Small Pleasures. 

The weekend was only so-so. I was cranky, the husband was a bit sick. And we still didn´t make our thank-you-for-the-presents-wedding-cards (there must be a better word for this?!).  It´s been six weeks since our wedding, I think we should get going. But this weekend, all I could manage was to curl up on the sofa and watch Big Love on DVD and bark at the husband who couldn´t do anything right (I can be a terrible person).

But really, I blame the weather - no spring at all anymore in Vienna. It´s really cold again - around minus 10 degree Celsius yesterday night. I know we need to have patience, spring will come eventually. In the meantime, you´ll find me in the kitchen every weekend baking cinammon rolls (here´s the recipe, in German only though - sorry!). And then, eating cinammon rolls. And then, complaining on how fat I´ve become.

But really, it´s all about the small pleasures to get through winter, right? Today I met a lovely old lady who told me some of her life story (she lives in Paris, South France and Vienna, how glamorous) while we were waiting in line to renew our drivers licenses (mine has been stolen, hers was expired). We were both unsuccessful because of some missing papers, which sucked big time after standing in line for about an hour. But once we got out of the agency, she was all smiles again. "Look!", she exclaimed, pointing to the sky, "The sun is shining!".

And she is right. We should be thankful for the small things. Only she is going to South France next week and I´m not.

(Shut up, cranky me. Cinammon rolls! The sun is shining! Life is good!)


Oh, Ireland.

Ireland has been on my mind a lot lately. That is because I have been cooking recipes from the Avoca Cookbook for weeks now. If you don´t know Avoca, read their story here. And if you happen to be in Ireland, make sure you visit one of their stores and eat in one of their cafés. Their food is amazing. But then again, Ireland as a country is amazing.

I have a love affair with Ireland since my parents brought me there for a family holiday 17 years ago (ugh, I´m old). Later I took my first backpacker trip there when I was 18. These are fond memories. I think we visited a fair share of pubs in the two weeks we spent there. Oh well. However - these days, I have a brother who lives in Dublin, Ireland, so this is a good excuse to visit the country again and again. The pictures above are from a trip we did last year in August to the Wicklow Mountains. We stayed near the very first Avoca mill (nowadays their headquarters).

So, the cookbook. It is amazing and I totally recommend it if you like salads, tartes and soups. If features a range of vegetarian dishes, too. Be sure to question the quantities specified in the recipes though. The fluids seem to be a bit on the wild side. The tarte recipe I made today (caremelized onions and three cheeses) called for one litre cream. Yikes! I used 250 ml and it turned out just fine.

One thing from the book I made twice in the last weeks is the fennel potatoe soup. It´s so easy and so delicious. You´ll need fennel and potatoe in equal parts. Cook with some vegetable stock until tender, blend in the food processor, done. Love it.


Five Senses. 

Dou you know Abby? You should! She takes the bestest pictures. I need to buy one (or two, or three) of her lovely photo prints real soon, if only I could decide which one I want. However, she does something called "Five Senses Friday" on her blog, here she explains where it came from. I love the idea and thought I´d play along. So here goes!

Seeing: A different kind of light.

Hearing: The wind howling around the house (it´s been stormy lately).

Tasting: A defrosted apple pie I baked back in summer.

Touching: My new summer dresses whenever I see them in the closet.

Smelling: The first earthy, springy smells in the garden.


Thinking of Summer.

It looks like I will have some time off this summer. Some time meaning some months. No work, all play. I´ll write in details about this soon, it´s just that all my plans have been shattered lately and I´m very careful now about sharing anything until it´s set in stone.

However, if I happen to have some time off this summer I would really really like this (surprise). I want to do a lot of things, like truly enjoying the summer in Vienna. It is a beautiful city in summer. I´m going to to pretend I´m a tourist and explore the city again. There´s so much I still haven´t done in the four years we´ve been living here. I think I´m going to make a list. Yep, that sounds good. I´m a big fan of lists.

Besides that, I want to travel a bit. Actually I would love to travel a lot, but it´s not in the budget. We´re going to do a camping trip to Croatia and Slovenia in June, and lately I´ve been thinking about going somewhere on my own for a few weeks. Like England for example, I´ve only been to London so far and I´d really like to explore the countryside. Or Scandinavia, I´d love to see Norway. I´ve never travelled alone so this would be a good experience I think.

What would you do if you had some time off in summer?

(The pictures show my favorite public outdoor pool in Vienna, the "Neuwaldegger Bad".)


Garden Inspiration. 

This summer I really want to transform my outdoor living spaces into some magical places. I´m thinking many many lanterns and beautiful colorful fabrics so when I flipped through Gudrun Sjödens new spring catalogue yesterday it was the perfect inspiration. I´m headed into town this evening to get some new lanterns - it´s never too early, right?

PS: While the clothing is a bit too bold for me, I really like almost everything in Gudrun Sjödens home line. For example this bedding and I want some of these towels please. Sadly the website is a navigation nightmare...

(Pictures by Gudrun Sjöden.)