Thursday, March 24, 2011


Look at the catwalks of NewYork, Paris or Milan. Electric blue is one of THE MUST HAVE COLOURS this spring/summer!
Besides the fashion approach the whole setting reminds me of England, more exactly of the Cumbrian hills next to the Lakelands, where reams of sheep are doing a full time job in turning northern England's landscape into a true postcard...

Monday, March 21, 2011

the big spring cleaning followed by a big artichoke dinner

Yes, March seems to become a "food" month, I'm aware of it. But  anyway, the weather was so bad until now, so grey, that I didn't feel like going out.  I felt like staying  at home, playing Mozart quartets, cooking, waiting for the sun... April will be more "outdoor", I promise!

And coming to the artichokes; we cooked them as a whole and ate them with a yoghurt dip. So yummy!

How to cook and eat whole artichokes:

Rinse  the artichokes in running cold water. In a large pot, put water , a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, a bay leaf and salt. Add the artichokes. Bring to boil and let it simmer until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off.

The dip: yoghurt, salt, pepper, lemon, olive oil and fresh herbs, like chopped chives and parsley, mixed together.

Once cooked, pull off outer petals, one at a time.
Dip fleshy end in the sauce. Grip the other end of the petal, place in mouth and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy,delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal. Continue until all petals are removed.
With a spoon scrape out the fuzzy part covering the heart of the artichoke. The remaining bottom is the heart. Dip it into the sauce and eat.  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

on the bookshelf in my kitchen

On the tiny bookshelf in my kitchen you see the source of inspiration for my daily cooking. ( I DON'T MEAN THE BOTTLES.)
Some of the books will be substituted by promising newcomers after a while and move to the living room shelf. (Which doesn't mean that they won't have a comeback some day!) Others like Marcella Hazan's DIE KLASSISCHE ITALIENISCHE KÜCHE (Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking) or Michel Roux's SAUCEN have already reached the status of alltime favourites.
Not to forget all my handwritten family-and-friends recipes: they are collected in the big folder on the left.

Ah, and I love reading cookbooks in my bed before sleeping.  A small number of them is always dispersed along my bedside. If you should share this habit (and I know that some of you do...) I strongly recommend Molly Wizenberg's A HOMEMADE LIFE. I read it lately and it's amazing! She tells about her childhood and adolescence in Oklahoma, her falling in love with a NewYork boy (also enthusiastic homecook) and her wedding. On the way she shares a lot of wonderful recipes. The book ends with the recipe of a chocolate cake she baked for her own wedding -which happened to be our traditional chocolate birthday cake. Small world when it's about  delicious chocolate cakes!

The two books in the picture above have become my most consulted ones for quite a while. Both are about crossover cuisine, very sophisticated but simple at the same time. Their secret lies mostly in the unexpected combination of ingredients. Be curious for the results out of my test kitchen..

Wednesday, March 16, 2011



This is a photo I posted 2 years ago in flickr. Yesterday I remembered it and how perfectly it describes my state of mind in the moment. Longing for colours, warmth, sun and blue sky. I finally want to put my winter boots away and wear these Ballerinas!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

#2 Red Lion

Tonight we had a spontaneous RED LION.   To celebrate Anna's success!

Anna Katharina, our 15 year old neighbour is a very talented clarinetist. This evening she played her debut concert as a soloist in front of more than 2000 people! We have been there and were hooked by the warmth and the soul of her sound. I'm convinced she will have a great future as a musician!
Later on, relaxed and happy, she came over to chill  together with my daughter.

How to mix:

4cl orange juice
1cl lemon juice
dash grenadine
2cl Grand Marnier
3cl Gin

Shake in a shaker with ice cubes and serve in cocktail glasses. Cheers!

(Of course, the youngsters prefered the non-alcoholized Lions.)

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

My garden coming alive after the cold winter and some irresistible Choco-Coco Cupcakes

As to the cupcakes  I felt a bit sorry that I hadn't doubled the amount of the batter. The twelve ones we baked we had to give away to a charity project of my youngest daughter's grade. But, of course, we tried number thirteen ( set aside in a tiny baking form) and it came out delicious!
A bit like a BOUNTY bar in form of a cake...

The recipe:

100g       bittersweet chocolate
150ml     milk
100g       flour
2 ts         baking powder
100g       grated dried coconut
100g       butter (creamy)
100g       icing sugar
1             egg

Pre-heat the oven to 180°. Chop the chocolate in small pieces. Heat up the milk and melt the chocolate in it. Leave to cool down a bit.
Mix flour, baking powder and the grated coconut. In another bowl stir butter, sugar and the egg until creamy.  Add the chocolate milk, then the flour mixture.
Fill the dough into the papercups and put them in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Yields 12 cupcakes.

Did you notice the arty papercup in my picture? Unfortunately I had run out of papercups and this is the homemade version. If you want to follow me just strap a piece of baking paper over the bottom of a glass.... 

Monday, March 07, 2011

#1 Blue Champagne

The first Cocktail to be presented is neither the Margarita, nor the Mojito, nor the Cosmopolitan.... it is the Blue Champagne!

If you wonder how I aquired my broad knowledge of cocktail mixing and alike  I blush and tell you some invented anecdotes from my past  before I admit, that the secret lies in Charles Schumann's Bar book.

I remember a BLUE CHAMPAGNE we tried out once with unexpected consequences. Since then it has become a terrific help when we have guests who haven't met before or are suffering from a laming shyness or from a bad case of political correctness.

How to mix:

1 cl        lemon juice
dashes  Triple Sec
dashes   Curacao Blue
3 cl        Gin or Vodka
and Champagne

Shake in a shaker with ice cubes, strain in champagne glasses, fill up with champagne. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Cocktail Time

Ladies, get your cocktail dresses from the dry cleaners. Gentlemen, put on your tux and finally invite over Mr and Mrs Fitzsimmons, Dr Gerard Twine-Whistershire and the infamous Lady Upperworth.
From tomorrow my Blog is introducing a new feature inspired by my son: Cocktail Time!

artwork by my daughter Vik