Gelato al torrone

It’s been so long since my last post. I don’t know where all this time went but I really missed this space. I was quite busy with university and work last autumn and winter and when I finally had more time to spend in the kitchen, all I wanted to do was to just enjoy cooking and not think about taking pictures and writing. I didn’t seem to get in the mood again.

gelato

But then my exams were over and I so felt the urge to get creative, cook, take out my camera and write. So here I am.  I have been wanting to make gelato al torrone since I came home from Sicily last spring. I still daydream about Sicily a lot, it was everything I’d expected and more. I went on a round trip with my family and each place we visited left me overwhelmed by its beauty in some way, be it the citrus groves, a little garden in Palermo, the people, the ruines and of course the food. We ate the most incredible food on our journey, fresh fish, great pasta (“spaghetti con le sarde” was my favourite), refreshing salads (fennel with orange, tomato with olives, …) and amazing gelato. If you plan on going to Sicily, the Turntable Kitchen and deliciousdays have great guides on their blogs. And if you are GF definitely go there, they have GF pasta in every restaurant, immediately bring you GF crackers/bread and are well aware of what you can/can’t eat. It’s pretty much a GF’s paradise. :)

But back to the gelato. We bought lots of torrone at mercato Ballarò in Palermo and I knew I wanted to make ice cream with it. Then we went to Sestri Levante a few weeks ago, a town in northern Italy I have been to many times. I enjoyed my fair share of gelatos there and came home with the urge to finally make my own again.

This gelato is creamy and I like the sweetness it gets from the honey. I am usually not one for too many pieces in my gelato, I love gelato for its creaminess but the almonds and pistachios in this one made for a nice crunch that I didn’t mind one bit, in fact I enjoyed it not despite but because of the occasional chunks.

gelato

On another note, I am currently reading “Yes, Chef” by Marcus Samuelsson and enjoy reading it a lot. I am very impressed by his work ethic and quite in love with the way he describes food, beginning with his first food related memories to the foods he encounters and the scents he inhales in New York. His passion for food is infectious! Have you read it? Do you like it?

Gelato al torrone (adapted from Ices Italia by Linda Tubby, a great book with drop-dead gorgeous photographie)

  • 0.5 l (2 cups) milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100 g acacia (or other liquid) honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 250 g mascarpone
  • 150 g torrone morbido, cut into pieces (almond or pistachio, mine had both; use nougat if you cannot find torrone)

Prepare an ice bath. Add the mascaprone to a bowl that you will later set over the ice bath and set aside. Heat milk slowly in a saucepan until it starts to cook. In the meantime beat egg yolks, honey and vanilla in a large, heat-proof bowl until the mixture turns pale. I used my kitchenaid for this but you can use any electric mixer.  Add in the hot milk slowly and whisk continuously (!) to prevent any lumps from forming. Add the mixture back to the saucepan and place on low heat.  Stir with a wooden spoon and scrape sides and bottom. This is very important, otherwise you will end up with scrambled eggs. Heat the mixture until it thickens quite a bit, this should take around 10 minutes. It should cover the back of your wooden spoon. Remove from heat and pour into the bowl with the mascarpone. Whisk well. It doesn’t matter if there are still a few mascarpone lumps. Set the bowl over the ice bath. Leave to cool to room temp, then put in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Mix in the torrone pieces (I like to add the torrone to the container that I later put the ice cream in and then mix it up with a spoon).

PS: I have just realised that this is the first time that I include mint in one of my pictures. I guess it was about time, considering the name of my blog, hooray!

Ovomaltine Brunch Recipes

Nachdem einige meiner Gäste mich nach Rezepten verschiedener Ovomaltine-Desserts meines Ovomaltine Brunchs fragten, entschied mich diese auch euch allen zugänglich zu machen. Besonders gefreut haben mich die lieben Nachrichten auf meinen letzten Post und das grosse Interesse an ihm, er ist bisher mein meistgelesener Post! Auch die positiven Reaktionen auf die Ovomaltine-Produkte, die ich meinen Gästen auf den Weg mitgegeben habe (sie werden offensichtlich mit viel Freude genossen) freuen mich sehr!

