Nov 222015

As ever I have great intentions of posting things, things I like, thoughts of stuff I’ve watched or played or seen; but I never actually get around to doing it. An additional task on a long list of things I feel I should be doing but never actually do.

Anyway, live is pootling along as ever. The kids are growing up quickly and once again I’m mulling over some bits I’d like to build for Apple’s iOS. I keep starting both, redoing (and basically repeating) the design, beginning the coding before abandoning it because … well … life. Maybe one day I will finish them; maybe one dig pigs will fly.

Nov 252012

We eat pizza pretty much once a week, these days it tends to be homemade though we occasionally still order from Smileys. (more when the kids pester for Smileys pizza brotchen or when guests) There is something nicer about making it yourself as you can control the amount of sauce, how thick the base is, the quantity of toppings and the amount of cheese.

For me I’ve always preferred a thin base, I’m not eating pizza to eat a wodge of bread so I want as thin as possible and while I like a ton of sauce I don’t like a lot of cheese. The only thing I miss out on is the nice beef that Smileys use, I haven’t worked out what sort of spice they add to it but it sure is tasty.

We use two recipes that are available of the Thermomix forum, the first for the tomato sauce is easy as pie:

Garlic Pizza Saucesource

For the ingredients you’ll need:

      Around 425g of tomatoes (or a bit more, we used 490g today)


      2 cloves of Garlic (we tend to use 3-4)


      8 dessertspoons tomato purée


    4 dessertspoons brown sugar

Then to make the sauce

      The blitz the garlic for 5 seconds at speed 7.


      Scrape down the sides of the bowl.


      Again blitz for 5 seconds at speed 7.


      Add tomatoes, tomato purée and brown sugar to the bowl.


      Set timer for 20 minutes, temperature to Varoma and speed to 1.


      As one of the kids is now eating the sauce I tend to blitz the final sauce for 10 seconds at speed 7-8 to destroy any pieces of tomato that might still be there


    Scrape the sauce out of the Thermomix bowl into a different bowl to cool

While the sauce is cooling, assuming you don’t have a second TMX bowl, give the bowl a quick rinse and make the dough. (or cheat and make it earlier. We now have a second bowl so I make the dough first, switch bowls and make the sauce)

Thin and Crispy Pizza Doughsource


      170g of Water


      1tsp salt


      1tsp sugar


      7g of packet yeast


    260g plain flour

Making it is a breeze

      Add 170g of water to the Thermomix bowl, set temp to 37°c for 1-3 minutes on speed 1 (depends on outside temp how long it takes to hit 37°c)


      Add the salt, sugar and yeast avoiding the blades. Mix together on speed 1 for 1 minute.


      Add the flour, mix for 20 seconds on speed 5. You may need a dash or two of water to get the right consistency.


      Set timer for 2 minutes, and select the knead function.


      Finally turn the dough out of the bowl and roll to your desired pizza size. To quote

One mix makes 2 really big bases or 3 medium bases. I use this recipe for pizza pockets as well and it easily makes 10.

We use it two make 4 pizzas: two larger and two smaller for the kids.

When your ready, spread the sauce onto the bases, add your toppings and cheese and cook for 5-8 minutes in the oven. (we use the Fan function, 230°c, and put it in towards the bottom) There you have it, yes a little effort but scrumier than store bought and a fraction of the price.



In the off chance your interested, our tastes on toppings are a bit varied:

Toby has no sauce, with minced beef, bacon and grated mozzarella
Mareike has sauce, cheese and occasionally salami
Bob has sauce, red and yellow peppers, minced beef, grated mozzarella & Italian herbs (sometimes chicken)
Rob has sauce, grated mozzarella, sometimes a little bacon, sometimes spiced minced beef, plain chicken or chicken tikka, or prosciutto and pizza spice

Aug 282010

Mareike playing in hospital

Mareike playing in hospital

I’ve had a few questions asking how Mareike is and I promised an update. I figured this blog post would be best to get the general information out 🙂

Mareike herself is fine though slightly more clingy to mummy than normal, in part because she got to spent a fair chunk of 2 days with just mummy.

The prognosis so far is that she possibly has “Focal Epilepsy” which is a partial form of epilepsy. On the Wednesday Mareike had an EEG done where she was supposed to be being active and puffing lots, in part to try and trigger what might have happened.

When they looked at the results later they noticed some odd signals in her right occipital lobe. This coupled with a number of similar ish incidents over a year ago (some of you may remember my panicked Tweets/Facebook updates when she was between 1.5 & 2.5yo) and a couple of video clips of her being quite vacant and out of character (again from that time period) they are going to investigate further.

On Tuesday they will be doing an MRI scan, for which she will be getting a general anaesthetic, to see if they can see anything in there that might be a cause or trigger. She will then go see a Doctor a few weeks later for another EEG (about an hour) where they will repeat the under strain test and we will can discuss where we will go forward in terms of monitoring / treatment.

For now they are happy for her to carry on as normal, though maybe taking it slightly easier and we should keep an eye out for any unusual behaviour (like vacantness).

I won’t speak for Bob but I’m happy with how things are at the moment, we know there is something to watch for and there are steps being taken to investigate further. The care at Mariahilf in Hamburg) was great, as were the ambulance drivers who took us there as they waited for me to get to the Kindergarten to go with Mareike to the hospital.

