Month: April 2017

Donkeys & Caesar Salad…

Donkeys & Caesar salad…

I am sitting at my cute, white, little ‘blogging-desk’ and am pouring myself a generous

glass of ice cold rose. The sun will go down in a few minutes, and I am looking forward to a cozy evening at home. I feel like I deserve a little treat, since I started exercising again today. And no, I don’t look like a goddess running the streets of Germany. I look more like pooh bear’s tired, little donkey friend ‘Eeyore’ when I run.  I am already huffing, and puffing after a few blocks…

Man, I am really out of shape. I used to be so athletic back in California. I felt such an urge to exercise back then. Nature was just so beautiful, and the weather was picture perfect, so who wouldn’t love to hike the trails of Runyon Canyon or run the streets of Santa Monica. But Stuttgart’s nasty April weather doesn’t really send off outdoorsy vibes at all.

So to recover from this sad, embarrassing 30 minute exercising attempt, I needed a glass of wine to be the highlight of my evening. Speaking of highlights, what you see in the photo was last week’s food-highlight. For the first time since I moved back to Germany I made myself a traditional American caesar salad. It was so good, and made me feel a little closer to the other side of the pond.

Do you know how a certain perfume or song can take you back in time? Food does that to me as well. This salad took me straight back to the Cheesecake Factory in Santa Barbara, where I had lunch with my friend Sabrina on a sunny day in February. I love little deja vus like this... Here's the recipe for the dressing:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup parmesan, grated

1,8 oz (50 g) canned sardines or anchovies

2 Tbsp sunflower oil

1 medium clove garlic

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Cayenne pepper, to taste

1/4 tsp salt

Add all ingredients to a small, cylinder-shaped plastic container, and mix well, using an immersion blender. Stop once a smooth mixture has developed. That's it! Simply drizzle the dressing over romaine lettuce. Then add croutons, as well as an extra portion of shredded parmesan on top.

Love, Peppa.

 

San Diego & Lemon Cake

San Diego & Lemon Cake

Good morning dear life! It is a sunny morning, and I am on my way to culinary school. It is the year 2013, and I am waiting for the stoplight to turn green in my old shabby Subaru. I am tired, and as I look outside my window I

can’t help but to get lost in the beauty of this city. San Diego, also called ‘America’s finest city’, has absolutely stolen my heart. I feel so free here! I can’t believe I am lucky enough to call California my home! This state provides new adventures to its citizens again, and again each day! I catch myself yawning. The night was short since my alarm went off at 5 am.

I would have loved turning around, and sleeping a little longer. But culinary school doesn’t allow for laziness. The program I am enrolled in is tough, and I have the hardest time getting along with my teacher. He is nothing short of a drill sergeant. There is nothing kind, or gentle about this man. I was raised to speak my mind.

Here I am taught to shut up, and say nothing but ‘yes chef’ all day long. Welcome to culinary school girls! The stoplight turns green, and I take a left on El Cajon Boulevard. The radio is on full blast, and I sing along with Taylor Swift. Taylor, and I both roar, and make it known to the world that we are 'never ever getting back together' with this dreamy, dark eyed boy.

The sky is so blue, and the sun is on her best behavior. Palm trees everywhere. I see picturesque hills with gorgeous Spanish-style houses in the rear-view mirror. I keep thinking how beautiful this magical state is. And a long, and tedious day at school can’t change a damn thing about that. I have paradise on earth waiting for me once the day is over.

Today I woke up, it is April 20th 2017, and I miss California like crazy. I catch myself daydreaming while staring at these lemon slices on top of this cute cake. They remind me of all those pretty lemon trees that grow in California. My summery lemon pound cake is made with whole wheat flour, and will bring California straight to your door step. Here's the recipe:

250 g (8,8 oz) butter, soft

250 g (8,8 oz) white sugar

170 g (6 oz) whole wheat flour

8 g (0,3 oz) vanilla sugar

4 large eggs

Pinch of salt

Zest of 1/2  lemon 

8 g (0,3 oz) Baking powder

For the glaze:

250 g (8,8 oz) powdered sugar

Fresh lemon juice, to taste (1 to 2 lemons)

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (340 degrees Fahrenheit). If you are NOT using a convection oven, add about 20 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit). Add the soft butter, and sugar to a bowl, and mix until a smooth cream has developed. Then add the eggs, and mix on high speed until the mixture is smooth, and slightly fluffy.

Now add the remaining ingredients, and briefly mix again until everything is incorporated evenly. Don’t mix too long once the flour was added, otherwise you’ll end up with a tough, and chewy cake. Once that’s done, line a bread pan with parchment paper, and add the dough to it. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.

