Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Despite the lack of snow and the fact that we skipped the carol service we had a wonderful Christmas time.
Between a Christmas dinner consisting of grilled fish and beet salad and the film "The King's Speech"(Grandma's favourite) I unwrapped some delicious treats from the Profumería Farmaceutica Santa Maria Novella.

Let's face it: Christmas is stressful, but I hope you enjoyed the chaos that comes with the relatives, the mountains of food and the state in which you find the kitchen the next morning.

After all, my favourite part about Christmas is lazing around the living room with all my lovely children  drinking hot chocolate and yogi tea.

Friday, December 23, 2011

reminds of Russia?

Don't oversee the magic, it might be closer than you think.

(This, in fact, is a peek into Dresden's famous "Strietzelmarkt".)

Sunday, December 04, 2011

antiques treasure hunt

Lately a friend took me to Gaustritz, a small village in the south of Dresden, where we met Karin von Mohl who sells all kind of antiques, fabrics, old silver cutlery, lamps, mirrors, chairs. And for the hungry shopper: homemade jams.

Karin von Mohl calls herself a  natural"finder". "I never look deliberately for restorable beauties, they just come to me".
In her charming old barnyard she collects, restores and paints. I'm so glad to have come to know her. It's the perfect address for country house antiques and it's very inspiring to know, that she also takes personal restoration requests.

Monday, November 28, 2011

my booklist for reading pleasure (as it should be always)

Photography by Fuchi Pucho

Debt: The First 5.000 Years
David Graeber

Geld und Magie
Eine ökonomische Deutung von Goethes Faust
Hans Christoph Binswanger

Der taumelnde Kontinent
Europa 1900-1914
Philipp Blom

Heilkräuter und Zauberpflanzen: zwischen Haustür und Gartentor
Wolf-Dieter Storl

Bekannte und vergessene Gemüse: Geschichte, Rezepte, Heilkunde
Wolf-Dieter Storl

Winter in Maine
Gerard Donovan

Magdalena Sünderin
Lilian Faschinger

kitchen window: Erzgebirgian Christmas

Hope, you all had a good 1.Advent weekend! Mine was filled with decorating the house and - lovely tradition- making Advent wreathes together with my best friends (which certainly means having tea and coffee and a lot of gossiping..).
Saturday my talented brother stopped by and helped me to brainstorm on my new kitchen plans. More about this project soon: I'm actually planning to transfer my kitchen from the north to the sunny side of the house. A true challenge!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

London 1764

"London 1764" was the title of the 9th concert of the orchestra of the Förderverein of Dresden Philharmonics.

This beautiful event takes place every year (with a different program of course!) in Schloss Albrechtsberg. This year's highlight has been Mozart's concert for flute and harp, interpreted by Karin Hofmann and Nora Koch.  We are so grateful that we have the opportunity to perform in a place like this. The atmosphere has a charme that is hard to describe. Surely this post doesn't  do it justice.

Unfortunately I didn't take my camera, so some iphone snapshots will have to do.  It's a euphoric feeling to perform with such a well coordinated orchestra, all due to the hard efforts of our  conductor
Guido Titze.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My good night potion contains...

...sprigs of thyme, sprigs of linden, fresh ginger, a slice of lemon, honey to sweeten and hot water.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

another red and green

Found these cuties while out there looking for rose hips to decorate my Advent wreath.  Can you believe, the southern blue of the sky is true, no Photoshop!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Opulence in Red and Green

Only one week until 1. Advent! For us it's the weekend we light the first candle of the Advent wreath and we decorate our homes in the traditional colours: sprigs of fir, box and holly, red candles and ribbons. Red faced little apples and nuts on silver plates, pine sprigs and amaryllis on the window sills.

Feel inspired by my pictures; if you are interested you find all these pretty things in Ursula von Hake's studio and shop.

