cocktail dreams … blue moon and bellini

cocktails are adorable! they simply always look pretty 🙂

high on the cute and wonderful scale for me is the blue moon

blue moon

i mean what could look nicer than something purple with a glowing frozen raspberry inside? the cocktail itself is an acquired taste, as it is very floral hence perfumey in aroma … and i know quite a few people who don’t like that in a drink at all. ah, well, i do! there are many different recipes, but for me the following works best:

2 parts gin (i used bombay), 1 part dry vermouth (i used dolin), 0.5 parts violet liqueur and a dash of orange bitters … all shaken together with ice and then poured/strained into a martini glass over a frozen raspberry. should you want it less floral then use less violet liqueur as recipes differ from a dash or a teaspoon … i like the colour to be deep purple and the perfumed character, that is why i used quite a lot!

there are several brands of violet liqueur but i usually use the following, manufactured by a small german company (who do other liqueurs and bitters as well) called the bitter truth. usually you can find it in online speciality shops (or amazon):

violet liqueur

staying on the cocktail topic – a wonderful start to a dinner is a bellini as an aperitif! especially now when peaches are in season (as you need succulent fresh peaches!!!):

bellini 1

bellini 2

i really prefer white-fleshed peaches and of those flat peaches, as i find their flavour richer than regular yellow-fleshed peaches. but the yellow ones work as well!

for one bellini, peel a peach, destone it and puree it in a multimix. add a dash of lime juice (so it will not oxidise quickly and turn a bit brownish – the change in colour does not affect the taste though) and stir it in. i add a teaspoon of peach liqueur as well (but you don’t have to) to the mix. put in a cocktail glass and chill for about half an hour in the fridge so the peach purree gets really cold (cover with clingfilm while in the fridge). then pour  chilled champagne or cremant or prosecco (always a dry variety) to the puree to fill the martini glass and gently stir it in with a spoon (gentle gentle or else the drink will go flat). after having a bellini, dinner can start!

as a variation, you could do a frozen bellini as well, if you cut the peeled peach in cubes and then freeze the cubes before pureeing them. that way you can use the puree straight away (don’t forget to add the lime and possibly peach liqueur!).

by now i might sound like a right lush, but actually i don’t live on cocktails 🙂

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alfresco protein breakfast … plus mozart’s requiem

yesterday there was a big storm with strong gales and some rain – but this morning the skies were amazingly blue again with a crisp and fresh smell in the morning air. my balcony is teeny-weeny-tiny but still i can sit and eat there when i feel like, hence this morning called for an alfresco breakfast:

truffled scrambled eggs with smoked salmon

truffled scrambled eggs with smoked salmon

this really is a protein bomb … not vegetarian but pescetarian. should you prefer, you can substitute the salmon with some diced avocado (or you can also add some avocado to have on the side, the smoothness of the avocado complements the eggs quite well).

for the scrambled eggs i gently heated a good dollop of cream and a teaspoon of salted butter (use the grassfed variety from ireland or from britanny) in a small frying pan, it needs to be hot but NOT boiling. then crack three eggs into the pan and gently mix with a mixing spoon, don’t overmix. put the heat on very low and let it gently ‘cook’ for about 10-15 minutes while occasionally stirring. the eggs are not to brown, the mixture just needs to set and retain its glossyness. for the last 3 minutes add a dash of good quality truffle oil, a pinch of salt, some freshly ground white pepper, another dash of salted butter and a spoonful of cream and gently stir it in. the truffle oil really adds to the flavour of the eggs and gives the dish a nice richness!

serve with smoked salmon and sprinkle some dried chilli on top. it is a very satisfactory breakfast and you will not be hungry for a couple of hours after. i had some white tea with it, as it is delicate in flavour and fragrant without being too bitter. for my taste, i find  a strong tea or coffee somehow don’t really go with scrambled eggs … but then my taste is quite strange! 🙂

as it is sunday, here is some more spiritual music for the weekend: the ‘requiem’ by wolfgang amadeus mozart and the ‘german requiem’ (ein deutsches requiem) by johannes brahms – both conducted by SIR ROGER NORRINGTON

Brahms+Mozart+Requiem

http://www.amazon.de/Requiem-Norrington-Roger/dp/B00BK40QIQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1437904859&sr=8-1&keywords=norrington+mozart+requiem

there is nothing heavyhanded about these interpretations. the choir (the schĂĽtz choir of london) sings with a litheness and gentle feeling, the soloists (in both works) don’t make heavy weather of what they sing but just project the spiritual quality. to my ears it all sounds very rounded and ‘stimmig’. especially the mozart requiem is a speciality here, as it is not performed in the sĂĽssmayr version but in a new version by duncan druce with sublte but noticable changes. even though both works are requiems, i find them very convincing the way that sir roger and the london classical players present them – they uplift the soul rather than dragging it down!