Now drizzle some fresh lemon juice ( 0,5-1 lemon) on top, and let it soak in.  Let the cake cool down. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. To do that, simply add enough lemon juice to the powdered sugar,  so that a smooth, not overly runny glaze develops. The consistency should resemble a slightly thick syrup. Then add the glaze to the cake. Enjoy!

Love, Peppa.

Castles & Flight Attendants

Castles & Flight Attendants

Right now I am saving money for my next trip, and I am super impatient while doing so. I never was good at waiting. I really crave the sun, the ocean, wild nature, foreign architecture, and all those great things that come with

traveling. I decided I need to have a little fun in the meantime, therefore I took a budget friendly DAYcation to one of the most beautiful castles in Germany. Burg Hohenzollern. Going there really feels like traveling back in time! If you enjoy history, and ancient architecture, or just want to live in a fairytale for one day, I really recommend seeing this place!

I stumbled upon this absolutely adorable picnic spot afterwards. It provides a great view of the castle. But let's be honest, taking a day trip is not the same as going on a summer vacay. In order to cheer myself up, I guess I have to live off my happy travel memories for now. So let's go down memory lane…

When I was a little Peppa, I couldn’t wait for summer to come. Each year my dad packed the whole family up to spend the summer in the States. My mom had left her life in the US behind, in order to move to Germany with him. So as a thank you to my mom, he took all of us to the west coast each summer to see the rest of our family.

I vividly remember the excitement I felt, sitting in the airplane, waiting to finally touch down in la la land. At 5 years old I was Lufthansa‘s youngest flight attendant, since I always felt the urge to help these pretty women in their ultra cool uniforms with the service on board. I couldn’t believe my luck when they allowed me to hand out orange juice to the passengers.

One time they even created a little badge for me. I now officially was ‘employee of the year‘. I proudly showed my parents, and was very pleased with this marvelous career of mine. Not every 5 year old makes it this far! At the airport, my grandma, and grandpa, my two cousins, as well as my aunt, and uncle all anxiously waited for us to finally arrive.

They patiently had waited all year for this moment to come! As had we! Our reunion at the airport truly was the best moment of the whole year. There was nothing but love in the room! After a whole lot of hugging, and sobbing we all got into my grandpa‘s old Volvo, and drove off into a magical Oregon summer.

These memories are so precious, and I am so grateful that my dad made them possible! Thank you Papa! You are the very best! Now it is time for me to go to bed, it’s almost midnight, and here I am still writing. Sleep tight you guys, and thank you for reading.

Love Peppa.

Love & the lake

Love & the lake

I woke up, bright sunlight was filling my little room, and I saw the beautiful blueberry

bushes in front of my window. Not only were they pretty to look at but they also had this magical scent of summer to them. I yawned, gazed at my fingers, and wondered why they looked so funny. They were swollen because of the heat, but my little Peppa mind didn't really understand the laws of biology at that time.

I was 9 years old, and summer in Bellevue, Washington was in full motion. I enjoyed just laying there, and gazing outside the window. The preceding days had been so fun , yet very exhausting. Me, and my cousins pretty much spent all our time swimming in lake Washington, therefore my little body was wiped out, and not quite ready to get up yet.

I was staying at my grandparent's tiny, super cozy summer cabin right at the shore of the lake. I felt so protected, and happy in their presence. After laying there for about an hour, I slowly got up, at the impatient request of my growling tummy.I stepped outside my room, and my chubby little kid-feet carried me straight to the living room.

And there they were, my sweet grandma, and grandpa, sitting at the breakfast table, drinking fresh OJ, and contently nibbling on their oatmeal. They had oatmeal every single morning, as part of their healthy eating routine. I sat down at the table, and my grandpa said in his kind, and gentle voice: "Good morning sweetheart."

He always called me sweetheart, and that made me feel special, and loved. He truly was the kindest man I knew, and being in his presence was just so so sweet. He had one very big passion, and that was running. He was a fantastic athlete, even at the age of 80. One time he even swam across lake Washington, which took a good five to six hours.

His kids were at his side the whole time on this special day, paddling in a tiny boat right next to him, making sure their dad was safe. So there I sat in the middle of these two sweet people, eating my oatmeal in order to provide my body with the fuel it needed for yet another playful summer day at the lake.

Looking back at this day, I feel so grateful that I was allowed time with these two wonderful souls. I would give anything for another day at the breakfast table with them. But all I am left with today, are these wonderful memories. My love for them was, is, and always will be a huge part of me.

