Scottish Gaelic: Dreamer, Visionary

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The Wookiee Rookiee Podcast Episode 3 – Revenge of the Pish

Episode 3 – Revenge of the Pish2015-11-27 20.48.10 Kopie

In which we come to the end of the prequel trilogy and look forward to a more balanced force. Learn some methods of preparation for watching old sci-fi, ending wars with The Weakest Link, Czech scams and all about the neighbour’s dog Lumpi.


Some links to this week’s topics:
Episode 3 deleted scenes:
Queen – Mustapha:
Holiday Special –
Roger de Courcey & Nookie Bear –


You can subscribe via RSS – iTunes or directly on TalkShoe


Katharina’s links:
The Coffee Legacy –
Blog –
Every Photo Tells… Podcast –

Chris’ Links:
Eleventh Hour Podcast –
Chris & Joe Do A Thing –
Last Word Podcast –

Mick’s Links:
Some Other Scotland –
Blog & Music –
The Lunacy Board –

The Wookiee Rookiee Podcast Episode 2 – Attack of the Random Clones

Episode 2 – Attack of the Random Clones2015-11-27 20.48.10 Kopie

In which we realise that the Jedi robe is the trench coat of a galaxy far, far away, Christopher Lee has actually played a non-villainous rôle and “You’ve got a good wonky face” would make a great Anakin pick-up line. Join us as we consider the horrifying concept of Obi Wan Kenobi played by Noel Edmunds.


Some links to this week’s topics:
Curse of the Fatal Death –
Christopher Lee –


You can subscribe via RSS – iTunes or directly on TalkShoe


Katharina’s links:
The Coffee Legacy –
Blog –
Every Photo Tells… Podcast –

Chris’ Links:
Eleventh Hour Podcast –
Chris & Joe Do A Thing –
Last Word Podcast –

Mick’s Links:
Some Other Scotland –
Blog & Music –
The Lunacy Board –

The Wookiee Rookiee Podcast Episode 01 – The Fandom Menace

Episode 1 – The Fantom Menace2015-11-27 20.48.10 Kopie

In which we discuss Jar Jar vs C3PO, painful stereotyped accents, questionable love interests and rubbish droids. That’s droids who are rubbish, rather than droids who specialise in dealing with rubbish, which are something else entirely.


You can subscribe via RSS – iTunes or directly on TalkShoe


Katharina’s links:
The Coffee Legacy –
Blog –
Every Photo Tells… Podcast –

Chris’ Links:
Eleventh Hour Podcast –
Chris & Joe Do A Thing –
Last Word Podcast –

Mick’s Links:
Some Other Scotland –
Blog & Music –
The Lunacy Board –

The Wookiee Rookiee Podcast

2015-11-27 20.48.10 KopieDid you know that there exist people who have never seen the original Star Wars trilogy? It’s true!

Katharina is one such soul who would like to be able to enjoy the forthcoming “The Force Awakens” without skipping over a whole generation of the story. Chris and Mick, caring types that they are, decided that if she’s going to watch the original series after all these years of steadfast refusal, then she should probably go back and watch the whole six movies in chronological order. In this podcast we discuss how that experience went, one episode at a time.

You can subscribe via RSSiTunes or directly on TalkShoe


Episode 0 – Opening Crawl

In which we introduce ourselves and the purpose of the existence of this delectable audio morsel.

We mention the following video clips you might want to check out to see what on earth we’re talking about:

Katharina (the actual Wookiee Rookiee) cut her podcasting teeth on the Three Heroes Podcast many many years ago and is currently working on the second book in her Coffee Fantasy series, the first of which (The Coffee Legacy – is available in audio podcast form. Her website is at, where you’ll find all sorts of interesting things related to photography, food, coffee and Austria. She is also co-host (with Mick) of the Every Photo Tells… Podcast, where you will find over 150 short stories in all genres from a range of authors.

