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For 10 servings

A few weeks ago, we were invited to a chocolate workshop by the Chocolate Manufactory Rausch*, a since 1918 existing family business. We could not only learn everything about cacao, try all different kinds of it and make pralines ourselves, we also saw cacao fruits. The kernels inside are surrounded by sweet pulp and have nothing to do with what we know as chocolate yet. For that, the kernels have to be fermented and roasted. However, you can suck the white pulp, the taste reminds you of litchis, from the kernels and spit them out. They should not be eaten raw. Well, Yannic are the first one though, when he tried to suck away the pulp. If our life was a scene from "Charlie and the chocolate factory", cacao would have poured out of his ears or he would have become a chocolate man. The next try was better and we took one cacao bean home. We planted it and now, a small cacao plant is growing on our heating in our living room, which we nourish and cherish every day and which reminds us of our exciting chocolate evening.
What really thrilled us was the manufactory’s philosophy. Rausch works with cacao farmers and partners from Direct Trade Plantations on a personal and close basis, from the bloom on the tree to the processed chocolate. Due to this close cooperation and the absence of intermediaries, they can guarantee prices which are well above the global price level, and also best quality.
Since we think their chocolate is really delicious, we developed a recipe including the 70% Arriba-Nacional Premium Chocolate*. This strong dark chocolate has a flowery, off-dry note which works perfectly with beetroot. Beetroot and chocolate is almost a standard combination. Maybe you noticed with our beetroot ice cream. For our new recipe, we wanted to test how much chocolate fits into one cake. The outcome is a small chocolate bomb, which can be a decadent finish to a Christmas menu. After all, you can party hard at the end of the year, can’t you?

Preheat the oven to 180°C (upper/lower heat). Grease a small baking pan (18cm in diameter). Mix spelt flour, raw cane sugar, cacao and baking powder. Froth up the eggs with salt. Grind the beetroot, melt the chocolate above a waterbath. Mix beetroot, chocolate, and rape seed oil, incorporate the flour, and finally fold in the egg mass. Pour the dough into the pan and bake the cake for 45 minutes. Afterwards, let it cool down completely.
For the ganache, melt the chocolate above a waterbath. Add maple syrup, coconut oil and almond milk to the molten chocolate and stir until you have an even and shiny mass. Evenly spread the ganache on the cake. The day before, we already dried beetroot slices in our dehydrator and ground it until we had a powder. Together with chopped chocolate we sprinkled it over the cake for decoration.

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*This post was written in cooperation with Chocolate Manufactory Rausch. Even though we were paid for this article, we give our own opinion uninfluenced. We had full rein over text and content of this article. Thanks for the chocolatey cooperation!

New Zealand Road Trip

After we feasted for three days in Auckland, we were really excited what to expect culinarily from the rest of our holidays. If you already cooked a few of our recipes you know that we refrain from finished products and prepare everything ourselves instead. Furthermore, we have a huge shelf full of spices, from which we help ourselves as we wish. Of course, this way of cooking is pretty difficult to keep in a small camper, when you only have one stove field and little storage for basic products. Nevertheless, we had a good time every day! Seriously, every farmers’ market, supermarket or booth on the street, be it tiny and small or in a bigger town, had a rich product range. Sure, because of the climate we had everything the heart desired, and everything was regionally produced. We grabbed plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits and did not need much more to stuff ourselves and be happy. In Germany, we rarely buy exotic fruits, so we had a plethora of avocados, kiwis, kakis, feijoas and more in our grocery bags. Apart from that, we found a lot of great products you find even in Berlin only in very few organic supermarkets. Usually, we started the day with paleo cereals and coconut yoghurt or nut milk and fresh berries. On mornings after long and exhausting hikes, we took the time to bake whole meal pancakes with maple syrup and to laze away the morning hours in bed before we were off to our next destination. Delicious, roasted bread with yoghurt and caramelized fruits were also on our breakfast menu. On top of that, we always had a great view. When had the pancakes, which you find further down in this article, we looked directly at a beautiful, light blue lake. The morning air was still chilly, and wrapped in blankets we could pass half of the day just sitting there and enjoying the panorama.

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Admittedly, we take or time on every holiday to explore the country rather than spending most of the time in the kitchen. If kitchen, bed and living room are one and you have to be careful with your resources, you try to keep cooking as short as possible. Often, we had simple one pot dishes, couscous with plenty of vegetables, curries or just sandwiches. We discovered a lot of different and delicious hummus variants which we had with us regularly and honed with fresh ingredients. We cook a lot of chili when we are on holiday, since you can easily vary it and prepare in bigger amounts, so you can take a serving with you on a hike. Along with the chili, we either had freshly baked flat bread or, on the hikes, polenta wedges. One evening, we even baked pan pizza. We just put whole grain yeast dough into the pan (preferably made of cast iron), covered it with pesto and other ingredients and baked it covered. In a supermarket, we found the perfect items for a delicious burger! The bun was like our homemade ones back in Berlin and did not have the typical sticky texture we know from finished burger buns here in Germany. The patties were made of black beans and beetroot, in addition to that we had hummus and fresh vegetables, and ready was an astonishing delicious burger made in a camping kitchen. However, our holiday was about everything but not cooking, and we’d like to show you a bit more!

