Paulchens FoodBlog & the Three Tabbycats united

Lemon Sour Bundt Cake

DHPSC

Last time Simone challenged us with a very light image, a lot of light and rather bluish atmosphere was to be achieved.

This time she went quite like the total opposite with her new challenge: dark brown background and even less props than last time. The image on the left is made by  Con Poulos and was featured in magazine 44 from 2009.

I spent some hours in front of this picture to figure out how I should set up my photoscene.

I also had to find some of the dark props this picture was asking for and find my bundt form (that I hadn't used in ages I must confess...).

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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="332" caption="Lemon Sour Bundt Cake - version right out of camera, unedited"]Lemon Sour Bundt Cake - DHSPC #2[/caption]

First I had to find some rather dark props I usually do not have around here since my kitchen itself is dark brown and I love to use rather light dishes and props. Finally I found a dark brown table runner I hoped would do the trick, I could not find a round brown plate so I thought the glass plate would be the best and least disturbing substitute.

Since i did not want to ruin my tablecloth I omitted the icing stains that are shown in the picture. Since my bundt cake form is quite a bit different from the one featured it was not so easy to achieve the highlight effect and the shadows. Also my light source was a bit more diffused as it was supposed to for this purpose. The unedited version as it came right of the camera was still a bit too light to my taste - and comparing the given photo.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="332" caption="Lemon Sour Bundt Cake - shadows edited"]Lemon Sour Bundt Cake - DHSPC #2[/caption]

I edited the shadows in general to make them more outstanding without losing the rather harsh lighting effect on the icing. I only used one light source coming from the upper right corner. Since I shot this in the evening there was nearly no additional light coming from the window or from the room in general. I think I got the angle better than last time... I know the plate should be fully shown but allas it was too big again...

Please feel free to ad any nitpicking or suggestions for improvements . I am open to and happy about any feedback! Thanks! 

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Oh yes the cake: I liked it and my colleagues at work who snarfed down the whole cake within a few hours liked it too. It was moist and  slightly tangy limy!

I altered the recipe as I used limes where it calls for lemons plus substituted the "normal" flour with spelt flour as well. Unfortunately my icing wasn't as thick and creamy but a little bit more runny and translucent! Maybe I had slightly too much liquid used, I don't know... It did not harm the overall very good taste of the cake tho. For the recipe please visit Simone's blog.

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This photography and styling event is the brainchild of Simone and hosted at her blog Junglefrog Cooking.

She writes about the challenge: 

Above all this challenge is about having fun styling and photographing a dish by taking Donna Hay as our great example. You can join all months or whenever you feel like joining in. Using an example of the great photographers that Donna works with, I always find that it is a good learning experience to see how did they light the scene, where does the light come from and how did they manage to make it look so beautiful. Try and analyze all of that and then come up with your own version.

While taking food photos is all about finding your own style and certainly not copying anyone else, it does help to analyze how your hero's do their job. It's about learning to light and style a scene properly. In no way am I trying to suggest you copy another person style. Find your own unique style! This challenge is just a tool to help you along the way..

For more Infos on the challenge please click the logo to go directly to the challenge page!

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Astrid 18.10.2011, 04.17| (6/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

[St. Hildegard of Bingen]

Hildegard
St Hildegard of Bingen

Though I am not strictly following all of St. Hildegarde's laws regarding dietry and nutrition I found out that substituting wheat for spelt - as you can see in my blog posts tagged with spelt - and sometimes rye did improve my personal well being a lot.

St. Hildegarde basically talks about 7 types of grains. These will be the topic of the next two articles in this series. Spelt will be the exclusive topic of this article because regarding to St. Hildegarde it is the most valuable of all grains.

[...] spelt prepares good blood, strengthens the muscle growth and the gift of joy [...]

Spelt is still the purest food because it can grow without chemicals.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="258" caption="triticum spelta"]illustration_triticum_spelta0.jpg[/caption]

Within the spelt grain lies the wisdom of Hildegard's nutrition. Spelt contains all the basic resources that people need to live:

per 100 grams:

Water: 12.5 g Protein: 11.6 g Fat: 2.7 g Carbohydrates: 62.4 g Dietary Fiber: 8.8 g Sodium: 3.0 mg Potassium: 447 mg Calcium: 22 mg Phosphorus: 411 mg Magnesium: 130 mg Iron: 4.2 mg Fluorine: 0.06 mg Vitamin E: 0.30 mg Vitamin B1: 0.30 mg Vitamin B2: 0.10 mg Niacin: 1.50 mg Vitamin B6: 0.30 mg

Spelt is not a wheat variety but a highly-developed grain, which is one of the oldest grains of humanity. Compared to other food, spelt causes no allergies because it contains thiocyanate which protects against allergies.

The "Intestinal cleansing" by St. Hildegarde through spelt diet it is possible to even ease chronic allergical diseases, the cure rates are even at 70-80%. It's especially good for intestinal inflammation, eczema and rheumatism due to allergies.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="389" caption="Triticum spelta, Spelt closeup"]Triticum spelta, Spelt closeup[/caption]

St. Hildegarde talks about 10 advantages of spelt:

  1. Spelt is the best grain
  2. has a warming effect and stimulates the circulation
  3. is greasing
  4. has a high value
  5. is milder than all other grains
  6. supports muscle formation
  7. leads to a good blood count
  8. lightens the mood
  9. is versatile
  10. and easy to digest
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption="Triticum spelta, Spelt korrels"]Triticum spelta, Spelt korrels[/caption]

A closer Look:

 
  1. As a result of chronic malnutrition, the body is forced to pick up the missing ingredients from less important organs, so that vital functions are maintained. The spelt diet as a basic diet is able to fully balance nutrition-related health problems. Spelt not only contains all the essential basic materials but also not yet insolated viable cell growth- and nutritional substances (viridin). The healing and soothing effects of spelt extends over the entire body, improves the general health, performance and concentration.
  2. Spelt due to its good bioavailability goes directly into the blood and responsible nerve centers. Therefore the whole blood circulation is increased and results in a feeling of warmth which is essential for the healing of skin and mucous membranes.
  3. Spelt activates due to its high content of unsaturated fatty acids the for regeneration of protective myelin fibers necessary nerve lipoids in the nerve cells.
  4. Spelt contains everything a person needs to live. Therefore, there is no deficiency either of essential amino acids, carbohydrates or fats to minerals or vitamins of the B series.
  5. The delicate fibers of the spelt regulate bowel movement and cleanse the entire body. The delicate structure of soluble and insoluble fiber carbohydrates are converted by intestinal bacteria into simple fatty acids. These fatty acids enter the colon a weakly acidic pH, which is very important. A prolonged intestinal rehabilitation is possible with a spelt diet.
  6. Spelt is rich in amino acids and fatty acids, minerals and trace elements. These substances are vital for the human organism. For the regeneration of the cell material spelt is from a profound effect.
  7. Spelt contributes to the improvement of blood formation and normalization of blood sugar and cholesterol metabolism. By eating spelt one gets a feeling of fullness that lasts a long time and does not overload the insulin production of pancreas. Diabetics can save significantly on insulin by the addition of soft-boiled Spelt grains. Also spelt diet decreases by the cholesterol in the blood, while preventing the formation of gallstones.
  8. Spelt is high on the list of foods that waiving the mood, stabilize the nerves and promote the spiritual health.
  9. Spelt can produce everything you need for cooking and baking *) Spelt grains *) peeled Spelt *) Dinkelhabermus: Spelt grains crushed mealy Ihne shares *) Spelt groats: fully spelled-ground grains with mealy shares *) ground flour with all-fiber components and the germ. *) Spelt flour type 1050, 603 and 405 for baking and cooking *) ultra-finely-ground flour with all the fiber and the germ (ideal for infant feeding) *) Spelt pasta in all varieties *) Spelt coffee: roasted spelt grains
  10. Spelt is a delicious baking and cooking grain. Spelt is tolerated by critically ill remarkably well and is therefore an ideal health food.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Triticum spelta"]Triticum spelta 3[/caption]

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"Grünkern"

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="269" caption="Gruenkern"]Gruenkern[/caption]

...is the unripe spelt grain and therefore not to be recommended for a balanced diet.

Unripe fruits are inedible and do not have the same healing powers than ripe fruits.

Same is true for seeds, sprouts and other germinating grasses, which have no place in a healthy diet no matter how many vitamins and enzymes they have...

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

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[postsincategory#639]

Astrid 17.10.2011, 15.59| (1/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Fougasse

Today is World Bread Day AND the reveal day of us Bread Baking Babes.

A nice coincidence, isn't it? What could be a better way to celebrate this day of bread with another yummylicious bread brought to you by the most stunning group of crazy ladies I've ever had the chance to be introduced to.

Like last month I baked this bread while being accompanied by some of my Babe sisters at Google+ hangout. There was a lot of laughter and wine involved and even tho Google was acting up on us throwing us out every now and then, partially muting one of us or denying us the sight of one or two others we had fun.

Aehm, back to the bread baking business: Elizabeth was serving as the Kitchen Babe of the Month - please be sure to visit her blog for all the important information! She made us bake Fougasse!

