eat in my kitchen

To cook, to bake, to eat and to treat.

Mascarpone, Orange and Sage Spaghetti

Mascarpone, Orange and Sage Spaghetti

Creamy mascarpone, sweet oranges and woody sage! Here is a velvety variation on one of my beloved citrus and cheese pasta recipes which has been on the blog for quite a while. Almost ten months ago, I wrote about a dish which became our favourite midnight snack when we come home late at night and hungry, Maltese pasta mixed with fresh ricotta, lemon zest, basil and coarsely crushed black pepper. We were not the only ones who fell in love with this easy yet divine pasta classic which is inspired by the flavours of Malta. So many people wrote to me afterwards, some even on the same day I published it, that they tried and loved it just as much.

The recipe today has the same potential for me, but it’s velvety and smooth, even a bit sweet. It works with similar ingredients and it’s definitely a candidate for spontaneous midnight dinners as well. You could replace the mascarpone with heavy cream if you don’t have the Italian cheese at hand but it won’t have the same silky texture and creamy taste which makes all the difference, but it’s an option. The sauce is very simple, I mixed the mascarpone with an egg yolk and some freshly squeezed orange juice before I mixed it into the warm spaghetti, refined with coarsely crushed black pepper, orange zest and fried sage leaves!

Mascarpone, Orange and Sage Spaghetti

 

Mascarpone, Orange and Sage Spaghetti

Mascarpone, Orange and Sage Spaghetti

For 3-4 people you need

spaghetti 300g / 10.5 ounces
mascarpone  150g / 5.5 ounces
organic egg yolk 1
freshly squeezed orange juice 4 tablespoons plus more to taste
zest of 1 orange
fresh sage leaves 20-30
olive oil
salt
black pepper corns, crushed in a mortar, to taste

Cook the pasta in lots of salted water al dente.

Fry the sage leaves in a splash of olive oil on high temperature for only 10-20 seconds until they are golden.

Whisk the mascarpone, egg yolk and orange juice and season with salt and juice to taste. Mix the creamy sauce with the warm pasta, divide between the plates immediately and sprinkle with pepper, orange zest and the crisp sage leaves.

Mascarpone, Orange and Sage Spaghetti

 

Mascarpone, Orange and Sage Spaghetti

In the countryside: Pâté en Croûte – Venison Pâté in Pastry Crust

Game Pie

Two weeks ago, we spent a few amazing days in the countryside and the pictures are still as vivid in my mind as if it was only yesterday that our family met at my mothers house to cook together. Our culinary activities became more of a task than usual due to a phone call that my mother received from a local farmer who offered to give her a whole deer. She gladly accepted and various dishes and long dinners later, I can say that I learned a lot!

When I wrote about our fantastic venison stew with apple gratin and spaetzle last week I mentioned that there were more recipes to come from this extensive cooking session and here is another one of them, my cousin Thomas’s Pâté en Croûte! Thomas is a passionate baker and chef and he joined us for this adventure. He skinned and dressed the deer as he acquired this skill during his education as a chef. This was a new experience for me, so I was curious but also a bit nervous. Apart from teaching me how to cut game, he also showed me how he make his delicious venison pâté, an aromatic filling of venison refined with spices and liver wrapped in puff pastry. So finally, another one of my mother’s exotic kitchen purchases came to use, a custom made metal mould with a heavy lid to cook French pies and pâté! The lid prevents the dough from rising too much which would create a space between the pastry and the meat. Traditionally, this air space is filled with aspic through a hole in the top but we left this out as it would have taken another 1-2 days to sit. After we spent so much time in the kitchen we just wanted to enjoy the fruits of our work!

Here are some of the tips I got from Thomas that I didn’t know of before: he told me that for fine pâté and sausages, the meat should be mixed with a bit of crushed iced while it’s puréed in a food processor. If it gets too warm through the mixing process, the protein in the meat can set which stops it from binding while the pâté is cooking. He also adds some egg white with the ice to help the process.

As much as I prefer to use homemade pastry for pies and pâté when it comes to short crust, it’s absolutely fine to use good quality store bought puff pastry for this pâté. That’s what we did and it didn’t do it any harm!

Game Pie

 

Game Pie

Pâté en Croûte – Venison Pâté in Pastry Crust 

For 1 pâté in a 16 x 8cm / 6 x 3″ terrine or pâté mould with a lid you need

puff pastry, defrosted, enough to line all sides of the form plus an overlapping pastry lid
venison, minced or cut into small pieces, 450g / 1 pound
venison, chicken or veal liver, cleaned, 125g / 4.5 ounces
fatty bacon, lardon or fatback, cut into cubes, 125 / 4.5 ounces
organic egg whites, whisked with a fork, 2 plus 1 egg white to seal the puff pastry
ice finely crushed in a food processor, 3 cl / 1 shot
juniper berries, crushed, 2
garlic, crushed, 1 clove
thyme leaves  1 teaspoon
small bay leaf, crushed in a mortar, 1
brandy 1 tablespoon
salt and pepper
lingonberry jam to serve

Set the oven to 160°C / 320°F (fan assisted oven) and butter the mould well.

Roll out the pastry evenly and very thinly and line the mould. Mind that you have enough dough for the top to close the pâté by overlapping the pastry from all sides.

Mix the ice and the 2 egg whites.

In a food processor, purée the meat, bacon and liver, adding the ice-egg white mixture gradually. Add the spices, herbs, garlic and brandy and season with salt and pepper.

Fill the meat mixture into the pastry lined mould and push it down well. Close the pâté with the pastry from the smaller sides first, finishing with 1 long side that should cover the whole mould. Seal well with the mixed egg white. Close with the lid of the mould and bake for 1 -1 1/2 hours. You could check the pâté with a meat thermometer, it should be 75°C / 170°F inside when it’s done.

Here’s another of Thomas’ tips: You can also check with a metal skewer if the pâté is done, insert the skewer into the meat, pull it out and carefully (!) touch your lip to the metal. If it feels cold, it’s not done yet, if it’s hot you can take the pâté out of the oven. Let it cool before you take it gently out of the mould and serve with lingonberry jam.

Game Pie

 

Game Pie

Spicy Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Rucola Crostini

Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Rucola Crostini

A bag of sun-dried tomatoes fell into my hands while I looked through my pantry shelves and it reminded me of the good times I had with them in summer. With Mr. Cini at his salt pans in Gozo, in my pesto that I used as a spread on a sandwich, mixed with sage and chèvre on juicy zucchini steaks or in my spaghetti with broccoli pesto - so many nice memories! I still put them on my pizza sometimes which we bake every Sunday, but recently I’ve been neglecting this salty concentrate of the summer sun, until today!

A few days ago my Maltese mother Jenny sent me a picture of my favourite snorkeling spot at Dwejra in Gozo and all the nice memories were back in my head. Our summer in Malta, the food, the sea, the hot sun, the salty smell of the air and with these feelings came the urge for a Mediterranean snack! Crunchy ciabatta bread roasted with a little olive oil under the grill, fresh rucola (arugula) leaves, a dip made of feta cheese mixed with sun-dried tomatoes topped with red hot chili peppers – and here it is, summer is back, at least for a few bites!

Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Rucola Crostini

 

Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Rucola Crostini

 Spicy Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Rucola Crostini

I like to cook the sun-dried tomatoes in a little water for 1 minute to wash of excess salt.

