The Spirit of Summer 2016

This summer was different from past summers. Where do I start? 

(photo credit: Yann)

(photo credit: Yann)

I could start writing about our road trip through Italy #onthewaytoPizzo ...  or say we felt it was overall less hot than last summer... I have thousand of photos on my phone and almost as many memories in my head.... It was a great summer! The food, the sea ... always fantastic in Southern Italy.

For us, above all, it was a very busy summer! Our guests beat all records. We had non-stop guests from all over the world. We had double occupancies and check-out and -in on the same day... in our own house! We loved it!! Family and friends getting together in one big house. That was the purpose of it all. 

My favorite moments that I enjoyed with all guests was the aperitivo on our balcony. One, two glasses of Aperol Spritz, some ice cubes and watching the sun going down, disappearing in the sea and the sky a canvas for vespertine spectacles of nature. 

When I browsed through all the photos of this summer, I came across the photo above - that one of our lovely guest had posted to our Facebook page - and I felt it all over again. The spirit of our summer 2016. The photo has it alI: summer, sun, beach, the crystal clear sea that stands in such a beautiful complementary colour contrast to the Aperol Spritz, which I only drink in Southern Italy because it doesn't taste anywhere better. Relaxing & refreshing after a hot day at the sea. And the hand crafted wrought iron balcony railing, that I designed after an old pattern for our new project which turns out to be lovely, no, gorgeous! (more about it soon)  Last but not least, it's a guest's photo. It shows what makes me most happy: guests see the beauty of this place, this little spot in the South of Italy which is almost paradise. It makes me happy to see that our guests feel the same. Double happiness.

We didn't launch a photo contest for guest or so yet. It could be an idea for next year! This photo (above) for sure is a winner. Other great photos by lovely guests can be found in my album "Great shots by lovely Guests" on Facebook. If you have been staying with us, feel free to upload yours! I love to see photos of Pizzo. I am constantly checking #pizzocalabro on instagram as I miss it already. For us summer 2016 is over. For most Italians summer ends right the week after Ferragosto. But Pizzo only gets better again after the crowd has left! In fact, with the ice cream and tartufo varieties of Pizzo the summer never ends!

So I hope you had, are still having or going to have a lovely summer holiday! In Pizzo Calabro or somewhere else with lots of sunshine and some refreshing aperitivo.       

more soon....


The recipe for Aperol Spritz is easy:

  • 1/3 Aperol  
  • 1/3 sparkling water
  • 1/3 Prosecco
  • .... add ice cubes and a slice of lemon

cin cin !

Tiramisu - the recipe and story



  • 5 egg yolk
  • 5 table spoons sugar
  • 500 gr Mascarpone
  • 1-2 table spoons Cointreau
  • 1-2 packs of vanilla sugar (vanillin)
  • a bit of lemon skin
  • espresso coffee (one pot or about 2 cups)
  • 1 pack (2 x 12) Savoiardi (aka ladyfingers, sponge fingers) 

How to

  • Cook coffee first and let it cool in a bowl.
  • Separate egg white and egg yolk, use egg yolk only.
  • Mix well egg yolk with sugar.
  • Add vanillin sugar and Cointreau.
  • Move the mascarpone by hand.
  • Add a bit of lemon skin before finishing with the mascarpone.
  • Keep the mass in the fridge (raw egg is delicate!) and start working with the Savoiardi.
  • Roll each Savoiardi in the coffee (it need to soak the coffee in but not be too wet to fall apart).
  • If you want to prepare servings by glass like in the photo above, then break on Savoiardi in half and lay in each glass 1 biscuit broken in half. You will get 12 servings. If you want smaller servings, use espresso cups and use only half biscuit for each cup. You will get 24 servings. You can also prepare one large container and serve by spoon. 
  • After the first layer of biscuits, add a layer of egg-mascarpone-mass on top.
  • Add another layer of biscuit.
  • Top with a last layer of egg-mascarpone-mass.
  • Sieve dark chocolate powder on top.
  • Cover with clear wrapping or aluminium foil and keep in the fridge at least for 4 h before serving.
  • Before serving sieve one more time a bit of chocolate powder on top.


