Let’s talk about CAKE!

Well, the flat-warming-slash-birthday celebration thingy was a success. Jan made guacamole, which was delicious (and also happens to be one of the things on his 101 things list – yes, he’s doing one too). Almost all of my chilli was eaten, and two people even took some home in tupperware tubs so it must have been good. And I made flat-warming cake, which I am now going to share with you, my internet pals, because it’s just too damn good not to. It is also my entry for the cake category of the Belgian Waffle Village Fete and believe me, it beats aubergine bee hands down.

cakePicture number one shows the basic cake, prior to icing. It was supposed to be chocolate cake. It looks more like my Grandma’s Yorkshire Parkin… all dark and sticky. I blame this on the random German syrupy stuff that I used in place of golden syrup. (Note to people living in Germany – if you replace the golden syrup in a recipe with Grafschafter Goldsaft it will not turn out like you’re expecting. Trust me on this one!) Also, notice how thin it is. I expected it to rise more than that, but apparantly using extra baking powder in the absence of self-raising flour (which doesn’t exist in Germany) does not work. Who knew?

cake2Stage 2 in the cake making process… chocolate butter icing. I had to add extra cocoa powder to mine because it was far too ridiculously sweet, even for me. The recipe called for 175 grams of icing sugar with only 75 grams of butter and two table spoons of cocoa powder. 175 g of icing sugar is just insane!

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for… the finished product.I give you Flat-Warming Cake… or what happens when you let a person with no artistic talent whatsoever loose with M&Ms, little sugar stars and the mini breadstick things from those nutella dip cartons…

cake3It’s supposed to be my building, except one floor is missing because I ran out of space. My flat is on there though – the white window at the top. Also, check out my flower. And my tree. I am totally proud of them… in a half-amused kind of way.

Party, Party, Party

I’ve been so busy the last few days. On Thursday it was my birthday (as you all know by now). The boyfriend and I went for a curry, which was delicious, then to the bar in the student residence where I used to live. Jan left at around 3:30am because he was going away for the weekend, but I was there until 8 o’clock on Friday morning. Then on Friday, once I finally managed to drag myself out of bed, I went and bought the ingredients for cheese scones which I then baked for the leaving party I was invited to that night. It was a night time picnic in the park, which was nice. And finally, last night, I was back in the student residence for a birthday party. This time I made cookies and stayed til around 2am. It was all good fun but now I think I’m partied out… at least until Saturday when I shall be hosting my own birthday party….

The list! The list!

OK, before I get on to the actual topic of the day, which is my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, there is something I have to share with you.
According to my stats someone found me last night be searching Google for penis shaped friendship bracelets. I can think of only one thing to say to that, and that thing is WHY?!!?

And now, without further ado, I shall move onto the list.
I am also going to make a page with it on, so in future you will be able to see my progress without having to search for this blog post. Errm, that is, of course, if anyone’s actually interested in my progress. Other than me. Right. Anyway. The list!
I have split it up into sections for ease of reading and stuff…

The Places I will Go
1. Take an intensive Spanish course in Spain
2. Visit 5 places in Germany that I’ve never been to before
3. Eat frog’s legs in France, fondue in Switzerland and goulash in Hungary
4. Go to Europapark (theme park near Freiburg)
5. Go for a ride  in a hot air balloon
6. Go to the Christmas market in Ettlingen
7. Go to 5 other Christmas markets (not including Karlsruhe)
8. See the Northern Lights
9. Go on the London Eye
10. Go to Berlin with my boyfriend
11. Go to Luxembourg
12. Buy a 24 ticket for the Karlsruhe transport network and spend the day visiting different towns
13. Go on a boat on the Rhine
14. Go on an overnight train journey and spend the night in a sleeping compartment
15. Have a picnic in a town I’ve never been to before

Reading, Watching, Listening

16. Read 50 books from the list of books I want to read (which you can find here).
17. Read 15 non-fiction books
18. Read the Little Vampire books in the original German
19. Read War and Peace
20. Read all of the Anne of Green Gables books
21. Read 5 biographies/autobiographies (these will not count towards the 15 non-fiction books!)
22. Read 5 German children’s books
23. Watch every episode of ER – to make life easier for me I will count it down by season.
24. Watch 27 films from the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die” list
25. Watch a film in Spanish
26. Go to the cinema 10 times
27. Watch 5 films from the year I was born
28. See a Shakespeare play (not Oddsocks!)
29. See a German play
30. See Eddie Izzard live
31. See a musical
32. Discover 3 new (to me) bands that I like and buy an album of theirs
33. See 3 bands/artists live (not at Das Fest)

It’s All About Us
34. Kiss my boyfriend under the mistletoe
35. Cook a 3 course meal for my boyfriend on 3 different occasions
36. Bake Jan a birthday cake
37. Go for a nice meal together at a restaurant we wouldn’t usually go to; get dressed up for it
38. Kiss outside during a thunderstorm
39. *Secret* (No, it’s nothing naughty. Just something I want to surprise Jan with. Keeping it secret until after I’ve done it in case he decides to read this)
40. Get a flat with my boyfriend

