Challenging Arts & Crafts

Apricot Bars

Wachau is the region in Lower Austria where quality "marillen"/apricots  are cultivated. 
They call these fruits locally "marillen" .... sounds like a girl´s name but they are actually "aprikosen" in german and apricots in english.
The harvest time is between June and July and only fully riped fruits are offered in the market. Due to its nice location and a blessed weather, Wachau is hilly and ideal for the farmers not only to grow apricots but also grapes for quality wines that made the region famous.

Just have a look at this amazing view, the weather in the Wachau is perfect for apricots and grapes.. and it´s also great to bike along the Danube River for those who love this kind of sport.

Today, I´m sharing my recipe for this apricot bars using Wachau apricots. I baked this sometime in July when the fruits were available in the market but only shared now as I have very important priorities that made me so busy the las months...

.... so, I hope you´ll get your baking tins and try this yummy dessert which is so simple and easy to make.


....... Let´s bake !!!

Apricot Bars


250 g Flour

150 Sugar
100 ml Oil
100 ml water
4 Eggs
1/2 pack baking powder
1 pack vanilla sugar ( Dr. Oetker)
Juice of 1/2 Lemon

Preparations: (Preheat oven at 170°C)
1. Wash the apricots, remove the seeds and cut into halves...set aside

2. Use separate 2 containers to separate the eggs.

In the first container, beat the egg yolk, add the sugar, vanilla sugar and the lemon juice.
Beat until the mixture becomes smooth in consistency.
Using a spatula, fold in flour and the sifted baking powder to the egg yolk mixture adding
alternately water and oil.

In the 2nd container, beat the egg whites until peaks are building and become stiff  folding all
carefully into the egg yolk mixture in the first container. Spread the batter in a lined rectangular
baking tin. Arrange the apricot on top of the batter.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of peach or apricot jam either in the microwave for 1 minute or under low fire until jam is liquified. Use a pastry brush to carefully pat jam on top of the apricots.
Bake under 170°C (38°F) for about 40 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Sprinkle sugar on the cake top.
Cut the cake into bars carefully and arrange on a platter.

To make sure that the cake doesn´t get too dark on top, cover the baking tin with aluminum foil during the second half of the baking time.

Enjoy baking !

Apple Cake Bars

I know , I know... it´s been a long time since I was here. 
I had been busy for a few months , had lots of paperworks needed for 
my retirement as well as taking care of family matters.. 

Today, I want to inspire you with this very easy to prepare Apple Cake Bars that are very delicious! This is a quick cake to bake for settling- down at the table with family and friends for the five o`clock tea or coffee. This can also be served at breakfast..

Hope you enjoy baking this as much as I enjoyed making this myself.

Apple Cake Bars


  • 250 g Flour
  • 150 g Sugar (Stevia powder - about 10 Tablespoons 
  • sugar  substitute equivalent)
  • 100 ml Oil
  • 100 ml Water
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/2 pack baking powder
  • 1 Pack Vanilla sugar
  •     Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  •     2 apples 
  •     2-3 tbsp of  Apple jam/marmalade


1. Wash the apples. Core and cut apples in thin slices... set aside.

2. Separate the eggs into two containers. In one container, beat the eggyolk,
    sugar, vanilla sugar and lemon juice. Beat until mixture is smooth in consistency.

3. Fold in flour and the sifted powder to the eggyolk mixture adding alternately the 
    water and the oil.

4. In a second container, beat the egg whites until they get stiff  and fold these carefully
    into the eggyolk-flour mixture. Spread the batter in a lined baking dish.

5. Add the apples... inserting each slice into the batter. Heat 2 tablespoons of apple jam 
    either in the microwave for a minute or under low fire until jam is dissolved or liquified.
    Bake under 170°C/388°F for about 40 minutes.

    The cake is done when a toothpick inserted inside the cake comes out clean.
    Sprinkle sugar on top of the apples slices.  Cut into bars and serve with 
    whipped cream (optional).

    TIP: To make sure that the top of the cake doesn´t get too dark... cover the baking
              dish with aluminum foil during the second half of the baking time. 

Enjoy baking and tasting!

Scent of Lilacs and Wildflowers

Nice to be back here after a long vacay.

Today,  I´m showing you wildflowers that we gathered 

from the fields while walking Lily, the chihuahua...

among the blooms are lilacs, iris, and other tiny yellow wildflowers,

as well as laserpitum latifolium (white flowers), 

those are the flowers that have grown at this time in Spring..

I´m lucky to have wonderful vases which are in my collection.

Some are flea market finds, some were handed over to us and some

came from garage sales and from hubby´s mom and grandma.

I feel privilege to have these vases because I can choose the colors that go

with the flowers I´m arranging and displaying.

Last Sunday´s walk with Lily had been 

fruitful, because we were able to gather these flowers.

For the vignette, I have added the blue colored starfish that I found in 

Manila from my last visit there.

There are lots of wildflowers and they grow in abundance in our area.

If you live near the countryside, you´ll be able to pick or cut some

wildflowers, too!

It is a matter of your own concept or choice whether you want a bunch of bought

flowers from the store... I find the wildflowers one of the most beautiful 

gifts mother nature has given us. 

The carafe above is one of two that hubby found at the Saturday Flea Market 

in Vienna.  It reflects  the Art Nouveau style.. The yellow vase came 

from an office I used to work at. 

I love the oval shape and the make of this vase.

