mushroom and cream cheese soup

mushroomsoup

Again, I was able to pick up a selection of perfectly healthy looking portabello mushrooms at our local Gutenburg Market.  Saturday the mushroom seller from Schloßbergpilz had arrived from a significant distance...140km to be exact from the city of Freiburg. All I can say is that us Karlsruher must be well worth their journey, and as a customer I definately wont complain. With  our current week of wet and windy weather, the mushrooms were put into perfect use for a creamy cheese (Philadelphia to be precise) and mushroom soup that  seemed fitting for our outdoor filler. We packed the picnic set with the vacuum flask of hot soup, accompanied with a treat of an apple and cream cheese tart (see picture in the gallery). With our wet weather gear we were off for a stroll in the Black Forest.   Well for the most part, rain doesn't neccessarily stop play!      

For location pictures in the Black Forest with Ann-Kathrin and Tobias please scroll below...

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white asparagus

 

spargel_picking

I love white asparagus, because it is the one vegetable that can hold its own in presentation in varied ways. Have it in a soup or prepare it in a salad. Often they are simply steamed in a pot and topped with a hollandaise sauce. This ivory coloured asparagus is regarded as elegant, the reason many restaurants in our area feature it on their menu as a delicacy, and there is never a shortage of this spring vegetable which fills the plastic crates at our local food market. The Saprgelzeit is a distinctive period in Germany, from the harvesting period starting in April to the traditional finish-up date, June 24; the feast of St. John the Baptist.

No other vegetable demonstrates spring like these emerging stalks that stem from the darkness. During their growth, the molds of dirt are covered under white plastic to deprive their stalks from the sunlight's it is called an etiolating period which stops the asparagus from turning green. Here in the state of Baden-Württemberg they pride themselves as the prime asparagus-growing region in Germany and their asparagus export  extends overseas. This region is referred to as the "Asparagus Route" that runs close to Karlsruhe then through to the city of Schwetzingen. This city claims to be the "Asparagus Capital of the World" as their International visitors flock in to attend the city's annual festival's an abundance of asparagus and plenty of entertainment can be found here, and they also crown their very own asparagus queen! Nationally, it has been quoted that 70,000 tons of asparagus have been produced each year in Germany.

...read more and for asparagus pictures.

Aloe berry nectar and honey muffins

 

Berry_Muffins-1

 

When Zuzana asked me whether I had heard of ©Forever Aloe Vera products, I automatically thought of the Aloe Vera plants that I would sometimes be lucky enough to find on the side of the road in Australia. I would slice open a part of the plants leaf and then smear its cooling gel directly onto my slightly sunburnt shoulders. Failing to find this spiky, green plant; I would then pop down to our local chemist to pick up its gel form produced in a tube.

After a couple of email exchanges, Zuzana then sent me a recipe how to bake the berry nectar and honey muffins whose ingredients were made from a few ©Forever Aloe Vera products. And with no effort all all on Zuzana’s part, the courier soon arrived with my Aloe Vera goodies ready for the bake— due to my bad head cold at the time; I decided to take a dose of the nectar that is full of vitamins to help towards my recovery, and help to build the immune system a little before attempting to bake these wholesome breakfast muffins:


 Berry_Muffins-2

 

What you’ll need:
 
500ml all purpose flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
170ml Aloe Berry Nectar #034
6 tablespoons, unsalted butter
150 ml Forever bee honey #207
100g hazelnuts, chopped
1 teabag, Aloe Blossom Herbal Tea #200
 
2 Eggs, medium
80 ml Sweetened condensed milk
1 pinch of salt
 
For the topping:
 
125ml Aloe Berry Nectar #034
60 ml Forever bee honey #207
125ml Powdered sugar (icing sugar)
 
 
How to make:
 
Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Combine flour baking powder and add the salt. Heat the butter in a saucepan with the honey until it starts to bubble; reduce the heat. Add the Aloe Berry Nectar, eggs, sweetened condensed milk and open the contents of the teabag, add to the syrup and mix well. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and fold in the hazelnuts. Scoop the mixture into the paper muffin cups until ¾ full. Bake muffins for 15 – 20 minutes. Allow them to cool on a wire rack, while preparing the syrup for the topping.
 
For the topping:
Heat the Aloe Berry Nectar gently in a saucepan and whilst stirring; sprinkle in the powder sugar until it forms a glaze. Add the honey and stir thoroughly. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled down muffins and enjoy them for a breakfast treat!
 
 

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