Even more Easter Eggs. The last batch from Easter, next will be Christmas.
More details of the gingerbread eggs from yesterday – the backsides.
The eggshells are baked on a special form. Before we had that, we baked them on impromptu shapes made from alluminium foil with the help of a spoon. but the results were mixed.
I have realized that I did not post any of my mother’s gingerbread creations last year. At easter I simply forgot, and on Christmas, I did not use PC at all. So I am going to rectify it over the next few weeks, a few pictures at a time.
Let us start with those from easter.
At our house we divided the Christmas days up between the families. In Germany “the big day” is Christmas Eve. That’s when the kids get their presents and the tree is lit (at least back in the days when you still used real candles) and the first years as a family we tried to do right by everybody. Back then my grandparents were still alive and I wanted to spend time with them, but “of course” you couldn’t say “we’ll visit Giliell’s family on Christmas Eve but not you”. The result was lots of unhappiness. My in laws would make very sad eyes at us for leaving early* and my family would complain about us being late. The kids would get so many presents in a short amount of time that they ended up exhausted and crying and unhappy. And then of course they wanted to negotiate about the two other days (in Germany you have two Christmas Days) as well…
At some point we decided to tell them all to gently fuck themselves and set down some rules and if you are ever in such a situation, especially with young kids. On Christmas Eve NOBODY leaves the house or enters the house. We spend the evening together, just the four of us. We have hot stone/raclette for dinner, which is really quick and easy to prepare and then the kids get their presents (and us as well).
The 25th is the day when Mr’s family meets. Out of the 5 siblings 3 of them take turns to host the whole party, although we have taken over from my in laws since they’ re not getting younger and we have more space (and it is less exhausting and more rewarding to do it myself than to listen to my mum in law’s complaints. Sorry if I’m sounding uncharitable towards her. I really love her, there’s just some areas where she’s as exhausting as a toddler). Since that family is already in charge of cooking for about 20 people, the guests bring cake and dessert, which is actually the point of this post.
The 26th we visit my parents and since it’s the time of miracles, for the last few years my sister’s husband has been showing up as well.
But back to dessert. I made a Pavlova. I’ve been wanting to make one since forever and thought that this was the perfect occasion:
Uhm, sorry for the crap image. I’ll do better. But the Pavlova was amazing: I sprinkled roasted pine nuts on the meringue before baking and prepared butter caramel baked apples with raisins and spices a few days in advance. On the 25th I prepared pomegranate seeds only transported the dry meringue “cakes” as well as the fruit and unwhipped cream to my uncle and aunt in law’s place where I whipped the cream and assembled everything there. I even added edible gold leaves.
I looked like a Christmas Dessert is supposed to look: lavish and opulent. It tasted like heaven. The sharpness of the Pomegranate balanced the sweetness of the meringue and the whipped cream was just right. If you’re ever asked to bring a spectacular dessert i can only recommend a Pavlova as you can adapt it to the occasion and don’t need to worry about transporting a fully assembled cake.
*My mum in law is one of those people whose only way to get what she wants is by making others feel bad. Sad comments along the lines of “I would really love if somebody …., but nobody cares enough…”
Avalus has been making jams and jellies and he’s sent us some photos from the project.
This late summer I set about using the old orchards and hedges around my home. To make marmelades and gelée, to be exact. Here are some things I found while picking fruit
Tasty blackberries! Oddly enough, in German these are called Brombeeren which translates literally to bromine berrys. But the name does not have anything to do with bromine, it goes back to the old high german word brāmberi which means thorny bush and is the root for the word english bramble.
Then there was this beautiful golden beetle, enjoying the sun and an apple at the same time. It did not mind me picking up fallen apples around it.
This hedgehog on the other hand did very much mind my company.
In the end, I made many glasses of yummi sweet stuff with different flavours. Testers favourites were apple-coffee and apple-meade*, apple-cinnamon was deemed too Christmassy for September. Pestering every one I knew for empty glasses really paid off here as I gave most of these full glasses to friends.
*I made meade two years ago and still have some left. Pretty strong taste and not too sweet, but I drink only very little.
Thanks for sharing, Avalus.
As promised: cake. Or at least pictures of cake. The kids get to ask for a special cake each year, a chimaera born of my love to bake and the working mun’s eternal bad conscience. As a result, my cakes are legendary, at least among people under 15.
This year the little one asked for a Pokemon party and so she go a Pokeball cake.
