Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Goodbye Germany

On Saturday I am going to be leaving Germany and heading back to the UK. I can't believe how fast time has gone, and I am going to be so sad to go. There are so many things I will miss - my host family, the city, practicing my German, my fellow au pair friend, the amazing ice cream shops... I could go on and on.

I have had an amazing time here. I have not only had massive amounts of fun, but I have also gained a lot from the experience. I was out with my friend today, and she said that she thinks I have become much less shy - something which I definitely agree with. We have only known each other a few weeks - we met when I started au pairing - but I think that this just shows how much more confident I have become.

Moving to another country, even if only for a few weeks, has been really good for me. And I would urge anyone reading this to do something similar. Not necessarily going off to another country, but just to step out of your comfort zone, do something new, go on an adventure.

Freya x

Monday, July 14, 2014

Victoria Sandwich Cake

Yesterday I decided to introduce my host family here in Germany to the most classic of British cakes: the victoria sandwich cake. I made it with my host kid, and despite me making up quantities myself, it turned out really well. Normally you would have two layers of cake sandwiched together, with cream or buttercream and jam or fruit. But we chose to do four layers. It was huge, and cutting it without it toppling over proved to be quite a task.


Ingredients:

400g caster sugar (or 300g caster sugar and 100g Brown sugar - this is what we used, and I think that the Brown sugar was really nice in it)
400g butter
400g plain flour
6 eggs
1 sachet vanilla powder (I don't know what this is actually called, but we couldn't find vanilla extract so used this instead. Obviously you could use 1tsp vanilla extract).
1 sachet baking powder
A splash of milk

400ml double cream
Strawberries

Method:

1. Cream the butter and sugar. This will be easier if the butter is soft, and if you cut it up into smaller chunks. 
2. Add the eggs and half the flour, and whisk until they are mixed in. 
3. Add the rest of the flour and whisk. 
4. If the mixture is too thick add a bit of milk, and mix again. Continue doing this, until it looks about the right thickness. 
5. Add the baking powder an vanilla, and mix. 
6. Divide the mixture between four cake tins. We only had two, so we did two rounds of cooking. 
7. Cook at 175 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes. A skewer inserted into the cake should come out clean. 

8. Leave the cakes to cool. While you are waiting, whip the cream and chop the strawberries. 
9. Once the cakes are cool, spread cream onto the first cake, and then put strawberries on top. Put the next cake on top and then do the same. 
10. Sprinkle a bit of icing sugar on top of the top cake


Freya x



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Nordic Walking and the Opera

Today was a day of firsts - my first day off (as an au pair), trying nordic walking for the first time, and my first trip to the opera. If you don't know what Nordic walking is - I didn't either - you basically just walk normally, but with a pole in each hand (they remind me a bit of ski poles) which I am still not entirely sure what you are supposed to do with. My host mum goes every week with a group of five other people, and she asked me if I wanted to come along. We went for a one and a half hour walk, but it really didn't feel that long, and it was really nice because I got to see some areas that I hadn't been to yet. We walked up to this huge park, and I definitely want to go back to take some photos because it was so pretty. 

This evening I went to the see an opera called rigoletto. It wasn't the full thing though, it was the "kostprobe", which is sort of like a dress rehearsal before the opening night, which they let people go to. I looked up what it was about beforehand, which was good since all the singing was in Italian so I didn't understand a thing. I can barely understand opera in English. I still enjoyed it though, and it was really nice to have an evening out. 

I hope that everyone is having a good summer (unless you are still at school - in which case, poor you).

Freya x