Happy Sunday!


[photo via] Hello, how are you doing? I happy to report that I am back!
With summer holidays around, workload seems to reduce and I feel like there is enough energy and headspace to daydream, read and spend time in the kitchen.
This weekend is the epitome of all of aforementioned, with loads of pottering around along my balcony plants (we have planted two climbing roses on our terrace!) and reading this surprisingly amazing book.

I am sharing the best things I came across tihs week on the web. Happy to surf with me?

This way of cutting a large, high cake is brilliant. I would be happy to apply this to a cake like this Italian Buttercream Sprinkle Cake.

Juicing a watermelon has never looked this easy. This week I am planning on making this watermelon lemonade for a barbecue and am happy to try it out.

Pineapple is one of my favorite things to eat in summer, and I love this roasted pineapple-ricotta toast recipe.

I often daydream of being a pancake-weekend type. This sourdough cheddar-scallion variation sounds delicious, and hopefully make their way into next week Sunday’s brunch.

This week’s Modern Love beautifully remarks on how we are able to shape the way we love and live together.

This adorable and incredibly cute love story of Serena Williams (!).

Watching this is mesmerizing http://wearecolorful.net/ (via shutterbean.com). It reminds me a lot of these incredibly satisfying paint mixing videos.

And having tomorrow’s day in the office in mind, I thought that this piece on meetings is really interesting.

And, in case you missed it, I wrote about my adventure of traveling 500 kilometers with a wedding cake. 🙂

Have a wonderful week!!

Transporting a wedding cake, tips & tricks!

tukskitchen.com

This wedding cake traveled 500 (five hundred!) kilometers from Frankfurt to the Dutch countryside earlier this month.
I can’t mention any of this without giving a huge amount of credit to Anton, who kindly coped with heavily airconditioning our car and really managed to avoid any bump or curve in the road.

Considering I (we) managed, I am happy to share my tips on transporting the wedding cake over a long distance.  

Choosing your cake & ingredients

Whenever choosing a cake, make sure that you do not use the softest or most crumbly cake recipe you can think of. I did make one tier out of a rather tender chocolate cake, but I made sure I prolonged the baking time just a little, to make sure it wouldn’t all break apart. The fact that the cake had enough time to settle into the buttercream compensated for this loss of liquid.

We started traveling two days prior to the wedding, so I took care to not use any fresh fruit as a filling, and I was also extra careful with making sure that none of the buttercream ingredients were extra perishable (I didn’t add fruit puree or fresh cream for example).

In addition, I avoided using anything ‘slippery’ as a filling as it might cause the cake layers and buttercream to start moving (think of the architecture behind building a no-slip sandwich). Instead I used a limited amount of concentrated marmalade and mostly buttercream.

As the day prior to the wedding was a national holiday, I decided to use silk flowers, instead of fresh flowers to make sure the flowers wouldn’t look old or wilted.

I was really happy that I went for the safest options possible, as the week of the wedding of our friends was incredibly hot, but you might feel more comfortable choosing otherwise.

Allowing time to let the cake get firmer

To ensure that all cake layers would arrive in one piece and largely undented, I made sure that the cake tiers were finished at least one day in advance. Doing so allows the cake, buttercream and marmelade to ‘sink’ into each other and to get more grip (this prevents cake layers from sliding off one another).

In addition I used wooden skewers that I stuck into the cakes to also prevent further movement. Even though this leaves little holes in the buttercream, this is easy to cover up once you assemble the cake.

To be extra-extra sure I completely froze each cake tier before traveling. This meant that our freezer needed to be empty, but it was a huge peace of mind during our travel which made me feel like it was worth the effort.

Materials to wrap the cakes for travel

In short: each cake tier was made on its own cake board and packed separately in a sturdy cardboard cake box, large enough to fit a cake board larger than the cake resting on it, and high enough so that the buttercream wouldn’t touch any of the sides of the box.

