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!

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!

Welcoming my first puppy; Zaphira

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First things first: Happy September! Jee – time passes unrealistically fast these days..!

Now, I finally took that one step I have been thinking about for too long – I finally bought a puppy. Welcome home, Zaphira. I picked up Zaphira on Wednesday in Berlin – flying back and forth for one day to picking up this little piece of love. You may have noticed that I am obsessed with dogs and couldn’t wait to get my own. Finally, it has happened. It still feels so unreal when I wake up and have this little lovebug looking into my eyes and wanting to cuddle first thing in the morning. The breeder asked me to choose a name starting with Z – so Zaphira it became. I wanted a name that is not so popular, not so much known, and rather elegant in its nature. She is an Italian Greyhound (which I find elegant in their own nature), 10 weeks old, and honestly the cutest thing on earth. Yet, she is a little chewing devil. The minute she is awake after taking a nap I cannot leave her out of my sight without having to worry she will release herself on the carpet (still need to practice) or chew on something other than her toys. But who can be mad at such a sweet little angel? I can’t! Yet, being “strict” is especially important in the beginning to teach her everything. What are your tips and tricks on teaching the puppy to pee outside and stop chewing everything they see? I would love to hear from anyone with a dog and some puppy experience! xo

A New Haircut – Welcome to the Lob Family

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I did it! I finally cut my hair a little more than usual – and it only took me two years of self-convincing. Not all too bad.

In all seriousness though, I always have to smile at how attached most of us women are to our hair. Cutting it from long (under boob length) to over the shoulder already seems like a huge step. And it was. Surprisingly, I felt quite at ease when walking out of the hairdresser. I guess that I have been planning this for so long, that now I was almost certain of exactly how it would look and no surprises came up. That is, you do have to trust the hairdresser – of course. Funnily enough, although a lot of people have asked me, I did nothing but cut my hair. The whole hairdresser visit took me around 45 minutes; including washing and hair drying it. I think that is the shortest time it ever took me. People have asked whether I have coloured my hair again – and although the light falls differently on the photos, there is no change in hair-color as such. Honestly,I have had some slight moments of doubt though, in the past days (I got it cut on the weekend). I either feel it is too short to do anything with it, or perhaps a little to long. I might need to thus wait a few weeks for it to grow just a tad more, or simply cut off another 5cm. I am very much leaning towards the second option. In addition: Is it just me or do I look more mature now? Surely feel like it, though!

What’s next? The week has started rather busy – then went a little quiet and is now fully blown packed again. Speaking of packed, I need to pack my little suitcase once more this tonight. Tomorrow afternoon I am off to Malta to see the family until Monday evening. I have decided to take a long weekend off – really need to catch up on some sleep and find a bit more me-time to work on my new projects. Speaking of – I most likely already told you that I have handed in my master thesis. Now is the time to relax and do nothing – you think? Of course not! I have already started something new that is utmost exciting to me, is done out of complete personal interest and is all about .. health! I will be telling you more on my next post. Lastly, there is another big, big, big thing happening mid next week and I am dying of excitement. It is something I have been wanting for all too long and now the time has finally arrived. Of course I will be showing you all about it – so stay tuned. If you cannot wait to seeing the news here, be sure to follow me on my other social media accounts! xo

Let’s talk about honesty

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Another week, another let’s talk about seshh..! I have received a lot of positive feedback in personal messages on Instagram and Snapchat regarding my last post – and I want to thank you for that! Also, my views on the blog have doubled within a short time; amazing! I have noticed there are a lot of unspoken topics out there, that everyone seems to shy away from or only talk about in an ideal, oh-so-perfect(non-existent)-way, although it is something absolutely normal. We all deal with more or less the same problems in life (speaking jealousy, cheating, our love life, honesty, work-life-balance, etc.), yet no one talks about the negative sides. Or let’s say that most people try to demonstrate their best side only and don’t want to show the unpleasant side of things. I want to talk more about these things – and bring some honesty (and my personal opinion) to you.

So here we go: Honesty. It is such a simple term and so easy to achieve. Simply be honest, speak with your heart and don’t make a scene that is unnecessary. What seems easy, however, is rather rare nowadays.

Honesty is so important. I am a true believer of being honest – and it is what makes people be honest towards you. Yes, there are always people out there that won’t be honest or like to keep certain things in the dark. That is to say, everyone should have their secrets; it’s what makes people interesting, too. What I don’t approve of, is lying.

Honesty makes your life so much easier. Think about it, whenever you make up a lie or try to hide something from someone, it all becomes so much more complicated. You have to keep up that lie, always have to portray yourself in a way that isn’t completely you. It’s just so tiring. Personally, I am a huge fan of honesty. And quite honestly (ok, repetition on the go here!), I have noticed people in my surrounding adapting to my feature. They say people that care about you mirror your way of acting – of being, almost, that is. Meaning that if you are honest to your surrounding people, chances are they will be as honest towards you.

With all honesty, however, come boundaries we should not forget. If you’re best friend asks how she looks in that new dress of hers – and let’s pretend she looks rather like a sausage – tell her. Now, that does not mean one should be rude, but one can honestly say that it is not the best fit, or that a different dress is so much better looking. Know your boundaries, it’s so important! On the other hand, if you aren’t feeling it anymore with your significant other: be honest. Don’t make a fuss about it, but be honest about your feelings and why things have changed. Again, this does not mean one has to be rude about doing it.

This brings me to honesty in relationships. With relationships I don’t only mean your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or loved one. I mean family relationships, I mean work relationships, friendly relationships and even the relationship you have with your neighbor. Most importantly, look at the relationship you have with yourself. Honesty towards oneself is one of the most important characteristics one should have. If you are unhappy with certain outcomes or lifestyle habits then think about why you are in that situation and, honestly, why you are not where you wish you were. I am fully convinced that honesty towards oneself is a key to personal success. With personal success comes joy in life. Voila, we have the perfect formula. Alright, perhaps not all that simple, but you understand what I am getting at. Everyone is one’s own builder of success and having the best relationships with those around us. Nurture your environment and you shall be rewarded accordingly.

Now, let’s zen for a moment and be honest towards ourselves. xo