Friday, December 24, 2010

Cardamom Cookies and Merry Christmas!

I got up just now and realized, it's the 24th already... I haven't really had time to get into a christmas mood yet. It's definitely time to relax for a few days now. I'm going home to mum's and I'm really looking forward to seeing my family!

I leave you with my favourite photo of my cookie session and a recipe for cardamom cookies. Merry christmas to all of you!

Cardamom Cookies

(Original recipe in German:

100g butter, soft
50g brown sugar
1 big egg yolk
1 tablespoon cardamom powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
180g flour

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line your baking trays with parchment paper.

With a hand mixer, beat butter, sugar, egg yolk, cardamom and cinnamon until you got a smooth batter. Add flour and quickly combine to a dough (my dough was so dry that I had to save it from falling apart with a little egg white).Put your dough into the refridgerator or out on your balcony for about half an hour.

Roll the dough out (about 5mm thick) and cut out cookies. Place them on your baking trays and bake for about 20 minutes (Watch them carefully during the last 5 minutes! I think I gave them a little less than 20 minutes). Then, take out of the oven and let cool on a rack.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Orange Crescents

There are certain aromas that are automatically connected with christmas... For me, next to the smell of my mum's gingerbread, it's the taste of oranges.

Here comes my favourite this year: Orangenkipferl. They are the fruity variant of the Vanillekipferl.

(Source: al dente, 13.12.2010)

250g flour
100g finely ground almonds
75g icing sugar
1 sachet of vanilla sugar
2 pinches of salt
1 orange, only grated zest
200g butter, in pieces, cold

Preheat oven to 200°C and line your baking trays with parchment paper.

Mix all the ingredients until and including orange zest in a bowl. Add butter and, with your hands, rub until you get a crumbly mixture. Then, quickly put together to a dough (in case your dough is too dry, add an egg white - I had to do that). Flatten the dough little and, covered with cling film, put in the refridgerator for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, take the dough out, cut into equal pieces and form equal rolls from it. Cut these into smaller or bigger pieces, depending on how big you want the cookies to be. Bend the rolls into crescents and place on your baking tray and put them in your refridgerator or out on your balcony again for about 15 minutes.

Bake for about 10 minutes (they should not turn brown!). When you take them out of the oven, dredge in icing sugar while still hot, but do that carefully, otherwise the crescents will fall apart! Let cool on a rack.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chocolate and Hazelnut Sablé Rolls

I did it! There actually are three filled cookie jars on my balcony. What joy an afternoon of baking can bring :-)

Here comes a cookie recipe that would also be suitable for any other occasion than christmas, I think. These cookies are actually not that difficult to make and they look cute, an eye-catcher in your cookie box :-)

(Source: Betty Bossi - Backen in der Weihnachtszeit)

175g butter
75g sugar
1 teapoon vanilla sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 tablespoon milk
250g flour

for the filling:
100g ground hazelnuts
2 tablespoons chocolate powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1dl cream

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Beat butter in a bowl until smooth. Add sugar, vanilla sugar, salt and milk and beat until well combined. Add flour and form a dough. Cover with cling film and put in your refridgerator or outside in the cold for about 30 minutes.

For the filling just combine ground hazelnuts, chocolate powder, sugar and cream in a little bowl and set aside.

After 30 minutes, roll out your dough so you get a rectangle that is about 4mm thick (The recipe says that you should half your dough and roll out two rectangles of about 18x25 cm... I managed one with this amount of dough... anyway... :-) not a master with cookie doughs...). With a spoon, disperse the filling on the dough, leave an edge of about 1cm on one long side. From the other side, form a roll with your dough, wrap in cling film and put in the refridgerator for 30 minutes (or in the freezer for about 15 mins).

With a sharp knife, cut the roll into cookies (about 4mm thick) and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Bake for about 10 minutes. Place on a cooling rack and let cool completely.

These cookies keep in an airtight container for about 3 weeks.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cookie Time... finally!

