Anzac Biscuits

It's tradition at my office for the birthday-girl/boy to bring in some cake or biscuits to celebrate.  Lastnight I quickly baked up some Anzac biscuits and had a little fun with my new birthday present - did you guess what it was?  Yep - a new Marco Lens for my camera.  I am totally smitten.

Anzac Biscuits

1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
4 oz butter
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease a biscuit tray or line with baking paper. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. In a small saucepan over a medium heat (or in a microwave proof jug or bowl in the microwave), combine the butter and golden syrup until the butter has melted.  Add the bicarb and water mixture with the melted butter and golden syrup, then combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Dollop teaspoonfuls of the biscuit mixture onto the greased baking tray. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Allow the Anzac biscuits to cool on the tray for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack.


Birthday Spectacular

Wow, what a great weekend!  The sun shone on Saturday - perfect weather for a guided bike ride through Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg and then an amazing dinner at Ma.  A four-course degustation menu with Champagne and German Reisling shared with Matthias, Clare and Shane. Yum!  And today, completely spoilt with gifts, flowers and lots of love.  Can you guess what one of the presents was? The last picture is a clue.  


riding home

I love my ride to and from work.  It takes me past the memorial to the Berlin Wall, parks, shops and some of my favourite cafes.  Although it's only a short ride, it helps me wake-up in the morning and un-wind in the afternoon.  Yesterday I took some quick pictures from my bike so today you all get to come with me on my ride home from work.
Home!  Which is just as well, as those clouds look threatening and it's all gone very, very dark!

Have a lovely weekend ox.


A Poem on Thursday : Narration

by Emily Dickinson

An altered look about the hills;
A Tyrian light the village fills;
A wider sunrise in the dawn;
A deeper twilight on the lawn;
A print of a vermillion foot;

A purple finger on the slope;
A flippant fly upon the pane;
A spider at his trade again;
An added strut to chanticleer;
A flower expected everywhere;
An axe shrill singing in the woods;
Fern-odours on untravelled roads;

All this, and more I cannot tell;
A furtive look you know as well;
And Nicodemus' mystery
Receives its annual reply.


street art

I have a love-hate relationship with Berlin's street art.  There's a slightly wild feeling to the place - graffiti everywhere - some of it's breath-takingly beautiful but most of it's just plain ugly.  I know all big cities have graffiti, but there seems to be more of it here and I sometimes wish there was less of the tagging and more of the art.  Perhaps I could convince Miso (Stanislava Pinchuk) to do an exhibition in Berlin?  Miso creates street art inspired by Urkranian folklore for Melbourne's streets.   I love it - fellow Melbourne blog readers, if you spot any of her stuff around Degraves Street I'd love a photo!  You'll be handsomely rewarded, promise!


Kaiser Natron

Today, by all reckoning, seemed to be one of those days where I should have stayed in bed.  Matthias finally complained about me always getting to use the bathroom first and taking too long.  I knew it was coming, but I was secretly hoping that he enjoyed making me tea and waiting while I finished drying my hair and putting on my make-up before he took a shower.  No such luck.  Tomorrow it's his turn to be first. 

Then in a rush to get out of the house I left my work computer at home.  I didn't realise until I went to turn it on and discovered that my trusty little laptop wasn't sitting in it's docking station.  At first I thought, perhaps it'd be stollen and then logic took over and I remembered that I had taken it my trip to the Hague. Oops!  As I cycled back home up the only hill in Berlin I tried to comfort myself by thinking how much additional exercise I was getting. At 8.30am this kind rational logic is useless.  Back at work, I spilt my tea.  Then I tripped over the carpet (clumsy much?).  Then I deleted 1/2 hour of work.  Ever have days like these?

But then at lunch something changed.  I went to the local Schlecker (drug store... sort of) for some facial cleanser and while I was there I found Kaiser Natron. It's baking soda.  It's near impossible to find here and I've been looking for it for ages and thinking that I'd have to make another trip to KaDeWe and pay KaDeWe prices just to bake some Anzac biscuits.  But there it was, a huge 250gm box in Schlecker and for the bargain price of 1.90 euro.  It'd made my day. Seriously.

What little thing made you smile today?