I especially fell in love with those laquered boxes and the fancy trays and side tables. Living in the forest with the one or the other stag lurking around the corner of the garden I also couldn't say no to traditional stag candles (They hide in the left corner of the second picture. I'll post better pictures later!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to make a Gugelhupf

The typical Gugelhupf is baked in a ring-shaped mold and made with yeast.  With yeast, not with baking powder: important difference! This, at least, is what I learned and what my mother  and my  "Badisches Kochbuch" confirm.  The "Badisches" is the first cookbook I ever owned. It lectures extensively -yet without pictures- about the cuisine I grew up with.  Gugelhupfwise, I suppose, it's influenced by our brioche loving French neighbours...

To make a Gugelhupf is easy if you keep in mind some very important prerequisites:

  • close all doors and windows of your kitchen
  • turn on the heating; the temperature in your kitchen should be at least 21°C
  • ALL ingredients must have room temperature
  • you should plan about 3 hours for the whole process (you don't have to spend all this time in the kitchen; the dough has to rise several times, to be baked, to rest...) 

the dough:

500g flour
1sachet dry yeast
60g sugar
a pinch of salt
3 eggs
250g butter
1/4 l milk

 the filling:

200g walnuts,  finely chopped
4 tbs sugar
5 tbs rum

First mix the flour and the dry yeast, then add the remaining ingredients and kneed the dough ( with your hands or the dough hooks of your mixer) until it is soft and glossy. If it comes out sticky, add some more flour.
Dust the dough with flour, cover the bowl with a cloth and let it rise for one hour in the warmest corner of your kitchen.

Now you have time to prepare the filling: chop the walnuts and mix them with the sugar and the rum. Put them aside to allow the flavours to mingle.

One hour later: on a flour-dusted table spread the dough  into a rectangular form. Use your hands, you don't  need a rolling pin. Then spread the filling evenly onto the dough and roll it up lengthwise. Place it into the greased Gugelhupf mold. (Any ring-shaped mold is fine!)

Cover the mold and let the dough rise for another half an hour.

Put it into the preheated oven at 180° and bake it for 50 minutes. Have a look after 30 minutes; it might be necessary to cover it loosely with a tin foil to prevent the surface from overbrowning.

Let the Gugelhupf rest for about 10 minutes before you remove the mold. Finally dust it with icing sugar.

Et voilà: your Gugelhupf!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Autumnal Surf'n'Turf

I suppose, the only thing you reliably can buy cheaper  in Switzerland than in Germany are dried morels. So whenever I happen to stay in Switzerland I pass by Migros and grab a few 20g envelopes of these wonderful mushrooms. Yummmm!

Inspired by Sylvias Pasta from sea and forest I decided to combine the following:

a butternut squash + vegetable stock + morels + crabs =  delicious surf and turf lunch!

To even increase the pleasure you may pimp the soup with a shot of white wine and with the strained soaking water of the morels . The crabs and the morels should be braised in olive oil, garlic and coarse salt before being placed on the soup. Salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes to taste.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The neutrals of F&B and my home

Farrow&Ball Shaded White in my guestroom

The neutrals never get boring, they are incredibly warm and beautiful. But don't think that it's an easy matter to choose the right one. You have to consider the incoming light, the electric lightening, the furniture, the height of the ceilings and even the surroundings (yes, it's quite different if you look into the green, the blue or the grey) .  The pigments mirror  the outdoor colours, so that a stunning yellow "Babouche" may turn your room into a swamp if there's a lot of green reflected.

Actually, when I'm repainting a room, I can spend days with the colour fan in my hand, being entirely sure about my choice  in one moment,  dismissing everything in the next. That's the moment I usually  ask my friend Nancy for help, who looks at the setting with a fresh view and with plenty of experience!

Farrow&Ball Matchstick in the living room

So far, only the repainting of my kitchen ended in a disaster. With the last brushstroke I knew: NOOOO WAY!!  HELP! I should have known it. 
"Matchstick, the perfect colour for the living room had turned my beautiful bright kitchen into a dirty fish tank.

At that time there didn't yet exist a stockist in Dresden and I had to wait 2 long weeks for  the remedy "White Tie"...

Farrow&Ball White Tie in my kitchen