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The Cycle of Life Calender 2019
 
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On each of the 12 calendar pages I have visualised a seasonal recipe in the form of a collage. This collage serves as a note, mood board or inspiration, as a basis for the later recipe.

The collages and the resulting recipes show the parallels between the seasons and the different stages of a human life.

 

2019

 

The Collages

 
 

This project mixes both analogue and digital worlds. The printed calendar was printed with the collaboration of abcdruck, metzgerdruck, abcpremium and abcmedien. “The concept mirrors the idea of a classic ‘advent calendar’ that tantalizes your palate each month.” says Natalie Rothermel. “In addition to the visual hints, each collage also captures two printed scents of the main ingredients of the recipe in order to enhance the sensorial experience.” More >

 
 
 
 

Follow the creative process and weekly updates through the stories at my Diary on Instagram here

 
A small Tapas Tour paired with 6 Austrian wines
 

The verb 'tapar' means 'cover', and a 'tapa' is a lid. Hence the popular theory that the term goes back to the old custom of putting a lid on the drink to protect it from flies, and that later a small snack was placed on the glass instead of the lid.

Tapas food is more than a meal. It is a lifestyle, it is a social activity where people come together to chat and laugh. 

If you want to try a bit of everything, go to a tapas place – it is perfect. Dishes do not have to be traditional Spanish dishes. This is not even the case in Spain today.

 
 
 
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Lava landscape

Oven baked Nero de Sepia bread and Rice Cracker with seafood

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Tement Morillon 2015/16

Well balanced and fruity wine (chardonnay). Creamy richness balanced with acidity and hints of apple (and slight tropical fruits depending on vintage) pairs well with richness of squid ink and garlic

 
 
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"Risi-Bisi" with chicken

(Grilled peas and chicken on rice crackers)

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Polz Erich & Walter (Südsteiermark), Weißburgunder 2017/18

Fresh and crisp wine, with a touch of nutty aroma. “Würzig” and full-flavored that match well with the grilled flavor of the chicken and freshness of the peas.

 
 
 
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Rambutan-scallop- chili-tartar.

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Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Zöbing 2016/2017

The sweetness and richness of the scallop match the aromatic Riesling with fruity, full-bodied flavors. A hint of sweetness in the wine handles the chili well

 
 
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"Reisfleisch"

(Pork, paprika, marjoram - fennel - rice - cracker and onion-pepper puree)

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Reumann (Deutschkreutz), Zweigelt 2017

An elegant and soft wine with hints of fine red berries compliment the pork and hearty bouquet of the dish

 
 

Chocolate truffle, black garlic

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Heinrich St. Laurent 2015

Cherries and other dark berries, fine tannins and gentle spices in the wine match the intensity of the chocolate and the fullness/richness of the black garlic

 
 
 
 
Mini grilling of just about anything
 
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Chicken Bus:  chicken, pineapple, avocado cream, vegetable chips.

Chicken Bus: chicken, pineapple, avocado cream, vegetable chips.

Tequila Shrimps:  Mini shrimps, tequila, lime pulp, jalapeño, chili, salt

Tequila Shrimps: Mini shrimps, tequila, lime pulp, jalapeño, chili, salt

 
For this we need a grill and a sieve, which we flatten on the ground.

For this we need a grill and a sieve, which we flatten on the ground.

Various vegetables:  Chanterelles, cocktail tomato, mini corn, peas.

Various vegetables: Chanterelles, cocktail tomato, mini corn, peas.

 
Fish spread with toppings:  Grilled fish skin, grilled watermelon, fish spread.

Fish spread with toppings: Grilled fish skin, grilled watermelon, fish spread.

 
 
 

Mini grilling

In principle, everything small or chopped, but mini vegetables (e.g. peas, cocktail tomatoes, mini carrots, mini corn or vegetable chips), small whole shrimps (with head and skin) and meat or fish balls are particularly suitable.

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Preaparation:

Cut vegetables, meat or pieces of fish into small pieces and, if desired, prepare with marinade, wine or any kind of liquor for grilling.

Fish and vegetables cook faster than meat for example, so it makes sense to grill some ingredients separately with the sieve. Hold the sieve with the ingredients over the embers until the ingredients have reached the desired cooking point.

"Risi-Bisi" with chicken:  grilled peas and chicken with rice cracker paired with an Austrian wine, a Weißburgunder.

