Saturday, December 28, 2013

Yeast Dumplings II

Do you remember my post about those traditional yeast dumpling I made? CHECK IT HERE! This time I made the yeast dumplings a different way. Instead of cooking them on steam, I cooked them in a big pan with milk. They were delicious! And yes, as always in my family - served with blueberry compote.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


I love Kartoffelpuffer. tells me that's called "fried mashed potatoes" in English. Maybe some of you know it from the Jewish cuisine where it's called Latkes. I made some for lunch. I know that Krtoffelpuffer are well knows in almost all the countries of middle and eastern Europe. And in some areas they're served with a sauce or meat (Hungary, Poland). In my family and also in most of the German homes, Kartoffelpuffer are served with Apfelmus (mashed apple sauce) and sugar. Yeah! That's the way I love it the most. It's one of those traditional dishes I also make and eat the same way I used it to eas when I was a kid. Oh and I hat the chance to try my new frying pan which got a great patina later.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Healthy International Brunch

I went very international when I prepared my Sunday brunch. You can see: Israeli salad, Greek tzatziki, Italian foccacia and [German?] scrambled eggs. Together with a French café au lait it was indeed an international morning...

Friday, November 1, 2013

Butternut Squash Ragout

It's still pumpkin time! As you see I mixed some vegetables and made an easy ragout with everything I found in my fridge. There is no recipe. I just mixed together what I had ;)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pasta With Red Wine

It was a lovely Sunday. E. helped me to cook the meal. I think it was a merlot wine...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Swabian Maultaschen With Vegetables

I've already posted something about my favourite Swabian Maultaschen CHECK IT HERE! - this time I served it with some vegetables extra. Easy, fast and you can modify it the way you want. And yes, I bought the Maultaschen in the supermarket...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Autumn 2013

It's January 2014 - but I realized that I had no time to update my blog since so many months and I decided to post back some of my pictures. Yes. It happened to me. For my excuse I was traveling a little bit, being very stressed and full of work... And from time to time I tried to update or post something on my Facebook page. So check it out - it was not as forgotten as my blog became for a while. But I was collecting stuff for the blog. Every time I was cooking something new, I tried to take pictures in the hope one day I'll have time to upload them. Today, I enjoy the little sun which arrived my flat this afternoon I decided to update the last months and fill them with some pictures. First of all, take a look on the beautiful Autumn we had this year! It was full of sun and long and as well the winter this year is very very warm. I took some pictures from my flat. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Milchreis Casserole / Rice Pudding Casserole

I tried something new!!! And you can also guess what I had for dinner and for breakfast today. I made a Milchreis casserole, a kind of a sweet dish you can also eat when it's cold. All you need for it is a pot of Milchreis (check the link), and three/four eggs, 250g (9 oz) Quark, a pound or more of apples, some cinnamon, 4 tbs. sugar. Next time I will definitely take more apples but it was everything I had at home and I got a cold a couple of days ago so I don't feel like going outside to get some more.

  1. Cook the rice for about 30 minutes until it's ready. I've already wrote how to cook the German Milchreis. This link shows you the recipe. Double the amount of ingredients (250g/9oz rice and 1 lit./2 pints of milk)
  2. In the meantime clean the apples and cut them in small pieces.
  3. Separate the eggs (yolks from the white), beat the egg whites until stiff. Put it aside.
  4. With a mixer mix the yolks with the sugar and cinnamon and add the Quark.
  5. Add the cooked rice and the apples to the egg-Quark-mixture.
  6. Butter a baking pan I took a 12x12 inches/30x30 cm and put the mixture inside.
  7. Bake around 40 minutes at 200°C/390°F.
  8. Serve with compote or with a fruits mouse.
It's great as a sweet main dish but also as a dessert. It's delicious when it's served with some vanilla ice. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sponge Apple Pie

Do you remember the recipe of a friend I've posted a year ago for a sponge apple pie? If not, check it here! Well I tried it too and I must confess it was fast and easy. And the taste of the autumn apples... Try it!!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Dear Readers!

I AM BACK to Europe!!! Have a lot of ideas & photos and other delicious postcards from my two months abroad! I'll try to get back to blogging but before my jet-set-life goes on and I am leaving for a small while abroad. You'll hear from me.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Happy New Year 5774

On the 4th of September 2013 the celebration of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Ha'shana) started and I was invited for the evening to my friends. I took one of the last trains going from Tel Aviv before the festival. The rule is that during the festivals no trains and no public transportation works in Israel. If you don't have a car - you are stuck in the middle of nowhere. I was really afraid to miss the last train so I went a little bit earlier even if I was still in the middle of shopping. 

When I arrived my friends had everything prepared and the food was SWEET. It's a custom to eat a lot of sweet stuff, like apples with honey - to wish each other a sweet and good year. So happy New Year, shana tova u'metuka - let it be as interesting as my last was.

אז שנה טובה ומתוקה 

Friday, June 28, 2013


Having a bread baking machine is a great deal for tasty breads exactly the way you want them. I have my own recipe I created and I'm making this bread sonce years. As far as I remember I bought my bread baking machine exactly ten years ago.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Home Made Pizza

A friend of mine stopped by for some Monopoly, so we made a pizza out what I had at home. I don't remember who won, because more than two years past since I took this photo, but I found it on my mobile disc and wanted to post it. It's a normal yeast dough with a tomato sauce (both self made).

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Vegetables with Couscous

LEARNING :) Repeating all the stuff and enjoying the sun. That was my day today. I can't believe that it's only a few weeks left and I am leaving Germany. The time is running so fast! I organised all the papers and made the xtra passport photos. I was asked for 6 extra passport photos. My God are they going to register me in every single ministry and in the secret service aswell???

I had a day-off from work and that's why I enjoyed to stew some vegetables and serve them with couscous. I love couscous (Check on Wikipedia). It's easy, fast and healthy. It's sunny and quite warm so nobody wants fat dishes. Couscous is such a great gift to the World. Thank you to Northern-Africa for that gift. Yummy! How to make it? Easy: stew some vegetables. Prepare the couscous the way it's written on the package and mix it together. Add some herbs, salt and pepper. You can use it as a side dish or enjoy it cold as a kind of salad too. Add some extra olive oil and vinegar to get the salad taste. I added an extra mozzarella I had in the fridge.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lettuce-Tomato Salad

It took me again a while to post something. So I decided to date this post two weeks earlier. Imagine! Finally we have some sun! After April and May when the only thing you needed was a warm jacket, a scarf and an umbrella now we are running into the Summer. I enjoy the evenings in my sunny and warm flat. I enjoy the views to the mountains and everything else. I really love my flat. And I love the taste of lettuce! I could eat it all day long. So I made in only 3 minutes an easy dish: lettuce-tomato salad. I added some pepper and Italian white vinegar and olive oil in proportions 2:3 (two portions vinegar and 3 portions olive oil). I took some ciabatta bread and enjoyed the great evening in the sun.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Burgers with Tofu and Vegetables

Burgers with tofu and vegetables this time. Burgers are always easy to make. You take something as the main ingredient, add some eggs and flour to get the structure, you can add cheese or feta or what ever you want, herbs and spices and just bake them. I don't have one recipe for burgers because it changes every time I make them - it depends on what I actually have at home.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Okay! It's the middle of May and I started my 16th year of being vegetarian. So happy birthday to me! Last year I bought myself a moka pot (watch this post) and here (read more here) I showed you how to cook coffee in this pot. I really can't believe it. Sixteen years... It's now more than the half of my life. I am longer vegetarian than I wasn't.

