Wednesday, February 27, 2013

from Sarabeth's Bakery: Expresso Cake

AUGURI  to all those who celebrate their birthday today!!  My kisses and wishes fly to Florence!

Sarabeth's Expresso Cake makes for  a true birthday cake: the batter tolerates the fanciest baking moulds, it's moist and smooth. With its subtle coffee flavour the cake is perfect for the birthday breakfast.

Expresso Cake ( from the book Sarabeth's Bakery)

butter for the pan
1 cup hot brewed coffee
3 tablespoons instant coffee, preferably expresso
3 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2 cups superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature, separated

for the coffee glaze:
2 tablespoons hot brewed coffee
1/2 teaspoon instant exoresso powder
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 180°C (350°F).

Combine the brewed coffee and expresso powder in a glass measuring cup; let cool.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. In another bowl beat the butter until smooth.Gradually beat in the sugar, then add the vanilla, and beat until very light in colour and texture. One at a time beat in the yolks.

Reduce the mixer speed to low. Starting with the flour mixture, alternating with two equal additions of the cooled coffee, beat in the flour mixture, beating until smooth after each addition.

Whip the egg whites in a grease-free bowl until soft peaks form. Using a silicone spatula , stir about one fourth of the whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites.

Scrape the batter into the form and bake  30 minutes (small forms) or 55 minutes (one big form).

Cool on a wire rack.

To make the glaze, mix the brewed coffee and the expresso powder. Add the milk. Add the confectioner's sugar and whisk until smooth. It should be thin and warm to the touch.
Slowly pour the warm glaze over the cake. Cool completely.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

100 ayurvedic cookies

My dear readers, this is not a joke, I really mean one hundred cookies!

Antje passed by and brought me a nice little paper bag filled with some super healthy cookies. When I later asked her for the recipe, she sent me the below:

Ayurvedic cookies

18 cups oat flakes
3 cups sunflower seeds
3 cups raisins (soaked in warm water, strained)
3 ts salt
6 ts cinnamon
3/4 ts clove powder
3/4 ts ginger powder
3/4 ts pure vanilla powder
12 cups whole wheat flour, freshly ground
1 1/2 sachets baking powder
6 x 250g butter
1 1/2 cups whole cane sugar
3 cups honey

Mix the dry ingredients with the raisins. Melt the butter and dissolve the sugar in the liquid butter. Add the honey and stir well. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients, stir and let cool down.
Stir again.
Presss dough into the plastic lid of a honey jar and discharge it on a baking sheet.

Bake the cookies for 15 minutes at 170-180°C.

A short extract of our email conversation: 

B: Are you sure about the quantities? It seems to be a lot..
A: Yes, yields about 80-100 cookies, depending on the size, and this is only half the recipe
B: what the hell do you do with so many cookies?
A: they make you come over the winter and people love them, they are a kind of Lembas, you know, the elves' bread in the Lord of the Rings...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

weekend links

At the moment I'm captivated  by the book " The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan. My next book to read will be definitely his "A plant's-eye view". Here you can watch Michael Pollan giving a lecture about the topic.

To all the talented knitters: get your needles working!

I just love the art prints of Daily Dishonesty.

Ingest the daily amount of vitamines : blood orange margaritas!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

big snow, 3 boars and a simple beetroot salad

I had a flu. Runny nose, sore throat, cough and fever.
So instead of throwing myself into the planned spring detox and sports  in the (supposed) sunshine I'm spending my days lazily on the sofa, recovering, drinking hot English tea and trying to motivate myself to breathe the snowy air outside my warm cocoon not only for shovelling snow.

Snowboots and ski pants on, camera hidden under the parka I bravely headed  into the forest.  At least it was not cold (-2°C only).

On my way back from the lakes, just when  in a sudden euphoria I considered buying a new pair of cross country skis as soon as possible, three enormous wild boars jogged by my side. I stopped walking, breathing, all terrified, trying to make myself invisible...  Approximately 20 meters in front of me they crossed my path and disappeared in the forest again. I was not cool enough to take a photo. I'm sorry.

The question is, would it have been dangerous if I was closer?  What would have happened if, for example, I went with an off-leash dog? Do boars find enough food after weeks of snow covered fields? Do they also run around when the sun is shining? I shall have to ask the Head of the game reserve...

I don't cook a lot these days: simple things, vegetables with oil and vinegar, pasta, fish and rice.

I just thought it would be nice to share my today's beetroot salad with you. Firstly because it really was delicious, secondly because all this snow series needed a hint of colour.

Beetroot salad with apple and laurel

3 beetroots
1 apple
2 leaves of laurel
olive oil,  vinegar, salt and pepper

Wash the beetroots, cover them with water and cook them about 20 minutes until soft. Peel and slice them. Peel and slice the apple and mix with the beetroot slices in a bowl. Dress with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the leaves of laurel. Let the salad rest at room temperature for at least one hour to allow the flavours to mingle.

Would  be nice to accompany a boar roast as well, wouldn' it?
But not for me, not now,  I definitely don't want to enrage the Big Boar Spirit....

Sunday, February 10, 2013

weekend links

 I'm sure you'll like these seteditions.

On her blog foodiecrush Heidi shares 10 favourite lemon recipes + some irresistible Fettucine with lemon. They definitely needed a bookmark!

On  Eat this poem - a collection of recipes inspired by poetry- I found 10 amazing tips for blogging with soul.

The pictures posted by Windermere Lake House  make me travel in my dreams to beautiful Lake District.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

long cooked, spicy vegetable broth with hijiki and red cabbage

When my body badly needs warmth and energy a proven remedy is to drink a cup of long cooked vegetable broth. I fill the steamer basket of my asparagus pot with all kind of vegetable I can find in my fridge, cover it with water and let it simmer. And simmer. And continue simmering for three hours on very low heat.
This is, admittedly, not the fastest way to beat the cold, but once prepared I store the broth in the fridge and use it for several days.

The ingredients:
2 leeks (only the green parts)
some pieces of celery
2 fresh tomatoes, quartered
1 sundried tomato
1 orange bell pepper, cut in pieces
a small piece of fresh ginger
a small piece of hot pepper
a quarter of a red cabbage
a few hijiki weeds
1 tbs instant vegetable broth
soy sauce to taste

Once cooked, discard the vegetable. All the precious energy has passed into the broth.
Serve the broth steaming hot and enjoy its amazing colour!

Friday, February 01, 2013

Pure Nektarine

Philippa's homemade nectarine jam is sublime.

I imagine what fun it would be to organize a jam-cooking workshop together with Philippa  learning all her tricks...    Maybe in summer? When the strawberries and the apricots are ripe?