Tummy Thursday: I’m Bored

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:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

And then I decided to try Petit Fours for the first time, practising the flavours for Halloween (but not the design):

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

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.

 

 

Tummy Thursday: Me gusta la cocina mexicana

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.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Starters: Frijoles refritos (mushed baked beans) and nachos with cheese.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

My main course: marinated grilled beef, cactus, pumpkin flower and sweetcorn, guacamole and stuffed habanero, served with tortillas.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

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.

 

Tummy Thursday: Senegalese Food

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.

©Giliell, all rights reserved Fish cakes. they were absolutely delicious and already hinted at an enormous amount of onions to come.

©Giliell, all rights reserved Yassa: chicken in an onion and veggies sauce with rice.

©Giliell, all rights reserved Thiéboudienne, the national dish. Seasoned rice with veggies and fish. Sorry for the blurry pic, I was hungry.

©Giliell, all rights reserved Mafé, a beef stew with peanut sauce.

I’ll definitely try to cook some of these, hopefully with better results than grandma…

Tummy Thursday: Churros con Chocolate

One of the kids’ favourite places in the city of Mataró is the Xurrería, which absolutely does not offer tourists an authentical churros experience. It’s simply the real thing, as evidenced by the fact that is was closed for holidays during the second half of our stay, something no tourist oriented business would do at the height of the season. That’s something to say about the city in general: tourism is a factor, and a welcome factor, but it’s not a big enough factor for businesses, especially bars and restaurants to rely on it exclusively. This means they need to provide a service that makes regular customers come back. I understand that I’m the worlds biggest hypocrite here when I want to go for a holiday but not where there are too many tourists, but I can live with that. It means good food.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Here you see “porras”, a thicker variety of churros with my “cortado”, an espresso with a bit of milk. Traditionally you eat them with “chocolate” as in the next picture:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

These are the more commonly known churros with their typical shape. The chocolate is thick and dark and not overly sweet, so you can dip your churros in and enjoy the whole thing. It’s more like custard in that respect, only that it’s delicious.

Tummy Thursday: Cumpleaños feliz

Before we left for our holiday, we celebrated #1’s 12th birthday. From my short experience with having a 12 years old at home I can confirm that all the “what are you? 12?” remarks you throw at people with a dirty twist of mind are completely accurate. But you’re here for the cake, aren’t you?

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Lamas are currently very much en vogue, so she asked for a lama cake. The cake is the ultimate banana-chocolate-coconut-combination: Banana bread with chocolate chips and grated coconut. Vanilla buttercream and sliced bananas as filling, popcorn curls and since I forgot to make ears, laminated paper ears.

To go with the lama cake there were cactus cupcakes:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

These have a butternut squash-almond-raisin base (I simply love that recipe) with lemon curd frosting. I never made lemon curd before, but I so love it. The cacti are rice crispies with lemon curd buttercream.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Tummy Thursday: a Sweet Surprise

Well, do you remember this?

©voyager, all rights reserved

Which got turned into this:

©Giliell, all rights reserved.

And sent off to Germany, where it got turned into this:

©Giliell, all rights reserved.

Again, thank you very much, voyager. It is most delicious and no comparison with what you can buy here as maple syrup, no matter how often they say “Canadian grade A”.

And I swear that one day you WILL have the opportunity to share it with me in person.

Tummy Thursday: Omas Faasekiechelcher

That translates into grandma’s little carnival cakes. It’s that time of the year, and while I have tired of the whole carnival culture (alcohol and sexual assault), I still love Faasekiechelcher. pastries fried in oil are a traditional treat at carnival and they come in many varieties all over Germany. The best known is the “Berliner”, which is very similar to our recipe, now available all year round (you never hear people complain about that, but heavens forbid you publicly enjoy a Lebkuchen in September).

Since I now have a deep fryer and carnival break (you may have noticed the increased amounts of posting), I decided to make grandma’s faasekiechelcher myself, and I’m willing to share, at least the recipe. You need:

1kg flour

120g sugar

150g butter

8g salt

450ml milk

75g yeast

The secret here is that the yeast dough needs a lot of rest. I first gave the starter 15 min, then kneaded the dough, let it rest for an hour, knead it again and the let it rise for three more hours. The yeast’s got to be very happy.