I have to make a confession... I haven't baked any christmas cookies yet... I know it's shameful but I really didn't find time to do it and I decided that baking is no fun when I have to do it under stress. Besides, my wrist still tends to hurt when I overdo it and my final paper really has to have priority at the moment...

But this weekend, with my final Russian exam behind me, I actually feel like I might turn on my oven again :-) I spent some time with my beloved cookbooks yesterday evening and I saw some tempting recipes... I mean, Christmas without baking... come on!

Meanwhile, I decided that I am going to provide you with a fabulous recipe for cookies that I have baked in a past year... I like the addition of the lime zest, it gives these cookies an extra something. And I was very pleased with the decoration, don't they look gorgeous?!

White Chocolate-Nougat-Cookies:
(Source: Betty Bossi - Backen in der Weihnachtszeit)

150g butter
100g sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 egg
100g white chocolate with nougat (z.B. Toblerone), in pieces
boiling water
zest of 1 lime
325g flour

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line your baking trays with parchment paper.

Beat butter in a bowl until soft and smooth. Fold in sugar, salt and the egg.

Put chocolate in another bowl and pour boiling water over it (the recipe doesn't actually say, how much water. Just cover the chocolate completely). Let stand for a minute or so, then pour the water and beat the chocolate until smooth. Add to your butter-sugar-mix.

Add lime zest and then the flour. Flatten the dough a little, then cover with cling film and put in the refridgerator or outside on the balcony in the cold for about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle a working surface with flour and roll the dough out in portions (about 4 mm thick). Cut out shapes of your choice and place on your baking trays. Put out in the cold again for about 10 minutes, then bake for about 8 minutes. Take out of the oven, slide the parchment paper with the cookies off the tray and let cool completely.

For the decoration, I used a packet of white chocolate-glazing which I heated in a hot water bath until really smooth and then poured over the cookies. Then, I sprinkled them with silver sugar pearls.

These cookies keep in an airtight container for about 3 weeks.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chocolate Cake

When I asked my friend Daniela what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday party she said: "You know, what I like most of all is just a simple chocolate cake!" So I scanned my cookbooks for a good recipe and I stumbled upon one that I had marked with a post-it a long time ago. My friend over at Mainly Cake even declared this cake as "the best chocolate cake ever" so I finally had to give this one a try.

A word about the decoration: Daniela likes it kitschy and the duckies have something to do with her nickname so I thought this cake looked perfect for her birthday ;-)

And here comes the recipe (which is really easy by the way. A good one for baking beginners!)
(Original recipe in German at Annemarie Wildeisen's Kochen)
200g butter
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
200g ground almonds 
200g brown sugar
1 packet of vanilla sugar / 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt 
4 eggs
3 tablespoons flour 
0.5 packet baking powder

Line a springform pan (about 26cm diameter) with parchment paper and butter the side. Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Put chocolate and butter in a bowl and melt slowly over a hot water bath. 

Take away from the water bath and add sugar, vanilla sugar, salt and almonds. Mix well, then scramble the eggs together and add to the chocolate-mix as well. Finally, add flour and baking powder. Quickly mix everything and immediately pour into your springform pan and bake for about 45 - 50 minutes.

Check whether the cake is done with a skewer. It should come out clean, otherwise, bake for a few more minutes. The cake should be a little creamy on the inside even when cooled completely.

When the cake is cool, either sprinkle with icing sugar or glaze with chocolate and decorate as you wish. 

This cake keeps in the fridge for a few days. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Winter Wonderland

First snow came down last week... I'm not a particular fan of winter but still, as a cake and cookie lover, you got to love this time of the year... I have already made a list of cookies I want to bake and I can't wait to bake "Grittibänz" and gingerbread!

Yesterday morning, while the sun was still shining, I went for a walk in the Irchelpark. Look how beautiful it was...

I know, I know, these photos don't have much to do with cake but I liked them so much that I wanted to share them with you!

And no worries guys, I baked an amazing chocolate cake this weekend and of course, I will not deprive you of the recipe! Soon to come...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chocolate Chip Scones

I'm back!

