Thursday, 31 March 2011

Under Construction

The week has been busy so far ...
These fences are quite cheerful

This is the hospital where my mum has to stay in, planned in the 1960's.

We were surprised to find 1 window open when looking at the facade today. Can you see the open window? I should go to the room and ask for the key/handle to open the windows. We are desperate for fresh air! (The windows in the rooms and hallways have no handles, no chance to open them, probably because of the height.)Speaking of which: A building like this is probably impossible today, since we live in the days of UNESCO World Heritage List and Vienna's Historic Center is ever so scared to drop out!

This Russian orthodox church is close to the hospital.
My mum can see it from the hallway. She loves the golden onion domes.

One of my favourite atmospheres in the city would be: 'Heading West in the Evening'. Like this:

A new bicycle-lane next to the river, pictured earlier this week, on my way to visit my father.

There was a happy event this week: I finished the first bottle of perfume ever.
Pff Pfff. Just air left the bottle.

Yes, I really liked this scent. And it does not last long. ;-) And I still like the scent, but I might something new. Well, not 100% new, I might stick to the 'nose'. The 'nose'? Yes!
The nose is the createur of a scent. And there is a lovely database for perfumes online, Fragrantica. I looked up who created 'essence' and will sniff my way through his other perfumes. It is fun to look up the noses. You might find out, you like a lot of the scents from various brands which have been created by one person, the so-called 'nose'.

Recently there has been some knitting-street-action going on. I would not call it art, though, but nice enough to make its way here.
Tourists + cyclists on the same pavement = bad idea

Can you see the trees: yes, they are still in winter-mode. So if you ever decide to visit Vienna, wait until late April. Photos look much nicer by then.

This is my typical end of the working day these days, my bike always awaits me.

Wow, timber moving through a cottage area in Vienna.

Vix, I hope you are reading this. I took this last photo especially for you. It shows the "greenery" after a long, dry winter in Central Eastern Europe. Shades of gray. No mud, lots and lots of dust!

Have a nice evening
and thank you very much for taking a lool at the photos and reading :-)

Friday, 25 March 2011

Under Pressure

Earlier this year I have watched an episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show, "5 things you should do in 2011". One of them was: Know your numbers. I don't really know what exactly causes high blood pressure, if it is the weight, the stress, the diet. I only know it is a hazard to your life. "Blood pressure below 120 over 80 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) is considered optimal for adults."

Today a bumble bee visited my window box and after digging in the flowers (it was excited to find this great yellow flower in bloom), the bumble bee took a warming bath in the sun and did not want to leave. It was just resting there. The image of the bumble bee sitting on the flower that I planted last winter was on my mind today. A nice image.

When I got layed off age 30, shortly before the company went bancrupt, I said to myself "I am glad this does not happen when I am age 50 for the first time. If it will ever happen again, I will be prepared. I believe you develop a kind of emotional immune system over the years so experiences can't hit and hurt you as badly when they happen 2nd or 3rd time around.

You can tell from the photo I took this evening, spring arrived (men wearing shorts).

I have spent a lot of time in hospitals lately, my mum had an operation today.
After returning back home from the ICU I said to myself: "I am thankful this happens now for the first time now, age 38 and not in an earlier stage of my life" - looking after my mother at the ICU* ... and being in charge at least for a few hours a day to disburden my father as much as possible since he isn't the youngest man anymore.

Friend T from Japan said to today me " Take care!" She is right, I should not forget looking after myself, too. The image of the bumble bee somehow helps me. Preparing a brioche-dough helps, too.

Another way of taking care - besides eating and resting would be this:
This morning I had a doctor's appointment, for my regular pap-test, twice a year. My sister hasn't taken on over 2 years. You got to know this: cancer cells can develop out of the blue within half a year, year, so go ladies and get your pap-test ... NOW**! In Austria the health insurance covers the test twice a year, in other countries probably less often, but once a year is the minimum. (no, my mum does not have cancer)

Enjoy your weekend and take care :-)

*unfortunately the nurses are not as attentive as we wish they would be. :-(

**ok, friday afternoon or saturday might not the best time. So call the doctor next week. Write it down in your agenda for next monday: "Call the doctor/ pap-test!"

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Corners and Places in Vienna

Some corners and places that caught my eye yesterday, lunch time.

