Friday, September 30, 2011


This is a basic scone recipe.

350 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
86 g butter
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup cream or 175 ml milk
2 tsp baking soda
egg to glaze

Mix flour, salt and sugar. Add butter, then baking powder and baking soda. Then combine with milk or cream. Then form the dough into a ball and glaze with egg. In a pre-heated oven, 200 degrees for 10 mins.

Raisins, chopped fruits, or nuts could be added, too.
Sugar could be sprinkled, too.

This recipe is taken here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Our Halloween Decors From the Garden

Lots of talks about global crisis. Lots of talks about financial problems. Lots of talks about saving money.

Well, by being creative and resourceful, you could already save loads of money. Just like with seasonal decors. It is nearly October and it is Hallowen time.

Therefore, we need to decorate a bit, or more, depending on what we would find in the garden and what we would stumble upon in our regular walks into the woods.

The kids have started collecting nuts, dried leaves and branches -- while my husband and I already harvested squash and corns. Enough to create an attractive Halloween display. Of course, we hauled our old and dependable Halloween decors out, too.

Last but not the least, there would be lighted candles on the Halloween night to attract the trick or treaters.

As for the Halloween costumes, the girls would stick to the black and white do-it-yourself shirts and muck-up ;-D. You see, Halloween for them means scary so those princess and glittery costumes does not count at all. (Although they did wear their princess costumes in the Philippines in 2009 but that's because they cannot believe that they are allowed to go trick-or-treating when the sun's still shining.)

Monday, September 26, 2011

White Bread

White bread
Our family love bread. Good thing that in Germany, there are more than 300 bread sortiments to choose from.

Whenever we would pass-by our local bakeshop, we would usually buy two or three pieces and freeze them. Our favorites? Urbrot, Bärenbrot, Bauernbrot and Sesambrot.

We also have in stock a variety of ready-to-bake bread which my husband normally pops into our bread machine. We love it best when it is still hot; but my girls and I steer clear of bread machine-baked bread if they are already a day old, they just don't taste as delicious anymore. Which really frustrates my husband.

Sometimes I bake their favorite Philippine rolls called pandesal, too. Then I saw a white bread recipe here.

It looked simple and easy. After watching the video, I tried it immediately. You know what? It was a hit, though the girls asked me if it was 'pan de sal' after all.

White Bread Recipe Ingredients:

11 g yeast
11 g sugar
11 g milk powder (I used liquid milk)
55 ml water
7 g salt
313 g bread flour
125 g all-purpose flour (I used only all-purpose flour, 438 g)
11 g shortening

Mix yeast, sugar, milk and water until frothy. In another bowl, combine salt, flour and shortening. Then combine both mixture. Mix and knead. Form into a ball and let rest until double in size. Bake for 400 degrees between 20-30 minutes or until done.

The wheat flour bread

P.S. I have been experimenting with the recipe in which I used whole wheat flour only (it was not a hit with my family they said it was too dry but I love it). Then I also used whole wheat and all-purpose flour; another variation is a combination of corn flour and all-purpose flour.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Back from the Hairdresser

I told the hairdresser I wanted a wash-and-wear hair style.

No fuss.

Just a spot of gel or a spray of mousse and hair done.

Something like this...

But the hairdresser said it is too short for the coming autumn. What with the ears all free and not to mention the neck and throat!

Well, I am easy to convince.

So I ended up looking like this...

And then I woke up :-D

Oh yes, it was not a dream. I indeed have a shorter hair.

But I look better than the one in the pic, that's according to my loving husband!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tomato Salad with Sausage and Eggs

Not yet mixed
This is my husband's favorite -- Tomato Salad with Sausage and Eggs. You could find the dish being offered fresh in almost all of the meat shops in Germany; but my husband loves the homemade edition -- his own version.

And his version meant more tomatoes than sausage, not too heavy for dinner.


chopped or strips of sausage
chopped tomatoes
chopped boiled egg
salt to taste
pepper to taste


Mix all ingredients well.
Mixed and ready to serve
We usually serve this with bread and french fries for the kids.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Planes and a Picnic

It is open house at the Glider Airfield in Weinheim, a different fun-filled summer festival.

We always go there for a picnic, even if there's no open house but this time, we wanted to watch the various programs, too.

