Urban Farming

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Living out of the city (but not quite in the countryside) has a lot of upsides. It naturally also has a lot of downsides but that’s not the point of my post today.
I’m lucky. I know I am. My parents have a garden and while it’s not huge, it’s plenty of space. It was big enough for water fights and tents for a camping sleepover when I was a child. It was secluded enough to have a fire pit to roast marshmallows. It’s great for lazy afternoons, lounging on the terrace or for our cats to act like fierce predators when they creep up on blackbirds.

Since this spring it’s also hosting two raised garden beds. It’s a dream come true for my mum, who has wanted one of them for years now and fills up the dead space in the back of our garden perfectly.
A couple of weeks ago we went to a small town in Lower Austria because an organisation there sold plants and vegetables that weren’t all that common. They specialised in rare plant species. Vegetables that are almost forgotten and things that you can’t get in just any garden centre.
So we went home with chard, spinach, three different kinds of salad, zucchini, corn, eggplant and cucumber plants. We got strawberries, rhubarb and four different kinds of tomatoes. Oh, and new herbs, of course (just those that didn’t survive the winter. Most of our herbs have been really good and are already flourishing. Mint and sage are growing like crazy again (even though we harvested all of it last autumn to dry it and make tea!).

But this is not enough. We also have an apple, cherry, plum and fig tree. Two blueberry bushes, a place where raspberries are growing and our grapes are looking good as well. It’s an urban farm jungle and we couldn’t be happier.

Some mornings the first thing we do is brave the chilly air, cup of tea in hand, and make our way to our veggies. Cold toes be damned, we want to know how our garden is doing. Soon enough this will be my first way for an entirely different reason because I cannot wait to be able and pick berries fresh from the garden for my breakfast.

This is happiness. This is the good life.

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Paris so far

My stay here has been filled with rain and sunshine, baguettes, eclairs, mussels, snails and croissants (not at the same time, obviously). With white wine and red wine, with family arguments and kisses on the cheek. With picture-taking, rolled eyes and joyful laughter. With long walks and afternoons spent sitting on a café watching the busy boulevards.
Paris, you are lovely. In fact, you are so beautiful and perfect it’s almost unreal.

I’m sure we’ll meet again, until then I’ll enjoy my last day here to the fullest.

 

Bonjour Paris

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I swear I have no idea how it’s been over a month since the last entry! Time flies when all you do is work and uni work and studying and more work (and trying to figure out summer plans).

I apologise. I’ll try to do better but June will still be an incredibly busy month for me uni wise. Summer plans are in the making and it’s looking to be a great and exciting summer.

But for now, let me tell you about how I got up at 3.30 this morning to catch a flight to Paris with my parents and grandparents.

I’ve been to Paris twice before and I only had good memories and experiences. So far it’s been great this time as well. The weather could have been a tad better (rain, rain and more rain) but overall it could also have been a lot worse.Paris is always charming. The boulevards, the passages, the food and drinks and the general atmosphere. I often forget just how much I enjoy being in this city.We’ve rented a quaint apartment. It’s three storeys but still kind of small. The window in my room leads to a rooftop terrace and I couldn’t be more in love. It’s kinda perfect. We’re getting breakfast from the Boulangerie across the street, bought some essential food items and enjoy our evenings sipping wine and cidre on the terrace (even more so once the weather is a tad better).It’s the perfect break from all the uni stress the past few days and I cannot wait for tomorrow to explore more.Bonjour, Paris.Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset IMG_6400Processed with VSCOcam with f3 preset
/ Hot chocolate literally came as melted chocolate with hot milk extra. Best one yet.
/ “Trapped” at a café waiting (in vain) for the rain to stop. After having the most expensive cappuccino yet (6,60€!) we caved and invested in some umbrellas.
/ View from our rooftop terrace. So charming.You can follow me along and see more pictures on my Instagram account.

Oh, Prague


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A trip to Prague has been months in the planning and always got postponed. I was busy with University. Christmas madness was taking up all my time. The weather in February just really isn’t all that great. I guess you can see where this is heading…

A couple of weeks ago I sat down with a friend over breakfast, switched on our laptops and started getting down to business. Within half an hour we had our bus tickets booked and found a great hostel for two nights situated smack in the city centre.
That wasn’t so hard now, was it?

A four-hour bus drive (return tickets) and two nights in this great hostel (breakfast included!) added up to less than 100€ per person. Isn’t Europe great? Don’t you just love it?

A four-hour bus drive takes you in a completely different city, with different customs, traditions, language and history. I’m prone to taking it for granted but isn’t it the most mind-blowing thing?
In the case of Prague I found myself constantly comparing it to Vienna. And to a certain extent the cities really are incredibly similar as they have shared quite some time in the same empire. The local food was very similar to dishes that we consider “local” here as well as the food I ate in Budapest – again, a reminder of how long and interwoven the history of these countries are.

