Thursday, April 23, 2009

Forgetfulness is good for creativity

Today, I came home late from my Japanese class. On my way home I was pondering what my spouse, who was also late because of a fitness class, would have for dinner today. Did he go to the uni cafeteria? Did he stop over at the Chinese fast food shop? Or will he buy Döner from our village's only Döner fast food? And then it hit me! I promised to unfreeze the leftover quiche I made him a couple of weeks ago and heat it up till he would arrive. A glance at my watch: 20 min left till he comes home. Oh my god, why am I so unmindful und forgetting things all the time. It was not because he doesn't deserve me cooking for him, although being true, this is a completely different chapter.

Well, there is a positive side to everything in life. So I made one of my ingenious scrap-together-everything-from-the-fridge-apart-from-the-mouldy-thingies recipes.
And here it is: pasta with walnut chilli:

It was darn good. I chopped some onions and fried them. Usually I add soy chilli, but of course, I didn't have any at home, so I used chopped walnuts and fried them, too. Tomato passata, corn kernels, peas, fresh spinach leaves, and some spices and voilà, a perfect chili. I thought it much better than with soy chilli, so walnuts will be my favourite meat substitute in chilli from now on.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My first vegan cookies and some more Rome pictures

We tried to locate some bear's garlic today, but the spot we went to years ago didn't yield any of it. Everything changed so much. We found lots of wild violets, wood anemone, and wild carrots, but the bear's garlic stayed alusive. So we went home slightly frustrated and I spontaneously decided to make vegan cookies. And here they are, cinnamon-and-chocolate-chip-cookies:
M didn't like them too much because they weren't sweet enough, but I thought they were pretty good, soft and chewy on the inside and just sweet enough without being too sugary.
But I wanted to show you some more photos from Rome. Let me show you some photos from the forum and palatine hill.
A spinx on the palatine hill:

The museo palatino hosts a very nice exhibiton on the Iron Age past of the Palatine Hill (roughly the 9th century BC). Here is the cremation urn which was found under the house of Livia. It contained the cremated remains of a ca. 20 years old woman with miniature grave goods. Have a look at the lid, which is shaped like the roof of a house:

There were also fantastically preserved wall paintings from the 1st century AD. They are from the domus transitoria, which was Nero's palace at the time being:

This is from the same time period, but I don't remember whether it is also from Nero's palace:

Here, Apollo and Hercules are quarreling about who will keep the Delphian tripod; this wall relief is from the Augustian period (well, I can tell you this much: Zeus had a stop to their quarreling and the tripod remained in Delphi):

And the latest fashion in hats:

The palace of Domitian:

And a fountain in the backyard of Domitian's palace:

And a look at the forum:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rome, Easter and the question of what a vegan Easter-bunny carries around

First of all Happy Easter Holidays to all of you. We have splendid weather here in Germany, which gives the Easter hare or bunny or whatever, lots of opportunity to hide it's painted eggs for the children. Here is a nicely decorated fountain at the market square in the town of Schriesheim, not far from where I live.

Now, seeing all these eggs on Easter and not wanting to eat them anymore, I wondered what vegan people would do during the Easter holidays, or what they cooked for Easter dinner, since Easter food is very much connected to either meat (Easter lamb) or eggs. Funny enough most vegan food blogs were shrouded in silence. Some were baking, but nobody talked about what they will have for dinner. Very strange, since usually they use every opportunity to create something fitting for the occasion. Really strange. At least I can tell you what we had for dinner; vol-au-vent filled with an aparagus ragout and roasted spring carrots.

But now back to Rome; there are still so many photos I would like to share. Alas, I think it would take too long. But a little bit more can do no harm, right? Here is a view of the Tiber Island, the only river island of the whole Tiber. On the photo you can see the clock tower of the Basilica di San Bartolomeo. The island has been connected to healing and medicine since ancient times and nowadays there is a hospital on it. It was nice to cross the Tiber over two bridges and an island :)

The last traces of the December 2008 high water, a smashed boat:

And then we headed towards the Colosseum through the arch of Constantine:

It was erected at the occasion of the victory of Constantin I (the Eastern) over Maxentius, die Western Roman emperor in 312.

