Cheesecake marbled brownies

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These extraordinarily chocolate-y, cheesecake-y, gooey brownies are the best way to say Thank You, a big THANK YOU in fact. Don’t waste them on something like ‘Thanks for watering my plants’ or watching the dog or some such. They are epic, chocolate-cheesecake brownie nirvana, and only those make an adequate gesture for something big, something so wonderful and delightful like two little boys, for example, delivered healthily and for us being looked after so well, even mollycoddled every minute we have been in the hospital.

If you are not a brownie purist but enjoy a cheesecake version as well, then these are it, I mean they, perfection, nirvana, heaven with (chocolate) knobs on. I never buy chips but chop (good) chocolate and find delight in the odd-sized rubble, especially when I hit the jackpot with a chunky nugget on my piece. Hence the Jackson Pollock look of my brownie slab. A slight reduction of the sugar amount results in a less sweet version but these are in fact sweet, decadent and rich, so no kidding oneself that it’s health food – but cut in little morsels they are not only a big Thank you but the panacea for fraught nerves of overtired people.

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Potato buns

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When the humble potato met the mighty lobster

I have never gone so far to make our own burger buns (well, until now). Usually we prefer a Kaiser roll aka the ordinary German bakery Kaiserbrötchen over a soft bun as a burger vehicle: they aren’t sweet, have a crisp crust outside with a firm interior that holds up well to the weight of a hamburger & all the fixings. A bun for a lobster roll on the other hand should be richer, buttery (but not yet a brioche), soft bordering on squishy with a fine crumb structure and just little bit sweet. Potato bread rolls fit the bill perfectly and I found these worked not only extremely well as a lobster roll but also a burger bun. Continue reading

Lobster roll

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There is no arguing, I have a passion for seafood and a husband who does not give a shell for a clam or a crab which can make coastal holidays and heaping platters of fruits de mer for two a little testing but can be a blessing in disguise when it comes to lobster. In the early days when he ate a huge pot of jet-black mussels with gusto or swooned when I served him self-made sushi (dressed) while never revealing that seafood is not really his thing, I cooked a romantic lobster dinner for two. He drew the line at lobster, owned up and there I was facing two fair-sized lobster halves – yup, hard life, I know. Nowadays we are wiser and lobster is again on the menu for those tête-à-têtes but we’ll celebrate with a surf & turf: steak for Monsieur and lobster for Madame. Continue reading

Maple & walnut buttermilk scones

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A proper Devonshire cream tea with scones, clotted cream & strawberry jam is pure joy for me and luckily my parents-in-law live in the wonderful West Country where there’s no shortage of quaint & pretty places to enjoy this true British delight (along with many other fantastic regional specialties). Unfortunately, it is really hard to get the proper stuff, namely Cornish clotted cream outside of Western England but scones can easily be made at home anywhere.

This is a delicious British-American hybrid brimming with the inviting flavours of Maple syrup, vanilla, brown sugar. Add walnuts (or pecans if you like) and you have got a treat for breakfast or tea with a dab of slowly melting salted butter or a quickly stirred maple butter. Just mildly sweet, I think they can go either way: for a sweeter tooth drizzle the scones after baking with a maple icing or try the unadulterated scone with a stronger blue cheese or ripe cheddar and some spiced chutney. Therefore, they might be just the ideal thing for brunch.

 

 

Maple & walnut buttermilk scones


Maple & walnut buttermilk scones

Makes 16. Adapted from Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito: Baked. New frontiers in Baking.

 

640g / 4 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
90g / ½ cup light brown sugar
345g / 3 sticks cold butter, diced
1 egg
180ml / ¾ cup buttermilk
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
110g / 1 cup walnuts, only very coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons buttermilk to brush the tops
1-2 teaspoons raw cane sugar (or maple sugar) to sprinkle a pinch on each scone

maple butter (optional): softened butter mixed with a little maple syrup

maple icing: make a semi-runny icing by mixing a little icing sugar and a tablespoon or two of maple syrup

 

Mix flour with baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt & sugar and rub together with the cold butter (hands). Whisk buttermilk, egg, maple syrup & vanilla extract and knead briefly into the dry ingredients, add walnuts and only just push it all together into a rough dough. Do not overknead, it is fine if there are still a few butter patches visible! Divide into two portions and form two rounds, ca. 3.75 cm or 1½ inches thick (on a lightly floured board or directly on a sheet of baking parchment). Cut each disc into 8 slices and arrange on baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Brush each wedge with a little buttermilk and sprinkle a pinch of raw cane sugar or maple sugar on top.

