Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Bells are Ringing

And not Christmas bells. This time it is wedding bells.

I am off to a very special family wedding.

I was honoured to be asked to do some baking for this happy occasion. My job is to make gingerbread biscuits that can double as place cards. As it is only a small affair, I have jumped at the chance to add my own bit of homemade goodness to the day. (Some Greek friends of mine, who are getting married next year, have over one thousand guests coming to their wedding.)

Over the past few months we have been taste testing various gingerbread recipes and have finally settled on one. Today I managed one last test before the proper baking tomorrow. As there are 17 guests, only two batches will need to be made. The vital learning point from today's run-through was to not get distracted as the biscuits seem to lose their charm when they get a little too crunchy around the edges. I think I will be needing to lock the kitchen door in the morning to keep everyone out.

So tomorrow afternoon we are off to Ireland for a week, celebrating with family we haven't hugged in five months.

See you just before Christmas.

Take care

PS Sorry about the photos. With the sun setting just before 4pm and the low light globes,everything looks a little orange.

Monday, December 12, 2011

And the winner is...

Number 9.
Congratulations to Swissgal.
I'll be in touch about getting this to you.

I wish that I could send one to each of you. Thanks for much for taking the time to leave a comment.

Take care

Swissgal, can you please email me at bruisemouse@gmail.com as your profile does not include an email address.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Being a Tart in Switzerland

We're having a ball training our way around Lake Geneva at the moment.

Now, knowing the sort of person I am, I thought I would have been reporting back to you all on the huge amounts of chocolate on offer (especially as it is totally amazing). Instead I need to share the wonders of the Onion Tart with you. I bought a Zwiebelkuchen in Bern and fell in love. Even though we were only in town for 24 hours, I managed to go back the following day for another. As we left Montreux today for the train to Geneva, I happened to buy another for my lunch on the journey.

Unfortunately there are no photos as I am having a little trouble blogging from the iPad, but I will share with you this recipe that I will certainly be trying in the near future.

If any readers know about these amazing tarts and could pass on an authentic Swiss recipe, I would be incredibly grateful.

Take care

PS Don't forget the giveaway.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fabulous Freezing

A few months ago when I was freezing some of the delicious summer berries that were in abundance at the Turkish Markets, I hadn't been thinking ahead to the days when I would be able to pull a bag of raspberries out of the freezer and enjoy their wonderful flavours.

Today was one of those days.

A cup of raspberries, two mushy bananas, a great big slurp of vanilla yoghurt and some milk made for a fabulous mid morning treat. Getting the gritty little seeds stuck between my teeth always reminds me of summer.

I had been in a run-of-the-mill supermarket yesterday and was amazed to see the variety of fresh berries for sale. With temperatures getting close to zero, I'm not too sure where these are being grown. Next time I will have a closer look at the packaging.

It felt good knowing that the berries in my freezer were grown in the right season and had been biding their time, waiting to be added to something delicious.

We all appreciated the glimpse of summer.

What's in your freezer?

Don't forget to add a comment here if you would like a chance to win a yoghurt kit. I will post this anywhere.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Vanilla Yoghurt and a Giveaway

Our second batch of natural yoghurt using the new kit is just as delicious as the first. The creamy texture goes so well with fruit and cereal, but is also great for soups. I love the versatility of natural yoghurt.

Sometimes, in the evening generally, I have a bit of a hankering for something a little sweeter. We have been working our way through Germany's supply of Nirwana Noir chocolate (check the fine print: use - snacking) but have been thinking that going halves in a block every few nights isn't too good for the waistline.

With my renewed enthusiasm for yoghurt, I though a vanilla version should be attempted next. After a little searching I settled on roughly following the process outlined by Angie.

I brought 1 litre of organic whole milk and 3 tablespoons of raw sugar to the just below the boil and kept it there for about two minutes, simmering very gently. From experience with my natural yoghurt, this needs stirring so as not to scorch.

Patience is needed to let the mixture cool to 43 degrees C. I use this time to make sure that my jar is sterilised.

Once at 43, 2 or 3 generous tablespoons of natural yoghurt from the last batch are spooned into the jar. A small amount of the warm liquid is also poured in and mixed. This makes sure that the yoghurt is evenly mixed throughout the liquid. At this point I added some vanilla and then poured in the remaining milk. The lid was screwed on and it was placed in the little esky ready to do its thing overnight.

In the morning the jar was carefully moved to the fridge where it stayed chillin' for about 6 hours.

Quite a few recipes include skim milk powder (milchpulver), for added creaminess, but I haven't been able to find any. Maybe some German readers could point me in the right direction?

I wonder if boiling some vanilla pods in the milk would work well to let them infuse? I think it definitely needs some of those gorgeous vanilla seeds.

The adding of fruit needs to be done once the yoghurt has set. Luckily I have a great supply of raspberries.

Now to share the love. If you would like the chance to start making your own yoghurt using one of these kits, leave a comment on this post by Sunday 11 December 8pm Berlin time when a winner will be selected at random.

Take care
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