Berti knife


Meet my new Berti knife! Lucky me got this beauty for x-mas. I love the smooth white Lucite handle also the knife is beautifully balanced .

David Berti began crafting knives in 1895, in the Tuscan countryside. Today, the Berti tradition still requires that each knife is the complete work of a sole craftsman. The hands that begin the work finish it. This means each knife crafted is unique, and contains the thought, the hand, and the expertise of an individual shaper. Every knife from Berti bears the initials of the craftsman who made it.

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Kaneelbullar on a winter afternoon

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February generally marks the beginning of my impatience with winter. The fact that winter over here started damn late, like in late December, does not make it easier. The cosy winding down, feels not cosy at all anymore! I'm ready for action, totally fed up with winter tiredness. I wanna go out into the garden, get my hands in the soil and start sowing seeds.

Luckily there are a few things one can already do now in the garden, and luckily we had a bit of sun over the weekend.
February is a good month for pruning vines and all your summer and autumn blessing trees.
In my case this is the Cotinus coggygria or smoke tree. I only just found out it's called smoke tree in English, in German it's called "wigtree". How much more fitting is smoke tree! The amelanchier needs pruning too and so does the vine that covers the pergola.

In order to shake off winter tiredness, I decide to spend all weekend in the kitchen and the garden; sourdough was made, and a lovely tangerine tart. But what better to accompany a winter garden session than Kaneelbullar?!
So Kaneelbullar were made too. I decided to try a new recipe this time, not that I don't like the one featured
here before, just that I was in the mood for experimenting. This recipe is fast and easy and the result is a slightly lighter bun.

So the new garden year was started on a sunny day in a still snowy garden, pruning trees, melting snow to make some strong black tea to go with the Kaneelbullar - not too bad I'd say.

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For the dough you'll need:

  • 300 gr plain flour
  • 150 gr whole-wheat flour
  • 130 g caster sugar
  • 3 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 240 gr whole milk
  • one egg
  • one egg yolk
  • 125 g butter, softened
  • zest of half an organic lemon

For the cinnamon butter you'll need:

  • 100 g butter, very soft
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom

Mix the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and lemon zest in a large bowl. Combine the milk, egg and yolk. Pour the liquid over the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon .
Transfer to a clean work surface and knead until smooth. If available, use a stand-mixer fitted with the dough-hook. If you’re kneading by hand, expect to be at it for 15 to 20 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic, and just tacky.
 At this point, add the butter, rubbing it into the dough, then knead for an extra 5 minutes.
Place the dough into a clean bowl and cover with a cloth. Allow to rise at room temperature for a couple of hours, until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, get the cinnamon butter ready. Cream the butter, sugar and spices for a minute or two and keep at room temperature until needed.
When the dough has risen, punch to deflate, then transfer to a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 30x40cm rectangle, approximately 8mm thick.
Spread with the cinnamon butter and roll into a tight log. Cut the log into ten 4cm-wide slices using a sharp knife, and arrange into a large baking tray lined with baking paper.
Cover loosely with buttered clingfilm and proof until doubled in size.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 170°C.
When the buns have risen, bake in the preheated oven for around 30 minutes until golden-brown.

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Swedish kaneelbullar - perfect afternoon delights
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Pistacio cake and tangerine confit

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A rather delicious dessert, one I'm really proud of.
It's a combination of different recipes and ideas.
The tangerine confit has already been featured here before but in combination with the pistachio cake it reaches a whole new level.

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For the cake you'll need:

  • 100 gr ground pistacio
  • 25 gr plain flour
  • 25 gr coarse semolina
  • a pinch of ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of ground pepper
  • 50 gr melted butter
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • a1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 100 gr caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • juice and grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 orange

Combine all the dry ingredients apart from the sugar in a bowl, Mix the butter and the oils together.
Whisk the sugar and the eggs, gradually adding the butter and the oil mixture. Gently fold in the flour mix, followed by the zest and the juices.
Pour the mixture into a greased 15cm springform cake tin and bake in a oven preheated to 160°. Bake for 30 minutes or until a cocktail stick inserted in the center comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Now to the tangerines confit which originally comes from Fanny Zanotti's blog

For the confit you'll need:

  • 350g clémentines (that's 3 to 4 fruits)
  • 200g sugar
  • half a vanilla pod
  • 100g water
  • 20g cornflour diluted in 40g cold water

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Plunge the tangerines in it and simmer for 3 minutes. Sieve, placing the fruits in an ice-cold water bath as you do so. Repeat one more time. Then cool the tangerines until cold enough to handle.
Slice very finely, and place in a pan along with the sugar, vanilla pod and seeds, water. Simmer for 30 minutes or until reduced and almost candied. Then vigourously fold in the cornflour mixture. Allow to boil for a couple of minutes, and transfer to a bowl.

Serve the cake with a bit of the confit an a dollop of beaten cream - delicious!

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Indian Feast

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Lucky me, Kevin brought me this cookbook from London. He's been eating at the Cinnamon Kitchen and liked it so much he bought the book. In my twenties I travelled to India several times and cooked a lot of Indian food but at one point I totally lost interest in it. I rarely fancy going to an Indian restaurant, but when we go I always love the food... Malabar in London being my favourite .

India back in 1988

A new cookbook is always a good reason to change on old habit. More Indian cooking in the Coeur de Sel kitchen! First up was the Keratin Seafood Pie. Delicious indeed!

