Saturday, December 22, 2012

I am ready for it

The reindeer rug is back

This is the time of the year when Cate scours obscure recipe books for the most outrageous Christmas concoctions she can find.

Sure on the surface the recipes are common or garden variety - but she chooses ones that have exotic ingredients that you could possibly find in the spice market in Istanbul – but which of course are nowhere to be found in Vienna.

Although I must say I am much better at finding things than when we first arrived.

So I spend days looking for things like Venezuelan beaver cheese  and Costa Rice crab apples. And then the recipe will call for something like a teaspoon of pine nuts but you can only buy them in kilo bags. So the remainder are stored in the cupboard until they go green and furry.

Anyway – I have broken the back of the  shopping – which is just as well because nothing is open here on Sundays and all the shops close early on Monday.

All I have to worry about is Cate’s ‘secret’ list. This is the shopping that I do no yet know about and will not be revealed until the last possible moment – when she will say something things like ‘Oh by the way I will need….’

And send me off in a mad panic ten minutes before the shops shut.

But I am ready for it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Monika is no longer Frau Meek

I cooked my Penne Salcicce last night using a recipe I invented myself and Cate said it was the best pasta meal she had ever had. High praise indeed. I hope I can remember what I put in it when I make it next time.

Monika – who has up until recently been one of the meekest cats on the planet – has suddenly become an explorer. Every night when we are just about to go to bed she sits at the front door and meows (albeit silently) to be let out.

We have no idea why – but we let her out and she has a look around – occasionally goes down a flight or two of stairs – sharpens her claws on the neighbours door mat – and wanders back inside.

Yesterday – for the first time ever – she climbed into the Christmas tree. WTF?  This is most uncharacteristic and we cannot fathom what is making her suddenly so adventurous.

Of course having got half way up the tree she could not work out how to get out so I had to rescue her. But I managed to get a photo before I did so. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

She is not the girl she once was

On the weekend we found a new Italian deli in Singerstrasse and it sells Salcicce. I So yesterday I bought some and today will try to create one of my favourite restaurant foods – Penne Salcicce. 

I have looked at a number of recipes but fancy I will try to invent one. I have some backup soup in the fridge in case of catastrophic failure. 

We did not have much Christmas shopping to do and polished it off on Saturday and I have finished wrapping them – albeit rather badly.  I am not good at wrapping and they always look like they were put together by a person with only one hand.

The duck pond partly froze for a few days but is back to normal now as the weather has become quite mild again – today it is 4°. I guess we would think this was really cold in Australia but here it means that we do not need to wear our really heavy coats and hats and gloves.

We decided not to put decorations on the tree – because of the black cat factor – and contented ourselves with lights. Sissi has explored the lower branches of the tree but – unlike when she was very young is now to um….. how shall I put it….. well built – to venture into the higher branches. 

I think you are up to date now.

Monday, December 17, 2012

She could be a bunny boiler

Spot the cat

Well the Katzenjammers were not kidding when they invited us over for a drink. We each had a single Caipiroska and we lingered over this for a while – I sucked my lime wedges and my ice to keep it going as long as I could.

After an awkward silence – after I had crunched the remaining sliver of ice -  they asked us if there was anything else that we would like – and we took our cue and bolted.

And we did not mention the dog. Frau Katzenjammer has all the indications of being a bunny boiler so I thought it best if we did not broach the subject.

In truth it does not bother us except when we go outside the apartment into our foyer – when it always barks – but we cannot hear it inside our apartment.

The 12 December was the official start of Christmas tree  selling season – yes the Austrians have an official day for everything -  so on Sunday we went up to our local park to buy a tree from the same farmers who are there every year – and who even remember us.

We bought a much smaller one that last year – but it was still a struggle to get it home and up four flights of stairs.

However – it is now in place – the Christmas decorations and paraphernalia are all over the house – and we are ready for the big day.

There was a golf tournament in Australia last week and they showed it here on TV.  Nowhere else in the world would you see what is a very common sight in Australia – a wallaby on a golf course. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Will we mention the dog?

Sch├Ânbrunn Duck

I heard a shriek of delight from Cate’s study a few days ago and thought ‘Uh Oh I have another speeding ticket’.

And indeed Rozalin had sent a speeding fine to Cate by email with the note that it was for 4 December – when Cate was in Moscow – so had a perfect alibi.

My crests fell until I examined the fine forensically and discovered that it was in fact for 4 November – when were in  Styria – and Cate was driving.

I know this for a fact because she will not let me drive outside Vienna because she says I frighten her. I am not sure why – I am a very careful and sedate driver – whereas she drives like a screaming banshee - and scares the bejesus out of me.

However – I am not sure what the score is now in the speeding fine department but I do know she is ahead – probably by two.  I have been a lot more careful lately – and I also now know where the police and cameras are likely to be located.

We do not have many Christmas presents to buy but of course we have left it to the busiest Saturday of the year so will have to line up for hours tomorrow.

The Katzenjammers have invited us over for drinks tomorrow night so we will finally find out about them. I wonder if we will mention to them that their dogs barks all day and have they noticed? Probably not.