Pear and Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes

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I have been thinking about autumn dishes and bakes recently. I mean there is the obvious pumpkin and apple, mushrooms and chestnuts. But what about that tasty little fruit that always has to take a back seat because of the much favoured apple? Well yes, it’s the pear. Obviously, right? I am not sure why apples are often favoured over pears. Pears are juicy, have a lovely flavour, wonderful colour, look pretty, have less acidity than apples (well at least that’s what my taste buds tell me) and are quite versataile too. So it beats me as to why this is a bit of a forgotten fruit…

But maybe it’s the fond memories of pears I have, that makes them so appealing. I grew up in an old farmhouse on the countryside. I mean it was old. Literally. We still heated with wood, warming our hot chocolate on the stove in the morning (my dad, that is) and freezing in winter when we had to get out of bed (no one kept putting logs into the stove at night) and the heating wasn’t working just yet. But this just boosted our immune systems. I only remember one time when I was really sick with fever in my entire childhood (the other times I was just being a softy, complaing when I was in fact quite alright). Apart from that we had a huge garden we could use with apple, damsom plum trees, strawberries, raspberries, black berries, red berries (so many my parents actually made wine with them), gooseberries and many more and of course lots of vegetables (we even had a small potato field). All these lovely delicacies were in the backyard and towering over our house in the front was a huge pear tree. Although the pears were just cooking pears it was one of the most beautiful trees I’ve ever seen. Old and sturdy housing hedgehogs in autumn under it’s large quantities of fallen leaves and providing much needed shade to our car in summer. Simply full of life. So yes, I am very fond of pears.

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So for all these reasons I really needed to celebrate the beautiful pear in my newest autumn bake.

Pear and Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes

  • Servings: 15 cakes
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
40g sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 small egg
25g butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp lemon juice
8g or 2 squares of milk chocolate (thinly cut or grated)
1 pinch of cinnamon
75g flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1/2 pear, peeled and cut into squares

4 squares of white chocolate for decorating

1. Mix the sugar, vanilla sugar and egg in a bowl until frothy.
2. Add the butter and lemon juice and mix.
3. Add the flour, cinnamon, chocolate, baking powder and salt and mix well.
4. Add the pear squares and combine well.
5. Pipe into the prepared baking mould.

Bake at 200° in the preheated oven for about 16 minutes. When cooled, decorate with the white chocolate

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I think mine were ever so slightly overbaked. So I’ve ajusted the baking time for you. But I just love the combination of pear and chocolate in them. It is such a wonderful pairing and they’re bitesize so you get to snaffle the whole bunch at once. Yay.

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So here we go. I am bringing those lovely treats to today’s Fiesta Friday. Let me just shout another big THANK YOU to our lovely host Angie for always putting this party together. It’s such a nice way of meeting fellow bloggers and marvel at all the creativity that these bloggers have. If you don’t know it, go check it out. Well worth it every minute you spend on the internet.

That’s it from me today. I will go have a lie down now and dream about pear trees.

Pumpkin Risotto

Growing up I hardly remember any pumpking dishes on our plates. I only remember pumpkin soup. Only when I grew into my teens pumpkin became wider available and grew into a fashionable vegetable. I guess with the spreading of Halloween worldwide came the spreading of the scrumptious pumpkin. So even now, pumpkin feels sort of exotic to me and I only go so far as to integrate it into my well known dishes, I am not yet ready to explore it beyond my comfort zone.

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But being now part of this wonderful food blogger community, I see so many lovely dishes with pumpkin that I just had to try and share one as well. Risotto was actually the first dish I mastered to my liking when I had to cook for myself once moved out from home. To me, it’s the most simple dish there is. It never goes wrong and always tastes good. But then when I should do a simple sauce… fire and smoke, I am telling you.

