We held each other tightly for over an hour before he had to take leave to catch his flight back to Madrid. His arms were wrapped around my neck and shoulders like a thick scarf. Our silence expressed more to each other than we…
I recently took a deep dive into my heart. I changed my career. I left my friends and my home and moved across the Atlantic. I arrived into my new country with a suitcase in one hand, my daughter’s hand in the other and my heart…
I recall so vividly that Sunday morning. It was such a quiet day, with no traffic populating the streets. There was no hustle and bustle of people going to work or school. My ears were attuned to the flutter and song of birds outside of…
The chocolate chip cookie has always held great meaning for me from my first bite. It was the first time that I had travelled to the United States. A little girl was eating one in the playground and shared a piece with me. This act of sharing was the beginning of a budding friendship, which has lasted over decades.
Throughout the years, this seemingly simple golden gem of a disc- has has become a symbol of home: of connection: of unity and love.
It is no surprise that the very first recipe that I ever tackled without the help of y mother was the Chocolate Chip Cookie when I was a 7 year old little girl. My mother had given me the Fannie Farmers cookbook, which became my bible. I always kept it underneath my bed and would flip through the pages each night visualizing and tasting in my mind just how each recipe would turn out.
I was fascinated by the combination of a few basic ingredients and their ability to create such magical goodness. I made a batch about every weekend and invited friends to come over and eat them with me along with a glass of milk. The friends who really stuck with me throughout the years were those who were also just as obsessed about cooking and baking and we often spent our time sharing and comparing recipes of all sorts. The chocolate chip cookie recipe always stood out as one of our favorites.
When I moved to Germany as a teenager, I immediately dived into the German baking-culture, and learned how to make German cakes, pies, cookies and everything in between.
On days that my spirit felt that it needed an additional uplift, I automatically turned to the chocolate chip cookie to provide it. My German roommate and colleagues became addicted. The cookies had become such a novelty and people began to refer to me as the Keksfrau, asking me to bake them for their gatherings or to just give them tiny moments of pleasure, and I happily provided.
This was the first recipe that I used from my Fannie Farmer cookbook and a picture that I took over 20 years ago when I started taking pictures of everything that I baked and cooked. That was before foodie photos were even a thing!
My first Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
A classic recipe to the classic cookie
- 1 cups of unsalted Butter
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar,
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 eggs Egg, room temperature
- 1.5 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 2/3 cup of all purpose flour
- 1 tsp. Baking soda
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1.5 cups of Bittersweet Chocolate Chip
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 375*F
- Step 2 Line two baking pans with baking paper
- Step 3 Cream the butter.
- Step 4 Add in the sugars, and beat until light and fluffy.
- Step 5 Add in the egg and the vanilla.
- Step 6 Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a bowl
- Step 7 Add this flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture
- Step 8 Mix well.
- Step 9 Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Step 10 Drop one inch tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheets about 2 inches apart
- Step 11 Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned
- Step 12 Dare to try to refrain from eating them all up immediately
- Step 13 Enjoy the blissful moment
One thing that has saddened me most during the past 11 months is that fact that I have not been able to be with my family. In this regard, is has been an incredibly LOOOONG and challenging year.
Like so many other families with members dispersed across the globe, we have had to be creative in finding ways to spend time together virtually, and while the initial weeks were rather challenging, we were able to find and settle into a habit of short daily calls combined with weekly movie-nights and/ or cooking sessions.
In this regard, we have developed a rather different kind of relationship. Our time together is actually now more focused, as we only have these designated sessions to exchange and in doing so, we have made this space ours-and only ours, without the distractions of well, everything else.
While I am desperately looking forward to being able to see my family in person and embracing them, I have come to really relish these virtual moments.
A few weeks ago, my brother and his family and my family and I sat down and simultaneously watched the new release of Soul, together-each family on our respective sides of the Atlantic. As we prepared for the movie night, my daughter and I made some soft pretzels, slathered with melted butter to enjoy. Here is our recipe to share!
Super Satisfying Soft and Chewy Pretzel
Beautifully, soft and chewy pretzel recipe..
