When special people come to visit there has to be special food, too. For us, a certain cake is extraordinary: the Naked Cake. Usually, we keep it pretty basic with „Granny’s Cakes“ like crumble cake of all sorts, sheet cakes, etc. Thus, we relied on one of our classics for this recipe. A moist carrot cake with lots of nuts, dried apricots and other delicious details. We love how variable it is. Be it in a spring form or a whole tray for larger groups, or as cupcakes, be it vegan with aquafaba and cashew creme, or not vegan with a cream cheese topping, as in this case. The cake is just too delicious to not experiment with it. The basic recipe you find in our cookbook.

Beside the cake we wanted to create an unique setting for our kaffeeklatsch with our friends Jules, Maria and Justus from Herz & Blut.

After the last plants left the greenhouse a few weeks ago it was time to use it as living space once again. Sure, in winter with outside temperatures around freezing point, the temperatures inside the greenhouse never rise above 10-15°C. The days are just too short. At least, the cold wind and the moisture stay outside. Wrapped in woolen pullovers and scarfs, and with a lot of candles the atmosphere still gets really cosy. Especially, when the sun sets spectacularly just as it did this particular evening.

Even if we could plant salads during winter, or sow the green manure, we just love to use the greenhouse for ourselves outside the gardening season. Until it is time to sow the young plants and it is warm enough to bring them into the greenhouse in early spring, we will take this opportunity.

For 4 servings

    We love serving little dishes during the holidays, which you can assemble as the whim takes you. This way, everyone finds something delicious, and the dinner gets a sociable touch. Just like last Christmas, we decided to make a special centerpiece for the festive table. It’s a dish which can be cut and shared in front of the curious guests. The outcome is a wonderful holiday pie, filled with colourful vegetables. The cooking needs some preparation time, since every stuffing has to be prepared separately. Of course, you can vary the stuffing - there are no boundaries to your creativity. You can also cook the pie after the holidays to put all the leftovers to good use, for example.

    Dice the butter. Mix the flour with the salt, and crumble with the butter. Add water and knead it to a dough fast. Put the dough into the fridge until the rest of the ingredients are ready.
     
    Finely chop the porcini. Cook the lentils with the double amount of water, add the porcini and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes (check the instructions on the package). Salt only at the end of the cooking time. Add the oil to the cooked lentils and mash them a little. If the mash is a bit too solid, add some water.
     
    For the chutney, peel the apples, core and dice them. Finely chop the onions. Heat some rapeseed oil in a pot and sauté the onions. Add the apples and deglaze with cider vinegar. Let the chutney simmer for about 10 minutes until the apples are soft but not yet fallen apart. Mix the pectin with the sugar, and add it to the chutney at the end of the cooking time. Season with salt and let the chutney cool down.
     
    Preheat the oven to 200°C (upper/lower heat). Slice the pumpkin into roughly 5cm thick pieces, spread them on a baking rack, generously season with salt and drizzle some rapeseed oil over them. Bake the pumpkin for about 25 minutes until it is soft (test with a stick), and either dice the pumpkin or mash it.
     
    Thinly slice the beetroot, and let it simmer in the elderberry juice for about 35 minutes until it is soft. Every now and then, stir the beet root and add more juice if needed. The fluid should be evaporated by the end of cooking time.
     
    Roast the sunflower seeds in a pan without oil and grind them afterwards. Finely chop the garlic. Pluck the kale from the stem and chaff it. Mix the ground seeds, garlic, kale, mustard, and walnut oil, and season with salt.
     
    Preheat the oven to 180°C (upper/lower heat). Grease a springform (18 cm diameter).
    Take about two thirds of the dough and roll it out on a floured worktop. Put it into the springform and firmly press it so you get a 6 cm high border. Roll out the last third. Fill the pie in layers with the lentils, beetroot, pumpkin, chutney and kale. Brush the border of the rest of the dough with water and use it as a top for the pie. Firmly press the borders. With a sharp knife, cut the pie four times around the center so the heat can escape while baking and the pie does not burst open. Bake the pie on the middle rack for about 50 minutes until it is golden yellow.

