Showing blog posts tagged with: how wonderful I am

The best hummus in the world

by Hilla Duka - View comments

Perfect hummus recipe

As we settled back in after our trip, the kids reaching for the XBOX and computer, I headed to the kitchen. I'm not much of a fix-the-dinner kind of cook, but I love poking around in the kitchen preparing side dishes. I'll put it this way - the salad is always made by someone else, but the dressing? Me. Also, my kids have a serious hummus addiction, so if there is one thing I make sure to have at home it's a fresh batch of home made hummus, and this time I thought I'd share the recipe. It's really easy to make, however it does take a while, so starting the night before is key. Anyway, here's what you need:

2.5 dl dried chickpeas

baking powder

1.25 dl Tahina

​1.25 - 2.5 dl cooking water

2 garlic cloves



2 lemons

(olive oil, lemon juice, cumin and paprika powder for serving)

Chickpeas in a can

Here's the thing about making hummus - you need to start with dried chick peas. The canned ones just won't do it at all, and you need the cooking water. So, starting the night before, take your chickpeas, rinse them and put them in water. Add about a small tablespoon of baking soda to the water (this will make the peel fall off). Then go to bed and forget all about it.

chickpeas after a night of soaking in water - the perfect hummus recipe

In the morning, the chickpeas will have kind of doubled in volume. Give them a rinse again and change the water their soaking in, to let them soak an hour or so in fresh water. Then rinse again (I know, a lot of rinsing!) and add them to a big pot to cook. Cook for about an hour, or until the chickpeas sort of fall apart if you press them softly. During the cooking, skim the surface with one of those frying ladles with a flat surface and a bunch of holes in, know which one I mean? The white froth is something you don't want, and all the empty peels is also good to get rid of. Once cooked, drain the chickpeas while keeping the cooking water.

All the ingredients you need for making the perfect hummus

Put the chickpeas in your food processor, and mash. Let them cool down as you collect the other ingredients. Now pour in about 1.25 dl of cooking water, same amount of Tahina, the juice of two lemons, two garlic cloves, a tablespoon of cumin (which in Swedish in not kummin but Spiskummin, weirdly enough) and a teaspoon of salt. Start the food processor again and mix it all up. The consistency should be way more runny than desired, since it will bind together more once cooled, so if it's not runny enough, just add more of the cooking water. Taste and maybe add some more cumin and salt, and then serve it with olive oil and lemon drizzled over, and powdered with paprika powder and cumin. Finger licking good, and absolutely smooth! It lasts several days in the fridge, though I can't say for sure how many since we always run out before it goes off, but maybe five?

The perfect hummus recipe

And now that there is hummus in the house again, order is restored. Jonathan got feeling and took the opportunity to make cookies, and now it feels like home again. 


I hope you'll try this, it really is so good, and close to impossible to get wrong, and healthier than the stuff you buy at the store too, as a little bonus. If you do, let me know how you like it!

Extra everything with icing on the top. And a cherry.

by Hilla Duka - View comments

milo portrait with too much Photoshop effects

I decided I deserved a real camera, so for the first time in my life, I invested in a proper DSLR camera. I know this is going to make me sound ancient, but I kind of didn't follow into the digital camera era - I learned how to take pictures using film and develop them in a darkroom when I was in school, and loved it soooo much, but then when everyone decided digital photography was the real deal, I just didn't join in. Until now. Welcome to your new home, Canon 700D, we're very happy to have you. Well, I am. To be honest, the others don't care so much.


The thing is, between getting myself a proper camera, and deciding to learn Photoshop properly, I will willingly admit I don't know where to stop. I am going all extra-everything-and-some-chips-on-the-side on my poor images. The kids will hate me for it when they grow up and see the pics with soft focus and romantic light... I will try to control myself, especially tomorrow, when we celebrate Jacob who turns eight!

Making jam v 2.0

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homemade strawberry jam with chia seeds and goji berries

I wrote previously about how I started to make jam, since that seems to make almost anything edible to the sensitive pallets of my delicate offspring. Well, devious as I am, I'm finding even more ways to sneak healthiness into a jar of red berries. This time I made it with Chia seeds instead of pectin, and added Goji berries to the mix. At first I was alarmed as the seeds were clearly showing, and the dried Goji berries didn't dissolve as I had hoped they would, but it turned out to be a mere question of time, as almost everything in life is. I had to let it boil for about twenty minutes instead of about ten as before, but it turned out just as nice as ever, only with some hidden goodness in it! Being to kind of mother that I am, I still haven't told them what's in it - and they haven't noticed anything different at all. 


Goji is considered the most nutritious berry in the world, and is packed full of antioxidants, vitamin C, magnesium, zinc etc. Chia is a seed that contains lots of Omega-3, fibre and protein. While Chia is virtually tasteless, and can be added to any liquid to make it jelly like, goji has a distinct taste, quite bitter, and I find them hard to eat as they are, but mixed with other berries they kind of disappear.

homemade granola

And then, as I was feeling all homely and Nigella like (I just love watching her cook! Even when she cooks meat I'm drooling...) I decided to make granola as well. This is another one of those staples I make about once a month, and everyone just loves. I keep about half of the batch for us, then graciously hand out the other half in little portions to my parents and brother. 


It's ridiculously easy to make, you simply pour about one litre of oats and other grains, and add like a dl each of water, honey and coconut oil. Sprinkle on some cocoa, or cinnamon and cardamom on top, and put it into the oven for about half an hour. Then add basically anything you like to it, I usually put in Goji berries, cranberries, coconut flakes, hazelnuts, dried blueberries... The kids love it with some yoghurt and sliced banana on top, and if they've had that for breakfast, I can rest assure they won't be suffering blood sugar mood swings. 


by Hilla Duka - View comments


Yesterday, on a high overlooking the entire city, I married my best friend, the steadfast rock who's always been there for me, the love of my life, and the father of my children. In a simple ceremony marked only by love and respect, with family and beloved, supportive friends around us, we became husband and wife, and I know that this we will remain for all of my days. 

