Wednesday, August 08, 2007

it's what I do, OK?

We all know I can't go for more than a week without baking something, especially with all the nice fruit around at this time of year. Baking isn't even my favourite kind of cooking, but it's so easy, you know? Follow the recipe and it'll most likely turn out, just like in chemistry class. After a while you get really good at it and can make some variations, but if you fiddle with the basic formula too much, you're going to have a big mess on your hands. I always have to smile when a recipe somewhere on the internet gets a hundred or so rave reviews and one solitary "There must be something WRONG with this recipe! I subsituted sweet potatoes for the cherries, halved the sugar, left out the eggs and baked it at 700°F for 15 minutes instead of 350°F for 30 minutes because I ran out of time and had to go pick up the kids and it turned out AWFUL. I'll NEVER make this again!"

So yeah, I baked some stuff over the past couple of weeks and nothing exploded.

cornmeal berry muffins using a frozen berry medley of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and red currants

plum upside down cake

The boys and Mr. M went for a swim in the pond near the in-laws' Schrebergarten (Allotment garden)on Monday and came back with some little tiny mirabelle plums from the neighbours. I used them to make a plum clafouti, a kind of fruity custard-like French dessert.

halved mirabelle plums living it up in my baking dish

the finished product goes great with ice cream or vanilla sauce

What else am I doing besides baking? Well, on the weekend, God willing and the trains don't strike, I'm going to party it up with the lovely and talented Claire. And then on Monday, again assuming that DB is running, the entire Mausi family will be traveling by train to Autostadt Wolfsburg to pick up a new Volkswagen for the in-laws.

What are YOU doing these days?

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At August 09, 2007 12:33 a.m., Blogger The Big Finn said...

We'll be leaving for Chicago/Sudbury (How's that for a combination?) one week from today. Other than that...just waiting for Mrs. TBF to return from NYC.

At August 09, 2007 1:55 a.m., Blogger Rositta said...

We just came back from the cottage but heading out again on the weekend. That plum clafouti recipe looks great, I'm going to make it. I love baking, but hate cooking...sigh.
Have a lovely time on your trip...ciao

At August 09, 2007 2:23 a.m., Blogger Michelle said...

Oh my! Those look great... both the food and the pictures of the food. When does your first cookbook come out?

At August 09, 2007 2:57 a.m., Blogger Lynda said...

Oh what a glorious post to come back to!! - I have been away and my poor old blog has starved... then I come here and start licking my lips! - yummy you really have been baking up a storm. I thought the weather had been really hot lately in Germany - how do you cope with the heat from the oven?

At August 09, 2007 8:44 a.m., Blogger Andrea said...

Well, I tried baking cupcakes. What a disaster. Turned the leftover batter into a cake. I just don't think my oven works or it has to be using the German equivelant of baking powder/soda and an American recipe that's messing things up.
As for what I am doing this weeknd - packing and starting leg one (to my parents in Idaho) of the journey to pick-up my new daughter :)

At August 09, 2007 2:59 p.m., Blogger Elemmaciltur said...

As always, you make me scramble for something to eat.

At August 09, 2007 5:15 p.m., Blogger Schokolade Madchen said...

Your Plum Upside Down Cake is absolutely gorgeous!

At August 09, 2007 8:33 p.m., Blogger ChristinaG said...

Your pics look delicious. I'd love to try the Mirabelle plum clafouti. I wish I had time to bake yummy stuff, but Oliver is keeping me otherwise occupied. I almost broke down and made a Dr Oetker cake the other day, but I didn't even have enough time for that!

At August 09, 2007 10:52 p.m., Blogger illahee said...

these days? just sweltering in the heat and being seven (eight?) months pregnant.

i did bake some banana cake the other day. yum!

At August 09, 2007 11:09 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

We're flying to Michigan for Farm Day on Saturday at Don and Ruth's, plus lots of the family, as you already know. We had so much fun last year we decided we couldn't miss out on it again (we missed the first time 2 years ago).

And to think you do all that the heat? I'd die if I did that here in Atlanta, even with the A/C on. But then, I'd sure love eating it!!

At August 10, 2007 1:18 a.m., Blogger Windrose said...

Hi Christina,

I love all these delicous looking cakes! Your baking enthusiasm is quite contagious.

I do a lot of cooking and baking these days myself as the support person for a poor student who has to study for her final exam. Good food makes life a bit more bearable.

I hope to go to the west coast of Newfoundland later this month, but I'll probably throw in a translator job for a cruise ship first.

Have a great weekend. Hope the strike won't affect you.

At August 10, 2007 8:07 a.m., Anonymous tobias said...

I wish I was baking too! Your cakes always look delicious!
I will be going to Ekenäs, a lovely and highly Swedish-speaking city in the south of Finland to visit friends and relax before work really gets down to business next week...

At August 10, 2007 7:28 p.m., Blogger mar said...

I have always heard "if you can read, you can cook/bake". But it isn't THAT easy, let me tell you...
Your baked goods look wonderful as always!
I am relaxing this weekend as we had a full house last one with sun-hungry friends from Hamburg. It was a fun visit, though.

At August 10, 2007 8:59 p.m., Blogger Mike B said...

What am I doing ... admiring your wares as well as your good photographic eye. Nice stuff. Have fun with Claire.

At August 11, 2007 5:56 a.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

well if it turned out bad, your photos of the result sure didn't! And wow, you are making want to bake more!

At August 11, 2007 8:25 p.m., Anonymous Sparky said...

F**in' God,

That looks DELICIOUS!!!!

At August 11, 2007 10:25 p.m., Blogger hexe said...

That plum cake looks delicious. Thank you again for the advice. I will send a proper thank you via email when things calm down as we are preparing to return to school next week. For us, summer's over.

At August 21, 2007 4:47 a.m., Blogger Lilian said...

I'm just so so so hungry looking at these wonderful creations that I'm almost drooling all over my keyboard!! I was in Brazil at the time you wrote this, enjoying the last days we spent at a hydrothermal town, enjoying swimming in hot water pools with the boys and my parents.

At August 23, 2007 11:58 a.m., Blogger John G said...

Your baking looks wonderful! I am also a great fan of cooking. I have been using as a tool for finding recipes and for keeping a recipe box of the ones that I really like.

However, I find it really tasking trying to convert American recipes to German measures. I have the cups and spoons for those measurements. But, the overall conversion of an entire recipe (and then scaling it to greater numbers of people than in the recipe) is really annoying.

Have you or any of your readers run into good tools, book, websites that are helpful for expats that like to cook?

You can email me at dfd (at) g-s (dot) de.

Or, you can visit my blog and give me some tips:

At July 21, 2008 8:41 p.m., Anonymous John said...

Your mirabelle use is to be commended. Here in San Francisco there are plum trees everywhere, and not just in backyards, on the street too! And nobody does anything with them! Such a waste. My friend made a bunch of jam with his but I picked 30lbs. (!) enough to fill a five gallon bucket and am making wine out of it. Really easy and it lasts longer than clafouti. Sounds like you could do with a glass in the afternoon when the kids are at school as you ponder all things German.

John in SF


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