Month: March 2017

Hollywood Dreams

Hollywood Dreams

When I was 20 I bought a ticket to L.A. to become a famous Hollywood actress. It was the middle of the night when I booked my ticket. 

Four hours later I was sitting at a London Heathrow gate ready to board the airplane. I had just moved to London a few months earlier to complete a single semester Shakespeare acting course at the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. I enjoyed my life in London but I wanted a grand adventure. The grand adventure of making it big in Hollywood.

I had this dream for a while but it's also quite likely that I brainwashed myself by binge watching "Entourage" in the weeks prior to this crazy, wild decision... In my defense though, that show was amazing, right guys? After a long flight across the Atlantic, I should mention that I am terrified of flying, I finally touched down in L.A.

The sun welcomed me in her kind and friendly way, and I couldn't believe I finally arrived in this glorious, exciting city that I only knew from the movies. All my friends, who chose the classic university path thought I was nuts. Ignoring everybody's expectations of who I should or shouldn't be, and moving to a place full of dreamers like me was so freeing.

Speaking of dreamers, I wasn't the first one in my family to reach for the stars. My grandma, did the same thing. She also moved to Los Angeles in her twenties in the hopes of something big to happen. If you are interested in finding out how the story goes on, part two will be revealed next week. Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading.

Love, Peppa.

Not the cool kid

Not the cool kid

When I was a little Peppa, I often came home from school craving my mom's love, and hot cocoa to make me feel better. Elementry school was not fun for me, and my best friend Nicky. We both were super uncool. Me being chubby,

and wearing notably ugly pants which my mom organized at the bazar, and Nicky wearing thick glasses with one glas being patched, did not qualify for a cool kid badge. Therefore little Nicky, and I were excluded from happy-cool-kid-lala-land. This meant we were made fun of, or in my case, getting pranked every now and then. I remember one day on my way home from school, Konstantin, one of the boys in 3rd grade was blocking the way, not letting me get through.

My heart was beating out of my little chest. I was focusing real hard on not fear-peeing my ugly bazar pants then, and there. I asked him to leave me in peace but he wouldn't. Instead he poured ink over my head, and started laughing. I felt so embarrassed, and what's even worse, I felt like I was the problem. I thought something clearly must be wrong with me because why else would other kids be so mean.

I didn't tell my mom about being unpopular, or being picked on because I was so ashamed about the whole thing. Each day I counted the hours until school was over, and I finally was home. Home always was my safe haven. That, plus "Bibi Blocksberg" tapes, hot cocoa, my family, my two best friends Nicky & Franzi, and long, hot summer vacations in the U.S. far away from Germany, were the things that kept my little Peppa world going.

So, I hope that all the little Peppas, and Nickys out there today, have a good hot chocolate recipe to get them through the day:-) If not, here is mine. Oh, and in case you're wondering, the cute mug in the photo was once used in the little cafe I owned in the past. Now I use it at home. But back to the recipe:

270 ml (9,13 fl. oz) boiling water

2-3 Tbsp (18 g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder 

white sugar, to taste

Splash of heavy cream

Hazelnut nougat, to taste

For the chocolate whipped cream:

100 ml (3,4 fl. oz) heavy whipping cream

dark unsweetened cocoa powder, to taste

powdered sugar, to taste

For garnish:

Hazelnuts

Combine the sugar, and the cocoa powder in a coffee mug. Add the boiling water, and stir well until everything has dissolved. Then add a splash of heavy cream, and a piece of nougat. Stir again. Now whip the cream to stiff peak, and add the cocoa powder, plus the powdered sugar. Stir well. Add the whipped cream, and some hazelnuts on top. There you go, all done. 

Ps: Until today Nicky, Franzi, and I, are still best friends:-)

Italian Hotpot

Italian hotpot

Today I want to share this comforting Italian hotpot recipe with you. It's super

yummy. For nutritional value, I don't peel the tomatoes, and potatoes. I've mentioned in prior posts that leaving the skin on helps hungry bellies stay full for a long time. That way you avoid sudden hunger attacks throughout your day.  Have fun in the kitchen, and enjoy your home-cooked meal you guys.

9 baby potatoes with skin, boiled, and cut into little chunks

5 Tbsp olive oil, or less

1 tsp butter

7 medium garlic cloves, minced

2 1/4 cups pureed fresh tomatoes (with skin)

1/2 tsp tomato paste

Salt to taste

Pinch of dried Oregano

1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped

Pecorino cheese to taste

A few cherry tomatoes, fried/grilled

Cook the organic potatoes with their skin. Make sure you use tiny baby potatoes, otherwise you will not have enough sauce later. Once they're cooked, drain, and cut them into small chunks. This works best if the potatoes have cooled down a bit. To a separate pan add butter, oil, and garlic all at the same time, and set the heat to medium.

Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic starts to slightly get some color. Then add the pureed tomatoes, a very small pinch of oregano (don't use more since oregano can ruin a sauce when too dominant), and the tomato paste to the hot pan. Cook the whole thing for about 10 more minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Now add the potato chunks, and remove the pan from the heat. Once cooled down a bit, salt it to taste. I like it quite salty, since salt always helps to bring out all the flavors. Your last step consists of adding the chopped basil, cheese, and a few grilled cherry tomatoes. Don't add the basil earlier, because basil loses its flavor when cooked. All done! Enjoy!

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

I am so tired. This week was really busy, and exhausting. So I need to reward myself with authentic Mexican food.

