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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Swabian Cheese Cake

After living 'abroad' for 2 years, the first thing my son wanted when he came home was a real typical swabian cheese cake.  Guess he has not lost the perspective for the swabian culture. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Portugal - Porto

While in Porto, I wanted to experience the local cuisine as much as possible.  That, of course, includes breakfast.  One early morning, I went breakfast hunting and spotted this 'hole-in-corner' bakery.  It looked very much like a kopitiam including music.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Bakes

Christmasy decos were out since September,
magazines stuffed full of receipes for Christmas
dinner, lunch, breakfast; not forgetting 'after dinner'
morning cocktails to sober up.
Everyone driven into a frenzy of shopping
and baking when December came..
I did not bake much this year as I was away for much of December.  Here are my traditional bakes, simple and very much liked by family.   The receipes are from a book printed in the early 1900.

Linzertorte - raspbery jam (above)

Black currant jam.

  Vanilla crescent- before baking

Vanilla crescent - after baking.

was not watching :-(  

Filled with black currant and apricot jam.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Apple Tart with Pumpkin Butter

Surprise !  Surprise !
Have a visitor in 45 minutes.
Grumble grumble...such short notice !!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pumpkin Butter


While on holiday in New York, I went to the Union Square Green Market.  Stuffed myself silly with all 'samples' of organic and traditonal food.  In one stall, there were various types of pumpkins and pumpkin butter. There were no 'samples' so I didn't know how it taste and I didn't buy any because my luggage was already way over 30 kgs.
When Peng and Lily mentioned it, it brought back memories and I still have a few pumpkins practically sitting around.   Decided to sacrifice one. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Glasgow & Edinburgh - Scotland


I was suppose to post this article in October.  There were too many priorities and somehow it got forgoten,
lost in the 'To Do' list.    It was a comment from Lily that reminded me and since I 'm in 'travelling' mood, this article is now open.  Please, please, do not be offended - I intend to visit Scotland again in the near future, under different conditions.

There was an exhibition in Glasgow and there were some people to meet so I grabbed the opportunity to hop over to Edinburgh for the weekend. Why not ?  The return flight was cheaper than a train ticket to Munich. The train ticket from Edinburgh to Glasgow was costing as much as renting a car for the whole weekend, so we picked up a rented car from Edinburgh airport.  Needed almost an hour just to pick up the car because the car centre is almost a walking mile away :-(    

Weather was kind, no rain but no sunshine either.

Autumn or Fall has its beauties.  Tree leaves turning into rich array of colours, the cool weather, sounds and smells.  Well, I was greeted with fog the whole time.  Very depressing welcome.  I didn't see much of Glasgow but I managed to make shots of the only bright colours around - the Taxis.

These are the only shots of Glasgow I took.....

Christmas Market (Update) - Esslingen

Christmas market - Stuttgart.

Stuttgart is the largest city of this ethnically flourishing state of Baden Württemberg.  It has immensely speckled tourist attractions like the low man thick (romantic) black forest, the spas of Baden-Baden and the convenient borders to Switzerland (lake of Constance) and  France (towards Straßburg). There are many more attractions and I will post more about places of interest in this region  in time to come.   

Friday, December 3, 2010



There was a course being conducted by a
swabian confectionery SIFU (master)
and I couldn't resist gatecrashing.

With his full permission, he allowed 
me to make these photos .....

The Master

Thursday, December 2, 2010




Swabia is a part of southern Germany.  It's people has a long history but I'm not going into that now.
Today, they are famous for their cars Mercedes and Porsche and their dialect which is always being teased.
One of their beer tent sing-a-long/chant goes like this............

   HOI  HOI  HOI  !!

Christmas Market

Christmas Markets all over Germany
started last weekend.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter 2010 - Update

It's artic temperature now.
Expecting more snow....time for furcoats  !! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Winter 2010

November 28, 2010

SNOW ....It is official, now winter begins.  In most parts of Germany, the air is brisk to say the least.  We were having minus 10°C last night.  It started to snow 4 days ago, not too much but enough to leave a layer of 'icing sugar' over everything.  It's a time of warm cosy evenings in front of the fire with a cup of tea. 
Noooo, I'm not knitting !!    Put that out of your mind
Took a walk this morning and here are some photos I took...........

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Simply Easy Sunday Lunch

It's first Advent Sunday.  
Did not feel like baking or doing anything
but still have to eat.  Have a pack of fresh
asparagus (yes, I know it's not asparagus time)
veal, some penne (pasta) and some garlic butter
Result : Veal ala natural, soft poached asparagus with garlic butter penne.  

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tahina Sauce Vegetables & Chicken

I am sure most of you are familiar with 'hummus'
which is a dip, ubiquitous in the middle east.
My dear friend in Isreal gave me a bottle of tahina
which is the key component of hummus.
Instead of hummus, I decided to turn it into a sauce
for vegetables, chinese way.   Afterall, the chinese
used sesame as oil as well as to flavour everything,
toasted and sprinkled on salads, as dips, in marinades
and soups.

