During strawberry season the tiny red fruits form the base of my food pyramid and this has always been like that. I used to fight over the last strawberries that didn’t make it on the cake with my siblings all the time and the obligatory biscuit sponge with strawberries, glaze and whipped cream was to be found on the cake table every weekend. In Germany cake or pies are not really considered desserts, they are usually served as an afternoon treat together with some coffee around 3-4ish in the afternoon when the family gathers together on the weekend. When I was a kid there were hardly any weekends without afternoon coffee and homemade cake. As you might guess, strawberry cake was one of the families favourites.
Strawberries are not only delicious, they are low in calories and contain a large amount of vitamins and other minerals. On their own, they make a solid healthy treat, but since life is too short to skip cake, you should allow yourself to indulge every now and then. Continue reading »
What is a friend? I have been reading through various definitions and they are all true, but in the end it’s up to you how you define friendship for yourself. A common belief about Germans is, that they don’t make friends very easily and if they do it lasts for a lifetime. I know a lot of people still being besties with their kindergarden or grad school friends, I for my part must say I haven’t seen those friends in years and that’s perfectly fine. I have never been one of the cool kids, I’ve hung out with different groups of friends and never belonged there for too long. Luckily the pace has slowed down, making new friends becomes harder when you grow up, and sometimes I envy those who have friends they grew up with and still nurture a friendship that roots deep.
I happen to have exactly 1 “old” friend, we met when we were both 16 and she was dating my older brother. Although it didn’t work out with them, it worked out with us. We’ve been friends for half our lives, even though we lost contact when she moved across the river to study in Mainz and finally found each other after some years on facebook… In the meantime she had travelled the world and was on to decide what to do with her life while I had my first job after I graduated. She studied abroad, made friends around the globe, actually is still friends with her grad school bestie and I envy her for all that.
Friends with friends from around the globe make every birthday party and BBQ a very international thing and that’s how I met one of her college friends from Sac State. Apart from the love for Sushi we three shared good conversations and even better laughs. In January 3 years ago we met in the secret capital of the world, Kleiningersheim, to have a blast of a weekend. One day after the anniversary of our fabulous hat-selfie we reunited at Chicago airport to invade the province of Iowa and show them how to have the time of their lives.
When we flew over, the only thing the American amiga asked for were pretzels and Spundekäs, a cheese-based dip. She lived in Germany for some time and her heart has the shape of a pretzel. Since the dip wouldn’t survive the long plane-trip and the pretzels wouldn’t last forever I figured it would be better to learn how to make pretzels myself and teach her. It is easy to bring something to satisfy a craving, but the more sustainable approach is to teach others how to make their own with what they have at hand. So this goes out to all the Americans that miss a good German pretzel and Spundekäs. 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”.