Tag Archives: food

Baking in May

This month I’ve been baking more than usual. A gluten-free cheesecake for Mother’s Day (my mother and sisters are all on a gluten-free diet), rhubarb (yay! rhubarb!) cupcakes with a meringue topping, apple crumble, and rhubarb crumble. Sadly everything was eaten so quickly that there was no time to take pictures.

The crumbles are pretty easy:

  1. cream 1Tbsp butter with 1Tbsp sugar
  2. add some rolled oats and flour
  3. let the machine stir that for a little
  4. does it look crumbly? no? add more flour (intermittently) until it does
  5. clean and chop up rhubarb or apple or pear and place in a deep oven-proof dish
  6. cover with crumbly butter-mix (add a little more butter on top if you feel decadent)
  7. bake in preheated oven at 175°C for about 20 minutes
  8. serve warm with ice cream


The cheesecake is a little tricky and takes a while… but it is very creamy and very heavy.
The recipe is from one of my grandmother’s friends, Sadie. This is easy to make gluten-free if you’ve got gluten-free cookies or are willing to make a crust entirely of chopped nuts and butter… which I’m sure is delicious (but I’m allergic to nuts).

  1. beat wel 1.5 lbs cream cheese with 1.5 cups of sugar
  2. add four eggs and beat well
  3. add 1 cup of sour cream (i substituted some mascarpone) and beat well
  4. add either vanilla, bay leaves and espresso, or grand manier
  5. for the crust crumble 200-250g of cookies (I used gluten-free chocolate chip cookies) and either 1Tbsp flour or chopped nuts (or even just corn starch) and mix with 80g (1 stick) soft butter
  6. spread the cookie-butter-mix on the bottom and sides of your spring form
  7. wrap the spring form in tin foil on the outside
  8. add cheese mix
  9. pour water onto a deeper baking pan and set spring form in water
  10. bake in preheated oven at 125°C – 150°C for two to three hours
  11. turn oven off and leave cake in the oven for about another hour
  12. let cool before serving


The rhubarb cupcakes are not very difficult. The yield is ~18 cupcakes.
Of course you can get all fancy with the meringue and use a pastry bag to give it a more attractive form than you might achieve with a simple spoon.

You’ll need: 250g rhubarb, 150g butter, 100g sugar, pinch of salt, 3 eggs, 200g flour, 50g corn starch, 3 tsp baking powder, 4Tbsp milk, 100g confectioner’s sugar

  1. preheat oven to 175°C
  2. clean, peel and cube rhubarb
  3. cream butter with sugar and salt
  4. separate the eggs and pour the yolks into the butter-mix
  5. combine flour and baking powder and slowly add to the butter mix
  6. add the milk to the butter-mix
  7. with a spoon or spatula mix in the rhubarb by hand
  8. add cupcake paper cups to muffin form and fill each about 2/3 with dough
  9. bake for about 20 minutes (less if your making mini-cupcakes)
  10. with a clean whisk vigorously beat egg whites until firm, slowly adding confectioner’s sugar towards the end
  11. take cupcakes out of oven, spoon a little egg-white onto each one
  12. bake for another 10 minutes or until the meringue has a good color.
  13. let cool before serving

I promise these all turned out fine the first time I tried them and they are great crowd pleasers, though you might want to reserve the warm crumble for evenings or cooler days.

I’ve been a Bad Poster

Not posting for several months: bad!

Baking rhubarb meringue cake and banana bread and not taking a picture to post it: bad!

Reading Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman and not having anything to say about it: not so good.

Going to see Porgy and Bess on Broadway, liking it (a lot) but not writing anything about it: also not good.

Going to see Being Shakespeare at BAM, enjoying it immensely but not telling anybody about it: pathetic.

Visiting the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden and not even mentioning it in a facebook post: sad.

So what have I been wasting my time on now? Well, I’ve been planning a garden I don’t yet have and going through garden catalogs dreaming of an impossible garden with all kinds of climate zones; I’ve been hanging out with friends and family; I’ve been moving from Darmstadt to Mainz to back home, only to go traveling for 3 weeks; I’ve been reading about the health care debate in the US and I’m not quite sure I understand it; I’ve been following the movement of academics boycotting certain publishers with great interest and have encouraged my sister to publish her doctoral thesis in an open access journal.

Books I’ve read since my last post:

  • Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett (re-read to get into the Christmas spirit)
  • Pigeon English, by Stephen Kelman (good for a train-ride to Berlin)
  • The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman (while fighting jet-lag)
  • Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman (re-read when I had to ride the subway a lot)
  • Utopia, by Thomas More (as an e-book on an iPad)

In conclusion: I am a bad poster for actually doing, seeing, and thinking about stuff but not posting about it.


