Berlin, nochmals

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Yeah, I know. I should probably stop posting pictures of the same 3 places and start sharing something else.
But I really can’t help it.
Today I was checking the last folds I created in my laptop and, obviously, Berlin was one of the them. (All my previous posts about Berlin here).
As usual I spent my birthday wandering around that city but this time, it was definitely over the top. One of my best birthdays ever.
There was seven of us, no wait! 8. 4 of us flying from Venice, 2 from London, 2 currently living in Berlin. It was one of the best get together ever. No matter the chill, the rain, the stomache that beat me up badly one day. One night we stayed up until 5 a.m. playing cards (ok, fancy cheecky cards I may or may not have received as Christmas present after 2 months…this I won’t say) and laughing. I can’t even express how much I feel blessed right now for having those people in my life.

Though it was meant to be a relaxing holiday, we still didn’t want to miss the chance to visit something new or see again something we loved (typical of me).

This is the Schönhauser Allee Jewish Cemetery. You really don’t wanna miss it next time you are in town.
The visit only takes an hour or so, if you wanna walk around and have a look at the old tombstones and take a couple of pictures.
It’s definitely worthy your time; I love how after a minutes you walk its paths on its lenght, you can’t spot the entrance if look back. The silence, the colour of trees perfectly combining with the stones and, most of all, the history of this place.

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This the huge Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (yes, I’m into Jewish culture a lot)

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The Trabant, symbol of the city especially during the division era

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and if you look for a simple for of art and happiness, you won’t be disappointedDSC_0270.JPG

Hanoi, Vietnam

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My last post dates back to February. My bad.
Well at least I have a lot to say, after months of absence..

February. Those days I was booking and getting ready for the farthest I have ever been.
My first time in Asia. My second one outside my comfort zone aka Europe.
About time.

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copyright for this picture: my friend Sara. It was the only one in this post not shot by me.

When I came back everybody asked “How was it?”. All the time.
First thing first: Hot. Extremely hot. And humid. Far more than I could ever expect and I currently live amid water. We were sweating more than our t-shirts and shorts could bear.
We were literally dripping. Every second we spent outside. But it was worthy.

Here is beautiful Hanoi.

Streetfood is basically the only food for themdsc_0515A lovely young ladydsc_0630The Hanoi Social Clubdsc_0563A barber shop (can you spot me?)dsc_0519 A moment of relax: coconut milk coffee (addictive!)csc_0011The smith streetdsc_1071dsc_0932

Molasses Cookies

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Where could I start from?
Given that
– my sweet tooth is highly demanding
– I love cookies. Eating, baking, thinking about them. Everything delicious that comes in more than one unit is welcome.
– Sally (of the amazing Sally’s Baking Addiction) has tons of gooey recipes I can’t resist to (and honestly don’t even want to). When I bought one of her books, I knew I was doomed.
– Last fall I tried to swallow disappointment, sad thoughts about the upcoming winter (though it then turned sunny and kinda warm, it’s still a no for me).
– I had to test a few recipes for Christmas (last Semptember I was in a pub in London when I saw the sign “Christmas is coming, either you want it or not”. *growing anxiety*)

So I used baking as a soothing balm and, as usual, ate my feelings. All together, sugar-coated, chocolate covered, bundled up in cinnamon and ginger.
Note to me: it’s nonsense eating gluten-free and avoid alcohol, sugar and dairies for 5 days if I can’t stop munching during the weekends, you stupid truffle.

Thus, for all the reasons above-written and more, while reading Sally’s book I stumbled upon her Molasses Cookies and decided at once to give them a try.

Plase note: the link re-directs to the recipe I found on her website: I don’t think I can share the one in her book (no spoilers!). They seem similar to me, though.

These my pictures (getting better thank to my new reflex, don’t you think?ok, just a bit)

Depending on how many minutes you leave them in the oven they will come out soft and a bit chewy (oh yessss), or a bit more crispy and crunchy (still a yess). I prefer the first option but I honestly won’t say no to the second one (obviously).

It was my first time with molasses (we don’t use it much here in Italy, had to ask a friend to get me some) but won’t be the last for sure.
It combines perfectly with ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. The sweeteness given to the cookies is different, richer I would say, but not taking over.
The consistency is perfect; I used olive oil as shortage (neither butter nor an other animal one) and it definitely enhances the after taste of molasses.

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Home and a heart filled with joy

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Venice. Oh Venice. The power of this city is amazing.
It surprise me every time with a new detail, a different view, the way light reflects on water and hides behind a building.
Another narrow street (our calle), a wine seller, the sight of a canale from the bridge.

Alive, beating, embracing. More than water and stones, every brick has a story.
I love that even after years of reading and walking, there are still tons of things I haven’t seen, museums I haven’t visited and god knows how many I won’t ever get to know about.

It fills me with joy, hope and makes me feel there is something amazing in my life. It could never disappoint me.

Oh Venice.

I love the way clothers are hung. Rio della Misericordia
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Amsterdam

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After months of planning, booking and waiting, finally December has come.
I honestly couldn’t have waited any longer.
A Florence and the Machine concert combined with a trip in a wonderful city was all I could think of lately.
Since August, 10th (the day we decided we would leave and attend the show), we booked the flights, a flat, bought the concert tickets, collect info regarding places to see and museum we wanted to visit.

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Those days arrived and passed in a blink of an eye. All I have left is happiness, deep inside, worn and dirty shoes and tons of pictures.
I can still hear Florence’s voice in my head and feel her arm on my finger.
I still get emotional when talking about this 4-day trip.

I have recently got a Nikon D3300 as birthday + Christmas present and I couldn’t be any happier. I am honestly unable to express how good that camera is. I’m still a newbie, but I’m trying to learn as much as possible by practicing almost every spare day.

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Birthday cake.. Again

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35th birthday calls maybe for a special cake? Mine wasn’t.
It was small and made with love, this I can say. I was completely absorbed in the making and really committed to be as precise as possible, for a decent outcome.
Was it good? Definitely, my friends asked for a second slice and that’s how it should be, honestly 😉
Apart from that, it was a simple day I spent with people I care and want in my life again and again.
This the recipe I followed, just halved.

Whole grain chocolate chips cookies

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Why cookies? You probably mean, why not?
Cookies to me are a way to pamper myself and people I love in a simple, obviously sweet, preferably healthy and chocolate-y way.
Tonight I’m attending a dinner at friends’ and I wanted to bake something to show one of my best and oldest friend, how much it’s precious and valuable the time we spend together. After losing one of my girls a couple of years ago, I feel I have to let people I love Know hiw much they mean to me. Baking is definitely a way to express all this affection.
So I looked through the recipes I had saved in Pinterest.
This is it.
I doubled the amount and got these cookies.
Crumbly but still soft in the center, sweet but not too much. With a hint of chocolate that doesn’t cover up the other flavors.
My parents were my Guinea pigs and loved them. Out of the oven 😋
I love how you can taste the three different flours (I actually didn’t blend the rolled oats) in a perfect mix.
Here they are