Traditional Austrian Dishes – Backhendl

Backhendl SalatAustria is well known for many different types of food – some you will definitely have heard of: strudel, schnitzel, goulash etc. Each region also has specialities they call their own. Though consider that Austria has nine states in a total of 84,000km² (compare that to Australia’s 8 in 7.7million km²) – this means that a dish ‘local’ to one area is very often found in other places too.

I live in the state of Carinthia (Kärnten) and I work in the state of Steiermark (Styria), so I’m familiar with quite a few.

We’ve already talked about Kärntner Reindling, Kärntner Nudeln, Jause and Glundner Käse and this week I’m focusing on Backhendl.

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Damn you Covid – preying on my predisposition to go overboard

Swimming is finally back on - post coronaIn my town the opening of the local outdoor swimming pool was delayed by two weeks due to COVID-19. You might already know I’m a keen swimmer. You might also already know that I’m no stranger to overdoing it. Living in a land with a swimming pool that’s only open for 3.5 months per year just exacerbates my desire to make the most of the season and swim as much as possible. So what happens when Coronavirus wipes two weeks off that measly 3.5 months… what do I do, you ask?

I flat out panic.

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Sitting… standing… or both?

First standing desk
The first standing desk

We all know that sitting all day is bad for us. After I slipped discs in my back, I was under strict instructions: from here on I would need to balance out time spent sitting with movement, be it walking or standing.

At the time, because I couldn’t drive, I created a standing desk at our dining room table – two cardboard boxes created the perfect height for my laptop. I’d stand for half an hour and then I’d sit for half an hour, and so on. Soon after, we installed a standing desk in my home office, and thankfully my company provided me with a standing desk at work. So I was set.

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When the parents don’t come to visit – thanks Covid

garden hut painting
This time last year

In a world without COVID-19, this past week would have been very different. On Thursday afternoon, a picture-perfect summer day, I would have picked my parents up and delivered them to our house for their (almost) yearly sojourn to Austria.

There would have been lots of hugs and probably a few tears. We might have had a BBQ on the back terrace, listening about how their trip had gone so far – a cruise from Prague to Berlin – possibly they would have had to deal with colds or other difficulties, but they would be in good spirits because they had finally arrived in Austria.

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Slowly emerging into a post COVID-19 world

The last two weeks have been crazy!

Here in Austria we’re slowly easing out of restrictions, and with that life returns to a semblance of normal.

Our first Hofer shop after two months took up the entire belt (not previously achieved). Even though we were getting irregular grocery deliveries during lockdown, we had purchased mainly necessities, so it was necessary to stock up.

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My obsession with not wasting food

compostNot to be negative, but even before this whole COVID-19 thing, it did feel like the world was slowly going downhill. Global warming, health problems, increasing violence, over-consumption, the list goes on. Plenty of people are out there trying to do right for the world – the no plastic household, walk for the cure, dry January etc.

Some people seem to drive themselves nuts trying to do good. Others are in the mindset of well I’m just one person, what I do won’t help. But I think for most of us it’s about balance. If we all try just a little bit, surely the world will be a better place without all of us having to morph into vegans in patched up clothes catching our own drinking water. As individuals we can’t do everything. And often time is a big factor – sometimes the good things we do take a lot longer than taking the easy route. It’s hard to be good all the time. I’m definitely guilty. We compost our scraps, but sometimes laziness or bad weather means I just dump potato peelings in the trash… I order things online when I could probably find some of them at the local shops… I replace things that perhaps could be fixed up… I have too many clothes… I should bike more than driving… the list goes on.

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With one picture… you know you’re in Austria and not in Australia when…

…you unearth a snakeskin in your garden and realise you don’t have to be afraid.

snakeskin in my garden

I’m not saying I didn’t panic and squeal when I first saw it. For all my bravado of I’m Australian and I’m not scared of spiders or sharks or snakes, as I rolled back the fabric laid over my garden to reveal a long, scaly skin, I let out plenty of squeals. Then I immediately burst out laughing… before abruptly stopping and peering closer to make sure it was just that – a skin.

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It’s time to get back out there – desperately seeking running shoes

new shoes coronavirusThis week I did something crazy.

I physically went into a shop and bought shoes.

It was day 52 of self-quarantine, and we finally decided it was time to let ourselves out of the house.

Hubby had already been back at the office for a few weeks, but since there was no need for me to be out, the only thing I’d done was visit the egg farmer. We locked down pretty hard, so the transition back for us hasn’t been as quick as some.

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Traditional Austrian Dishes – Kärntner Reindling

Kärntner ReindlingAustria is well known for many different types of food – some you will definitely have heard of: strudel, schnitzel, goulash etc. Each region also has specialities they call their own. Though consider that Austria has nine states in a total of 84,000km² (compare that to Australia’s 8 in 7.7million km²) – this means that a dish ‘local’ to one area is very often found in other places too.

I live in the state of Carinthia (Kärnten) and I work in the state of Steiermark (Styria), so I’m familiar with quite a few.

We’ve already talked about Kärntner Nudeln,  Glundner Käse and Jause, and this week I’m focusing on Kärntner Reindling.

Continue reading