A black cherry cocoa with Miss Marple

This is how I imagine a perfect autumn evening. Ideally, I’d like to have a hot cocoa date with the real Miss Marple. Or rather, Jane Marple as she is portrayed by Margaret Rutherford in the four 1960s films directed by George Pollock that our wonderful Disney Sea adventuring and emergency washing machine providing pal Sb introduced the duck and me to last year. Sb told us that she had just discovered the series herself a few months prior and that upon watching the 1961 Murder She Said, she knew she had to share this cinematic experience with the duck and me because we would immensely enjoy it (same as Sb, we had known of Miss Marple beforehand, but had never actually seen any of the films). Sb was right!Cherry cocoa duck and MargaretHere is the duck posing next to the cocoa concoction – or cocoction? – we made to accompany today’s friend recommendation: a black forest gateau hot cocoa inspired by the one they served at Epcot several Christmases ago, but with cherry syrup (can’t let the main ingredient in Phryne Fisher’s Cherry-flavored Mystery go to waste) instead of cherry liqueur, and our very own copy of the Margaret Rutherford Miss Marple films that, of course, we had to invest in so that we could have hot cocoa dates with our quick-witted British lady detective pal anytime. If you’ve never seen these films and/or wonder how we made this cherry hot cocoa in need of improvement, do read on: Continue reading

Flash Forward to the duck and me eating homemade ice cream

Having devoured our last tub of grocery store vegan ice cream, the duck and I decided it was time we made our own non-dairy ice cream. We wanted it to have all of our favorite flavors, not only peanut butter and sandwich cookie pieces that remind us of ice cream sandwich “bread.” Our ice cream would include matcha and pretzels, too! This would be the ice cream of the future, the duck and I thought, as we tried coming up with a recipe while listening to one of our favorite friend-recommended podcasts. Flash Forward is all about “possible and not so possible future scenarios,” as host Rose Eveleth explains at the beginning of each episode.
Matcha nice cream duckToday’s friend recommendation actually dates back to the weekend the duck and I watched one of our absolute favorite movies, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, for the first time, together with our lovely friends J and Al. I wonder what our lives would be like had we just stayed at home that weekend. That’s a future that I don’t want to imagine. Let’s talk about more exciting future scenarios instead – alongside a summary of how the duck and my (too-)many-flavors ice cream came to be:

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The porridge at the end of the lane

Today the duck and I want to tell you about one of our favorite books: Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. When Ch, our phenomenal pumpkin pilgrimage pal, recommended it to us some time ago, she said: “I’m not going to describe it to you, but I think that you’ll like it.” We loved it! We particularly loved reading about all the foods the narrator gets to eat; our favorite is a bowl of porridge with blackberry jam and cream that precedes the series of mysterious events that the story focuses on. In fact, when we reread this perfectly pleasing porridge passage recently, we knew that we had to attempt to recreate this beautiful breakfast. So, that’s what will accompany today’s friend recommendation post.Porridge DuckHere’s a photo of the duck admiring our pretty porridge that turned out just how we had imagined it when we read about it; this might be our favorite recommendation accompaniment so far (probably because it’s so simple and hard to mess up).
I agree with Ch that The Ocean at the End of the Lane is one of those novels that you shouldn’t know too much about before you read it. This is why, rather than going into the details of the plot, the duck and I want to talk about some of our favorite themes, descriptions, and mental images we had while reading this book:

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Phryne Fisher’s Cherry-flavored Mystery

This is what the duck and I call the cold latte recipe that we came up with to accompany today’s friend recommendation: the glorious Australian TV series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. We had not heard about the series before the lovely R had recommended it; a few minutes into the first episode, the duck and I were in love! When we recently realized that Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries had disappeared from Netflix, we were devastated. Finding out that some dubbed episodes can be streamed through the media center of a German TV channel consoled us only a little bit. We find most dubbing alienating. Therefore, we can’t fully enjoy this alternative. But knowing that we can watch episodes of one of our favorite feel-good series if we really want to, even if it’s in German, is better than having no access (other than buying or renting episodes). This is also why I was able to capture the duck watching Phryne Fisher preparing to be a badass next to “Phryne Fisher’s Cherry-flavored Mystery”!“Why cherry?” you may ask. Well, we wanted to go with something that matches the series’s color scheme. We also thought you couldn’t go wrong with a hint of sakura in spring. Now, the duck and I present a recipe for our take on one of our favorite beverages – coffee – that is almost worthy of going alongside this exciting series that so exquisitely combines three of our favorite things: period dramas, strong female characters, and a mystery uncovering detective: Continue reading

