Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas

A couple of days ago I went to Reading. Of course I had to go London, too, how couldn't I. It is still my most favourite town. And nothing can beat a stay at the British Museum ;)

Originally I wanted to go to the Hyde Park Christmas Fayre. But I spent so much time in the British Museum that I choose to go to smaller one in the vicinity. Covent Garden seemed to be the perfect choice.

A beautiful stand with homemade soap. It smelled so lovely:

And Picadilly Circus was nicely decorated, too.

I will be in Xi'an over Christmas, we are leaving on the 20th. So I wish everybody a wonderful Christmas time in case I cannot be online during the holidays.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oh come on, not food again!

Well, it can't be helped, since I am sitting here and waiting for my profs to give a sign that they survived the boredom of reading my thesis.

Until then I will weasel out into the kitchen and rustling around with pots and pans but I promise, I'll keep it short and painless.

I bought a swede and didn't really know what to do with it, so I tried swede chips, simple but delicious. This is the ugly swede or rutabaga or neep before I stabbed a knife into it:

And this is -after only mixing it with herb salt, paprika powder, and a bit of olive oil and shoving it into the oven- the delicious end product:

Short and painless, wasn't it?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Culinary Autumn Experiments

My healthfood store had something new in store for me (and other lazy people that is), a strudel dough in the cold shelf. Now as you know, to make a strudel dough is a very time consuming task, and I was eager to try a short cut.

So I quickly made up a brussel sprouts-and-chestnut strudel.

I have to admit it doesn't look very appetizing, just a brown mess in dough with some yellow slime running over it. But believe me this is mostly due to using a mobile cam. I know, I shouldn't do this. However, despite its looks it was quite tasty and the winter purslane salad, although looking like bumming around for a couple of days, was actually super fresh. Next time I'll use a proper camera, I promise.

I wasn't quite convinced by the texture of the strudel dough, so next time I will make my own from this web page for example.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blick aus dem Küchenfenster

Barbara von Barbaras Spielwiese hatte die nette Idee mal bei ihren Lesern aus dem Küchenfenster schauen zu wollen. Nun hab ich wirklich lange gewartet in der Hoffnung dass noch einmal die Sonne herauskommt, aber der goldene Herbst ist wohl vorbei :(

Hier also der leicht vernebelte Blick aus meinem Küchenfenster. Bei mir steht die Spüle davor, so dass dies der Blick weniger beim Kochen denn beim Abwaschen ist. Links im Hintergrund ist das Haus unseres Nachbarn und wenn seine Fliederhecke blüht kann der Blick durchaus schön farbig werden. Ansonsten kann man noch die Autos vorbeirauschen und ab und zu einen Jogger oder Spaziergänger sehen. Als wir im Winter noch ausgiebig Schnee hatten, die letzten Jahre waren etwas mager, kamen die Langläufer um im nahen Wald auf die Loipe zu gehen; dann stehen hier die Autos kreuz und quer.

Vorne links ist ein leicht verwilderter Kirschlorbeer und von oben fängt schon wieder das Efeu an sich über das ganze Fenster winden zu wollen. Mit anderen Worten, meine Magisterarbeit hat sich auch im Vorgarten bemerkbar gemacht. Eigentlich ist der Ausblick ganz o.k., immerhin kein Hinterhof oder Uni-Sportplatz ;)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Think again before buying the cheapest milk posssible

or try a vegan chai latte (recipe from

Ginger Chai Latte
1 cup of water
2 inch piece of ginger root (peel and chop)
2 cups of soy milk
1 - 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
pinch of cinnamon (optional)
1-2 teaspoons loose leaf black tea (we had oolong)

Bring the water and ginger to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes, you want it to reduce by about half. Add the soy milk, and, if you are using them, the vanilla and cinnamon. Bring back to a boil, remove from heat, and add the tea leaves and maple syrup. Wait 3-4 minutes to give the tea a chance to steep. Strain into 2 mugs, and enjoy!

Monday, October 05, 2009

It's done!!

I'm feeling relieved and.......useless. Yeah right, what am I going to do now. My MA thesis took all my time lately and now that the stress has been taken from me, it's like a vaccum I have to fill out with something.

But still, I think I earned a week off. So I will just enjoy a lazy autumn week with reading the brainless books I always wanted to read when I needed to work, or the stupid Japanese TV soaps that are waiting for me, or I will install The Sims again, or...

well, I could also start reading for a Ph. D. thesis. That would be fun, too. :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Potatoe Patties and fireworks

I was leafing through old cooking magazines and I stumbled over this recipe from an old 'kochen & genießen' (cook 'n enjoy) magazine. Since our potatoephob M is in Marocco this weekend, I grasped the opportunity because I just love potatoes.

