merry christmas, happy holidays.

Dec 25, 2012

I hope everyone has the best Christmas, with all the family cuddles and coziness you can wish for. I wish you much love, cookies and mulled wine galore, all your favorite foods, giddiness and happy music.

If you like to spend cozy mornings in the kitchen, baking a holiday treat for your family as much as I do, then I’ll have something for you guys. The other day, I climbed my personal Mount Everest and made macarons for the first time ever. To say I was nervous would be the understatement of the year. But I can joyfully tell you they were a huge success! I followed Manu’s recipes exactly, delicate raspberry macarons with white chocolate ganache and salted caramel macarons (my fave!),  and they both turned out beautifully. So put all fear aside and just give them a try. I promise you won’t regret it and you’ll feel like a superhero afterwards.

Happy holidays everyone!



it's the most wonderful time of the year.

Dec 8, 2012
It is December, my favourite month of the year. (How did that happen? Wasn't it just summer?)
Christmas cookie baking is in full swing, currently we are at eight different kinds. The city is decked in twinkly lights and the first snow has dusted the rooftops and trees. It is bitterly cold and the sun is hanging low, saying farewell at three in the afternoon. The Christmas markets are bustling with people, mulled wine and chestnuts. Classic Christmas tunes are playing in the background. I love it all.
But despite the coziness of Advent, big things have been happening here.

Two weeks ago, I finished my internship in Hamburg with a Food&Wine Magazine. It was a sad goodbye from friends, co-workers and the city I came to love so dearly, despite its rain and generally moody weather.
And then, there was the plan. The plan that was brewing since spring. The plan I was too scared to talk about, for fear of jinxing it. Not anymore. Deposits have been payed, plane tickets booked and quiet disbelieve is still in full force. In January, I will embark on one of my biggest adventures yet. M and I are going to New York. He will be continuing his amazing journalistic work and I will be starting a whole new chapter - Graphic Design.
It's the scariest and most exciting thing I've ever done. Without a doubt.

Before all the NYC craziness though, I fully intend to enjoy every moment with my lovely family and friends back home. 'Tis the season after all. On that note, back to the kitchen. These cookies need some more  powdered sugar.

*Friends, we are still on the hunt for a place to sublet in New York  from Jan-April. Endlessly grateful for any pointers! And coffee dates!!! How fun would it be to meet up?!

today I'm inspired #4

Oct 31, 2012
by the Oregon coast, the cold waves, the foraging of old driftwood, the making of a surfboard and upbeat music.
This video sums up all of the above and much more; Shwood did it again. If you're anything like me, it will leave you with a serious case of Wanderlust, making you want to hit the road for the trip of a lifetime. And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, then comes their website This is Oregon.


Experiment No. 3 - Scrap Surf from Shwood Eyewear on Vimeo.

It's settled, I have to relocate.

boating in amsterdam.

Oct 22, 2012

My absolute favourite pastime in Amsterdam is boating. From the river and canals, you have a completely different view on things, the city from another beautiful perspective. I will never tire of it.
This last outing happened in September, just after we'd returned from Russia. M. was taking me to the train station, which explains the luggage. Please excuse my rather unfortunate picture at the end, but I just had to share* my boating expertise.
(After much persuasion on my part, M. agreed to let me steer. Don't worry, no goose or human got hurt. This was a very wide stretch on the river. My skills are way too rudimentary to safely navigate the tiny canals of Amsterdam.)

*show off

a {sustainable} shopping trip through amsterdam.

Oct 15, 2012
This summer I went out to document my favourite spots and shops in Amsterdam. Then I wrote about it. And now you can read about it in the new issue of SisterMag. It is pretty rad to be contributing to such an inspirational magazine.
If you are ever planning to visit Amsterdam (which you should) then I cannot recommend those cozy eateries and beautiful shops enough. Have a look here to see them through my lens and find all the details.

exploring the caucasus.

Oct 6, 2012

You know the fun part about going to bed at 9.30pm on a Friday night? Waking up before 5am the next morning, having coffee and eggs before 6am and writing this post before it's even light out.
***
So after the wedding, the closer family and friends of the bride and groom went on to exploring the Caucasus. First stop was the Karachay–Cherkess Republic in the south of Russia, a beautiful mountainous region with Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain of Europe, sitting in the middle (who knew?! take that Mont Blanc). We stayed at some resort type hotel with hills around to explore, hike and lay in the sun. For the first time in my life I regret not being a car person and having taken pictures of them, because the owner of the resort had an old timer collection in the "driveway". People, I tell you it was crazy! Over 20 beautiful vintage cars, lined up just like other folks line up their miniature old timers on a shelf. Oh the pastimes of the idle rich.
We went on to the ski resort Dombay, looking at pretty glaciers, breathing in the cleanest air and becoming  acquainted with hoofed animals. Well, one of us did.
Meet my friend Muschiek. He's a Yak and I love him.

a russian wedding.

