I guess I was 7 when I first read this book. I was tired of reading all these funny nonsense children stories and took a book my mother kept besides her bed - Brother of Sleep. I loved the title and so I started reading (I guess the evening before I tried to read "The Clown" by Heinrich Böll and didn't find it very appealing). How could this book not have opened a whole new world to me? It wasn't even the plot but the way the writer addressed the readers, the way he involved them into his reflections on life and what was most important to me: this book asked me to think about fate, about accident and talent. It is not very hard to change a seven year old girl's view on the world, but to me it was important and took me a big step further.The plot is quite easy to summarize: in the early 19th century a boy is boy to a rural Austrian mountain village. He is different from all the other children: he grows too quickly, behaves strangely and turns out to be a genius when it comes to music. But he is surrounded by people who won't appreciate his vocation and in love with his cousin who will be married to another man. Nevertheless: he isn't the only tragic person in this novel, there is his gay cousin, his mongoloid brother, incest, bitter poverty and tragic accidents. Life is as tough as modern people cannot imagine and death lurks around every corner. Death - the brother of sleep - is a central theme of the novel. Those who love do not sleep. An itinerant preacher's words guide Elias, the main character, through his life and finally, when his life is about to change completely, seal his fate.
This book is highly tragic, very unconventional and a good read for everyone. Maybe this is the best debut novel I ever read, for sure it is a very special one and a story that hasn't been told before.
Again I went with the rural taste of the alps and decided to go with a bread recipe. I also made a vegan cheese to accompany it, but sorrily I deleted all the pictures I made. I made a plain fermented cashew cheese but instead of rejuvelac I used sauerkraut juice as suggested on this blog. After the first two days I added salt, pepper, chopped garlic, bird clover, caraway and a bend of dried edible blossoms which added a rich alpine-like taste.
For the bread I went with a recipe which is very traditional all over the Alps, in Bavaria as well as in Northern Italy and Austria: Kornspitz. There are thousands of traditional recipes, but usually it is made from wholemeal flours and yeast, topped with typical spices and kernels. I already had one recipe for traditional bread from Northern Italy but this one is completely different.
100g oats, soaked in water
25g fresh yeast
caraway, bird clover, cilantro, fennel seeds, aniseeds
1tsp salt, 1tsp agave syrup, 1tsp apple vinegar
2tbsp sesame, flax seed, sunflower seeds
salt, kernel mix (I had pumpkin, sesame, fennel, sunflower and flax seeds)
Dissolve yeast in a few tablespoons of warm water, mix flour, oats, salt, seeds, salt and spices in a large bowl, pour yeast and agave syrup in and knead while adding water until the dough gets firm, plain and un-sticky. The amount of spices depends on your personal preferences, I used ~1 1/2tsp caraway, a pinch of bird clover (very intense!), 1 tsp cilantro, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1/2 tsp aniseeds. Allow to rise for at least 30 min.
Roll the dough out, cut into triangles and roll them like croissants. Cover them with kernel mix and salt and bake at 200°C for ~20min. Put a cup with water onto the bottom of the oven.