Sunday, May 30, 2010

On the Plus Side

All the rain has really boosted vegetation and in those rare moments in between two downpours, the lush green and bright colours of petals are a pretty sight to behold: 
poppy (onemorehandbag)Not forgetting the little jokes of nature. In my parents' garden a rogue sunflower decided to make a guest appearance on my favourite apple tree: 
sunflower (onemorehandbag)Introducing the sunflower-apple (apple-sunflower?).

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Closest I Got to the Lake Today

Wörther See seen from the A2 (onemorehandbag)I would not have minded a swim in the Wörther See at all, but what with the current April-esque weather the closest I got to it was when I looked down on it on the motorway on the way back from visiting my granny. I haven't quite reached the stage of resignation where I'd agree to the pessimists who've been saying for weeks that "you'll see, we won't get a summer this year", but I can definitely see where they got the idea.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Parlez-Vous Menu?

Yesterday on my way to work I saw this sign promoting croissant's long lost Austrian cousin, the "crossiand":

crossiand (onemorehandbag)
... and on Monday I found official confirmation that Cordon Bleu should not only be pronounced "Gordon bleu", but written with a "g" as well. (Writing "schnitzel" with an "n" is optional, however.)

gordonbleu (onemorehandbag)
Flash Gordon, eat your heart out: here comes Bleu Gordon! 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Don't Tell Stella

As I've told you, I've settled for my scent some years ago and I am still a firm believer of remaining faithful to ones perfume as I like the idea of associating people with certain scents. Smells are in fact extremely important for me to the point where I could fall in and out of love with someone simply on account of how they smell. I'm dead serious. Somehow, my sense of smell seems to be the most developed of all my senses and therefore prone to overrule the others.

Last week I accompanied MC on her quest for a new perfume and came across "Biscotti" from Marc Jacobs's limited edition "Patisserie"series (the other two are "Apple" and "Pomegranate"). Although it is a tiny bit sweeter than the fragrances I usually go for, it is still citrusy enough to appeal to my senses. After testing it again on Saturday with Chiquita, who likewise thought it smelled good and contemplated purchasing it, I couldn't get it out of my mind and returned to the shop in my lunch-break today. I'm not sure if it will be only a summer fling what with the humongous 300 ml (!) size of the bottle- the only size available. What finally sold me was the fact that it comes with a separate handbag-sized bottle and a little funnel. I also really love the plain Chanel-esque design:Biscotti by Marc Jacobs (onemorehandbag) Besides, the name perfectly goes with my current cookie-phase.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Double Chocolate Pecan Cookies

I'm beginning to think that I was an American "Mom" from suburbia in my former reincarnation...I'm in a serious "cookie phase" even though it's nowhere near Christmas-time. On Sunday, I conjured up double chocolate pecan cookies, using the great peanut butter cookies recipe as a base.
chocolate pecan cookies (onemorehandbag)Again, the wish to recycle something I had in my kitchen stock was the driving force. This time, it was a more or less untouched hot chocolate drink by Green&Black that I'd spent a fortune on in a posh chocolate store:
cookies with instant cocoa powder (onemorehandbag) Needless to say, you can replace it for a cheaper kind of instant cocoa powder.


1 1/4 cups flour (I used 1/4 cup of spelt flour this time)
3/4 cup instant hot chocolate powder
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
180 g butter, softened
1 heaped tablespoon peanut butter at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup chocolate chips (I used half milk and half dark chocolate)
1 cup of chopped pecans (it doesn't matter if you can only find salted ones, it adds a nice twist)

Preheat your oven to 180° . Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside. Beat the butter, peanut butter and cocoa powders together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk. Add theflour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans. Drop teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets and bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Do not overbake. The cookies will still be very soft and appear underdone, but they are perfect like that. Let cool on the baking sheets for a minute or so and then move to a rack to let cool completely.
You can also use add macadamia, raisins or cranberries with or instead of your chocolate chips.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

And if the City-Slickers Won't Come to Us

...we'll come to the city with our maypole and brass band!
May pole (onemorehandbag)Maypole passing through Graben last Friday. A few minutes after I took this photo, there was a downpour. Poor guys.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Spring on My Plate

