Mittwoch, 31. Oktober 2012

Overview - MoFo Book Challenge 2012

I really enjoyed this year's MoFo - even though the last days were very stressful and I totally lost track of following what all the other bloggers came up with. I will catch up within the next weeks and link the posts that delighted me the most on my Pinterest board. 
Next year I will have more posts prepared so I can use my spare time to follow all the great bloggers around the globe and to have a few days without the necessity to cook, write and photograph.

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, I hope to see all of you again next year!

Letters back to Ancient China by Herbert Rosendorfer
Ancient China-Bavaria-Dumblings with Dark Beer Sauce

Lochnagar by Lord Byron
Shortbread (without palm oil)

I re di Girgenti by Andrea Camilleri
cannoli siciliani

Illuminatus! by Shea and Wilson
Hagbard Celine's Apple Pie

Elefanten weinen nicht
Mrs. Sedlack's 'Instead of Rabbit' roast

The Voice Imitator by Thomas Bernhard
Deconstructed Potato Soup

Poff the Cat or When we Care by Hartmut von Hentig
Marbled Cat Sugar Cookies

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye Bread Soup

Abdias by Adalbert Stifter

The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
Vegetable Antipasti with Arrabiata Pull Apart Pizza Bread

Luciano de Crescenzo 
Ancient Greek 'Honey' and Sesame Fritters

Berlin Blues by Sven Regener
Fried Potatoes

Pigeons on the Grass by Wolfgang Koeppen
Sauerkraut Cake&Leberkäse

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Willi Wonka's Chocolate Mushrooms

The Ugly Duchess Margarete Maultasch by Lion Feuchtwanger

Rafik Schami
Almond Halva filled Dates

Watership Down by Richard Adams
Swedish Style Carrots with Almond&Parsley Pesto

Ulysses by James Joyce
Kidney Bean Spread

A Time in Xanadu by Lars Gustafsson
Swedish Apple Cupcakes

The Confusions of Young Törless by Robert Musil
Potato Bread Sticks with Pesto and Tahin Yogurt Sauce

The Discovery of Slowness by Sten Nadolny
Eggplant 'Schiffchen'

Candide by Voltaire
Potato and Butternut Soup

Brother of Sleep by Robert Schneider

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
Baked Apple

Already the Air Smells of Snow by Sarah Kirsch
Chestnut Spread

Jean-Paul Sarte& Simone de Beauvoir
Hot Apple Juice and Nougat Cookies

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Raisin Scones with Sweet&Spicy Sunflower Seed Spread

The Black Spider by Jeremias Gotthelf
Chocolate Spider

The Sandman by ETA Hoffman 
Eyeball Pot

The Vampyre by John William Polidori
Garlic Soup with Cheesy Bat Crackers

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 
Custard Brain with Cherry Blood Sauce

The one with the book that always reminds me of my hometown- MoFo Book Challenge #31 - Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I promised to come back to Mary Shelley earlier and here she is. Her book is perfect for my final MoFo entry: Frankenstein. I do not want to spend time talking about the plot, as I am quite sure everybody knows the story of the Swiss scientist who comes to Bavarian Ingolstadt and creates a creature from parts of corpses. Yesterday I wrote about the book's origin, as the event that set the initial spark for this novel has been the same that made Polidori's create The Vampyre. 
I really enjoyed to read Frankenstein and I still think Mary Shelley's masterstroke is one of the must reads, at least if you are into scary stories. This book is so much more then about a monster, it is about greed and irresponsibility, about superficiality and the desire to fulfill one's needs.
Frankenstein (and his creature) might be the most famous horror story character, so I think this is a perfect ending for this year's Vegan MoFo theme. 

As the horror of Frankenstein originates not from the monster itself but from the scientist's brain (and because he also took a corpse's brain), I went with this idea and created an icky but delicious custard brain.  It looks way more work than it in fact was. Usually they say that vegan zombies eat grans, but I guess these brains would feed them, too. I also covered the plate with cherry jelly (cherry juice, sugar, agar agar) but I don't think this is necessary, even though I liked the different textures

for 2 brains:
1 pack custard powder (without food colouring, or starch, vanilla, salt)
40g sugar
250ml soy milk, 250ml almond milk

2 cups

prepare custard (follow directions on powder pack), fill into cups and allow to set overnight,
next morning: turn cups upside down and use a teaspoon to carve the brain shape

