Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Bells are Ringing

And not Christmas bells. This time it is wedding bells.

I am off to a very special family wedding.

I was honoured to be asked to do some baking for this happy occasion. My job is to make gingerbread biscuits that can double as place cards. As it is only a small affair, I have jumped at the chance to add my own bit of homemade goodness to the day. (Some Greek friends of mine, who are getting married next year, have over one thousand guests coming to their wedding.)

Over the past few months we have been taste testing various gingerbread recipes and have finally settled on one. Today I managed one last test before the proper baking tomorrow. As there are 17 guests, only two batches will need to be made. The vital learning point from today's run-through was to not get distracted as the biscuits seem to lose their charm when they get a little too crunchy around the edges. I think I will be needing to lock the kitchen door in the morning to keep everyone out.

So tomorrow afternoon we are off to Ireland for a week, celebrating with family we haven't hugged in five months.

See you just before Christmas.

Take care

PS Sorry about the photos. With the sun setting just before 4pm and the low light globes,everything looks a little orange.

Monday, December 12, 2011

And the winner is...

Number 9.
Congratulations to Swissgal.
I'll be in touch about getting this to you.

I wish that I could send one to each of you. Thanks for much for taking the time to leave a comment.

Take care

Swissgal, can you please email me at bruisemouse@gmail.com as your profile does not include an email address.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Being a Tart in Switzerland

We're having a ball training our way around Lake Geneva at the moment.

Now, knowing the sort of person I am, I thought I would have been reporting back to you all on the huge amounts of chocolate on offer (especially as it is totally amazing). Instead I need to share the wonders of the Onion Tart with you. I bought a Zwiebelkuchen in Bern and fell in love. Even though we were only in town for 24 hours, I managed to go back the following day for another. As we left Montreux today for the train to Geneva, I happened to buy another for my lunch on the journey.

Unfortunately there are no photos as I am having a little trouble blogging from the iPad, but I will share with you this recipe that I will certainly be trying in the near future.

If any readers know about these amazing tarts and could pass on an authentic Swiss recipe, I would be incredibly grateful.

Take care

PS Don't forget the giveaway.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fabulous Freezing

A few months ago when I was freezing some of the delicious summer berries that were in abundance at the Turkish Markets, I hadn't been thinking ahead to the days when I would be able to pull a bag of raspberries out of the freezer and enjoy their wonderful flavours.

Today was one of those days.

A cup of raspberries, two mushy bananas, a great big slurp of vanilla yoghurt and some milk made for a fabulous mid morning treat. Getting the gritty little seeds stuck between my teeth always reminds me of summer.

I had been in a run-of-the-mill supermarket yesterday and was amazed to see the variety of fresh berries for sale. With temperatures getting close to zero, I'm not too sure where these are being grown. Next time I will have a closer look at the packaging.

It felt good knowing that the berries in my freezer were grown in the right season and had been biding their time, waiting to be added to something delicious.

We all appreciated the glimpse of summer.

What's in your freezer?

Don't forget to add a comment here if you would like a chance to win a yoghurt kit. I will post this anywhere.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Vanilla Yoghurt and a Giveaway

Our second batch of natural yoghurt using the new kit is just as delicious as the first. The creamy texture goes so well with fruit and cereal, but is also great for soups. I love the versatility of natural yoghurt.

Sometimes, in the evening generally, I have a bit of a hankering for something a little sweeter. We have been working our way through Germany's supply of Nirwana Noir chocolate (check the fine print: use - snacking) but have been thinking that going halves in a block every few nights isn't too good for the waistline.

With my renewed enthusiasm for yoghurt, I though a vanilla version should be attempted next. After a little searching I settled on roughly following the process outlined by Angie.

I brought 1 litre of organic whole milk and 3 tablespoons of raw sugar to the just below the boil and kept it there for about two minutes, simmering very gently. From experience with my natural yoghurt, this needs stirring so as not to scorch.

Patience is needed to let the mixture cool to 43 degrees C. I use this time to make sure that my jar is sterilised.