The weather was so annoying yesterday: sunny skies one minute and the next it was completely dark as if someone had switched off the light. Just as I was about to apply sunscreen and go out, it started to rain. To cheer myself up, I decided to cook a decent Sunday lunch with seasonal ingredients:
spring lunch (onemorehandbag)
spring dessert (onemorehandbag)A little side-note: last Monday I had lunch at über-stylish Orlando di Castello, where I'd had some negative culinary experiences before. I didn't want to order the only thing that I knew to be adequately filling, the club sandwich, so because they had asparagus with grana and prosciutto on the menu and I love asparagus, I went for that. Biiiiig mistake. Actually, the dish should have been written with parantheses. Then I wouldn't have minded paying a whopping € 11,50 for two (2!) pieces of cold asparagus with 2 slices of prosciutto and some sticky parmesan flakes. Rip-off of the century if ever there was one!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

La Dolce Vienna

Last night on the way home, somewhat intoxicated after an after-work mojito and white spritzer with the girls (an asparagus salad for lunch is not the right base for a liquid dinner...), I thought of the long weekend with less than enthusiasm. Everyone else seemed to have either left the city already for some exciting mini-break (diving in Egypt, family holiday at the Adriatic sea, girly-weekend in Oslo) or have visitors for the weekend. Sigh. Most of the time I don't mind the odd "planless" weekend, but this wasn't one of them. Thankfully, I had made plans for Saturday with Chiquita. Before meeting her for lunch, I went grocery shopping (10% off everything at BILLA, by the way) and got a beautiful mini-crate of fragrant strawberries which immediately put me in a summery mood:

strawberries (onemorehandbag)Chiquita and I had arranged to meet at Naschmarkt and with a little patiences we got a table at Neni's.
Lunch at Neni (onemorehandbag)Haya Molcho was there herself and got asked to sign her cookbook and pose with her cute sons for a photo with German tourists. We ate in glorious sunshine. Mere seconds after we got up and walked towards the Japanese supermarket, it started to rain. Perfect excuse for the best matcha latte in town:
matcha latte (onemorehandbag)Chiquita had their matcha ice-cream, which was delicious as well.

After a little detour to Bobby's Foodstore (S&V crisps!), we walked to Mariahilfer Str. through torrential rain. I satisfied my just-got-my-paycheck-induced shopping craving with a plaited leather Pandora bracelet and wasn't planning to buy anything else when a pair of cute faux snakeskin ballerinas caught my attention. My photographic fashion memory nudged me to buy them (on sale for € 34,95) as they would be a perfect match for the Bata bag bought in Bologna.

matching ballerinas (onemorehandbag)Bingo! Matchy-matchy.

It was a really nice day just to my liking and so I decided not to mope about the lack of Saturday-night-fever.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Loch Ness Monster?

face mask (onemorehandbag)Nah, just yours truly celebrating her Saturday-morning ritual.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Crrraving With a Capital C

salmon toast (onemorehandbag)For several months now, I've been really craving smoked salmon on fresh white bread (or, alternatively wholegrain toast) with a tiny bit of butter and lots of grated horseradish. Some drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice on top of the salmon are the finishing touches. I probably could eat this every single day, but actually only buy smoked salmon every other week or so as I do believe in a varied diet. Sometimes I think back wistfully to my "rucola days", though.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Introducing Apostrophitis' Little Brother

I've told you of my pet hate, over-generous use of (misplaced) apostrophes before. Sufferers of "apostrophitis" are in good company - there's the equally annyoing and just as widespread use of gratuitious double quotation marks, "quotitis". It can often be seen on menus, where ingredients appear as "asparagus", for example and make me wonder if I am being offered some artificial substitute. Surely, if it were real asparagus, there'd be no need to put it between quotes, right? The same phenomenon can be observed in shops, when you see signs like this:

The double quote instinctively makes me doubt that it is real leather, but then it would be a very expensive bag if it cost € 249 and were faux leather (unless the material is called "canvas" and we're looking at a Louis Vuitton window display...). Similarly, an "automatic" umbrella signals to me "hehe, got you there - you thought this umbrella would open automatically, but it does not".