Bake in a preheated oven (175°C / 350° F) for 15 minutes, turn the oven trays back to front and bake for another 15 minutes until the scones are light golden brown. Serve warm with salted or maple butter or leave to cool and drizzle with a maple icing made from icing sugar & maple syrup.

 

 

Maple & walnut buttermilk scones

 


Ahornsirup & Walnuß Buttermilchscones

Ergibt 16 Stück. Adaptiert von Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito: Baked. New frontiers in Baking.

 

640g Mehl
1 TL Backpulver
½ TL Natron
½ TL Salz
90g heller brauner Zucker
345g kalte Butter, in Würfel geschnitten
1 Ei
180ml Buttermilch
2-3 EL Ahornsirup
½ TL Vanilleextrakt
110g Walnüsse, sehr, sehr grob gehackt

2 EL Buttermilch zum Bestereichen
1-2 TL roher Rohrzucker oder Ahornzucker zum Bestreuen

Ahornsirupbutter (optional): weiche Butter mit ein wenig Ahornsirup verrührt

Ahornglasur: Puderzucker mit ca. 1 EL Ahornsirup zu einer dickflüssigen Glasur verrühren

 

Mehl mit Backpulver, Natronpulver, Salz und Zucker vermischen, Butter hinein geben und mit den Händen verreiben. Buttermilch, Ei, Ahornsirup & Vanilleextrakt verrühren, kurz mit der Mehlmischung verkneten, Walnüsse hinzufügen und die Masse zu einem Teig gerade eben zusammenschieben. Es ist sehr wichtig, den Teig nicht zu überarbeiten! In zwei Teile teilen und zwei runde Scheiben von ca. 3,75cm Dicke formen (auf einer leicht bemehlten Oberfläche oder direkt auf Backpapier). Die Scheiben in 8 Stücke schneiden, diese auf mit Backpapier ausgelegte Bleche legen mit Buttermilch bestreichen und ein wenig Rohrzucker oder Ahornzucker darauf streuen. Im vorgeheizten Backofen (175°C) für 15 Minuten backen, dann die Backbleche drehen und weitere 15 Minuten backen bis die Scones goldgelb aufgegangen sind.

Leicht abgekühlt mit der Ahornsirupglasur beträufeln oder pur und warm mit ein wenig Salz- oder Ahornsirupbutter servieren.

 

 

Habanero salsa – liquid sunshine

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At the beginning of January, I have a craving for bright food with bold flavours, hot red, uplifting orange & yellow colours, food that is fiery and warming – basically simulating sunshine when the days are dark and dank. Oranges*, lemons, persimmons, peppers, pomegranates, chillies – all seem to brighten the mood and tickle the taste buds. This is especially true for chiles habaneros, little orange lampions or lanterns, which have a pleasant flowery, fruity flavour and are as hot as the sun. So, a habanero salsa is quite literally liquid sunshine.

We pour it on anything and everything, tacos, especially fish tacos, Continue reading

Finger cookies

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Happy Halloween!

I’ve made these for our first proper Halloween in California and am, as I was then, still totally smitten with these weird cookies with their red varnished fingertips peeking out in-between the sweets in the bowl. They are totally charming and a mighty quick Halloween treat to make, so here’s the recipe for you to create some severed fingers in no time before the door bell rings. Continue reading

Bourbon-marinated pork filet & creamy polenta

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Well, it was getting darker and we were hungry, we’ll have it again this weekend, so photo update might be rather sooner than later (unless plans or the weather changes). Recipes in German at the end / Deutsche Rezepte am Ende

Altweibersommer (Old women’s summer) is what Germans call Indian Summer: spiders casting long strings to anchor their cobwebs which are wafting through the mellow & clear air reminding people of long grey hair of elder women. Currently, we are experiencing glorious summery autumn days with sunshine galore, silky warm air and blue skies. The leaves on the trees are slowly turning yellow, orange and red but it is warm enough to even have (an early) supper outside – fire up the grill! Continue reading