Category Archives: Nutrition

OtsY restaurant in Tbilisi


OtsY was on my list of “to be discovered” in Tbilisi. What better occasion than Tbilisoba to do it!

I sat on the terrace and enjoyed the views to the oldest still-standing church in Tbilisi – Anchiskhati Basilica – to my right, and to Gabriadze marionette theatre to my left. Soft music in the background just enough to let you immerse in a calm atmosphere.

I let the choice of wine in the knowledge of locals. It enchanted. Vazisubani Estate collection Kisi white dry wine was a perfect choice for my choice of meal thanks to its aromas of peaches and quince. For a starter, I ordered the Georgian salad. It surprised my taste buds with freshness of herbs, balance of flavours and generosity of proportions. The heirloom pink tomato, cucumbers, red onion paired divinely with a sublime coriander sauce.

For the main course I went with an Eggplant achma. Those familiar with the Georgian cuisine know achma – the generous cheese buttery pie. The eggplant version will satisfied the buds of any seasoned vegetarian. Layered roasted eggplant, tomato jam and Sulguni cheese, topped up by finely minced herbs of the season.

For dessert I went for a ristretto and Chocolate Crémeux with Poached Cherries & Almond “Gozinaki” – perfect balance of textures and bitter-sweet flavours to finish my meal with a memorable delicate after taste. Compliments to the chef and the kitchen!

The service is impeccable: quiet, smiling, warm, no rush- no hustle, always in control, and spreading gratitude and generosity. I warmly recommend it and wish every success to the team of OtsY!

Tbilisi Gastroweek

Tbilisi Gastroweek

I’ve been to gastronomic festivals in couple of countries. You usually get a programme, with a starting time, and with precise times to know when and where which chef will be cooking. @Tbilisigastroweek lured us with interesting announcements and we chose to go on 1 October, because of the promise of a seeing chefs cook and tasting meals from different countries, which set it apart from my previous “chefs of the country where the festival is” kind of thing.

So, when due to traffic we arrived 20 minutes into the event, people were gathering slowly in Ciskari by the Turtle Lake. Good, Georgians do not keep it according to schedule, I thought. We had no programme, and no one around seemed to have one. There was wine and cheese and churchkhela to welcome guests. Two hours or so into the event, some images appeared on the big screen and a chef took his place behind the table. Thanks, they obliged with an English power point and I could understand who that was. My initial bother about what seemed like a delay to me and unforeseeable sequence of the workshops retreated under the influence of a glass of Georgian wine and the majestic calm of walnut trees under which the tables were set. And I got to enjoy this “no rush no hustle “ type of organisation, because there was clearly an organisation to it. The scenery of the nearby Turtle Lake added to the rhythm of going with the flow.

I will not go into all presentations and demonstrations. Those curious can see it all on Tbilisigastroweek social media. The workshops started with Chef @Tekunia who introduced the Georgian chef Guram @Chvenirestaurant.

Chef Guram and his team made for us Street food Pork and red beans stew/ pickled Staphylea with homemade mayonnaise/Georgian “nadughi” mint cream cheese topping.

Chef @Maksutaskar from Turkey @Neolokal restaurant in Istanbul gave a lecture about Anatolian cuisine and the things we share. Very valuable in a world of division. I loved the concept he introduced – “Mothers’ nation “- a concept of transmission between mothers and daughters (and sons), beyond borders and nations. The image of him and his mother was heart-warming. He also shared another type of maps – a culinary map, to look differently perhaps at the world we see. He advocated for cooking as a tribute to tradition mindful of adding sustainability to it.

Congratulations to the team of @Tbilisigastroweek for their first such event. Keep organising them, in your own unique style. We will gladly oblige.

A birthday experience: cakes and more.


For my birthday this year I wanted a new family experience around something we all love. And that is easy to choose. We are all into cakes and making a cake by learning from a French pâtissier in France sounded just right.

I chose Atelier de Yann in Colmar, Alsace. It is a multi concept store: boutique factory, tea time, ateliers de patisserie, opened in 2015 by Yann Navarro, maitre pâtissier, chocolatier. And it was a perfect choice. The first word which came to my mind to describe this place and the service is i m p e c a b l e from the registration to the class to the unboxing of the products of our hands at home. I am very happy to note how client-oriented are the owner and staff, something of a gem in France. I notice it when I encounter it. I am grateful that they adapted to the presence of my kid, in a workshop otherwise designed for adults. In fairness, she has better self-management and dexterity than many adults I know.

The class was conducted by Yann, the owner of the place. We navigated through the stages of the Succès Pistache & Framboises, under his patient and humble guidance. We all felt at ease with maneuvering, matching and spoiling, tasting and mixing, taste and quantity balancing, regardless of the age and level of baking skills. Now the pastry bag has no more secrets from me. I also loved that we could each manifest our own creativity at the decorating stage without being bound by French pastry rigors. And there are many.