Plus side for Mareike out of all of this, other than the extra time with just mummy, was that the ambulance staff gave her a rather cute & cuddly teddybear.

Jan 142009

View Larger Map

Its a waste of a blog post really but just wanted to record somewhere for posterity that I am going to miss living in Klecken and this house.

When we first came to Klecken I expected to hate it, I am really a townie, so somewhere as small as Klecken was incredibly off putting but its been great. Sadly we are now only here till middle / end of May.

I am going to miss this house mostly because of its size & feeling of openness in the living / dining area. Basically its huge & once you get used to it, its hard to give up. I need to see if we still have the square meterage for this house as I can’t remember it off the top of my head. Its great for the kids to be able to tear about, (used too) drive a Bobby car inside & build huge Brio train tracks. Admittedly the downside of a large house is there is a damn sight more to vacuum / clean.

I don’t want to leave now, but with having to move because the landlord wants to come and live in his house again, and given that we don’t have a car (nor want a car) then living in somewhere like Buchholz is our best option.

More on this later, plus some photo’s from in and around Klecken once they’ve been sorted 🙂 (Partly holding off on iPhoto 09)

Update, found these two old pics on Flickr of the house in Klecken from when we moved in.

This is the “front” of the house, coming up from the carport. The front door is actually on the side of the building towards the back.

Our new house

This pic is after our stuff had arrived, and we had started to unpack. Thats Toby BTW, who would have been 14 months old at the time. This pic should give you some sense of the size of the living area. (Hard to call it a room)

Chaos reigns

Jan 102009

For those not aware, our tenancy on this house runs out at the end of May and the Landlord wants to move back in. He’s been working for Hapag in its Florida offices for the last few years and it worked out well for us when we first arrived that we could move out to the country and not have to pay the excessive Hamburg rents (well not excessive compared to many in the UK).

So this has left us looking for the last few months for somewhere to live and trying to work out what we want from a house. Things are a little more complicated here because you are commited for much longer than in the UK regarding early repayment penalties. Basically typically it tends to be 10 years, opposed to the UK which is often 2 or 3 (well it was). One quirk is that when buying in the UK, the seller pays the estate agent fees, here we would have to and the % for it varies (though a number seem to hover around 6.25% of the price).

These are the 4 that are really top of the list of those that we have seen so far, 3 of them are only really contenders in my mind but two of those have yet to be seen by Roberta & they suffer from being far out from the center of Buchholz.

So the order in my mind, based on criteria rather than heart, are:

This first one is the best fit BUT not my fav. I can’t put my finger on way but while I can understand and agree with all the pluses of this house it just doesn’t feel right to me. I don’t love it. Some of the pluses for us are that its basically in the centre of town (well 5-10 minute walk away), short walk to the train for Bob, has a spacious guest room and bathroom in the cellar and a fair price. Including cellar its 170 square meters for €175000

This one is my favourite, when I was driving up to it with my parent in laws a few days ago I initially liked the feel of the area. Very green & the roads where quiet and basically all the houses around seemed to have children that lived there; a great thing for Toby & Mareike. Going in this place felt right, I love it and can picture us living there. It does have its problems though (nothing cosmetic though, no work needed): the plot of land its on is tiny and your garden is overlooked by the house right next door (really close), there is no guest room at present though we could add one of the really rather large cellar. Great if you have a car, otherwise its 20 minutes walk (fine), or bus BUT bear in mind that buses stop at 2pm on Saturday in Buchholz and there is no service on Sunday (unless its the rare Sundays where shops open). Normally it would go for about €239000, its currently €189000 because the owners are getting divorced and need to sell the place. Minor aside, we managed to work out where this house was using Google Maps before we knew where it was.

Not a lot to say on this one, we (parent in laws, kids & me) saw this one after the one above. Its nice, smaller plot of land but has a real garden which isn’t overlooked. House is quirky and cool because of it, especially the top floor studio. Cellar is naff, its only a half cellar but would suit some of our needs. Guests could go into the first floor with kids 🙂 Kitchen is great, lots of space, work surface & storage. The downside of this house is that its even further than the above house from town, talking 3.6km I believe. Again yes there is a fairly frequent bus but come Sat afternoon / Sunday we’d be stuck with walking / cycling. One thing is that it would be very close to the new supermarket in the industrial estate which is about 1.5km away. This is up for €169000 

This is the final one I will do for the moment, on paper it looks great. The house is big, the garden has tons of space and its detached. It has some issues though, the bathroom would need to be ripped out before we could move in so that is extra work / money / organisation and we might have to redo the kitchen as well. The decretive order isn’t ideal either, really we (that is parent in laws & me, Bob disagrees a bit) would need to redo most of the papering & ceiling tiling and some other things. There are some decent sized rooms and the price is good €169500 but not good enough in my mind.

NOTE: Regarding the links, to see bigger version of the pics click on the Bilder tab and if there are floor plans click on the Grundrisse tab. Some word translations:


Kaufpreis: The selling price
Zimmer: number of rooms
Wohnfläche: the amount of living space
Nutzfläche: the size of the cellar
Grundstücksfläche: the amount of land the house is built on
Anzahl Badezimmer: number of bathrooms
Anzahl Schlafzimmer: number of bedrooms
Zustand: the condition of the house
Baujahr: the year it was built

For the living space, that generally does not include the size of the cellar, though for the top house they have added it.

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