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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Scrambled Eggs with Forest Mushrooms & Bacon


Reading the title of this blog post you might ask yourself the following question: What`s about these food bloggers always posting such easy recipes, that a chef wouldn`t even call a recipe? Or maybe you thought, what the eff, who doesn`t know how to make scrambled eggs, even my eight year old knows how to make scrambled eggs.

Here some of my personal thoughts on this topic. First of all, I believe that what makes life so worth living aren`t a lot of money, tons of designer stuff or overpriced luxury food. The beauty of life is made of all the little and simple things, we sometimes tend to forget about.
Same goes for food. A five star diner with seven courses isn`t bad, but at the same time a subtle, but homemade dish can be even more enjoyable. Yes, even if it`s scrambled eggs! Not to mention the satisfaction you feel running through your veins, when something you made for the first time, turns out good.

Second of all, life is a never ending learning process. One of the worst things that can happen to somebody is stagnation. People that aren`t growing, aren`t evolving, neither mentally nor intellectually. Again same goes for cooking, there`s always something new to discover, whether it`s learning a new technique, training or refreshing one. 

For this very reason I decided a few months ago, that I wanted to intensify and improve my  skills by entering a cooking class. Due to my personality, not working well with regular scheduled class, I wanted to go for an online course. After browsing the internet a few hours I stumbled upon Martha Stewart`s cooking school videos. I`m planning on working through most of the videos, trying out the different techniques implemented, as well as using the lessons as an inspiration for my own creations here on the blog.

Now guess what the first lesson is about? Any idea? Ok, fine, I`m going to tell you anyway...
First lesson: eggs!
So here`s where it all started with the scrambled eggs


What you need (for 2 servings):
  •  4 eggs, room temperature
  •  20g unsalted butter
  • 100g diced bacon
  • 3 handful chopped forest mushrooms, like champignons, chanterelles, pioppini, cetera
  • salt & pepper
  • parsley
Preparation:
  •  rinse off and chop mushrooms
  • heat butter in a pan, it shouldn`t smoke
  • add bacon and mushrooms, cook for 2 to 3 minutes
  • in the meantime break eggs, pour them in a bowl, whisk until well combined
  • pour eggs into pan, turn down the heat on low
  • add salt and pepper
  • cook for 1 minute, keep stirring your eggs from the outside to the inside
  • decorate with parsley and mushrooms

I hope you like evolving and learning new things as much as I do? 
If you do so, please share any good cooking class or course you know, may it be online, DVD, TV, book or whatever, just name it please.
And before I forget, from now on every post labeled with cooking school will be based on the course(s) I`m taking.

Read you soon,
xoxo

 
 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Zesty Broccoli Rice

zesty broccoli rice

Sometimes there are days, when you want to come home, put your feet up and just relax. But what happens when a little hunger feeling starts kicking in, whilst you`re really not motivated to cook anything? 
Well I tell you, that`s the moment when a lot of us open that frozen dinner, put it in the microwave and TA DA! Meal ready within minutes. I admit it`s such a comfortable road to go down, I did it as well like a year ago. But then I decided to stop putting crap into my body. That was the moment I banned frozen food out of my kitchen an started to do a lot of things by myself. 
Honestly I never regretted my decision. That`s why today's mission consist`s in convincing you that this way of life is possible.By the example of this simple broccoli rice with lemon zest, you`ll probably recognize, that it`s not even that time consuming to prepare yourself a healthy meal instead of just microwaving. 


What you need (for 2 servings):
  • 240g long grain rice
  • ca. 1l water
  • 1 broccoli
  • juice of one lemon
  • zests of one organic lemon
  • salt & pepper
Preparation:
  • first wash the rice, until the water stops being cloudy
  • pour water into a pan and bring to boil, add salt and lemon juice
  • add rice, then turn the heat very low, cover the pan
  • cook for 15 to 20 minutes until your rice is really fluffy, try not to stir the rice or lift the cover of the pan whilst cooking
  • let the rice sit in the pan (covered) for 10 minutes after cooking
  • bring water to boil in a pan, add salt
  • cut off the broccoli florets, rinse them off with water
  • add broccoli to boiling water, cook until you can pinch it easily with a fork
  • pour off the broccoli water, add cooked broccoli to your rice
  • zest your lemon and sprinkle over your rice



See how quick and easy you can prepare yourself a meal? 
Besides that it`s a hundred percent vegetarian, respectively vegan dish, because a little healthy now and then doesn`t hurt, don`t you agree?

