Apple Walnut Cake and a Life Lesson

A couple of years ago I lived in a place with a walnut tree. Small but every year the tree gave me a lot of walnuts. So the last year I lived there I made walnut paste. It’s a good way of conservation for nuts. You can’t always eat everything your garden produces in a season and then it is good to can fruits, veggies or nuts. I have this walnut paste now two years, it has seen three different houses. It’s time to use it.

I opened a jar and thought what can I do with it. A cake. Walnut pound sounds interesting. I had a look thru my own recipes, nothing looked appealing. New recipes on the Internet? Neither. I decided to start and then see what comes out.

I peeled apples I had to use as well thinking of how good are apples and nuts together. I always liked the combination of fruit and nuts. In the apple bowl I added the nut paste, vanilla, Rum, thinking an apple walnut crumble is an idea. Then I saw the many eggs, I divided the eggs, added the egg yolks to the apple nut mixture and so slowly I came up with more. In the end I put the mixture in the oven for 40 minutes. 40 minutes of waiting what will that be, will it be a cake? Surprise!

It came out such a tasty and moisture cake. It again showed me how good it is sometimes just to start something without thinking long about. Just do it! See where it goes. Most of the time the out-coming is just hilarious. Trust the world, the universe, the destiny, God, and most of all: trust YOURSELF! You can do it, you are capable. Just don’t think about it too much. Get in action! Not only with a cake!

I think the cake was a great life lesson to me and a good start into the new year. This will be my goal this year: just do it, not thinking long. Go with the flow.

Let’s rock 2021!

Apple Walnut Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 pieces 15 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 pieces 15 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Apple Walnut Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 pieces 15 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 pieces 15 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: pieces
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F.
  2. Divide the eggs and beat the egg whites to stiff. Set aside.
  3. Now peel the apples, take out the inner part and cut in medium-small cubes. Put the ghee to melt.
  4. Add to the apples cubes the walnut paste and mix. Add the vanilla, Rum and lemon zest, mix well.
  5. Add the butter, the egg yolks and sugar, mix well.
  6. Weight the flour, add the backing powder and mix. Add the flour mix to the apple mix and stir until all is well combined. Should be a little dry and heavy.
  7. Now add the stiff egg whites and fold them in. In the beginning it is a little difficult and you may think that will never work. But it will incorporate well, don't worry.
  8. Now put the whole mixture into a round cake form, previously greased with some ghee and maybe some flour. Put into the oven and let it bake for around 40 minutes, It should not change color on the top.
  9. The cake is ready when the stick-proof is relative clean. It should be still wet inside, the apples don't have to dry out.
  10. Take out of the oven, let the cake cool on a cooling rack.
  11. When the cake is still a little warm, take it out of the baking form and put the melted chocolate on the top, let it run down on the sides. If you have some decoration put it on the top when the chocolate is still runny.
  12. The the chocolate harden and serve.
Recipe Notes

The cake is great without anything, but also with homemade ice-cream or some whipped cream (from coconut cream).

I stored the cake on room temperature for 4 days (after that it was finished). In case you prefer a fridge storage, cover the cake, otherwise it will dry out.

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The Year of Covid19: 12 months in 2020

What a year has it been? When it started there were the usual plans of travel and I was looking forward to spring and to be outside with a vibrant social life. Then there was news from Wuhan about a virus that kills people and that they shut down the whole city – oh, so far away from us. That would never happen to us. Oops, a month later we were in the very same conditions and should show the world, we are obedient, too. The much more rebellious Western people all stayed home because they had fear to die. Media did a good work. It was the very first time I thought how lucky I am to stay in Germany as it was much less severe than in the country I wanted to be: Italy. Summer was still signed by Covid19, but we had all chances to move at least within Europe. Fall came, the attention got to the US election. And then: how much lock-down for Christmas-time?

It was by far one of the most strange years. It all didn’t effect me too much, I didn’t lost my work, I didn’t lost myself in fear, only everything was a little bit more difficult.