I've never baked this lovely bread before but I sure will again because I liked it very much and it was done pretty easy!

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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Fougasse"]BBB - Fougasse[/caption]
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Fougasse

inspired by Chad Robertson's fougasse recipe on page 139 in "Tartine Bread" and Patricia Wells' fougasse recipe on page 191 in "Patricia Wells at Home in Provence"

BBB - Fougasse

Focaccia Dough

based on the focaccia recipe in "The Italian Baker" by Carol Field
  • ¾ tsp active dry yeast
  • 340ml luke warm water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • pinch malt powder, optional
  • 21/2 unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
Mixing
  1. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, you can start this in the morning if it's cool and in the early afternoon if it's warm. Spoon the yeast into the bottom of a medium to large sized bowl. (I use a casserole dish). Pour the water over top and whisk until the yeast has dissolved and the mixture looks like diluted cream.
  2. Add the olive oil and dump the flours, malt and salt overtop. Using a wooden spoon, mix together until the mixture comes away from the side of the bowl.
  3. Turn the dough out onto an unfloured board.
  4. Wash and dry the mixing bowl (cleans the bowl AND washes your hands).
  5. Using a dough scraper as your friend and ally to keep the board clean, hand knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is soft and silky.
  6. Put the kneaded dough into the clean mixing bowl. Cover it and leave on the counter (out of drafts) until it doubles.

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Making the Fougasse

    • your bread dough (see above)
    • Corn Meal
    • pizza stone, vaguely optional but highly recommended
Preparation
  1. Mix, knead and allow your favourite bread dough to rise to double. If you are adding anything like olives, sun-dried tomatoes, onions, caramelized garlic cloves and/or walnuts, mix them into the dough near the end of kneading it or on the first turn of the dough. If you are wanting herbs/spices on top, please add them just before baking.
  2. Shaping: About an hour before baking the fougasse, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and press it out into an oval (or a rectangle; or a circle). Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is about 1 cm (1/2 in.) thick.
  3. Sprinkle corn meal (to act as ball-bearings) on the peel - or an upside-down cookie sheet. Lay the shaped dough on the peel. Using a pizza wheel and "swift, decisive strokes" cut a design of a leaf or ladder into the dough. Take care not to cut through the outer edges. From the edges, pull the dough outwards to make sure the cuts are spaced. Cover with a clean tea towel followed by a plastic grocery bag and allow to rise. (Robertson allows the shaped bread to rise first and does the slashes at the last minute. Naturally, because of my stellar reading skills, I didn't notice that until I had already made fougasse several times by slashing it directly after shaping it.)
  4. Just Before Baking: Drizzle with olive oil and scatter coarsely ground sea salt over top. (You can also do this step just after the bread is baked; that is what Robertson suggests. Or you can forget to add the olive oil at all, as I did the last time.)
Baking
  1. If the weather is fine or just too hot to be turning the oven on, fougasse can be baked in the barbecue. If it's raining or just too cold and dark, of course the fougasse can be baked in a conventional oven.
    • Baking in the Barbecue: Put a pizza stone over the half of the barbecue you will turn on and preheat the barbecue to high. Transfer the fougasse to the pizza stone that is sitting over direct heat. Close the lid of the barbecue and bake for about 8 minutes, rotating the stone once or twice or thrice to account for uneven heat in the barbecue (Hot Spots!!!). Then move the stone over to cook with indirect heat (lid down again) until the fougasse is done (about another 8 minutes)... our gas barbecue can be turned off on one side. Watch for hotspots and move the fougasse around to keep it from burning on one side. Because of the heat from the bottom, we like to turn the fougasse over. Just make sure to wait until the top crust is relatively well-formed.
    • Baking in the Oven: Put a pizza stone on the middle or top shelf of the oven and turn it to 400F (200C). Transfer the fougasse onto the hot stone and bake for about 15 minutes, turning it around at least once to account for uneven oven heat.
  2. When the fougasse done, remove it from the heat and allow to cool on a well-ventilated rack. To serve, break it apart and dip it into good quality olive oil with herbs if you want.
Note: I divided my dough into two equal parts and made two different flavors:
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="For one I used 6-7 black olives that were marinated with oranges (cut into little pieces) and a handful of pine nuts plus topped the shaped Fougasse with coarse sea salt."]BBB - Fougasse[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="For the second one I just kneaded a handful of coarsly ground roasted pumpkin seeds into the dough right before shaping."]BBB - Fougasse[/caption]
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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="332" caption="Fougasse with olives and pine nuts"]BBB - Fougasse[/caption]

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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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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 15.10.2011, 22.31| (12/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Weekend Cat Blogging #332

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Kashim says: Happy Weekend and don't forget your weekly bath!"]Weekend Cat Blogging #332[/caption] Weekend Cat Blogging is  hosted by Jules and Vincent at JudI's Mind Over Matter this week - thanks guys for hosting!

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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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Hosts in October are: 
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Astrid 15.10.2011, 10.01| (2/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Chocolate-Banana-Decadence - Happy Birthday Brother Dear!

No time for bla bla - Take me directly to the recipe!

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The carefully measured butter and sugar swirl around in the mixing bowl of my always faithful "Mathilda" (my bright red KitchenAid) while in a bain marie a sinful amount of dark dark chocolate couverture is melting into a nice paddle of real strong espresso. While the butter and sugar continue their happy dance and the chocolate is melting away I scoop a liberal amount of almonds into my food processor to magically turn them into a ever so heavenly scenting almond meal.

I am at peace with myself and the world. 

Slowly I reach out for one of the eight (!!) eggs, that are patiently waiting on my kitchen counter. I separate the yolks from the egg whites. Dropping the yolk into the butter-sugar marriage while saving the egg white in another bowl for later use. With the cracking of every single egg I can see the transformation of butter, sugar and eggs into something that promises to be the beginning of a heavenly sin...

Should I feel guilty about that lavish amount of eggs?

Cocoa, almond meal and just a little bit of flour soon accompany the fluffy mixture forming a thick brown lava-like temptation which gets even more luscious by the addition of the melted choc-espresso mixture. Stiff peaks of beaten egg whites complete the soon-to-be chocolate decadence.

Divided into two nicely greased cake pans it is soon welcomed by a warm nest in the already pre-heated oven.

...later my kitchen is filled with a mouthwatering scent of warm, welcoming & seductive chocolate cake! 

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Me and Brother Dear (approx 9 months)"]4yrs_0066[/caption]

My mind wanders off to my little brother whose Birthday we will be celebrating soon with this cake. I love him and I know that this cake will have all his favorite flavors: dark rich chocolate, a hint of nuts and lots of bananas! He is known for snarfing down a whole package of CasalI's Chocolate Bananasand that was what I wanted to recreate with his B-Day cake!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Me and Brother Dear (approx 1 year)"]4yrs_0073[/caption]

It's a surprise and my gift from the deepest of my heart to show my love to him at his Birthday!

The very next day I will fill the cake with layers of rich chocolate ganache alternated by very ripe bananas,. Embraced by a ribbon of chocolate and topped with a pile of fresh bananas.

Beautifully dressed it will wait in the fridge until it becomes the highlight of the day!

Food is Love and this is how I love to show my affection to those I love and cherish: by creating food that makes their mouth water, their belly grumble for more and their heart and soul jump in excitement. It is my joy when I see a happy grin on their faces after they've enjoyed what I've created for them.

I like to contemplate for hours, often days, about a certain dish or meal, l plan to prepare for people I really care about. Flipping through my favorite blogs, bookmarks, cookbooks - reading and thinking about special likes and dislikes of my guests.

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Food is Love - these three words are spinning round my head for a few days now but I can not fully catch the corresponding thought yet.

Ever since I read Jamie's Huff post I thought about food and my family and what it all means to me. While I was still contemplating and thinking about this very article she published another on her very own blog which made me think even more.

I love to cook and bake and share my experiences with others who share my passion for all food-related things. But what really makes me happy is to cook or bake for my Loved Ones. Yes, I love to express my love or fondness for someone by creating good food that fits their needs as good as I can.

This might date back to my very oldest childhood memories where I remember myself always being around in the kitchen when my Grandma or Grandpa was cooking. Watching every move of them closely, asking, helping, ... simply having fun. I remember that feeling of being in peace with myself and the world back then that I feel now when I rumble around in my own kitchen cooking or baking for family and friends.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Me aged 2"]2 Years[/caption]

Whenever I visited either of my Grandparents I was asked what my preferred dish for lunch or dinner was and I felt like they were cooking it especially for me. Even now when I come home for my ever so rare visits there will always be one of my favorite meals waiting for me.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Me aged 3"]3yrs_0044[/caption]

I remember that cooking was always something special for ma Grandpa. He loved to be in the kitchen while my Mom never really liked to cook or bake tho she is a good cook and I love her cooking! My Dad rarely ever cooks. But I remember some rare (and I guess therefore - most treasured) moments where he "cooked" his famous scrambled eggs with us when Mom was away. He also makes the thinnest pancakes I've ever seen (and we love them as thin as possible in our family) as long as someone provides him with the batter.

