September 30, 2008

La Traviata live at the Zurich train station

If you like classical music or simply cool, innovative art events, you might be interested in a project that is live on arte TV right now. arte is a German-French-Swiss culture television channel. They are having a live broadcast from the main train station in Zurich where a performance Verdi's La Traviata is taking place. Yes, in the middle of the train station. With a full orchestra, and a normally running train traffic. It's amazing.

You can watch the video stream online for another three weeks. Go here for the performace itself and here for a stream of the performance from behind the scenes. You can read more about arte at The site is available in German and French.

September 27, 2008

Alice Schwarzer: Simone de Beauvoir

I am currently reading interviews with Simone de Beauvoir, interviewed by Germany's leading femininst, Alice Schwarzer. They first met in the early 1970s when Schwarzer conducted an interview with Jean-Paul Sartre in Beauvoir's and Sartre's Paris apartment. Schwarzer and Beauvoir where connected through their activities in the women's movement and stayed close friends until Beauvoir's death in 1986.

What makes the interviews so inspiring are not only the feminist thoughts and theories that the two women discuss; it's more that they dare to think outside of conventions, traditions or any kind of societal or other restricting boundaries.

Saturday Routine - Stuffed Pumpkin - Rose Blossom Liqueur

Being at work all day during the week, I have developed a certain Saturday Routine. After sleeping in, usually until about nine, ten or eleven, I have coffee and some sort of breakfast in my kitchen and write a shopping list. Then I get my big shopping bag and "hit the village," as my friend H. calls going to the shops in our somewhat fancy neighborhood.

I first go to what Americans would call a drug store, think CVS or Walgreens, only really nice. Besides the usual drug store things, they also carry a large variety of organic foods like yogurt, milk, cheese, juice, chocolate, candy and many more things. This is where I do the first half of the weekend's grocery shopping, followed by a stop at the organic bakery (my favorite: an Italian ciabatta with whole Kalamate olives). Sometimes more stops follow, for example at the newsstand, the pharmacy, the stationary shop, or the organic farmer's market.

Before I go to the supermarket to get the remaining groceries, it is time for the best part of the Saturday Routine: getting coffee at the Northern German Starbuck's clone Balzac and reading the newspaper for an hour or two! The last thing of such a shopping trip is always a stop at the flower shop where I get a bouquet of fresh flowers for my kitchen, and sometimes another one for the living room. Today I got a large bunch of sunflowers for the living room, a last reminder of the quickly vanishing summer.

On some Saturdays I don't have time for all this, or I am too lazy to go to all these places. But when I just go to the supermarket to get the most urgent necessities, it is just not the same. It's not a lovely, relaxing Saturday. The Saturday Routine is a great way to put away and enjoy some true me-time once a week.

The culinary result of today's Saturday Routine was stuffed pumpkin. I had a small Hokaido pumpkin in my organic food box this week. (The box is delivered to my house each week and keeps challenging me with less common vegetables and seasonal foods.)

Stuffed Pumpkin

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Wash a small Hokaido pumpkin and cut off the cap. Remove the seeds with a tablespoon. Put some vegetable oil on the pumpkin and place it in an oven dish. Bake pumpkin for approx. 20 min.

Boil three medium sized potatoes until about 3/4 done. Peel potatoes and cut them into 1cm/quarter-inch cubes. Mix potato cubes and 200g/0.4 pounds of ground beef with some salt, pepper, chili pepper and herbes de Provence. (Adding feta cheese to the mix might be a good variation as well, I will try that next time.)

Fill mix into pumpkin and bake for another 45 min until the meat is done.

Today's wine is an Italian prosecco which I "pimped" with a lacing of Austrian rose blossom liqueur that I bought at a culinary fair last month.

September 24, 2008

Chinese cabbage with bacon and potatoes

Fry bacon and a finely sliced shallot in a large frying pan. Add some butter.

Cut a head of chinese cabbage (German: Chinakohl) into fine slices and add to bacon. Fry for some minutes and stir occasionally.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. When cabbage is done, add some cream (about 6 table spoons) and stir well again.

Eat with boiled potatoes.

With this, I am drinking a Spätburgunger Weißherbst Spätlese Blanc de noir from the Palatinate region of Germany (Pfalz). Weißherbst is a wine made from red grapes but produced like a white wine. Unlike "blush" wines in other countries, German Weißherbst may only be produced from one grape varietal to carry that name. This particular wine is very light in color - you could not tell that it's not a white wine just by the look of it.

September 23, 2008


I've never been sure if I am a blog person. Writing a blog, that is. I read tons of them, but can I write a blog? Wait and see.