Am I the only one who senses a bit of 'Île de la Cité' here?

The government district

Another museum

Tostmann - best known for her Dirndl. And again some flowers, planted by municipal gardeners, in front of the shop.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Second Hints of Spring And Some Serious Huff

Friend B knows how to pick flowers – bold cinabre

The flower box in front of the bed room window, last June:

Two weeks ago I cut back all the plants in the window boxes. The winter had been a very cold one, weeks with temperatures below -0°C. The roots probably froze. I might plant new plants this year.
My brother in law and I digged some bulbs in the boxes last december. I did not know back then, what colors the flowers will be.

There is a grey hair visible on the plant on the last photo. My neighbour cleans her bathroom carpet out the window instead of vacuuming it. As a result her hair tangles in my plants. I asked her once please not to do so. She said, it gets much cleaner when she shakes the carpet out the window. People should not clean their carpets at the window but in the court where we even have a frame for beating carpets. Or just vacuum it.
I loathe grey hair in my plants so much ... I need to get this cleared.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

First Hints of Spring

Last year I took some photos in the streets of Vienna, presenting the work of the municipal gardeners:
April 2010

This is what the flowerbed looks like today:
March 2011
Last week the gardeners finally removed all the twigs which had been covering the tulip bulbs during the winter months.

April 2010

and this morning:
March 2011

One more month to go. I think I like the time while we wait for something to arrive. I hope this posting did not make you too hungry today, compared to the postings before.

I changed the labels to the right into a "cloud". I really like the clouds where something grows larger when it has more importance. It motivates me to focus on aspects I have not been taking care of lately, such as scrapping and Easter. Ok, Easter is a rare occasion.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Dylan's Brioche , My Pleasure

For the last days, I have been making excessive use of the herbs I've recently bought and the cow has been busy ever since, watering them:
The cow is happy it may stay, now it is in charge now that the herbs arrived.

Time for something new!
The recipe origins from Dylan's blog. Unfortunately he does not seem to be online anymore, his recipe still is: Brioche heaven for rich men (or women)

Here you can see the dough right after mixing the eggs, butter, flour, yeast, vanilla ...

What would work better to demonstrate the proportions who large the bowl is like an apple

The apple is NOT a tiny apple but the bowl is the huge IKEA bowl

After kneading the dough rests in the fridge over night: (Dylan recommends to let the sponge rest over night, too, but since I wanted to have the brioche ready by breakfast, I reduced the sponge-time to 2 hours). Sponge = yeast plus a bit of flour and milk

2 forms should be enough to hold the dough

Thanks to the lots of butter and the long chilling-time, the dough was not sticky at all!
The next morning, I put little balls of dough in the forms:
ok, 2 forms were not quite enough:
You can tell, I did not really form the balls with care but vite vite ... what do you expect from me at ...

8.14am on a saturday
The essential egg for the tan
The dough rises to its double-size and you preheat the oven:Bake at 200°C for the first 10 minutes
This is what they look like after ten minutes ...

... then reduce the heat to 180°, rush into the shower, wash your hair but leave the conditioner out, because this would take too long and after another 15 minutes the brioche is done and the hair is fresh:
Any leave-in conditioner will be finde for your hair, as long as you did not spend the extra 5 minutes in the shower, conditioning and rinsing your hair after washing because the good brioche would have turned darkbrown, a tan that does not suit any brioche at all.

Let it cool down in the form for a while, then let it totally cool down on a grill or just on the workplace.
Test 1, 2 ... yes, it's done!

On this photo it looks way too much like bread. It does not have the conistency of bread at all!
Friend T proves the real nature of the brioche by ripping it apart

Friend T helped modelling the brioche

It comes in handy, Japanese people never wonder why you would take a photo of lets say, ripping a brioche! While typing this, I have the smell in my nose, amazing. As I mentioned above, I do not recommend using the 450gr of butter, it turns out too rich. I might also leave 1 of the eggs out. Then I imagine it to be the perfect brioche that stay fresh for days. Today, day 3, they still taste like new.

