Welcome to the sister- and brotherhood

sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-014Moving to new place can be daunting. Your entire surroundings become different, things look and smell unusual and all the new sounds you hear grab your immediate attention. It takes a while to settle in and feel comfortable. But then one day you realise that the number 10 tram two streets away isn’t as noisy as you had once thought. Or that the ever changing graffiti doesn’t make you curious anymore. You start to know the opening times of all your new favourite shops and restaurants. You’re also meeting new people. A new running partner perhaps, or a group of like minded friends who will go to exhibitions and museums with you. After introductions have been made you start building relationships bit by bit. And then comes the moment where you look around yourself and it hits you: you are no longer the new kid. You’re part of the gang, of the city/village. Your new life has become your normal, everyday life.

Now, imagine, that this new place you are moving to is THE WEB! How daunting is that?

I posted my very first blog post back in november 2014 and I felt like I was stepping out onto a huge field filled with a massive amount of people. I wanted them to see me and hear me while they themselves were busy doing the same thing. So much noise. So many people.

Thank you Meredith at KaffeeundKuchen for nominating me for the Sisterhood of World Bloggers Award. It’s not an actual award but more a way to introduce yourself to the blog-reading world and then you nominate other bloggers to do the same. Introductions and building relationships. That’s what it’s all about really. Not feeling so daunted anymore.

Here’s what Meredith wanted to know about me:

1. What do you mostly blog about? Baking is my thing.

2. What is the best city you have travelled to and what are your recommended ‘must sees’ in that city? New York is definitely my favourite city to visit as a tourist. I recommend visiting the Moma, The Frick Collection and the UN building. 

3. What 3 items do you always pack on a trip? Apart from my passport and credit card, I always bring a big scarf which serves a multitude op purposes, snacks because you never know when and where you will be stuck/delayed, a paper copy of flight/hotel/car rental confirmations because technology isn’t always reliable or available.

4. What is the best meal you’ve ever had and where did you have it? Last year we visited this place in Stockholm. The menu is blank. You are trusting the chef to make a meal for you based on what local produce he sourced that day. I can’t remember exactly what we had the experience was fabulous.

5. Which destination is on your ‘must see’ list? Why? I would love to visit Hong Kong. I lived there when I was a kid back in the late 80’s. I want to see it through adult eyes now.

6. What is your favourite way to spend a free weekend afternoon? With the kids at the Market Village in Neue Heimat.

7. Who would you pick to go on a cross-country road trip with you? Why? My other half P. Just because he is the only person I want to see and experience the entire world with. 

8. What are your blogging goals for the coming year? Finding my ‘style’ and becoming more and more confident.

9. What’s your favourite blog post that you’ve written? I enjoyed this one the most because it made me feel like a teenager again.

10. What’s a new blogging skill that you’ve learned recently? Since blogging is still very new to me, I’m learning so much every week. But the thing I’m currently paying attention to is being more engaging with people through social media and commenting more on other blogs.

Who are you Christie, Cheryl, Angie and Charlotta? And because it’s not a girls-only group, who are you Niels and Brian?

1. Dinner or desert? And what would it be?

2. Is blogging a fulltime occupation for you?

3. Why did you decide to blog?

4. How do you like your coffee?

5. I bake and blog about it. What would be the ultimate baking recipe you’d want me to try?

6. What was the last movie you saw that you hated or just didn’t get?

7. Did you ever buy something only to regret it the moment you got it home? What was it?

8. As a blogger how do you deal with writer’s block/not feeling inspired/stuck on ideas?

9. Do you ever take a break from blogging (you’re on holiday, dying with the flu, etc.)

10.  How long can you go without checking your blog’s Twitter/FB/Instagram/homepage/etc. account and stats?

Some rules:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link them in your post.

2. Answer the 10 questions you have been sent.

3. Come up with 10 questions of your own.

4. Spread the love and nominate up to 10 bloggers.

(Image from http://simplyhonestsimplyreal.com/2015/03/12/sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award/)

 

 

 

Swedish sticky chocolate cake – Kladdkaka

kladdkaka with cream and blueberries

In Sweden, where P. is from, there is this tradition that on Saturday everyone goes to the supermarket and fills a big bag full of sweets from the huge pick and mix stand. When you get home, you can keep your lördagsgodis (Saturday sweets) in the bag or put them in a large bowl and munch away all weekend long. This mix of bonbons, chocolates, fudges, caramels and more is a colourful display.