Mick also writes and podcasts, both with Katharina on EPT and in his own ongoing audio podcast about strange goings-on, conspiracy and ancient technology (Some Other Scotland – His own website at is host to his musical endeavours and related activities (such as occasional concert and album reviews).

Chris co-hosts the Eleventh Hour Podcast (, now in its 5th year of regular Doctor Who goodness, which has spun off its own successful siblings. Chris & Joe Do A Thing ( covers topics as diverse as slow sci-fi, wresting, horror and anything else they stumble upon along the way. Meanwhile, over on the Last Word Podcast ( Chris introduces Alirio to the classic UK TV series Press Gang.

Christmas Market Aggstein Ruin

Further out from Vienna, past Grafenegg and Göttweig, towering majestically over the Danube river you can find the ruins of Aggstein Castle. You can see it in the distance perched on top of a rock when you take the boat up the Danube, and with such a location the views are spectacular. There are only a few parking spots actually at the castle, so most visitors will have to park at the foot of the hill. There is a shuttle bus going up the castle or you can walk up the hill which is quite steep, though well-surfaced. We took the bus up but walked down, which took about half an hour. Since the market is only open on weekends in November, it is quickly full. When we arrived at around 11 AM, there was still plenty of parking and we got a space on the bus straight away. After our visit, returning to the car at about 3PM, the parking area was full and the queue for the bus was huge. So I strongly recommend to go there before lunch, also because you can get plenty of very tasty food there anyway.

I have wanted to visit this castle since I saw it from below on a boat trip from Krems to Melk. So when I heard there was a Christmas market, which must be the earliest market in the region, I had to visit it. Most other markets start around mid-November, but this one runs from the beginning of the month and only for November. For the last few years November has been quite warm and again was unusually so this year. Snow in November is not uncommon in Austria, but for this visit to Aggstein it was 20°C and glorious sunshine.

Driving along the Danube, through the area known as the Wachau is always nice, but if the weather is sunny you get to enjoy the best of this picturesque region and the spectacular views from the ruin itself. The castle greets you with many stalls of food and crafts, though it’s immediately obvious that this is more of a medieval market than a Christmas one. There are festive crafts and decorations, but all the sellers and staff are dressed in medieval outfits and you can get yourself a longbow or a sword just as easily as your next ornament for the Christmas tree.

The smells of caramel almonds and pita bread with bacon waft around you as you are walk into the courtyard. There, the sounds of a medieval band just complete the scene, giving a flavour of the sights, sounds and smells of a bygone age. If you are not too afraid of heights, it’s time to climb up the outside of the castle. There are many paths that lead up the different towers, and you should definitely explore them all. From the highest elevation you have a fantastic view over the ruin with the Danube and the valley stretched out below.

Inside, you find the usual Christmas ornaments, but also everything from tools made out of chocolate, mediaeval clothes and a rat race. You shouldn’t miss the Nibelung exhibition and the chapel either. Back outside, there is an ox being roasted, which is served in a bun and is extremely yummy, deer burger, coffee and great poppy seed rolls. If the view from the castle isn’t enough, you can rock-climb further up, or even try your hand at archery. You might even feel the need for a sword or bow and arrow to take home. I was tempted, but held back.

All in all, this has quickly risen up to be one of my favourite Christmas markets, because it’s the perfect combination of location and choice of products. The latter are special enough to make it memorable and distinguish it from other markets. You never need wonder ‘oh, where did I see those medieval dresses?’ One thing I’m sure of is that I will go back there.

Kunsthandwerks Christkindlmarkt:
7. / 8. & 14. / 15. & 21. / 22. November 2015

Sa und So: 10:00 – 19:00 Uhr

Bus fees: One way 1,5 EUR, Round trip 2EUR
Entry fees: 4,5 EUR Adult


Read more about Christmas Markets in and around Vienna!




Christmas Markets in Vienna, 2015 Edition

XmasCover E 2015When I started blogging about Christmas markets in winter 2012, I never thought it would become a book, let alone I would be publishing a second edition three years later.