Blood Sauce with Lumps

250ml cherry juice
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
3 tbsp fresh cranberries

bring cherry juice to the boil, add cranberries, in a cup mix sugar and corn starch, add a few tablespoons of juice, stir starch mixture into hot juice and bring to the boil, spread all over the brain
(cranberries will burst, so make sure to be prepared)

Dienstag, 30. Oktober 2012

The one with the book which infected literature with vampirism - MoFo Book Challenge #30 - The Vampyre by John William Polidori

I came across this book because I am (as I mentioned earlier) a big fan of Lord Byron. When you read about Byron you have to come across fact, that he met with Mary and Percy Shelly, her sister Claire and the writer Polidori in Switzerland and that they decided to proclaim a small horror story writing contest. Nowadays this is seen as fantastic literature's date of founding and maybe the most important book publishing that was initiated by this event was Shelley's Frankenstein. But we will come to Frankestein tomorrow, when I will have my final Vegan Mofo Post.
Polidori was the first one to introduce the vampire theme to literature and he also was the writer that invented the vampire nobleman and horror stories and movies cannot be imagined without this character.

If you are interested in vampire novels in general you will enjoy the Wikipedia article, I also took the short summary of The Vampyre from it:
Aubrey, a young Englishman, meets Lord Ruthven, a man of mysterious origins who has entered London society. Aubrey accompanies Ruthven to Rome, but leaves him after Ruthven seduces the daughter of a mutual acquaintance. Aubrey travels to Greece, where he becomes attracted to Ianthe, an innkeeper's daughter. Ianthe tells Aubrey about the legends of the vampire. Ruthven arrives at the scene and shortly thereafter Ianthe is killed by a vampire. Aubrey does not connect Ruthven with the murder and rejoins him in his travels. The pair is attacked by bandits and Ruthven is mortally wounded. Before he dies, Ruthven makes Aubrey swear an oath that he will not mention his death or anything else he knows about Ruthven for a year and a day. Looking back, Aubrey realizes that everyone whom Ruthven met ended up suffering.
Aubrey returns to London and is amazed when Ruthven appears shortly thereafter, alive and well. Ruthven reminds Aubrey of his oath to keep his death a secret. Ruthven then begins to seduce Aubrey's sister while Aubrey, helpless to protect his sister, has a nervous breakdown. Ruthven and Aubrey's sister are engaged to marry on the day the oath ends. Just before he dies, Aubrey writes a letter to his sister revealing Ruthven's history, but it does not arrive in time. Ruthven marries Aubrey's sister. On the wedding night, she is discovered dead, drained of her blood — and Ruthven has vanished.

 I went with the vampire theme and decided to make a garlic soup with cheesy bat crackers.
For the crackers I used Chloe Coscarelli's goldfish cracker recipe, but as I do not use margarine due to the palm oil issue, I used 3 tbsp sunflower oil instead.

Garlic Soup

1 small onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
400ml vegetable broth
100ml almond milk 
2tbsp all-purpose flour
salt and pepper, olive oil, chopped parsley
(at least 2 days to stay at home)

heat oil in a pot, add onion dices and roast until translucent; then add flour and stir well for about 1 minute , add garlic and deglaze with vegetable broth, simmer for ~10min, add almond milk, season with salt, pepper and parsley and enjoy

The one with the only book I read out - MoFo Book Challenge #29 - The Sandman by E.T.A Hoffmann

I came in touch with this book because a friend had to read it for school and was too lazy, so she bought the audio book and we wanted to listen to it together, but the narrator was so terrible that we turned it off and I promised to read it out instead. The Sandman is part of Hoffmann's book Night Pieces and one of German horror classics. It contains several themes: it is a story about childhood fears and how they haunt the main character even years later, about gothic stories coming to life, about madness and alchemical experiments.
Nathaniel, a young boy, is often lying awake because he is afraid of the Sandman, a monster that comes to children who are not asleep to steal their eyes to feed them to his children that live on the moon. As his father is often visited by a strange man, he guesses this mysterious man called Coppelius must be the Sandman. One day he hides in his father's room to catch a glimpse of the Sandman, but is discovered. His father begs Coppelius to spare Nathaniel's eyes. One week later the father dies from a mysterious experiment and Coppelius vanishes without a trace.
When Nathaniel is a young adult he meets a man whom he identifies as Coppelius, even though the facts prompt that he is not. As he tries to prove the true identity, he comes across a young woman called Olimpia. He immediately falls in love with her, leaves his fiancée and even though everyone around is suspicious as Olimpia seams dull, motionless and stupid with strangely mechanical actions, he wants to propose to her. When he arrives he finds the man he suspected to be Coppelius and Olimpia's father arguing over her motionless body and who made the eyes and the clockwork, this finally supplies evidence that the man is the hated enemy. Coppelius wins the struggle and flees with the robot body; he vanishes without a trace. The sight of Olimpia's eyes lying on the floor drives Nathaniel to insanity and so he is taken to the asylum.

