March Wrap-up

You’ve probably been wondering where I’ve been lately. Let me explain.

There are a few reasons for my absence from coffeerocketfairytale. One is the new Bon Jovi record, of course. It came out within the first week of March and I’ve been listening to nothing else since. I love it (even though I have to admit that it takes some time for me to get used to some of the songs – but once I’ve listened to them a couple of times, I’m madly in love. It always goes like this.)

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Next reason – I have been job hunting like mad. I’ve been dying to tell you this and now that it’s somewhat “official” I can finally share the news with you. My final exams start in May and go through till July, which means I’ll have to get myself a new job until August 1. Actually, I could stay at the bakery where I’m currently working – they offered me a job, yay! – but I’m dying to gain new experience and see new places. I would love to work in a hotel so I’m currently running from one job interview to another and I’m quite positive that in the end everything will turn out just right.

Finally, I have even more exciting news for you: I’m currently working on a new project I am really excited about. You’ve probably realised that during the past year, I had more and more recipes of cakes and other sweet things published here on coffeerocketfairytale. I never wanted this to be a food blog, though. Coffeerocketfairytale is my personal blog where I write about everything I like – my hobbies, things I come across and everything I like. No need to change that. But at the same time, the desire to start a food blog – solely about baking – grew and I’m happy to announce that the day has come. As of today, there is a little corner on the internet where you can find all my recipes (soon) all in one place.

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But there is even more to it. You might be surprised to find out that Zimtzauber & Zuckernebel is entirely written in German. I’m currently working on a way to get relevant recipes or articles delivered to you in English (without writing every article in both languages, because I did that before on my aotearoablog and it’s really a pain…). Also, I’m trying out Blogger, as you can see. Simply because I’m curios.

Apart from Nana’s 80th birthday which I haven’t talked about (and which kept me pretty occupied in terms of organisation and all) that’s about it. I don’t think any of the other things that kept me busy (work, school, exams and work again) would be of interest to you. And this wrap-up is long enough, I suppose.

What have you been up to lately?

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Blog Revamp I

“It’s time to begin, isn’t it? I get a little bit bigger than this…”

Change. At the beginning of this week I had already given you a teeny-tiny hint that I was planning to make some changes to the blog. Very little was planned. What I wanted to do was improving things a little… you know… the odd changes here… minor tweaks there… a little bit of this, a little bit of that. The outcome of what had quickly turned into a full time job over the past two days (and nights) blew me away.

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You can see the obvious: I’ve ended up designing a new blog header. All I wanted to do was getting my categories better organised. Then I started playing around with typography and a photo of strawberry daiquiry cupcakes I once made… and ended up with what you see right at the top. Naturally, I also had to adjust the background colours. And the typeface. And here were are, looking at the very same coffeerocketfairytale in a completely different look.

Other than all that awesome desgin work, there has been a lot of background action happening. Again, it wasn’t planned to take on a dramatic scale like that. But once I got started… I wanted to get some structure in, so I did a category-make-over. You can view all of the categories in the bottom left corner, clicking onto the category cloud allows you to view all posts filed under each category. To make things around here a bit more fun, I set up a whole bunch of new categories:

 

Craft

Art & Craft – All things arty and crafty. Pretty stuff.

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Obsessions & Impressions – I thought it would be a neat idea to put up a category for all the awesome stuff. For everything that is even more awesome than anything else here. The Crème de la Crème. And all my “Currently obsessed with…”-posts.

Eyecandy

Eye Candy – Actually, this is mostly ear candy because it’s mostly about watching videos. It’s where you find musicians (and other people) I admire and things I enjoy to look at. Picture posts, galleries…

Stubentiger

Stubentiger – This is Luigi’s category. It’s where all cat- or pet-related posts are filed under. It also files under “cuteness alert”.

Kitchen

In my kitchen – What happens in my kitchen, stays in my kitchen. And goes on the blog. This is the category where failure and success go hand in hand. The category for dessert and desaster.

Then there is Blogging where all blogging-related posts go (blogging tips, references, posts about other blog(er)s, tech stuff,…) and C’est la vie which files all posts about life in general and my life in particular.

Over the next few days, I want to find a place in the main bar for all these categories. I have a feeling that all this action will lead to even more changes and improvements. It’s fair to say I’m really sticking to my New Year’s resolutions. I’m definitely getting all organised.

New year, new luck

Happy New Year, lovelies!

IMG_2257As you may know, 2012 has not been a very good year for me (in terms of personal matters), which is probably why I am more excited than ever about the change of years. 2013 is finally here and I’m determined to make this year my year. I have so many plans for this year and I can’t wait to get started! This year, I am going to complete my job training as a pastry chef and I will gain more experience in either of my careers – as a writer or as a baker, who knows!? I will travel to countries I haven’t been to or I might come back to beloved places. And I will try to find that positive, optimistic, happy girl I used to be when I was little. I’m afraid within the last two or three years I lost track of her a little bit, but I’m sure in 2013 she’ll come back. 🙂

Change is waiting – but not only for me personally. coffeerocketfairytale is undergoing the very same changes as myself. We are going to be bigger, better and more fun than ever. This blog is (and always will be) a work in progress and if you have any suggestions or anything you want to see here on this little site, please let me know so I can see what I can do for you!