Pumpkin Risotto

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 45mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

150g risotto rice
500ml hot water with dissolved vegetable stock
0.5ml white wine
50g pumpkin, diced, precooked
½ onion, diced
1 garlic glove, pressed

Shaved parmesan to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Fry the onion and garlic on a medium heat.
2. Add risotto rice after a few minutes and fry until glassy.
3. Deglaze by adding the white wine and let it simmer on a medium – low heat.
4. Once the wine is fairly absorbed start adding a little bit of the vegetable stock. Never add the whole 500ml at once, but a little bit and then more once that is absorbed.
5. Halfway through add the diced pumpkin.
6. You may need more or less of the prepared vegetable stock, just keep adding more until you feel the risotto tastes creamy and the rice corns are cooked.

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Focaccia

As I told you in a recent post the minute my partner had left for Ireland I started to think about foods for one. And one of the first things that popped into my mind was the lovely focaccia!

This is just bread you may think, and not really a meal. True, but I can make a sandwich with it or simply have a salad and the focaccia on the side. Or I could lean over to my bench neighbor in the canteen and soak up their lovely (hopefully) homemade sauce with my focaccia. The list is long. Very long. I decided to have the first bit with dinner (which is usually cold meats and cheese, lots of cheese. This is Switzerland after all) and the rest for lunch. Magically transformed into a sandwich.

If I like one thing then it is the texture of the focaccia. If you knead it long enough (but not too long) you’ll get these wonderful holes in the dough which make it so fluffy. I usually sprinkle the olive oil and salt on top of the bake (just before putting it into the oven) to do the rest.

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Focaccia

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Time: 1h40mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

250g flour
2/3 tsp salt
10g fresh yeast, crumbled
1,6 dl lukewarm water
1,5 tbsp olive oil

Olive oil to taste
Rosemary to taste
Salt to taste

1. Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl.
2. Add the water and the olive oil and work into a soft, smooth dough.
3. Leave at room temperature to rise for about an hour.
4. Spread the dough gently onto a baking tray and push down until its about 2cm thick.
5. Cut some crosses with a knife into the dough.
6. Sprinkle salt, rosemary and the olive oil on top if desired.

Bake for 25 minutes at 220° in the preheated oven.

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Apple Pie 2.0

Autumn has kicked off to a wonderful start over here. Although cold in the mornings (as it should be in a proper autumn) the days amaze with warm sunshine on our faces, while we sit outside and sip a big cup of tea. Lovely. This has to be my favourite season.

In this spirit, nothing says more “autumn” to me than apples. They even look like autumn with their bright and varied colours. So I am bringing another apple pie to you. I know what you’re thinking. She’s done that before and not even that long ago… Boooored. Well, true. But this one is version 2.0. Smaller (since I am cooking for one now), better and much tastier. So I just couldn’t keep that version from you, could I?

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Apple Pie 2.0

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 45mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients for the dough:

200g flour
½ tsp salt
100g butter, cold cut into pieces
½ dl water

1. Mix the flour and salt.
2. Add the butter and work the ingredients into a crumbly paste.
3. Add the water into the middle and form a dough (don’t knead).
4. Freeze half of it for another time and use the other half for this pie.
5. Roll out and line the tin with it.
6. Leave for 30 minutes in a cool place, then pierce with a fork.

Ingredients for the filling (for a tin of Ø 19cm):
3 medium sized apples
2 tbsp grounded hazelnut
2 eggs
1/2 – 1dl milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 tbsp apricot jam

1. Peel and seed the apples, then cut into slices.
2. Scatter the hazelnuts on the dough.
3. Distribute the apples on the hazelnut lined dough.
4. Then mix the eggs, milk, vanilla sugar and cinnamon and beat well.
5. Pour the liquid over the pie.

Bake for approx. 40 minutes at 200°. Once baked brush the apricot jam onto the pie for a nice shine and taste.

