21 Oct 2016

Homemade Pumpkin Butter

Normally, I get lots of inspiration for my cooking and baking
by reading food and cookery magazines.
It is one of my guilty pleasures. 
I know they're expensive and I know I also pay for the adverts in them
and I also know that I probably will NEVER look at some of them again
 after I have read them for the first time. 
But still.
I buy them. 
I LOVE THEM!
And I keep them.
All of them.

But I also love some Instagrammers and Bloggers who share their 
cake and lunch and dinner recipes and family feeding routines with their readers. 

But the idea to make Pumpkin Butter
came from reading a German blog.
One of the benefits of living a bilingual life
is to be able to read more blogs in various languages.

Mary Kotter tells us how to make Pumpkin Butter
in a Thermomix. 
I don't own one, though, and I am quite certain that I never will.
But would that stop me from making the pumpkin butter from scratch?
In a conventional pot on a conventional hob?
Exactly.
No.

It still quite easy to make that way.
And it is DELICIOUS!
And the smell we had in the house while the pumpkin and spices
 bubbled in the pot was really really nice.
Autumn-y and sweet and cinnamon-y yummy.

Here we go! Get the pumpkin that you had originally bought
to turn into Halloween decorations and make 
Pumpkin Butter instead.
Well, that's what I did.
I will have to get a new pumpkin for carving now, the girl said.

Anyway.
Get your pumpkin, wash it, saw off the stem end the non-edible bits
and chop it into rather thick cubes. 

Take 400grams of the prepared pumpkin chunks and put them into a pot.
Add 150ml apple juice and 150ml water,
1tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 3 dried cloves or a pinch of ground ones,
 a pinch of ground nutmeg and a pinch of ground allspice
and bring to the boil. 
Reduce the heat and simmer the pumpkins with the juices and the spices
until they're soft. 
Remove the cloves.
Add 150grams of sugar.
Blitz everything with a hand-held blender until it is really really smooth and lump-less. 

Now, leave it to boil at a moderate heat
until it had thickened to a spreadable consistency.
This process may take a good while. 
You need to keep stirring regularly that it does not burn 
or stick to the bottom of the pot.

When the pumpkin mousse starts to thicken, 
the bubbling will turn into a splattering.
I had covered the pot with a sieve to keep the mess around the pot at bay.

Once your Pumpkin Butter is nice and thick and sweet and "ready",
you need to fill it into a clean jar and keep it in the fridge after it has cooled down. 



It won't last as long as jam would because of the relatively low
sugar content (Haha, I know!) , but it should stay okay for a week.
If you don't eat it at the first day.
It is hard to resist. 

Oh, you can freeze the Pumpkin Butter, too.

I will use the it to make Pumpkin Butter rolls tomorrow.
And I might share that recipe here, too.
If they turn out nice. 
 We'll see.

Lena



Ingredients:
400gms prepared pumpkin meat
150ml apple juice
150ml water
150gms sugar
1tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
some ground nutmet
some ground allspice





19 Sep 2016

Dampfnudeln



If I would translate this blog title directly from German to English,
the English name of this dish would be "Steam Noodle". 
But that doesn't make sense at all.
I prefer to call them 
Sweet Yeast Dumplings here.
They're not baked like bread rolls.
They're not boiled like pasta or other dumplings.
They are cooked in a steamer insert 
over a pot of boiling water. 

These dumplings are a traditional dish from
Bavaria or Austria or Tirol.
They are sweet and fluffy and really filling. 
I would not eat these as a dessert,
we eat them as dinner on their own. 
Well... with vanilla sauce and poppy seed sugar. 
Not necessarily healthy. But GOOD.
And for us, they taste a bit like childhood!
Try them!
It takes a bit of time to make them,
but you won't be disappointed.


Ingredients:

50g unsalted butter (plus some more for greasing)
2tsp easy bake dry yeast
200ml lukewarm milk
4tbsp sugar
500g plain white flour
1 egg
1 pinch of salt



Melt the butter.
Mix yeast, milk and  sugar and leave in a rather warm place for a few minutes.
Add the flour.
 Mix.
Add egg and salt.
Mix.
Add butter.
Mix.