This year I didn't buy anything for my vegetarian birthday, okay, with one except I pimped my flat with new pictures. But I finalised my abroad stay - booked tickets a week ago and in two months I am leaving. It will be the time of my life. I started counting the days.

The evening with the guys during the "Father's day" was funny! The movie was great - we ate the salad and sandwiches and cake... but the hangover next day was enormous. Funny because we did not drunk too much but I think the mix of sparkling wine and white wine was the killer.

Yeah, so "Happy Vegetarian Birthday" to me.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

April/May - Update

I can't believe it that's been already one month since my last post. The changes my life takes in the last 6 months are impossible to write down. Everything is fine but I am running out of time to cook, take photos and post. Yes, I am cooking and I even made two cakes in the past 4 weeks but where stays the time to post all that yummy things? I'll make it as short as I can and enumerate my excuses. But where should I start?

  1. So many things happened so I will start with the most delicious ones: I discovered a lovely Mongolian restaurant in Frankfurt. I've been there for 4 times with friends in the last 8 weeks. Delicious food!
  2. C.'s uncle makes his own wine. I still did not get the pictures but we enjoyed it about a month ago. Very good and a lot of %%%% really... It was a long and funny evening!
  3. Three more weeks in April I needed to finish my paper. 11.000 words. I also finished my final legal thesis. 100 pages (without appendices and formality) of work in family law. I mastered it! And I am proud - very proud I can't hide it and I don't want to hide it! I killed a bottle of Henkell! I think very soon I'll have completed my second major. Yeah... I was crazy enough to study two different majors - now I want to see certificates of finishing both studies. Yiha!
  4. "Chris tell me, what are you planing to do with your Frankfurt flat?". Yes, that's my second big success... I'm leaving Germany. Okay, at first for two months. But it's a longer story. About one year ago I decided that I want to leave Germany [my beloved country and fatherland] but I can't stand the climate here any longer. Since I have no other plans and I am free in my decisions, I thought: come on, work hard and live your dream. Am I living my dream? It just had started and I am very nervous. Leaving the country was no option before and leaving the continent is a big step. But I had a very long discussion with C. about this issue and I remember one thing that's burned-in my brain "use the chance, live there for two months and open every possible door. After two months you will know if that is what you really want for your future". Wise words and I am going to do exactly that thing! I already made experiences in living abroad. Okay, it was Europe but I was crazy enough to try something new. And I loved my decision. Why should it be different this time? Maybe because of the enormous changes? Maybe. Only God knows. I will try my small experience and I promised myself to close my chapter here in the next 2-3 years. If I'll see myself in my new country I will close what's open here and if not, I can always change my plans. To be honest I am sure it will work. The whole evening I hear strange songs on the radio. "LA International Airport", "I'm so excited", "Leaving On a Jet Plane" and "Hollywood Hills" and so on. Always when I realize that the composition of the songs during one evening is something like "strange" I had big changes in my life after a while. And today was one of those days... In the next days I'll book my flight tickets and in two months I am leaving for "try number one". Will I still say "bye bye Germany" after I am back? Keep me the fingers crossed - that's what I wish the most for my future. So my dearest friend, I'm keeping my small Frankfurt flat for a while. But who knows what the future will bring? It was always very unforeseeable in my case.
  5. Last week I made a cake - it was an own creation, I mixed two different recipes and the cake was great. The recipe will follow soon, the pictures you can find below.
  6. I made a cake for my boss and my coworkers today. I want to get indemnified from work for the time I am going abroad and my co-workers will have to do my job for me in that time. I am sure they will all love my cake when I'll bring it tomorrow. 
  7. We are going with friends for a weekend to Warsaw (Poland) in two weeks. We have a very straight plan and we have to follow it. I already mentioned I studied a second major and our institute decided to explore the city. I could skip this trip. I've been for a couple of times in Warsaw and I really can't stand the city anymore. Big, nervous, dirty... But the decision was made and after one of my former profs said "Chris you are coming with us FOR SURE" - I said yes and you know what? I'll visit it this time with good friends and I don't have to care about anything. Great, why not? As long as I don't have to stay and live there, why not? So Warsaw here I come. And I am also VERY happy to meet my old friend who lives there. Yiha!
  8. There was some more news I forgot now... So I'll stop here and post the pictures of the cakes I made last week and today. Enjoy!
  9. PS. Oh I know! I AM 16 YEARS VEGETARIAN THIS MONTH!!! I'm going shopping on Wednesday. I want to buy a present for myself - it's been a long tradition until now! But now, watch the pics.

My own creation (the recipe will follow)

The cake for my co-workers

Thursday, April 4, 2013

About Müsli & Breakfasts

In this post you will find some information about breakfast customs around the world and making own Müsli. Okay, you maybe know it as Muesli, in the South and in Switzerland they write it Müesli, but I'll keep the standart German way of orthography.

Every country and every continent has its own customs for breakfasts. The more North people live and the rougher the climate is the more fat and opulent the breakfasts are. That's one of those wisdoms I learned on my trips around Europe and the Wikipedia article - READ IT HERE. Here in Germany or better said in Central Europe where I was born and raised we are blessed with the influence of different cuisines and customs. Every one can pick out exactly that kind of breakfast that fits to ones personal lifestyle habits. What is a typical German breakfast? Let's start with the point that a lot of people and I know a lot of friends of mine never have breakfast. But generalised said coffee or tea and buns and bread with marmalade, cheese or cold cuts are common. My parents use to have such breakfasts and sometimes also scrambled eggs or sausages. My stomach rebels when I only think about having scrambled eggs or something opulent in the morning. Maybe it's because of my Mediterranean way of life and the fact that I am a night owl and for the first 3 hours after I wake up I feel like a body, how my friend calls it. It's midnight, Deutschlandfunk I am listening just played our national anthem and now the anthem of Europe - "normal" people are already sleeping and me, the night owl is drinking coffee and writing on my blog.

My breakfasts are totally different. During the week I never leave the house without having eaten something. Monday to Friday I have Müsli with milk (very rare cornflakes) and 3 hours later a second breakfast - a sandwich with cheese or a piece of cake. I always split my breakfasts in two parts. It's not because I wanted it, it's because I was taught to do so since my childhood. My dad always ate hearty dishes for breakfast, my mom a roll with marmalade and coffee or tea and I HAD TO eat Müsli or cornflakes. How I hated it when I was a child. I got a bowl with cornflakes and the order to eat. I think it was one of those few things I ate, because I was a horrible eater for the let's say 14 first years of my life. Sorry mom and dad! But later I kept that system and now I enjoy my bowl of Müsli. I get up much earlier I would have to, I drink my coffee, eat my my Müsli and read the newspapers in the morning. In the Summertime I enjoy it on my balcony watching the beautiful Taunus mountains directly at the gates of the city.