For 6-8 crostini you need

ciabatta bread 6-8 slices
olive oil
feta cheese 200g / 7 ounces
sun-dried tomatoes 5 around 40g / 1.5 ounces
rucola (arugula) leaves a small handful
fresh red hot chili pepper, cut into thin slices, with or without seeds, 1

Sprinkle the slices of bread with a little olive oil and put them under the grill for a few minutes until golden brown and crunchy.

In a small sauce pan, bring the dried tomatoes to the boil in a little water and cook for 1 minute. Take the pot off the heat, rinse the tomatoes and dry them well between kitchen paper. Purée the feta and the dried tomatoes in a blender until well combined.

Spread some rucola leaves on the crostini and top with the tomato-feta dip and a few chili slices (to taste and according to their spiciness).

Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Rucola Crostini

 

Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Rucola Crostini

 

Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Rucola Crostini

Spinach with Cumin, Cinnamon and Pomegranate

Spinach with Cumin, Cinnamon and Pomegranate

Some days, I feel a strong urge to eat spinach, my body literally shouts for it! It must have something to do with its high concentration of vitamins, magnesium and iron which we need so much especially at this time of the year. The hours of sunlight decrease day by day, the temperature drops and the weather moodily changes between blue skies and pouring rain. This can be draining for our energy reserves, but our food helps to balance out those deficits, we just have to listen to our bodies and the little signs they are sending out. So whenever I feel a strong urge to eat a carrot, a tomato, a piece of steak or even some dark chocolate, I know that it will be good for my body and mind and I follow the call!

When I was a child, I used to love spinach with mashed potatoes and fried egg. I still enjoy this meal sometimes but the green leaves have so much more potential, their earthy taste is perfect to refine with spices and fruits. For the two of us, I cooked a big handful of baby spinach in some white wine with the strong aromas of cumin, cinnamon and garlic roasted in olive oil. All in all it needed just a minute to cook as I wanted to keep some bite in the delicate leaves. When it was done I sprinkled sour pomegranate seeds over the vegetables, it looked really pretty but it tasted even better. Warm as a side dish or cold as a salad, it’s delicious and good for the body either way!

Spinach with Cumin, Cinnamon and Pomegranate

Spinach with Cumin, Cinnamon and Pomegranate

For 2 as a main or 4 as a side dish you need

baby spinach or winter spinach (stems cut off), rinsed, 300g / 10.5 ounces
medium sized onion, finely chopped, 1
garlic, crushed, 1 big clove
ground cumin 1/4 teaspoon plus more to taste
ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon plus more to taste
white wine 30ml / 1 ounce
salt and pepper
olive oil
pomegranate seeds of 1/2 – 1 fruit

In a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil and cook the onions for a few minutes until soft. Add a little more olive oil and the garlic, cumin and cinnamon. Cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Put the wet spinach on top of the spices and pour over the wine. Mix and close with a lid and cook on medium heat for 1 minute. Season with salt, pepper, cumin and cinnamon to taste and serve sprinkled with the pomegranate seeds. Enjoy warm or cold!

Spinach with Cumin, Cinnamon and Pomegranate

 

Spinach with Cumin, Cinnamon and Pomegranate

Tarte Flambée – Alsatian Flammkuchen with Taleggio, Apples and Bacon

Flammkuchen

When I lived close to the French border a few years ago I loved to drive over to France on a Sunday morning for a short day trip to the Alsace region, especially at this time of the year! The vineyards were all red and golden and the first young wines were ready to be enjoyed. I mentioned these trips about a month ago when I wrote about my Zwiebelkuchen which I used to eat at the traditional restaurants in the small villages. Another Alsatian classic to accompany the new harvest is the Flammkuchen (Flammkueche in the Alsatian dialect), the famous Tarte Flambée! It’s similar to pizza but the dough is made with milk instead of water, it’s spread with a thin layer of sour cream mixed with an egg yolk and the result is crunchy and light. The basic version is made with onions and bacon but after years of visiting this region I started experimenting with the toppings in my own kitchen and here’s one of my favourites.

The combination of cheese and fruit works just as well as on a sandwich. I like to mix thin slices of sour apples like boscoop with a creamy Italian taleggio cheese from the Val Taleggio in the Lombardy region. I baked some thin slices of bacon on top of the Flammkuchen to bring in some smoky saltiness. It’s important to put them on top so that they become crispy and release their juices into the fruity cheese mixture.

Flammkuchen

 

Flammkuchen

Flammkuchen with Taleggio, Apples and Bacon

I bake my Flammkuchen and my pizza on a hot baking sheet which has a similar effect to a pizza stone. I preheat it on the bottom of the hot oven and turn it around to bake on the hot surface.

For 1 big Flammkuchen you need

plain flour 250g / 9 ounces
dry yeast 1 package (for 500g / 1 pound of flour)
salt 1/4 teaspoons
sugar 1/2 teaspoon
milk, lukewarm, 120ml / 4 ounces
olive oil 2 tablespoons

for the topping
sour cream 120g / 4.5 ounces
organic egg yolk 1
a pinch of salt
taleggio, cut into cubes, 80g / 3 ounces
sour apple (like boscoop), cored, quartered and cut into thin slices, 1/2 -1
thin bacon slices 6
pepper

In  a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Add the lukewarm milk and the olive oil and mix with your dough hooks for 5 minutes until well combined. Continue kneading with your hands for a few minutes until you have an elastic dough ball. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let the dough rise in a 35°C / 95°F warm oven ( top / bottom heat, no fan!) for about 1 hour.

Take the dough out, punch it down and roll it out into a flat circle on a well floured surface. It should be a bit smaller than the size of your baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise for another 10-15 minutes.

Set your oven to 260°C / 500°F. My oven has a special pizza setting but you can use top / bottom heat as well. Put the baking sheet on the bottom of your oven to heat it (for around 10 minutes).

Whisk the sour cream, egg yolk and a pinch of salt.

Take the hot baking sheet out of the oven, turn it around and place it carefully on two stable wooden boards or mats as it will be very hot. Quickly place your risen dough onto the baking sheet.

Spread a thin layer of the sour cream egg yolk mixture on top of the dough, you might not need all of it. Spread the apples and taleggio on top and season with pepper. Top with the bacon and bake in the hot oven for a few minutes until the Flammkuchen is golden brown and crisp.

Flammkuchen

 

Flammkuchen

 

Flammkuchen

 

Flammkuchen

The Best Tiramisù

Tiramisu

Tiramisù – there’s not much more to say to that! This has been my favourite dessert for twenty years and the recipe I use today is the result of hundreds of variations which I tested in my kitchen, at restaurants and at friend’s dinner parties. To me, mine is the best and the formula to get there is simple, 1 egg and 25g (1 ounce) of sugar for 100g (3.5 ounces) of mascarpone. It’s voluptuous and creamy, the soaked ladyfingers well balanced with espresso and brandy. They are light and soft but they still have structure, far from being soggy and mushy, something I can’t stand when it comes to this Italian classic. I make the cream with only mascarpone, fresh organic eggs and sugar, some people like to add whipped cream but to me, that makes it lack in taste. When someone is worried about eating raw eggs in a dessert, I can only say that I never had any issues in all those years and neither did my guests, and there were many of them who savored it at our table.

