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27
Apr

I´m back! With a recipe for my Grandmother´s pickles.

The Beach

Oh dear, I didn´t blog for over a year! I´m not really sure how the last months could fly by within a heartbeat. But I wasn´t just lazy – I´ve changed my life.

Long story short, my daughter moved to another city for her studies, and I decided it was time for a big change. Since I can remember I had this dream of living on an island. So, why not? Why not now?

Before I had time for second thoughts, I sold my house and here I am: On Sylt, a little Island in the North Sea, next to the Danish border. Actually, Sylt is the biggest of the German North Sea islands, but compared to my hometown Dortmund it´s teeny-tiny. But Sylt has it´s own airport, a car shuttle from the mainland every twenty minutes – and lots and lots of great food!

I am so excited about my new life! Nearly as much as my dog.  Every day we walk along the beach. A stone´s throw away is one of the most beautiful beaches I´ve ever seen – and I´ve seen quite a lot! Through the open windows I hear the seagulls crying and every cloudless night I marvel at the mind-blowing starry sky.

Still, there is much to do. Real estate is unbelievably expensive on Sylt. The money I got for my house in Dortmund could only buy me a VERY run down flat on the island, at least with a balcony. (I miss my beloved garden, though.)

Would I have run from this project if I had known before about the collapsing walls, handymen who seemed to cause more harm than they did good – if they showed up at all – , the budget overflows, and all the other big and small catastrophes? Yes. Definitely! Or at least I would have done a lot of things differently. However, let´s look on the bright side,  I´ve learned a lot.

I´m still fighting with the stubborn construction dust that invades every crevice and opening, no matter how tiny. But it´s done!!! I´m tired, exhausted, yet I´m recovering. Finally I can stop spending my waking hours worrying about things and decisions – about the perfect tile, the perfect shade for walls, floors, the sofa, … I don´t know how many hours I spent with finding the right lamp cord or water tap or sink.  Let alone the cupboard! Or trying to get hold of a new bricklayer in the middle of the construction season after the first one vanished with the advance payment …

Finally I can start living  a normal life again – with cooking and writing and shooting photos. (I can only hope, my tax documents from the last two years turn up again!)

Now it´s time for settling in. And what better way is there for feeling at home in a new place than enjoying the regional food?

Discover with me the island! I´m going to share my stories and photos and recipes with you. Please check in every now and then, I´d love to see you around.

Today I´ll share the recipe of my grandmother´s brine. I love pickles and I tried so many recipes I found on the internet, but I keep always going back to this one. It´s milder than the common brine and works with just everything.

Grandma´s Brine

1 cup vinegar, white or red
2 cups water
3 Tbsp sugar
1,5 Tbsp salt

2 Tbsp juniper berries, slightly crushed
3 bay leaves
2 twigs of rosmarin

Be adventurous with the spices, try mustard seeds, coriander, dill, ginger, chilies, garlic or whatever you have handy!

Put all the ingredients in a pot, bring it to the boil. Meanwhile chop the vegetables (I used 3 big cucumbers) and put them in a very clean container. After the brine has cooked, pour it over the vegetables. Wait at least 1 hour before you tuck in, but they are best after one or two days.

Enjoy!



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3 Responses to "I´m back! With a recipe for my Grandmother´s pickles."

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  1. Tracee

    April 29, 2012 at 02:09

    Your new island looks beautiful!! I too have dreamed of ditching it all and moving to an island and living a much simpler life. Then I adopted my daughter from China. She just turned 10 and if we moved right this minute, she would be fine. If I wait a year, she’d never forgive me for taking her away from civilization! lol

    I’ve visited the San Juan Islands several times through the years (off the northwest coast of Washington State) and am smitten with the largest of the islands, Orcas Island. While it is by no means “off the grid”, it is certainly a more peaceful existence than we now have.

    I found you from Foodgawker and can’t wait to see more pictures!!

  2. Petra Pfänder

    April 29, 2012 at 08:51

    Hi Tracee, I´ve googled Orca´s Island. It looks beautiful!! Today the sun is shining and I´ve already packed my gear for shooting.

  3. Gerd Schmedes

    September 12, 2012 at 09:36

    Hallo Petra! – War grad aus Zufall auf deiner Site – sehr schön! & außerdem mag ich es auch sehr, zu kochen und vor allem zu backen! Mein kleiner Sohn (13) scheint da auch in meine Fußstapfen zu treten! Ein schönes Inselleben wünscht – Gerd

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