I wonder if these shop-owners would be willing to sell their merchandise for "money".

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Artist Formerly Known As Cupcake

Cupcakes are like SO yesterday. Gerstner have recently launched a new and improved version and decided to rebrand them "cupecakes" with an "e". Hmmm.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Official Member of the Cult

apple (onemorehandbag)I recently replaced my ailing Lenovo with a Macbook Pro as my official work computer. I was really exited as I'd never used an Apple computer before and heard many enthusiastic things about it. In fact, it seemed a more than religious decision.

My verdict: it is definitely the design that impresses me more than anything else, with the magnetic power plug in particular. The Mac mouse is crap and I replaced it with my old one. The external keyboard is pretty sexy as well. I'm not complaining about having to "learn" different keyboard shortcuts (I love shortcuts). As for actually working with it, though, I daresay that many Mac-ites probably only use it for fun stuff such as browsing and playing different types of media files. If you need to work with MS Office you'll have endless fun trying to find where simple functions are hidden and watch Excel crash in 10-minute intervals. A colleague who has also switched to Mac said she was going to print the rainbow-coloured circle that's the signal for a programme not reacting on a t-shirt. She christened it "Semmel" (bread roll). I'm considering a t-shirt bulk-order, by the way.

Monday, May 17, 2010


When I recently was in downtown KLU, I noticed that the Lindwurm, the town's landmark was wrapped with white ribbons and the pedestal was wrapped in red fabric. Had Christo paid a visit? When I got closer, I saw that it had to do with a poster exhibition showing the plight of Russian POWs during WWII in Carinthia.

Lindwurm in red (onemorehandbag)The photos were haunting and it seemed strange that on the opposite side of the Lindwurm (right behind its tail, actually) there was a kind of fair offering Italian food and drink and brochures of the adriatic town of Jesolo, a popular holiday destination for Austrians. A sand-sculpture depicting Empress Sisi and Emperor Francis Joseph was getting its finishing touches:
Jesolo in KLU (onemorehandbag)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

No Comment

accessoires de jour (onemorehandbag)
flooded (onemorehandbag

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Somewhere Over the Rainbow...

rainbow (onemorehandbag)A real technicolour rainbow in Vienna last Friday, picture taken from the Mermaid's car.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Don't get me wrong. I'm all for expressing your inner fashion freak and not starving yourself tying to look like the photoshopped models in glossy magazines, but surely there are more flattering outfits than tummy-hugging stretchy tops when your stomach is less than iron-board flat or tight white trousers when your legs and bum are a cellulite battle field, no?

What I really don't get is that people of all ages really think outfits such as the one in the picture below (I was punished for my bitchiness by the tram suddenly braking, hence the blurry resolution) do them any favour. Don't they have some well-meaning friend or relative who won't let them leave their house unless they change into something that is perhaps not more tasteful, but at least won't draw attention to their absolutely worst features? I wanted to cry when I saw this teenage girl:

belly-fat (onemorehandbag)And, no, the pram wasn't hers so it's just her own baby fat and not post-partum fat. That is beside the point, though.

There definitely is a reason why I always always choose my outfits the night before on work days and also check my rear view in the mirror if in doubt that I might scare the public with cellulite bumps, chicken wings or thunder thighs.

Politicians are talking about a burqa ban at the moment, but sometimes often I have daydreams about being some kind of Fashion Police crisis intervention officer who in one elegant swoop covers offensive clothing with vast quantities of cloth...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

peanut butter chocolate cookies (onemorehandbag)Today is a holiday and the weather isn't too great. Perfect scenario for conjuring something up in the kitchen. As usual, I also wanted to recycle some "raw material" - in this case peanut butter. I'd bought a jar at the British foodstore here in Vienna, simply because it felt very "exotic" and American. Although peanuts are among my least favourite nuts, I quite like the taste of (smooth) peanut butter and every once in a while buy it even though I always end up using it for cooking or baking as I don't like it as bread-spread.

