The Creative Pause

From time to time you need to stimulate your creativity. From time to time it is good to take a step back and make a pause.
Whatever activity you are involved in will benefit from your stopping and recollecting yourself. The creative pause is like a gentle wind that cleans out old debris and refreshes your mind.
During such a pause things ripen, fall into place, and often it brings new energy and inspiration; perhaps even new directions.
I am taking a pause from this blog. Looking forward to letting fresh breezes sweep through the “Head Office” and I am curious to see what they carry away, and what they bring in.
We will meet again when the autumn winds have passed and the silent snow of winter is falling. ”Wisdom comes with winters”, as Oscar Wilde said, and perhaps inspiration as well ☺

A pause in the forest

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On Kindness

Many things can make the world a better place. As a base they all have a positive approach to our planet and other living beings. Love, helpfulness, care, concern… And at the centre of them all, there is Kindness.
Kindness warms hearts, our own and others. Kindness makes all the difference.
One of my favourite quotes is “Kindness is Love made visible”, found at the Instagram account of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.
This foundation really emanates “love made visible”! They teach, inspire and have great hands-on suggestions for spreading more kindness in the world. At their website you can find an extensive list of kindness ideas, beautiful kindness quotes, free lesson plans and training materials for educators – and you can become a RAKtivist
If we all do at least one kind act, however small, per day our beautiful blue planet will quickly become an even better place to live!
Let kindness rule your life.

❤️❤️❤️

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A Year in the Swiss Alps

Spending most of my time out and about in the mountains taking pictures, I end up having a huge selection of nice photos from the beautiful Swiss Alps. The changes of seasons are very visible here and I adore documenting them.

Would you be interested in following me along my path during a year? I am considering to put together a photo calendar and would like to know if there is any interest among my readers. Please let me know if the idea appeals to you!

At the moment I am looking around for alternatives on where to print them and hopefully I will find something feasible. 🙂

Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter in the mountains….

Spring in Vernamiège


Summer at Lac de Taney


Autumn in Mase


Winter at Le Rimble

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Fruit Tart Frenzy

Years like this, when there is an abundance of every kind of berry and fruit, you need to find ways to use your harvest. Up here we cook kilos of jam (continental breakfast rules), store as much as possible in the deep freezer and make millions of fruit tarts – fruit season is tart season in Switzerland!
This wonderful period starts off with rhubarb tarts, continues with the famous apricot tart, then come raspberries, nectarines, cherries, pears, plums – and it ends with apples.
Fruit tarts are my all time favourite pastry: not too sweet (no sugar in the crust!), not too heavy, and wonderfully fruity fresh.
From my local friends I’ve learned how to avoid the fruit tarts getting soggy (with a little layer between piecrust and fruit – see below), and I’m happy with my not too sweet recipe. It’s the same principle for any fruit. When using blander fruit, like pears or apples, I like adding cinnamon or ginger.
The crust, however, is still my stumbling-block. My standard recipe has a nice taste, but it just cracks when I try to roll it out. Do you have a god recipe for a dough that does not fall apart…?
If you want to try a fresh fruit tart, test the recipe below – or come up here during the fruit season! ☺

Tarte aus Pruneaux

Pie crust:
See link above!

Filling:
• 1 Tbsp. wheat flour (wholemeal)
• 1 Tbsp. cane sugar
• 1 Tbsp almond powder or flour
• A pinch of cinnamon

• 500 g prunes

• 1 egg
• 1 Tbsp. water
• ½ dl crème fraîche
• 1 Tsp. vanilla sugar

How to prepare it:

• Preheat oven to 180°C.
• Roll out your dough thinly (if you manage…), brush a pie tin with oil and put the dough into it. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest in the fridge 15 min.
• Cut the prunes in halves and pit them.
• Mix flour, almond powder, sugar and cinnamon well.
• Bake the piecrust 10–15 min.
• Spread out the flour/sugar mix over the half-baked crust and place prune halves tightly together, skin downwards, in circles on top.
• Whisk egg, water, crème fraîche and vanilla sugar, spread it out over the prunes and put the tart into the oven.
• Bake it in 180°C for approx. 1 hour.