Nun aber zu den Rezepten: Beide enthalten Ovomaltine Schokolade, welche sich für Desserts super eignet, da das enthaltene Ovomaltine-Granulat jedem Rezept den gewissen “Crunch” verleiht, für den viele Ovomaltine-Produkte bekannt sind und geliebt werden. Die Rezepte hatte ich zuvor schon mit normaler Schokolade gemacht und sie dann für den Ovomaltine Brunch angepasst, was sich als vollen Erfolg herausstellte! Für die Fudges habe ich mich entschieden, weil sie sich dank ihrer Grösse ähnlich wie Pralinés super zum Kaffee eignen und in ihrer Verpackung auch dekorativ etwas hergeben. Und der Schoggi-Kuchen ist mit seinem feuchten Kern und intensiven Schoggi-Geschmack bei allen “Chocoholics” (und jetzt auch “Ovoholics”!) sehr beliebt. :)

Ob ihr bald einen Ovomaltine Brunch veranstaltet oder euch für ein Ovomaltine-Zvieri, -Dessert oder Kaffirundi entscheidet, die beiden Rezepte werden euch und eure Gäste begeistern. ;) Viel Spass beim Ausprobieren!

OVOMALTINE FUDGES mit Erdnüssen (leicht angepasst von Nicole Stich aus der Weihnachts-Beilage 2011 von Elle)

  • 200 g Ovomaltine Schokolade noir
  • 200 g Kondensmilch
  • 75 g Erdnussbutter
  • 2 EL Ahornsirup
  • 75 g gesalzene Erdnüsse, fein gehackt (z.B. in einem Cutter)

Eine Brownie-Backform (etwa 20*20 cm) oder ein Backblech mit Backpapier auslegen (die Ränder überstehen lassen). Die Ovomaltine Schokolade noir über dem heissen Wasserbad unter Rühren langsam schmelzen. Kondensmilch, Erdnussbutter und Ahornsirup dazugeben und so lang rühren, bis alles gut vermischt ist und eine gleichmässige Konsistenz aufweist. Zum Schluss die Erdnüsse untermischen. Die fertige Fudge-Masse in die vorbereitete Form giessen, mit einem Spatel glatt streichen (die Masse sollte relativ “dick”/hoch sein) und abgedeckt im Kühlschrank fest werden lassen, etwa 2 Stunden oder über Nacht. Die Masse mit einem grossen Messer in mundgerechte Stücke schneiden (quadratisch oder rechteckig). Wenn man sie zum Kaffee servieren möchte, wirken sie besonders dekorativ, wenn man sie einzeln in lebensmittelechte Folie einpackt (z.B. im Bastelladen erhältlich). Dafür die Folie passend zur Grösse der Fudges mit einer Schere ausschneiden, ein Fudge in die Mitte legen, die Folie von 2 Seiten überschlagen und auf den beiden andere Seiten eindrehen.

OVOMALTINE Schoggi-Kuchen (leicht angepasst von Sven’s Schoggikuchen)

  • 125 g Dinkelmehl (oder Weizenmehl)
  • 150 g Zucker
  • 3 Eier
  • 125 g Butter
  • 155 g Ovomaltine Schokolade (noir)
  • 1-2 EL Kirsch

Eine runde Springform mit 25 cm Durchmesser mit Backpapier auslegen und den Rand buttern und mit Mehl bestäuben. Mehl, Zucker und Eier mit dem Handrührgerät (Handmixer) rühren, bis die Masse hell ist (ca. 5 Minuten). Butter und Schokolade über dem Wasserbad unter Rühren schmelzen und zur Masse hinzufügen und mischen. Zum Schluss den Kirsch unterrühren. Den Backofen auf 250 Grad (Ober-/Unterhitze) vorheizen. Die Masse in die vorbereitete Form einfüllen und im Backofen auf der 2. untersten Rille während 11 Minuten backen. Wichtig: Zeit genau einhalten! Je nach Backofen kann die Zeit etwas variieren, der Kuchen sollte innen noch etwas feucht sein.

