the “in between the years” (as the germans call it) time this year was different to last year. firstly, i got to spend more time on myself (as in: not in a relationship, i.e. no extended family that needs to be visited… yay!) and with close friends. which was a change of rut compared to the couple of years as a non-single. it’s a beautiful thing to be carried by friends and to be fully be able to lean on them. it needs a profound level of trust on both sides to be yourself, completely. with all your edges and curves, dark circles under eyes, sleepless nocturnal talking mode, snoring (potentially – i’m not saying i’m guilty myself) and dirty laundry. speaking of which; i’ve got some washing to do… two piles are waiting. duh.
i’m glad i got the chance to stay in the mountains for a couple of days, celebrating new year’s, going skiing and just enjoying good company. now that the two week holiday is coming to an end (it’s always imminent, the end, or as the germans – again – say: “everything has an end – but the sausage has two”. haha). i think it best to not to wallow in misery about the past, blissful days that are over, but to look forward to what’s ahead… work, for one, is going to be exciting and busy. and apart from that, there are a couple of weekends ahead that sure do account for some good extras.
by the way, have you accumulated any official or unofficial resolutions…? i officially don’t, but somehow unofficially, i still do. among the several, there’s this inner urge to save money for the future (and good luck with that) and maybe a change of rut in terms of location. but that’s just a current wishful thinking scenario, more likely. i’d never be able to move all my stuff, i’m a collector… it would be too painful to pack everything up. or literally impossible. i’m doomed to die in this place. not that i want to bring you down with death scenarios. i’m all cheerful, on my end! it’s a good beginning of a good year, that will come with a good middle and an even better end, i’m sure.
it’s official i’m a cream tea (here’s the last one i hosted) and scones crack, no need to elaborate. i’ve tried many a recipe from the bouchon bakery – for example these madeleines or the berry tartelettes here. but since i already have (several) good scones recipes, i figured i won’t need yet another. fine, i still tried it. it was different from all the others out there, firstly, no egg (most do add at least one egg). secondly, thomas keller makes you add crème fraîche. pretty genius of him, indeed. apparently that makes them lighter and fluffier. which only means one thing: you get to add more clotted cream on top, yay! oh, and the whimsy salmon puff pastry horns? super simple, but no need to tell anyone.
bouchon’s scones – my spiced version
recipe (actually adapted a tiny bit) from bouchon bakery
450 g flour
15 g baking powder
90 g sugar
230 g cold butter, cut into cubes
135 g heavy cream, plus additional for brushing
135 g crème fraîche
2 tbsp. gingerbread spice mix, optional
confectioner’s sugar for dusting, optional
place the flour, baking soda and sugar in a bowl and combine. add the butter and mix with a stand mixer on lowest setting to incorporate the butter increase to low and mix for about 3 minutes. if any large pieces of butter remain, break them up by hand. pour in the cream and crème fraîche and mix again, until the dough comes together. add the gingerbread spice, if using, and knead it into the dough a bit (to make swirls, it doesn’t need to look even). press dough into a block, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for about 2 hours, until firm.
preheat the oven to 160 c / 235 f. line a sheet pan with parchment. roll out the dough on a little flour, to about 2-3 cm thickness (the thicker, the better, but also, you get fewer scones), and cut with a cookie cutter. transfer to the sheet, brush with cream. thomas keller advises to freeze the cut scones at this stage for another 2 hours, and i think that would probably turn them very nice and fluffy (as the frozen butter melts more slowly when cold). but, hey, i couldn’t be bothered. also, my guests were arriving any minute! so i just baked them at this stage, and they turned out completely fine. bake for 25 to 28 minutes. serve warm. maybe dust them with a little confectioner’s sugar, as they do it at our favorite hotel beaur au lac in zurich.
mini salmon mousse puff pastry horns
1 puff pastry (square shape, rolled out)
200 g smoked salmon, finely chopped
1 cup crème fraîche
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1/2 lemon, juice
1 tbsp. horseradish
handful dill, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
12 mini horn shapes
cut the puff pastry into thin, long strips, then fold each around a horn shape. brush with egg wash (combining the egg with a little water). place on a sheet lined with parchment and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes at 220 c / 420 f. let cool.
in the meantime, prepare the salmon mousse: combine the salmon, crème fraîche and lemon juice in a bowl and process with a blender until smooth. season with horseradish and add the finely chopped dill. fold in the whipped cream, then season with salt and pepper, if necessary (depends on the saltiness of your salmon). refrigerate until used. fill the puff pastry horns only before serving, so they turn turn soggy and mushy. word. serve on a pretty plate, cake stand or etagère. with tea.