Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Posting 150 - The Check List


Happily posting my 150th topic: The aparment check list.

The list is work in progress. It will list everything I need to take into account when buying an apartment. (A house is very unlikely in Vienna and leaving Vienna seems more unlikely).
Sometimes, when I ride through the city on my bike, a new citeria pops into my mind, like today. I have been thinking about the list before, but never started writing it down. I get started today and will edit it over time. As you know, I am also known as the princess on the pea. So you might find aspects in the list that sound silly or even ridiculous to you. You can always remove points from the list later on. I know I will have to when things become real. But as a starting point I like to begin as good as possible.

Here it is,

Paula's ultimate apartment check list:

  • no supermarket in the basement of the building
because ...
... I simply can't stand the used air of vegetables, evaporating through grills in the pavement
... I don't like lorries delivering foods at 5am or 6am and disturbing my sleep
... I don't like the sound of the scanner at the cash desk. You can hear it in your apartment, windows open, when the doors of the supermarkt slide open

  • there has to be a window in the bathroom
because ...
... I had enough of panicking that the mould might return.

- there must not be a ventilation of a underground garage nowhere near.
because ...
... I am really sensitive to annoying scents and the air of a garage is one of the worst.

  • there has to be an underground station in no more than 5 min. walking distance
because ...
... I don't want to wait for a bus or tram after already having taken the underground. Having to walk more than 5 min is nothing I would enjoy on a daily basis.

  • kitchen and living room must be seperatem the kitchen must not be part of the living room
because ...
... Mr Paula wants me out of the kitchen when he washes the dishes and I would not want have to leave the living room, just because the kitchen is part of the living room (a floor layout you find often these days, almost became a standard!)
... I like to close the door when the dishwasher is washing
... I like to keep the door closed, when garlic is an ingredient

  • there has to be a tub
because ...
... showering is no alternative when a tub is in need.

to be continued ....

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Family Values

You might get the impression I am the member of a very religious family, there was the Confirmation of my nephew in May, my niece had her First Communion in June ...
Mr Paula and our brother in law at the gallery

Niece with the flower wreath (chitchatting) after her First Communion

... well, we are not! It is my father who keeps up the tradition and we, well we follow. Our generation (Mr Paula, my sister, brother in law, my nieces and nephew) doesn't attend mass on sundays. I guess my father is more a Marge Simpson than a Ned Flanders. It will be interesting to watch how it will go on. If it goes on ...
A Catholic parish wants to pass their churches over to the Serbian Orthodox parish. Times are changing, but the flower wreath stays the same.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

How I Tick

Hello Dale! Thank you for following. I thought I spice this posting with a bit of fashion, to be exact: jewellery, to prove it was not a bad idea becoming a follower. :-)

A few years ago I lost a wonderful, inherited diamond-solitaire ring. Was it the former cleaning lady that took it from my night stand, did I forget it in the bathroom? However, I forbid myself to buy a new diamond ring, because I feared I might lose it again. I was known for forgetting my ring at the sink. I did not like the idea of being so inattentive when it comes to rings (often I found the ring in the pocket of my jeans, not aware that I actually put it there).
And I came up with a idea, one could call it even a concept, or a contract: I would go and buy a costume jewellery ring and wear it for 1 year.
1 year.
If it is still there after the year, I am allowed to go for some real jewellery. Because I would have demonstrated that I can own rings and not lose them. (the major risc is washing your hands and taking the ring of for drying the fingers properly. Bad idea!!)

Here it is, the piece of costume jewellery.
My sister gave it to me Christmas 2009. I did not expect to get this ring, I thought it was too expensive but she had seen me falling for this chunky piece. April 2011, more than a year and the black/silver ring is still not lost. (the photo above was taken today). I realised I had reached my goal and may go shopping!
This paper box has nothing to do with the following, but there are numerous reasons why I decided to embed it in today's posting: It is neat and special. My friend B. gave it to me for Easter. B's familiy knows how to make other people happy. Last year I got this box as a gift. Altmann & Kühne boxes are nothing you would throw away after having eaten the tiny chocolate bits.

The yellow citrine is a colour which flatters my skin tone. And it speaks "woman" and not "girly".

Just in case you wonder: the citrine is about 8.5ct and yes, a huge stone like this can melt with your hand, making you forget the ring is on your hand after a few days. I love it, when a piece melts with you.
This small stone is far from weighing 8ct, it's even far from 1ct or 0.2ct.
I tore it out of a prong setting last christmas, just when I was slipping into my coat, ready to leave friend B.'s house. Luckily we found the tiny stone and B's father taped it on the paper and marked the paper. I love it, how target-orientated he is.
I should get this fixed soon!


After all the excitement it is time for some regress-time. Fruit Loops! Hadn't had them for ages!