Once at 43, 2 or 3 generous tablespoons of natural yoghurt from the last batch are spooned into the jar. A small amount of the warm liquid is also poured in and mixed. This makes sure that the yoghurt is evenly mixed throughout the liquid. At this point I added some vanilla and then poured in the remaining milk. The lid was screwed on and it was placed in the little esky ready to do its thing overnight.

In the morning the jar was carefully moved to the fridge where it stayed chillin' for about 6 hours.

Quite a few recipes include skim milk powder (milchpulver), for added creaminess, but I haven't been able to find any. Maybe some German readers could point me in the right direction?

I wonder if boiling some vanilla pods in the milk would work well to let them infuse? I think it definitely needs some of those gorgeous vanilla seeds.

The adding of fruit needs to be done once the yoghurt has set. Luckily I have a great supply of raspberries.

Now to share the love. If you would like the chance to start making your own yoghurt using one of these kits, leave a comment on this post by Sunday 11 December 8pm Berlin time when a winner will be selected at random.

Take care

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Eating Seasonally

Those who grow their own food or buy from farmers' markets know about the fabulous tastes and textures of seasonal food. Food that has evolved to feed our bodies the nutrients needed at particular times of the year. The leafy, watery produce of the summer months that provide much needed fluid for hydration, and the dense root vegetables filled with the energy to keep us warm through the winter months.

Parsnips are a winter vegetable I haven't had much to do with in the past, but after looking through Hugh and settling on a creamy parsnip soup for dinner, the results have me wondering why I had overlooked it for so long. A sprinkling of toasted slivered almonds onto this sweet and creamy soup made for a meal that will certainly help keep out the 2 degree temperature.

Now that I am a parsnip convert, I would love to know how other people cook with them. I have had baked parsnip and love it but apart from today's soup, that it about it. Also, I am thinking these would be a great addition to the vege garden next year. Are these easy to grow?

Take care

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Another week flies by

Last week seemed to fly by. The weeks seem to be doing that as we scurry towards December. I keep confusing myself with as I associate colder weather with the middle of the year and then it dawns on me that it is the end of November. The shorter days are also messing with my brain as the sun is setting just before 4pm and by about 7pm we are all thinking that we should be off to bed. I think we will be in for a rude awakening on our January return to Australia.

We made the most of a couple of days last week and boarded a train to Weimar: an amazing place full of so much history.

Goethe and Schiller made it their home.

Goethe's house on the right.

Christmas markets taking shape.

Back in Perth, I had been making my own yoghurt for a while. It is a little time consuming but totally worth it.

I have come across a yoghurt making kit that I am loving. Years ago I had a Easiyo maker and made the packets quite regularly. The things I love about this kit is that the yoghurt is made by heating and cooling milk, and adding some yoghurt to start, as opposed to adding water to a packet mix, as I used to with Easiyo. The warm milk is then poured into a glass jar rather than a plastic container. It uses 1 litre of milk to make enough to fill the jar. Our second batch is sitting in its little esky as I type.

The weekend seemed to revolve around food. Not only snacks of freshly made organic yoghurt with a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkling of slithered almonds, but also quite a few recipes from the new cookbook.

Souffle with pasta

I even managed to finish another book that I bought for the train journey. Although the book was written 6 years ago, it was an good read and interesting to see how others go about changing their habits for the betterment of their family's health and the environments. This is one that I think I will need to reread to highlight all the tips and website links listed.

Take care

PS Did anyone manage to get to Josh Byrne's open garden on the weekend? I would love to hear about it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Josh Byrne's Garden

To those of you in Perth who love a good open garden, you might like to head along to Josh Byrne's open garden this weekend.

Take care

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Some New Hugh

Yesterday I was truly excited to see a Book Depository white envelope waiting for me on top of the letter box. On my trip to the UK a few weeks ago I stumbled across a new Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall book, River Cottage Veg Everyday. I could easily go on and on (and on and on ...) about the wonders of Hugh. While in the bookshop I looked at my hand luggage and realised there was no possible way anything else would squeeze into the backpack.

With a ginger tea in one hand and the envelope in the other, I got myself comfortable on the bed ready to acquaint myself with Hugh's latest offering. Being vegetarian I was particularly excited about this one, and he didn't disappoint.