This is an absolute crowd pleaser, invented to make a whole Italian family happy after a delicious meal! Although its name means “lift me up“, I can’t really agree with that. The coffee and sugar have a pushy effect but the amount that I eat of it works against that. So I prefer to make it when we have friends over which means that I have to share it and eat a bit less. I always prepare it around 8-10 hours in advance and make a big portion as it doesn’t make much of a difference if you prepare it for six or sixteen people.

One thing is for sure, as soon as the tiramisù is on the table, the room is filled with silence, the silence of savoring!

Here’s the summer version of this dessert I made a few months ago, my Strawberry Tiramisù!

Tiramisu

 

Tiramisu

 Tiramisù

I use a round dish of 25cm /10″ and 6cm / 2.5″ height.

For 6-8 people you need

mascarpone (at room temperature) 500g / 17.5 ounces
organic eggs 5
sugar 125g / 4.5 ounces + 2 tablespoons for the ladyfingers
a pinch of salt
ladyfingers 300g / 10.5 ounces
strong espresso (warm) 125ml / 4.5 ounces
brandy 50ml / 2 ounces
unsweetened cocoa powder for the dusting

In a deep plate, mix the espresso and brandy with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Mix the mascarpone until creamy, it won’t combine well with the egg yolk and sugar mixture if you leave out this step.

In a large bowl, mix the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the mascarpone and mix until well combined.

Whisk the egg whites with the salt until stiff and fold gently into the mascarpone-egg mixture.

Dip the ladyfingers for just 1 second (not longer or they will get mushy) in the espresso-brandy mixture with the unsugared side and lay them with the sugared side down into a deep dish. The should be very close to each other. Spread half of the mascarpone cream on top and cover with another layer of ladyfingers dipped in the coffee mixture. Spread the remaining cream on top and cover with cling film. Keep in the fridge for at least 8 hours (or longer) and dust with sieved cocoa powder before serving.

Tiramisu

 

Tiramisu

 

Tiramisu

 

Tiramisu

A Salad with Winter Purslane, sautéed Mushrooms and Nasturtium Flowers

Miner's Lettuce, Mushrooms and Nasturtium

For years I’ve wanted to plant nasturtium on my balcony but whenever the time was right to plant the seeds I got distracted by other garden beauties. My outdoor space – and the number of my terracotta pots – is quite limited, so I have to make choices. Next year I definitely want to see these pretty edible flowers in orange, yellow and red growing up the railings but for now I’m happy when I see them at one of the markets.

Nasturtium flowers are stunners in salads, they look quite dramatic, but apart form that, I love their delicate taste. You just have to mix them with some crunchy greens and sautéed mushrooms. Thin slices of apples and a few walnuts would be nice too. My salad turned out quite girly, as I chose the cute looking leaves of winter purslane (also known as Miner’s or Indian lettuce) which tastes quite similar to Mâche lettuce. But as long as you stay on the mild side, you can add any lettuce of your choice. I would just avoid escarole or endive, they would be too bitter for this composition.

My plate was ready within a few minutes and I enjoyed another one of my beloved, light and easy Saturday lunches before my weekend baking and cooking begins!

Miner's Lettuce, Mushrooms and Nasturtium

A Salad with Winter Purslane, sautéed Mushrooms and Nasturtium Flowers

For 2 people you need

winter purslane, a handful
medium sized mushrooms, the bottoms cut off, cut into thick slices, 6
butter 1 tablespoon
nasturtium flowers 6
olive oil 3 tablespoons
Balsamico vinegar 2 tablespoons
salt and pepper

In a pan, heat the butter and sauté the mushrooms for 2 minutes on each side until golden and still crunchy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk the olive oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange the winter purslane and the mushrooms on plates and sprinkle with the dressing. Put the flowers on top and serve immediately.

Miner's Lettuce, Mushrooms and Nasturtium

 

Miner's Lettuce, Mushrooms and Nasturtium

meet in your kitchen | Dutch Baby for a late Breakfast with Marta Greber

Dutch Baby

This smile! This woman has the most beautiful and infectious smile! I met Marta Greber from the blog What Should I Eat For Beakfast Today in her kitchen and her charm and positivity impressed me as much as the dish she pulled out of the oven, her delicious Dutch Baby!

Marta came to Berlin three years ago after traveling the continents, she lived in Australia, in Asia and in various countries in South America. She grew up in Poland and started studying law before she spent some time in Barcelona, San Francisco and Amsterdam. This lady is restless and blessed, she always comes back home with the most exciting stories, food experiences and memories. In her husband Tomasz, she found a great travel partner but also a handsome hand model for her blog. Many of the delicious morning goodies that she shares on What Should I Eat For Beakfast Today are presented (and enjoyed!) by Tomasz. Both of them have a weak spot for traditions, especially the ones in the morning. The two get up early to start every day with a little walk through their neighborhood, a good coffee from one of their favourite cafes in hand followed by Marta’s amazing breakfast creations that she writes about. Her love for the culinary celebration of the new day and her passion for photography led to the beautiful blog that she started in 2011. What started as a passion became her profession, she’s now a full time photographer. Her artistic work is just stunning and everybody wants to see what Marta and Tomasz have for breakfast! When I asked Marta why this time of the day is so important to her to devote a blog to it, she said that it’s the only time of the day she can plan and control as you never know what the day will bring. That’s not a surprise for someone who is as restless as she is!

The two of us almost chatted the afternoon away but when Marta pulled her Dutch Baby out of the oven topped with melted chocolate, fruit and nuts, I was speechless! It looked scrumptious but unfortunately both of us wanted to take pictures of her work so we had to wait, including Tomasz who came into the kitchen twice to see if we were finally done so that we could eat!

Dutch Baby

 

Dutch Baby

Marta’s Dutch Baby with melted Chocolate, roasted Nuts and Plums

For 1 Dutch Baby in a small heavy ovenproof pan or baking dish you need

butter 90g / 3 ounces
milk 110ml / 4 ounces
plain flour 120g / 4.5 ounces
eggs 2
a pinch of salt

For the topping:
milk chocolate, melted, 100g / 3.5 ounces
mix of nuts, roasted, a handful
plums, sliced, 3
fresh mint 6 leaves
coconut flakes 1-2 tablespoons

Set the oven to 220°C / 430°F.

Put the butter in an iron pan or baking dish and place in the hot oven.

Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan or in a bain marrie if you prefer. Take the pan off the heat as soon as the chocolate is melted. Roast the nuts in a pan (you can add a little coconut oil if you like). In a small bowl, mix the flour, eggs, milk and salt until combined.

When the butter is melted in the hot pan, gently pour the dough into the middle of the pan and bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or until golden.

When your Dutch Baby pancake is done, carefully remove the butter on top (with a spoon or pour it out) and cover with the toppings.

Dutch Baby

Your blog is called ‘What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today‘, why does this specific meal play such an important role in your life? How did that start?

Morning is the only time during my day that I can control. If I get up earlier (and I usually do) I can prepare a great meal for me and my partner Tomasz, sit together over a nice cup of coffee, talk or simply enjoy food, morning light and silence. Later during the day it’s more complicated as we never know if we’ll be having other meals at home or not. I can also see how a good meal influences our frame of mind and day, so why not start in the morning.

You grew up in Poland, what are your food memories? 

I was and still am addicted to polish racuchy – pancakes with apples. My grandma used to make them for me whenever I asked and I asked a lot. I could eat it for every meal. I can remember my grandma making great simple flavours that I loved like kogiel-mogiel (egg yolk bitten with sugar) or homemade pasta with milk and sugar. It was simple but delicious and I still prefer basic flavours.

