Friday, September 27, 2013

She Baked Red Velvet

[hum the title of this post to yourself to the tunes of Blue Velvet]
So while I am taking this afternoon off to get an early start to the weekend spent at a spa resort, I leave you to drool over the red velvet cupcakes I baked last weekend. This has been something I had always been interested in, without actually having ever tasted "the original" anywhere. When I watched Laura Vitale's mouth-watering demonstration, I just couldn't wait any longer and turned out the Kitchen Aid. Here's the video:

I made the discovery that European food colouring is obvioiusly not remotely as potent as its American counterparts as despite tipping in the whole vial of red powder (will try and find liquid next time), it did not turn out remotely as red, verging on "brown velvet". Other than that, I was extremely happy with the result and my usual office guinea-pigs made sounds of approval as well. I also had Meticulous M over on Sunday afternoon, as she loves cupcakes in general:
I doubled Laura's recipe and made 22 of these little buggers. Here's a view of the innards, should you need further convincing:
Despite having no filling, they were lovely and fluffy and the frosting added just that extra textural and taste kick to round it off. The recipe really is super easy and doesn't contain any fancy ingredients that are hard to find. I found it unusual to use both baking powder and baking soda in the same recipe, but it seems to work.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Speechless in Belgrade and Not Your Usual Souvenirs

Hi! I'm currently in Belgrade and have pretty much lost my voice. I don't know if I have succumbed to the same nasty killer virus that had half of Vienna in its throes recently or what the reason is, but it's Cough-and-Croak-Central here. Well, let's not mope. Here's a picture of the lovely view I enjoyed yesterday afternoon:
I also wanted to share my rather unusual souvenirs from Sofia, where I didn't have much time for retail therapy this time. I'm sure you remember my enthusing over the taste explosion that is Bulgarian tomatoes. Well, this time I brought 3 huge specimens home in my hand luggage. At home, I put them on the kitchen scales and found out that they had a combined weight of 1.3 kgs almost... Here they are:
I know they look quite unassuming from the outside, but trust me, they taste like superstars. As pleasure is multiplied when shared, I celebrated a tomato with feta I also got in Sofia with the Mademoiselle, who can give a reference that I wasn't exaggerating.
My return flight last Thursday was after duty free had already closed at Sofia airport, which was quite boring since there basically are no other shops apart from a newsagent and the lounge only admits gold-level frequent flyers. In order to get SOME instant retail fix, I perused the magazine rack for some freebies and got lucky with Bulgarian Grazia (no matter that I can't read it, there's colourful pictures, some of people I recognise...). I couldn't resist that it came with 2 goodies, one being an original Cruciani bracelet, the other a choice of 1 of 4 Hello Kitty! merch items. I went for the wheeled shopping cart. The bargain hunter in me rejoiced about the fact that I got all this for a mere EUR 4:
Know anyone who would like a Bulgarian magazine?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Despite a Busy Schedule...

....I managed a quick detour through the shopping zone a.k.a. Vitosha Boulevard to pop into my favourite Bulgarian fashion store, Capasca. When linking the website I just realised they had a worldwide online shop now, but apparently the A/W collection is only available in-store for now plus delivery to AT would be a whopping EUR 21...not sure. While I find their sizing somewhat hit and miss, I really like their designs as they are quite unique and innovative. While I didn't find anything on the Sale rack, I picked up this jumper with a really cool design that reminds me of traditional Japanese patterns. It is cosy and warm and I am looking forward to wearing it in winter:
More about Sofia coming up.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Hi all. It is the weekend and I *could* write all the posts I have been wanting to write. Alas, this is one of the few weekends when I actually need to use my computer for work-related things. I guess you could just say "work". Well, nobody to blame but myself and the fact that 2 full-day meetings foiled my plans to finish presentations during the week. Aaaanyway, it's going to be a busy week next week (in Bulgaria) as well and I don't know exactly when I will have time for regular programming, but as always, check out the Instagram widget in the sidebar if you want to so indulge in truly life-changing and earth-shattering pictures of my outfits of the day and all the dead animals I devour on business trips. As regards those planned posts - some of them are make-up related, others general musings, such as about friendship. Don't run away!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dublin Modern