Like I said in my previous post: Sharing a meal with my family or close friends are very important moments in my life. Even if this moments are quite rare in our busy everyday life now that we all are grown up.

So this cake I made this week says - with every little crumb: I love you my Brother Dear!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="332" caption="Chocolate-Banana-Decadence"]Chocolate-Banana-Decadence Cake[/caption]

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When I saw Simone's Blue Chocolate Cake on her blog I knew that this would be THE cake to bake for my brother after quickly reading through the recipe. This was one reason for baking this wonderful cake myself. The other one was that I simply wanted to know if I could manage to make this funny looking chocolate collar...

Well, as you can see: I can! The cake was a huge success and my brother loved it. Even my Mom (not being a lover of all sorts sweet apart from applestrudel) liked it. Oh and Dad liked his fingers, do I need to say more?

Thanks Simone for that lovely cake!

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="stacking chocolate and bananas..."]Chocolate-Banana-Decadence Cake[/caption]

The baking process was an experience for itself I might say. On a very rare occasion I very closely followed the recipe and instructions given here (I will not reprint the recipe but will talk about my remarks while working through the recipe).

When I was finished with whipping up the batter I was surprised by the huge amount of batter I was supposed to bake in two 20 cm (!!) baking tins.

The batter filled my tins nearly up to the rim and I feared that it would spill all over the baking tray while baking. But surprisingly the cake did not rise very much but became quite nice and good to handle.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="topping with another cake layer"]Chocolate-Banana-Decadence Cake[/caption]

After they had cooled down completely I removed them from the baking tins and that's where I was sure that this cake would be huge if I was supposed to put this two cakes in top of each other.

I talked about my doubts with Simone on Twitter and then decided that I would only use on cake and cut it in two parts to be able to fill it.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Don't you want to dive right in?"]Chocolate-Banana-Decadence Cake[/caption]

Honestly - if you want to make a skyscraper-like cake go ahead and follow the recipe using both baked cakes at once. If you want to have a decent little cake that feeds at least 6-8 persons for a coffee break in the afternoon of even for high tea - believe me you just want to use half of the given recipe!

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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="332" caption="cutting through the cake"]Chocolate-Banana-Decadence Cake[/caption]

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Here are my recommendations: 

Cake(s)

  • 300g dark chocolate  - I used 85% Zotter couverture
  • 4 tablespoons strong coffee
  • 250g butter (unsalted)
  • 225g cane sugar
  • 8 eggs (split)
  • 50g all purpose flour - I used spelt
  • 25g cocao powder - I used Cailler
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 250 g ground almonds
  • 100g macaroons ground (bitterkoekjes in dutch)
Use half the recipe and you'll get a nice cake to feed a little crowd. Or bake two and pop one in the freezer for later!

Chocolate ganache

  • 3 dls double cream (or whipping cream) - I used whipping cream
  • 300g dark chocolate

Chocolate wrap

  • 200g dark chocolate
You definitely only need half the amount of both the ganache an the wrap. I had lots of left overs of both when the cake was finished.

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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="332" caption="chocolate and bananas & bananas and chocolate"]Chocolate-Banana-Decadence Cake[/caption]

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About the cake itself:

As I mentioned before - we loved it. It's rich and moist and chocolaty. The addition of the bananas adds a nice, lightly sweet and subtle fruity zing to the chocolate taste.
I didn't recognize the addition of the espresso in the finished cake - I guess it was too hard for the coffee to stand up against all the chocolate. We had our slices with a dollop of whipped vanilla cream and strong coffee. It was perfect.
But beware you can't eat a big slice of this cake or you surely will fall into a chocolate coma!!
I think I will add some booze somewhere to the second cake that is still in my freezer. Maybe i will us a slightly sour fruit too instead of bananas...

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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="328" caption="Want a slice?"]Chocolate-Banana-Decadence Cake[/caption]

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Astrid 14.10.2011, 19.02| (2/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Wordless Wednesday #5

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Sweet Little Sins..."]Wordless Wednesday[/caption]

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My thoughts on this: 

We were having waffles with lots of fruits and melted chocolate this Sunday afternoon at Mrs Q's house and I was playing around with the camera a bit. That's how this pic was snapped. I like how the choc covered fruit pops in front and am quite pleased with the bokeh in the background (I seldom get the bokeh to work the way I want...). So this is my pic of the week!

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This Wordless Wednesday post also goes to  Susan's (The Well-Seasoned Cook)  Black and White Wednesday. For more info about this weekly event see this post: Wordless Wednesday for Black & White food photography. Be sure to check out all the lovely entries once Susan has started the post for today. I love the idea!

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Wordless Wednesday

...is 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 12.10.2011, 08.36| (4/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Fruity-Honey Striezel

No time for bla bla - Take me directly to the recipe!

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The ever lovely Jamie Schler recently wrote an article over at Huffington Post about The Disappearing "Pause Déjeuner" and I have to admit that she made me think...

Looking back to my own childhood and family eating habits I think the French have a very very nice and important tradition and as Jamie says it would be very sad if it would disappear. Having the possibility to take a break midway through our ever so hectic working life sounds like heaven to me.

Never had that but it still sounds divine... When I was about 10 years old and me and my family went on our first "big" holidays outside Austria to Italy we all were puzzled that all the shops (even most of the restaurants) would be closed between 12 and 15 pm. It wasn't easy for the first few days to adapt to that new to us situation but eventually we adjusted and in the end really liked it.

Well, you are not under too much stress in your holidays, right? But eventually I found out why the Italians were much more relaxed in the afternoons and evenings: having had a little break over lunchtime  (with or without their families) must be a real stress killer...

Xmas Food

Back at home we never had the chance in our family to enjoy lunch together - schools ended at 15:00/16:00 pm and only had a short 30 min break at lunchtime where we either enjoyed our sandwiches from home or ate at the school cafeteria. Dad worked too far away from home to have the chance to come home for lunch and even Mom only had a 30 min to 1 hour break at her workplace even tho she worked quite near home it would not make much sense for her to drive home. Mostly she worked through that lunch break anyway to be able to fetch us kids from school and spend more time in the late afternoons with us...

http://foodblog.paulchens.org/?p=2539What really was treasured was the sacred lunchtime and dinner at Sunday because this was the only day where the family was together at eating times.

I loved that Sundays! Breakfast was a whole other story - that never worked for us since we had 2 very very early birds (my father and my brother) and 2 long sleepers (my Mom and I) breakfast was not an option to enjoy together. The positive for all of us was that we were able to start into the day just the way it suited us best - at least at the weekends.

Plus - best in my book: when me and Mom got up the breakfast table was already set and all we needed to do was sit down and enjoy while the men were already out and about doing the manly things,... ;o)

Xmas 2010 at my parents

Nowadays when I am over at their place for a weekend I feel how peaceful it makes me enjoying the meals and coffee breaks with all of my close family members at the table. I treasure this moments and take them back home into my hectic everyday day life till I visit them next time.

Looking back at my grown up life I seldom had the time to take a long break and sit back enjoying my lunch. Most of the time when I was working shifts I ate my lunch at my workplace. A rare 30 minutes and a quick chat with colleagues. When I changed jobs and had a schedule I could mostly or better define myself we tried to at least go to the company own canteen together and had some chitter-chatter with colleagues while snarfing down the more or less tasting meals we got there.

When we met Mrs Q. and learned that she was as dissatisfied with the quality of meals at the canteen as we were,  we formed a "Lunch Club @ work"  consisting of Sweetheart, her and I. We took turns in cooking for our lunch the evening before and enjoyed about an hour of relaxed lunchtime and chitter-chatter sometimes work related topics sometimes rather private ones.

Sadly (for our little lunch circle), when she got pregnant and went to maternity leave our little Lunch Club broke up and when she returned her and our schedule was not compatible anymore so the nice tradition of cooking good food for work was gone. Now with the latest reorganizations here at work we even work at different locations so eating lunch together is impossible anyway...

I still miss that time tho! For one it was relaxing and we ate good and more healthy food. On the other hand it gave us a much needed break from our daily work routine  and eased the workload even tho sometimes we had a hard time to juggle all the meetings of the three of us around our "holy lunchbreak"... where there's a will, there's a way - right?

Now we are back to snarfing down rather not too healthy food in the canteen most of the week, leaving me craving real good food in the evenings when we come home from work - eating way too late and way to heavy *sigh*

Thinking about more healthy food: my Mom always tried to raise us with as healthy food as possible. Being not a sweet tooth herself she cut down on sweets and cakes in our daily diet and tried to feed us with veggies and a balanced diet.

As I mentioned one or two times before, Mom never was an enthusiastic baker. She'd bake an apple strudel or a Gugelhupf every now and then and sometimes she'd make my beloved "Germzopf" which was a yeasted striezel something between a challah and a brioche.

The recipe below is a more "healthy" take on this sort of sweet expression of love. Nevertheless it is very yummy (and even satisfied Mrs Q. who isn't a sweet tooth herself) piece of sweet for your coffee break or your breakfast.