Sometimes, I think our little family is a bit like that bowl of mixed colours and flavours. P. is Swedish, I am from Belgium, the kids were born in Northern Ireland and we chose to settle in Germany. Berlin is our home and we plan to stay here. But how do you answer the question: Where are you from? In my case, I answer by saying that I am from Belgium but live in Germany. P. answers the same way. But what about our kids? They are not from Belgium. They are not from Sweden. They are essentially from Germany.

Blueberries on black background

I’ve been thinking about these things a lot lately. How will our kids deal with all of this? What sort of questions will they ask when they are older? What nationality will they take when they turn 18 and have to choose? How will they give Belgium, Sweden and Northern Ireland a place in their life? In their being? Who will they be and how will they define themselves?

Whatever the answers, we will give them the freedom to search and find their way. Their roots might be growing in German soil, but their heritage, their seeds of life, that has come from 3 beautiful and inspiring places.

P. and I wil make sure they know about their heritage. And part of this heritage for me personally is food. And not just the national dishes, but the simple tomato soup Oma (grandmother in Belgium) makes or the lobster thermidor Farfar (grandfather in Sweden) cooks on special occasions.

This week’s recipe is a Swedish sticky (Kladd) cake (kaka). It’s easy and requires just 1 bowl and something to mix the batter with. I bet you my nearly 4 year old could do this. So let the lesson “this is your heritage” begin…

kladdkaka with bowl of cream and bowl of blueberries

 Swedish sticky chocolate cake – Kladdkaka

Serves 8

Ingredients:

2 eggs

270g sugar

60g flour

1 tsp vanilla sugar

2 heaped tbsp unsweetened cocoa

100g melted butter

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. Grease and flour a round springform tin (important!).

2. In a bowl, use a handmixer or whisk to mix all the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth.

3. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for  30 minutes.

4. Let the cake cool in the tin.

5. When ready to serve, remove the springform side. Do not attempt to remove the cake from the bottom of the tin, it is too sticky and fudge-like. Use a cake cutter (preferably one that won’t scratch your tin) to cut and scrape/lift a piece of the cake. It will come loose, it’s just nice and sticky.

6. Serve with some vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, berries, toasted nuts or sliced, fresh fruit

ENJOY!

 blueberries rolling out of bowl

Red current crumble cake

It’s summer! I want to jump and dance around! I want to eat lots of ice cream and drink lots of fresh juices. I want to feel the warm summer breeze on my bare shoulders as I cycle down our street. Oh yes, I want to grab this moment, this start of summertime, this transition from cold and grey to bright and sunny and hold it ever so tight.

a square of red current crumble cake

These moments when the seasons change are moments I love. It marks the end of one thing and the start of another. I remember as I child, autumn meant the start a new school year. I was always excited about the first day of school (the excitement disappeared about 24 hours later though). Then winter would come and with it the smell of burning wood and the feeling of cold, numb fingers. And just when I would get fed up with darkness and cinnamon scented candles, spring would wake up and tap me on the shoulder reminding me that it’s her turn. She’s a bit of everything, one day she’s feeling hot and the next she just doesn’t want to make an effort. And when she’s done, summer takes over. Suddenly, windows are left open all the time, socks get banished to the back of the drawers and flip flops make their way onto our shoe rack. I think I might just get up from my desk now and do a little joyous dance…

5 squares of red current crumble cake with icing sugar

But for my friends and blogger colleagues who live south of the equator it’s the start of hat-and-scarf-time. They are about to huddle together to keep warm. Iced tea becomes hot tea and ice cream… well, ice cream will always be ice cream and is always appropriate no matter what time of year it is.

red current crumble cake on a grey napkin

This cake is for all of us. For those of us waking up from our winter sleep and for those who are about to start one. Which one are you?

