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Monday, November 23, 2020

Vanillekipferl

 

It's the most wonderful time of the year! 

And yes, these little crescent shaped treats mark the beginning of the jolly season. It's only the beginning, and I can promise it's going to be delicious and festive on the blog this year!

We've hit the end of November, and it might sound a little cliché, but the current situation really screams for comforting Christmas bakes and quality time with our loved ones. It's definitely not always easy, and today's new restrictions (when living in Luxembourg) require yet more social distancing. So if you're living in shared flats or with your family make a group activity out of it and swing the mixer. If you're living alone, don't you worry, prepare them, take them to work and spoil your colleagues. Because we all know when it comes to food that happiness shared is happiness doubled. 


For around 40 Vanillekipferl you'll need:
225g flour
75g icing sugar
30g vanilla sugar
110g ground almonds
150g Butter
1 egg

For the vanilla sugar you'll need:
20g vanilla sugar
60g icing sugar

*****

Preheat the oven to 180° on top and bottom heat function.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, icing sugar, vanilla sugar, almonds and salt. Add the butter, then the egg and mix until you get an even dough. Wrap the dough into cling film and chill in the fridge for one hour. 

Meanwhile, mix the vanilla and icing sugar to prepare the vanilla dust. 

Once the dough is ready, roll into a 3cm wide dough roll and cut 1cm slices off. Shape these pieces into moon shaped crescents, then place on a tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 12 minutes. The Vanillekipferl should be nicely golden. 

Once they're done, let them sit for about a minute, then dip them into the vanilla dust. Let the cookies cool completely, then use a sifter to dust them. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Boxemännercher

Nobody says no to a good Boxemännchen this time of the year! From little children who truly believe in St Nicholas to adults who love to celebrate their favourite childhood holiday: we all love these brioche-like men. I have to admit that Kleeserchersdag, as we call it here in Luxembourg, ist still one of my favourite holidays of the year. I might be a grown-up now, but with all the lovely memories I have, I will always cherish this day. 

The first time I made them was a few years ago with my goddaughter. I found the recipe on the internet and thought it would be a fun activity as we both love baking. Their shape was perfect but the dough was a little too dry for my taste. So I promised her I'll work on a recipe that we can call our own. And after a few tests last year, I came up with one that I really love. My parents tested the different editions and happily approved this one. 

For 10 Boxemännercher you'll need:

500g flour

30g sugar

100g butter

20g active yeast

3 eggs (2 for baking, one for brushing)

255ml lukewarm milk

5g salt

*****

Preheat the oven to 180°

Pour some flour in a large bowl and mound it like a volcano. Crumble the yeast in the hole as well as 15g sugar, one egg and some lukewarm milk. Start kneading until you get a smooth mixture, which serves as sort of pre-dough. Add some more milk if necessary. Even though you could also prepare it with your hands, I strongly recommend you use a hand or stand mixer with dough hook. Once smooth and even, cover dough with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes.

Add the second egg, the remaining sugar and milk and mix again. Add the butter and knead well until it's completely incorporated into the dough. Cover the dough again with your kitchen towel, then put it in a warm place and leave it for 20 minutes.  

* If you like your Boxemännercher a little sweeter, add an extra tablespoon of sugar. 

Before shaping the Boxemännercher, knead the dough well with your hands. Shape the Boxemännercher by starting with the body. Cut the main part lengthwise to shape their legs and slightly diagonal for the arms. Put them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and let rest for another 20 minutes. 

Beat the remaining egg and brush each Boxemännchen. Bake for 25-30 minutes. 

Enjoy!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Madeleines

Who would have known that these shell-shaped miniature cakes, dipped in tea would become one of French literature’s most powerful metaphors? When I was a teenager, our school organised a discovery day and I subscribed to a literature workshop where we were served home-baked Madeleines. It was sure not the first time in my life that I had Madeleines, but it was the first time I’ve heard that Proust made them famous as the trigger for nostalgia. Just like him a few hundred years back, we dipped them into lime-flower tea and enjoyed every bite of it. 

 

So here we are, a few centuries later, and they’re still worth sharing them with you on the blog. After devouring quite a number of Madeleines in every corner of France, I’ve decided to make another recipe of my own.  The honey Madeleines are on the blog for a few years now. But this is a variation of multiple tests I’ve made a few years back. Now, I wanted to develop a recipe that’s closer to the original. Which sounds easy today, was a journey with ups and downs. To get the perfect shape, the perfect color and the perfect texture led me through a rollercoaster of emotions. Either the color was good, but the shape was not. Or the taste and shape was ok but they were way too dry. But here we are with tasty Madeleines.

 


For 24 Madeleines you need:

125g butter

125g sugar

3 medium eggs

40 ml vanilla rum or Amaretto

2 level tsp baking powder

 

******

 

Preheat the oven to 175°

 

In a large bowl whisk together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, mix, then add the rum or Amaretto. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder, and then add to the liquid batter. 

 

 Grease the Madeleine molds and start adding 1 ½ tsp to every shell. Be careful not to add too much batter as it might impact the rising of your Madeleines. 

 

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on your Madeleines from minute 12 onwards. As all ovens are different, baking time might differ form one to another. Repeat until all the batter is gone.