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Fruity-Honey Striezel

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Fruity Honey-Striezel

Fruity-Honey StriezelIngredients: 600 g spelt flour 3 large eggs 7 g granulated yeast a pinch of salt 2 - 3 tablespoons honey 4 tablespoons walnut or rapeseed oil 3 tablespoons sesame 200 - 250 ml passion fruit juice 100 g diced dried  apricots (I used cranberries) 1 yolk mit 2 tablespoons milk for brushing the loaf Method:
  1. Combine all dry ingredients in the bowl of your mixer.
  2. Add eggs and oil and knead on low speed. Gradually add the passion fruit juice.
  3. Knead for at least 10 minutes at medium speed. Dough should come together nicely and not stick to your fingers but can be a little tacky.
  4. Form a dough ball and slightly dust with flour. Let rest on warm kitchen counter for about 1 hour or until doubled in size
  5. Knead dough for a second time for about 10 minutes. Then divide into 3 equal parts.
  6. Form 3 equal strands and braid nicely.
  7. Place nicely formed braid on baking tray.
  8. Let rest a last time for about 15 minutes.
  9. Brush with yolk-milk mixture and bake at 180°C for about 40 minutes.
Nutrition Value for 1 portion (40-50 g): 4,5g protein, 3g fat, 21g carbs,  1,8 g fibre, 135 kcal

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Fruity-Honey Striezel *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

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 11.10.2011, 14.16| (6/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

[The Secret Recipe Club]

 Today is "reveal day" of The Secret Recipe Club again and all of us particpants (well honestly only the first third of participants because there are so many others, that  the group has been split into 3 groups with different posting days to make it easier for folks to visit everyone) will reveal which blog we have been assigned to and what we found most interesting to try on our own...

How this all works? well, just click on that logo on the left and you will get to a whole wonderful website that will answer all your questions and more!

Why I joined? Because I think it is a fun way to discover new blogs and - again - step outta my comfort zone a bit by being assigned an unknown blog and having to find a recipe that suits me and tempts me to cook myself.

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This month I was assigned to Edesia's Notebook and honestly when I was strolling through her blog, I ended up with so many bookmarks I wanted to try that I had a hard time to narrow it down to what I actually wanted to make for SRC.

You know when I get my assignment for SRC I visit the assigned blog and stroll through it once or twice. Then the last time I begin to bookmark those recipes that attract me.  One or two days before I plan the actual cooking I narrow the bookmarked recipes down to one or two possible ones and transfer the ingredients to my shopping list.

This time I had the cooking scheduled for the past weekend and since it have a very autumny weather outside at the moment - like rain and fogg and temperatures around 10°C I decided that I am really really in need of something comforting! When I think of comforting food - besides everything sweet - the first thing that pops into my mind is SOUP. Yes, I confess I am a soup loving kinda girl!

So the decision was easy: It had to be the Roasted Garlic Potato Soup - because when I looked at this creamy comforting picture that accompanied the recipe I was totally taken. ;o)

Yesterday I ate nearly a whole pot of this soup... and for once I nearly didn't even change the recipe too much it was just perfect the way it was!

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Roasted Garlic & Potato Soup

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Roasted Garlic Potato Soup

Roasted Garlic & Potato Soup

Ingredients: 5 whole heads garlic (I used 6-7 chinese garlic) 2 bacon slices, diced 1 cup diced onion 1 cup diced carrot 2 lbs. baking potato, finely diced (about 6 cups) 3 cups low-salt chicken broth (I used my home made one) 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp sweet curry powder (I omitted this one because I can't eat curry) 1 bay leaf 1 cup 2% milk (I added sour cream because I had some left overs) ¼ cup fresh thyme, chopped

Directions: 

  1. Drizzle the garlic with a little olive oil and place each one individually on a square of foil and loosely wrap.
  2. Place foil packs in the oven and roast until garlic is completely tender, about half an hour (chinese garlic is way smaller so you need less time until they are tender). 
  3.  Remove from oven; let cool enough to handle, then squeeze all of the garlic pulp out of the skins.  Place them in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until crisp. Add onion and carrot, and sauté 5 minutes.
  5. Add potato, broth, salt, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15-20 minutes or until potato is tender; remove bay leaf.
  6. Combine garlic pulp and 2 cups potato mixture in a blender or food processor (I used my ricer because I do not like the cooked potatos to be handled in a food processor I always find it makes them a "slimy"), and process until smooth. Return purée to pan; stir in milk (and/or sour cream), and cook over low heat until thoroughly heated. (make sure that your soup does not boil otherwise your milk will curdle...)
  7. Remove from heat, and stir in chopped thyme.

Verdict: I have to say I loved this soup. It was bound to be a winner for me as it has two of my favorite ingredients in it: potatos and garlic. I think the roasted garlic gave an extra nice touch to the soup. Next time I will also bake/roast the potatos in foil along with the garlic - should give it an extra nice mouth feeling!

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Roasted Garlic & Potato Soup

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Astrid 10.10.2011, 11.00| (17/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Weekend Cat Blogging #331

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Mr. Spot - waiting that anyone will turn on the heat already!"]Spot[/caption]

This is Spot the Kitty Boy who lives with Momma's friend Mrs Q. Isn't he a very manly mancat?

Weekend Cat Blogging is  hosted by SMUDGE, PATCHOULI, and COCO this week - thanks guys for hosting!

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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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Hosts in October are: 

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Astrid 09.10.2011, 19.00| (0/0) Kommentare | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Wordless Wednesday #4

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="diggin' right in!"]Wordless Wednesday #4[/caption]

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My thoughts on this: 

I simply love this pic, nuff said. Oh just one more thing: he loved it! ;o)

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This Wordless Wednesday post also goes to  Susan's (The Well-Seasoned Cook)  Black and White Wednesday. For more info about this weekly event see this post: Wordless Wednesday for Black & White food photography. Be sure to check out all the lovely entries once Susan has started the post for today. I love the idea!

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Wordless Wednesday

...is 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 05.10.2011, 08.42| (3/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Two Crazy Women, a Boy, a Birthday... and a Cake!

Disclaimer: this is a lengthy post with lots of pics. If you do not have the patience to read all this you can simply jump to the recipe part by clicking here!

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Once upon a time there were two women (of the crazy type, I might add) and a little baby boy approaching his first Birthday...

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Darian at his 1st Birthday"]p9140025[/caption]

So these two (crazy) women began to discuss how they would organize the very first Birthday Party for the Little One: Where to celebrate? Who will be invited (Grandparents, Uncles, Aunties,...)? What do we cook for all those people? The presents... oh and of course we need a Birthday Cake...!

So there! That's where this crazy crazy story began...

Google is your best friend, right? If you don't know the answer, ask Google - yes? Ok, Flickr is nice too for this purpose...

That's where we turned to for the answer of our question: What cake to bake for a One Year Old? Searching high and low through the images of children's Birthday Cakes we ooh'd and aah'd and began to whine about our less then sufficient decorating skills.

So many lovely ideas - alas no idea of how to make them at home. Second problem: most of those we really liked used fondant and sugarpaste for decorating - but no one likes  that overly sweet fondant in our families, neither does the boy!

Baby Block Cake So we searched some more on Google and Flickr and found some lovely and basic cake ideas like this cubes on the left. This gave us the final idea how to approach the cake baking challenge and also gave us the opportunity to satisfy all the different cake likes and dislikes of the family members...

  [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="First Birthday - little colorful cubes..."]First Birthday Cake[/caption]

So that's what we made for his 1st Birthday: Little colorful cubes with different cake fillings decorated with colored curd and whipped cream. They were a success and everyone loved them as far as I remember...

For his second Birthday we went a little further and tried to cover the cake with fondant for the first time...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Second Birthday - A Cars Cake"]Birthday Cake[/caption]

Little did we know about working with fondant and that's what you can see in this pic. But in the end I think we managed to end up with a decent result. And the Boy was satisfied, so we must have hit the general right direction...

3rd Birthday PartyThomas the Little Tank Engine Birthday Cake for Darian's 3rd Birthday

The following year for his third Birthday we went back to icing the cake with curd and whipped cream. We bought some additional decorations like little candied dried fruits that looked like stones and some other sweets to build some rails for Thomas the little Tank Engine who was residing on top of the cake. This one was a blast and The Little One really loved it - tho I think what really mattered to him was the little Thomas that was on top of the cake rather than the cake itself...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Fourth Birthday - Another Cars themed cake"]Darian's 4th Birthday[/caption]

As time goes by you tend to forget the troubles you experience in life and Mrs Q and I still wanted to make one of these gorgeous, stunning looking cakes we saw all over the www. So we decided to invest in a cake decorating course we attended earlier this year to properly learn how to work with fondant. I think it really helped us to understand the very basics of working with fondant and helped us to avoid the mistakes we had made in our earlier approach (like you need a lot of fondant to cover a cake, you don't want the fondant to be rolled out too thin, ...)

