Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Love parcels: Belated Christmas parcel and very belated November-beauty parcel

November beauty parcel
You can imagine my joy when I realized that the November beauty parcel that my sister and mum had sent and that we already thought had been stolen, made a 3-month-belated appearance today! =) A huuuuuge Lush chunk of Coconut Shampoo and Bodywash - Soap was waiting for me, as well as a hydrating face gel for the prince of sun, my favourite German soft toothbrush, a delicate Alverde face cream for dry skin and a muscle relaxing Dresdner Wacholder bath essence. *_*

Second Christmas parcel
It was however not the first one in the (you guessed it already) parcel bunching list: About one week ago, a belated second CHRISTMAS parcel  sent by my mum arrived <3 It was filled with tiny, sweet Christmas decoration (all packed in a (still perfumous) tunnel-perfume packaging), two Kamillin Camomilla bath solutions, two relaxation and spa bath essences (one with refressing Melisse and the other one with romantic flower perfume), a natural face wash, my favourite Weleda reconstruction oil as well as a 2014 calender with beautiful mouth-and-foot-paintings-pictures and famous-poet-quotes, January was a deep yet wintery quote by Goethe: "Wer will denn alles gleich ergruenden! Sobald der Schnee schmilzt, wird sichs finden." (translated to English, something similar to: Who wants to examine-discover-explore everything! When the snow melts, it will be found!) and February a DANCE QUOTE by poet Aurelius Augustinus=) which totally spoke out of my heart!

"Ich liebe den Tanz, denn er befreit den Menschen von der Schwere der Dinge."
(translated to English something similar to: I love the dance because he frees us humans of the heaviness-weight of things).

Right now I am just using half of the sweet, romantic flower bath essence salts for a relaxing foot bath, Luke loves the smell as well, he sniffed and examined the perfumed pink water and immediately afterwards relaxed and fell asleep next to me on the sofa....

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Easy 32p Soda Baguette with a slight taste of Bretzel

Freshly-made warm bread is one of the things I never get tired of. Especially when it's simple ones with basic and only few ingredients, a short preparation and short baking time.

This Soda baguette is kind of a copy version of Easy Soda Bread - A girl called Jack - a simplified 32p Soda Bread recipe posted by Jack Monroe.

I have changed a few things, but most of the recipe is the same. Wonderful and quick "Airy Fairy Easy Peasy Soda Bread", which surely will become one of my quick weekly fresh bread options from now on. I was really surprised that the bread had a slight Laugen (pretzel) taste on the bottom side and crust *_* Another plus point here!

I have to admit although I had warm lunch and warm dinner, (heavy lunch of rice, beans, pumpkin and cooked chicken and heavy dinner of rice, beans and fried carne-de-sol meat), the latter actually just about 1h before the bread was ready, I still managed to eat the whole baguette (supposed to serve 4) all by my own and had it warm with melting butter and blackberry jam......


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Coconut Chicken with Cabbage & Pimenta Arriba-Saia

Tonight I was working - the heat and humidity of the air almost the same as during the day. Silently sweating my way through the tasks and messages, I drank some water with ice cubes when FINALLY, a slow but steady rain shower cooled my hot head and everything around us seemed to relax and sight of exhaustion and relief.

Coconut Chicken with Cabbage & Pimenta
Feeling all cosy and refreshed with new motivation on board, I suddently felt an urge to cook up a storm and off I went to check what I had in the fridge. I had most things I usually get as my `basics` except the coconut milk that I picked up randomly (but instinctively) during my last shopping trip.

I HAD to use this coconut milk no matter what I was going to cook. I checked what was in need to be eaten so that I would not have to throw it away and TADA, a pretty big chunk of cabbage lying innocently on the bottom of my fridge, neglected during the last few days.