i would not call them definite versions, as both works need to be heard in different interpretations because there are many valid and very different readings. should you be interested, i would recommend the following for further listening as well for the Mozart (to complement and/or contrast the Norrington):

MOZART REQUIEM

Enoch zu Guttenberg – Chorgemeinschaft Neubeuern:

http://www.amazon.de/Wolfgang-Amadeus-Mozart-Anna-Korondi/dp/B000G1TDHE/ref=sr_1_1?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1437903627&sr=8-1&keywords=mozart+guttenberg

Teodor Currentzis – The New Siberian Singers:

http://www.allmusic.com/album/wolfgang-amadeus-mozart-requiem-mw0002127412

Friedrich Beringer – Windsbacher Knabenchor:

http://www.amazon.de/Mozart-Requiem-Windsbacher-Knabenchor/dp/B002T0TIIO

Sir John Eliot Gardiner – The Monteverdi Choir:

http://www.amazon.de/Mozart-Requiem-Kyrie-D-minor/dp/B001SSNZ6O/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2_mus?ie=UTF8&qid=1437904528&sr=8-1&keywords=gardiner+mozart+requiem

William Christie – Les Arts Florissants:

http://www.amazon.de/dp/B001SMAXLA/ref=dm_cd_album_lnk

Sir Neville Marriner – Academy of St Martins in the Fields Chorus:

http://www.amazon.de/Academy-Carolyn-Watkinson-Francisco-Marriner/dp/B001SSZ83W/ref=sr_1_2_twi_1_mus?ie=UTF8&qid=1437903715&sr=8-2&keywords=mozart+marriner+mcnair

Christoph Spering – Chorus Musicus Köln:

http://www.amazon.de/Mozart-Requiem-Christoph-Spering/dp/B002DJHZXG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1437903782&sr=8-2&keywords=spering+mozart+requiem

Nikolaus Harnoncourt – Arnold Schönberg Chor:

http://www.amazon.de/Mozart-Requiem-Nikolaus-Harnoncourt/dp/B009T4KPZS/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2_mus?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1437904116&sr=1-1&keywords=harnoncourt+mozart+requiem

Claudio Abbado – Schwedischer Rundfunkchor:

http://www.amazon.de/Berliner-Philharmoniker-Minguardo-Schwedischer-Rundfunkchor/dp/B001SSRYAC/ref=sr_1_4_twi_2_mus?ie=UTF8&qid=1437904583&sr=8-4&keywords=abbado+mozart+requiem

go on … have a try – and be completely blissed out 🙂 🙂 🙂

frozen berry bramble and 2raumwohnung … a treat on a summer night!

friday! cocktail time 🙂

and as it is summer, it is the time for berries as well. the recipe is a slight variation of a blackberry bramble (which uses fresh blackberries and creme de mure … which is a blackberry liqueur):

frozen berry bramble

berry brambleberry bramble2

the clue is that you use frozen berries, hence you need to use less ice and the cocktail will not get watered down. pour a handfull of frozen berries (mine consisted of blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and red currants) in a martini glass and splass with a wee bit of lime juice. then in a cocktail shaker, shake 1.5 parts dry gin (bombay dry gin works well, as does bombay sapphire), 0.75 parts lime juice and 1 part creme de cassis (which is a black currant liqueur from france … also used to make a splendid kir or kir royal!) with an ice cube and pour over the berries. you have the lovely tartness of the berries, the dryness of the gin and the sweetness of the creme de cassis altogether in one glass. as berries are very healthy, you really have a healthy cocktail (or at least you can pretend!). enjoy!!!

a summer night also calls for easy-listening lounge music. now there is a wonderful german electro duo called 2RAUMWOHNUNG, who released a very chilled loungey acoustic album of their best known songs in 2005, called ‘melancholisch schön’ (melancholically beautiful) and it is a bit like listening to a 21st century german astrud gilberto album with a modern twist. very laid back and it partners a cocktail very well:

2raumwohnung

http://www.2raumwohnung.de/

http://www.lastfm.de/music/2raumwohnung

american dreams pt. II – sufjan stevens

imho, SUFJAN STEVENS is a genius. that multifaceted way of expressing himself in different styles is simply unique. there is folk, there is art, there is avantgarde, there is pop and there is electro – with one phrase, there is life in all of his music. i find it completely spellbinding and also deeply personal.

nothing more personal than his latest CD, which is a very quiet affair, but one that sucks you into its sound world in a gentle way. a rare diamond!!!

