one more poem!

Memere bakes three loaves of bread each morn before we rise
and says the yeast she puts inside will open doughy eyes.
Her flour’s packed with lots of power to give us energy
and her whole-wheat which we all eat is golden alchemy.
Says she likes to add her touch of secret blended spice
tells us bread is like the earth each human but a slice.
And while I like to butter mine some have a sweeter tooth
that craves a ton of cinnamon like sins we tend to do
that pollutes the nutriment and ruins all the flavour
when simple home ingredients are meant for us to savour.
Even though we’re separate slices of the same big loaf
Memere says when pieced together it forms a greater whole.


Someone gave me a card with a few poems for a recent birthday which I thought I share here:

Bread vs. Beer



single loaf

of bread tells

the tragic story of

grains that could have

been turned into beer

but ultimately



Raisin Bread Break-uo

Raisin Bread of which I bought

The wrong one.

You are white I wanted wheat

You are hard, I prefer soft

I will return and buy a new

Raisin Bread

But you,

I will never forget!

Eat less bread?

kitchen = key to victory
Someone gave me this card sometime as reward for putting up with the sometimes terrible ‘treatment’ (or so it would seem) on offer from cancer clinics. What a terrible time it must have been to force such measures! It was a very good and timely reminder of the ravages of war. So I thought I put it up here. You can see the picture when clicking on the blue text.

Recipes for Xmas Biscuits and plans for next year!

Weinachtsplatschen (Xmas biscuits) bake

Jobs to be done the day before:

Label everything

Poppyseed delights (30 mins) – mix walnuts/raisins and rum. Grind poppyseeds.

Gelee Ringe (30 mins)- prepare dough; cover and place in fridge

Schoko Makronen (30 mins) – grate choc, cover and place in fridge

Vanilla Kipferl (1 hour) – mix dough, cover, place in fridge. Grind vanilla sugar.

Pistachio meringues (30 mins) – grind pistachios and cover

Zimt Sterne (30 mins) – prepare dough, shape into stars and cover – leave in cool place.

Extra Equipment needed

2-3 egg white separators

Wire racks – as many as possible


Hand held mixers

Big bowls & big spoons

Dip chocolate as soon as poss, maybe just after lunch, so it dries.

Bring many small tins to take biscuits home in.

Sainsbury’s order in advance made it easier as did an advance planning meeting.



Gelee Ringe (this will make 80)

1kg butter

700g sugar

6 eggs

peel of 2 lemons

1500g flour

4 tsp baking powder

Raspberry, Redcurrant and Apricot Jam


Sieve flour and mix with baking powder, add butter, eggs, sugar and lemon peel and work into smooth dough. Cover in cling film and let it rest in the cold for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius

Roll out the dough on a little flour to about 2 – 3 mm. Cut out cookies with a medium size cookie cutter. Half of these cookies need cutting out with a smaller cookie cutter to make up the top layer of the cookie.

Place the cookies on a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake for 10 – 12 minutes.

(Optional: Dab with melted butter and cover with icing sugar.) Thinly cover the cookie base with Raspberry or Apricot jam before placing the cookie top on top. 

Dust with icing sugar.

key notes: make dough day before; needs two people to make as they take most of the day; do in bakery



Sterntaler (not made in 2017)


300g plain flour 
100g sugar 
1 tsp vanilla sugar 275g unsalted butter 100g ground almonds



Mix flour, sugar, vanilla sugar, butter and ground almonds into a smooth dough using a mixer and your hands. Cover in cling film and leave to rest in a cool place for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 175 – 180 degrees Celsius.

Roll out the dough on a little flour to approx. 2mm and cut out with medium size round cookie cutter.

Place cookies on baking tray covered in baking paper and bake for 5 minutes or until pale golden colour.

Leave to cool on a cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar.



Schoko Makronen (we made 80)

9 egg whites

188g sugar

188g chocolate

375g ground almonds

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Peel of 2 lemons

Peel of 2 oranges Preheat oven to 150C

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, set aside. In separate bowl mix sugar, ground chocolate, ground almonds, cinnamon. Add lemon and orange peel to taste (definitely a couple tbsp all in all!)

Carefully lift the egg whites under and mix the dough.

Fill into piping bag and squirt small heaps onto a baking tray covered in baking paper. Bake for 25 minutes at 150 degree celsius.

Leave to cool on a cooling rack.




Zimt Sterne (we made 220)

9 egg whites

750g icing sugar

3 tsp vanilla sugar

9 drops almond oil

3 level tsp cinnamon

1500g ground hazelnuts


Whisk egg whites until stiff, gradually add icing sugar.Take away 10 tbsp of the mixture for the icing of the cookies later.

To the rest of the mix add the spices and ground hazelnuts and knead into a smooth dough. It should not be sticky.

Roll out quite thick (5 – 10mm) on icing sugar, cut out cookies with a wet star shaped cookie cutter. Place cookies on baking tray covered in baking paper. (Leave to dry for about 1 hour before baking.)

