Tuesday, April 26, 2011

evoking childhood

When I think about rhubarb, I remember myself as a little girl playing  in the old garden of my Great-grandmother. There was a huge cherry tree, strawberry plants lined up neatly, oldfashioned shrubs and a few rhubarb plants with their red stems and dark green leaves standing near the fence. I used to take water from the standpipe and fill it into sand moulds together with mud, grass and ripped off leaves. So I "cooked"  for the wild rabbits. Sometimes I took one of the big rhubarb leaves as  tray to offer some appetizing flowers as well. And, to my surprise, every morning the rabbits had eaten their meal without leaving any leftovers...

Unfortunately I never appreciated the very special acidity of rhubarb. Even now, when I only think of it I feel like shrinking inside ... The only way I always loved rhubarb was when it has been transformed into mere taste in the form of syrup.
Delicious to flavour fresh strawberries, icecream and even cocktails.

Recently I stumbled upon a very simple recipe in one of my favourite Blogs eatmakeread.

Rhubarb Syrup

Combine 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water over low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, add 1 cup chopped rhubarb and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain out rhubarb and you've got yourself rhubarb syrup.

Monday, April 25, 2011

#4 Negroni

Eighty-year-old Grandma arrived to celebrate Easter with us. Knowing she loves the bittersweet taste of Campari and and its beneficial effects on the digestive system, we decided to mix a Negroni to welcome her. I admit we felt a bit worried the high content of alcohol could harm her (dizziness, sudden tachycardia, sleeplessness...). Instead she enjoyed it a lot, slept perfectly well and asked for repetition tonight...

The original Negroni was invented in Florence, in 1919, at Caffe Casoni, now Caffe Giacosa. Count Camillo Negroni invented it by asking the bartender, Fosco Scarselli, to strengthen his favourite cocktail, the Americano, by adding gin rather than the normal soda water.

How to mix it:

2 cl Vermouth rosso
2 cl Campari
2 cl Gin

Serve on the rocks, poured over ice. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter is coming

Did you know the German tradition of hanging coloured eggs into the trees during Easter time? Originally, I suppose, it must have been an East German tradition, because I don't remember it from my childhood in West Germany.  In the meantime (and after more than 20 years of German Unity) there is no difference anymore. The egg trees have quickly conquered the whole country !

Saturday, April 16, 2011

#3 Singapore Sling

Not quite the original cocktail which has been developed in the Raffles Hotel in Singapore a century ago, nevertheless it holds the essence of an oriental metropolis: I'm talking about  the Singapore Sling I tasted last week in the florentine bar "Kitsch". A fruity, fresh and not too sweet aperitivo.
And here's the mix as Charles Schumann suggests:

Singapore Sling

2-3 cl lemon juice
1 cl sugar syrup
1 ts icing sugar
4 cl Gin
1-2 cl Cherry Brandy
1 cocktail cherry

Shake lemon juice, syrup, sugar and gin on ice cubes in a shaker, strain into longdrink or champagne glasses, fill up with soda.  As a final step add carefully the Cherry Brandy.

Run out of cocktail cherries. Sorry!  I took some frozen strawberries for substitute... Enjoy!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

a splendid foretaste of summer

Lately I spent an awesome time with my daughter in Florence. We were strolling around all day long, visiting palazzi, museums and fashion shops, sunbathing on roof terraces,  and, as a special challenge, we never ate twice in the same place! I swear to you I hadn't been served so simple and so delicious meals in a long time... salads, grilled vegetables, carpacci, gelati, BIFTECA A LA FIORENTINA, panini, capuccini....just paradise!
So, if you agree, I'm going to dedicate my next posts to Florence and to the delights of Tuscan cuisine.

And here, my dear readers, comes the aperitivo:

 roofs of the old town

so ripe and colourful and inviting to stop by

Santa Croce, my favourite church

Piazza di Santa Croce

Piazza della Repubblica, from the roof terrace of the department store La Rinascente 

subject of big interest: the "love locks" at Ponte Vecchio

yoghurt, strawberries and pine nuts for breakfast

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My proposal for your Summer Breakfast:

A few months ago I bought an amazing Almwiesenmuesli (= MOUNTAIN PASTURE MUESLI). Beautiful to look at, in a bottle, with dried yellow and blue  mountain pasture blossoms  between grains and roasted nuts.. I know you understand me, I just had to buy it because it looked fresh and healthy (still colours are reason enough to buy something!...)

We all know this: too often nicely coloured food looks better than it tastes. NOT THE ALM MÜSLI! It tasted so good that when I had finished the original Muesli bottle I decided to buy all the ingredients and assemble my own slightly improved  (additional choco chips!) version.  

Intrigued?? This is the recipe:


3 cups of oat flakes 
3 cups of wheat-barley-buckwheat flakes
1cup of amaranth poppies
1/2 cup of green raisins
1/4 cup of hazelnuts, chopped and roasted
1/4 cup of almonds, chopped and roasted
1/4 cup of pine nuts, roasted
1/4 cup of apricot nuts, chopped and roasted
1/4 cup of cedar nuts, roasted
1/4 cup of pumkin seeds, roasted
1/4 cup of psyllium
1/4 a cup of chocolate chips
and not to forget: some dried, edible flowers . If you shouldn't have the possibility right now to harvest your own mountain pasture flowers, take flowers from your garden or get some from the wholefood shop.

Put all the ingredients into a big bowl and mix well. To store I recommend  a high glass jar or a paperbag.

For breakfast fill a handful of Muesli into a bowl, add a bit of hot water to smoothen it, add half a grated apple or pear, a teaspoon of flaxseed or a teaspoon of flaxseed oil (for the culmination of positive effects) and voilà: the perfect healthy summer breakfast. Of course, you may substitute my finishing proposals by milk, yoghurt, fruit juice or whatever you prefer. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

and snap! - lucky to have caught the moment

In all the 15 years we live here I have never seen so many deer coming so close to the house. And they behaved so relaxed and trustful. Had they broken out of the game reserve...?

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Antipasti in the sun

Lazy sunny weekend- like the beginning of an amazing holiday on a wooden three-master in the Mediterranean..  or at least in an ancient monastery in Florence.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Hi, it's me again. I'm back

I have been down with an awful stomach virus, don't make me tell more about it. I was definitely not in the mood neither to eat (urgh!) nor to think about about food nor even to take photographs. It must have been the noro, I  guess...
Thank you for telling me so many of you that you especially love my food and cocktail posts, both the pictures and the recipes. So today  let's  celebrate the mild and summery temperatures with a mild and summery Dragonfruit Shake! In a moment I will be out in my garden planting little crocuses and snowflakes...


1/2 l milk
1 ripe banana
6 slices of dried dragonfruit (2 for decoration)
You may add a spoonful of sugar if you like more sweetness.

Blend all ingredients until sweet and creamy. The dragonfruit gives a subtle aromatic flavour and is strongly colouring.