During the weekend I never ever have Müsli - Saturday is my bread/crossaint and marmalade and coffee day and Sundays I usually skip the breakfast because I am used to stay a little bit longer in bed and having lunch at noon with granny.

I am mixing my Müsli by myself. I would never take to my mouth that mixtures you can buy in the super market. They stink! Really! I can't stand that smell. On the other had they're full of additives, sugar and raisins. And if there's something I hate more than winter, that would be for sure raisins, especially wet raisins. HORROR!!! So today I bought rolled oats, some seeds I like (pumpkin seeds), almonds and nuts and fruits (today papaya) and I mixed my Müsli in just few minutes. In the morning I'll add a chopped banana and hot milk and I will have the perfect breakfast for me. I do not add sugar or honey - I don't need and like it, I enjoy the taste of the oats.

I have no idea if it's cheaper than buying that stuff in the grocery. I don't care about it I only know that I get exactly what I like and in amounts I can define myself. But wait, I'll take a look on the shopping bill... Okay, so I'm back. This time I took: rolled oats (1000g), walnuts (200g), almonds (100g), papaya (100g), pumpkin seeds (250g). All together I payed 11 € for the ingredients and I got 1650g Müsli. That's around 3,4 lb Müsli - yeah, that's cheaper than that ready sh*t. Good to know. Because my IKEA jar fits only 1 1/2 lb I used the half of the ingredients I wrote above. The left-overs I put into a hermetic bowl. I'll just mix them with that last package of rolled oats when I'll finish this portion in two weeks. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pimp My Flat for Easter

Weekend. Saturday before Easter. I can stay at home and enjoy it. More ore less. I'm working on my thesis - I want to have it finished until Tuesday. The weather's still horrible. No sun, still that arctic cold winds from Scandinavia and Russia. When will it end? Dear God of weather - here I am! Don't forget about me! I want real spring and not Christmas during Easter.

1) Anyway I went shopping last week and I decided to "pimp" my flat. First of all I reorganised that horrible corner in my corridor - the one I wanted to have a built-in closet for my shoes and other stuff I don't want to bring to the attic. But let's be honest, it's a rented flat. I don't want to invest too much money here for stuff I will have to remove anyway when I move out. So I'll buy a normal shelf which I can take with me one day. For the moment I had to organise the corner a little bit to get an overview of all that shoes I have. After pair no. 21 I stopped counting them. It's unbelievable how many shoes one can have! But I generally have too much clothes which I lodge in two closets in the flat, on the attic and I as well have some stuff in the flat of granny. After the "hard work" I made gnocchi - I'll post the recipe and photos later.

2) I was in the city centre having some time only for myself so I bought some new stuff for the flat. This time I was borne up and did not buy any new clothes. Spring should come soon so I bought a new fruit basket by Villeroy & Boch (company's website). It looks great and I filled it with lemons yesterday. It's a nice accent in my flat.

3) I bought a stool for my kitchen. I wanted a small one which would be adjustable in height. IKEA used to have the Svenerik but after I wanted to buy it I found out they're not selling it anymore. But because I am quite smart guy I searched on Ebay and found out that a company from Hamburg is still selling that IKEA model. All together I payed only 35€ and it came two days after I ordered it online. Now I can take a sit while cooking and the stool fits very good with my small kitchen table.

4) Next week we're renting a transporter together with a friend and we're going to IKEA for big shopping to pimp our flats with new sofas and book shelves.

5) This year I have no time to go home for Easter so I'm staying in my flat and tomorrow I'll have lunch with granny. A few minutes ago I got a call from my mother who was searching for the mixer... My mom in the kitchen... My cousin came over and they're baking together a cake for Easter. I was speechless and told the ladies to leave it... After I said "For heaven's sake and God speed you..." I only heard "...we love you too. Goodbye!" and my mom hung up the phone. I think now I have to send flowers to both of them ;) Yeah, it's never boring in my family. Okay, I'm back to my writing work.

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Quark Paste/Dip with Dried Tomatoes

Easy³. Delicious³!!! All you need is some quark (or take the white Philadelphia cheese), some dried tomatoes, some herbs (oregano, basil), pepper, some concentrated tomatoes paste, some yogurt for a lighter consistence or even more to get a dip and - everything else you wish. I took some sunflower seeds. Mix everything in the food processor. Add salt or spices if you want and [wait for it....] ENJOY. Max 5 minutes! Great antipasti to Italian bread or [let me think a while...] as a paste for a veggie hamburger.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cooking in a Pressure Cooker

I'd like to introduce you one of the greatest inventions ever: a pressure cooker. There's a great article on Wikipedia (check it here), so I am not going to repeat it with my own words again:

"Pressure cooking is the process of cooking food, using water or other cooking liquid, in a sealed vessel — known as a pressure cooker, which does not permit air or liquids to escape below a pre-set pressure. Pressure cookers are used for cooking food quicker than conventional cooking methods, which also saves energy.
Pressure cookers heat food quickly because the internal steam pressure from the boiling liquid causes saturated steam (or "wet steam") to bombard and permeate the food. Thus, higher temperature water vapour (i.e., increased energy), which transfers heat more rapidly compared to dry air, cooks food very quickly.

Pressure cooking allows food to be cooked with greater humidity and higher temperatures than possible with conventional boiling or steaming methods. In an ordinary non-pressurised cooking vessel, the boiling point of water is 100 °C (212 °F) at standard pressure; the temperature of food is limited by the boiling point of water because excess heat causes boiling water to vaporize into steam. In a sealed pressure cooker, the boiling point of water increases as the pressure rises, resulting in superheated water. At a pressure of 15 psi (103 kPa) above atmospheric pressure, water in a pressure cooker can reach a temperature of up to 121 °C (250 °F).

Pressure is created initially by boiling a liquid such as water or broth inside the closed pressure cooker. The trapped steam increases the internal pressure and temperature. After use, the pressure is slowly released so that the vessel can be safely opened.
Pressure cooking can be used to quickly simulate the effects of long braising or simmering.
Almost any food which can be cooked in steam or water-based liquids can be cooked in a pressure cooker."

I'm using pressure cookers since about 8 years nearly every second day and I can't imagine cooking without them. I have, well, hmmm at least 3 in different sizes (1/2 gallon up to 1 1/2 gallon) in my kitchen and I think several more on the attic. I'm using them usually for cooking potatoes or soups or beans which take max 40 minutes to be done. Cooking potatoes is very easy - I use about 8 fl. oz of water for 4 pounds potatoes and I use a special sieve, so that the potatoes cook in steam and not in water. The trick with the pressure cooker is that for the first few minutes you add the maximal power your stove can produce until the indicator comes out to the second level. Then the power has to be minimized and from this moment on you count about 4-5 minutes and switch the stove off. After 5 more minutes you des-steam the cooker and after the indicator falls back to its normal position and no steam comes out, it's possible and safe to open the cooker. 