Knead the dough thoroughly until there are no lumps left. 
We want a smooth but rather firm yeast dough.

Form a ball, but it into a bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a 
rather warm place and give the yeast plenty of time to work
and leave the dough to rise.

Give it at least 2 hours.
Even more, if possible.

Knead again, form 10 little balls and put them on a baking tray.
Cover with the tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for another 30 mins.

Grease a steamer insert with a bit of butter and put 5 of your dough balls into it.
Take a pot that fits the size of your steamer,
fill with a bit of water and bring it to the boil.
Put the steamer insert on the pot and cover with a lid.
Cook the dumplings in the steam for about 15 minutes. 
DO NOT LIFT THE LID!!!!
If you do so, the dumplings will collapse!

STAY AWAY FROM THE POT SO!!!
Tidy up your kitchen instead.
Fill the dishwasher.
Read my blog. 
Whatever.
Just, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES lift that lid!

Thank you.


After 15 minutes of steaming, your dumplings will be ready.
Serve with vanilla custard or vanilla sauce
and poppy seed sugar.

Listen to German march music while eating
and pretend you are at the Oktoberfest in Munich. 

Have a bit of fun eating these!!!


Lena

18 Sep 2016

Pear and Chocolate Cake


Today, we baked a cake.
 Because it was Sunday. Because it rained. Because I really like baking and cooking. 
We found the "regular" cake ingredients as well as pears and dark chocolate.
So we decided to make a "Birne Helene Kuchen". 
A Pear and Chocolate Cake.
Apparently, the fancy name for the combination of pear and chocolate and stuff is
Poire Belle Helene.
I googled that.


Poire belle Hélène ([pwaʁ bɛl elɛn]GermanBirne Helene) is a dessert made from pears poached in sugar syrup and served with vanilla ice creamchocolate syrup, and crystallized violets. (source: wikipedia)



So there we went and baked. And it was really, really nice.
A not too sweet, very moist, brownie-like base with juicy pear pieces.
Fruity, caramelised pear slices on top.
Really fluffy. Really comforting. 
And really easy and quick to make. 




Ingredients:

100g dark chokolate
4 pears
3 ggs
125g unsalted butter
60g sugar
vanilla essence
salt
200g white spelt flour 
(plain white flour will do, too)
1 level tsp baking powder
75ml milk
icing sugar for dusting



Preheat oven to 175 degrees
(fan assisted to 160 degrees)

Carefully melt the chocolate.
Peel all pears and remove the cores.
Slice 3 pears, cut one into little cubes.

Generously whisk butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt.
Add flour and baking powder.
Mix.
Add the milk.
Mix.
Add the chocolate and pear cubes.
Mix.

Pour the mixture into a 20cm cake/sponge pan.
Put the pear slices on top and push them slightly into the dough.

Bake the cake for 50-60 mins. 

Leave to cool and dust with a bit of icing sugar.





Enjoy! 

Lena

28 Feb 2016

Sunday, 28th Feb 2016

 

 We've started our Sunday with a baking session and made fluffy, buttery,
 croissant-like breakfast rolls.
 


 
They turned out great!
Really yum!
 
 
After a long breakfast feast,
we all got dressed and went outside
to get to know the new garden a bit better
and to do some outdoor spring cleaning.
 

 
We all got a bit hungry around lunch time,
so we had some defrosted apple crumble cake
and hot chocolate.
 
 
We ignored the mess in the kitchen and went outside again.
 
 
We found the first spring flowers and the garden toys
which hadn't been unpacked yet.
 
 

 
 
Alfie got bored of the garden after a while
and wanted to go for a walk in the field behind the house.
 
 



 
I started cutting the lawns after our little walk until it got too dark and cold.
 
 
 
Gerd bathed the kids while I tidied up the kitchen
and cooked a prawn curry.
 
And made a fancy dessert.
From a pack.
With whipped cream.
From a can.
 
 
Ta-daa!
 
I cleaned up the kitchen
and gift-wrapped this T-Shirt
I made for a friends' boy's 1st birthday.
 
 
The kids sleep
and Gerd and I spend the rest of the evening
together on the couch
before a new, busy week begins in the morning.
 
 
I hope your Sunday was as nice as ours!
 
Lena