Ovomaltine Brunch Challenge

(Since this post is mainly of interest for Swiss people I am writing  it in German but you can scroll down for a shortened English version)

Seit meinem letzten Blogpost ist ganz schön viel Zeit vergangen. Seither hat mich mein Studium und vor allem meine Bachelorarbeit ziemlich in Anspruch genommen. Nach dem Abgabetermin vor gut zwei Wochen war ich sehr erleichtert und freute mich, wieder Zeit fürs Kochen, Backen und für “cumint” zu haben. Wenn ihr meinen letzten Blogpost gelesen habt, wisst ihr, dass ich “Ovomaltine-Botschafterin 2012″ bin und Dank dessen schon viel erleben durfte. Vor einem guten Monat wurden alle Ovomaltine-Botschafter zu einem Ovomaltine Brunch auf dem Zürcher Hausberg Üetliberg eingeladen, wo wir nicht nur mit allem was das Herz begehrt verwöhnt wurden, sondern auch vor eine Herausforderung gestellt wurden: Wir Ovomaltine-Botschafter sollten für unsere Freunde einen Ovomaltine Brunch veranstalten und dabei die verschiedenen Ovomaltine-Produkte möglichst originell integrieren und präsentieren.

Diese Herausforderung habe ich natürlich gerne angenommen und habe mir sogleich Gedanken zu Rezepten, Deko und Datum gemacht und schliesslich Einladungen für meinen Ovomaltine Brunch am Sonntag, 14 Oktober verschickt. Kurz nach unserem Botschafter-Treffen erreichte mich ein unvorstellbar grosses Paket voller Ovomaltine-Produkten, mit denen wir unsere Gäste verwöhnen sollten. Ich entschied mich einige der Produkte “nature” zu servieren und andere für verschiedene Rezepte zu verwenden. Dabei war es mein Ziel, dass möglichst alles auf dem Brunch-Buffet Ovomaltine enthalten oder (wie das Ovomaltine-Logo) oranger Farbe sein sollte. Zudem wollte ich auch glutenfreie Optionen anbieten, weshalb ich nicht überall Ovomaltine verwendete.

Nach meiner Arbeitsabgabe am Freitag habe ich mich als Belohnung sogleich in die Küche gestellt und bin mit den ersten beiden Rezepten in das Abenteuer Ovomaltine-Brunch gestartet. Einerseits sollten es “Fudges” mit dunkler Ovomaltine-Schokolade sein und andererseits ein “Apfel-Zimt-Granola” für “Granola-Parfaits” mit Joghurt und Aprikosenkompott. Die Fudges habe ich schon öfter gemacht und wusste wie unglaublich gut sie schmecken, aber mit dem Crunch der Ovomaltine-Schokolade erreichten sie noch einmal einen ganz anderen Level! :) Am Samstag Morgen machte ich mich früh auf den Weg zum Markt, um Eier, Käse, orange Cherry-Tomaten sowie gluten-freies Brot einkaufen. Danach ging es wieder ab in die Küche und weiter mit einem Ovomaltine-Schokolade-Kuchen und kleinen, glutenfreien Aprikosen-Schokolade-Küchlein. Am Nachmittag machte ich mich an das letzte Dessert, einen herbstlichen mehlfreien Marroni-Cake. Später dekorierte ich noch den Tisch und bereitete die Dinkel-Brote und den Brühteig für den Dinkel-Zopf vor. Voller Vorfreude legte ich mich schliesslich ins Bett.

Am Sonntag Morgen früh war als erstes der Dinkel-Zopf an der Reihe, um ihm genug Zeit zum “Gehenlassen” und später zum Backen zu geben. In der Zwischenzeit habe ich meine orange Bluse angezogen und das Buffet gedeckt. Neben Selbstgemachtem gab es natürlich viele Ovomaltine-Produkte:

  • Ovomaltine Pulver,
  • Ovomaltine Choco Crunchy (das die meisten Gäste noch nie probiert hatten),
  • Ovomaltine Drink,
  • Ovomaltine Flakes,
  • Ovomaltine Crisp Müesli,
  • Ovomaltine Crunchy Cream (der absolute Renner auf dem Buffet zum Zopf und “mit-nach-Hause-nehmen” :) ),
  • Ovomaltine Crunchy Biscuits (die auch als Platzkärtchen dienten) und
  • Ovomaltine Cereal Biscuits.