After it was first published, I still wanted to go to new markets or revisit old ones, and I took my camera and Mick with me, to be safe. The plan was to update it for 2014, but we moved house and the project landed in the queue.

I was sure though, once the new opening dates and times were published I would manage a 2015 edition – and here it is! 🙂

Updated infos, seven new markets, and many more photos! / /

Smashwords (and many more…)

Food in Prague, Check

For the May holiday weekend, we took a trip to Prague with a couple of friends, one of whom is Slovak and thus fluent in Czech as well. This helped a lot, especially when it came to finding nice and not-touristy spots to eat. On top of that, Prague is also excellent when it comes to cafés and the selection of cakes you can find there.

Overall, the city is much cheaper than Vienna for eating out. In Vienna you can seldom go out and pay below 40 EUR for a meal for two, but in Prague we paid about the same for the five of us.

Other than Prague being a really great city, I decided to write a bit more about the restaurants and cafés we visited there. Important to know are two words – in case the menu is only in Czech – knedlík (dumplings) and spek (bacon). That’ll get you through most menus 😉



Pod Dračí Skálou
Karlštejn 130, 267 18 Karlštejn

Our first stop on the way to Prague was the town of Karlstejn, south west of the city, location of a great castle. The restaurant is not easily accessible, you either park at the town’s car park and walk for half an hour since the whole town and the way up the castle is a pedestrian area, or you try to drive through the masses of people by car. Either way, it’ll be worth it. Hearty Czech cuisine, duck and bacon dumplings, pork roast with more dumplings and skewers with… dumplings. Washing it down with Kofola, the Czech/Slovak version of coke, and pancakes with fresh berries as dessert.

Mick adds:
A word about Kofola – this is a very dark (think Guinness-black) fruit drink we first came across in Slovakia. Its history dates back to communist-era Czechoslovakia, but it still functions as a viable rival to the big US brands who have appeared on the scene since the Velvet Revolution. The drink is more fruity and rich, but less overtly sugary than brand colas and is worth a try if you are steering clear of the ridiculously cheap Czech beer.


Café Savoy
Vítězná 124/5, 150 00 Praha 5

Once we arrived in Prague, it was time for coffee and cake. The café Savoy is located in the “Small Town”, is a beautiful café with tasty cakes and on the way to the toilet you can even see their kitchen and watch the bakers at work.

Václavské náměstí 42, 110 00 Praha 1

I admit it, if there is a ‘Paul’ in town, I will go there. This French bakery can be found in many large cities in France and across Europe, but not in Vienna. I’ve been to their branches all over France for breakfast, so when I heard there was one in Prague as well, we had to go there. For croissants, and breakfast eclairs, and breakfast mini quiches and and and…


Hergetova Cihelna
Cihelná 2b, Prague 1

Going to lunch at one of the prime spots next to the river with perfect view of the Charles Bridge is just as fancy as it sounds, but by far not as expensive. Whilst I had fantastic salmon and home-made ice tea, my beloved went for the octopus monster that’s coming out of the black sea. It tasted much better than it looked!

Kavárna Obecní dům
Náměstí Republiky 5, 110 00 Praha 1

That afternoon, the rain was pouring, but we found shelter in this huge and beautiful Art Deco café. We “had” to try almost all the cakes because the rain took a very long time to stop, but this was the very place where I discovered honey cake. Honey in the dough, honey in the cream, many layers, crunchy, moist, delicious!

Mick adds:
In addition to the food and drinks, we were treated to some live music, courtesy of a jazz trio (bass, piano & sax) who played a mixture of classic standards as well as a couple of modern pop songs given the jazz treatment. They were generally greeted by polite applause, but were not intrusive. The resulting atmosphere, despite the lashing rain beating against the windows, was very relaxing and it was such a pleasure to have something other than the usual piped pop junk clashing with the natural murmur of conversation. Apparently jazz is really a big deal in the Czech Republic and it was common to come across bands playing out on the street, as well as in cafés and bars.