Two weeks ago we had a proper Indian feast: Sardines with chilli and apricot glaze, char-grilled broccoli florets with rose petals ans almonds, stir fried greens and naan bread.

What I like so far with this book is the fact that the recipes are quite easy, good for everyday cooking.
Great Indian dishes, with fresh modern twists.

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Paddington & Lina Bo Bardi

Yet another new drink we tried over the holidays, the Paddington.
I organised and attended a mixing workshop for the place I work this december, now I'm mixing a lot of new drinks I never had before.

I have to admit it like my cocktails on the sweet side, Paddington is a rather dry cocktail and therefore not my favourite. If you like yours dry, you should definitely give it a go. The Orange and grapefruit aromas are rather nice.

You'll need:

  • 4,5 cl Banks % island rhum or any other you have in your bar
  • 1,5 cl lillet blanc
  • 1,5 cl fresh pressed grapefruit juice
  • 1,5 cl fresh pressed lemon juice
  • 1 bs Bonne Maman orange jam

Rinse a chilled coupe glass with a splash of Absinthe. Add the remaining ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

The paddington is pictured next to the Lina Bo Bardi book that came out with Hatje Kantz for the lina Bo Bardi exposition in Munich. We did not know her prior to seeing the exhibition and were really impressed by her work.

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A double recommendation : Passioned green tea whiskey & Lady and Pups

My favourite Food blog of the 2014 was definitely and I strongly recommend you to keep an eye on it. It's funny, unusual, has great pictures and nice recipes.
"An angry food blog - home cooking with extreme prejudice" it's says on top of the page, sounds go too me.
I could do with a lot more food blogs that talk about kitchen disasters, headaches and midlife crises !

We had her  "Passioned green tea whiskey " on one of the last days of the year  - good stuff you should give it a go to.

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Festive kitchen experiments

New cookbooks , time and a good reason.
I decided to try some new things over the holidays . Nothing overly exciting came out of it but I learned a few new things and had good fun in the kitchen.

I cooked from the Relae cookbook : Pickled Mackerel with lemon skin puree and Cauliflower mash.
The mackerel was nice and and the preparation totally new to me , so was the lemon skin puree.
The Cauliflower mash was not our thing at all all ...

Also on the menu were the stuffed onions from Ottolenghis and sami tamimis Book "Jerusalem" they were nice but but consistency was way to soggy. I  will give them an other go with a different, firmer rice.

With the jewish menu choice I pleased the mother in law more than the husband ... the red bitter salad with oranges he hated which I should have known. Sweet stuff in salads is a no go with him.
But when it was time for the christmas pudding, ruhm and  soul 7" we were all happy.

Here some impressions:

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Churros con chocolate - dreams of summer and sea


I do have a new dessert crush, it's home made churros with bitter chocolate cream to dip in!

Maybe you laugh at me know and tell churros are really nothing special, that one can buy them at any fun fair and they are very oily. Well I know all this!  And exactly for that reason I fell in love with them again. They are childhood summer holidays memories and they just make me very happy. I remember the wagons selling churros on the street in spain. I remember churros after a day at the beach with still salty lips from the sea and I remember churros in the morning with milk coffee and a cigarette ( when I was a teenager ). Good memories they are!

Also in this recipe from the moro cook book they come with a fantastic  bitter chocolate dip and this is just a match made in heaven.

serves 6

You'll need for the churros:

  • 400 gr plain flour
  • a poinch of salt
  • 1 tsp soda bicarbonate
  • 500 ml boiling water maybe even more more
  • lots of sunflour oil for frying
  • caster sugar for dusting

You'll need for the churros:

  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 400 ml milk
  • 300 gr very dark chocolate, I recommend 70 %
  • 250 ml sweetend condensed milk
  • lots of sunflour oil for frying
  • 250 ml cream

For the batter sift flour, soda bicarbonate and salt into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour in the water and quickly mix with a wooden spoon so no lumps form.
Transfer to a saucepan and cook over low heat , stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes.
Spoon the mixture in a bowl and let it rest for an hour.

For the chocolate, infuse the cinnamon in the milk by simmering it for 15 minutes. Take of the heat and discard the cinnamon. Meanwhile melt the chocolate in a bain-marie or whatever your favourite way to melt chocolate. When melted gently stir in the infused milk and the condensed milk till smooth.

Fill into 6 glasses or nice tumblers. Whisk the cream until soft peaks form and spoon on to of the chocolate. Chill for at least an hour.

Heat the oil in a large shallow pan over medium heat until hot. Put the dough in a piping bag with a medium sized nozzle. Press the dough into the hot oil . I recommend making coils which you later can cut into pieces. The oil should not be too hot otherwise they turn brown before beeing cooked thoroughly .
When nicely brown take them out an drain on kitchen paper before sprinkling with sugar.

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picture of my grandmother with her 4 daughters on a summer holiday in italy.

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Looking pretty but tasting very very bitter

We get more and more old vegetable varieties on the market.
A few weeks ago I bought these stunning baby aubergines. Not knowing what to do with them expect having them lying in avow and looking good I made a gratin with them. I probably should have tried them before going through all the effort ... they were so bitter that one could not eat the dish.

Any one knows how to cook these little fellows?

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Workdesk still


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