A Very British Adventure.

Last night around half one I was ruggedly woken up by a fire alarm. In my dorm room. In England. Thank God it was a false alarm (which I figured out after I managed to recover from my heart attack, grabbed some clothes, ran down the hall and talked to some guy living on the same floor, who was decidedly more relaxed about it than me). Now you might wonder what I am doing in England. Believe me, last night around half one I did too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The reason I’m in England is an internship with a charity which specializes in nutritional research regarding coeliac disease. It’s an incredible opportunity to be a teeny-tiny part of this and I’m excited to learn all about it.

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Since I’m staying in a dorm, there’s a shared kitchen but everyone is expected to bring their own kitchen equipment including pans, which I could of course not fit into my suitcase. So I’ll be living on microwave meals for the next couple of weeks. Which just reminded me of this gem:

So far, I have found a lot of interesting ready meals, salads and soups at the local supermarkets, so hopefully I won’t be needing that book after all.

I’ve been looking forward to trying Livia’s Kitchen Raw Millionaire Bites and Biccy Boms for a long time, so I couldn’t resist when I found them at Sainsbury’s.

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The Raw Millionaire Bites were delicious with a slightly crumbly oat base, sticky date caramel and dark chocolate layer. I also like that you get three small bites instead of one large bar.

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The Biccy Boms looked very promising, but the “cake” layer turned out to be too dry for my taste. That’s a pity, because the chocolate coating and date caramel core are lovely.

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I could spend hours at the grocery stores around here and just take a look at all the products. Just look at those microwaveable fries:

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Or how about a unicorn cake?

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And it doesn’t stop there. You know, maybe I should get this comfy one piece, just in case I feel like dressing up like a deer one day.ย 030.jpg

Just in case you didn’t notice, it’s got ears and antlers too…

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Already suggested the following outfit for our next Christmas family photo. Somehow they weren’t as thrilled as I am. That patterned piece to the left is for dogs by the way. Just so they don’t feel left out I guess.

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I also found some super handy things, like these veggies in microwaveable bags.

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And I love the selection of healthy lunch sized salads, which can easily be turned into a more filling meal by adding steamed veggies and rice for example.

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Or rice noodles, a spoonful of peanut butter and lemon juice to get something resembling Pad Thai:

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Good night! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Things I’ve learned in my first year as an aspiring dietitian.

I hope you are enjoying summer and having a good time wherever you are reading this! Since the exam phase is over and summer holidays have started, I’ve had lots of time to visit my family, cook and read. And even to take a crazy swim in the Aare when the weather was still a little warmer. I consider myself an all right swimmer but the stream was so much stronger than I expected, so it turned out to be a near-death-experience (just kidding, in case my grandma reads this) but I would do it again anytime. ๐Ÿ˜€ If you are curious about how exactly Aare swimming works, take a look at this:

In a couple of weeks I’ll start my first internship at a local hospital and I am very excited to try and put the things I’ve learned during my first year at university into practice. A lot of things sound completely logical and self-understood when you hear about them in lectures, but it’s a completely different experience when you are actually sitting down and having a one-on-one conversation with a patient.

My school makes a real point of preparing students for that kind of situations. During the last year I’ve even had the chance to get communication training with actors who were playing clients. I’m more of an introverted person and really have to push myself in those moments, but it is absolutely worth it. I’ve learned so much from mistakes I made during those trainings.

For example, it is vital to listen carefully and make sure you’ve understood what the other person is trying to tell you. Sounds logical and not that hard to do, right? However, it happens so easily that someone is telling you something and your brain automatically interprets it a certain way or fills in the gaps. We are all bringing our own background, experiences and expectations into a conversation, but as a professional dietitian counseling a patient one needs to be able to let go of that “drawer system” in our heads. It’s too easy to stick labels on people and miss crucial information, because every single person you talk to is unique. Thank god, because that is also one of the aspects which makes counseling so interesting.