This morning, after a night of muuuch too little sleep I got up and decided I had to do something to get my mind off my final paper for university... and then suddenly, I knew exactly what I was craving: Scones! It's not only that I just LOVE scones, but also they are so easy and quick to make. Perfect for me right now since I still have to take good care of my poor wrist.

Lucky me, the weather today is so stunning that I was able to take some nice pictures in the sunlight out on my balcony.

Chocolate Chip Scones
(from: Leila Lindholm - Piece of Cake)

450g plain flour
0.5 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
40g brown sugar
125g cold butter
100g dark chocolate, chopped
1 egg
200ml milk

one more egg (lightly beaten) and a little brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 250°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Cut butter into pieces and rub into the flour mixture with your fingers. Mix the egg and the milk and add this to the flour mixture. Also add chocolate chips and combine to a dough.

Place the dough onto a surface sprinkled with a little flour and flatten it until it's about 3cm thick. Cut it into triangle pieces (or you can also use a big round cookie cutter).

Place the scones onto your baking tray. Brush with the egg and sprinkle some brown sugar onto them. Bake for about 10 minutes (I usually have to give them a little more time).

Monday, November 01, 2010

World turned upside-down

What is going on?! Lately it seems that everyone is baking but me...

Yesterday, I was at a birthday party and our birthday girl and style expert Giorgia handed out homemade muffins as a give-away... (they were delicious by the way...)

Today, my friend Daniela happily announced that tonight, she's going to bake a cheesecake... Up until recently, all Daniela baked - if she baked at all - was convenience blend brownies from Migros...

Don't get me wrong, I am glad that my pals finally discovered the joy of baking but still... I am a little jealous :-)

Happy to report though that my wrist is getting better day by day. I hardly ever have to wear the brace anymore... and I am already thinking about what I could bake next weekend...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What if...

...your doctor forbids you to bake...?!?! Really, he asked me "Your boyfriend, can't he cook and bake?" ... "Excuse me??!!!"

Ok, from the beginning: First of all, I apologize for being quiet over such a long time. But there were some things that had to be sorted out first and sometimes, you have to prioritize. We settled down in Zurich almost three weeks ago and guys, I liked Zurich before, but now, I am truly in love with this city! Each day I leave the house I see something new. I've already walked from our place all to the central station instead of taking the tram (Mauro's comment: "What?! Are you crazy?!" But you know, Mauro will not walk a step too much if he doesn't have to...).

Our new flat is so cute, I really feel at home. The only problem is that it is not as well lit as our old one which means I still try to figure out the best way to fotograph my food in order to get nice pictures... This turned out to be a tricky task because I don't have a professional camera... Most of the photos are too blurred because of the bad lighting and the flash light is also not a good idea most of the time... But I'm working on it.

The other rather big problem is the nasty strain injury on my right wrist. I guess the moving, yoga, baking, cooking and a lot of typing on the computer turned out to be a bit too much. I will have to give it time to really heal up in order to avoid a repetitive strain injury. But let me tell you, it's not easy... You know how much I love to cook and bake. Last weekend, Mauro and I made Flammkuchen, or rather, Mauro followed my instructions... It was annoying! Mauro actually did a great job but still, I wanted to do it myself! This must be what cold turkey feels like :-) No, seriously, I hope I'm back in the game as soon as christmas cookie season starts!

I hope I can still provide you with a few recipes and photos until then! So, keep in touch.


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Zurich, Baby!

Hey guys!

I know I haven't been that chatty lately... But I have news to share with you! We're moving to Zurich! Actually, it's been quite a spur-of-the-moment thing. I know, I know, how can moving to Zurich be a spur-of-the-moment thing?! Well, Mauro and I have been discussing this option for quite some time and about a month or two ago, we decided to try and look for an affordable appartment in the city. Who would have thought that we get the first one we applied for?! We still can't believe it!

And there we go... the kitchen is almost packed. From next Saturday on, I will be a city-girl ;-)

Give me some time to get used to my new oven... I'll be back in a bit...


