dimanche 7 mars 2010

Blog anniversary

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

Potsdamer Platz


Treptower park

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To celebrate, I've posted some unpublished images from the past year, plus another Berlin cheesecake.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

300g mascarpone
225g philadelphia
100g superfine sugar
3 large eggs
an egg yolk
an orange
a lemon
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.

27 commentaires:

  1. Your shots are wonderful! I particularly loved the 2nd, 13th & 15th pictures... Nice cheesecake too!

    Cheers and have a wonderfu Sunday!


  2. Happy Blogoversary Vanessa! I just started following you but hope I'll be around for your second, Sasa

  3. Congratulations! You have an outstanding blog and I look forward to reading more this upcoming year.

  4. happy birthday dear blog!! Merci pour ces belles photos et ce délicieux cheesecake... yammy

  5. HAPPY BDAY!!!!! Now it's my turn to congratulate you... I had no idea how exciting it was to celebrate a blog birthday until we celebrated ours a few weeks ago... Looking back to the past year fills me with inspiration, and I hope this post did the same for you (I'm sure it did..). What a year! You've certainly been places..
    Look forward to catching the next episodes...!!

  6. Bon anniversaire à 'Coffee and pie', en espérant que l'année à venir sera aussi riche en voyages, rencontres, promenades berlinoises (j'espère bien en partager quelques unes ; en attendant dans deux jours je serai à Rome ;)) !

  7. Happy Blogoversary, Vanessa! I would never have guessed you just started your photography a year ago! Your photos are always so professional, moving and each tells a story. You are very talented!
    So enjoyed the photos of Venice (a city I adore) and Paris...where I spent so much time.
    Looking forward to enjoying your blog for another year!

  8. merci pour toutes ces jolies phoptos que tu nous offres, joyeux anniversaire à ton blog, à ton travail, et ta gentillesse !!!

    j'aime beaucoup le cheesecake à base de mascarpone, je le trouve plus doux, plus crémeux.
    les enfants aussi le préfèrent !!!

    la semaine prochaine, je vais en espagne, je ramènerai un carton plein de philadelphia nature ou pas !!

    bonne journée gourmande


  9. @Rosa - That's a really big compliment coming from you! I so love your photos and hope to be that good one day.
    @Sasa - Yeah, I hope so too, thanks!
    @Des - Thanks so much for following my posts. I'm lucky to have so many great readers.
    @Sarah - J'espère qu'on pourra partager une part du gâteau ensemble un jour. En attendant, je vais essayer ta charlotte, bises.
    @Pia - Thanks so much! you and Julie were the first people to leave comments so I'm really grateful to you for following me from so early on. You're right, it feels fantastic to celebrate the first year and I love going through the archives, looking back at all the things I've done (and eaten!) over the last 12 months. Can't wait for your travel diary.
    @Rose - Merci! J'attends ton billet sur l'Italie avec impatience et je te souhaite un très bon séjour à Rome, une ville où je rêve d'aller. J'espère qu'on peut faire tant de belles choses ensemble à Berlin bientôt et je me réjouis de te revoir (et S. aussi). Grosses bises.
    @Barbara - Thanks so much! I really love taking pictures, even if I know there's still a lot to learn, especially with food photography. But now I'm really inseparable from my beloved camera and find it hard to imagine life before it. I hope to return to Italy soon, so inspiring but first I'm headed for London at the end of March which should be cool.
    @Virginie - Merci pour tes commentaires toujours si gentils. J'adore les cheesecakes au mascaprone et celui-là était vraiment populaire avec mes collègues au travail. J'ai très envie d'essayer ta recette la prochaine fois. C'est dommage qu'on trouve pas le philadelphia facilement en France. Je me souviens qu'il y avait quelque chose de pareil chez ED. Bonne soirée.

  10. Congratulations !!!
    Vos photos sont magnifiques !!!! Il s'en degage un calme que j'aime beaucoup. Quel souci du detail...
    Votre dernier billet, evoquant votre grand-mere, etait aussi tres emouvant.
    A bientot,

  11. Happy Happy Anniversary! Hard to believe you haven't been a photographer for years. I say this with supreme sincerity: Your photos have such a beautiful, haunting quality - they make me both happy and sad simultaneously (the good creativity inspiring kind of sad!) I love browsing through your blog. You inspire me to add to my piggy bank so I can do some more travelling!

    The photo of Potsdamer Platz is so familiar to me. My husband loves photographing architecture, and this photo reminds me so much of his photography!

    I made a citrus cheesecake the other day. Now I NEED to make this one!

  12. Vanessa, I wish you a wonderful Blog Birthday! Please go on writing those marvelous posts for us. WIth your blog I always have the feeling that I travel in your dreams and you make me dream in return.

    I love the picture of the fish in the water at Treptower Park. Let's have a little walk and a nice latte very soon?

  13. Happy Blog Anniversary Vanessa!!!!!

    As usual, these pictures are captivating. I so wish we can trade lives, hehe.

    Happy birthday blog!

  14. Bonjour Vanessa, le temps me manquait pour venir rêver en ta compagnie.
    Je te souhaites un joyeux bloganniversaire et j'espère que ta passion sera toujours aussi grande.
    Pour moi qui habite mon petit Québec au Canada c'est une chance inouï de connaître des gens comme toi qui nous fait voyager et rêver au grès de tout ces beaux moments partagés.

    Merci d'être là et passe une belle journée.

