Monday, March 29, 2010

After Sausage Hours

no sausages here (onemorehandbag)
I don't know about you, but I whenever I go skiing and take a lunch break in high altitude, I usually eat and drink the same: frankfurt sausages with mustard and a roll, and a hot lemonade. Recently, I've switched to apple spritzer, as I've had too many nasty experiences with acidic lemon substitutes and lukewarm water. In any case, I always tend to go for the sausages, no matter what. Having already had a really delicious Kaiserschmarren the previous day, I was looking forward to my "Würsti" on Saturday. The noisy (think DJ who likes to change the chorus of Cindy Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun to an incredibly inspired "girls just wanna have fuck". Yes indeed) but chic Schnaps-Hans looked promising, food-wise.

But said that frankfurters and toasted sandwiches (my other safe bet) were only available before 12 and after 3 p.m. Hugh?

the menu to prove it (onemorehandbag)
click to enlarge

When the lederhosen-clad waiter appeared to take orders, the Empress was brave enough to say she wanted sausages. "Not before three", he snapped and pointed to the menu. "Erm, well, I read that", she said, "but I was hoping this rule was somewhat flexible". "No, they wouldn't give me any before three", he replied. We were speechless and told him we'd need some more time to search for an alternative. I ended up eating the most disgusting Kaiserschmarren of my life, but still did not understand the purpose of this rule. One colleague thought it was to keep groups of children away at rush hour, another thought they just wanted to pitch the more expensive dishes. Guesses are welcome.

We had a similarly bizarre experience with a waitress at an outdoor bar in downtown Zell am See, but I'll spare you that.

All in all, these negative tourist-rip-off experiences did not succeed in spoiling the overall fun factor, nor the amazing panorama:

beautiful snow (onemorehandbag)(All pictures taken with my Nexus One.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

School Trip

My skiing weekend in Zell am See was great fun as was the long train journey there. We, being my colleagues minus the Gazelle who unfortunately couldn't come, and yours truly all agreed that it reminded us of a school trip. The only difference was the beer- at least the school train rides I remember didn't involve alcohol. As I don't "do" beer, nor card-games (I know, I'm really boring, me), I had stocked up on magazines to keep me happy and entertained.

school trip (onemorehandbag)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gone Skiing...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


L'Italiana, who - much to my delight - follows this blog from N.Y. , recently told me she always gets hungry when looking at my posts. Well, honeybuns, this is especially for you...

As the Firm's Vienna office is located smack in the city centre and we don't have a canteen, we have had ample opportunity over the years to eat at some really nice restaurants that other people only go to as a treat. After a while, though, you are faced with a bit of a "luxury problem" as we would call it in German as you notice that even the nicest restaurants get...well...boring and you wouldn't dream of dining there on weekends.

Therefore, we are always thrilled when some of us stumbles upon a new eaterie. Thanks to the Gazelle's discovery we have lunched at Köstlich, or rather got a takeaway from there, quite a bit recently. In my opinion quality of food varies, but it's definitely a good vegetarian or vegan choice. A few weeks ago, another restaurant opened right opposite of Köstlich, Hidden Kitchen. As Färberstraße, where both places are located, really is a small lane, the name is fitting. It's not a vegetarian restaurant, but like its neighbour, it is also self-service and has a big focus on vegetables. When we ate there, everything was cold, or rather luke-warm (on purpose), but the veggies I had (sweet potato, quinoa and chick peas mainly) were still very good and I liked the Rubik's cube salt and pepper shakers:
lunch@hidden kitchen (onemorehandbag)Just saying, Italiana...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Product Rave: Urban Decay Primer Potion

I just have to share this beauty tip with all of you eyeshadow-junkies: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. Again, I first heard it on YouTube, where all the make-up gurus seem to swear by it. As you can't find this brand in offline stores in Austria, I thought it was just one of those overrated products the online beauty community has decided to hype and bought a primer by MAC instead. Admittedly, it made application smoother, but there was not much change in creasing whether I applied it or not. When I recently placed an order with and saw that they sold it, I put it into my virtual shopping cart. It was worth every cent I paid for it!
There is NO creasing and "product loss" whatsoever as you should be able to see in the photos below, the top one showing my eyes immediately after application shortly before 8 a.m, the bottom one at 07:20 p.m.
urban decay primer potion (onemorehandbag)
I'm not sure the photos, which I took myself do it justice, but this product really delivers what it promises. I don't like the "fairy princess" design of the packaging, but I suppose it illustrates the concept of a "potion" quite well.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mermaid Cake Goes KitchenAid