Zudem gab es Aprikosen- und Zwetschgenkonfitüre, Honig, Butter, Käse (je ein Ziegen-, Schafs- und Kuhmilchkäse), Lachs, Dinkel-Zopf, Dinkel-Brot, Gipfeli, glutenfreies Brot, Granola-Parfaits mit Joghurt und Aprikosenkompott, Milch, Caotina, Wasser, Tee und Orangen-Jus.

Als meine Gäste zwischen 10 und 10.30 (teilweise von weit her angereist) eintrafen, bot ich ihnen erst etwas zu trinken und Ziegenkäse-Honig-Crostini an. Bald setzten wir uns hungrig an den Tisch. Seht selbst:

Als der Brunch-Tisch schon beinahe geleert war, bat ich meine 10 Gäste einen der 10 Ovomaltine-Buchstaben auszusuchen und wir machten uns auf in den Garten für eine kleine “Photo Session” :) :

Als Stärkung nach getaner Arbeit, servierte ich meinen Gästen anschliessend den zweiten Teil des Brunchs: das Dessert (inklusive eines kleinen Special-Effekts) und dazu Cappuccini! :)

(Photo Credit: B. Schwaller)

Gegen 15.00 verabschiedeten sich meine Gäste und ich liess es mir natürlich nicht nehmen, Ihnen den Rest des Ovomaltine-Pakets mit auf den Weg zu geben. Glücklicherweise hat man mir sehr viel Crunchy Cream zugeschickt, denn diese war als “Give-away” besonders beliebt. Aber auch der Drink, das Pulver, das Müesli, die Flakes sowie Crunchy Cream und Cereal Biscuits fanden dankbare Abnehmer. :)

Seit dem Brunch sind nun bereits wieder gut 2 Wochen vergangen und ich möchte mich herzlich beim Ovomaltine-Team und allen voran Sandra Stirnemann für die Möglichkeit, diesen Brunch mit all den Ovomaltine-Produkten veranstalten zu dürfen, bedanken. Auch meinen Gästen Angela, Blanche, Deborah, Diana, Larissa, Michelle, Selina, Simone, Tanja und Ursula möchte ich für ihre Teilnahme am Brunch und ihre Geduld beim Fotografieren danken. Ich glaube, der Brunch hat nicht nur mir, sondern auch ihnen allen sehr viel Spass und Genuss bereitet. :)

Zu guter Letzt trug sogar unser Zwergahorn Ovomaltine-Früchte. Was für ein Happy End! :)

(Shortened) English version:

If you have already read my last post you know that I had the honour to be chosen to be an Ovomaltine ambassador 2012. A month ago we were invited to an Ovomatine Brunch at a restaurant on top of the local mountain of Zürich called Üetliberg, where we not only got spoilt with amazing food but were also challenged to host an Ovomaltine Brunch ourselves for our friends. I was pleased to accept this challenge and thought about recipes, deco and a date right away. In the end I sent out invitations for my Ovomaltine Brunch on Sunday, 14/10.

I started baking on Friday before the brunch and made Fudges with Ovomaltine chocolate and an Apple-Cinnamon-Granola first, which both turned out great. On Sunday I baked an Ovomaltine-Chocolate-Cake, little glutenfree Apricot-Chocolate-Cakes and a Chestnut-Cake. Later I decorated everything, prepared the spelt breads and a type of Swiss challah called “Zopf”.

On Sunday morning I put everything on the brunch table including many many Ovomaltine products, the homemade products and a few more things including  jams, honey, butter, cheese, salmon, croissants, milk, water and orange juice. Shortly after my guests had arrived, we sat down to the table hungrily.

After some time we went to the garden for a little photography session. After that, to thank my friends for their patience, I decided to bring the second part of the brunch to the table: dessert! Scroll upwards to take a look at the pictures.

