SEPTEMBER LATELY (& bake off week 2+3)
hi friends! some happenings of the past couple of weeks…
maybe it’s the back to school fervor combined with more time than usual before all my courses start again, but i’ve been positively swept up in a very literary and studious obsession lately. between furiously reading the best book i’ve read in years and trying to finish my german course book from the summer before my lessons begin next week (with a bit of herbal studies sprinkled in when time allowed), september has been very scholarly for me. of course, the amount of language study still can’t compare with doing the intensive course and homework last month, but i’ve still been averaging over an hour a day (sometimes two or more). i’m a maniac right now.
this will definitely need to stop come october because i’ll have absolutely no time for a regimen like that anymore, but it’s been a fun way to get back to a more studious and diligent head-space to start the year. and once you’re on a roll, what’s the sense to call it quits?
THE PERFECT DAY OUT ALONE
as i know we’re going to lose this summer warmth any minute here in south bohemia, i’ve also been trying to balance things out by spending a load of time soaking up the warm rays: from markets, to forests walks, to last sunday in hluboka as i went out for a day out alone to see the
česko krajina malba exhibition at the alšova galerie (before it ends at the beginning of october), a picnic in front of the chateau, and an herbal workshop. i had such a great time that i think i’ll head back there this week to spend even more time. the forested areas around the hluboka chateau are so lush and beautiful – i can’t think of a better place for a stroll. it was a former hunting retreat chateau, so you can easily imagine hunters out and about around these grounds a hundred and fifty years ago or so.
this week i have joined a ladies’ choir! i am so so pleased to have found the perfect choir for me to get back into one of my major hobbies which has been recently relegated only to karaoke bars – singing! i am honestly beside myself with joy to be joining – i have tried to join a choir here in the past (that just sort of fell through) as it has been a hole in my life creatively that needed to be filled.
i feel far more comfortable joining a czech group, probably thanks in large part to the dance classes i took this past winter. it’s funny that big block we have many things (activities, doctors, etc etc) need to be in english but i’ve finally found how untrue that is. the year of music continues…
this past week, i’ve been featured on ashley abroad, one of the longest-running expat blogs i can even remember (who doesn’t know of ashley?) in this super-fun interview where i talk random bits and bobs about living in the czech republic. i love how it’s put together – i just want to read all of them in this series! do pop over there and take a look…
BAKE OFF BAKE ALONG WEEK 2 & 3
onward to recent bakes for the “bake off bake along”: week number two was cake week, and i chose the “tray bake” signature challenge. it seemed pretty vague – just a “tray bake”, or something like a sheet cake in american english, i suppose. it should have had a sponge, but my spiced pear cake based on this recipe was nowhere near spongey! alex enjoyed it more than i did as it was such a simple, boring batter. probably wouldn’t bake again. i was disappointed that all of the spice was in the pear topping and not in the cake! another reason to give me courage to go “off recipe” more.
bread week (#3) was last week and i was so pleased at having the option to do a savory bake– you end up having too many sweets around if you do a baking challenge– so i definitely chose the technical challenge of garlic naan bread. previously i’ve always made my naan from a quick, slopped together dough and fried them on the stove, but man, how baked naan is so much better! using the official garlic naan recipe from the great british bake off website, i also added garlic in the dough. essentially, it tasted amazing.
i brought it to a dinner party along with freshly made babaganoush (to which everyone said – baba ga-what?), a middle-eastern lemony aubergine (aka, eggplant) spread which always goes well with some sort of pita or naan, cut into serving-size strips. how could i lose? this is definitely my best bake out of the first three weeks, so let’s hope it’s just going up from here!
ALL THE GOOD FOOD
having more free time than usual, i’ve also been enjoying cooking more time-consuming and complicated recipes than i would tackle on a typical weeknight. i found kale at the saturday market last week and snatched it up (no really, you have to get there early and snatch if you’re going to take home any, as i was joking about with some fellow kale-snatching ladies), and therefore could make my absolute favorite.dish.ever: sri lankan beetroot curry with kale mallung and brown rice. you won’t find a more flavorful, healthy dish anywhere else. i dare you!
– i’ve been successful at today’s disney x cath kidston launch of the snow white collection! after i sadly missed out on the alice in wonderland collection, i definitely wanted to be a part of this one!
– i’m almost entirely off coffee which has been so much better for me than chugging it daily just because it was there. this was a definite summer camp habit but i noticed a big change as soon as i cut it out cold turkey after my anxiety bout this summer. hello decaf, my old friend…
– i’ve got extremely into essential oils over the summer! i’ve found two companies i like but i’m still not sure how i feel about MLM companies and a sponsor – whether to go with this option or not. any oily people here? i’d love to hear your thoughts and feelings on this!
in closing: autumn list written out: i’m ready! happy equinox to you all this weekend and hope you’re enjoying those precious last summer days as well!