The days after christmas always seem to be the shortest, as the year is coming to an end, time moves a little bit faster. It is time to take stock of the achievements of this past year and to dare a first outlook on 2016. Luckily I started the year with a 2015 forecast, let’s see how many of my good intentions I could keep up…
I guess 10 out of 12 months I managed to bring food to work at least twice a week. I had a lot of fun trying out new recipes, playing with ingredients, varying dishes and making my colleagues super jealous. Some of you joined in and showed their lunchbox with #lunchbox2015 on Instagram and inspired me, thanks! My newcomer of the year is definitely oven roasted swede, it makes a great base for veggie soups, bakes and is the star in winter salads. I found it very useful to keep a tiny bottle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice in my desk drawer as well as a spice mill with mixed spices. That way even an avocado and a roll from the shop around the corner can be turned into a great desktop lunch. However I will try to keep my practise of bringing a lunchbox to work and hope to see many more inspiring pictures on Instagram tagged with #lunchbox2016.
My second 2.5 kg bag of that dark Callebaut chocolate is gone and I have used said chocolate on many occasions, such as my favourite late summer treat, the Strawberry & Dark Chocolate Tarte or in this fantastic Chocolate buttercream. I have also used them for various Macaron fillings that I haven’t shared with you yet, so better stay tuned.
4. Books & Blogs
I have bought more books and got to know so many cool blogs this year that I will probably never run out of stock with my to-bake-list. Unfortunately I have not introduced a single book or blog. I think it is about time I start a blogroll and a list of my favourite baking books!
That is the one thing I’d mark as accomplished for this year. I made good progress with my Patisserie skills, I have perfectioned my Macaron making skills and mastered my first French Pastries. Though Christophe Felder still holds a lot of lessons for me and so is Pierre Hermé, I have finally found my confidence.
I have made one Experiment that I am proud of, because it was rather ingenious. I know it is not all about developing your own recipe, sometimes it’s more about taking something amazing and going all crazy with it, like I did with Jeanny’s Kanelbullar (cinnamon roll) recipe and turning them into a carnival fry Kanelkreppel. I haven’t made much progress with my to-bake-list this year and I haven’t experimented half as much as I wanted but I am overall hapy with the outcome.
Thinking about it, this is my biggest fail this year. And I won’t apologize because I learned a lot about me and my blog this past year and decided lately to stick to English despite all the haters. Haters gonna hate as Taylor Swift put it and I’m gonna shake it off. Who am I fooling? I hardly managed to post once a month, not speaking of my planned bi-weekly schedule. However I plan to post in German every now and then, because I want to get into the groove, see if blogging in German feels good.
8. Thanks for sticking with me
I want to thank the loyal readers, the constant likers on my social media and everyone who leaves a comment. I started this blog for me, but I am keeping it up for you. Every comment makes my heart jump, seriously, so please let me know what you’re thinking, fill me in on what you miss or tell me I’m doing things completely wrong. I am thankful for everyone interested in my blog and also my life, I want to keep it interesting for you to read and I rely on your feedback, so keep it coming!
My phone gave me a little blast from the past this morning: On this day last year I was in my favourite town, living the good life with a christmassy food tour with French Foodie in Dublin. I have explained my love to Dublin with a lot of words last year, so I spare you a rerun. I rather share some thoughts on the wonderful Instagram photo challenge Ketty initiated with you. I must say I don’t feel ready for christmas yet, but the #FFIDXMAS15 get’s me there. So many beautiful pictures and so many creative people and it’s only day 7. So thanks Ketty for being an inspiration and hosting this challenge. I am dying to see more pictures to inspire until Christmas.