When my guests left around 15.00, I gave them the remaining Ovomaltine-products as give-aways. The “Crunchy Cream” was their favorite among all the products but all the other products also found happy recipients. :)

Ovomaltine

Do you know Ovomaltine (or Ovaltine UK/USA)? Well, if you are Swiss you certainly do, since Ovomaltine could probably be called one of our national beverages. According to Ovomaltine  99% of the Swiss know Ovomaltine and it is among the 20 most popular brands in Switzerland. Ovomaltine was originally developed in 1904 by a pharmacist as a nurturing product for children and sick people. It is an instant powder with barley malt as a main ingredient designed to be dissolved in warm or cold milk and has a unique malty taste. The original Ovomaltine contains no refined sugar and is only available in Switzerland. The reason why Ovomaltine is called Ovaltine in many other countries is a misselling in the trademark registration when Ovomaltine was exported to Britain in 1909. Ovomaltine/ Ovaltine is now available in more than 100 countries.

Nowadays a lot of Swiss children still have a cup of Ovomaltine for breakfast because children like it and so do their parents, many of them particularly for the fact that it provides their kids with energy while not containing any refined sugars. But not only children but also adults drink Ovomaltine and love it for its unique malty taste. Back when I went to primary school, I was known to love Ovomaltine as I always had my Ovomaltine with me on school trips. My love for Ovomaltine continued with the years and when Ovomaltine was searching for “Ovomaltine ambassadors” (for one year) almost a year ago, I simply had to apply. In December 2011 I received a letter saying that I was one of the 20 lucky ones and I was jumping for joy! :)

My year as an Ovomaltine ambassador has been a blast so far! We are provided with a lot of products for ourselves and to share with friends and family. Needless to say that my popularity status has risen significantly over the course of this years. ;) One of the highlights was certainly the skiing weekend in March at the Swiss Skiing Championships where we met Didier Cuche, a Swiss skiing legend and Ovomaltine ambassador for a long time. We even went skiing with him for a day which felt quite unreal. This past weekend all of us Ovomaltine ambassdors were invited to the restaurant Uto Kulm for an Ovomaltine Brunch. The restaurant is located on top of the “Üetliberg”, the local mountain of Zürich and a great lookout point, especially when the weather is as beautiful as it was on Sunday. We had a really good time together, the variety on the brunch buffet was pretty impressive and the food delicious. And again we were introduced to a member of the Swiss Skiing Team and Ovomaltine ambassador, Patrick Küng. The Ovomaltine team really spares no effort to spoil us (temporary) Ovomaltine ambassadors. A huge thank you to everyone from Ovomaltine!

*Throughout this year I have been and will be provided with Ovomaltine products and have been invited to events. All words and opinions are my own, however.

Skiing Weekend w/ Didier Cuche

Ovomaltine Brunch

Ovomaltine Muffins/BunsOvomaltine Ambassadors

View from Üetliberg

Plum Crumble

About two weeks ago I stumbled upon on a link on “Happyolk’s” facebook page, clicked on it and the word “Zürich” in the header immediately caught my eye. Being Swiss myself and not having come across many (or any?) Swiss foodblogs, I got really excited! The blog’s name is “House to Haus” and in the tagline it said “Greetings from Zürich, Switzerland” (not anymore, it has just been changed). Zürich happens to be the city where I go to university, so “she” (I couldn’t find out her name yet) apparently lives close to where I live. Then I clicked on “About” and found out that this was actually a blog of an Amercian expat living in Zürich. Another proof that (food)blogs haven’t yet really arrived here in Switzerland. Anyhow, I was really happy about my finding and even more so when I started going through the latest posts on “House to Haus“, “Happyolks” hadn’t promised too much saying “You’ll be  a forever fan”!

The latest post called “a zürich plum crumble” seemed particularly appealing since I love plums but they won’t be in season for much longer and so I decided to get some plums and give the recipe a go. It turned out really good, the crumble had a nice and crunchy crust from the mixture of oat flour and oats and the plums were soft and gooey, everything you’d want in a crumble. I didn’t have any cassis, so I left that out and it was still delicious. You can find the recipe here. Oh, and I served the crumble with this mascarpone ice cream, which I cannot recommend highly enough, it’s so easy to make and so good!

