35 Before 35: Mini Egg Easter Cookies

After nearly two years in Switzerland I still hadn’t baked anything for Jan’s colleagues, so this weekend I decided that needed to change! With Easter coming up, something relating to that seemed appropriate, so I found this recipe, bought Cadbury’s Mini Eggs and got to work.

The dough looked pretty with all the colourful bits of shell:

cookie dough

I didn’t have brown sugar so I used ordinary granulated sugar. It seemed to work okay. Here are some cookies waiting to go in the oven:

cookies

And here they all are, cooling on a rack:

Easter cookies

There weren’t enough for me to try one and for most of Jan’s colleagues to get 2 each, so I couldn’t tell you how they taste. They looked good though and my entire flat still smells yummy even as I type this (after the cookies have already left the building). At least there were a few Mini Eggs left over for me to munch on ­čśë

And that makes biscuit number 8 for my 35 before 35 challenge!

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Chocolate Easter Nests

DSCN9420I first wanted to make Easter nests for my colleagues two years ago, but sadly I was unable to find any equivalent of Cadbury’s Mini Eggs. Last year I failed to find any such thing again… I even tried the English shop in Heidelberg, but they had run out. So when I was in England in February, I grabbed two large bags of Mini Eggs. Arriving back in Germany, I discovered that Milka have now released their own version of Mini Eggs… this is the law of sod in action!

There are probably a million recipes for these Easter nests on the Internet, but I’m going to share mine with you anyway… I tell you how to make them in Germany, so my version is totally different, obviously ­čśë

Chocolate Easter Nests

You will need:
Cupcake cases
A box of plain Shredded Wheat – in Germany, use the “Original” Toppas. They’re covered in icing sugar, but that doesn’t seem to hurt the nests
Plain or milk chocolate – enough to cover your Shredded Wheat – I used roughly 150g chocolate to 100 g Toppas (guessing as I didn’t actually do any weighing…)
Cadbury’s or Milka Mini Eggs (or your country’s equivalent of chocolate eggs in a colourful sugar shell)

What to do:
1. Break the chocolate up and melt it in a bowl over a pan of water. Or I suppose you could use the microwave… I don’t have one!

2. While the chocolate is melting, in a large mixing bowl break the Shredded Wheat/Toppas into bits. If you’re using Toppas, the ones with most icing sugar might be a little harder to crush – don’t worry if there are some slightly larger bits in there a this point.

Toppas

3. Ad the melted chocolate to the mixing bowl and stir the Shredded Wheat/Toppas and the chocolate together until the Shredded Wheat is completely coated. While stirring, you can crush any larger bits of Toppas that didn’t crush earlier.

4. Place roughly a dessert spoon of the mixture into each of your cupcake cases and use a teaspoon to push some of the mixture up the sides, leaving a dent in the middle. Be careful not to make a hole in the bottom though!

Nest

5. Place 2-3 Mini Eggs in each of the nests. If you think your nests are too dry for the eggs to stick to, you can use a bit of melted chocolate as glue.

Easter nest

6. Place the Easter nests in the fridge for at least half an hour to set. Once they’re ready, you’ll be able to take the cakes out of their cases and they’ll look just like miniature bird’s nests!

Aren't they cute?
Aren’t they cute?

Now go and check out Manda’s recipe post for a different take on edible Easter nests!

Friday Letters & Daily Diaries: 5ÔÇô11 April 2014

Work-wise, this week has been just as full as the two before it, but somehow it’s still managed to go by quickly – probably because of all the deadlines! I’ve spent a lot of time worrying that I wasn’t going to get things finished when I was meant to, but somehow everything was ready by it’s due date. Go me! Anyway, have some letters and some more detail about my week. Apologies for the huge blocks of text without photos – I’m typing this from work, so I only have access to those that are already uploaded.postbox

Dear temperature. How am I supposed to know what to wear when it’s 7┬░C in the morning and 22┬░C by the time I leave work? Sort it out!

Dear large groups of women on trains. You have your reserved seats, so please just sit in them and let the rest of us pass, instead of standing next to your seats clucking away!