Starfish came from a dried fish dealer in Divisoria, Manila. 

To the left of the lilac vase is a crystal basket full of dried lavender... 

The scent of the lavender makes insects  stay away 

from the sitting area..

The start of Spring hasn´t been nice in our city.  Am not sure whether 

those of you living  in cold countries are also experiencing the changes 

in your climate.  There were lots of rains here and it´s pretty cold 

even during early morning with lows at even  0°C.

Whatever the weather may be, sunny days will surely be here.

Happy Monday!

This post is linked to:

Confessions of a Plate Addict

The Med Sea and Easy Chicken Salad

Easy Chicken Salad

Today, I´m posting one of my fave recipes above! But before that, let me give you a hint that if you´re planning to have your holiday in days or in weeks here in Southern Spain, you might consider the current weather situation. Eversince we came four weeks ago,  we really could not enjoy most of the days. 

It seems Spring is not coming along well here in Andalucia.  Most of the time, we have gusty winds, rainshowers and at time very foggy.  Though springflowers are all over our hills, it´s still cold with morning temps of 11°C/50°F. 

The Mediterranean Sea which is not far from us is very blue when there are no clouds ,  but you can´t stay on the sunroof because of the wind.. really strong wind!!!

Imagine, Vienna had 24°C yesterday and I´m jealous, we could have stayed 
there!  Hmmm, weather is very unfair to us, huh!  We should be having 25-28°C by now as is it  already April and besides, Spain is always warmer than Central Europe. 

Yesterday, we have zero visibility and today, the sun is shining but becasue of the gusty winds,  we couldn´t  stay outside as  it´s cold!!!

And when it´s cold in the morning, we need to heat-up the house a bit and this 
stove is a relief...

These are just a few of the springflowers that grow everywhere up our hills. I pick them and arrange them to decorate  my home for a few days. 

When we are down the coast, we always take a break and let Lily explore the nearby cactus field fronting the sea. She likes to make her own adventures there and so do we.. 

Now let´s get to the Recipe: 

This is one quick recipe and very easy to prepare, trust me!
There are various ways to make this salad and the only different thing about my recipe is that,  I  half boil and fry the cubed chicken breast in oil to make it golden brown in color,

I don´t do it the other way around where chicken is first fried then with a bit liquid and cook the meat for more minutes... Somehow, the meat tastes a bit better than when you just boil it and add to the rest of the ingredients.

Easy Chicken Salad

2 chicken breasts, skin removed, half boiled for about 5 minutes then cubed
2 tbsp. olive oil
5 medium size - boiled potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cups cooked macaroni noodles 
1 cup Gouda or emmentaler cheese (optional), diced
1 apple cored, cubed
1 can pineapple chunks (  drained)
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cups cooked carrots, diced

100 ml SalsaFina  or you can use half Mayonnaise and half sour cream
ground black pepper
lettuce leaves for decorating the platter (optional)


1. In a hot pan with 2 tbsps olive oil, stir fry the chicken until pieces turn golden brown on all sides.  Remove chicken and transfer to a deep casserole, let the meat cool down. 

2. Add to the chicken all other ingredients and the SalsaFina, season with salt & pepper.

3.Arrange in a platter decorated with green lettuce leaves ( optional). Serve cold.
The key to this recipe is preparation. If you´ve done the the boiling of  potatoes and macaroni and prepared the ingredients beforehand, then you´re halfway done with this salad. No fuss! you´ll be able to serve it in a short period of time. And it´s yummy that you ca hardly stop eating!


Vases, Bouquets & Floral Arrangments - Part 2

Part 2 

All the flowers included in here were all arranged between Spring and Summer of 2015. When the farmers prepared the fields before the planting season, they have scattered seeds of the red flowered poppies and blue onions flowers on the sides of the dirt track. 

And when all the seeds popped-up and began to bloom,  an array of red and blue flowerettes jumpacked the road.  It was so beautiful last year! I hope it will be the same this season.

Sometimes, I got roses at home (gifts) and I combined those with the yellow roses 
I picked from the backyard. 

I  gathered various wildflowers whenever I walked Lily. I would combined 
those with what  I ´ve had on hand.

The peonies behind were obtained from the nearby fresh market whereas the 
yellow roses were from our backyard.

Last summer, I saw these berries from a nearby creek.... there were so plenty that I picked  a small portion for me to be able to arrange them in the crystal basket above. Of course, they hae been flowers too and then grew into berries...

All I knew is that they were so colorful and that it would look nice if arrange these together with the green leaves.  The one thing I´m not sure of is whether they are edible.

I found the handpainted vase above and bought it at a fraction of a cost and if I remember it right, I paid 0,60 euro cents for it at a local flea market. Combined with the salvias above, I think this is one of my favorite arrangements last year. The doily or table napkin is of mexican in origin.

I live in an area in the outskirts of the city of Vienna and our district is surrounded by fields that are owned by the city. So I guess, I´m lucky to have all these wildflowers waiting to be picked.

Sunflower field is also available in our area... the farmers sell these flowers on a self-service basis. You just pay  for what you cut, there´s no cashier to control. Honesty is the best policy.. 

That wraps it all!

I sure hope that Spring would bring us plenty of wildflowers. I´m waiting for the lilacs to come and smell its wonderful fragrance. And of course, there´s plenty of time to prepare and begin planting those flowery plants... can´t wait for Spring to come... How about you?

Thanks for dropping by and have a nice week ahead!