Pistachio gelato

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In the matter of ice cream flavours I am not, never have been a strawberry-vanilla-chocolate kind of person but a faithful pistachio lover. Ever since the day I could make my own gelato choice from the sleek, shiny case behind the espresso machine and food elevator at the end of the central bar in the restaurant. The prospect of the delicious after-dinner treat made me forget my toddler timidity and march alone through the dining room to choose amongst the flavours (classic Italian gelato varieties and special ones like Stracciatella and Pistacchio– we are talking 1970s!) and always choosing the one. Continue reading

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Vanilla-almond chia pudding

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I do not want to sound like a health apostle and praise all the virtues chia seeds possess – that would be bordering on nutrionism – but their high protein content, massive amounts of fibre and antioxidants, unsaturated fatty acids, a great Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio, B vitamins etc. and low GI have earned these South American seeds their well-deserved place amongst the so called superfoods. No wonder chia meant strength to the ancient Maya. They taste neutral (not a bad thing), manage to bind a fantastic amount of liquid and provide an interesting texture – ideal if you want to make a pudding without the help of refined starches or raw eggs. Though be warned if sago or tapioca isn’t your thing, you might want to skip this one but if you are not texture averse and enjoy tiny pearls in your pudding then chia seeds are a great healthy thing to try. Continue reading

Amarena cherry cheesecakes with lemon jelly

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There is no day like Valentine’s Day for a special dessert and what a great time to finally tell you about these gorgeously light and airy cheesecakes with dark Amarena cherries and beautifully transparent, intensely lemon jelly cubes. And yes, light, these cheesecakes are made with quark! A thin layer of biscuit provides a delicate cake base for these tangy-vanilla cheesecakes when Amarena cherry pieces with their deeply dark, amaro and almond flavour surprise within and are wonderfully balanced by the citrus flavour. Dusted with just a hint of icing sugar and drizzled with a little of the cherry syrup they make for a stunning primrose & black plate (while being extremely easy to prepare in advance) at any dinner party or romantic dinner for two. Continue reading

Rote Grütze

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In early July when the red currants are ripe my grandmother always made Rote Grütze. We picked the shiny, glassy currants and other berries from the garden and she cooked her own version of this Northern European dish. I am still in awe of every bunch of sparkling red currant jewels and they should really be worn as edible earrings like you do with a pretty pair of cherries.

My grandmother did not bother much with strict adherence to the original Northern German recipe where she came from and that limits the fruits to red currants but used what was available and at peak though she insisted on only red fruit. Strawberries or raspberries for a sweet flowery note, sometimes bright red cherries were included and if a few last rhubarb stalks were leftover from the previous harvest, they got used too. Accordingly the colour of the pudding varies between bright red leaning on pink or dark ruby red if darker cherries, raspberries and a few black currants or black berries dominate later in the summer. Continue reading

Mascarpone ice cream

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Somehow I ended up with a (giant) tub of beautiful white Mascarpone in the fridge and no idea what to do with it. It was there as a back up plan (aka raspberry tiramisu) in case the dessert intended for a big dinner would fail terribly – it didn’t and I needed a new plan for a rather large amount. Mascarpone is a fresh triple-crème cheese in fact, basically thickened cream, and cream is really, really good in ice cream – ICE CREAM! There were fragrant strawberries in the house, so are a few bottles of sweet woodruff syrup and they were just begging for a classic egg custard ice cream with an extra jolt of cream Continue reading

Sweet woodruff syrup – Waldmeistersirup & Maibowle

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It is near impossible imagining Germany in May without Waldmeister, sweet woodruff. The faint vanilla-sweet smelling herb infuses the traditional Maibowle (may wine punch), imparts its astounding fresh aroma onto vivid green coloured jelly, ice creams and green gummy bears. Waldmeister syrup mixes with sparkling water for a herby-sweet spring lemonade and flavours a refreshing Berliner Weisse (beer). But drizzle it onto a perfect ball (or two) of mascarpone ice cream, add the best strawberries and you might as well find yourself in paintings by Watteau or Boucher: Continue reading

Raspberry tiramisu

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This was a wonderful “impromptu” dessert for a dinner with a menu more or less inspired by Venice. With spring already palpable I have a distinct longing for fresher, lighter dishes and a fruity, vernal pudding rather than a warm coffee-spiced one was what I wanted. With three punnets of raspberries filling the kitchen with their sweet, musky scent (Did you know that the galaxy is supposed to taste of raspberries and smell of rum?), this fruity transformation of the iconic Italian dessert (which I haven’t made in decades, what a shame, let’s revive the Tiramisu!) basically developed itself. Marsala in the silky Mascarpone cream adds a toasted woodsy note to complement the floral, sylvan fragrance of raspberries, which deliver the fruity punch. Continue reading