Some people are afraid about pressure cookers (my mom would never ever try it herself) and that they might "explode". No, if the cooker is used properly, nothing can happen. Before starting cooking it's good to check the indicator if it works properly and that's all. Modern pressure cookers have safety pop valves and if there's too much steam or you forget to minimize the power first the main indicator will de-steam the cooker and if there's still too much pressure the second pop valve will start its job. That's the case in my Fissler pressure cookers. All my pressure cookers are quality ware from Fissler - in this case I would never ever buy a no-name product. This are older models but work fine since a lot of years and to be honest the pressure cooker you can see is about 25 years old and it's used in second generation. Once every 2 years I change the gasket of the cooker - I pay around 10€ online or 17€ in every good household shop which sells Fissler products (and that's the case of nearly every shop here in Germany).

If you're looking for a pressure cooker pay attention to buy a good brand product so you can be sure to be able to re-buy all the gaskets and parts in the next 30 years. In case of quality I still believe in our "Made in Germany" products so if I had to buy a new pressure cooker I would take a Fissler (Fissler Website), WMF (WMF Website) or Silit (Silit Website) (belongs to WMF) one - my first joice would be a Fissler of course. Yes, they are expensive but you can be sure that you will have a pot for the next 30 years. Below I'll add some videos of Fissler and WMF pressure cookers. The new ones are very modern and high-tech but to be honest also the older older models do a great job and finally they all work technically the same. And no, nor Fissler or WMF are paying me for making advertisement for them (I wished!!) - I'm only writing about things I personally know and I am sure they are really good high-end quality. So dear Fissler-guys, if you're reading my blog: I'd like to test some of the newest pressure cookers you sell. Get in touch with me and let me share that experiences with the world outside.

I made some collages of the cooking steps I wrote before - I was cooking potatoes and Brussels sprouts at the same time. Usually I could take a second sieve which I would place directly over the potatoes - that's great if you want to cook some vegetables too, but in this case I went lazy (yeah, the dish washer was nearly full and I didn't want to clean it up by hand) and I cooked the potatoes together with the Brussels sprouts in one sieve. And no, the potatoes did not get the taste of the Brussels sprouts and vice verse. 

If I am not using the pressure function of my pots I take a normal lid and use the pots as every other pot. Don't worry about the bayonet coupling on the side of the pot, it has NO influence on the cooking function and in case of pressure cooking, it keeps the cooker's lid on the right place and closes it hermetically.

Here are the videos I found on youtube about pressure cookers:

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pushkin the [not] Vegetarian Gourmet

I was laughing so much after my dad sent me by e-mail the latest pictures of our Brit Pushkin especially because it fits so much to my blog - Pushkin the [not] vegetarian gourmet is waiting for his cat's meal. No, it's a joke - he has his own cat's plates but maybe he was thinking something like "come on guys, you're going to have something delicious at the table, why do I have to take my meals in the bathroom? - I am a part of the family" ;)

PS. Our cat, as the one before him, is named after the great Russian writer Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (Wikipedia). I've always liked the Russian literature and I am so sorry that I never learned Russian to be able to read it in original. Meanwhile it's a tradition in our family to give our animals Russian names. Our last German Shepherd was called "Boris" and I am the one who is the Godfather for our dogs and cats.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Let's Have a Celebration!

Today, 9 AM - the message! I am so happy for you! I kept my fingers crossed the whole morning and after work it was time to celebrate it! A delicious Henkell sparkling wine was the perfect conclusion and companion. It was proud to celebrate it together and I know things changed for good in this case. It's time to open a new chapter. So, "Prost!"

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Delicious Caffè Latte

As you know if you're following my blog - I LOVE COFFEE. I love it in the morning, I love it in the afternoon and I love it at midnight. I had a difficult question to answer this midnight: coffee or tea. Usually I cook coffee the fast way in my moka pot - check this post of mine I'm adding some milk and voilà. But today I decided to use those 3 minutes until the coffee is ready and I warmed some milk up which I foamed a little bit with a wire whisk. I poured the milk into a glass and added the coffee. If I foamed it for a while longer and poured the coffee slower I would get a perfect milk-coffee-foam mixture. But anyway it does not look so bad at all if you bear in mind that a) it was exactly 12:20 am, b) I went lazy, c) it took me exactly 3 minutes to prepare everything.

Be sure the coffee is delicious! I'm sipping it right now. If you take normal coffee you prepared in a coffee machine and foam some milk and serve it in a bowl, you will get a great café au lait. That's the difference to the caffé latte I made - the way how much you foam the milk, the way you prepare the coffee and the way you serve it. It was a second question I had to answer: Do I want it the French or the Italian way. I decided to go Italian. But at the end it's just a delicious and simple coffee with milk.

Since I quit using my electric espresso machine and nearly all other electric kitchen devices except the food processor I am getting better and better in doing things manually and finding ways to increase the speed of the stuff I am cooking. God bless my gas stove! Ciao!

Update 29th March 2013: Second try - now it looks the way it should look like!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Schupfnudeln With Scrambled Eggs

Working day at home - finally I got bored of reading and working on legal questions about bioethics and hungry as a wolf I run to the supermarket. And look what I bought for the fastest and easiest one-dish-meal for my lunch: some German Schupfnudeln (Wikipedia), some salad and Harissa I told you about last week and which disappeared during one evening at C. Schupfnudeln are kind of potato dumplings you can make or buy and just have to warm up in some water on in a pan. I totally love them. 

I know potato dumplings from my home. They were a traditional side dish to nearly everything connected to meat in the province I grew up. Usually the next day they were cut small and prepared with scrambled eggs. I totally loved that meatless day when I was a kid! So if you have some dumplings left, you can use the left overs to prepare something as delicious I had today. It's easy and fast to bake the dumplings for a while in the pan, I added some garlic and salt as well and later you just have to add the eggs and keep it on the stove top for a while. So cooking my lunch took me about 10 minutes. I made the salad in the meantime the pieces were roasting. As dressing I took two pieces of olive oil and one piece of aceto balsamico, some pepper and herbs. The easiest way to make a delicious dressing. And you can believe me, it's healthier than the dressings you can buy in the supermarket. Have you ever seen the list of ingredients there? I had - last week after I had a discussion with my friend about home made dressing and that ready stuff. Making a dressing takes 20 seconds... No, I definitely do not need the whole list of the "E's" (European "E" list of additives in food we just call "E's" and everyone knows what we mean about this (Wikipedia)) in something as simple as a dressing. 