Sorry to bore you with yet another baking photo, but I don't have time for a longer post and as macaron-making leaves one with lots of leftover egg yolks, I always end up making something to use those up. I hadn't made the easiest cheesecake in the world, the Mermaid Cake, for a long time and therefore went for that one as I knew "it" wouldn't mind if I used some extra yolks. As I couldn't find any nice seasonal fruits that weren't from the other part of the world, I tossed in some frozen raspberries for a bit of colour:

Mermaid Cake (unbaked)I actually think the unbaked cake (above) is prettier than the finished product:

Mermaid Cake (finished)
What makes the MM Cake so easy is the fact that you don't even need a mixer or any electrical appliance to blend the ingredients together, but I wanted to use my new gadget of course. No revolutionary difference, but I like to think the consistency turned out even smoother/silkier.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Third Time Lucky: Matcharons

matcharons (onemorehandbag)

Last night I made matcha macarons matcharons in their version 3.0. which I am pretty pleased with. Admittedly, they are nowhere nearly as "French looking" as the incredibly perfect macarons that Anne makes and which recipe they were modelled on, but they tasted just as macarons should taste. For some reason the surfafce always comes out porous, but I was relieved when I found out thatAnne's toasted coconut macarons look pretty similar in texture. They are based on a different recipe, though. In any case, I left the unbaked macarons to harden on the baking sheet for an hour this time, a step in the procedure which I had - accidentally - completely ignored in my previous attempts.

The only change I made to Anne's basic recipe was that I used 120g of blanched almonds and 120g of powdered sugar (I might reduce the sugar to 100g, the were still very sweet) only and matcha powder obviously, a teaspoon of it. As I don't own a food processor, I blended the almonds in my jug blender on the "pulse" setting which I normally use to crush ice. Might this be the reason for the porous surface, I wonder, even though the (sieved) almond powder is really fine in my opinion?

To blend in the matcha powder, one has to tread carefully and not just toss the whole amount in as this would inevitably clump. Instead, you take about 2 tablespoons of the whipped egg white and blend it with the matcha powder in a small cup before folding it into the meringue.

This time, I filled them with a butter cream with about 2 tablespoons of cranberry jam added in order to get a pretty pink colour but with a more tart taste than raspberry or other red fruits. Personally, I preferred the chocolate filling I used last time (dark chocolate, butter and amarena syrup blended together). I asked my boss which ones of the "macaroni" as he called them he preferred, but he said he found them equally good.

matcharons with dark chocolate filling (onemorehandbag)matcharons V.2 with dark chocolate filling

I think I'm going to try some other versions of macarons (I haven't given up on achieving that perfect surface yet!) before my patient testers aka my co-workers get sick of matcha, but I love the pistachio-icecream colour a lot.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Taking Power Shopping to the Next Level?

"Quick! Come here and bring your camera", the Empress shouted yesterday and beckoned me to the window next to her desk. It was an interesting sight to behold indeed - the building site opposite our office got a stack material delivered by crane. I don't know what it was (tiles?) but it looked just like several huge parcels:
special delivery (onemorehandbag)
As we are all avid online shoppers, yours truly being perhaps the most active one, the Empress thought it looked as if it was a special online shopping delivery. What with the heavy Kitchen Aid I had delivered last week, it's actually not that unrealistic an idea...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Make Mine Multiple

I was really tempted to give this post a flashier title such as "I came back from Hamburg with an orgasm", but then I thought that a bit too cheap. Also, I did not want to shock any relatives (and no, I don't mean you by this, my dear).

As you probably know by now, I love watching make-up channels on YouTube. I'm not so much interested in tutorials as in the more rambling kind of videos by the so-called gurus and their favourites of the month and haul videos. It didn't take long to find out that they all seemed to agree on their favourite blush by Nars in the shade "orgasm". Just type in "nars orgasm" in the YouTube search box and you know what I'm on about. At the beginning, I found it pretty hilarious to hear nubile American girls who are all "ohmygosh" and comment moderation say "next I apply Nars "orgasm" on my cheeks" without batting an eyelid. Soon, however, I began to think that there might be more to it than just the name and did a little research on the availability of Nars products (I would have bought it online, but the shipping fees are ridiculous!). You can't buy them in Austria and one of the few places where you can get Nars make-up in Germany is the chic "Alsterhaus" department store in Hamburg, a 5-minute-walk from the Firm's German headquarters. Yeah! Guess where I made a brief visit yesterday? Bingo:
Nars (multiple) orgasm for € 29, anyone?

Nars case (onemorehandbag)no joke

post (Nars)orgasm (onemorehandbag)Me, post-application (the close-up reminding me just how huge my nostrils are...)