Each section starts with an introduction that must be read in Hugh's voice. (I'm sure he is speaking directly to me).

There is a wonderful selection of recipes including stews, warm salads, raw salads and bread based meals, and over a third of these are suitable for vegans.

I am planning to have a go at the chard and ricotta tart for dinner one night this week, and I think the carrot, orange and cashew salad could do for a lunch.

Well, off to read a little more and make a shopping list for the next few days.

My only question is, where did his hair go?

Take care

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Want to Eat Like an Orangutan

As Berlin Zoo is the oldest zoo in Germany we thought we should pay it a visit.

it was lovely to see animals that we hadn't seen at the Perth Zoo and spent a few hours wandering around the grounds.

I wont go into detail about this zoo, and zoos in general, but I did find something I thought was interesting to share.

At the end of the orangutan enclosure was a great display showing the huge amounts of nutritious, fresh fruits and vegetables these beautiful animals are fed. These was a great range of colours and an interesting variety of flavours.

Then we turned around to see the human food that was on offer.

These were directly opposite the orangutan display.

I think I would rather be fed like and orangutan.

Take care.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sustainable Fish and Seafood Seminar - Perth

Just in case you are interested, and live in Perth, Jude Blereau's next seasonal seminar will be based on seafood. I have been to three of her sessions before and found them to be incredibly interesting and informative.

Here is more information about the date, time, speakers and price.

Take care

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Keeping Warm is On My Mind

We're back from a fun-filled trip to the UK to visit family and experience the wonders of Lewes Bonfire Night.

I'm joining in with Rhonda again.

The cold weather is now officially on its way. Single figure daytime temperatures and freezing overnight are what I call chilly.

On a recent trip to Humana, a fabulous second hand clothing store, I was on the lookout for a coat or two. The clothes we brought with us were geared toward summer as we knew that any winter clothes we wore in Australia would not cut it for a Berlin winter.

I managed to find these two coat and couldn't be happier. The green woolen coat was made in Austria, while the burgundy one comes from Italy, and is a blend of wool and cashmere. They are both super warm and cut out quite a bit of the cold wind.

Clothes shopping is generally like a punishment for me. I spend my time searching for plain, uninteresting clothes. No glitter, no loud colours, no bedazzling! Buying second hand feels like a bit more of an enjoyable experience. It is much more fun to look through the racks of one-off clothes, hoping that the item that catches my eye is in my size.

After seeing the prices of some of the new coats, I feel better knowing that I spent a fraction of these amounts on my purchases and the amount I did spend is going to charity. I also love the history behind each piece. These are both beautifully made and I'm sure I will be able to pass them on to my kiddies in the years to come.

Teamed up with my boots, scarf, gloves and beanie, each of these coats are earning their keep in my wardrobe.

Take care (and stay warm)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Short Break in Transmission

We're off for a few days to enjoy the fun of an English Bonfire Night.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Take care

Friday, November 4, 2011

Community is On My Mind

I'm joining in with Rhonda Jean again: her community spirit is inspirational.

I have been on a bit of a reading frenzy over the past few weeks, which has been wonderful. I tend to go through phases where I am a reading machine, and then I may go months without even opening the book that is gathering dust on my bedside table.

Yesterday was another exciting day when a white package arrived in the mail. It is a bit of a lottery at the moment as there are several books on their way to me so I wasn't sure which one this would be.

Kitchen Table Sustainability caught my attention as I had been looking for something on the topic of Sustainability that was Australian as well as being practical, not just full of facts and figures. I am not too far into it but am enjoying what I have read. I love the idea of the kitchen table being the hub of the house where so many important decisions are made. It is a place where experiences are shared at the end of the day.

The main aim of the book (I think so far) is to show communities they have the power to make changes for themselves, and guide and encourage others to do the same.

It got me thinking about the links to blogging. Blogging is my kitchen table. A place to discuss and share knowledge and ideas, find inspiration, and meet amazing, like-minded people. Being away for a few weeks made me realise how much I missed the conversations about food, gardening, recipes, recycling ...

