For several years, Thomas and I have been on the brink of nervous breakdowns at regular intervals. The reason for this? We’ve been renovating a house for a few years. If you had asked us before buying the house why we would want to own a home instead of renting something, then we would have answered: “Because then we can design everything the way we like it.” Now that’s exactly what we’ve been doing for years, gradually renovating the parts of the house that don’t yet feel right. Our renovations have one thing in common so far: no matter when we want to start (for example in May this year), they always start in the middle/end of November and are finished about one day before Christmas, so that on December 24th we can only sink under the non-existent Christmas tree with some last drops of sweat on our foreheads.
There are always good reasons for a late start, such as high workloads at the construction company, delivery problems or illnesses of the craftsman doing the work. But I think it’s our personal curse and I’ve almost come to terms with it. Because we’re doing a really big renovation this time, we’ve had to move out of our house and now live in an Airbnb nearby, dropping by our house from time to time, shuddering at the destruction that comes before each new start, and making bets whether we’re going to celebrate Christmas Eve at home or not.
Interior designer Nate Berkus once said, “Your home should tell the story of who you are and be a collection of what you love.” I love that quote, and on days when my nerves are rattling because the construction manager just pushed the end of the renovation back another week, I hold onto it. And yes, my heart still beats faster every time it comes to designing rooms. I’ve always devoured architecture and interior design books and am fascinated by how inspiring, nurturing and beneficial places (houses, apartments, gardens etc.) can be when designed properly. It is therefore no coincidence that we hold our retreats in very special places that offer magic, inspiration and relaxation. Because that’s exactly what a good place can do.
Since Thomas and I are very sensitive about the atmosphere of places, we have been looking for a suitable home for many years. Most of the time we already knew before entering whether it was something for us or not, and a few times we broke off a house tour in front of the door. When, after many years and what felt like a hundred house tours, we drove the extremely bumpy gravel road to our current house for the first time, we said to ourselves before we even saw the building: “This is it!” Because it was in nature, it had a beautiful view, and it was imperfect enough that we could afford to renovate it. That’s five years ago now. And since then we’ve been living there very happily – and in between we renovate. If you wanted to put it in movies, our domestic life oscillates between “Little House on the Prairie” and “Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown” depending on whether we are just before, during or after a renovation. But hey, that’s life. Harmony and dissonance; balance and imbalance; destruction and new beginnings. Life is a construction site.
My recipe of the week
I want to be honest with you: this week I didn’t have an idea for a new recipe because the kitchen of our Airbnb doesn’t appeal to me at all. I self-assessed a severe case of kitchen snobbery, complaining to my husband for a while, which seemed liberating because I had the inspiration for this salad right after. So I went to the kitchen to turn my idea into a dish. This salad follows my thought that we should replace cold with warm in winter. Roasted fennel plays the leading role in this dish and becomes pleasantly aromatic and slightly sweet from its time in the oven. In connection with oranges, hazelnuts, pomegranate and rocket, and marinated with a light oriental dressing, a winter salad is created that would also make a nice starter for the Christmas menu. It doesn’t matter whether you celebrate Christmas at home or in an Airbnb.
And now my question for you: Do you like to redesign your living space? Then leave a comment under this post! I am happy to read from you.
Roasted Fennel Salad
For the salad:
- Preheat the oven to 180 ° C top and bottom heat.
- Cut off the green leaves of the the fennel, chop and set aside 1 tablespoon for garnish.
- Halve the fennel bulbs lengthwise and slice lengthwise as well. Mix in a bowl with olive oil and salt. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes until the fennel is cooked through and lightly browned.
- Cut off the tops and bottoms of the oranges to reveal the flesh. Place the oranges on their bottoms. Then use a sharp knife to cut down the entire peel in strips so that the white skin is completely removed from the flesh of the orange. Slice the oranges.
- Roast the hazelnuts in a pan without fat while stirring. Remove from the pan, allow to cool, place in a clean tea towel and rub off the skin. Roughly chop the nuts.
- Hold the cut side of the pomegranate over a large bowl and use a wooden spoon to scoop out the seeds.
- Wash and dry rocket salad.
- Mix all the ingredients for the dressing until smooth.
- Arrange the plates with rocket, top with the roasted fennel and decorate with orange slices. Drizzle the dressing over it and finally garnish with pomegranate seeds and hazelnuts and serve immediately.