Good thing the weather cooperated so we packed our picnic basket with bread, enough water bottles and freshly-picked fruits; prepared dog food and dog drink bottle (not to mention a plastic bag just in case) -- plus our picnic blanket, of course.

There's enough parking space near the air field and there's more than enough picnic corners to choose from. We chose the best place -- right near the landing area. We could see all the planes and helicopters as they get ready for take-off and during landing; and we watched as the sky gliders prepare themselves for a ride. It also gave us the opportunity to chat a little with the pilots and the sky divers.

And though we are far away from the booths and rides and food/drink stalls -- that didn't disturb us as we were there to just have a picnic and have fun watching the show! Also, it doesn't matter about the distance, the girls would find where the real goodies are :-D

What made it a relaxing day is that our pup, Rikki, seemed to find the place good enough to relax, too. Well, she meet some dogs and played a bit with them. She found enough 'victims' who would stop to give her a scratch and pat her. And she seemed to find the planes interesting, too.

The girls not only enjoyed watching the planes and the sky divers, they had time to play with their dolls, too. But after they got a toy plane and a paracuting man as souvenirs -- they made use of the open space to let them fly which made the pup happy as she got to play with them, too.

After watching the show, MC and her Papa made a pact to ride in one of the small planes next year. I am thinking of going sky diving. But I might change my mind next year :-D

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cheesecake with Blackberries and Yellow Plums

The original recipe called for raspberries, which we don't have in our garden -- so I used what we have in overflowing: blackberries and yellow plums.


300 g flour
275 g sugar
2 packs vanilla extract
175 g butter
5 medium-sized eggs
a pinch of salt
200 g yellow plums (sliced and with the seeds removed)
200 g blackberries
750 g curd cheese
200 g sour cream
coarse sugar to sprinkle
butter for the baking form


Combine flour, 125 g sugar, one pack vanilla extract, butter, egg and salt using a handheld mixer. Later, use your hands to knead the dough in crumbles.
Grease the baking form. Spread half of the dough in the baking form. Put inside the ref for around 30 minutes, including the other half of the dough.
Combine curd cheese, sour cheese, 150 g sugar, and 1 pack vanilla extract; then add the eggs one at a time.
Pour the cheese mixture in the baking form, distribute the yellow plums and blackberries on top, add the rest of the crumbled dough.
Bake 175 degrees in a pre-heated oven, for around an hour. Let the cake rest for around 10 minutes inside after turning off the oven. Then sprinkle with coarse sugar before serving.

More yellow plum recipes here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Apple Strudel

Apples and grapes everywhere.

A day before, we harvested too much (and ate too much, too)! And then we can't stop the girls who just love climbing the apple trees, that's why our baskets were overflowing.

So for breakfast, I decided to use the freshly picked fruits.

Apple strudel is easy and I found an easier way...

chopped apples
ready-to-bake puff pastry
cinnamon powder
a glass of water
whipped cream

Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees. Spread the ready-to-bake puff pastry dough over the baking sheet. Put the chopped apples in the middle, add a few spoonfuls of honey and sprinkle with cinnamon powder. Fold the puff pastry dough, make sure to keep both ends tighly closed. Brush the pastry with a little water and bake around 20 minutes. Serve with or without whipped cream.

You may add raisins with the chopped apples.

In this photo, I used the greengage juice with the apples instead of honey and cinnamon. It was a little wet, but it tasted good, too.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Easy Ice Cream and Cake Dessert

An easy-to-do summer time dessert.

The mixture is refreshing.

Easy Ice Cream and Cakes Dessert

ice cream or sorbet
cakes or pies
whipped cream
fresh fruits as relish


Slice a piece of cake or pie, add scoops of ice cream or sorbet, add fresh fruits and top with whipped cream.

We used blackberries as we have more than enough in our garden.

My girls loves to add caramel cream and pepper it over with mini sweets.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oh Puppy!

I alread warned everyone at home, (everyone meaning the girls). If and when I do agree to have a dog, they would have to do most of the work.

It was only now that I realized, nobody (meaning the girls) vocally agreed. Guess who ended up doing all most of the work?

So my girls are seven and nine-year-old respectively -- yet I am now back to sleeping late and waking up early (sometimes even roaming around in the middle of the night); not to breastfeed my babes this time, but to play with the dog, walk the dog, keep the dog busy and everything in between.

Of course, I have set the rules.