Commerical bakeries and many people will fry their Berliner and then fill them with jam a pipe bag. Grandma had a different secret. You roll out half of the dough, about 0.5cm thick and mark your circles with a glass.

I used Nutella in some of them.

Then you roll out the second half, same size as the first and place it on top. You push the dough down between the little heaps of filling and then you take your glass and cut through both layers. Since the dough is very soft it now sticks together. Let them rest again for about 30 minutes. Since this was my first try I wasn’t sure on the amount of filling and erred on the “too little” side.

Fry in hot oil (about 170-180°C). I learned that you need to turn them over after about 1 minute or there will be large air bubbles on the top side and you won’t be able to turn them around anymore.

This recipe yields two big bowls fuul of delicious Faasekiechelcher, but this is all that was left today:

You need to roll them in cinnamon and sugar.

Enjoy!

Tummy Thursday: Book recommendation

I got a baking book for Christmas from, my brother in law. we might start a tradition of giving each other cooking books and baking books, though he doesn’t actually like baking much. He#s somebody who follows certain cooks and Yotam Ottolenghi is definitely one of his favourites (he asked for several of his books on other occasions.)

baking book

Interestingly, the international cover is different from the English one…

Now, cooking books are like other books. They’re for you to read, but they have the added benefit of also containing recipes. What I instantly liked about it was that it had a lot of cakes and cookies and such that looked absolutely doable. Now, as you know, I’m not one above spending three days in the kitchen to make a CAKE, but most occasions are for simple cakes that you make in an hour and then enjoy.

Of course I had to try one out as soon as possible and decided to go for cakes baked in a can for New Years Eve.

cake

Caaaaaaake, caaaaaaaaaake

These ones are with butternut squash, almonds, raisins and orange peel. I slightly upscaled the recipe because I only had medium eggs. Often recipes call for large eggs and if you only use medium eggs the cake gets dry. So I added an extra egg and a bit more of everything else. that way I ended up with three cans and was I glad.

That’s two of them cut into slices.

I thought I’d save the third so it wouldn’t become dry… After a while our host asked if there was anything left. I cut the third. Suddenly our other host said: Shit, my parents aren’t here yet and look at what we left!

Not much…

The cake was delicious in taste and very moist. We could have kept eating, obviously.

Which is why I decided to make it for my birthday breakfast at work, that’s why my kitchen currently looks like I was planning to open a stall at fun fairs…

cans

Three throws for a buck.

Tummy Thursday: Gumbo or what makes an easy meal

Since I told you all in depth about our New Years Eve dinner, here’s the recipe for my American main course.

I searched the internet for a gumbo recipe that seemed doable and delicious and then had a trial cooking.

The first problem was to get some sausage that resembles Andouille. As you can see at that link, there is a sausage called anduille in France, but it sounds very different from the creole version and actually I detest it. I decided to go with smoked polish sausage that was very hearty, but did not have caraway seed (Eastern European sausages often have generous amounts of caraway seed and I don’t like that either). I think it made a great substitute and got used both times.

Next was the okra. I had never used okra before, and I even went to a Turkish supermarket to get some fresh okra especially for this, but, let me tell you, they aren’t called “slime fruit” in German for nothing. The little “stars” looked nice, but I don’t think they added much taste and really, I can do without the added consistency of slime, so they got left out the second time.

I changed the seasoning somewhat, leaving out the “hot sauce” but adding a “Cajun” spice and pepper mix that I quite like and the result was simply to die for.

gumbo

©Giliell, all rights reserved

This is the trial version before i added the shrimp.

Making the gumbo got me thinking of how the idea of “easy meal” probably changed with women’s work shifting to the outside (I hate the insinuation that housewives “didn’t work”. I want to to see those people scrub the laundry). I can imagine that for a woman who had to do all the chores and probably some farming on the side, this gumbo would have been an “easy meal”. Sure, the roux requires a bit of your attention, but you can use that time to chop your veggies. Then you just hang it high above the fire or put it on the side of the wood stove and go about your day and do your work, while the meal is cooking itself. And you can make a big serving and don’t have a lot of dishes afterwards. Perfect meal for getting your family through a busy workday.

Nowadays, the idea of making something that needs to stew for three hours screams “festive meal” to any person who work outside.