It’s March and Flo is in Australia. He’s been away a week and at the end of this week, we’ll be reunited again in New Zealand – our epic holiday of 2018! I can’t wait! Also, more than ever before, I miss Flo. I miss preparing breakfast for him each morning before he runs off to work, I miss anticipating him coming home, I miss his cuddles, I miss watching Netflix with him, I miss gossiping with him, I miss his mess, the whirr of his shaver every few mornings, sharing the nitty gritties of my day with him…

I think it’s good to miss people. I mean in the sense that it makes us realise just how much the person means to us. And usually, it’s their quirks that we miss most. Sure, there’s WhatsApp and Skype and FaceTime. They make things easier but they don’t close the physical distance and sometimes, it’s the presence of the person simply being there that makes all the difference.

Anyway, we might already be in March but we all know that February is the month of Love. Flo and I were adamant about not doing anything special for Valentine’s Day. Not to take the romance out of it for any of you but I guess we prefer not to buy into the hype of it all. The price of roses soar, restaurants serve up Valentine’s Menus that are ridiculously overpriced, and every other table is served the same food, with a bouquet of flowers for the girl, and hard-earned money sitting in the guy’s wallet waiting to be spent on the expensive date.

I love the idea of having a day set aside for love but I feel that romantic love can and should be celebrated every day, or as often as possible. It is shown in the little gestures from one person to another – the thoughtful hidden notes, the kiss given for no reason, the hug after a hard day’s work. It saddens me that this day ends up causing heightened loneliness for some, when there is more than one kind of love – friendship love, companionship love, sibling love, love between parent and child…

So anyway, Flo and I decided on no candle lit dinner and no need for special gifts. Which is why even this sweet, baby pink gerbera he got for me on the evening of Feb 14 took me by surprise. It was very thoughtful of him although totally uncalled for.

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But the fact that it was totally unexpected made it that extra bit special. I ended up drying this flower for one of our empty vases. Ok it doesn’t dry up quite so pretty but still, it’s the sentimental value it carries that has been preserved.

Also, Flo wanted to cook for me that night too. He mentioned it the weekend before but I told him that if he really wanted to, why not over the Chinese New Year weekend when there’s be more time and he wouldn’t have to rush from work home to prep.

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And that’s what he did. Sunday evening he spent about an hour over, refusing any help from me whatsover, to slave away in the kitchen. He boiled potatoes, finely diced beetroot, gherkins, onions and corned beef, and finished with a fried egg.

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This, my friends, is Labskaus. A dish from Hamburg. A comfort food for my dear boyfriend. It’s not much of a looker for sure but the beautiful egg on top definitely pretties the dish up.

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The corned beef reminds me a little of dog food but mashed in with the potatoes and chunks of beets and gherkins, it tasted a lot better. This is like mashed potatoes on steroids. It’s perfect for cold weather I can imagine because its quite heavy. In Hamburg, they sometimes serve this with more gherkins and/or beetroot and/or pickled herring on the side to cut through the richness of the dish. Here, the egg does just that.

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Flo had two eggs. I had to include this picture because they look like eyes. Or boobies.

There was more than enough for another two or three meals! I never grew up eating this and while I can appreciate its flavours, and all of Flo’s efforts into making it, it’s not something I imagine I will crave for in general. That said, I did try some when we were in Hamburg last summer but Flo’s version trumps the one we had at Blockbräu.

With Flo away now, I’ve been keeping myself busy with work…

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Pandan Cheesecake with Gula Melaka Drizzle
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Lychee Cake with Rosewater Buttercream
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Chanteclair V.2
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Using up Mandarin Oranges in a Mandarin Orange Butter Cake
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Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Miso Caramel Sauce
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The last of my Mandarin Oranges were made into curd so a Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Orange Curd

Speaking of love and how roses are synonymous with love, it seems apt to then finish this post with a recipe for these light, tender Pistachio Rose Shortbread.

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This recipe is so easy and because of the weather here, and my warm fingers, I tend not to like using my hands to rub the butter in when I make shortbread. So this method is ideal for me and all I need is my trusty Kitchenaid to do the mixing until the dough just about comes together.

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Pistachio Rose Shortbread (Makes about 12-16 2″ round cookies)

250g salted butter, softened
80g caster sugar,
1 tsp rosewater
250g plain flour, plus more to dust
125g cornflour 

To Finish:
Rose Petals, finely chopped
Pistachios, Finely Chopped

  1. Line a baking tray and preheat oven to 170 deg C.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together. 
  3. Mix in rosewater. 
  4. Add in both flours and mix until the dough just about comes together.
  5. Remove dough from mixer and gently hand-knead to form a smooth dough. Then chill 10-15 min. 
  6. Roll dough out to about 5mm thick and use a cookie cutter to cut. Place dough onto lined baking tray and sprinkle with chopped pistachios and rose petals. Press lightly into dough so that they stick after baking. 
  7. Freeze on tray for about 30 min before baking for 15-20 min until lightly browned. 
  8. Remove to cool. Store in an airtight container up to week although I’m sure they’ll be all gone by then!

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The light floral flavours play nicely on the tongue and the crunchy of earthy pistachios provide not only texture, but a pop of colour. Make sure to use good quality, flavoursome butter for these shortbreads because there’s nothing like a beautiful, creamy, buttery buttery buttery shortbread cookie! That’s love at first bite for me. ❤

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