How did your travels influence your cooking and eating habits? 

It doesn’t help with finding my new small obsessions for sure. I try a lot of food but it doesn’t mean that I like everything. My fascination with breakfasts started in Sydney actually, where I had an amazing one in Bill’s Restaurant – ricotta pancakes with banana and it couldn’t be better. In Sydney I had a chance to try international cuisine and to figure out what I like. Then I traveled in Asia for almost a year and I understood that I could eat sticky rice with mango on an everyday basis and that Thai flavours are truly loved by my taste buds. There were some victims as well as after a long time of traveling on budget and eating mostly rice and asian soups, I still have a problem with eating them now. Ups.

I travel quite a lot with Tomasz, we try to go to different countries for longer, like a few months and stay there, so we can truly experience the food culture and local flavours. I am lucky that my partner Tomasz is really interested in food, he likes to taste and try things and he’s much braver than I am. If he had a food blog, you’d love it. But for now he’s my hand model (laughs).

It would take much too long to describe what made me happy in different cuisines, but I’ll mention that a cinnamon toast I had in San Francisco blew my mind, sobrassada served with a young Champagne in Barcelona is something I enjoy, cheese in Holland is amazing, chipa in Paraguay can make a perfect breakfast, coffee in Sydney tastes like it should.

What does traveling mean to you? What do you miss when you stay in one place for a long time?

I never thought of what it means to me, it’s a part of my life which I don’t want to change. I made a few sacrifices in my life to have this kind of lifestyle (which don’t feel like sacrifices anymore) and this is what I truly like. It goes with my nature. For instance I always had a problem with sitting on a beach – I walk around, run, swim, go to look for something, but can’t just sit there. Whenever we go I push Tomasz to walk a lot. We go hundreds of kilometres on foot and I love it. When I stay in one place I have the feeling that I’m missing something and sometimes I stop to appreciate a city I’m in. Nowadays I really like to go back to Berlin, because traveling helps me to remember how awesome this city is.

What effect did the move to Berlin have on your cooking?

I eat healthier, I use organic products, I learned a lot about grains, good flours, spices. I have this feeling that everyone over here is fascinated with food. I attend many events related to food and it influences my choices and stimulates curiosity.

What was the first dish you cooked on your own, what is your first cooking memory?

I don’t really remember but most probably racuchy.

What are your favourite places to buy and enjoy food in Berlin? 

Local farmers markets, I like to walk around with my basket and collect veggies. I truly enjoy small shops with imported goods where I buy things without knowing how I can use them. But also Frischeparadies – I can walk around and look at beautiful sea food and veggies from all over the planet for long minutes and KADEWE, as they have an awesome stuff!

You are an internationally acclaimed photographer, your work has been featured in the media around the world, when did you first pick up the camera and why?

I don’t remember why, I always liked it. I was the annoying kid taking pictures at camps and trying to stage cool frames (usually it wasn’t as cool as I attempted it to be). But it really kicked in when I moved to Sydney and finally had time to improve it. Australia is crazy awesome and beautiful. For a Polish gal everything was very exciting and I am an emotional beast so for me it was double great. I took hundreds of pictures every day, always had a camera on me, bothering friends, people, animals and nature. But also I’m lucky as my partner Tomasz agrees with my ideas and he’s always happy to be my object, however I dress him up or even when he has to move around for an hour so I get a proper shot.

What are your upcoming projects?

The biggest one will be my baby. And for now this is the only project I’m concentrating on. You should ask me in a few months when I’m a mother already and know what it means to me.

Why did you choose Berlin as a place to live and work?

By accident really. We could choose any city in Europe thanks to Tomasz’ work. I voted for Barcelona as I learned some Spanish in South America and Tomasz chose Berlin (he says his German is poor, but believe me it’s really good). Then we decided to spend a year in Berlin and another one in Barcelona. Well, it didn’t work out as Berlin is most probably the best city in Europe to be in, so we stayed.

What did you choose to share on eat in my kitchen and why?

I chose Dutch Baby (Dutch style pancake) with melted chocolate, roasted nuts and plums. And the reason – it’s easy, fast, delicious and can’t go wrong (laughing).

If you could choose one person to cook a meal for you, who and what would it be?

Someone from The Growlers and obviously the rest of the band would be invited as well. I’ve been to their concert and I think it would be nice to hang out.

You’re going to have ten friends over for a spontaneous dinner, what will be on the table?

Mushroom risotto prepared by Tomasz!

What was your childhood’s culinary favourite and what is it now?

It used to be racuchy made by my grandma, nowadays racuchy made by myself.

Do you prefer to cook on your own or together with others?

Both, no preferences really.

Which meals do you prefer, improvised or planned?

Both, as both are a totally different experience.

Which meal would you never cook again?

Pumpkin gnocchi  - I tried it three times and totally failed, never again!

Thank you Marta!

Dutch Baby

 

Dutch Baby

 

Dutch Baby

 

Dutch Baby

 

Dutch Baby

 

Dutch Baby

 

Dutch Baby

 

Dutch Baby

Venison Stew with Apple Gratin and Spaetzle and a trip to the countryside

Venison Stew with Apple Gratin

A few days ago I mentioned our little adventure in the countryside while we visited my mother and a kitchen project which involved the whole family!

My mother found out about a little farm in her area just recently. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place surrounded by green hills and dense forest. They raise and sell geese, turkey and deer, wild and farmed, and the lady who owns the farm offered one to my Mama. Ours was wild and we had to skin and dress it, something that none of us had ever done before. Luckily, my mother remembered that my cousin Thomas who is an excellent chef, is also experienced in butchering so he joined in to help us. We drove to the farm to pick up the game and I was quite excited but also a little nervous. When you see an animal that has been shot for your consumption you feel lots of respect. Buying our food from the supermarket takes this important experience away from us, but this is what happens when we buy meat, every day, all over the world, an animal is killed but we don’t see the steps in between. It’s cut up and wrapped in plastic and we pay for that but I believe that it’s important to build up this connection again, to the animals and where they come from. This is the natural cycle of our food and not the industrial. I joined my cousin while he prepared the deer and I learnt a lot from him. These days in my mother’s kitchen in the countryside were a great experience, when, as a family, we cooked for two days to use what was given to us. We made venison carpaccio, stew, paté and broth and my mother put the remaining parts, like the fillets and the back in the freezer. We used all of it and enjoyed every single meal!

My mother is the absolute queen when it comes to stew, hers are simply best! She knows how to combine the right spices and herbs, how to cook the meat so that it becomes tender and succulent. Whenever she makes a ragout it’s simply perfect! We also made Spaetzle as nothing beats these little homemade Swabian noodles to soak up an aromatic sauce. Our side dish was sweet and fruity, an apple gratin topped with crème fraîche. My mother found the inspiration for this recipe from one of her favourite food journalists, she just added lemon zest and pink peppercorns on top. It was wonderful, like the whole trip!

I didn’t want to share all these venison recipes with you at once, so I’ll write about my cousin’s delicious paté and his amazing carpaccio with a herb, spice and parmesan crust next week.

Venison Stew with Apple Gratin

 

Venison Stew with Apple Gratin

 Venison Stew with Apple Gratin and Spaetzle

You can cook the stew in the oven or on the cooker as we did.

