Month: December 2015

Flammkuchen

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Paul and I made Flammkuchen for supper last night. We hadn’t had these “German pizzas” in such a long time and really enjoyed them. We made three different ones (my favorite was goats cheese, honey, red onions and balsamic vinegar) and ate each of them right there in the kitchen while the next one was getting ready in the oven. With Yannick crawling around between our feet and a glass of red, so good! Quite the kitchen party! 😉

Blitz hummus

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Hummus is so yummy, yet so easy and quick to make. And I find it really upgrades any simple bread snack, so I just made some for lunch. Not sure how close to the traditional recipe this actually is, but this is how I always make mine:

This is what you need:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder (or 1/2 tsp cumin)
  • 1 handful fresh parsley
  • 1 dash olive oil
  • optional: roasted red peppers, dried tomatoes, …

This is what you do:

Simply mix all the ingredients in a blender (I went for roasted red peppers this time, 4 tbsp or so). If you like the hummus less thick, add more olive oil or some of the liquid from the canned chickpeas.

Enjoy with fresh bread or tortilla chips!

Gobble gobble!

I just finished the rest of last night’s turkey pot pie as a lunch snack. With carrots and savoy cabbage – miam, so good!

Meat pies were definitely one of the highlights of our time in England. And they’re also a good example that the bad reputation of the British cuisine is not always justified!

1512_Gobble-gobble_01We should have meat pie more often, they’re especially nice in the winter, I find. And I hope you like my little gobbler! 😉 1512_Gobble-gobble_02

Our photo wall

I recently updated our photo wall. After we moved into our house here in Ottawa a little more than a year ago, I just put the same pictures up that had already been hanging on my wall in Kiel for several years… 😮

While I still kept about half of the original photos, the new selection now also includes Paul and Yannick and some of my favorite travel pictures, like the statues on the roof of St. Peter’s Basilica that Paul took last year. I could not get a shot of all 21 pictures, but here you can at least see most of them:

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I just love walking past these great memories of ours when climbing the stairs several times a day! And I find the black and white pictures and the simple brushed aluminum frames look really nice on the light grey wall.

Colorful brioche buns

This morning we had our last breakfast with my parents before their departure to Alberta and wanted it to be just a little bit special. So I made these colorful raisin buns with mixed seeds.1512_Briche-buns_01

As requested after the brioche Nikolausies, which were made with the same dough, here is the recipe:

This is what you need:

  • 3 cups (500 g) flour
  • 1 cup (250 ml) warm milk
  • 3 tsp yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) butter
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) sugar
  • raisins, almonds, … (optional)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • seeds as desired (poppy, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, …)

This is what you do:

Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle. In there, mix the milk and yeast with one teaspoon of sugar and a few table spoons of the flour. Cover this pre-dough and let it sit for at least half an hour. Knead in the egg, butter and the rest of the sugar and let the dough sit again until it has risen considerably, at least another hour. Divide into 16 portions and form little balls. This is the moment where you can add raisins or almonds – I like to put them into the middle of each ball, so they don’t burn in the oven. Brush some egg yolk on each bun, dip it into the seeds of your choice and put them on a baking tray, leaving a little bit of space between them. Let the buns rise for another half hour (if you’re patient enough and not too hungry), then bake at 370°F (190°C) for about 15 min.

The first time I made these buns was for Thanksgiving this year, except I made them with salt (1 tsp) instead of sugar and served them with supper. The other difference: they rose a bit more and therefore grew together much better 😉

Sabine’s Quarkstollen

It is my honor to present you my very first guest post! 🙂

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Since it is the pre-Christmas season, we wanted to make Stollen, a traditional German Christmas bread. And Sabine was so kind to share her recipe. So here it is!

This is what you need:

  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup (150 g) soft butter
  • 1 cup (250 g) quark
  • 2.5 cups (500 g) raisins
  • 1 cup (150 g) crushed almonds
  •  3/4 cup (100 g) mixed peel
  •  3 cups (500 g) flour
  •  2.5 tsp baking powder
  •  1/2 cup (100 g) melted butter
  •  icing sugar

This is what you do:

Preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C). Mix the sugar, a dash of vanilla extract and the eggs (photo 1), then add the butter (photo 2) and the quark (photo 3).

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Mix in the raisins, almonds (photo 4) and the mixed peel (photo 5).

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Sift in the flour and the baking powder (photo 6), then knead with your hands and make a loaf (photo 7).

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Bake for 70 min on the middle rack. Brush on melted butter several times while baking. Sift lots of icing sugar over your Stollen directly after taking it out of the oven (photo 8). Let cool, then wrap in aluminum foil and let the Stollen sit for 2-3 weeks in a plastic bag.1512_Stollen_07

Cut into slices and enjoy, with a cup of hot chocolate, punch or Glühwein for example! 🙂

We made the Stollen about a week ago and didn’t feel like waiting for another week before trying it, but already opened the bundle this weekend. And it was really delicious!