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Plum Streusel Cake

A streusel cake is always a winner. Streusel cake makes people happy. Serve a streusel cake for dessert and people will reward you with big smiles... And since plums are in season right now, why don't you bake one with plums...?! Add a large pinch of cinnamon and there goes a perfect combination!

(slightly adapted from Coopzeitung 35/2010, original recipe in German here)

for the cake dough / streusel:
200g plain flour
75g sugar
a pinch of salt
0.5 teaspoon of baking powder
1 lemon, grated zest
100g butter, liquid, cooled
1 egg

for the filling:
50g sugar
2 egg yolks
1 lemon, grated zest and 1 tablespoon of juice
50g grated almonds
25g plain flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 egg whites
1 pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
400g plums, cores removed

Preheat the oven to 140°C. Line a 25cm cake tin with parchment paper.

Cake dough: Mix flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and lemon zest in a bowl. Mix butter and egg together and then add to the other ingredients and mix well with your hand mixer until the batter is crumbly. Fill half of this batter into your prepared cake tin.

Filling: Mix sugar and egg yolks with the hand mixer. In another bowl, add lemon zest and juice. Mix almonds, flour and cinnamon. Beat the egg whites and the salt until firm. Add sugar and beat until gleamy. Mix about a third of the egg white-batter with your sugar-egg yolk-batter. Then alternately fold in almond-flour-mix and egg white-batter and mix carefully. Pour the batter into your cake tin. Add the rest of the streusel and bake for about 40 minutes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Baked Figs with Parma Ham

I actually can't remember the last time I've made dessert! Wait, I think it was for my Italy-inspired dinner and unfortunately, I don't even have good pictures of my first ever ricotta tart... I really haven't made a cake since then. That's definitely too long! But I plan to bake a cake this weekend so stay tuned ;-)

For now, I have another antipasto for you.

(adapted from: Annemarie Wildeisen's Kochen)

6 figs
0.5 tablespoon liquid honey
1.5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 thin slices of parma ham
parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat the oven to about 150°C.

Wash the figs carefully and then cut in crosswise. Mix honey and balsamic vinegar. Wrap each fig with a slice of parma ham and place onto a baking tray. Drizzle the honey-vinegar mix over the figs and season with salt and pepper. Bake the figs in the oven for about 10 minutes. Place onto a plate and decorate with slices of parmesan cheese if you like.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Zucca all'agrodolce

The Sicilian kitchen has many influences from different cultures. There are a lot of dishes with ingredients and flavours that are remains of the Byzantine and Arabic past of the island. As for instance this sweet and sour pumpkin.

This dish was part of my antipasti variations of last Sunday's menu. I was a bit anxious about it at first because it has such a special taste. I don't consider myself an expert when it comes to seasoning dishes, especially with dishes that have unusual flavours. I prepared it around noon and I kept trying bites from it during the whole afternoon in order to decide whether it was ok and whether I should really serve it or not. I think I ate about half of it beforehand :-)

My guests really liked it and I too, was happy with the outcome in the end. This dish is something else for a change. And I just looove the colour of the pumpkin. Look at that...

(from: Ursula Ferrigno - VegItalia)

1kg pumpkin, peeled and pitted
5 tablespoons of olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon sugar
1 handful of mint leaves, chopped
1 pinch of cinnamon
8 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
black pepper

Cut the pumpkin into dices of about 1cm. Roast in a frying pan in olive oil together with the garlic clove for about 3 minutes. Take the garlic clove out of the pan as soon as it begins to change colour.

Take the pumpkin dices out of the pan and pour onto paper towels so that the oil might drain. Pour the pumpkin dices into the pan again and reduce the heat.

Add sugar, mint and cinnamon. Mix well, pour white wine vinegar over it and season with pepper (I also added a little salt). Cover the pan and let the vinegar vaporize.