Needed equipment:

  • 3 sturdy and large cardboard cake boxes (I used these)
  • 2 thinner cake boards (that can be cut into shape with scissors, I used these)
  • 3 extra thick cake boards (two of it you will be able to reuse, I used these)
  • wooden skewers
  • dowels

I made each cake tier on a cake board that was larger than the diameter of the cake, to make sure that no cake would touch the sides of their cardboard box.

As I still wanted each cake tier to be smooth (without any cake boards sticking out), I made sure that I made the two smaller cake tiers on cake boards that were a bit thinner and that I could cut to size with scissors once we were at the venue.

To be sure that these smaller cakes would still have enough support during travel, I put thicker cake boards under the thinner cake boards inside the box. Because I can reuse the thicker cake boards (no cake has touched it), I didn’t feel too bad about using double materials.

Transporting the wedding cake

I placed the cake boxes in an empty car trunk, so that nothing could slide into the cake boxes during our travel.

To be sure, I did my best to keep the temperature in the car as low as possible, which might not be necessary, but my advice is to prevent transporting (or leaving) your cakes in a burning hot car, as I am afraid you might end up with puddles of buttercream speckled with cake.

Things you will need at the wedding venue

So you have made the drive with the cakes in the back of your car and you have carried the cake boxes safely into the venue!

So now that your cake arrived carefully at the location, try to put the cake tiers into the fridge for a bit. Even if it is only 20 minutes, it will firm up your cakes exponentially and will make it so much easier to assemble your cake tiers together (here is a really useful video on how to dowel and assemble your cake).

  • a power socket
  • a kitchen counter or working space
  • a fridge (although not necessary, it is a really nice to have)
  • an hour to an hour and a half at the wedding venue to finish your cake in peace
  • half of a portion of Italian Buttercream, packed in a ziplock bag
  • a handmixer (to smoothen and soften the buttercream)
  • a (disposable) piping bag
  • silk flowers (or any other decoration you’d like to use)
  • enough wet wipes to clean any counter you will work on
  • 2 tea towels (you’ll be happy you brought these)
  • a microwave or hair dryer (or any other device that will help you warm up your buttercream so that it will not curdle when you whip it up)
  • knife (to fit your dowels to your cake)
  • Scissors (to cut the cake boards of your upper two tiers, so that none of the cake board is visible after assembling)

Not technically needed, but great to have is some support by means of someone helping you carry the cake boxes, open the door for you, supplying you with coffee (thanks Anna and Anton) and to encourage you during the process.

Conclusion: you can transport a wedding cake over a long distance as long as you are thoroughly prepared. Wishing you the best of luck!

tukskitchen.com

tukskitchen.com

When it was all done! 🙂 Thanks Anna & Anton for the great support, encouragement and coffee!!

Homemade Ramps Pesto

 There is little that makes me happier than to have one amazing homemade condiment in the fridge that will make throwing together easy weekday meals so much easier. What I mean with this is having a killer pesto, tapenade, mayonnaise, labneh or ajvar-yoghurt dip ready to be used, so that any sheet of roasted vegetables or toast with simple salad will be turned into an amazing and complete meal.

Admittedly, it will take you some time to prepare for example Sunday, but you will really enjoy the fruits of your labor for many days after this.
Think about this: you make a grilled chicken with some raw spinach. Perfect, but what about adding a tablespoon of this ramps pesto to your plate? Ba-boom, magic! The same goes for roasted sweet potato fries with some homemade mayonnaise? I know, perfect!

Now to this pesto: it is made with ramps, also known as daslook, baerlauch or bear’s garlic. Until I moved to Germany, I had never seen these greens in big bunches. Chances are, however, that you have already come across it in the forest. You know, this kind of garlicky smell in the air when you enter a patch of forest in spring and summer? That is ramps!

Until recently one wasn’t allowed to forage these in the Netherlands, but since this has been legalized, ramps have rapidly increased in popularity.
It kind of makes sense. These leaves have all the taste of garlic (and onion), but have none of sharp bitterness that you get when you slice up an onion or garlic clove (or smell).
I find the leaves still quite pungent and would be hestitative to add them to a salad, but in this pesto, mixed with parmesan cheese, a handful of pinenuts and a good glas of olive oil, you get something that is as good as green gold. Where traditional basil pesto can be on the sweet side, this ramps pesto is perfectly savory.

