Seasonal Break

 

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I came to a crucial decision that it was time now to take a little break from my online food writing, and stick to the photography itself which has become my priority till I make the next step.

I still do keep my little journal of meals that my family & friends tried and enjoyed, and so,  there still is an intention I will come back again.

Till then, obviously, I am leaving my blog pages with all those lovely recipes & images open for you to browse, enjoy and hopefully share with your loved ones.

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It’s been such a nice journey – through so many lovely days in my life – and a lot of it naturally reflected in my posts here, and I have always been very happy to share it with you all.

Settling at yet another new place, with simply a lot of going on these days, though, I just feel a great need to stay focused on my gorgeous little people and photography as it is.

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As I know myself, I am sure I will come up with a way how to put my work out to you to view and enjoy again.

Till then, I hope you find a good way to keep in touch via

my Instagram to see what I’ve been up to more recently:

https://www.instagram.com/miriamionica/

as well as my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/MiriamIonicaPhoto/

or simply visit my website page to view new stuff that I’m working on – http://www.ionicaphotography.com

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A Huge Thank You and lots and lots of love your way till we meet again,

Miriam xx

 

 

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Berry Sundae

What child wouldn’t love this simple sweet juicy mellow sundae? I don’t even have to say.

I’ll be quite short today – celebrating our small ones all around the world, I think this is just a thing to make their day all brighter, juicier, sweeter..

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To make two portions (or more depends how big the little people are )  you need 1-2 large meringues, double cream 250 ml (lightly whipped), a large handful of each fresh raspberries and chopped dry roast macadamia nuts.

Break and crumble the meringues, then whip the cream, don’t make it too thick, and gently fold them together. Add the berries, try not to squash them, be very light handed.

Serve two scoops of good quality vanilla ice – cream in each glass, top with the cream & meringue mixture, sprinkle with the nuts, and as we did, drizzle a little with golden syrup.

Delicious and serves as a wonderful pudding ending any special children’s lunch or dinner!

 

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My favourite Nigel Slater is the author of the original recipe from his series “Nigel Slater’s Simple Suppers” which I loved watching as well as following in the kitchen. This one works! Wink.

Find the link to the original recipe here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/acreamycrunchyfruits_92490

Happy Days ~ Easter Baking Stars

You know you’re happy when things like these happen:

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And the beauty of it is that it doesn’t take much – some baking ingredients, two keen bakers and a tiny bit of determination on your side. That is basically all. The rest comes as you go.

I loved these two little baking stars and the whole photo recipe making. They were gorgeous, and I am glad they had such a fine time together. Hoping a bit now, I can share with you not only the recipe, but a bit of the fun they had that day. Let’s get started then! Wink.

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The Little Person was very keen on having his lovely friend come over for a playdate, and with that being quite near Easter, we thought doing a little seasonal bake would be a good idea – so our minds followed Easter bunny in his footsteps…from carrots we got very easily to carrot cake, and from that we wondered if the cake could possibly be transformed into single cupcakes. And it kind of worked.

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When working with your little ones at home, it is quite necessary to be prepared beforehand: you need to have your ingredients ready before their arrival to the kitchen, plus, make sure they know there’s a couple of things only adults can do, that depending on the age of your little bakers.. e.g. working with a hot oven or sharp knives etc.. The rest is easy and a great joy for both you and them.

As for my blogger / photographer friends, it is also great to explain the little chefs a bit how it works with the camera, why you need those diffusers, reflectors and also, why sometimes you would want them play the “statue game” – that is when you don’t want to loose a fantastic shot. Believe me, it works, it makes them feel special and they like to become “the photo stars”. At least with those less shy ones.

Naturally, the best and most important thing is to make your little ones feel comfortable and happy to do that baking!

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During our baking afternoon, we not only baked, of course, but learnt things.

We learnt to recognize some ingredients – like ground ginger and stem ginger, or what the difference between measuring in tbsp and tsp is. I wonder if they remember, smile.

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We started with dry ingredients:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

280g plain flour, 1tsp baking powder, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp salt and 175g dark muscovado sugar.

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One of the main ingredients of our cake were 175g freshly grated carrots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my country, adding vegetables into sweet recipes is still a bit of a taboo and I hope none of my friends here will dismiss this lovely recipe just for its name, for the juicy and beautiful veg it contains.