Plum pancakes

In between all my posts on London, I thought it was time I came up with a recipe for a change. I wanted to try something new for brunch on Sunday  and so I went through my bookmarked foodblogs to get some inspiration. Needless to say I found a whole lot of great ideas (isn’t it simply overwhelming how big the foodblogger community is and how much great content you can find?!) and in the end decided on a recipe from Fig and Fauna that sounded just perfect to me with the spelt flour, the goat milk and the plums. I didn’t have goat milk on hand but the millet milk I used with its light, sweet taste turned out to go really well with the pancakes too. These pancakes were really everything I had wished for on that Sunday morning, quite the ultimate breakfast treat. (PS: Don’t you just love this maple syrup canister?)

PLUM PANCAKES (slightly adapted from Fig and Fauna)

  • 120 g (1 cup) spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk (I used millet, Fig and Fauna used goat, you can use any)
  • 1 tbsp liquid sweetener (light honey, agave syrup)
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil (+more for cooking) (melted butter, ghee or coconut oil)
  • 2-3 plums, halved and sliced thinly
  • honey or maple syrup to serve

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. In a separate bowl combine egg, milk, sweetener of choice and oil. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until combined, but do not over stir.

Heat a lightly oiled cast iron skillet over medium low. Pour some batter (depending on how large you like your pancakes, Fig and Fauna suggests 1/2 cup) on the sizzling skillet and gently place the plum slices on top of the pancake. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve with honey or maple syrup.

London Day Three

During our stay my friend (L) and I visited “Le Pain Quotidien” quite a few times. “Le Pain Quotidien” is an organic restaurant chain that has stores ALL over London and one of their stores was just around the corner of our B&B and so we went there to grab some of their bread first thing in the morning before heading over to Marylebone on Sunday, had dinner once (the chanterelle and chickpea soup is really good) and on Monday morning I tried their Granola Parfait in their store next to Borough Market (we had headed for Monmouth for the second time, this time it was closed because of a Bank Holiday). The Granola Parfait seemed to be really popular as I had seen a lot of people ordering it and it looked very pretty. After my first bite, I was really happy with my joice, I loved the fresh fruit on top, the joghurt and the granola that wasn’t overly sweet. My kind of breakfast treat. L and I decided that we really needed “Le Pain Quotidien” in Switzerland, since we don’t have anything like this chain that has take-away options, is well-priced and sells fresh, delicious organic food. Funnily enough, after I got home and browsed the internet for a little more information on “Le Pain Quotidien”, I found out that they already have stores in two Swiss cities, one of them being Zürich where I go to university. I will definitely give that one a go soon.

Granola Parfait

Then we took the “Thames Path” once again to walk over to the Tate Modern where we spent the rest of our morning. The temporary exposition in the basement was not so much our thing but we really liked the expositions called “Transformed Visions” and “Poetry and Dream”. After that we crossed the Millennium Bridge and had a look at St. Paul’s Cathedral and then continued to Covent Garden and Picadilly.

St. Paul’s

In the late afternoon we took the bus to Islington  because we had both never been to that area and had heard good things of it. We liked the area a lot, came across a lot of smaller lovely shops, it wasn’t crowded at all and we had one of our best meals at a restaurant called “The Elk in the Woods”. I already loved it the moment we entered. To me it looked like a classic pub with a modern twist, a lot of wood combined with fancy wallpaper (feel free to correct me if I am writing utter nonsense!). Since we were in a pub, I had to order a cider and the one I got was huge (probably just normal) and sooo good. I also loved what it said on the label:

Then I had their “beetroot and carrot houmous with pitta” and the “halloumi with homemade preserved lemons”. All I can say is that I loved every bite of what I had. I also got to try some of my friends “pea guacamole” which was equally delicious. For dessert we had the “apple and rum crumble with custard” which was hands down the best crumble I had ever tasted! We really enjoyed our dinner at “The Elk in the Woods” a lot and I cannot recommend it highly enough to you. The service was also great and I found it all really well-priced. If you go there (and you really should), don’t miss out on the restrooms, even those are brilliant at this place ;)http://www.the-elk-in-the-woods.co.uk/