  • Although raw eggs are delicate, and you will only use freshly bought eggs, you could prepare the tiramisu the night before serving it as it even taste better the longer the Savoiardi biscuits are soaked with all the flavors.  
  • Don't use the electric mixer for working the mascarpone. Work only with a hand mixer and do not over-do it as some mascarpone is more delicate than others and its consistency might become liquid. To rescue the desert you would then need to freeze it and serve "tiramisu ice cream".
  • Some more recent recipes include beaten white egg or cream. This results in double of the amount of mass. It might appear more light, but it is also more liquid and has a more intense egg taste.  


Tiramisu is an Italian desert originally from Piedmont, Northern Italy and the name comes from the Italian words "tira mi su" which translates as "pull me up". Some say "pick me up". But it is less about picking or pulling someone, and rather more about something that needs an uplift or support ...

The stories vary, and there are also pastry shops in Treviso, Venice and Siena that claim to have invented or re-invented the recipe. But since Savoiardi biscuits (The Savoy were the Nobles from Piedmont) are part of the recipe, I will just tell the story I heard from Turino in Piedmont: Once upon a time there was a signora that had a pasticceria near a brothel. And the brothel's male customer passing by were in need of something heavy in calories and protein to gain back strength. So the signora prepared a special desert with sugar and eggs. It was very tasty and apparently had a 'lifting up' effect. A kind of early Viagra. So the desert was called "tira-mi-su" and became famous. Today, the desert is still called Tiramisu, but most people, like me, have never heard about the brothel story. BTW, the stories from Treviso and Venice also include brothels. ;-)    


How to make green Pesto Genovese

Homemade Pesto alla Genovese  

Homemade Pesto alla Genovese  

It's very easy when you have a food processor at home that mixes your ingredients into a delicious pesto sauce in just a few seconds. Else you can use a mortar. 


  • 200 gr fresh basil
  • 100 gr pine nuts (pinoli)
  • 30 gr Parmesan cheese 
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • olive oil (cold pressed extra virgin) 
  • salt (3-4 pinch)

This amount of ingredients resulted in about 300 gr of fresh basil pesto sauce and could be stored in 2-3 glass containers. 300 gr pesto could be served with 500 gr pasta and make up to 5-6 servings.  

How to:

- Cook water in a pot with salt. 

- Clean the basil leaves by washing. Shortly blanch the the basil in boiling water. This is the "secret" to keep the leaves green (after the blending) and take away a bit of the bitterness.

- Take the leaves out and dry them on kitchen paper.

- In the meantime grate Parmesan cheese and peal the garlic.

- Then throw half of the ingredients in the food processor (to reduce the volume), add some olive oil. Later add the rest. Taste the pesto to add ingredients up to your taste.

How to serve: If you serve pasta with pesto alla Genevese boil a medium size potatoe (cut into small cubes) in the pasta water. Before pouring out the water, use one ladle of the cooking water to add into the sauce.Then add the pasta. Add more parmesan cheese on top of each serving, decorate with a basil leave and some pine nuts. Bon appetito!

More Tips:

  • While mixing the ingredients taste the pesto and adjust it to your taste. You can use less garlic (but at least 1 clove for the spice), you can use more Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, more salt, more pines, more oil. The sauce might become less green though.
  • If you don't use the pesto right away, store it in a glass jar and top the surface entirely with olive oil.
  • You can easily cover the surface with olive oil and freeze the glass jar up to a couple of months. 
  • Don't make the mistake and serve spaghetti with pesto - it's the wrong pasta! Classic Italian style is to serve linguine with pesto! Or another flat pasta (bavette, fettuccine).   