And here it is, the famous Colosseum of Rome. the largest ever built amphit theatre (in the Roman empire of course). 50,000 spectators could watch gladiators, wild beasts and other spectacles. For its opening ceremony they even flooded the whole theatre and had mock naval battles in it, full sized ships and all. Very impressive it was.

Here is a view from the Colosseum towards Constantine's arch:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Rome and Easter

Now, I just have to post some more pics of Rome, before Easter is taking over.
Here we have the Palazzo Montecitorio, where the Lower House of the Italian Paliament is seated. In front of it you can see the Obelisk of Psamettich II (26. Dynasty). Augustus brought it to Rome to use it as a gnomon for a sundial. Must have been a pretty huge sundial. Anyway, it was rediscovered in the 18th century and erected at this place.

The Pantheon was originally a temple built under Hadrian to worship all Gods, hence the name. It has a very long use-history, being in constant service up to now. From the 7th century onwards it was used as a church. Two kings and quite a number of artists and architects found there resting place in this church.

In the 7th century the bronze ceiling and everything metal was torn down and melted down. Here is a look up the dome towards the oculus, compression ring and lighting source combined. At first I thought this was a modern interpretaion in concrete. But it is actually Roman concrete. I really didn't like it too much because of this modern concrety style. Concrete is not my favourite building material.

Next was the Vittorio Emanuele II monument, with the 'altar of the fatherland'. Victor Emanuel was the 19th century king who unified Italy. It is built of white marble and very visible since it sits, gleaming white, on a hill. The equestrian statue in front of the building represents King Vittoria Emanuele II. And the two four-in-hands are lead by the goddess Victoria.

Here are some details:

And a view from the top of the stairs down to an excavation, what a nice view for an archaeologist :)

The Area Sacra di Largo Argentina is the oldest temple complex in the city. It was built in the 3rd century BC and discovered under Mussolini and, alas, excavated in the late 1920s. A lot of information has been lost during these not very sophisticated digs. Here you can see one of the remaining four temples:

Strangely enough, it is also famous for its cats. No sooner was it excavated than it became a 'cat sanctuary' for stray cats.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


It's about time I show you some photos from our stay in Rome. It was a short week, but nevertheless a wonderful time. The weather was not bad either, and thus we could visit all the famous spots without umbrellas and warm coats. Let's have a look at our first day; this is the Piazza di Siena in the famous landscape garden 'Villa Borghese':

Our walk through the Villa Borghese brought us to the church of Trinità dei Monti. And from there we could walk down the Spanish Steps. Although all the post cards show the steps covered by red azaleas there were no flowers anywhere. Maybe we were to early for a show of flowers. However, it was flocked with people or rather tourists.

At the base of the Spanish Steps is the baroque fountain of the old boat, the Fontana della Barcaccia. I was in Rome ages ago, but I couldn't remember this fountain. Neither could I detect it on my old photographs. But, since it was built in the 17th century my brain must be tricking me very badly. I'm just wondering why it wasn't on the old photo. ?!?!? Anyway, I was enjoying it all the more this year.

In the piazza colonna stood, guess what, a column. It is the column of Marcus Aurelius, with an awsome spiral relief. It was built to celebrate the triumph of Marcus Aurelius over the Teutons and Sarmations in AD 176. Had we been in ancient Rome, this column would have been the centre focus of the Martian field.

A further highlight was to go to the largest Baroque fountain of the world, the Trevi fountain. Of course it goes back to much much older aqueducts or waterways, that brought drinking water into the town and used to end in beautiful fountains. And it took 30 years to finish this one.

When I was in Rome (you remember, ages ago) I threw a coin into the fountain, to reassure my return to this beautiful city, and, voilà, here I was again, looking at Oceanus and his shell chariot.

In the 1954 movie 'Three Coins in the Fountain' it is said that two coins will bring you a new romance and three coins will ensure either a marriage or a divorce. Well, I should have known earlier *sigh*.