It’s a tad egg shaped. I underestimated the volume of the metal bowls I used as baking tins and as a result I was short on cake and since I didn’t weigh the batter, one was bigger than the other. To fill in the middle I baked another cake and cut out circles. As things weren’t 100% even, the bottom is a bit larger than the top, though I must say that on the inside the two cakes together really worked out well:
Chocolate and vanilla cake with Italian meringue chocolate buttercream.
And, what’s inside a Pokeball?
I had ordered small Pokemon toys and hid them inside the Pokeball to the surprise and amazement of the kids.
And to have something a bit lighter:
Powder Puffs. With lemon curd buttercream. You may notice a few repeating themes: the leftover lemon curd got combined with some of the Italian meringue that I didn’t need for the cake.
I actually had to bake them twice because the first time i fucked up the sponge, which is why you should never laugh at people failing at baking shows.
It probably still is Thursday somewhere.
For the last few years we have been celebrating Halloween with our friends and yesterday we went to my BFFs city where the local shop owners and the city and the different clubs and associations organised a Halloween event where the shops would give out candy. The town centre was packed and it was a lovely evening, followed by lots of spooky food.
While I could simply buy a generic Wonder Woman costume for the Little One, #1’s was more complicated. She#s too tall for the kids versions and the adult versions rely more on the DC movies than the animated Super Hero Girls show she likes to watch. While we found a nice pair of red and blue leggings, we agreed that a jacket with “property of Joker” on the back was highly inappropriate. “I’m no fucking property of anyone!” Mum to the rescue, I ordered two hoodies with a ziper, cut them in half and sewed them together again. Well, I still have to do the second one…
Same money, 1 hour of time, two jackets she can actually wear outside of costume events as well. And I’m damn proud of her. You know she’s on the spectrum and one of her great difficulties is interacting with strangers. She often preferred no ice cream to telling a stranger what she wants, but yesterday she went around all evening and asked for candy. It’s those things that make you proud.
Now for the food:
From left to right we have:
I made the dessert, because I’ve been baking non stop anyway…
So, I hope you all had a reasonably happy Halloween (thinking of you, voyager). Now I’m baking for the little one’s birthday party tomorrow.
And boredom leads to cake.
For the Pokémon Go Community Day last Saturday I made a black forest style cake. See if you can guess the theme of the decoration:
And then I decided to try Petit Fours for the first time, practising the flavours for Halloween (but not the design):
Thin sponge with strawberry jam and pumpkin pie lemon curd (though it could use some additional lemon juice and a tad less cloves). Home made fondant glaze and teeny tiny fondant horn and ears.
Earlier this week I told you about our trip to the Sagrada Familia and that we wanted to see it at night time. This meant that after we left the cathedral we went for dinner. Of course a tourist city like Barcelona has restaurants galore, many of them trying to push the menu into your hand while you’re walking past them and for me that’s the most failproof way to make me avoid a place. Yet still you find lots of small places that offer good food, especially if you love international cooking. For this meal we found a nice Mexican place where we ate while it got dark.
Starters: Frijoles refritos (mushed baked beans) and nachos with cheese.
My main course: marinated grilled beef, cactus, pumpkin flower and sweetcorn, guacamole and stuffed habanero, served with tortillas.
Dessert: Guayaba marguerita. I love guavas and they’re so rare here that I consume them whenever I can find them or their derivates. It was delicious.
There’s a saying in German that states that “the farmer won’t eat what the farmer doesn’t know”. It’s again this intersection of class and culture, where the educated classes take pride in “discovering” new tastes, while certain parts of the working class take pride in never trying anything new, especially no “furrin food”. Of course, both positions come with their racism, where the latter is more obvious than the former. I was lucky to be raised in a family that loved food. My grandparents could never travel the world in person, so they tried to travel it with their tummy, even though some of grandma’s creations would probably not have been recognised by the people who actually invented them. Mr, on the other hand was raised in a family that sees lasagna as exotic and his parents have never eaten a single Döner. Mr has tried to shed that attitude, but mostly ended up in a position where he will eat foreign cuisines, but only after they have been thoroughly approved by white people. Italian is standard, Chinese is ok, Greek is high end. So when we came upon a tiny Senegalese restaurant in Mataró, he was not happy when I proposed to eat there and the kids enthusiastically agreed.
Guess who enjoyed his meal the most?
The restaurant was tiny (less than 2m from side to side and probably 8-9 m long). The cook prepared three different dishes, as Senegale food is stews that take time to prepare, and starters, so we simply ordered one of each and shared among us.
I’ll definitely try to cook some of these, hopefully with better results than grandma…