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Another thing I’ve learned: If you put your heart and soul into it, you can achieve anything. Even pass the exam on a year-long biochemistry course. ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve plastered my kitchen cupboards with the steps of the citric acid cycle, nomenclatures of carbon compounds and lots of other funny things to look at while I wait for my rice to be cooked.ย If you are playing with the thought of becoming a registered dietitian, don’t let chemistry scare you off. If I can do it without having any previous education in chemistry, you can too!

Since starting to study, my eating habits have changed in certain ways. I am for example more mindful about incorporating sufficient vegetarian and dairy free protein sources like lentils and beans into my diet (shoutout to thisย pesto butter bean salad with pomegranate topping, which I prepare with sautรฉed spinach instead of rocket). ๐Ÿ™‚

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And I have learned some new cooking methods which help to preserve nutrients (like using a steam-sieve for veggies) and open up new possibilities when it comes to getting the texture just right. Talking about texture, imagine if your diet was suddenly restricted to eating pureed or liquid foods. Not just for a day or two, but for the next couple of months. It is likely that even your favorite dish will not be half as appealing to you when it has been texture modified. But luckily there are ways to make it look and taste a lot more like the dish you are used to. Trying to make liquefied tofu taste delicious and pureed carrots resemble their original shape was quite an interesting experience.

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All in all, it was a very interesting first year and I’ve been lucky to make some good friends along the way, who love to talk about food and cooking as much as I do. ๐Ÿ™‚

Spring, Snow and Street Food.

Spring has been in full bloom in Bern until the temperatures dropped a couple of days ago and today it even snowed again. If this continues, I’ll make the best of it and start listening to Christmas songs. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Last weekend an Asian Street Food Festival with vegetarian dishes only was taking place. There were only a couple of food stands, but the variety of dishes was great.

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I first got a chance to stop by on Sunday evening and was worried that a lot of stands might be sold out, but they still had plenty of food to offer.

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Check out this impressive set up with lots of fresh ingredients:

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It was hard to choose a single dish, everything smelled and looked delicious. There were Samosas, Pakoras, Momos (Nepalese dumplings), waffles, all sorts of Asian wok dishes and lots of other things to choose from.

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Hong Kong waffles filled with peanut butter and condensed milk seemed to be very popular.

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Look at the coffee sign ๐Ÿ™‚

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I had never seen “Vegetable Satay Wok” on a menu before. Satay sauce is one of those things that I find tricky to get right when I prepare it from scratch, it always gets either too greasy (too much peanut butter) or lacks flavor. So thank God for Street Food Festivals! It was a delicious meal, the sauce was sweet, peanut-y and spicy and hit all the right spots.

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And for dessert I raided my dessert drawer at home. Maybe you can tell that dark chocolate is my favorite ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Those lovechock bars are soooo good. Vegan, organic fair trade chocolate wrapped in sustainable packaging, bursting with flavor. Cherry/Chili is divine. They are on the more pricey side, but in my opinion worth it for the occasional treat. And they also make a pretty gift for dark chocolate lovers.

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Hello from the other side…

I finally got the first wave of exams behind me and there were some sharks in the water but so far I’m still swimming at least. ๐Ÿ™‚

A spontaneous list of things that have been keeping me alive while studying:

  • Binge watching Gilmore Girls (highly recommended!)

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  • Eating lots and lots of chocolate in all forms there are every single day (less recommended).
  • Thinking about which country I will emigrate to if I should fail my exams. I tend to prefer sunny places by the beach. ๐Ÿ˜€
  • Taking walks to get some fresh air and find some cats in the neighborhood to pet.

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Next week it will be back to having a normal schedule for a while at least. ๐Ÿ™‚

Some of my favorite memories from the last months are the cooking classes. So much inspiration and lots of delicious food.

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Oven roasted veggies in all colors, drizzled with olive oil and fresh herbs:

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And a pan filled with sweet cherry tomatoes and tofu, seasoned with Mediterranean herbs.

