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Hi, I’m Johanne,

Cooking has always been my joy, my solace, a way to show my love to those around me.

Mainly it has been a way for me to eat the foods I crave without breaking the bank. I love to eat. I eat like a linebacker but I want each bite to be delicious, so I make it myself.

Kibbutz Nachshon 1988

Hydra Greece 2012

Years ago a friend said to me “I wish you would call me every day and tell me what you are making for dinner. When you describe what you’ve cooked I am inspired to get in the kitchen and make something delicious

I guess she invented the idea of food blogging.

When I first started thinking of names for the blog I thought I should call it:

Who the F^*#@ am I to tell you what to cook?

But I’m not telling you what to cook am I? I am hopefully giving you inspiration, little ideas that you can color with your own brushes, adding your flair and the nuances of your palate.

From the left me, my mother and my sister Athens, Greece.

In the dark days after our mother died (our Father six months later and our Aunt, a second mother to, us six months later) my sister and I agreed to begin sharing stories of our childhood, trading them back and forth between us like a game of pingpong, we called this blowing on the embers. It seemed at that time that the fires had gone out and we hoped that by blowing on the dark coals a spark would light again in our lives.

I seek the light: sometimes in bounds and sometimes with winter weary steps but always I am moving towards light and joy.

Searching for the Thanksgiving pies with my daughter Livy

My first Christmas without my mother I realized that it was now my job to carry the torch of family holiday traditions. The most important tradition being the making of the Christmas eve rice pudding. My mother never wrote down recipes (how annoying) because each time she cooked she started from scratch, intuition and inspiration.

That first rice pudding was terrible; heavy and difficult to get through just like that first holiday on our own.

Part of Blowing so damn hard on the embers is to bring back the tastes of childhood, my mother’s expatriate Danish cooking, my Father’s Eastern European specialties like his sweet Tzimmes and half sour tomatoes, my Aunt’s traditional Danish farmhouse fair and elegant midsummer night desserts, and the foods of our young childhood spent with our parents on a Greek Island. I will throw in as well the influences of my husband’s Israeli youth and my years spent living with him on kibbutz. As I have learned it is love and connections that makes this tapestry bright.

My two boys Aylam and Sterling

This year four Christmases later our rice pudding was light and airy, sparkling with lemon zest topped with glossy, garnet cherry sauce, and sprinkled with shaves of dark chocolate.

Grab your coat and get your hat
Leave your worry on the doorstep
Just direct your feet
To the sunny side of the street

Can’t you hear a pitter-pat?
And that happy tune is your step
Life can be so sweet
On the sunny side of the street

-Dorothy Fields

Those golden Hydra days with my sister and dad.

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It would make my day if you left me a comment. If you make one of these recipes please let me see by tagging @SunnysideHanne on Instagram, I’d love to see.


  1. Thank you/ this is the very first time I have commented on a cooking blog. I love your mix of story telling and food making. I was born and grew up in New York city, daughter of a beat generation hippy, was sent at 9 with my twin sister to live with my paternal aunt on the west coast, emigrated to Cyprus and lived there for 20 years, now live in Norway, cook vegan, run supper clubs, teach sociology, garden and love our african dwarf goats. I love cooking and mostly experimenting with food. Like you, I grew up with little, and appreciate much. Thank you for your blog.

    • Katherine, Oh that means terribly much to me that you enjoy my blog/stories. I wish we could sit down over a hot cup of coffee and you’d tell me all about your life. We share hippy parents,iconoclasts and wanderers. I snooped over to your blog and your B&B looks lovely. Funnily enough my sister and her family live in Tromsø, Norway.- All the best Johanne

  2. Wow. If there’s one perk of life it’s getting to know “beautiful “customers at my work place. And by gosh I’ ve met one. You are a wonderful peaceful person with every purpose of life going in the spiritual, nutritional belly of life. I love gibing w you about everything from the kids, to your recipes, food o course, and common everyday life. This blog is an inspiration for me. Thanx for coming into wholefoods & sharing your thoughts & ideas, especially on those cold,snowy mornings when your face was all we could see because you ‘have to’ walk from home . . . What a gift. Lol. Love , Patricia

    • Sweet Patricia, Entering da market be like running a gauntlet. Then I see your face. Phew. Standing there amidst the piled eggplant we are transported to a little village, a bubble where we talk, and laugh and kibitz. We are like-souls with enough differences to make our talks interesting. You have lifted gloomy days right of my shoulders with you bright smile. Xox love to you -Hanne

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