Black-Bottom Cupcakes


I hadn’t made these in a long time, so I forgot a detail. Next time, these sexy cupcakes will look even better 😉

Ingredients (makes 24 cupcakes)

250 g (Philadelphia) cream cheese
1 egg
60 g sugar
pinch of salt

200 g dark chocolate chips
200 g all-purpose flour
200 g sugar
20 g unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
230 ml water
80 ml vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Chop up the chocolate bars if you weren’t able to find miniature chocolate chips.

Black-Bottom Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 175°C. Line muffin tins with paper cups or lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Black-Bottom Cupcakes

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, egg, 60 g of sugar and a pinch of salt. (Note: don’t overdo the beating as you want this mixture to have consistency! don’t let it become too fluid) Stir in the chocolate chips and set aside.

Black-Bottom Cupcakes

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, 1 cup sugar, cocoa, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Make a well in the center and add the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Stir together until well blended.

Black-Bottom Cupcakes

Fill muffin tins 1/3 full with the batter and top with a dollop of the cream cheese mixture. See my problem was that I allowed my cream cheese mixture to become too liquid and had to almost pour it on top rather than top the batter with ‘dollops’. Had I done it that way, the batter would rise around the filling, engulfing most of it, for a prettier end result.

Black-Bottom Cupcakes

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Black-Bottom Cupcakes

Even if they didn’t look perfect, they still tasted good, though 😀

Ljubljana Castle

Ljubljana Castle

Good morning, sunshine 😉

The First Day of Parliamentary Election Campaign


The New Slovenian President and the Next Prime Minister?
The New Slovenian President (right) and the Next Prime Minister (left)? (Photo Source)

The word is out. Danilo Türk won the Presidential elections with an almost incredible lead of over 70%. I must admit that while I expected his win, I never thought the polls would predict the final results so accurately. Now, while some will say this is a record win in Slovene history, I would like to point out that while Kučan won the Presidential elections by some ten per cent less, he did so in the first round, so the results are not really comparable.

Peterle surprised me several times in the last week. By starting a negative campaign against his opponent, by caving to the pressures of a not-that-politically-strong mayor and turning his back on his campaign manager in the final stretch of the campaign and lastly today at the time of announcing the results, by his bold explanation of his loss. He basically blamed his poor results on Janez Janša and his government and confirmed that he thought his loss reflected the people’s dissatisfaction with the current Government.

Taking the above into account and combining it with the fact that the STA (Slovenian Press Agency), owned 100% by the Government, reported today on the Article published in a Croatian newspaper claiming Janša had received an enormous amount of money from gun trafficking to Bosnia and Croatia while in the capacity of the Slovenian Defence Minister between 1990 and 1994, Janez Janša (current Slovenian Prime Minister) will probably wish he had not gone to China these days. Things getting slightly out of control? The theory has long been out there that Janša is not being tough on Croatia in the borders-at-sea issues because he is being blackmailed with evidence of gun trafficking, thus compromising the country’s best interests due to his personal issues. This promisses to be an interesting topic to follow.

In his victory speech, Türk emphasized Borut Pahor‘s virtues and profoundly thanked him for his support, at the same time just like Peterle hinting that the results were partly a vote of no confidence to the current Government, which will probably have to change its actions. It was most interesting to see Gregor Golobič there in the back (but “limelight back”) as (again?) a kind of the “number one“.

Another politician we saw give a short interview on the telly was Igor Lukšič, the political strategy brains behind Borut Pahor’s Social Democrats that continue to gain ground in the Slovenian political arean. And so… round one is over and the game continues, with some of the players moving up one level.

Today is the first day of the parliamentary election campaign.
Play fair, kids!

In the box(es), part deux

It’s ShowTime! Whoops… I mean… ElectionTime…


Face in the Wood
Imagine. It’s all a matter of perspective.

The second round of the election campaign in Slovenia is just about over. The two candidates who made it this far and will be competing for the position of the Slovenian ‘king of hearts‘ during the next five-year term are Lojze Peterle and Danilo Türk. Please note the *ü* – if your keyboard doesn’t include it, alcessa has at least one for sale.

The so-called “election silence” (according to Slovenian election legislation, ‘public election propaganda must cease at least 24 hours before the day of the elections’) will be imposed as of midnight, cutting down on the juiciness of Slovenian news programmes. Not only that, the election silence may even take some wind from talk shows, fashion shows, family shows, cooking programmes and – who knows – maybe cartoons as well? Anything but reality shows: those are far too sacred a topic to smear with something as filthy as politics. Except for the original Big Brother, that is.

You may have heard of the latest declared candidate in the US Presidential elections, Stephen Colbert of the Daily Show. At a web poll, over 80% of more than 27,000 (!) people voted “Yes! Finally a candidate who understands how ridiculous he is.

Ok so the world is a stage and we should all keep’em laughing as we go, but… never underestimate the power of your own vote. In this apparently media-driven (ok so who is/owns the media anyway, right?) society, it is no longer the political candidates that take on the role of stars during election frenzy, but rather the show hosts who can make them talk about their families, pets, make them cook, sing, maybe do tricks, even?

The trailer for the most popular Slovenian family show at the end of the first round of the campaign actually said something to the effect of: we don’t care about the policies they endorse, we want to get to know them better on a personal level. !”#$”#$&$%##”$%!

Pardon my language, it was a slip of a finger… or two. It’s so easy to forget that the policies the elected people draft will eventually be implemented in a way that will affect your daily lives and it’s equally easy to forget that in democratic elections, your vote counts exactly as much as that of your neighbour, boss or favourite soap opera star.

By failing to vote, you are actually giving somebody else the power to vote instead of you. Think about it. Dr. Fil is definitelly getting off her comfy couch and braving any type of weather and potential ‘maček’ due to ‘martinovanje’ to cast her vote. How about you?

Real Slovenia: Who can buy real estate in this country?


Terme 3000 spa resort bungalow property for sale
Property at Terme 3000 spa resort for sale at GBD Real Estate Ltd.

Who can buy real estate in Slovenia? Perhaps the obvious answer to that question would be: anyone who can afford it. Which, to some extent is true. However, while Slovenian citizens only have the financial aspects of the purchase to consider, most foreigners do face some more formal restrictions.

Main source: Slovenian Ministry of Justice website

EU nationals
Slovenia had to change its Constitution in the part pertaining to real estate ownership by foreigners (Article 68) in order to be able to join the European Union. With the signing of the accession agreement in 2004, European Union citizens obtaioned the right to purchase real estate in the Republic of Slovenia under the same conditions as its citizens, which means they no longer have to lodge applications for the determination of reciprocity previously required under the special so-called »Spanish Compromise«.

Pursuant to Article 40 of the Agreement on the European Economic Area, citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway can also purchase real estate in Slovenia without any restrictions specific to foreign nationals.

Due to the ‘most-favoured-nation’ status under the Treaty on Trade and Navigation concluded between Serbia and the United States of America in 1881, US citizens can purchase real estate in the Republic of Slovenia under the most favourable conditions for any foreigners doing same in Slovenia. Consequently, US citizens can purchase Slovenian properties under the rules that no longer call for mandatory determination of reciprocity by the Ministry of Justice.

The Protocol concluded between Switzerland and the EU in 2006 includes a chapter on real estate ownership by three categories of Swiss nationals: (1) Swiss citizens with a right to live in and to a permanent residence in a member of the EU; (2) Swiss citizens with the right to live in an EU member but no permanent residence there who need real estate for business purposes (includes right to purchase touristic accommodation facilities) and (3) Swiss citizens living near the borders, employed in an EU member bordering on Switzerland who need the property for business purposes or as temporary residence (includes touristic accommodation facilities). Swiss citizens can therefore purchase real estate in Slovenia provided that they have the right to live in and to a permanent residence in the Republic of Slovenia or that they at least have the right to live in the country (without permanent residence) and need the property for business purposes (including touristic accommodation facilities).

EU Candidate Countries
As of 2006, natural and legal persons in EU candidate countries and candidate countries can obtain ownership of real estate under the condition of substantive reciprocity, which means that Slovenia recognises certain rights of foreigners only on the condition that the foreigner’s country recognises those same rights for citizens of Slovenia. Existence of reciprocity is established by the Ministry of Justice. Incidentally, the Ministry is obliged to respond within 90 days of receipt of a complete application.

Other Countries
Citizens of countries not listed among the exceptions above can acquire real estate in Slovenia only as inheritance if the condition of reciprocity is fulfilled. In other words, if a Slovenian citizen can inherit real estate in a third country, a citizen of such country can inherit real estate in Slovenia. This right is based on Article 6 of the Inheritance Act in combination with Article 68 of the Constitution.

You may be asking… what if I come from one of the “other countries”, but I fell in love with Slovenia and wish to purchase a property here. I further believe this is a great place to invest into. Is there a way for me to buy?

Where there is a will, there is a way, right. You might fall in love with a Slovenian and move here, which should settle this particular problem although it might create a few new ones. On the other hand, you might want to look into registering a company in Slovenia and have said company purchase the real estate you are interested in. Namely, even a 100% foreign-owned company can purchase real estate in Slovenia provided that it is entered in the Slovenian registry of companies.

YIPPIE, I can buy a property in Slovenia! Ok, what’s next?
Now, unless you’re rather well off (in which case, let’s go for a cup of coffee next time you’re in Ljubljana) and have liquid assets at your disposal, you may be looking for a way to finance your new dream home, holiday home or investment property. In that case, grab yourself a cup of home-made coffee and come back to dr. Fil’s virtual couch for the next post in this series. We’ll look at the types of financing available in Slovenia along with the approximate ranges of interst rates.

Article 68 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia
(Property Rights of Aliens)
Aliens may acquire ownership rights to real estate under conditions provided by law.
Aliens may not acquire title to land except by inheritance, under the condition of reciprocity.
(amended in 1997, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia No. 42/97)
Aliens may acquire ownership rights to real estate under conditions provided by law or if so provided by a treaty ratified by the National Assembly, under the condition of reciprocity.
Such law and treaty from the preceding paragraph shall be adopted by the National Assembly by a two-thirds majority vote of all deputies.
(amended in 2003, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia No. 24/03)
Aliens may acquire ownership rights to real estate under conditions provided by law or a treaty ratified by the National Assembly.

Storzic in the Sun

The real estate business in Slovenia does have a few perks 🙂 Such as enjoying views from plots of land for sale in Gorenjska region.

Kitchen Project – Wild Ride Way Past 8 Seconds


The kitchen project, which truly turned out to be one heck of a wild ride for a while there, and the area looking like a construction site for longer than I care to mention, we are nearing some sort of closure 😉

It all started out looking like this:

Original State

After which, the sliding glass windows in the balcony were thrown out along with the wall dividing the balcony/loggia from the kitchen area.

New Windows

New, “real” windows were put in, with the middle one being sliding as well. This will come in handy later for my idea of placing a high-legged table right next to the windows to allow for relaxing breakfasts in fresh air whilst enjoying the view of the park below. A new wall with appropriate insulation was erected and shelving placed on top.

Waiting for better days to come…

Removing old tiling and top layer of concrete… Zaim in action!

Window Frame
Response to the first complaint regarding the windows (successfully resolved) while the plumber looks on and figures he’d better do his radiator job well…

New Tiles
New tiling and radiator in…

A job well done calls for celebration… Or at least a cup of good coffee for Roki, the master of tiling.