When Nathaniel recovered from insanity he goes back to his old fiancée, proposes again and she accepts. They decide to move to a pleasant estate near their home town and on their way to visit the town, they climb the high steeple to look out at the view. Suddenly the madness strikes Nathaniel again and he tries to hurl his fiancée from the steeple. Luckily she is saved by her brother. Immediately a crowd gathers below and Nathaniel spots Coppelius in it, he yells "pretty eyes, pretty eyes!" and leaps over the railing to his death. 

I decided to go with the eyeball theme and I think this is really versatile when it comes to Halloween and other horror stories. I think the horror effect doesn't really come clear in the pictures, but it looked really disgusting and still was delicious, strange world ;)
I would not call this a recipe, but I give you directions on what to do to create eyeball jelly:

Eyeball Pot

lychees (peeled&pitted), cranberries

cherry juice (or any other red juice)
agar agar
(amount of juice, agar and sugar depends on the jar used)

1. prepare eyeballs:
stuff cranberries in lychees and put in a jar
2. prepare jelly:
bring cherry juice, sugar and agar to the boil then immediately pour into jar and store in fridge overnight

Montag, 29. Oktober 2012

The one with the first scary story I read - MoFo Book Challenge #28 - The Black Spider by Jeremias Gotthelf

Vegan MoFo is nearly over and as Halloween approaches I wanted to add some scary books.

Gotthelf's novella for sure is one of the less known books so I will give you a short summary: Due to adverse conditions a small village decides to sign a contract with the devil and promises him an unbaptized child in return. As a seal the devil kisses a woman called Christine, who signed the contract for the village, on her cheek. When the first child is born the priest rescues it by baptizing it right after birth. Immediately Christine's face begins to hurt and a black mark in shape of a spider appears on her cheek. When a second child is baptized right away the mark bursts open and thousands of small spiders are released. Soon the villager's cows die and a lot of accidents happen, so Christine and the villagers decide to immolate the next child. The priest is aware of this plan and rescues the child by sprinkling holy water all over it, but when the water bedabbles Christine, she is transformed into a black spider. The priest slings her away from the child but instantly dies due to the touch of the black spider. The spider flees and kills everything that touches her: animals as well as humans. The terror continues but when the spider approaches the house of an old pious woman, the woman catches her and crams her into a timber and even though the lady dies the spider is locked for several centuries, until a farm hand opens her cage and the killing starts from the scratch...

Of course this is an easy but effective Halloween food idea and it is more a food styling than a recipe. You might use it for any type of insect (I first thought I should make it for Kafka's The Metamorphosis but it just didn't feel right to declassify it to a scary story) and it is a very quick gimmick for a Halloween party..

dates, pitted
pretzels, in pieces
dark melted chocolate

break pretzels into parts (try to keep them as long as possible) and stuff them into date until the spider is able to stand upright; cover with melted chocolate and leave to cool for at least 1h

Sonntag, 28. Oktober 2012

The one with the book that contains the most intense emotions - MoFo Book Challenge #27 - Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Again a dish which is also part of VeganMofo's IronCheffing. Three ingredients were given: grapes, sunflower seeds and chilies.

I guess there is nothing left to say about Wuthering Heights except for: read it! (if you didn't do so by now!)
If you are anything like me you dislike cheesy love stories. I cannot say how disgusted I feel when I have to read cuddling scenes and lover's oaths. It is not that I am against love as a matter of novels, I just cannot stand the totality of presenting it as the foremost goal of every woman's life to find a guy who makes you feel complete. 
Having this said Emily Brontë's book is outstanding: it isn't (even though sometimes it is classified as one) a love story at all, even though love is a matter of the book, I personally thought it is one of the most outstanding descriptions of human evil and even more astonishing against the backdrop of Freud not being born at that time. Emily Brontë is one of the writers with great observation skills when it comes to human behavior and, even better, one of these that are able to put these observations into words. 
What I loved most about Wuthering Heights is, that there is no real identification object and this is what makes this book so special and outstanding, It gives you the ability to have an overall look at the events without rooting with somebody. This book is an absolutely unconventional reading experience, a classic by all means and I love to recall this again and again.