Serve lukewarm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and fly off to fruit tart heaven!

Who can say no to a fresh fruit tart…? I can’t!

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Amazing Autumn

As of the 21st of September it’s officially autumn. I want to celebrate the beginning of this colourful season in words & pictures ☺
Here two favourite poems:

SeptembermorgenEduard Mörike

Im Nebel ruhet noch die Welt,
Noch träumen Wald und Wiesen:
Bald siehst du, wenn der Schleier fällt,
Den blauen Himmel unverstellt,
Herbstkräftig die gedämpfte Welt
In warmem Golde fließen.

For the English translation, click here.

Nothing Gold Can StayRobert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

To catch the golden light of autumn is a challenge. Sometimes I succeed…

Light haze down in the valley, bright light up here…


Surrounded by gold as I walk along my garden path


Autumn frame for the majestic mountains, seen from Arolla


The Colminers’ Path is best in autumn

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Faire une cabane

My life as serious hiker started five years ago when I moved up to the mountains. Hiking was one of the prime reasons for that move and I went out and about every day. I got to know other hikers, and they often got a special sparkle in their eyes when they talked about to “faire une cabane” – going up to a mountain hut and staying over there.
Most of these manned huts, situated at around 2.000 – 3.000 m altitude and surrounded by high peaks, are not easy to reach. The trail up there is long, steep, stony … simply difficult. After such a strenuous hike it is wonderful to reach a place where you are welcomed with a smile and where you can sit down and have something to eat or drink, and a little chat with the hut host or other hikers.
Simplicity is the leitmotiv of these mountain huts and life is basic. Every single item is transported up there by helicopter! If you stay over night, you have a simple common meal early in the evening and then you can play cards or chat, read or write, since there’s rarely any internet connection (nice for a change!). There are no showers, just sinks with cold water and you sleep in dormitories, sometimes with up to 10 other people. But…!
… waking up early to complete stillness, fully immersed in nature, going out to see the daylight rise over the mountain tops, hearing the whistle of the eagle or the marmot – that is just magic. After a good breakfast, you are eager to start off again, facing another difficult hike with renewed forces.
The beautiful little Cabane de Susanfe, is situated in southern Switzerland, close to the Dents du Midi. It was the first mountain hut I visited in years, and much thanks to the wonderful team of hut host Fabienne and her lovely assistants the stay really whetted my appetite. Let’s see if I will “make another hut” before the summer season ends….

Catching a first glimpse of the Cabane de Susanfe

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Sensational Siblings

We who have siblings can consider ourselves lucky. If our parents were wise enough not to foster competition and jealousy among their children we have one (or several) close friend(s), with whom we share innumerable memories from our childhood years.
Some of us always had somebody around to play with when we were small or to talk to when puberty struck us. In other cases, as in mine, becoming really close came later. As young adults my brothers and I discovered lots of similarities, common likings and interests and today the moments we meet are very precious.
Alas, as we live far apart we do not see each other very often. There were times when several years passed between our reunions. We would come together with our families and there were only few moments for peaceful talking with my brothers.
Some years ago we decided to meet just the three of us. We went hiking in the beautiful Österlen region in southern Sweden and stayed over at the Vitemölla Badhotell. Our mother had passed on her great interest in good food to us and we deeply enjoyed the excellent meal, served with good wine at that lovely hotel.
Last weekend we repeated that experience, this time in the Stockholm archipelago. We took the ferry to Finnhamn, a natural reserve three hours away from the bustling city and spent a wonderful weekend on this tranquil, beautiful little island. Good meals at the local restaurant, a very nice three hour hike around the island, and a night with excellent sleep in a little wooden cabin.
If you have brothers and/or sisters and somehow take them for granted: dig deeper! Get in touch more often – call them, send emails or WhatsUp messages (it’s so easy nowadays!) and meet as often as you can. Your siblings are a gift of life, which it would be sad not to appreciate. The older you get, the more precious it is to share a common history.

…and the weather was stunning, too!

