Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Learning about Sail Repairs

Yesterday morning I got a 4 hour lesson on how to repair sails!
When dropping off my 5.0 and 4.2 for some new panels, Bob offered to watch and help with repairing them. I am so glad Peter and I joined him for fixing my 5.0 - I learned a ton and it was very useful to learn this hands on instead of just by reading and trial and error.

Both of my sails do have many crinkles and small cuts where the panel crunches up when rigging. It was time to get them fixed, and lucky as I am here is this guy in Texas that has repaired around 8000 sails and he is offering his input! My 5.0 got two new panels, and I feel like I can now fix my own sails if I just get a good sewing machine for it. Huge thanks to Bob for his patience and advice! Here are some pictures that Peter took:

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Vulcan Inspiration

Yesterday I finally had company from Mark for some new school freestyle practice on the water at BIB. It was a beautiful day with lots of sunshine, warm water and averages of 25-30mph for most of the day. The best part of the day was seeing Mark complete his first Vulcan - congratulations!!!

It was super inspiring to see him out there practicing Vulcans and then making one. Funnily I had my best Vulcan tries almost always directly after seeing a good try from Mark. I think a big part of learning new school freestyle is having others out sailing and practicing with you - it psychs you up, shows you how it is done, and that the crashes are not as bad as they look.
Here is a picture Peter took of Mark during takeoff:

Friday, January 27, 2017


It's windy here in Corpus Christi! And I mean really windy. I have no idea where the wind comes from, the forecast never shows any wind until a day or two in advance. And even then the prediction is usually really low. The wind meter is the same. Today it read averages of 20-25mph and I was lit on my 4.2. I have yet to figure out how to rig the right sail to not end up lit like sh*t. Well, I had one underpowered day on my 5.0.

Here's a short recap:
Sailing day 1: Just arrived, rigged the 5.0, should have been on the 4.2.
Sailing day 2: 5.0 again. This way my only underpowered day. Still nice in warm temps and water.
Sailing day 3: Light wind freestyle in almost planing conditions and Lycra - yes it was that warm!
(Sailing) day 4: Tried to do speed, on the 4.7 TR7 and the 89l Falcon. Injured my triceps and ended up walking back a little more than 1 mile. Crazy windy - I had problems carrying my gear into the water and ended up dragging it in. Guess I should have rigged the 3.4...
Sailing day 5: My triceps still hurts, so I think I am taking it slow rigging the 4.2 when everybody else is on way larger stuff. I end up rigging down to the 3.7 and could have sailed the 3.4 easy.
Sailing day 6: The readings show 18mph, I rig my 5.0 and have a couple of normal-powered runs until the wind picks up again. It was supposed to go down. I stay on the 5.0 but should have rigged down to the 4.5.
Sailing day 7: Well, it was supposed to be windy. But not that much. It kind of looks like 4.5, I rig the 4.2, but end up contemplating to rig down to the 3.7 or 3.4 the whole day while sailing. Just the last hour the wind drops a little and I can finally really try some stuff instead of just pretending to try and getting slammed.

If you've never been to North Padre Island for windsurfing and you windsurf you need to go. Last year I was sore for the first 4 weeks because it was so windy. We planed pretty much every second day. From how it is shaping up, this year seems to be no different or even windier. Peter has already set 3 new personal bests speed-sailing in the last 7 sessions.

Here are a few pictures of the sailing spot and conditions:
The view of the bay on a windy day at Bird Island Basin (the bay is shallow, you can stand almost e
View of our sailing spot from the water
It windy  - again
I on my 4.2
Worldwinds - awesome place with great rental equipment

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Howdy Texas!

We made it!
After a 2 day driving marathon we arrived on North Padre Island to do what? Windsurf, of course! Having driven for more than 24 hours straight we quickly unloaded some stuff and went to the beach. Wind readings showed 21 mph with temperatures around 23 degrees Celsius (~75F), the water being almost as warm.
Not trusting my instincts after driving so long I asked for advice on what to rig and ended up rigging my 5.0 after seeing people out on what seemed to be mostly between 5.5 and 6.5. I believe the wind picked up just when I rigged, but I should have probably listened to Peter who rigged his 5.6 which would have meant 4.2 or 4.5 for me. I ended up pretty overpowered but was as usual too lazy to re-rig and simply sailed what I was on. Of course this meant lots of sore muscles the next day, but that was curable by going sailing again. The session on the second day was also on the 5.0, but mostly underpowered and involved lots of pumping. And since it it a cold day today here in Texas (16 degrees Celsius = 60 F), this means I get to soak my tired muscles in our private hot tub in a few minutes ;)

Here are a few pictures from what we left behind on Cape Cod, I in the car during a short ferry ride, and of course our hot tub:

Monday, January 9, 2017

German Cheesecake

It was Peter's birthday recently, so I made his favorite cake: German cheesecake:

German cheesecake is made with greek yogurt, not with cream cheese like the American version. Since there are also several eggs in the cake and I usually make the bottom crust with half whole wheat flour, Peter calls this cake healthy. While I am not sure this is true, it is probably one of the "better for you" cake recipes.

  • 100g white flour
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 100g butter
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 750g greek yogurt
  • 200 ml cream 
  • 100 ml milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 120g sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp instant vanilla pudding

Combine the ingredients for the crust to a smooth dough, and put in the fridge for 1 hour. I usually soften / melt the butter before mixing the ingredients (I believe you are not supposed to do this and use cold chunks of butter, but I never noticed much of a difference in the end product and it is way easier to combine with melted butter).

