Sep 28, 2015

moelleux au chocolat - lava cakes

there's something about chocolate that always makes me see the output (read: the chocolatey goodness i just created) in a monochromatic way. why? because the black and white scenes offset the chocolate's beautiful, luscious dark, chocolatey brown even more. what normally appears to be just a dark brown color shines even more on an otherwise bland black and white background. doesn't this chocolatey brown look so tempting and inviting to you, too?

i learned to make "moelleux au chocolat" during my years at university. a bunch of girls and i, we used to meet on tuesdays for a sex and the city marathon and sweets bingeing. our young eagerness would always tempt us into enjoying our home-made desserts rather on the uncooked / unbaked side and / or fresh out of the oven when they were still scorching hot. this cake, as it happens, was our ideal companion: super fast to whip up and it actually should be consumed while it's still warm and rather mellow inside. in fact, these moelleuxs - or lava cakes, as they're often times called - are the epitome of a soothing, luxe, warm dessert. something utterly romantic in its notion. it warms you from the inside out, starting with your heart. that's why it's best consumed à deux and during the colder months. slather on some crème de gruyère (double crème) for good measure. the silky smooth and slightly sweet and fresh touch will balance out the rich chocolate nicely.

moelleux au chocolat - lava cakes

120 g lindt crémant noir 49%
120 g butter
4 eggs
120 g sugar
60 g flour
1 pinch salt
butter and sugar for the pans


break up the lindt chocolate in nice chunks. melt it together with the butter in a pan on lowest heat. no stirring needed. in the meantime, cream together the eggs and the sugar until foamy (the hand mixer is the fastest). when the chocolate is melted and almost back to room temperature, add it to the eggs and sugar. add a pinch of salt and sieve in the flour to combine. 

best to make these fabulous lava cakes in individual cake or gratin pans. butter and dust with some sugar. fill the batter into the pans and bake at 220 c / 400 f. for 12 to 15 minutes (12 will be on the moister side). make sure you have a bit of a crust going on there, or you will have a cake that's rather a "mousse" (nice as well, but not what we're striving for here). insert a needle to check on doneness. remove from the oven and either turn out on to plates or serve warm from the pans. serve some double crème on the side. or be bold and opt for a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

this post was brought to you by lindt maître chocolatiers

Sep 25, 2015

fall flowers & apple fritters

some might associate spring or summer with the loveliest flowers, but for me it's always been fall...  just look at those mighty sunflowers! huge! and right in front of my mom's house, in the middle of the city, on an underestimated little field. the abundance of flowerful colors - sunflowers but also dahlias and those funny shaped clashing orange lampion ones, among others - is so vast, the colors so intense. like the year's last excentric firework. a bit of a show-stopper, really. before everything is going to rest during winter. hello, fall, welcome, and appreciate you're here!

we've been scramming in a bake day, my friend and i, a bit before it was officially fall. yet, very much inspired by it. still wearing our summer dresses and espadrilles, we celebrated the arrival of fall with apple fritters and choc chip challah buns (that i'll share with you, soon). those glazed, doughnuty apple fritters... so soft and appley and goood. they might not look like it (they verge on the ugly, admittedly), but they're definitely one of my culinary highlights of 2015. word.

also, fall brings out the thankful side in me... nature kind of provokes it. or maybe it's thanks giving that feels like it's already around the corner? either way, i'm so thankful that there will be time for some nesting and enjoying the peacefulness that is home. 

the recipes for these fritters can be found here - and with very detailed instructions, too. note: it is quite a lot of work to make them. yet, i guarantee you won't regret making these. 

Sep 15, 2015

marinated zucchini salad

although fall is definitely my favorite season - how can anyone not love it? it's not as cold as the winter, it's not as scorching as summer and it's not as unpredictable as spring... and that's just for everything that it's not. apart from the fact that it is also a lot of really good things: like colorful and golden and cozy and yum - i like to hold on to some of the last summer things on the market. like zucchini and summer squash. preferably home-grown (thank you to my other family). that makes it even more brilliant to transition to the fall harvest, soon enough. squash, chestnuts, mushrooms... i'm all yours. after this here salad.

marinated zucchini salad with mint and lemon

2 large zucchini, sliced
1 organic lemon, juice and zest
2 tbsp. good olive oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tbsp. chili or spicy paprika flakes
1 tsp. fleur de sel
2 branches mint, leaves finely chopped
2 branches parsley, finely chopped

wash and slice the zucchini. prepare a dressing: combine lemon zest, juice, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, chili and salt. dress the zucchini slices with it and toss to marinate well from all sides. let rest for about one hour, then add the fresh herbs and toss again. 