As you see, I also have not always time to cook everything from the beginning and sometimes I use some food you I find in the supermarket - but I am trying to buy that most easiest dishes I know they are without the "E's" and from which I can create something different and maybe (?) healthy. I also love the idea of simple life. It does not matter that while having my lunch I was watching on the fabulous skyline of Frankfurt and the airplanes which are thundering nearly every 30 seconds over my house. Imagine at the same time I was enjoying that "big city view" I also saw the big tree in front of my house and I saw some birds. I think the spring is coming really soon. The first birds are arriving back to Germany. You can find them on the last picture. Is that not a great BIT of simple life watching the animals behind the windows? Sorry for the quality but today it's a very cloudy afternoon.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

How To Make Coffee in a Moka Pot

We had a lovely day - it was sunny and I enjoyed the afternoon. After it got dark I saw how clear the air is and that I have a perfect view on the skyline the city centre and our mountains. I always liked those lights of the city as I call it and I enjoy just watching it. So I thought it would be nice to make some coffee, switch off the lights in my flat, the radio and take a sit at the table of my dinette in front of the big windows of my living room and just watch the views. It was a time out after the past week and a time out before the week will end. No lights in the flat no noises. GREAT.

But talking about coffee - I must confess that I am an addicted coffee drinker. I usually drink 3-4 mugs of coffee a day which makes something around 2 pints. It's a lot I know but I really savour every mug. I am one of those few people who drink coffee because of it's taste and not because they need it to wake up. Coffee effects on me exactly the opposite of why usually people drink it. So I enjoy my last coffee short before I go to bed and I can sleep like a baby. Lucky me!

And now let's go back to the main topic: making coffee. For a long time I used my electric De'Longhi espresso machine I got from my parents a decade ago. I still own the machine and it works fine but I hate cleaning it, so I quit using it for making coffee maybe a year ago. For a long time I just put coffee powder to a mug, added water and drunk it that way. But finally a year ago I discovered how great moka pots for a stove work. So I bought one and I started cooking my coffee this way. It takes exactly 3 minutes on the gas stove until my coffee is ready. If you want to know more about moka pots, check this Wikipedia article. The preparation is easy. Pour water to the pot, put the metal sieve into the pot and add coffee. Put the can on the pot and bolt the parts together. The last step is to put the pot on the stove and wait a couple of minutes until the coffee is ready. It's enough for one mug (250-300ml)

There are special coffee powders you can use in a moka pot. I usually buy only two brands of coffee. The Dallmayr Prodomo which is 100% Arabica (Dallmayr Website) or the Eilles Gourmet Café (Darboven Website). Both brands are traditional German firms with a long history and experience in blending coffee. Next time I'd like to try a new one - a special blend for the Viennese Mélange I had at a friend's and which was very tasty. That blend works fine with the moka pots. Take a look at the pictures and the video below.  

And here's finally a short video of the last seconds before the coffee was ready. Don't worry, it's safe since there is a safety valve on the pot's side. Can you smell that coffee allready??

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Last Week Food Update

I realised that I with the except of the last post about energy I haven't posted any updates of my latest food since a week. To be honest there was not too much to post because I was very busy so I was cooking fast dishes which you can already find on my blog. Last week was long and when I arrived home I only wanted to relax. But finally on Monday which was my free day I decided to fill up my fridge with some delicious stuff. It was the first time since long that I went to the grocery without that usual hectic. There's a nice grocery just a couple of minutes walk from my home which sells as well a lot of food from all over the world. It's not a discounter but a normal supermarket I like a much. I'm buying my food since a long time there and I nearly know all the vendors and the cashier ladies so we always have a small talk or exchange some recipes (!!!). When I had some problems with my health one of them gave me a great idea for a ginger syrup. And yes, it worked!

I walked through the shop and found out that there's a big offer of Levantine and middle Eastern food as well as food from the Mediterranean. I bought two different kinds of ajwar (Wikipedia) because I wanted to try which one fits better to me. But the most happy I was about the harissa (Wikipedia) which is a hot oriental chili-paste. But this one was made for the European market, so I think it's the reason that's not as spicy I thought it will be. I like it, but I know that I'll buy the next one in my favourite Arab grocery in the city. I also filled my fridge with delicious Turkish vine leaves with rice and I bought a can of chickpeas because I want to make Hummus in the next days. And finally I also bought some delicious grana padano cheese (Wikipedia). So be sure I'll perform some magic menu in the next days out of this ingredients. I think it's my desire for sun and warm and not cloudy days that brought me to the idea to buy Mediterranean and Oriental food. Today I cooked some vegetables soup - the grana padano fits very good to the soup. 

And last week at work two of my colleagues had birthday so they brought some cakes and cup cakes. We enjoyed the tea/coffee time and I took some pics. Special thanks to S. who took the pictures and as well after knowing about my blog, sent me some pictures from the party she gave a few days before in her place. Everything looks delicious!

Today we're having a guys evening with some DVD-films or the latest episodes of HIMYM at my friend's place. So I am taking the harissa with me and I am already wondering how the guys will like that spicy paste. They're not used to that Oriental food I am. But we are ordering some pizzas for the evening (yes, this time I am not cooking and we're going lazy - take away pizzas at an Italian's) and the harissa will fit so great to pizza. Yummy!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ecology & Environment: ENERGY (I)

This time I'd like to write about ecology and environment issues which, if you're following my blog, are a very important topic to me. My vegetarianism does not only mean that I am skipping meat in my meals - my vegetarianism is a way of life, way of thinking and handling and vegetarianism and ecology always went hand in had for me. It's the second day I am writing on this article and I finally made the concept. I would like to split my ecology-ideas into a couple of smaller articles connected to a special issue. This post will be about saving energy, energy waste and the energy labelling system in the European Union.

Lately I read a few articles about ecology and environment issues in Europe, written by foreigners who are or were living here. It was interesting to read what do people from other countries think about our view on this issue and how we Europeans handle with this topic. I thought it might be a good idea to write an article from the view of an insider who not only lives here but is very involved in saving our blue planet. So let's start with the the energy labelling. 


There are some specific rules the European Union decided to enact and they are obligatory to all the 27 member countries. One of them is the idea of not wasting energy and resources. Every single country has a different system of recycling which maybe works better or worse than in the neighbour state but at the end it all comes back to the decrees made by Brussels. And I totally agree that it's useful and needful for us all. Our countries are small and only working together we have the chance not to CHANGE the continent to a big dustbin. One of the most important and I would risk to say, most useful acts was the former European Community directive 92/75/EC, since 2011 replaced by the European Union directive 2010/30/EU. The act from 1992 established a single labelling system of energy use for electronic and electric devices on our single market. This act is binding for the whole Union. Buying a toaster, or even a normal bulb somewhere between Portugal and Finland or Ireland and Cyprus you can be sure to find this label. Every EU-citizen can easily know, understand and check the energy consumption of the device. On Wikipedia you can read the following:

„The directive was implemented by several other directives thus most white goods, light bulb packaging and cars must have an EU Energy Label clearly displayed when offered for sale or rent. The energy efficiency of the appliance is rated in terms of a set of energy efficiency classes from A to G on the label, A being the most energy efficient, G the least efficient. The labels also give other useful information to the customer as they choose between various models. The information should also be given in catalogues and included by internet retailers on their websites.
In an attempt to keep up with advances in energy efficiency, A+, A++ and A+++ grades were later introduced for various products; since 2010, a new type of label exists that makes use of pictograms rather than words, in order to allow manufacturers to use a single label for products sold in different countries.“

You can find the whole article about it on WIKIPEDIA.

