Friday, 27 November 2015


Christmas is slowly approaching and I have already baked 6 must-bake German traditional cookies. This year, I will be baking 6 new cookies to add to my Christmas Cookies collection.

Literally translated, Spitzbuben means "rogues" but these cookies do not look like it. They are quite similar to Jammy biscuits but I use red currant jelly to sandwich two cookies together.  Before they are sandwiched together, the tops are sprinkled with sugar powder or confectioner's sugar.  In short, they look pretty and taste excellent!

Ingredients (yields about 70 pieces):
200 g cold butter, to be cut into cubes before adding to dry ingredients
400 g plain flour
50 g ground hazelnut
3 egg yolks
90 g fine sugar
7 g vanilla sugar
zest from half a lemon

200 g red currant jelly or jam, to be slightly heated in a small pot
sugar powder or confectioner's sugar

In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients except red currant jelly and powdered sugar.  By using the kneading hook, knead to a pliable dough.  Wrap dough in cling film and leave it in the fridge for at least two hours.

Roll out dough on a well floured worktop to a thickness of 2.5 cm.  By using a 3 cm or 3.5 cm diameter cookie cutter, cut out dough as shown below.  Arrange on baking tray which is lined with baking paper.  Repeat procedure until all dough are used up.

Bake in a preheated fan oven at a temperature of 180° C for about 10 minutes.  Once done, leave aside to cool down completely.

Arrange cookies with a hole in the centre on a tray and by using a small sieve, sprinkle sugar powder on top.  Spread a little red currant jelly or jam on a base cookie (without hole), then place a cookie (with hole) on top.  Arrange on a baking tray and leave overnight in order that the jelly or jam get dried.  Store cookies between pergament paper in an airtight container.

Happy Baking!

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Grilled Salmon served with Persimmon-Salsa

As much as possible, we prefer to eat more fish than red or white meat.  For tonight's dinner, I served a fruit salsa (Persimmon-Salsa) and green salad with the grilled salmon.  Before the salmon pieces are grilled, I brushed them with a mixture of red chilli flakes, sea salt, olive oil and lemon juice for that extra tangy taste.

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 pieces of salmon, each weighing about 200 g
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground dried red chilli flakes

In a small bowl, add sea salt, olive oil, lime or lemon juice and ground chilli flakes. Mix together thoroughly.  Switch on grill to highest setting.  Before starting to grill, brush the grill with some of the mixture sauce.

Brush salmon pieces with mixture sauce and grill skin side facing down (grill cover down) for about 6 to 8 minutes.

Turn over and grill to your preferred requirement.

Once done, remove salmon from grill.  Before serving, top with Persimmon-Salsa. Tastes great when served with a green salad!

2 persimmon (Kaki), to be washed, dried & finely diced
1 red capsicum, to be washed, dried & finely diced
1 medium-size onion, to be peeled & finely diced
1 stalk red chilli, to be deseed & finely diced
1 tsp chopped fresh dill (you may use fresh mint instead)
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp ground dried red chilli flakes
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice

In a large bowl, add all ingredients and mix well.  Check seasoning, if necessary add more sea salt. Transfer to a serving bowl and store in the fridge.  Note:  You may use nectaries instead if you wish.

Bon Appetit!

Apple Cream Cake

Originally, this cake is known as Apfelkuchen mit Rahmguss.  Hubby bought lots of apples on his way home from the countryside during the week - to be exact 3 bagfuls of apples, each weighing about 3 kgs each.  The following recipe is another version of the famous German apple cakes available.  To give the cake a shine, I brushed the top and edges with warm apricot jam and sprinkled roasted almond slices.  Kurzum (in short), another moist and tasty cake for teatime today!

160 g cold butter
80 g fine sugar
250 g flour
1 medium-size egg
a pinch of salt

8 medium-size apples
50 g ground almonds
1 tsp cinnamon powder

2 medium-size eggs
a pinch of salt
1 vanilla pod, to be halved and seeds scraped
150 fine sugar
50 g vanilla pudding powder or cornflour
250 g fresh cream

110 g apricot jam
30 g sliced almonds

Grease a 26 cm diameter springform with a little butter and leave it aside.  In a mixing bowl, mix together cold butter, sugar, flour, egg and salt.  By using the kneading hook, knead dough until well mixed.  Wrap in cling film and store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Then, line the springform with dough as shown below.