I don't know how many of you have ever been to Dublin, but those who have probably think of buildings such as Trinity College or St. Patrick's Cathedral when the city is mentioned. Every visitor walks down Grafton Street, takes a picture of Molly Malone and has a pint (or two) in Temple Bar. Well, a short(ish) walking distance from the historic center is the part of Dublin's 4th district where the Firm's European HQ is located and in fact many other international companies pitched their tents during the heyday of the Celtic Tiger. Every time I am in Dublin for business, this is the Dublin I get to see on my way between hotel and office and as this part of the city literally was a wasteland when Amica and I studied in Dublin and other parts have been modernised a lot since the mid 1990s or even early 2000s, I "warned" her that the city had changed a lot when she was about to visit Dublin for her 10th wedding anniversary last year (she hadn't visited in between). Interestingly, on coming back, she did not agree at all, finding everything basically just as she remembered it. On Tuesday night, I was downtown for dinner and there really are no grave changes save new shops, restaurants, more modern bus stops and the usual things you would also find in other cities when you revisit them after a 10-years-absence. This, however, is the "modern Dublin" I have become to associate with the city and that comes to my mind before the historic center now as it is the Dublin I have most "quality time" with (excuse the mobile-phone shots):
The bridge above, Samuel Beckett bridge, likewise not around last century, has been "pushed to the side" in the picture above for maintenance, which was quite fascinating. 
Here's a "bonus picture" of Temple Bar at sunset, just to prove that old Dublin is still around and not planning to go anywhere anytime soon by the looks of it:

Friday, September 06, 2013

What I've been up to

Hello, my lovelies. Don't you just love a changing room selfie? Well, I do anyway. Today I dropped into H&M in my lunch break to check out their denim offerings and walked out with this beauty (loving the details on the thighs) and a "retro" light blue one. The Gazelle had put me into the mood for light blue jeans when she wore a pretty amazing pair of maternity (yep, there's a Mini Gazelle in the making) jeans.
Other than that, I had a pretty busy week at work, mainly due to me having, ahem, slacked a bit recently, baked my favourite plum cake again and saw it being devoured by my colleagues in record time. You should really try it, it's simple and delicious. I do recommend to use half a teaspoon of cardamom max to make it suitable for central European palates...I also made a vegan Oreo cookie pie last night, with the intention to bring it into the office as well, but then realised that it really needs to be in the freezer as opposed to the fridge where I had left it overnight. So frozen it is now. The main reason why I tried it was because I wanted to see for myself how you could substitute cream by blending cashew nuts in the Vitamix. Pretty impressive!
I also had lunch with Amica (who showered with goodies from Scotland), went for after-work drinks to one of our old haunts with my colleagues, got one step closer with my bedroom-revamping-project, went to an exhibition opening with the Gazelle, standing next to the first Austrian supermodel on the shuttle bus to Klosterneuburg. For those interested, she was refreshingly un-botoxed and has aged with grace. I was also reminded that you should only have a pedi when you wear open-toed sandals or flip-flops and had to buy the nailpolish my pedicurist used for much-needed damage mitigation. Aaaand, I took my brand new Burberry trench on its maiden cruise and gave myself a symbolic pat in the shoulder for getting it as it fits like a glove and the material feels really...classy, there's no other way of saying it.
Oh, and tomorrow night I am going to succumb to Discofever together with my favourite cousin. Yes, her of the neglected blog.
I'm off to Dublin next week and hope to be able to sneak into town to revisit my old hunting grounds. I've arranged to meet two of my flatmates from my Erasmus year and am leaving space in my suitcase for salt & vinegar crisps.
Mwwwah! Until next time.
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