The chinese have a similar paste called sesame sauce(芝麻酱)
It is not quite interchangeable with tahina because the
chinese paste is from ROASTED sesame.  
Taste wise, as one can expect, roasted sesame is
rocking nutty.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Broccoli with spicy Indonesian chilipaste

Lately, I was very busy and did not have time to
make my own paste to replenish my stock on homemade  'sambals'.
My local asian shop had some 'new products'
on the shelf and I picked a bottle of sambal.

I have a few crowns  of broccoli left from the cooking course and before they start to degenerate to 'blonde crowns', I decided to cook them for lunch.

Rather sick of eating meat so it's a vegetarian lunch.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Curry Fried Rice with gherkins

Fried rice is usually flavoured with soy sauce or salt.   Some even with ketchup.
Here is my version with 'odds and ends' like some pickled gherkins, some mince meat and curry powder.  The curry powder in this instance is not spicy as it's a european adapted mixture.  It has high percentage of kukurma and has hardly any bite of spicyness but it gives the rice a happy yellow tinge. Even  suitable for young children.  
It is simple yet addictive.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween Eyes

I am late as usual.  Was too busy with visitors and 'work'.  

Here are my spooky contributions without recipes.   


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lotus Pumpkin

When daylight gets shorter, night temperature dropping down to single digit, you know it will be Halloween. Here in Germany (in parts of Austria and Switzerland as well), it is to celebrate the end of harvest (Erntedank).

The children will carve small pumpkins, huge potatos or sugarbeets and when it gets dark, they wander house to house, singing and showing their Rübengeist.  Sort of like trick or treat.
I'm sure many of you are going to turn the humble pumpkin into some awesome creatures/work of art. I have not had the chance to start on my pumpkins this year but here is what I carved last year. It was placed outside on my doorstep, lighted up with a maxi tealight inside.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beer - Hops (Hopfen)

I have wanted to post this article in early September (that's when the photos were taken) to coincide with the 200 year Oktoberfest.   But as usual, something cropped up and I had to postpone.   It is still October anyway.     

Beer is a major part of german culture.  Every german town used to have their own brewery or breweries. You may have heard of the 'Reinheitsgebot'  (Bavarian Purity law) dated 1516 which is still enforced today, stipulating  that only ingredients allowed for brewing are water, barley-malt and HOPS.

Facit : No hops, no beer !!
What is hops ?

Hop cones (flowers) are the dried flower of the hop vine.   This is the ingredient which imparts the aroma, flavour and bitterness in your beer.  There are many different varieties with each of its own unique flavours. I spent half a day on this farm, watching, following their every step, trying to be invicible, from the fields to export process.

These veins are grown in and around fruit orchards. As you drive towards the lake (Lake of Constance) from Stuttgart to Austria/Switzerland, you may spot these poles standing like soldiers in a row.  
On the left are the veins. On the right are naked poles after harvesting 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Japanese Cheese Cake

There were discussions about this elusive crustless cheesecake and the countless receipes one finds online. Lily initiated this topic in our almost daily banter.  To cut the story short, we (4 of us) decided that each should bake this and compare the results.

I did some tweeking to the measures of ingredients. 125 gm of xxxx is too odd so I round it up 150 gm. The fresh cheese I used has relatively high moisture content. Result - moist, light, buttery, silky cake.
A real keeper !!

Friday, October 8, 2010


What do you bake when you have a tub of clotted cream and Damson jam.
Scones !!   Delicious hot or cold.  Perfect for afternoon tea.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mushroom Risotto

Picked some fresh mushrooms from the forest in the morning.  Now make a good guess: what is up for my lunch? Mushroom risotto of course.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Grilled goats cheese on peaches, pan fried risotto, roast pork on lettuce

I didn't know what to make for lunch today.  With a little bit of this and a piece of that.......
The following are the ingredients (leftovers) I found :

a piece of goats cheese
4 end-of- season peaches
risotto  from yesterday's lunch
a small piece of 2-day old pork roast (omit for vegetarians)
half head of lettuce
Herbs from garden - parsley, rocket salad and chives

Slice the goats cheese into four.
Half the peaches, remove stone.
Place a piece of goats cheese on each half and shove them under the grill.
Portion risotto rice into patties, dip into whipped egg and then into bread crumbs.
Pan fry until golden brown.
Cut roast pork into thin slices.
Wash and cut/shred lettuce and herbs.
Dressing : pumpkin seed oil and balsamic vinegar

TA DA  !!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pumpkin to Pumpkinchen

Autumn is near so Pumpkin craze is on !!

There will be more to come.