For 6 people you need

For the venison stew

venison leg or shoulder, boned and cut into chunks, 1.2kg / 2.5 pounds
leek, the white and light green parts, finely chopped into small cubes, 1
carrots, finely chopped into small cubes, 2
celery sticks, finely chopped into small cubes, 1 1/2
medium sized onion, finely chopped into small cubes, 1
garlic, cut in half, 2 big cloves
bacon, a small piece, around 60g / 2 ounces
red wine 1 bottle
broth about 1l / 2 pints (to cover the meat)
tomato paste 2 tablespoons
salt and pepper
olive oil

bouquet garni (bound with a string):
small sage sprigs 2
small rosemary sprigs 2
small thyme sprigs 2
bay leaf 1

spices (wrapped in a spice bag if you prefer)
black peppercorns 10
juniper berries 6
allspice 6
cloves 3
cinnamon stick 1
ginger, chopped, a 2cm / 1″ piece

optionally
dried porcini 3

lingonberry jam to serve with the stew

In a large heavy casserole or pot, heat a splash of olive oil and brown the meat in batches, season with salt and pepper once it’s done. Set the meat aside and add a little more olive oil to the casserole, add the vegetables and cook for a few minutes on medium heat until golden. Turn up the heat and add the tomato paste, stir and deglaze with a little red wine, repeating this about 5-6 times. Add the meat, the bacon, the remaining wine and the broth to the casserole until it’s all covered in liquid. Put the bouquet garni and the spice bag into the liquid. Season with salt and pepper, stir and bring to the boil.

Cover with a lid and cook on medium-low heat (simmering) for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with Spaetzle (you can find the recipe here, just leave out the cheese and onions), apple gratin and lingonberry jam.

 

For the apple gratin

firm and sour apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced thinly, 3
freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
sugar 2 teaspoons
crème fraîche or sour cream 300g / 10.5 ounces
heavy cream about 100 ml / 3.5 ounces
zest of 1/2 lemon
pink peppercorns, lightly crushed in a mortar, 1-2 tablespoons
butter for the baking dish

Set the oven to 175°C / 350°F.

Whip the crème fraîche with the heavy cream, add enough cream until the texture is light and creamy.

Butter 1 large baking dish or gratin form (or 4-6 small ones). Arrange the apples in circles in the form and sprinkle with lemon juice and sugar. Spread the cream on top and sprinkle with the lemon zest and pink peppercorns. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden on top.

Venison Stew with Apple Gratin

 

Venison Stew with Apple Gratin

 

Venison Stew with Apple Gratin

 

Venison Stew with Apple Gratin

 

Venison Stew with Apple Gratin

 

Venison Stew with Apple Gratin

 

Venison Stew with Apple Gratin

 

Venison Stew with Apple Gratin

 

Venison Stew with Apple Gratin

Maple Syrup and Orange Pumpkin Tartine with crisp Sage and Walnuts

Pumpkin and Sage Sandwich with Walnuts

This sandwich started with a dark loaf of rye bread full of crunchy walnuts. When I held it in my hands I knew this would be the right basis for a sweet pumpkin tartine! This has been on my mind since the season began and I started piling different kinds of squash on my kitchen window sill every week. Hokkaido, butternut or Musquée de Provence (fairytale pumpkin), they are all great for a fruity sandwich!

I aimed for some contrast to the heavy bread, a light and fruity topping complemented with fried crisp sage leaves and some walnuts. I sautéed the orange meat of a Musquée de Provence for a few minutes in olive oil before I mixed it with freshly squeezed orange juice and maple syrup. The pumpkin soaked up the sweet juices within seconds and turned into soft and sticky bites. It tasted so good in combination with the strong herb I used for the topping that I decided to brush the dark slices of bread with the sage infused olive oil. The walnuts on top brought in the right crunch, hearty and nutty!

Tomorrow, I’ll write about the exciting adventure in my mother’s kitchen that I mentioned yesterday – it’s about deer!

Pumpkin and Sage Sandwich with Walnuts

 

Pumpkin and Sage Sandwich with Walnuts

 Maple Syrup and Orange Pumpkin Tartine with crisp Sage and Walnuts

For 4-6 tartines you need

dark rye bread (with or without walnuts) 4-6 slices
pumpkin, peeled, without seeds and cut into small cubes, 350g / 12.5 ounces
freshly squeezed orange juice 50ml / 2 ounces
maple syrup 2 tablespoons plus more to taste
a pinch of salt
fresh sage leaves 12-18
olive oil 4 tablespoons plus more for the pumpkin
walnuts, broken into pieces, 4

Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauce pan and fry the sage leaves until golden (1-2 minutes) but not dark!

In a large pan, heat a splash of olive oil and sauté the pumpkin on medium heat for 5 minutes or until al dente. Deglaze with the orange juice, add the maple syrup and season with a little salt. Take the pan off the heat when the juices are almost soaked.

Brush the slices of bread with the sage oil and put the pumpkin on top. Garnish with the crisp sage leaves and some walnuts. Enjoy!

Pumpkin and Sage Sandwich with Walnuts

 

Pumpkin and Sage Sandwich with Walnuts

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower with Pink Peppercorns

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower with Pink Peppercorns

Last weekend we spent a few days in the countryside, we felt like long walks in the forest and good hearty food prepared by my mother. Sometimes I need a break from the city buzz and the village where my mother lives is the perfect place to rest and feast!

A couple days before we left the city she called me to tell me that she spotted a beautiful farm in the area to buy her wood for the fire place. It’s a fairy tail like place surrounded by hills and forest where they also have geese, turkey and fallow deer. My mother got quite excited when the woman who owns the farm offered her a deer that her husband had just shot a few days before. It was wild from the forest which the couple takes care of and not from the farm. In the next few days, I will write more about our kitchen adventure that followed and having to skin and dress the game, but for now I’ll share an easier recipe with you that my mother made for us on the night we arrived.

We reached the hill where my mother lives in the early evening, the perfect time to arrive at her house! That’s the time of the day when we all meet in her kitchen to enjoy a glass of champagne while we’re busy cooking, nibbling and chatting. She had some oxtail leftovers, a recipe I’ll definitely make again in the near future as the meat was fantastic, with an amazingly aromatic sauce. We made some Swabian Spaetzle to soak up all the thick juices and crunchy ginger lemon cauliflower on the side. I’ve already mentioned that this isn’t my favourite of all cabbages but combined with the two spices, it showed its delicate side. I used the same combination of lemon and ginger for a velvety, fresh soup half a year ago and that’s the best way to enjoy this vegetable in my opinion. My mother sprinkled some crushed pink peppercorns on top (her culinary obsession at the moment as you’ll see in the following days) and it was great. That’s exactly what this white cabbage needs, a strong spice attack!

gingerlemoncauliflower3.2

 Ginger Lemon Cauliflower with Pink Peppercorns

For 4 people you need

medium sized cauliflower, broken into florets, 1
ginger, thinly sliced, 7 slices
zest of 1/2 lemon, plus more to taste
white wine
salt
pink peppercorns, lightly crushed in a mortar, 1 tablespoon plus more to taste

Put the cauliflower, ginger and lemon zest in a large pan. Season with salt, cover the bottom with white wine (1/2cm / 1/4″) and close with a lid. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is al dente. Season with salt and lemon zest to taste and sprinkle with the pink peppercorns.