Nonetheless I made the best out of the year. Because of the always-must-wear-a-mask in shops I didn’t go fun-shopping anymore. I lost a bad habit I am not sorry about.

So let’s remember what I have done this year. Here are some of my favourite moments:

Maasholm is a peninsula east to Kappeln south of the border to Denmark. Once a little fishermen’s village today it is an exclusive center for vacation and a nature reserve. In January I visited the place together with a friend.


In February I bought a clay pot for stews but also for making bread. The best bread ever I made in this clay pot. So easy and so perfect. It will be always my favorite.


It’s a long time I wanted to go and see the carpet of crocus in Husum. There was no festival but still the millions of crocus blooming int the castle park. An absolute highlight!


This year in the park in front of the house I own an apartment there were a lot of Greylag geese, and they had goslings. Soooo sweet to see them grow!


A really great experience is the Greater Rhea in the wild. Especially when you are in Northern Germany!


Creating with clay was always something I liked. This June my two friends and I created unexpected beautiful objects in a unique experience with Christel Brumme.


In July I was finally able to go down to Italy to search for a place to stay. And I happened with the SUPER host I could wish, especially in such a crazy and difficult moment. Thank you for everything, Cinzia! I am glad we became friends!


In August I was again in the Arboretum. Every season is a highlight for flower lovers.


In late summer I had a chance to drive around in Abruzzo, what a beautiful region! High mountain range, just 30 km from there a blue sea. High waterfalls, endless forests, steppe, great food and nice people. And a lot of history like the Sistine Chapel in the mountains.


In October I was exploring the depth of the mountains. In the Grotte di Stiffe I found even a waterfall! Spectacular!


When winter came, the bad weather arrived together with another lock-down. Perfect time for reading a lot of books, staying cozy and some recipes like my yummy alice marinate, a great Italian antipasto.


In December I tried a rare Selfie, me baking ginger cookies. A photo for the Christmas Cookie Collection of this year.

2020 is gone and soon a new year will be welcomed. We all hope that 2021 will give us freedom again. ‘Nothing will be the same as before’, I think we should take the chance for a new start!

Happy New Year!


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River of Times (A Mystery Story) – Questionable Kitchen Work

She was sitting on a wooden bench, slightly freezing, with a cloak around her shoulders. It was scratchy on her skin, but at least it gave a little warmth. In front of her stood a clay cup with steaming tea, she clutched her ice-cold hands around it. The tea made her feel better, running hot down her throat. Her heart still pounding and still totally confused, she asked herself what was going on.

She has taken a bath in the river and when she got out of the water her bike, towel and book were gone and this monk appeared from nowhere. He had talked to her as if he knew her well. And now she was sitting in the kitchen of the St. Fulgentius monastery. Because it couldn’t be any other. The ruins of the monastery she had been to so often in the past. And now a thriving Benedictine monastery?

The door suddenly opened and a rather stout woman shuffled into the kitchen. She had a few clothes over her arm. “Here you are, something to wear. I’d love to know what got into you, but you’ve always been disobedient. ”Adelais blushed, she felt caught. Somehow the woman knew her well.

Adelais got up, stepped out from behind the table, turned around and tried to put on the robe under the cloak. But that didn’t work. She heard a giggle behind her. “What, are you ashamed of me? That would be something new! ”The cloak was taken off her shoulders, the woman took the bundle of fabric from her hand and with a few handles she held it out so that Adelais could slip her arms into it. And then she was dressed in a floor-length linen dress. It was soft, it smelled of lavender, and it suited her perfectly. The sky blue color of it, set off with a bright red-orange borders on the skirt hem and the sleeves, looked great on her. She straightened her dress and wished for a mirror, but doubted that there was such a thing in a monks’ world.

”Come on, put on your apron and help peel the beets. Otherwise I won’t be able to finish the meal for today’s high visitor. ”Adelais grabbed the apron on the table, took the knife and looked around for the beets to be peeled. They were in a wooden bucket on the other side of the table, next to a bowl for the peeled beets.