"Risi-Bisi" with chicken: grilled peas and chicken with rice cracker paired with an Austrian wine, a Weißburgunder.

Rice cracker

Ingredients:

1 cup boiled rice

1 teaspoon salt

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Put the boiled rice in a bowl. Add salt.

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Moisten hands and use a wet tablespoon to form a small rice ball.

Place the rice ball on the baking tray.

Cover with another layer of baking paper and press the ball together evenly. Use hands or a rolling pin until you have a very thin layer of rice (approx. 2mm). With 1 cup of rice you can prepare several small rice balls.

Bake at 180 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

Let the rice crackers cool down and cut into pieces before serving.

I paired this tapa with an Austrian wine, a Weißburgunder. See this and other food and wine pairings here:



 
 
Contrasts that go together and taste even better
 
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When we leave familiar territory, we begin to look for new connections. Not only while eating or drinking, but also in life.

I love to travel, and when I can't, I dream about it. I must have inherited it from my father. My father dreamed sometime in his youth that he wanted to leave Vienna to travel as far south as he could. And that's what he did. With the first money he earned, he first went to France, then to Spain, and when he then reached the southernmost tip of the continent there, instead of returning to Vienna, he bought a ticket in the port city of Cadiz with the last money he had, got on a ferry and reached the Canary Islands after a few days (at that time there were no charter flights like today, and if there were, they were very expensive).

Once there, someone told him that further down south - if you draw an imaginary line to the North Pole - the first thing he would find if he decided to travel on would be Antarctica. So at first he thought about it for a moment. After a few days he got to know my mother on the beach, they fell in love, although they were like day and night, and a little later, as it was appropriate in strict Catholic Spain at that time, he married her, and stayed there until today, where both live together.

They fell in love, although they were like day and night, and a little later, as it was appropriate in strict Catholic Spain at that time, he married her, and stayed there until today, where both live together.


But my father's desire to travel did not diminish. It simply turned into a passion for culinary discoveries within the island. He took us to every restaurant or tapas bar in town that could have something new or interesting so that we could try everything possible. And there was a lot of variety. In this sense, my hometown, and the island, is an interesting place. Apart from what the sea gives and because of the high mountains (almost 2000 m altitude and up to almost 4000 m on other islands of the archipelago) there are many microclimates. There - from pears and apples to avocados, bananas, mangos and papayas - almost everything is cultivated. On this island, which is only sixty kilometres wide and sixty kilometres long, 15 different recognised cheeses are produced.

Gran Canaria is also known as a "continent in miniature" because of its many contrasts. Landscapes that would otherwise not fit together in our imagination are half an hour's drive away from each other.

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The island also lies in the Atlantic Ocean between Europe, Africa and America. The capital is decisively shaped by its port, which is one of the largest in the Atlantic. South Americans, Indians, Lebanese, Scandinavians, and English had settled in Las Palmas and brought their culinary traditions with them.

Novillo Precoz

Novillo Precoz

Toshihiko Sato, owner of the “Fuji”

Toshihiko Sato, owner of the “Fuji”



One of my favourite restaurants, a Uruguayan Asador called Novillo Precoz, is certainly the reason that I think I could never be a vegetarian.

Las Palmas was also the first city in Spain (and the second in Europe after London) to have a Japanese restaurant (Restaurante Fuji opened in 1967).


Las Palmas was also the first city in Spain (and the second in Europe after London) to have a Japanese restaurant (Restaurante Fuji opened in 1967). The reason for this was that the port was an important base for the Japanese fishing fleet at the time (the fishing areas were off the coast). Whenever my grandmother from Vienna came to visit us, we took her to this restaurant in the harbour district to frighten her. My grandmother had big eyes when Toshihiko Sato, the Japanese owner of the restaurant, showed up and filleted Toro tuna or a living Dorada and gave us raw food (at that time nobody thought too much about Anisakis).

The fish was fresher than many things that arrived at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, and Toshihiko Sato cooked many of his dishes with vegetables grown on the island, mainly the crews of the Japanese ships (for whom he had even developed a sophisticated catering service). There was also avocado with raw fish and soya. And not because it was hip, but simply because there were avocados and fish, and they both tasted so good together. Even if it wasn't necessarily considered traditional Japanese. Conceptually contrasting, but harmonious in taste.