The pup stays in the first floor where the living-dining area and the kitchen are. As soon as the pup's been trained, then the girls could bring them to their rooms in the second floor. But the third floor, where the masters bedroom and the home office is located would always be taboo.

The first two nights were okay. Both girls camped out in the living room and the garden to keep the pup company -- feeding, walking the pup, playing with the pup as needed. They even slept on the sofa those two nights. In fact they gladly assumed certain responsibilities.

IC became the 'snoot wiper' of Rikki because she hates it when the pup's nose is wet. She would even tell to Rikki 'blow your nose' and would always have a napkin ready :-D

My youngest also worries about Rikki's behind, everytime the pup is done pooping, she wants to know if we need to wipe the po clean!!!

As for MC, she's taken into cleaning Rikki's eyes from those sleep grits!!

Anyway, what about those rules? After the third day, Rikki's on the second floor, wanting to jump in bed with the girls (who are sharing a bed as it is vacation time). And on the fourth day, the pup's roaming around the third floor!! Who bended the rules? My husband, of course -- the softy!

But still she's not allowed to use the stairs in going down, so as not to strain her joints. Even long walks are not allowed yet, good thing we still have a doll's twin stroller which Rikki is using now to rest. Or else we have to carry her and she's now almost nine kilos!!

What I love though is just that... having Rikki is fun!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Preserving School Cone Memories

Vacation time is almost over. It's time to sort out what comes into the girls' school bags. And IC was asking if she would be getting another schultüte (school cone) for her first day in the second grade. Well, they might just get small gifts to add a little excitement to the day but the school cone is out.

This is MC's schultüte. A schultüte is a traditional first day of school gift bag to the first graders and mostly hand-crafted.

MC chose it and asked me to pep it up according to her instructions. I did but it was supposed to be a surprise so I teamed up with other moms. Instead of working on it with her.

She loved the surprise and she wanted to keep it forever. Afraid that it would be damaged if we just kept it leaning on the wall, she asked us to hang it. So there, a wall decor!

But we had to leave for the Philippines in 2008. We did pack her schultüte; packed it very carefully. Then in 2010, back to Germany. After surviving the container trip to Manila, the terrible flood, the three time house transfers, and the hundred times of being shown off to guests -- MC's schultüte is now tatterred, badly tattered.

The decision is: should we pack it or leave it in the Philippines?

MC tearfully gave her nod to leave it. On the condition that, she give it to someone else as a gift.

She gave her schultüte to a poor couple with a small baby girl leaving in the streets of Manila. And she gave it with a smile.

As for IC who celebrated her first day of school in the Philippines in 2010? She's already said goodbye to her schultüte earlier. She just made sure that there's no more gifts inside and threw it in the waste basket.

Well, to each his own!

This post is to preserve the memories of my girls' school cone!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Growing Tomatoes

The cocktail tomato corner in our backyard garden.
Tomatoes are very versatile.

You could cook it, grill it, make a sauce out of it, eat it fresh, freeze it and it would still taste wonderful.

And we all to those things, too.

Little IC could not pass by our cocktail tomato corner without plucking a ripe one and sticking it in her mouth. (She ignores the other tomato sortiments during her sorties.)

We have fresh tomatoes during breakfast. My husband loves to combine it with his bread and cream cheese.

We have fresh tomatoes during meal time. We use it as a topping for our green salad, in our sausage salad, as a lone side dish, in our sauce, in our grill, with fried rice.

We freeze most of them, too. There is more than enough and we wanted to save them fresh for winter, too. What we do is harvest them, rub them clean with a kitchen towel and place them inside a plastic bag then into the freezer.

I find tomatoes a bit sensitive. We planted most of them under the roof, to prevent them from being soaked by the rain. We don't have any greenhouse anymore, so we have to be extra vigilant with our tomatoes this time.

Then, as an amateur gardener, my husband who is a hobby gardener; pointed out to me the extra stalks that needed to be pruned so the rest of the tomatoes could flourish better. Well, I don't voluntarily do that, not unless my husband is with me so I could consult him first. I don't want to make a mistake and damage the whole plant! (To which my husband replied, learning by doing!!) He also pointed out to me that there are only selected tomato types that needed to be pruned.

And in watering the tomatoes, in which task the girls have already taken over, only the roots and not the whole plant.

The cocktail tomatoes, is crawling into a trellis near the kitchen. It's stable that way.