It is not one of those 30-minute-vegan recipes nor is it vegan at all (at least not yet) and it is certainly not a low-calorie-high-in-selenium-omega-3-fatty-acid-and-anti-oxidants recipe. But maybe you just needed more comfort food back in the 90s.

After all, it was quite enjoyable to prepare, squeezing the cooked potatoes through the ricer, kneading the dough with your hands, portioning the whole lot with a doughscraper...

and forming patties from it. A very hands-on cooking experience, very relaxing and believe me, I do need this at the moment. Anyways, I fried them with a lot of fat in a pan

which magically stayed in the pan and didn't go into the patties that much. Then I served them with broccoli and a curry-cream sauce:

The curry sauce was so simple and nice that I will share the recipe from 'kochen und genießen' september 1992 edition:

Melt 1 tbs margarine in a saucepan, add 25 g all purpose flour and 1 1/2 tbsp curry or garam masala. Stir a while until well blended and then slowly add 200 g vegan cream (I used oat, but soy or real cream would do the trick). Add also ca. 100 ml vegetable broth. Now, the stirring is the important part. You want it thick and creamy and not watery or lumpy, therefore use a whisk. When it is nice and creamy season with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Done! Incredibly fast and tasty.

And to not engage myself too much in cooking things, here some photos from the (in)famous Heidelberg castle illumination. I don't know why it is called 'castle' illumination, since actually it is fireworks at the Old Bridge, but here you go, the September castle illumintation:

Not bad for a handy cam, eh?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Virgin Cocktails and Moroccan shell middens

Oh my, it's been a while since I've been blogging something. To break the uneasy pause let me post some trivia.

In 1900, the typical American woman spent six hours a day in food prep and cleanup. By last year, Americans on average took 31 minutes a day. For many, "cooking time" consists of opening up takeout containers, dumping the contents on a plate and throwing away the trash.

From the article by Arun Gupta: How We Became a Society of Gluttonous Junk Food Addicts

Now, I was always complaining that I need about 3 hours altoghether for dinner preparation (breakfast and lunch not included). But now I can see that this is a pretty good value for cooking from scratch and not using a lot of ready made food products. I am twice as fast as my grand-grandmother.

But today I was lazy, M and I went out for Mexican food and I managed to wiggle my way around the cheese and the sour cream and enjoyed a completely vegan meal. Loads of vegetables in a spicy sauce with guacamole and jalapeños and . . .

Here is a photo of the summertime cocktail I had, really nice.

And a photo only ephemeral connected with food issues (at least my food issues):

P and C took a photo of a 'shell midden' whilst being in Morocco. Although they have been traumatized by too much archaeology in their youth they immediately made the connection of an innocent heap of shells with its archaeological dimension . Now, how sweet is this?
Well, my shell middens are certainly bigger than 30 cm in diameter, but not half as touching :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Vegan Strawberry Muffins

I just can't stop it. I had to bake muffins again. But since strawberries are nearing their season's end I thought it might be a good idea to try them in muffins before they are gone.

I hadn't left any paper muffin cups so I used bamboo cups instead.

We haven't tried them yet, but they sure look delicious:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Leek & Butter bean Gratin

I thought I should share a nice and quick recipe by which you can use up any stale bread you have in your kitchen. The original is from the BBC Good Food webpage ( but since it used chorizo I veganized it and it was still perfectly yummie. I used left-over baguette and drizzled some olive oil on top, but otherwise followed the recipe (well, I doubled the amount of beans and of course skipped the sausage part). It looks a bit colourless but it's simplicity and time effectiveness compensates for everything :) and next time I could add some more colourful ingredients like red bell pepper or the like.

Music Installation with Shaolin Monks in London

Should you be in London and are interested in Chinese culture and/or contemporary musical art have a look at this show. It's kinda weird but very interesting.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

And now some archaeology from our stay in Switzerland

I know, I know, you all waited desparately for some pics about the archaeology we saw. After all I couldn't be really satisfied by some replicas in a hotel room now, could I?

So here they are, wonderful sites, artefacts, and museums.

The Laténium in Neuchâtel is a very modern and didactically well presented museum. With many replicas and play-around-thingies it is not a museum I am normally looking forward to visit, but it was absolutely worth seeing. The best object was the little venus figurine from the Upper Palaeolithic site of Monruz. It is made of black jet and only 1.6 cm high with a hole drilled in, so it was maybe used as a pendant.