Carefully coat the cookies with the egg white/icing sugar mix set aside earlier, taking care not to go over the edges. (Leave to dry for another 20 minutes.)

Preheat oven to 120 – 150 degrees Celsius and bake for 20 minutes. The icing on top of the cookie should not change colour and the cookies should remain soft.

Leave to cool on a cooling rack. Store in layers separated by greaseproof paper in tin boxes.

Keynotes: make dough the day before and the stars – keep cool



Vanille Kipferl (this makes 220)


100g ground almonds

100g ground hazelnuts

5600g flour

1400g sugar

2 pinches of salt

400g unsalted butter

4 egg yolks

10 tsp vanilla sugar

1 cup icing sugar


Mix ground almonds, ground hazelnuts, sugar, salt, butter and egg yolk together, kneading the butter into the mix. Gradually add the sieved flour, knead until you have a smooth dough. Cover in cling film and allow to rest in a cool place for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Cut the dough into half and form two long rolls. Cut rolls into small even sections and shape them into small ‘smiles’.

Place on baking tray covered in baking paper, back for 10 – 12 minutes until they are a light golden colour.

Dust with vanilla and icing sugar mix while still warm! Leave to cool on cooling rack.

Key notes: make dough the day before; make vanilla sugar day before (prep takes an hour); when you take them out of the oven, dust with icing sugar while still warm and keep dusting with more as the biscuits will absorb them.

Florentiner (this will make 90)

300g unsalted butter

750ml whipping cream

600g sliced/splintered almonds

300g candied lemon

300g candied orange

750g sugar

6 tsp vanilla sugar

11/2 tsp cinnamon

390g plain flour

375g chocolate


Place cream and butter in a pan and slowly bring to boil, reduce heat and keep them heated.

In a separate bowl mix all the other ingredients and add them to the hot cream and butter mixture, allow to simmer for a couple of minutes.

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. 
Place the pan with the mixture in a ‘bain marie’ to keep it from setting.

Place small heaps of the mixture on a baking tray covered in baking paper. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes.

Allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Meanwhile grate the chocolate into a bowl and melt it over a hot water bath. Dip the cooled down Florentiner cookies halfway into the hot chocolate, or turn them over and coat the base in chocolate. Place back on cooling rack to dry.

Pistachio Meringue Biscuits (this will make 105)

300g unsalted pistachios

3 limes (zest and 3 tbsps juice)

3 egg whites

3 pinches of salt

375g icing sugar

225g ground almonds

Ground the pistachios into a medium fine meal. Wash the limes with hot water, dry them and peel the zest into a small bowl. Keep the limes handy.

In a separate bowl mix the egg whites with salt and whisk until stiff, gradually add the icing sugar and keep whisking it for 1 minute. Add 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice. Set aside 300g whisked egg white and 6 tablespoons of ground or chopped pistachios.

Mix the remaining egg white with the ground almonds and pistachios and lime peel and leave to stand in the fridge for 1 hour. 

Roll the dough into small balls of approximately 1cm width. Use sugar on your hands to prevent the dough from sticking!! Place the balls onto a baking tray covered with baking paper and use a fork to squeeze them flat. Use the leftover egg white to coat the cookies and sprinkle with the leftover pistachios. Leave to dry at room temperature for 1 hour. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place the baking tray at the bottom of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Leave to cool down before taking them off the baking paper.

Keynote: do first thing of the day as it needs to be in fridge for an hour and then left at room temp for an hour before baking

Coconut Macaroons (we didn’t do these in 2017)


8 large egg whites

200g sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract (optional)

950g sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line two baking trays with baking paper. 

In a large bowl whisk the egg whites, add sugar and the vanilla (and almond) extract on medium-high speed until foamy and the sugar is mostly dissolved. (at least 2 mins)

Carefully and thoroughly fold in the coconut to make an even batter. 

Scoop 4 – 6 tbsp of the batter onto baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart.


Bake until lightly golden brown, for about 20 minutes. Rotate the baking tray for even baking. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.

Optional variations:

– Funfetti Macaroons: Add 50g of sprinkles to the batter 
- White Chocolate Cranberry Macaroons: add 75g of dried cranberries to the batter, bake as directed, melt 100g white chocolate and drizzle over cooled macaroons.



Nürnberger Elisen Lebkuchen

1kg ground almonds

1kg sugar

280g mixed candied peel

20g ground cinnamon

10g ground cardamon

10g ground cloves

140g flour

peel of 2 lemons

20 egg whites

For the glaze: 
chocolate: melt 300g (or more) dark/milk or white chocolate over hot water.

Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Mix all the ‘dry’ ingredients together in a bowl. 
Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl and then carefully mix in the dry ingredients. It should be a dense batter. 

Cover the rice paper in batter and bake immediately for 25 – 30 minutes. Don’t let them dry out. 

Cover with chocolate glaze once cooled down.

Key note: use orange plastic brush to glaze biscuits with choc or dip. Both work.

Stuffed Dates (will make 120)

2kg organic Medjool Dates (juicier

whole almonds and/or walnuts,



dried apricot – chopped small

rose petals

desiccated coconut

125g chocolate

Carefully slice the dates open lengthwise and remove the pip. Stuff to your heart’s content and set aside.

