Finally my mission to make a gingerbread house is completed...:)! But I have to say it was a LOT of work of several days. I am nevertheless happy with the result of my first gingerbread house ever. Well..., it's actually not really my 'first' gingerbread house, I tried to make one last year on Christmas Eve and thought I would be able to do everything in one night (template, baking, decorating, etc), but after one of the roofs broke and fell apart, I gave up completing the house. This year I was wiser and gave myself several days to complete the gingerbread house project.

The gingerbread house in the making...

The house after I added some sugar icing, sweets and muesli for the chimney.

Bilbo's house from The Hobbit, German Fachwerkhaus and of course Hansel and Gretel's candy house came into my mind when I decorated the gingerbread house.

Can you see why? Does the round 'oreo' cookie door remind you of Bilbo's little house? - at least a little bit... ;)

Hopefully the handpainted timber makes it look like a Fachwerkhaus.

And the candy-covered roof like the witch's house in Hansel and Gretel....

I will not write much as I am at the moment in my MIL's house. But I want to wish you all a lovely Christmas time with your family and friends.

And one more time, in German, Frohe Weihnachten, lovely readers :)!

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Christmas is on its way... This means roasted duck time - my favourite German dish ever :)! Starting from November onward, you would start seeing duck or goose in the menu when you go to restaurants. The Germans usually eat roasted duck or goose on Christmas Eve, in some parts of Germany they also eat fried carp, but since I am not that fond of fish, I have never tried this other specialty. Last year I made traditional roasted duck with potato dumplings and red cabbage. For this year I wanted to make something slightly different, that's why I decided to use the homemade orange marmalade that my MIL gave me to make Ente à l'orange - Duck with orange sauce, a few days ago.

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 duck (ca.1.5 kg)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 shallots, chopped coarsely
  • 2 tbs orange marmalade
  • 100 ml orange juice
  • 150 ml chicken stock
  • 150 ml white wine
  • 100 ml cream
  • dried chopped marjoram
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs flour, mixed with 3 tbs of water
  • Rub the duck with salt, pepper, orange marmalade and marjoram.
  • Put the duck into a roasting tin. Pour orange juice, chicken stock, white wine, chopped shallots and the bay leaf into the tin.
  • Roast the duck at medium temperature (150 C) for 2 - 2.5 hours. Check every half hour and keep adding hot water (even better, chicken stock) over the duck. I would say, 50-100 ml per half hour.
  • Remove the cooked duck from the roasting tin. Cover.
  • Sauce: Transfer the juice from duck into a saucepan and let it boil, adding cream, sugar, salt, pepper and the flour/water mixture.
  • Serve with potato dumplings, red cabbage and orange slices.

This meal is so festive and somehow always makes me feel happy eating it :)!

Look at my balcony! Isn't it pretty? I am really hoping for a white Christmas...!

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I am a fan of schnitzel, be it chicken, pork or veal. In Germany, you can get schnitzel in almost any restaurant you go to. The most popular ones here are Wiener Schnitzel (the good ol' Viennese Schnitzel traditionally made from veal and served with lemon slice), Zigeuner Schnitzel (which means gypsy-stlye schnitzel, usually served with slightly spicy sauce with paprika and onions) and Jäger Schnitzel (or 'Hunter schnitzel' dished up with creamy mushroom sauce).

Last week I made pork schnitzel with salad. Making schnitzel is actually quite easy, because you don't need many ingredients: just meat cutlets, eggs, flour and bread crumbs and you're ready to fry the schnitzel.

Ingredients (serves 2 - 4)
  • 4 pork cutlets, pounded to 0.5 cm thickness
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • Oil for frying
  1. Set the eggs, flour and bread crumbs in three different shallow bowls.
  2. Add oyster sauce, salt and pepper to the egg bowl and mix well.
  3. One at a time, dredge the cutlet in the flour, then dip in the egg mixture and coat with the bread crumbs.
  4. Repeat step 3 one more time (optional).
  5. Deep-fry the cutlets until golden brown.
  6. Serve with salad.

By the way, adding oyster sauce doesn't make the schnitzel taste 'asian' in any way. The sauce adds good flavour to the schnitzel which is usually rather bland. And if you want a healthier version, you can pan-fry the schnitzel instead of deep-frying it.