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There is so much to say about New Zealand and so many photos to show, and still, we wouldn’t do this country justice. Often, we just stood there, amazed and overwhelmed by nature, which changed within minutes of driving from rough, black sandy coast to brushwood, in which glowworms shone at night between the moss-grown trees. Steamy brimstone sceneries were replaced by soft, grassy hillsides canyoned by runlets of glacier water, which together formed crystal clear lakes. The booming slide downs of masses of ice and fog in your face let you feel the immense force and wayward character of nature marrow-deep. Suddenly, everything seems minor and being here and now is more present than never before. Galaxies of tiny sparkling dots keep you awake at night because you can’t keep off your eyes of such beauty. Everything seems so perfect, you have the feeling to have been travelled even further than the other end of the world.

We hope, we could take you with us on our journey.

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A culinary journey through Auckland

Finally, we want to tell you about our New Zealand trip. We have already shown a lot of pictures on Paul liebt Paula, but of course, the culinary aspect goes short and that won’t do!
To be honest, we prepared last-minute for this trip. The day before departure we had a rough route, but only after we picked a few beautiful restaurants in Auckland. On our list, we noted almost 20 cafés, restaurants and food markets. Even if we only were in this great city for three days, we managed to try out almost half of the list. You have to eat three times a day, after all!

But back to the start. It took us almost 35 hours to New Zealand, we practically did not sleep during this time, and were not actually spoiled culinary on our flight. That’s why we just dragged our bags to our apartment and directly went out to get a delicious meal. We noticed that we hit the mark with our Airbnb in Ponsonby. We were enchanted on the spot by the beautiful wooden houses, restaurants and cafés are stringed together, and the people are incredibly warm and helpful. We’d loved nothing better than to stay way longer, but there’s just too much to see on the two islands.

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In The Blue Breeze Inn, a modern Chinese restaurant, six delicious treats, chosen by the chef, were prepared directly in front of us. After the exhaustingly long trip, we were not able to pick something for ourselves. Just sit down and be surprised, that was the plan which worked out wonderfully. The restaurant mesmerized us with steamed burgers, smoky roasted broccoli with almonds, fermented cabbage with lots of ginger and black pepper, battered aubergines with a spicy sauce and other delicious dainties. The aim of this aromatic cuisine is to tease out the flavour’s maximum, and the chefs did it. So only after two hours in this city, we were already delighted and slumped into our bed with an incredible satisfaction.

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The next morning, we relished in the Little bird organics & The Unbakery. The café prepares vegan crudités and they make everything, from granola to bread from sprouted seeds, themselves. It was rather difficult to decide which of all the tasty, seasonal dishes to chose. Luckily, we are two people, so we can always try the food on the other’s plate. We decided to have savoury bread with cashew cheese and avocado with Japanese spice blend, along with a wild herb salad. Also, we had sweet buckwheat waffles with fresh berries and a fluffy coconut cream. Luscious drinks like a green smoothie and homemade kombucha were also there. This way, you can start your day energized. And we did, however, without our cameras. We had a great time with inspiring people, laughed, ate even more, and talked about anything and everything.

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The next day, we stumbled into a nice street food market by chance, only a few hundred meters from our apartment away. Hidden in a backyard, we found a small, distinct food realm. Different, blissful scents inclusive. We chose a cool burger shop, Burger Burger, were we not only got an awesome burger made of chickpeas with lots of herbs and beetroot, tomato jam and cumin yoghurt. What a feast!

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New day, new restaurant! On the second to the last morning, we had breakfast at Odettes Eatery. Again, we had fresh and fruity smoothies, one with cucumber, ginger, apple, etc., the other one was made of berries. We had savoury crepes filled with lentils, along with Laban, roasted cashews and poached egg. The second plate was filled with a super delicious chocolate crepe, spiced cherries, pistachios, and plum ice cream. Since we sat there for a while, we even ordered a third dish: sprouts with sumac dressing on peas and a mush of roasted red cabbage. It did not only look gorgeous, it also tasted so. Since the restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you could spend the whole day there! However, the next day we had to move into our camper, and we didn’t want to idle away on our last day in Auckland in just one restaurant.

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The next day, we were ready with packed trunks and were pretty excited, because now the adventure really started. In a few hours, we would get our camper and start exploring New Zealand. One more reason to try out one last new café to boost ourselves for the journey ahead. In Little & Friday, we had a rösti with backed tomatoes, mushrooms, and eggs; also, we had roasted apricots and brioche and English crumpets (a hybrid of cake and pancake) with orange marmalade and ginger butter. DELICIOUS!

Read in a next post how our story continued.

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