Grate chocolate and melt over a hot water bath. Dip the stuffed dates into the chocolate, place on cooling rack to dry.



Mohnhäufchen (poppyseed delights)


16 tbsp. rum; 400g raisins, 300g chopped walnuts: Soak raisins and walnuts in rum in advance – add a bit more rum if necessary, and strain it off before mixing.

8 egg whites

400g of caster sugar

4 packets of vanilla sugar or a 4 teaspoons essence

4 tbsp ‘Sahnesteif’ something to make whipped cream stay whipped a bit longer.

400g ground poppy seeds (if we need to grind them maybe add a teaspoon of cornflour or similar to prevent them from turning into a paste.

80g flour

Oblaten (rice paper)

600g white chocolate covering.


Making it:

Beat egg whites until very stiff, slowly add vanilla sugar (if using, if essence add at the end with the walnuts and raisins) and sugar until completely dissolved and egg whites are very shiny. Add the soaked raisins and walnuts. Then fold in the poppy seeds and flour.

Take small mounds with a teaspoon and place them on the rice paper.

Bake at 180 C for about 20 mins. Let cool, and when cold, cover with white chocolate.



Keynote: soak chopped walnuts, raisins and rum night before and label it! Grind poppyseeds day before.

RUM RINGLETS (we didn’t do these in 2017)


600g flour

600g ground almonds

600g sugar

600g butter

3 pinches of salt

3tbs rum

glaze: 600g icing sugar, 6-12 tbsp rum; chopped almonds



Sieve flour and mix with sugar and ground almonds; add rum and butter chopped into small pieces. Work into a smooth dough. Cover in clingfilm and let rest in cold for an hour.

Pre-heat oven to 200C

Roll out dough on to a little flour to about 5mm. cut out rings with medium size cookie cutter, 4cm. Place cookies on a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake for 8 minutes. Allow to cool down.

Mix icing sugar with rum into paste and cover biscuits, decorate with shopped almonds….


Christmas Biscuit Baking 2017

Another very successful biscuit baking day. There were 10 of us and with a bit of preparation the day before, we all worked hard from 10 – 6 yesterday and made 10 varieties of biscuits and some stuffed dates – a plentiful supply each of us and lucky family/friends for St Nicholas on Dec 6th.

We made:

Zimt Sterne

Pistachio meringues



Vanille Kipferl

Schoko Makronen


Swiss spelt candied orange xmas stockings!

Gelee Ringe


Stuffed dates

will upload recipes later






The curious case of the Bavarian Baker – Benjamin Rapaport

I once knew a gentleman who came from the West,

In fact I stayed with him and he made me his guest,

For three happy months I stayed in this nest,

I am grateful for the time I’ve had to rest.

The mornings were filled with the aroma of wheat,

And occasionally the smells of wild goat meat,

Feast and plenty was provided for me,

In addition I had some really good tea.

Glass bottles of milk were delivered in the morning,

It must have been as the day was dawning,

I was often up early but I never did see,

How these mystery bottles were delivered to me.

The garden is full of apples and pears,

As many as there are indeed stairs,

Nestled outside beyond the front door,

I was lucky enough to find some more,

Crouching down and stepping on twigs,

There were even the odd occasional figs.

I have hinted that this gentleman bakes bread

But not only that he is also well read.

From Friedman to Freud,

There was doesn’t seem to be a void,

Likely to modest to admit,

The greatness of his knowledge and wit.

The kindness of this gentleman is hard to explain,

A true altruist with no thought to gain,

Not only did I have a room in which to live,

I received what I did not expect him to give,

That is a truly wonderful friend,

With no mind to pretend,

Even as a brown leather sofa arrived in the van,

I was never asked to come up with another plan.

More recently I have been hearing some piano keys,

Whistling through the air with a chorus of trees,

Classical music is one of life’s joys,

Not merely an assembly of noise,

A good comparison would be to traditional choir,

Now that is something that I think is dire.

I feel that last line may not have been well received,

But wait there is this final retrieve.

Up until now I’ve neglected the rise,

That is to say the shining prize,

Of the scrumptious sourdough bakery bread,

Which I am happy to say I have often been fed.

The best bread in the world I have heard it been said

Or perhaps that was something I had instead read.

Every week there was a different kind or type of bread,

But there is something else I’d like to mention instead,

Bagels are a bread that are special to me,

For as long as I can remember they have filled me with glee,

Chewy and delicious and tasty as can be,

If only bagels could be grown on a tree,

It can sometimes be hard to find a bagel that is great,

Especially if like me you’re often up late,

However I now know a baker who has the right mix,

He has somehow learnt all the right tricks,

A Bavarian Baker who comes from the hills,

Has somehow, somewhere found the will,

After a lifetime of work inside of the psyche

To many it would have seemed unlikely,

That a baker he would one day become,

When all is said and all is done,

Not merely a passing fashion,

But more in keeping with a lifetime passion.