Eatable Advent Calendar

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Those of you who follow me on instagram might already know, that I not only develop my own recipes, but also like to test those from my cookbook collection. Here on the blog I decided a while ago to mostly share what I came up with by myself and to leave the testing experiences and outcomes to my instagram account.                                                   But as you may know, there is no rule without an exception. In this case we are talking about a recipe for an eatable advent calendar, which got a positive feedback by a bunch of people in my personal environment, as well as some recipe requests. So instead of copying and typing this recipe from the “Dr. Oetker Weihnachtsbacken” cooking book – where I got it from – several times, I decided on posting it here on Velvet and Vinegar instead, where it`s easy to access whenever needed.

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Of course I am totally aware, that at this time of the year, it`s quite late to write an instruction on how to bake your own advent calendar. But isn`t Christmas every year? Besides this idea never gets out of fashion if you ask me. I would even go that far to suggest, that you can still create this right now. Because this treat will be devoured within a few days anyway, at least here at our place. And let`s be honest, if you ever had an advent calendar, didn`t you wish you could open all the gifts at once? With this one you have a free ticket to do so without feeling guilty about it. Ok, maybe if you take a look at your scale after eating every single one of them, but who cares about weight anyways during the advent season!

Ingredients (for 24 pieces):
– 200g trail mix
– 100g raisins
– 75g cranberries
– 100g dates
– 100ml apple juice
– 175g butter
– 100g brown sugar
– 10g vanilla sugar
– 4 eggs
– 200g wheat flour
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 50g cocoa powder
– 75g ground almonds
For the numbers:
– 75g butter
– 40g sugar
– 75g wheat flour
– 50g corn starch
– 25g ground almonds

Preparation:
1. finely chop raisins, dates & cranberries, add apple juice & let the fruits soak for 30 minutes
2. finely chop trail mix
3. preheat oven at 180 Celsius
4. whisk butter using a blender until smooth, add sugar & vanilla sugar step by step until well combined, add the eggs one by one, whisking 30 seconds before you add the next egg
5. mix together flour, baking powder, cocoa powder & almonds, add to your dough mixture & whisk until well combined
6. add trail mix & dried fruits
7. pour the mixture on a rectangular baking sheet & spread evenly
8. for the numbers whisk butter until smooth & soft, add sugar step by step until well combined, add flour, corn starch & almonds & mix until you got a smooth dough
9. use this dough to form the numbers for your advent calendar, the recipe from Dr.Oetker recommends to use a piping bag & to pipe the numbers directly onto the cake mixture, this did not work out for me so I formed the letters by hand & placed them onto the cake mixture
10. put in the oven & bake for 30 minutes, take out the oven, let cool down & cut into 24 pieces, every piece with its own number

I hope you and your beloved ones enjoy this sweet treat. If you are interested in the original recipe you can find it as well in the following cooking book : “Weihnachtsbacken” by Dr.Oetker, it`s written in German. If you like to purchase it, here is where you can find it.

Read you soon,                                                                                                                                xoxo Sarah

 

Swiss Cheese Aligot

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If you ask my Facebook account Aligot is the most trending dish on the internet right now. Every time I browse my timeline, I see people devouring this savory treat of gooey cheese and it makes me feel like I want to jump right through the screen and steal it away from them. And yes, I am definitely entitled to do so, as I`m from Switzerland, the “Land of Cheese” itself. We consider ourselves the “Lord of Cheese” *lol*. This might be the slight reason, I am so addicted to cheese. When I travel people often ask me “What is the thing you most miss about your country?”. And my answer is always straight away “Cheese”. So obviously there is no way I am going to miss out on trying Aligot.

You might already have guessed by the sound of it`s name, that Aligot is a traditionally French dish. It originates from the region of Aubrac and consists of mashed potatoes, the French Tomme cheese, cream and butter.                                                                                        Here a tiny little shout-out to the people traveling to France or staying there right now, please take advantage and try this dish, if you have the possibility (TripAdvisor may help to find a good restaurant).                                                                                                              But what if you don`t have the possibility to travel to France? Right, you try this at home and you will see, it is really delicious as well. Just get prepared to sweating a tiny little bit, due to the constant stirring the preparation requires.

