Jul 23, 2014

elderflower syrup loaf

i often wonder how i turned from 'zero baking skills' to 'quite decent baker'. last weekend, for example, i took a cake to our hiking trip for everyone to enjoy. and enjoy it they did. i was even called 'their cake diva'. and how fabulous is that? only 'queen of fucking everything' would have been better, hehe. i know for some people baking is hard (because it always was for me). it means you really have to stick to the recipe, you have to make sure you prepare everything correctly and ahead (room temperature butter, anyone?), it means you have to sieve the flour even though you don't feel like doing anything as boring or seemingly useless, at all. and the reward for the often bland and time consuming processes then is so totally worth it: a good cake to make you and others happy. period. that alone is so totally worth wasting away your time at the oven. and even the occasional unsuccessful output. ahem.

my grandma used to make this cake all the time, whenever we were (or weren't) visiting: the lemon loaf. well, i have to say it's never been my favorite. probably because it's tendency to be too dry, oftentimes. what i do like, however, is when a basic loaf is juicy and fragrant. this is where this recipe ads a spin to things. it means you don't soak the loaf with lemon juice like your granny does. it means you gently enhance it by adding elderflower syrup to the finished loaf. 

elderflower syrup loaf
recipe in german on sistyle

for 1 loaf pan (30cm)
preparation time: 30 minutes
baking time: 60 minutes

200 g butter, room temperature
200 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large pinch salt
4 large eggs
200 g flour
100 g almond meal
3 tsp. baking powder
100 g full fat or greek yoghurt
150 ml elderflower syrup
confectioners' sugar & flowers for garnish

preheat the oven to 160 c / 320 f. grease a loaf pan with (melted) butter and dust it lightly with flour. put in the fridge to set. put the soft butter, sugar, vanilla extract and salt in a bowl and mix with a handmixer for 3-4 minutes until creamy. add eggs one by one and continue to mix, until the sugar has dissolved wholly. combine the flour, almond meal and baking powder in another bowl, then sieve into the mix, alternating with the yoghurt, until incorporated. 

fill the dough into the loaf pan and bake, in the middle of the oven, for 55 - 60 minutes. right after baking, while still in the pan, pierce the loaf with a wooden skewer several times all over, then pour the elderflyer syrup over it. let rest for a while, then remove from the pan and turn onto a cake wire rack to cool completely. before serving, dust with confectioners' sugar. 

Jul 18, 2014

warm pearl couscous with yoghurt & herbs

it's the weekend… soon! only a matter of hours. so, are we happy, loves? i sure am. and the fact that i'm going hiking only adds to that. i'll be in the mountains for three days straight. no shower involved. gross, i know. and i even heard there won't even be reception. eep! just lots of beautiful mountain landscape, blue skies, icy cold, dark azure blue lakes and a couple of friends. well, sometimes, the reduction to the max is also a kind of luxury. 

on the food side, there is "ptitim" today. a quirky, fun little word. and no, i didn't misspell this one. pititim is a pearlshaped, and lightly toasted pasta variety, also known as pearl couscous or israeli couscous. i like it turned into salad, still slightly warm, with a yoghurt dressing, and lots of herbs. 

warm pearl couscous with yoghurt & herbs
recipe in german on sistyle

2 cups israeli couscous
1 small nostrano cucumber, finely diced
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 handful mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup yoghurt
1 tbsp. cumin, ground
1/2 lemon, juice
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
chili flakes 
fleur de sel

cook the israeli couscous according to directions, drain and coat with the olive oil to prevent from sticking together. finely dice the cucumber and chop the herbs. toast the cumin in a dry frying pan for 2 to 3 minutes until a nutty flavor develops. combine the yoghurt with the cumin and lemon juice. add everything to the still warm (but not hot) israeli couscous. season with salt and stir to combine. sprinkle with chili flakes and serve immediately. 

