Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Tiramisu and Anton and Katy's Thanksgiving dinner

Last Thursday was American Thanksgiving and our Anton and Katy invited us over to Anton's studio to celebrate this day with food and friends. I think we were around 13/14 people and Anton made a turkey and a duck that both turned out pretty damn good. We also had tons of vegetables, two kinds of stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, and vodka and wine to pair with the food. It was a feast and we all had so much fun!
Rachel and I brought the desserts. She made delicious pumpkin spiced muffins that were really moist and soft. I went with my christmas dessert classic, Christmas Tiramisu.

When my Mum first made it I was so stoked and immediately asked her for the recipe.
Everyone loves it and it is so easy to prepare. 
The only tricky part may be the "quark" (or curd cheese, farmer's cheese or fromage blanc...), and spekulatius (which is a gingerbread spiced christmas cookie) cause these are German products and you may not find it everywhere. 
If you cannot find it in your grocery store you could try to replace the "quark" with cream cheese (low fat), Greek yoghurt or cottage cheese (mixed in a blender to make it smooth).
Instead of the spekulatius, try gingerbread cookies, but make sure that they are not glazed or anything cause they will have to soak.

Okay, here is what you need:

250g quark
250g mascarpone
200g heavy cream
100g white sugar
1 tsp Bourbon Vanilla sugar
400g morello cherries in a glass (drained net weight)
at least 200g spekulatius or gingerbread cookies
unsweetened cocoa powder


In a bowl mix quark, mascarpone, sugar and vanilla sugar until smooth. 
Whip the cream until stiff and carefully fold in the quark-mascarpone mixture.
Drain the morello cherries.

Now take a square pan or casserole (approx. 25x15cm/10x6inches) and cover the bottom with a thin layer of the cream mixture (3 tbsp). Side by side place the spekulatius cookies in one layer on top. 
Cover the cookie layer with first the drained morello cherries, then another thick layer of cream.
 Top everything off with a second layer of spekulatius cookies. 
Spread the cookies with rest of the cream (3-4tbsp). 
Chill for at least 4-5 hours (preferably over night). 
Sprinkle unsweetened cocoa powder over it and serve!


  • If you cannot find bourbon vanilla sugar (that's the one with the little black vanilla bean crumbs), just take regular vanilla sugar and maybe slice up a vanilla bean, scarpe out the inside and add that to the cream.
  • You can also try all different kinds of berries and fruits with it. I find cherries the best, though, but rasberries might be good, as well...
  • I always use quark with 40% fat. The recipe asks for low-fat quark and I might go for it next time, as well cause the mascarpone and whipped cream are already heavy enough.

And here are some thanksgiving impressions:

the food

the hosts

the fun

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Easy Peasy Pumpkin Soup

Last Monday, on Halloween, was the first time ever I got to carve a pumpkin.
Halloween is not a big thing in Germany really, and pumpkins for a long time were one of these forgotten vegetables, until a few years ago. Thanks to globalization Halloween is slowly establishing itself more and more as a new kid's event over here, and pumpkin dishes successfully fought their way back into the hearts of German food lovers.

This one here is a very simple and easy to make pumpkin soup that tastes delicious.

You'll need:

500g pumpkin cubes (I use hokkaido pumpkin, cause you can cook it with the skin)
250g carrots roughly, chopped
1 medium-sized onion, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp butter
juice of one orange
100ml heavy cream
1.5 l water
2 tsp vegetable stock
salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg
roasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin oil and cream for garnish


Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add pumpkin carrots and onion and sauté for a few minutes while stirring. Add the vegetable broth and water and bring to a boil. Have everything boil for about ten minutes, or until the carrots and pumpkin are soft.
With a hand blender mix everything until smooth. Mix in the orange juice (careful, you might not need all the juice) and heavy cream. Season to taste with salt, pepper, a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Sprinkle pumpkinseed oil, a bit of cream and roasted sunflower seeds over it.


I decided to serve the soup with bacon-wrapped cod rolls. Therefore cut the cod into slices and season to taste with pepper and a tiny bit of salt (the bacon is already pretty salty). Place the cod slice on a slice of bacon and roll it all up with the bacon being on the outside. Pin the fish-bacon package with a toothpick so it won't fall apart, when frying. Fry the rolls in a pan from each side on high heat for 2-3 minutes.
Turn the stove down to medium/low heat, cover the pan with a lid and let the rolls cook for another 3-5 minutes to make sure the fish inside is properly cooked.

Serve on top of the pumpkin soup. It's delicious!

You can also add a little parsley for garnish. I just didn't have any...

This was us with our pumpkin on our tiny spontaneous halloween party
I think I did a pretty good job on my first carved pumpkin ever...
We even captured something weird with my camera. There was nothing there, I swear. But it felt strangely cold right next to me.... 
spooky isn't it?

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