Craft, Katja, Knitting, My Week in Pictures

Week 13.27 – Lemoncello and German

Week 27 from July 1st to July 7th was one of glorious weather in Edinburgh. The city is truly magnificent when the sun shines, it’s just a pity that it shines so rarely! Mum retired this week, a major milestone in her life and kind of a watershed in mine. I’ve also had some distressing news from home which makes me feel every centimetre of the distance between Edinburgh and Melbourne, but I shan’t dwell on that now as I’m hoping for better news later in the week.

I’ve started playing with Duolingo to learn German. It’s kind of language learning by game play and so far I’m really enjoying it – I wonder if we’ll ever get to the point where more and more is taught in such a manner, imagine being able to earn history or physics by playing games. I’m up to level 6 so far and have 196 words apparently. The important thing is that I’m doing a little bit each day, currently I’m on an 8 day streak.

I’m still working on the cardigan for Katja, not much to go now – I could really get it finished in a few short hours, but I’ve been waylaid by a super secret fair isle project. I’ve never worked fair isle before so naturally I’ve opted to do a project that will test me – fair isle in the round and a small diameter. I’ve worked a practice swatch in the round. Can’t wait to show you but it will need to wait until I get the OK to do so.

Last night I did the final step to get my lemoncello ready. I started this process backin March and I have to say the results are rather awesome. I’ll do a post with a recipe at some point cos I’m definitely going to be doing this again!

And last night poor Katja wasn’t well, she’s had a bit of a fever and cold the last couple of days. Still she seems to have pretty much worked out how to stand on her own. I think the combination of being ill (teething again?) and this exciting new skill were too much, we didn’t get to seep until 3am. I reckon she’ll be walking by the end of the month. It remains to be seen which country she takes her first steps in and whether she does so before or after her Oma and Opa arrive.

Big girl can feed herself :)
130701 – Big girl can feed herself 🙂

130702 – Yellow – saw these in a second hand shop and they looked so bright and happy that I would have bought them if they’d been in my size.

Love my amethyst stitch markers from SpinPretty
130703 – Love my amethyst stitch markers from SpinPretty

Don't trust the cardboard wine carriers from @marksandspencer like this poor guy did #waste
130704 – Don’t trust the cardboard wine carriers from @marksandspencer like this poor guy did #waste. He lost two bottles of wine and made the bus smell like an old man at a bar. I would have been livid!

Home made lemoncello - nom!
130707 – Home made lemoncello – nom!

My Week in Pictures

Week 13.02 – Polyhedral Fun

Week 2 is from the 7th to the 13th January. We leave Fulda and head back to Edinburgh and I make a squeaky tetrahedron for Katja.


<img alt=”It’s always a sad day when we have to leave Fulda” src=”” />

130107 – It’s always a sad day when we have to leave Fulda. This pic is of the Orangerie which is attached to the Schloss.


<img alt=”Katja is learning all about the properties of the tetrahedron #mathsgeek” src=”” />

130111 – Katja is learning all about the properties of the tetrahedron #mathsgeek with the ball I crocheted for her.


<img alt=”Important tetrahedron properties – squeakiness and nomminess #mathsgeek” src=”” />

130111 – Important tetrahedron properties – squeakiness and nomminess #mathsgeek


<img alt=”Germans know how to do coffee” src=”” />

130112 – pic from our last weekend in Fulda – the Germans know how to do coffee!



Funnies, Geek

A joke for math geeks

This is a bit of an in-joke for the geek mathematicians out there:

Einmal besuchte der britische Mathematiker Godfrey Harold Hardy seinen indischen Kollegen Srinivasa Ramanujan im Krankenhaus. Kaum hatte er das Zimmer seines Freundes betreten, teilte Hardy diesem mit, er sei mit dem Taxi Nummer 58008 gekommen, was ja wohl »eine nichtssagende Zahl« sei. »Nein, Hardy«, erwiderte Ramanujan, »es ist eine sehr interessante Zahl. Wenn man sie nämlich in einen Taschenrechner eintippt und diesen dann umdreht, erscheint das Wort ›Boobs‹.«
Darüber lachten die beiden Herren noch eine schöne Weile.