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower with Pink Peppercorns

 

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower with Pink Peppercorns

 

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower with Pink Peppercorns

Sicilian Rainbow Chard with Pine Nuts and Brandy Raisins

Sicilian Chard with Pine Nuts and Raisins

Bright as a rainbow in yellow, orange and pink! When I saw the pop coloured chard at the market I had to buy it in all of its shades although I didn’t have any plans to use them. On my way home, driving through the streets lined with golden trees at the peak of their autumn beauty, I had to think of Sicliy. We were there a couple years ago in July and the soft Mediterranean hills were covered in golden wheat, glowing in the sunlight like the leaves in the sky over Berlin.

So that was my inspiration, Sicily! Sicilian recipes often combine the sweetness of raisins with the nuttiness of pine and both flavours go very well with chard. I sautéed the stalks first as they need a bit longer than the soft leaves which are done in a few minutes. The vegetable is refined with Balsamic vinegar, orange juice and raisins cooked in brandy. You could also add some cinnamon and orange zest, or a pinch of cumin.

In spring, I wrote about my calamaretti in vermouth sauce which works with another Sicilian duo that’s just as good, raisins and salty capers!

Sicilian Chard with Pine Nuts and Raisins

 

Sicilian Chard with Pine Nuts and Raisins

Sicilian Rainbow Chard with Pine Nuts and Brandy Raisins

For 4-6 people you need

rainbow or green chard, stems thinly sliced, leaves roughly chopped, 1.4kg / 3 pounds
medium sized onions, finely chopped, 2
freshly squeezed orange juice 50ml / 2 ounces
Balsamico vinegar 2 tablespoons
olive oil
salt and pepper
pine nuts 100g / 3.5 ounces
raisins 150g / 5 ounces
brandy 75ml / 2.5 ounces
water 50ml / 2 ounces

optionally:
orange zest to taste
cinnamon to taste
cumin to taste

Roast the pine nuts in a pan until golden brown.

In  a sauce pan, bring the water, brandy and raisins to a boil, close with a lid and take off the heat.

In a large pan, heat a splash of olive oil and fry the onions until golden and soft. Add the sliced stems of the chard and sauté for 5 minutes on medium heat or until al dente. Add the chopped leaves of the chard, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the vinegar and orange juice and the raisins in brandy. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for 2 minutes, sprinkle with the roasted pine nuts.

If you like you could also add some orange zest and cinnamon.

Sicilian Chard with Pine Nuts and Raisins

 

Sicilian Chard with Pine Nuts and Raisins

Kaiserschmarrn – an Austrian Pancake with Darjeeling Orange Raisins

Kaiserschmarrn

This Austrian classic is one of the best dinner party crowd pleasers when the night calls for an easy rustic dessert. So many people have sat at our table and enjoyed this dish which is basically a torn up pancake. Every time I serve Kaiserschmarrn, it creates a joyful silence in the room that only moments of happiness and culinary satisfaction can create. Moments that remind us of our childhood food and memories, when our mothers would turn the kitchen into the best smelling place in the world on a Sunday morning – simply with some pancakes on the cooker!

Kaiserschmarrn is the Austrian take on this nostalgic treat. The fluffy pancake is refined with raisins and shredded with two forks after it turns golden buttery brown. Its name comes from the Austrian Kaiser (emperor) Franz Joseph I of Austria. He used to love this dessert so much that people referred to it as his folly (Schmarrn in Austria and Bavaria).

I feel with the emperor and I can easily call it one of my sweet follies! I’ve had so many Kaiserschmarrn in my life, that it’s good to bring in a change once in a while. Sometimes I add fresh fruits, like apples, berries or plums, or spices, like cinnamon or cardamom, but for the one that I will share with you today, I soaked the raisins in Darjeeling tea with strips of orange.

Kaiserschmarrn

 

Kaiserschmarrn

Kaiserschmarrn

For 2-3 people you need

plain flour, sieved, 120g / 4.5 ounces
sugar 3 tablespoons
milk 375ml / 12.5 ounces
organic eggs 3
a pinch of salt
orange zest 1/4 teaspoon
raisins 50g / 2 ounces
strong black tea (like Darjeeling) 1 mug, to soak the raisins in
orange peel 2 long strips
butter 3 tablespoons
icing sugar for the topping

Soak the raisins with the orange peel in the tea for 10 minutes.

Beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff. Mix the milk, egg yolks, sugar and orange zest until combined. Add the flour and mix to a smooth dough. Drain the raisins and mix them into the batter. Gently fold in the stiff egg white with a wooden spoon.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a non-stick pan. Pour in the dough and let it cook on medium heat for a few minutes until golden on the bottom. Turn the pancake, if it’s too big, cut it in half and turn it separately. Lift the pancake and add the remaining butter before you let it cook for a few minutes on the other side until golden. When the pancake is just cooked through, pull it into bite sized pieces with 2 forks and let them turn golden brown on all sides.

Dust with icing sugar and serve warm.

Kaiserschmarrn

 

Kaiserschmarrn

Buttery Blue Cheese Crackers

Buttery Blue Cheese Cookies

Buttery, flaky little bites of blue cheese! These crackers are the perfect savory snack, too good actually and a bit addictive but that’s often the case when butter and cheese are combined in a recipe. I just made a few more than 20 crackers, that was a mistake that I regret, I should have doubled the amount!

For the right cracker texture, you need a crumbly blue cheese, mine was a Bavarian strong in taste and not creamy, more on the dry side. Stilton would be perfect as well, or Roquefort, but I wouldn’t use Gorgonzola. The dough is made like a simple short crust refined with nutmeg and cheese mixed in at the end. I kept it in the freezer for 15 minutes to make it workable and less sticky. It’s a little fiddly but if you roll out the dough between cling film and always use a floured knife you will have the diamond shaped crackers ready on your tray in less than half an hour.

Buttery Blue Cheese Cookies

 

Buttery Blue Cheese Cookies

 Blue Cheese Crackers

For 22 crackers you need

plain flour 150g / 5.5 ounces
salt 1/4 teaspoon
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
cold butter 120g / 4.5 ounces
organic egg yolk 1
crumbly blue cheese (like Stilton), crumbled, 100g / 3.5 ounces

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (fan assisted oven). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the dry ingredients. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour mixture until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and rub the butter into the flour until combined. Add the egg yolk and mix with the hooks of your mixer for 1-2 minutes. Add the cheese and continue mixing until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a thick disc, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Roll out the dough between cling film (about 1/2cm / 1/4″ thick). With a floured knife, cut square or diamond shaped crackers, about 4 x 4cm / 1 1/2 x 1 1/2″. Lift the dough gently with a knife (always dip it in flour when it becomes too sticky) and put the crackers on the baking sheet. Bake for 11 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Buttery Blue Cheese Cookies

 

Buttery Blue Cheese Cookies

 

Buttery Blue Cheese Cookies

 

Buttery Blue Cheese Cookies

meet in your kitchen | Mimi’s spicy Bulgur with Basil and Mint

Bulgur with Basil and Mint

Mimi and KD’s apartment is a creative laboratory, an exciting place where music, fashion, painting and design come together, created by two wonderful people. Mimi, the musician, painter and designer grew up in London, while musician and producer KD lived in Haifa in Israel before he moved to Berlin. Here in the city, the two created a space where all of their ideas can come alive, the studio where they write their music and where Mimi works on her paintings and tailoring. The rooms overlooking a picturesque river, dense trees and Berlin’s famous TV tower are packed with guitars, audio equipment, a piano, beautiful fabrics, boxes of wool and Mimi’s paintings. On the shelves and window sills, the two have arranged a collection of little figures and old toys, hats and post cards, souvenirs from their tours, gifts from friends and memories. It’s a truly magical place.