Today I've taken a look at my postings from March 2010, because I wondered if spring was already aroung that time of the year one year back. Looking back I remembered how close I was with a blogger back then, who was the reason why I started the blog (I did not want to comment anonymously any more). Turns out she actually never comments, nor follows. But what did I gain in return! I "met"so many witty and special people over the last year online. I catch myself telling friends about bloggers and what happens to them (to just name a few: Louise and her entourage, including birds and dog-heroes, Blighty, who met Louise IRL and once worked late night with this quite intimidating Chinese co-worker who would always reapply her lipstick, even when it was 10pm. Lisa, who encouraged me to try pearls and is reachable via email for more private matters. Jen with whom I share the passion for the kitchen. The Hostess Leslie, who is unbelievable young at heart.Vix, who introduced me to The Closer and apparently lives with a very handsome Mr Vix, Kristin, who speaks out what I want to read and listen to (on blogspot radio), Beate, who is geographically the closest to me and delivers such warmth, janet who is the rebirth of the cool and Faux Fuchsia, who activated this blog. Seems as if your intent is not always your destination.

As long as the weather behaves like this:
Tje sky over Vienna, last saturday, lunchtime, 8°C, wind from northwest,

... I prefer continuing my projects in the kitchen, sorry, no Viennese outdoor impressions meanwhile, only Viennese Gugelhupf & Co:
My kitchen bible, the Sacher Kochbuch

to be continued


Mr Paula and I used to go through the VOGUE magazine during breakfast. Mr Paula was always busy studying the advertisments. What amused him most were celebrities who work as testimonials - mostly for cosmetic companies and the companies place the name of the celeb in the corner of the ad. It just proves these celebs might not be such big stars at all. I mean compared to Cindy, Linda and Naomi, who became replaced by Penelope, Julia and Sienna long ago.

Mr Paula is very attentive and knows any woman would enjoy a CHANEL paper bag, to bring her lunch to the office ... or maybe just carry a plain yoghurt and an apple.

Well, the Stefanel-typography as seen on this bag actually does look a lot like the Chanel-typo.

The "sch" in German is pronounced like the "sh" in "shower".

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Baking a Christmas Cake in Early Spring

One month ago I baked a Bouche de Noel. I promised Jen to post the Making-Of, hereit is. It was the last cake I baked with some inventive tools before the food processor moved in. Yay!Chestnuts, cream and butter ...
... turn into a puree:

Walnuts will be grated:
This little machine is fun to work with! Finding it was quite a project.

Egg yolks and whites seperated and beaten
Meanwhile I prepare the grill, bought during the Chrismas season, perfect for letting anything baked cool down.
This pan was bought shortly after I baked the first Bouche de Noel and I realised it would be much more convenient to have a pan in the exact size of the cake.
The cake before rolling it up
After baking the dough gets rolled up and sits until it cools down a bit.
While the cake cools down, I melt the chocolate
... and blend sugar and butter for the coating of the Bouche.

While the chocolate melts, I wander through the appartment.
Ah, the Muji hairbands, you should see them, too.
And my sea-mud-soap-pagoda. The only way to let it dry properly without turning the bathroom into a muddy mess.

The finished Bouche:
The cake is ready to be droven to its final destination at my sisters birthday party.

Glad I did not need more dishes:
Even though I took the right chocolate (70%) I would still say the coating is too thick and sweet. I might reduce it the next time. My relatives don't agree with me.

On my way home:
Due to transportation of the cake I did not go by bike but took the car.
A bit of nighttime in Vienna.
After all the sugar I felt like eating some veggies. Non sweet dish.
Like this:
Chicken soup getting ready for its 4 hours trip in the pot

Or this:
The brown stuff in the pot is meant to be brown and not burnt: caramelised onions.

... but veggies are another story, to be continues another time.

Now I have to get down on the floor, doing my abdomen-exercises because I am getting hungry and once I did the exercise after eating and that was not a good idea. I felt really nauseous afterwards. Apropos nauseous: I loved the episode of Arrested Development where Liza Minelli feels nauseous. Who ever felt nauseous can tell, she acted great!

Since this posting started with Jen I will close it with Jen. She inspired me to make these yesterday:
You have to believe me, we did NOT bite the chocolate in half:
It was a zig-zag-knife that caused the pattern of the theeth.

Right now a Gugelhupf is resting in the warm oven (50°C) and waits to be baked. I forgot one step, where you knead the dough after it rose the first time. I am quite curious how it will turn out. Have a fun sunday!

EDIT 2 hrs later:
excersise is done and the Chicken Soup is already served:
slurp slurp

dish: vintage Arabia