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Courgette Craze

Now is the season of courgettes, at least where I live. My plant has given me a couple of small fruits (according to the botanical the courgette is a fruit!), but my friends with bigger veggie gardens have had enormous ones, weighing over 2 kg. They are all very generous people and I have passed some weeks doing a courgette diet: courgette soup, Turkish courgette patties (link 1), fried courgette with garlic, and curry-pickled courgette.
Recently I felt like trying a courgette quiche. I searched the Internet, found some interesting vegan recipes and made my own version of them. A little experiment that turned out a big success: my dinner guests were enchanted! It takes a little time to prepare, but is well worth the trouble.

Quiche aux courgettes
Piecrust:
•2 dl wholegrain flour
•1 ½ dl wheat flour
•1 Tsp. salt
•1 pinch of fenugreek, toasted and mortared (if you like)
•¾ dl rapeseed oil
•½ dl water

Filling:
•1/2 dl olive oil
•½ dl fresh basil, chopped
•1 garlic clove, pressed

•2 dl cashew nuts
•1/2 dl nutritional yeast
•1 Tsp. salt

•800 g courgettes
•1 dl pickled sundried tomatoes
•a bunch of spring onions, chopped
•salt & pepper

•Mix flour, salt and fenugreek in a bowl. Then add the oil, mix well with a spoon and after that mix in the water. Make a ball of the dough and let it rest in the fridge for some hours.
•Roll out the dough thinly, brush a pie tin with oil and put the dough into it. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest in the fridge another 15 min.
•Pulse the cashew nuts in a mixer until they are powdered, add nutritional yeast and salt and mix well.
•Bake the piecrust at 200 °C for 10–15 min.
•Squeeze out as much oil as possible from the pickled tomatoes and chop them.
•Grate the courgette coarsely, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
•Mix garlic, basil, olive oil salt and pepper in a small bowl and brush the baked, and somewhat cooled off, piecrust with it.
•Spread out half of the cashew mix over the crust, add grated courgette, tomatoes and spring onions. Place one more layer of cashew mix, and the last layer should be grated courgette. Drizzle olive oil over it all, season with salt and pepper and put it into the oven.
•Bake the quiche in 220°C for approx. 30 min, then raise the temperature to max and leave it for another 10 min, until it gets a nice colour. When cooled off a bit, garnish with
fresh basil. Enjoy!

Seasonal cooking rules!

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No Blog Post

No blog post this week, too busy enjoying the best visit ever!

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A Small New World

It find it exciting that I still meet new people up here in my little village with its 263 inhabitants, especially when they’re avid hikers and nature lovers like me ☺ Recently I made the acquaintance of Valérie, and some days ago we went up over 2.000m to pick arnica flowers for an oil infusion.
We did not only have a wonderful hike, find enough flowers to fill her jar and spend a lovely day in the mountains, but it was also the moment of a Great Revelation – Valérie’s clip-on cell phone magnifier! It works like a good macro lens and I was stunned when she showed me the photo possibilities it opened up. Suddenly I got infinitely close to a seemingly ordinary butterfly and discovered how it was all furry in vivid pink and green. A tiny, shimmering beetle turned out to be all dotted and the mullein flower suddenly revealed its intricate pattern of stalks and pistils.
These days I think thrice before buying any gadgets, but this loupe passed the test. Some days later I went to the city, bought it as a little gift to myself and felt like a kid at Christmas: the rest of that day was spent with this wonderful new present! I had a closer peek at flowers, insects, trees – anything that didn’t move too much! However, it became clear how difficult it was to get that close up, how shaky my hands actually are and
how much practice I still need.
This little device really opened up a whole new world to me – it’s like I get a completely different relationship to the objects of my close-up photos. Suddenly a bumblebee feels like a fluffy little friend, and the center of a flower as the amazing piece of art that it is. Even more than before, I realize that Nature is the greatest artist of them all and that even the tiniest part of it is noting less than a miracle. I am so immensely grateful to be alive among all this beauty.

I cant even tell what butterfly it is…💗💚

Shimmering like a jewel


The inner life of a mullein flower

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