Sep 17, 2012

Man, do Russians know how to throw a party. And by party I mean a two day-full on-drink-food-dance-feast. I am not kidding, when saying that I needed like three days to recover. The pictures above are from the ceremony and reception.
Unfortunately no useful photographs from the actual wedding dinner and party. Let's just say it was unreal. Picture mountains of food and traditional Caucasian dancers, singers and whatnot in between courses. The program was FULL. They didn't cut the cake til midnight, not sure if that's the norm?! Day two of the wedding extravaganza was spent at a lake with more food, booze and dancing. Phew.
It was an experience I will never forget and wouldn't want to have missed for the world, but one Russian Wedding is enough for one lifetime.

1// View during the ceremony.
2// Bride and groom. Obviously...
3// Reception spread.
4// Russian Uncle living in Switzerland, owning ship to hunt for sunken Chinese treasure. I am NOT kidding.
5// Guests from Brazil and Argentina.
6// This is what it looks like, when three people try to entertain the youngest wedding guest all at the same time. Brides beware, adorable baby girls will steal your thunder!

a russian hello.

Sep 1, 2012
Friends, greetings from Russia.
Posting regularly here is not really feasible, but I wanted to pop in and say a quick hello.

We have been in Russia for 4 days now and it has already been one big adventure. You see, my boyfriend's brother is getting married and his bride is originally from Russia, so they decided to have one hell of a wedding here in Stavropol in the north Caucasus. The family and I flew into Moscow, where we had a few days to see the sights and go explore the surrounding area a bit. Oh my, what an impressive city - one of the  biggest cities in Europe with 12 Million people living there and an area almost as big as the Netherlands.
Now everyone is getting ready for the big day - friends from the Netherlands flew in, family from Brazil and Israel are here and of course the Russian family of the bride. It's one multiculti hodgepodge of people and we love it!
The pictures above were taken at the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, "the most important Russian monastery and the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church."

chocolate peanut bites with salted caramel.

Aug 21, 2012
Time to dust and open the windows of the old internets again.

Since we've last seen each other fun things occurred. I took the train home to Regensburg, have finally handed in my thesis (and am therefore done with uni!), celebrated this with friends and family, went to a beautiful wedding, took the train back to Hamburg and am now enjoying the life of a normal 9-6 working girl with time to play in the evenings and weekends. I like it.
There have been moments caught on camera that I'll share here bit by bit, starting with these chocolate peanut bites with salted caramel.
I (once again) used a recipe from Olivia, only substituting roasted peanuts for almonds, and they turned out delicious. However, they were quite soft and the shape didn't want to hold up so I had to add an extra step to the original recipe: dip them in melted chocolate. Well, it didn't hurt.
They reminded us of of fancy salted Snickers bites and where a big hit with the whole crew.

a parade of a year.

Aug 6, 2012
It was the 5th of August 2011, when I first stepped foot on the magical plain of the Parade. Set in a park with huge, age-old trees scattered about, the balmy summer night was lit up with hundreds of twinkly lights and filled with music and laughter. This old fashioned carnival must have sprung straight from somebody’s dreams.
I found myself atop an old motorcycle eating poffertjes, tiny dutch pancakes, with lots of butter and  powdered sugar. Across from me sat this boy happily munching along, when I heard: „Can I ask you something? Do you want to be my girlfriend?“
„Yes.“

It has been a year.
On to the next one, filled with love, laughter and high adventure.


 


today I'm inspired #3

Aug 1, 2012
by Taylor Steele and his talented fellows, who dreamed up HERE&NOW.

These days, I find myself dreaming about traveling the coasts of this world more than ever. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I am 95% finished with my thesis (yaaaay!) and can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. After the internship wraps up, I am as free as a bird. Or you could say, I have no clue what's coming next.
Even if you are not a fan of surfing, really it doesn't make a difference. The movie is just that good and it has the BEST soundtrack. Honestly, I loved every song. A friend from Bali had his talented fingers in it too, which makes it extra special.
Great stuff you guys! Enjoy.


HERE & NOW Official Trailer from INNERSECTION on Vimeo.

the time I tried to save a bee's life.

Jul 24, 2012
So, yesterday.
Yesterday was weird. Thinking about the things I have to finish in the next two weeks, my heart was racing all day. My head was spinning and it felt as though I had lost control over my thoughts, like they had a life of their own.
After a frustrating and unproductive day at home, I just left the house, walking.

On my search for a sunny patch of grass, I noticed a little bee on the sidewalk. He was on his back, with his tiny feet in the air. With a leaf, I tried to help him turn around. We succeeded, but he was weak and wobbly, tumbling over again and again. Thinking he must be hungry, I held a flower to his mouth. Nothing seemed to help. I put him on the grass far away from the street and left, feeling utterly sad.

