Yep, it’s another cake! Yet this cake is dark, decadent and positively sinful. I have eaten so much cake these past few days yet this one is little bit more special.
Yep that’s right it’s the week of love, obviously. Now I might as well come clean, I am not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Let’s be honest I am not a fan at all, and never was.
Ever since we had to send little love cards in 3rd grade with a chocolate attached to our prepubescent classmates and I felt the humiliation of only getting one or none at all (and seeing your archenemies getting a few chocolates, when you know she is not very nice!), I have never been able to warm up to this ‘holiday’.
As my cynicism developed as I got older (oh those turbulent teenage years) I became less convinced by all the in-your-face pink and red mania you are bombarded with whenever you go to a convenience store or even the dentist office (very strange).
It didn’t help that nobody else around me celebrated or believed in the fervor of Valentine’s Day. After a while it just seemed this day was more for the candy and jewelry companies (not to mention roses that are incredibly over priced) to make loads of money and it just felt it wasn’t really about love itself.
Very, very rarely can you binge watch a show in all its entirety and then find that you actually learned something from it.
In this remarkable instance it was the wonderfully produced Great British Bake-Off. Granted it is a cooking show, but I can’t say I ever watched Cutthroat Kitchen and was like “Um that totally inspires me to make a botched up version of egg’s benedict.” Or after I watched Chopped I wasn’t like “Hey I should totally go get myself a cow’s tongue!”
But when you are watching the infamous duo of Merry Berry and Paul Hollywood (and also the nicest and sweetest home bakers of all of Britain) it turns out this show isn’t just something to binge watch on a dull, rainy Sunday with no other prospects.
After plummeting through five seasons of custard tarts, sweet buns and suet puddings I actually found myself learning a lot of cool and useful things (like people actually bake with hart fat from the kidneys and loins aka. suet aka. that sounds gross). There is something really special when you get to watch a person who has been baking for almost 40 years in a sort of personal setting (like when they are handling suet). I feel like you don’t really see that on television much!
One thing that I loved was how they experimented with different flavors and spices! They were so willing to experiment with ingredients like anise, lavender, ginger and chai but the one that caught my attention (and tastebuds) the most was cardamom!
I am totally on board with this whole savory pancake thing. The idea that I can still feel like I’m having pancakes at any time of the day is just an awesome feeling!
And when they are piled up high like that it really does feel like you are eating pancakes when in all seriousness these are more likely termed fritters or latkes to most people. But I’d rather call them pancakes!
Cumin is another ingredient that I wasn’t very familiar with. I took the opportunity to explore this spice with the inception of my New Year’s resolution of going out of my comfort zone picking out ingredients I have never tried out before. And hey, my resolution is still going strong! I might have found the one that actually sticks.
Turns out I love this Indian spice. It still gives the same taste profiles and color of the food from the East, yet I don’t find my mouth burning and needing a gallon of water nearby to chug after every bite. I know it sucks I am a total wimp when it comes to spicy food, I must have inherited a ‘recessive taste bud’ gene or something.
But once again I am so happy I sought to incorporate cumin into my food and perhaps keep it in a permanent place on my spice rack instead of hidden somewhere deep in my cupboard not knowing what in the hell to do with it.
I gotta be honest people, it’s really starting to annoy me that I can’t eat the sweets that I absolutely loved to eat anymore.
I used to go through life seeing any kind of food as something that was completely available to me. I was living in an age where the world of gastronomy had so much to offer and there was nothing limiting me from choosing if I wanted to venture into that area of cuisine or if I wanted to eat that particular food product.
Nothing was stopping me and therefore I never felt the need to take advantage of my impenetrable stomach because it didn’t seem necessary. Life would go on, I would eat what I wanted, whatever came my way and that was that. My youthful stomach always prevailed no matter what I put in it and therefore I was indifferent.
Now the landscape of my life as an omnivore has completely changed. Food isn’t an allotted freedom and convenience that America’s advanced yet monstrous food industry has gifted me (which I’d take full advantage of and didn’t ask any questions as to how such an industry exists).
Now every time I go to a supermarket or look at a restaurant menu a limitation always presents itself. Before there had always been a sense that my overly-zealous stomach could conquer anything on that menu. There was always a feeling of exhilarating freedom coming into that supermarket seeing all the countless aisles of guaranteed delicious and salivatory food and it was completely available for my taking – only if I wanted it or not.
I was actually thinking about making this banana bread paleo. I really like the idea of the paleo diet, not as a weight loss technique but as a conscious way of eating. I had seen a lot of paleo baking going around and it really made me think, maybe I could do it!
So I was very curious and first tried making banana bread using coconut flour. Oh how that went terribly wrong. It was just this dense doughy mess that was just unable to bake at all and it left me all depressed, eventually mindlessly playing with it like play-doh.
And then I was pretty shocked how many whole grain flours out there aren’t considered paleo. And those that are considered paleo (almond flour and other nut flours) are just crazy expensive to the point where you are most likely eating a 5 dollar slice of banana bread. Yeah, I don’t think so.
I learned that basically you can’t have any form of grain on the paleo diet (I know I’m pretty slow). Turns out eating paleo might not really be for me after all! I mean I eat brown rice and brown rice anything like there is no tomorrow. Cause hey! I thought brown rice was good for you!
Well APPARENTLY NOT. Or at least that’s what a lot of paleo gurus and articles on the web are now saying which leaves me all dumbfounded, as if all my morals were just suddenly contradicted. I see words like ‘anti-nutrients’ and ‘high-glycemic’ being thrown around and then I am being told that you should eat white rice over brown rice. Ehrrmm excuse me?? It’s like when I was told that kale is bad for you. The world is starting to not make a bit of sense.