I personally have to say that I am  quite satisfied with the result we achieved this time. Of course there is always room for improvement... What you can't see in this pic is the little Mater car figurine that was on the street when we served that cake because I did not have it on hand when I snapped the pics. Oh and honestly the picture quality of all the pics I shot is not  that perfect either because well, you see the main concentration went into actually making the cake rather than snapping stunning pics *sigh* - and after a rather sleepless short night the night before the Birthday Party I really didn't have the nerve to set up a proper styled shooting scene either - sorry!

Here are some more work-in-progress snapshots of the cake making scene - to see lager pis simply click on the image:

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Cake with it's underpants: almond paste"]Darian's 4th Birthday[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Already in it's final clothes: white fondant"]Darian's 4th Birthday[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="cutting Little black cubes...lots!"]Darian's 4th Birthday[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="halfway there: checkered flag design for the sides"]Darian's 4th Birthday[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Nearly there: dusty street and name plate finished"]Darian's 4th Birthday[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="name plate and finished street"]Darian's 4th Birthday[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Design detail: grass and little stones"]Darian's 4th Birthday[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Finishing touches: big fat yellow 4"]Darian's 4th Birthday[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Cake with Mater on top"]Darian's 4th Birthday[/caption]

This little toy car fitted perfectly on the street we made for him to drive on. Isn't it just too cute?

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The big Birthday Boy checking out his cake (and toy car)"]Darian's 4th Birthday[/caption]

I think he liked his cake. Tho some asked us why we'd put so much work and so many hours in decorating a child's cake I can tell you the looks on his face and fun he seemed to have was the best payment one could wish for! He has been talking about his Birthday and the cake weeks before his actual Birthday, of course all the presents did rock too!

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="cutting into the cake..."]Darian's 4th Birthday[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Looking inside the cake..."]Darian's 4th Birthday[/caption]

The inner parts of the cake were: Sacher cake (the dark parts) and sponge cake (the light one on top) filled with custard.

For the cake baking itself we thought we'd go easy and Mrs Q. bought a customized cake form which would allow us to bake a cake that we could easily fill with custard without having to do the cutting part ourselves.

While the idea really was good, the actual baking with the form wasn't at all.  The cake came out with a very very thin bottom, as you can see in the last picture of the cake on the right and so we  had our problems with filling the cake and moving it afterwards. The bottom broke and a lot of custard escaped - it had to cook another round of custard to fill it up again.

After 3 attempts of using the cake pan and three very disappointing results we decided to send the form back because it is not working for us! Oh well there is always something new to learn, huh?!

If you are interested in the basic dough recipes here they are;

Sacher cake

50 gr butter 250 gr sugar 2 eggs 3 tablespoons cocoa 250 ml milk 300 gr flour 7 gr baking powder

Method:

  1. Beat butter, egg yolks and sugar until creamy.
  2. Add cocoa. Gradually add flour with baking powder and milk.
  3. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks are forming.
  4. Carefully add the egg whites to the batter.
  5. Fill in your cake form and bake at medium heat (about 180°C) for one hour or until a picker comes out clean when poked into the cake.
  6. Let cool on a wire rack.

Sponge Cake

1 yolk 1 egg white 20 gr sugar 20 gr flour Method:
  1. Beat yolk and 2/3 of the sugar until creamy
  2. Add remaining sugar to egg white and beat until it is forming stiff peaks.
  3. Add egg whites and flour to batter.
  4. Pour into cake pan and bake at medium heat until  a picker comes out clean when poked into the cake.
  5. Let cool on wire rack.

Custard

570 ml milk 55 ml single cream 1 vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 4 eggs, yolks only 30 gr caster sugar 4 level tsp cornflour Method:
  1. Bring the milk, cream and vanilla pod to simmering point slowly over a low heat.
  2. Remove the vanilla pod (wash the vanilla pod, dry and store in jar with caster sugar to make vanilla sugar).
  3. Whisk the yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl until well blended.
  4. Pour the hot milk and cream on to the eggs and sugar, whisking all the time with a balloon whisk.
  5. Return to the pan, (add vanilla extract if using) and over a low heat gently stir with a wooden spatula until thickened.
  6. Pour the custard into your prepared cake.
  7. Let cool down completely. Preferably put in fridge for about 1 hour.

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You will also need: 150-200 gr jam of your choice (we used apple-apricot) 300 gr rolled out marzipan (almond paste) some tablespoons of vodka shortening cornstarch about 1 kg fondant food coloring powder (we used red, yellow, green, black and brown) Assembling the cake:
  1. Once you have filled your cake with the custard and it is cooled completely top it with the sponge layer glueing it together with some jam.
  2. Warm the jam in the microwave for some seconds - you do not want it too hot but a bit warm and sticky.
  3. Carefully apply the jam all over your cake. You will need this to glue the marzipan layer onto the cake.
  4. Roll out your marzipan (not too thin otherwise it will easily break when putting on the cake) just as big enough to cover your cake or use already rolled out one. Smearing your work surface with some shortening will help to roll it out and prevent from sticking.
  5. Apply marzipan on cake, making sure that there are no holes and bubbles.
  6. Roll out about 2/3 of your white fondant and make sure it is thick enough to cover your cake. Don't be shy use enough fondant, if you are working very clean you can always use the left overs for the decorating bits. Using some cornstarch on the work surface will help you with the rolling and prevent the fondant from sticking.
  7. Wet your hands with enough vodka and smear all over the marzipan covered cake. This will glue the marzipan and fondant together.
  8. Quickly apply the fondant layer on the cake and smooth it all out cutting off all excess fondant once you've made sure there are no holes and bubbles left!
  9. Finished! now you have a cake proper covered with fondant. You can go on and work on the decorating bits.
  10. We colored the remaining fondant with yellow (for the name tag), red (for the plate), black (for the checkered flag design on the sides and the street on top) and green and brown for the grass bushels...
  11. Now go on cut out your letters, squares and whatever else you want to decorate the cake with and put them on the cake. Use some glucose (be careful not to use too much you only need very little otherwise it will run down your cake and make it look somewhat ugly....) to glue them on the cake.
  12. Stop when you are satisfied with the looks of your cake or when you are just too tired to work on it any further . whatever happens first!

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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="332" caption="cutting the cake - carefully!"]Darian's 4th Birthday[/caption]

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Astrid 04.10.2011, 19.25| (6/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Soft Pretzels

Lovely Pat of Feeding my Enthusiasms was this months Kitchen Babe and made us bake the most lovely and faster disappearing Brezel (as we call them in Austria) I've ever made!

While normally we are alone in our kitchens baking the bread of the month and then sharing our experiences, failures and questions on our Babe blog this time some of the Babes (including me) followed the lovely invitation from our charming Ilva to meet on Goolge+ hangout while twisting our Pretzels.

Boy what fun we had!! Tho it is an experience that I still have to get used to that at least 5 other Babes are watching me bake and rummage around in my kitchen I really enjoyed it and am eager to participate again when we bake the October bread together.

The only thing that I simply did not manage was to take pics like I normally do when I am baking for BBB - so when the pretzels were finished I was left without any pic and since it was late in the evening and I didn't eat anything since 12 o'CClock I dived right into the still warm pretzels - always reminding me that there need to be some left to snap some pics later on.

Well.... you guessed it, that did not happen! So I happened to have baked the BBB Bread on time but was left without any proof - but I have the word of at least 5 other Babes who SAW my pretzels!! Right Babes?!

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BBB Soft Pretzels

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Then life got very busy and a bit sad too so the baking of the pretzels for a photo shooting purpose was postponed and postponed until... well now. So you see a very very late Babe posting her BBB post even after the deadline for the Buddies!

Life just happens and there is nothing you can do against it! Gladly we are Babes and there are no rules because: If you follow all the rules you miss out all the fun! There!

Do you want to have a look at my pretzels tho? There they are! Oh and did I mention that I really really loved them? Especially when they are still warm from the oven! If you haven't already you really need to bake them. They are made in no time and gone like that too I promise!!

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BBB Soft Pretzels

Soft Pretzels

Found at MyRecipes | 12 servings Ingredients 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar 1 cup warm water (100° to 110°) 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (about 14 1/2 ounces) (I used 2 1/2 cups total) 1 teaspoon salt Cooking spray 6 cups water 2 tablespoons baking soda 1 teaspoon cornmeal (Didn't use this on the silicone mat) 1 teaspoon water 1 large egg 2 teaspoons kosher salt Preparation
  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a large bowl, and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 3 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes). Add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel slightly sticky).
  3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 40 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 425°.
  5. Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll each portion into an 18-inch-long rope with tapered ends. Cross one end of rope over the other to form a circle, leaving about 4 inches at end of each rope.
  6. Twist the rope at the base of the circle. Fold the ends over the circle and into a traditional pretzel shape, pinching gently to seal. Place pretzels on a baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 10 minutes (pretzels will rise only slightly).
  7. Combine 6 cups water and baking soda in a nonaluminum Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer. Gently lower 1 pretzel into simmering water mixture; cook 15 seconds. Turn pretzel with a slotted spatula; cook an additional 15 seconds. Transfer pretzel to a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining pretzels.
  8. Place pretzels on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Combine 1 teaspoon water and egg in a small bowl, stirring with a fork until smooth.
  9. Brush a thin layer of egg mixture over pretzels; sprinkle with kosher salt.
  10. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until pretzels are deep golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
from Cooking Light OCTOBER 2005

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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)

Astrid 02.10.2011, 06.54| (4/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Livestrong Day 2011

We are participating in Livestrong Day 2011 again. Thank you Milo and Alfie, and Ann of Zoolatry for organizing all this and making sure that this important topic is getting more and more attention. Cancer is a bad bad disease and it affects more and more people nowadays it seems. We see so many blog posts about people getting sick with cancer, surviving cancer or losing the battle with cancer. Even our own family is shaken by this terrible C-word,... over the past years we saw that it is so getting so much more important to make people aware that cancer is nothing that only happens to the others but can simply happen to oneself anytime! So it is even more important that you care about yourself - visit your doctor regularly, check yourself at home regularly and most important of all: if you even think that something is not "normal" go to have it checked! If it is too late it's too late! Better be safe than sorry!! There often are good chances to be a survivor if it get detected early enough and treated right away!!