Even though some of the ingredients are slightly different than in Germany, we tried to stick closely to Sabine’s recipe. The only difference: the mixed peel was a bit chunky, so we cut it into smaller bits using my hand blender, and we made two small loaves instead of one big one.

So, thank you very much again, Sabine!! 🙂

The monster swing

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Every since I’ve seen this picture of myself I knew I would make a swing for my own kids one day… Even if I don’t really look too happy here – I’ve just never been very photogenic 😛1512_Monster-swing_01

So Wednesday was the day: I found some striped denim and sewed this fabric swing. We already got the dowels, rope and hooks during our last trip to the hardware store about two weeks ago. And yesterday we finally installed the swing. After a failed attempt to find the studs in the kids room ceiling on Thursday, it’s now located in the living room – which I think is much nicer anyways since there is a lot more space and this is also where everybody hangs out all the time…

Initially, I thought of the swing as Yannick’s first Christmas gift, but two more weeks?? I was way too impatient to put him into it and to see his reaction – it already felt so long since Wednesday (and I’m sure we’ll find something else to put under the tree for him…)!

And I was not disappointed! After a first short moment where Yannick looked a little nervous he just couldn’t stop laughing – and made mommy sooo happy… 🙂

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Homemade jam

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I got a fair amount of raspberries on sale yesterday. The first half of them “fell” onto this cake, the other half ended up in some pear and raspberry jam. I find the sweetness of the pears and the tartness of the raspberries (I usually go for a ratio of about 2:1) are just the perfect mix for my breakfast bun 🙂

I don’t usually have too much of a sweet tooth (at least in comparison to Paul) but I really like homemade jam, store-bought jam is usually just so sticky and sweet…

Christmas napkins

After the first set of napkins that I made for Thanksgiving, we now also have one for the Christmas season 🙂

I instantly fell in love with the pattern – probably because it’s not just another red and green one…1512_Napkins_13I went for mitered corners because I find they simply give the neatest look. Yes, it is an additional step and it takes a little longer, but I find the result is totally worth the extra effort! And once your production line is set up, it is not really all that bad…

I have come across several techniques, but this is the only one that really makes sense to me:

I like 46 cm by 46 cm large napkins with 2 cm wide seams, so I start by marking one line at 2 cm from the edge of the fabric and a second one at 5 cm on the back of a 52 cm by 52 cm piece of fabric. Fold the edge of the fabric onto the first line and press, then fold it to the second line and press again. Do this to all four sides of the napkin.
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Unfold the second fold and fold the corner of the napkin diagonally with the right side inside (with the first fold still in place). Now identify the line that you want to sew: it goes through the point where the two inner creases meet, perpendicularly to the diagonal edge.1512_Napkins_03

Sew on that line, then trim the corner.1512_Napkins_05

Now slip your index finger into the corner and press the seam open with your thumb as shown in the picture below. Hold the little triangle in position and flip the corner inside-out.
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If the corner is not perfectly pointy, you can easily push it out with a piece of cardboard or any other blunt (!) object that’s pointed and flat (I used the set square shown in one of the previous pictures).

Now all that’s left to do is to finish your seams by sewing along the inside edge of all four sides of the napkin.
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Tadah! And now just invite some nice people for a pre-Christmas coffee and show off your new creations! 🙂

Slipper battle

Yesterday, my mom and I got some yarn and decided to make baby slippers since Yannick’s feet keep growing and winter is coming…

And here we are now: dueling fiercely, heavily armed with knitting needles and crochet hooks! 😉

While I am certain that my mom is winning in the beauty category, I am hoping that I will at least get some points for speed.

We’ll keep you updated on how the battle ensues…

1512_Slipper-battle_01UPDATE 1 (7 Dec):

While my mom is still knitting, my crocheted slippers are done!

I know they look a little goofy, but they are warm, they fit (with some room for winter growth) and – most importantly – they stay on the monster’s feet. He was wearing them all day today and didn’t take them off a single time, yeehaw! 😉

1512_Slipper-battle_03UPDATE 2 (10 Dec):

There we go, the knitted slippers are ready, too! And aren’t they so adorable?! I didn’t promise too much, did I? Good job, mom!

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Their only downside: they turned out a little tight – but actually I don’t mind at all, I simply placed an order for another pair in the next bigger size! 😉

Happy Nikolaus!

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On the occasion of this special Nikolaus Sunday, we made raisin brioche with my parents who are currently visiting. It’s my mom’s recipe and while she’d usually braid one big loaf, this time we decided for eight small Nikolausies.

This is Paul making his 😉

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Freshly baked with butter, honey and homemade jam… so yummy!

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