Today, I saw that some branches of my basil bush on the balcony had become to heavy and broke (or was it the cat?). It was time to process the beautiful basil to a pesto sauce. I had already stocked up pine nuts for that reason. - In the evening my son declared that I am smelling deliciously from pesto. His favorite sauce at the moment and he ordered pasta with pesto sauce for dinner. It was so yummy and we were so hungry that I almost forgot to take a picture. :-)

Linguine con Pesto alla Genonvese

Linguine con Pesto alla Genonvese


Bon appetito!



Easy things




Pumpkin Soup



Pesto alla Genovese (classic green basil pesto)




Hoaba Datschi (Bavarian Blueberry Cake)


Lebkuchen (Ginger Bread Cookies)

Panna Cotta


Tiroler Nusskuchen (Tyrolean Nut Cake)


Sources for more recipes:




I am not a cook. 

But I like to dine and wine with friends. So I try my best. And I enjoy it more and more. However, I am still better with deserts. That's why I need to write down all what I managed to cook well. And as paper gets messy over time and in the kitchen, I decided to file my favorite recipes here. Along with my favorite recipe websites. Always available online, even when travelling.



Quiche Lorraine

A quiche has a pastry crust and a filling of eggs, cheese and cream which becomes a custard after baking. Instead of the classical “Lorraine” version from Alsace with bacon and ham, you can do a vegetarian version and add vegetables (cauliflower, spinach, peas, mushrooms, or else). Instead of a frozen short crust / pastry (Mürbeteig) DIY, it’s easy and fast. The following recipe is for an average quiche or tart form (up to 28 cm diameter) and up to 12 servings. It's a fast and ideal vegetarian dish for any Christmas buffet style lunch or dinner. 
Quich Lorraine
Quiche Lorraine (photo via pinterest)


DIY short crust:

200 gr flour (250 gr, if you need more mass for a higher border)
100 gr butter (120 gr)
1 egg (add 2 spoons of cold water)
Baking soda and salt

For custard:

300 gr sour cream (or replace sour cream with liquid whipped cream or mix, see photo)
125 ml milk (equals empty sour cream cup of 150 gr filled with milk)
3 eggs
200-250 gr grated Gruyere (or Emmental) cheese
100-150 gr of bacon and ham for classic quiche (or vegetables of your choice)
1 small red onion (optional)
Seasoning: nutmeg, salt, pepper
2/3 sour cream, 1/3 milk
OR 1/3 sour cream, 1/3 cream, 1/3 milk
OR 300 gr cream (liquid whipped cream)

How to:

1) Make your own crust pastry:  Sieve flour and baking soda, add salt, cut cold butter into deices, add the cold egg, work with hands. Make a pastry ball and let it sit for 20min in the fridge.

2) In the meantime cut the onion and fry it with a bit of butter in a hot pan until golden brown.

3) Use a bit of butter for the form, and lay out the pastry flat (I press it in by hand, or you can roll it out first and place the thin layer of pastry), pre-bake blind (with weight of beans on baking paper or aluminium foil) at 180 degree Celsius for 15 min.

blind baking with weight of beans

4) In the meantime: If you use ham or bacon, fry it in the pan. If you use vegetables, clean, cut and blanch or pre-cook them a bit.

5) Take out the quiche form from the oven and remove the weight, let the crust cool.

6) Mix eggs, add nutmeg, pepper and salt. Add sour cream / cream and milk, whisk more. Add onions.
top short crust with grated cheese
7) Lay on the crust the bacon and ham (for classic version) or vegetables (tip: spread first some mustard on the crust), then top it with the cheese and pour liquid mix of egg and cream over it carefully.
quiche baking: 180 degree Celsius 30-40 min

8) Bake at 180 degree for 30-40 min (check after 30 min.) If it is getting to dark, cover with baking paper or aluminum foil.

Serve at room temperature or re-heat. A quiche can last several days in the fridge.