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If you aren’t into soggy veggies, try cutting them up in similar sized pieces and drizzling a small amount of olive oil or rapeseed oil over them. Add a little salt and/or pepper according to your liking and roast them in the oven at about 200 degrees for 20 minutes.

Add freshly chopped herbs (for example a mix of basil, rosemary and thyme) before serving them (you can also add them before you put the veggies in the oven, but they burn easily). This works very well with butternut squash, zucchini, bell pepper, beetroot, mushrooms, onion and tomatoes.

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Love the variety of textures, flavors and colors. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s never too cold for ice cream.

I got to spend a couple of days with my boyfriend this week (YAAAY!) and we had a fantastic time. Of course Ethiopian food was on the list (at least according to me ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), but we also tried out a Gelateriaย which I had spotted a little while ago with the most amazing looking artisan ice cream. Aren’t those tiny cones cute? ๐Ÿ™‚

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You can even bring your own fruit and they will make ice cream or sorbet out of it within a day. They offer dairy-free/vegan ice cream too, so I got to try a delicious dark chocolate creation:

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On another day we took a tour of Bundeshaus (Federal Palace of Switzerland) which was pretty impressive.

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There is a huge painting in the National Council which is breathtaking and also the glass artwork in the Dome is amazing:

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Luckily the sun decided to make an appearance as well and it almost felt like spring. Sometimes one should just be able to press a button to stop time from passing by. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Home is…

…where the pumpkins are. Or at least that’s what it was like last weekend. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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I went home for two days and got to take a little trip to a close by farm. They had set up a really adorable exhibition, with pumpkins in all shapes and colors.

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How cute are those mice?!

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The weather wasn’t exactly sunny, but that didn’t stop the gorgeous sunflowers from shining at their brightest. ๐Ÿ™‚

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And can you guess the magical concoction on the picture below? It’s freshly pressed apple juice from the farm, or”fall in a glass” to me. Not comparable to the stuff you can buy at the supermarket. ๐Ÿ™‚

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My schedule is pretty busy nowadays, so dinner has to be made quickly. Thank god for microwavable wheat berry pouches! They add a a lovely chewy texture to a plate of Mediterranean vegetables and make it a complete meal.

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Another dish I eat quite often lately: Oven baked potato wedges with curry and a big dollop of hummus. Sometimes I add sauerkraut, because I love the refreshing flavor and texture and it offers lots of health benefits. Is there anyone else who enjoys eating sauerkraut without being forced to do so? ๐Ÿ™‚

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Signs of Fall

When I laid eyes on these plants on my way to school I had to stop and take a closer look, because it seemed like someone had spray painted the leaves with liquid gold. But no, this is mother nature in all her glory. And one of the reasons to love fall, even if it means the end of summer.

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As I type this I have officially survived my first week of being a student again (yaaay!). It’s been a crazy couple of days with lots of new impressions and of course there have been some challenging moments too.ย I’m a creature of habit and changing not only from working to studying but also moving across the country isย quite a lot to process.

But it feels like things are getting better day by day. Big portions of oatmeal with sunflower butter are also helping. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Today I finally got broadband connection in my apartment and that makes life so much easier. So far I had to sneak into the law school library close by my apartment to “borrow” their wifi. You could easily hear a needle drop in there, so even unzipping my backpack made me feel a little uncomfortable. ๐Ÿ˜€

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Completely unrelated, but worth mentioning: One of the perks to living in the “Lรคnggasse” area is an Ethiopian restaurant right around the corner. Even just the sourdough bread called “Injera” is worth a visit. Or five. Pretty sure I could live off that kind of food for the next three years.

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And I can’t end this post without showing you this hilarious picture of a neighbor cat I took up in the mountains a couple of days ago before I moved… ย In my next life I’d like to be a cat please. Nothing wrong with laying around all day while the sun is shining on your belly. ๐Ÿ˜€

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