We are re-using last years graphic - kindly made by Ann - because we love it and do not want to change it!

Please let us explain how you can help too:

  • Go YELLOW to help raise awareness, by WEARING YELLOW or turning yoor blog YELLOW today or during October!
  • Or donate via the LIVESTRONG website (there are lots of giving options).
  • Attend a LIVESTRONG EVENT in yoor area.
  • Do a fund-raising event for LIVESTRONG yoorself!
  • Make a purchase from the LIVESTRONG online store (or a store near yoo selling LIVESTRONG items)
  • Wear yoor LIVESTRONG wrist band wiv pride.
  • Say a PURRayer for all hoomans and animals fighting cancer.
Pee Ess: Go and check out Milo and Alfies blog post!

Astrid 02.10.2011, 00.05| (3/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Weekend Cat Blogging #330

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Breast Cancer Awareness is a very important thing to support!"]Weekend Cat Blogging #330[/caption]

Miz Mog is hosting this weekend and I bet Meowza and Ritzi are helping too!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) (also referred to in America as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM)) is an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer.

Ladies, if you haven't informed yourself about Breast Cancer yet please do so - for example here!

Pee Ess: We have to say thank you for all your loving comments here and on our blog and via email for the loss of Ben. He is dearly missed and our heart is still aching but your nice words helped a lot! Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts!

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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 01.10.2011, 22.20| (0/0) Kommentare | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Donna Hay styling and photography challenge #1

Sometimes one phone call can change your life and nothing is like it has been the second before you answered your phone...

Last Saturday I answered such a phone call. I saw my bothers mobile calling me and when I answered there was a sudden silence that made me shiver. Then I heard my mothers tear-drunken voice: "Astrid, there is something terrible we need to tell you..." the only thing I could reply was: "What happened?" "It's Ben, he is not there anymore." Then her voice failed...

Ben was the beloved three years old German Shepard that lived with my parents and my bother back at the home I spent my childhood. He was dearly loved and now is so sadly missed. We've been told that he had a stroke and there was nothing that could have been done to help him. It all happened so unexpected that I still cannot believe it, even a week later. We are left heartbroken. I think everyone who has ever shared his life with a beloved pet knows that these moments are one of the hardest in your life...

So that is why the Weekend Herb Blogging Round Up of last weekend is still to be posted and this post is late too. I just did not feel up to post nice things and pretend to be ok and happy when I was not. But I also know that it is time to go back to normal life and treasure my memories with Ben in  my heart and my soul where he will have a place beside Arco and Paul and will never be forgotten!

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Going back to the original topic of this post: Simone (The Junglefrog) challenged us on her blog with a new monthly photography challenge: Donna Hay styling and photography challenge #1 and of course I was determined to participate in this challenge.

Ever since I came back from the Plate to Page weekend in Weimar this May I am trying to improve my food photography and every challenge is welcome to make me think about how I am photographing...

Simone said:  So this challenge is not only about recreating a dish, it is about trying to come up with an equally brilliant styling and photographing job. I know... not easy but this is all about learning!

To learn more about the challenge please click the logo above to go to the Challenge page on Simone's blog.

To participate just follow the rules stated there - and be on time, not like me! ;o)

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donna-hay-remake1

Original by Donna Hay Magazine - Photographer: Chris Court

I studied the given photograph and started to think how I would set up my photography. I knew I'd need a lot of light and white props to make this one working.

I used three light sources: two giving light from the back left and right and one giving direct light from the front on the right hand having the window spending some light front the left hand anyway...

Junglefrog's Donna Hay styling & photography challenge #1
First attempt - not too bad, huh?

I didn't have a plate that looked similar to the one featured on the photo so I used one that was most similar to it but was way too long, so featuring the whole plate in the pic would not work. I decided to cut most of it off on the right. I do not particularly like the fork too but well  it is the only kind of fork I have so it had to be it. But I was not happy with the placement of the fork so I decided to change this:

Junglefrog's Donna Hay styling & photography challenge #1
Second and final attempt - which I personally like much better!

I like this version of the photo much more than the one above - even tho I guess the first one is more close to the original than the second one. I think in both versions the light on the ricotta is a bit to harsh but I didn't have a diffusor at hand nor did I have a third hand to hold given diffusor if I had one...

I'd love to hear your thoughts about this attempts of mine. What do you think?

Astrid 30.09.2011, 15.48| (6/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Weekend Herb Blogging #302

WHB #302Thank you for being that patient this time! 

It is my pleasure to host Weekend Herb Blogging again. Thanks to Haalo for letting me host again. As you may have seen we had a sad event happening to us this weekend so I am running a little late with this post due to some other things that had my mind busy since Saturday.

There have been some very nice submissions this weekend - thank you all who stopped by.

Please note: I only included those of you who followed the rules. If you do not find your post in the round up please check the rules first and if you are sure everything is correct, drop me a line and I will include you. This my sound a little harsh to you but - honestly - there are not many rules and they are not difficult to follow too. Thanks!

Now to see all the gorgeous entries of this week just click the pictures below and they will take you to a very delicious journey!

lemon-balm-and-cashew-pestopower-coolerquiche-with-brussels-sproutsgiardiniera-piedmontesepreserved-lemonsbaked-white-beans-with-roasted-garlic-lemon-and-herbsconfettura-di-pesche-sbergie-e-fragole

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Weekend Herb Blogging #303 is hosted by Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen send your posts to winnie AT healthygreenkitchen DOT com & please include a photo sized: 400px wide!

Astrid 27.09.2011, 20.36| (1/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

R.I.P beloved little doggie brofur!

Ben

We lost our beloved Ben today.

Very unexpected -  we are shocked and without words! Right now there is no comfort other than that he is running free

Astrid 24.09.2011, 13.19| (26/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Hosting Weekend Cat Blogging #324

 

Yes, we are hosting Weekend Cat Blogging this Weekend, please leave your links in the comment section, thank you!

 

Ben

Please understand that we are grieving right now, we had to say goodbye to our beloved doggie Ben today. It came unexpected - we are shocked!

Astrid 24.09.2011, 12.56| (10/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Happy Birthday Little One!

Four years ago in the morning of  September 13th we were eagerly awaiting news from my friend Mrs Q. who was due to deliver a sweet little girl this very day.

Darian

Well, a few hours later this day I received this picture and the note: It's a boy! from the proud parents.

DSC_3808

Today this little cuddly, barely 50 cm big baby is a big boy already and celebrating his 4th Birthday! Can you believe how fast time goes by?

Needless to say that I am proud and happy that I was able to be a little part of his first four years. I am proud of this clever little boy he grew into and I hope he had lots of fun celebrating his Birthday with his fellow children at his kindergarden today.

We are having a family party on Sunday to celebrate his Birthday and there will be a "Big Boy Birthday Cake" for him - a cake he has been talking of for like the last two months now. We hope he will like it and the more we hope it will turn out like Mom and Auntie are planning it to look like.

Astrid 13.09.2011, 11.47| (1/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

[The Secret Recipe Club] - Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake

*tock* *tock* Is anybody still reading here? *blows away cobwebs*

 Today is "reveal day" of The Secret Recipe Club again and all of us particpants (well honestly only the first third of participants because there are so many others, that  the group has been split into 3 groups with different posting days to make it easier for folks to visit everyone) will reveal which blog we have been assigned to and what we found most interesting to try on our own...

How this all works? well, just click on that logo on the left and you will get to a whole wonderful website that will answer all your questions and more!

Why I joined? Because I think it is a fun way to discover new blogs and - again - step outta my comfort zone a bit by being assigned an unknown blog and having to find a recipe that suits me and tempts me to cook myself.

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This month I was assigned to the blog "Bizzy Bakes" - yet another new blog to me and I really had fun reading and discovering someone new to me through her blog .

Choosing a recipe first was not too easy for me because at most of the recipes I came across and thought "oh this one might go on my short list" I discovered at a second look that it called for being gluten free. Normally I am not baking gluten free, so most of the ingredients these recipes call for are no residents in my pantry... Sooo this blog required some serious thinking on my side.

