Cooking and Baking in July
Many things have been going on this month. Lots of work to do, my family came all the way from Northern Germany to visit us, I planned some new projects and ordered stuff from Dawanda. Whenever I could, I squeezed in some time to take pictures. I finally have a day off so that I can share them with you.
For this cake I used a very simple recipe which works with any fruit. I used rum and a big amount of homemade vanilla extract for the batter, which enhanced the flavour and made the cake special, even though it doesn’t look like much.
I liked it so much that I made another version with apricots, this time leaving out the rum and using unrefined coconut oil and dried coconut in place of the walnuts.
I burnt the apricots a bit but that didn’t really matter. The cake was still delicious. I used small apricots and a mini springform pan. And then we ate it in one sitting.
When we were in Denmark, I scored some graham flour. I was surprised to see that it was available at any grocery store there. In Germany you can only order it online. When I opened the bag, I finally understood the difference between this flour and whole wheat flour. There’s lots of bran in it and therefore it is coarser than regular whole wheat flour.
This flour was also interesting to bake with. I used it to make some yeast based chocolate and cranberry rolls. The graham flour soaked up so much water and my final baked good turned out darker than usual. I thought tastewise it was a bit more rustic than regular whole grain flour. Although the difference might not be that big if you use home-milled whole grain flour and choose a courser setting on your mill.
P. brought me some cocoa butter, which is now available at our health food store. I like that it is organic and fair trade, but for that reason it is also a bit costly. So to make the best use of it, I made some chocolates. The outcome was okay, I think I have to rework the recipe a bit before I can share it with you. I used ground almonds and coconut, also a bit of coconut butter in addition to the cocoa butter. The flavour was very subtle and maybe I need to add more vanilla. Or more likely, some alcohol.
My dad left me his old camera, a Sigma SD 15 and a 18-50 mm lens. The camera has a special sensor that is supposed to make the colours look better and “true”. I haven’t really figured out yet how to make use of all the settings and how to adjust the colours correctly. This is the picture after I played around with gimp a bit, adding a light sepia layer. By the way, I am planning to make a recipe zine for a friend of mine and bought alphabet stamps, ink pads, and masking tape stickers from this Dawanda shop.
One of my obsessions right now are pickled green peppercorns. Here in Germany you can find them in little jars at the spice section of most supermarkets. I always have them on hand. They are great for stews and gravies. I like to stir them into my (tomato) hummus. (Roasted carrots and lime oil in the background.)
I have also been obsessed with tempeh and have already passed on the addiction to our toddler. She loved this peanut sauce tempeh of which I made two versions. One without hot sauce for F. and one with a decent amount of the stuff for us.
It has been a lot of fun cooking for us as a family. In Germany lunch is the main meal, but we have only time to eat together on the weekends. P. and I. usually share the kitchen work and I do not always cook for us, but sometimes I plan an elaborate meal like this seitan goulash.
I wasn’t sure if our daughter would eat seitan due to it’s sometimes tough and chewy texture. So I made a raw batch, cut it into tiny pieces, fried it, and then added it to the goulash. It turned out very tender and F. ate a huge bowl.
We have had several occasions lately to talk about her eating habits. (“You don’t let her eat meat?” “So she never ate a sausage in her whole life?” etc … And she’s not even vegan! She eats vegan food at home, but the food at daycare is vegetarian.) And I have to admit that I am super pleased with them. She eats all kinds of stuff and has much more variety in her diet than many other kids we know. I try to follow the “everything in moderation” approach and we try not to use categories such as “healthy” and “unhealthy”. I want to avoid these terms because they often come with what I consider as pseudomoral or pseudoreligious burdens. I don’t want her to ever feel “guilty” or “bad” for eating a cookie. So far it has worked great. Sure, she loves a cookie, but she also eats many different vegetables, fruits, and lots of legumes. There are only few things she won’t eat.
Sorry for the wild mixing of lighting styles in this post. I still cannot decide what kind of style I should choose. I don’t have much gear and use only natural light. On many days that light is just bad in our flat. To be honest, I think I like the darker pictures better. The other ones just seem too bright and too food magazine-ish to me. My food never really glows like that on my plate.
P.S.2 I absolutely don’t like the new look of flickr. I am still using it, but I also started a new photo blog, where you can find some of my (both food and not food related) pictures.