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Germany has been covered by snow for about 2 weeks now. It's very very cold, but it does look pretty...! When I look around, everything is white, the trees, the cars, the streets... I hope the snow will stay until Christmas.

I made shrimp bisque a few days ago. I was (and actually still am) in the mood for eating something soupy and warm. It's a very tasty yet easy-to-prepare appetiser, which would delight anyone, especially during winter time.

I added some 'soup pearls' to my shrimp bisque. Basically 'soup pearls' are like round croûtons. I got to know these gems when I visited my MIL and she treated me with a bowl of delicious chicken broth topped with soup pearls. A real pleasingly crunchy addition to your soups :)!

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 4-5 tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 can (peeled and seeded) tomatoes
  • 500 g shrimps, peeled and deveined
  • 1 l chicken stock (or seafood stock)
  • 150 ml white wine
  • 125 ml double cream
  • 2 tbs cognac
  • 1 tbs butter
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 tbs dried tarragon
  • 1 tbs Crème fraîche
  • 2 tbs flour (mixed with 50 ml of water)
  • Soup pearls
  • Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add chopped onion and carrot. Sauté until soft.
  • Add shrimps and tomatoes and cook under medium heat for around 3 minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock, wine, cream and tarragon. Cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Puree the soup mixture in a food processor.
  • Return the pureed soup into the pot. Add salt, pepper, butter, cognac and crème fraîche. Stir for about 1 minute.
  • To thicken the soup, add the flour+water mixture to the soup and stir for another 1 minute.
  • Serve the soup hot. Garnish with soup pearls and cream.

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You have never heard of Thai-style pasta before? Well, me too :)! The only thing Thai about this pasta is the Thai chili paste that I use. The rest of the ingredients is quite typical Italian.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 200 g pasta, boiled until al dente
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 100 g prawns
  • 150 ml cream
  • 2 tbs Thai chili paste with soy bean oil*
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 tbs Maggi vegetable granules
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • 150 g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Black pepper to taste

*This is the Thai chili paste I use. If you cannot find this paste, be creative and find a different type of Asian chili paste and create your own East-West pasta combo.

  • Heat olive oil on medium heat.
  • Add minced garlic and prawns. Sauté until fragrant.
  • Add Thai chili paste, cream, Maggi granules, sugar and chopped hard-boiled eggs. Stir and then let it simmer for 1 minute.
  • Toss in the pasta, Parmesan cheese, black pepper and dried oregano. Sauté for about 1 minute.
  • Serve immediately and garnish with some cherry tomatoes and salad greens.

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Low-carbs dinner (well, minus the corns!)... Very easy to make and quite healthy too! You only need good quality beef steak and lots of greens (and reds and yellows too in my case ;)). I love to add mozzarella cheese and dried herbs such as basil, majoram or thyme to my salad. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and black pepper and voilà, your dinner is ready!

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I participated in a Korean (food) photo contest some time ago. This contest was organised by Maangchi, the online Korean food goddess :). I sent two pictures, one from my Piggy Pork buns post and the other one from my Kimchi mandu post. I was lucky and I got the 4th and 9th place...! Two days ago I received two big boxes from Sempio Foods, a Korean food company which sponsored Maangchi's photo contest. I was so very happy... :D!!! Lookie what I got...!

I got 4 bottles of soy sauce, 8 bottles of drinking black vinegar with 4 different flavours: Quince/Citrus, Red ginseng, Wild Grapes and Pomegranate (need to try them, I have never in life drunk black vinegar...), 4 bottles of seasoning soy sauce (for soups and stir-frying), hot-pepper paste, soy-bean paste, grilled seaweed and 3 sachets of instant seasoning sauce.

I tried one of the instant sachets today. Since my knowledge of Korean is zero, I had to check the Sempio website to find out the names of each instant sauce ;). The one below is Mokpo Nakji-Bokkeum sauce or Spicy Stir-Fried Baby Octopus in English.

The sauce tastes great but extremely hot...!! I drank 2 litres of water while eating the stir-fried squid - this was a mistake I suppose, since I have heard that water would only make it worse and we should drink milk instead to neutralise the biting sensation. I felt bloated afterwards, but it was nevertheless a very nice meal :).