So I did a short search on cabbage and coconut milk and found an overwhelming amount of coconut cabbage chicken recipes, mostly curry-related dishes. I don`t have curry spice at home, but thought, alright, cabbage+chicken+coconut=dish should be totally working out so I mixed some of the ingredients I found in different recipes and came up with my own version of Coconut Chicken with Cabbage, adding my self-made pimenta spice I had mentioned beforehand (*Pimenta Spice), quite simple as it is just plain Arriba-Saia pimenta-vegetables in a salt-vinegar solution.

Ingredients (serve 2):
400g chicken (breast), cut in 2-3cm cubes
1/3 of a medium-sized cabbage head, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of butter
a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh coriander
a bit of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of Arriba-Saia pimenta(-vinegar) (if you have another pimenta or hot spice such as pepperoni or something similar, that should probably work as well, depending on how hot you like your sauce)
1 tablespoon of loose chicken stock (add more salt if preferred)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 medium garlic knobs, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
100ml coconut milk
juice of 1/4 lemon (or half a teaspoon of plain lemon juice)

I first quickly pre-fried the chicken in a bit of water, butter and chicken stock in the pressure cooker for about 6min while chopping the veggies. Then adding first the onion and cabbage, letting it fry a little bit I later added garlic and the rest of the ingredients, finishing off with half of the coconut milk, then letting it simmer on low heat for about 5min and adding the rest of the coconut milk and lemon juice just before serving it. Maybe you might need a bit more salt, the prince of sun and I do not add much of it compared to most Brazilians around here, in general, when I cook with chicken stock, I don t feel the need to add more salt anyway.

I preferred it with plain rice and nothing else as it is very flavourful and sweet-spicy, but the prince of sun had it with rice and beans and found it a delicious match as well.


Saturday, 8 February 2014

My favourite solution for bulky beam problems: Ceiling bookshelves

Bulky beam and projected ceiling bookshelf
Advancing in our construction, we`ve finally had to confront our little beam issue in our living room. We first thought we were able to make it a fun feature of our already wholly-different-from-anything-known-in-the-world house but then found it still to bulky and interrupting in our rather small living room. But as it is necessary in the whole stable construction blabla, we cannot just remove it and had to come up with another solution to hide it somehow and so I went on browsing solutions, from adding artificial beams and painting them all the same colour or adding wooden features, adding circles or complicated terrace styles as well as bringing on pictures or plants. But then I stumbled over another alternative that totally convinced me: BOOK SHELVES! Lucky me that I had already planned to integrate some book shelves into our living room area as this option is the most cost effective of all beam hiding solutions as well! We just need to get a pretty large shelf (3m long x 0,4m wide), place it right in the middle of the beam so that each bookshelf side on the right and left of the beam will have an equal share of 0,15m bookshelf space and the middle part of 0,1m will be covering the beam itself from below.

Cut through ceiling/beam/bookshelf from the side
As we are currently working on a few other construction projects, I am not sure how quick we will be able to integrate this idea, but I CANNOT wait to finally get some proper book storage space and almost library feel into my home!!! ;)

`Capital` by John Lanchester: Hilarious, moving & suspense-packed book about Londoners & financial crisis

I have already read a lot of books, articles and blogs about the everyday wonders of life of normal (and particular) Londoners. But no book captured the daily struggles and beautiful moments and feelings and interconnections between residents of the capital so beautifully as John Lanchester did in his book CAPITAL.

I finished the book wanting to read it again just to dwell in my favourite chapters. John Lanchester describes the happenings concentrating mainly on one London road, Pepys Road, with a thrilling, weird threats-postcards-addressed-to-all-residents side-story. He connects the lives of workers, (a Hungarian nanny or the Polish painter working for the rich, an English banker, his shopaholic wife and their sweet two boys as well as a  young football star from Senegal, and the immigrants, an extended Pakistani family (owners of a local shop) of uncles and brothers and wife and their wonderful little children, and police force and the pensioners, an elderly woman dying of a brain cancer and loads of other Londoners, describing their life, feelings and interconnections, outside and inside happenings, so neatly that you often believe he is not writing fiction. This all just sounds so warm and human that it feels like you already know and have met those people in real life.

My favourite residents are: