Paulchens FoodBlog & the Three Tabbycats united

Vienna Bread & Kaiser Rolls

*tock tock tock* Is this thing on?

I am happy to announce that I am serving as the Kitchen of the Month again and am honored to gather my fellow Bread Baking Babes around our virtual kitchen table for another round of delicious bread baking fun.

Last time I hosted I made you all go back way into medieval times, this time I promise we won't go that far. Just as far as the 19th century - not too bad, huh?

The Viennese have a long history and tradition in bread baking, just think of that famous Kaiser rolls... so one of the oldest bread recipes known in Vienna is the Vienna bread ( a dough you can easily make Kaiser rolls from as well as you will notice further down.

Vienna bread is a type of bread that is produced from a process developed in Vienna, Austria, in the 19th century.

In the 19th century, for the first time, bread was made only from beer yeast and new dough (no old dough). The first noted or applauded example of this was the sweet-fermented Imperial "Kaiser-Semmel" roll of the Vienna bakery at the Paris Exposition of 1867. These sweet-fermented rolls lacked the acid sourness typical of lactobacillus, and were said to be popular and in high demand.

In 1867 the Paris Exposition was said to recognize the Vienna Bakery as, "First in the world."

In Vienna leaven is never used for making the rolls and small goods for which that city is famous. Viennese bakers use either brewers' yeast or a ferment, prepared by themselves, of which the basis is an infusion of hops.
Citation: Hugh Chisholm, ed (1910). The encyclopædia britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences ..., 

The Vienna bread-production process innovations are often popularly credited for baking with steam leading to different crust characteristics, however Horsford, in his 1875 Report on Vienna Bread, wrote:

The Austrian bakery in the Paris Exposition in 1867, for the production of loaf-bread, was provided with the steam-arrangement; but the oven of the Vienna bakery, on exhibition at the Vienna Exposition for the production of rolls, was a dry oven.
Citation: Eben Norton Horsford (1875). Report on Vienna bread. Washington: Government Printing Office

So as you can read above the following recipe from Peter Reinhart is not an authentical one, because he uses pate fermentee which would not be used in the original recipe.  I however, like some part of "old dough" in my breads so I thought we'd go with his recipe. For a more original touch just skip the "refrigerate over night" part and there you go!

Pâte Fermentée

makes 16-17 ounces 1 1/8 cups (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour 1 1/8 cups (5 ounces) unbleached bread flour 3/4 teaspoon (.19 ounces) salt /2 teaspoon (.55 ounces) instant yeast 3/4 cup (+ 2 tablespoons) (6-7 ounces) water, room temperature Method:
  1. Stir together salt, yeast and flours.  Add 3/4 water mix on low speed with paddle attachment until everything comes together. The dough should be neither too sticky nor too stiff. When touched with finger it should stick to finger but be easily released (better stay on the stickier side than to be too stiff!)
  2. Transfer dough on counter sprinkled with some flour. Knead until dough is soft and pliable (tacky, not sticky!) Knead for 4-6 minutes.
  3. Oil your bowl and transfer dough to the bowl coating it with oil all around! Cover with plastic foil and let ferment until 1 1/2 swelled in size (about 1 hour).
  4. Degas dough trough kneading lightly an d return to bowl again to go to sleep in the fridge over night. I like to use  an airtight plastic bag. You can store it up to 3 days in you fridge now.

Peter Reinhart says: "You can also use this on the same day you make it, if you ferment it at room temperature for 2 hours instead of refrigerating it.  Flavor enhances through the night in the refrigerator though,... "

Vienna Bread

makes two 1 pound loaves or 9-12 pistoles 2 1/3 cups (13 ounces) pate fermentee 2 2/3 cups (12 ounces) unbleached bread flour 1 tablespoon (.5 ounces) granulated sugar 1 teaspoon (.25 ounces)  diastatic barley malt powder or 1 tablespoon (.75) barley malt syrup 1 teaspoon (.25 ounces) salt 1 teaspoon (.11 ounces) instant yeast 1 large (1.65 ounces) egg, slightly beaten 1 tablespoon (.5 ounces) unsalted butter or shortening ant room temp, melted 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons (6-7 ounces) water, lukewarm semolina flour or cornmeal for dusting BBB Vienna Bread August 2011 Method:
  1. 1 hour before starting to make the bread: remove pate fermentee from fridge. Cut into 10 pieces. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap.
  2. Let's start: flour, sugar, malt powder, slat and yeast go into the mixing bowl. Add pate fermentee pieces, egg, butter and 3/4 cups of water. Stir together until you have a nice ball. If your dough is rather firm or stiff, use a little more water, we want the dough to be soft at this stage.
  3. Knead to knead: Knead for about 10 minutes on floured counter or on your machine with dough hook on medium speed for 6 minutes. Add flour if needed to achieve a firm but elastic dough (tacky not sticky). Peter Reinhard says: "the dough should pass the windowpane test" - honestly I've never done this and it worked for me without this test... dough temp should range between 77° and 81°F.
  4. Rest baby, rest: Transfer dough to lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Ferment at room temp for two hours or until doubled in size.
  5. Punch it: When doubled in size, punch it down and return to bowl until dough doubles again.
  6. Shape it, baby: Remove dough from bowl to counter and divide into 2 equal pieces for loaves. Or into 3 to 4 ounce pieces for pistolets  (French split rolls). Shape larger pieces into boules (balls) and smaller ones into rolls. Mist the dough lightly with oil and cover loosely with plastic.
  7. Rise, rise, rise: Leave to proof at room temp 60-90 minutes or until they have risen to approx. 1 3/4 of their original size.
  8. Let's bake: Preheat your oven to 450°F and place an empty steam pan in your oven. Just before baking mist the loaves or rolls with water and dust lightly with flour. Score loves and rolls down the center.
  9. Steam it: Slide loaves or rolls onto baking stone or baking tray. pour 1 cup water into your steam pan quickly close oven door. After 30 seconds open oven door and spray oven walls with water, close again. Repeat twice in 30 sec intervals. After final spray lower heat to 400°F for 10 minutes. Rotate breads 180° for even baking. Continue baking until breads are golden brown.
  10. Cool it: Remove breads or rolls form oven and let cool on cooling rack for at least 45 minutes before slicing or serving (if you can!)

A quite well known variation of this basic bread is known as "Dutch Crunch or Mottled Bread" - if any of you is interested here is how:

Peter Reinhart says: Dutch crunch is one of many names given to bread made with a special mottled topping. It doesn't refer to any particular formula, as the crunch topping can be spread on pretty any type of bread.

Here is how:

Whisk together, 1 tablespoon bread flour, 3/4 cups rice flour, 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast, 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons vegetable oil and 6-8 tablespoons water to make a paste. If it seems too thin to spread without running off the top of the dough add more rice flour. It should be  thick enough to spreed with a brush, but not so thick that it sits like a lump of mud. This makes  enough for 2-4 loaves.

You can also easily make "Kaiser rolls"  with this dough which is THE common roll here in Austria (especially Vienna).

Viennese Bread - Kaiser Rolls

The Kaiser roll, also called a Vienna roll or a hard roll (original name: Semmel or Kaisersemmel; if made by hand also: Handsemmel), is a kind of bread roll, supposedly invented in Vienna, and thought to have been named to honor Emperor Franz Joseph. It is a typically crusty round roll made from flour, barm, malt, water and salt, with the top side usually divided in a rotationally symmetric pattern of five segments, separated by curved superficial cuts radiating from the centre outwards. Kaiser rolls are often produced by machine, as well by hand.

If you are interested in how to hand-shape Kaiser rolls, here is how:

shaping kasier rolls


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You sure want to bake this bread as well, don't you?

Please do so, you will not regret it. If you snap some pics and share your thoughts about this month's bread on your blog I will be more than happy to add you to the BBB Buddy round up on August 29th.  If you do not own a blog, no worries, you can also post your picture to Flickr or any other photo sharing site and share your thoughts there.

One word about that whole Buddy thing:  The Bread Baking Babes are a closed group but we thought it would be fun to reward people who take the effort of baking our breads with us and give them a nice Buddy Badge and mention in a round up post every month. Just to say thank you for baking along and sharing your thoughts with us. Since we are Babes and do no obey to rules, there are nearly no rules for Buddies, except these two:
  1. Bake the featured bread, snap a pic & share your thoughts about how you liked it (or not liked it)
  2. Send an email to the Kitchen of the Month to notify  us and make it easier to write the round up.

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Don't forget to visit my fellow Babes and see what they did with this lovely Bread this month. Oh and don't forget to visit Katie our BBBBB (Bitchin' Bread Baking Babe Bibliothécaire) who writes up such lovely round ups of all the BBB Breads every month!

Bake My Day - Karen | blog from OUR kitchen - Elizabeth | Cookie Baker Lynn - Lynn | Feeding my enthusiasms - Pat | I Like To Cook - Sara | Living in the Kitchen with Puppies - Natashya | Lucullian Delights - Ilva  | My Kitchen In Half Cups - Tanna | Notitie Van Lien - Lien | The Sour Dough - Breadchick MaryWild Yeast - Susan

Canela and Comino - Gretchen (Babe on Hiatus) | Grain Doe - Görel (Babe on Hiatus) | Living on bread and water - Monique (Babe on Hiatus)  | Thyme For Cooking - Katie (Babe on Hiatus)

Thinking of you with Love: Glenna (Alumni Babe) | Sher (Angel Babe)


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I send this over to Susan's Yeastspotting. YeastSpotting is a weekly showcase of yeasted baked goods and dishes with bread as a main ingredient. If you are not familiar with YeastSpotting just scroll the archive and you'll know what I am talking about. To submit your post simply klick here!

Astrid 15.08.2011, 22.49| (19/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Burger Buns

BBB+logo+July+2011 Summer, Sun, Fun, Barbeque... doesn't that all scream Burgers to you?

Well, it apparently did to us Babes 'CCause our beloved Babe Sara gathered us around her kitchen table this month and made us bake fabulous burger buns, just perfect to be baked directly on the BBQ if you like - but you can easily do them in our oven too.

She said:

I picked up this recipe card from Williams Sonoma last year in Calgary. Summer will soon be here and who doesn't like to bbq a burger or hot dog in the summer? And you just know that it will taste even better on a bun you've made yourself. The recipe gives directions to make regular sized burger buns as well as slider sized buns.

I - along with my fellow Babes - was delighted to do burger buns, because I haven't yet made them from scratch!

So i took all my excitement into my kitchen starting to make burger buns. Having already all those cheeesy, goey, dripping, perfectly tasting Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, Chickenburgers, Whatever-Burgers in mind while kneading the dough...

You sense trouble in the air, dear reader? Aye, you sense right!

Bread Baking Babes - Burger Buns

Maybe it was because my mind was too distracted by imagining all the Burger-Yumminess or maybe it was just me not paying attention... I might have been distracted by "somecat" or *cough* following my Twitter timeline while baking,...

Heaven knows, but Babes I think I killed my yeast *whispers in shame* - the result of my first burger baking session was nothing then brick like little round somethings, nothing near a fluffy yummy burger bun... Diddldido... 

But - I am a Babe, right? Fail does not stop me. Off I went to the kitchen again an few days later and made the best and perfect looking little burger buns... [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Aren't these babies just perfect?"]Bread Baking Babes - Burger Buns[/caption]  

Homemade Hamburger Buns

Williams-Sonoma Bread Baking Babes - Burger Buns 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) milk 8 Tbs (1stick/125 g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces 4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast 4 cups (625 g) all purpose flour, plus more for dusting 5 Tbs sugar 1 Tbs kosher salt 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and butter and heat until the butter is melted, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to 105-155'F (40 to 46'C). Add the yeast and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the 4 cups of flour, the sugar and salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the milk mixture and knead until the dough forms a ball, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, oil the inside of the bowl and return the dough to the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 10 by 7 1/2 inch (25 by 19 cm) rectangle. Using a ruler as a guide, cut the dough into 2 1/2 inch (6cm) squares. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spacing the buns evenly apart, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400'F (200'C)
  5. Remove the plastic wrap from the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg mixture (I brushed the tops with milk) and sprinkle with sesame seeds if using. Bake until the buns and golder and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of a bun registers 190'F (88'C), 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer the buns to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut in half and use as hamburger buns. Makes 12 hamburger buns.
  6. For slider buns: Follow the instructions above but roll out the dough into a 9 inch (23 cm) square. Cut into 1 1/2 inch (4cm) squares and place on 2 parchment lined baking sheets. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Position one rack in the upper third of an over and one rack in the lower third and preheat to 400'F (200'C). Brush the tops with the egg mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds if using. Bake for about 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and 180 degrees halfway through baking.Makes 36 slider buns.

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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="332" caption="Burger Bun with Gyros, Cheddar & heirloom tomatoes"]Bread Baking Babes - Burger Buns[/caption]

I filled my burger with Gyros, Cheddar and heirloom tomatoes plus some basil. Loved it that way.  I made the gyros after Alessio's instructions  who made me crave some ever since he posted it on his blog. It was gone in the blink of an eye and I will make it again for sue!

I put the leftover buns in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer for further use in my near future... I am sure they will make some perfect snacks!

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You sure want to bake this buns as well, don't you?

Please do so, you will not regret it. If you snap some pics and share your thoughts about this month's bread aka burger on your blog I am sure Sara will be more than happy to add you tho the BBB Buddy round up on July 29th on her blog.  If you do not own a blog, no worries, you can also post your picture to Flickr or any other photo sharing site and share your thoughts there.

One word about that whole Buddy thing:  The Bread Baking Babes are a closed group but we thought it would be fun to reward people who take the effort of baking our breads with us and give them a nice Buddy Badge and mention in a round up post every month. Just to say thank you for baking along and sharing your thoughts with us.

Since we are Babes and do no obey to rules, there are nearly no rules for Buddies, except these two:

  1. Bake the featured bread, snap a pic & share your thoughts about how you liked it (or not liked it)
  2. Send an email to the Kitchen of the Month to notify  us and make it easier to write the round up. 

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Please don't forget to visit my fellow Babes and see what they did with this lovely Bread this month. Oh and don't forget to visit Katie our BBBBB (Bitchin' Bread Baking Babe Bibliothécaire) who writes up such lovely round ups of all the BBB Breads every month!

Bake My Day - Karen | blog from OUR kitchen - Elizabeth | The Sour Dough - Breadchick Mary | Cookie Baker Lynn - Lynn | Feeding my enthusiasms - PatGrain Doe - Görel |  I Like To Cook - Sara | Living in the Kitchen with Puppies - Natashya | Lucullian Delights - Ilva |  My Kitchen In Half Cups - Tanna | Notitie Van Lien - LienWild Yeast - Susan

Canela and Comino - Gretchen (Babe on Hiatus)  | Living on bread and water - Monique (Babe on Hiatus) |  Thyme For Cooking - Katie (Babe on Hiatus)

Thinking of you with Love: Glenna (Alumni Babe) | Sher (Angel Babe)

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I send this over to Susan's Yeastspotting. YeastSpotting is a weekly showcase of yeasted baked goods and dishes with bread as a main ingredient. If you are not familiar with YeastSpotting just scroll the archive and you'll know what I am talking about. To submit your post simply klick here!

Astrid 15.07.2011, 22.10| (15/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

BLOG-EVENT LXIX - FARBENFROHE GERICHTE | Viele, viele bunte Smarties...

Hello my English Readers, you can find the recipe for this cookies at this post in English!

Blog-Event LXIX - Farbenfrohe Gerichte (Einsendeschluss 15. Juli 2011)

Eben noch lese ich das neue Thema für den Kochtopf Event und freu mich über die nette Herausforderung, einen Augenblick später ist die Deadline so nahe gerückt, dass ich kaum noch Zeit habe ein Gericht für meinen Beitrag zu zaubern.

Ja hier gehts mal wieder rund und mit des Liebsten Geburtstag vorige Woche gab es auch noch einiges anderes zu tun... nun ja über den kläglich gescheiterten Versuch mal wieder Macarons zu backen hab ich mich ja schon genug auf Twitter ausgeheult.

Ach ja die Macarons wären eigentlich der perfekte Beitrag für dieses Event geworden, denn wenn Macarons eines sind, dann bunt... aber naja wie schon gesagt war nich!

Deshalb müsst ihr jetzt mit den Geburtsags Cookies des Liebsten vorlieb nehmen, die auch farbenfroh mit lauter bunten Smarties verziehrt wurden.

An dieser Stelle ein herzliches Dankeschön an Gabi für die tolle Sammlung von Cookierezepten auf ihrer USA Kulinarisch Seite. Ich geh dort immer wieder gerne hin, um das eine oder andere Rezept zu suchen.

Die Cookies waren ein grosser Erfolg und der Liebste zufrieden: Mission accomplished.

Dazu müsst ihr wissen, dass der Liebste ziemlich grantelt wenn es um seinen Geburtstag und Geschenke geht. Er will partout nicht beschenkt werden, das versteht nur eben keiner und deswegen hält sich auch kaum jemand daran, was ihn noch mehr frustriert und er dann noch mehr rumgrantelt.

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Erdnussbutter Cookies mit Smarties *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Ich bin dazu übergegangen ihn bei seinem süssen Schnäuzchen zu nehmen und meine Geschenke sind dann eben neben einer manchmal mehr manchmal weniger aufwändigen Geburttagstorte eben so Dinge wie selbstgemachte Schockotrüffel und Pralinen, Bruchschokolade mit seinen Lieblinsgeschmacksrichtungen oder so wie dieses Jahr: Cookies in unterschiedlichen Variationen. Da freut er sich immer und ich hab nen zufrieden lächelnden Mann, ist ja auch was wert, oder?

Erdnussbutter Cookies mit Smarties

Erdnussbutter Cookies mit SmartiesRezept von usa-kulinarisch adaptiert  250 g Dinkel-Mehl 1 TL Backpulver 1/2 Teelöffel Natron 1/4 TL Salz 125 g Margarine, zimmerwarm 125 g Erdnussbutter, zimmerwarm 200 g brauner Zucker 2 kl. Eier ein Päckchen Smarties Zubereitung
  1. Den Ofen auf 175 Grad vorheizen.
  2. Mehl, Backpulver und Natron in eine Schüssel sieben und Salz untermengen. Beiseite stellen.
  3. Erdnussbutter, Fett und den gesamten Zucker in der zweiten Schüssel mit einem elektrischen Mixer auf mittlerer Stufe schaumig schlagen. Die Eier einzeln zufügen und jedesmal gut verrühren.
  4. Die Mehlmischung zugeben und gut einrühren, ev. gehackte Erdnüsse untermischen. Den Teig mit den Händen oder einem Teelöffel zu 2-3 cm großen Kugeln formen und diese im Abstand von 4-5 cm auf ein mit Backpapier belegtes Blech setzen.
  5. Jede Kugel mit der Hand flachdrücken und mit Smarties bestreuen.
  6. In der Ofenmitte 10 - 12 Minuten goldbraun backen, dann auf einem Kuchengitter abkühlen lassen.

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Astrid 15.07.2011, 08.50| (1/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Paper Chef #59 - Apricot-Lime glazed chicken wings on Coleslaw

apricot-Lime glazed Chicken Wings with Cole Slaw

Last Wednesday lovely Ilva announced the new ingredients for this months Paper Chef challenge: "quailcabbage and lime are the ingredients and the theme is....July."

When I first read this I cringed. Not only that I am not a huge fan of quail you just can't get it here easily. We do not have special poultries who sell them not will you ever see them in our common supermarket. They only chance might be the Naschmarkt, where you get nearly everything your heart desires in terms of food... and I knew there would be no way to get there and cook something 'till Tuesday evening with Sweetheart's Birthday and the weekend ahead.

So I am really sorry but I had to substitute the cute little quail with cute little chicken wings because all chicken I saw where HUGE compared to quails *sigh* I am sorry!  Other than that I used all of the ingredients given.


Ilva said: "...start thinking and get going!" - so I put on my thinking cap and gave the ingredients a second thought:

apricot-Lime glazed Chicken Wings with Cole Slaw.jpg

  • Quail: well, we discussed that above. need substitute - chicken wings must do.
  • Cabbage: I love cabbage. Could eat it year round and in every imaginable combination with other food. But with temperatures high up in their 30ies and rising I needed to find a light, summery use... a light coleslaw will do.  Served chilled it is perfect for a summer dinner!
  • Lime: there is always lime in this kitchen. One of my most loved ingredients. would be perfect to spice up this coleslaw and the chicken wings.
  • theme July: "ingredient that is typical where you live in July" - needed one or two extra rounds of thinking, but then everything cried "apricot" to me 'CCause this is THE typical thing in July in Wachau where I and the famous "Wachauer Marille" (more on that subject in my P2P assignment post coming soon) come from.
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With this being settled it was a matter of a few minutes preparation time to whip this yummy, yet light dinner together:

Apricot-Lime glazed Chicken Wings

apricot-Lime glazed Chicken Wings with Cole Slaw
3 chicken wings
3 tablespoons apricot jam or 2 fresh apricots mushed
4-5 small twigs of orange thyme
Hungarian smoked paprika to taste
juice of 1 lime
salt, pepper
  1. Wash the chicken wings gently under running water and tap them dry with a kitchen towel.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the apricot jam, lime juice and spices.
  3. Preheat your oven to 200°C with grill turned on.
  4. On a baking tray rub some oil on a piece of aluminium foil, place thyme on top.
  5. Place chicken wings upside down on thyme. Glaze with the apricot mixture. Bake for about 10-15 minutes until nicely brown.
  6. Turn them upside down again and glaze with remaining apricot mixture. Bake for another 10-1 5 minutes. make sure not to burn them, the sugar will caramelize and if you do not watch closely they will be as black as a piece of coal on no time. 
Meanwhile prepare the coleslaw:


adapted from Jamie Oliver  in Cooking with Jamie 1/2  small cabbage, thinly sliced 4 medium sized carrots, thinly sliced 1 apple, cored and thinly sliced 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped 3-4 tablespoons greek yoghurt 1 heaped teaspoon English mustard Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a salad bowl.
  2. Have a taste and add seasoning as needed.
  3. Note:  I omited the mayonnaise and used greek yoghurt instead. Does not harm in any way and tastes way better to my mind. Also I did not use as much parsley as the recipe wants me to 'CCause I found it would dominate the delicate taste of the raw cabbage and carrots too much. If I have the time I also like to give the cabbage an extra time after slicing with just a little bit of salt and a few spritzer lime juice - makes it a bit more tender and less crunchy.  

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apricot-Lime glazed Chicken Wings with Cole Slaw

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I am sure this method will be lovely with quail too 'CCause it add subtle sourness through the lime and a nice fruity component through the apricot which complements the delicate taste of quails without outplaying it totally.

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If you are not familiar with the concept of Paper Chef it's quite easy to explain:

Paper Chef follows the thought of TV competitions like Iron Chef or Ready, Steady Cook (the German version was called Kochduell) where chefs had to cook with a rather unusual combination of ingredients. Well this is what Paper Chef does as well.

4 ingredients will be announced at the fist whole weekend of the month and you have 7 days to cook something from it, snap a nice pic and write up your blog post. Submit your blog post to paperchef AT gmail DOT com. That's it!

If you still need more information please continue to read here.

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Astrid 12.07.2011, 14.11| (0/0) Kommentare | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Weekend Herb Blogging #291 - Round Up

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whb291.pngWelcome to Weekend Herb Blogging!

It is my honor to host again and I am thrilled to see all your lovely herby dishes all of you sent in this time.

As always: if you do not see your blog post listed in the round up the evil internet trolls might have eaten your email so please let  me know in the comments and I will add you as soon as possible :o)

With this being said, should we digg in right now?

To see the corresponding blog post please just click on the image and it will carry you away to your desired destination. Doesn't that sound magic to you? ;o)

Asparagus and Chickpea Stir-Fry with Hoisin Sauce

Janet of Taste Space - Toronto, Canada

Fig, blackcurrant and oatmeal tart

Elly of Nutmegs, seven - Oxford

Spinach-Almond Soup

SGD of COOK-A-DOODLE-DO - Hyderabad, India

Sour Meatballs

Marija of Palatchinka

Classic Herbed Potato Salad

Kirsten from From Kirsten's Kitchen to yours - Santa Monica, CA

Thor Ghonto

SGD of COOK-A-DOODLE-DO - Hyderabad, India

Polish Pickle Soup

Anna of Morsels & Musings - Sydney, Australia

Blueberry, Lime and Thyme Pound Cake Muffins

Joanne of Eats well with others - New York City, US

Truffled Rice Pudding

Haalo of Cook almost anything - Melbourne, Australia

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I hope you enjoyed this round of Weekend Herb Blogging - WHB #292 will be hosted by Rachel from The Crispy Cook Send your posts to oldsaratogabooks AT gmail DOT com 

Astrid 11.07.2011, 08.56| (10/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Daaarling - I need your help!

Darling I need your help...When I moved into my new home and built my "dream kitchen" it very quickly was clear to me that  even tho I loved my kitchen and it had everything I wanted and all it really really has shitty *sorry* light to take pics there.

I will tell and show you why a little later in this post.

So what does a woman do if she is not a 100% pleased with a situation?

She - in this case me - seeks for alternatives... and as soon as there is a plan emerging on the horizon  of her imagination she pouts about this unbearable situation in every imaginable situation her Sweetheart is within hearing range...

Good plan , huh?

Well, as much as Sweetheart is a sweetie, he also is a man with selective hearing abilities when he does not want to notice the pouting of his loving other half...

But would that ever stop  me? NO! ...I know that sooner or later he gives in... he IS a Sweetheart after all and a very handy (and handsome) one too!

Shortly after moving in there were a lot other things to be fixed and done so the task  of finding me a special place to do my photographic setups was put on hold - but not forgotten, mind you!

Earlier this year, when we nearly finished the "guest room" and had set up the last very much needed Billy bookcases the topic became evident again and that's where this story really begins...

To make the necessity more clear you can see a picture of my kitchen below:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="my lovely kitchen... all I ever wanted "]My kitchen[/caption]

As you can see above the kitchen is rather dark and has no strong light sources... and although there is a huge window front to the left there is not coming enough light through to help with photographic light issues. Even more because just outside this big window front is my little loggia, which due to the building characteristics of a loggia blocks a lot of light for every room behind...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="my little loggia - my little piece of green heaven in the big city"]balcony[/caption]

I would not want to give up on this little piece of heaven tho!

Another fact that is against me: this part of the flat only has sunlight from about 7 am (in summer) to somewhere around early noon and even less in winter... being the night owl that I am I am not doing much productive work during this time in the kitchen other than grab a cuppa coffee and my muesli...

So the later the day, the darker it gets in here - making it almost feel like a cave at my most productive times: the evening and later in the evening... well you get the point!

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="332" caption="A window, an old IKEA table and an empty Billy bookcase"]First steps[/caption]

After finishing with building the missing bookcases there was a little space left between in the corner of the window.

The place has a nice light during the afternoon and enough space to place an expandable table and photography stuff.

The only downside is the very yellowish street lamp directly in front of the window that makes it difficult to control light later in the evening.

With the black roller blind I can shut out the yellowish light tho and it works most of the time quite ok.

I already had a small light cube I bought a few years ago and one small lamp with a daylight bulb (especially for photography, Sweetheart found that for me...), plus a small tripod.

As you can see the bookcase is slowly filling up with stuff too. I find it convenient to have everything within reach...

But still I struggled with some things there: ...the table was to small and I had little place to position the lamp. Also I was lacking a possibility to  position backdrops.


[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="starting with improvements"]second step[/caption] So the first step was to install a fixed white tabletop that fills up the space between the wall and the bookcase. High enough to make it quite comfortable for me to shoot pics and use the tripod. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="It's a hard days work to please a foodie on a photographic mission..."]second step[/caption]

Sweetheart was not happy but helped me to build the setup, following my wishes and instructions. Sally (my girl cat) was not happy that she has to share her favorite window now... We used a plain white chip board, three brackets and a plain table leg. We bought everything for less than 25 EUR in the hardware store. back in the corner we mounted a multiple outlet power strip to plug in the light sources.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="we needed something to hold my various background cardboards in place"]line for holding backgrounds[/caption]

Next we needed something to hold various background cardboards, fabrics, etc in place. As you can see in the picture above we used a curtain wire with clips I bought at IKEA for 2 EUR. its adjustable and perfect for clipping various things in the background and hold them in place for the setup.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="nearly finished set"]nearly finished[/caption]

Now, doesn't that look nearly fantastic? My Lowel Ego Light (again thank you ProkitUK for sponsoring this wonderful gadget!) fits perfectly in the corner and my old lamp on the other side can be moved back and forth according to where I want or need the light. The old table is placed under the new one and can still be used as expandable when needed. Mostly it is used now for storing my cardboards and reflector sheets.

On the left hand side you can see the black roller blind, it's also perfect for clipping on reflectors. 'CCause I only have 2 hands and need them to hold the camera rather than hold reflectors and other stuff...

For now I am pleased with what we have achieved so far. For my nitpicking mind there is still room for improvement. I would love to hear your thoughts and maybe you have suggestions for improvement too?

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Sweetheart got rewarded for all the hard work afterwards of course! "]thank you sweetie![/caption]

Oh and Sweetheart of course was rewarded with some yummy food: Jamie's Cinnamon Chocolate Marbled Cake and he loved it :)

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So what do you think? Where do you shoot your food pics?

Now that I shared my thoughts, would you share yours with me?

Astrid 05.07.2011, 06.21| (9/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Happ 4th of July Celebrations

  Happy Indipendence Day!  

We wish alll our 'Mericky furriends a very Happy 4th of July Celebration!

xoxoxo Kashim, Othello and Salome


Oh and if you click on the collage below you can visit the WCB roundup we made this weekend!

Happy Indipendence Day!

Astrid 04.07.2011, 17.58| (8/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Hosting Weekend Herb Blogging #291

Weekend Herb Blogging #282 It's my honor to host Weekend Herb Blogging again this week - thanks to Haalo, Queen Bee of WHB!

If you are new to the concept or aren't quite sure what Weekend Herb Blogging is about, then here are few details to help you.

While it is called Weekend Herb Blogging, it isn't just confined to posts dealing with herbs - you can write about vegetables, fruit, flowers, nuts, seeds, grains, in fact, if it is plant based, then it's eligible.

Your posts can either be informative and/or include a recipe where your featured ingredient is the main ingredient of the dish. If you've found a new way to cook an old ingredient or discovered a new ingredient, you're more than welcome to share it with WHB.

Posts can be written anytime during the week but you'll need to send me your email by the following times:

  • 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
  • 10pm Sunday - London Time
  • 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
  • 7am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) Time

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[contact-form 3 "WHB Submission Form"]

Astrid 04.07.2011, 10.38| (1/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Weekend Cat Blogging #317 - hosted by Salome!

Weekend Cat Blogging #317


We are hosting Weekend Cat Blogging again - YAY! So please come and join us! Just leave your link in the comments and we will add you to the round up later today and tomorrow!

Happy 4th of July Weekend to all of you US people!

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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Luna is busy - click the pic to go to Luna!"]WCB #317 - Luna[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Kitikata-san says: FEED ME! - click the pic to go to Kitikatas-san!"]WCB #317 - Kitikata-san[/caption]

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Happy Weekend!

xo xo xo Kashim, Othello and Salome

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Next hosts are:

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Weekend Cat Blogging is a weekly event where bloggers feature pictures and/or stories about their cats on their blogs, apart from the usual theme of their blog.

Participating is very easy: Just navigate to he hosting blog of the week (list shown above) and leave your link so others can find your post. Usually the host will do a little roundup at the end of the weekend to feature the participating cats and blogs, but this is up to the host and not to be expected always. It is also nice if you include a link to the host in your blog post, so people who read it can find the others as well. Thanks!

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Astrid 02.07.2011, 12.55| (10/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

International Box Day

We are not sure how this all started but the Zoolatry girls told us today is International Box Day and ME and my brofurs are happy to join  in celebrating boxes as we all love to hide and play in boxes! [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Boxes are useful, you can even use them to look out of the window... - Othello"]Othello in Boxes[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="We loves boxes, every new box needs to be explored properly..."]Kashim, Othello and the new box[/caption] Othello: I checked it out Kashim! The back of the box is safe now! Kashim: Inside is safe too! [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="...this one is even big enough for two! How cool is that! "]Box & Cats!  - Apr 17 2011[/caption] Othello: Hey we even fit in there together! Kashim: Aye but where is Salome? Is she planning something? [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Go away! This is my box! Srsly! - Salome"]This is ma box! - May 10 2011[/caption] Othello: There she is in the other box! Salome: Go away! Ma box! Ma box! [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="What do you mean? I DO fit perfectly into my box!! - Salome"]Salome - Jan 15 2011[/caption]

Kashim: Hehehe your ginormus butt does not fit in this box!

Salome: Shut up!! I DO fit in!!! [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Aaah finally a box that is big enough and comfy! - Salome"]Salome - Jan 12 2011[/caption] Othello: No srsly Salome you needs a bigger box, like this one... Salome: This one is better, BUT I DID FIT in the other box!!!! [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="See?! Even doogies cans has boxes and our woofie brofur Ben loves his box..."]Ben[/caption] Salome: See even Ben has a box. Othello: Yes but by now he has grown to ginormous and won't fit in there anymore... Kashim: So can we have his box? [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="fits perfectly and is soo comfy - Othello"]Easy like Sunday[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="From Day1 Salome knew this is the perfect place to stay: they have boxes!"]She-Kitty Introoder[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Our friend Spot is playing along too... tho his "box" is technically more a basket!"]Spot - Jan 16 2011[/caption]

Othello and Salome: We know, these are technically no boxes but who cares it's comfy too and even baskets can serve as  boxes sometimes!


Enjoy International Box Day!!

xoxoxo Kashim, Othello and Salome

Astrid 30.06.2011, 00.29| (5/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Wordless Wednesday #1

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="334" caption="Pizza"]Wordless Wednesday #1[/caption]  

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Wordless Wednesday a new series that will feature a random foodphoto that may or may not have made it on the blog yet. This is how I am trying to improve my food photography skills. I am happy about feedback and CC is always welcome especially on lighting, composition, styling,...

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Astrid 29.06.2011, 19.17| (1/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Bread Baking Day #41 - Bread with Herbs

BBD #41 - 4th anniversary editon - bread with herbs (last day of submission July 1, 2011)June 2011 bbd #41 - 4th anniversary edition Bread with herbs hosted by my discovery of Bread Deadline: July 1st, 2011

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Happy 4th Anniversary to breadbakingday and Zorra!

Unbelievable that this lovely bread event already celebrates his 4th anniversary! I remember Zorra's email in my inbox announcing her brand new bread event like it was yesterday.

In addition to the world bread day [...] I would like to start a new international monthly foodblog-event:breadbakingday I know there are a lot of events, but I also know there are a lot of passionate bakers out there. So let's bake bread, share recipes and experiences on the first day of every month.

See and now this baby is already 4 years old. If you want to take a look at what has been baked this past years just visit the breadbakingday site at Kochtopf, Zorra's blog!

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So let's celebrate this event with three of my favorites: Guinness, Bread and Herbs.

Guinness Bread with Herbs

Slices of bread, still warm and slathered with butter, topped with freshly chopped herbs and a cold glass of Guinness... nothing to improve here, right? Well, why not  combine all this IN a bread? I've baked bread with beer before and really liked the flavor. Since Connie was asking for breads with herbs I came up with the idea to combine the Guinness bread dough with herbs.

Guinness Bread with Herbs

Adapted from The Bread Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Guinness Bread with Herbs dough starter 1 1/4 cup bread flour 3/8 tsp instant yeast 2 tbs honey 1 cup Guinness, at room temperature 1/3 cup water, at room temperature final dough 1 3/4 cup bread flour 1/2 tsp instant yeast 1 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs


  1. Dough starter: in a mixer bowl whisk together the bread flour, yeast, honey, Guinness and water to incorporate air. Scrape down sides of bowl. Note:  "breadflour" here in Austria is a blend of wheat and rye flour (3/1). Since rye needs more liquid then wheat I used about 1/4 cup more Guinness you might want to keep this in mind when making your final dough.
  2. Gently scoop the flour and yeast onto the sponge covering it completely then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise (1-4 hours at room temperature). The starter will bubble through your flour mixture, this is ok. Guinness Bread with HerbsGuinness Bread with Herbs
  3. The dough: Place mixer bowl in your mixer and fit with a dough hook attachment. Mix on low speed until a rough dough is formed (about 1 minute). Scrape down any stray bits of dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and rest dough for 20 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle salt and herbs over the dough and knead on medium speed for about 7 minutes. The dough should be elastic and smooth and just sticky enough to cling to your fingers. If it is too sticky, knead in a little flour. If it is not at all sticky, add a little water. Note: this is where you would want to adjust the amount of flour/water according to the type of flour you used.
  5. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled - around 1 hour. Remove dough from bowl to a lightly floured work surface and give it a business letter fold. Return to oiled bowl. Let rise until doubled - 45 minutes to 1 hour. Guinness Bread with Herbs
  6. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and shape into a round ball. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper, lightly sprinkled with flour. Place dough on prepared baking sheet. Cover with a bowl or oiled plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Note: my dough tended to spread rather than rise in height so I only let it rise 45 minutes.
  7. One hour before baking, preheat oven to 250°C. If you have a baking stone you should use it. Place an oven proof dish at the bottom of your oven.
  8. Just before baking, slash the top of the bread and gently mist with water. Slide the bread on your baking stone.  Pour about 1/2 cup ice cold water (you can also use ice cubes if you prefer) into the dish at the bottom of your oven. Quickly shut the oven door to trap the steam inside.
  9. After 10 minutes, lower heat to 200°C and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until bread is golden brown. Let cool on a rack.

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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="the crumb is moist and smells lightly of Guinness and herbs"]Guinness Bread with Herbs[/caption]

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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="I loved it still warm with butter and some herbs on top"]Guinness Bread with Herbs[/caption]


The crumb is quite moist and the crust is thin, I think I could have given it a bit longer in the oven to develop the crust more since I like a good crunchy crust but it's ok. There is a slight smell of Guinness (or malt) and herbs in the bread but not too much, just slightly noticeable. I had my first bites when it was still warm with only some butter on it and it was simply delicious. I think it goes quite well with cheeses and a glass of Guinness or even some cured ham. Might even be nice with some roasted peppers or tomatoes...

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I send this over to Susan's Yeastspotting. YeastSpotting is a weekly showcase of yeasted baked goods and dishes with bread as a main ingredient. If you are not familiar with YeastSpotting just scroll the archive and you'll know what I am talking about. To submit your post simply klick here!

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Astrid 26.06.2011, 19.04| (7/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Easy like Sunday...


See? I am easy on this Sunday.... Meozwa, do you wan to come ofur for some snuggling and THoE? We could even explore this box and see what we can find to play with... or hide deep in there to do some *kisskisskiss* ...

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Kashim is hiding somewhere and does not want to be found and Othello and Gree are still on their secret getaway for their annipurrsary....

Astrid 26.06.2011, 11.16| (4/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Weekend Cat Blogging #316

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="430" caption="You can't see me - I am hiding..."]Weekend Cat Blogging #316 - Salome[/caption]

Pam at Sidewalkshoes is hosting this weekend - thanks for hosting Miz Pam!

Happy Weekend!

xo xo xo Kashim, Othello and Salome

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Next hosts are:


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Weekend Cat Blogging is a weekly event where bloggers feature pictures and/or stories about their cats on their blogs, apart from the usual theme of their blog. Participating is very easy: Just navigate to he hosting blog of the week (list shown above) and leave your link so others can find your post. Usually the host will do a little roundup at the end of the weekend to feature the participating cats and blogs, but this is up to the host and not to be expected always. It is also nice if you include a link to the host in your blog post, so people who read it can find the others as well. Thanks!

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Astrid 26.06.2011, 11.06| (3/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

10 Favorite Cookbooks

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="10 cookbooks I would not give away..."]10 favourite cook books[/caption]

A few days ago I read in my feedreader "Die Unverzichtbaren" means "The Indispensable" meaning if you could only keep 10 of your cookbooks this would be them at one of my favorite German foodblogs "". Shortly after I read there I saw a similar blog post at another German favorite of mine "FoodFreak". I liked their lists and tho I find the idea of being cut down to only 10 books really really frightening I began to wonder which 10 I would choose out of the loot I have at home...

I am a self-confessed cookbook hoarder... Seriously! I love to "read" cookbooks.

For me it is relaxing and inspiring to flip through the pages of a cookbook, look at (and secretly admire) the mouthwatering pictures of perfect food and read through the recipes and techniques.

Though I have to admit I seldom really stick to a recipe anyway but I love to read through it and get my ideas from them...

During the past few years my attention however has changed from reading cookbooks to reading foodblogs online. And I very often turn to the internet and my favorite blogs for recipes and ideas. If I am in a hurry or do not have the patience to look through several books to find what I am searching for... but very often tho I love to snuggle on the couch or in summertimes sit on the balcony, cookbook(s) on my lap , coffee within reach, reading... it calms me down from a stressing day at work, inspires me to drift away from my every day trail and pushes me to try new things and sometimes if it catches my attention enough even makes me leave my comfort zone of cooking or baking... Besides all this: it simply is FUN!

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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="332" caption="some of the cookbooks I have in my kitchen"]cookbooks in my kitchen[/caption]

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Isn't that what life is all about? Having fun and doing things we love?

My Mom would shrug at me whenever she sees that my ever grown pile of cookbooks has yet grown bigger since her last visit. My brother however understands this habit, he would even call me every now and then to tell me in pure excitement: "Did you see there is a new cookbook from chef xxx" or "I found a cookbook about xxx, are you interested?" When I visit him, we would sit in his living room flipping through his (or my) newest treasures commenting and marking recipes we find interesting and worth to try for our next family come together... My Dad just shrug his shoulders saying "Whatever makes you happy doll makes me happy!" only to happily snarf down our newest experiments... Sweetheart would be in one chorus with him: "If it makes you happy,..." - being the Sweetie that he his he even would listen to all my swooning and babbling about my newest cookbook hunts and I bet he is not interested one bit in them but he knows that I am and that's why he cares. He'd also come and ask from time to time "Do you know a recipe for xxx" or "How do I make xxx?" knowing I'd happily jump up, grab some of my books and present him with the desired information within minutes. He loves to cook (and he is very good at it!!) but is not interested in the books at all.


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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="most of the cookbooks I own are living in this bookshelf"]cookbooks in the bookshelf[/caption]

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Choosing only 10 of all that books would be hard on me... for this task I decided to grab those of my books that I turn to most often or lost my heart to for a special reason. Those are in no particular order:

  1. Dinkelkochbuch: Über 200 erprobte Rezepte [German] My Mom gave me this little book when we both discovered our interest for Hildegard of Bingen. I like it because there are a lot of basic recipes in it I often refer to in my everyday cooking. It features a lot of recipes using spelt. .
  2. Irisch kochen. Gerichte und ihre Geschichte [German] This small gem I bought shortly after my second visit to Ireland because I was interested in the traditional cuisine and wanted to be able to soothe my longing for being there with at least some decent Irish food. It works, sometimes. Sometimes a good sip of my favorite Whiskey does help too... .
  3. Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes [English] One of the first bread books I bought and I learned a lot from it. Still love to bake bread from it. It has a lot of bookmarked pages I like to return to when it is time to bake bread again. -
  4. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking [English] I fell in love with this one. Why? Because the recipes are so super-easy and delicious too. Made some of the best breads I ever baked out of this book with nearly no effort. One of their basic bread doughs i always chilling in my fridge now. .
  5. The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread [English] I learned some real basic stuff form Peter Reinhart's book. I still don't understand everything he says but thanks to this book I am getting better and better at baking bread and understanding what I am actually doing and why. .
  6. delicious days. [English] Nicole Stich's book is just like her blog: natural, witty and with lots of very good recipes even for everyday cooking. Nothing too fancy and fou-fou but nice and straight. Just how I love my meals! .
  7. Die österreichische Mohnküche: Tradtionelle und neue Köstlichkeiten [German] Traditional and modern Austrian recipes with poppyseed. This one is important because Dad and Sweetheart love all things with poppyseed. So when I want them to be happy I pull out this little book and make some of the recipes. Never failed me. .
  8. Meine Küche der Gewürze [German] Bavarian chef Alfons Schuhbeck. I like him for his knowledge about herbs and spices. This book deals with his thoughts about spices and how to use them in his recipes. I like to refer to this book when I am looking on how to use a special herb or spice. .:
  9. Die gute Küche: Das österreichische Jahrhundertkochbuch [German] The first cookbook I ever got. Mom gave it to me when I moved out of the nest and decided to live on my own in Vienna, far far away from home... back then when I was 18... It has all the basic recipes in it one can look for. I still like to grab it when I am not sure about some basics... .
  10. The Dining Room: Ein Haus, ein Traum, ein Restaurant [English] I met Angelika Apfelthaler through her blog The flying Apple and when she made her dream come true and started her own little restaurant in her own house I was honored to be one of the guests at her opening party. She really really cooks tasty food. If you ever have the chance to be in Vienna you totally should visit her in "The Dining Room" you will not regret it I promise!

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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="handwritten recipe by my Dad"]handwritten recipes[/caption] What I treasure more than any cookbooks I could possibly have, are those jotted down recipes on little snippets of paper that we have all over our kitchens (at my parents' and at my own). Yes they are stained and not pretty but we love them. We already have them transferred to the PC or neatly written elsewhere but we still have and use this snippets. Some of our most favorite and most often used recipes are on such paper snippets... and I simply love them! [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="332" caption="handwritten recipes by my Mom and I in my kitchen"]handwritten recipes[/caption]  

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Now, you know that I am curious... what are YOUR favorite cookbooks? Would you tell me?

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Astrid 23.06.2011, 12.02| (5/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Watermelons... It's Cocktail time!

Just take me to the recipe, please!

Cold Coffee Club - Watermelon AssignmentThe Cold Coffee Club of us P2P alumni strikes again.

This time it was Simone and Meeta who came up with the idea for the current assignment and it should be a photo assignment...

Plate to Page Photography Assignment this month is: WATERMELONS.

We want you to take 2 shots - 1 of a raw watermelon and one of the watermelon in a dish. Post here by June 22nd! Join the #plate2page crew here!


Until, yes until one of the boot camp sisters, otherwise known as Fab Four commented on the assignment on Facebook:

Plate To Page - Food Photography & Food Writing Workshops Yes also write about the recipe in a blog post and link back here. But we want 2 images to be uploaded here!

Plate To Page - Food Photography & Food Writing Workshops We said all WORK ..... Writing is not obligatory!

*pha!* I say! ...  I know, I know... watch your words, Astrid!

Aha so watermelons it is...! Raw and in a dish! Hm, seems doable... but what the hell would you actually "cook" with watermelon?

I've never eaten watermelon other than sliced or - at the most - cubed and without any further ado...

I vividly remember Summer Sundays when the whole family met for some sunbathing and swimming in the public baths our Grandma always had some already sliced watermelons with her to feed us kids. How fun and messy it was to just plop into the grass next to her and digg right into the juicy slice of fruit. Messy it was, the juices running all over our hands and body, smeared faces with sugary liquid but oh so good and refreshing on a hot summer day. We didn't care that we were all messed up and sticky but just jumped up and ran to play in the water again when we were finished. ...

So to fulfill the assignment off I went to buy me a watermelon... back home I searched for some useful props to use and thought about how I would approach the "raw" setting of my watermelon shooting session...


[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="332" caption="first attempt at shooting that watermelon"]Cold Coffee Club - Watermelon Assignment[/caption]

I wanted to feature it as a whole in the background with some smaller slice in the front. Above you can see my attempt in this.

These were my camera settings: Exposure 0.017 sec (1/60) Aperture f/6.3 Focal Length 34.6 mm ISO Speed 400 Exposure Bias +2 EV Flash No Flash

I thought the red of the cutting board would nicely match the color theme, but it didn't. I also had some difficulties do create a nice depth of field although the big watermelon was way back in the background it got not as blurry as I wanted it to...


[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="332" caption="second attempt at that watermelon"]Cold Coffee Club - Watermelon Assignment[/caption] I think the second try went better. I cubed the watermelon and put it in this little bowls. I think the focus in front is nice but the depth of field is still not where I wanted it to be. Camera settings were: Exposure 0.017 sec (1/60) Aperture f/6.3 Focal Length 30.0 mm ISO Speed 400 Exposure Bias +2 EV Flash No Flash [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="332" caption="second part: watermelon in a dish"]Cold Coffee Club - Watermelon Assignment[/caption]   I like this one. It's hard to shoot drinks especially when they have ice cubes in it. you constantly have to watch and stir before shooting or be real quick... I made like a hundred pics from different angles and settings but in the end I came to like this one best. Camera settings were: Exposure 0.017 sec (1/60) Aperture f/6.3 Focal Length 30.0 mm ISO Speed 400 Exposure Bias +2 EV

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Now for the second part, the recipe. As I mentioned above, I have never thought about actually cooking with watermelons before... but in times of internet all you have to do is type "watermelon+recipe" into the box of your favorite search machine and there you go!

Did you know that there is a whole site dedicated to watermelons? There is! With lots of interesting information and a whole lot of recipes. After browsing through the site for a while I got an idea what to make with my watermelon.

I turned to wikipedia to look up some stuff about watermelons too. Did you know that,

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.), family Cucurbitaceae) is a vine-like (scrambler and trailer) flowering plant originally from southern Africa. Its fruit, which is known as a watermelon is a special kind of fruit known by botanists as a pepo, a berry which has a thick rind (exocarp) and fleshy center (mesocarp and endocarp); pepos are derived from an inferior ovary, and are characteristic of the Cucurbitaceae. The watermelon fruit, loosely considered a type of melon (although not in the genus Cucumis), has a smooth exterior rind (green, yellow and sometimes white) and a juicy, sweet interior flesh (usually pink, but sometimes orange, yellow, red and sometimes green if not ripe). It is also commonly used to make a variety of salads, most notably fruit salad.

A watermelon contains about 6% sugar and 92% water by weight. As with many other fruits, it is a source of vitamin C.

The amino acid citrulline was first extracted from watermelon and analyzed. Watermelons contain a significant amount of citrulline and after consumption of several kg, an elevated concentration is measured in the blood plasma; this could be mistaken for citrullinaemia or other urea cycle disorders. Watermelon rinds, usually a light green or white color, are also edible and contains many hidden nutrients that most people avoid eating due to its unappealing flavor. They are sometimes used as a vegetable. In China, they are stir-fried, stewed or more often pickled. When stir-fried, the de-skinned and de-fruited rind is cooked with olive oil, garlic, chili peppers, scallions, sugar and rum. Pickled watermelon rind is also commonly consumed in the Southern US. Watermelon juice can also be made into wine. Watermelon is also mildly diuretic and contains large amounts of beta carotene. Watermelon with red flesh is a significant source of lycopene.

There are more than 1200 varieties of watermelon ranging in size from less than a pound, to more than two hundred pounds, with flesh that is red, orange, yellow or white.


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Watermelon Malibu Surf

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="159" caption="Watermelon Malibu Surf"]Cold Coffee Club - Watermelon Assignment[/caption] Ingredients 1 cup diced watermelon 1 cup trimmed strawberries, cut in half 1/2 cup coconut cream 2 ounces rum Instructions
  1. Blend watermelon, strawberries, coconut cream and rum just until smooth.
  2. Place in freezer for one hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour into chilled glass.
  4. Serve immediately.

Strawberry Watermelon Agua Fresca

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="159" caption="Strawberry Watermelon Agua Fresca"]Cold Coffee Club - Watermelon Assignment[/caption] Ingredients 1 pound diced watermelon 8 ounces strawberries, stems removed 1 Tbsp lime juice 1 Tbsp sugar 1/4 to 1/2 cup water or white wine or if you prefer sparkling wine Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients - apart from water or wine - in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. You can strain the puree to avoid pulpy piece if you prefer, I didn't 'CCause I like it better this way.
  3. Now you can decide whether you want to do a child-safe version, then you go with the the water.
  4. If you prefer an adult version go with the white wine or even sparkling wine whatever you like best.
  5. Mix it with the puree and fill it into glasses.
  Cold Coffee Club - Watermelon Assignment

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Simone, Meeta, Mona, Jenn, Arthi, Ilva, ... more to come

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Astrid 21.06.2011, 22.01| (11/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Happy 3rd Anniversary my Love!

Forming an eternal Love

My love it has been 3 years now since you and I joined your paws on this lovely Hawaiian Weeding accompanied by all our furriends. Each day in this past 3 years were pure joy and fun with you, filled with love and cuddles and pure happiness!

I love you and always will!

Gree & Othello 3 Year Anniversary

Happy 3rd Anniversary my Love!

xoxo your devoted husbandmancat Othello

P.S. please pack some nice and comfy things and come ofur tonight, I have a big surprise for you! See you later!

Astrid 21.06.2011, 19.37| (4/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

All shiny and new!

Blog makeover


Finally it is finished and my humble little blog has a shiny new outfit!

I was meaning to do this for about the last two years now but never really sat down to do it or even was able to nail it down what exactly I wanted to do with the blog and it's outfit. There were ideas, yes but I just could not decide where to go and how it should look like in the end.

So at the beginning of this year I contacted Jennette of Make my blog pretty and asked her if she was willing to help me with re-styling my blog. Fortunately she replied yes and promised to go through it all with me. A whole lot of emails went back and forth between the two of us during the past months with questions, suggestions, mockups and changes... me nitpicking, her ever so patient replying to my every complaint!

What you can see now is the result of our conversation.

What actually is new, besides the obvious changes?

  • I wanted to make the single post page more efficient and easy to use for my readers.
  • The recipe part should be more noticeable  from the rest of the blog post, a link for a print friendly version of the recipe was added to make it easier for you to print recipes.
  • You can now easily share the blog posts with the social network of your preference. Including twitter, Facebook, stumble upon etc.
  • Comments are threaded now and you can reply to an existing comment (plus optional email notification if you choose so)
Please let me know if there is anything confusing for you or if things do not work for you so I can correct it. I am also very happy about any feedback about the new style.

Let me know what you think!

Last but not least I really want to say thank you to Jennette for all the work she put into this, it was a pleasure to work with you Jennette!

xoxo Astrid

Astrid 20.06.2011, 21.06| (12/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Monthly Mingle Apple Affection - Bavarian Apple Tartelettes

Take me directly to the recipe!

MMBadge-Apple+Affection-06-2011It's Monthly Mingle Time again!

This time Nina of Nina's kitchen is the hostess with the mostest inviting us to join her apple affection.

Ha! This one is easy I thought. Apple! We are apple lovers in my family. Except for my father who gets tummy ache from eating them... how sad, more apples for us!! *smirk*

Ask my Mom what her favorite sweet dish is she'd reply "Apfelstrudel" for sure. Same goes for my Grandma. You can never go wrong with Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) for the women in my family!

When my brother and I want to soothe my Mom we'd bake her apple strudel (without the nasty rasins of course). I've been sitting many hours contemplating on how to transfer an apple strudel into a proper cake for Mother's Day or her Birthdays just to please her because she does not fancy cakes at all!

No, I do not come very much after her, in case you are wondering! I am a Daddy's girl ;o)

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Bavarian Apple Tarte for Monthly Mingle
Bavarian Apple Tarte

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Even here on my humble foodblog I have posted some recipes with apples:

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There can never be enough recipes with apples, right?

When I was browsing trough my favourite FoodPorn sites (like I do every morning with my morning coffeebesides from twittering with the ColdCoffeeClub gals) I found this on Foodsnots: Bavarian Apple Torte and was caught by the lovely picture of this apple cake. Ideas of how I'd be making it already began to form in my mind and so I checked my pantry whether I had all needed ingredients at home. ...

Of course I had, there are no fancy ingredients to add anyway: apple, butter, flour sugar, cream cheese, cinnamon,... things that are in my pantry most of the time.

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Bavarian Apple Cake

  Bavarian Apple Tarte for Monthly Mingle Ingredients 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened 1/3 cup sugar vanilla sugar 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup all-purpose (white spelt) flour 8 ounce package cream cheese curd, softened 1/4 cup sugar malvacae sugar 1 egg 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/3 cup sugar 2-3 large green Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced

My modifications: I used curd instead of the cream cheese 'CCause that's what I had. I ommited the vanilla extract 'CCause I simply use my home made vanilla sugar whenever a recipe calls for sugar and vanilla. For the filling I used my home made malvacae sugar, which added a nice flowery taste to the cake. The original recipe calls for Granny Smith, I do not fancy this kind of apples so I just use our favorite apples Pink Lady.

  1. Crust: For the crust cream together the softened butter, with vanilla sugar and the flour. Press it into your springform or baking dishes. I am not sure why but I needed about 1/2 cup additional flour to be able to form a nice doughball which would allow me to roll it out or press it  into the forms without sticking to my fingers. I guess I could have chilled it before filling the forms but was too lazy to wait... the crust was delicious this way so I think it did not hurt...
  2. Filling: Combine curd (or cream cheese) in a medium bowl with the sugar until creamy. Add the egg and mix well.
  3. Spread onto your crust in your baking tin.
  4. Topping: In another bowl sprinkle your peeled, cored and sliced apples with some cinnamon (and some sugar if you like, I omitted the sugar here 'CCause we do not like it too sweet) Then layer the apples over the filling. You can just toss them in or layer them neatly, just as you like! If you want to have a nice photo of the finished product you might want to go the "neatly" way tho, just sayin'...
  5. Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes at 450°F (230°C), reducing the heat to 400°F (200°C) for another 20-25 minutes of baking time. Note: I made mine in small single serving pans, so I reduced the heat right away and baked them for about 20 minutes at about 170°C (on convection mode), I'd go for slightly higher temps if I did not use convection, like about 200°C.

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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="332" caption="Bavarian Apple & Cherry Tartelettes"]Bavarian Apple Tarte for Monthly Mingle[/caption]

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Because I had some nice ripe cherries on hand too I used some of them with the same recipe. The cherries were perfect with the crust and the curd filling.

Mrs Q. even liked the cherry version better then the apple one.

Verdict: I have to say that both versions were very yummy and it was easy and very quick to bake so I think this is a keeper for occasions like "oh I'll have guests for afternoon tea/coffee and no cake to offer, what shall I do?". The only thing I'd change is that I would cook the apples in some butter and some sprinkles of sugar to make them  a little more mellow and more pleasing in my mouth 'CCause they were a bit chewy and dried out to my taste.

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Happy Mingling!

...and stay tuned for the round up in July at Nina's place!

Astrid 20.06.2011, 08.12| (7/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Weekend Cat Blogging #315

Weekend Cat Blogging #315 - Kashim


Miz Mog is hosting Weekend Cat Blogging this weekend and I am sure Meowza will be helping her!

Happy Weekend!

xoxoxo Kashim, Othello and Salome

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Next hosts are:

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Astrid 18.06.2011, 21.46| (0/0) Kommentare | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Irish White Soda Bread with Herbs

BBB+logo+June+2011This month sweet Ilva (yes you are so lovable and sweet Ilva, that's why I am allowed to say this here. I might even hug you if I were there!) is servinga s the Kitchen Babe of the month and despite all the planning for Plate to Page she managed to gather us around here kitchen table and present us with this lovely bread.

Ilva wrote on our BBB blog:

I thought about soda breads. Now and then I have to make these early in the morning when I have forgotten to bake the day before and Nicola (yes the teenage terrorist) need bread for his lunch sandwich twice a week. I use a recipe from an Irish bread book (what else could I use, after all they are the masters of soda bread!) called The Ballymaloe Bread Book by Tim Allen and I thought we could use another one in it with herbs in it now when summer is almost here! So here you are, I hope you will like it!

You bet we were relieved this was a quick bread this month don't you? But one without sourdough or even a squint of yeast? Who the heck would want to throw baking soda into his bread? Well rumor has it that the Irish do!

I have to say this Soda bread does not taste like your ordinary every day bread you know. You'll be surprised if you bake it for the first time. Among the Babes there were voices that liked it right away and others that did not like it at all. Maybe it is a kinda "love it or leave it" bread.

I love it. The funny thing is over the past 17 years I have been to Ireland countless times and was served a lot of very enjoyable food but I can for the love of me not remember to have ever eaten soda bread there. But I made soda bread before at home. I remember that Mrs Q. did not like it at all. Sweetheart on the other hand did not mind but then he seldom complains about things I cook or bake...

Bread Baking Babes - Irish White Soda Bread with Herbs

White Soda Bread with Herbs
from The Ballymaloe Bread Book by Tim Allen
1 loaf 450 g/1lb plain white flour (as always I used white spelt flour for this) 1 level teaspoon salt 1 level teaspoon bread soda, finely sieved 1 dessert spoon each of rosemary, sage and chives, all freshly chopped 400 ml/ 14 fl oz buttermilk Irish White Soda Bread with Herbs
  1. Heat up the oven to 230 degrees C/450 degrees F
  2. Sieve the flour, salt and bread soda into a large, wide mixing bowl. Add the freshly chopped herbs to the dry ingredients.
  3. Make a well in the centre. Pour most of the milk into the flour. Using one hand with the fingers open and stiff, mix in a full circle drawing in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky.
  4. The trick with all soda breads is not to over-mix the dough. Mix the dough as quickly and as gently as possible, keeping it really light and airy. When the dough comes together, turn it out onto a well-floured work surface. Wash and dry your hands.
  5. Gently roll the ball of dough around with floury hands for a few seconds, just enough to tidy up. Then pat it gently into a round, about 5 cm/2 in high.
  6. Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet. With a sharp knife cut a deep cross in the middle of it, letting the cuts go over the sides of the bread. Then prick the four triangles with your knife: according to Irish folklore this will let the fairies out!
  7. Put this into your preheated oven for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200 degrees C/400 degrees F for a further 25 minutes, or until cooked. When the bread is cooked it will sound hollow when tapped.

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Bread Baking Babes - Irish White Soda Bread with Herbs

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  What actually is Soda bread?
Soda bread (Irish: arán sóide) is a variety of quick bread traditionally made in a variety of cuisines in which sodium bicarbonate (otherwise known as baking soda) is used as a raising agent rather than the more common yeast. The ingredients of traditional soda bread are flour, bread soda, salt, and buttermilk. The buttermilk in the dough contains lactic acid, which reacts with the baking soda to form tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide. Other ingredients can be added such as raisins, egg or various nuts. In Ireland, the flour is typically made from soft wheat; so soda bread is best made with a cake or pastry flour (made from soft wheat), which has lower levels of gluten than a bread flour. In some recipes, the buttermilk is replaced by live yoghurt or even stout. Bakers recommend the minimum amount of mixing of the ingredients before baking; the dough should not be kneaded. Various forms of soda bread are popular throughout Ireland. Soda breads are made using either wholemeal or white flour. In Ulster the wholemeal variety is usually known as wheaten bread and normally sweetened, while the term "soda bread" is restricted to the white savoury form. In more southern parts of Ireland the wholemeal variety is usually known as brown soda and is almost identical to the Ulster wheaten.

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Don't forget to visit my fellow Babes and see what they did with this lovely Bread this month. Oh and don't forget to visit Katie our BBBBB (Bitchin' Bread Baking Babe Bibliothécaire) who writes up such lovely round ups of all the BBB Breads every month!

Bake My Day - Karen | blog from OUR kitchen - Elizabeth | Cookie Baker Lynn - Lynn | Feeding my enthusiasms - Pat | I Like To Cook - Sara | Living in the Kitchen with Puppies - Natashya | Lucullian Delights - Ilva | Notitie Van Lien - Lien |Wild Yeast - Susan

Canela and Comino - Gretchen (Babe on Hiatus) | Grain Doe - Görel (Babe on Hiatus) | Living on bread and water - Monique (Babe on Hiatus) | My Kitchen In Half Cups - Tanna (Babe on Hiatus) | The Sour Dough - Breadchick Mary (Babe on Hiatus) | Thyme For Cooking - Katie (Babe on Hiatus)

Thinking of you with Love: Glenna (Alumni Babe) | Sher (Angel Babe)

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Astrid 16.06.2011, 00.42| (19/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:


Dear English Readers please jump down by clicking this link!Blog-Event LXVIII - Geschenke aus der Küche (Einsendeschluss 15. Juni 2011)

Ich nehmen ja kaum noch an deutschsprachigen Foodblog Events teil, aber der Kochtopf Event ist einer, den ich ungern missen möchte und wo ich immer wieder versuche es rechtzeitig bis zur deadline zu schaffen.

So sitze ich auch heute kurz vor Ende des Abgabetermins vor meinem Rechner und schreibe meinen Beitrag zum bereits LXVIII Event aus dem Kochtopf.

Dieses Mal hat Klärchen aus dem Gourmet-Büdchen die Ehre  als Host zu fungieren und hat sich ein wunderschönes Thema ausgesucht:


Mrs Q. und ich sind eigentlich ständig am ausprobieren neuer Sachen und oft hört man dann den Satz "Du schau mal, hab ich neulich ausprobiert, ich hab für dich was mitgemacht" - sei es nun eine neue Salzmischung, Kräuteröl oder-essig, Marmelade oder ähnliches. Es macht richtig Spass sich dann miteinander zu unterhalten und des anderen Meinung einzuholen, Verbesserungsvorschläge zu diskutieren, oder auch mal ganz erhlich zu sagen: "Ne du das ist nicht mein Geschmack"

Viele dieser Dinge eigenen sich aber auch gut als Mitbringsel zu Besuchen bei Freunden oder Verwandten, ein bischen angehübscht mit einem netten Label und ein paar bunten Bändern drum rum und schon hat mein ein nettes Geschenl für die Gastgeber.

Für dieses mal hab ich euch zwei unterschiedliche "Limonaden" mitgebracht. Basil Lime Lemonade and Agua de Jamaica for Kochtopf BLOG-EVENT LXVIII

Agua de Jamaica

Zutaten: 500 ml Wasser 100 gr Zucker 10 gr getrocknete Hibiskusblüten Saft einer halben Limette
  1. Zucker mit Wasser bei mittlerer Hitze in einem Topf auflösen. Aufpassen, dass es nicht allzusehr einkocht, wir wollen diesmal kein Karamel produzieren und auch nicht, dass die Zuckermischung zuviel Farbe annimmt.
  2. Hibiskusblüten hinzufügen und ungefähr 5 Minuten mitköcheln lassen. Vom Herd nehmen und nochmal ca 10 Minuten ziehen lassen.
  3. Durch ein dünnes Sieb abseihen, sodass keine Feststoffe mehr in der Flüssigkeit enthalten sind.
  4. Optional: Man kann jetzt nochmal zusätzlich mit Wasser (bis zu einem Liter) aufgiessen, wenn man möchte, bzw wenn man es gleich drinken möchte. Mir ist es lieber, die unverdünnte "Sirupmischung" in kleine Fläschchen abzufüllen. Erstens spart es einiges an Platz im Kühlschrank und andererseites ist es auch als "kleines Mitbringsel" in dieser Form besser geeignet und jeder kann dann selbst entscheiden, wie intensiv er "sein" Aqua de Jamaica trinken möchte.
  5. Also: einfach in passende kleine Glasfläschen abfüllen und gut verschliessen.

Anmerkung: Man sollte nur soviel davon machen, wie man in einigen Tagen trinken/verbrauchen kann. Es hält sich im Kühlschrank gut ein paar Tage aber nicht länger!


Woher kommt Agua de Jamaica?

Seit Jahrhunderten werden in lateinamerikanischen, karibischen, arabischen und süd-ostasaitischen Ländern Hibiskusblüten für die Zubereitung von Tee verwendet. Dieses traditionsreiche Getränk ist je nach Herkunft unter verschiedenen Namen bekannt: "Agua de Jamaica", "Sorelle", "Karkadeh", "Krajeab", "Rosela" sowie "Roselle".

In diesen Regionen wird seit Jahrhunderten Hibiskustee wegen seiner gesundheitsfördernden Wirkung getrunken. Hibiskus ist bezeichnend für Fruchtbarkeit, Jugend, Stärke und Schönheit. Positive Eigenschaften, von denen die Menschen glauben, dass diese auf den Genießer übergehen. Zusätzlich soll Hibiskus hilfreich bei Erkältungen sein, sowie Herzinfarkten und Verkalkungen vorbeugen.

In Asien wird vermutet, dass Hibiskus vor Bluthochdruck und Lebererkrankungen schützt. Untersuchungen deuten außerdem darauf hin, dass Antioxidantien, die auch in der Pflanze enthalten sind, Herzerkrankungen vorbeugen und cholesterinsenkend sind.