For our meet in your kitchen feature, Mimi decided to take over the kitchen as she’s the cook in the house. She likes her food spicy, like the curries that she used to have in London made with exotic spice mixtures that she often can’t find in Berlin. When we met she cooked a delicious bulgur salad made with tomatoes, bell pepper, basil and mint. It was hot and spicy but not painfully. She used the chili pepper’s seeds as well and although I was a bit worried that it would be too hot for me (I’m quite a baby when it comes to spiciness) I loved it! It wasn’t the kind of growing spiciness that you still feel minutes later, it was present the moment it hit my taste buds!

A telling indication of Mimi’s English upbringing is a cup of tea that follows her no matter what she does! During our lunch we spoke a lot about food, culinary memories and habits and cooking with our mothers. After we shared a bowl of her spicy bulgur, Mimi showed me her beautiful prints and designs for the silk jackets and pyjamas that she will soon present on Etsy. She only works with very fine silk, printed by two young artists in Scotland. Many of the designs show her animal characters, another great passion of hers. Mimi used to work on a farm on the weekends when she lived in England, although at the moment, the only animal in her life is Gomez, the cutest and fluffiest grey cat I’ve ever seen, roaming around the rooms of the flat.

Bulgur with Basil and Mint

Both musicians are working on various projects at the moment. Mimi is currently working on new songs for her next album and she contributed her song ‘Get Me Back’ to the ‘Love, Rosie’ movie starring Lily Collins, Sam Claflin, Suki Waterhouse and Jaime Winstone:
http://www.contactmusic.com/article/mimi-and-the-mad-noise-factory-get-me-back-love-rosie-video_4398052
In February, she’ll be supporting the artist Nessi:
18.02.15 Kleiner Donner, Hamburg
19.02.15 MTC, Köln
20.02.15 Ampere, München
21.02.15 Comet Club, Berlin
http://kj.de/artist/3633/Nessi.html

KD will release a new album with his band NÖRD on the 30th January 2015 but there are a couple live dates coming up soon (30.10.14: Privat Club / Berlin and 27.11.14: Kleiner Donner / Hamburg). The video for the first single, Drogen has already been released:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkoYlvKnDSE&feature=youtu.be

Bulgur with Basil and Mint

Mimi’s spicy Bulgur with Basil and Mint

For 4 people you need

bulgur 1 cup
water 2 cups
sweet vine tomatoes, chopped, a handful
bell pepper, chopped, 1
garlic, very finely chopped, 1 small clove
shallots, finely chopped, 2
fresh basil, chopped, the leaves of a large bunch
mint, chopped, the leaves of a large bunch
fresh chillies, chopped, to taste
the juice of 1 lime
yoghurt 4 generous tablespoons (more if you like!)
salt to taste

Boil the water and add the bulgar. Cook for 7-10 minutes depending on the bulgur you use, some coarser kinds can take longer.

Put the garlic, shallots, bell pepper, tomatoes, herbs and bulgur in a big bowl. Add the lime juice, yoghurt and the chillies, mix thoroughly and season with a little salt.

Bulgur with Basil and Mint

Mimi, you grew up in England and KD, you spent your childhood in Israel, what are your food memories of those days? 

Mimi: In England we have the most wonderful Indian food. When I was tiny, my mum’s friend, Chris, would bring late-night super hot curries and beer. I miss that and I’m still completely hooked on chillies. They feature in pretty much everything I make.

KD: My favorite as a child was schnitzel and mashed potatoes! Great comfort food. Later on I became quite addicted to hummus.

Why did you choose Berlin as the place to live and work?

Mimi: I loved Berlin the first time I came here. It was so exciting to find a place that felt alive and like it was still growing. I felt I had space here to create and grow too.

KD: I grew up in Haifa, Israel, but my mum is coming from a German family and I have a German passport. When I had to choose between moving to the nearest big city, Tel Aviv or moving further to an even bigger city with more opportunities for musicians, I decided to give Berlin a shot. I was 23 then and I’m still here now!

What effect did the move to Berlin have on your cooking and eating habits?

Mimi: I found it really hard at first because most of the ingredients I used back home were Indian spices or very hot chillies, which you can get everywhere. Over here I had to seek them out. I discovered new things because of that and started making more Italian-style dishes like risotto and baking my own bread.

KD: I like to eat simply and you can get great ingredients here. I’m mainly cooking fast as I work and forget I’m hungry so pasta is generally a good choice.

What are your favourite places to buy and enjoy food in Berlin, London and Haifa? 

Mimi: In London I’m always headed to Brick Lane for a phial curry, or the Naz in Church Street, Twickenham for their special prawn curry. I also love Belgo in Camden for a massive pot of mussels and amazing beer. I miss pub Sunday lunch too. In Berlin we cook at home a lot but we love the tapas place round the corner from us, Gastón and we love our local Kalle Klein.

KD: In Haifa there is a really nice bourekas place in the Carmel Mountains that I always visit when I go back. In Berlin, as Mimi says, but also the hummus at Azzam, Sonnenallee is great.

What was the first dish you cooked on your own, what is your first cooking memory?

Mimi: I used to make breakfast in bed for my mum sometimes with scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and little bits of charred toast but my favorite memory (or more like the one mum always tells) is when I was 9, I read the flour packet in the cupboard and made the recipe for bread, that was printed on the back, one Saturday morning … My mum loved it despite it not looking very elegant.

KD: I don’t remember!

What or who inspired you to become musicians?

Mimi: My mum inherited a piano from her grandmother and I started by just enjoying tinkling around on that when I was a very small child.

KD: My older brother!

KD, your band NÖRD will release their first album ‘Na Und? Wir kennen euch doch auch nicht’  in the beginning of next year and soon you will be on tour with the band after months in the studio. How did you experience the time in the studio? What do you like about working in the studio and being on tour as a keyboard player?

We had a lot of fun in the studio. We were recording in Hamburg mainly which also allowed us to focus on the music away from home. I joined the band just a few months before we went into the studio so the time there was very important and we bonded a lot musically and personally. I’m really proud of the album and looking forward to sharing it with people live!

Mimi, you released your second album ‘Nothing but Everything’ together with your band The Mad Noise Factory in March which you presented on tour this year. You’re also a visual artist and responsible for the band’s artwork. What’s the difference between working visually and as a musician? Is there a different creative approach?

My music is like a release of emotion. I need it as an emotional output. It’s honest and it doesn’t seem like I have much control on what happens to come out! The artwork is creating a dreamland that I see in my head and takes a long process filled with tiny detail.

What are your upcoming projects and plans for the next months?

Mimi: I have a song coming out with a fantastic new movie called ‘Love Rosie’ (the song is ‘Get Me Back’) and I am working on new songs hoping to have something ready for next year. I will also be starting a new Etsy shop selling clothes that I make using fabrics printed with my drawings. The shop will be called ‘MiMi says I’m Special’ and should be up and running soon!

KD: I have a new album out with a project called Hamlet. It’s just me playing piano and my friend, Fran singing. I will be producing a few artists in the near future, and, of course, touring with NÖRD.