Red current crumble cake squares

Red current crumble cake

(makes about 16 squares)

Ingredients for the cake:

120g soft butter (1/2 cup)

100g + 1 tbsp sugar (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp)

2 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla sugar

150g flour (1 cup)

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

280-300g red currents (about 3 cups) fresh or frozen. If using frozen, defrost in a sieve and catch the juices. You don’t need the juices, just drink them!

Ingredients for the crumble:

60g flour (1/2 cup)

50g sugar (1/4 cup)

60g ice cold butter cut into cubes (1/4 cup)

20g oats, not quick-cooking (1/4 cup)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.

2. Grease and flour a baking tray (approx. 20x30cm or 8x11inch).

3. In a standmixer with a paddle (or use a hand mixer and a large bowl), cream the butter, 100g of sugar and the vanilla sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix thoroughly until the eggs are completely incorporated.

5. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until the mixture is thick and sticky.

6. Use a spatula to spread the mixture in the baking tray. Press it into the corners and flatten the surface.

7. Spread out the red currents on top of the mixture and lightly press them down a bit.

8. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of sugar over the red currents.

9. Make the crumble by mixing the flour and sugar with a wooden spoon in a bowl.

10. Add the ice cold butter cubes and use your finger to rub it all together until it starts to look like small breadcrumbs. Then, add the oats and mix.

11. Sprinkle the crumble on top of the red currents.

12. Bake in the middle of the oven for 50 min or until the crumble has turned golden.

13. Let the cake cool in the baking tray. Once cooled, cut into squares.

(I tried to include cup measurements. Please let me know if you notice any mistakes)

ENJOY!

2 squares of red current crumble cake

one square of red current crumble cake

Strawberry and chocolate cake

slice of chocolate cake with strawberries and cream

Is there such a thing as baker’s block? If not, there should be. I bake on Thursdays and by Wednesday afternoon this week my mind was still blank. Frustration set in. Instead of forcing the issue I cleared my mind and did some other stuff. And by stuff I mean planning a wedding.

Stack of wedding magazines

4 months until we indulge in a little champagne and decadence. I can’t wait! The initial momentum I experienced right after the “will you-yes I will” moment disappeared after a couple of months. So with a venue booked, caterer chosen, dress bought and photographer and DJ picked, I went into wedding hibernation mode. And that’s where I’ve been for the last 6 months. Now I’m desperately trying to get it back so I can finish off the last bits and pieces. Any tips?

And then I saw this tweet:

Natalie

I met Natalie in April at the Hive Conference in Berlin. She is a fabulous woman with bundels of energy and enthusiasm. She is part of Apartment Diet and I am bummed I missed their workshop at the event. Anyway, Natalie just published a book called “The Wedding Virus” (find it here) and I downloaded it last night. I am now counting the hours until I can start reading it this evening.

Now, back to that Tweet…

cake, strawberries and wedding magazines

I was sitting at my dining room table, wedding planner open and budget spreadsheet on my laptop, baking still in the back of my mind and then I read this quote on Natalie’s Twitter Feed. And I had a moment. I sighed and thought: “Yes, and you can add chocolate and champagne to that”. So I did! I immediatly got out of my baker’s block and then I got rid of the line in the planner that said: start wedding fitness routine.

(P.S. Feel free to enjoy this cake with champagne in the bath. But I will not be held responsible for the consequences.)

Chocolate cake with strawberries and cream on cake stand

Chocolate cake with strawberries and vanilla mascarpone cream

(Glas of champagne optional but recommended)

Serves 6

Ingredients for the chocolate cake:

2 eggs

180g sugar

100g flour

1 tsp vanilla sugar

2 heaped tbsp cacao, unsweetened

100g melted butter

Ingredients for the vanilla mascarpone cream:

200ml whipping cream

200ml mascarpone

3 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 tbsp vanilla sugar

250g-500g strawberries (depends how many you want inside the cake) roughly all the same size

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C

2. Line(or grease and flour) 2 18cm/7inch springform tins.

3. Throw all the ingredients for the cake in a standmixer (or a bowl and use a handmixer) and mix with the paddle attached. Be careful that your melted butter isn’t too hot or your eggs will cook.

4. Divide the mixture equally between your 2 tins. If you only have 1 tin I suggest you make half the batter, bake it and then make another batch.

