Christmas baking.

Christmas baking is kind of a big deal in Germany (if you´re outside of Germany and curious about it you should probably get this book by the lovely Luisa). I know people who bake 10 different varieties of "Plätzchen" (christmas cookies) before Advent even starts. I am not one of these people (making Plätzchen mostly stresses me out) but I try to do some christmas baking each year. 

In 2015 I started the tradition of making fruit/pear bread. Last year´s recipe - based on a yeasted dough - was very dry and not exactly what I was looking for. So this year I searched high and low for the perfect recipe that fit all my criteria (no added sugar, no candied orange/citron peel, a high percentage of dried fruit and nuts) and randomly came across this one (sorry in German only) that sounded promising. 

It´s based on a rye sourdough and I think it´s pretty much perfect - moist and not too sweet. Very happy how this one turned out! If you ever make this be sure to eat it with lots of butter.

I also made Elisenlebkuchen (gingerbread with a very low percentage of flour) after this recipe (sorry again in German only). I have a very precise idea how the perfect Lebkuchen should taste and I must say that these come very very close. Very moist, not too sweet, and yes there might be a pattern. I, for one, can´t stop eating them. (Note for German readers: I actually bought this thing which was very helpful). 

Next up are a few Plätzchen this weekend and shortly before Christmas I´ll try to make this rather crazy recipe for Panettone with a sweet sourdough starter (yep). I know it will most probably end in a desaster but I´m still excited about it! I´ve already bought the necessary paper molds and everything! This is my kind of adventure. I´ll report back. 


On my camera, late November edition. 

Here are some random pictures from my camera because sometimes that´s all I have to offer to you. A beautiful misty morning, looking out from my bathroom´s window upstairs.

Our gorgeous dog who is just the best thing that has ever happened to us. 

Some sourdough bread that looked really great from the outside but was a bit too sticky on the inside. Dough too wet? The mysteries of baking bread.

Another ice cold morning. I think my garden looks like in a fairy tale here. Also once the leaves are down it looks huge because you can suddenly see so much of it. 

Happy chooks. We´ve realized lately that Ludwig doesn´t hunt them anymore (why, don´t ask me) so they are allowed all over the garden now. It´s very cute to see how happy that makes them. 

Technically not a good picture, but I like it anyway. The view from our back door on a very foggy morning.

And sweet Lulu napping on a radiator. As you do when you are a cat (I would so love to be able to nap on a radiator. I mean, can you imagine?). Have a happy week!


A little Etsy gift guide.

Preface: It feels a little surreal to publish a gift guide after last week´s post and the comments it generated. There might be a follow-up/a response to all this in the near future, but in the meantime, let´s look at some nice things and calm our minds, shall we? 

So I´ve come across so many nice things on Etsy lately and I wanted to share them with you. First up is Not Perfect Linen. They are a family business in Lithunia and they have the nicest things. I particularly love their table cloths (pictured). I adore this stripey one but they also have a color named Swedish Blue which I am obsessed with (here´s a table runner in that color). My husband is building me a new wooden dining table for my birthday (!!) so I can´t possibly buy things that would cover said table, but maybe you can! 

More lovely linen things from Lithunia: Knock Knock Linen. I own two of their scarves and several of their bath towels. Very much recommended.

Also in Lithunia (I feel like I maybe should plan a trip to Lithunia real soon?): Woolen Clogs. I have stalked this shop for years now and one day I will own some of their lovely felted slippers (pictured are these).

More felted goodness from Lithunia (seriously!): Agnes Felt. The cutest cat beds you ever did see! My cats would never use a cat bed because all my pets generally ignore all the things we buy for them, but maybe you have cats that are more cooperating. 

Leaving Lithunia now: Julia Smith Ceramics. I particularly love her nature-inspired stuff like this espresso mug (which is sadly sold out now). We have great local ceramicists around here so I rather support these businesses, but if you´re in the UK this shop is for you! 

Also in the UK: The Leather Store. I own one of their bags and love it. 

Last but not least: Sara Carr. I´m that awkward childless person who always buys the wrong gifts for kids but frankly, I would love a ton of her knitted creatures for myself. One is cuter than the other - look there´s even Mog! And a kitty scarf! And then there´s this donkey above who apparently is called Donald, and yes it takes all my willpower to not make a joke here. But it does close the circle nicely. 

Have a happy week! Be kind! Buy lots of nice gifts for your dear ones! 

Pictures (c) by the respective shops. Clicking on the pictures will take you to the product/shop.


The feel that this ain't exactly real.

What a week this has been. Trump got elected, Leonard Cohen died, and winter arrived. So I am not a political person and I this isn´t really the place for such woes. But I can´t stay silent on this one. I woke up on Wednesday and immediately checked the news and then I went catatonic for a few minutes. What have you done, America. It took all my willpower to not sob through my breakfast. I´ve since basically shut myself off any news because I just can´t bear it all. I don´t want to speculate what this means for the US and for the entire world because I am terrified enough as it is. 

And then Leonard Cohen died. That was a tough one. I remember my parents had one of his albums ("The Best of" from 1975) and I was about 14 when I first discovered it. I remember lying on my bed with my walkman, completely mesmerized by his music. I´ve been a fan ever since, and "Take this Waltz" is my soundtrack for our Vienna years (this song is insanely beautiful, particularly from 4:02 onwards). Also, this letter. 

Last but not least, winter arrived. I can´t remember it ever being so cold in November, but it seems fitting (in fact we had our first real frost on the night from Tuesday to Wednesday). Then there was snow on Thursday (proof). And today I woke to a frozen world; temperatures had gone down to -6 °C over night.

I think what makes this frost so particularly beautiful is that plants have mostly been caught by surprise. There are still lots of leaves and even blooms which results in a beautiful texture and those wonderful muted tones.

This one is a new favorite. So yes, the world is still beautiful, and the sun still rises etc. And I am ever so thankful for that. Have a better week. 

EDIT: Well that was fun! (Not.) I have closed the comments section because nothing good will come of this.


Book club: House of plants.

So here´s the thing: I don´t really do house plants. I love them in other people´s spaces, but not necessarily in my home. I do like orchids (who doesn´t), and sometimes I bring indoor plants back from our nursery, but the majority subsequently dies from neglect. I know! I think I´m a good gardener "outside" but I just don´t have the patience for indoor plants. And yet, here I am to tell you that there´s a new book on house plants, and that I think it´s great. 

"House of plants" by Caro Langton and Rose Ray is an in-depth guide on how to select, grow and even propagate succulents, air plants, cacti and other tropical plants. The authors tell us everything about caring for different plant species, including how to plant a terrarium and make your own compost/fertilizer! However I particularly love the chapter on how to find the perfect plant for the perfect spot in your home. Although I have to admit that I won´t get any plants from the strange surfaces/strange plants section. Monkey´s Tail Cactus, anyone? But then again even airplants sort of weird me out. 

What I like best about the book is the gorgeous photography with lots of wonderful interior shots. It´s all a bit Kinfolk-ish but in a good way. It might just convinve me to get a few more indoor plants? Yes? We shall see.

House of Plants by Caro Langton & Rose Ray, photography by Erika Raxworthy, is published by Frances Lincoln. The book´s website can be found here. Many thanks to the publisher for sending over a review copy!