I hope my grandkids will have the same love for me when we'll sit at the breakfast table on a hot summer morning, eating our bowl of oatmeal. If you'd like to make this nutritious, yummy oatmeal at home, here are the things you'll need to prepare this delicious breakfast bowl:

1  2/3 cups water

1/3 cup milk

1 cup whole oats

2 Tbsp brown sugar, or to taste

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2  cup chopped walnuts

2 apples, pureed

Add water, milk, and oats to a pan, and bring the mixture to a boil while stirring. Let it boil about 5 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning. Then add salt, cinnamon, sugar, and remove the pan from the heat. Now puree the raw apples.

Use a stainless steel or plastic grater to prevent a reaction between the metal and the apple's acid. I suggest NOT peeling the apples, because this will add fiber. This helps to keep hungry bellies full. Pour the oatmeal into two big bowls, and add the apple puree, and nuts on top. 

Love, Peppa.

Hollywood dreams Part II

Hollywood dreams Part II

I headed out of the airport, and got into a cab. My hands were sweaty, and my heart was pounding! Did I really just do that? Did I really just fly across the ocean, to a city where I didn't know a single

soul? I looked outside the window, seeing gorgeous palmtrees, and the beaming Californian sun. I contently said to myself: 'Holy cow, I really, really did do that!' Welcome to California kid! I found an adorable, little apartment with lots of old charm. It was located on a cute, and sunny street which was very endearing.

When I looked outside my window, I saw hummingbirds in the trees surrounding my house. I signed up for acting classes at the Aaron Speiser Acting Studio on Wilshire Blvd, in the hopes of making my dream of becoming a famous Hollywood actress come true. Life felt great! Whenever I wasn't in class, I was outside exploring life in California.

The beach was just a short drive away, and the grand Pacific was surrounding the city's coastal line peacefully. Even though my family lived far away, it gave me comfort, knowing that once upon a time my mother, and her parents lived in this sunny, magical city. I enjoyed every single day of my new life in the famous Golden State.

It became my daily morning routine to hike the trails of Runyon Canyon. The fresh morning air smelled so good, and the beaming sun felt great on my naked back. I learned to live in the moment again. California taught me to. I never made it big in Hollywood in the end, but this was the biggest adventure of my life, and I am so grateful I got to experience it.

So cheers to all the dreamers out there, may your adventures fill your soul with joy, and happiness! The picture you see wasn't taken in California. I spotted this adorable little food truck in the midst of blooming apple trees last weekend, on my trip to the Vitra Museum of Design. I just had to share this endearing picture with you!

Love, Peppa.

Hearty Potato Casserole

Hearty Potato Casserole

The sun just went down, and I am sitting in bed, watching an episode of the Bachelor

with a glas of Californian red wine. I miss California so much, and drinking wine from Napa makes me feel a little closer to this special place. I am sure a lot of you guys just gagged, when I mentioned the Bachelor but as I said in one of my prior posts, I am suffering from a severe case of bad tv taste. Anyway, enough about my super girly addiction. Let's talk food.

I love comfort food but I also want to eat healthy. So I try to make a few healthy adjustments to my meals. So instead of making a regular potato casserole, I came up with this salmon-leak-potato casserole. I left the skin on the potatoes in order to add more fiber. Fiber helps me to avoid sudden hunger attacks throughout my day. Here's the recipe:

10 small potatoes, with skin

1 1/3 cup onion, diced

2 2/3 cups leak, chopped

2 Tbsp butter

1 1/3 cup sour cream

2-3 tsp white vinegar

1 tsp white pepper

1 clove garlic minced

5 Tbsp parmesan, grated

1/3 cup water

Pinch brown sugar 

2/3 cups milk

Nutmeg, 2 pinches

1/2 carrot unpeeled, thinly sliced

Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste (about 1/2 Tbsp)

Grated cheese, to taste

Salt, to taste

1/4 cup smoked salmon (Stremel), chopped

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius  (320 degrees Fahrenheit). If you are NOT using a convection oven, raise the temperature about 20 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit). Boil the potatoes with their skin. Meanwhile add butter, leak, onions, and garlic to a separate pan, and sweat them several minutes. Don't let them turn brown, they should remain pale.

After about 5 minutes, add sour cream, milk, water, pepper, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, parmesan, sugar, nutmeg. Stir briefly. Then remove the pan from the heat, and set it aside. To a ceramic oven proof pan, add the potatoes (medium sized pieces), raw sliced carrots, salmon, and the sauce you prepared. Combine everything evenly. Add grated cheese on top, and bake the casserole for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. 

Love, Peppa.

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