We left with a sense of great satisfaction as all our questions were answered with the clarity of a great master and the generosity of the host manifested tiny yet significant details of the true hospitality.

It inspired us to share the experience with friends over a cup of coffee. No that we could not devour the three cakes at once.

We will no doubt come back for more and warmly recommend this temple of nurturing the love for French pastry, with our best wishes of success and prosperity to Yann and his team! If I would award Michelin stars, one would certainly go to Atelier de Yann.

Clafoutis – a summer story


When the cherry season starts, I take it as a sign to slow down and enjoy a slice of clafoutis. With a scoop of ice cream. Or a sip of coffee. It is my kid’ s childhood dessert and a culinary joy to our inner child. I would not say the same about our grown-ups waist line though :).

This year I tried a Guy Savoy recipe. I managed to take one pic before the last piece was gone straight from the baking pan.

I noticed that baking a cherry clafoutis when outside France, it makes you feel as in France. Guy Savoy says it all: “Selon moi, le clafoutis aux cerises fait partie des desserts repères incontournables de notre culture française. Et que le premier qui n’a jamais mangé un clafoutis me jette la première queue de cerise !”

No waste


After the cranial reflexology session, my practitioner used on my feet the remaining of the oil she prepared for me in the morning.   “Zero gaspillage!” she said. And good for my feet.  

The other day, i made a cashew-mango-agave raw cheescake. It was not met with much enthusiasm by my family. I ate as much as i could. Still a glass was still full.

“Zero gaspillage”/no waste came to rescue. So, a day later, plus one egg, 2 spoons of flour, 180Celsius and in 20 min, these beauties joined the table. This time, they were met with the enthusiasm of a hungry mob 🙂

Raw vegan chocolate salami


Chocolate salami is a childhood dessert. In recent years though its taste is too industrial. Perhaps it’s our spoiled receptors. Perhaps not.

There are many great recipes out there. I looked at quite a few for inspiration.

As i am aspiring to stay devoted to KISS (keep it simple stupid), my chocolate salami-making story goes like this:

a generous splash of Agave syrup,

a melted chocolate bar 70%,

a dozen dates,

a bit of marzipan,

two spoons of raw cacao,

a spoon of almond paste,

a handful of beautifully roasted almonds.

A bit of Magimix effort and voila!

My vegan pancakes


I am a certified baker. By my kid. 

I love to improvise. Food ingredients have no escape. I would certify myself as an impro-baker. 

A dear friend of mine, looking at my recent pics, inspired this post. Et Voila, Nadiusa! 

So here are my improvised vegan pancakes:

2 Ts flax with 5-6 Ts water. Leave it  to combine for 10-15 min. It will be the “egg” in this recipe. 

Add 100 ml almond milk and mix well. Add 100 ml apple sauce, 2 Ts oil of choice, 1 Ts agave syrup (or a sweetener of your choice).   Mix well. Add 1 -1,5 cup flour you prefer. I usually do a combination between almond, rice, oatmeal. A bit of baking powder and salt.

Add a lot of love.   

A heated pan will do the rest. 

Bon app/enjoy!  

100 days meat free


To celebrate my first 100 meat free days and reward myself and surprise my dear ones, I got creative with several recipes inspired by lovely people.

First, let me introduce the heart-rice. Inspired by Olivia Steer

1 cup rice

1 cup almond milk

1 cup cashew nut, processed in a blender

30 g cacao butter

1 table spoon vanilla

3 table spoons honey/maple syrup or any other syrup you prefer

heart rice

I cook the rice for 15 years the same way (a Chinese method): 1 cup rice to 1.5 cup boiling water, 3 minutes on high heat, 7 on medium heat and 4 on low heat in a well covered pan. Once it’s ready, keep it covered for another 10 minutes, then add the cashew, cacao butter, vanilla and the syrup/honey. Enjoy!

