I'm sitting here at the kitchen table and typing these words on my notebook. The rhythmical sound is, in its own way, very soothing. This is a 100-year-old house with squeaky old wooden floors. A house with a story, a history. It has seen both birth and death, peace and war, joy and sorrow, love and hatred, hope and despair, full bellies and hungry souls.
What stories would these walls tell us if they could speak?
There's a window right in front of me. Probably my most favorite window ever. The light that shines through is magical. Totally different from the one we have in the north.
When I look out of the window, I see green fields and hills. A forest too. There's also a big apple tree full of beautiful, delicate, white flowers that cheers me up every time I look at it. On the left, I can see the mighty Alps with their white peaks glistening in the spring sun. It's a view I never really seem to get used to.
On some days, I'm lucky enough to spot a hawk on a hunting trip. Flying in wide circles before plunging into a deep dive. On other days, there are light brown cows grazing under the window. They wrap their tongues around the lush grass and snip it off. When they walk, you can hear the sound of cow bells. So cliché, really.
It's a different way of life here. A different feel and pace. In a small village near the Alps, everyone knows everything about everyone else. Or at least they think they do. I would lie if I would say that wouldn't freak me out a bit. Everyone knows who you are although you only visit once or twice a year. The lady at the bakery where we get fresh bread every morning always asks "How do you do?" and "For how long will you stay?". She doesn't ask it out of politeness; she asks it because she really wants to know.
It was my Opa's birthday so I made a cake. A light, fresh, not-too-sweet yogurt cream cake topped with luscious strawberries. The strawberries really are the heroes here. The perfect cake to celebrate 85 years and the awakening of nature.
No-Bake Yogurt Cream Cake with Strawberries
makes one 28 cm / 11" cake (you could, however, make it in a smaller pan as well)
for the base:
200 g (7 oz) graham crackers, like digestive biscuits
100 g (3.5 oz) butter, melted
for the filling:
400 ml (1 ⅔ cups) whipping cream
500 ml (2 cups + 1 heaping tbsp) yogurt (3.5 %), at room temperature
75 g (2.6 oz) granulated sugar
1 large organic lemon, juice & zest
7 sheets of gelatine
300 g (10.5 oz) strawberries, washed, dried, hulled, & cut into thin slices
optional: 1 packet clear cake glaze, sugar, & water (according to package instructions)
To make the base
Line a 28 cm / 11" springform pan with parchment paper. In a food processor, mix the biscuits until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse again until combined. Pour the base into the prepared springform pan and press firmly down to create an even layer. Put into the fridge.
To make the filling
Whip the cream and put into the fridge. Mix the yogurt, sugar, and lemon zest. Set aside.
Soak the sheets of gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes (check package instructions). Meanwhile, in a small pot, warm the lemon juice. Once soft, lift the sheets from the water and gently wring to remove any excess water. Dissolve in warm (but not boiling!) lemon juice stirring until completely dissolved. Gradually add the lemon juice-gelatine mixture to the yogurt while stirring vigorously. Gently fold in the whipped cream.
Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan and smooth the surface. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, better still overnight.
To assemble the cake
Arrange the strawberry slices on top. If you're making the cake in advance or would want to keep the cake fresh for one to two days, cover the top with clear cake glaze. For the glaze, follow the package instructions and refrigerate for at least half an hour.