5. Bake for 20 minutes.

6. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then cool fully on a wire rack.

7. Make the cream when the cakes have completely cooled down. Do this by putting all the ingredients in the bowl of your standmixer which is now fitted with the whisk (or use a bowl and handmixer). Mix on high until the mixture becomes thick and creamy.

8. Wash the strawberries and cut the tops off flat so that they can stand on their own, upside down as it were. Slice in 2 vertically. When you have enough to cover the circumference, stop cutting the strawberries in half. Keep them whole with the tops off.

9. Take your (cleaned) springform tin and put one of the cakes in. Put the sliced strawberries on the cake around the edge with the cut side lightly pressed against the springform.

10. Put the rest of the unsliced strawberries inside the strawberry edge you’ve just made. Strawberry tops onto the cake surface so they don’t fall over.

11. Carefully fill the gaps with the mascarpone cream. Smooth over the surface when you have covered all the strawberries. Don’t overfill with the cream. You’re looking to just cover the strawberries.

12. Place the second cake (top side down) on top of the cream.

13. Put the cake in the fridge so it can set a bit. When ready to serve, take it out of the fridge and carefully remove the springform. Let it sit for about 15 minutes so that it can warm up a bit to room temperature.

Optional: dust lightly with powdered sugar and serve with some champagne and the rest of the strawberries.

Strawberries and champagne

ENJOY!

close up slice chocolate cake with strawberries and cream

close up chocolate cake with strawberries and cream

Vegan chocolate shortbread with salted caramel and nuts

 

vegan chocolate shortbread with salted caramel close-up

About 20 years ago my two younger brothers decided to become vegetarians. They were teenagers. And my mother took them seriously. She never said it was a phase, something that would pass, a teenage rebellion thing. No, she attended vegetarian cooking courses so that she could be sure that her boys were getting all the vitamins, minerals etc. they needed to grown strong and healthy. Ready-made veggie burgers rarely entered our house. My mother took it all in her stride and educated herself on what vegetarianism was all about. She also proved that it wasn’t that hard to cook vegetarian meals on a daily basis. The hard thing is to change your mindset. If before, you were a meat-potato-veg person, stepping away from that can sometimes require a bit of creativity and effort.

white fresia on grey background

My brothers made the step to a meat free life in the 90’s and they tell me things have really moved on since then. More and more people are aware and more and more shops and restaurants recognise the growing number of people choosing this way of life. Living in Berlin I have really been exposed to the possibilities of eating vegetarian. More recently, I have found myself curious at the concept of a vegan lifestyle. I don’t plan to become 100% vegetarian or vegan, but I realised that our little family does eat this way more often than not for different reasons.

vegan chocolate shortbread with salted caramel side shot with palm leaf

This shortbread with salted caramel is my first attempt at creating a vegan baking recipe. I had to do quite a bit of research which I really enjoyed. Anything for a challenge! The recipe is by no means perfect but I think it is a good first attempt. Let me know what you think about it.

vegan chocolate shortbread with salted caramel side shot

Vegan chocolate shortbread with salted caramel and nuts

Ingredients for the shortbread:

100g room temperature coconut oil

50g sugar

150g flour

3 tbsp raw cacao

5 tbsp almond milk

Ingredients for the salted caramel with nuts:

220g sugar

60ml water

120ml coconut cream

1/2 tsp fleur de sel

50g unsalted peanuts, chopped

Method:

1. Line a 20×26 tin with baking paper. You could also use a round tin with 21cm diameter.

2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

3. Using a hand mixer, cream the coconut oil and sugar for a couple of minutes.

4. Add the flour, cacao and almond milk and mix with a wooden spoon. You can also use your hands.

5. Press the dough into the tin and bake for 20 minutes.

6. Allow to cool in the tin.

Make the caramel:

1. In a clean saucepan, add water then sugar. Put the pan on medium heat and leave it. Don’t be temped to stir or swirl the mixture.

2. Let the mixture boil until it goes a dark golden colour. I let my caramel heat up to 195 degrees C on a digital kitchen thermometer. Be careful not to burn the caramel.

CARAMEL GETS EXTREMELY HOT, DONT TOUCH IT!