The other tomato plants are supported by a combination of wooden and metal stakes. As the tomatoes  grow, we anchor them by selecting the main stem and tying the individual branches to the stake with a soft cord. Tie the twine to the stake and loop it loosely around the plant. As it grows, we simply continue pruning and tying.

And we make sure that we harvest in time. We don't want an overly ripe tomato. I love my tomatoes crispy, my husband loves them meaty and IC just love all the smaller types. MC is unfortunately, not yet a tomato fan.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sewing and My Girls

Didn't I tell you that my parents are both creative handworkers?

My father used to own a very successful tailoring business where he is also the master cutter, while my mother sews all kinds of tops for men. Yes, my mother would also sew clothes for us girls but that is not her masterpiece.

Unfortunately, when the ready-to-wear industry took over, the tailoring business suffered, too. That was in the early 80s. Am I right to say that custom-made clothings are back in style?

Well, I know because my mother, although should be retired by now, are busy sewing again! And my aunt, my mother's sister, who creates gorgeous ladies' clothes -- is busy with loads of customers falling in line!

As for my girls? Well, they are my mother's and my aunt's 'customers', too.

MC with my aunt, sewing together
IC have papers with her own sketches, including color samples and buttons! She adores fantasy and flirty dresses. She's not interested in sewing but likes to dictates her own style. And she closely watches my mother or my aunt whenever they are busy sewing.

MC on the other hand have already showed interest in sewing. But in the past years, she is more interested in recycling her old clothes. She's selected a handful. She would ask for suggestions and from then would work on an idea. And most of the time, she would help in sewing and mending, not only her own clothes. (See above photo!).

Would my girls be the one? The ones to inherit the creativity of their grandparents? Who knows?

All I know is that we encourage them to try.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Plum Cake with Almond Flakes

A summer cake, baked during the plum season.

The girls took over this time, as the recipe came from a recipe book for kids.

The plum cake, ready for the oven.
For the dough

150 g Curd Cheese
6 tbsp milk
6 tbsp oil
75 g sugar
1 pack vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
300 g all-purpose flour
1 pack baking powder

For the filling

sliced plums
almond flakes
2 tbsp sugar

Plus butter to grease the baking form


Combine the curd cheese, milk, oil, sugar, salt and vanilla extract and mix.
Mix flour with baking powder, then combine throughly with the curd cheese mixture.
Place the dough in a folie and put inside the ref for at least two hours.
Then roll the dough in the greased baking form. Add the plums, sprinkle with almond flakes and sugar. Bake for around 25-30 minutes, 200 degrees.

This is the finished cake, but this time we used the yellow plums.
P.S. The Yellow Plum with Almond Flakes in this photo looks the same as the Almond and Yellow Plum Cake here because they are indeed almost the same, some ingredients just differ.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Ruined Evening at Schiff Schlossblick Restaurant in Heidelberg

The view from the upper deck of the ship restaurant.
It was supposed to be a dream evening for our family: to watch the Heidelberg Castle illumination and the firework display.

And the best place to watch it, we were thinking, was at the Schiff Schlossblick Restaurant located along the bank of the Neckar River in Heidelberg.

We really planned our dream evening, we wanted it to be perfect.

Photo taken from the street

We booked a table more than a week before the event. We specifically requested for a space at the upper deck. The answer was yes -- although they are not sure about the sitting arrangement yet so we are advised to come earlier. It is a good thing they accept dogs!

As per our inquiry, there would be a special menu on that day and it is strictly on reservation basis. Our impression was: we would be part of the special group of people partaking of the delicious dinner and having the best seat in the Neckar during that day!!!

So we asked the girls to take a little afternoon nap so they won't miss anything on that dream night. Even our pup, Rikki, had to be 'prepared' so the evening would flow smoothly.

We left our house around half past five and therefore managed to find a parking slot in front of the restaurant. I went to the restaurant earlier to claim our table. I was happy to know that we were seated near the front of the upper deck. Meaning, we have a fantastic view of the Heidelberg Castle.

My husband and the girls had to keep Rikki company for at least an hour --- to walk the pup along the park, to let her play in the water, and finally, to give her food and drinks, and do other puppy businesses. Those were enough to make the pup tired and sleepy -- she was snoring under my restaurant seat the whole night!