As you know, I fell in love with Mexican food when I lived in California. Fish tacos are pretty much the best thing I ever tasted. Since I haven't had any good ones since I moved to Germany, I decided to take matters into my own hands, and made my own fish tacos at home. I am telling you, they turned out so yummy. Here's the recipe:

For the homemade hard taco shells:

2 cups whole wheat flour

½ tsp salt

1 Tbsp butter

1 tsp baking powder

A bit less than 1 cup water

Canola oil for frying

For the fish, and the marinade:

570 g (20,1 oz) Kabeljau

3 tsp paprika powder

½ tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1 tsp brown sugar 

2/3 cup onion, minced

2 tsp garlic, minced

2 tsp fresh chili pepper, minced

4 Tbsp canola oil

Additional oil for frying

For the salsa:

500 g (17,6 oz) cherry tomatoes, small dice

Fresh chili pepper, minced, to taste

1 ½ Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

Fresh lemon juice, to taste

1/2 onion, minced

1 tsp garlic, minced

3 ½ Tbsp olive oil

Salt, to taste

Remaining stuff:

Avocado slices

Fresh white cabbage, finely sliced

Lettuce, finely sliced

First, prepare the taco shells. Combine all the dry ingredients. Now add small chunks of butter, and mix until everything becomes slightly crumbly. Add the water, and knead with your hands until a nice dough has formed. Then form little balls, and with a rolling pin flatten them into very thin disks.

Add oil to your pan (about 2 cm high). Heat the oil, and once it's hot place one disk after another into the hot fat, and fry until both sides are golden brown. Then place each fried disk on your rolling pin or a bottle so that you end up with your desired taco shell form. Ok, these are done now.

Wash the fish and pat it dry. Then prepare the fish rub by adding all the ingredients to a bowl. Stir until a smooth, thick paste develops. I suggest using an immersion blender, because using a regular blender results in a lot of the rub getting stuck in the bottom corners of the blender.

Cover the fish with the rub you just prepared, and place it into a pan with hot vegetable oil. Use enough oil so the bottom of the pan is coated. Fry the fish on each side until it is cooked through. Do not over cook your fish or it will get dry. Then set it aside. Prepare the salsa, and slice the avocado, and the cabbage. All done. Have fun filling your taco shells.

Apple Fritters

Apple Fritters

I am back from my super fun vacation, and I have to admit, leaving this wonderful Scandinavian la la land still aches a little. Home is always a wonderful place to return to, but this vacation could have lasted a little longer if

you ask me. So I needed something to cheer me up. The first thing that came to mind: Sugar! And since I was veeery sad, I needed a looot of sugar. I enjoy eating healthy but once a day I need my little (actually not so little) dose of sugar. I felt like something fruity, so I decided on apple fritters.

These delicious, little rings of happiness were so comforting, and really helped brighten my day. Making them was super easy. However, I recommend using a real deep fryer instead of a pan for frying these guys, if you do not wish to set your house on fire. I really burned myself badly, because some of the super hot fat spilled onto my poor feet.

But that's not all, the hot oil also spilled onto the stove, and caught on fire. Yay, fun! Thankfully, after a couple of seconds the fire died on its own.  As a trained cook I should have known better, right? I overcame this tiny crisis of mine, and finished my little project. The outcome was delicious. Here is how it works:

For the apples:

3 apples (Boskop or Gala Royal)

3 Tbsp Whisky

For the batter:

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 Tbsp sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup water

2 1/4  Tbsp Whisky

2 Tbsp oil (neutral flavor)

2 egg whites, beaten (stiff peak)

For frying:

Sunflower oil

For coating:

Cinnamon sugar

Slice the peeled, and cored apples (1 cm / 0,4 inches ). Then drizzle 3 Tbsp Whisky on top, and set them aside. Add the oil to a pan or deep fryer *. Now prepare the batter by adding the necessary ingredients to a bowl except the egg whites. Mix briefly, don't overmix! Then carefully fold in the beaten egg whites.

Drop the apple slices into the batter. Then remove them, and place them into the hot oil. Don't add too many apple slices to the hot oil at once. It will require a couple of rounds until all slices are fried. If you'd add all slices at once, the temperature of the oil would drop, and your apple fritter rings would be soggy.

Once a golden brown color is achieved, carefully flip them over so that the other side browns as well. Then remove the rings from the oil , and place them on a clean kitchen towel or a wire rack. Coat the rings with cinnamon sugar. That's it, you're done. Have fun eating those yummy, little treats.

*Attention: The hot oil is a fire hazard, and you can easily burn yourself if water drops get in contact with it. Also DON'T keep the paper towels close to the pan with the hot oil or near the stove for safety reasons. As stated earlier, I find that that using a deep fryer is much safer than using a pan.

 

When in Sweden

When in Sweden

I am enjoying the last days of my vacation in this beautiful country. Sweden really stole my heart. When I was a little Peppa my mom used to read Astrid Lindgren's famous children's books to me. My favorite ones were

'Christmas in noisy village' and 'Lotta on troublemaker street'. When I stroll around Stockholm's cozy little suburban neighborhoods , I truly feel like I am in the middle of one of her adorable picturesque story books. There is another place in this city that gives you the same feeling I just talked about, and that is Skansen.

Skansen is a huge open air museum in Stockholm's city center. There are lots of cute, little, historic wooden houses which you can enter in order to see the charm of the old days in Sweden. It is surrounded by beautiful nature, and since it is located on the top of a hill you would never guess that you are in downtown Stockholm. I really recommend this place.

Love, Peppa.

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