We didn't see a megalithic tomb, however the megalithic alignement in Clendy, Yverdons-les-Bains was impressive, too:

Bone pendants, typical for the late Cortaillod (Middle Neolithic) culture, found in a lacustrine village near Yverdon-les-Bains:

And a Middle Neolithic pot:
An Iron Age wooden idol:
Gallo-Roman boats in the Musée d'Yverdon et Région:

Antrhopomorphic menhir from Bevaix in the Laténium museum:

Post-modern installation in the ice-age section of the Laténium:

The Palaeolithic section of the Laténium (where you can find the Monruz venus):

Nice poster with an antique motif:

And the lake dweller song:

True emancipation in the age of the lake dwellers, men are weaving, women are doing...yeah what exactly are they doing??

Switzerland apart from our hotel

The old tower of Neuchâtel castle, high above the town:

Inside the cathedral:

Downtown Yverdon:

Modern Art:

And to get you into the right mood for the things to come, the (rough) location of the Cortaillod type-site, the lake shore in Petit-Cortaillod:

Friday, June 05, 2009


Time flies indeed. All along I wanted to post a couple of pictures from our stay in Switzerland, but well, you know ...
Now I quickly put some up, so you can see that we really had a beautiful, albite short weekend at Lake Neuchâtel. First of all our hotel, the Palafitte near Neuchâtel, was really great. It is built as a pile dwelling, but we had a pavillion on the shore which left some money to eat lovely crêpes and galettes.

The interior was impressive, a spacious bathroom,

a working area, big LCD TV, and an addictive espresso machine.

Best of all, to my greatest surprise, they had a case with replicas from archaeological finds. Now how cool is this? Can an archaeologist have a nicer lookout while making their espresso? I guess not.

I don't have a photo of the lake view terrace (no it has nothing to do with the eponymous movie) and I wished I could have spent more time just sitting in the sun, reading the odd potboiler. But well, maybe some other time....

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Today is Mom-alone-at-home-day. I didn't want to cook, but I was hungry, so I boiled some pasta, threw wild rocket, spring onions, a teaspoon full of cashew butter and two teaspoons full of chili paste together. Turned out a bit hot, but for a 10-min-meal you can't complain.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Speyer and the Vikings - again

I decided to go and see the Viking exhibition in Speyer one last time. Since you can't take any photos I wanted to burn an image of the most beautiful pieces into my mind. So we arrived at a cloudy day. Here is a glimspe of the cathedral's towers through the trees.

Just across the cathedral's square is the Historical Museum of Speyer.

Well, I can't show you Viking age artefacts, but we also went into the general exhibiton and here I finally could bring my camera to good use.

Here is a nice piece of a pot from the La Hoguette group. This group is interesting because it too used pointed-based vessels so uncommon for the Linear Band Keramik (LBK) culture and they formed the Western frontier to the incoming LBK. It was under a megalithic grave that they found this type of pottery for the first time. It also has very early dates (at least as old as LBK or older) and a lithic tradition that is clearly local and mesolithic. That's why I love this culture group. They used crushed bones as temper for their pottery and that's why I don't love 'em too much. Interestingly there was pottery from a megalithic grave in England with bone tempered pottery, too.

a whole pot would have looked similar to this one:

Lüning et al. 1998
The dots represent sites with finds from the La Hoguette group; The shadowd areas are the LBK culture and the Cardial group, respectively.

Ok I, I get the message, you are slightly bored by my 'very interesting' artefacts, so I just quickly show you some very beautiful items.

A lided container (early bell beaker culture) from Ludwigshafen-Mundenheim:

The famous golden hat from Schifferstadt:

An Iron Age bangle from Rodenbach (460-400 BCE) :

Wine harvesting with Bacchus, a scene from a Jupiter column from Roman Speyer:

And a bottle of Roman wine, vintage AD 325:

On our way back to the car park, I saw a playground with a brilliant - no, not a merry-go-round but a giant ant. A superb method to avoid insectiphobia in children:

And what for dinner? A caramelised onion and lentil wellington from uk-tv food ( Good to prepare and then just pushed into the oven. In 20 min dinner was on the table together with new savoy cabbage and carrot veggies and a wild rocket salad. Yeah, I know, the photo doesn't look very nice. I took when it was still on the baking sheet fresh from the oven. But believe me it was really really tasty.