3. Take the caramel off the heat and carefully add the coconut cream. The mixture will splatter so be careful not to get burned. Mix the coconut cream into the caramel with a wooden spoon.

4. Carefully pour the caramel onto the shortbread.

5. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts and the fleur de sel onto te caramel.

6. Let the caramel cool and set. You can put it in the fridge if you want to speed up the process.

7. Cut into pieces and store in a cool place so the caramel doesn’t melt. I find it keeps well, covered in the fridge.

ENJOY!

vegan shortbread with salted caramel side view

palm leaf

About inspiration and determination

People who know me personally will tell you I’m a determined woman. When I want to do something, I do it. I ignore those around me who doubt my dreams and ideas. I am not ruthless though. I am not the kind of person who sets out to achieve goals at any cost. I like to take my time. The philosophy of “I want it and I want it now” is not relevant to me. I want to enjoy my journey, not get to the finish without remembering the things that I saw on the way.

I had been talking about Baked-it for about 6 months before I finally hit the “publish” button. And I have to admit that as determined as I am, I did need a bit of a push for this one. Now, half a year later, I feel myself getting more and more confident in what I am doing here. I notice that I am finding my way, my personal style, my uniqueness. I still have so much to learn but that excites me (most of the time). I am already curious what I will get up to in the next 6 months.

Of course, no creative mind works without inspiration. Something or someone to make you want to do better, to make you want to do different. Something or someone that points you in the opposite direction of where everyone else is looking. Something or someone that makes you look up and switches on the light in your foggy brain.

Here are my wingmen and women:

My friend Johanna who is a journalist and blogger. My friend who gave me the push to do this. Thank you!

Meredith at Kaffee und Kuchen and Henar at Wanderings. I don’t think they realise how much I am learning from them.

My Scandinavian Home gave what was for me the most inspiring talk at the Hive Conference this year. I still think about it every time I write.

Annie was my first Twitter follower. She does amazing work and is so motivated and determined.

Thalia at Butter and Brioche who showed me that it is not just me who gets moments of doubt. I think she is brilliant, even more so because she is honest.

The Hive Conference for being such a friendly place to learn without judgement of how much or little experience you have as a blogger (see you in Dublin!)

And last of all, the guys and girls at Silo Berlin who supply me with coffee when I’ve had a bad night with the kids and need a bit of help to produce a good post.

Next week I’ll be baking again. But now, I want to open a bottle of something bubbly to celebrate my achievements so far.

LIES X

Macarons with pineapple curd

Macarons with pineapple curd with blue and yellow background

Fact is that we all have a mother. She may have carried you lovingly in her stomach for 9 months or she may have had to rely on another woman to do this. Maybe, you were raised by an aunt, a grandmother, a sister. Maybe, come Mother’s Day you won’t have good memories of your own mom. Maybe, you’re a mother yourself and you’re looking forward to Sunday when your role in the lives of your children will get some extra attention. Or maybe, your mother’s day will be spent alone because of some event in your life meaning your children are currently not with you. Whatever the situation, whatever the past, this Sunday it’s time to celebrate the woman or women in your life that loved you and helped you become the fabulous person you are now.

Yellow peony on blue background

I’m a mother. I have been for the past 4 years and there are days I love it. And there are days I hate it. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve got this parent thing down. I see my kids play nicely together, they are happy, they sleep like angels and shower me with cuddles and kisses. More often than not though, the reality is that they fight, wake several times during the night (blanket fell off, midnight trip to the bathroom,etc.), refuse to get dressed and ignore my instructions to tidy up (this usually goes hand in hand with a blank stare of indifference to the situation that is an explosion of Duplo Lego blocks).

Ball of string

When do you get it? When do you figure this motherhood thing out? When does it get easier? The more time passes the more convinced I am that the answer is “No one knows”. And that is a hard fact to accept for someone like me. I like to know what I’m doing. I like to get it right. But I have to admit that as time goes by I am starting to accept that I will never be the perfect mother because there is no such thing. It just doesn’t exist. As long as I’m doing a good job 90% of the time I think we’ll be OK. And as long as I do exactly what it is I need to do for my kids, I think we’ll be OK.

