Cook.Bake.Eat.Write.

Archive for the ‘Swiss’ Category

I went to see District 9 at Kabuki Cinema yesterday.

Everyone always talks about this theater because of the whole allure that comes with ‘boozing at the movies’. So, naturally I was stoked when I found out the film my brother and I wanted to see would be showing in this part of the cineplex.

The living-room-theaters I’ve been to (all in Portland) have been brilliant (esp. the Kennedy School one)—plush love-seat sofas, gourmet movie nibbles and a full bar. Kabuki is not like this—no comfy sofas and no side-tables to put your bevis on. Just a regular auditorium experience that makes you wish you’d snuck in those red-vines after all.

As for the movie itself, wow—weird. I get the theme’s relevance to real life immigration issues as well as it’s relevance to redefining the human condition to include those of all living creatures, i.e. aliens. (I was totally pro-Prawn by film’s end.) But why so violent? What was Peter Jackson thinking? People were actually laughing in the theater when aliens and humans would get literally blown to smithereens. My reaction was more along the lines of covering my face with my hands, cringing and waiting for the shooting to end. (>.<“)

I feel traumatized by all the blood and blowing people to bits stuff. And I’ve decided the best way for me to cope is through cake. A nice, homey, afternoon-tea cake with chocolate and nuts.

Again, TipTopf provided me with exactly what I was looking—a recipe for ‘Tirolercake’, which is basically a sponge cake with ground hazelnuts or almonds and nibs of dark chocolate.

A no-fuss cake that makes all the images of Prawn exploitation and human indecency disappear. All is right with the world again. \(^o^)/

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Tirolercake (recipe from TipTopf)

Makes one 22-25cm cake

INGREDIENTS

125g unsalted butter, at room temp.

3 eggs

125g super-fine sugar

a pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla sugar (I didn’t have any, so I used vanilla extract)

150ml milk

250g all purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

80g ground hazelnuts or almonds (You can replace some of this with roughly chopped nuts for texture.)

80g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

a handful of almond flakes

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg. C. Grease and line with parchment paper a 22-25 cm cake form.

2. In a stand-mixer or by hand, beat the butter until little peaks form.

2. Add in the eggs, sugar and salt. Mix until the mixture takes on a light yellow color.

3. Stir in the vanilla and milk.

4. Combine the flour and baking powder. With a sieve, add both into the batter. Stir.

5. Add in the ground nuts and chocolate. Mix to combine.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake form. Bake for 40-45 min.

Life is really quiet right now. Simple. This is what I wanted—or thought so anyhow.

At the same time, I feel like I am on the brink of something big. Life is about to change, and I wish that I could see how or wish that it would just happen already!

In the meantime, life continues on and I just go with the flow. And wait for this strangeness to pass.

I haven’t really been in the mood to do much cooking or baking. Yesterday, for example, I got home, and didn’t feel like cooking or eating! This NEVER happens.

This is a phase. I’m not even going to try to pretend to be inspired today. So I’ll leave you with a recipe for a cake I’ve made a few times in the past but never got around to blogging about.

For the life of me, I can’t remember where I got this recipe from. I have a feeling it’s another one I adapted from TipTopf, but I could be wrong. (If anyone recognizes the base recipe, please let me know!)

The times I’ve made this, I’ve always halved the recipe and kept the original bake time, which in the end worked out well. This might have to do with the fact that I only have an 8-inch cake pan rather than a 10-inch as the recipe calls for.

The cake is dense, banana-rich and super spongey. You can experiment with nut types—I’ve used almond, walnut and hazelnut, which resulted in a slightly different sponge character each time. Thinking about it, I wonder how banana and salted pistachios would work together.

Chocolate Banana Nut Cake (adapted from a recipe in TipTopf?)

INGREDIENTS

6 oz unsalted butter, diced

6 oz bittersweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 cup  extra-fine sugar

1/2 cup ground walnuts

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 cup lightly mashed bananas

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or pecans

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease and line a 10-inch cake pan. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler till it is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Sift together flour and baking powder and baking soda. Add sugar, ground hazelnuts, and salt. Blend thoroughly.

3. Stir in buttermilk, vanilla extract and banana just until combined. Set aside.

4. Add the eggs to the cooled chocolate mixture. Stir until well combined and thick. Stir into the banana mixture until well combined.

5. Pour batter into pan and bake for 20 min. Remove and sprinkle chopped pecan nuts over the top and continue to bake for another 25 to 30 min. until skewer comes out clean.

6. Cool cake on rack. Serve either plain or a dollop of spiked whipped cream.

P1060740I’m confused–is it summer or fall? If it really is summer (it IS August), then why am I wearing a scarf every day, and why am I already thinking about booking my plane ticket home for Thanksgiving? Because this is San Francisco, and like Mark Twain once said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Though I must have heard this quote at least 10 times since moving here, it is actually true.

This last weekend, I left the chill of the city to go Gravenstein apple-picking and picnicking in Sebastopol, a cute town about 50 miles North of San Francisco. I know–Sebasto-what? Sebasto-hole? No–Sebasto-pol! As in the Gravenstein apple CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!

It was altogether loads of fun–turning out to be an all-day apple-picnic extravaganza! I left with about 5 lbs. of fruit and a brain full of all the fab things I wanted to make–apple butter, apple jam, apple tart, and apple tarte tatin!!

The bounty of Sebastopol before my eyes, I set out to find the ultimate apple pastry–as in apples in the crust, apples in the filling and apples in the topping.

I didn’t find a recipe with apple in the crust (I suppose I could have just added it–you know like when you add lemon or orange zest–but maybe I will next time. Grated apple essence crust? Has anyone ever done this before?). However, I did find one that utilized apples in both filling and topping, namely a “Zuercher Pfarrhaustorte” (Zurich rectory tart) that I came across on 1x umruehren bitte. Apparently, it’s another Betti Bossi recipe–the Betty Crocker of Switzerland!

I eschewed all plans I had made that Sunday–skipping Ballet in the park and a birthday party (not a close friend; someone’s mom)–staying home instead to put together this ravishing pastry. And I’m so glad I did; I enjoyed every minute–even grinding the hazelnuts by hand with my pestle & mortar (I haven’t gotten round to buying a voltage converter for my food processor yet.)

This tart is perfect for these fresh summer days in the city–it’s all hazelnuts, grated apple and flaky, butter tart crust. According to Zora, the hazelnuts are replaceable with almonds. I also didn’t have quince jam, so I used apricot. Lovely, lovely (>^_^)<

Zürcher Pfarrhaustorte (from 1x umruehren bitte and Betti Bossi)
30 cm tart pan

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shortcrust pastry (recipe see below)

150 g hazelnuts, grated
2 eggs (M)
80 g sugar
1 ts cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon
2 apples, grated

4 apples, peeled, halved, cored and finely incised
2 tb quince jelly, melted (I used apricot.)

Roll out the pastry and line tart pan with baking paper and pastry. Poke small holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork. Put in fridge, until the rest of ingredients are ready.

Preheat oven to 220 C.

Sperate eggs.
Mix yolks, hazelnuts, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and grated apples.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form, fold them gently into the hazelnut/apple mix.

Spread the hazelnut/apple mix over the pastry. Put the halved apples on top, cut side down.
Coat apple halves with quince jelly.

Bake tart for 35 minutes.

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  • Mama Leah: Well, my darling, I am extremely impressed and inspired. I, of course, don't have one iota of the culinary skills that you have (except for baking, b
  • saffronandbasil: Thanks for the recipe. By the way, LOVE LOVE your site.