That's true that appliances with an A+++ grade are the most expensive ones but it's worth not to buy the cheapest ones. At the end the consumer has to pay the costs saved while buying a cheaper appliance via the energy costs. It means it's not only that one does not save money, but also the usage of energy is higher and THAT means we need more power plants, more resources like gas, oil or coal to produce more energy. With every ton coal, litre oil or cubic meter of gas the planet is being more and more polluted. It's a circle. The only way to escape is making a cut and trying to think a little bit before buying something new would really help our planet.

Some people might say that they do not have the money to buy high-end products. But let be honest, it's the same people who own one, two three iPhones, several computers or two cars. Does a single person really has the need to own the latest Apple baby? The old mobile would do the same job and for 400 Euros you can buy here a good A++ appliance. Maybe I am an exception thinking this way.
There's nothing bad about having enough money to be able to effort almost everything we want but do we really NEED it? And yes, money gives us some social and personal security, no question but I see absolutely no reason in investing it buying a new mobile which is just a bit newer than the three we already own. Anyway, back to the main topic – no excuses. Buying next time a home appliance, don't go cheap, think about ecology and if you're still trying to argue with the „no money“ excuse. Think about all that money you waste somewhere else, like buying the 20th pair of jeans you will never wear...


I mentioned before that saving some money buying a cheaper appliance will finally end with a surprise we call the energy bill. The prices for energy are rising year by year. You still don't believe me? Let's check it out.
About two years ago I was wondering how much money do I really spend on all that bills for energy. I took the old bills and started learning Excel. I also started to check the usage of gas and electricity at the end of the month and wrote it down. On the other hand I checked all my electric appliances wanting to know what their energy usage, EU-energy-class they are and how can I do something for the planet (and my wallet). Because I kept all the old bills over the years I saw that my gas and my electricity usage is nearly the same year by year. So I accepted the challenge and started being active.


First of all I bought energy saving light bulbs for my complete flat and banned the halogen bulbs which were nice but used MASSES of energy. I am also not that kind of person who switches off every single lamp while leaving the room (in this case I am not a good example for an ecology activist...). During the winter I need a lot of light and I am burning every single lamp in my flat to feel better. I think that every single person has to find his own balance between things that are important to someone's views and the personal comfort of life.


After I saw a report on TV and heard that electrical appliances also use energy even if they're off – I mean in the stand-by mode, I bought a couple of multiple sockets with a switch-off button. I grouped the appliances like TV, Hi-Fi system, the DVD-player, the pay-TV-decoder and the Internet router into one socket and started to switch it off for the night and the most of the time during the day when I am outside the house. It worked fine because I didn't have to switch every appliance separately and by pushing only one button they all left the standby at one time. Later I discovered that there are multiple sockets you can switch-on and off with a remote control. That's the best invention ever! The remote lies on my couch table and I do not have to crick myself trying to reach the socket somewhere under the table or behind the TV. That change means that all those appliances are only on for around 7 hours when I am at home in the evening and the other 17 hours they are off and not wasting energy for the stand-by. It means, in a year, they're off for about 6205 hours – hours they would use energy for the stand-by. Not only that I am saving the planet this way, I am sure it has an influence on my electricity bill. How much, I am not sure I never tried to summarise it. Maybe I would also check this if I had to count every cent twice. Luckily I don't have so I don't want to waste my time on things like that.

Would you believe that according to that TV report about the standby, also other home appliances like an ordinary toaster use energy only because of being connected to the socket? I realised that I use my toaster rarely, maybe once a week. We Europeans are crazy on technical news and gadgets in our home appliances and so was I crazy enough to buy an expensive one with functions I never used, additional lamps and every possible bric-à-brac. So I just started to take the connector out of the socket outlet. Buying that in-crowd toaster was a waste of money (and I think energy as well) and I would never do it again. A „normal“ one would do exactly the same job.



After my old dish washer gave up I bought an energy class A+ one. After one year the usage I discovered that I use less energy than the years before. But I'll write about it later.


If you have a garden, an attic, do you really need an electric dryer? I'm sure you have more than only one pair of trousers and two sweaters you need exactly after they're washed. If you have children or old people you have to take care on, or it's winter it's maybe useful. But in every other case, have you ever thought about drying your laundry in the back-yard, on the attic or just on the balcony during hot summer days? In the winter I'm drying my laundry on the attic on a dryer like those on the picture and some laundry lines. It takes only two days. During the summer I keep it on the balcony – it's done in 3 hours when the afternoon sun shines into my flat. My parents and people I know do the same. In the summer they dry the laundry in the garden and in the winter they leave it over night in the fire-place room or hand it on the attic. The best is: you really do not need ANY energy for that process, the clothes suffer less and finally you can use them for a longer time. I'd like to mention that electric dryers are not very common in German flats. I don't know how it looks like in other European countries but I think it's the same. Think about Italian films and that specific „southern vibe“ with the „dolce vita“ and so on. Do you remember that laundry-lines outside the windows? It's also a part of that flair. I saw that system in other South-European countries. Skipping using electric dryers if we could survive without – helps our planet a much.


Depending on the place you live it might be also a question if you need an air conditioning system in your house or flat. I saw no reason to install an air conditioner in my flat. I'm living at latitude 50°N... If it does not sounds common to you, so take a look where cities like Regina/Saskatchewan, Calgary, or Winnipeg in Canada are and what climate they have. And then imagine, that it's the heart of Germany and over us we still have the half of our country and higher even Denmark and even higher there is Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland). Only because of the ocean, the Azores High and the Gulf Stream we're out of the continental climate Russia or the mentioned Canadian cities i.e. have. Otherwise we would be living like polar bears here. On the other hand I love the heat and hot summers – so I don't care if there's 30°C in my sunny flat. If you have an air conditioner, maybe you could pay attention that it's being serviced once a year – I can imagine that could lower its energy usage.


The same story like with the dish washer. Take a look on the energy and water usage. Modern front loaders can be EU energy label A+++ and use a small amount of water. Mine uses 10 gallons water for 12 pounds of dry laundry. It may take about 2 hours until the laundry is ready but it's enough of time for the detergents to work – if you do so, you need less chemistry for your laundry. And saving water should also be an important issue to us. But that will be a different post in this ecology series I'd like to start.


At last but not least I would like to talk about costs. For sure, every country has different prices but I can for sure say that Germany and the EU is an expensive place to live. Even the prices in the Eastern countries of the Union for energy or water are rising rapidly. So I'd like to give you some examples out of my own experience, so that you're able to compare the prices in the place/city/country you live to Western Germany.