sufjan stevens

http://sufjan.com/

http://music.sufjan.com/

summer pimms and a pescetarian potato salad

i love pimms … that slight bitterness with a fruity aftertaste is so refreshing in summer (and of course, it helps that it is gin-based, as i love gin as well!). there is also a special summer edition of pimms which is blackberry and elderflower flavoured (sadly not infused, only flavoured…) and it tastes like a late warm summer evening should taste like: bittersweet! mix it with some tonic water and ice and serve it in a martini glass for cutesiness … about 1 part summer pimms and 4 parts tonic water (i like the extra quininic bitterness that the tonic water adds!). close your eyes and enjoy: summer pimms with tonic water

summer pimms and tonic

today’s dinner i prepared yesternight … as a good potato salad is always best enjoyed a day later (obviously chilled inbetween!). nonvegetarian today but pescetarian 🙂

pescetarian potato salad with matjes (soused herring)

pescetarian potatoe salad

i used three matjes fillets (matjes is a special young herring that is slightly salted and pickled), quickly rinsed and chopped into finger-thick strips. five boiled and peeled potatoes, slightly cooled and chopped, mixed together with a handfull of chopped dill, a chopped raw shallot and some dried chili – best is to mix the fish with the herbs and onion while the spuds are boiling to let it marinate a little while. then add the warm potatoes (not hot! only warm) and pour a sauce made from one pot of ‘schmand’ (german sour cream) mixed with a teaspoon of tarragon mustard (regular dijon mustard will do as well), a pinch of salt (not more as the matjes adds salt already) and some freshly ground white pepper over it. mix it all well and carefully, in order not to break up the potatoes – i use my hands for this, as you can be much more gentle this way.

you can either eat it after letting it marinate and the flavours blend together for an hour … or put it in a container with a lid and let it marinate in the fridge for a day. either way, it is a very hands-down salad (‘hausmannskost’ we say … it always reminds me of my mum who loved matjes!!!) and a filling meal. not low-carb, but then you don’t eat it every day!

american dreams pt. I – the von trapps & pink martini

once the hills were alive with the sound of music … and julie andrews was singing and dancing in the alps. this immortal movie (which for some reason is hardly known in germany … ‘the sound of music’ does not really ring a bell to most german audiences of a certain age. probably as we had our own german heimatfilm version with ruth leuwerik!) is based on the story of maria and the von trapp family. queue to another generation: THE VON TRAPPS

the von trapps

http://vontrapps.net/vontrapps

http://www.lastfm.de/music/The+Von+Trapps

this vocal harmony group are the great-grandchildren of the original von trapp family (actually they are the grand children of werner von trapp, whose character in the movie was called kurt!) and they are producing a very refreshing folksy-pop-easylistening amalgamation of music. of their new EP ‘dancing in gold’, the title track really makes your feet tap and ‘people like us’ will linger in your ears for a long time after. loving it big time!

a couple of years ago they did a wonderful collaboration with PINK MARTINI (another group which i am very fond of), entitled ‘dream a little dream’, which has self-penned material mixed with the usual pink martini buffet of standards and well-known songs. there you get a zingy southern american version of abba’s ‘fernando’, some austrian yodelling and also tunes from ‘the sound of music’!

pink martini and the von trapps

http://pinkmartini.com/

http://www.lastfm.de/music/Pink+Martini

all in all there is just one word: fantabulous!

avocado strawberry salad … and pink prosecco with strawberries

it is one of my favourite times of the year … when one can get juicy local strawberries! you blink and you miss it, as it seems like it is only a two week period before they go flavourless again. that is why i tend to make most of it. today with a a more or less unfruity dish: avocado strawberry salad

avocado strawberry saladvery simple to prepare: slice a handfull of strawberries and half an avocado plus a couple of mini mozarelle (or you can use the regular version as well … best is of course a flavoursome buffalo mozzarella, but in lack of that i used the ‘normal’ variety – should you want to go vegan then just leave out the mozzarella and use some toasted pine nuts for crunchiness) and mix in some chopped basil (carefully, as you don’t want to mash the avocado). drizzle with a bit of good quality old and sirupy aceto di balsamico (it needs to be a high quality one, in order for it to be nice and sweetish). balsamico and strawberries are a match made in heaven. i used my favourite brand of balsamico which is simply delish:

aceto di balsamicosprinkle some dried chili on top and it is ready to be enjoyed. i had a tiny glass of pink prosecco with strawberries on the side. just to give it the full-on summer treatment!

pink prosecco with strawberriesthis actually reminds me that i simply must prepare a punch soon!!! 🙂