Macarons with pineapple curd on a blue background with yellow peony

My own mother lives 800km away from me. She lives in Belgium, I live in Germany. We haven’t lived in the same country for 11 years. But she’s always got my back. She’s honest and understanding. She’s also one of the strongest women I know. I admire her. I love her. And I hope my kids will think the same of me when they are older. In the mean time, I will happily settle for a snot-covered kiss while being “treated” by doctor S. and Doctor K. by means of hammering IKEA toy bolts into my poorly tummy (because that’s how you treat stomach ache apparently).

macarons on blue background with yellow peony

Macarons with pineapple curd filling

(approx, 20 macarons)

Ingredients for the macarons:

110 finely ground almonds

160g powdered sugar

60g sugar

3 egg whites

Ingredients for the pineapple curd:

250ml pineapple puree, strained

100g sugar

3 egg yolks

2 tbsp corn starch

2 tbsp butter

Method:

1. First make the curd so it has time to cool. Mix all the ingredients, except the butter, in saucepan with a whisk. Then heat the mixture on a low-medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. Remove the curd from the heat and add the butter. Stir until all the butter is melted and incorporated. Leave to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.

3. Use a foodprocessor to mix the ground almond and powdered sugar until it is really fine. Then sift the mixture.

4. Mix the egg whites and sugar in a glass bowl. Place the bowl on a saucepan with a couple of cm of water in it. Place over a medium heat. Don’t let the water boil!

5. Stir the mixture constantly as you use a thermometer to check the mixture heating up to 55 degrees C. When it reaches 55 degrees C, transfer the mixture to a standmixer with whisk (or use a handmixer) and whip it on a high seeing until you get a soft meringue.

6. Add half of the almond-powders sugar mixture and fold it in. Then add the other half and fold it all in so no lumps remain.

7. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag.

8. On a lined baking tray, pipe small circles about 5cm in diameter.

9. Carefully, tap the baking tray on your working surface. This will get rid of any bubbles and spread the circles out a bit.

10. Bake for 15-17 minutes.

11. Leave to cool.

12. Use a piping bag or teaspoon to fill the macarons with the pineapple curd.

macarons with pineapple curd

My macarons aren’t perfect. But then neither is being a mother.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Enjoy!

Strawberry and cream cheese pie

Purple Lilac flowers

Dear Gilbert Blythe,

I first met you when I was 13. I thought you were the handsomest young man I had ever seen. You had such lovely dark hair and the way you looked with those expressive, brown eyes made my heart skip a beat. Anne was very fortunate you waited for her to come to her senses.

I dreamed that one day, I too would find my kindred spirit the way Anne found you. Some one who would love me and all my weirdness and wonderfulness. Some one who would understand that writing is of great importance to me. Some one who would never give up on me.

Dear Gilbert, I have found that man and in less than 6 months I will marry him. I hope you’ll be happy for me. But don’t worry, I won’t forget you.

I recently took a trip down memory lane and  visited Avonlea. I saw Diana, Marilla and Rachel. I had a cup of tea with Mrs Harris and Pauline. I saw all the beautiful colours of spring and the vast fields around Green Gables. And then I had an idea. I thought, why not have a picnic? Why not sit outside and drink up the sweet smelling blossoms around me? Why not throw some blankets on the green grass under a cherry blossom tree and sit with good friends? We could talk about the good old times. How I cried when Matthew died. Or laughed when Anne got Diana drunk.

I visited a lot of places when I was a young girl and met a lot of people. But Avonlea, Anne and you will always be special to me. I will come and visit now and again and I hope you will allow me to bring my daughter and son along when they are a bit older. I think there will come a time when my children will need to visit your pretty corner of Prince Edward Island and learn about kindred spirits, friendship and love.

Dear Gilbert, lets go and have that picnic now. I brought strawberry cream cheese pie. You’ll love it. I’m sure of that.

Love always,

A.

