Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cookies, Cakes, Soup in April.

Wow. So, it all started off quite well and now three weeks have passed since I last posted anything.
Even though I am not sure what happened, because I did bake, cook, eat and photograph, I pretty much broke every possible rule for blogging (especially the one about regularity).
I am moving soon (another week!) which is thrilling in a way and exhausting in another.
So much of me is looking forward to being in the kitchen more, again.

Let's recap what I did in the last three weeks.
(For example, I made this soup a second time although it wasn't soup weather anymore. It's too lovely to pass!)

First, I made cookies. Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.
These cookies are nothing new, but I had always loved the contrast of the dark cookie and the white sugar. My version was based on this version, but I halved mine and gave most to friends (which is the main reason for baking for me).

By mid April I was invited to a dear friend's housewarming party which is a good enough reason to bake a cake. Said friend requested apple cake.
Normal German apple cakes look like this and it bored me. Besides, I wanted to make a celebratory cake which required several layers.

So I went back to a cake I made in November, used homemade apple sauce from my mothers pantry, doubled the recipe but dialed back on the sugar and added chunks of apple (because, although I loved it the first time because it has a great crumb and is really moist, I missed the pronounced flavor of the apples) and ended up with a very pretty cake.
Here is my November version (and now imagine a second layer and more frosting!).
spiced applesauce cake.

I also made more soup.
With mushrooms and pearl barley. Two ingredients my mother isn't too fond of. Or, put differently, she despises mushrooms. No matter of which kind - dried, fresh, it doesn't matter.
So, I made a mushroom and farro soup while my parents were still on vacation.
The ingredients are pretty straight forward and not too fussy (except for: How much is 1/3 cup of dried mushrooms?! There is a reason the rest of the world uses the metric system.). See?
ingredients party.
I thought I wanted more grains and added more (only to realize later that the barley sucked all the liquids out of my soup turning it, when reheated more into a stew than a soup). I also added more than that one tiny tablespoon of tomato paste.
The final soup isn't winning beauty contests.

But it's oh so much better than your average "Kill all the flavor with heavy cream" soup.
The lack of dairy makes the soup. The flavors are bold and pronounced.

Finally, for Easter Sunday Brunch I made this rhubarb cake, followed the instructions to the T and didn't take a single picture. It was fabulous. 
The rhubarb was soft and tender and the whole cake was sweet without being overwhelming. I wish there was rhubarb in Jordan, but other fruits will do too.

So, this was April, more or less.
I wish I had more seasonal recipes to offer. More things you could make throughout the summer. 
The weather in Berlin was warm, sunny and much better than your average April, alas I knew I had to make some things before I reach the desert country where hearty soups are out of the question already and probably till November.

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