A soothing sight is the army of ivory-cups

Some of you might have noticed, I have been working hard recently. Nothing better but some skin-care to keep the spirits high:

Unwrapping sea-mud
My new scent, very womanly
Yet another gift from friend B.!
Durance is a region not so well known. The olive shower bath is delicious.
Tada, my new soothing trio
Time for some tea ...
Flower tea! Really! The tea bags turn the water into bio-organic fertiliser.
Allow to infuse for 24 hours and your plants will thank you:
Coneflower, ready to bloom
Unknown flower, already blooming for the 2nd time this spring/summer
You might remember how I love armies. Not the ones on the battlefield of course. But the ones in the dishwasher or in a shopwindow.
Last week the crane organised an army of bricks on the roof of the construction site. Neat, no?

Vix, I need to apologize, I did not take the time yet to write down the carrot-apple-salad-recipe.

2 apples, not peeled: remove the core and divide into eights, slice
(in the picture they were cut into fourths, but that's too large)
150gr radishes: sliced
300gr carrots: peeled and grated

Needless to say a kitchen machine turns the three slicing/grating steps turn into fun.

Roast 1 tbsp of sesame seeds until they turn light brown

Chop a handful of parsly and a hand ful of fresh mint leaves.

Mix 8 tbsp olive oil and 4 tbsp red wine vinegar (whisk whisk whisk) and add 1 tbsp of Tahin.

Mix the sliced/grated vegetables, add 1 small handful of raisins and stir in the herbs and the dressing, sprinkle the roasted sesame seeds on top. Voila!

The apple slices and the radish slices have about the same size and the radish comes with the pink skin and the apple with the red peel, which is fun, they look very alike once they are in the salad bowl.

I prepared the salad today before I left for my Couch 2 5 k run/walk, W3D2. The Stylish Shoe Girl motivated me to give it a try. Unfortunately her back did not like the workout. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it works for me this time (the first time I ended up with an ischalgia after week 2.)

Oh, this becomes a really long posting. Sorry for that! I don't want to end without recommending Adrienne's blog. She lives a Rich Life on a Budget. I find her blog very inspiring. And when you read her today's posting, you will see, what it is, that makes her life absolutely rich.

Monday, 20 June 2011

You won't catch me red

If there is any colour I dislike in sense of fashion, it is red. Maybe it comes from our flag?
What is it, that makes red a no-go-colour in my eyes?
Probably because the stewardesses from the Austrian Airlines wear red and in their worst days, they had to wear 40den tights in red!

A leather purse in red? Never! A red clutch in patent leather? No, thanks. Red shoes? The worst in my eyes. Turn every outift into a kind of "ohm I am so relaxee, you see, I can wear red shoes", signals also a bit if "I feel so young and hip" but all it looks is wrong. So not cool. Red nails? That's a possibility. Oh, yes, and cars! Safety first. Red cars are said to be noticed quicker than any other colour. Maybe it's this effect - the "popping in your eyes" that's make me chose blue over red. Almost all the time.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Eclipse of the Moon

After a bright sunny day comes a total eclipse of the moon.

It is happening right now. Photo taken 21:32
A beautiful event in the evening sky. A Red Moon. Just yesterday it was glowing white, but today planet Earth is in its way.

Her wish is my command: Lentilles de Puy Salad

I quick snapshot in the early morning light.*

Leslie, the hostess of the humble bungalow liked the lentil salad and asked me if I could post the recipe. Nothing I like more!

Lentils are versatile. You could add any flavour you like, crispy bacon, duckbreast, sausages or keep it vegetarian or even vegan like I did:

Lentilles de Puy Salad
  • cooked, cool lentils (I did not measure, probably 250ml before cooking)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • Olive Oil (approx. 2.5 tbsp, sorry I did not measure)
  • Thym, only the leaves, chopped
  • 1 Radicchio salad, also known as red endive, cut into small bits
  • 1 or two Spring onions, depending in the size, chopped
  • One hand full of Parsley, chopped

  • Salt (my choice: Fleur de sel)
  • Pepper (my choice: freshly grounded in the peugeot moulin)
  • freshly grated Ginger
  • Garlic (2 cloves of garlic are too much, trust me! One is just right, none is also ok)
  • And finally the super-secret winning spice: soy sauce.
Did you notice? There is no vinegar!
Lemons provide the acid and are the perfect match for the lentils.

First I like to explain the characteristics of the lentils from Puy.
Those lentils are much smaller than the normal lentils. They are also rounder, not so flat. You would not have to soak them in cold water over night or over day (depending on when you plan to cook them). I still do, I soak them in cold water for a few hours, mainly because I want all the extra that comes with the lentilles to swim on top so I can easily remove it before boiling the lentils.
Bits and pieces of straw, bad lentils (well, they are not really bad bud those which float on top after a short time of soaking are said to be not so good anymore), some flys etc.
Also after a long storage, they need longer too cook. The soaking saves energy.