Getting Creative
41. Complete a cross stitch picture converted from a photograph that I took
42. Complete 3 other cross stitch pictures
43. Hand make 10 birthday cards and send/give them to family/friends
44. My photo challenge! Assign a theme to each month of the 1001 days & take 50 pictures during that month.
45. Make something and sell it
46. Make a dreamcatcher
47. Take a photo for each letter of the alphabet and make an alphabet book with them (A is for…)

For My Health
48. Eat a portion of fruit every day for 2 weeks
49. Do not eat chocolate, cake or sweets for 1 month
50. Be in bed before 10pm 50 times
51. Walk home from the train station instead of taking a tram 10 times
52. Take vitamins every day for 30 days in a row
53. Go to the dentist

Learning and Education
54. Take 2 more OU courses (apart from the one I already have booked for October)
55. Learn calligraphy
56. Learn basic Russian
57. Learn basic Japanese

Eat Me! Drink Me!
58. Find 10 restaurants in Karlsruhe that I’ve never been to and have a meal there
59. Bake 10 different cakes
60. Make jam
61. Have sparkling wine for breakfast
62. Go vegetarian for 2 weeks
63. Make lemonade
64. Drink a cup of green tea every day for a week
65. Eat fish twice a month for all months of the 1001 days
66. make gingerbread people
65. make mango chutney
66. Find a recipe for garlic soup and make it
67. Find 6 recipes that use avocados and make them
68. Attend a wine seminar
69. Eat one meal with chopsticks every day for one month

Because other people are important too…
70. Host a pancake party
71. Host a tea party
72. Give (at least) 50 euros or pounds to 3 different charities
73. Visit someone I haven’t seen for a while (= more than a year)
74. Bake cookies, put them in a nice tin and give them to someone as a birthday present
75. Write a letter to my grandparents
76. Send 20 postcards for no particular reason

Getting Organised
77. Get all my photos from Hamburg, Prague, belgium, Paris and Rome printed and put them in albums
78. Sort out my underwear drawer. Thow away anything that is holey, losing its elastic or just generally looks shabby.
79. Sort out the clothes I still have at my dad’s. Give anything that is too small or I’m obviously never going to wear again to charity.
80. Find all my recipes and put them in a folder. No more searching the entire flat every time I want to make something!
81. Do my taxes
82. Find all my bank statements and put them in a folder

Money, Money, Money
83. Pay off my overdraft
84. Buy a pair of red shoes
85. Buy a printer
86. Pay Jan back
87. Start paying off my student loan

The Flat
88. Get a new quilt to go with my new bed
89. Get tubs/jars for everything in the kitchen that evil moth beasts might be interested in
90. Get curtains for the bedroom
91. Wash the dishes on the same day I use them for 3 weeks

I like making  lists!
92. Identify 101 things that make me happy
93. make a list of 101 quotes that I like. The list can include song lyrics.

Other stuff, or the I couldn’t be bothered to think of more categories section
94. Build a snowman
95. Buy a colouring book and colour in the whole thing
96. Do a jigsaw puzzle.
97. Join trip advisor and write 10 reviews
98. Go bowling
99. Buy myself flowers
100. Release 10 bookcrossing books into the wild… the proper wild that is, not official bookcrossing zones!
101. Leave the computer off for an entire weekend. Not when on holiday – it has to be a weekend where I am actually at home!

That is it. And I must tell you it took ages to come up with 101 things!
If you decide to do your own 101 things in 1001 days list let me know in the comments box so I can come and look at your ideas 🙂

I will be starting to 1001 days on 13th August 2009, which makes my end date Thursday, 10th May 2012.

Organising my brain

There is so much going on this week and I have so many things to do and think about, both right now and over the next few months, that my brain feels as if it might explode. The only way to deal with this I feel is to misuse my blog to write a list of all the things that I keep forgetting then remembering again. Hopefully it will all seem much more manageable when I can see it all written down (or rather typed up).

  • Cleaning. My floor has to be cleaned this week. (Not floor as in thing you walk on but as in thing you live in, ie. in my case ground floor). I am unavailable on the 2 nights they’ve chosen for us all to do together (Tuesday and Wednesday) so I will be given an individual task. This must be completed before I fly to England on Friday. I would also like to sort out my room before I leave. Yet more cleaning.
  • Work Christmas meal. This is on Tuesday evening after work. We’re going to a hotel/restaurant in Ettlingen.
  • Spanish homework & Spanish course. My last Spanish lesson before Christmas is on Wednesday evening. Before that I have homework to do. Must not forget.
  • Job hunting. I still don’t know whether I’m going to have a job after January, and even if they do decide to keep me I’m not 100% sure yet whether I want to accept. Either way it would probably be a good idea to have another option open to me. Must update CV and send out job applications before going home for Christmas…
  • Flat hunting. I have decided I am definitely moving out in March whether I have a job or not. If I don’t have a job I won’t be able to afford the rent here anyway, so I’m either moving into a flat or moving to England. Hopefully I will have a job, which means I’ll be needing somewhere new to live. Only 3 months to go… definitely about time I started trying to find a flat!
  • Floor Christmas party. Taking place on Thursday. There will be food, Christmas biscuits and Feuerzangenbowle (sort of likeGlühwein (mulled wine), except after making up the wine they put it in a big pan, stick a cone of sugar over the top pf it on a metal thing, pour run over the sugar and set it on fire. The sugar/rum mixture then melts into the Glühwein. It’s pretty good and very, very strong!)
  • Buy last few Christmas presents. Nearly there. I only have 3 more to buy. Phew!
  • Finish wrapping Christmas presents… and then hope I can actually get them all in the suitcase without going over the weight limit
  • Write and send Christmas cards. Some of them have already been posted but I do still have one or two more to write. If any of you would like one I’ll be needing your address…
  • Pack. This will probably be done in a massive rush on Thursday night/Friday morning, after the Christmas party and before catching the train. I will most likely be shoving in last minute items as I’m rushing out of the door…
  • Sort out fridge. I’m going to be gone for almost three weeks! Better make sure there are no stray vegetables or out of date cartons of milk lurking around while I’m away…