*Images from Google

30 after thirty : like, want, need

Birthday week - yippee!  It all starts tomorrow when two friends, Clare and Shane, arrive for a week of sight-seeing in Berlin, and of course, to celebrate my birthday.  Matthias has been asking me for a while what I want to do and I keep answering with different (but equally delicious) plans - bike-riding around Kreuzberg, picnic in the park, massage, pedicure, champagne on the Spandau canal, shopping at KaDeWe - but really I'd just be happy to hang-out on the balcony with the sun warming my back, a glass of white wine in my hand, some good music and excellent company.  

Anyway, this last list is a bit of a mixed bag - a cosmopolitan collection of wants, needs, hopes and dreams for the next 30 years.  A small slice of how I'd like my life to be when I look back at 60.

30. Have a wine cellar
29. Love
28. Own a "biscuit tin" which is usually full of homemade biscuits
27. Buy local
26. Belly-laugh every day
25. Live back in Australia 
24. Own a macro lens for my camera
23. Age gracefully
22. Teach (subject to be decided)
21. Tread lightly on the earth
20. Grow tomatoes
19. Maintain friendships
18. Have babies
17. Shuck oysters with finesse 
16. Influence health policy
15. Sell something I made with my own hands
14. Own a built-in shoe cupboard
13. Have friends over regularly for dinner and wine
12. Eat seasonally
11. Be an inspiring boss/mentor
10. Invest in good hair-cuts
9. Maintain a healthy body weight
8. Read a classic novel a year
7. Skate on a frozen lake
6. Publish my own research
5. Live in a house full of memories
4. Own a fabulous winter coat
3. Prioritise family and friends
2. Buy fresh flowers
1. Don't sweat the small stuff

PS.  It was hard - it really forced me to think about what I want and in the end I struggled to come up with 30 things.  But a great exercise.


tea for breakfast

Our new tea set, found at the fleamarket.   I think it's probably circa 1970s.  It's in wonderful condition - no chips or scratches on any of the pieces (4 cups/saucers, teapot, milk jug and sugar bowl).  I was so excited about it and the fact that it was sunny again this morning that I set up breakfast on the balcony.  Perhaps a little wishful thinking on my behalf because as soon as I took this photo is started to drizzle again and everything had to come back inside.  Oh well, drinking tea was no less enjoyable inside and it's another lazy public holiday here for Whitsun Monday (Pfingstmontag).

notes from the weekend

Finally a weekend with some sun.  So nice after weeks and weeks of rain and cloudy skies here.  We made the most of it and went for a bike ride on Saturday and explored some more parts of Berlin.  All the gardens have gone crazy with all the wet and you can almost see the plants growing.  
Yesterday we checked out another fleamarket.  Such great finds - we'll definitely be back to buy some (more) stuff.  This time it was just a really cool tea set and a table cloth, but there was so much more that I could have bought.  Ironically, Matthias and I were talking about the meaning of the word 'thrifty' on Saturday and how it differed from 'cheap' or 'miserly' or 'frugal'.  Turns out that the cool linen that I spotted as the perfect summer table cloth for our outdoor table used to be a doona cover.  I had already bought it before I realised - but no stains and with a few small adjustments I think it'll be very happy with it's new role in life.  Pretty thrifty, no?
After the fleamarket we went down to Kreuzberg and had a look at the Carnival of Culture - so many people, I reckon half of Berlin was there.  Look at the train station as we tried to head back home!  That guy in the front of the photo also makes me laugh - he just looks so unimpressed with everything, and yet so resigned to the chaos around him.


The Hague and Delft

Pictures from my trip to The Hague.  I stayed in Delft - a short 30 minute tram ride from The Hague and fell absolutely in love with the quiet village feel with canals and blossoming trees everywhere.  And there was sun!   Vermeer painted some of his most well-known paintings in Delft (The Girl with the Pearl Earing is in the Delft Museum).  Unfortunately all the shops were shut when I was had the chance to look around - pity because I think I could have spent quite some time sifting through the vintage goods in the shop below.  Thankfully day-light saving at the moment means that it's light at 4am and not dark again until 10pm, enough time to wander the streets camera in hand and enjoy the scenery.   

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!