Read you soon,
xoxo

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Traveling to Hamburg



It was a big wish of my grandmother to once again go on a trip with her daughter and granddaughter. Her target destination was Hamburg, as she hadn`t been there yet. Of course my mum and I were absolutely smitten by the idea. 
We put our plan into action and went on a little trip this October, which I want to fill you guys in.
First of all Hamburg is such a lovable and adorable city, especially the "Speicherstadt" in the port area. It`s architecture is so beautiful, slightly similar to London. There are so many places to visit and things to do. You should definitely visit the rich districts with all it`s astonishing mansions. There`s also a wide variety of parks and even a lake and a beach. There`s no better thing to do on a hot summer day in Hamburg than chilling at the beach in Altona Hamburg. 
Besides the beauty of the city, I felt so blessed to enjoy this very special moment with my mom and my granny. Once again I got reminded on how fortunate I am to have such a supportive and loving family.

Enough of the talk, I want to show you my impressions of Hamburg through pictures. 
If your planning a trip to Hamburg, feel free to contact me for further information on where to eat, shop, sleep and any sightseeing tips. 














Hope you enjoyed the photographs!

Read you soon,
xoxo

Monday, October 26, 2015

Pumpkin Spice French Toast

pumpkin spice french toast

A few weeks ago I made some homemade pumpkin spice as I wanted to treat myself with a pumpkin spice latte. I still had some of the spice mixture left, that I really wanted to use. 
Deciding what to make can be quiet a huge task if you are a pumpkin spice addict holding the opinion that this particular spice just rocks almost every sweet stuff. My little persona falls in this category, so it literally took me like forever and many pinterest-browsing hours until I decided on my next dish featuring pumpkin spice.

Eventually I came to the conclusion, that french toasts flavoured with pumpkin spice would be one perfect delicious choice. And so far no regrets!
The toasts turned out deliciously sweet, but more in a subtle kind of way, whilst there`s a gentle flavour of pumpkin spice shining through. Absolutely mouthwatering and worth a try.

Besides that these french toasts are the perfect breakfast to prepare for a huge crowd. You can make them for a big family brunch or your friends and they`ll always be perfect. Don`t be afraid, everyone will love them!

preparation pumpkin spice french toast

What you need (for 4 toasts):
  • 4 toast bread slices
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin spice, you can find the recipe here
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree, you can find the recipe here
  • 2 eggs
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar, depending on the sweetness you like
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • icing sugar
Preparation:
  • whisk eggs and milk together in a soup plate
  • add half of the pumpkin spice, whisk until well combined
  • mix pumpkin puree and rest of the pumpkin spice
  • spread the pumpkin puree and spice mixture on every side of your toast slices
  • lay your toast bread slices in the mixture, let soak for 3 minutes on every side
  • heat butter in a fry pan in the meantime
  • bake the toast slices in the pan until slightly browned on every side
  • drizzle maple syrup over your french toast 
  • sprinkle on a bit of icing sugar and serve
pumpkin spice flavoured french toast

Although I finished up all my homemade pumpkin spice, I think I`ll make a new batch soon, because there are still so many things I would like to add it too.
Is there any recipe you can recommend?

Read you soon,
xoxo

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Autum Harvest Salad

Autumn harvest salad

Just because it`s getting colder outside, doesn`t mean fresh salads shouldn`be on your table during these seasons. There are plenty of reasons to incorporate them in your daily menu plan. For example now is the perfect timing for adding fall fruits, like apples, pears, or nuts to your salads. Not to mention the huge variety of dainty seasonal vegetables you can choose from, such as black salsify, squash or nut lettuce. I decided to incorporate the last one.

