In “My taste of home”, Luxembourg expats contribute recipes from their home countries, but with a twist: they are challenged to use a local or seasonal ingredient.
US national Susan Alexander may have lived in Luxembourg for almost 30 years but she likes a taste of home, especially during the festive season. “This is a recipe from a New England tradition,” Alexander said, pointing out her father was from Boston.
Alexander’s accomplished career has seen her work on Wall Street in New York before moving to Luxembourg in 1989 to work in a bank and raise her family. In Luxembourg, Alexander started two companies, Gax and Minerva, the latter doing high-level research. In addition to baking, she writes fiction and has just handed in her PhD dissertation about Luxembourg and its intangible resources.
For her, baking was always a way to switch off from work and give something a bit more personal.
“When I was working on Wall Street, at Christmas the yarn was we gave colleagues who helped you out bottles of booze. I wasn’t particularly attracted to that, so I used to bake. This is one of the things I would wrap and put a ribbon on and give out,” she said.
She says she often makes her cranberry orange bread recipe when visiting friends in the US over the holiday season.
Cranberries are grown in large quantities in North America, but they are also grown around Europe in countries including Germany, Spain, Romania and Macedonia. Until recently Alexander was unable to source fresh cranberries (she prefers fresh to frozen) in Luxembourg. Today, however, she says they can be purchased at Auchan.
Photo: Susan Alexander. The quick cranberry orange bread is a firm favourite for the festive season
Have a go at making her quick cranberry orange bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (2 ounces or ½ stick or 75 grams) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar (I use bio, FairTrade unrefined sugar)
1 tablespoon grated orange rind from untreated orange
¾ cup orange juice (I squeeze the orange I used for the zest)
1 cup chopped fresh cranberries (halving them is enough)
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C
Generously butter an 8.5 X 4.5 X 2.5 or 9 X 5 X 3 loaf pan