Thursday, 25 April 2013

Refreshing cherry cake

Now that it's finally warm outside, it's time for those recipes that can be done with a short baking time (the kitchen is a sauna already without having the oven on), like this cherry cake. The recipe is from a family friend, and it's one of my family's all time favourite.
So here's how to do it:


  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 pack vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 - 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 cup sparkling water
  • 4 cups flour (I used a mixture of wheat and spelt flour)
  • 1 pack baking powder
  • 2 glasses of cherries (or fresh ones)
Mix those ingredients (by adding them one at a time) into a soft batter, pour onto a greased baking tray and distribute the cherries on top. Bake for 20 minutes at 200°C/ 390°F. Let cool.

Further ingredients:
  • 2 packs of glaze (or corn starch)
  • 250 ml whipping cream
  • 200 - 250 ml sour cream
  • 200 - 250 ml creme fraiche
  • sugar and cinnamon
Make a glaze out of 2 packs of glaze (you can use corn starch instead) and pour over cake.
Whip the cream, carefully add the sour cream and creme fraiche. Spread mixture onto cake.
Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Ancient pets

As I am currently cat-less (rather woeful domestic circumstances) and spending the summer living with people suffering from a range of allergies, I had to take desperate measures and buy myself a little treat: Triops City.

For those of you who have never come across triops (also known as 'sea monkeys', 'little turtles' in Spanish or 'floßfüßige Seewürmer mit dem Schild' in German in 1732): They are living fossils, with a fossil record reaching back 300 million years ago. These relatives of prawns and lobsters are little crustaceans that can grow a few centimetres long. I used to have them in the past, never very successfully, so this time I'm following the instructions carefully and step by step.

The city that will hopefully soon house my little pets is made of cheap plastic, and consists of five chambers separated by little locks (to prevent older triops from eating their young siblings): there's a market place in the middle, surrounded by a baby station, a beach, a disco and a playground (somehow I'm missing the office). Before I can place the eggs into the city, I first have to fill it with destilled water and add something resembling a tea bag, which is to ensure the right water quality for the triops. Tomorrow evening, I will be able to add the eggs, and then it shouldn't take long for the first larvae to hatch.

Update 25.4.2013: I've added the eggs 24 hours ago, and am now waiting for the triops to hatch.

Update 26.4.2013, 11am: The first triops has hatched! He's tiny, maybe 1/3 mm in length. Now I'm waiting for his siblings to hatch before he starts eating them :)

Update 28.4.2013, 12.30am: It's feeding time! My two little darlings are growing really fast, and they're quite active, swimming around the Baby Station and the Marketplace. The last two days they had to live on the nutrients the 'tea bag' provided (first it optimised the water quality, then it serves as a food source), but now I gave them a tiny grain of their food.
I haven't given up hope yet, the other triops might hatch at some time. If not, at least the fight for food will be quite a bit less...

Monday, 22 April 2013

Cherry blossom dream

Spring has finally arrived. My parent's garden is full of new scents and buzzing noises, pretty flours and yummy herbs.

It doesn't just smell good, it also looks amazing: rosemary.
The latest addition to our garden: an insect hotel.
The first guest arriving at the hotel :)

... and departing again

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Coconut-mandarin muffins

Here's the recipe for some quick yet delicious muffins (das Rezept auf deutsch findet ihr hier). They quickly became an all-time favourite with my Canadian flatmates. And now that I'm back in Germany, they serve as a yummy reminder of a year in Ottawa...

(makes about 15 muffins)

100g butter or margarine
100g sugar
2-3 eggs
150g flour
100g shredded coconut
1 tsp baking powder
1 can of mandarin oranges

Start by mixing the butter, sugar and eggs with an electric whisk. Then mix flour, coconut and baking powder in another bowl and slowly add to butter mixture. Add 100ml of mandarin juice (if there's not enough in the can, add some water).
Fill dough into some muffin paper cups. Add 2-3 slices of mandarin oranges per muffin. If you want, sprinkle some chocolate flakes on top.
Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180°C (350°F).
Eat :)

Tuesday, 2 April 2013