Birthday Picnic!


My birthday was always and still is a big deal for me. Being an August kid isn’t easy and I had my share of bitterness when I was younger; having to celebrate in May or June, before school is over, or celebrating almost alone because either we were away, like on my 18th birthday when we were in Osaka or there were almost no friends around.

As an adult I find myself liking big parties; had a big Sunday brunch party in NYC when I turned 27, and in recent years, here in Hamburg, I organized myself lovely parties in some local clubs/bars. Two years ago I had a 80’s themed party, the music was awesome and people dressed up, we danced all night!

This year I wanted a picnic! For a few reasons: first was that many of my friends never tried my food, they only see photos all the time, secondly, it is August and is there a better thing than an outdoor picnic? Well… the only problem is the infamous Hamburg unpredictable weather, especially in the summer: thunder storms and lots of rain. This year, on my actual birthday (2.8) there were 36 degrees, was super sunny, warm, and I was lucky enough to have the sun two days later as well and 0% chance of rain!


Being a control freak. of course that I refused to let people help me. It is my birthday, I make the food and I could not imagine letting anyone make my stuff! This proved to be a really hard and probably silly idea. Cooking and preparing food  for around 30 people is A LOT OF WORK! I did create a menu before, organized the shopping etc. etc. but the day before the picnic I was working soooooooooooooo much, was in the kitchen for almost 10 hours and kept wondering how will it be to have my own vegan cafe one day and make food for a lot of people…I am lucky though that my amazing husband was taking care of almost any other thing that was needed, from renting a car, carrying beer cases, building my birthday tent and keeping it all calm and loving <3 !


At the end everything worked out wonderfully. Friends arrived, some from out of town, food was eaten happily, drinks were consumed, we had music, balloons, dogs and babies, neighbors, presents, flowers and lots of laughter. I felt loved and happy and that’s what birthdays are all about!

I am happy to show you here some photos from my birthday picnic – and soon, my recipe for Mini Za’atar Bombs! [next post!]

What did I make?


  • Pasta salad with fresh basil, dry tomatoes and pine nuts


  • Mini Za’atar bombs (recipe will be posted soon!)


  • Salsa with fresh cilantro and variety of tomatoes




  • Roasted eggplants in olive oil and sumac


  • Beets salad with cumin and walnuts


  • Chocolate Kranz cake (yeast cakes, I made two, one is never enough)


  • Chocolate balls (a favorite childhood desert of mine)


What did I buy?

  • Hummus – for a minutes it felt bad but I really couldn’t pull making hummus as well
  • Fresh Turkish bread (Flatbread and Laffa)
  • Nachos chips
  • Filled wine leaves
  • Pickled mini eggplants
  • Pickled cucumbers
  • Olives



Until the next time!


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Dorian Gray


  1. I loved the Za`atar bombs! If you post the recipe (yay!) please get Lior to share the secret where to get that stuff in Hamburg!

  2. That looks like a fun birthday picnic! Btw, I’ll be hosting an international giveaway, I am giving away two cookbooks this weekend, so stay tuned and check out my blog.

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