Did you like it? I hope so, this pie was gone within minutes of taking it out of the oven.
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I have also been travelling a little bit recently. Since my partner in crime has moved back to Dublin for a year, the need to visit is very big. But that means I got to spend some lovely days walking down the lovely pier in Dun Laoghaire, soak up the autumn sun in a wonderful cafe in Dalky (do visit the Tramyard if you’re in that area) and to run around town for the Culture Night. Oh and let’s not forget the most amazing muffin I had in years (see my twitter account). When I was leaving the city I tried a chocolate and orange muffin at the Harvest Market at Dublin Airport (Terminal 2). Oh… My… God! Yum! I will have to work on copying that recipe in the near future and hope to bring it to you soon. Although I highly doubt I can dublicate the exact same delicousness I had that day. Be sure to visit that cafe as well when you’re leaving Dublin. A must!

So this post turned a bit into a travel advice post. But I find it important to share lovely places as well as lovely food. We’re not all great cooks (like me, hello!) but certainly all food lovers and sometimes it’s just nice to sit down and enjoy a nice meal and wonderful location.

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So I will bring this over to Angie’s place to day. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s Fiesta Friday time again. Oh yes. A big thanks to Angie and the two co-hosts Prudy and Naina for throwing a wonderful party, week after week.

Spaetzle with Mushrooms

It’s that time of the year, when the leaves start to colour and slowly find their way down to the earth to nurture their trees back into more years of gorgeousness. When we still enjoy a sunny day outside but with a light jacket on and never sweating. When the first sweet chestnut sellers start to get ready to enrich our busy lives with their produce. When we can smell the year coming slowly to an end and when we need to start putting on some more layers of fat in order to be cozy and warm in winter. Yes, I am quite serious about that. What is autumn without indulging in hearty and seasonal food?

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Last week I had a girls night out and since we usually don’t behave like over 30 year olds, we thought it was high time we tried it. So we went out for a fancy dinner with wine and all that very grown up stuff. Because, in case you don’t know this, the season for game has started. Have you ever tried it? It’s quite popular here in Switzerland and there is a good reason why. It’s delicious. From all the choice venison is my absolute favourite. Clearly the meat of the female is much softer and the best cut is definately the saddle of venison. Something you only get when the hunting season has started (about 10 days ago today) and you usually have to preorder. Clearly it’s not cheap, but sooo good. I uploaded a picture of one of our plates on Twitter of one of our plates (you get served twice because there is so much meat) last weekend.

For some people the side dishes are even more important. Homemade spaetzle, sweet red cabbage, sweet chestnuts (usually caramelized), a pear or apple with red berry sauce and sometimes, just sometimes, brussel sprouts. This to me is autumn on a plate. I usually look forward to be eating this and saving for eat for months in advance.

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So anyway, because I am only a great eater and a rubbish cook, I won’t share a recipe of how to prepare a saddle of venision (I wouldn’t have a clue anyway). But insead I used some spaetzle and mushrooms to create another autumny meal. It’s a great leftover dish that is conveniently and quickly put together after a long day in work, tastes great and is filling to the brim.

Spaetzle with Mushrooms

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 20mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
125g Spaetzle
8 mushrooms, washed and cut
1/2 pepper, washed and cut
1 small onion, diced
3 cherry tomatoes, halfed
1/2dl red wine
1/2dl vegetable stock
A few slices of soft cheese (like brie or camembert)

1. Cook the spaetzli in a some boiling water for 2 minutes, then set aside.
2. Fry the mushrooms, onion and pepper.
3. Add the wine and let let it simmer until the wine is absorbed.
4. Add the tomatoes and the stock and let it simmer a little while longer.
5. When almost all the liquid is absorbed, add the spaetzle and the soft cheese and stir a little bit.

Ready to serve!

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Only because I was to lazy to make some homemade spaetzle, that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a go yourselves. It’s just that the ready made version is really tasty here (for a change) and sometimes I just need to have some food in my belly quick. But BBC has a very simple recipe on their homepage. Have a look.