Life is pancakes

Today the duck and I want to write about Life Is Strange and pancakes. For those of you who haven’t played Life Is Strange yet (though it feels like the duck and I were the last ones) and wonder why we put those two things together, I should add that the mother of one of the characters works at a diner and that all the mentions of breakfast foods in this game made us crave pancakes a lot.
pancakes duckThe duck and I like video games, but we wouldn’t call ourselves avid players because sometimes we’re too lazy to play, afraid that we get obsessed and do nothing else but play, or simply don’t have a game console around. But when two individual friends (which is a lot since most of our friends don’t even know that we enjoy the occasional video game) told us that we just had to play Life Is Strange last year because it’s ‘so you,’ the duck and I knew that there was no way around it, especially since we like games with a solid story: Continue reading

Hunt for the hot wildercocoa

The duck and I have tried to make a delicious cup of hot cocoa countless times. So far, we would only get guaranteed success by using a hot cocoa mix that you simply need to add hot water or milk to. Those cups of hot cocoa tend to taste a bit too sweet and make us feel like complete failures. Whenever we have tried to create our own hot cocoa mix by using baking cocoa and other simple ingredients, the result was never satisfactory. Until recently, that is, when we made our first cup of hot cocoa that didn’t taste like sadness and regret!hot cocoa duckAlso recently we watched one of our favorite movies again: Hunt for the Wilderpeople, written and directed by Taika Waititi, one of our preferred directors and vampire impersonators. Since this movie was recommended to us by and first watched with two of our favorite people, J and Al, back when we saw them (too) many years ago – when traveling was only a matter of funds and free time – the duck and I thought that this would be the perfect friend recommendation to accompany our photographic journey to a somewhat decent cup of homemade hot cocoa:

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Baking to Night Vale

Last year the duck and I assembled our Berlin Baking buddies and baked Christmas cookies to celebrate that we had successfully made it through the ovenless period. This year we are over our oven excitement. So we decided to go back to our tradition of baking Christmas cookies solo (well, duo) which also sounded like the sensible thing to do this year. In the past few years whenever we’d embark on a duo baking adventure the duck and I would put on a fiction podcast to go on an added adventure in our imagination while we combined ingredients, rolled out dough, cut fun shapes, or waited for our creations to be done baking or drying. This year, as we were baking cinnamon cookies, we decided to go back to the origin of our podcast appreciation and caught up on some episodes of Welcome to Night Vale.Cinnamon cookie duckBack when I lived close to many of my friends, we used to have movie nights that we would not only spend trying to find the perfect silly movie to watch together (we discovered quite a few unexpectedly good movies that way) but also talking about all kinds of (funny, weird, creepy, annoying) things that we had experienced, discovered or read somewhere. One night, while talking about creepy stories, one of my friends mentioned Welcome to Night Vale and recommended we all give it a listen. This has probably been one of the best recommendations I have ever gotten which is why today’s friends’ recommendation post will focus on this wonderfully creepy podcast that began my podcast obsession:

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Green Rider and maple apple coffee

The duck and my last attempt at writing about some food we made and a thing that our friends recommended to us was pretty messy, so messy, in fact, that we decided to try again. Now that we have Coco, our beloved coffee maker, we decided to try and come up with our own little fall coffee drink that is not pumpkin spice related (because our morning oats tend to be – a lot! – these days). Oh, how we have missed fall themed foods (Germany, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be as big on them as Japan is)!
maple apple duckFall is a season the duck and I connect with sitting at home, reading a good book and drinking a nice cup of tea or: an apple maple latte macchiato! In our imagination, however, the duck and I like to spend the perfect fall afternoon with a walk, collecting colorful leaves and enjoying the warm golden sunlight on our faces as the day slowly turns into evening. This feeling reminds us of one of our absolute favorite book chapters, the one that describes Karigan’s time at Seven Chimneys, the Berry sister residence, in Kristen Britain’s Green Rider, one of the many amazing books that our amazing friend R has recommended to us: Continue reading

♪ You can’t bake the sky from me

Times are weird and sad and stressful and our puns are increasingly terrible; whenever the duck and I feel like too much is happening, we look at photos of food to calm us down. And, if we’re planning to meet up with someone, we take it a step further and bake cookies to share. Sometimes, if we really crave something sweet and crumbly, we bake a batch of cookies anyway, even if we have nothing planned, telling ourselves that we’ll freeze some, but eating them all before we can, ideally, while we watch a show or a movie that one of our awesome friends has recommended to us. We’re lucky to have friends with excellent taste!

I took this photo of the duck after one of our not-so-recent baking sessions that I want to tell you about about today, combined with our thoughts on a not-recent-at-all TV series recommendation that we finally got to cross off our list a few weeks ago (which is much too late), after having discovered a DVD copy of it at the local library; Firefly, the infamous series of which we only knew that it apparently ended too early and what some of the posters look like, has been recommended to us by many, but not watched by our stingy selves until we could watch it for (technically) free. Here’s a step by step retelling of what we thought and baked:

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