Green Bean Soup with Pear and Bacon

Pears, beans and bacon are a traditional German combination. This relationship might also originate from the simple fact, that the seasons of pears and beans overlap. Some additional fat or salty bacon only further improves a dish, so it can’t be a mistake to include it. Traditionally, the combination of these three ingredients is cooked layered in a single pot, but there are countless other ways to prepare and serve them too. In this recipe I combined the beans, pears and bacon in a simple and light soup. Although the soup can be cooked even simpler, I included some further steps to preserve the color and optimize the texture for a perfect green bean soup.

Bacon and Pear Cubes with Blanched Green Beans

Eating Out in Beijing

The importance of food in China is well pictured in one of their greetings, which translates to “have you eaten?”. Eating opportunities are all over the city, and even if there is no restaurant or food stand nearby, there will be a trailer or grill at the corner serving cooked, roasted or raw delicacies. I’m open to any new experiences so I wanted to try everything the locals eat too. This article sums up my food related adventures in Beijing.

Sea Horses and Scorpions at Wangfujing Snack Street, Beijing, China

Beijing City Tour and the Great Wall

After a successful presentation at the conference, we had the whole Friday and Saturday to discover Beijing. Probably all travel guides will tell you to arrive at sights as early in the morning as possible, because they all tend to get very crowded. So our first destination early on Friday morning was the Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. The best way to approach the world’s largest square is from Qianmen subway station. Although the events of 1989 are taboo and heavily censored in China, you can still feel the consequences of the student protest. Just to enter the square you have to go through security checks, for some sights you even have to get rid of any bags and every pocket is double-checked by guards. Additionally, the square is full of security cameras. Well, Beijing itself is full of cameras too, but at the Tiananmen Square the number of security cameras is even more pressing – most lanterns have 6 to 8 cameras gazing in every direction.

Great Hall of the People with Fancy Plants, Beijing, China

Beijing: The First Impressions

Only 20 years ago Beijing was mocked being the largest village in the world. After a rapid restructuring of the city and finally due to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, Beijing quickly evolved to a modern cosmopolitan city. Fortunately, the city managed to keep its charm.

Temple of Heaven, Beijing, China

Plum Variations

In autumn plums appear at the markets in various sizes, colors and shapes. For example the round ones are pretty close to nectarines, with the only visual difference that their skins are blue or pale yellow. The oval damsons are the most common here in Franconia, in most cases this is the plum you will find at all markets. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, you might even spot some tiny greengages. Removing their seeds makes the most work among these three plums, but greengages also have a very nice wild, more natural taste. For this dessert I combined these three plum subspecies, all with interesting added flavorings.

Damson Terrine with Plum-Marzipan Tarte and Greengage Sorbet

Peach and Almond Toffee Tart with Fennel Sorbet

Recently vegetables are becoming more and more popular as dessert ingredients. I don’t think it’s so unusual to use vegetables in desserts, because a lot of them are already pretty sweet on their own. Carrots, pumpkins or zucchinis became quite common as cake ingredients recently. Fennel for example can be applied in desserts too. The anise flavor has already been used for several hundred years as a spice for sweets. Combined with white wine, fennel makes a very nice sorbet, which can be paired perfectly with almond and peach, e.g. like with this delicious tart.

Almond Toffee and Peach Tart