    We are not what you call full-hearted Christmas enthusiasts, but when the days become shorter we definitely appreciate the contemplative atmosphere. We love decorating our house according to the season and occasion, thus winterly and festive. Still, we don’t turn our house upside down, but especially decorate the place where we gather with our beloved ones: the dining table. The centerpiece of our decoration is a branch which we found during a stroll. Hung beneath the ceiling and equipped with candles it captivates the eye due to its elegance. We are thrilled by the results since it shows you don’t necessarily need a Christmas tree or Advent wreath. We added to the natural materials of our this year’s festive decoration small, atmospheric still lifes, which we made with our instant picture printer FUJI instax SHARE SP-3*. The instant pictures support the calm ambience and play with the details of nature, art, and presentation.

    We are often asked for our inspiration, and the answer is simple: nature offers the biggest treasure. Minimalistic and damped, yet cosy and atmospheric – this you achieve best when using natural, recyclable materials. Not to mention the fact that it is resource and space saving.

    Another advantage: we get some fresh air to make our cosy little home even more cosy for the festive season. The fun of decorating already starts with collecting branches, grasses, and cones.

    Instead of an Advent wreath on the table we hung a huge birch branch above our table. We fixed the obligatory four candles with copper rings. This way, we even have more space for our handmade earthen tableware, which adds to the natural setting, while the golden cutlery emphasizes the festive occasion.

    When it comes to table cloths and napkins, we preferably work with dyed linen or natural linen. The folds, which develop over time, add a special character to the whole setting. Conveniently, since ironing becomes obsolete. Our treasures which we collected outside, look especially beautiful on linen. Pine cones, chestnuts, grasses, and leaves harmonise with the soft and natural colours and material. Also, we like how the single items correspond with each other: beeswax tree candles correspond with the honey coloured napkins and the delicious festive pie, while the brown table cloth correlates with the cones on top.

    If you follow our blog for a longer time, you know that we are huge fans of instant pictures. It’s not for nothing that we are, together with Nic from Luzia Pimpinella, Igor from Happy Interior Blog, Jules from Herz & Blut, and Vreni from Never Ever, enthusiastic ambassadors for FUJIFILM instax. Susann already wrote about the relevance of instant pictures in her youth. To capture the evanescence of the moment carries an own poetry, and to visualise all these memories, which would have been long gone by now, just by taking out these instantly taken photos…this is magic.

    Just as important as collecting and treasuring memories is to us, we love to share memories. We are especially delighted that we can produce a repeatable outcome with the Fuji instax printer – if we want to. Just like the principle of sharing one photo, keeping one, printing next one multiple times and share it with our friends after the festive meal. 

    Instead of making spontaneous, fleeting snapshots for the decoration we chose an artistic execution. We took photographs of our wintery motifs like pine cones, walnuts, thistles and grass as a still life on a rusty steel surface. This way, the instant pictures support our natural decoration with staged motifs. We love the harmonic connection between nature and artificial nature, or rather art.

    That’s also why we chose a black frame for the instant pictures, since this one appears very elegant.

    Be it name tag, menu, or gift tag, the instant pictures are versatile. Either we just put them on the seat, plain and simple, or we stick it to a pine cone and write the name with a light pen on the black frame. Or we use the front as a picture and glue it to some kraft paper, on which we note the single courses of our menu. Instant pictures are also perfect as gift tags under the Christmas tree.

    We took all instant pictures with our smartphone’s camera, but we also could have used our Fuji XT-3, which is compatible with the instant picture printer as well. The printer is easy to set up, you just connect your smartphone or camera with the printer via wifi. Put in the film cassette and there you go. Another big advantage: the printer is not depend on electricity, so you have a wireless printer to go.

    Another advantage, which the format and the printer have: we can pointedly set up our pictures, shoot them, and chose and edit them calmly. This way we fulfilled our artistic aspiration, yet kept the nostalgia you feel when looking at instant pictures. Just try it, you will see that the best ideas evolve while…right, while doing it!

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