Autumn harvest salad with fruits

Almost all main ingredients for this salad are seasonal, that`s also the reason why it`s called an Autumn harvest salad. I went for a mix of nut lettuce, apples, mushrooms, walnuts and roasted pumpkin seeds as my fall ingredients. 
Does this sound boring to you? Well then wait for it....
How about adding bananas to your salad? Enough craziness? OK, I admit banana in a salad, sounds kind of strange, well at least to me. I stumbled upon this idea in one of my cooking books and I couldn`t get it out of my mind, just had to do it.
And that`s the result, one delicious fruity and rustic fall inspired salad.

What you need (for 2 servings & one jar of salad sauce):
  • 1 apple, use a sweet variety like gala
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 2 handful chopped walnuts
  • 4 handful nut lettuce
  • 180g plain yogurt
  • juice of 1/2 lemon or 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • a pinch of salt & pepper
  • chopped chive 
ingredients for autumn harvest salad

Preparation:
  • roast pumpkin seeds for 2 minutes in a pan, let cool down
  • rinse off and thinly slice mushrooms
  • saute in a pan for 3 minutes, then let cool down
  • add plain yogurt, lemon juice/cider vinegar, salt and pepper to a bowl
  • mix well, pour into a jar and refrigerate, you can store the dressing in your fridge for a few days, like that you can use it for other salads
  • rinse off nut lettuce, make sure there`s any dirt left
  •  dry salad with a salad spinner and add to serving plate with mushrooms
  • chop walnuts, add them to salad, as well as the roasted pumpkin seeds
  • peel and slice banana
  • rinse off the apple, halve and core it, cut into little pieces 
  • add fruits to the salad
  • finely chop the chive
  • drizzle on the cooled salad dressing and sprinkle over your chopped chive
fall inspired salad

That`s about it, it`s pretty easy as you can see. Just make sure to keep in mind one thing, always cut the apples at the end of your preparing process, you don`t want them to oxidate and turn brown. Thus for the same reason always cover you apples with lemon juice if you`re preparing this salad in advance.

Read you soon,
xoxo

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Chocolate Snickers Tart

Chocolate snickers tart

Peanuts, chocolate and caramel, is there anything else you wish for in a chocolate bar? I don`t think so and that`s why Snickers is one heavenly creation, well at least in my little world. And here lies the problem, why it took me so long to finally create a sweet treat with these bars.

Baking with snickers isn`t something that popped up in my head yesterday, I`ve been fancying about it for almost a year already. It`s just every time I bought them, they were gone within a few days, before I even had a chance to bake anything. Well, I guess I can`t get enough of them....greedy me...

chocolate snickers tart, serve cold or hot


Anyway, after all I managed not to eat all my snickers right away and made this delicious dark chocolate and snickers tart. And do you want to know the best thing about this tart? It`s absolutely luscious served hot, but even more heavenly if cooled down. I recommend doing it both and I`ll promise you get two completely different taste adventures, almost like eating two different types of chocolate tart. When served hot, you`ll get the creamy chocolate texture and the whole flavour of the dark chocolate. If served cold the flavour of the snickers will start to come trough more and more. 
Are you ready for the adventure, so let`s start making this tart!

What you need (for one tart):
  • round cake tin (diameter 32cm)
  • 5 snicker bars
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 270g shortcrust pastry
  • 100ml milk
  • a few marshmallows
  • icing sugar
ingredients for chocolate snickers tart

Preparation:
  • preheat the oven at 200° degrees
  • roll out your dough, I used store bought one, but feel free to make your own shortcrust pastry
  • lay out baking paper on your cake tin, cut paper into shape if necessary 
  • transfer rolled out dough onto your cake tin, form the crust as you like it or according to the shape of your cake tin
  • break dark chocolate into pieces
  • cut snicker bars into medium size pieces
  • melt both of them in a bain-marie
  • as soon as half melted add milk, mix well
  • pour the melted chocolate milk mixture onto your prepared dough
  • put in the oven and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes until the dough is crispy
  • sprinkle sieved icing sugar over your baked tart
  • decorate with marshmallows
  • serve hot, cold or both
tart with chocolate and snicker bars

You see this is done quiet quickly and you can easily make this on a busy day too. If you decide to use homemade dough, it should take you about one or one and a half hours more till you get this done. It`s worth the effort though, unless you`re in desperate need to eat something sweet, like it happened to me this time.

