Recipe – How to make Slow Cooker King Cake

Hi,

A few days ago, I was looking for a slow cooker King Cake recipe and all I could find was Megan’s Crock Pot King Cake Fail. I knew that it is possible to bake yeast dough in a slow cooker because I made cinnamon pull-apart bread in it before, so I decided to ask the admin of the Slow Cooker Crock Pot Recipes Facebook Page if they had any idea how to tackle slow cooker King Cake. They never tried making it either, but suggested cooking it on low for 4 hours.

Slow Cooker King Cake

I used Jo’s Mardi Gras King Cake recipe and followed the instructions. It makes two King Cakes, which is why I only made half the recipe for the pastry, but not for the filling – I love lots of filling! I didn’t use Jo’s frosting and made maple frosting instead.

When I was done rolling and shaping my King Cake ring, I buttered the surface of my slow cooker to prevent the cake from sticking to it. Then, I carefully transferred the ring-shaped King Cake into the slow cooker and inserted a cylinder made of tin foil and covered with parchment paper into the middle of the ring. I put the lid on the slow cooker and waited for 10 minutes until I turned it on low.

KingCakepastry

I left my King Cake like that for 2.5 hours (on low). This was when I noticed the edges getting a little too brown and so I just turned the cake upside down and left it like that for one more hour (also on low).

KingCakeafterbaking

I removed the King Cake and put it on parchment paper. While it was cooling a little, I prepared the maple icing. You are supposed to use about 1 tbsp milk, 1 tbsp maple syrup and 1 1/8 cups of powdered sugar. I was almost out of powdered sugar, so I substituted that with granulated sugar and some more milk. I divided the icing into three parts and mixed it with food coloring. Then I drizzled it onto the King Cake.

Slow Cooker King CakeWhat would I change?

  1. I would use a bit less pastry, so the King Cake has more room to rise in the slow cooker.
  2. I wouldn’t double the filling, but use 1 and 1/2 times as much as the recipe calls for.
  3. The King Cake was fully cooked after 3.5 hours on low. I’d reduce the cooking time by half an hour, because I’m fairly confident that it was already cooked after 3 hours.

I hope all this is useful for you. Happy cooking/baking and happy Mardi Gras!

Review – The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes

Hello,

I found time to write another review. I survived Christmas, my 30th birthday, and New Years Eve, found a new hobby to add to my ever-growing list (I finally treated myself to a new sewing machine) and my thesis is still in the works. I never stopped reading though (you probably know that if you follow me on Goodreads or LovelyBooks) and so I read Julian Barnes‘ latest novel The Noise of Time.

The Noise of Time
Image linked from Jonathan Cape¹

Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich, a Soviet composer, cannot escape Power in his country. No matter what he does, his life and his music are influenced by the government and he can’t seem to live life as a free man.

The Noise of Time is far from an easy read. If you aren’t familiar with Shostakovich, you might get the feeling of being abandoned in a maze. The novelization of Shostakovich’s life is not written in chronological order. A third-person narrator tells the reader what’s going on, he isn’t showing them and that creates a great distance between the plot and the reader. This, plus the fact that there is very little dialogue, makes reading The Noise of Time a slow process that requires concentration.

When I started the book, I had no idea what it was about. The official blurb doesn’t give away much and so I felt lost until I reached the second half of the novel. This is where I was finally able to sum up what I had read so far. If I had known that The Noise of Time was a fictional account of a composer’s life, things might have been different.

Julian Barnes’ novel has the air of a non-fiction book. Even though he writes about Shostakovich’s emotions, the reader is too distanced to feel them. The composer is long gone and so are his thoughts and his feelings. The Noise of Time might not be for everyone, but if you are interested in Shostakovich’s life and don’t shy Barnes’ narrative technique you should give it a shot.

3 Star Rating: Recommended

¹ https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/1110913/the-noise-of-time/
² A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Recipe – No-Crust Pumpkin Pie

Hello,

Some of you might have noticed that there haven’t been that many blog posts in the past months. I’m writing hard on my thesis and won’t be able to update All That Magic as often as I’d like until I’m done with university. I’d be happy to flood you with my thoughts after graduation, because I haven’t stopped reading books ;). For now, I’ve got a seasonal recipe for you.