Serve warm or cold. I served it cold because in Italy, many dishes of this kind are served cold. However, I warmed the leftovers up for dinner the next day and I think it's better if served warm.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Focaccia with Parmesan and Rosemary

This weekend, Mauro and I invited our dear friend Stephanie and her mum Diana for dinner. Diana herself is famous for her fabulous dinner partys and she really is one of the best cooks I know. So I have to admit, I was a little nervous. But I had a lot of fun putting together a menu for our two friends. Inspired from our holidays in Sicily, I decided to have an Italian evening. Mauro and I spent practically the whole sunday in the kitchen preparing our antipasti.

The focaccia was one of my favourites in the end. I have never made focaccia before and I was very happy with the outcome. You don't need many ingredients and baking utensils, it doesn't take long to make and it is really easy. The addition of parmesan and rosemary gives it an aromatic taste.

(from: Betty Bossi - Wähen Pizzas Flammkuchen)

500g flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of rosemary, coarsely chopped
20g fresh yeast
4.5dl water, lukewarm
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Add parmesan and rosemary. Dissolve yeast in the lukewarm water. Mix water and olive oil with the flour and stir with a ladle until you got a viscous dough. Pour the dough onto a baking tray lined with a baking sheet and spread until you got a rectangle of about 30x40 cm. Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes (I gave it about 60 minutes). Press your fingers into the dough to make dimples. Put the baking tray into the cold oven and then heat the oven to 220°C. Bake the focaccia for about 30 minutes.

When you take the focaccia out of the oven, brush it with a little olive oil and pour some sea salt onto it. Serve warm or cold.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Cheesecake, my Love...

I probably told you already that I am a fan of cheesecakes - well, who isn't?! I figured, it was time to try a new recipe. This one probably caught my eye because it said ricotta somewhere on the ingredients list :-)

I personally love this cake and I will definitely bake it again. It is not as heavy as other cheesecakes. The berries where my idea, it originally comes with a coating of raspberry jam but I like it better this way. This decoration is simple, yet an eye-catcher.


150g petits beurres (graham crackers or digestive biscuits)
75g sugar
100g butter

400g ricotta
150g mascarpone
2 sachets vanilla sugar (40g)
75g sugar
2 tablespoon lemon juice
4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 24cm diameter springform pan with parchment paper.

Crumble the biscuits in a cutter or put them into a plastic bag and beat them with a rolling pin. Put the crumbs in a bowl and add sugar. Melt butter in a little pan and add to the crumbs. Mix this well and spread it onto the base of the springform pan. Put the springform into the refrigerator.

In a bowl, mix ricotta, mascarpone, vanilla sugar, sugar and lemon juice. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and then add them to the cheesecake mixture. Pour the batter onto the biscuit base.

Bake the cake for about 50 minutes. Then, take out of the oven and let cool. Decorate with mixed fresh berries.

By the way: The recipe says that, if you want to bake a smaller cake, you can half the ingredients and bake it in a 16cm diameter springform pan. That would be a nice cake for two. On the other hand, the cake keeps in the fridge for a few days so why not bake a big one ;-)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Bella Sicilia!

Let me tell about my holidays in Sicily!

I usually like to come home again after being away for a while, but with Sicily it was different. I would have loved to stay a little longer. I have never been there before and now I am totally in love! I had at least one gelato every day, ate the best pasta ever and met the nicest people! The beach was beautiful and I even felt comfortable with the hot temperature. I think the sun and the sea water really did me good.

We stayed in a little village near Palermo where a part of Mauro's family lives. Our holidays where a nice mix of excursions (Palermo, Cefalù, Catania and Taormina), days at the beach and family dinners and let me tell you, these dinners where a real delight! I was really overwhelmed with the warm-heartedness of these people and of course, with the way they cook. Everything is really simple but just delicious. I think it has something to do with the joy and devotion they make their food with. And of course with the fact that they grow practically everything they cook in their own garden. Really, the vegetables and the herbs taste more intense... I got a glass of oregano as a farewell present and everytime I open it, the scent reminds me of Sicily... I can't wait to go there again...