After soaking comes the cooking. And this is the good part: the lentils take maximum 20 min., no longer! When they are done, they are "aldente", not to confuse with the soft squishy lentils you would serve in the winter months, these lentils "have punch" in the sense of aldente. You might think they are still not done, when you try them after 20min but trust me: they are ready to cool down!

It is a myth that you must not add salt to the boiling water, otherwise they end up hard. This is a myth. Lentils need salt and the salt does not harm the boiling. What does harm the process though is overly boiling. The proteins in the lentils would alter and the lentils might stay hard. So be careful and let the water "simmer", in sense of a soft boiling and not bubbly overly boiling with wild dancing lentils.

After 20 min you drain the water and let them cool down.

On with the salad recipe:
Pour the lemon juice in a bowl and slowly whisk the olive oil (of best quality of course ;-) into the bowl. Add the spices except the soy sauce and mix everything well. The soy sauce is tricky: Start off with 1 tsp and add if more is needed. Too much of the soy sauce kills the flavours. You better stick your finger in the bowl after the 1st tsp of soy sauce, taste it and decide if it needs more.
When we prepared the salad in the cooking-workshop, something was missing, but we could not guess what it was. Until one participant suggested soy sauce. It is amazing, what a difference a bit of soy sauce can make!

Place the cool lentils, radicchio, parsley and thym in a bowl, stir everything and pour the dressing on top. Gently mix, et voila.

You can easily keep this in the fridge for 2 days, even 3, depending on the freshness of the radicchio.

* The "still life" qualities of the morning sunlight surprise me. Should take more photos before 8am.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

3 Salads

The last days have been full of salad. The intensity reminds me of my Christmas cooky-period before Christmas. One recipe is never enough. Last weekend I planned on bringing a bowl of salad to my sisters barbeque and ended up with three bowls, carrying three bowls of salad.
From left to right: orzo salad, lentils salad and apple-carrot-radishes salad with tahin and roasted sesame seeds.

The credit for the orzo goes to Jen from thebakedlife. Jen, Mr Paula likes the orzo salad best!

Only little was left for Mr Paula after the barbeque

The lentils are my favourite:Lentilles de Puy
Mr Paula had to drive me very far in France because I wanted these lentils and only these, from the outskirts of Puy en Valey, DOC lentilles :-)

I got in touch with lentils during a cooking workshop in Vienna's traditional vegetarian restaurant Wrenkh. Times have changed, they even serve raw steaks these days. *shocked*

The third origins at the cooking workshop, a tabouleh made with couscous.

What I learned at the workshop: tabouleh wants LOTS of parsley. I never liked parsley. In combination with olive oil and couscous it is absolutely delicious!

All of a sudden our bottle of best olive oil melts away. Jen recommends whisking the oil slowly into the vinegar. She is so right!
Ready to serve
Today our dear dozers (see here at the end of the posting) gathered around and let me sleep until 7am. Thank you for that!

Room with a view. The bedroom window, tonight

Good night!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Magical Repulsive Energy and more (Arts and) Crafts

Amazing, no? The repulsive energy every Office Lady (japanese term for women working in the office environment) develops when entering the office-kitchen and seeing the clean, but not cleared dishwasher.
A few hours later and the dishes as shown above would've turned into an artsy cup-tower and some plate-piles. By the time I found this still life at the morning in our office kitchen, I had already met another world, because this morning I'd spent 4 hours in a bakery.

When I say "morning", I mean it! The alarm rang at 3.45am. You could say that my love for the arts and crafts continues well. I visited a small bakery and recorded the boulanger together with his employee while they were baking bread, brioches and "Buttersalzstangerl". Due to the recording device in my hand I was not able to take picutures, so the photo credit goes to Stephan Koja.
Buttersalzstangerl (imagine a small baguette, with salt and a knob of butter inside)

Both bakers I met today have worked in the bread-industry before. They made big money and distributed genetically muteted soy and other bad stuff you would not want to be in your bread, before they ended up in the small boulangerie to go back to basics. I was surprised how much they accomplished in those 4 hours. By the time I arrived, they had already fired the oven with spruce wood and the first brioches and "Semmeln" were cooling down.

The owner had to fight for getting an operational approval for this bakery in an inner-city district. It took 5 years until he finally received the operational approval.
Guess what: the responsible department in the city refused to give their approval first hand because of the "odour nuisance"! Odour nuisance? A boulangerie? Back when I baked my own sour-dough bread at home, Mr Paula fell for the heavenly scent.