Basil Lime Lemonade and Agua de Jamaica for Kochtopf BLOG-EVENT LXVIII

Limetten Basilikum Limonade

Zutaten: 65 gr Zucker 65 ml Wasser 20 grosse Basilikumblätter 100 ml Limettensaft
  1. Wasser und Zucker aufkochen, bis sich der Zucker komplett aufgelöst hat.
  2. Die Basilikumblätter in einem Mörser grob zerstossen und zum Sirup geben. Ca 30 Minuten ziehen lassen.
  3. Durch ein dünnes Sieb abseihen und die Basilikumblätter gut ausdrücken.
  4. Den Limettensaft hinzugeben.

Nun kann man das Ganze noch mit ca 600 ml Wasser auffüllen. Oder man macht es so wie ich und füllt die unverdünnte Lösung in kleinere Fläschchen und verdünnt erst beim Zubereiten des Getränks je nach Geschmack des Gastes.

Anmerkung: Man sollte nur soviel davon machen, wie man in einigen Tagen trinken/verbrauchen kann. Es hält sich im Kühlschrank gut ein paar Tage aber nicht länger!


Diese beiden Mitbringsel eignen sich auch gut, wenn man mal schnell was zum Mitbringen benötigt. Inkl. der Abkühlzeit benötigt man nicht mehr als eine Stunde Zeit um sie herzustellen. Dann nur noch - wie schon gesagt - ein nettes Label oder Karte dran, ein paar bunte Bänder und los kanns gehen! P.S. die beiden Rezepte hab ich in Nicole Stich's Geschenkideen Buch gefunden.

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Basil Lime Lemonade and Agua de Jamaica for Kochtopf BLOG-EVENT LXVIII

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Gifts from my kitchen to yours

Blog-Event LXVIII - Geschenke aus der Küche (Einsendeschluss 15. Juni 2011) I rather seldom participate in German food events basically because I do not blog in German anymore. Oh but I still love the one who is run by Zorra at Kochtopf!

This month the theme is "Gifts from my kitchen to yours" which I find is a wonderful theme so I was determined to participate. The deadline is June 15.

So you see me typing furiously into my keyboard threatening to blow yet another deadline for an event... mind you while I am typing this both lemonades are already prepared but pictures have yet to be made!!

Late this night there will be yet another desperate photoshoot session the threatening deadline in my back!

My dear friend Mrs Q. and I love to esperiement with all sorts of things and recipes in our kitchen and often enough the one or the other will hand a newly tested result to the other with a smirk on the face saying "look I recently tried out this, I made one for you as well!" We have fun chatting about the recipe, tasting the result, pondering about possible improvements or even, every now and then,  blurt out plainly "Oh I simply do not like this!" Recently happened  with the current Bread Baking Babes Challenge for July I totally screwed up! Feedback is important  in my kitchen, even if it is a negative one!

Many of said things we test are perfect littel "bring-alongs" for visits at friends or your family. Just put on a nice label and some fancy colorful ribbons and there you go.

For this event I chose two lovely beverages that are perfect for a hot summer day!


Basil Lime Lemonade and Agua de Jamaica for Kochtopf BLOG-EVENT LXVIII

Agua de Jamaica

Ingredients: 500 ml water 100 gr sugar 10 gr dried hibiscus calyces 1/2 lime (juice) Method:
  1. Dissolve the sugar in water by cooking in a pan over medium heat. Do not boil it we don't want to make caramel this time...
  2. Add hibiscus and let simmer for about 5 minutes, reducing the heat. After that, remove from stove and let it infuse for about 10 minutes.
  3. Now grab your sieve and a piece of musline to sieve the mixture.
  4. Optional: If you want to you can now add additional water to dilute it already before botteling. I prefer to not dilute it, this way I can use smaller bottles and everyone can decide themself how "sweet" or "intense" his drink should be.
  5. Add the juice of half a lime to the mixture and fill it up into bottles.

Note: Don't make too much of it ahead 'CCause it will only keep fresh for a few days if you keep it in the fridge!


Where does Agua de Jamaica come from?

Agua de Jamaica is a Central American and Carribean drink, which is essentially a tea made from hibiscus calyces. It is very refreshing when served chilled, and relaxing when served warm, but is most often served chilled.

Hibiscus has long been used in herbal remedies, and this drink is known in Central America as an "agua fresca," (lit. "fresh water") meaning a cheap beverage. It has been proven to help lower blood pressure, in part due to its mild diuretic properties. This drink is also a beautiful deep ruby red color, which is very pleasing to the eye.

"Flor de Jamaica" is the Central American name for dried hibiscus calyces. It can be referred to as simply "Jamaica" in most Mexican grocery stores. It is also called "sorrell," "saril," or "roselle," to name a few of its numerous names.

Basil Lime Lemonade and Agua de Jamaica for Kochtopf BLOG-EVENT LXVIII

Lime-Basil Lemonade

Ingredients: 65 gr sugar 65 ml water 20 big basil leafes 100 ml lime juice Method:
  1. Cook the water and sugar over medium heat until all sugar has dissolved. Be careful not to overcook it. Never leave pan and sugar/water mixture unattended!
  2. Crush basil leaves coarsly in your mortar.
  3. Now add it to the sugar syrup and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Grab a sieve and a piece of muslin and sieve your mixture, with the back of a spoon try to get as many of the juices out of the basil leafes before you discard them.
  5. Add Lime juice to the mixture.

Now, if you plan to drink it right ahead, add 600 ml cold water to the mixture and either enjoy or fill it up in bottles to bring along to  friends or a picnic!

If you're like me you'd rather prefer to not mix it with additional water but bottle it as is to offer it to your guests and let everybody decide how intense they like their lemonade. Either way works of course!

Note: Don't make too much of it ahead 'CCause it will only keep fresh for a few days if you keep it in the fridge!


This two little gifts are even perfect if you are in a hurry and need to make something that can be made within an hour or two. A real timesaver here! Cook it, cool it, fill it up - wrap it and there you go in no time with a nice and fancy "bring-along".

Oh and did I mention it is tasty too? It is!

Astrid 15.06.2011, 18.15| (4/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

[St. Hildegard of Bingen] - Basic information, kitchen toxins, stimulants (legal drugs) and raw food

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="154" caption="St Hildegard of Bingen"]Hildegard[/caption]

This is the first post of a series about the teachings of St. Hildegard of Bingen as noted in her books of visions Physics and Causa et Curae where she talks about the healing powers and practical application of tinctures, herbs, and precious stones.

Over the past years I have read many books about her visions about healing and balanced diets. Back in 2007 I already started to write about her findings, back then it was all in German so I will catch up with this thought and translate the first few posts I've already written and then continue with new articles.

There is a lot to say about this amazing woman and her thoughts and tho she wrote them down in medieval age a lot of her thoughts are still true in our modern time (some of them even proved by modern medicine, some of them not of course).

I - personally - found that living with her guidance and let her guide my daily nutrition and my thoughts about food improved my wellbeing.

Before I start to go into detail I want to share my sources with you: my sources are, among others - mainly, and if not otherwise stated - the books:

  • The dietetic treatment of Hildegard von Bingen, Wighard Strehlow
  • Hildegard medicine from A-Z, Wighard Strehlow
  • Wikipedia under and

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So who is that woman I am talking about?

Blessed Hildegard of Bingen (German: Hildegard von Bingen; Latin: Hildegardis Bingensis) (1098 - 17 September 1179), also known as Saint Hildegard, and Sibyl of the Rhine, was a writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, German Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath. Elected a magistra by her fellow nuns in 1136, she founded the monasteries of Rupertsberg in 1150 and Eibingen in 1165. One of her works as a composer, the Ordo Virtutum, is an early example of liturgical drama.

She wrote theological, botanical and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs, poems, and arguably the oldest surviving morality play, while supervising brilliant miniature Illuminations.

Hildegard has also become a figure of reverence within the contemporary New Age movement, mostly due to her holistic and natural view of healing, as well as her status as a mystic. She was the inspiration for Dr. Gottfried Hertzka's "Hildegard-Medicine", and is the namesake for June Boyce-Tillman's Hildegard Network, a healing center that focuses on a holistic approach to wellness and brings together people interested in exploring the links between spirituality, the arts, and healing,


I am not a huge fan of the Roman Catholic Church so I am not interested in her theological or liturgical works but am really fascinated in her medicinal and botanical works. This is what I will be talking about here.

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Cooking with Hildegard

Spelt is the base of cooking after Hildegard followed by fruits and vegetables and modest use of meat, game, fish, milk and milk products, herbs, spices and drinks. Hildegard did not rate the food according to it's calories but according to their medicinal values. She says all healthy foods are nutrition and remedies for the body at the same time if you consider the body as a whole.

The first step into a proper diet therefore is a selection of ingredients out of the following food groups:

  • Spelt - contains almost everything a person needs to live. It has carbohydrates, protein, a little fat but enough to keep us going and 45 minerals and trace elements.
  • Fruit and vegetables - as a source of important vitamins, minerals, herbal substances and secondary fiber. You should however always use it  boiled, steamed or pickled (never raw - she was very negative minded about raw food)
  • Milk and milk products - as a source of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.
  • Meat and meat products - as a source of protein. especially recommended are poultry, fish, beef, lamb, goat and deer.

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What Hildegard said about kitchen toxins, stimulants (legal drugs) and raw food

German version of the following information.

Note: text in quotes is what Hildegard said translated from her books. I will add personal notes here and there or even try to clarify where modern findings contradict with her thoughts.

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"kitchen toxins" according to Hildegard

. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="fresh garden strawberries"]Strawberry[/caption] Strawberries

Hildegard says that strawberries [...] lead to congestion and have no healing powers [...] because they grow close to the ground and even in (mushroom), foul air. [...]

In fact one can note that, especially during the strawberry rich season (May / June), allergies, skin rashes, ear infections and appendicitis occur more than in other times. In addition, it was observed that they congest the organism and are a strain to the respiratory system.

modern medicine nows that [...] strawberries are high in anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory catechins which are known to bind heavy metals in the body. Strawberries also contain much vitamin C so that 150gr of them cover the daily needed dosis of an adult. [...] (source

However I know tho I am a dedicated strawberry lover that if I do not watch my strawberry consumption I indeed do tend to cough more and my respiratory system seems to be more strained. My personal thoughts here are: strawberries are not entirely bad but if you have a sensible respiratory system you should watch the amount of strawberries you eat.

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="peaches"]Autumn_Red_peaches[/caption]

Hildegard said that peaches [...] destroy the good juice mixture and mucilaginous stomach. If you still want to eat peaches remove the shell and the core and put it in wine, some pepper and salt. It does not hurt, but have also lost their flavor. [...]

Peaches have a similar mode of action as strawberries. In contrast, however, she recommends: "the unripe fruit, including seeds, leaves, root,resin and bark for external use for watering eyes, headaches and gout"

Peach allergy or intolerance is a relatively common form of hypersensitivity to proteins contained in peaches and related fruit (like almonds). Symptoms range from local symptoms (e.g. oral allergy syndrome, contact urticaria) to systemic symptoms, including anaphylaxis (e.g. urticaria, angioedema, gastrointestinal and respiratory symptoms). Adverse reactions are related to the "freshness" of the fruit: peeled or canned fruit may be tolerated.

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="plums"]Plum_on_tree02[/caption]

Hildegard says that plums [...] symbolize the anger. [...] the black bile is increased through them  and even bitter acid increases, which causes all kinds of diseases. The plum is as dangerous as eating poisonous plants. A healthy person may if he insists on eating but only moderately  [...]

Plums multiplies melanch, which consists of the black bile substance bilirubin and bile acid. This substance is released during stress, anger, rage and anger but also with nutritional deficiencies of the liver.

This acid stresses   the intestinal flora  and attacks mineral reserves in our blood. Within the development of almost all diseases bile acid is involved. Each acidification might result in inflammation and auto-aggression.

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="leek"]artsy-leek[/caption]

Hildegard says about leek [...] is raw as dangerous as a poisonous plant because it attacks the blood and juices, so that the blood can not regenerate properly, and not clean the organism. [...]

Those who want leek should pickle it in salted wine or vinegar so it's bad influences would be milder. Healthy people might eat the so prepared leek but better raw than cooked.

Sick or not as healthy people should not eat it at all!

today we know: "[...] leek contains vitamin C, vitamin K and folic acid and traceelements potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese. The antioxidant andantibacterial sulfur compound allicin, which is formed from alliin and the enzymecatalyzing allinase causes the strong smell and flavor of leeks. [...] " (source:

So eaten moderately leek will not harm you.

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="coffee beans"]Coffee_Beans[/caption] Coffee and caffeinated drinks are stimulants and have negative effects on health:
  • unwanted irritation of the gastric mucosa with heartburn
  • adverse health effects on the heart with tachycardia
  • stimulates the nervous system to exhaustion
  • makes you addictive, dependent, and nervous.
Also other caffeine-containing and / or cola beverages cause additional chronic stress. Spelt coffee, however, has a great effect on the digestion and increases the vitality. Snacks between meals can have a positive influence, Hildegard recommends you eat:
  • apples, apple compote,
  • fresh fruit, desserts,
  • whole grains,
  • yogurt, fruit juices,
  • Energy biscuits (made after her recipe)
  • Quendel (an older form of thyme) biscuits (made after her recipe)
  • Quince
Rarely, if ever, you should eat: Pastries, cakes and pies, salted peanuts, potato chips, candies, chocolate, coladrinks.

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Raw food

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="230" caption="raw food"]raw-food[/caption]

Hildegard says about raw food: [...] if the person has eaten raw apples or pears or raw vegetables or other uncooked food, which are not prepared with either fire or with any spice, they cannot digested in his stomach, because they previously have not been prepared properly.

Thus, the poor saps which were supposed [...] be prepared properly on the fire or with any spice so their bad influences are neutralized [...] get off the dishes into the human system and harm the body.

The natural intestinal flora is damaged by raw food and results even in fungal infections, which effects especially the immune system.