Mistral Café
Valentinská 11, 110 00 Praha 1

Another day that started with French breakfast, though some of us went for an English one (not who you think!); it was delicious! The only problem we had was that it only opened at 10am, which is a bit late when you are under-caffeinated and hungry.

2014-05-04 10.33.04

Posezení u Čiriny
Navrátilova 1632/6, 110 00 Praha 1

For lunch, we went for the native’s suggestion again and ate in this small and cosy restaurant. There were spaetzle with bacon and cheese on the menu at which point we didn’t even bother to read more. As usual, it was fantastic!


Grand Café Orient
Ovocný trh 569/19, 110 00 Praha

This cubistic café – though I’m not sure why it was supposed to be cubistic – was full of people, twice. If you have the patience to wait for a table and for the attention of a waiter (who seem to be even more aloof than Viennese ones), you will be rewarded with great café and even better cake. The honey cake was even better than the one we had the day before.

2014-05-04 15.14.32

School Café Restaurant
Smetanovo nábřeží 205/22, 110 00 Praha 1

Our last breakfast in Prague was also by far the most lavish one. There was savoury breakfast and pancakes, accompanied by fresh juices and a lot of coffee. Some even had two courses of breakfast. Another great start to a busy day!


U třech čertů
Starobrněnská 7, 602 00 Brno

Driving back to Vienna, we stopped in Brno, a town close to the Austrian border. After going for a small walk, we came across a restaurant with two devils as a logo, that looked intriguing. Inside, there were people eating from huge pitchforks, so we knew we were at the right place. Somewhere between very stinky cheese and a comfy pub atmosphere, we ended up pretty stuffed for our drive back home.

Mick adds:
Of course, we didn’t spend ALL our time in Prague eating and drinking. As well as a walk up to the castle (which is stunning, but was very crowded), visiting several great bookshops (Shakespeare & Sons and The Globe being particularly memorable), climbing up the Observatory tower and visiting the National Library of the Klementinium (the guided tour is recommended for a stunning view over the city) and taking in a Tim Burton exhibition, we thoroughly enjoyed losing ourselves in the various winding streets of Prague. Western high street shops are, as everywhere, starting to take over the centre, but there are still plenty of interesting local shops, restaurants and cafés to explore. The popular tourist attractions (especially the Charles Bridge, the castle and the Astronomical Clock) can be overwhelmingly mobbed, but it doesn’t take too much exploring to escape the crowds and find some true gems.


Dawn’s Early Light – Blogtour

Dawn's Early LightI have been a fan of Pip’s and Tee’s writing for many years now. Naturally, when they ventured into Steampunk, I made the discovery with them. Reading the first two novels in the series was a delight and I have also already preordered Dawn’s Early Light.

When I heard about the blog tour I was excited to take part and – totally not selfishly – asked to post an excerpt of the book which I can share with you today.

Below you can find the links where to get the book, the excerpt and also more info about the authors. Enjoy!


A selection from Dawn’s Early Light by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris
released by Ace Books 

She reached for the lantern hanging at the bottom of the steps, struck a match, and then turned up the light once the flame caught. The sconce’s glow pushed aside the shadows to reveal a small analytical engine, her pride and joy, sitting in the corner of the room.

Perhaps it was an indulgence, but she was guaranteed a small amount of privacy and confidentiality when using it. The money should have gone to the church, but this device was in a sense keeping the church together. It was her personal line of communication with those who called upon her for specific talents. When noon struck, the green light on the panel before Van switched to red. She threw a few connectors forward, awakening the amber display in front of her. It squeaked lightly when she adjusted it to a more comfortable reading position. Yes, along with the piano, her analytical engine was also in need of some maintenance.  


Van tapped her lips as she thought about the shadowy organisation. It had been at least six or seven years since the House of Usher had been active in America. What could it mean that they now wanted a hunt and retrieval from her? Whoever this mark was, the House wanted him or her badly, considering the terms of the bounty. 