- 2 1/2 teaspoons of dried yeast
- 11/2 cups (360ml) warm water
- 11/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tablespoon of brown sugar or honey
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 460-500g 3 -3 3/4 cups of spelt flour or all-purpose
- *Optional-toppings: Sesame seeds or course sea salt
- Baking soda bath
- 1/2 cup (120g) baking soda
- 1 tbs. brown sugar
- 8 cups of water
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 204°C / 400°F
- Step 2 Sprinkle the yeast into your mixing bowl (let it dissolve for a couple of minutes)
- Step 3 Stir in the sugar or honey, salt and melted butter. Mix well
- Step 4 Add in the flour bit by bit, stirring in between each addition
- Step 5 Stir this flour mixture until it becomes a thick dough. If it is too sticky, add a bit more flour.
- Step 6 Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until it becomes smooth and elastic.
- Step 7 Place the dough into a bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes
- Step 8 Cut the dough into 8 equal sized pieces
- Step 9 Roll out each piece into a long rope
- Step 10 Hold each end and bring them together to form a circle
- Step 11 Now twist the ends and pull them down to form a pretzel and press down the edges
- Step 12 To prepare the baking soda bath
- Step 13 Boil the water and add the baking soda
- Step 14 Drop 2 pretzels at a time into the boiling water and remove them after 30 seconds, using a slipped spoon or sieve or spatula (The pretzels will look pale and soggy, but thats ok).
- Step 15 Put the pretzel onto your baking sheet and proceed with the rest of the dough.
- Step 16 At this stage, you can sprinkle your pretzel with course sea salt or sesame seeds or whatever toppings you like.
- Step 17 Put the tray into the oven and bake your pretzels until they are golden brown (between 12-15min).
This Carrot loaf has become a standard in our home, these days. It is so packed with wholesome goodness and it presents a great way for me to use up the carrot pulp from my carrot juice. This loaf so reminds me of my Grandmother’s…
In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true. Buddha I took a day trip with a friend of mine many years ago to a tiny village to the…
It is Sunday or Saturday. Wait no, it’s Monday. I just checked, and it is actually Thursday today. The hours, and days and weeks all seem to melt together into one massive mass of time.
The only thing that differentiates my days are the recipes that I create. In terms of days of the week, my reference has now become “the day we made pancakes,” or “the morning we baked black bread” or “salmon day.”
I decided a few days ago to flip through the hundreds and hundreds of cookbooks on my shelf. They surround us, and stand proudly in my living room, dining room and in the kitchen. I’ve not opened them in ages and recently felt the impulse to do so. Flipping through the pages of those books was like flipping through a film reel through time.
The film took me all the way back to my childhood, as a 7 or 8 year old child, holding my Fannie Farmer cookbook dear to my chest at night-time and dreaming about the exciting recipes that I would make over the weekend. That specific cookbook played such a large role in my life, until I was old enough to start purchasing my own. And once I started, there was no holding back.
My favourite recipes were found of those pages notably ruffled with faint stains, or not-so-faint stains. I shared those stories (well, some of them) with my daughter, as each recipe brought me back a specific moment in time, as if I was still there, with the taste and smell still lingering strongly in my mind.
I sat there with my daughter in the mound of books for what seemed like hours that day, bathing in the beautiful memories of food shared and prepared for loved ones; some of whom are no longer in my life, others who are still there. I fantasised about those who were not yet in our lives, but would soon come to form more memories.
The sun made its way through the large windows in my living room and flooded the kitchen with a glorious light. The light hit the three lemons that were hanging out in the centre island of the kitchen and I decided then and there: I’ll make some lemon cake-letts! So said, so done, and they were awesome!
Lemon Cake Recipe
A very moist, delicate not-too-sweet,very-lemony cake
- Dry Ingredients
- 2 cups of oat or spent or all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup of raw cane sugar, or coconut sugar
- Wet Ingredients
- 3/4 cup of milk (I used almond milk)
- 1/2 cup of yogurt (I used coconut)
- 1/4 cup of coconut or olive oil
- 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- The zest of 2 large lemons
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350°F/ 175°C
- Step 2 Prepare the bread pan or cake-let pan.
- Step 3 Combine all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl .
- Step 4 Combine the liquid ingredients in a separate bowl
- Step 5 Put the liquid mixture, slowly into the dry mixture bowl and stir until you have a smooth dough.
- Step 6 Stir in the lemon zest
- Step 7 Pour this mixture into the pan
- Step 8 Place into the oven and bake for between 45 minutes to 55 minutes, or until the top surface has risen slightly and a knife or toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Step 9 Once done, you can eat it as is, or lightly dust with powered sugar.
This recipe made its debut in our household my mistake. I had just made a pot of popcorn and was reaching high and far within my cupboard to get the salt, when the bottle of turmeric fell over and landed in my freshly, perfectly popped…