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Monday, November 25

Apple Cake

It may seem that there isn’t much cooking or eating around here of recent but everyone’s got to eat, especially the husband.

Actually there has been a lot cooking. The food business is busier and I am enjoying it. Without boring with too much detail, I am happy to say I’ve taught few cooking classes. Mostly it’s on Indian food but few other ethnic cuisines have also been requested.

On eating at home, I have been inspired to try new recipes from our travels as well as comfort foods. The Tuscan trip (write up coming up) inspired me to try Ribollita, a hearty Tuscan soup with beans and greens. Although my recipe wasn’t authentic, the winter will be the perfect reason season to modify. And comfort foods like gujarati shaak (vegetable) with roti and Punjabi style Kidney beans.

And on a completely different note, here’s a dessert. See you next time

Apple Cake
Adapted from David Lebovits who borrowed it from Doire Greenspan’s Around my French Table

3/4 cup or 110 grams all purpose flour flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon pinch of salt
4 large apples (sweet and sour variety)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (or 120 grams) sugar
5 tablespoons dark rum, divided
7 tablespoons (or 100 grams) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven. Butter an 8- or 9-inch (20-23cm) springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.

Peel and core the apples, then dice them into 1-inch (3cm) pieces.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter on medium high heat. Add apples and cook on for 3- 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the stove and add 2 tablespoons of rum. Place the pan back on the stove and cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and let the apples cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs until foamy then stir in the sugar, and then rum. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, then gently stir in half of the melted butter

Stir in the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the butter.

Fold in the apple cubes until they’re well-coated with the batter and scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top a little with a spatula.

Bake the cake for 50 minute to 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan and carefully remove the sides of the cake pan, making sure no apples are stuck to it.

Serve slices of the cake by itself, topped with powdered sugar, or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

(This is good for someone that loves desserts as well as someone that doesn’t like sweet tasting things. The Husband.)

Tuesday, November 19

mysteries of living in Bavaria, Germany

Whenever I ask a German person if they speak English, the best answer I get is “a little bit” and most often it’s “no”. In those difficult situations when I don’t know the German words, I continue in English, upon hearing their response, I am baffled they say “a little bit.” Because the younger generation speaks much better English than they give themselves credit for. Sadly the older generation refuses to speak English, most of the time. Although I don’t know the precise reasons for this I do have a theory.

In general Germans are perfectionists (throw in efficient in there too since that’s the stereotype). And whether young or old, if asked to speak a language they aren’t fluent in, they don’t feel comfortable. That makes sense however I find it very challenging for someone like myself that doesn’t speak German fluently to be able to communicate with the locals. Although I speak conversational German and am able to get by in most simple conversations, at times, I have questions in English that I want to get answers for (also) in English. Unfortunately for me Germans are also impatient. When I try speaking German, sometimes they lose their patience and I can see it in their body language.

This is a conundrum because they say they only speak a “little bit” of English however I am not perfect in my German so that’s also not good enough, for them. Perfectionism and Impatience do not make for a good combination.

One other thing, Germans are very proud of their culture and people (including language) so they may be apprehensive to speak English; if they agreed to speak anything other than German, they may lose their roots.

When I figure out the best solution, I’ll let you know.