Jul 16, 2014

curd cream with strawberries & toasted pumpernickel bread crumbs

you know how sometimes the songs you listen to reflect the way you feel? well, the song i am constantly hearing right now is this, and i must say the lyrics: "smiling like we didn't give a damn", are super matchy. anyone? sometimes, even though you don't necessarily feel like smiling, you absolutely should do so. it's therapeutic, it's attitude, baby. and with the smile comes the belief, that, yes, you and me both, are all pretty lucky bastards. and all will be good in the end. if it's not good, it's not the end. god, i'm soooo wise. i like myself today. 

this dessert has "superyummy" and of course "superfast" written all over it. yet, i know, people (you and me, both) are bound to believe that's bullshit, because everyone always says a recipe is fast and all that, and, truce, they're often anything else but. everyone and their dog knows people (you and me, both) don't want to spend hours in the kitchen. well, just whip up this one. the german (?) pumpernickel bread crumbs are fancy little fucks. and oh so good. honey, honey.

vanilla curd cream with macerated strawberries & toasted pumpernickel crumbs

serves two
recipe in german over on sistyle

200 g curd
50 ml cream
2 tbsp sugar 
1 vanilla bean, scraped
300 g strawberries, finely diced
2 tbsp. confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
100 g raspberries
some slices of pumpernickel bread (depending on size), crumbed by hand

clean the strawberries and dice them. macerate them with half of the lemon juice and the confectioners' sugar. put aside. prepare the curd cream: combine the vanilla, sugar and the rest of the lemon juice, then mix with a hand mixer for a while, until fluffy. now add the cream and mix some more until combined. puree the raspberries. toast the pumpernickel bread crumbs in a dry, hot frying pan for a couple of minutes until crispy. 

to assemble, ladle the curd cream into bowls, drizzle some of the raspberry coulis on top, arrange the strawberries and their juice, sprinkle liberally with the pumpernickel crumbs (still warm from toasting, if you like it) and serve. 

Jul 15, 2014

raw cucumber noodles with satay sauce

the day before yesterday, i woke up early (as always) with a start and decided to stay in bed awhile to properly wake up and read a bit. suddenly, there was this very loud noise and i almost jumped out of 

bed. it was a dove, in full flight, crashing agains my window. she (i believe it was a girl - but somehow all doves appear to be girls to me… which, i know, wouldn't be working) sailed to the floor. i was panicky. what if the bird was lying, hurt and unable to escape, on my balcony now? i didn't dare look around the corner of the sofa outdoors to see what was going on. after roaming my flat for 10 minutes straight, trying to calm myself, i decided to have a proper look. the bird was sitting (!) upright on my balcony. granted, she looked a little… well, gaga wouldn't put it nicely, but it's still true (nice doesn't bring us anywhere, sometimes). she was shaking her little head and her eyes made funny movements. i didn't think she was going anywhere on her own accord, if i'm being completely honest. but i very much wanted her to be okay. so i decided to put a bowl of water before her, so she could take her time to recover. probably not my best idea yet: when i went out to her, she was so stressed by my presence that she wanted to escape. i was very briefly happy to see your lifting her wings - only to find that she was, once more, headed into the window. after a second crash (ouch… that must have hurt, yet again) she escaped through thet open balcony. luckily, she seemed to be okay. now, what's the morale of the story? sometimes, the little help you (plan to) provide is only a kickstarter for others to help themselves. or make their escape. whichever way you see it. bye, lovey-dovey! stay safe!

raw cucumber noodles with satay sauce

serves two
deutsches rezept auf sistyle


2-3 cucumbers or zucchini, washed and unpeeled
1/4 glass peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
1 lime, juice
1 tbsp. ginger, grated
2 tbsp. whie wine vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. harissa or sriracha
1/2 cup hot water

for garnish:
2 tbsp. peanuts, chopped
2 radishes, julienned
handful each: thai basil, mint, cilantro (coriander)


start by making the satay sauce: combine all the ingredients. add the warm water and stir to smooth the sauce. season to taste with more soy sauce for saltiness, more lime juice or vinegar for a sour touch, more honey to balance things out or more harissa / sriracha for heat. with a julienne peeler, peel the cucumbers lengthwise, leaving out the core with the seeds, rotating the cucumber by 90 degrees whenever the core is reached. with a fork, build little nests of the cucumber noodles and arrange them on plates. add the satay sauce, then sprinkle with herbs and radishes. serve immediately

Jul 10, 2014

summer home

currently lounging away in my summer home and thought i'd share a couple of impressions with you. ready for you tomorrow: raw cucumber noodles. healthy and yum. happy summer (although the weather suggests otherwise, ahem). 

