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Monday
Sep262016

Back in Vienna.

We just returned from a little holiday which we spent in my hometown Munich and in Vienna where we lived for 5 years from 2005-2010. We hadn´t managed to visit Vienna since our move and it was so good to be back. I really don´t know what took us so long. We need to make it a priority to visit once a year.

If you´ve read this blog for any given time, it´s really not a surprise that my most favorite place in Vienna... is actually not in Vienna, or at least not within the city limits. The pictures above were taken near the Sophienalpe, a beautiful spot in the "Wienerwald" where we used to hike all the time when we lived in our little house by the woods. This place, for me, is pure magic.

Having said that, I do love Vienna, as in the city. Here´s a (not-so-secret) secret: I have never managed to even like Berlin, no matter the hype. But I´ve always adored Vienna, with its perfect combination of historical beauty and Eastern-European roughness. Since we had Ludwig with us who gets overwhelmed/scared when faced with crowds we limited our city excursions to one afternoon in the 7th district, but it was just enough to confirm that yep, Vienna is still my favorite city.

Ludwig, by the way, was such a trooper throughout the whole trip. He has become a real good traveler and was so happy about all the new acquaintances, both human and canine. The pictures above are from a little Setter meeting which happened on our favorite meadow in Vienna - another one of my happy places (it even had its own Flickr set back in the day!).

Now who wants to sell us a holiday house in Vienna for, like, super cheap? Pretty please?

By the way, we stayed in this holiday home wich had a perfect location and was great for Ludwig (it makes all of our lives so much easier when he has a garden to roam in). Big recommendation!

Monday
Sep122016

From apples to juice.

Last weekend I harvested every single apple in my garden and then we went and had them all juiced! 

We weren´t sure whether we had the minimum quantity of 100 kg of apples so we joined forces with a neighbor/friend who, as a plus, has the cutest yellow (!) pick-up truck. We needn´t have worried because we actually had a little over 100 kgs ourselves, but it was a lovely little excursion this way. 

The place where we had the apples juiced was new to all of us (this place) and we were really happy with the experience. This is the juicing machine which apparently was developed by the owner. Juicing apples is a side business for them and the whole family is helping out.   

The apples are sorted, washed...

... shredded and pressed. 

What remains. 

The juice is pasteurized (i.e. heated for a short amount of time) and then filled into those plastic bags which get to live in cardboard boxes for stability. Honestly I´d have preferred bottles (because pretty) but nobody does bottles anymore in our region and actually I can see the appeal of those boxes. 5 litres in one box, easy to store, nothing to break. The cardboard boxes can be re-used. All in all a pretty good solution I think!

So in the end, we got 75 litres of apple juice! I am delighted. It´s not super cheap but still at least half the price of what you´d pay for a decent organic apple juice. And it´s such a good way to use all those apples which would otherwise go to waste. Since the juicing machine is mobile and can be "rented", we´re already planning a big apple juicing party in our village next year! No more sad abandoned apples in this village´s garden! Yay.

Monday
Sep052016

Making food.

As we´re nearing the end of summer lots of canning and preserving is happening around here. While this sometimes felt like a burden in the past (keeping it real, right), I am somehow enjoying it immensely this year. 

I also seem to have caught the bred bug. I´ve been making my own sourdough bread for years now but things got a little more serious - and creative - recently. I am baking my way through a lot of new recipes which is so much fun (my husband, who loves bread, agrees). After years of having it on my wishlist I finally broke down and got "Tartine Bread" a few weeks ago and I like it a lot. Above is the country loaf with polenta and pumpkin seed which was insanely good. 

Also I got into making my own juices recently. I have owned a simple steam juicer for a few years but only used it for small quantities of fruit in order to make a few jars of jelly. However since we have a glut of pears right now I made a few bottles of pear juice, and yesterday I made elderberry and grape juice (the latter from our very first grapes grown in our garden, yay!). 

For some reason this was the worst tomato season ever, but I did get a few jars of tomato sauce too. 

This has nothing to do with making food except that the picture was taken in the kitchen. However if I could preserve these dahlias, I would! 

Group picture time! Mind you, I´ve made these over the past few weeks... I usually wait until I have a bunch of jars/bottles until I label and store them. Speaking of labels, I think I´ve never showed you a picture of my labels on this blog! I got it in my head this spring that I needed custom labels so I had some printed. Not entirely necessary but I love them so, so much! I think they make a simple jar look so special and even sort of professional. These are the things that make me happy. 

Tuesday
Aug302016

Late summer. 

I´m sorry I went missing for so long - life has been busier than usual and also a few things happened that made we question this whole blogging thing. (Edit: I am not going to quit blogging. I just had to think things over for a bit. Maybe I´ll write about it at some point). Anyway I´ve uploaded these pictures almost two weeks ago so I can just as well hit publish already, right? They´re from a little walk with Ludwig we took one evening. I hope you enjoy late summer wherever you are! I´ll be back soon. 

Monday
Aug152016

A Sunday in the house.

I spent most of Sunday in the house which is very unusual for me. In my defense I had worked in the garden all Saturday. Also I had some canning to do and since the weather was coldish so I figured an in-house day probably wouldn´t hurt. I never left the sofa all afternoon. This NEVER happens and I felt so guilty about it (what is wrong with me?). I did go for a long run in the evening though! 
(Yes those gladiolas are from my cutting garden - aren´t they amazing?)

Anyway I did get some things accomplished, like baking this bread (so so good, it´s my new favorite). I´m on a bread kick lately. I would happily bake a bread every day but then again who would eat all this stuff? 

I made some blackberry jam, too. We have so many blackberries this year, it´s amazing! The just keep coming. What a funny year with not a single red currant but tons of blackberries. Not complaining though! 

The first apples and pears are coming off the trees. I see an apple/pear pie in my near future!

Have a happy week!