Time for some generalisation: Everone I know loves the scent of fresh bread. In Vienna you can find only a few bakeries left which emit this special scent. Most of the bakeries changed into deliver-facilities. Most of them had to close due to the overpowering force of the supermarkets and their "freshly baked" (harhar) frozen bread.
The original scent of freshly baked bread evokes childhood memories, the good memories for sure. I would even go so far and say that this scent is part of our cultural heritage.
Too sad, it is not going to last.
How nice the baker fought for his boulangerie (=oven and salesroom in one place) and even sells the bread at a fair price: 2kg / 9 EUR. No baking aids added.
Wheat, water and salt and lots of love make the best bread.
Sour-dough instead of genetically mutated soy.

Photos 2-5 : Stephan Koja

Friday, 3 June 2011

Most Beautiful Arts and Crafts and a Beautiful Mind Named Eric Kandel

Some evenings you end up watching a movie, sitting on the sofa and wondering how lucky you are because you found a jewel when you did not expected to. Tonight's posting is about jewels.

There is a small but none the less precious exhibition at the Leopold Museum, showing jewellery that dates back to 1900. Jugendstil, Art Nouveau.
This exhibition made me do two things I had never done before:
#1 I asked a friend out to join me for an spontaneous after-work visit
#2 I went back the following day, accompanied by Mr Paula and guided by Friend B's brother, who works as a guide at the museum. Without a guide/additional information, you would be lost. I would be.

There are worlds between those butterfly brooches which date back to 1900 and 1910. Instead of using as many diamonds as possible to demonstrate the value, in 1910 the craft became important, how to master enamel. Asymmetry was also new. Isn't it amazing how dull the butterfly from 1900 seems to be, compared to the butterflies from 1910? (sorry, had to remove the photos!)

The exhibition shows various European country's jewels.The french jewellery is extraordinary.
A japonseque comb with apple blossoms

A funny coincidence: a few weeks ago I heard of Lalique for the first time - I was interested in their perfume Les Perles. René Jules Lalique was famous for his jewelry.

An asymmetric comb, wisteria blossoms
A comb with elderflowers (The light was difficult, difficult to capture the details.)

Today I passed by the Viennese jeweller Rozet & Fischmeister. Yes, the jeweller still is at the same adress where it has been ever since 1770. This is the best of all: when history comes to life, when Jugendstil was just an episode and it continues. You can imagine how delighted I was in front of the shop window of Rozet & Fischmeister.

Tonight I sat down, planning to write this posting on jewellery when I accidently stumbled over this movie on TV: In Search of the Memory

It is an adorable documentary. Kandel left Vienna in 1939, having been isolated in school as the only jew in class for a year. It were thoses experiences which shaped him - Never forget. He wanted to understand how the long term memory works. In 2000 he obtained the Nobel Prize together with two colleagues. The moment someone in Brooklyn asks Eric Kandel how old he is, the man guesses: 82? Kandel answers: No. (obviously annoyed) ...40! The man asking starts to laugh, then Kendler laughs and they both laugh. and laugh on. Adorable. Hm. Maybe it is not funny when I write it down. You better watch the movie. Whoever lives in France, Austria or Germany might be able to watch the movie on arte+7. arte offers most of their programme online for the following week after airing. Maybe you like to check it tomorrow.

Since it is the weekend, time for some shallowness. The air is so humid these days and I just can't take up blotting. So I started a new attempt, leaving the dozens of packages of blotting-papers aside and invested in a nice powder. In case you need something to keep your "matte", I can recommend Estee Lauder's Double Matte, Oil-Control Pressed Powder in "Translucent". Very light, very mattifying, just what my forehead needs these days.
Maybe I am more a powder and less a blotting typeof woman

I don't know how long you keep powder make up in your drawers, but I had this Clarins-eyeshadow-quattro for 9 years and it is still silky and very smooth. (I might add that I only use eye-shadow brushes which get cleaned every now and then).
I remember exactly when and where I bought it (maybe because I rarely buy make-up). I had 1 hour left til the party started and went to a perfumery for a spontaneous make-over.
It was the day when the New Economy company I worked for went bankrupt. The bubble finally bursted and we who were left partied for the last time in the name of the company. Me in purple/beige/pearl. On my eyelids. The beige and pearl have served me well ever since.

Even though I am a tad too busy, too heavy and lacking the life-work balance at the moment, I am in a good mood. Even when I don't post, I keep reading your postings all the time and I really enjoy your presence.

Not long and I will be inside a church again, little niece's First Communion is ahead! She is sooo looking forward to it. :-)

Gosh, this posting took me really long. The English languate is really time consuming, at least for me.
Have a nice weekend and in case you watched the documentary, let me know how you liked it!