Peanut Butter Surprise

After having lived in London for a couple of months, I decided to finally invite a few friends over for a cupcake and prosecco themed housewarming afternoon on a Saturday. My day turned out to be everything but how I’d planned it. Friday nights are unpredictable. Let me give you a quick summary of what not to do the night before you hold a party:

It started with dinner at the cosmopolitan time of 10.45 pm in Mayfair, including pre-dinner drinks and plenty of alcohol to accompany our meal. After having built up a base with chinese food, the night continued with bottles of prosecco in a place called Novikov for birthday nr.1. By this time it was already about 2am and we hadn’t even properly gotten started (truth is , my initial aim was to head home latest at 1.30, wake up at 9am and start baking my 72 cupcakes. Clearly I had missed the moment). One birthday doesn’t seem enough to celebrate on a night, so we crashed another one in some members club on Jermyn Street. As swanky and nice as this party was, the vibe wasn’t working for our group and no one seemed to be ready to head home. What is left at 3.30am on a Friday night? Raffles in Chelsea with lots and lots and lots of vodka. No more details needed.

By 5 or 5.30am, 4 hours after planned, I managed to stumble up my staircase (5 floors, no biggie when in heels and completely drunk), change into my pj’s and pass out on my bed. Sadly, I forgot to charge my dead iPhone before passing out. My alarm, which had been set for 9am, didn’t go off. When I opened my eyes for the first time the next day they were greeted with sunshine and the clearest blue sky. It was already 11:30am. Damnit. My drunken swiss discipline kicked in and within just over 3 hours I had baked and iced 72 cupcakes (3 different flavors). I have never drunken so much water in such a short period of time without having to pee once. Luckily my housewarming offered the perfect evidence-based cure for my hangover: alcohol 🙂

As for these cupcakes: I wanted to try something new and stumbled across Ferrero Rochers opposite the baking section in my supermarket. In my mind the combination with peanut butter seemed amazing, worth a try. I wasn’t sure if they’d survive the heat of the oven in one piece, but they did!

Peanut Butter Surprise Cupcakes

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Brezeln… Ein Prosit, ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit… Oans, zwoa, drei, Gsuffa!

A couple of weeks ago the most legendary beer fest took place on the Theresienwiese in Munich. Sadly, without us. Last year 3/4 of us made it and it was truly a wonderful, beery, winey (fyi: drinking many a Maß‎ of white wine spritzer instead of beer in order to keep up with the beer drinkers on your table… not such a good idea:-P), beery, kaiserschmarrn, beery, schnitzel, beery, lebkuchen heart, dirndl and lederhosen filled experience. One would think wearing a dirndl, hiking boots and braids in the metro is awkward…not when the whole city does it! Then you’re stared at when dressed as a normal civilian.
What I always forget when I put my dirndl on is where to tie the bow of the apron. I didn’t even know it had a meaning until lots of drunkards started chatting me up. My accompanying “Octoberfest-regulars” enjoyed the situation for a while, but then tried to enlighten my somewhat tipsy self to the meaning behind the bow (who’s place often tends to change the longer the evening and the flirtier the ladies get… :-)). So for the unknowing and forgetful out there:

Bow tied on the right side: in a relationship, engaged, married
Bow tied on the left side: single, or at least for the night 😉
Bow tied in the middle: virgin
Bow tied in the back: widow

In the spirit of Octoberfest I decided to bake some Brezeln. Also because good versions of this type of bread (or almost any bread compared to back home) are a rare find in London. And because I had to wait for 5 hours for a guy to come install my phone line. But that’s beside the point.

Brezeln / Pretzels

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Potato Gnocchi with Sage and Butter Sauce (Original Grandma Recipe)

After a (really, horrifically) failed and soggy attempt at making gnocchi following an internet recipe, I skyped my all-knowing Italian grandma to see if she’d share her secrets in the art of making gnocchi. The conversation went something like this:

“It’s very easy. You boil one potato. Or two. Three if they’re not too big. Or four. Once they’re done, you peel them and mash them.” (At this point she finally manages to focus her vision on the video.) “Oh my! Your hair is so long! Look at that!”

“Thank you! Now focus, Grandma.”

“Okay okay. So you mash them and add butter. Or milk. Both if you want. Then a pinch of white pepper and nutmeg and then flour. Lots of flour. Until it can’t take it anymore flour.”

“Okay… lots… of… flour… any idea how much?”

“A LOT. Half a kilo…. a kilo…. I dunno. So then let the dough rest a bit.”

“Grandma, what about eggs? No eggs?”

“Oh! yeah! Of course! When you make the mash, that’s when you put an egg in. Just one. So then you roll out the dough into little sausages, cut into squares and then roll them onto a fork for the shape. If you’re awesome like me, this will be very quick and simple. Boil some water and FINITO!”

Okay, so she didn’t say those last bits about being awesome. But the rest is all true.

Potato Gnocchi with Sage and Butter Sauce

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