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Stir in the carrots,  2 pieces of chopped stem ginger,  1 tbsp grated fresh ginger, and 55 g raisins –  I dusted those with a bit of flour to prevent them from falling to the bottom of the baking cups.

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Mix together 3 tbsp sunflower oil (I used olive oil), juice of 1 orange, 2 beaten eggs and pour them into the dry ingredients.  Here we went a bit too fast, however, we mixed our dry and wet ingredients well together.

You would usually preheat the oven at the beginning of your work, we, however, were perfectly fine turning it on at this point, and let it preheat to 180 ºC (fan), because instead of using one 20 cm greased and lined round cake tin (which you use if you’re not into the cupcake version), we used cupcake cases and it takes a while till those get filled by little hands.

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Place paper cupcake cases into the muffin/cupcake tin.

 

Now comes the truly very fun part, and that is spooning the cake mixture into the paper cases.

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It was a bit messy and absolutely lovely business.

 

Bake in the preheated oven, until the cupcakes are firm to the touch and when the wooden stick inserted into centre of each comes out clean. Let cool completely.

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To make the icing, mix together 250g cream cheese (I always use full fat soft cheese), stir in 3 tbsp icing sugar and 1 tbsp vanilla paste.

If you’re making the whole cake, remove it from the tin and spread the cheese icing all over the top. Use orange zest stripes to decorate it.

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If you make cupcakes like we did, spread the cheese icing over the top of each one of them, and then add some small decorations – we used chocolate eggs and mini carrots. Our green icing melted a bit after few hours, we kept them at room temperature, though.

The little ones liked them, the cupcakes needn’t be of perfect shapes. What is important is the fact, that they made them themselves and decorated them the way they liked.

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Above all, we had a really lovely time together, and I felt happy for having those two at the baking table, both of them excited about doing some nice work – a wonderful thing, because besides having some nice activity to keep them busy, it also adds to creating their childhood memories.

 

Original recipe comes from my favourite and often used book of “Easy Baking” by Marks & Spencer.

 

The Good News This Spring

It seems a very long time since I posted on my blog here, and no wonder – the days pass by so fast, honestly, all comes to me as in a flash.
Being a Mum to a Newborn & the Little Person, as well as trying to come back to my photos, is quite challenging most of the time.

DSC_8023 e 01However, while hanging anywhere between the feeding, winding, sleeping, nappy changing demands from the tiny one, I find it quite rewarding to spend many moments reading, watching or listening to anything about food & photography.

It really seems to me, that the more demanding and time – consuming tending to the tiny one is, the more stimulating it is somehow just as well, while I try to find my own space and moments.

Even though that should mean being in some sort of a constant marathon. As to that, not only physically, but also in my mind – I always think, plan and try to project and frame all the images ahead, but also try to store and organize all I see, hear and learn for the future use.

So, I can say, I definitely am making a virtue of necessity, and hope this all will lead somewhere.

(Alright, I also hope, in some time our little angel will be a little less demanding, and beside some actual sleep I will get some more time to fulfill all those ideas I am thinking of now. Big smile.)

Meanwhile, I am going to enjoy the bright spring days with our little lovely bundle of joy & his amazing big brother, with all it comes with.

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The truth is, I love it all, because I know only too well that the challenges almost always turn into something very rewarding.

Hope you all have a beautiful spring this year, too.

Lots of love your way! (Wink & Smile)

Miriam xx

Mr Mouse Dips Toes

A short report on how the country Mr Mouse took a short trip – and visited a couple of fish friends who got dipped deeper than his toes could ever reach.

DSC_7445 eHe strolled by the mash pool, and wondered how deep the fish could swim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then he took a deep breath and dived in. He swam forwards and backwards..

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Butterfly and freestyle crawl.. He loved the lush and splash.. He really enjoyed the backstroke, too.

 

And his young master watched him with pleasure. Then he himself, dipped a finger in that pool, too.. Yum!

 
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Gone was the mouse, off the pool he went, and so  did the fish soon after.
To his Mother’s happiness, it swam to the Little Person’s tum.

Good night, Bunny! Good – bye, Princess..

