Linzertorte – Daddy’s Birthday Cake Recipe

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Happy belated Birthday via this blog, dad!

Last week was my dads birthday. Since seemingly forever, one of his all-time favorite cakes is the so-called Linzertorte. My mom used to bake it for him every year at least once for his birthday; sometimes just in-between during the winter season. It’s also a traditional Christmas season cake in Germany. This year my dad was in Zurich for his birthday – mom joined, too. Because they arrived the night before his birthday, I decided to bake the cake a day before and surprised him in the morning with it and a lit candle.

Even though I am not the biggest fan of the cake, I must say it did go pretty well. The only thing I would note down for next time – the jam: it was too sweet for my taste. It really is important to find a good jam too add to the layer – or, make one yourself. Perhaps something I can do the next time around. For now, however, I wanted to share the recipe with you.

What you need

250 g soft butter / I used plant-based margarine
200 g brown sugar
2 medium-sized eggs
1 egg yolk
200 g grounded almonds
200 g flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
knife tip of clove powder
250 g of your favorite jam (I used raspberry – the traditional receipe idea)
more flour
coconut oil 

What to do

1) In a large bowl, mix the butter with the eggs and sugar until nice and soft
2) add in the almonds, 200g of flour, cinnamon and clove powder – keep mixing
3) heat up the oven to 180°C 
4) spread coconut oil (best to use a cooking paintbrush) all over the baking tin (diameter around 26 cm)
5) add ⅔ of the dough into the tin, spread it equally and add jam on top of it (leave 2 cm free towards the edge)
6) add in more flour to the ⅓ of dough – so much, until you have a thicker cookie-dough like mixture
7) spread this dough onto transparent film, roughly 0.5 cm high – and place it min. 45min into the fridge
8) once fully cooled down, take out the dough and cut it into long strips, around 1cm wide
9) you’re ready to now place them onto the jam in any weaving-style you want
10) once done, whisk up the egg yolk and brush it onto the dough (this prevents the cake from burning and turning too dark)
11) now off into the oven – 40 min straight baking

E voila – there you have it! You’re (perhaps) first Linzertorte! Actually easier than it looks on the photo, I swear!

Note: I was inspired by the German-written recipe on the Betty Bossi website (though slimmed-down the recipe slightly) – though feel free to check out this one, too!

Wildnispark Zurich – My Sunday Stroll

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Since I have Zaphira in my life I started going for walks so much more; naturally, of course. Yet, I get bored quite easily if the routine hits too hard and seeing the same scenery daily really doesn’t boost my imagination nor creativity. I likewise noticed, sadly enough, that I don’t know Zurich as well as I wish I did. I thus decided to try and find new walking routes at least once a month. This Sunday I started with taking Zaphira to the Wildnespark (Wild Animal Park) in Zurich. It’s really quite the nice walk in autumn – calm, quiet, not too many people but still oh-so-many smells that kept my little fur-friend fascinated at all times. I especially loved that dogs are allowed in the area – at least when kept on the leash. Likewise, there is no entrance fee – which was also nice. The parking (when arriving by car) did cost 10,- Swiss francs; though because this money is used to support the wild park I really didn’t mind the fee (it’s a one-time pay for the whole day). For those that want to go more often, one can also purchase a parking ticked for the whole year (for 100 Swiss francs).

I absolutely loved this new scenery (and loved seeing the Moose!) and will absolutely go back – especially to see the park throughout the different seasons!

Driving up to Saas Fee

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If there is one thing that can always sweep me off my feet – it‘s the breathtaking beauty of nature. Whether it is art, design or fashion; us humans usually try to replicate the beauty we see out in nature. Photography, is one of the greatest tools invented. The fact that I can capture certain moments in life and be able to re-visit them in years from now, is something we need to appreciate. Yet, no photograph in my opinion, no piece of art or painting, captures the actual roughness, the raw beauty of what nature has given us. It is our memories together with the moments we capture that take us back in time.

Yesterday I drove up from Zurich to Saas Fee for to attend a training program by a large law firm I work with. The drive up was already breath-taking; absolutely fascinating. The higher I went (almost 3000m above sea level) the more snow was around me. Not the fluffy snow we know, however, it was parts of the glacier, leftovers from the previous winter. Hard blocks of ice slowly melting in the sun with 16°C temperatures barely being able to move the ice. Together with the greens of the grass, the brown tones of the earth slowly warming up to summer and the blues of the sky – the colors couldn’t have been more harmonizing, more inspiring, more motivating.