Read you soon,
xoxo
 

French Onion Soup

French onion soup with gougères

Lot`s of people will automatically think about frog legs, if you ask them about French cuisine, me included. But as my interests in cooking are constantly growing and I like to expand my knowledge, the frog legs didn`t repel me from exploring the wide range of the French cuisine. Don`t get me wrong, I`ll probably never eat frog legs and much less there would be any cooking of these adorable animals in my kitchen, but there`s still a lot really worth a try. Just think about coq au vin, crepes, moules or their soups.

Actually soup is on the menu today, more specific, French onion soup. This soup traditionally is made out of big Spanish onions and topped of with shredded cheese and toasted bread. I decided to go with a slightly modified version, by using homemade gougères instead of the toasted bread. 
The most important thing, whilst cooking this French dish, is to really bring the intense flavour of the onions into the soup. You might ask yourself now, how do I achieve that? Pretty simple, just make sure your onions are sauteed on low temperature for enough time. Remember after this process they shouldn`t be brown. Never burn your onions or this recipe will be a fail.

ingredients for French onion soup

What you need ( for 2 servings):
  • 2 Spanish onions, or just very big white onions
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 500ml water
  • 400ml white wine
  • 2 tablespoons flour, or cornstarch
  • 50g grated Gruyère
  •  4 homemade gougères, you can find the recipe here
  • flat parsley, for decoration
Preparation:
  • preheat oven at 220° degrees
  • peel and finely chop onions in rings or slices
  • melt butter in a pan, add onion rings/slices
  • saute onions for maximum 5 minutes, don`t forget stirring, you want them to cook evenly
  • deglaze by adding white wine, cook covered on low temperature for 10 more minutes
  • add water, cook covered on low temperature for 10 or 15 more minutes
  • stir in flour or cornstarch in the middle of cooking time if your soup hasn`t thickened enough for your taste
  • pour soup in serving bowls, sprinkle over some grated Gruyère and place two gougères on top of the cheese.
  • bake in the oven until cheese is golden brown (approximately 5 to 10 minutes)
  • decorate with flat parsley leaves and serve steaming hot

French onion soup before baking

French onion soup after baking

See it`s that simple, which makes this soup a perfect dish for cooking beginners. 
You can serve this for your family as an entree or to your guests as a starter and they will love it, especially during these cold days.

Read you soon,
xoxo

Monday, October 19, 2015

10 Halloween Movies That Are Really Adorable

image from hqhdwalls
I remember the times, I was a teen believing horror movies were the greatest things on earth. I video taped every scary movie I stumbled upon and on weekends my friends and I spent hours watching all of them. They were absolutely my favourite!
Well, I guess that is kind of a young adult thing, or I`m just getting really old, because nowadays I tend to avoid this category of movies. Watching terrifying films at night maybe isn`t the best thing to do if you`re living alone, like I do. Unless you really want to get the paranoia started, cause I will assure you I will start to here things everywhere. Sleepless nights and nightmares included...Yep that`s me, I`m a wuss...

But here`s the thing, although my repulse feelings for scary movies, I`m all crazy pants about Halloween. Oh, I sooo freaking love it!!! (SRY, for the outburst of emotions)
Everything about Halloween is just awesome, like the movies, just not the horrifying ones. 
On these cold fall nights, I pretty much enjoy watching a delightful Halloween movie. There is quiet a bunch of really good ones with little fear factor and you can watch practically all of them with your children.

Here`s a selection of non scary Halloween movies I never get tired of watching. 

1. Walt Disney`s Hocus Pocus
Three wicked witches return to an American town during a Halloween night, brought back mistakenly by a teenage boy. He, his sister and his teenage crush now have to save the children of the town by disempowering the witches.
Absolutely enjoyable and funny 90ies Halloween comedy. And Sarah Jessica Parker is so hilarious a a witch!

hocus pocus movie
image from einmalwunderland.de
2. Hotel Transylvania 1 & 2
There`s just one word for Hotel Transylvania and that`s awwww. This movie hat the cute factor, besides not leaving out on the humour. For more information, check out the review on my blog.
So far I haven`t seen Hotel Transylvania 2, but I`m undoubtedly sure, it`s worth watching.