Actually I have a yearly usage of around 1000 kWh (3.412.141 BTU) of electric energy. That's not a lot, because it's said that a single household in a flat like mine uses around 1500 kWh (5.118.212 BTU) a year. I realised that since I have the new dishwasher and the energy saving bulbs the energy usage decreased nearly by 30%. That small amount of energy I use results only because I'm heating my flat with gas and I have a gas stove for cooking.
One kilowatt hour (3412 BTU) costs around 0,24 €/0,32 US$ (VAT and ecology tax are included) + monthly basic charge between 5-10 €/7-14US$.

2. GAS

Gas is much cheaper than electricity – you pay around 0,08 €/0,11 US$ for 1 kWh/3412 BTU. I also think that's the most efficient way to use energy. Using gas it's using a primary source (i.e. for central heating). Using electricity for central heating means burning a primary source to produce electricity. Those electricity has to be transported and later the same energy is being used to produce heat. It's like using the double amount of a source for one and the same reason. 


Don't ask me about my gas usage because I know it's a horror for the environment. I live in an old house which was build in 1951 with a very bad (or better said WITHOUT ANY) thermal insulation. I moved into my flat short before I started my first year at the university. So the question of thermal insulation was not a question then. My parents decided that under no circumstances I will move into a student dorm and I was happy that they paid my rent. As years passed by, my granny moved to my house and also the neighbours are nothing special but they're okay – and so I stayed here and kept my flat even after I had the possibility to move somewhere else. I think I would miss my flat, the views, the sunsets, the mountains and the nature and everything nearly in the centre of the city.
Later I realised that the house I am living is more than an energy waster. We have a decentral central heating system here. Every flat has its own gas combi-boiler in the bathroom (warm water and central heating). The advantage of this system is that I can manage the central heating exactly the way I want it. Two cold days in the summer? No problem, I push a button and the central heating in my flat is on. I like this comfort. I have a yearly usage of about 10.000 kWh gas which means I need around 250 kWh/m². According to the newest standards in Germany which are binding for everyone who builds a new house the energy usage should be max. between 70-100 kWh/m² - not to mention the idea of the Passivhaus (Wikipedia). It means with my usage of energy for central heating I would be able to heat a flat that is double and a half as big as mine is. The money I safe in my rent which is of course much lower because of the lack on thermal insulation than elsewhere I have to pay for gas. But my heart is bleeding when I imagine what energy waste it is. A couple of days ago I met my landlord outside and he told me that my house will be modernised (new windows, thermal insulation) and it was one of those reasons I decided to write this post. It brought me to the idea to write something about energy waste – things we have influence on (the beginning of my post) and things we can nothing for (energy waste because the house is not properly thermal insulated). 

According to the German federal law the landlords have the right to claim 11% of the modernisation costs from the tenants. The tenants have to be informed about a modernisation in a letter three months before the works begin. In my case it would mean a rent rise around 40 € a month. But on the other side it's natural that my gas usage will decrease – I checked it, I should pay 40 € less a month. At the end I will maybe pay a couple of Euros more for the comfort of a modernised house and the good feeling that I am not wasting energy only because the building is old and fits no modern standards. And I am really willing to pay that money because I know that I'll be doing something for the planet.


I hope you enjoyed my detailed ecology report. I tried to describe some important issues and the way we handle them in Germany and in the EU. I'd like to add that because of different taxes and the very high energy costs, we are more or less forced to do energy saving. Some people might do it because they want to safe some money, and some (like me) are trying to change something and pay attention to ecology issues. If you read my ABOUT, you will know that I was trained on ecology issues since my early childhood. Next time I'll be writing about cars, mass transport and fuel prices in Germany and the EU.

Additional note: All prices: February 2013.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Old Fashioned Pound Cake

While I was surfing last week on the Internet and Facebook - Click here to check my Facebook-Page - I found an interesting and fast recipe for a pound cake. I thought it might be a nice idea to try something new (not always my Milan cake), just a coffee cake maybe for lunch at the office or for my granny or just for fun. I had a very busy week and at its end I was on the best way in getting a cold. Yes, I was getting but I had luck and did not. I jumped into my bed at the very first symptoms and today, after two days I spent in bed, I am luckily the good old guy. And I am bored because I had to cancel a date with a friend today. I thought it might be better to stay at home for one day more. 

After I read a lot, watched a lot of TV, had lunch with granny, I thought the idea with baking a cake will be the right thing for the early and very rainy evening. I started short before the sunset and before the blue hour started - Mixing the cake I could see people walking with umbrellas on the street. Yes... the rain is back. Temperatures around +5°C and rain... Except Tuesday I know I will have a very hard week - it's an exception but I am prepared for my monster week ;)

You'll find the recipe for the Old Fashioned Pound Cake by clicking here. Because I am a fan of kitchen scales, I converted the amount of flour - it's 9 oz flour (270g) and two sticks of butter (great! I had to check what two US sticks of butter are!) are exactly 230 g butter (+/- 8 oz). Finally I made the cake and imagine what (a friendly wink to a blogger friend!) I didn't burn the cake. I tend to burn cakes sometimes but I learned that the best thing for baking in old gas ovens are baking pans made of glass. Since I use them: no burned cakes anymore.

And here's a lovely song by Samira Dadashi "Vienna's Calling Me". I can't get the lyrics and the sound out of my head in the last days. I know I left my heart in Vienna so that's normal, that I still have Vienna on my mind. And talking about Vienna - what do you thing how great that cake would fit with Viennese Melange coffee...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Vegetables Casserole & Bratkartoffeln

This time a short picture update of some stuff I made since my last update. First of all I made some Bratkartoffeln, some baked potatoes you cook first, keep cool down, peel and later bake in a pan with some salt, pepper, garlic. As you can see I was using my new cast iron skillet that's going to bake everytime better and better.

My second dish was a fast casserole with bread I wanted to use. I could make it the lasagna style but I run out of lasagna plates and because feeling sick in the last two days, I am not leaving my flat. I used deep frozen vegetables and I made some tomato sauce with garlic. To the vegetables which I stewed for 10 minute sin a pan, I added herbs, garlic and a package of cottage cheese. I put the casserole for 20 minutes to the oven. Both dishes were delicious. The other good news are: even I feel a little bit dizzy and narcotized because of the medicine I take, I feel much better than yesterday when I spent the whole day in the bed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winter Wonderland

Dear Readers! Have you ever tried self-made ice? I haven't. I was always too afraid of salmonellae in eggs that I always tried to avoid it. And I am not an ice lover. But what brought me to this idea? The weather! 

The first thing I saw when I got up was a white blanket of snow that covered the World outside my windows. After the rain yesterday and temperatures around 0°C/32°F I thought it might be glaze ice today. But no! It was snowing during the night. As I said I am not in ice (and snow is somehow ice...) but there was something magic about it. My great mood of the last weeks keeps me smiling and I smiled seeing that snow outside! Really! It's not very common that we have snow here. We're here under the influence of the maritime climate with warm (sometimes hot) Summers and not too cold winters with a lot of rain and fog and temperatures around 5°C/41°F. Only sometimes the continental climate from over Russia influences our weather - like last year when we were "blessed" with temperatures of -20°C/-4°F for a couple of weeks. That was the time I thought I'm gonna die. Not used to such temperatures - it was the real horror! 