Reaching the sunny patch of grass, I plopped down, all fours stretched out. My poor little friend.
Aren't bees just incredible creatures, worthy of ridiculous saving-attempts? I think so.
I didn't feel good, but at least my heart and mind stopped racing, because for a moment I wasn't focused on me, me, me. Yes, I'm still doubting if I can finish it all. But that's life too, sometimes.

*click picture for source

vegan stone fruit coconut popsicles.

Jul 18, 2012



Inspired by pictures of homemade Popsicles floating around the Internet lately, I spontaneously purchased some Popsicle molds one day and whipped up my own.
These Popsicles can be made using any kind of fruit, really. I just happened to have some leftover plums and cherries on hand. The coconut milk base is creamy and rich, attributes I find indispensable when it comes to ice cream.
This was one of those typical wing-it creations, so excuse the vague measurements. Although, there is really no messing this up. It's a very forgiving recipe.

Vegan Stone Fruit Coconut Popsicles

Handful of fruit
1 can (400ml) coconut milk
big squeeze from ½ a lemon
3-5 tbsp of brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
1 vanilla bean, scraped (or a few drops of vanilla extract or ½ a pack of vanilla sugar)

Preheat oven to 180°C. Cut your fruit into bite sized chunks and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Place the fruit on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 180° C for around 25 min or until soft and caramelized, but not burnt.
In the meantime, warm up the coconut milk on the stove and add sugar and vanilla. Stir until sugar has dissolved completely. Squeeze in lemon juice.
Let the fruit and coconut milk cool of before putting into the Popsicle molds. I filled six regular sized molds and still had some leftover milk to put in an ice cube tray (great addition to blend with smoothies!)

Enjoy!



Someone else clearly enjoyed it too.

today I'm inspired #2

Jul 13, 2012

by Maura Grace Ambrose, an artist from Austin, Texas.

Maura creates the most beautiful quilts, all stitched by hand!
In addition to reusing vintage fabrics she also grows her own organic natural dyes, such as Indigo, to dye some of the cloths for her one-of-a-kind quilts.
Incredible craftsmanship.


MADE HERE - FOLK FIBERS from Jay Carroll on Vimeo.

sunday in Hamburg.

Jul 11, 2012
On Sunday we got up early to go to the Fischmarkt, a big farmer's market at the harbour where everything is sold from produce to cheese; just not that much fish, ironically. After getting coffee we sat by the water to soak up some sun.
We ended up having serious difficulties bringing home all the stuff we bought on two bikes: a pair of olive wood cutting boards, 2kg peaches, 1/2 a pound of cherries, 3 artichokes, 6 avocados, countless tomatoes, half a watermelon and raspberries. It was ridiculous really.

In an effort to use up some of our loot, I made peach crumble, loosely based on this recipe.
Later that day, after having been surprised by heavy rainfalls yet again and getting soaked to the bone yet again, we took the crumble and cycled to our friend Anne for a pre-concert-meal.
Bon Iver was playing in the Stadtpark and I am still smiling from the experience. It was a night for the books. 

today I'm inspired #1

Jul 7, 2012
by Mickey Smith's Darkside of the Lens

I remember the first time I saw this video, sometime last year. Utterly impressed and speechless I emailed it to my surf crazy boyfriend so he could marvel at it as well.
Yesterday by chance, I stumbled upon that email and had a look at it again.  In a way, watching this video made me brutally aware of how limited my own talents really are. How sometimes, all you can do is watch from the sidelines, in awe, and be deeply impressed.
The pictures, the music, the narration, the voice, the accent; it's just all so beautifully and perfectly in tune. To me, this is magic.

<< If I only scrape a living, at least it's a living worth scraping. If there's no future in it, at least a present worth remembering. >>


Darkside Of The Lens from mickey smith on Vimeo.

summer so far.

Jul 5, 2012
I've had a handsome visitor here for the last week. As usual, fun has been had.
We baked black and red currant cake to bring to a picnic, but the weather had other plans. Instead, we made it an indoor picnic and went for a walk in the rain. Jumping in puddles with bare feet and soaked bones included.
Every night around 8pm, an ice cream truck makes a stop in my neighbourhood. Hearing the music, we ran down the stairs, crossing the street, to be the first ones there. That night: Vanilla, Chocolate, Straciatella, Hazelnut. Classics never get old.

Summer could be a bit sunnier in these parts, but we've been enjoying the company, the new apartment and even the rain nonetheless.

P.S: We made this Quinoa Salad from Heidi. Incredible!

moving.

Jun 27, 2012
Originally, this post was titled "nesting", showing my efforts to making me feel more at home in my room. Things have changed though, and today will mark the last day in my first appartment here in Hamburg. This move was of the unexpected, scary kind that turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
You see, my landlord told me I had to move out on VERY short notice. On even shorter notice, I did manage to find an appartment in a much nicer area, closer to my friends, with more room, for the same price. So, if he hadn't forced me out I would have never started looking myself and had never stumbled on the new place. Sometimes things really happen for a reason.
Farewell first room. I will miss your big window, but not much else.