I have used Hokkaido because its texture is firm like potato and the colour is a rich orangey gold.kins

Ingredients for dough (10 pieces):
  • 400 g Pumpkin (Hokkaido), cleaned and cut into cubes
  • 50 g Rice Flour
  • 100g cornflour 1tsp salt
Ingredients for filling:
  • 200 g mixed mince meat (beef and pork)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 pcs dried tomato, fine cut with sissors
  • 1 stick spring onions, cut into fine rings
  • pieces of chives for decoration
  1. Steam pumpkin until soft.
  2. Mash it with a fork while still hot or press through a potato ricer.
  3. Add salt and stir till well combined. Press through a sieve to make sure that there are no lumps.
  4. Sieve riceflour and cornflour together.
  5. Add into pumpkin puree in 2 portions.
  6. Knead into a smooth dough.
  7. Divide dough into 10 portions.
  8. Flatten a piece of dough to a round disc.
  9. Put a ball of mincemeat filling at the centre and wrap skin over the filling, making sure it is totally sealed.
  10. Roll into a round shape then slightly flatten the top, using small finger to make a dent in the middle.
  11. Using blunt side of knife, 'draw' or carve segments to resemble pumpkin.
  12. Steam over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
  13. Once cooled, place a piece of chives to resemble stalk.
  14. Serve with or without sauce.
  15. Note: It is important not to steam at high temperature. High heat will cause the pumpkins to crack.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Crepe filled with Kohlrab

This is a standard dish with us when kohlrab is plenty.  Usually, the pancakes/crepes are made with a crepe pan.  And when there are leftover pancakes, we would have them with jams, chocolate spread or peanut butter.

The following receipe makes 6-10 pancakes (in a Tamago pan of course).

Crepes Ingredients
  • 150 gm allpurpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar + 2 eggs (L)
  • 250 ml fresh milk
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • oil for pan
  1. Mix all (except oil) and let rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat a crepe pan or any non-stick shallow pan.
  3. Add enough oil to cover pan.
  4. Turn heat down to medium and pour in enough of pancake dough to cover the whole pan thinly.
  5. When the sides start to curl, flip pancake/crepe over and cook till desired 'tan'.
  6. Note: I used a Tamago egg pan to make crepes in this receipe
Kohlrab in white sauce ingredients
  • 2 kohlrab peeled, sliced into sticks with knife or mandoline
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 1 tsp allpurpose flour
  • 250 ml chicken/vegetable stock
  • 250 ml milk + salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine (optional)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan.
  2. Add chopped onions and stir-fry till aromatic.
  3. Add flour, stir quickly for 6-8 seconds before adding chicken/vegetable stock and milk.
  4. Add Kohlrab and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes or until soft.
  5. Add salt and pepper (and wine) to taste.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bauernschmaus Stall in Biberach

Calm before the storm. This stall is at the weekly fresh market (Wednesday) without fail, from 10am till 1pm if everything is not soldout before that.

You can takeaway or eat there as there are 2 tables with about 10 seats. By the way, they also serve fresh apple juice and cidre.

Monday, September 13, 2010


You know autumn is near when apples turn ruby red, vines hanging heavy with juicy grapes and hops being harvested for breweries.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chicken & shredded ginger stewed in rice wine

Ginger and sesame oil are considered as 'warm' food. And as such, good for new mothers' diet in the first month after birth. A very common and much loved combination is ginger, sesame oil with chicken. Chicken because chicken meat is considered 'light' meat. This recipe is about chicken & schredded ginger stewed in rice wine (homemade) residue.
  • 2-3 pcs chicken breast or thighs (wash and cut into bite size )
  • 300 gm ginger, peel and slice or cut into sticks
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce or oyster sauce (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp rice wine residue or 1 cup (dry) sherry
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup (roasted black) sesame oil
  1. Heat the sesame oil in a wok or pan.
  2. When the oil is hot, add ginger slices/sticks
  3. Stir-fry briefly until it is aromatic, then add the chicken.
  4. Stir-fry briefly, then add wine residue/sherry.
  5. Turn heat on low and simmer 20-30 mins.
  6. Thicken sauce with a little cornflour if necessary.
  7. Serve hot with steamed rice.
Note: For more goodness, I added goji beries and mu errh mushrooms.

Bodensee (Lake Constance)

Many asian tour organisers  include this area in their chau lan (refugee) europe tour. Those who have made such a trip are probably not aware of the geographical locations of the places they toured. The Bodensee is an interesting place. It's a huge lake shared by 3 countries, namely, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

One may drive leisurely from Switzerland, take a ferry to cross the Lake of Constance into Germany and then into Austria and back to Switzerland (3 countries) all within a day. Meersburg is one of Ferry terminals and it is also a place where wine festivals are held each year. And you may catch the Zeppelin (the Blimp) hovering over you.