No-Crust Pumpkin Pie for Claudia

no crust pumpkin pieIt’s been three years since Claudia decided to share recipes for people with chewing and swallowing difficulties on her blog Geschmeidige Köstlichkeiten. Claudia thinks that having difficulties eating solid food doesn’t mean that you can’t eat varied and appealing meals. She is constantly trying and testing new recipes and even asks chefs for their contributions. For her third blogiversary, Claudia asked her readers and colleagues to think of something smooth and delicious for her to eat and I thought I’d make her some no-crust pumpkin pie.¹

Ingredients:
  • 5 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground ginger
  • pinch ground cloves
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 250 g canned pumpkin puree (have a look at the baby food section in your supermarket if you can’t find canned pumpkin, or make pumpkin puree yourself)
  • 150 ml evaporated milk (G: Kondensmilch, ungezuckert)
Instructions:

No crust pumpkin pie

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. Mix sugar, ground cinnamon, ground ginger,, ground cloves and salt in a bowl.
  3. Lightly whisk the egg in a small bowl.
  4. Add the egg to the sugar mixture and stir.
  5. Add the pumpkin puree and stir.
  6. Gradually add the evaporated milk and keep stirring until combined.
  7. Lightly grease a ceramic, or glass baking dish, or ramekins. Pour in pumpkin batter.
  8. Bake for 15 min on 180°C/350°F, then reduce the heat to 160°C/320°F and bake until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and the no-crust pie jiggles slightly (in my case 20 more minutes, if you use ramekins the baking time will be shorter).
  9. Let the pie cool down to room temperature and, to get a better consistency, put it in the fridge overnight.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

Geschmeidige Koestlichkeiten

 

¹ I adapted Alice Medrich’s Pumpkin Pudding recipe.

Review – Summertime by Vanessa Lafaye

Hi,

We’ve had some hot summer days recently and so Vanessa Lafaye‘s Summertime was the perfect companion to get me through a couple of thunderstorms.

Summertime
Image provided by Orion¹

In 1935, Heron Key, Florida is a typical Southern town with the exception that many of its new residents are war veterans who are there to build a bridge. While almost everyone prepares for the Independence Day celebrations, Jenson Mitchell, owner of the town’s general store, watches the barometer with concern. There is news of a storm that hit the Bahamas and it could very well head their way. Heron Key’s residents are used to hurricanes, but the veterans don’t know what they are facing.

In the dramatic few hours before and during the storm, Missy, a young woman working as a domestic help for a white family, and Henry, who has finally returned home after his 18-year absence, have to find out if they are still close to each other while trying to save their and many other lives.

Summertime is loosely based on the events during the 1935 Labor Day hurricane², which was the strongest landfalling hurricane in the Atlantic Basin and the US in recorded history. This knowledge gives the fast-paced novel an even more dramatic aspect. The characters are mostly predictable but that doesn’t spoil the read. If you want to get a feeling for what being in one of the biggest storms in history must have been like, and you don’t shy away from the ugly details of a catastrophe like this, Summertime is the book for you.

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Orion Books provided me with a copy of Summertime in exchange for an honest review.

¹ https://www.orionbooks.co.uk/books/detail.page?isbn=9781409155393

² Changed to Independence Day because of the date’s patriotic significance for the veterans.

Blogger Convention – Salt and the City

Hey There,

Salt and the City is Salzburg’s first blogger convention for food and lifestyle and was held on the last weekend of May. Caro, one of the organizers, assured us early on that book blogs are lifestyle blogs, so of course Nana and I had to join the fun.


Salt and the City - Blogger Camp for Food & Lifestyle

Friday

The convention started off with an Instawalk. This was particularly funny, because I still have an old Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot phone that I love very much (who needs touch screens anyway?) and as a result I don’t have an Instagram account. I was thinking about bringing my bridge camera and then decided against it as I didn’t want to carry that heavy thing around the city. “It’s an Instawalk,” I thought, “so why don’t I just take pictures with my mobile phone?” And that’s what I did. You can see those “lovely” retro shots on our Facebook page.

Instawalk through Salzburg
Instawalk through Salzburg. Image provided by pixellovers.at

On our walk we got an exclusive tour of the Salzburger Landestheater where we went backstage and up to the millinery. I could have stayed there for hours just to try on every single stunning headpiece and hat. We had some schnapps at Sporer‘s, a liquor manufacture, and tipsily climbed four flights of stairs to the realm of Andreas Kirchtag, the workshop of Kirchtag umbrella manufacture. It was great to see how much work goes into a single umbrella and that not only can you choose the fabric of your umbrella but also the shaft. After this informative stop, we sat down for iced coffee and tea at Afro Cafe and recharged our batteries for one more climb. The highlight of the day was the view from Salzburg’s city hall tower which isn’t open to the public. On our way down we were treated to some delicious Venusbrüstchen chocolates, so I didn’t have to worry about bedtime candy that night.

Saturday
cake topper
The cake topper I made.

Official convention day was Saturday and started with a breakfast table laden with muesli and excellent Rauch Juice Bar Grünschnabel spinach juice that I can’t seem to find in stores. I relaxed and chatted until lunch, as my workshops didn’t start until early afternoon. The first workshop was by Tina Tagwercher who gave a presentation on Thai fruit carving techniques and even though the time was too short to have a go at it myself, I’m fairly confident that I’d manage to carve a melon with the right tools. In the second workshop, I got to do some cake decorating. Dr Oetker sent a pastry chef and his assistant to teach us how to make fondant roses and pipe chocolate decorations. I had a good time and I think my cake top looks presentable.