She peeled the beets quickly and skillfully and a short time later she proudly said: “Done.” “Well, finally, slowly as a toad.” was the answer. Adelais sighed, offended.

The door opened and the monk Mertlin stuck his head in. “Ah, working I see, you are all right, Adelais?” She shook her head and looked at him for help. “Come to the herb garden later, we’ll talk.” She nodded gratefully and continued to stir the soup in the rickety saucepan that hung over an open fireplace.

Hours later, after the sun was already late in the afternoon, she looked for the herb garden.

Brother Mertlin was cutting faded flowers on a rose bush. She stepped behind him, and when he didn’t turn around, she quietly cleared her throat. He spun around, knocking over the basket of dead flowers. “Always this light footedness, with me you could make an exception and make yourself noticeable beforehand!” He scolded jokingly. She smiled slightly blushing and played abashed with her apron.

“Come on, let’s sit in the sun and we’ll try to understand what happened.”

On the bench Adelais stretched out her legs, closed her eyes and told what she remembered. Mertlin listened attentively. At the end of her story, they sat in the sun in silence for a while listening to the hum of bees and the chirping of birds. “You know, I always thought it would be possible to go from one time to another. A legend always has thruth in it. But if that really happened, now we have to find out how you can get back to your time. “After a while Adelais whispered:” Brother Mertlin, how does it come that you know me when I come from a time ahead? ” “You grew up here in the monastery, do you remember?”

Posted in The Storyteller | Tagged | 2 Comments

Parrozzo – A Traditional Cake of Abruzzo

Parrozzo is a traditional Christmas cake from the Pescara region in the Abruzzo, central-east Italy. The today cake was once a bread made with corn flour and baked in the woodstove.

Traditionally the Parrozzo was called ‘pan rozzo’, which means something like ‘sturdy bread’. It was made with corn flour and goat milk flavoured with time and mint and was actually a bread and savory.

In 1919 Luigi D’Amico, who had a coffee shop in the center of Pescara, thought it would be an idea to take this old traditional bred of the farmers of the Abruzzo mountains to make it sweet. So he alternated the original recipe, used the same half round baking form and covered the cake with chocolate to ‘imitate’ the original bread crust. As he was a good friend of Gabriele D’Annunzio, a very famous Italian poet, he send the now called Parrozzo to his friend as a Christmas gift. The poet was very pleased with the new cake and was full of praise. I new cake was born!

A friend of mine told me about the cake and I had a look at the recipe. Very easy to make without gluten, very easy to prepare. She even gave me the baking form. I felt ‘obligated’ to prepare the cake for her, my version obviously. And I confess: it was easy to make and the result was GREAT! I would say, a perfect ‘last minute cake’.

Every region has its own traditional dishes and treats. I am happy to discover more and more, from different regions in Italy. Surprise your family with something very special that for sure none ever eaten before if he/she is not from Abruzzo.

Let’s prepare together!

Parrozzo
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8-12 slices 20 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8-12 slices 20 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Parrozzo
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8-12 slices 20 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8-12 slices 20 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
The cake glaze:
Servings: slices
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F.
  2. Divide the eggs in two bowls, the egg white in one, the egg yolks in another one.
  3. Start to beat the egg whites until stiff.
  4. Then beat the egg yolks together with the sugar and lemon zest until you get e nice white cream-like consistence. Add the the bitter almond extract, the Amaretto liquor, beat again, then add the almond and corn flour. You will get a semi dry batter. Now with a spatula fold in the egg whites. The batter will be again soft and nice.
  5. Grease the baking form (should be hemispherical), dust with some rice flour and transfer the cake batter in the baking form. Bake for 45 minutes (make the toothpick prove, should be clean).
  6. Take the cake out of the oven, let it sit for 10 minutes and then turn the cake out, let it cool on a cake rack with a wide dish under it.
  7. Meanwhile prepare the glaze. Put the coconut oil or ghee and the chocolate in chunks in a double boiler and slowly let it become liquid. When the cake is all cool dash the chocolate all in once over the cake. The chocolate can run down and drip off from the cooling rack onto the plate.
  8. Let the chocolate get hard at room temperature (overnight e. g.).
  9. Serve with some coffee, the or even better hot mulled wine or Glühwein..
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Homemade Sauerkraut – Ancient Preserving

Sauerkraut is white fermented raw cabbage. The taste is sour and it is a thousands of years old way to preserve food during winter-time. It’s full of healthy goodness and one of the best foods to eat for a strong immune system.