Hildegard says that the cooking of all foods - including the preparation of the salad by pickling with vinegar, salt and oil - is a necessary prerequisite for good digestion. Although you will not fall over dead right away when you eat raw food, but you do well to avoid eating raw food too often.

Food poisoning is a health risk for all people eating raw foods, and increased demand for raw foods is associated with greater incidence of foodborne illness, especially for raw meat, fish, and shellfish. Outbreaks of gastroenteritis among consumers of raw and undercooked animal products (including smoked, pickled or dried animal products) are well-documented, and include raw meat, raw organ meat, raw fish (whether ocean-going or freshwater), shellfish, raw milk and products made from raw milk, and raw eggs.

Food poisoning attributed to contaminated raw produce has risen tenfold since the 1970s. Salad, lettuce, juice, melon, sprouts, and berries were most frequently implicated in outbreaks.

Many raw plant foods have been contaminated by dangerous and even deadly microorganisms, including jalapeño and serrano peppers, alfalfa sprouts and other sprouted seeds, green onions, spinach, lettuce, orange juice, apple juice and other unpasteurized fruit juices.

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Next time I will talk about various types of grain. Stay tuned!

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Astrid 13.06.2011, 18.36| (2/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Easy Like Sunday ...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Don't mess with a cat and her box! Srsly!"]Easy like Sunday[/caption] Miz Mog is hosting Carnival of the Cats today and me - Sally - am happy to submit. Me wonders if Meowza will want to come and snuggle in ma box?

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Oh and we let Momma write the WCB post to celebrate the 6th Anniversary of Weekend Cat Blogging over at her blog. Come have a look!

Astrid 12.06.2011, 11.46| (8/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Weekend Cat Blogging #314 - 6th Anniversary

Weekend Cat Blogging #314 - Happy 6th AnniversaryOur sweet friends Amar and Luna are hosting Weekend Cat Blogging this weekend. It is a very special weekend because it marks the 6th anniversary of this event - and even more awesome: Luna celebrates her Gotcha Day!

6 years ago Claire of Claire eats and her cat Kiri started this event. She is no longer blogging but somehow her idea survived and was adopted by the bloggerworld. What started as an event of some foodies who took a break from foodblogging once a week to share pictures of their cats became an event various types of bloggers (no longer limited to foodbloggers alone) joined on and off over the years.

I tried to be a part of this event whenever it was possible for us and it is always a pleasure to take a virtual walk through all that blogs and look at that sweet kitty faces...

I still remember my first WCB post and was swept away with the response we got with every weekend we joined. Sadly not all comments from way back then are still available since I changed my blogsoftware several times the past few years and not always I was able to recover all the comments.

CAT blogging? Are you kidding me?

I know some bloggers look at people that blog about their cats with suspicions thinking they must be slightly crazy but let me tell you one thing: I strongly believe that every theme, beit food, pets, photography, sports, whatever,... has it's own niche and it's place in the big big world of www and blogging.

I met some awesome people within the food blogging community through their blogs and some even in real life and I would never want to miss their support and the moments I shared laughter and even tears with them.  I know that a lot of events have taken place and still take place in this foodblogging world that supports some very very important causes and I look back with proud that I was part in some of them.

So, what I told you is also true for the catblogging world. Through weekend cat blogging I met a whole bunch of people who are widely known as "catbloggers". I've never met such dedicated people, who try to help each other and make this world a better place for animals and pets. Though their main focus is about cats be it feral or not they never hesitate to figure out ways to help other critters too. No matter if the animal in question is a bunny, dog, bird, hamster if there is need for help they'll figure out a way to help.

I watched many animals finding "forever homes" and leaving their shelter life behind them because of the constant work of these dedicated people. And even tho they might have to count every cent or penny themselves most of them will not hesitate to donate a dollar or two for a good cause and someone who is more needy this very moment. But it is not all about the money that draws my affection to those sweet people. It is the support in all everday situations like sick pets, personal problems and struggles in life or the loss of a loved one (animal or person).

I feel embraced in their love and love them back as much as a I can. For their support and their strength to guide each other through rough times but also for their sharing laughter and happiness together whenever they can.

So next time, dear readers, when you might want to laugh at those crazy people who blog about - or even for - their cats (or other critter) please remember those things I shared with you today. Because if even only one animal can be saved through a community like this I say let them blog a 1000 blog posts you consider as weird. No?

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And now back to your regular scheduled Weekend Cat Blogging and the sweet kitty faces I share my life with:

Weekend Cat Blogging #314

Weekend Cat Blogging #314

Weekend Cat Blogging #314

Happy Weekend to you all!

xoxo Kashim, Othello and Salome

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Next hosts are:

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Astrid 12.06.2011, 11.09| (5/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

PaperChef - Austrian Scheiterhaufen with a modern twist

Paper Chef - Scheiterhaufen, modern interpreted

In the middle of writing up our first post Plate 2 Page assignment our ever so lovely Ilva announced on Twitter that Paper Chef, one of the eldest foodie challenges, is back to life.

She asked to join tho the deadline was super tight and so she convinced her partner(s) to move the deadline from Tue 7th to Friday 10th which gave us the opportunity to join in and play with these fun ingredients: bread, lime, berries and chocolate.

If you are not familiar with the concept of Paper Chef it's quite easy to explain:

Paper Chef follows the thought of TV competitions like Iron Chef or Ready, Steady Cook (the German version was called Kochduell) where chefs had to cook with a rather unusual combination of ingredients. Well this is what Paper Chef does as well.

4 ingredients will be announced at the fist whole weekend of the month and you have 7 days to cook something from it, snap a nice pic and write up your blog post. Submit your blog post to paperchef AT gmail DOT com. That's it!

If you still need more information please continue to read here.


Paper Chef - Scheiterhaufen, modern interpreted

When I read the given ingredients of Paper Chef June 2011 I immediately thought I want to make a modern twisted version of a childhood favorite of mine:  Scheiterhaufen.

Scheiterhaufen is a very simply sweet course which is very popular in the region of Austria where I come from. Basically it is a layered bread pudding with apples and sweet bread or just ordinary rolls soaked in an egg-milk mixture topped with a meringue.

My Grandma used to make it for us children, cause with a rather large family (4 Generations under one roof) there is always some stale bread around... Apples were always on hand too since we had quite a lot of apple trees in our garden. Every week we would get fresh eggs from our relatives who still grow chicken.

So for my modern twisted take on Scheiterhaufen the only thing I had to come up with was how I would incorporate lime, choc and berries to this all. Not that bad at all: I decided to use blueberries and strawberries as top layer, add lime juice to the meringue and hide some white choc between the apples. Viola!

Since I was planning to bring it to work as a dessert I decided to bake it in individual serving dishes I normally use for baking cakes in the glass. Which makes them easy to store and bring along to say a picnic as well... *hint*

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Paper Chef - Scheiterhaufen, modern interpreted

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Austrian Scheiterhaufen with a modern twist

Ingredients (four small servings) 180gr  rolls (stale) or brioche 250ml milk 3 eggs (2 egg whites for meringue) 60 gr sugar pinch of salt 100gr grated white chocolate 300gr  apples Some blueberries and raspberries Whiskey or any other boosz to your liking, the original calls for rum 2 egg whites (see above) and about 10 gr powdered sugar for meringue Butter for greasing baking dish
  1. Cut brioche or rolls into slices. Mix milk with egg and two yolks, sugar, choc and a pinch of salt.
  2. Peel apples, quarter and remove the cores. Cut apples thinly or grate coarsely.
  3. Grease an ovenproof baking dish with butter.
  4. Season apples with cinnamon. Place alternate layers of bread and apples into the baking dish and pour with the egg milk.
  5. Press down everything, add some more milk if needed, give it at least half an hour rest.
  6. place blueberries ans raspberries on to. Cover with meringue.
  7. Preheat oven to 200 ° C
  8. Bake for about 40 minutes baking, allow to cool slightly.
  9. Dust with powdered sugar.
Suggestions: When filling the glasses make sure you do not overfill them. You will regret it later - believe me. This will all get very bubbly once it is in the oven... Don't use too much liquid either, you do not need to! Don't forget the booze, srsly!  

See? It really is very easy and quick!

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Paper Chef - Scheiterhaufen, modern interpreted

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Verdict: I could have used more booze! My good old friend Jameson whic I used for the plain rum the original recipe calls for was - to my taste - a little underrepresented. Otherwise I loved the light tangy taste the lime gave to the meringue. The berries were a nice addtition and gave the dish an uncommon but likeable touch. I am glad I only added them on toop so I could have a taste of new and familiar in one dish. The chocolate flavor was - like the Whiskey - a little underrepresented. But was there every now and then. Sweetheart loved it - I gave it to him as a dessert today and he gave me suspicious look when I handed him the glass, but after the first few spoonfuls he digged right in. When I told him he could save some for later he quickly looked up from his glass and shot an explicit NO! at me... The glasses I used hold 500 ml  but I think you could easily use250 ml glasses too - especially if you plan to bring it along to a picnic or something.

Astrid 10.06.2011, 12.21| (10/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Plate 2 Page Weimar 2011 - Arriving...

fab four Where was I?

Oh yes, I already told you about how I happened to be a part of this very new hands-on workshop called Plate to Page which turned out to be the most fabulous and live changing experience of a lifetime.

In April 2011 I was all organized and ready to go - apart form having packed my suitcase of course. Nothing could possibly go wrong, no? Ha, you bet!

At the Beginning of May I got quite sick with a bacterial infection of my lungs, leaving me locked up at home coughing my lungs up. Very funny. SO Not. 1st round antibiotics: no effect. 2nd round antibiotics: slightly better. *sigh*

On Friday, the week before I was expected to hop on my train to Weimar.

Lady Doctor said to me: "You need to stay at home at least until Thursday.  Your infections marker  are still way to high. " (dreaded blood tests) I bravely replied (please keep in mind I had been locked at home for a total of 2 1/2 weeks by then and was really fed up with being ill) : "No 'CCause on Thursday next week I WILL be traveling to Germany." Her face in utter disbelief: "By plane?" Me: "No by train!" The Lady Doctor relaxed a bit again and told me:  "Oh, ok because there is no way I would let you climb on a plane next week! By train.... hm, let's see!" I started kinda pegging: " See there is a workshop there starting on Friday. It's all paid and all! I need to be there!" She: "You'll be traveling on your own risk then. You really should be not traveling but resting a bit more - those antibiotics you are currently on are nothing to take too lightly."

I promised to be a good girl (uhm, yeah, well it was for a good cause, no?) and burst out of the doctor's office waving the little pink doctor's note at Sweetheart saying I could go to work again on Monday which meant I was allowed to be on said train on Thursday. *phew* He - like the lady doctor - was not too convinced this was a good idea tho, but oh well: what does not destroy me only makes me stronger, no? (Little did I know that along with the workshop about writing and photography I also booked a fitnes programme...)


Thursday Morning I packed my things and was due to be at the train by 12:30 - tweeting last tweets about leaving and off I went. Sweetheart drove me to the train station. Handed me my suitcase and waved a last goodbye and "have a good trip" while I was already heading towards the track.

The trip by train was awesome. Travelled 1st class which gave me plenty of space and was pampered by train staff.

The trouble began when I had to change trains in Fulda to go to Weimar. Off the ICE 29 train, standing on the rack wondering why the connecting train wasn't on it's track where it was suppoosed to wait for us... above my head a loud voice in strange German says: Train xxx is delayed due to *Iforgotwhatreason* for 20 minutes.

DSC06555I take this as a chance to find out where the 1st class wagons are located and slowly trott this direction dragging my big suitcase behind me. 20 minutes are over. No train in sight. Suddenly there is rumble - a train approches the track where I am waiting for "my" train. That voice from the speakers again:  "Please do not board this train. There is an emergency we need to wait for ambulance. This train is not going to xxx."

Wait another 10 minutes. Speakers again: "Train xxx to blah over Weimar will arrive at track 6 in 5 minutes. Passangers to xxx please change platforms."

"DANGNABBIT" I mumble, grab all my stuff and start to run to change platforms to finally catch the train. 40 minutes after I happily left the ICE 29 I finally am on the train to Weimar. It's raining outside and I am starting to get real tired and ... fed up.

Thankfully the train does not have any further delay and I arrive at Weimar station at about 9 pm. Running through the rain I hop into a taxi (cab) and request the driver to get me to Kipperquelle Inn. 15 minutes after I arrived at Weimar station I find myself at the doorsteps of Kipperquelle Inn. Suspiciously I eye the front of the Hotel: No lights to see, just dark windows. I try to enter the Hotel but: it is CLOSED. Fiercly ringing the doorbell does not help either. No sign of any hotel manager or other staff. Now I am cursing.

In the middle of my rageous cursing someone crosses the street carrying a suitcase like me.
I turn around and say: "it's closed there is no one in." "Plate to Page workshop?" are the first words the person I will later call Julia talks to me. "Yes." I reply.  "Julia from Canada. There is noone to let us in? Are you kidding me?" Me: "No the door is closed and noone is responding to the doorbell labelled  with 'reception'. " Julia: " The emergency number. I don't have it with me." Me: " I do!" handing the papers with P2P information to Julia. Julia tries to call Meeta's mobile. "It does not work!" I give it a try with my own phone. *phew* at least it is ringing now. No one answers the phone. We are soaking wet by the time... We give it a couple of tries with no success. Julia hops on the doorsteps and begins to study the names at the doorbells. "Ha I recognise this name," she exclaims. Next minute she is ringing this said doorbell furiously. A few minutes and additional rings later a voice answers the doorbell. We explain that we want in. "I am coming downstairs,..."

A weak smile emerges on Julia's and my face... 10 minutes and a nice conversation with the hotel manager later we are finally in our apartment. Only to find all rooms occupied already and one room even closed...

We decide to wait in the kitchen for the others to come back as they "are out to eat"  the hotel manager told us.