 You know there was this lazy guy sitting on my shoulder whispering "just convert it (back) to non-glutenfree and everything is easy-peasy" but then this did not seem right to me. I didn't want to alter the recipe that much even if it might have been converted to be glutenfree in the first place anyway... So I kept debating with myself (oh don't worry I do that a lot... they say I am harmless tho, LOL!)... 

In the end the solution was quite easy: While rummaging through my pantry, looking for something completely different,  I found - to my big surprise - some glutenfree flour and I remembered that the Bread Baking Babes made me bake glutenfree bread some time ago and there were the leftovers... perfect for a little baking!

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Secret Recipe Club - Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake

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I quickly decided on the Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake recipe because I really liked Bizzy's intro:

When, I first saw this recipe, I turned the  page, ever so quickly.  It looked boring and without joy.  Who would want to make this simple, basic cake?  It took another look to see the potential is this cake.

This sounded fun to me so I quickly grabbed all ingredients called for and started baking. Also I loved the idea of little bundt cakes. Perfect match!

Bizzy says her recipe makes 6 mini bundts, well my mini bundt forms must be more mini then hers because I had quite some batter left over after I had filled all my bundt forms. I ended up with about 10 lovely little bundt cakes.

Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake

Secret Recipe Club - Basic 1-2-3-4 Cakerecipe based on Paula Deen adapted by Bizzy Bakes Ingredients: 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon canola oil 1 cup sugar 2 eggs 1 1/2 gluten-free flour mixture 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup Rice Dream 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Method:
  • Preheat oven to  350°F. Grease and flour 6 mini bundt cake pans (or more if needed) 
  • Using an electric mixer, beat oil and sugar well.
  • Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add flour and Rice milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
  • Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed.
  • Divide batter equally among prepared pans.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until done.
  • Cool in pans 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Invert cakes onto cooling racks.
  • Cool completely.
I added about 1/2 cup of shredded pecans to the batter.

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Secret Recipe Club - Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake

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I loved how the pecans added a litte crunch to the mini, almost bite sized bundt cakes. And I was very surprised how delicious they tasted even tho they were gluten free!

Thanks Bizzy for making me try baking glutenfree once again!

P.S. The posting dates for the other groups are:  Group B - September 19,  Group C - September 26 - so wahtch out on these days for even more SRC fun! 

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Astrid 12.09.2011, 11.00| (14/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Bread Baking Buddies August - The Round Up

BBBudddies august 2011.pngDear Bread Baking Buddies!

You truly see my head hang in shame for making you wait for so long for the round up and you well deserved badge!

I received 4 emails form buddies with their links tho I think there might have been more on the facebook group who said that they baked along. If anyone who baked with us in August and feels left out please drop me an email and I will add you as soon as possible and send the badge too of course!

BBB Buddies August 2011

  • Judy made a wonderful Tigerbread loaf. It looks so perfect I could admire this crust forever! And I am ever yo happy to learn that it brought back childhood memories to her. Good childhood memories are the best ;o)
  • Soep Kipje used half of the dough for the 6 Kaiser Rolls and put the other half in the bread machine to make the Vienna Bread and loved this bread. Had a real fight with the dough and felt very clumsy shaping the rolls. It seems so easy.........but it really wasn't. She also "forgot" to add the egg and skipped the overnight fermentation in the fridge. Wow what wonderful shaped rolls you got! Leavinbg out the egg or skipping the overnight fermentation does not harm this bread! Great!
  • Michelle baked with us too and half of her dough was shaped into a perfect loaf that J has sliced and used to warm our bellies in the lazy weekend hours dusting a petite wedge with cinnamon and sugar and soft from a smear of butter. Mmmmh! Perfect makes me want to bake this bread yet again! Well done!
  • Connie baked with us and  baked them two times, and I already  know there will be more times. The first batch tasted delicious. A nice roll with a bit of crusty crust and a very nice soft crumb. But, I wasn't happy with the crusty crust and had to make them again. 
Thanks to all of you who baked with us! I am glad you had fun with this bread and you all deserve your BBB Buddy Badge well for making such wonderful loaves and rolls with us this month! 
P.S. Be sure to stay tuned with the BBB as the 16th of September is coming soon and I promise you that there will be another luscious bread you will want to bake with us for sure!

Astrid 12.09.2011, 08.07| (3/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Weekend Cat Blogging #324 - hosted here!

Kashim - Weekend Cat Blogging #324

Welcome to Weekend Cat Blogging #324 hosted here this weekend!

We are sorry we are late with putting up the announcement post, we had a family visit yesterday and we totally forgotted to urge Momma to put up the post for us. Sorry folks we hope you'll still come and join!

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Happy Weekend!

xo xo xo Kashim, Othello and Salome

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Weekend Cat BloggingNext 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!

Astrid 21.08.2011, 06.31| (11/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Herbed Lamb with Apple-Potato "Boxty" and Veggies for Paper Chef #60

Paper Chef #60

Paper Chef tends to push me even more to posting at the very last minute.

I love this challenge, not only because you are given 4 random ingredients that not necessarily need to be familiar with each other in one dish but also because it makes me think and come up with combinations I'd never have tried on my own.

Paper Chef #60 is hosted by Ilva's co-host Mikey and he challenged us with:

  • Lamb
  • Goats cheese
  • Flour
  • & the last ingredient or theme? after a brief discussion with our co-host we decided on: anything starting with the letter "A" (apples, artichokes, apricots etc), as its the August challenge.

Oi, oi, - I am not a huge fan of lamb but remebering the outstanding beef we had at P2P I immediately thought something similar should work with a nice piece of lamb as well.

I chose apple as my 4th ingredient, because summer apples are right in seaseon here now and I thought it would go perfect with the tangy goats cheese as a side dish - and I was right with this one!

Considering my "not-so-big" love for eating lamb at all I thought: If I hide it under a ver nice herb-infused crust I might even forget that I am eating lamb... LOL one has to fool oneself sometimes, huh?

Lamb: check

Goats cheese: this took me a little longer to think of how I would use the goats cheese. I finally decided to use a matured goats cheese that could be easily grated and mixed under the herbs for the lamb's crust. Bingo!

lamb+goats cheese: check

Flour? What the heck should I do with flour?! After some thinking the Irish potato farls and boxty came to my mind, they would go wonderful with that lamb, won't they?

lamb+goats cheese+flour: check

Apple: oh yes I decided on apples for my fourth ingredient. but how would that match with the lamb covered in herbs and goats cheese along with the potato farls? HA! Yet again my crazy mind began to tweak a tratiditonal recipe: I decided to not only grate some raw potatos for the traditional Boxty but also grate some apple and mix them in as well.

so finally - lamb+goats cheese+flour+apple: check!

Now off to the kitchen to make Herbed Lamb with Apple Potato Boxty and Veggies.

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Paper Chef #60Herbed Lamb

  4 loin chops of lamb 1 goat cheese roll about 1 TBS each: cilantro, chives, basil, thyme (fin ely minced) 1 teaspoon mustard 1 glove of garlic, minced salt, pepper Method:
  • In a bowl mix toghether, goat cheese, herbs,  mustard and garlic until creamy. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  • Heat a large pan and sear your lamb chops on both sides until golden brown and crusty at the outside (it's up to you how much "well done" you like your chops - I like to sear them very shortly whereas my family rather likes them very well done)
  • Remove chops from pan an place on a baking tray. Top with herb-cheese mixture and put under your grill until it gets a nice golden brown crust.

Apple-Potato "Boxty" 

  200 grams raw potato 200 grams  cooked mashed potato 100 grams raw apple, roughly grated
150 grams  plain flour  1 egg 1 medium onion, finely chopped Salt and pepper
Method:
  • Roughly grate raw potatoes and apples and mix with the cooked mashed potatoes. Add salt, pepper, onion and flour. Beat egg and add to mixture.
  • Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a hot griddle or frying pan. To make them look more nicely I used a serving ring to fry them, so them got a lovely round form.
  • Cook over a moderate heat for 3-4 minutes on each side.

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Verdict:

Surprisingly I liked the lamb very much. The goats cheese went very well with the herbs and the mustard. The addition of apples to the potato boxty gave them a lightly sweet touch which also was a lovely partner to the lamb and herbs. I served the whole dish with some steamed broccoli, romanesco and cauliflower - only lightly seasoned with salt.

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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 18.08.2011, 06.24| (3/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Wordless Wednesday #3

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="332" caption="Macarons - nice & spicy"]Wordless B&W Wednesday[/caption]  

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My thoughts on this: 

I think the black and white effect works quite well on these macarons. They seem even more fragile than in the color version and I love how their little feet stand out in this one.

This reminds me that I definitely will participate in this month's MACTWEETS - hey there is booze involved, that's a circumstance that shouts for me!

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This Wordless Wednesday post also goes to  Susan's (The Well-Seasoned Cook)  Black and White Wednesday. For more info about this weekly event see this post: Wordless Wednesday for Black & White food photography. Be sure to check out all the lovely entries once Susan has started the post for today. I love the idea!