The term “Eliminate any opposition” would be her judgement call—and solely hers—in the field. She had made a pledge to herself that in these assignments, her sword would only take a life if her own was threatened. She was not an assassin. She was a tracker and a retrieval specialist. 

Accepting this commission would see to the many needs of their church. The piano would finally be tuned, and the roof fully repaired in time for next winter. There could even be some money in the coffer for a garden. Meals for the poor. 

Her fingers had already begun typing before her eyes returned to the screen. 


Van’s thoughts scattered when the signal returned to red. She flipped the switch underneath, and the display began to assemble itself, line by line. In an hour’s time she would have the face of her latest assignment. Even the telegraph could not offer that.

As the image assembled itself, she would have plenty of time to pack for an unexpected journey south. Van connected two more leads, and flipped a switch that would provide a printed copy of her screen once the image finished its travel through the æther. She turned toward the wall to the left of the machine and gave a section of its moulding a gentle push. The top half of the wall slid away, revealing several rifles and handguns. After a moment’s consideration, she took down the quad-barrelled Winchester-Henry-Armstrong 1892, and felt the weight in her hands. Stopping power and distance were guaranteed, provided the target’s weight was not an issue.

Van propped the ’92 up against the wall and looked over the handgun options in front of her. Her fingers ran along the edges of a wide, rosewood case. She tapped the sides of the box, wondering if these would be needed.

Apprehending of target alive is the top priority, she recalled from the message. Eliminate any opposition. The House of Usher wanted this target with no expense spared. The order was brief, but told her so much. There was no suspicion of opposition. It would happen. Without question.

Van pulled the box free of the wall case and flipped open its brass latches. The pair of .38 Smith & Wesson revolvers within duly reflected the lantern light. She had not picked up either pistol yet, but the wooden grip under her brushing fingertips felt warm, as if expecting her touch.

Closing the lid to the case and then hefting the rifle free from the wall, Van ascended the staircase, her speech to Everett already prepared. Two weeks. She’d only be away two weeks. Three weeks, at the most. For that amount of time, she would be able to do so much good for the church and their little town. Even her stoic partner would see that. The reappearance of the House of Usher could provide a welcomed windfall, and a gift from above. 

Van had to keep the faith that was why the House of Usher had returned to America. She didn’t dare contemplate the other possibility.



Bio: New Zealand born fantasy writer and podcaster Philippa (Pip) Ballantine is the author of the Books of the Order and the Shifted World series. She is also the co-author, with her husband Tee Morris, of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels. Her awards include an Airship, a Parsec, and a Sir Julius Vogel. Morris is the author of Morevi: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana and the co-author of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels. In addition to his work as a fantasist, he is also a social media pioneer and the author of Podcasting for Dummies and All a Twitter.

Pip’s website:
Pip’s Twitter: PhilippaJane

Tee’s website:
Tee’s Twitter: TeeMonster

The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Facebook page:

Danube Waves

2014-02-20 15.17.55Only a few days ago, I finished the first draft of Danube Waves, the sequel to the Coffee Legacy and the second book in the Wiener Blut universe. The draft came in just over 76K which makes it quite a bit bigger than the first novel. I’m not sure if it will grow or slim down in the editing process but it will most likely stay longer. At the moment I’m into the first round of edits before the manuscript goes to the editor. I have a few timeline references to fix and to make sure that the story stays consistent throughout and I didn’t start off with an idea that gets forgotten later on.

When I’m done with my edits I will start with the casting for the podcast version of it. I cannot resist doing a podcast again and I am very lucky that I already have the OK of those people who are recurring from the first book. But there are also many new characters which need new voices and I’m excited to cast them.

At the same time the relaunch of the paperback version of the Coffee Legacy is underway and it’s long overdue. I hope to get it out before the eBook version of Danube Waves gets released.

Once the casting call is out, I will put a blogpost here and over on the Wiener Blut website, so keep your eyes open! 🙂 Also, there will be cake!