I want share some photos with you just to show you what I am talking about. I got a lot of inspiration for cooking of course and I want to try so many things!!!

Mmmmh... that lovely crostata di ricotta... I still dream about that one! The best thing is, I got the recipe for it :-) I celebrated my birthday in Sicily and I wished for the recipe as a present and of course, they were happy to share it with me. I think, this is one of the best presents I've ever gotten ;-)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Ice Cream Petit Fours

Hey everyone! I'm back from Sicily and I can't wait to show you some pictures and tell you all about the best food I've ever eaten! But first, I'm happy to share my second Daring Bakers' Challenge which I prepared shortly before I went on holiday.

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

I decided to go for the Ice Cream Petit Fours. First, I made the ice cream. I chose a recipe for a coconut saffron ice cream from Nicole Stich's book "delicious days". That went all well, whereas the brown butter cake was a little more complicated. I have never browned butter before and I burned it the first time. The second time, I watched the pan like a hawk and I probably took it away from the hot plate a little too early but I figured that was better than burning it again. When browning the butter, it gets a nutty smell which I really like. It gives the cake a very special and delicious flavour.

I made both, a white and dark chocolate icing for the petit fours. The decoration was a spontaneous idea. I found some red sugar flowers in my cupboard and I thought that would look nice together with the gladiolus blossoms. The gladiolus was a present from my friend Danny and I thought that I might as well put it to good use before it began to wither.

I decorated some of the dark chocolate petit fours with meringue crumbles and cut them in halves so that one could see the inside. After the first few shots, I arranged them together with the gladiolus blossoms again because I thought it looked too bland without some colour.

After the photo session, I ate one of the petit fours right away :-) they make a very nice little dessert together with a coffee. I really liked this challenge! Thanks to Elissa for the ideas and the instructions! (Get them here by the way!)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vermicelli with Ham and Creamy Saffron Sauce

I'm flying to Sicily tomorrow to visit Mauro's family and I am so exited! I wanted to inform you that I won't post anything on my blog for about a week and a half. But I'm not leaving you without another recipe.

What would fit better now than pasta!? I have a simple recipe for you that is basically a carbonara sauce with the addition of saffron. Trust me, it is extremely good!

This is what I call comfort food... not only is it nourishing, it is also heart-warming. You get happier with every bite you eat. I love the vermicelli pasta with this dish because you can really shovel big bites onto your fork and it looks very nice with the ham streaks. If you don't have vermicelli, you could use thin spaghetti or linguine.

(from Ursula Ferrigno - Pasta Passion)

serves 4

350g vermicelli (or other) pasta (if you are hearty eaters, I would say a little more, maybe then also a bit more ham and cream)
a large pinch of saffron strands
150g cooked ham, cut into strips (I roasted the ham strips in a frying pan before adding them to the sauce)
200ml cream (I used 25% fat, the original calls for double cream)
50g grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
2 egg yolks
sea salt

Heat up a saucepan of water. Put the saffron strands into a smaller saucepan and add two tablespoons of water. Bring this to a boil. Then, remove from the hot plate and leave it to sit for a bit.

When the water is boiling, add salt and then the pasta. While the pasta cooks, add ham to the pan containing the saffron. Also pour in cream and parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Stir well. When the cream bubbles, remove the pan from the hot plate, add the egg yolks and beat well. Taste and season again according to your taste.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Mix well and serve.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Chicken Salad with Peperoni and Basil Curd Dressing

This salad made a simple dinner for Mauro and me this week. I served it with toast and a green salad. I could imagine this salad to be a good addition for a summer buffet or a picnic.

(Adapted from "Saisonküche" August 2010)

little meal for 4 persons

2 red peperonis
400g chicken breast
salt, pepper, mild paprika
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 peperoncino
a handful of basil leaves (the original recipe calls for parsley)
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon coarse-grained mustard
3 tablespoons curd (I used 3/4 fat)

Cut the peperoni into little pieces and set aside.