Dear Easter. This time next week, you will be here! (Well, Good Friday will be). I’m sooo looking forward to my four-day weekend.

Dear stomach. I’m not sure whether the doctor’s pills are working or you would have got better now anyway, but I must say I’m thoroughly enjoying actually being hungry again!

And now for the week that was…

The weekend. As I mentioned in last week’s Friday letters, I wanted a fairly relaxing weekend after the stress of the week before, so on Saturday I actually slept in til 11 a.m! I then had a cup of tea and did some cross stitch before jumping in the shower and then heading out to do some shopping – I purposely decided not to watch the Newcastle United match and I’m very glad I didn’! When I came home, Jan and I made tea together (pumpkin and pasta) then watched an episode of Farscape before heading to bed, where we read aloud to each other from Terry Pratchett’s Snuff.
There was an Easter market going on in Karlsruhe at the weekend, so on Sunday we decided to go and have a look at it. As it turned out, there wasn’t much there… mostly food stands. It claimed to be an “Easter and Gastronomy Market”, but most of the stalls were just from local caf├ęs or the sausage/langos/crepe vans that are at every single event in Karlsruhe ever. However, it was also a verkaufsoffener Sonntag (a Sunday on which the shops are open – towns are only allowed to do this about twice a year!), so we headed to T.K. Maxx because Jan had never been. I managed to get a wooden letter holder thingy, so it worked out pretty well. Instead of going straight home, we stopped off at Bratar for yummy burgers – at this point my stomach was actually feeling fine! Then, back at home, I made practice Easter nests just to make sure I still remembered how (I’ll be making more this weekend for my colleagues). I ate precisely one Easter nest, but by bedtime my stomach felt uncomfortably full and bloated, although not sore. Gah!

Monday. I woke up feeling okay, but by the time I arrived at work my stomach was blown up like a balloon (I honestly looked pregnant!) and I had no appetite. It was 11 o’clock by the time the bloating went down and I could actually eat my yoghurt. By 1:30 p.m., I was slightly hungry but afraid to eat what I’d brought with me (it was curry), so lunch ended up being three rice crackers. I also had a sensation of acid in my throat all afternoon, which wasn’t fun! I had promised Jan toad in the hole for tea, and by the time it was cooked I’d managed to get rid of the acid and feld quite hungry. I only managed a small portion though. Apart from cooking, all I did on Monday night was watch an episode of E.R and wash the dishes.

Tuesday.┬á The acid reflux and bloating were back when I woke up, so I decided it was time for a trip to the doctor.┬á I informed my colleagues that I would be working from home and called the docs for an appointment (Jan wouldn’t do it for me and I still have no idea what the receptionist actually wrote in the appointments book – I highly doibt it had anything to do with my actual name though!). I managed to get an appointment for 3:30, so I worked til just before 3 then headed out. The doctor’s verdict was hyperacidity of the stomach, probably caused by stress. So he gave me some stomach drops and some tablets to stop my stomach from producting as much acid then sent me on my way, telling me to eat light foods for a few days and come back in 14 days if I wasn’t feeling better. After picking up my prescription, I headed home to carry on working for a while. It was my grandpa’s 80th birthday on Tuesday, so in the evening I phoned by dad while he was at the hospital so I could talk to my grandpa. His voice was very weak, but I could just about hear him say “Thank you for calling” and “Love you”. Wishing him a happy birthday was bittersweet – he always said he would live to be 80, and now he’s achieved it. That night was pub quiz, in which my team came second. YAY!

Wednesday. I went into work on Wednesday, armed with my medicine. This week was our intern’s last week with us and we were having pizza for his leaving meal on Wednesday. I didn’t think pizza counted as 2light food”, so I ordered Pizzabr├Âtchen instead – little bread rolls made from the same dough as the pizza. The ones I chose had spinach and a small amount of goat’s cheese on, and were apparantly plain enough for my stomach – at least it didn’t protest. I had wanted to get an early night on Wednesday, but I ended up coming home, watching E.R then getting back on the computer and working til 20 past 8 before finally getting round to cooking tea. We ate fishfingers with croquettes and frozen peas because it was quick, easy and at least fairly plain.