Now, let me tell you about the first big change of 2013: Art & Craft. This is a new category I want to establish on the blog, something I want to do at least once a month (but, you know, if inspiration will strike more often, that would be even better!). Art & Craft will be about… well… you know… art and craft. (I just couldn’t resist putting that out there!) It’s going to be a category where I want to point out D.I.Y. or craft projects found on Pinterest, other blogs or websites as well as my own little projects and I think I’m going to start with that just now (stay tuned, I’m going to put it up as soon as I had put it all together).

Meanwhile, why not have a look at the beautiful annual report the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys have prepared…

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 19,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

PiNight – An evening on Pinterest

Last night was excellent for “pinning” – there was heaps to be found on Pinterest!

{I doubt you haven’t heard about Pinterest – but in case you really haven not clue: It is an online Pinboard on which you can “collect” links and images}

I found so many exciting things, recipes, photographs and now I feel like sharing some of the coolest stuff I found.

But let’s talk about personal hygiene first, shall we?

Don’t worry, I don’t really want to talk to you about personal hygiene, I just wanted to tell you that I quite like loofah sponges (who doesn’t!) – and apparently, these ladies like them, too:

For instructions on how to make yourself a loofah costume for halloween (or any other occassion, like a bath-themed costume party or whatever else you might be up to) have a look here, on the razmataz blog.

Speaking of D.I.Y. … over on “I Spy DIY” is a great tutorial on how to make your own star stamped shirt: {click image for direct link}

You probably know by now that I have a thing for… porn. Not what you are thinking! I’m talking about food porn here! Pretty photography of even prettier food. ^^ Like this:

And especially this one:

Doesn’t it look heavenly? *swoon*

The recipe (and lot’s of other pretty things) can be found over on Jelanie’s Blog, go and check it out NOW!

There are tons of other cool pins I could tell you about but why don’t you head over to my pin boards and have a look at what else I’ve discovered yourself?

Enjoy your PiNight/Day!

… and a cupcake fairytale

Seems like April is study month on coffeerocketfairytale.

I have yet another fun chart for you to look it, except this time it’s not about coffee but about my second great love: cupcakes.

Here we go, a beautiful chart by All Culinary School (via Best Friends For Frosting):

I bet you want a cupcake (or two or three or maybe even four?) really badly now, right?

Well, for some baking inspiration, have a look at my creations (in the ‘small goodies’ section).

For some food porn (= looking at pictures of delicious food you wished you had) try a web search or simply go and see what I’ve pinned onto “Cake Inspiration” on Pinterest.

I will opt for a combination of option no. 1 and 3 – which means I’ll be heading down to my kitchen to make myself some cupcakes (but try a new recipe or even create a new one, depending on what I’ll find in the fridge).

Make sure to let me know what you guys ended up doing!

A coffee fairytale…

… of some sort.

This blog is called coffeerocketfairytale for a reason and it’s been a while since we last talked about my favourite hot beverage, right? (Oh my God, last time coffee played a role on coffeerocketfairytale was actually at Christmas time!!! Eeek!) 

So without further ado, have a look at this fabulous chart created by the amazing people of Happy To Serve You:

For the odd paranoid reader here (yeah, I have to admit, that sometimes includes myself, too): If you follow THIS link you will find quite a handy website that will (hopefully) destroy all your remaining concerns in terms of how harmful coffee can be.

In fact, it will tell you, how much caffeine you would have to take in before you die. Fun, aye?

If you still can’t get enough and want to know more about…

…click either on the image above or follow THIS link and you’ll end up looking at a beautiful chart created by The Oatmeal that will provide you with yet more information about the liquid brown gold as I like to call it.

Sorry to leave you, but I have a déjà-brew right now. The feeling that I had this coffee before. 🙂

In a serious condition

I’m afraid I have to tell you I’m in a serious condition.

I have a blog crush.

For days and days on end I have been staring at the beautiful pictures and awesome recipes on Sweetopolita which caused an almost (identity) crisis to coffeerocketfairytale because all I could think was: “Wow. What a pretty blog. Why doesn’t mine look all this sparkly?”

(And a bit of blog envy too, you know the “She can bake. And she can make it look pretty. And she can take awesome photographs. And she has a pretty blog. That woman must have a perfect life”-kind.) 

Since I discovered Rosie’s website four days ago I already tested two of her recipes (the Super-Duper Vanilla Cupcakes and the Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes with Nutella Cloud Frosting) but it’s time to get back to reality now.

She’s not the only one.

There are plenty of awesome baking blogs out there.

And trust me, I admire each and every one of them as much as I admire Sweetapolita.

Tell me about your favourite food blogs.

And I’d love to hear about your blog crushes, too. (Which girl doesn’t like gossip after all?)