OK, I think that’s it. The plan didn’t work though. I still think it’s going to be an exhausting week!
Oh well, only 4 more days then I’ll finally have some time to relax.

In which I acquire a social life

I went to a party last night. Just a small celebration, about 15 people drinking beer and eating crisps. It was in my building, one floor above mine, so I didn’t even have far to walk home. J, the giy who’s party it was, had applied to a programme (Fulbright I think) that arranges student exchanges to the US. Yesterday he heard that he’s been accepted, meaning he’ll be given a stipend and sent off to study abroad for a year. I proofread his application for him (it had to be written in English) which is why I was invited to the party. Well, it was a reason. Hopefully not the only reason. So I got my much needed drink… plus several more. Jan and I didn’t get to bed til 4 o’clock this morning!

Then this afternoon I went to meet a friend for coffee. We went to a cafe called Zero. They do this amazing hot chocolate. Erakleon or something it’s called – sounds Greek but the menu claims it’s Italian. Anyway, it comes in random flavours like strawberry and lychee or white chocolate and hazelnut and it’s just incredible. It’s so thick that you can’t actually drink it. It has to be scooped up a bit at the time and eaten with a teaspoon. Heavenly! Really it’s not quite cold enough for such things yet (today was gorgeous – sunny and quite warm for the time of year) but I decided to treat myself anyway.

So I have actually managed to socialise two days in a row. And this is the third weekend that I’ve been invited to a party. I’d better watch out… at this rate I’m going to find myself turning into a person who has a life, and then when will I find the time to blog? 😉

Party people

My boyfriend is in my bed. He’s snoring. I may have to go and prod him in a minute because a) the snoring is annoying and b) I’m starving and want him to come and make food with me.

The parties were good. Mat’s was under the theme of Christmas so he had Glühwein (mulled wine) and Lebkuchen (gorgeous German ginger cake things) for all. He also had the ingredients to make caipirinha but I avoided that like the plague. Hate the stuff! In case anyone cares it’s made with cachaça (random alcohol similar to rum), lime and brown sugar. The boyfriend likes it. I think it’s evil and should be banned. But there you go. If we all thought the same the world would be a very boring place, etc.
I met an Australian guy at that party. He’s from Sydney and is now in Germany living with his German girlfriend. Usual story. So that was fun. It’s always nice to have a chance to speak English. I don’t want to go forgetting my mother tongue you know! (OK, I speak English with Jan but ssshh. That’s not the point).

The second party had no motto, except that Lisa and her boyfriend were wearing Holland T-shirts. No Lebkuchen this time but the home-made chocolate chip cookies made up for that. They were rather yummy I must say. And Lisa liked her presents, which was good. I also met a Finnish girl at Lisa’s place. She was an Erasmus student in Karlsruhe a few years ago, met her German boyfriend during her year here and happened to be visiting this week.
Later we went back to Mat’s place where there were two hardcore party people still hanging around, one of whom was from Austria. Good stuff. Not many people can say they’ve spoken to an Australian, a Finnish girl, lots of Germans and an Austrian all in one night. It’s a shame Kiri wasn’t there for me to add Japanese to the mix.

Right, seriously starving now so I’m off to try and drag the boy out of bed.
Wish me luck…

Feeling popular

I’m invited to two birthday parties tonight. Amazing. You don’t get invited anywhere for months then two parties come along at once.
The first is for a friend of Jan’s. He turned 30 this week. There’s a tradition in the north of Germany that when a man turns 30 and isn’t married he has to sweep the steps in front of the Town Hall until a girl comes along and kisses him free. So guess what poor old Mat has to do today? Yup, we’re all meeting at Marktplatz at 5:30pm for him to do some sweeping. And as the tradition isn’t known here in the south of Germany he’ll probably be sweeping for a long time… Afterwards we’ll go to the party.

Then we’re invited to a second party, this time my friend Lisa. It’s a combined birthday party (for her), leaving party (for her boyfriend – they’re both moving to the Netherlands but he’s going first. She may have another leaving party later on) and moving in party (for the new flatmate). Phew, lots going on there.

Soo, I have a busy afternoon/evening ahead of me.