Sadly the holidays are already over. At least for me, cause I’m already back at work! But then I have to deal with the holiday-travel-craziness AGAIN because I’m going out of town for New Years. Girl can’t catch a break.
But seriously DON’T get me started on how seriously angry my tummy is (yep Gertrude has a bit of a temper). Well it’s too late cause I’m gonna tell you.
I totally gave in and ate so many sweets for Christmas. There was this chocolate rugelach that was just indescribably good and we always have to have baumkuchen which is just a German family tradition, so I was munching on that for days. I had to retire early a few nights with my trusty heating pad set to ‘ultra high’ while it was wrapped around my abdomen. Clearly during the holidays you don’t think straight.
So I seriously have to do a little detoxing. And I know everyone says that after the holidays mostly because of fear of weight gain and also to just clear your conscious, but what about giving your stomach a break before you wreck havoc on it again for New Years? Stomachs do a lot of work and sometimes I don’t appreciate mine as much
So ladies and gentlemen let me present to you this fine and delectable dish! This is literally my soul food. It is quite simple yet utterly delicious that it will make you smile, well at least it does for me so that’s proof enough, right? It is one of the dishes on here that I make allllll the time and it’s just so darn easy to make.
Sometimes you have to take your favorite thing to eat and bring it to the next level. And I’m talking the let’s put all the things we love into a cheesy gooey and delicious bun sort of level.
Let’s first talk about pão de queijo. I absolutely adore those golden brown cheesy and chewy bites. I was fortunate enough to live in Brazil for a few years as a kid and I would always spend my allowance money at the padaria and get myself a pão de queijo. I was always so happy to bite into that soft and gooey center! We all have our own wonderful childhood memories of gustatory bliss.
But really when I do think of my time in Brazil I always think of pão de queijo. I was definitely bummed out when I returned to Germany and I had no idea how to fulfill my pão de queijo fix. Whenever I went to a new city, I had to inspect the designated ‘Brazilian’ part of town and search for that unknown Brazilian baker who had pão de queijo on their menu.
It was tricky and it became so rare to eat them that they were a luxury to me. Until I finally grew up into the independent and responsible adult I am today and suddenly realized why suffer when I can just make them myself!
How is it that I adored these delightful cheesy bread buns for all these years without even having a clue how they are made and what they are made of? Oh, Linda.
Every girl needs to have some cake every now and then. And this is how I felt when I made these little cute and delicious blueberry cakes. They are cakes specifically designed for the girl that deserves to have her cake!
First of all when the madness of Black Friday happened and all the ridiculous deals that followed afterwards, I was literally overwhelmed with all the gorgeous and wonderful things that had all of a sudden been miraculously marked down. And this cake stand was one of them!
I just fell in the love with that beautiful circular blue pattern on the top and that sort of thing I can just stare at for days. I love when things are intricately done and I am just a sucker for abstract and bold patterns and I had to snatch this up. But of course my main thought when I bought this is all the fabulous cakes I have to bake to accompany it.
And mini cakes just seemed like the perfect thing. I mean mini cakes are just so ADORABLE. I’ve realized that most of the baked goods that I usually love seemed to be so much better in a mini version, like mini pound cakes, mini bundt cakes, mini tarts, mini donuts. It just keeps on going.
There is something nice about the idea that you are not only controlling your portions but it is also a guarantee that most of the time your like mini bakes will turn out lovely (and instagram-worthy) with not as much effort and stress.
I am very much in love with gratins. When I first realized gratins exist and that I could actually make them at home instead of going to some fancy French restaurant, I was a very happy little lass.
So now it’s one of those dishes I make a lot now and have a lot of fun cooking as well. Certain recipes are very therapeutic as they take a little longer to make but not too long where you are breaking your back in the kitchen. And also putting together all the beautiful ingredients to make something even more wonderful is really rewarding and bittersweet in the end.
Usually when I make gratins, I jam pack them with a decadent cheesy sauce (like my beloved gruyere potatoes au gratin, you are so delicious my friend). But lately I have realized that dairy is doing nasty things to my stomach and I thought it was time to give my gratin a makeover.
And thank the universe for cauliflower! You wonderfully white cruciferous vegetable. Oh how you have made my life so much easier! I can still enjoy my creamy vegetables and not feel the pains of my stomach playing a symphony of embarrassing gurgles and growls!
My stomach has been really cranky lately. I don’t know what is going on with Gertrude (my stomach’s name?). She has been really fussy and sometimes I feel like she’s an old aunt nagging me.
Basically I just simply can’t handle certain foods anymore. I don’t want to get into the complicated (and rather unpleasant) subject on digestion but I just have to accept that my stomach is not the same as it used to be (and eating a bag of starbursts at a sleepover in middle school are days long gone).
So I have given up and started listening to Gertrude (I know it’s weird naming my stomach but I feel our recent involvement has now resulted in a first-name basis). I am learning to eat food that my body really wants rather than what my mind wants. And I am really trying to bridge that gap between mind and body so that they can live harmoniously.
Somedays of course you want your spaghetti in a box from the supermarket or you pass by the frozen section and there is your favorite mushroom pizza all perfectly and sneakily prepared for your convenience. But I’m now learning that somedays you want food that nourishes you, food that is fresh and food that gives your body energy and doesn’t leave you bloated and binge watching How To Get Away With Murder on a Friday night.