You can either cut the chicken breast into slices before roasting them or after. I cut them into slices before roasting and seasoned them with salt, pepper and paprika. Then, put some of the oil into a large frying pan and roast the chicken for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Cut the garlic into little pieces or use a garlic press, and roast with the chicken.

After 10 minutes, take the chicken out of the pan, set aside and let cool. Roast the peperoni pieces in the same pan for about 3 minutes (or longer, depending on how soft you want them to be).

For the sauce: Pit the peperoncino and chop together with the basil (or parsley). Mix with curd, mustard, lemon juice and the rest of the oil. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Mix with the chicken and peperoni.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Brainfood for two hungry girls...

My friend Daniela came over today to study together. We do this very often and yes, we actually really work efficiently! We always have an extended lunch break which we use to relax and talk about this and that... ;-)

Today was kind of a spontaneous study-day and since my fridge was rather empty, we decided to have pasta with a simple tomato sauce for lunch. I came up with this little dessert spontaneously because I thought we needed something to motivate us for the afternoon session.

Honeyed Yogurt with Grapes and Almonds

(Of course, you can modify this simple dessert in various ways. This is just how I made it today...)

For two:

about 180g plain yogurt
1 tablespoon of liquid honey (I used orange blossom honey)
(a pinch of sugar, optional, depending on how sweet you like it)
200g white grapes, halved, cores removed
2 twigs of red currants
2 tablespoons of slivered almonds, roasted

Mix honey with yogurt and stir well. Fill some grapes into two little glasses, add some of the almonds. Then, pour the yoghurt over that. Top with the rest of the grapes and the almonds. Decorate the glasses with the red currant twigs. And there you go...

Monday, August 09, 2010

Yogurt Semolina Cake with Peaches

I made this cake for a friend of mine who, believe it or not, doesn't like chocolate... I still have problems understanding that :-) But, although I am a serious chocaholic I'd say that cakes like this one are among my favourites.

(adapted from:

2 egg yolks
50g soft butter
100g sugar
2 sachets vanilla sugar (40g)
250g plain yogurt
125g flour
125g semolina
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 egg whites
a pinch of salt
200g peach, diced (the original recipe calls for frozen raspberries. I guess you can also use other fruit)

(I doubled these ingredients and made two cakes. I used a little less sugar and vanilla sugar and added about three tablespoons of liquid honey.)

Line a 25cm cake tin with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Beat egg yolks, butter, sugar, vanilla sugar with a hand mixer for about 8 minutes until the batter is very light-colored (almost white). Add yogurt (and honey).

Mix flour, semoline and baking powder and add this mixture to the yogurt-batter.

Whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Carefully mix this with your cake batter. Fill half of the batter into your cake tin. Pour about half your peach dices (or raspberries or other fruit) onto this. Then fill the rest of the cake batter into the tin. Top with the rest of the fruit. Press them into the batter a little with a spatula.

Bake the cake for about 70 - 80 minutes. If necessary, cover the cake with aluminium foil after about 50 minutes to prevent it from getting dark. Then, take out of the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Then take out of the cake tin and let cool completely. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Say (Cream) Cheese!

This post is for my friend Kerstin who wouldn't believe me that cream cheese brownies are really easy to make! This is one of the reasons I make cream cheese brownies so often. Everyone loves them, they are made in a jiffy and you can also prepare them in advance and keep them in the fridge for some days. I still can't decide whether I like them better fresh from the oven or cold from the fridge... they are divine anyway...

Here comes the recipe:
(Adapted from: Nigella Lawson - How to be a Domestic Goddess)

125g dark chocolate
125g unsalted butter
2 eggs
200g sugar
1 sachet (20g) vanilla sugar (Nigella uses vanilla extract)
75g plain flour
a pinch of salt
200g cold cream cheese (Philadelphia)

You need a brownie tin (about 23x23 cm, mine is 18x23 and it works fine, if you don't have a brownie tin, you could probably use a square gratin dish that has about that size). Line the brownie tin with parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Melt the chocolate together with the butter in a small pan over low heat. Whilst this melts, beat the eggs with the sugar and the vanilla sugar in a bowl. In another bowl, mix flour and salt. When the chocolate has melted, take away from the heat and give it some time to cool a little. Then, add it to the egg and sugar-mixture. Finally, sift in the flour and mix until the batter is smooth.