Although I am the first to admit that I am a very easy marketing prey indeed and admit that I might have picked another of their really nice selection of shades without prior indoctrination, I really like it, and find it a flattering colour.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

If You Ever Are in Hamburg

...I have a hotel recommendation for you, the SIDE hotel. Not only is it the most stylish hotel I've ever stayed in, but their beds are by far the most comfortable ones ever. And I mean EVER. After having got up at 05:50 and done a tour of Vienna-Linz-Vienna-Hamburg accompanied by the usual train and plane announcements in mangled "English", I really felt like coming home when I entered my room with invitingly thrown back bed-covers. Aaaaaagh.

room at SIDE (onemorehandbag)The doors ofthe mini bar (left) and wardrobe (right) look like 1950s refridgerators

SIDE wardrobes (onemorehandbag)...and the toilet seats have quite a unique shape, don't you agree?
SIDE toilets (onemorehandbag)I also like the bubble/pepple like chairs and tables on the 8th floor, not that I've ever seen people actually "lounge" there:
SIDE hallway (onemorehandbag)The drawback of all the design, though, is that you tend to feel you're spoiling the concept if your own appearance isn't quite as streamlined as the interior decoration theme. In other words: I'd definitely leave the flannel PJs with teddy-bear print at home.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Quick and Healthy Sunday Lunch

I actually got the inspiration for this from the PP, who served me salmon filets with cherry tomatoes with new potatoes on the side. She used fresh salmon, which definitely tastes better, but as this was quite a spontanteous lunch today, I just had frozen filets, which were not bad, either. In any case, this is a super-easy meal, ready in about 30 minutes.

Salmon-Parcels with Vegetables

Ingredients (per person)
1 filet of salmon, preferably fresh
5 or 6 cherry tomatoes
1/4 yellow pepper
a few roses of broccoli and/or cauliflower (fennel would also be nice)
olive oil
2 slices of lemon
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 200°. Wash the vegetables. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and dice the pepper. I'm not a big fan of peppers, by the way, but I quite like the yellow ones, if only for their bright colour. Blanch the broccoli or cauliflower in salted water, then drain and rinse with cold water. Prepare a rectangle of aluminium foil (approx 40 cm in length) and put the vegetables in the centre. Season with salt and pepper. I didn't have any fresh herbs at hand, but rosemary or lemon thyme would go really well with it. Put the salmon filet on top of the vegetables and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Add two slices of lemon and close the parcel, tightly scrunching the aluminium foil together. Leave in the oven (I had mine on convection/fan setting) for 20 minutes. Open carefully and slide the contents of the parcel on a plate, trying to leave the greater part of the juice in the foil. Serve with rice or potatoes. I made jasmine rice and sprinkled some black sesame on top.

vegetables in aluminium foil (onemorehandbag)veggie parcels

parcel with salmon (onemorehandbag)... with frozen salmon filet on top

salmon with veggies lunch (onemorehandbag)the finished meal

I also tested my KitchenAid this weekend, first for a batch of matcha macarons (much better!) and then for a healthy-ish (I used half spelt flour...) apple cake with crumble. I'm very pleased with the performance, I have to say.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

So What?

Kelly's Microwaves (onemorehandbag)Austrian snack manufacturer Kelly's are currently running TV ads and print campaigns for their new product, "microwaves", which are marketed as the "quickest side-dish of the world". Yawn. It's essentally microwaved crinkle-cut potato crisps marketed as the perfect side dish for anything you could possibly imagine (as detailed in the really annoying rap sung by a boy in the TV commercial). Come again? Kelly's marketing department must have been really bored in order to come up with this brainwave.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Eagle Has Landed!

my sexy kitcheaid (onemorehandbag)
Last night, I took my new gadget home by taxi (I had it sent to the office and it weighs a hefty 12 kgs). If you don't find it as sexy as I do, you better stop reading right away. For me, it's the kitchen appliance equivalent of a Vespa 50S.

I have wanted a KitchenAid for absolutely ages. When 3 friends recently got one and could not stop listing its virtues, I decided I had to have one without further delay. Thanks to the comparatively "cheap" prices at Amazon and a recent bonus, nothing could stop me.

I can't wait to mix perfect doughs and the fluffiest meringues imaginable.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Getting There...

matcharons attempt (onemorehandbag)
Introducing matcharons (still in beta)

Last night, I decided to use up the rest of the hard-to-judge quantity of egg whites to make my vision of matcha macarons, matcharons, reality. Well, even though I had bought a piping sack, the consistency was too runny again and so I decided to do a quick version and just pour the whole mix on a baking sheet and then cut out cookies afterwards. The fact that it was already 9 p.m. and I was trying to follow Desperate Housewives at the same time did not help much, but despite the cheating with the cutters (no flour this time), the finished product tastes really delicious and just as I had wanted it to. Again, I closely followed Anne's recipe, using less sugar this time and added a teaspoon of matcha powder to the cookie ingredients. The filling is dark chocolate cream. I will post when they look as perfect as I want them to be.