So pull up a chair and I'll put the kettle on.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Three Weeks That Were

Nursing a gastro patient and then becoming one myself was not what I had planned for the last few weeks, especially as I had a fabulous visitor who had made the trip half way around the world to come and see us.

Things have been moving along and I am now getting back into the swing of things.

I have managed to read this, this and this.

Started knitting this.

Received this great book as a giveaway from Brenna, and as a result, made this amazing soup.

Had a craving for baked rice pudding.

I'm now thinking about making these to use up the left over egg whites.

I am also continuing on the sourdough adventure after buying a copy of this book. I love that it comes with a DVD so I am able to really see how some of the techniques work. I started 2 days ago but it all seems to be coming along really well.

Sprouts are on the go again as I feel a real need for heaps of vitamins after the recent illness.

The weather is starting to cool and I have already made a trip to Humama, the best second hand clothes shop I have ever seen. Purchases have been made and these seem to be doing the job of keeping out the cold. Photos will be coming in the next day or so.

Take care

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Taste the Waste

I have just come across the trailer to the documentary, Taste the Waste.

I thought this needed sharing.

Take care

Friday, October 7, 2011

Bannetons are On My Mind

Another wonderful week has come and gone, full of school holidays and guests from home. Time to join Rhonda.

There is so much to learn on this sourdough journey. Different recipes have different hydration levels, different kneading methods and different proving times. It is a matter of me working out which suits me and my tastes. The loaves from my kitchen so far have been in the shape of tinned loaves.

I took the plunge and bought some handmade bannetons on a recent trip to Manu Factum. I was pretty impressed that I only left with one large round and two small rectangular baskets.

There was now a task ahead of me: to find a recipe that wasn't as wet as the ones I have been using. Images of watery dough oozing out through the gaps in these beautiful cane works of art made me shudder.

I settled on this recipe for the quantities but played around with the timing a little.

I am thrilled with the result as it looked great and tasted pretty good too. It is always a holding-my-breath moment when I cut these open waiting to see if the air bubbles are in all the right places. This loaf had a lovely even amount of bubbles, just right for butter to melt into.

I would love some banneton advice from anyone else who uses proofing baskets.

Take care

Friday, September 30, 2011

School Lunches are On My Mind

I really enjoy playing along with Rhonda's On My Mind.

Making school lunches is always a bit of a dhallenge.

There are so many products out there that are targeted at this away-from-home meal: brightly coloured, creamy textured snacks in plastic and foil individual packets. These over-packaged, over-priced, nutritionless 'foods' make their way into trolleys and then into lunch boxes.

I find it a challenge to get the balance just right between nutritious, appealing food and something that doesn't make the other kids say, "What it that!" There is nothing worse than a child being too embarrassed to open their lunchbox for fear of peer comments.

Making food from scratch is the way I manage to get that balance. Homemade ANZACs or cakes, where I know exactly what has gone into, are options that work for me.

I have always found the tubs of fruit in juice a strange addition to school lunches. Pieces of fruit, swimming in juice (apparently) served in a plastic and foil container. Have you watched many children open these successfully? Make sure you don't forget the spoon. What's wrong with a piece of fruit. Bananas and apples seem to fit perfectly well into lunch boxes and rather then adding to landfill, the scraps are great for compost.

There are so many other products (cheese, yoghurt...) that I could rant about but I'll stop there and head to where I was going with this.

I found a great little recipe for making the most devine lunchbox sized bread rolls. We are now onto the third 16-roll batch.

These do contain yeast as the kiddies are taking a little while to acquire the taste for sourdough.

As there are no preservatives, I have been freezing these and they freeze beautifully.

I know that a roll or a sandwich is nothing original or exciting for a lunch-time snack, but I feel better knowing exactly what is being eaten, and how and when each of the things were made.

I'm sure these rolls would go wonderfully well with a hearty warming soup.

Take care

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Simple Sprouts

Liz got me thinking after the last post about the wonders of sprouting. This is something that I have done before but had forgotten (do we see a pattern here?) about it.

I found a great guide to help me get back on the sprouting bandwagon.

There are some great sprouting containers out there and I thought about spending 12 euros but then decided against it. I had great success last time with a jar and a fabric cover, so why purchase more 'stuff'.