Exhausted and wet we are. But Julia is such lovely person and in no time we already are in the middle of a chat about winters in Canada and her adventures finding a place to live in Europe... meanwhile Meeta is calling back. A quick chat with her in which she tells me where the others went in case we want to join and to tell me "DO NOT TOUCH any of the food in the apartment, it's not for you and it's counted!!" I bet there were Jamie, Jeanne and Ilva giggling in the background!!

Oh well thank you! We've already been in desperate search for some teabags or coffee to warm us up without any success... *hmpf*


About half an hour later we hear giggling and loud voices at the apartment door. We look at each other and peek our heads out of the kitchen door only to see a lot of giggling people coming into our apartment. I am shocked and too tired to even recognise all the names and faces that are thrown at me.

Simone, Arthi, Jasemine, Julia and I will later sit at the ktichen table and have a quick welcoming chat where sweet Arthi even offers us some of her goods she brought for our picnic because - remember? - we weren't allowed to touch the food in the apartment.

The others - who I learned the next day were Ken, Mitch, Jenn and sweet Ishay - already went to their rooms upstairs. Simone

When it was time to finally go to sleep - something around midnight I think - Julia claims to share the room with Jasemine.

I decide to give it a try with this nice tall Blonde (I had no idea what her name was by then and I was too tired to even bother) - we hopped in our double bed and after some short good night chat we fell asleep (I did for sure...).

I will spare you the dreams I had this very night but I can tell you I fell asleep thinking: "Now this is a weird start into this weekend, I wonder if the coming days will be like this...." - Little did I know!

Please stay tuned to find out how my P2P adventure turned out in the end... - Yes, I am going to rave about this some more! Sorry guys!!

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Meanwhile please visit my fellow Plate to Pagers to read their post about Plate 2 Page:
Arthi - Ending on a High Note Arthi - Reliving the Plate2Page Experience Ilva - Plate to Page Weimar 2011 - The Review Jamie - From Plate to Page Jasmine - Plate to Page Workshop Meeta - We Met in Weimar Meeta - Putting the WORK back into Workshop Móna - Life Changing, It Was Móna - Life Changing it Was, Part 2 Móna - Life Changing it Was, Part 3 Móna - All in a Days Work Simone - Plate to Page - Experience of a Lifetime Simone - Metaphors, Similes, and What it's All About
Jeanne - Plate to Page, Weimar - the super troupers

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One thing I need to say - not because anyone urged me to but because I really feel like it and this generosity we were gifted with is nothing we should take for granted -  is thank you to all our lovely and generous sponsors who made this weekend even more enjoyable and unique! There is a whole extra post in the making for them but for now I just want to say thank you to: Our main sponsorBord Bia (The Irish Food Board), Wines of South AfricaHotel ChocolatProkit UKMaison Georges LarnicolOXOErgo Chef KnivesSweet Pete's and the lovely Paula Walters.

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About Plate to Page:

Did I mention that you really should think aboput being part of any of the future P2P workshops!? You really should! I'll be there again for sure...

Plate to Page workshops will take place at least twice per year, in various locations. The next Plate to Page workshop is scheduled for 28-30 October 2011 in Tuscany and is already fully booked. Please keep an eye on their websiteFacebook page and Twitter account for news, updates and to be the first to know about new workshop dates.

Astrid 09.06.2011, 11.24| (0/0) Kommentare | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Would you let your waistline determine where you live?

A morning like any other.

coffee & muesli - Mar 12 2011

Wide awake, because one of my "cute" cats with whom I share my apartment and life, was jumping onto me or is staring at my face until I open at least one eye. Only to purr at me kindly and roll back into a purring , snoozing furball right beside me.

It's May 31st, 7 clock in the morning.

Morning routine: bathroom, shower, kitchen, coffee, cereal+yoghurt, back to bed. Laptop started while I was away, Tweetdeck already shows my Twitter timeline. While I take my first sip of coffee, I read my way through my favorite lists. I start to explore: Who is already online?

I am not a morning person, mind you. Head is working very slowly without lots of fuel (coffee) actually.

vintage-coffeePlate to Page has ended nearly more than 2 weeks ago and I have a new favorite list in Twitter with all my new found friends, don't want to let go this P2P feeling, want to know what they are up to at their homes. Most of the time some early birds are already out and twittering merrily away without hesitation. I enter Twitterwold with my morning tweet "G'Morning Lovelies". My coffee next to me is lukewarm.

One tweet follows the other. Difficult to keep up for a tangled mind like mine, still struggling to stay awake. I can still hear the laughter that went with our morning coffee gossip in our apartment in Weimar when I read the tweets from @lucullian, @wisemona, @lifesafeast, @jenncuisine, @junglefrog, @foodandthefab and @cook sisterblog and all the others.

Now that we all are back home in our own beds, the morning coffee and gossip was virtualized and within the blink of an eye the #coldcoffeeclub was born.


Tweeting with the girls feels almost the same as if we were still all together in Weimar and makes the start of the day so much more valuable, more beautiful. Even puts a smile on my face in the morning - go figure!


Well and it would not be us, if we would not get ourselves into trouble in no time. One second we bitch and laugh about the "pink post-it of doom" and are  pondering on moving to live in Italy.

Next second I am looking at my Tweet, which reads "I am in" with which agreed on a blog article about "Would you let your waistline determine where you live?"

Post due next Tuesday!


Oh hello, there they were my three problems: writing blog posts, deadlines and I. *sigh* But you know what? This time it's fun! (somehow)

So I'm sitting here one day (!) before the deadline typing my text... The little bugger on my shoulder, looks at me with pure suspicion: That's indeed has never happened before!

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Would I let my waistline determine where I live?

Although I call myself a Foodie I've never been thinking about such a question before. Deep in my heart and my soul the desire to live in Ireland and to spend the rest of my life there happily ever after. But food was (until now) never an issue ... just a deep longing and wonderful feeling whenever my feet hit the ground of this amazing country.

I have done this step yet, it is a little too far out of my comfort zone ... yes I am a cautious person regarding my living and yes even Aquarians like me have their limits (lot of limits to be honest). My limit at the moment is where I shall leave my familiar habitat - forever, for good. Now.

I'm working on it. I know that my longing will enventually win over my mind and my need of safety. It will override one day and then I will live my dream.

Just not right now - one step at a time, right?

Traditionelles Feuerflecken Essen bei den Rosenhüglers August 2010Food, cooking and, above all, the knowledge about the plants, herbs, vegetables and ingredients you need for cooking, has always been an important part in my life. As a little girl I wandered through the garden with my grandfather and the surrounding forests at the back of our house and listened to his explanations. How a certain vegetable or fruit must be cultivated. Which vegetables are friends and which are not so keen of each other. When is each fruit in season and how to handle it best (unless you eat it from the tree of course). I had my own cherry tree (planted for me just when I was mere two years old) and my own vegetable patch, which I've always maintained with devotion.

During our walks in the woods I learned a lot about wild herbs and mushrooms, which to choose and which rather let be. Later in the kitchen, we cooked and preserved our treasures we got from the garden and the woods. I would spend hours placing oin apple besindes the other carefully making sure that they do not touch, so that they would be as perfect as possible in winter times, when we would go and bake my beloved "Apfelstrudel" with them.

Babs & Birthday Cake 2011Today you can buy any fruit all year round in the supermarket often at prices that make me shake my head. In our hectic modern world we do not think so much about preserving and keeping foods fresh other than store them in de fridge or freezer.

Often we lack (when we live in the city where space is limited) place and possibilities to do so anyway. Many in my generation are lacking the knowledge about things my Grandpa told me when I was young, they never had anyone who would share this knowledge.

"Think global - act local", it's only a slogan nowadays. Hardly anyone knows what it would really mean: no bananas, no citrus fruits, melons, no exotic fruits ... (they just do not grow local here!) still they are foods we take for granted.

But that's a whole other story ... back to

Would I let my waistline determine where I live? The answer is no.

Mrs Q.'s and Mr T.'s Birthday Family Come TogetherTo me it's important to know about the local available food to be able to use it in my everyday life. I am convinced that you can eat healthy anywhere if you actually are willing to deal with what is locally available.

I am a "Zuckergoscherl" (means sweet tooth) I would give up every pig roast for a sweet main course. I'd be happy in Bohemia and Hungary, which both are famous for their pastries.  Just do not believe I actually could decide to live in this countries. It does not feel home to me, there is no bonding I can feel when I am there.

I love me a good pasta or a delicious smelling pizza - I would not deny these. Risotto is something I've learned to love recently: if my brother is cooking it, I find it really tasty. I could live well in Italy if it was for the food. If only the weather would not be that hot. Sorry! I'm getting really unbearable when temperatures are to high. Too cold I do not like either, go figure!

I could go on wandering through many countries, but actuallyI feel like this: I could not live in a place just because my waistline would benefit. I could not live in a place where I love just the food. I could not live in a place where I dislike the food...

"The belly rules the mind?" - possibly, yes. But mind and soul must be in line, that's when I am happy and satisfied.

I am the happiest girl on earth with a bowl of yogurt and fresh fruit. Or simply cooked - still hot - potatoes, some melting butter and salt with a glass of milk. Fresh bread, butter, honey and a homemade Limonde? Fine with me! That's all I need! IF I am at place where I feel at home.

Feeling at Home

This might be (almost) anywhere in the world, right? The best potato tastes just moldy at a place where I do not feel at home ...

Would you let your waistline determine where you live? Would you?

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This lovely little bundt cake or Gugelhupf as we call it in Austria was made after a recipe Jamie posted on her blog a few days ago. It looked so yummy I just had to make it! I think Mrs Q. my guniea pig (or test eater) liked it too. At least she got herself a second helping which I count as good sign... I really loved it tho I am not a huge cinnamon lover...

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Please make sure you visit the (way better written) posts of my fellow #coldcoffeeclub girls Mona of WiseWordsSimone aka JunglefrogJamie of Life's A Feast and Jenn of Jenn's Cuisine and Ilva of Lucullian Delights.

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Astrid 07.06.2011, 15.39| (9/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Weekend Cat Blogging #313

Kashim - Jun 03 2011

Happy Weekend to you all!

xoxo Kashim, Othello and Salome

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Weekend cat Bloogig is hosted by Billy Sweetfeets Gingersnap - thanks for hosting Billy!

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Next hosts are:  

Astrid 04.06.2011, 01.06| (0/0) Kommentare | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Monthly Mingle - Fresh Pasta

Fresh Pasta Monthly Mingle Sadly I missed last month's Mingle hosted by Jeanne (theme was Topless Tarts - a favorite of mine!!) due to my constant illness, so  I really was determined to make it in time for this month's Mingle assignment. See, I am not good at keeping deadlines. Time uses to slip through my fingers and within the blink of an eye it's the end of the month again where we only started into a new one seconds before... in my little world anyway but still, this makes it difficult for me to keep deadlines... and then I have always the excuse of being an Aquarius (my zodiac sign as I am born in February). Not being good at keeping things straight, aye. Organize? Hell, no! Juggling way to many things at once, loosing track of the one or the other along the way too... That's me! Staying focused on one thing at a time, when there are so many others along the way that seem to be interesting and fun too? Why? Gets me constantly into trouble I tell ya! My Mom says "trouble" might be my second name. Thankfully this is not so true for my business life where I am known as very focused and straight forward. See Mom? If I have to I can be organized. It's just that it is only half the fun - oh yes! Or is this just what this little bugger on my shoulder whispers to me to throw me out of track every now and then?! Back to Monthly Mingle and Pasta: Jul of Julskitchen is hosting this edition and she chose Fresh Pasta - fresh as in self made, home made from scratch! Jeez, I've never made fresh pasta from scratch myself! I don't even own a pasta machine! This required some thinking and online research. Some talks to my friend Google later,  I came across a basic pasta recipe Jamie Oliver has in one of his books (Cook with Jamie) which is pretty easy to do and only consists of pasta flour, eggs and some salt. I was planning on doing a quite basic shape and I thought I'd already add flavor to the pasta dough and go with a very basic sauce as well.

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Spiced Pasta with Bacon and Cream

Monthly Mingle - Fresh Pasta   This is what I did: Basically I followed Jamie Oliver's recipe and instructions for the basic pasta dough. Basic Pasta dough
  • 300 gr semolina pasta flour
  • 3 eggs
to this basic dough I added
  • some dried herbs like thyme, sage and rosemary (finely crushed in the mortar)
  • a pinch of garam masala
prepared the pasta dough as described on Jamie O.'s site and let it rest overnight in the fridge. Monthly Mingle - Fresh PastaMonthly Mingle - Fresh Pasta The next evening I rolled out the dough as thin as possible and cut it into thin stripes. Cooked it in salted water until slightly before "al dente". Meanwhile I prepared a very basic sauce:
  • 150 gr bacon diced in small cubes
  • 6-7 fresh leaves sage
  • 3 small twigs of orange thyme
  • 3 tablepsoons pasta cooking water
  • 100 ml cream or alternatively milk
  • some fresh grana padano (for serving)
  1. Heat a pan and add the bacon. Cook until slightly cross, then add sage and thyme.
  2. Deglaze with the pasta cooking water and add the cream.
  3. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce thinkens to your liking.
  4. Add pasta to the pan and stir with the sauce. Ready to serve!

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Spiced Pasta with Bacon and Cream

Monthly Mingle - Fresh Pasta

The pasta was lovely. The addition of herbs and Garam Masala just added the right "zing" to it. It went very well with the hearty bacon and the rich addition of the cream. I served it with some fresh grated Grana Padano and some orange thyme twigs which added a nice herbal note to it as well. If I had a pasta machine I'd have been able to cut the "pasta strips" a little thinner but I think the more rustic tone of the pasta went very well with the sauce anyway.

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Monthly Mingle is a monthly event initiated by Meeta of What's for Lunch Honey?

This month is hosted by Juls of Juls Kitchen Next month will be hosted by Nina of My Easy Cooking

Astrid 31.05.2011, 20.48| (2/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

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