Marizpan Shortbread

Tonight’s experiment with flour…after homemade pasta last night, I was inspired to try an old faithful cookie — with a twist. Marzipan is plentiful and cheap in German grocery stores, and it’s also very fatty — so why not substitute that for some of the butter?

I made a small batch, with somewhat approximate measurements, so I’m sure the recipe could be easily improved.

Here’s what I did:

Preheat oven (or in my case “oven”) to 200 C / 400 F
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter (approximately)
1/8 cup marzipan
1 tbsp hazelnut bits

Cream sugar, flour, half the butter and marzipan together. Add the rest of the butter bit by bit until dough holds its shape when pressed together. Roll or press dough out on a flat surface, then cut out individual cookies and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes at 200C.

There you have it! Almondelicious!

It's Even Missing the Kitchen Sink!

Our German apartment included a bare kitchen room when M. rented it, and what was a minor inconvenience for him is now a major hassle for me. I’m home all day, and I cook more, anyway. Our current kitchen arrangement is about on par with the best camping kitchens I’ve seen set up: yes, you can make it work, and at first it’s a fun challenge — but eventually you just want a proper kitchen sink. With a drain. On a stable, level, counter-height counter. (Right now, we wash dishes in the bathroom — because that’s what you do when you don’t have a kitchen sink.)

So we don’t have a kitchen installed yet. But we finally, finally have a time-line and a plan… I’ve spent countless hours pouring over the Ikea documentation, looking up all sorts of German words, and trying to figure out exactly what should go where. Eventually, I even found good information about how to use a phone-based service for ordering the kitchen; originally we’d thought we’d have to go into the Ikea store and bring all the supplies home ourselves. (The nearest Ikea is about an hour away by train + bus.) So today I had a lovely chat — in English! — today with an Ikea kitchen representation who reviewed our plan and said it looks great. And yes, not everyone in Germany speaks English. I’ve found that it’s very common among people who deal in any capacity with tourists; but buying a kitchen is something that I suspect tourists seldom do. In fact, I’d written an email to Ikea in (likely) rather poor German in which I’d mentioned that it might be better if someone who spoke English could call me back — and when the representative did call, she mentioned that she was the only person in her office with any English skills.

Since I plan to document our kitchen construction process, here are the “before” photos:

Note the plastic bag with packaging trash on the door handle, the paper bag with bio trash on the floor, and the bottles in a corner with nowhere to call home until they get recycled. There’s also usually an unkempt pile of paper trash, but I took that out this morning. The stovetop lives on a patio table, which will be excellent for dining outside — but which is too wobbly to chop anything on, so the only suitable chopping surface is the top of the refrigerator. Like I said, it all works — but it’s far from ideal.