I am a "creative chef" (well, not formally trained so I guess I should call myself a "cook"), jewelry designer, graphic artist, wife and mother. From an international background: Hungarian, Romanian parents, born in Montreal, we moved to New Rochelle NY in the late 50's, then in 1961 moved to Cascais, Portugal, where I spent the best years of my life!
We traveled extensively as a family, which gave me a taste of discovery. I have traveled a lot on my own as well: from Europe to the Caribbean, to the South Pacific and the US...picking up bits and pieces of culinary experiences. My mother was a fabulous cook: the smells from her kitchen were divine!
In my university days, I supported myself by finding a full-time job in the investment business (stock brokerage, to by precise) in which I developed a very long career. (Some would say too long !) In the meantime I also owned a freelance graphic design company, focusing on Logo design and packaging... After a severe burn-out, 3 heart attacks, and recently breast cancer, I decided to leave "the business" for good. So, in 2010 I dove full-time into my cooking, by starting up this blog, writing over 300 recipes in the first year! I named this blog "Jump Into My Kitchen" because it truly reflects my personality towards cooking: it's FUN! In January 2013 we decided to open up our home to guests, offering a "hidden restaurant", which was called Saveurs du Jours. We offered lunch and dinner, upon reservation, as well as picnic baskets to order. Unfortunately due to illness, as well as local regulations, we closed in 2015.
About My Cooking
Having grown up in Portugal with my Hungarian-Rumanian parents, I developed a love for food and cooking by hanging around my mother's kitchen. Most of her recipes came from this huge and mysterious book, written in Hungarian, that belonged to her mother...which I believe is now in the hands of my sister. So, most of my Hungarian dishes which you see on this blog are simply done by memory and of course ! have added some of my own touches.
I started cooking for myself when I moved out of my parent's home in 1978...we had recently moved back to Canada and I rented a tiny studio-flat, with an even tiny-er kitchen. When most single, young people ate out or brought food in, I cooked. I even tried to bake, but to this day I will admit I am pretty lousy at it. (Haha) Being on a student budget forced me to be creative with what I cooked - even though I am creative by nature. At the beginning of my long (way too long) career in the investment business, colleagues would ask me what to do with this or that in their fridge - so I would spontaneously invent a recipe (silently crossing my fingers they would turn out - and they did!)..then someone said I should write a book with all the recipes I had in my head...Well I started it - with the index, and called it "Easy Recipes for My Friends", but over the years the index just grew and grew, so I quickly realised that this book would never get finished. Hence the creation of this blog in June 2011. Initially I did this for "fun", but now I take it very seriously and am totally devoted to my blog (even though I may miss a day or two).
The base of my cooking comes from my many travels around the world. It is influenced by Mediterranean - bits and pieces from Portugal, Italy, France etc., plus Hungary (of course), a little Romanian, some oriental, Italian etc. with a flair of my own. But, most of the time I will create something of my own. I rarely go out to shop for something specific, since I usually open the fridge or freezer and think "hmm, what shall I make with those carrots or pork loin ?". I am very creative and free spirited, which is why I call myself a "Creative Chef". I am constantly striving to learn new techniques and develop existing skills and share my knowledge.
Cooking is my passion and I hope it will be yours as well !