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Born in Graz, growing up in the city centre and moving to the outskirts at the age of eight, I went through quite a lot of changes when we moved, as my friends will be able to recount in detail (which thankfully they will not be doing here). One of them is that I adapted to the language used on the country side. Not without reason the rest of the people residing in Austria say that Styrians “bark”, because, as a matter of fact, they do. If you do not understand how humans can transform to dogs, you might find this amusing if you speak a little german, even if you won’t understand a word (cause not even I do). Or this. I actually really like that song, so you’d better not say anything insulting about it. Really. Look at those lyrics. (which might not win an oscar for the best translation, but never mind.)

Living in a considerably smaller town than the one you grew up in makes you change. I’ve been living in a small city near Innsbruck, basically at the other end of Austria, for two months now, and moving here after living in London for six months, is kind of a shock. No trains running under the ground, no gaps to mind, no art exhibitions and museums, no big English supermarkets (my all-time favourite), no clothing shops you would shop in unless you find yourself in a state of utter non-possession, and obviously, no most beautiful version of the most-spoken language in the world. Instead of all those things, you have one thing in abundance: nature. Trees, flowers, animals. Everywhere.

But as every coin has two sides, I do not want to dwell on the things I miss about England (though the last point is obviously in no way negative), but also tell you about those little things I enjoy. One of those things is the fact that no matter if you know a person or not, if you cross someone’s path on the street, you greet them. No matter how young or old, you greet them. It took me some time to get used to that. And once I did, it would feel like a slap in the face when someone wouldn’t greet me back or deliberately stare at imaginary attractions on the other side of the road.

I wonder what the world would feel like if we all greeted each other. If we treated every random person we met as a good friend. Yeah. I guess I do not need to go deeper on that.

Mousse au chocolat withou gelatine

Serves 2-4

  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • 100 ml non-dairy milk (I used coconut milk, but any milk works just as well)
  • 1 can of coconut milk (400 ml/14 oz)
  • a piece of dark chocolate, to decorate

The can of coconut milk is needed for the coconut cream on top (which, of course, can be omitted). As you will only need the solid part of the coconut milk, I used the liquid (‘coconut water’) for the mousse.

Open the coconut milk (without shaking!) and put the solid, white part into a bowl. Refrigerate.

Chop the chocolate. Bring the milk to a boil and remove from heat. Add the chopped chocolate and let sit for about 30 seconds. When the chocolate in the milk has melted, start stirring with a spoon until you have a thick, shiny ganache.

Let cool and put in the fridge for about an hour. Remove from fridge and start mixing the mousse with an electric mixer until it becomes pale and fluffy. You might have to add a little more milk at this point as it tends to get quite stiff.

Vegan chocolate mousse

Fill the mousse into small bowls and refrigerate for another half an hour.

Take out the coconut milk and with an electric mixer, whip it up. (I used some random organic brand that wasn’t as smooth as I wished it was, so my “whipped cream” didn’t turn out that great. You will have to find a brand that works for you.) If you want, you can add some of it to the mousse.

Chop the rest of the chocolate and decorate the mousse with coconut whipped cream and chocolate.