As you might have seen already, todays Motto is „White“ and as December is particularly warm this year (Sunny 13°C today), I let it snow myself with some oats and coconut. I picked up the recipe from my little sister some years back and I love how these cookies are crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. Continue reading »
Last weekend was foodblogger camp time again. After I had such a fantastic time in Reutlingen beginning of the year, I couldn’t wait for the ticket sale for Foodblogger Camp Berlin (#fbcb15) to start. In Reutlingen I had a box of Blueberry and White Chocolate Macarons with me and when someone said the magic word I posted on social media, I opened my box for them. It was hella fun. Saturday night in Reutlingen over a bottle of whatever-beverage-it-was and some Macarons, Johanna of „My tasty little beauties“ and I discussed about how we both don’t dare to host a Macaron Session on a barcamp, because we both have experienced Macarons bitch on us when it counts. But it seems that over the year Johanna has grown some balls and decided to offer a Macaron session at #fbcb15 and I couldn’t be happier to tag along together with my Blogsister Wienerbroed. Continue reading »
Everybody has them though nobody wants to admit: Secrets! While secrets are widely outlawed to be a bad thing, I would like to stress the bright side of them which is the mystery. Be it secret friends, guilty pleasures, loves or recipes, some things are just too good to share. Like your favourite cafe that you don’t want to be too crowded or that cool friend whose attention you don’t want to share. And there are those secret recipes that you have brought to perfection over time, that earned you so many ahs and ohs, the one thing you are really proud of and you want to keep a mystery until you pass it on to your descendants on your deathbed, sealed with a blood pact that they keep it til their own dying day. Well that’s how I feel about my recipe for vanilla buttercream. I have tasted myself through a lot of recipes, measures and directions, tried, combined, tweaked and adjusted them to come to this one in my own eyes perfect recipe.
The first buttercream I ever made was an American Buttercream, which is mainly a mix of butter and confectioner’s sugar. I don’t like this kind of buttercream because it is way too sweet for me, it gnashes between my teeth and the texture is powdery. I played around with custard-mix buttercreams as you can find them in almost every baking book you get here, but I didn’t like the yellow colour, the artificial taste, it was simply not worth all the hassle with handling the warm custard. When I made my first Frankfurt Crown Cake for my Grandpa (his absolute favourite), my Mum recommended to get a little help from the Doctor (Dr. Oetker -housewives helper since forever) and try out their buttercream mix. It’s easy to handle and tastewise much better than any custard-packet-mix-buttercream… I have been using this for a while since it was convenient but over time ambition arouse, I didn’t want to be the foodblogger that relies on a packet mix. After I tried out a few recipes I stumbled over „The battle of buttercreams“ on the Tough Cookie Blog, which gave a great overview on different kinds of buttercreams including recipes and directions. Reading through the series gave me the right impulse to give my already balanced recipe the final twist. There is a „battle of buttercream 2.0“ series definately worth a read on The Tough Cookie, but I won’t keep you much longer and finally share the result of all this with you. Continue reading »
After the manflu stroke back and got me out of order for more than a week, I am back on deck and can share some more basic cupcake magic with you. Everyone has a few go-to recipes, some basic stuff that can be used for all sorts of magics with only a few alterations. It’s all about flavours and presentation, mix and match your favourite cupcakes, spice them up with some fruit or flavour and top off with a frosting of your choice. If you’re feeling fancy, you can go all wild with decorations and if you’re not, just spread the frosting with a knife. Whatever you do, you are the boss and you can do anything you like! Continue reading »
In my 2015 Forecast I promised to give you more of dark chocolate, so now you get served. I really love the dark chocolate callets from Callebaut I bought in a wholesale market. Luckily I don’t get there too often, otherwise I’d probably have investend a large amount of money in that very dark, rich and handsome… chocolate! I fell for quality dark chocolate a few years back and believe me or not, it really makes a difference in taste even in a plain chocolate cake, not to mention ganache filling for macarons… So mark my words, an investment in good quality chocolate is always a reasonable investment.