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Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 1kg starchy potatoes
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 650g grated cheese –  I used a Swiss Fondue mixture (400g) & a cheese pie mixture (250g), but feel free to use Tomme, the cheese traditionally used for this dish
  • 50g butter
  • 200ml milk – you can also use cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg (optional)

Preparation:

  1. place the potatoes in a pan & fill in water until they are slightly covered by the water
  2. bring to boil, cover the pan & cook until you can easily pierce them with a fork (about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes)
  3. drain off water & let potatoes rest for a while, so as they can dry
  4. peel potatoes & mash them using a fork, a potato masher or whatever tool you use to mash your potatoes – I used a passe-vite
  5. peel garlic cloves & press them using a garlic squeezer
  6. melt butter in a pan on low temperature, add mashed potatoes, pressed garlic, salt, milk & if you like some grated nutmeg, mix together until the mashed potatoes have a smooth texture
  7. now start adding the grated cheese step by step whilst constantly stirring
  8. your Aligot is ready and has enough cheese once it has a gooey texture and forms threads when poured from a spoon

Sorry I can not provide any spectacular video, we tried but I felt the pyjama pants I was wearing weren`t looking that great *lol*. Oh and my voice sounds terrible when taped, so I felt like I wanted to save you this experience.

Read you soon,                                                                                                                                  xoxo Sarah

Low-Fat Chicken Tikka Masala with Pineapple

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Are you ready to be taken on a taste adventure which will cause an incredible explosion of different flavors in your mouth? If yes let`s dive into the world of spices immediately.

For some of us spices are as essential in the kitchen as the stove you cook on. For others they are an exclusive accessory, they like to use to a minor degree. Of course both is very accurate. For example what would a traditional German “Krautsalat” (cole slaw) be without it`s cumin seeds? Or a mediterranean “Ratatouille” without dried thyme & rosemary? On the other hand spices are so posh, that they have the super power to transform every dish – no matter how plain –  into something extraordinary.

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If you want to experiment with spices the Indian kitchen is one good option to go for and one of the most popular dishes here in Europe is the Tikka Masala. Ok, as far as I found out through internet research Tikka Masala wasn`t created in India, but at least it`s derived from an Indian dish.                                                                                                      What is important here, is the fact that it gets you into trying different spices. The original Chicken Tikka Masala is prepared with yogurt and cream, which I substituted with milk instead. I hope I am allowed to call it low-fat because of that *lol*. Also traditionally you are supposed to marinate the chicken with a load of the same spices you gonna use later whilst cooking. My husband and I skipped that step, as our tummies were already growling because of hunger. Still I highly recommend to marinate for 15 up to 30 minutes to even achieve a more flavorful eating experience.

Ingredients (for 4 servings):
– 1 pineapple
– 300g chicken fillets
– 1 onion
– 3 garlic cloves
– 1 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 3 teaspoons paprika powder
– 1 teaspoon ground cumin
– 4 teaspoon Zanzibar masala spice or any masala spice you have
– 2 tablespoons sesame oil
– 1 cup tomato sauce
– 4 tablespoons milk or cream
– 1 cup basmati rice
– 2 cups water

Preparation:
1. pour rice in a pan & add water, bring to boil, reduce temperature to very low heat & cover the pan so they rice can cook while you prepare the rest of the meal
2. halve pineapple, if you want to serve this in the pineapple itself, make sure the pineapple remains intact
3. carefully cut out the pineapple flesh & cut into pieces
4. peel & finely chop onion
5. peel & press garlic cloves using a garlic squeezer, if you are using fresh ginger do the same steps for the ginger
6. heat olive oil in a frying pan, add onion & rinsed off chicken fillets, cook until chicken isn’t pink anymore on the outside
7. add pineapple & all the spices, tomato sauce & milk, let simmer for 5 more minutes
8. mix together with rice & serve directly in pineapple

I hope you enjoy this recipe

Read you soon                                                                                                                                        xoxo Sarah

Spaetzle & Sausage Casserole

Spaetzle & Sausage Casserole

Want something easy to make without a lot of mise-en-place and preparation? Or are you looking for a way to use yesterday`s leftovers? Then you should absolutely go for a casserole. This dish works with almost every ingredient and there are tons of possible combinations. Like that nobody in the family gets bored, as well as there will be no hungry stomachs. Are you living in a single houshold? Perfect, because you can prepare a casserole and you will have enough food up to two or even three days. Anyone needs more convincing? Ok got one more reason up my sleaves; casseroles are low price dishes!

Todays casserole is on the heavier side with a traditional touch. The title already says it all, the main ingredients are sausages and spaetzle, both very common to my country. Topped of with a lot of cheese, because cheese is what Switzerland is known for and because cheese makes life so much better! Try it and you will see the creamy texture and the cheesy and hearty flavor will make this one of your favorite casseroles ever.

Check out the recipe instructions down below and read you soon,

xoxo

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Ingredients (for one casserole dish:

  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 400g spaetzle
  • 2 sausages (calf or chicken), sliced
  • 180g sour cream
  • salt and black pepper
  • 100g grated swiss cheese

Preparation:

  • preheat the oven at 180° Celsius
  • add chopped onions, spaetzle and sausage slices to a casserole dish
  • add sour cream, salt and black pepper
  • mix everything very well
  • cover with grated swiss cheese
  • put the casserole in the oven and bake for 30 up to 40 minutes, depending if you want a browned cheese crust or not