The weather has changed and showing itself from its glorious side. It’s like summer in spring! The winter was an extremely mild one and by end of February it did not stand a chance against the warming sun. Crocuses and tulips had begun sprouting, the storks had returned and were ardently busy with building house, while beer gardens across Germany opened – probably never before as early as beginning of March!
Early mornings are still crisp but by midday the sun stands high and proudly in a blue sky melting away the last of the frost as the temperatures rise well into double digits. My washing line is back up in the yard and as I wriggle my toes in the fresh dewy grass, I get real gratification watching my laundry sway gently in the warm breeze. This is my secret pleasure – the first load of washing of the year drying in the first rays of spring sunshine. Once dry, the feathery softness of T-shirts, jeans, skirts and blouses is incomparable to any dryer and any store-bought freshener promising “summer breeze” or “spring bloom.”
But how deceiving this weather is! Before we knew it we were complaining of itchy throats, which led to the sniffles and barking coughs and then came the fever. All three of us have been down with the flu this past week. Soeren had also contracted a mean ear infection. We are on the mend again with lots of chamomile steam inhalation, herbal and spiced teas, tissues and cough syrup. Huddled under blankets, we are recuperating with soups and stews getting our energy levels back.
We still have our appetites, which is a good sign. Meals have to be quick however and happen using as few pots and pans as possible to be able to climb under the blankets as quickly as possible.
So this idea of a quick sausage and fennel cassoulet is the perfect remedy. A classic cassoulet is a long albeit rewarding affair. A cassoulet is the epitome dish of French country cooking; a hearty casserole of creamy white beans layered with meats, sausage, and duck confit, slowly baked until brown and bubbling. It is a dish that, to this day, stirs up fierce debate over what makes it authentic. For centuries, cooks in France have made it with ingredients available locally and while it isn’t difficult to make it just takes a lot of time.
In contrast my quick (or cheats) cassoulet uses really good pork sausages and adds a different flavor twist with bulbs of fennel and chipotle chili paste. I also use canned borlotti beans for this version. When making the traditional version dried French white navy beans called haricots is the way to go.
It satisfied a fancy craving in half the time. For a sick house this was a route to a speedy recovery.
Current Workshops & E-Courses
With only 3 workshops in Europe this year I am looking forward to travelling to some awesome cities. Currently 2 workshops have been announced and registrations are running for both the Helsinki and Venice workshop so make sure to grab a slot.
Helsinki Food Styling & Photography Workshop
A 2-day workshop in Finland's dynamic and pulsating capital, Helsinki. The focus of this workshop will be light and lighting systems as we work on harnessing natural light and work with artificial lighting systems.
7 - 8 June 2014
More details and the preliminary programme here.
Registrations for this workshop are now open: please fill out the registration form.
Venice Food Styling & Photography Workshop
A 2-day workshop in the delightful prosecco region of Valdobbiadene just outside of Venice, Italy.
1st - 3rd May 2014
The focus of this workshop is on natural and low-light photography as well as styling and creating moods for your images.
Details for the Venice Food Styling and Photography Workshop here.
To register for this workshop please fill out the registration form here.
The March session for my e-courses at the interactive school of photography and multimedia The Compelling Image (TCI) are now online and enrolments are running. These courses are aimed primarily at food bloggers and photographers who would like to enhance and hone their food photography and styling skills.
Enrolments for March 2014:
10 March 2014 (Enroll before 17 Mar 2014)
17 March 2014 (Enroll before 24 Mar 2014)
24 March 2014 (Enroll before 31 Mar 2014)
31 March 2014 (Enroll before 07 Apr 2014)
To buy a place on this course, please select the session that you would like to here.
My instructor page on TCI here.
This is a big flavored bold dish and so perfect to wipe out those blues caused by nasty colds. A hearty meal prepared in no time and satisfies all the taste-buds are craving for. The sausages are the main star so do make sure you source the best sausages you can. As a variation you can also use cannellini beans or a mix. Add a few diced carrot or parsnips if you like - this casserole is versatile and to adjust to your taste-buds. Enjoy!
In this section of the post I share bits and pieces, finds and interesting things I come across as I surf the web. It might be a quote, a picture a moving post, interesting news and announcements, whatever makes me connect with you.
- Sexual Objectification and why it is not empowering - Caroline Heldman holds a magnificent talk on Ted X about the "Sexy Lie" Must watch!
- My friend Kerrin over at My Kugelhopf sweet talks the Pastry Chef at The Dolder Grand for these Apricot Crunch Cookies
- Down under Peter of Souvlaki for my Soul plays experiments with beetroot and chocolate and treats us to this Chocolate Beetroot Cake. As always I love his images.
- Dear Asha in New York tackles her yeast issues and bakes this Date, Hazelnut and Orange Babka-ish Braid
- Following the French course sweet Sandy spoils us with her divine canelés de Bordeaux
- I adore Kristen of Dine & Dish. Her energy is contagious and her positive outlook is just what the doctor ordered ... I think her 3 Ingredient Chocolate Dump cake is what I need for a speedy recovery!
- Erin Jimcosky, my lovely friend from Hungry Mutineer adds stout to a classic dish and presents this Guinness Mac & Cheese
- Sweet Sally of My Custard Pie recently visited Jaipur, India I thoroughly enjoyed her 3 part post about this vivid and vibrant place. I love her writing and her images take you away on the perfect adventure. Jaipur – sights and sounds, Jaipur – shopping and Jaipur – shopping. Do not miss this!
- 11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs!
- Winston Churchill said it right; "Tact is ... " ;)
Have fun browsing through a few things that moved me, made me laugh and happy this week. I hope they do the same for you.
See you next week!
You might like these Get Well Soon dishes from What's For Lunch, Honey?:
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