I'm so grateful to everyone who took time to come and celebrate with us, making it exactly as special and still relaxed as I had hoped. It was an amazing day. And to my friend Cattis, without whom all of these ideas about getting married would still just remain ideas. When I found out about the cancer, Ilir asked me to marry him. When we started planning, all we could really come up with was that we would like a small ceremony, in a very relaxed way, having some champagne with our loved ones. Since I can't plan far in advance as I have no way of knowing how I will feel in six or so months, we knew that it would have to be short notice. This meant we couldn't simply book the next available time at the registry office, and as I am a non believing Jew and Ilir is a non believing Muslim, finding someone prepared to marry us seemed more than difficult. Until Cattis came in, found a lovely minister who didn't have a problem marrying such a religiously strange couple as us, and also promised to work around Jonathan's very harsh opinions on mentions of God or Jesus. (I think I've mentioned that before? While I'm somewhat of a religious carnivore - devouring all but believing in nothing, Jonathan has very strong opinions about especially Jesus. I think it stems from going with school to church before Christmas, where the priest told the story of Jesus as if it was fact, and Jonathan stood up, pointing fingers at the priest and calling: You can't know that's what happened, it was over two thousand years ago, YOU weren't there!) Thankfully, this very open minded minister didn't have a problem working around all of this, and Jonathan, whilst initially sceptic, soon warmed to him and played and laughed with him after the ceremony. 

My lovely friends from work read this poem, which brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart (chemo brain is making me mushy and sentimental and emotional...):

När jag står på bergets topp

När jag går i den djupaste dal

Finns det inget på denna jord

Som jag inte kan klara av 

Om du finns hos mig

Om du tror på oss

Ge mig din hand

Med dig vid min sida

Klarar jag allt

Klarar jag allt 

När dom vänder mig ryggen

När människor blir små

När vägen är mörk

Ska jag fortsätta gå

För med dig är jag modig

Jag är den jag vill va'

Och hur det än blir nu

Är allt som det ska

Om du finns hos mig

Om du tror på oss

Ge mig din hand

Med dig vid min sida

Klarar jag allt

Klarar jag allt

And then we were done, and after some champagne we went down to find some grass and some shade and had a picnic. It was exactly the sort of simple, relaxed day I had hoped for, and though I was sad that some of my friends and loved ones couldn't make it, we toasted to absent friends, we laughed, and it was a wonderful day. I hope it will be a day the kids will always remember. I know I will. 


And today is my birthday, I'm turning 35. A few years ago I invented IHAD (International Hilla Appreciation Day), so my birthday is usually a day of drop-by visitors having some bubbles and toasting me and telling me how wonderful I am, rather than the cake, gifts and off-key happy birthday songs you'd normally have. Celebrations are so important. At every chance, every birthday, happy turn, achievement, at every piece of good news, we could all do with a bit more celebrating. God knows we grieve enough. 


by Hilla Duka - View comments


Rather than showing you what's really preoccupying me right now, I'll show you these little ones. They're little friendly robots, that I made for Jacob's upcoming birthday, but then decided they should have a life of their own as well. Should I be showing you what's really on my mind right now, it would be a scary image of a swollen knee, dislocated kneecap and torn ligament... Yes, I slipped on some ice in Berlin. I walk as if I'm about a hundred years old, am in constant pain, and not best used to not relying on myself for everything. You can see why I take every opportunity to doodle and distract myself.

The event itself - a Rails meetup for Berliners, went fairly well, if you don't count getting up at 4 am and then hosting an evening doo. On my way back I slipped on an icy patch on the path, and the rest of the trip is some sort of blacked-out pain haze. 

Oh, and before we left, we had our very first all employee meeting, in which the annual awards were handed out - and I snagged one! One of the employee vote based ones, Mynewsdesker of the year, was for me, and with it came a nice little iPad mini with retina display. Why, thank you! Far be it from me to question the sanity of anyone who voted for me - I'll just think on it quietly in my head instead. You can read the motivation for the award here, and if you think it may just possibly be poor taste to refer to a short, sturdy person as a rock, well we'll just keep that quiet as well, ok? Ok. I'm of course very flattered, as well as happy for my new toy!

Happy IHAD!

by Hilla Duka - View comments


Happy IHAD, or International Hilla Appreciation Day!

Today is my birthday, though a few years ago I changed it and instead founded IHAD - a day of sipping champagne (whilst staying only tipsy the whole day, it's harder than it sounds!) and people come from near and far (though mostly near, to be honest) to tell me how wonderfull I am. Those are the only rules, the rest you play by ear, but there must be champagne and compliments. 

When I established IHAD a few years ago, I was getting painfully aware that I was no longer simply thirty, but in my thirties. This took the fun out of my birthday, and of course, part of the brilliance of the IHAD is that it doesn't focus on the year, it's simply a cellebration. Like christmas. 

Unfortunately, the kids did not react well to all the exitement and the flow of visitors, and where over exited and high on sugar, and at eachothers throats all day long, but apart from that it was a brilliant day. And since it's IHAD, I got to put on my prettiest dress and my highest heels and my heaviest necklace and therefor felt quite as wonderful as everyone was (forced to) telling me I was. Now the monsters boys are in bed, all the visitors have left, and I'm enjoying some quiet time on my lovely balcony. 

Truly, I think IHAD is one of my best inventions, and unless your name starts with an S or an M, you should copy it! (Sorry, but ISAD or IMAD is just not going to work...)


Photo taken by Jonas Forsberg