Homemade Gin

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We have moved! And although this is no exciting news by any means, for anyone else except for me and the one person that moved with me (!), there is something interesting about changing places. The change of environment makes me feel like the normal routines and habits have fallen away, even though we have only moved two kilometers away from our former apartment (I know, it really does sound ridiculous, even more when I write it down). Other than the flood of self-help that scarily enough started to show up on Google once I tried to figure out whether it is normal to feel a little lost, I realised that Gretchen Rubin mentioned in her podcast (I really like this one – Happier) that changing environment or jobs often makes it easier to change habits.Thing is, I wasn’t planning on changing any habits. Whether I eat too much cheese or chocolate, I am by no means ready to admit that.

The part that is exciting however, is that I started to browse my Feedly for dinner inspiration yesterday. This might mean that there is space to try new things (or finally start the list I made with things I’d love to make). My first project in our new place is making gin. Yes, making gin at home!

While I was in Amsterdam recently, I saw a really beautiful gift set, holding an empty bottle, a spice mix and the instruction to add vodka to make your own gin. And I thought: we can do this ourselves!

Recipes to make gin vary greatly, to my large surprise. I’ve taken different recipes and simply decided on the ingredients I like most, but please feel free to amend as you like. As this small blog celebrates its first birthday tomorrow (!), I’m happy to say cheers! View Full Post

Roasted Garlic Rosemary Salt

Photo 23-08-15 13 28 54We are moving!
Whereas I am mentally already living at our new place, fact is that physically almost all of our stuff is still acting like it is belonging to our old home. The place is not boxed up, but still things start to get missing and move around.
This also implies, very contra-intuitive, that there is a need to empty the cupboards and fridge.

In ways I feel blessed (for a good laugh, please do look at this Instagram Account #blessed) with such a stocked freezer as we are still having proper meals. For two weeks straight, I know, I am ridiculous.
Also, it turns out, I have a thing for spices and salts. Instead of packing boxes I have decided to make things to empty our cupboards and to fill up the jars and bottles we would move empty otherwise.

Starting off with this Tomato-Chili Salt, moving on to make more Limoncello (I don’t have any excuse for that, sorry), making even more Vanilla Essence, I decided to take a turn and make this Roasted Garlic Rosemary Salt.
It completely surprised me and I think it might be one of the best things I’ve made in a long time. The salt is super aromatic, the roasted garlic cloves dry up to become a little leathery, rather than hard, but still blend in perfectly with the salt.

The project does take a little patience and will take up a bit of space on your kitchen counter but you will be super happy to have done so. Also, and I know this is coming a little early, but I can imagine this to be beautiful gifts in holiday season, divided in little pots or small pouches.
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Strawberry Vanilla Marmelade

This weekend I gave in to my need to relax and to really do nothing. It resulted in a blissful schedule of sleeping, reading (this book), rummaging around on the internet (to find this really cool IKEA kitchen of the future for example), running, coloring (yes, really this is the best new thing) and simply enjoying getting a little bored.

Having said that, even though I stepped back, I did make something in our kitchen (who am I kidding, I can’t be stopped;)). But instead of making one hundred things at the same time, I simply focused on these strawberries. And to be honest, I couldn’t have been happier with both the process and the end result. Not only does our place smell like heaven (or a cookie dough factory), it also feels like saving a bit of summer for later (read: dark autumn days).
Considering that we are heading towards the end of strawberry season (!), I am making sure to get my hands on the last bits (and yes, this is just enough to trigger my hamster instincts), to make sure there is enough to take us through winter, even though it is really tempting to simply eat my way through this batch right away.I already mentioned this blog, and I will tell you again what a master piece it is. It made me yearn to make marmelade, even though I have never made jam before.

Considering the abundance of cherries, strawberries and even of Redcurrants and Goose Berries on the market, I am happy to figure out how to preserve at least some of it in time.

I was very happy to cook this marmelade with Marisa’s instructions on hand. I have found her descriptions very comforting, especially because I feel a little hesitative to make preserves (I can’t remember which novel it was, but I am sure I read a book where a guest of one of the main characters drops head-down after being served spoiled canned beans at her place).

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Lemon-Mint Syrup

 

After coming across this amazing blog, I couldn’t help but be really excited about preserving all the things. Which is – in my opinion – also one of the best things a blog can do to your imagination: inspire and make you want to try things you didn’t know you could want in the first place, talking about role models.:)

So, of course, at the moment I am dreaming of strawberry marmelade (with vanilla?!) and buying all the mason jars I can find, even though our kitchen cupboards ‘might’ explode just the tiniest bit (it might have been a sign from above that the elderflower blossom was already grown into little berries when I went out for a little hunt last week, armed with scissors and a large bag).

What I did make instead was something very attainable in almost any season: I made a lemon-mint syrup, using up all of the lemons, even the skins, which added a small bitter note.
This syrup is really good when added to baked goods, especially when added to simple loaf cakes or cupcakes just after they come out of the oven (think of around half a cup of syrup poured over the hot cake).
This syrup also makes a great homemade lemonade with some fizzy mineral water or even a very posh cocktail when topped with dry sparkling wine (talking about summer evenings:)).
The fresh mint leaves already dried a little in our June kitchen, but were just as aromatic.
I can imagine this syrup to be awesome with a sprig of rosemary or even a vanilla bean as well. In any case: enjoy your summer evenings! View Full Post

Feigensenf (Fig Mustard)

Making a place feel like home, to me at least, is happening when I invite friends over for food, regardless of whether it is simple nibbles or a real dinner.

In both cases, I love to serve a cheese platter. There is an element of sharing to it, as well as a notion that anyone can pick what they like.
On the interwebs there seem to be a bazillion guides and strict rules when it comes to cheese platters. My advise is to ignore all of them, and go for plenty of cheeses that you like to eat yourself. Make sure that there are enough knives to make it easy to slice the different types of cheese, and try to strive for different structures. On the photo you can see a trio of goat cheese: one mature (hard) one, a soft brie-like version and a young chevre.

In case you are hosting a party, my advise would be to buy a couple (for example four) big pieces of cheese, ranging from mild to matured and soft to hard. I would then half these cheese chunks to divide it into two identical cheese platters, with enough space for all the extras, such as nuts, mustard, grapes or (dried) figs.

One of the things that really goes well with almost all cheeses is Feigensenf, a very German condiment that translates best into ‘fig mustard’. I really like it as it has a perfect balance between spiciness and sweetness, while being a much better pairing with most cheeses than plain mustard as it is not that overpowering. View Full Post