Is there anything that yells "English teatime" louder than scones? These tiny and fluffy delicacies are absolutely uncommon where I live and so there is no store-bought vegan version around. Usually they are made with butter/margarine but I do not use margarine (as long as I can avoid it) , and the version with oil worked perfectly well. Unfortunately I did not have the time to allow them to cool in the fridge, so they lost shape a bit, but days are getting shorter and shorter and I wanted to make sure to have enough natural light to get a presentable photo.... I am not a big photo artist anyway but I try my best. I also am not big fan of raisins, but the Iron Chef Challenge asked for grapes in all shapes and raisins are grapes, right? Anyway there was a batch left that had to go anyway...
I loved the taste of these, they were not too sweet (so you might even have a savory spread on them), but I imagine they would also be perfect with vegan creme, creme cheese or curd and strawberries, I ate two of them right away, like small raisin buns, and they were perfect: fluffy and adorable.
The spread is a common combination of chocolate and chili and I used really spicy chilies. I guess the spread would also be a great in a combination with dark bread like pumpernickel.

Raisin Scones

250g all-purpose flour
1 pack baking powder
1 pinch of salt
2tbsp sugar
3tbsp oil
2tbsp raisins (more if you like)
1tsp lemon zest (optional)
60g soy yogurt
a few tbsp soy milk

mix all dry ingredients, then add soy yogurt and oil and mix well, carefully add soy milk until the dough reaches the texture of short pastry; roll out and use a round cookie cutter or a cup/glass to create round scones, allow to cool in the fridge for at least 30 min (to make sure they stay in shape, I didn't have the time so mine lost shape a bit), brush with soy milk and bake at 220°C for ~10min

Sweet&Spicy Sunflower Seeds Spread

200g sunflower seeds
2tbsp agave syrup
~1/2cup almond milk
1 pinch of salt
3 tbsp chopped chocolate
2 chopped spicy chilies
bring ~1l water to the boil, add sunflower seeds and cook for at least 30min; strain off the water, carefully add almond milk and blend until the spread becomes creamy (add milk bit by bit, to make sure the paste doesn't get too smooth, eventually add more almond milk), add salt, and chillies and mix well, wait until the spread has cooled, then add chocolate (or it will melt just ike mine....)

The one with the best books to read on a snowy day - MoFo Book Challenge #26 - Simone de Beauvoir & Jean-Paul Sartre

This night we had our first snow over here in Germany and even though it is already gone, I enjoyed a nice and cold Sunday afternoon reading on my couch and sipping hot apple juice. I wish life would be like that every day. I guess I should be able to tell you the reason why it is exactly Sartre and Beauvoir which I prefer to accompany me, when I spend my Sundays wrapped in a blanket, but I cannot, I just grab one of their books and start reading and I guess they would not mind, as they have been a couple for the longest times of their lives (having the most desirable relationship). I enjoy Sartre's existentialist view on the world and Beauvoir's demystifying view on feminism and writing in general and even though I already read these books a few times, I cannot help myself but have to read them again and again. Maybe Beauvoir is one of the writers I identify the most with.Of course their boos are classics, not only for those who are interested in feminism and philosophy but also for everyone in search of a good read.

So this post was calling for winter food: Things to munch and sip while reading.

Hot Apple Juice

1/2l apple juice (or: 2/3 cider, 1/3 apple juice)
1/2 tsp glogg condiment
cinnamon stick and star anise

Nougat Cookies

100g all-purpose flour
50g grated almonds
40g sugar
50g icing sugar
1 pack cinnamon sugar
~70ml sunflower oil
1tsp baking powder
~2tbsp plant milk

nougat, dark chocolate

mix all dry ingredients, then add oil, mix well and add plant milk, the pastry shouldn't be too dry (otherwise add more milk), nor too wet (add more flour); form small balls and bake at 180° for~7-10min

remove from the oven, allow to cool, then spread nougat on one cookie, put another cookie on top and dunk into melted chocolate, leave to cool on a cookie rack