The Pie Challenge

One of the blogs I frequently visit is “Oh, Mishka!“, written by the lovely Michelle who is facing a pie challenge.

{click for source}

She has a list of 25 things to do before her 25th birthday and asked her readers to help her out a bit.

While there are quite a few things that I consider huge challenges for myself (rock climbing, speaking French, etc…) there is one thing I can help her with: pie making.

On Michelle’s list it says: “Bake a pie from scratch” and I couldn’t think of any better recipe than the traditional apple pie.

Telling her about my recipe (from this book) made me want to make my second favourite pie (#1 is still this one) myself and now that autumn is here it’s the perfect time to do so:

350 g plain flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

200 g butter

Mix flour, salt and sugar.

Cut butter in little pieces and add to the mix. Knead with your hands (might take a few minutes until all the ingredients combine, just keep going – if you own a Thermomix set dial on interval speed for 3.5 minutes and you’re settled).

Put the dough on a plate and into the fridge where it needs to stay for at least an hour.

For the filling you need:

1kg apples (slightly sour)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon plain flour

100 g brown sugar

a dash of cinnamon

Peel the apples, remove the core and cut them first in quarters, then in thin wedges. Mix with the lemon juice (this prevents them from turning brown).

Grease a tarte pan (or a springform pan of 28 – 30 cm diameter).

Take the dough out of the fridge and halve. Using a rolling pin and two layers of cling wrap in between which you place one half of the dough at a time, try to roll out the dough the size of your pan.

This can be a bit tricky, but if it doesn’t work at all, you can also place one of the doughs into the pan straight away and use a small bottle or glass to roll out the dough in the tin. (Obviously, this only works for the pie base, for the top layer you will still need to figure out another way…)

Once you placed the base in the pan, mix the apples with flour, sugar and cinnamon and put on top.

Place the other dough on top (pretty much like a lid) and make sure to press the edges together.

Cook for 30 – 35 minutes (middle roast, 180°C).

Then melt 1 – 2 tablespoons of butter and brush it on the pie. Cook for another 20 minutes until the top is golden.

This pie is very crumbly (you will notice when trying to roll the dough) but the dry shell goes perfect with the juicy and sweet filling.

Super-delicious and not so complicated to make as it may sound when you first read the recipe.

By the way, don’t bother cutting little hearts out to decorate your pie like I did here – they will melt in the oven anyway and become invisible, as you can see in the very first pic…

Do you have a favourite pie recipe? Tell me about it! 

Last minute lecture on photography

I’m going to a wedding tomorrow.

Except… I’m not invited.

Well, don’t get me wrong – I am welcome there.

I’m just not going to be a normal guest.

I’ve been “hired” by one of my best friends to attend her sister’s wedding as a photographer and waitress.

{via dpreview.com}

Working in hospitality since I was 15, it’s not the waiting job that bugs me.

During my journalism training, I bought a wonderful DSLR camera – and was able to handle it, too.

Until that fateful day we wrote a test on the theory behind that damn thing – and I got everything mixed up and can’t remember a single thing about it ever since.

True story.

F-Stop, aperture, shutter speed, ISO – when I hear these things I get that same cold shiver down my back I got in secondary school during Maths and Chemistry lessons.

So I just did some last minute research and came across this wonderful tutorial and these brilliant pages which helped me a little bit.

But anyways – what I was originally going to tell you about was my little prezzie I just prepared for the bride and groom.

I think I’m not expected to bring something, because technically I’m staff, but I just think it’s a nice gesture to bring at least a beautiful card or something along.

So I designed and printed a “Congratulations” card and then turned to the Goddess of Baking, Bakerella, for advice.

She posted a cookie mix-gift-idea (called “Cowboy Cookies“) a while ago and I’ve been wanting to try this ever since.

Last week I found some suitable mason jars, so I quickly made up my own mix (changed it only slightly) and labelled it appropriately enough “Wedding Cookies”:

250 g flour

1 teaspoon baking powder & some baking soda

220 g oats

200 g Smarties

120 g brown sugar

100 g white sugar

70 – 100 g chopped peanuts

All they have to do now is mix everything in a large bowl and add either 250 g melted butter or oil and one egg, form little balls and put them on a tray that goes into the oven for about ten minutes.

Depending on the size of the jars you use, you might want to add some more peanuts (or Smarties, if you’re able to estimate the remaining capacity by the time you add them).

Where do you blog from? – Blogging worldwide

Probably the best thing about the internet is that it connects people from all around the world.

Since I started coffeerocketfairytale I got to “meet” the most amazing people from different countries and various backgrounds.

Fellow blogger Mary Rebecca had the awesome idea to start some sort of directory, a list of blogs from all parts of the world where people can find new blogs and have their blogs discovered by other people.

Her project is called “Blogging Worldwide” and everyone with a blog can take part.

Simply head over to her blog and fill in the form she prepared – all she’s asking for is your name, the name of your blog and where it can be found and the place (country) where you blog from.

I love the idea and I’m curious to see where participating people blog from.