" I am not attracted to straight angles or to the straight line, hard and inflexible created by man. I am attracted to free-flowing, sensual curves. The curves that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuousness of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean, and on the body of the beloved woman. Curves make up the entire Universe, the curved Universe of Einstein."
I was close to tears, when I heard the news few days ago. Oscar Niemeyer has died aged 104. He was best known as the designer of Brasília, the futuristic capital city of Brazil. He was actually much more than this. Niemeyer designed more than five hundred buildings across the world and had the intention of reforming society through his buildings.
However, the diehard communist with the heart of a romantic, knew that his buildings did not help to improve social justice:
Far from the model city Niemeyer had envisioned, Brasilia today is in many ways the epitome of inequality. The rich live in villas in the Brazilian capital while the poor live in distant satellite towns;
The Communist Party building that he designed in Paris was once rent for a Prada fashion show, a company known for providing expensive bags and wallets.
Nevertheless, he was a visionary who fought for social justice and freedom during his entire life. Thank you Niemeyer for being such an extraordinary person. Brazil will miss you.
Mailänderli, Mailänderli... As soon as December arrives, my children start to cry: Mom, we have to bake Mailänderlis!
Firstly we bake for friends and family. Then for the children's teachers. And finally for us.
Now you know why I didn't post anything last week.
Why are they called Mailänderli?
The name suggests that they are from Milan (Mailand in German) but they are actually a typical Swiss Christmas treat.
There is indeed a similar biscuit in Milan, but it is not the Mailänderli recipe. Mailänderlis don't have any "Christmas" flavours in them - like cinnamon, allspice or candied fruits.They're buttery, crispy and have a delicious lemon flavour. A great alternative to shortbread:
250 g Butter
200 g Sugar
1 Lemon, zested
A pinch Vanilla Sugar
500 g Flour
3 egg yolks
Stir the butter in a bowl until it forms peaks. Add the sugar and beat until well incorporated. Add the eggs and the vanilla sugar and stir until ingredients are evenly distributed. Add the lemon zest and flour to the dough mixture. Mix in until an even, smooth dough forms. Remove dough from bowl, wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for at least two hours . Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Cut dough in parts and roll out on a flat, with flour covered surface, approximately 5mm thick. Cut out biscuit shapes of your choice. Before baking, whisk the egg yolks and apply a light layer of it over each biscuit. Put them on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Bake for about 10 minutes in the centre of the oven until lightly golden on the edged.