Thursday. I woke up feeling incredibly hungry and had to buy a couple of muesli bars for breakfast on the way to work ÔÇô usually breakfast is a yoghurt, but I’m avoiding those til I’m sure my stomach has settled down. The morning was pretty stressful with deadlines galore, but by 3 p.m. I’d finished everything I had to do and was able to move on to a translation that I technically wouldn’t have needed to start til next week. I worked precisely 8 hours for the first time in ages, then went home to sort out the living room ready for Jan’s choir coming over to practice (they’re a double quartet┬á – so 8 people when everyone’s there, which they never are at my place because they only come to us when the person whose flat they normally practice at is away). I then quickly made us a meal of gnocchi with creamed spinach. Once the choir arrived, I retreated to the spare room where I worked on some cross stitch – it’s an Easter card so I really need to get it finished ready to send off! I also uploaded some photos ready to use in a blog post about Colmar. The choir finally left at just before 11 and, after taking my medicine, I basically went straight to bed.

Friday. And that brings us to today. So far, I have worked a bit on next week’s translation and entered the corrections from proofreaders for two jobs due today. Now I’m on my lunch break and as soon as I’ve posted this, I’ll be reading the news before getting back to work. It’s looking like I should be able to leave on time today, so I’ll be out of here by 5 p.m. Then tonight I’m off to watch my quiz master’s band perform – the first time I’ve seen them this year (although we saw him play solo on St. Patrick’s Day). As for the weekend, other than making Easter nests for mine and Jan’s colleagues, I have no real plans as yet…

And that’s what I’ve been up to. Why not join in with Kate’s link up on Diaries of an Essex Girl and tell us all about your week. Just click the button below…
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Friday letters: bye bye March

This is the last Friday in March. Monday is the 31st and on Tuesday we enter April. The thought that the year is already a whole three months old makes me want to cry… how could I have done so little in three entire months?! Not cool! Oh well, at least I have a few things planned for this weekend. In the meantime, have some letters….

Postkasten

Dear Spring.┬á According to the weather forecast, you are set to return. Please hang around this time… I don’t want to have to wear my winter coat all through April again!

Dear scales. Since I had to move you to hoover, I can no longer trust anything you say. Curse you, uneven floors! How am I supposed to track my progress now? *sobs*

Dear boyfriend. I will probably be out when you get back from Turkey on Saturday night, but I’m looking forward to spending some time with you on Sunday!

Dear mam. Your Mother’s Day card will be late because I’m an idiot and didn’t leave myself enough time to stitch it and get it posted in time, but I hope you like it anyway (once it arrives…)

Dear Green Day. I read yesterday that your American Idiot album will be ten years old later this year. How is that possible?! I’m sure I only received it as a gift a year or two ago… (and yes, I was given it the year it came out).

Dear Easter. Why are you so late this year? I want my long weekend already!

That’s all from me for today. Happy Friday! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

*Note: I am entering this post for Kate’s Daily Diaries linkup. Technically, the idea is to write a post about what’s been going on with you over the past week, which I haven’t really done here, but if you read between the lines it sort of is about what’s happening right now soooo into the linkup it goes. To find out more about the linkup or join in yourself, click the button below.*

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Bad D├╝rkheim

R├Âmerplatz, Bad D├╝rkheim
R├Âmerplatz, Bad D├╝rkheim

The weather forecast for yesterday wasn’t toooo bad (at least it didn’t mention rain), so we decided to take advantage of that and the fact that it was still the four-day Easter weekend and go to Bad D├╝rkheim for the afternoon.

Our first stop was in Hardenburg, a Stadtteil (district or quarter) of Bad D├╝rkheim, where the ruins of the Hardenburg castle are. Again, Hardenburg castle was on our Museumscard (actually, it’s officially the Museumspass in case anyone’s looking for it). Without the card, the entrance fee would have been ÔéČ3. The castle was originally the seat of the Counts of Leiningen, but after it was destroyed by the French they moved to Bavaria. Here are some photos.

Bad D├╝rkheim Hardenburg

 

The houses you can see in the background of the last picture are in Hardenburg itself. It looks like a cute little village.

