I have moved

Dear Reader
Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog. I have moved on and my new blog is now called:

Please come and visit me there.
See you soon,



Schneeflocken Cookies

I found a very fast and easy to make cookie recipe which is called snowflakes because you dust it with a lot of icing sugar. It's very light and crumbly and buttery and sweet...mmmh! I have added a bit of anise seed because I like it so much and it's yummy with the buttery taste.
It's a bit of an old fashioned German recipe and it goes very well with a nice cup of tea not only for Christmas. In fact it could be the kind of biscuit served at an East Frisian tea ceremony.
It's a region in North Germany where tea drinking is a very important part of socialising or just to unwind. Traditionally you'll put a kandis-sugar ("Kluntje" or rock candy) in the tea cup first, then pour in the tea and then add a little cream so it looks like a little cloud floating on top. You are not suppose to stir the tea and drink the cream first, then the tea and the last bit would be the very sweet tea with the dissolved kandis-sugar. I usually skip the cream and also stir my tea as I like the crackling sound the rock-candy makes in the hot tea. Either way it's a beautiful tradition and it is still practiced in East Frisian.


125 g butter, softened
100 g caster sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
1 egg white
100 g cornflour
100 g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon anise seed, crushed in a mortar and pestle
icing sugar, to dust

1. Line baking trays with baking paper. Whisk butter and both sugars with an electric mixer until pale and creamy.
2. Add egg white and whisk again. Mix cornflour, plain flour, baking powder and anise seed and add, one tablespoon at a time to the butter-sugar mix. Whisk until combined.
3. Tip out and roll dough, on a lightly floured surface, into a roll about 5 cm in diameter. Wrap in cling wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
4. Unwrap and cut into 0.5 cm slices, lay on a baking tray, leave a little room between each, and bake in oven for 10-12 minutes. They should only be lightly brown around the edge.
5. Cool on tray completely then dust liberally with sieved icing sugar.



Today I made gingerbread slices to give them as teacher's present for Christmas. They are really yummy and the hundreds and thousands make them quite playful which I thought kind of fits nicely for a pre school. You can of course also ganache them with dark chocolate which also works well.
Happy 3rd Advent to everyone!

For this typical German Lebkuchen (gingerbread) you'll need a spice mix that will give those slices their authentic taste. In Germany, around Christmas time you'll be able to buy ready made spice mixes for all sorts of different Lebkuchen and Pfefferkuchen but you might not get it in Australia. However it's easily mixed together with spices available here and I'll give you a link to a recipe for Lebkuchengewuerz.

100 g dark chocolate, melted
200 g butter, melted
200 g brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons red wine
100 g ground hazelnuts
200 g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons gingerbread spices*(see note)

200 g pure icing sugar
6-8 tablespoons orange juice
 hundreds and thousands to sprinkle

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2.  Whisk together chocolate, butter, brown sugar and eggs.
3. Combine hazelnuts, flour, baking powder and spices and fold through the chocolate-butter mixture.
4. Line a deep baking tray (34x24 cm) with baking paper and spread dough evenly in tray.
5. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer pokes in the centre comes out clean. Let cool.
6. Make icing and spread over slice then sprinkle with hundreds and thousands and let set.
7. Cut into squares.

*note;  "Lebkuchengewuerz" is called for in many German Christmas recipes.  It consist of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice, but also coriander and cardamom, which are not so common in in other spice mixes. If you do not have access to packets of "Lebkuchen Spice", you can make it at home, with this recipe.


Gingerbread house party

This past Sunday was the 3rd Advent and it rained and rained and rained. Quite unusual to have so much rain in Sydney at this time of the year but on the other hand the best weather for staying indoors and bake and make gingerbread houses. It's a beloved Christmas tradition in Germany to bake (well, if you're pressed for time you can buy them already made as a gingerbread house kit. I saw them at IKEA the other day.) and decorate the house with smaller Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and anything that you can think of. Years ago I bought a gingerbread house mould from Chefs Tool Box. The mould guarantees that all sides are even and makes assembling the house an easy task but you'll need a lot of royal icing to stick it all together. Don't make the icing too runny or it will take too long to set. I always stick sugar cubes inside the corners to make sure the walls are standing upright and prevent them from going lopsided. My daughter and her friends were adamant to decorate the houses themselves and the three of them got quickly very busy and sticky ;-). It was so much fun to watch them but I was also very much looking forward to a nice glass of wine in the evening. However, when the evening came the rain stopped, at least for a little while, and we got invited to join in to a pre-Christmas street fete. It was beautiful to share a merry moment with some lovely neighbours and everyone enjoyed themselves including the kids scooting up and down the pathway.

In Germany gingerbread (Lebkuchen) is made in two forms: a soft form used for cookies, slices and cake and a harder form, particularly associated with carnivals and street markets such as the Christmas markets (I really miss those markets) that occur in many German towns. The hard gingerbread is used for shapes, which are then further decorated with sweets and icing. The German-style Gingerbread is often used to build Lebkuchen Haeuser similar to the "witch's house" in the German fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. These houses are popular Christmas decorations everywhere in Germany and often built by children with the help of their parents.

This recipe makes one house and gives you a bit extra.

125 g brown sugar
a pinch salt
300 g treacle
1 tablespoon ground ginger
180 g butter, softened
500 g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
2. Beat sugar, salt and treacle, ginger and butter in a large mixer until combined and lighter in colour.
3. Add flour and bicarb soda and whisk until mixture forms a thick dough.
4. Place on lightly floured workbench and flatten with you hands. Press dough into mould.
5. Place mould on baking tray and bake for 20-30 minutes or until firm to touch (dough will crisp up once cooled).
6. Cool before removing from mould.

Use royal icing to assemble the house. I am sure your kids will love to help decorating the house with candies and Christmas cookies.


Easy as lemon-passionfruit curd

I am currently working in the Breville test kitchen and my colleague and test kitchen manager there, Naomi, brought in the latest copy of Janelle Bloom's My favourite food cookbook . I cannot go past a cookbook without at least trying one recipe and the microwave lemon curd in this one got me hooked.
At home, I realised I didn't have enough lemons to make a lemon curd so I mixed lemon and passion fruit juice for the curd. The method is so simple I will ever be thankful to Janelle for sharing it.

It's also a great last minute Christmas gift or as an Advent Mitbringsel (bring along gift). Just wrap the lid with a little linen, secure with a ribbon and add a nice gift tag - and off you go.

And here is my recipe for the lemon and passion fruit curd made in the microwave:

3 large eggs (please be kind and only buy free-range)
2 egg yolks
160 g caster sugar
rind of 1 lemon, finely grated (best to use a microplane)
100 ml lemon juice
60 ml fresh passion fruit juice, strained and seeds discarded (you'll need approx. 6-7 passion fruits)
125 g butter, diced

Whisk eggs, egg yolks, sugar and lemon rind in a large, heat-proof, microwave-safe bowl until combined. Whisk through lemon and passion fruit juice. Add the butter. Microwave, uncovered, for 7-10 minutes on Medium/50% whisking every minute until the mixture just comes to the boil and thickens. Pour into sterilised jars. Keep refrigerated.

You can use this curd for breakfast or as a filling for cookies or on top of a slice. It's always yummy!