonderful William Meppem has photographed the recipes in the book keeping everything in clean and crisp whites - fresh and light just like the recipes are. The book is packed with over 180 recipes that offer balanced and lighter dishes using fresh ingredients. For me, this book is the way we eat at home and I have many of the ingredients in our pantry and fridge. There are great ideas using quinoa, several inspirational ideas on smoothies, pasta sauces and hummus, seasonal recipes from from asparagus salad to glazed beetroots and also those guilty pleasures with a lighter makeover like the chocolate fudge brownie and chocolate chip cookies are included. The book has a variety of ways on how to vary banana bread and some sensational breakfast ideas like the quinoa granola I am making next.
What I liked about these pancakes was the usage of only egg whites. I often use whole eggs in my pancakes but after adapting to this recipe and using beaten egg whites the pancakes had a lovely fluffy and lighter consistency. In my recipe I used raw orange blossom honey and normal full fat ricotta, which I hung overnight. In the original recipe Donna Hay uses low-fat variety of the cheese and a neutral flavored honey.
I am very thrilled to announce that HarperCollins 360 will be sponsoring the upcoming workshops in VENICE & BERLIN with a copy of donna hay's gorgeous cookbook "Fresh and Light" for each of the participants AND we will be holding a special competition with a fantastic prize. Stay tuned for more details.
In the meantime do not miss my Instagram video showing more of this gorgeous book!
Our breakfasts are usually of crusty mult-grain rolls fresh from the baker, fruit, jams and preserves, soft-boiled eggs and cheeses, but every so often we crave a pancake or French toast breakfast. Often topped with fresh fruit, nuts and of course a good drizzle of maple syrup or honey. Adding ricotta to the pancakes as here added a sensational tangy texture. I often pair my pancakes or French toast with homemade quark flavored or scented with zest, spices or edible flowers but the ricotta was new and a great alternative.
How do you enjoy you long breakfasts or brunches? What are your favorite dishes?
Venice is booked and taking place next weekend. Really looking forward to the first workshop this year. Both Helsinki and Berlin are filling up nicely and registrations for both are open. So if you want to join me on a 2-day packed workshop focusing on food photography and styling take a moment to browse through the specifics and programme.
You might like these brunch inspirations from What's For Lunch, Honey?:
|French Toast - Chocolate and Pistachio with Warm Maple Syrup||Mango Nutella Whole Wheat Pancakes||Granola Goji Muffins|
All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2013 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First