It absolutely started as a dream evening -- we had a comfortable, quiet summer night basking in Heidelberg's wonderful old town and castle panorama. The girls are relishing their usual hectic and exhilirating running around, taking time to cool-off by feeding their dolls in between.

After Rikki settled down, we ordered dinner from the special menu card. My husband and I toasted our dream evening with Kir Royal aperitifs. The food were beautifully presented and were mouthwatering. We were utterly that satisfied that we cleaned-off our plates!

The beautiful view from our table in the restaurant.
Well, the illumination and fireworks display is scheduled at 10 p.m. -- can you imagine the long wait for the girls? Actually, they were not bored. The girls got busy finding adventures (mostly they oggled the picnic atmosphere in the park and checked out the booths) along the bank, along the park -- that my husband and I simply enjoyed the silence and the view -- together.

We could hear the waitresses turning away inquiries for seats and we would smile at each other because we are feel lucky to have booked earlier and to have great seats, too.

A few minutes before the big event started, we even ordered non-alcoholic cocktails for the girls -- we sat down to relax and get ready for the big show!! Yuhoo! We focused our eyes to direction of the Heidelberg Castle which looks imposing that night.

Yes, only a few more minutes...

But then, wait!!! It seems I missed my focus. Until... until...What is that I see now?

More and more people are filling the upper deck. Most of them are pushing forward. Oh wait, now I could only see the backs of these people. No more Heidelberg Castle. Shit!

The girls are complaining, too. And they are the only kids in the upper deck that night! Another group right in front of us are complaining, too. Because suddenly, our best view became the worst view! Our relaxing evening turned into chaos and frustration.

My husband called the attention of some of the people blocking our view. Of course, most of them simply ignored him.

So he approached the waitress in the bar. He wanted to know why they are not preventing the surge of people. Her answer??? 'Es ist mir egal. Die wollen doch auch was sehen.' (I don't care. They also wanted to see something.) Well, how about us with reserved seats. We wanted to see the show, too!

Since the illumination had already started, my husband then brought the girls in front. He was on his knees, compared to the others who were standing and blocking our view.

I didn't bother to long neck. I didn't leave my seat, instead I comforted myself and kept my temper by scratching Rikki. The supposed to be dream night's already ruined for me. Not long after, the girls and my husband came back and sat there with me. The dream night's just that, a dream.

Imagine -- we planned for it, we arrived early for it, we paid dearly for it and in the end, we saw nothing. The big show became a big null.

And we really thought we were lucky to find a seat in the upper deck of the Schiff Schlossblick Restaurant. And we really thought we would go home raving with the beauty of the display because we were special reserved guests at Schiff Schlossblick Restaurant.

We thought wrong. It was a frustrating evening. It was a disappointment.

And I was a little bit angry for the unfairness of it.

I could not blame the people who blocked our view. My opinion is that the staff should have prevented the throng in the first place. But since the answer was already a shock for us (and even for the other group who complained) I would guess that this kind of thing always happen everytime the Heidelberg Castle illumination and firework display.

I therefore conclude that it is best to avoid the Schiff Schlossblick Restaurant in Heidelberg during the Heidelberg Castle illumination and firework display.

Never, ever go there during the show or else, you would go home frustrated, disappointed, defeated, ruined, bad-tempered...It would be more satisfying (and cheaper!!) to bring along your picnic blanket, with a picnic basket filled with sweets and homemade goodies; plus bottles of chilled sparkling wine the adults and kiddie champagne for the kids!

That's what we would do next time!

P.S. I am the kind of customer that doesn't come back after a bad experience. Just like with LIDL, I am NEVER going back to the Schiff Schlossblick Restaurant in Heidelberg.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Naturally Beautiful, Gwyneth Paltrow

Oh Gwyneth Paltrow... you look stunning!

We rarely see stars without make-up especially on a public gathering.

And that's why I absolutely admire Gwyneth Paltrow who came au naturel to the presentation of her cookbook, "My Father's Daughter" in East Hampton last week.

Superbly relaxed -- sun tanned, in cut-off jeans and a striped sweater over a bikini and flip-flops -- Gwyneth Paltrow wowed me.

It showed how comfortable she is in her own skin. It showed her confidence. It showed herself, the beautiful Gwyneth Paltrow.

And it showed, natural is beautiful.

I rarely gush about a star and I am doing now simply because I admire what she represented. No make-up is cool and more beautiful.

I found the story and the image here.