Twelve Things: November's Bread

One of my favourite things about travelling is eating the local cuisine and back in 2011 I got a taste for the delicacies of Israel. One thing I can't get out of my mind is the aubergine starter from Puaa, the vintage-styled cafe in Jaffa flea market. I was so excited to receive Jerusalem by Yotam Ottelenghi from Lauren for my birthday, full of delicious recipes to try and stories about the history of food from this polemic part of the world.

The first thing I wanted to have a go at was the krantz cake or babka. My attempts at bread in the past  haven't been 100% successful but I thought I'd give it a try. The sweet dough was prepared the night before and left to rise in the fridge overnight. To my delight it had risen, so I got on with preparing the chocolate sauce for the middle. After spreading it across the rolled out dough, you roll it up, slice it down the middle (serrated edged knives really help), plait the two pieces over and place in a loaf tin ready to rise some more, before baking. I must admit I was super pleased with how it turned out, and I think those who tasted it were pretty happy too. Definitely one to give a go, and once my Christmas present of a KitchenAid arrives, there'll be no stopping me!

PS. Don't you think Lottie, the local cat who liked to pop by and sleep on our chair, matches the krantz cake?!


Neues Museum

One of the highlights of our trip to Berlin was visiting the Neues Museum, which reopened five years ago following its renovation by David Chipperfield Architects. The museum had suffered substantial bomb damage during the war and had sat untouched until the 80s. The architectural intervention is possibly the most beautiful and well done I have seen, the way the old meets new has been sensitively and cleverly done and the detailing is incredible. I only hope my photos do it justice. I think we're really lucky in the UK that our museums are free for all to enter, but the entrance fee to see the building and fascinating Pre and Early-History exhibits, including the sculpture of Nefertiti, is well worth it. A must visit if you're in Berlin.


Brrrr in Berlin

It had been six years since my last trip to Berlin, and this one was to celebrate a few milestones: Dan's big 3-0, his becoming an architect, and us putting up with each other for the past 3 years! We arrived on a Thursday lunchtime to the realisation that minus temperatures had also just turned up too. Never to be put off by bitter winds we started a jam packed weekend of tourism: warming up with Gluhwein at the Christmas markets in Gendarmenmarkt and Charlottenburg Schloss, brunch in the rotating restaurant of the Fernsehturm, winding our way up the Reichstag dome, visiting the Checkpoint Charlie museum, exploring the tombs of the Holocaust Memorial, checking out the stall at the Mauerpark flea market, walking along the wall and seeing the great architecture and exhibits of the Neues Museum. It's incredible to believe that the history of this city is still so young and from what we hear it's an ambitious city where people think you can do anything.


Twelve Things: October's Cardigan

On the announcement of a little person joining the family, it was the perfect opportunity to get my knitting needles out and make a tiny item of clothing. I bought Rowan's Just Baby book, which has some gorgeous, modern patterns, and I was particularly enamoured by the cardigan on the front cover. Perhaps a bit advanced for my current skills, I loved the yarn colour so picked a moss stitch cardi and got started. Over the next couple of months I worked through the different pieces of the garment and by October I was near completion with an age deadline to meet too - these babies do grow fast! Even though it's a small piece of clothing, I've learned a lot about putting the pieces together and the importance of taking time in making up the garment. After all the effort, I was so pleased with how the cardigan turned out with the four, cute buttons and rolled up sleeves…plus little Penny looks great in it too.


Glimpses and Glances

On the drive back from Devon back in August, we stopped off at Stourhead. The gardens came into my consciousness not long after I started studying architecture when we did a landscape project. During the history lectures, Stourhead stuck in my mind. The landscape was designed with a lake at its centre and from pathways around the edge you can peek through the strategically planted and beautiful maintained vistas, glancing towards the follies that are spread throughout the gardens. I was gasping wow the whole time and you can imagine it is a delightful place to be at any time of year.


Twelve Things: September's New Job

As the year is drawing to a close, I am quite impressed with myself that I have been able to keep up with doing something new each month. Sometime it's planned, other times I think "oh that fits the bill quite well" and September would adhere to the latter.

After a number of years on and off at my old practice I decided it was time for pastures new. When you've made friends and learned a great deal, it's a hard decision to go, but career wise it was time for a change. So in September I started at a new, much smaller architecture studio, both excited and nervous, but definitely ready to learn, learn, learn.

For me the most exciting thing is getting to go on site to see what you have designed and worked on come to life, off the page or computer screen, and become a living, breathing building that people are going to occupy. Every day I'm learning something new, and well as bringing parcels of my existing knowledge to the equation, and really enjoying the challenge everyday.


Curiosity at Kew

Autumn had just arrived when we ventured along to Kew Gardens in September, which feels a world away now that the temperature has dropped on November's arrival. It's a beautiful spot on the outskirts of the city, and with gardens so vast that even if it is busy you might not see anyone for a while. The smell inside the Palm House reminded me of when my grandparent's used to take us to Wisley when we were little; some happy nostalgia. We even made it up into the tree tops, and as one who has mild vertigo it was well worth the trip into the sky to see the views all around, even if the walk ways swayed in the wind…! A great end to a fun weekend with the gals!