Bad-D├╝rkheim-Hardenburg
Bad D├╝rkheim Hardenburg

Bad-D├╝rkheim-Hardenburg2

Once we’d had enough of the castle, it was time to head in to Bad D├╝rkheim proper. And the first thing I saw there was a red telephone box!

Bad D├╝rkheim phone box

Sadly, there’s no phone in it. A sign next to it explains that it was donated to Bad D├╝rkheim in the ’80s by British Telecom and the town of Wells, one of Bad D├╝rkheim’s partner towns.

Here are some other things we saw on our walk around Bad D├╝rkheim.
The Rathaus (Town Hall)

Bad D├╝rkheim Rathaus

A church – Catholic I think.DSCN2570_modified

A stone tortoise (or possibly turtle?), complete with rider.

Bad D├╝rkheim Kurpark

Another church – the Burgkirche. This one is protestant (Evangelical), but if I’ve understood the Internet correctly it’s no longer used as a church, but more of a community centre for the protestant community.

Burgkirche Bad D├╝rkheim

The building in front of it is a very cute half-timbered building, but I couldn’t manage to get the whole thing in with my camera.

By this time, we were freezing, so we decided to go and find something to eat. This is the place we chose:

Petersilie, Bad-D├╝rkheim

It’s called Petersilie, which means Parsley (as in the herb). I ate the home-made Frikadellen with potato salad, which was delicious, and Jan had Saumagen (Sow’s stomach). I tried a bit of his and it was much less salty than I remembered. We both drank wine, because that’s what you do in Rheinland-Pfalz! Bad D├╝rkheim is on the German wine route.

After dinner, we stopped by Bad D├╝rkheim’s famous giant wine barrel. It’s apparantly the world’s largest, but it was built purely as an advertising gimmick – there has never actually been wine in it! Instead, it contains a restaurant and always has.

Bad D├╝rkheimer Weinfass

We didn’t go in, but through the window the restaurant looked nice.

Side view
Side view
Restaurant in a wine barrel
Restaurant in a wine barrel

Bad D├╝rkheim is not the prettiest town I’ve ever visited, although it does have one or two nice buildings and squares scattered around. I also think it will look a lot nicer once the winter weather finally goes away and the spring flowers have a chance to come out! The few daffodils I saw scattered around looked decidedly sorry for themselves! As I’ve mentioned, Bad D├╝rkheim is on the German wine route, and as well as having the world’s largest wine barrel, it is also host to the world’s largest wine festival. The Wurstmarkt (which literally means Sausage Market) is held in the second and third week of September each year. We drove to Bad D├╝rkheim, but for a wine festival you’d be better of taking the train! From Mannheim, there’s a direct regional train that goes via Neustadt an der Weinstra├če. Coming from anywhere else, you’ll need to change trains in either Mannheim or Neustadt.

Happy Easter!

It’s chocolate egg day today! I hope you all have lots of goodies to savour.
Here’s what I got Jan:

Easter treats

I didn’t get anything so he’s letting me have one of the chocolate bunnies.

We’re hopefully going out for the afternoon now, so keep your fingers crossed for sunshine!

Happy chocolate bunny day!

(Good) Friday letters

It’s Friday again! But this time it’s not just any Friday… it’s Good Friday, which means I get the day off work. Thank you Germany for your insane love of Feiertage! Now for the Good Friday edition of Friday’s letters…

Mailbox
Photo credit: davidbonting

Dear Easter. I mentioned last year why you’re one of my favourite holidays, and nothing has changed since then. Four-day weekend? YES PLEASE!

Dear Eddie Izzard. One more week! I’m so excited!

Dear housework fairy. I need you to come and clean my kitchen, please. I am sick of doing it only to turn around (what feels like) 5 minutes later to find it looking like a bomb’s hit it. Ugh!

Dear weather. Please could you be nice tomorrow so we can go out for the day? I would be ever so grateful!

Dear new shoes. I hope to be able to wear you outdoors soon. Please be patient!

Dear self. You really need to drink more water! And the fact that work provides you with large bottles of Volvic for free there is really no excuse for how little you’ve been drinking recently!

Happy Easter everyone! Enjoy your chocolate.

Photobucket