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French Lavender Brownies


This is a very easy and fast recipe. I found it in one of the many French food magazines I buy every time I visit this beautiful country. And even though my French skills desperately need some updating, it turned out surprisingly well. I changed and adapted this recipe a little bit, but I’d still like to give full credit to the lovely French “Elle à Table” magazine.

Ingredients: 200 g dark chocolate, 200 g butter, 200 g sugar, 4 eggs, 100 g flour, 80-100 g ground almond or hazelnut, icing sugar and lavender flowers.

Melt butter and chocolate in a pot over low heat and let it cool. Beat eggs and sugar until the mass turns almost white, or at least 4 minutes. Add the chocolate butter mix, flour and ground almond or hazelnut and mix well. Use a square brownies tin and bake for about 20 minutes at 180 degrees. Decorate with icing sugar and Lavender flowers.

Fun food for children: Popcorn


Here is a little tip for everyone who loves making popcorn the traditional way, without using a microwave. To avoid any burning and to make sure as many kernels as possible pop, just use this simple trick.

Cover the bottom of a saucepan with sunflower oil. Heat the oil just a little bit, then put in 4 kernels and wait until all of them have popped. Quickly add the rest, which shouldn’t be much more than a handful and listen to the beautiful sound of the bursting kernels. As soon as the popping slows down take the popcorn away from the heat and immediately pour them out into a large glass bowl. Add your favourite seasoning and voila!

I love to make them as a little afternoon snack when my children have visitors. To add to the fun use a glass lid and let your children (carefully) watch how the kernels explode.

Potato Stamps


Do you remember being told not to play with food when you were a child? Well, this is one occasion were you can ignore this rule. Making potato stamps is such fun and when you use your stamps to make cards you actually save some money as well.

We used a little trick to create even shapes. Just cut away the top third of the potato and then punch a cookie cutter into it and remove the bits around the cookie cutter with a knife. It works best with big potatoes and small cookie cutters.

Once everything is removed carefully lift off the cookie cutter and you have a beautiful stamp. We used our stamps to make a card for our new little cousin and niece Mia in Australia.

Linzer Christmas Tree Cookies


Here is a recipe for some easy and decorative Christmas cookies.  Merry Christmas everyone ♥

You need:  600 g flour, 220 g icing sugar (plus some for decorating), 4 egg yolks, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 400 g butter, raspberry jam

Combine all ingredients (except for the jam) to a dough and refrigerate for at least half an hour. Roll out the dough to about 5 mm and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter of your choice.

Punch holes or shapes into half the cookies before baking. Bake at 180 degrees for 8-12 minutes, or until the edges start to brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Spread some raspberry jam on the cookies without holes, and sprinkle some icing sugar over the cookies with holes. Combine the two parts carefully to avoid the icing sugar falling on the jam, so that the cut-out shapes stay bright red.

Autumn


Dear readers, first of all I want to thank you for commenting, linking and showing interest in my blog, even when I was not posting anything for so long. Also thank you foodgawker and tastespotting for sending so much traffic to my blog.

I have been away for a while, because the last 8 weeks have been filled with sad events that took my breath away and stopped me from wanting to write about happy things. However, as always, the beauty of life itself – which can be found in so many things that are connected to food and nature – has been a great solace to me.

So today I just want to share some autumn photos with you, and I promise I will be back with another recipe soon.

Summer Cookies: Lemon Myrtle Stars


A few weeks ago, my lovely friend sent me a packet of Lemon Myrtle spice from Australia and while I was wondering about how to use these precious little seeds, these cookies came to my mind. You need: 110 g of icing sugar and 300 g of flour, 1 tsp Lemon Myrtle spice, 200 g butter and 2 egg yolks. Some more icing sugar and edible flowers for decoration. Combine all ingredients with your hands and knead into a dough. Refrigerate for half an hour. Roll out the dough, use cookie cutters to make stars, ar any other shapes and bake on a parchment paper lined tray for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until they are just lightly brown on the edges. Because these are supposed to be summer cookies I decorated them with some Thai Basil flowers. Any other edible flowers, such as lavender would be nice too. Just mix some icing sugar with a little bit of hot water and put a drop of it on each cookie and the gently place a flower in the middle.

Frozen Yogurt Berry Dessert


This is my favourite quick and easy summer dessert. It is made of only 3 healthy ingredients and you don’t have to add any sugar. All you need is bananas, yogurt, and frozen berries. The berries have to be frozen to get the icy effect, but if you have fresh berries in your kitchen you can add some as decoration, as I did.