Melt the chocolate and let it cool until lukewarm. In a mixing bowl cream the butter until paler in colour before sifting in the sugar and adding the vanilla extract. Beat for several minutes until well combined and smooth. Last add the melted chocolate and keep beating until the icing is creamy, thick and has a spreadable consistency.
Now I tell you a little secret: If you want to step it up a notch chocolate wise, you can core the cupcakes (with a cupcake corer, with the back of a decorating tip or simply with a teaspoon) and fill in some Nutella before you ice the cupcakes. Top off with chocolate sprinkles and intoduce as „death by chocolate“.
It’s not hard to be inspired these days with so many blogs, magazines and pins, so that I could spend more than a lifetime in the kitchen trying out new things. But cracking it down, my problem is the overflow of inspiration. I am an indecisive person, always have been and always will be. Whenever there are too many options and ideas, I am easily overjoyed what leads to being completely uninspired. That happens to me a lot lately, probably because my day-job has been rather demanding in different ways. But whenever in doubt, I can always rely on Martha Stewart. She is not only an icon, she is also an unfailing source of inspiration for me. For my birthday I got the Martha Stewart Cupcake book and my first try, S’mores Cupcakes, turned out awesome, even the homemade Marshmallow, which allegedly is difficult to do, was amazing. And the reaction to those cupcakes at my friend’s BBQ restored my faith in my baking. Though Martha is da Queen, I have 2 major problems with American recipes: The cups measures (here’s a nice piece on why one is fed up with stupid cups measures) and way too much sugar. That’s why I always convert the recipes and reduce the amount of sugar. Reducing the sugar needs to be balanced because it affects the consistency of the batter and as baking is pure chemistry it’s essential. However I think I have found a good balance and like to present you some nice bake for hot summer days: Keylime Whoopie pies! Whoopie pies are like cakes answer to Macarons, 2 halves of cake sandwiched with a decadent creamy filling. And as the pies only take 10 mins in the oven, they can also be made on warm days. Continue reading »
I know such a headline needs explanation and as you might already assume, this might take some more words. Dorothée of bushcooks kitchen is hosting the 110th (!) Blog-Event on Zorras blog and came up with a wonderful idea: A virtual culinary threesome! I like teaming up with other bloggers, discussing a menu and ideas, planning together and creating a special 3 course menu with one theme.
I wanted to be part of this, this is only the second Blog-Event I attend, so the subject seriously got to me. It was clear that I’d go for dessert, as I am not much of a cook and after all IT’S DESSERT!!!!! I quickly found a Starter and a Main Course as Isabel & Nata, who I also met along with Dorothée and Zorra at last years Walnut Flavour Pairing Event, were looking for a cherry on top that I gladly deliver!
Special thanks to Isabel who hands-on took over most of the planning and kickstarted my culinary dessert endeavours. I’ve been thinking about experimenting with wine for some time, but was lacking the inspiration. A chat with my go-to wine-guy on the local farmers market reveilled a potential combination and I am very happy with the outcome.
So here goes our awesome-threesome menu „Summer Colours“:
I am a summer kid, born in June and being in love with the season is in my DNA. I don’t like it particularly hot, so the beginning of summer is the best time of the year for me. It’s when you can get regional asparagus and strawberries on every corner around where I live and I can’t think of anything better. Strawberries have always been my favourite fruit and I could never ever overeat on them. Technically strawberries are not fruits. But they are high in fibre and contain a lot of antioxidants that presumably help against inflammation & cancer, and nonetheless they are simply delicious! When it comes to strawberry cake I prefer the simple option: sponge, generously topped with strawberries and a touch of glaze. I don’t turn down some fresh whipped cream on top, who could deny that?! But unlike pure strawberries I can’t eat all the same cake all the time. Sometimes I need a little twist, so I came up with the idea of a dark chocolate tarte to accompany my favourite fruits. I especially like the combination of the slightly bitter chocolate with the sweet fruitiness of the berries, a combination to win a spot in my heart! Continue reading »