Pour half the mixture into your tin and then slice the cream cheese into very thin slices and top the brownie mixture with these slices. Then pour the rest of your brownie batter over this. Use a spatula and make sure, every piece of cream cheese is covered with the mixture.

Put into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. The top gets a little pale and crunchy but the inside is still sticky. When you take it out of the oven, let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting it into squares. Kept in an airtight container in the fridge, they stay moist for a few days. I ususally let the baked batter cool in the tin and cut it when it's completely cooled right before I serve the brownies. It's much easier to slice this way.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Chocolate Orange Marble Cake

Marble cake used to be my favourite cake when I was a little girl. To me, my grandmother made the best marble bundt cake in the world! She always told me that grandpa helped to make it, too. His task was to whisk through the cake batter with the fork to create the marble pattern.

I still love marble cake although I hardly ever bake it myself. If I bake it, I look for a recipe that is a little different in order to make the good old marble cake a bit fancier. I really liked this one because the orange gives it a fresh touch.

(from Betty Bossi: "Kuchen, Cakes und Torten")

150g butter, soft
225g sugar
5 egg yolks
350g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
180g sour cream

1 orange, grated zest
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (I used orange juice)
100g dark chocolate, melted

5 egg whites
a pinch of salt
a pinch of baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 30cm baking tin with parchment paper.

Beat butter with a hand mixer until creamy. Add sugar and egg yolks and beat until the batter gets a brighter color. Sift flour and baking powder and add. Add sour cream. Divide the batter into two halves.

Mix orange zest and Grand Marnier with one half. Mix molten chocolate with the other.

Beat egg whites, salt and baking powder. Then add sugar and beat a little longer. Divide into two halves and mix with the two cake batters.

Fill chocolate batter into the tin first and then add orange batter. Whisk through it with a fork to create a marble pattern.

Bake for about 70 minutes. (With my oven, 60 minutes were enough.)

1.5dl orange juice
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier (I left that out.)
50g icing sugar

Mix and pour over the slightly cooled cake. Leave the cake in the baking tin until it's cooled. This way, it can soak up the orange-sugar-juice. It will keep it moist and fresh.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake

I'm so excited to show you all my very first Daring Bakers' Challenge:

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

When I first saw this month's challenge, I was a bit frightened and basically already sure that I was going to have some difficulties with that one. I hate making sponge rolls and I have destroyed many of them when trying to roll them up... plus, I have never made ice cream before. I've been wanting to make my own ice cream for a long time and I was never entirely sure whether it was a good idea without an ice cream machine.

I put the challenge off until last weekend and when I finally got started, it went so well from the beginning, that it got more and more fun! The instructions can be found here by the way. I changed some minor things however. My rolls are without cocoa, but I added that to the cream filling instead. The chocolate ice cream and the fudge sauce are made according to the instructions. I jazzed up my vanilla ice cream with a dash of cinnamon and some peach (cut into very little pieces).

To my big surprise, I had no problems with the rolls at all! I'm still totally happy about this and thanks to Sunita and her challenge, I am definitely going to make sponge rolls again because actually, I like them very much, only I thought I was too clumsy to make them :-)

I like the fudge sauce too, very easy to make and yummie! I'm thinking about making that again to decorate other dessers. The ice creams turned out fine as well. I have some leftovers of the vanilla-cinnamon and peach ice cream. This is going to make a nice dessert on its own one of the next days!

I invited my mum and her boyfriend over for cake and coffee on Sunday and we ate almost the whole cake then and there. Everybody really liked it and I am proud of my first challenge that turned out to be quite successful.

I'm still so thrilled about these rolls!!! Check them out:

Thank you Sunita for a super fun challenge!
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