  15. @Laurence - Merci beaucoup! Je suis toujours ravie quand les gens aiment mes photos car c'est devenu un si grand plaisir maintenant de sortir avec mon appareil-photo. Je trouve fascinant les styles différents qu'on peut avoir avec les mêmes sujets. Mais ce que j'aime le plus après un an, c'est le contact avec les personnes comme vous avec lesquelles j'ai vraiment l'impression d'avoir un vrai rapport.
    @Erika - Like you I find it easier to deal with criticism rather than compliments and feel really touched by what you write about my photos. I spend so long looking at other people's and wondering how to make progress but I think I've learned a lot in a year. If you ever come to Berlin or close by, it'd be cool to meet you.
    @Magda - I'm so happy that my blog has given us the opportunity to meet. I so love reading your posts. Before I started I never imagined I could find things to write about for a whole year but writing is so cathartic and helps me remember all the little moments I'd normally forget. Hope I can channel some of that into some stories soon. It'd be wonderful to see you soon for coffee and cake.
    @Ry - Thanks for stopping by with your busy schedule. Indeed, it'd be fantastic to swap lives. I dream of visiting the U.S, especially NY and those amazing creations of y<ours look like something out of a fairytale - magic!
    @Josée - Je suis très touchée que tu aies pu trouver du temps pour me laisser un commentaire. Parfois je me demande si je trouverai facilement des choses pour vous raconter (j'ai un peu peur de me répéter) mais écrire, cuisiner et faire des photos me font tant de plaisir et j'ai vraiment de la chance d'avoir tant de lecteurs et lectrices fidèles et sympas et cela m'inspire. Bonne journée et à bientôt!

  16. Happy Blogoversary Vanessa!
    Merci pour ces très belles photos !

  17. Happy Blogoversary from me too, Vanessa!! Even though I don't get the time to comment on your wonderful photos and writings here as often as I'd like to, I want you to know that I enjoy each and everyone of them!

    I remember urging you to get your own camera because I knew you had a superb eye and sensitivity for great subjects, compositions and moods, and I am delighted to see how beautifully you have developed this! I enjoy your writing as it lets me dream, but also remember places I have loved as well, and it inspires me to keep looking for the details that make this world so extraordinary and beautiful!

    I look forward to many more of your beautiful, touching, funny, melancholy and thoughtful musings and photos, and of course to your wonderful food photos, recipes, and culinary adventures, some results of which I am lucky enough to try in real life! xx

  18. Très joyeux anniversaire à ton blog, Vanessa. j'espère que tu continueras à nous faire partager ton regard sur Berlin.
    Ahh Simone de Beauvoir. Je ne connais pas ce texte. Cahier de ... ? tu ne veux pas nous en parler un peu ? bises

  19. @Le citron - Merci de tes commentaires! Je suis ravie de partager mes expériences à Berlin avec toi.
    @Chrissi - I'm really touched by such lovely comments and don't know what to say! I remember you encouraging me with the camera and am glad I listened. It's really great being able to go out with my camera and I find so many interesting, little things which I wouldn't have noticed before and I love looking back over the last year,remembering all the wonderful things I've done. Thanks for all your encouragement and for being a wonderful friend - I'm so happy we live in the same city. When we get time, I promise to make you the cheesecake or anything else you want. Bises!
    @Sarah-Lou - Merci beaucoup pour les voeux! J'ai ajouté quelque lignes à la fin du billet sur ce livre. Je l'ai vu quand j'étais à Paris mais comme c'est vraiment lourd, je ne pouvais pas le ramener avec moi. On apprend que SdB était toujours super sérieuse en ce qui concerne le travail et le développement intellectuel et en plus dans ses cahiers, elle écrit toujours bien! Mais avec Mémoires d'une jeune fille rangée et ses lettres à Nelson Algren, c'est vraiment un de mes livre préférés d'elle car on entend sa voix. Bises et bon dimanche!

  20. Merci Vanessa. Ton commentaire me donne envie de me procurer ce livre très vite. Comme toi, j'ai été marquée par les mémoires et les lettres à Nelson Algren. Dans ces dernières, je trouve très révélateur le passage où elle explique, en gros, vouloir rester auprès d'Algren pour lui laver ses chaussettes. Il illustre bien le paradoxe dans lequel on se trouve entre l'amour et le féminisme.

  21. un petit coucou du week end Vanessa. Bon dimanche et gros bisous,
    Sarah :-)

  22. @Rosa - Thanks and you too!
    @Sarah-Lou - C'est une très bonne idée car je suis sûre qu'il te plaira. J'avais oublié ce passage dans ses lettres (merci de me l'avoir rappelée) et pourtant c'est un livre qui m'a vraiment touchée. Son amour pour Algren, le besoin de Paris pour vivre et Sartre, la difficulté d'être une femme libre.
    @Sarah - C'est adorable, merci beaucoup! Je te souhaite aussi une super soirée et une très bonne semaine, grosses bises.

  23. Happy blogoversary! Seing those Cahiers de Jeunesse on your picture reminded me of how I miss that book - I had to leave it in Paris, too heavy to move to Vancouver with me... Isn't this book amazing?

  24. Thanks Julie! I thought of you with the Cahiers de jeunesse because I know you're also a great admirer of Simone de Beauvoir. I fell in love with this book when I set eyes on it in Paris but totally empathise with the problem of bringing it back because it's thick and pretty heavy. I had to tell myself there was no way I could manage it in my luggage and ordered it in Berlin. You're so right, this book is special and amazing; hearing her voice, getting a real glimpse into her youth and seeing the wonderful photos. It has pride of place on my bedside reading table.

  25. Desolee du retard Vanessa, j'etais ailleurs ces derniers jours, en train de courir apres le temps. Joyeux blogversaire, continue ainsi a vivre les yeux grands ouverts.

  26. Ce n'est pas grave Gracienne et merci beaucoup de tes voeux! J'espère que tu auras un peu plus de temps pour toi bientôt.