The only thing I need was some muslin to put over the top. Everything else was already here. As I didn't want to buy a great length of fabric, I figured that some hankies would do the trick just as well. I particularly like the Nanna-esque style of these.


These little jars are now on the kitchen bench waiting to be emptied and rinsed later this evening. In a few days we should have lovely fresh sprouts to add to our sourdough sandwiches.

Do you sprout? What do you sprout? What method do you use?

Take care

Friday, September 23, 2011

Container Gardening is On My Mind

Rhonda's seed post got me thinking.

My Mum has been an avid and skilled gardener for as long as I can remember. It is a carry over from growing up on a farm I'm sure. It has only been the last few years that I have started to feel the desire to get my hands dirty and become a little more focussed with growing anything.

I started with herbs on pots and then graduated to a few tomato plants in a small plot out the back.

With my Dad's handyman skills a new vege patch was created and a second soon followed. These aren't in the best position but they get enough sun that I can extend my growing knowledge bit by bit.

I am already thinking about where I can build some more beds when I am back in my garden. (Shhh, don't tell Dad)

While I am away I have my kitchen garden with a few little plants for me to tend. I had envisaged myself germinating seeds and getting some leafy greens growing but that doesn't seem to be going to happen. The need for soil, space and sunlight have made me think that Bio-Mart and the farmers market at Wittenbergplatz will be a more practical solution.

For now I will look after these little beauties that provide yummy flavours at dinner as well as delicious pots of warming tea.

I am pretty sure that there will be a few more added to this little group in the next few days. I have a hankering for something with some oregano.

What window sill herbs do you grow?

Take care

PS I just walked in from the market with a little oregano plant. Whoops.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Humble Crumble

Over the past few weeks we had been developing a bit of a collection in the bottom of the fridge. It seemed that we had been buying apples a little faster than we had been able to eat them so as a result, the fruit were losing that appley crunch. The apples from the fruit bowl that had been deemed 'No Longer Edible' had been banished to the crisper drawer to be dealt with when there were enough to do something worthwhile. To the eye, much of the fruit seemed fine but as soon as it was picked up, the wrinkly skin and squishy texture were evident.

As far as I am concerned, a soft apple is a cooking apple. (Pears, according to 2 people this household, are best eaten soft, but that is a whole other story.)

Years ago I collected a little recipe book that had been published by the Health Department with fabulous suggestions for getting more fruit and veg into the diets of kiddoes. My favourite from this booklet was the Apple and Rhubard Crumble. The crumble mix on top is fabulous and suitable to any type of fruit.

I remembered that the recipe included rolled oats and honey along with other typical crumble recipes but the quantities had all been forgotten (Oh my. Is there a pattern emerging?)

If you have ever Googled 'apple crumble recipe' you will know that if someone gave you a dollar for every result, you would just about be a millionaire.

Reading through, it was easy to disregard many of the options. With the amount of sugar and butter some of these required, I could make an 'Old Boot Crumble' taste fabulous.

I decided on this recipe (p. 15) as it included simple ingredients in decent amounts. The sultanas were omitted as I didn't have any.

The smell of cooking apples is one of those aromas that just takes me back to being a kid again. Mum would make her own pasty for an apple pie and it would be decorated with pastry leaves on top.

It cooked maybe a little too long and was not one of my küche success stories, but everyone attacked the backing dish vigorously within minutes of it emerging from the oven. By the time dinner was over and we were ready for our fruity dessert there had been some serious dents made.

I know that leaving the skins on for an apple crumble is probably a big no-no, but I can't see that wonderful part of the fruit be discarded.

Within a day or two, after additions of the apple to breakfast and afternoon snacks, the dish was empty.

So my question (plea) to you is how do you make your crumble topping?

Take care

Friday, September 16, 2011

Remembering, oh wait a minute... I forgot

Each weekend I sit and write a bit of a menu for the following week. The meals aren't extravagant but it is just so that I am a little more focussed at meal times. Although the menu is planned once a week, the shopping is done every few days. I find this to be a great way to eat as the veg is always fresh. But the main reason behind shopping so regularly is that we don't have a car, and children will only carry so much.