From these many contradictory tastes and situations, from the curious relationship of opposites, I learned that sometimes the hidden harmony can be more powerful than the obvious.


 
 
An unusual but wonderful wine & food pairing: Rib eye steak, grated white chocolate and a glass of Malbec wine.

An unusual but wonderful wine & food pairing: Rib eye steak, grated white chocolate and a glass of Malbec wine.

 
 
Sweet and salty baked Memories from both my Homes
 
Above: My spanisch grandparents. Below: My grandparents' house was here.

Above: My spanisch grandparents. Below: My grandparents' house was here.

Home is a memory. Even the smell of something can remind you of "home". It can immediately flood you with a pleasant feeling which you associate with home, however it may look.

I am a mixture. My mother is Spanish, my father Austrian. They live in Spain, where I was born. Today I live in Vienna, Austria.
The first memories I have of my childhood are marked by strong contrasts. They are divided between my maternal grandparents' house in the Canary Islands, Spain, and my grandmother's house in Vienna, Austria.


The house of my Spanish grandparents in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria was located at the end of a beach (in La Puntilla, Playa de Las Canteras) on a narrow lava field by the sea.
There you could feel the power of the ocean, which was crashing against the rocks again and again, and through erosion had created a landscape of bizarre shapes.

It was the place where I played in my childhood, observed by my maternal grandfather or my father, because it was the place where they both went fishing in their spare time. My task was to mix small pieces of bread with the heads of shrimps, left over from a fish dish, with sea water into a spherical paste. This paste then served as bait for the fish we wanted to catch. Meanwhile, my Spanish grandfather, Leonardo, kept telling his stories about the shooting of the film Moby Dick (by John Ford and starring Gregory Peck), which had taken place just off the coast. He had worked with my uncle Genaro on the film, partly because he, my grandfather, had some knowledge of English while working in the harbour. So he could help the film team to communicate with the locals who took part in the shooting.

This black lava field in front of the sea, which tasted of fish and salt and smelled of seaweed, was a dangerous and at the same time fantastic place for me. Dangerous because the surf and the many pointed stones made it an unsafe place for a child. And fantastic, because - while my father and grandfather were fishing - I was practically forced to spend hours alone with what I saw in front of me. And in these forms bizarrely shaped by the lava, I imagined landscapes in miniature form: Mountains and valleys, lakes and lagoons. Distant worlds that I wanted to travel to, that existed only in my head and thus became a playground and stage for countless adventures for me.

 

My uncle Genaro (with mustache, below) during the shooting of Mobby Dick with Gregory Peck (middle).

 
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Pictures of my Austrian grandparents (and great-grandparents)

 
My great-grandparents (ca. 1875)

My great-grandparents (ca. 1875)

The other house, that of my paternal grandparents in Vienna (and in this case the term "apartment" would rather apply), was located in an old and classical building typical of Vienna. My grandfather had died a long time ago, I had never seen him, and my father almost never. He was at least 30 years older than my grandmother. The reason for the age difference was probably the war - at that time there were more women than men. The apartment was like a museum of what my grandfather was. It contained small paintings, photos, letters and documents.

The apartment was like a museum of what my grandfather was. It contained small paintings, photos, letters and documents.

My grandmother had carefully collected and arranged everything, including the first photo of my grandfather as a baby, and also that of my great-grandparents (taken in a studio in Mariahilferstrasse, in 1878!). But there were also more photos, love letters to his first wife and endless scores for operettas. My grandfather, a civil servant, who praised himself as a friend of Arnold Schönberg, wrote - under a pseudonym - scores for small performances and played the piano himself in coffee houses in his spare time. The documents in my grandmother's apartment resembled a journey through the history of Vienna from the end of the 19th to the middle of the 20th century with a certain bohemian touch.

Although I spent my whole childhood with my parents on the islands, my father often took me to Austria to spend time with my grandmother in Vienna. There I had the opportunity to get to know a culture which, although different, had a lot in common with the Spanish culture, and so my grandmother explained it to me.

The famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna was the most visible and most famous example. Or the Habsburgs, who ruled them both in Austria and in Spain. Or the church convent founded by Spanish monks in the 9th district. The monks wore black cowls, and therefore there was once a Schwarzspanierkirche, literally meaning "Black Spanish Church" and then later a Schwarzspanierstrasse ("Black Spanish Street"). There was even a dessert which I knew and which could be seen in certain pastry shops: "Spanish Wind" was the name which, according to my Austrian grandmother, was an old name for what we know today as French, Swiss or Italian meringue or meringue. In Spain they are called Suspiros (sighs), and with my Spanish grandmother we had often bought them at the doors of a monastery, because, as I learned later, these kinds of desserts were traditionally prepared by nuns or monks. Who knows if the Spanish monks living in Vienna could be the reason in Austria that the meringues were also known as "Spanish Wind". Or maybe just because you need an oven as hot as a Spanish summer to prepare them.

Who knows if the Spanish monks living in Vienna could be the reason in Austria that the meringues were also known as "Spanish Wind"

 
My grandfather (ca. 1875)

My grandfather (ca. 1875)

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My grandmother, my father, my grandfather (1952)

My grandmother, my father, my grandfather (1952)

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One of the things I loved to do with my Austrian grandmother was to spend a few days in the summer house that my aunts - Aunt Mitzi and Aunt Wally had. The house was near the Hohe Wand Mountain, not too far from Vienna. In front of the house there was a meadow and a vegetable garden, which at times served as a pantry. Behind the house there was something else that fascinated me: a forest. There I went for walks with my grandmother and my aunts to collect mushrooms (parasols). I was not allowed to touch them because some of them, which looked very similar, were poisonous. So to pass the time, I collected the fir cones that had fallen from the trees. I took them to Spain because they reminded me of the walks and the smell of the forest.

 
 
 
 
The Greater Journey: The Cycle of Life
 
March | Birth. Another kind of Oyakodon

March | Birth. Another kind of Oyakodon

 
 

My girlfriend is from Styria, and we have a child together. An almost two-year-old girl. We often go to her parents, who live in a quiet, almost idyllic village. They have a small vegetable garden and orchard, as well as some chickens. A considerable part of their diet is based on what nature provides on this small piece of land, depending on the season.


To experience the change of seasons, to be happy about what the earth gives us all, the birth of our daughter and to observe how fast she has grown in these almost two years, has brought with it a collection of impressions and thoughts: about nature, about the seasons, about the course of time and about life. In the cycle of nature we can see ourselves. We as part of the greater whole.

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On each of the 12 calendar pages I have visualised a seasonal recipe in the form of a collage. This collage serves as a note, mood board or inspiration, as a basis for the later recipe.

The collages and the resulting recipes show the parallels between the seasons and the different stages of a human life.

 
 

The Cycle of Life - That Recipe on my Mind

12 MONTHS

12 PHASES OF HUMAN LIFE

12 SEASONAL RECIPES

January: Conception

February: Prenatal Phase (Pregnancy)

March: Birth

April: Infancy

May: Childhood

June: Puberty, Adolescence

July: Early adulthood

August: Midlife

September: Mature Adulthood

October: Late Adulthood

November: Old Age

December: Death


 

Recipes

The Cycle of Life Calendar 19

 
Coconut Fisch - Long Tail Boat
 
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Tapa with baked fish, spiced fish crust and coconut milk salsa (or almond milk salsa) on soup spoon

Ingredients for 3

1 small piece of fish fillet (approx. 4x 4 cm)

1 teaspoon lemongrass, finely chopped (or lemon juice)

1 kaffir lime leaf, finely chopped (or grated lemon peel)

3 teaspoons coconut milk (or almond milk)

1 teaspoon coconut chips, chopped (or grated almonds)

1 teaspoon spring onions, chopped

1 teaspoon chillies, chopped

salt

pepper

Preparation of coconut salsa:

Mix coconut milk, lemon grass and kaffir lime leaf and season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil briefly and then keep warm.

Preparation of the fish crust mixture:

Mix coconut chips, lemon grass, spring onions, kaffir lime and red chillies and season with salt and pepper.

Cut the fish fillet with skin into 2 x 1 cm strips with a very sharp knife (the easiest way is when the skin side touches the cutting board).

Add lemon grass, spring onions, kaffir lime and red chillies to the fish and spread evenly.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the oven at 250 degrees until the fish crust is golden brown.

Before serving, garnish with fresh coriander and pour the hot coconut sauce onto the plate. I used Asian soup spoons for this. Since they are made of metal, you can also prepare everything directly in the oven.