Jul 8, 2014

brownie cookies

once in a while, a good home made cookie beats store-bought ones. although, i admit there are some unconditional favorites to stock up with from the supermarket. top of the cookie list: oreos. or the traditional shortbread. oh, and bärentatzen.

now, bärentatzen you probably do not know. they are only available at our local retailer migros here in switzerland. but they basically shaped my childhood. i think my mom probably believed that bärentatzen aren't evil, at all, despite our general reluctance towards all things processed. we believed that they're somehow above all other sweets. so those cookies were basically the only storebought or processed food i can remember in our home that was not only tolerated but loved. a staple, almost. 

a while back, i was hit by a strong craving for those bärentatzen. unfortunatley, no migros around (and open). instead, i found a recipe for brownie biscuits in the lily vanilli 'sweet tooth' baking book. they looked similar enough to please my appetite. 

brownie cookies
recipe adapted from lily vanilli's sweet tooth
rezept in deutsch auf si style

160g plain flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt
30 g unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
300 g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
4 eggs
175 g sugar
20 g vanilla sugar
one baking tray, lined with parchment

in a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. melt the butter and chocolate together in a pan on very low heat. remove from the heat as soon as everything is melted and stir to bring it together. set aside and allow to cool a little. beat the eggs and the sugars together for two to three minutes, until pale and slightly thickened. fold in the chocolate mix, then stir in the flour mix. refrigerate for about one hour.

preheat the oven to 180° c. remove cookie dough from the fridge. scoop up dessert spoon-sized (or, in my case, ice cream spoon sized) chunks of dough, round them with your hands and press them onto the prepared baking tray, leaving a 5cm gap between them. you will most likely need to bake them in three batches. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until they come off the tray easily. leave them on the tray for five minutes, then carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Jul 4, 2014

summer panzanella - italian bread salad with tomato & stone fruit

i'm just back from a really pretty (civil) wedding (church taking place tomorrow, yay). summers are for getting married. the winters after will be tough and wedding deprived, haha.

speaking of summer, though. this summery panzanella brings the (inexistant) summer holidays straight to your home. all you have to do is… well, read below, will you?

and another tiny piece of news: i landed this really cool job at my favorite swiss lifestyle magazine - si style. i'm writing a bi-weekly column for them, with recipes in german. fridays will be vegi fridays, tuesdays devoted to dessert. because we're sweet, hehe. so, this is to my german readers: 

an alle meine deutschsprachigen leser!
endlich gibt es fork and flower auch in deutsch! 
und zwar 2x wöchentlich auf si style

summer panzanella - italian bread salad with tomato & stone fruit
serves 4
(deutsche versionen hier)

1 crusty bread, in bite sized pieces
2 large cuore di bue tomatoes, red and yellow, in pieces
1 handful colorful cherry tomatoes, halved
1 ripe nectarine, halved, pitted, sliced
1 ripe peach, halved, pitted, sliced
4 sweet apricots, pitted, in fourth
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 basil leaes, julienned
8 mint leaves, julienned
1 organic lemon, zest and juice
6 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
maldon sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

the important thing about panzanella is that they have to be fried to be crispy, but then, they have to soak up the dressing and the juices of the tomatoes etc, in order to get mushy again. in one word: divine! 

firstly, prepare the bread pieces. heat the butter and half of the olive oil in a large frying pan. fry the bread on medium heat until crispy and brown. remove from the pan and place on a platter. in the still hot pan, fry the garlic for a minute. add to the bread. add all the tomatoes and stone fruit to the bread pieces. make a dressing with the remaining olive oil, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. combine everything with the vegs, fruit and bread. garnish with the mint and basil. serve. buon appetito!