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Wordless Wednesday ...is 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 17.08.2011, 10.12| (1/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

[The Secret Recipe Club] - Jule's Pear & Sour Cream Pie

Secret Recipe Club

Before I drifted off into my little unplanned and unwanted hiatus from blogging in July I discovered a fun blog event called The Secrect Recipe Club. I loved the idea and decided to join for August.

Today is "reveal day" and all of us particpants (well honestly only the first third of participants because there are so many others, that  the group has been split into 3 groups with different posting days to make it easier for folks to visit everyone) will reveal which blog we have been assigned to and what we found most interesting to try on our own...

How this all works? well, just click on that logo on the left and you will get to a whole wonderful website that will answer all your questions and more!

Why I joined? Because I think it is a fun way to discover new blogs and - again - step outta my comfort zone a bit by being assigned an unknown blog and having to find a recipe that suits me and tempts me to cook myself.

For this month the blog assigned to me was Jule's blog called "Pictures of all my Princesses" - I've never heard of this blog but when I first visited and read to the first few recipes there I knew this was a match that suited me. So I found myself reading through her entire blog (she started blogging in 2010 - so it did not take me days to read through... but then I think I would not have minded at all) and narrowing my choices down to 4 possible recipes.

The Secret Recipe Club - Pear & Sour Cream Pie

In the end  I decided on this wonderful and delicious SourCream and Pear Pie - perfect!

Pear & Sour Cream Pie

The Secret Recipe Club - Pear & Sour Cream Pie

4 cups peeled, diced ripe pears 1/2 cup sugar 1 egg, beaten 1 Tbsp. flour 1 cup sour cream 1 tsp. vanilla dash salt

1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell I made my own pastry shell: 300 grams flour 50 grams brown sugar 100 grams cold butter 80 grams cold shortening 3 - 5 TBS ice water

Crumb topping 1/2 cup sugar 1/3 cup flour 1/4 cup butter

As you can see it's more than easy to assemble the pie. Just make the crust and topping and let chill in fridge... I was finished with everything within an hour...

  1. Combine sugar, egg, flour, sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Fold in pears. Spoon into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
  2. Combine all of the topping ingredients until well mixed. Sprinkle on top of pie; return to oven for 30 more minutes.
  3. High altitude bake at 385

The Secret Recipe Club - Pear & Sour Cream Pie

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Astrid 15.08.2011, 11.00| (21/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Weekend Cat Blogging #323

Weekend Cat Blogging #323

Our friends Samantha, Clementine & Maverick are hosting Weekend Cat Blogging this weekend, please stop by and leave your kitty pics there! We hope you all have a wonderful weekend! As you can see we are taking it very easy this Sunday!

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Happy Weekend!

xo xo xo Kashim, Othello and Salome

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Weekend Cat BloggingNext 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!

Astrid 14.08.2011, 14.44| (0/0) Kommentare | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Weekend Cat Blogging #321

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="378" caption="Oh, uh! Please don't tell on me for stealing from Mom's plate..."]Weekend Cat Blogging #321[/caption]

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Happy Weekend!

xo xo xo Kashim, Othello and Salome

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Weekend Cat BloggingNext hosts are:

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

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!

Astrid 30.07.2011, 16.10| (4/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Weekend Cat Blogging #320

 

Weekend Cat Blogging #320

  Sally's Sweetheart Meowza is hosting Weekend Cat Blogging this weekend, please have a look at his round up for a full dose of Kitty cuteness.

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Happy Weekend!

xo xo xo Kashim, Othello and Salome

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Weekend Cat Blogging Next hosts are:

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

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 24.07.2011, 18.44| (0/0) Kommentare | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Cookie Treats for the Birthday Boy

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="334" caption="Chocolate Cookies, Peanutbutter Cookies and Macadamia Nut Cookies"]Cookie Treats for Birthday[/caption] If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen me tweet about Sweetheart's Birthday last week. It was on Friday.

His Birthdays are always a bit difficult or me because he does not fancy getting presents - he really dislikes to be asked what he'd want for his Birthday - so all his friends and such come to me for advice and I honestly most of the time have no idea what to tell them to please him...

Well, so for so good... or bad if you wish.

So Sweethearts Birthdays are challenging to me but that does not stop me in any way.  I have given up to gift him with gift coupons of any sorts 'CCause... honestly?

The one I gave to him last year for a nice dinner out at Angelika's "The Dining Room" is still traveling in his briefcase with us every effing day...

It's not that he doesn't have any hobbies or so... he has but for most of them I'd really need way better knowledge of the given subject OR take him with me to buy it and that is something he would not let do me if I do not force hi,m or even make him angry and that's nothing you'd want to do for a Birthday, no?

So what to do for a Birthday of a Loved One if he does not like to be bothered with gifts at all?

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="180" caption="Birthday Cookies"]Birthday Cookies[/caption]  

The first thing you'd learn about Sweetheart when you meet him is that he is a foodlover and that his passion is everything sweet.

Favorites: poppyseed, white chocolate, but honestly he isn't picky in this department...

Now that is something I can work with. So this year I made - besides his Birthday Cake of course - a huge pile of different cookies for him. Cookies with white and dark chocolate, Peanutbutter Cookies with and without Smarties, White Choc, Macadamia and Toffee Cookies.

Can you imagine hes excitement when he saw this big jar of cookies waiting for him in the kitchen when we came home Friday evening? (sorry for bad quality but I snapped this with my BB built in camera)

Plus there are more of them in an airtight container for further use of course...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="332" caption="Sweetheart's Cookies"]Cookie Treats for Birthday[/caption]

Peanutbutter & Smarties Cookies

250 g spelt flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 125 g margarine, room temperature 125 g peanutbutter, room temperature 200 g brown sugar 2 small eggs optional: a bag of Smarties Method:
  1. Preaheat oven to 175°C.
  2. Sieve flour, baking powder, natron in a bowl and add salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl mix peanutbutter and margarinein a second bowl until creamy and well incorporated.
  4. Add eggs seperately one by one. Mix well. Now add flour mixture and mix well until flour is fully incorporated.
  5. Now place 2-3 cm big balls of dough on a baking tray. Pat flat with your hand. If you wan to you can now add some colorful Smarties on top.
  6. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until golden brown. If you want them crunchy rather than chewy bake them a little longer.
  7. Let cool an cooling rack.
 

White Choc & Toffee Cookies

225 g butter, room temperature 175 g brown sugar 170 g condensed milk 350g spelt flour 1/2 teaspoons baking powder a pinch of baking soda 100 g white chocholate, chut into pieces 75 g Macadamia, salted, roughly chopped 50 g Toffees, chopped Method
  1. Mix nuts, chocolate and toffee in a bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  3. Mix butter and sugar until creamy. Add condensed milk, then flour, baking powder and natron.
  4. Form balls to your liking and make sure to leave enough space between each ball, cause they will spread like crazy. Flatten with hand.
  5. Top flattened balls with choc/nut/toffee mixture.
  6. Bake 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Watch them closely to not burn them (like me in my second batch).
  7. Let cool on cooling rack.
 

Double Choc Cookies

250 g margarine 250 g brown sugar a pinch of salt 2 eggs 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 360 g spelt flour 300 g chopped chocolate (I used white and dark choc) Method
  1. Mix butter, sugar, salt until creamy. Add eggs and incorporate well.
  2. Add flour, baking powder and natron. Roughly add 2/3 of chopped chocolate.
  3. Drop portions of dough on baking tray lined with parchment paper, give them enough room to spread. Pat with your hand and sprinkle each cookie with remaining chocolate.
  4. Bake for about 109°C 12-15 minutes, do not bake them too long otherwise they will dry out too much!
  The recipes for these cookies can be found at usa-kulinarisch (website in German). [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="351" caption="Left to right: Peanutbutter & Smarties, Double Choc, Macadamia, White Choc & Toffee"]Cookie Treats for Birthday[/caption]    

Astrid 14.07.2011, 02.51| (6/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

Wordless Wednesday #2

Wordless Wednesday #2

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My thoughts on this:  I was playing around with a new background I found at the papershop. I really liked it - but I did not exactly like it in this pic cause the colors would pop out too much and lead the eye to the background not the food. Over all I'd say this is one of my attempts that has not worked out very well. In black and white however I do like it a bit.

 You can see a color version if this in my Flickr stream.

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Just when I prepared this post I saw Deeba's post in my Twitterline where she does a Wordless B&W Wednesday of  Sorts where she pointed me to Susan (The Well-Seasoned Cook)  started a Wordless Wednesday for Black& White food photography. I love the idea!

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Wordless Wednesday

...is 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 13.07.2011, 06.59| (5/0) Kommentare (RSS) | TB | PL | einsortiert in:

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Bread Baking Day #60 - Glazed Bread for 6th anniversary / Brot mit Streiche zum 6. Geburtstag (last day of submission July 1st 2013) Blog-Event LXXXVIII - Oesterreich kulinarisch (Einsendeschluss 15. Juni 2013)
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