How did your blog ‘Make Cooking Easier’ come about?Make Cooking Easier was created 8 years ago. At that time, I was finishing one job at a bank as a Recruitment Specialist and I’d just started another in the same industry. I managed to hire over four hundred people, covering thousands of kilometres around Poland. I had over a thousand recruitment interviews and I was convinced that at such a young age I’d managed to find a dream job. I am a trained psychologist, so the work of listening to human experience and adjusting skills to the workplace was an extraordinary challenge. Unfortunately, I did not feel this same enthusiasm in the new role and resigned after the first day. The next day, I repainted the kitchen in purple, baked a tart my mother had taught me and I took a picture with a borrowed camera. I posted on the blog. And so it began.
Was the blog supposed to be an escape from working in the corporate world?Working in the corporate world was a great experience for me in getting to know people, their problems, behaviour, aspirations. I think this allowed me to better understand the expectations of future readers.
Is ‘Make Cooking Easier’ still a passion or is it a way of life?Every day I try to make my blog a response to current news and emails from my readers. They are largely my inspiration for creating recipes. By answering their questions, I participate in their lives and it gives me great satisfaction. You can see this a way of life and if a passion becomes a way of life, what more can you expect from life.
Make Cooking Easier has a sister website Make Life Easier (makelifeeasier.pl), which focuses on fashion and lifestyle. It is the work of your friend, Katarzyna Tusk (Katarzyna, a Tri-City resident, is the daughter of the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk). Do you work together on your blogs and how are they similar or different?On the Make Life Easier blog, I co-create the culinary content, where I try to show readers simple and uncomplicated dishes based on seasonal products. We put a lot of care into the aesthetics of the dishes, so as to encourage readers to spend time together in the kitchen, at a shared table.
Is there a special type of cuisine or cooking style that you prefer and focus on?In my cooking the most important for me is the quality and freshness of the products. I mainly buy at local markets (preferably straight from suppliers, e.g. in Sopot, at Polna street or in Gdynia-Orłowo, at Wielkopolska street). I buy a little but often. I care very much that food is not wasted. And when it comes to the style of cooking - if you can call it that - I like it when we cook as a family when everyone in the house is involved. Then it is cheerful, loud and we can catch up with what’s going in our lives as we prepare the food together.
The quality and perception of Polish cuisine has changed tremendously since the In Your Pocket guides in Poland were created. Why do you think that is? What dishes do you recommend especially for those who love to cook?For a good few years now, cooking in Poland has developed tremendously – thanks in no small amount to the blogosphere. I try mainly to recommend dishes to my readers that we can prepare quite quickly, based on fresh ingredients and the least processed ones. I like seasonality in the kitchen. We're just in the middle of the summer now, so we use the benefits as much as we can. I am just in the process of making home preserves from the apples and currants in our garden. I love to make tomatoes for Italian passata (uncooked tomato puree), which in the winter season works great as a basis for many dishes.
You have recently created a line of children's clothes under the 'Sophie' brand. What are these clothes and what was the inspiration to create them?Together with my cousin, we established a brand of children's clothes that are timeless, classic and elegant, with the main emphasis being on the high quality of the materials. An important thing for us was sewing clothes on the spot, based on traditional Polish handicrafts. We decided to create a traditional style which is suitable for all occasions - a navy, pleated skirt with a white blouse and dresses for all occasions. We hope that the clothes will last for years.
What are your favourite places where you can eat well in the Tri-City?The culinary side of the Tri-City is constantly developing - almost every month new places are created which offer something new and can surprise you. I like to experience Asian cuisine, because I know that I cannot prepare many of the dishes as well at home. So, with that in mind I like Ping-Pong (at Garnizon in Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz), Ryż (Gdansk-Oliwa) or Thai-Thai (Sopot). They are all a great source of oriental flavours and I would thoroughly recommend them.
For foreign visitors to the Tri-city looking to experience Polish cuisine I would recommend the Tłusta Kaczka restaurant in Gdynia-Orłowo, which beautifully re-creates Polish flavours which we remember from our parents' homes but with a modern twist.
Where do you like to take foreign visitors to the Tri-City?There are a lot of places - it all depends on the mood and the interests of the people visiting. The European Solidarity Center is one place which we can be very proud of and at the same time help to bring the contemporary history of our country closer to the foreign guest.
The Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre is an extraordinary theatre inspired by the old Elizabethan theatre and the design of the Italian architect is very impressive. And in Gdynia, I would recommend the first museum in the country dedicated to the history of Polish emigration - the Gdynia Emigration Museum. I would also suggest a walk on the beach in Orłowo and the pier, followed by a coffee in Domek Żeromskiego which is a few steps from the pier and offers great views of the Gulf of Gdansk.
About Zofia CudnyZofia’s recipes can be found on her blog Make Cooking Easier while you’ll find some great photos on her Instagram account.
Those who are interested to see more of the children’s clothing line Zofia and her cousin are developing should check out Sophie Kids