Sep 6, 2015

wild blueberry galette & fishing in finland

"gone fishing in the middle of nowhere" - how does this status update appeal to you? it was what we actually and honestly did this summer during one blissful week: fishing in finland. 

looking at the pictures now i feel a pang of longing. for the vast landscapes of finland, the untouched seas and forests, filled with wild blueberries and pine trees, the silvery evening lakes that barely showed a wave at all, and the charismatic, endless skies above, scattered with quirky clouds that occasionally held a surprising rain shower in stow. we soaked it all in, and just raveling in the memories makes me so happy, even now that the beautiful vacation is long but over. i feel so lucky that i was able to encounter so many inspiring and beautiful things, first and foremost nature, at its wildest and most bare and impressive.

it feels like everything we did do during this adventurous trip was quite mundane compared to every day life here in zurich, submerged in the daily grind. the tasks we were faced with were very basic indeed. sleeping, and then maybe napping some more. breathing in the fresh air. eating simple, gloriously fresh food - berries and fish, directly from before the front door - that we prepared with much relish. foraging for wild blueberries (that the finnish call bilberries). cleaning the kitchen after the meals. and waiting for the fish to bite while chugging along lonely lakes and island, so we would have something to look forward to, come dinner time. the simplicity of it all made us unwind easily and forget the mountains of busyness we were facing at home, each day.

the fishing was something else, altogether. i was a admiring the process from afar, admittedly, at first. safely hidden behind my lens, perched on one end of the little boat. we caught so many glorious pikes and zanders and perches, it was a challenge to turn them into meals, all at once. i might or might not have had a slight allergic reaction to all the fish we ate, but oh, the great taste of fresh fish, that's really something else, altogether. the boys spent hours upon hour just gutting their catch each day. with much shouting and laughing.

as for nature itself, i've rarely seen anything more beautiful than finland. the vastness is something we're entirely lacking in switzerland, and i found myself baffled by the immensity of the solitude you can find there. no house, street or man in sight, for kilometers. as my finnish friend sini from my blue and white kitchen told us, there is a reason for that. obviously, the country is huge and there are only about 5 million fins in total, which isn't much. apparently, though, they also enjoy their solitude. a finnish saying goes like that: "the best neighbor is no neighbor". isn't this just so brilliant?

the blueberries that i picked one day - the bounty must have been, what, maybe two or three kilos - went straight into a blueberry galette. the crust was very crumbly and buttery. and the berries in the middle weren't runny at all. instead, their slightly tangy seeped into the crust, forming a nice and moist, juice-drenged, doughy layer, partly juicy and partly flaky. the good thing about a galette is, that you don't even need a special baking pan or pie pan. all you need, in fact, is a random baking sheet and a parchment paper. if you don't have a rolling pin on hand, fret not, we did not, either. we simply used a precious bottle of lillet to roll the dough out. such is vacation spirit, you get creative and come up with simple tricks to manage a task on hand. normally you'd just reach for the rolling pin, ha. 

dear finland, thank you for being so lovely to us and for showing you from your best side, possible (apparently, all but this very week were much more wet and cold, and we were greeted with sunshine, throughout), and leaving us with memories that we will treasure forever. 

for the bakers out there: should you want to make this galette and you do not happen to have wild blueberries on hand, fret not: you can make it with any kind of fruit (or even porcini, which i'm strongly planning on doing, any time soon now). in summer, obviously raspberries would be divine. or just think of peaches...?

ps: i will share my helsinki diary, as well, asap. more gorgeous inspiration from the magic north, ahead! xx

wild blueberry galette

200 g flour
1 pinch salt
80 g sugar
120 g butter, cold, cubed
1 egg

750 g blueberries or other berries
40 g vanilla sugar
2 tbsp. sugar
1 egg for eggwash

combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. add the very cold, cubed butter and work it into the flour, until you're left with crumbs. you should work rather quickly, so the butter doesn't melt too much. add the egg and combine until a dough forms. do not knead for too long. cover and chill for 30 minutes or overnight. if the dough is too cold and firm when you want to process it, just remove it from the fridge and leave to come to room temperature again. 

dust your work surface with flour and roll out the dough into a 5mm thick circle. the shape doesn't have to be perfect, at all. that's the beauty of the galette! transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. maybe chill the rolled out dough again for 15 minutes, so the crust turns out even more crispy. wash and pick over the blueberries. sweeten them with the sugar and vanilla sugar. spread the blueberries in the middle of the rolled out crust, leaving out a rim. fold in the rim from the sides towards the middle and press firm a little. beat the egg and brush the rim with the egg wash. 

bake the galette at 200 c / 400 f for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and crispy. the berries are now nicely cooked through and sweet. and they won't be rather, but rather their juice will be merged with the crust. leave the galette to cool - or, really, just serve warm.