Transylvania 2 movie
image from asifa-hollywood
3. Bedknobs and Broomsticks
There are thousands of reasons, why this movie is a must see. As for example the astonishing London scenery, the animated kingdom of the lion and the underwater world scenes and lot`s of vintage fashion.

bedknobs and broomstick movie
image from impawards
4. Beetlejuice
He`s a big weirdo, that`s why I like Beetlejuice. Do you need any more reason? Well I don`t have any, weirdo stuff must be enough for you this time.

Beetlejuice movie
image from moviepostershop
5. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Man, I can`t tell you guys how much I love Tim Burton. He`s just awesome, if you ask me. And he did it again in this movie, which also fits perfect for Christmas. 
And the moral of the story, cobbler stick to your trade!

The nighmare before Christmas movie
image from wikipedia
 
 6. Mom`s Got a Date with a Vampire
The title just says it all.
This is so funny, especially the walking on walls part. A perfect family movie!

Mom`s got a date with a vampire movie
image from wikipedia
7. Halloweentown
There are different parts of this movie, so there`s enough material for one entire TV Sunday. The older ones so remind me of my childhood.

Halloweentown movie
image from fangirlmag

8. The Addams Family
A few lines above I told you Beetlejuice is a weirdo, well the Addams family are a whole bunch of weirdos. You`ll never get tired of this family believe me.

Addams family movie
image from wikipedia
9. Casper
Cause he`s the cutes ghost eve!

Casper movie
image from wikia

10. The Last Unicorn
Drawn breathtakingly beautiful and such a sad story. There won`t be any dry eyes with this movie.
The last unicorn movie
image from calgarymovies
Now tell me, which non scary Halloween movies can you recommend?

Read you soon,
xoxo

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Asian Mushroom Pad Thai

Asian mushroom pad thai

The last few days I was really busy finishing some work for my thesis and preparing a presentation. That`s the excuse for my absence here on the blog. But today I`m back with a tasty recipe, this time Thai kitchen, more precisely pad thai.

Pad thai comes in so many different variations, with shrimps, pork, beef or vegetables, and it`s always absolutely delicious. So why not add Asian mushrooms as an ingredient? Mushrooms are healthy, full of mineral nutrients and perfect for fall. In general mushrooms are very suitable for Asian dishes, plus they just taste delightful. 

Did I manage to convince you? Then you should absolutely try this spicy pad thai. 
By the way, you can use any mushrooms you like for this dish.

What you need (for one serving):
  • 100g rice noodles
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 2 handful dried Mu-err mushrooms or shiitake
  • 2 handful sprouts, any you like
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili flakes
  • a pinch of salt, pepper & garlic powder
  • 20g unsalted peanuts
  • 1/4 lime & cilantro, to decorate
ingredients for an asian mushroom pad thai

Preparation:
  • if you use dried mushrooms, soak them for 15 minutes in cold water
  • heat water in a pan
  • pour hot water in a bowl, add rice noodles 
  • let sit in hot water for about 5 minutes, they shouldn`t be too soft, as they`re going to be cooked
  • rinse off the spring onion, sprouts and red bell pepper, cut into thin slices
  • heat sesame oil in a fry pan, add all vegetables (minus sprouts), cook for 2 minutes
  • add rice noodles, salt, pepper and chili flakes
  • whisk egg in a bowl, pour over noodles and add sprouts
  • mix well, fry for 2 minutes and serve in a plate 
  • chop/crush peanuts, sprinkle over pad thai
  • decorate with lime slices and cilantro leaves
The peanuts really are the best part on my opinion. They turn this simple dish into something divine, besides they are one of the traditional ingredients of a pad thai and therefore absolutely essential. So please don`t leave them out.

I`m also fancying a tofu, a beef and a shrimp version of this dish, as well as one with exotic fruits. What`s your opinion? Which one would you prefer?

Read you soon,
xoxo