The recipe is adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook's "Peanut Butter Cookies" and is very easy. As usual, I have converted the American measures apart from cups.


1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
120 g butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 180° . Combine the flour, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.
Beat the butter and peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets, like so:
unbaked cookies (onemorehandbag)Lightly sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Do not overbake. The cookies will still be very soft and appear underdone, but they are perfect like that. Let cool on the baking sheets for a minute or so and then move to a rack to let cool completely.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


optimism (onemorehandbag)When I was in KLU for the weekend, I noticed that the pedestrian zones downtown had been beautified with deck chairs imprinted with an aphorism by local poetess Ingeborg Bachmann. Temperatures and precipitation weren't exactly inviting to sit down and bask in the spring sun, but the quote certainly is optimistic and suitable enough for all weather conditions: My eyes always see them, the golden rays of the sun. One time, it will stay. (my own translation).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wining and Dining

glass with a view (onemorehandbag)
Usually, I'm happy enough to go right home after work if I'm not meeting friends or doing other private stuff, but sometimes there are rather glamourous work-related events I get to attend. Provided they don't promise death-by-powerpoint, I'm on. Last Thursday, the Empress and I attended such event, the 10th anniversary party thrown by of one of our client's that was being celebrated on top of a skyscraper in the neighbourhood of Vienna's UN headquarters. The view was spectacular, as was the catering. Free mojitos! Need I say more?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

La Mamma

I'm in KLU for the weekend, mainly in order to celebrate Mother's Day with my mum and her mum today. To my shame, I have to say that my mother took care of the baking herself, making her famous choux pastry, something which I have never attempted to make myself even though she says it's dead easy, mainly because it is her signature pastry. 
choux pastry (onemorehandbag)
Knowing she would get up before me today (at 07:05, for the record), I laid the table last night before going to bed. What I am lacking in culinary spoiling, I tried to make up for with gifts, such as a handmade brooch made out of a zipper (I got the inspiration from a picture in a magazine): 
zipper brooch (onemorehandbag)Modelled by yours truly in the picture above

In my card, I said that a cool and young-at-heart Mum deserves gifts to match this. I also got her some blue eyeshadow I bought from Kiko Milano in Bologna and...ta-dah: turquoise/aqua-coloured chucks:

chucks (onemorehandbag)
When we were in Barcelona last year, she had tried on my greyish ones and commented how comfortable they were and that one could wear them with orthopaedic insoles. Knowing that she likes to wear bold colours, I decided to go for something "wild". I forgot that she's much worse than me when it comes to being OCD about colour-coordinating everything and could see her mentally inventorising her entire wardrobe, dubious she has enough items of clothing in a matching shade. I'm willing to temporarily swap with mine, though.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Last Sunday

make-up (onemorehandbag)...I spent a girly afternoon with la Mademoiselle, who trusted me to beautify her. She's going to attend a family wedding abroad soon and arrived with the complete outfit (including shoes and handbag) to give me an inspiration for the colour-scheme. As she's a natural beauty anyway, I would have had to try hard to make her ugly, but I was still pretty pleased with "look" nr. 2, that really enhanced her features. I also realised that it's really hard to apply eye-liner and mascara on somebody else, particularly if that other person wears hard contact lenses and is highly sensitive in the eye area. In any case, my first foray into the realm of amateur make-up artists was great fun and I felt very professional when I cleaned all my brushes and sponges the night before. Any volunteers?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Every Cent Counts

handbag fund (onemorehandbag)A little while ago, a parcel was sitting on my desk when I returned from my lunch-break. It contained one piggy bank for each employee of the Firm's Vienna branch - a gift from our friendly HR guys and girls. They came in different colours, but I liked the transparent one best. As you might have guessed by now, I've never been a big saver and thus piggy banks have not played a major role in my life. I wanted to use it, though, and so I decided to devote it to an important a new handbag. Not seriously, of course, but we have a little gadget around that produces adhesive strips of letters you can programme and so I printed out "Handtaschenfonds" (=handbag funds) for the Empress, who is not adverse to classy handbags either, and myself.

