October 22, 2013
So the English autumn had yet another surprise in store. While the days filled with golden sunlight lifted my motivations for this season, the sudden winds and rains washed away all my energy.
This autumn depression hit me so unexpectedly, I couldn’t help but stop and stare – I stared at the days rushing by with more and more tasks piling up undone. Admittedly I was trying to juggle more than usual and had to realise now: It doesn’t work.
So what do you do, when something doesn’t work? You fix it. As a good portion of super glue doesn’t seem to apply in this situation, I start fixing things by stepping back first. To get back my energy and get some time to examine my tasks ahead, this beautiful internet corner of mine will go into a short radio silence.
Soon though, I hope me and this little kingdom will be back and even better than before.
Thank you all for stopping by, for reading and all your lovely comments.
September 30, 2013
the English autumn surprises us with amazing weather these days. It doesn't even matter that the days get significantly shorter now. Although our weekly visits to the allotment regularly end around 7 pm now, they let us witness the most amazing sunsets every night. Under the deep blue sky the sun sets the few faint cloud strings on fire in the brightest colours imaginable.
With dirty hands und muddy trousers we stand and marvel, until we can't see the spade in front of our face and it is time to go home. After these days all we need for our happiness is a hot, spicy chocolate with marshmallows. Perfection!
What makes you happy this autumn?
I wish you all another wonderful week in this season of change!
Lots of love, Nadine
September 27, 2013
The sound of raindrops falling against the window is humming through the house. Sentenced candles are lighting up the rooms and a steaming cup of tea is resting next to a pile of books. These days I find myself all too often dreaming away on the sofa with a book in my hands. My favourite pick: Jane Austen. My copy of „Pride and Prejudice“ might be worn out up to breaking point, but a little bit of Jane in autumn seems never a bad idea.
If reading a book and sipping hot tea is not enough Jane Austen for you, may I suggest a short trip to Bath, Somerset this autumn? The English spa town was once (1801 to 1807) home to Jane Austen and her family and the most charming place to explore life of the 19th century, as I found out a couple of month ago.
The Assembly Rooms
Sir Walter, his two daughters, and Mrs Clay, were the earliest of all their party at the rooms in the evening; and as Lady Dalrymple must be waited for, they took their station by one of the fires in the Octagon Room. (Persuasion)
Ever dreamed of dancing through a ball room like Jane Austen? Put on your dancing shoes and visit the Assembly Rooms. The 19th century building was a hotspot for the higher society when Jane Austen was around. Nowadays everyone can get a sneak peak or even their own wedding ceremony. The rooms are available for rent. If nothing is going on, the doors are open to the public for only 2 GBP. It’s a great investment: While wandering through the impressive ballroom and the joining tea and game rooms I almost felt like Jane – you may or may not have missed the chance to see me dancing the waltz in heavy walking boots and rain jacket.
Grand Pump Room
With more than usual eagerness did Catherine hasten to the Pump-room the next day, secure within herself of seeing Mr. Tilney there before the morning were over, and ready to meet him with a smile; [..] (Northanger Abbey)
The Grand Pump Room is situated right next to the Roman Bath and only a few streets away from the Assembly Rooms. The main room with restaurant was a popular meeting spot for Bath high society. Now and then people can enjoy lovely treats for their afternoon tea and sip some healing water from the nearby spring. Since I felt a bit miss placed with my heavy boots, we moved on to the…
Regency Tea Room
Ok, to be honest this café didn’t exist yet in 1800. 40 Gay Street was merely a house in the neighbourhood. Nowadays it is home to the Jane Austen Centre and on the top floor the little café makes you feel like you are invited by Jane Austen herself. From the kitchenware to the waitresses’ dresses – everything is one big time machine sending you right back into the long gone century. For a special Jane Austen-moment order Bath Bun and Jane Austen Blend for tea.
September 25, 2013
Gardening wise this year was a clear disaster. My attempts to turn our tiny concrete backyard into a veggie filled oasis failed almost completely. The salad never made it out of the first-leaves-phase, the peas died after producing one (!) single pod, the carrots and parsnips were pencil thin, the herbs – oh the herbs – actually never showed!
After the let down in the garden, all I had this summer was my mini herb garden on the window sill which I had nurtured from store bought pods. With the days getting shorter and shorter though, I start to struggle to keep the herbs alive as the light in the kitchen is low. So I did a bit of research about preserving herbs.
I found three main techniques: Air drying, freezing and oven drying.
Apparently not every technique is for every herb, as they all vary in their content of moist. Which makes sense as much like with drying flowers, getting the moist out is absolutely crucial. Otherwise the plants will just turn mouldy.
While I already had some success with air drying some fairly dry herbs like dill, this time I wanted to preserve some basil and coriander from the sill. Basil as well as oregano, tarragon, lemon balm and all the mints have a high moist content and need to be dried quickly to avoid mould. After all my research I found that the best technique would probably be oven drying, as it is faster than others but not too fast (like using the microwave), which could result in diminished flavour (from evaporating oil content).
The process of oven drying is pretty straight forward: All that’s needed is an oven (ha!), baking trays not deeper than an inch, baking paper and scissors for trimming the herbs.
1// Trim the leaves carefully of the stem.
2// If necessary wash the leaves and dry them thoroughly with paper towels or else.
3// Line some baking paper in your tray and spread the leaves across. Make sure there is enough room between the leaves.
4// Turn the oven onto 80° degrees (or less) and put the trays in the oven for at least two hours.
5// Check your herbs after two hours, if there are not completely dry yet, leave them in the oven.
Although the dried herbs are a lovely addition to most of my fall recipes, they’re not so suitable for our regular mojito nights. So next week to keep the fresh mint coming I’ll try the freezing method.
September 23, 2013
Greetings from England,
Here autumn has officially arrived. No, I am still not complaining about the weather, but found yet another reason to celebrate. What’s there to celebrate, you ask? Well for the northern hemisphere not as much as for southern hemisphere, as yesterday was the autumn equinox. It marks the day, were the sun steps over the equator from north to south, meaning for the next six month the southerners are always a bit closer to the sun than us here in England.
Nevertheless the autumn equinox also marks the beginning of a new season, which is always exciting – and worth celebrating. Plus, it happens to be the only day (apart from the vernal equinox in March), were day and night are equally long in every part of the world. How good is that?
I don’t really know why I am so excited about that, but I guess it’s the equality factor.
So here is to equality, pumpkin soup, falling leaves, roasted chestnuts, pies, spiced hot chocolate with marshmallows, wellis and walks in the rain, conker games and duvet weekends – Happy autumn everyone.
(If you live in the southern hemisphere: Happy spring, friends!)