merry and bright


Clothes for two different climates have taken over my bed and there is a large suitcase staring at me from across the room. I guess it wants me to get to it. I am off for a very German Christmas in Saarland and then a very sunny New Year in Morocco.

May your travels this year be safe and delicious and your holidays merry and bright. Eat well, drink well, and be well. I will be back next year with more tales of breakfast, postcards, travels, and recipes. As always, thank you for joining me as I write my way through each year.

xox

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winter baked oatmeal with cranberries and pear


December is certainly a sneaky month. Hitting the half-way mark makes the whole month feel nearly over. Today, the third Advent, is a serious reminder that I need to frequent more Christmas markets, bake more cookies, and drink more mulled wine before January shows up.

Just like the Christmas markets, fresh cranberries will vanish with the start of the new year. The dried version is always hanging out in my pantry, but like most other dried fruits they feel like a distant relative as opposed to a sibling when compared to its fresh counterpart. Although dried cranberries are wonderful in rice and cookies, with yogurt and lentils, they just can't do the things that fresh cranberries can. Fresh cranberries love meat (beyond the usual suspect that is cranberry sauce and turkey, fresh cranberries are just as good with slowly braised beef). And as we all know, they are pretty wonderful in everything baked.

I've written about baked oatmeal before, but that recipe feels quite sober compared to Winter Baked Oatmeal with Cranberries and Pear. It actually did include both cranberries and pears; however, the cranberries were dried and the pear was cut into thin, humble matchsticks. That recipe also only served one. This one, however, has more fruit than oats and serves plenty (and even more if you double it). It feels like more of a celebration of winter fruit as opposed to an effort to jazz up your regular morning oatmeal.
Cranberries and pears are a classic pairing, and one that I am not going to try to come in between. Cranberries are the sour to a pear's sweetness.


This baked oatmeal has everything going for it - it is a little sweet and a little salty, it is custardy, but also crunchy. Thanks to the cranberries, it is also a little sour, but just a little. So, sweet, sour, salty, creamy and crunchy - is there anything else you could possible want from your breakfast oatmeal? I think not. Hell, this is so good you could even serve it for dessert - just call it a Custardy Cranberry and Pear Crumble. 
Although this might seems like a weekend breakfast, you can bake it, save the leftovers in the fridge and then simply reheat it in the oven the next day, or even the next, next day, thus making it the perfect breakfast to make on a Sunday and then enjoy during the week. 

Also, if your making this for a festive morning with friends and family (which you'll probably want to do), you can easily double the recipe. 


Winter Baked Oatmeal with Cranberries and Pear

serves 4

ingredients

150 g fresh cranberries (1 1/2 cups)
2 large pears, chopped into cubes
1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup + 1 tbsp
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 tsp coconut oil, room temperature + a knob for greasing the dish

Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C / gas mark 4.

Grease a baking dish with coconut oil and in the baking dish, mix together the cranberries and chunks of pear.

In a small bowl, mix together the rolled oats, a pinch of sea salt, baking powder, and ground ginger. 

In another bowl (or measuring cup), mix together the milk, egg, vanilla extract and 1/4 cup maple syrup.

In a third small bowl, mix together the walnuts, coconut oil, 1 tbsp maple syrup and a large pinch of coarse sea salt until the walnuts are well coated (use your hands if you like).

Pour the rolled oat mixture over the cranberries and pear and make sure it is spread evenly. Next, pour the wet mixture evenly over the oats. Finally, top the oatmeal with the sweet and salty walnut mix. 

Place the dish in the oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes. The walnuts should be lightly golden and crispy and the oatmeal should be set. Underneath the layer of oats, you should see the cranberries bubbling very temptingly. Let cool slightly and then serve.

If you have leftovers, cover the dish and store in the refrigerator. The oatmeal keeps for about four days in the fridge. To reheat, preheat the oven to 275 F / 135 C / gas mark 1 and bake for about 10-12 minutes.

Guten! 

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postcards from paris


Sometimes eating is easier than talking and dancing comes more natural than thinking. Words are my go-to medium, but that doesn't mean that they are always there when I need them. Just because they are often effortless, doesn't mean that they don't require me to work. And to work hard.

This post isn't about Paris. I already told you about how the city treated me. Instead, it is about postcards. However, it isn't about how postcards represent a particular place. Instead, it is about their length. A postcard is shorter than a letter, but always long enough to make you feel thought of, remembered, loved.

So dear reader, I'll be back soon and I'll be back with lots of words. Those words will be about a breakfast that is worthy enough of Christmas day (but also good for every winter day). They will also be about Amsterdam. And there will probably be some words about the best hotel breakfasts I know. And I certainly hope that there will be some about Christmas cookies too.

But for now, let's toast to what is short and sweet (like weekend trips). May your December be cozy and bright.  

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