Just put 250 g yogurt, 2 ripe bananas and about 350 g frozen berries in a blender. Add the berries in small portions, and make sure your blender is hard core enough to crush ice cubes. Adding more berries will create a sorbet or even ice cream effect and if you use blueberries as well you will get an amazing colour.

Berry cookies


This recipe is based on traditional oatmeal slices or breakfast bars. They contain a lot of oats, which makes them healthy, but because they are also quite sweet and sugary adding berries creates a perfect balance. You can use all kinds of berries, even frozen ones. I was lucky enough to have some fresh red currants from my garden. To avoid crumbling and falling apart when cutting, which always happens to me, just use a muffin tray lined with paper muffin cups instead of a square tin.

You need: 175 g butter, 125 g brown sugar, 50 g honey, 350 g rolled oats and some fresh or frozen berries, a muffin tray and paper liners.

Melt butter, sugar and honey in a small pot on the stove over low heat and stir until dissolved. Combine with the rolled oats in a large bowl. Add the berries and distribute the mix into the muffin tray. You can use a small bottle or a glass that fits into the moulds to gently press down the contents. It works best with frozen berries, with fresh ones you have to be careful not to squash them.

Bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes. Once they are baked and have cooled you can take them out of the muffin cups and they will have a beautiful shape. However, if you use colourful muffin cups and leave them in there, it will make them even more appealing to your children and they will  look much nicer in their lunch boxes.

Chocolate banana cookies


This is a quick and easy recipe for chocolate banana cookies. They are perfect for afternoon guests and even more perfect for you children’s lunch box, if you decide to give them an extra little treat. I used my friend’s tip on what to do with left over Easter chocolate – you can find it in her lovely blog.

Ingredients: 125 g butter, 125 g sugar, 2 mashed bananas, 1 egg, 175 g flour with half a teaspoon baking soda, 100 g chocolate chips and 50 g sliced almonds.

Beat sugar and butter until creamy. Add the egg and bananas. Mix well. Sift flour with baking soda and carefully combine all ingredients. Add chocolate chips and almonds. Distribute into even portion onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes at 180 degrees.

Recipes for children, by children: Easy potato Soup


My daughter loves soup. Make her a soup and she is happy. It is a pleasure to watch her eat. She is also the one who spends the most time in the kitchen with me. Even if she just sits on the workbench, which is the only place to sit in my tiny kitchen, to watch me.

Here is her first recipe that she came up with all by herself when she was five. It is very easy, and you can either use stock or cubes and it works well both with fresh or frozen herbs.

Dissolve 1 cube of vegetable stock in half a liter of boiling water. Add about 8 large potatoes, peeled and cut into similar sized chunks. Cook until they are soft, but not too soft. Remove from stove and add 50 g of butter, 150 ml of cream and 50 g of cream cheese. Puree with a handheld mixer until smooth. Then all you need to do is add a little bit of cracked black pepper and some of your favourite herbs.

Mother’s Day thoughts


My daughters really wanted to buy me some presents for Mother’s Day. They wanted to buy me books, because they know how much I love them. However after thinking about the commercial side of Mother’s Day, I didn’t want them to fall into such a consumer trap so early in their lives.

So I told them I didn’t want anything from a store for Mother’s Day. I said I would be happy to just sit on the balcony, in the sun, and drink coffee with daddy, while I watch them play downstairs in the garden (that really is my favourite way to spend any free time). They were a bit confused, but quickly accepted my request.

And then they went off to make me the sweetest gift. A handmade heart and and a written invitation to the lovely new cafe down the street, which they know I really want to, but didn’t have time to go to yet. It really made me happy.

Fun for kids: Easter eggs and bunnies in miniature watering cans


This year I’m totally hopeless with Easter. Unexpected work, travel and a long lingering flu prevented me from doing the preparations I normally love to do weeks in advance. So, when I went to the Supermarket yesterday to do my last minute Easter shopping I still had not thought about what I would use as Easter egg nests.

The little baskets I used in the previous years were somewhere in a box in the attic and finding them would have probably taken me at least an hour, which I didn’t really have to spare. But then I saw these little watering cans in the flower section – reduced to 50 cents- and I instantly had the idea of using them instead of the baskets.

So I went home, cleaned them and filled them for my little nephew and my daughters. The nice thing is the watering cans can be used during spring and summer to water little freshly planted seeds, or they can be used as little flower pots to plant cress, or other small sprouts or herbs. A perfect gardening toy for little children. Happy Easter to you all !