For those who aren’t so familiar with the Hardy-Ramanujan Number, read the first quote on this page.

Recipes, Travel


On a recent trip to Munich I sampled this traditional Bavarian dish. It’s essentially a smashed up pancake served with stewed apple and it’s very quick and easy to make.

The name isn’t really translatable – Kaiser we know as Emperor, but Schmarrn means something like nonsense, or mishmash or rubbish. The story goes that the Empress Elisabeth of Bavaria (Sisi) was concerned about her waistline and had instructed the chef to only make desserts that were low in fat. The Emperor wasn’t impressed by this as he preferred the usual heavy desserts. Sisi found this dessert too rich for her and so refused it. Emperor Francis Joseph quipped, “Now let me see what “Schmarrn” our chef has cooked up”. He liked it so much that he finished his and even his wife’s serving.

If you’d like something a little heavier you can add rum-soaked raisins to the batter, but since I think raisins are horrible I naturally leave them out.

3 Egg
1 pinch Salt
2 tablespoons Flour (plain), heaped
100ml Milk
25ml sparkling mineral water
2 drop vanilla essence
2 teaspoons caster sugar
3 tablespoons butter for frying
Icing sugar for dusting
Ground cinnamon for dusting
Stewed apple for serving

Whisk the eggs and salt together. Add the flour, essence and sugar, whisk until all lumps are gone. Add the water and milk.
Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat until it starts to bubble.
Add the mixture to the pan, leave to cook until the base is formed and starting to brown.
Flip the pancake and break into chunks, don’t worry about being pretty. Cook for a few seconds until the pancake is cooked through.
Serve with apple and dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon.


German Holiday

Had an absolutely lovely long weekend in Fulda, Germany. I left work at lunchtime and headed to the airport where I met up with Christian who had flown in from Edinburgh. We then grabbed a flight out to Frankfurt. Sounds rather silly, but it was actually cheaper to do this than for Christian to fly out directly from Edinburgh, plus we got the added bonus of an extra few hours together which is pretty precious at the moment.

At Frankfurt airport Inge and Helmut were there to greet us, so lovely to see them again 🙂 It was then off to Vapiano for dinner, I was quite chuffed with myself for remembering the address of the place too. Vapiano is a great concept – a pizza/pasta/salad place where you get a card on your way in and then head to the appropriate counter. They then make the food up for you on the spot and swipe your card – and it’s gorgeous food. Pasta is all freshly handmade and the pizzas are lovely – Christian always gets one with parma ham, figs and honey. Their coffee is good, being Illy. The only thing they don’t do well is the desserts. The first Vapiano I went to was in Antwerp. Since then I’ve visited them in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich. I know they’re in London and Brisbane too – so get yourself there! I digress…

Friday was a day of shopping and setting up the fabulous canteen in Helmut’s school for the party on Saturday night. We spent a good two hours getting it all organised and it looked fabulous. Inge had organised sheets of thick red paper, with rose-print serviettes, candles and vases on the tables. The vases would be filled with white tulips. With the red walls of the room and the bright green chairs it all went together very well. Later that night as we were waiting for Julia and Florian to arrive it started to snow. About 4 inches of it in two hours. I knew it had been cold!

The party itself on Saturday night was lovely. Inge and Helmut had gathered 70 of their friends and they introduced every one of the guests to the crowd with anecdotes of how they had met or with stories about them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a large crowd of people so attentive for such a long time! Christian was translating where he could, but I’m getting better at understanding and a couple of the stories I understood pretty much in their entirety. We had a lovely buffet dinner (no sauerkraut) and the band played some great tracks (mainly in English). At the end of the night I drove us home….

Yes, I drove on the wrong side of the road. Granted it was 3am so the streets were pretty much deserted, however, the road was covered in ice which I’ve never driven on before and I had to make two trips – one to take Christian’s grandmother home and then the trip to take Christian, Flo and Juli home. The adrenaline was pumping pretty hard by the time I pulled up into the driveway but noone was hurt and no scratches on the car so I’d say a resounding success there.