My cook diary enlists now an Orange poppy seeds almond cake inspired by . I skipped the thick fig ‘cream’ and opted for a tart pan… Happy to have snapped a shot before the remaining three pieces needs an overnight stay in your fridge, for a perfect marriage of flavours.poppy cake

And the jewelry of the crown: the vegan chocolate cake inspired by…that-happens-to-be/,  turned into muffins (purely for logistics purposes, i.e. easier to share with colleagues). I have however skipped the Chocolate Glaze (due to margarine) and replaced the 1 cup sugar with 4 teaspoons powdered Stevie and 2 tablespoons agave syrup. If you prefer it sweeter, go for 4 tablespoons agave syrup. I have also enriched the taste with ¼ cup almond meal. A colleague who refused sweets before, now literally devoured it!

chocolate cake

A race to slow-down: nutrition revisited


Browsing through an Edit issue of Net-a-Porter June 2013, I came across Rosemary Ferguson’s article sharing “her secret to getting swimwear-ready: smart fasting”. Rosemary is a Former model who turned into a holistic nutritionist running her own business Her site gives insights into how she turned to nutrition. Her motivation was simple and sufficiently powerful: what she and her family (she has three children) eat for a happy life. There are many worldwide known names who share their attitudes towards nutrition. This post is not about whom to follow on this path. Each body and soul is unique in all possible ways.

I caught myself at thinking how food became an enemy in this race for faster, better, more efficient etc whatever. How progress and the speed of doing everything deprives the human kind of the humanity it needs to flourish and prosper spiritually. I do not need to go far to find an example. Take my own hectic lifestyle before my pregnancy: business trips, fast food lunch eaten in front on my PC, overeating during holidays, overindulging on stimulants, headake pain medication, irregular sleep, no time for sport, yoga or any kind of rebalancing activities, followed by high levels of stress accumulating, irritability and, to no surprise, unhappiness.

My pregnancy changed a lot. Luckily, a smart choice years earlier to switch to homeopathic remedies cleaned my body of chemical toxins accumulated through medication and years of birth-control pill. I was now able to hear and listen to my body. If I craved for peaches, I knew it was an indication of my iron levels. So, I would take a break from whatever important task at work I was doing to go to the local farmers’ market and buy some. During my pregnancy people were non-stop saying how good and enlightened I looked. I knew that changes in my nutrition was an important part of that.

After giving birth, my body refused dairy. Remember the old adagio “if you want to have milk, drink milk”? Aha! I breastfed for 2 years and 9 months effortlessly, with my calcium levels stable. A mother’s milk comes from fat accumulated during pregnancy and clean water you drink.

Some time ago at a regular check-up I discovered an ‘entity’ in my kidney. The doctor told me it could have been there since my birth and not every doctor pays attention to these. It still put me on an alert. I remembered coming across studies on links between dairy and cancer. These cells feed on dairy proteins (search more on the links, if you wish). And its’ not the dairy’s per se fault, it’s the additives and preservatives and other chemicals, antibiotics and hormones which come with it, in an era of race for more.

A race is a race. A decision to stop and ponder is personal. I’ve only started the journey and I am happy about it. Our bodies are temples. I cherish my body and it cherishes me back, for years to come, with love.104822052

My first vegan experiments


I am a on flesh-free diet for sixty days. The approach was rather gradual – and it works best this way: gave up beef several years ago, having occasionally a piece of chicken. As I have been talking for some time already about a need for a change in the way I approach my nutrition, inspired by my blood tests results and a growing compassion for living beings. A first milestone reached – sixty days meat-free – upon successfully surfing numerous and amazingly generous vegan cooking and baking sites, have finally moved from words to deeds.

My first diet change was to replace yogurt with home make almond milk. Followed these simple steps for a great result: Thank you,! I pour almond milk into my cereals, soy flakes and flax-seeds combined with  fresh or frozen fruits. And enjoy every bit of it, up to the last drop, every morning now!photo (2)

My first successful attempt were these oatmeal cookies, inspired by My small imprint were to add walnuts on one occasion and almonds on another occasion for a variety of taste and flavour. I use the almond meat from the above almond milk recipe. Goes well with raisins, pineapple, cranberries and any other dry fruit.  I also reduced by half the sugar from the original recipe. They are delicious, especially with a mint tea from my kitchen garden. Thank you, !

photo (1)

Cant’ really tell the difference, visually, between vegan oatmeal cookies and oatmeal cookies, which my child loves, fully inspired by www. photo (7)

And my other vegan achievement was to adapt this Easter Swirl Lamb cake recipe , to a Easter Vegan Bunny, to my family’s delight. Thank you, Kathy!936802_10151388848064071_323800802_n

One item I can not give up is chocolate. I am a certified chocolate –addict with no chance of cure. So I thought, until these: . I adjusted it a bit to: 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted; 2/3 cup cacao powder;  3 instead of 4 tbsp agave nectar/maple syrup for my animal farm molds. So I can enjoy now remorse-free chocolate pork, beef and chicken :).  They are heavenly and a long lasting taste for a brightened mood whatever the weather outside and inside. A bit too bitter for loved ones, which works well for me, for obvious reasons :). Thank you,!

photo (18)

These successful attempts were  such a confidence boost! I’ll certainly persevere with more good for body, good for soul, good for planet food.

Enjoy and please share your first vegan experiences