Saas Fee is a fairly old town in Switzerland with a great history in regards to cars. Cars are used a lot to getting to Saas Fee, but have been forbidden for generations within the actual town. Shortly after entering the town, we stood introns of a huge parking space to leave the car. Every couple of meters there are cute little oldschool phones to call the hotel one will stay at – or the regular transportation service. Shortly after we called our hotel, a small electro-shuttle came to pick us up. I couldn’t stop myself from smiling – and being impressed. This environmentally friendly approach, which so many praise these days and try to incorpate into our lives, has been with Saas Fee for so long.

We then arrived at our hotel – the Fletschhorn. It is an absolutely cute hotel, with great servicing, amazing breakfast and very spacey rooms. I can only recommend it. The wine cellar is huge, the cook received a Michelin star and the view from the balcony of the room, is simply stunning (second photo below).

Today my day is mostly consisted of a conference and team-building exercises. My personal goal is to exploring the area just a little more before leaving again Friday morning!

The Silence of Nature

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Malta. The island isn’t all too big, all too large and rather easily explored – yet, there’s a new place every time I go for walks with my family. Right after New York, and after spending less than 36 hours in Zurich, I headed right back to Malta to see my puppy again. I left Zaphira with my mom and sister whilst I was gone traveling overseas so that she had family around her and wasn’t alone. Upon my return, I received a million kisses from my pup and couldn’t feel happier. It was just what I needed. Malta was just what I needed. In fact, I needed a short break. Traveling is a passion I love and I cannot be happier about the life I am living and about my career allowing me to travel to different places. Yet, once in a while I am just happy to let go for a bit; almost to shut down in order to reload my personal energy again. That is what I did over Easter together with my pup and the family. We were out daily, surrounded by winds, yet enjoying the warm sun that spring has brought to the island.

Generally, there is not much I love more than enjoying the silence of nature. That is, the sounds of breaking waves, the wind whistling through the sails of yachts and boats, the birds humming their songs and wings of bees vibrating so fast you can hear it for miles if you listen closely on an open field. I have learnt not only to love being outside in nature but appreciating all that it gives to us and does for us. My next personal challenge: the ultimate detox and enjoying nature to the fullest. That is, I want to plan a trip in the near future where I will be almost fully offline – cut off from the digital world.

I love the internet. Don’t get me wrong. I love being online and knowing what is happening exactly when it happens and the second a message gets in. Yet, being available at all times, receiving emails and calls 24/7, answering WhatsApp messages in bulks and FaceTiming every night with family and friends can make one feel restless. I’ve come to notice that a break from everything, at least once in a while, is quite the positive change. I now try going outside without checking my phone every 10 minutes – at least for those 2 hours that I am outside with my dog when going for a short hike. And my next challenge is a trip – a trip where I will restrict myself to only 2 short periods of online time a day (to let my family know I’m alive whilst abroad and to check important emails once a day).  I think it will be a real treat for myself. Have any of you gone through a digital detox – is it even possible nowadays in such a fast pacing world? I cannot wait for it!

MoMA x NYC

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Finally I’ve managed it. It’s always been high up on my list. Yet, I’ve never found the time previously to go and enjoy it myself. The MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, is exactly what I am talking about. This time around in NYC, the big apple, I actually found myself more or less free one afternoon (due to a snow storm and all meetings had been cancelled) with my hotel being right across the street of the MoMA. Immediately I took off and decided to spend a few hours in this museum, allowing myself the time to digest each and every piece carefully as I walked through the halls filled with one masterpiece after another. My favorite? Hard to say, though I extremely liked the contrast play in Andy Warhol’s painting “The Supper” from 1986 (top photo) – especially because looking at it I would have thought its from after the 2000s. It’s incredible how far ahead Warhol was with so many art pieces he did 30 years ago.

Yet, it’s hard to say which my overall favorite piece was. All brought out different emotions within me – from feeling blessed and fuzzy all around to being worried about where the human race is heading to feeling empty all inside. That is what I love about Art so much – it has the power to making people feel all sorts of emotions. So I’ve picked out some of my favorites, those that spoke to me with varied emotions, to share with you.

Of course, the all-time famous “The Starry Night” from Vincent van Gogh from 1889.

Tarsila do Amaral’s “Operation (Workers)” from 1933.

Jackson Pollock’s “One: Number 31, 1950”.

Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies”  from 1914-26.

Carmen Winant’s wall of photography called “My Birth” from 2018.

Henri Matisse’s “Dance (I)” painting, which I loved so much I had to buy the miniture poster of it for my own apartment back in Zurich!