But this year we have the typical winter back and since yesterday even some snow. Because of the snow I did not had the feeling that's cold! While waiting for my bus on my way to work, I watched the people, the cars, the traffic and the world around me. It was so beautiful. White and so bright! I do not have to mention that the last time I saw some sun was about 3 weeks ago and the days were cloudy and foggy and today: brightness came over us. That great feeling was worth that little snow which killed nearly the whole public traffic in Frankfurt for hours. Trams, the underground and the suburban railways were delayed or were cancelled and in the evening I saw on TV all those people on Germany's biggest airport, just a few miles from my home, sleeping on camp beds waiting until their cancelled planes will bring them far away from that traffic chaos. And everything because of some rain yesterday and some snow. Amazing! No, the most amazing was an Intercity-Express (that white super fast trains) passing my overground metro station - the pantograph caused flashes and a magic cloud of snow the train blew away covered us all waiting on the station. That was amazing!

Coming home at 5, I was walking through a park. Imagine a frozen lake, and a snow blanket on the trees, paths and benches. In my head I started singing "Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland". It was so great that I took some pictures with my mobile I would like to share with you - they look dark, but it was getting dark already. And since 1 minute, we're writing the 22nd of January and the official sun set for here is exactly 5 pm. I was waiting for that moment since Christmas! The days are longer - every day one minute and since today it'll get really dark at half past five ;). I'm wondering what's happening with me this year! No winter depression, great mood, a healthy portion of optimism, great plans for the next months and and and and. How I missed that feeling a year ago... So that's what we call a good wink from the destiny? I must confess: I enjoy it. Thank you!

And even if that's an off-topic, I'd like to report from my kitchen, that I was trying to make some ajvar yesterday. Trying because the bell pepper looked so tasty that I gave up finishing it and used it for my dinner and lunch today. But I'll come back to Ajvar, a great recipe Jay (who I met after a looong time again) gave me a couple of weeks ago. Maybe on Friday. During the week I have not a lot of time for experiments - I'm cooking healthy but fast and easy dishes out of my great collection I have in my head and I am as well working hard on my final legal thesis I have to finish until March. Someone's interested in it's topic? It's about legal problems in the Middle Eastern family law systems - with a special focus on Bioethics and in-vitro fertilization. Boring for you - SUPER INTERESTING to me ;). So I can't report any other kitchen experiments at this moment, I HAVE NO TIME.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Delicious Pancakes

I love pancakes! And I am always open to try a new recipe. Do you remember my post about the most awful pancakes ever? NO? Here's the link. I decided to give the recipe a second try because I knew what the problem last time was. They were too salty. So I modified the recipe - used two eggs instead of one and left the part with the salt completely. And Imagine what? They pancakes were AMAZING! It was also the time I decided to bake them in my new cast iron skillets. After the first experiments a month ago I was ready to throw them out of my kitchen window and go back to the Teflon non-stick ones (and that would mean buying new ones after I gave away the old - except one). And yes, this time, after a couple of times I used the skillets they worked more than fine. I was surprised! I discovered that it makes more sense to use the smaller one and cover it fully with the dough instead baking smaller ones in a big skillet. And I really used very small butter, even if the first picture shows something different. But it was the first desperate try. I know that someone is going to kill me when she will read in my blog that I preferred to stay the evening at home baking pancakes instead going to the pictures. For my excuse my friend: it was my day off and it's cold outside! And because I am going to post the recipe I am sure I will be forgiven and we will catch up the coming weekend. The pancakes are so fluffy and delicious... Here's the recipe:
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • one vanilla sugar or some vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  1. Mix the eggs + milk + sugar for a while
  2. Add the other ingredients, mix it for a while.
  3. Leave it for 10 minutes and bake.
I enjoyed my pancakes with French marmalade and a glass of delicious Merlot. Today I took some pancakes for lunch to the office and some which were left I will deep freeze.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Grandmother's Cookery Notebook

As I promised, here's my post about the cookery notebook of my grandmother. My grandma was born in 1915 and died nearly 29 years ago. That's one of the reasons that I don't remember her anymore. What's left are pictures and stories my mother tells me about her. I've already mentioned that I was organizing old photos during my stay at home in the Christmas time. I found a lot of old documents as well - documents who are 70-80-90 years old. Some marriage certificates of my great-grandparents, my grandparents and so on. 

I also found a small notebook which I discovered was the cookery notebook of my grandmother (that's the one, whose parents had a bakery and pastry shop). It was amazing because it was written with a pencil and must be something from the late 1930s. How do I know it? There were some private notes from that time so I can say for sure my grandmother was writing in between 1935-1946. Is that not amazing? A piece of the own family heritage in a small notebook. After I read the notebook I found out that there are about 5 or six recipes for dishes and about 60 recipes for different cakes. So maybe I should call it the bakery notebook? Is there such a word in English? My grandmother wrote her recipes in the Kurrentschrift (Wikipedia) which was the style of handwriting Germans used opposite to the printed Fraktur (Wikipedia) alphabet. Both alphabets were used in Germany until the early 1940s after the Nazis introduced the Latin alphabet (Antigua) for regular use in German and banned the old style. But the handwriting survived much longer than its' printed equivalent. Sometimes I can still see it in the hand writing of some older people here. People of my age are not able to read the Kurrentschrift anymore without any training. It's like learning a new alphabet. 

After a I turned teenager I learned how to read and write the Kurrent. I already was able to read the old printed alphabet because it was something I grew up with and we own a lot of old books which survived the War and the past generations and are printed in Fraktur. So my first experiences with the Fraktur I made when I was a kid reading or trying to read some of the old books we had at home. Later I made progress and now after reading a lot of books and documents printed in Fraktur it makes no difference to me anymore which style they are printed. Maybe I am a little bit faster reading the regular Latin alphabet but it's only a little bit. My first experiences with Kurrent were some old documents and notes I saw at the age of 12 I think. Later I wanted to be able to read and write it so I asked my aunt to teach me the old alphabet. Now I am thankful for that gift because I am able to read the cookery notebook of my grandmother. I don't have to mention that it's always harder to read someones hand writing - and so I must confess because of the own style in writing every writer has I am not always very fast in reading my grandmother's Kurrent. Sometimes I read a whole site without problems and sometimes I have to stop at a single word for a while to decode it. It's funny how times change - not to mention my mom, it's only one generation behind and how different we think, write and live now. But it's a big part of my own and our common German heritage as well and I can't wait to re-bake some of my grandmother's recipes. I am glad that I finally scanned the whole notebook to have it as a single PDF-document on my computer. So take a look on the pictures and let me know how you're going in decoding the recipes and ingredients.

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