PS: My KitchenAid has just been delivered!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Yep, Size DOES Matter

I had 6 egg whites left from the creme brulée last weekend, which I definitely didn't want to go to waste. Being a great fan of macarons, I decided to give them a try. Well...they turned out sort of "radioactive" looking, i.e. rather huge and flatter than I would have liked:

mega macarons (onemorehandbag)Although the recipe really was as easy as Anne claimed, the problem was that a) only three egg white were needed and it was hard to divide the 6 that were all in one bowl together and that b) I don't own a piping bag, having thrown out my old one years ago. I could tell that the almond-meringue was too runny and so cheated by adding just a bit of flour. Well, they still tasted really good even though they are at least twice the size of your regular shop-bought macaron and therefore look much less sexy. I'm definitely going to make them again , though using exactly 3 egg yolks next time and matcha-mad as I am at the moment I'm planning to create "matcharons" - watch this space!

Friday, March 05, 2010

A Good Match(a)

Last Friday, I indulged in a bit of "tea-ceremony" - I ate half of my last self-imported matcha KitKats and had a cup of Japanese green tea.
matcha snack (onemorehandbag)
To be honest, much as I love matcha, I'm not that crazy about the KitKats as these are basically matcha-infused white chocolate and I'm not a big fan of white chocolate at all, finding it much too sweet. On the subject of Japanese KitKats - you can find everything about all the crazy Japanese variations on this blog which I recently discovered.

Speaking of matcha - the Gazelle gave me a small bar of matcha and sesame drinking chocolate by famous Austrian chocolatier Zotter. Now I have a theory about Zotter chocolates: people (myself included) mainly buy these to give away as gifts as they have a certain reputation as being good and upmarket chocolate. With the exception of really yummy chocolate-coated nuts, I have yet to taste a Zotter chocolate I like. The same holds true for other fancy (and very expensive chocolates) with unusual ingredients - I really appreciate good chocolate from the likes of Valrhona and don't bat an eyelid when spending € 5 and more on a bar of chocolate, but I much prefer traditional combinations which definitely don't include vegetables, cheese or other strange ingredients. Plus I absolutely detest candied ginger in my chocolate, which I have often been given by people who know that I'm otherwise crazy about ginger. I drink a ginger and lemon herbal infusion every day, love fresh ginger and always order an extra side dish of pickled ginger when eating sushi, but I really hate the taste of candied ginger.

Well, the matcha hot chocolate was predictably sweet (white chocolate, see above) and had a rather dominant sesame taste, but it was not bad and the Empress rather liked it:
matcha chocolate (onemorehandbag)
In any case, it was very nice gift, accompanied by a La Durée macaron from Xocolat, one of Vienna's best chocolate shops. They have an absolutely amazing selection and LD macarons on top.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Rainy Day has Come

...when I said I would post the pictures of last Saturday's excursion to Neusiedler See. Well, technically, it hasn't rained (yet) today, but it definitely has cooled down and winter seems determined to put spring in her place again.

my own shadow (onemorehandbag)
They call me the shadow woman...

Hello?Anybody home? (onemorehandbag)
Hello? Anybody home?

on the rocks (onemorehandbag)
Duck on the rocks

looks almost like the sea (onemorehandbag)
We like to pretend it's the sea

sundowner (onemorehandbag)

Monday, March 01, 2010


So on Sunday night the diminished book club - there were just 3 of us - met chez moi. As I have mentioned before, I wanted to cook "Japanese" food. Well, I tried my best, even if it wasn't up to Japanese standards and I don't even pretend it was. I even prepared Japanese and other Asian snacks:
Asian snacks (onemorehandbag)
The meal started with miso soup, which would of course have been served at the end of the savoury dishes had it been an authentic Japanese meal.
miso soup (onemorehandbag)The second course were maki (filled with avocado, cucumber and pickled Japanese plum, shiso ume):
homemade maki (onemorehandbag)The main course was udon noodle salad which I adapted from this recipe.
udon salad (onemorehandbag)
The dessert was my own creation, because I wanted to make something with matcha: matcha Crème brûlée. I used lactose-free milk and cream because one of the girls is lactose intolerant. I was pretty pleased with the result as the matcha flavour was very subtle and you could still taste the creaminess of the dairy ingredients.
matcha creme brulee (onemorehandbag)
They say that the good thing about Asian cuisine is that it is so light. Weeeell, it sort of depends on the quantities and I have to say we were pretty full last night.
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