I used 800 g of squid, 2 tbs oil, 1 medium onion and spring onions plus the sauce to make this dish.

I ate the spicy squid with rice together with the grilled seaweed which I also got from Sempio. I absolutely adore the seaweed, it was crispy, crunchy and slightly salty. Just delicious!

Thank you, Maangchi and Sempio!!

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Inspired by Bakerella to make some cupcake pops, especially after I got her adorable Cake Pops book :)! My cake pops didn't turn out as pretty as hers, but I am nevertheless still quite proud of my first cupcake pops. It was fun to make...:)!

My cupcake pops require no baking. You only need a package of Oreo, cream cheese and a food processor. The dough needs to resemble play dough in consistency. It's extremely easy to make and tastes very chocolaty, slightly gooey and very YUMMY! But only if you like Oreo, of course!
After you are done with the dough, the rest is history - simply extra fun-time in the kitchen, decorating the cake pops with different types of icings and sprinkles.

I decorated mine with dark chocolate, white chocolate (with a bit of red food colouring), smarties and colourful sprinkles.

"Hmmm, which cupcake pop should I have now??" says Tilly the Bear from the Cupcake-Pop Land.

The teddy bear is made of fondant, simply there for the sake of decoration! But she's such a cutie, isn't she :)?

I received this 'Lovely Blog Award' from Wow, the second one for this week...!! Thank you, Eatgreek! I would love to also pass on this award to 15 other food bloggers, whom I like - I have much, much more than 15, but I have to follow the rule - only 15 bloggers... So here they are, in no particular order:

1. Anncoo
2. Bentolicious
3. Enak2 Lovers
4. Indonesia Eats
5. Mochachocolatarita
6. Kitchen Corner
7. Roti n Rice
8. J3ss Kitch3n
9. My Kitchen Snippets
10. My Little Space
11. Hamaree Rasoi
12. Nasi Lemak Lover
13. Teczcape
14. Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice
15. Belzy's Kitchen

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Otak-otak is a popular Indonesian street-food, originated from Palembang, a city in the South-Sumatran island, known for its fish-based delicacies. Since my mum comes from Palembang, I grew up eating and loving those fish-based snacks from Palembang, even though fish has actually never been a preferred palate of mine.

Otak-otak is one Palembangnese snack that I very much enjoy. It is made from fish paste (usually from mackerel), mixed with minced shallots, green onions, egg white, coconut milk and tapioca flour. This mixture is then wrapped in banana leaf and subsequently grilled to perfection.

Making otak-otak at home is actually quite simple. I was rather reluctant to try in the beginning, but my mum told me that it's really very easy, as long as you have a stock of banana leaves and a non-stick pan (yes, you don't need charcoal to grill these sweeties...!)

Ingredients (makes 20)

  • 500 g fish paste (mackerel)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 150 ml coconut milk
  • 100 ml water
  • 5 shallots / 1 medium red onion, minced
  • 4-5 tbs chopped green onions
  • 150 g tapioca flour
  • 1tbs oyster sauce (optional)
  • Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
  • Banana leaves for wrapping (cut into 10x10 cm)
No-cook peanut sauce
  • 4 tbs peanut butter
  • 100 ml boiling water
  • 3-4 tbs sambal oelek
  • 2 tbs vinegar
  • 3 tbs sweet soy sauce
  • 1 tbs lime juice


  • Mix the ingredients well (except the banana leaves, of course!).
  • Place about 1.5 tbs otak-otak paste in the centre of a 10x10 cm banana leaf.
  • Fold the leaf as the pictures above.
  • Staple the top and bottom parts of the leaf.
  • 'Grill' the otak otak on a non-stick pan (7-8 minutes on each side).
No-cook Peanut Sauce
  • Simply mix all the ingredients and stir well. That's it. If you want the elaborate version, check this out.

Usually people in Palembang eat their otak-otak with 'cuko' - a spicy sauce made from vinegar, palm sugar, minced garlic and chillies. As I didn't have any palm sugar in stock, I decided to make peanut sauce instead, which is just as tasty...!

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