Thai fruit carving
Thai fruit carving

In the evening we were invited to dinner and a craft beer tasting at Trumerei. Unfortunately, I couldn’t enjoy this part of the day as a migraine hit me.

Sunday
Hallein Salt Mine
Hallein Salt Mine. Image provided by pixellovers.at

On Sunday it was time for the bloggers to explore Salzburg’s countryside. I was looking forward to a visit to Sonnleitn Alm in Abtenau but my migraine wasn’t gone when I woke up in the morning, so I had to pass on the first half of the outing. I joined the others for the second half though. We went up to Dürrnberg mountain to visit the Salt Mine. I’ve been there many times already and I have to admit that I don’t like the videos that you get to see touring the mine. You feel stupid watching them. They might do for children’s tours but adults would appreciate content instead of bad jokes. The mine itself is impressing though and you wouldn’t want to miss the boat ride on the salt lake and the slides.

When I arrived home, I finally had time to go through the two goodie bags that we got. I’m already excessively using my Riess mug for overnight oats, and I tried Quinoa for the very first time. It has a weird consistency that I think I like. ;)

I had a great weekend at my very first blogger convention and I hope that Salt and the City will return next year. Thank you girls for the hard work you did!

Salzburg
Beautiful Salzburg
Thanks to all the sponsors who made Salt and the City possible:

stadt-salzburgtrumer

trumereitennengau

salzburger-land

gesagt-getandmrauchfissler

altstadt-salzburg dr-oetker verival wuesthof

riess nenihotel-sacher rough-cut-board

coworking-campdecora bombasei

Review – This Should be Written in the Present Tense by Helle Helle

Hello,

I recently read This Should be Written in the Present Tense by Danish author Helle Helle. It is one of ten books I won in Penguin Random House UK‘s Let’s Read in English Challenge 2014 over at LovelyBooks.

This Should be Written in the Present Tense
Image provided by Harvill Secker¹

Dorte has just moved into a bungalow next to a train station. She is supposed to attend classes at  university in Copenhagen, but decides to do other things instead.

This Should be Written in the Present Tense is a book where very little happens. The novel describes Dorte’s present and past life and her life, especially the past, is as normal as it can get for a young woman. For some this might not be enough, but I find Dorte’s reality intriguing. The novel has a depressing undertone and there is nothing overly dramatic about the plot, yet knowing that there is room for improvement in Dorte’s life is exactly what makes the book so fascinating.

This Should be Written in the Present Tense is a minimalistic novel that is just the right length. It might not be for everyone, but if you are a university student with the occasional motivation problem, you should be able to relate to Dorte’s story and give this brilliant novel a try.

4 Star Rating: Recommended

¹ http://www.vintage-books.co.uk/books/1846558050/helle-helle/this-should-be-written-in-the-present-tense/

Review – A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

Hi,

When I heard that Kate Atkinson was working on a companion novel to the brilliant Life After Life, I knew that I had to read it as soon as I could. Well. I’m lucky and very grateful because Random House UK sent me an ARC of A God in Ruins, so I got to read it in March already. Today, however, it’s your chance to go to the bookstore and grab a copy to find out what the fuss is all about: It’s release day!

A God in Ruins
Image provided by Doubleday UK¹

After the war, Teddy Todd does what he had always planned to do. He marries his childhood sweetheart Nancy, they have a daughter and two lovely grandchildren and he grows old. But even though the war is over, it will always be part of Teddy’s life.

Teddy is a good-natured man who loves the peacefulness of the countryside. Like many other war veterans, he doesn’t want to talk about what he went through during his service as a bomber pilot, much to the dismay of his wife Nancy. Kate Atkinson does a wonderful job portraying the couple’s and many other relationships in A God in Ruins, but I never felt a connection to Teddy or any of the other characters. This often made it hard to pick up the book, because I really didn’t care what would happen to the Todd family. Only when Teddy’s grandson Sunny gets into a life-changing situation, I was eager to read on.

A God in Ruins is not written in chronological order. Kate Atkinson weaves World War II scenes into Teddy’s lifeline, which we travel on in a seemingly random pattern. Although this structure appeals to me, these changes in time sometimes made me feel a bit lost.

A God in Ruins is called a companion novel to Life After Life. If you are looking for Life After Life‘s special structure or the many charming characters, you might be looking in the wrong place. Of course we meet Ursula and Sylvie, but they only play minor roles and this novel’s structure is different. A God in Ruins is a book about a bomber pilot who survives World War II to become a very ordinary man, leading an ordinary life.

3 Star Rating: Recommended

¹ http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/editions/a-god-in-ruins/9780385618700