In the meantime, prepare cream filling - in a bowl, light whisk eggs, salt, vanilla seeds and sugar together.  Add vanilla pudding powder and fresh cream alternately.  Mix well and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix ground almonds and cinnamon powder together and set aside. Quarter 3 apples, core and peel the skin.  Slice each quarter into 4 slices lengthwise. Arrange apple slices on base of dough as shown below.  Sprinkle the ground almonds/cinnamon mix on top and then, pour 1/3 of cream filling over them.

Quarter, core and peel the balance of apples.  It is advisable to work with one apple at a time in order to avoid the peeled apples turning dark.  Slice thinly and arrange as shown below.  Repeat procedure for the next layer.  Altogether, there should be 3 layers.

Pour the balance of cream filling over the apples and bake in a preheated oven (do not use fan) at a temperature of 200° C for about an hour.  If the top of cake gets brown before the baking time is up, cover top of cake with a piece of aluminium foil.  Note:  I had to cover the top of my springform about 20 minutes before baking time is over.

Leave cake in its springform to cool down completely before removing the ring.  In the meantime, roast almond slices in a small pan without oil until almost golden brown.

In a small pot, heat apricot jam over low heat.  Pass through a sieve into a small bowl.  Brush top and edges of cake with apricot jam and sprinkle the roasted almond slices along the edges as shown below.

Cut into serving portions!

Happy Baking!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Käsetorte (Cheese Cake)

Another version of German cheese cake which does not contain milk or vanilla pudding.  It is known to be a "difficult to bake" cake i.e. it will rise nicely in the oven but once it is taken out of the oven, it will collapse.  To avoid this from happening, the trick is to remove the cake during half-time and run a sharp knife between the pastry shell and filling.  Let it rest for about 5 minutes before returning it to the oven.  Give the recipe a try!  You will love the taste!

Shortcrust Pastry Ingredients:
150 g plain flour
50 g fine sugar
100 g cold butter
1 egg yolk

Filling Ingredients:
500 g Magerquark (curd cheese)
grated zest of 1 lemon
7 g vanilla sugar
150 g fine sugar
1 tbsp (heaped) plain flour
1 tbsp (heaped) cornflour
7 egg yolks

7 egg whites
50 g sugar

50 g melted butter

In a mixing bowl, add all shortcrust pastry ingredients together and by using the hook, knead into a dough.  Form dough into a ball and wrap in cling film.  Store in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Grease a 26 cm diameter springform (with loose bottom).  Line springform and its sides with dough. It will be easier if you roll out the dough between two plastic sheets to the size of the springform beforehand.

Place a baking paper over dough and ease it into place around the base and sides as shown.  Add baking beans and spread evenly.  Bake in a preheated fan oven at a temperature of 160° C for about 15 minutes.  Once done, remove baking paper and beans.

In a bowl, add curd cheese, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla sugar, lemon zest, flour and cornflour together. By using a whisk, mix thoroughly.  In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites and sugar until stiff.

Carefully fold in egg whites and melted butter portionwise alternately.

Pour filling into shortcrust pastry shell and spread evenly.  Return springform to oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and run a sharp knife between the pastry shell and filling all around.  Let it rest for 5 minutes before returning to oven.  Bake for a further 20 minutes.

Once done, remove cake from oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes before removing the springform ring.  Leave cake to cool down completely before serving.  Note:  If it sank a little with the edges still high up, then your cake is perfect!

Happy Baking!

Chicken in Applesauce

If you are in a hurry to prepare lunch for your family like me today, here is the perfect dish!  Easy and quick to prepare - tastes great when served with whipped potato or rice!  My two boys gave their thumbs up!

Ingredients (serves 2):
4 or 5 chicken thighs
1 big onion, to be peeled & cut into wedges
2 apples, to be peeled, deseeded & cut into wedges
300 ml apple juice (you may add apple cider if you wish)
1 tsp instant chicken stock granules
2 tbsp oil
salt & pepper to taste

Remove fat and skin from chicken meat.  Wash and dry with kitchen paper.  Then, season with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a pan over medium/high heat.  Fry chicken meat until both sides are browned.  Remove to a plate.

Add onion wedges to pan and stir-fry over high heat for two minutes.  Then, add apple wedges and stir-fry until almost golden.

Pour apple juice and add chicken stock granules.  Simmer on high heat for 5 minutes.

Add chicken pieces to pan and let it simmer with the lid on for another 10 minutes or until chicken is half-cooked.  Remove lid and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens.  Check seasoning.

Serve hot with whipped potato or rice!

Bon Appetit!