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#20 Getting ready for Christmas

Update #20 Published on update

Chojny Train Station by Krzysztof Nowak
Chojny Train Station by Krzysztof Nowak

Life peek

So, I'm writing this from Switzerland… or actually 4 km across Switzerland border on the French side.[1] Robin and I are back in cows land for family reunions time. Yesterday was a long train day. We left our Berlin home at 7am in the morning and arrived at Robin's parents' place 12 hours later. Thankfully, German trains are equipped with wifi, so we have plenty of things to do during the ride[2].

The last week has felt intense. We had a bunch of stuff to prep and do before leaving Berlin, and I was pretty busy with work as well — in a good way. All that rush culminated to a wonderful note on Wednesday evening. My good friend Valentina prepared for us the most delicious bolognese ever. The strict recipe comes straight from her Italian grandmother — so we cannot get much more authentic than that.

Read & Watched

Pinocchio (2022)

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio is one of the best animated movies I have watched recently. The stop-motion work is super lively, beautifully made, and close to perfection[3]. The storyline is also much darker than the Disney version, which gives it more depth overall.

The Queen's Gambit (2020)

Yes, I'm two years late to the party. Robin watched this miniseries when it came out during the first COVID-19 lockdown. I only found time recently to start The Queen's Gambit on my own, and was able to finish it in the 12-hour train ride. And what a ride! I am not sure if it deserves the level of hype it got, but the series definitely gripped me.


To bake a tarte tatin

I tried to bake my first apple tarte tatin this week. We had a bunch of apples and butter we had to finish before they went bad, so it felt like the most fitting recipe. There were a few challenges on the way.

First, the puff pastry. I followed this recipe, and I have to say that it worked quite well! The result didn't have as many layers as a store-bought dough, but it definitely did the job! Second, the caramelized apples. I struggled to make a caramel base that would not burn, but would still hold together when "poaching the apples" in it. Mine became too liquid, and I removed some of it before baking the pie. My concern was that it would be completely liquid when flipping the pie at the end of the process.

The final tarte tatin was still delicious, but the apples were not as beautifully caramelized as I would have wanted them to be.

For the next try, I will try to use apples that have less water content[4], as well as make a dry caramel first before adding the melted butter. ENDCHAR

  1. We are at a bouldering gym with friends, but I am forced to stay on the bench as I sprained my ankle two weeks ago. ↩︎

  2. All in all, I wrote a new post, added a recipe to my website and watched four episodes of The Queen's Gambit. ↩︎

  3. Del Toro apparently asked his animators to keep the mistakes in the final rendition to make it look more like stop-motion! ↩︎

  4. I might actually even let them dry for a night after cutting them. ↩︎

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