 

Enjoy!!!




Monday, June 8, 2020

Lemon Parmesan Orecchiette


When life gives you lemons... make sure to make loads of tasty recipes! My inner globetrotter is slightly excited by the news that slowly but surely all the borders are opening around us. Even though I am not yet sure how this summer will turn out, something I already know for sure is that it will be delicious. We have loads of international restaurants here in Luxembourg, and I brought back some very precious recipes from my last travels. No matter when and where I am going abroad, this blog will be filled with travel recipes and your culinary wanderlust will be satisfied, I promise.

So let's start with this very recipe. Lemon Parmesan Orecchiette. It's my friend Julie who cooked this on our first trip together. Such a delicious pasta recipe in the land of pasta was probably not a coincidence. But during the following trips to Portugal and the south of France we never missed a single opportunity to enjoy this recipe! I recreated the recipe just from memories, and I think I managed to bring all the goodness she spoilt us with to this dish. 


 For 4 portions you'll need:
500g orecchiette
70g freshly grated Parmesan + a bit more to serve
100ml olive oil 
juice of 2,5 lemons
sea salt
pepper



In a bowl combine the lemon juice and zest, the olive oil and the grated Parmesan. Mix until the cheese melts into the oil and juice. 

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Once it's done drain and save a little bit of pasta water if needed later on. Fold the pasta carefully into the lemon-parmesan sauce until everything is well combined. 

Serve immediately with as much Parmesan as desired. Season with salt and pepper on the spot. 

Enjoy!!!!


Saturday, May 16, 2020

Bouneschlupp


Bouneschlupp -  or Luxembourg's favorite soup! This chunky green bean and potato soup let's the local's hearts beat a little lighter every time it's dished. I made mine with bacon lardons but when it comes to this traditional recipe, there is no right or wrong. I guess there are as many recipes as there are Luxembourgish households in the Grand-Duchy. And yet it's possible that there are more than one recipe in a household. 

I chose this special recipe for my blog event Passion meets World. As traveling has been banned for a while now, and we can't be sure when borders will open again, I thought it would be nice to create a Hashtag with the same name, to collect recipes from all over the world so the Passion meets Creativity can discover different dishes and cultures until free movement is back on the agenda again. 


For 4 people you need:
450g French beans
1 large potato
1 onion
250g bacon lardons
1 tsp summer savoury (Bounekräitchen)
1,5L vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
25g butter
4 tsp flour (more if necessary)
80 ml cream
salt & pepper

*****

Prepare all your veg before cooking your soup: wash and trim the beans, then cut them into little cubes (+/- 1 cm). Peel the potato and cut into middle sized cubes as well. Finely chop the onion. 

Now add the butter to a large frying pan, melt it, then add the onions and bacon lardons. Fry for a few minutes and add the flour. Fry for another minute and add the vegetable stock. Bring everything to a boil, throw in the beans and potatoes, then add the bay leave and summer savoury and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

Once the vegetables are cooked through, divide the soup between 4 plates. For those who like it add  a dash of cream to the soup.

Enjoy!!!


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Chocolate Banana Bread


Yet another banana bread, you think? 

Well first of all this one's a litte different. I pushed my original banana bread in a slightly different direction. The sweetness of the bananas and the tart of the raw cocoa powder gives the whole bread a little more texture and by keeping the nuts it can keep a little bite. 

I saw and tested many chocolate banana breads and most of them were really sweet and fudgy and just a little too much. Don't get me wrong. I love chocolate, I really do. And I love moist loaded chocolate cakes, but when it comes to banana bread, which I usually have in the morning with a good cup of tea or coffee, I just want it to be sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth, but not too much in order to avoid feeling stuffed. 

And why on earth everyone seems to make more and more banana breads, you wonder?

My theory is that this is the first opportunity in a long time that bananas and all the bakers around the world are ready (or ripe who knows ;) ) at the same time. I usually have bananas at home, but sometimes I jut don't have time to make a banana bread as my evenings are quite filled. And bananas don't always wait until the weekend, where there's plenty of time. Don't worry, I don't throw them away! I just freeze them for smoothies or have them on an almond butter toast.

Voilà! Now two very important questions as regards the quarantine-banana bread-saga are answered!

For one loaf you'll need:
260g spelt flour
50g cacao
380g mashed banana
60 ml milk of your choice
60ml maple syrup
80g butter or oil 
maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda (don't replace with another spoon of baking powder!)
1 pinch of salt
120g chopped walnuts

****
Preheat the oven to 180° (air circulation mode)

Start by mashing the bananas. In a large bowl whisk together maple syrup, milk, butter, banana mash and vanilla extract until well combined. Add the flour, cacao, baking powder and baking soda and mix until you get an even dough. Fold in the chopped walnuts. 

Pour the dough into a greased loaf pan and bake for about 60 -70 minutes (check after an hour, when toothpick comes out clean it is ready). 

Banana bread is very tricky as it's a moist cake and all ovens work differently. Depending on your oven, do not hesitate to bake it 70 minutes or more. If the bread crust is not too dark, you can even let it cool in the oven after switching it of. 

Enjoy!!!

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