Having been a spectator to the craziness that is NaNoWriMo for some years now, I have decided to participate this year. I started about a week late (I didn’t plan it that way, it just happened) but i’ve had two very productive days, resulting in 6094 words (out of the 50 000 words required to ‘win’) so far. I’m not wholly convinced I’m going in the right direction with this. I’ve chosen to write an epistolary novel that includes letters (some of which actually get sent), emails, chat transcripts, diary entries, internal monologue, internal dialogue, and phone calls. I’m using different fonts to differentiate between these. Like I said: it might be too complicated or artificial or too far up its own ass to actually work as a readable (if not enjoyable) novel. But hey! The motto is “don’t get it right, get it done”. So I’m writing away. It’s actually kind of fun (she says, after only 2 days of writing) and I hope I can at least finish it. Whether I go beyond a first draft is up in the air.

I love the NaNoWriMo forums, the pep talks, the idea that out there several thousand people are also doing this, and the pure joy I feel when I watch my word count go up. Some of the dares (give your character an annoying trait, have one of your characters make a ridiculous order at Starbucks) are useful, even when you don’t accept them, simply because they shake your brain up and help move things along.

I’ve noticed I like to mention food every couple of paragraphs. Maybe I’ll include a recipe somewhere. Hmm…

Anyway, I wanted to mention that I’m using Scrivener for Mac to write this baby. I used it to write my thesis last year and it served me so well that I’m using it again. Scrivener is basically so great that I’d have to dedicate an entire post to it and so I shall at some later date. But go download a free trial version right now (Mac or Windows) and play around with it and tell me there aren’t some nifty functions in there.

Ok, enough procrastination. Back to writing my NaNo. (Too bad the word count on this post doesn’t count towards my NaNo word count.)

Memorium in Nuernberg

Am Mittwoch war ich mit meiner Abuela im Memorium in Nürnberg. Die Ausstellung ist klein aber fein. Obwohl der Audioguide im Deutschen nur die Texte, die sowieso neben und unter Bildern stehen, vorliest ist er trotzdem wichtig für die Stellen, an denen Archivmaterial abgespielt wird, da dieses über den Audioguide empfangen wird. Das Museumspersonal war sehr freundlich, die Ausstellung detailliert und gut aufbereitet. Vorallem der Schluß, an dem erklärt wird wie die Erfahrungen von den Nürnberger Prozessen auf die Prozesse in Japan und schließlich in Den Haag angewandt wurden, enthielt für mich viele neue Informationen.
Das Einzige was fehlt ist ein kleines Café in dem man zum Abschluß noch ein gutes Stück Kuchen essen kann.

On Wednesday my Abuela and I went to the Memorium in Nuremberg. The exhibit is small but very good. The Audioguide doesn’t just translate the German texts but also streams original recordings of the proceedings at the Nuremberg Trials. The staff were very friendly and helpful and the exhibition was detailed and well executed. Especially the last bit, in which they explain how the experiences of the Nuremberg Trials was then applied to similar trials in Japan and later in The Hague, contained lots of information that was new to me.
The only thing missing is a cafeteria or café where visitors could enjoy a nice piece of cake.

Last day at the Camp

This is a list of observations in no particular order.

The changeable weather made for some uncomfortable moments.

We discovered that it is possible to make Ramen noodles and tea and coffee in our rice cooker.

The burgers at the camp are pretty good.

We ate our dinners at the ICMP village.

I attended several really interesting lectures with a sociological, philosophical, or anthropological angle.

A friend of mine posted some pictures online.

It’s amazing how the quality of my sleep progressively improved over the week.

I am not looking forward to packing up tomorrow. Setting up camp seemed far more appealing than having to leave the place as we found it on Monday.



Splendid Sunday

Today I’ve got two things to show you.

1) A few weeks back I planted some black beans (I let them sprout first) and they came up nicely.

Of the three plants that I have, one is already done with flowering and is now letting its pods dry, so I picked four pods off and shelled the beans. This yielded 16 beans! Hooray!

All my gardening happens inside the flat and there are no pollinating insects in said flat thanks to the bug screens we put in the windows. So, I chose beans because they are self-pollinating and required no tending besides a little watering and removal of old leaves.
I know that I won’t harvest enough beans for more than one meal (if that) but I like the idea of harvesting at least something.

2) After dinner I made churros. I got the recipe from the 50th issue of Donna Hay, so it’s not necessarily like any traditional recipes. But they were delicious anyway.


This is my version of the recipe (I winged it a little):

  • melt 50g of butter in a saucepan (but don’t let it brown)
  • add 1cup of water and let this boil
  • once it boils turn down the heat to low
  • add a mixture of 1cup flour, 1teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 cup sugar to the butter-water
  • stir until you’ve got a ball of goop
  • with an electric mixer beat two eggs into the goop until you’ve got a smooth dough
  • heat some oil in a wok or saucepan (it needs to be deep enough for the dough to swim on)… turn it to medium heat
  • using a bag with a nozzle (I’ve got something that looks like a childrens’ syringe) squirt strings of dough into the hot oil
  • fry the strings of dough until they are golden brown, take them out and let them sit on some kitchen paper
  • serve warm

I made skinny twisty churros… you can make them fatter and less twisty. I also melted some chocolate to dip them in. I’m sure they’d be great with maple syrup or honey.