I personally love Sauerkraut. In Italy we call them crauti. Raw white cabbage fermented thanks to a brine, full of healthy lactic acid bacteria, pure food for gut bacteria.

The Roman writer Cato already mentioned the way of preserving cabbage with salt. This kind of preserving food maybe was brought from China to Europe. The German word is confusing because many think it is originally from there.

This easy to make side dish is also packed with health benefits. A high percentage of vitamins and minerals (it was used against scurvy for seamen for example as it has a good amount of vitamin c and vitamin k), it is a perfect immune booster, it helps your many gut bacteria to be balanced, it is high in antioxidant properties and helps with leaky gut and even cancer.

There are many ways to prepare or preserve the raw white cabbage. Simply in brine for example. The typical German Sauerkraut has bay leaves, caraway, juniper berries and white wine. I sometimes had cabbage with shredded carrots pickled and more as a salad than a side dish. I made mine in brine just with bay leaves, orange and apple slices. I saw a recipe with grated ginger, also a super bomb of health. I have to try with pomegranate the next time.

In Germany they eat Sauerkraut cooked with pork and potatoes. Also sausage I think is a good partner. I like an egg with it as well.

Some fun? When I was in Mexico many years ago I stayed with a family. They were wonderful people and pampered me a lot. One of the always very delicious meals was with red cabbage. As I know red cabbage as a sweeter way, just cooked and not fermented, I was happily putting my fork full of red cabbage in my mouth expecting a certain taste. But it tasted like Sauerkraut. It was so difficult to except that taste to what my eyes suggested my brain. I learnt than how much we ‘eat with our eyes’.

If you make them these days it will be ready to eat for the new year. A good start to help your holiday gut back to a healthy balance!



Feed your Gut!

Sauerkraut
Print Recipe
Sauerkraut
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Before you start, wash the apple and orange and beginning from the middle cut 2 thin slices of the orange and 2 from the apple.
  2. Wash the white cabbage, take away the two outer leaves, cut the stem out.
  3. Cut the cabbage in 4 pieces. Now cut all the four into thin slices in order to get long, thin cabbage pieces.
  4. Transfer the cabbage into a big enough bowl, add the salt (10 g per kg, if the cabbage is 1.3 kg the salt should be 13 g). Now start to knead the cabbage. After a few minutes all starts to get wet, the cabbage starts to catch out its liquids. Knead at least 6-10 minutes.
  5. Leave the cabbage for a while, meanwhile you prepare two middle seized jars with a lit. They should be cleaned perfectly.
  6. Now put the cabbage in both jars, add 1 slice of orange and 1 slice of apple and 2 bay leaves. I put them along the side. Now press the cabbage as much as you can in the jars, the liquid coming out should cover everything. Cut a thicker apple or orange slice and lay on the top. If the liquid is enough to still cover all, perfect, if not put a weight on the top (a clean stone for example).
  7. Put the lit on and leave the jars for a few days at room temperature. Every day take of the lit to leave gas out (bacteria at work!). After 4-5 days put the jars, firmly closed in a cool, dark place for the next 2 weeks. After that time the Sauerkraut is already lightly sour. The more you wait, the better it gets.
Recipe Notes

To make your own Sauerkraut is good for your (gut) health, but also a s a gift a great idea!

Try the Sauerkraut with different spices, fruits. Experiment with your favourite tastes!

Try also red cabbage or any other. You can also mix different cabbages or other vegetables. The procedure is always the same. 

You can cook/warm up the Sauerkraut and serve with meat and potatoes or serve as salad.

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