Cookbook Challenge 12 – My Viennese Kitchen

The cookbook challenge is coming to an end, this is the last one – for now at least. This is going back to the basics and my Austrian roots with the Plachutta “My Viennese Kitchen” cookbook. Plachutta is one of my favourite restaurants in Vienna and they are famous for their beef dishes. “The Good Kitchen”, one of my top 3 favourite cookbooks of all time, was co-written by Mr. Plachutta as well. So a few years ago, my dad got me a signed copy of his newest book. Finding something in there I hadn’t made before was surely going to be a big challenge. Adding to that Mick’s special request of “traditional, but different”, I knew it wasn’t going to be all that easy.

Eventually, I went for Quark Dumplings. I had made the dough before but made the dumplings with plums in the middle, not just plain ones. For them you need something fruity to go with it, so I decided to be experimental there. Traditionally you eat them with a plum sauce or apple sauce, but I decided to use cowberries, which I got in a jar as a whole with sauce around them. Not as saucy as a jam. For the twist, I just decided to add Whisky.



Quark Dumplings with Cranberry Whisky Sauce

For the dough:
350g quark (sometimes referred to as curd cheese but that is produced differently)
50g butter100g breadcrumbs
1 egg yolk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons icing sugar
Zest of half a lemon

For the icing:
50g butter
Castor Sugar

For the sauce:
Cranberries or cowberries in a jar, whole with sauce




For the dough you simply mix all the ingredients together. Make sure the butter is soft so you won’t have clumps in the dough later which will then make holes in the dumpling. Once the dough is thoroughly mixed through, put it in the fridge to rest for about an hour.



Once the dough has rested, put on a big pot of water and bring it to the boil. Whilst that is heating up, start forming the dumplings out of the dough. They should have a diameter of about 4 cm, and I admit I also prefer them rather small. Make sure your hands are thoroughly covered in flour because it’s a very sticky dough. Then cover the dumplings in a thin layer of flour before you put them in the boiling water. The dumplings need about 10 minutes in the boiling water. Many dumplings are ready when they rise to the surface of the water. Those will rise to the surface quite soon though, so don’t take them out just yet.

In the meantime, prepare the breadcrumbs to coat the dumplings. Since it’s the last challenge, I will admit that Austrian cuisine wouldn’t work without breadcrumbs. In case you were wondering. In the original recipe, the breadcrumbs just get roasted in a ton of butter. Since that’s not how my granny made it – here’s how it really goes.


Put a big knob of butter in a hot pan and melt it. Then pour in breadcrumbs, I reckon about 100g. I always rather have too much breadcrumbs. Stir it and add castor sugar- I’d say about a third the amount of the breadcrumbs. The goal here is to get the sugar melted, caramelised and have the breadcrumbs nice and golden brown. You have to stir it often so it won’t burn or stick to the pan. Also when you’re finished and it’s cooling down you need to make sure you still occasionally stir it because otherwise it will get quite solid when the caramel hardens.



In a small pot, put in two big tablespoon full of the cranberries. Add a shot of whisky and bring it to the boil whilst steering it. Then put the pot aside to let it cool down.

When the dumplings are ready, take them out of the water and drain them of any excess water. Then roll them in the breadcrumbs until they are fully covered. Add some more breadcrumbs to the plate, sprinkle some icing sugar over the top and add the cranberry sauce. Finished!

DSC_4350 DSC_4348

Like I said, I had made that dough before for plum dumplings, which are some of my favourite. You can also stick a strawberry, an apricot or a piece of chocolate in the middle. Then you usually don’t need the fruity sauce anymore. Some also recommend making those dumplings with a potato dough, but I find it too heavy for a desert which is already so sweet. The quark dumplings turned out extremely light though, so that worked very well. I always like a spot of fruit with my dessert, so I wouldn’t have made them without the sauce. Adding the Whisky to the sauce gave it an extra zing which was much appreciated. My only problem is that I keep forgetting how filling they are and after the third dumpling I was completely stuffed. But the good kind of stuffed. If anyone’s wondering – yes, I’ll totally make them again!



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