Slice of strawberry cream cheese cake on person's lap

(I read the Anne of Green Gables books when I was a young teenage girl. I fell in love with the TV version by Kevin Sullivan even though it was different from the book in many parts. When I heard that the actor Jonathan Crombie died on 15.04.2015 I watched the whole series again. As before, the people and the places took my breath away. Few things I read as a teenager still have an affect on me. Anne of Green Gables is an exception.) 

strawberries

Strawberry cream cheese pie

(Serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

220g flour

90g sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

180g browned butter (see Joy the Baker’s tutorial on how to make this)

175g full fat cream cheese

1 egg

50g sugar

1 tsp vanilla sugar

200g fresh, sweet and juicy strawberries

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees C.

2. Make the crust by mixing the flour, 90g of sugar, baking powder and browned butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon.

3. Use your hands (careful, the pastry might still be warm because of the butter) to press the pastry in a lined square cake tin (26x20cm). Make sure it goes up the sides by about 2cm. Put aside.

4. In a second bowl, use a whisk to mix the cream cheese, egg, remaining sugars and 3 squashed strawberries (just use your hands).

5. Pour the mixture in the pastry.

6. Cut the remaining strawberries in halves or quarters and randomly place them on top of the mixture.

7. Bake for 30min. Once baked, let the pie cool completely before attempting to cut it. If you want to take it out of the tin completely, make sure you used baking paper to line the tin. You will be able to carefully lift the pie out that way.

Enjoy!

Picknick of strawberry cream cheese pie

Green foliage of a tree

slice of strawberry cream cheese pie

 used knife

spring leaves on a twig

Rhubarb and cream cake

Rhubard and cream cake with vintage Agfa camera and spring flowersSpring has put its foot down and reclaimed Berlin from winter. The trees are turning lusciously green and there are blossoms everywhere. Ice cream shops are thrown into mayhem with kids and adults desperate to buy their first cone of the season. Benches in parks and outside seating at popular coffee houses are becoming prime real estate for those of us trying to take a break from office life. Oh how I love those first days of spring when I can cycle through the Kiez (neighbourhood) wearing just a light jacket.

spring flowers yellow and purpleWith the arrival of warmer weather people inevitably start thinking of summer (I know, we get one day of sunshine and t-shirt weather and already we want more!). And summer tends to mean that it’s time to take a step back and relax. Are you planning to escape to even sunnier places? Or are you staying home and enjoying BBQ’s and lazy evenings in your very own garden (or balcony) paradise? In any case, I am nearly certain you will be planning some sort of an adventure this summer. Wether it be on exotic beaches or in a trendy city, planning is half the fun. Flipping through guidebooks, searching maps for interesting places and checking out this brilliant travel blog. All best done on a lazy Sunday afternoon with coffee and this simple but delicious cake.

Rhubarb and cream cake with vintage Agfa camera and vintage London guide book  5 ingredients is all it takes unless you are motivated enough to make your own jam. But lets face it, you’ve worked hard all week and you spent most of Saturday running around doing the shopping, washing clothes and putting up that new IKEA bookshelf. You deserve a summer-travel-break (and a slice cake)!

Vintage London guidebook with vintage London bus and subway tube map

Rhubarb and cream cake

(serves 8)

Ingredients:

3 eggs at room temperature

75g fine sugar

75g sifted flour (sifted is very important)

200ml whipping cream

Rhubarb jam or a jar of the very best and tastiest jam you can find

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Line a round cake tin (approx. 20cm in diameter) with baking paper.

In a standmixer with the whisk attached (or use a handheld mixer), whisk the eggs and sugar until they turn a very pale, creamy colour. The mixture will triple in volume and will be thick.

Slowly and carefully, fold in the flour. You need to keep the air and volume in the mixture. Make sure all the flour is incorporated.

Pour into the tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).

Let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes before taking it out an carefully pealing off the baking paper. Let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Once the cake is completely cooled, whip the cream until nice and thick. Then spoon it onto the cake.

Top the cake with jam. As much as you like!

Enjoy!