Sunday was spent relaxing and Monday afternoon came around far too quickly. We were soon on the flights back to Dublin having had a wonderful weekend and a great celebration. Hope we can get back soon!




There’s so many bretzel recipes out there that I had avoided making them for so long. A lot of them had accompanying pictures that looked nothing like the gorgeous dark brown and creamy white originals. This one, however, showed a little more promise. This is one of those recipes that is not hard to make…but makes you feel a great sense of accomplishment when looking at the finished product. You can either make them into a tight knot, pretzel shape or simple bun shape. And how was that finished product? Tasted just like the originals and Christian went back for more so I’d call that a success.

NB I use Australian measurements in my recipes.

* 1 1/4cups warm water
* 1 1/2 tablespoons warm milk
* 7g active dry yeast
* 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
* 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
* 4 cups all-purpose flour
* kosher salt or pretzel salt
* 2 litres cold water
* 1/2 cup baking soda

In a large bowl mix a 1/3 cup of the warm water (just above room temperature or it will kill the yeast) with the yeast and let stand until foamy.

Add the remaining warm water along with milk, sugar & melted butter and stir lightly to dissolve the sugar. Add flour and combine until mixture forms a nice a firm, pliable dough ball. Add more flour if necessary.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured table and knead for 2 minutes. Roll into a 2 foot long log and cut into 12 even pieces. Cover dough with plastic and let sit for 10 minutes.

Pat dough into rolls or form knots and arrange on a lightly floured surface about an inch apart and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let the pretzels rest for an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

In a large stockpot, bring the cold water to a rolling boil and add baking soda carefully (it will fizz and bubble).

Drop two rolls into the boiling water and boil for no more then 30 seconds, turning once. Carefully remove with tongs or slotted spoon and hold above pot and let drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with the remaining rolls.

Arrange rolls on baking sheets and bake on the upper and middle racks of the oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until browned all over.

Let rolls cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


The arrival and getting my bearings

Oh my, that’s one hell of a trip! I tried very hard not to cry, but in the end couldn’t help myself. Very hard to say goodbye to your husband for three months!

The consolation was that I got a window seat and one seat between myself and fellow traveller James. Still, 7 hours from Melbourne to Singapore is a long time, and then when you add on another 12 hours to Heathrow after only a 40 minute break, that’s ghastly!

Once at Heathrow I followed the pathway – right past a great view of fabulous shops… after walking so far that I began to wonder if I would emerge in Dublin itself soon, I finally came across the Aer Lingus lounge. No shops. A 1.5 hour wait to board the flight! No going back! Arrrgghhh! Why didn’t they say something!

So, once I got in to Dublin and to the hotel I had some time to kill before I could move into my room. Realised that my back was killing me so I went for a walk – and promptly got myself lost! It appears that in Dublin they don’t really believe in street signs. When there is one, it’s around the corner on a wall.

Anyway, my walk was full of amazing sights – from St Stephen’s Green, Grafton St, Henry St, Temple Bar and more. Just fabulous – overwhelmingly so! I’ll re-visit pretty much everything overthe next few weeks, so I’ll go into more detail then.

For dinner I followed the advice of my guide book and went to Oliver St. John Gogarty pub in Fleet Street. Being a single diner I was seated on a long table between a German couple and an English couple. Ironically the English couple determindly pretended that I wasn’t there, while the German couple immediately launched into conversation and were incredibly friendly. The English couple were being rather typical – complaining about the menu options, the size of the meals, the presentation etc wheras the German’s told me all about how much they love Dublin and come back all the time. I had Irish Stew, not really that great to be honest…

So on my way back to the hotel I walked through Grafton St again – and was thoroughly delighted by a busking harpist. At the hotel my bed had been turned down and I had a little chocolate on my pillow – great day!

Baggot St shopping, just near the hotel and near where I’ll be working.

These gorgeous street lights are all over Dublin (well, the bits I’ve seen so far) and feature the shamrock in their design.

A path in St Stephen’s Green. I’ll explore this park more thoroughly soon.

Busker playing the harp in Grafton St.