Forests are the lungs of our planet, forests mean life and health. Many think hugging a tree helps the mind and gives energy. I love to walk in forests and I am always amazed to discover animals and plants.
A walk in a forest gives me peace, I love to listen to the forest sounds and to feel the soft ground on my feet. The air is also very different, smoother maybe. If there are ponds and puddles the forest is even more interesting.
On my last walks through wonderful northern forests I saw a few birds, mammals and plants I want to share with you. Enjoy and …
Wild animals in my backyard – sounds like I would have lions and hippos there. In a way it is actually less spectacular from that point of view. But still spectacular and amazing. From pigeon to green finch, from seagull to squirrel … there is a lot going on in my backyard.
I am living currently (well, always) in a green area of a little town and there are a lot of local birds and other animals. And as I am feeding the birds, I see them a little closer than oftentimes other people do. I have the bird feeder right in front of my kitchen window.
I think the seagull is the most ‘naughty’ one as I would like to feed the smaller birds, the ones that are more endangered, but every morning the seagull arrives and tries to get the most of all. I am trying a few strategies for the smaller birds and it seems it works. So both get enough.
Pigeons like to sit on the rain gutter, it is particular funny when at the open window my cat sits and they look at each other, the pigeon visibly trying to figure out if there is any danger or not.
After daffodils there are tulips everywhere. Thousands of colors, as stand-alone symphony or in fields, huge flowers or little beauties … the diversity is endless.
Tulips arrived in Europe from their original habitat in Central Asia. They were already cultivated in Persia in the 10th century, then in Istanbul. But only in the 16th century they were discovered by the Western world and soon became an obsession. Later they became the symbol for the Netherlands. The largest display is on the Keukenhof.
Not everyone knows, that the petals are edible and taste like lettuce. The tulip is symbol for love, believe and passion, white tulips stand for forgiveness and purple tulips for royalty. Festivals are held all over the world, the tulip as protagonist.
Do you have tulips in your garden/yard or in flower pots? Do you like them alone or combined with other flowers? Have you ever been to the Keukenhof in the Netherlands or any other place where they are cultivated?
In Germany many gardens and parks are full, nearly every balcony has tulip flowerpots and you can buy them now in every supermarket for a little money. I always had problems to grow them in my garden until I found out I have to put them just deep enough, around 18 cm/7 inch under the surface. Then it works out. Important: after the blooming you have to wait until the leaves are dry and yellow, as they give the bulbs the strength to survive and propagate themselves.
Some time ago I wrote an article about an evening in a rape field and I posted a lot of beautiful photos of this plant which is used for making canola oil. I don’t like the oil and never use it, but I love the fields of bright yellow and the incredible nice smell of the flowers. I know that there are people out there who get an allergy with the blooming of rape flowers, I am lucky not to be one!
I think for a photographer, a painter or anyone who loves colors can’t go along without taking pictures. So I want to show you some I took a few days ago as here in Europe the fields are in full bloom. When I drive in areas where there are rape fields I open both windows and let the smell come in. And I try to breathe in and as little as possible out. Very difficult I can tell 😀
On the third Sunday in May is World Baking Day and World Bee Day! The World Bee Day was created to get more acknowledgement of the role of bees and other pollinators for our ecosystem and our food. I will talk about the other day here.
Tomorrow is World Baking Day! So what is better than baking a cake and use also what is in season. Now it is time for asparagus and rhubarb. I love both and it is nearly a whole year I am waiting for it. My choice this time is for something fruity.
I decided for a delicious rhubarb cake with a meringue topping, decorated with almond slices and hydrangea blue icing sugar. Looks so delicate and vintage!
The inspiration came with just looking up some photos of rhubarb cakes. To me the meringue topping sounded so inviting. The base for the recipe I found on this side (in German). The photo maybe is not the most mouth-watering one, but the recipe sounds easy. And actually is. I changed the sugar into Xylit, I used ghee instead of butter, I omitted the vanilla sugar and cinnamon and because I didn’t have a lemon I used acv.
I also baked 45 minutes instead of the 35, but that depends by your oven. Mine was still a little wet inside after the first baking (and also after the second). I decorated with the wonderful blue icing sugar which gave it a very delicate vintage look. I baked a small cake and 6 muffins. The cake was for 4 people (easily 6 pieces per cake) and the muffins were for two.
The cake itself came out so delicious! Very smooth, juicy inside, the meringue was lightly soft. The taste heaven on earth! I think it is a perfect cake for a little summer afternoon party in the garden!
Whisk ghee and sugar until it is fluffy. Add the egg and yolks and continue to whisk until it is creamy. Add lemon zest, almond meal and the flour previously mixed with the baking powder.
Fill the cake batter into a small 18 cm/7 in springform pan (previously greased) and 6 muffin forms. Distribute the rhubarb pieces equally on cake and muffins.
Bake the cake for 35 to 45 minutes and the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the meringue. Beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt and apple cider vinegar until stiff. Then slowly add the sugar continuing to whisk.
Put the meringue mixture first on the hot muffins and spread some almond slices on the top. Put back in the oven and bake them for additional 15 minutes.
When the cake is ready, take it out and cover with the meringue, spread the rest of the almond slices on the top and put back in the oven for additional 15 minutes.
Let cool out the muffins and the cake and decorate with the colored icing sugar.
The cake is best when still a little warm when you serve it.
The meringue sometimes doesn't get really hard and crumble, that doesn't do anything to the taste. It is also great with a softer meringue on the top.
Don't ruin the cake by serving whipped cream with it. It just doesn't seem right!
The cake is great also the day after. I didn't put it in the fridge during the night but left it out, just covered with a piece of parchment paper. In the fridge it should be sealed in an air-tight container.