Bake crust in preheated 390 degree oven for 10 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Combine greek yogurt, milk, and cream. Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar until frothy, then beat in the pudding powder. Using a spoon stir egg mixture into greek yogurt until combined. Put on crust and bake at 390 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 340 degrees and continue to bake for 55 minutes. Let cool in baking form.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Gingerbread Quest

This Christmas season I embarked on a quest to find the perfect gingerbread recipe. My goal was to make a soft gingerbread that has just the right amount of spices.

Did I find it? Not quite, but I am so close...

I started out with some regular recipes I found online that do not require and hard to get ingredients like Hirschhornsalz (baker's ammonia). The first recipe I tried fooled me and the gingerbread turned out to be hard. It was not bad, but definitely not what I wanted. The second recipe was not actually a gingerbread recipe, it contained lots of eggs and butter and was really more of a cake - but it tasted amazing. I also made something similar to Magenbrot (a gingerbread like cookie that is sold on Christmas markets in Germany), which is probably my second favorite Christmas cookie recipe, but again not really gingerbread.
After that I figured I better get some Hirschhornsalz and proper gingerbread spices from Germany (thanks a lot mom for sending me some!). Then I went online and looked for an old gingerbread recipe that contains invert sugar cream (Kunsthonig), which was used in war times instead of real honey. I found a recipe which I slightly modified by using a mix of brown and white sugar instead of white sugar only, and mostly whole wheat flour and ground nuts instead of white flour. I also let the dough rest overnight instead of using it right away, which was recommended in almost all other gingerbread recipes I found. The texture is exactly like I wanted it to be, and it tastes pretty good, but I think the amount of gingerbread spices was a little too much, and it turned out to have more of a gingerbread taste than I wanted. Maybe this will resolve itself after a few days since gingerbread is rarely supposed to be eaten right away.

Here are some pictures of my different "gingerbreads":
The last recipe: Soft, chocolate covered gingerbread

Gingerbread spice cake
Hard gingerbread

Here is my modified gingerbread recipe:
Combine 250g butter, 200g sugar (half white, half brown) and 250g honey and heat slowly until the sugar melts. Do not boil. Remove from heat and let cool down before adding the other ingredients.

Combine 100g ground hazelnuts, 100g white flour, 100g spelt flour, and 300g whole wheat flour (the original recipe simply uses 600g flour - I am sure almost any combination will work). Also add 1 tsp baking powder, 5g cinnamon and 7.5g gingerbread spices. However next time around I would add less gingerbread spice mixture, probably also only 5g (the original recipe calls for 7.5g of cinnamon plus 7.5g gingerbread spices).

Mix one egg with 1/2 cup milk. Dissolve Hirschhornsalz (= hartshorn, baker's ammonia) in milk mixture.

Add milk mixture and flour mix to the cooled honey mix. Stir until combined. Cover and store in a cool place over night (I put my dough in the cold basement for ~20 hours).

The next day, spread the dough over parchment-paper covered baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 C) for 30 minutes.

Cover with melted chocolate and cut into squares while still warm.

And of while I was in Christmas baking mood I also made some other Christmas cookies:
Kokos-Marzipan-, und Haselnussmakronen
dunkle Engelsaugen

Friday, December 16, 2016

Gingerbread Cake

This recipe for gingerbread cake has been sitting in my list of recipes to try for probably two years now. This year I finally got around to making the cake that sounds just perfect: it contains gingerbread and marzipan! There are 3 almond sponge cake layers stacked with gingerbread cream, plum fruit spread and marzipan:


Sponge Cake:
  • 180g sugar
  • 110g flour
  • 40g corn starch
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 100 ml cold water
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Beat egg whites until stiff. Then beat egg yolks, water and sugar until light colored and foamy (can take several minutes). Mix almonds, flour, corn starch, baking powder and cinnamon, and fold under egg yolk mixture using a spoon. Fold in egg whites and bake at 320 degrees F for 20 - 30 minutes. I used three 9 inch baking forms and baked the cakes for 20 minutes, which resulted in 3 perfect layers for my cake without having to cut one sponge cake into the different layers. However baking one cake for about 30 minutes and cutting it into layers works just as well.

Cream Filling:
  • 180g mascarpone
  • 100g greek yogurt
  • 200 ml whipping cream
  • 100g gingerbread
  • 20g sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp orange juice
  • 1/2 package powdered gelatin (~4g)
Crumble the gingerbread into fine pieces (I used chocolate covered gingerbread, but I think any kind will work as long as it does not contain any dried or candied fruit). Using a small grinder or food processor on a low setting works well to make the crumbs. Mix the crumbs, mascarpone, yogurt and sugar. Whip cream with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Dissolve the gelatin in the orange juice for 10 minutes and the heat slowly until the gelatin melts. Let cool a bit and mix into whipped cream (start with one spoonful of cream and add more cream slowly). Quickly mix the cream-gelatin with the gingerbread-mascarpone. If the filling is very soft, put it in the fridge for the gelatin to harden.

Assemble the cake:
You also need plum jam and 100g marzipan. You can either grate the marzipan or roll it out into the form of your cake. Put about 2/3 of the gingerbread cream on the bottom layer. Add the second layer and top it with jam and the marzipan. Finally add the 3rd layer of sponge cake and cover the cake with the rest of the gingerbread cream. Decorate with gingerbread cookie pieces.