Rhubarb and cream cake

Vintage London subway Tube map

Rhubarb and cream cake with spring flours and vintage Agfa camera Vintage London guide book

Lemon and raspberry meringue pie

lemon raspberry meringue pie with chocolate decoration

Let’s talk about inspiration for a minute. Where do you get yours? Are you a Pinterest addict with one too many pins on white-grey living room deco? Or do you search books and magazines for quotes that will help you achieve a goal when you need a little bit of extra oomph? You can find inspiration anywhere. You don’t even have to look that hard. Just look around you. If you already knew this it’s worth taking the time to really emphasise it. If not by yourself, by some complete stranger (which is what happened to me…).

lemons raspberries yellow flowers

Last weekend I attended the Hive, a gathering of digital storytellers, tastemakers and bloggers. I am still new to blogging so I have lots of moments where I think to myself: Am I good enough? Am I different enough to stand out? Am I sharing something worthwhile? And here’s the answer: yes, yes, YES! I listened to some very inspirational people. I absolutely loved the fabulous woman behind My Scandinavian Home who reminded us that we are all unique and we need to “be your own kind of beautiful”. I was also very much taken by Chelsea who is the beautiful brains behind Frolic!. She emphasised the importance of being happy in what you do and to know that you will never be able to please everyone. I also had the privilege to watch and listen to Dietlind Wolf who is the most amazing woman. Her styling and photographs are something so beautiful I can’t pull myself away from her blog.

yellow flowers white vase

Where is this leading?

While you, my dearest reader, have been reading this blogpost in search of a lemon and raspberry meringue pie, I’ve had the opportunity to be that complete stranger who has just reminded you of how brilliant, unique and full of inspiration you are.

close up raspberries lemon curd

And now go and make this fabulous pie!

 

Lemon and raspberry meringue pie

Inspired by the Hive’s yellow and pink colour theme

(Serves 8)

For the meringue:

3 egg whites

170g sugar

1 tbsp vanilla sugar

For the lemon curd:

3 egg yolks

60ml fresh lemon juice, strained to remove any pits or pulp (about 2 small lemons)

6 tbsp sugar

4 tbsp cold butter in cubes

For the finishing touches:

250g fresh raspberries

Method:

Start by making the meringue. It takes a while so if you prefer a dry meringue you’ll need to start a good while before you plan to eat the pie. You can make the meringue the night before and let it cool in the oven overnight. Or make it in the morning and leave it to cool in the oven during the day if you plan to eat it in the evening. If you prefer a wet meringue you’ll only need to plan for 2-3 hours total time from start to finish (most of that is the meringue baking so you won’t be in the kitchen for 2-3 hours straight).

1. Preheat your oven to 100 degrees C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and mark a circle the size of a plate.

2.In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or hand mixer) whip the egg whites until very soft peaks form. Then add the sugar a tablespoon at the time. Make sure you leave some time in between spoonfuls so the sugar has time to “dissolve”. The meringue is done when you can’t feel anymore sugar grains when you rub some of the mixture between your fingers. And when it is stiff and glossy.

3. Using a piping bag, spoon or spatula, shape the meringue into a thin circle as marked on your baking paper (about 2-3cm/1 inch thick). Smooth out the top. You want it to look like a disk.

4. Bake in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. Then take out the meringue and let it cool on a wire rack. When cool, carefully peel off the baking paper. Or turn off the oven and leave to cool inside as mentioned above.

Make the lemon curd while the meringue is baking. You can let it cool and store for later. 

1. In a saucepan on medium-low heat, mix the egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice. Keep whisking as it heats up and simmers.

2. Whisk as the curd simmers and thickens. Depending on your hob, this will take between 10-15minutes.

3. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the butter until melted.

4. Pour the curd in a clean jar and let it cool. It will thicken even more as it gets colder. Close the jar and put it in the fridge until you need it. But remember to take it out leaving enough time to let it adjust to room temperature.

Putting it all together:

Put the meringue on a flat plate or cake stand. Spoon on the lemon curd and spread it out. Don’t go all the way to the edge. Then place the raspberries on top.

lemon raspberry meringue pie with chocolate decoration top view

This is not just any lemon and raspberry meringue pie, it’s my Hive lemon and raspberry meringue pie. Let me know what you think. Does it look good? Did it meet your sweetness needs?

Meringue lemon curd raspberry pie

ENJOY!

chocolate Hive 15 decoration

Chocolate Hive15

yellow flower

Yellow

lemon raspberry meringue pie photo shoot set

In the end, this is real life.