So hard to catch up with his little interests these days – once happy, living in my reassuring serenity having the idea and story background acquired, he all of a sudden changes his mind and gets me off the lived in track fast: “Mami, I am not ‘Rainbow Dash’ anymore.. I am a Guinea Pig..”

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And I need some time to process the news, and try to find out even faster if that is any story character or just, well,  a guinea pig.

So now, it is no “Good night, Princess Celestia..”, it’s simply ” Good night, Bunny..”

(Yes, I am the Bunny. Will it be only the Mums who will get me right here at this point? Better Bunny at the moment, I am glad it is not a dinosaur – although, for the love of him, I would gladly become a T-Rex Lady. But nothing can really change the fact that I truly miss Princess Celestia.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thing stays the same, over periods and periods of time – his love for tiny coloured plastic bricks and blocks, and he seems never have his mind changed about this one passion. He would build you a castle, house, airport,  a truck, fire engine, boat, plane or a spaceship, anything you imagine, and he would love you to join him in making it all. Well yes, there goes my weak technical side of me. Nevertheless, I admire this in him.

So after times, when Rainbow Dash needed his multi – coloured mane cut, because he seriously “looked like a girl!!” –  an act which basically turned him into Punker Dash, we have a new era of home pets pretend game – a bit sad, as we can’t really keep any fluffy creature due to his respiratory problems. But we still like to play. Except the pet game it is the pirates, sharks, fire fighters, nurses and patients, gardeners, teachers and cooks.. you name it.

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This post is a note about  how great it is to be creative, and inventive, how amazingly his ideas can flow from one point to another in almost no time.

 

 

It is also to mark his birthday party, and to thank wonderful Miss Sarika Mehta who had created this gorgeous dream cake for him, making him the happiest Little Person the moment he saw it.

Zombies, Unicorns & Sugary Kisses

I believe all kids can get quite scary with what they say or do sometimes, but when it happens to you, it perhaps always feels a bit unexpected at least.

The Little Person came for his morning cuddle yesterday and in the middle of the usual early hour talk regarding his good sleep or dreams, he just came with a sudden: “Chop, chop, chop.. chop Mummy’s head off..” followed by a big laugh, while pretending with his little hand around my neck being cut off – well, it was a Halloween morning but still..

When I asked why or what made him say so, he just giggled and mentioned the afternoon party he was to go to later on.Has he ever heard of zombies??  I wondered.. school??  I didn’t freak out, just got a strange feeling for a moment and suspicion, too, and I gently reminded him that his party costume was a ‘skeleton’.  Just in case.

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Then, this morning he came and said something that pleased me much more – he pulled my hand to show me his computer colouring page, and very excitedly told me, that the magnificently looking pony in it was actually me. My pride was rising up while he was explaining me, that I was special, that I wasn’t even an ordinary pony, but a beautiful pony unicorn, called Princess Celestia, with her wonderful rich blue pinky mane, and the unicorn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I felt over the clouds, and all the Mums in the world will know why – you just feel extraordinary, when your little son promotes you to a  ‘Princess’ post, or a queen of anything, or just draws you a red heart on the back of a promotion leaflet in a shopping kids play area, and writes his clumsy L, O, V, e.. handing it over to you saying: “That’s for you, Mummy!” with his eyes sparkling and the brightest, sweetest smile in the whole wide world on.. you even spy around a bit, if anyone has noticed. Well, if you don’t, I do – and always feel proud.

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Yesterday wasn’t only about the party at his friend’s, but also about a gorgeous morning shoot of a Hokkaido pumpkin I got from my favourite Hop Shop at the nearby farm, and while setting my scene, doing the shots, cutting, slicing, preparing, styling it, the Little Person was very patient actually – played with his fire engine, ‘setting many fires on’ all around the place, and then promptly ‘putting them down’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At a certain point he even got ‘injured’ and needed to chill out in my daybed, with his leg in a pretend paper plaster, watching me work, enjoying his jam doughnut. As I had expected, the moment of: “Mummyyy.. take a picture of me, too..” came quite soon, so I took a couple of snaps of him as well.. and he sent me sweet air kisses for the effort, and as usually, ended up in giggles.

And you know, the kisses were truly sweet.