(I also take donations via paypal, should you be thus inclined...)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Chocolate Mint Cookies

mint chocolate cookies (onemorehandbag)
I've mentioned before that I'm a purist when it comes to chocolate. So, when I got mint-flavoured chocolate as a gift, I was really not tempted to eat it, but did not want it to go to waste, either. As usual, I decided to go the recycling route and have a look in the endless depth of the www. I found an easy-enough sounding recipe and decided to give it a try. Apart from the fact that I used less sugar as I nearly always do and that my sugar was vanilla-infused anyway so I left out vanilla-flavouring, I stuck to it. This is the original recipe with some helpful conversions to metric/centigrade. As I own a cup-measures kit I bought in the U.S. so I did not (want/need to) convert the cups to metric equivalents, but there's a helpful link here. The recipe really is as super-easy as it reads:


1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
85 g butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
250 g mint (flavoured) chocolate
1 cup sugar (I used about 3/4)
2 eggs
Confectioners sugar


Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Melt 1 the mint chocolate.

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar, add melted chocolate. Beat in eggs and add flour mixture. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 175° degrees. Shape dough into small balls, like so:

cookie balls (onemorehandbag)Roll balls in confectioners sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheets. There's no need to leave a lot of space as they don't spread out a lot, but I did anyway.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes and cool on wire rack.

Makes 3 baking sheets.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Lilac Season

lilac (onemorehandbag)All over Vienna, lilac is in full bloom

lilac eyes (onemorehandbag)
The perfect excuse to wear purple/lilac. (Not that I need any.)


Tuesday, May 04, 2010


fun for the whole family (onemorehandbag)When I was in KLU over Easter, I saw posters like the one pictured above pretty much at every street-corner. As many of them were also put up next to traffic lights, I had ample time to read them and realise that in that short a text, its author managed to produce 4 mistakes, starting with the interesting variation of "quad racing". Despite the mock-Turkish sounding "Wasserrütsche" (water slide) with an "ü", something tells me that the event organisers are Italian.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Girls, Interrupted

Today will be the first of many Mondays when the Mermaid and I won't be able to indulge in our favourite Monday-night-routine. Our Stadthallenbad swimming pool closed for major renovation work on May 1 and won't re-open until autum 2011. It's really hard to find a replacement that's easy to reach with public transport, has a decently sized pool and is open long enough to be able to go there after work. Amalienbad will be the most likely replacement (and has the added attraction of being located right opposite TICHY ice-cream parlour!) but is not open to the public on Mondays (when it's reserved for physically handicapped people, presumably so they won't be stared at by the rest of the swimmers). Whichever pools we go to, none of them is near either of our homes, so I won't be able to rush home after work, grab both the Mermaid and my swim gear, prepare our favourite fuel of diluted Mango juice (Happy Day brand, in case you were interested) in a 750 ml bottle and then return back to my place after swimming, watch Desperate Housewives and stuff our faces with crisps or other calorific goodies. It just won't be the same!

Here are some pictures of Stadthallenbad as we know it, designed by Roland Rainer:
the status quo

schwimmhalle (onemorehandbag)retro sign

going home (onemorehandbag)me, doing a "final exit" (for now)

key account management (onemorehandbag)the keys to the tiled kingdom

Mermaid out of water (onemorehandbag)the Mermaid in her natural habitat

great plans (onemorehandbag)grand plans

Admittedly, the changing rooms and showers ought to have been refurbished years ago and are hardly a stylish environment, but I do hope, they won't change the brilliant hair-dryer (not the handheld ones pictured above), a kind of long tube with outlets in different heights that dry your hair really fast and interestingly also make it really sleek and straight at the same time.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

May Day... Mayday!

May Day (onemorehandbag)Today is a holiday, May Day. It's also a Saturday. With the added bonus of 15-minute-queues at supermarkets the night before. Yay! August 15 falls on a Sunday this year as well and I have to say that on such "wasted holidays" envy British/Irish/Japanese, etc. citzens who get the subsequent Monday off if one of their holidays happens to fall on a weekend in a given year.

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