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Kiss Me Cake

I know Sonja, the owner of Kiss Me Cake, through our mutual friend Peggy Porschen. We both worked with Peggy in London (at different times though) but we had to move to the other side of the globe to get to know each other. She also worked for Konditorei and Cook in London as cake decorator and it's there where she decided to specialise in this trade.
Coming to Sydney she worked for the French cafe and patisserie "La Renaissance" in the Rocks and "Sweet Art" in Paddington.
However, it has always been a dream of hers to open her own shop and Sydney seemed to be the right place at the right time and so she started "Kiss Me Cake" in 2006.

The bakery.

Getting the order ready.

Square cupcakes - bestseller at Kiss Me Cake.

Off to the decorating corner...

Rolling the fondant.


Homemade chicken soup

We are really blessed here in Sydney with the easiest winter one can wish for. Temperature hardly drops below ten degrees and the sky is most often blue. That's quite spectacular for someone like me who comes from the Northern Hemisphere were it's either grey in grey in winter or below zero, which sometimes leads to snow.

Funnily enough, it feels colder inside the house than outside. In fact I am sitting here, rugged up in blanket and getting cold feet and hands while typing and waiting for my chicken soup to warm up that I made yesterday. It's one of the best dishes in winter, warming and nurturing. I also add small pasta in shapes of letters and numbers to the soup. Childhood memory, in Germany we actually call this kind of soup "Buchstabensuppe" (letter soup) and that way it becomes a favourite meal for kids.

Here is my recipe for the chicken soup or Buchstabensuppe:

For the stock:
1 whole free range chicken (about 1.6kg)
 2 whole cloves
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 bay leaf
2 stalks parsley 

For the soup:
3 corn on the cobs, husk removed and trimmed
3 carrots, diced
200 g small pasta
100 g sugar snap peas

For the stock, rinse the chicken thoroughly and remove any excess fat. Place into a large saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, skimming off any scum that floats on the surface. Push cloves into onion. Add vegetables and herbs, reduce heat and simmer gently for 1 hour.
Remove chicken and set aside to cool. Strain stock and discard vegetables. Chill stock and when cold remove any fat from surface. Remove and discard skin and bones from chicken. Shred meat. 
For the soup, return stock to a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the corn and carrots and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked. Remove corn and let cool a little. Meanwhile, cook the and pasta and shredded chicken and cook for a further 5 minutes until pasta is just cooked. Cut away the corn kernels from the stem and add the kernels to the soup. Season well with salt and pepper and a little lemon juice.


Laterne, Laterne...

Laternelaufen is a German tradition for the time around St. Martin's Day. On 11 November children ,usually in kindergarten age or younger, walk along the streets holding colourful, often self-made lanterns (Laternenumzug, ‘Lantern Pageant’).

Legend has it that St. Martin, a soldier, gave a beggar the half of his soldier's coat to protect the man from freezing to death. Afterwards St. Martin became a bishop in order to help poor people.
Laternelaufen is a memorial to St. Martin and usually takes place on 11 November, in some regions of Germany (that are rather Protestant) it may take place already on 10 November, because it is mixed up with the celebration of Martin Luther's birthday (Martinisingen). In some regions there is no fixed day. In Catholic regions Laternelaufen is also called Sankt Martinsumzug (‘Saint Martin's Pageant’) focusing on the aspect of sharing.
During Laternelaufen children often sing Martinslieder (‘Martin songs’) that glorify St. Martin's act of sharing or songs about their lanterns.

Because of the different seasons here in Australia we decided to still do in winter and not so much care about the St. Martins day. It's so much fun for the kids and drafting and crafting your own lantern is great fun too. We had so many great designs I just to share them.  

Since it's held during winter, everyone gets a warming cup of Gluehwein (for the grown-ups)  after the walk and the kids will get a  snack and kid's Punsch without alcohol. 

Such great creations!

Cut open a plastic bottle and glue translucent paper on it. Lantern done.

Some soccer fans among the dads.

Going back to the community hall for some kid's punsch.

Skiing trip to Thredbo

This was our first skiing trip in Australia and I really liked it. We had a fantastic time despite the weather being quite stormy towards the end. A few colleagues said that skiing in Thredbo was not worthwhile, too expensive and not good enough snow. Expensive it is unfortunately, but that is the same in Europe. The snow was good, no complains here. I think it's cool to only have to drive 5 hours from the coast inland to be able to ski, but that is because my hometown is Hamburg which is far away from any mountain.

A bit of rain, a bit of hale and rainbows all along.

Love the clouds in Australia!

Thredboland for the kids and the rest for us.