All of the above was done in a matter of five days so it seemed the impossible goal of quick completion of the project was not going to present much of a problem. However. The walls in my home have always been taken care of by a friend I’ve made during my agility days. Iztok is somewhat of an artist and an exceedingly thorough man. Unfortunately, he hurt a leg muscle while training for an agility competition and would not be able to come over for three weeks. Fine, I’d wait. Then an added, potentially fatal complication occurred: thrombosis. Not only is Iztok a friend, but also a father to three children with the fourth one on the way. Some food for thought on the meaning of life right there, but I digress. I decided to wait for Iztok to get better and some six weeks later he was able to come over and finish the walls. In the meantime, dinners were served in front of partly disposed concrete walls with candle light playfully illuminating creaks and holes the old windows had left, the draft moving the flames in an especially romantic fashion.

Thanks to more help from my loved ones, the new TV is up as well. LCD and all 😉 and has been put to use. Now all that is left is to pick out a new couch and to have the custom-made table built by Iztok’s brother the ingenious carpenter (who happens to have been involved in the Slovenian Presidential Palace remodelling this summer, ha! 😀 ). I promise to host the kitchen-warming party before that, though :mrgreen:

Kitchen Project - After

With this project, I’ve learned so much, for example about expansion joints in the tiling between the kitchen and ex loggia, but most importantly, I’ve met wonderful people with fascinating stories to tell and am thankful to the guys who did their job so well. In the words of Zaim, the incredible contractor who found solutions to the problems thought insurmountable by others and did so seemingly effortlessly:

Victory is inevitable – if only we try hard enough.

Real Slovenia: Prices of Real Estate in Ljubljana. The Great Rise and… Fall?


Ljubljana Apartment for Sale
Luxury apartment for sale in downtown Ljubljana – (GBD Real Estate Ltd.)

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding real estate in Ljubljana is: will the prices fall?

Ever since 1995, the market value of real estate in Slovenia have been riding a strong wave that has yet to subside. Particularly in Ljubljana and some other highly sough-after areas such as coastal properties (remember, this country only has 43,157m – yes, that’s metres, not kilometres – of coastline), prices are not low and continue to rise. Some speculate that the properties are overpriced and that the inflated bubble is bound to burst sooner or later.

If in January of 1995, one had to pay approximately €1,300/m2 for a studio or about €1,000/m2 for a 4-bedroom apartment in Ljubljana, you’d be paying almost €3,500/m2 for a studio and an average of €2,300/m2 for a 4-bedroom apartment in June 2007 (source). I need to emphasize here that these are average prices. The very top properties go for as much as €6,000/m2.

Traditionally, prices of apartments in the greater Ljubljana area have been considerably lower than in the city itself, but with the ever improving road infrastructure, the shortage of available appropriate properties, unaffordable prices and the fact that the younger population is more willing to commute than ever before, many of those employed in Slovenia’s capital have decided to stay in their original home areas or to move further from the centre to secure more space for a better quality of life. Consequently, prices in the greater Ljubljana area have seen a steady rise since 2003.

Now for the big question: Are prices inflated and will they start falling? Unfortunately, my crystall ball is in a repair shop at the moment so I can’t provide a real answer. But based on how this city is developing, how many apartments are being constructed, how Slovenia is positioning itself in the EU both on the short and on the long term I tend to agree with the assessment that architect Miran Gajšek, Head of Department for Urbanism at the Municipality of Ljubljana gave at the Investment Conference two weeks ago.

Mr. Gajšek said, and I concur, that the only potentially overpriced real estate in Ljubljana are studios of up to roughly 35 m2. Prices there might well decrease in the future. As for the other types of properties, the upward trends are bound to continue.

Real Slovenia: A series of blog posts on the subject of real estate in Slovenia, coming every Tuesday and Thursday at

Real Estate: Call for Ideas and Questions


Hello, my dear reader (or readers on a good day 😀 ). I need some input here. I’ve decided to introduce a new category to my blog, dealing with one of my professional fields, i.e. real estate. I will be writing about rules and regulations on Slovenian market and try to address the most frequently asked questions that potential buyers – and sellers, renters or tenants for that matter – might have.

I am looking for a cool category / post series title and possibly for some questions you might have.

Shoot. The panda sure did. (Will explain this one later.)

PS: Dobrodošla so tudi vprašanja v slovenskem jeziku.

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