Three times this week I have gone to do the shopping and three times this week I have left the supermarket without one of the main ingredients for the evening meal. Firstly it was corn chips that were needed for the nachos. The second time it was the mince that is generally a pretty important ingredient for hamburgers. Luckily on these two occasions I remembered before we were more than a few metres from the shop. With cash in hand, a child was sent back in the make the necessary purchase.

I realise you are probably thinking that some sort of list is called for but I did write a list! I just happened to leave it on the lounge chair at home.

Today my memory didn't do it's thing until I was already home. My selection of root vegetables had been unpacked and were out by the chopping board ready to be sliced and diced up for the evenings curry. Did someone say 'curry'? Whoops. As I know we are here for a limited time I have been buying a few convenience foods as I don't want to end up with a cupboard full of different herbs and spices. Curry sauce in a jar (tastes so much better than it sounds) was the one vital ingredient that would transform this veg into a spicy feast, and it was still on the shelf at the supermarket.

There was no way I was heading back out the door so a change on plan was needed. I had a sourdough loaf cooling on a rack so the decision was a bit of a no-brainer: soup.

Amanda Blake Soule's new book had just arrived in the post and one of the first entries is regarding soup. I figured that this was reinforcing my alternate menu plan.

All of the curry ingredients went into the pan with some sautéed onions. Water, some stock and a handful of red lentils (shhhh, don't tell the kiddies) covered the veg and it was all left to simmer.

Give it a blend. Add some grated cheddar. Cut off some sourdough, and there you have dinner. The grownups even added some a kick of chilli as we were feeling a little daring.

Not quite the curry I had planned. I console myself in the knowledge that it is always best to let something spicy sit for a day or two anyway. It just wasn't meant to be, today.

Take care

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hello Etsy

I am very excited about an Etsy event that is happening this weekend here in Berlin. Although I have never created anything to sell on Etsy, I have bought a gift once because I was after something handmade and something local. It was so local that the creator dropped it in my letterbox rather than posting it. I love the idea of supporting local businesses, especially those who are trying to break into the market.

It wasn't actually the idea of conference run by Etsy that sparked my interest, it was really the theme that got me excited: A Summit on Small Businesses and Sustainablitiy.

After reading that one of the speakers is Marco Clausen from Prinzesinnengarten, I knew I had to go. I also think that running into one of the organizers of the Hello Etsy event at a screen-printing exhibition was a sign that I needed to get organised and buy a ticket.

I now have my ticket printed (after a trip to the internet cafe) and a bit of a list of speakers I would like to listen to.

I am planning on being a little sneaky and doing some Sow. Give. Grow. trans-plants while I am there. I am experimenting with a new envelope design but need to get these reprinted, which is always tricky when you don't have a printer.

Take care

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bottling Beans

A lovely few hours were spent at Prinzessinnengarten today. Walking through the gates is such a wonderfully relaxing experience, not that being in Berlin is stressful at all, but in the words of Darryl Kerrigan, "How's the serenity?"

Today there was a choice of two jobs. One was to move some compost and the other was to pick and bottle some beans. Being up for a new experience I went with the latter and was so glad of my choice.

There were a variety of beans that were harvested along with some herbs.

I would love to be able to tell you all about the different variety and be full of fabulous information, but my lack of German makes that a little difficult.

The first job was to top-and-tail the black beans and the yellow beans. These were then cut into pieces that were a little smaller than the height of the jars that the beans were to be stored inside.

Some of the larger beans were shelled.

These Fire Beans where shelled similarly to how you would shell a Broad Bean by taking off the outer layer. My phone camera does not do these little beauties any justice. The colours speckled over each little bean were gorgeous.

The little pieces of beans were blanched in batches and I was amazed to see that the black beans lose all of their dark colour and become green within second of being placed into the simmering water.

After a cooling bath and being place in a sieve to drain, the beans were stood up in the jars. Some of the herbs that we picked were added to the jars and the beans were packed as tightly as possible, without squashing them.

With all of the harvest, there ended up being 7 jars of bottled beans.

Some of the longer pieces of bean needed trimming so a few little adjustments were made. The bonus was that we were able to munch on the offcuts. Delicious!

