Sunday, October 10, 2010

The weather has been gorgeous lately, so i went out and took a few pictures downtown.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Flowers at the Farmer's Market

Ikebana, using lilac and spirea from Dieter's garden.

Overdue for Spring pics

Chestnut trees at the Elbe.

Spring has been particularly glorious this year, or maybe it only feels that way, after the longer and colder winter.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winter Here

Inside: Dieter brought over a beautiful amaryllis recently.

The view from my front windows.

It's Snowing!

Not much sewing around here since the holidays, but i thought i ought to post pics of the gorgeous snow. It doesn't usually snow that much in Hamburg, at least not in the decade since i've been living here. Today, went for a stroll with a friend on the Alster, the lake in the center of town. It only freezes over about once in ten years. The lake was crowded with people and dogs, iceskaters and skiiers.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

New Year's Fruit Crumble

The result of much experimentation in efforts to please various fruit crumble lovers of my acquaintance (it turns out Germans love fruit crumble, even though it is not native to their habitat). I'm not completely certain about these amounts. That's why i recommend adding things like flour gradually to make sure it's the right amount. I tend to do this by feel, without measuring anything. This ends up being a pretty intensely flavoured dessert (and more lemony than appley) which is why serving it over vanilla ice cream is crucial, to sort of cut the intensity a bit.


1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tsp vanilla sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
about 1/4 cup orange liqueur, e.g. Grand Marnier
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon

2 granny smith or other tart apples, unpeeled, chopped
2 pears, chopped
1/4 cup raisins that have been soaked in Grand Marnier for a day or longer


2 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar if you have it or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You'll need a medium-sized baking dish.


In a saucepan, melt the butter, add the brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamon. Stir constantly until sugar carmelizes slightly. Add the flour gradually until you have a doughy consistency. Add juice of lemon and lemon zest, add orange liqueur and simmer, stirring, for another minute or so.

Arrange fruit in baking dish, stir in the boozy raisins* and pour cooked liquid over fruit to cover. Don't worry if it seems to rest thickly on top; it will melt into and around the fruit as it bakes. Bake fruit for 20-30 min. at 350°F or for 40 min. at 200° F

You can have this baking while you're preparing dinner. Smells wonderful. Or do it way ahead and bake the topping just before serving.


Warning: this is an unorthodox method, but i find it easiest. Melt the butter, add sugar and spices. In a medium bowl, whisk flour together with baking soda, add gradually to butter mixture till you have a soft dough. Add oats and nuts and mix together.

Spread topping over fruit and bake using the broil function (top-heating element) for another 10 min or until lightly browned. By the way, i do this all in a toaster oven. Works fine and uses less energy.

Serve warm with Breyer's or Blue Bell Natural Vanilla Bean ice cream or "Bourbon-Vanille Eis" if you're in Germany.

*term stolen from Casey Ellis, of drunken cherries fame.