Prague itself is a stunning place. I cannot say this often enough. The old town has been virtually left undestroyed by war of the communist era, houses are not run down but beautifully restored and preserved and people speak – at least that was my impression – sufficient to really good English. I also realised that I love listening to Czech.

The weather has been great the weeks leading up to our three-day stay in Prague but the second we were on the bus it was cold, rainy, windy and all around awful. (Our first stop was to a local H&M to buy a thicker sweater, I kid you not! Don’t let the pictures that follow fool you, it really was awfully cold!)

Three days in Prague were a good amount of time to spend there. Though, we were already struggling to find things to do on our last day it was still nice not having to stress about all the sights we still had to see and be able to leisurely walk from café to café all day.

Here some observations I made during those three days:

Petrin hill is great for spring (and probably also summer) walks.

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Going up to the clock tower really isn’t strenuous at all (no steps and even an elevator !) and the view over the city is spectacular!

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I’m not sure if this is due to my complete lack of orientation or if the Czech street signs are out to get me but I constantly got lost. I swear. We got lost all the time. I love it because it often gives you the chance to discover places you otherwise wouldn’t but after three days of walking huge detours my feet started protesting.

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Czech love their beer.

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Café Savoy is a Viennese-style café and the savoy cake is absolutely mouth-watering.

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Prague has a multitude of cafés and restaurants. From french bistro’s to typically czech pubs, it’s all there and you definitely won’t go hungry in Prague.

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You don’t necessarily need to buy tickets to get a good impression of Prague Castle. Most of the sights are open for the public and you only need the ticket if you want to go to the back of the church or further in the chapel. In fact, had we known this before, we probably wouldn’t have bought the tickets.
The change of the guards at 12pm is a more elaborate spectacle with modern fanfare and quite a tourist attraction. We watched around half of it and then snuck away to buy the tickets because we thought we’d be able to avoid a long queue. We were right and it was a great decision!

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Prague has a jewish part of town which used to be the jewish ghetto. Today you can visit these synagogues as well as the old jewish cemetery. Some of the synagogues are a memorial for the jews killed during the holocaust and very beautifully renovated.

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In the middle of the Old Town Square was a huge Easter Market with a lot of traditional as well as international snacks. Get a “Trdelnik”, it’s super tasty (again, this is also something they sell in Hungary!).

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Prague is definitely one of the most stunning and maybe even underrated cities I’ve been to, so far. It’s been a lot of fun, until next time, I’m sure.
These pictures can all also be found on my Instagram. I constantly post on there, it’s an obsession. So come say hi?

Rhubarb – Curd Cheese Tartlets

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I love rhubarb. It’s a deep, undying love. Maybe it’s because its one of those fruits (it is a fruit, right?) that’s seasonal. Not like apples, oranges and bananas, which you can get all year. There’s a very slim time frame for when you can buy rhubarb.
I found this recipe at the beginning of April and was dying to make these tartlets for our Easter lunch. That didn’t happen though. Because, try as I might, I couldn’t get any rhubarb back then. A few weeks later there was rhubarb en masse, but now I didn’t have a kitchen to bake in. Last week, I had rhubarb (saw it in store, grabbed it and didn’t let it go again.) and a kitchen but couldn’t find the recipe. Do you see where I’m going with this? It was like the world didn’t want me to work with my beloved rhubarb. Star crossed lovers and all that….
In any case, after a quick phone call to my gran (who thankfully collects recipes like there’s no tomorrow) I had the recipe, I had the ingredients and I had a kitchen, so let’s get started, okay?

Ingredients
Ready made dough (I used shortcrust pastry)

150g rhubarb
2tbsp tap water
2tbsp lemon juice
2tbsp sugar

200g curd cheese
100ml whipped cream
3tbsp vanillla sugar

What to do
Wash, clean and peel the rhubarb. Then cut it in small pieces.

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Add water, lemon juice and sugar and cook for about 5 minutes.

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Mix curd cheese with vanilla sugar. Add 2 tbsp of rhubarb juice. Whip the cream and carefully add to the cream cheese mixture. Leave to cool in the fridge.

Grease a muffin tin and cut out ca. 8cm large circles from the dough. The recipe says to put legumes on the dough so it won’t rise that much. I made it twice, once with them on top, once without and it didn’t make much difference. To be honest, the dough I used wasn’t the best anyways but it fulfilled the purpose and tasted quite nice. Which dough you use in the end is entirely up to you ;)
Bake at 180°C for about 15 minutes.

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Then add the curd cheese mix, top with rhubarb et voilá – you’re done! It’s a super quick and super yummy spring/summer dessert. I like the sweetness of the curd cheese mix and pastry with the sour fruityness of the rhubarb. It’s such a gorgeous combination!

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