I loved eating this on toast, steak, on grilled chicken and next to roasted vegetables, especially mushrooms.
By any means: in case you come across these greens, take your chance and try it out!

Ramps Pesto

Ingredients

  • 150 grams of ramps leaves, washed and dried
  • 250 milliliters of fruity, good quality olive oil (or a neutral nut oil, such as almond oil)
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 150 grams of finely ground parmesan cheese
  • 50 grams of pine nuts

Instructions

  1. Chop the ramps leaves to make it easier to make a smooth pesto out of it.
  2. Pulse all ingredients together in your kitchen machine or in a large bowl, using a hand blender.
  3. Store this in the fridge, it will stay good for around a week. This pesto also is perfect to freeze. 🙂
  4. Enjoy!
https://tukskitchen.com/2017/05/31/ramps-pesto/

Pineapple, mint & lime salad

Among the many things I love about looming summer, is the great abundance of sweet fruit and vegetables (tomato salaaad here I cooome). Pineapples are one of the things I only eat when they’re really juicy and ripe, which seems to be in our European summer (which I know is strangely enough in a time when the part of the world they are coming from starts to turn into winter now). This salad properly embraces all of the good things about pineapple.

With the weather warming up, I find that I am craving fruit more than ever. Hence, this way to secretly eat the bigger part of a pineapple without anyone really noticing. If you are looking for a great snack, breakfast or light dessert, I urge you to make this salad.

It also really doesn’t hurt that this tastes like a cheweable tropical cocktail without the rum (although I can’t think of a reason to not add it, and maybe even blitzing it in the blender :)).

Whenever you make this, just make sure you find a really ripe and sweet pineapple. The easiest way to check this is by smelling the bottom of the pineapple (it should be smell sweet and fruity). Another way indicator is when you can easily pull out one of the green leaves without too much effort. Here you find an easy instruction on how to clean your pineapple.

Enjoy!

Pineapple, mint & lime salad

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized, sweet pinepple
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 15 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of honey, if your pineapple is not that sweet

Instructions

  1. Clean the pineapple and quarter. Cut out the hard innercore.
  2. Slice the pieces of pineapple as thinly as possible. Finely chop the mint leaves and juice the lime.
  3. Mix everything together carefully and enjoy!
https://tukskitchen.com/2017/05/06/pineapple-salad-with-fresh-mint-lime/

Pineapple salad with mint & lime - tukskitchen.com

 

 

Happy Saturday!


How are you doing? It has been snowing (!) here in Frankfurt this week, with loads of shivering bike-rides. Needless to say, I hope it will be an easy-going sunny weekend full of nice food and seeing family. As I do more often on Fridays, I am happy to share the links that caught my attention this week, ranging from podcast recommendations to recipes.

How insane is this? Publications of fake science leaking into our system…

These Kimchi-Pork Buns look insanely delicious.

Truth to be said, there are days when I am considering to take off in a sailing boat to never look back, but reading this article changes my mind. #Vanlife really isn’t as sunny as the pictures seem to be.

And how Shouts&Murmurs nailed it this week: babysitting Donald. “But here’s the most important thing: There is to be no tweeting after 9 p.m. When you tell him that, he’ll yell stuff like “People have said that I’m a tremendous tweeter!”; “It’s only eight—all the clocks are fake!”; and “I’m not tweeting, I’m sending a text message to 26.4 million people!”

And I loved this Modern Love note on staying married“I’ve had at least three marriages. They’ve just all been with the same person.”

Savoury cookies are on my list to try out. These dried tomato-pine nut version sounds delicious!

How cute are these sprinkle pancakes?

I am a huge fan of this blog, and am amazed again by the looks of this pastel hot chocolate.

This week is my birthday, and I am planning on baking this Rhubarb-Strawberry Cake  🙂

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!