Billiger Kuchen, or: what is your reputation worth to you?

I have tried out the the first recipe from my granny’s recipe collection: the “Billiger Kuchen“. It’s not the first one in the notebook, but I was intrigued, because “Billiger Kuchen” means “Cheap Cake”, and I was wondering about that. I figured it might just be a way of saying “simple cake”. After all, these are just notes, and it is a pretty simple cake of the Rührkuchen variety, as in, the ingredients are more or less just stirred together (rühren means stirring) – flour, eggs, butter, sugar, milk, baking powder, and lemon zest for flavouring.

As it turns out, the cake would probably have been considered cheap as well as easy, but I fear, so would the hostess. At least the first part…

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A little risotto manual

Are you intimidated by risotto? Have you heard people saying that it is complicated and a lot of work? Then you probably are a victim of the Very Secret Risotto Cooking Society. It exists, I can only presume (it is Very Secret), to scare people off preparing this very delicious and simple dish and thus making the people who do prepare it (probably all sworn members of the VSRCS) look all the more accomplished and fabulous. It’s a conspiracy. I know it.
Because making risotto is neither complicated nor any more work than your average dish of pasta (there aren’t even a lot of dishes to wash, because we need just one pan and one bowl to hold the stock). And you can adjust it in many ways to suit your taste, with seafood or vegetables or meat… Continue reading

Understanding cheese – A visit to a Parmiggiano-Reggiano workshop

The taste of cheese curd changed my life.

I had been well-trained in the art of composing a cheese board: combine fresh with aged cheeses, cow milk with goat and sheep, soft textures with firm, subtle aromas with pungent. Add wine. Achieve satisfaction. I was even getting rather proficient in remembering the curriculum of particular cheeses: this one from high mountain ranges, covered in luscious pastures, that one from craggy hills where sheep roam freely nibbling on wild herbs. But I hadn’t yet quite understood cheese.  Continue reading