A large bol of café au lait at the Café Fleury on Sunday afternoon with its floral wallpaper and black and white photos of French film stars.
Lying on the grass surrounded by daffodils and looking in through the windows at the Thomas Bernhard house at the whitewashed walls, hard wooden furniture and enormous shoe collection.
The endless sandy beaches and the sound of the waves crashing as I closed my eyes in Northumberland.
The perfect azur of the sky in Venice reflected in the labyrinth of canals and the colours of the streetlamps in the twilight.
The box of macaroons from Ladurée in London.
The silence of Sunday mornings and the afternoons exploring new places with only my camera and a book.
The cries of the children playing in the schoolyard behind my room.
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
Some more shots from wintry Paris
The numbness of my fingers warmed by mugs of hot chocolate on icy afternoons.
The deserted alleys of the Jardin de Luxemburg. Remembering the little café there where I used to go.
The frozen surface of Wannsee under a cold and colourless sky.
These are some of the moments I've shared with you over the past year. It's hard to believe that today is my little blog's first anniversary. One year ago, I didn't really know what I wanted to say on this blog, I didn't have a camera, had only taken a few photos before and had no idea where the journey would take me. Most of all, I didn't know any of you and want to thank you all for following me so faithfully; your comments mean so much to me. I'm looking forward to everything the next year will bring.
To celebrate, I've posted some unpublished images from the past year, plus another Berlin cheesecake. Actually, it's one I tried from Nigel Slater which has to be one of the best cheesecakes I've ever made and incredibly simple. The first time I made it, I accidentally took almond instead of vanilla essence (they're both in similar bottles by the same brand) but everyone still loved it which must be a good sign.
Orange and lemon cheesecake (from Nigel Slater's the Kitchen Diaries)
For the base
250g digestive biscuits/graham crackers or in Germany, I use Dinkelkekse from the Bioladen
7 tbsp butter
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Leave to cool. Crush the biscuits either in a food processor or by putting them in a plastic bag and breaking them with a rolling pin. Mix with the butter.
2. Put the buttery crumbs into the bottom of a ckae or pie tin and press them down with a spoon. Place the tin into the freezer for some minutes so you get a firm base.
For the cheesecake
100g superfine sugar
3 large eggs
an egg yolk
225g crème fraîche
1. Mix the mascarpone, cream cheese, sugar, eggs and extra yolk in a bowl. Grate in the zest of the orange and lemon. Add the cream, lemon juice (but not the juice of the orange) and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth.
2. Pour the cheesecake mix on top of the cold biscuit base and bake in the over at 140°C for around 50 minutes or until it's done.
Sarah-Lou asked me to say a few words about the book by Simone de Beauvoir in the photo. It's the Cahiers de Jeunesse which I had my heart set on for some time. Mémoires d'une jeune fille rangée (Memoirs of a dutiful daughter) was one of the most important books for me growing up. I loved her honesty, fearlessness and independence. During my trips to Paris, I used to go around all the places she knew with the impression that I was following in her footsteps and reading her work inspired me to study philosophy. Although I love the other volumes of her memoirs, I somehow felt they were more idealised than the first one. The Cahiers de jeunesse offer a different opening onto her thoughts from this early time and I love being able to hear her real voice. The notebooks are impressively serious about working, reading and most of all finding herself. It's a big, heavy book to be read at home on a Sunday afternoon with a large piece of cheesecake and a fresh pot of tea.