A salted water mixture was brought to the boil and this was to be poured into the jars to assist in the preservation. We were unable to stay until the end of the process but I am sure that the final product would be fabulous.

Bottling beans is not something that I would really have thought to do, but after today, I will definitely have a go on my own.

What sorts of vegetables do you bottle?

Take care

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

After a quick visit to the random number generator I am back with the magic number, and it is


so a big congrats to Clare.

I will send you an email, Clare, to get your details and get your parcel in the mail this weekend.

Thanks to everyone for playing along. I would love to have sent you all a little gift but know that I appreciate all of your comments and sentiments.

Take care

PS The Pav went down a treat. All were impressed and it tasted great. Phew!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Does This Make Me a Grownup?

It has been a while since I played along with Rhonda's On My Mind, but here goes.

There are handful of recipes that I just think of as a Mum job. And by Mum, I don't mean me. I mean my Mum. Those recipes that I just don't think I am ready for yet. One of the recipes that fits into this category is a Pavlova.

Friday is the last day of Deutsch lessons and we are having a bit of a party at the end of the session. Each person is bringing something from their own culture so I decided on a Pav.

I have never attempted one before so was a little worried. I would have to go this one alone as there wasn't time to get Mum to make one and then send it to Berlin. (I'm not sure if Australia Post or Deutsche Post would be big fans of this idea). There wasn't even time to email and ask for the recipe that she uses from a 1971 Woman's Weekly magazine. (I didn't think she would appreciate a midnight call for a recipe - I am such a considerate daughter.)

After a bit of Googling I decided on this recipe as I was pretty sure the ingredients would be easy enough to find. After a quick late night trip to Bio Mart, following consultation from my new BFF, Google Translate, I was ready to tackle this beast.

I have followed the instructions to the letter and now have a Pavlova sitting in the oven cooling with the door open.

Please cross fingers for me on Friday as I'll attempt to get the Pav to the class via public transport. I think I will top it with cream, strawberries and kiwifruit once I get there.

What was I thinking!

I must admit that there is a little plan in case disaster prevails. When we had to list what we were going to bring, no one knew what a Pavlova which was quite lucky for me. If it all goes horribly wrong, I can really take anything along and call it a Pavlova. No one will know the difference.

Take care

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


After nearly two months of not having a garden of my own and noticing that my fingernails are constantly clean, I was feeling the urge to get out of doors again and into a vegetable garden. 

We are feeling fairly settled in our Berlin apartment and I have been looking for a community group to get involved in so I can to get out and meet people. It would be so easy to just keep to 'us' and not contribute to the neighborhood. Becoming part of the community is such an important part of this whole overseas experience for me, otherwise I may as well have just stayed home.

A few weeks ago I came across this amazing community participation garden, called Prinzessinnengärten, not too far from where we live. I love the history and philosophy behind this place. 

Twice a week there are community planting days, so last Saturday I covered myself in sunscreen, grabbed my hat and went along.

I was a little anxious at first, just like being back in Year 1 again, but this time a little different as I didn't speak the language. We were given the job of picking cabbage moth eggs and caterpillars from the kale, which was a very relaxing way to spend an hour or so. Quite a few people were bilingual, which was lucky for me. I did go along thinking that I may be the only non Deutsch speaker so it was a welcome surprise to be able to chat while I picked. 

Off to the next job.

With shovels in hands, three of us headed over to the compost bays to start layering some of the older compost in with some of the not-so-composted vegetation. Compost is something that I love tending to so I was happy to get right into it. The worms are a personal favourite and always bring a smile to my face. They were working busily and it almost felt wrong to disturb them. At least we were providing them with a new food source.

The afternoon tasks were complete and lunch at the cafe was calling me. I am not exactly sure what it was, but I can tell you it was delicious. The main part was made from the beetrrrot out of the garden and was a bit like a stew. This was topped with potato that had been mashed with some salt and pepper, along with a delicious addition of coconut cream.  It was so nice to eat this under the shade of some trees with a girl that I met on the day. 

It felt satisfying to wander home with some dirt under my fingernails.

Take care

Don't forget the giveaway.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...