Mimi and KD, what did you choose to share on eat in my kitchen?

Spicy Bulgur!

If you could choose one person to cook a meal for you, who and what would it be?

Mimi: I’d have my mum make me what she makes when she has just a few things left in the fridge. I don’t know how she does it but she can make a few eggs, some random vegetables and rice into an amazing feast.

KD: The Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show to come and make me singing vegetables! That would be awesome.

You’re going to have ten friends over for a spontaneous dinner, what will be on the table?

Mimi: A big mushroom and spinach risotto with tons of parmesan.

KD: Whatever Mimi cooks (laughs).

What was your childhood’s culinary favourite and what is it now?

Mimi: Curry and still is!

KD: Schnitzel and mashed potatoes and now it’s a big bowl of mussels!

Do you prefer to cook on your own or together with others?

Mimi: On my own but with someone to chat to.

KD: On my own.

Which meals do you prefer, improvised or planned?

Mimi: Improvised.

KD: Improvised.

Which meal would you never cook again?

Mimi: I used to make Sunday roast back in England… way too much washing up!

KD: I never cooked anything that was too horrible … yet!

Thank you Mimi and KD!

Bulgur with Basil and Mint

 

Bulgur with Basil and Mint

 

Bulgur with Basil and Mint

 

Bulgur with Basil and Mint

 

Bulgur with Basil and Mint

 

Bulgur with Basil and Mint

 

Bulgur with Basil and Mint

 

Bulgur with Basil and Mint

Fish & Chips

fish&chips1

Beer is back in the kitchen! Since I used it for my Bavarian Beer Roasted Pork last week I don’t want to let go of it. This time it’s mixed into a batter that makes the most amazing fried fish: a thin crisp layer that keeps the fish juicy on the inside!

I had the best fish and chips in my life when we lived in the north of England. In our temporary hometown of Whitby, you can find England’s best fish and chip restaurant repeatedly awarded The National Fish & Chip Award. If you ever visit this beautiful town in North Yorkshire, I can only recommend stopping at Quayside at the pier to enjoy this treat. It’s fantastic! Although I know that I can’t compete with them, a family of third generation chippies, I still wanted to reach the high standards that we got used to while we lived there. I bought good quality fish, beer and potatoes, the three crucial ingredients for this meal, and started my first batch of fish & chips!

The result was delicious and surprisingly easy to achieve. I used a large pot (the same one I use for my jams) and  lots of sunflower oil. Cod or haddock with firm meat works best, the filets shouldn’t be too thin (about 1 1/2 cm / 1/2″) to avoid them turning soft and mushy. For the chips, you should always use the best waxy potatoes you can find and cut them into thin strips. I wanted mine golden, slim and crisp and you will only succeed if they are cut the right size. Another secret I’ve learnt is to fry them twice and put them on kitchen roll for a few seconds before you sprinkle them with salt, or like I did, with some added crushed pepper.

In Germany, we like to put fried fish in a bun, but we enjoyed it in traditional British fashion, with only chips on the side. We left the mushy peas out, a tradition that I never really got into.

fish&chips2

 

fish&chips6

 Fish & Chips

For the chips, it works best if you use a large pot with a frying basket. If you fry them without a basket you will have to take them out with a slotted ladle which takes a bit longer.

The oil is very hot, so you should always keep that in mind and fry with lots of care. Although this is a child friendly meal, the preparation isn’t!

I fried the potatoes first followed by the fish but you could also do it the other way around.

For 2 hungry people you need

sunflower oil for deep-frying, around 1.2l / 2.5 pints (plus more depending on the size of the pot you use)

 

For the chips

waxy potatoes (uncooked), peeled and cut into strips (around 7mm / 1/4″ thick), 1.2kg / 2.5 pounds
salt and crushed black pepper

Rinse the potatoes and dry them well between kitchen paper, fry them in 2-3 batches.

Heat 1l / 2 pints of the oil in a large pot. Check if it’s hot enough with a wooden toothpick, little bubbles should form around the toothpick.

First, fry the potatoes for 4 minutes until light golden, shaking the basket gently after 2 minutes (or use a slotted ladle to move them around). After 4 minutes, take them out, let the oil drip off and spread them on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.

Fry them a second time for 3 minutes or until they are golden brown, mind that they don’t get too dark. Take the chips out, spread them on kitchen paper and put them in a large bowl. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and continue with the next batch.

 

For the fish

fresh firm fish fillet (like cod, haddock or pollack), pinboned, rinsed and dried, 400g / 14 ounces
beer 50ml / 2 ounces
plain flour 50g / 2 ounces
organic egg white 1
a pinch of salt

Add the remaining oil to the pot and heat it up.

Mix the beer and flour until combined. Beat the egg white with a pinch of salt until stiff and gently fold half of it into the beer flour mixture. You can use the rest of the egg white for something else.

Pull the fish through the batter until it’s coated all around. Check that the oil is hot enough and fry the fish (without the basket) for 4 minutes or until golden and crisp. Take it out and put on kitchen paper to remove excess oil. Season with salt and serve with the chips.

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Chanterelle, King Trumpet Mushroom and Thyme Omelette Sandwich

Mushroom and Omelette Sandwich

When I cook mushrooms in my kitchen, they never stay on the cooker for long. I can only eat them under one condition, they must have some bite! I can’t stand mushrooms when they’re soft and soggy, I’m really picky with this. Sometimes it’s seconds that make or break it and here, that’s the case!

Luckily, that wasn’t an issue for today’s sandwich. I got a handful of golden chanterelle and king trumpet mushrooms from the market, they looked fresh and crisp with strong ridges. They were an alternative as I couldn’t find good quality porcini but I didn’t regret it. I sautéed the two kinds of mushrooms separately and quickly, cut in half in a spoonful of butter. They tasted just as strong and earthy as a nice porcini and went extremely well with the omelette, the second addition to my sandwich which is just as delicate when it comes to the cooking time. I whipped the eggs with cream to achieve a nice light fluffiness and browned them lightly in butter while I folded the mixture into an airy omelette mixed with fresh thyme.

After the past few weeks and the rather luscious sandwiches with crayfish and beetrootcaramelized plums and sausage and lamb filet with lemon and capers, I needed a simple and clean autumn version, just eggs, mushrooms and thyme!

Mushroom and Omelette Sandwich

 

Mushroom and Omelette Sandwich

Chanterelle, King Trumpet Mushroom and Omelette Sandwich

For 3-4 sandwiches you need

white buns, cut in half, 3-4
mushrooms (porcini, chanterelles, king trumpet or a mixture), rinsed, dried and cut in half (lengthwise), 200g / 7 ounces
organic eggs 3
heavy cream (or milk) 50ml / 2 ounces
the leaves of fresh thyme 1 tablespoon
salt and pepper
butter 3 tablespoons

If you have different kinds of mushrooms, cook them separately.

In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and sauté the mushrooms for about 2 minutes on medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides (al dente). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk the eggs and cream with a pinch of salt, pepper and the thyme. In a non-stick pan, heat a tablespoon of butter and pour in the egg mixture, scramble lightly and fold onto itself. When the bottom side starts to become golden flip it around. Brown it lightly from the other side for about a minute .

Cut the omelette into 3 or 4 pieces and divide between the buns. Put the mushrooms on top of the eggs, sprinkle with a few fresh leaves of thyme and close the buns.

Mushroom and Omelette Sandwich

 

Mushroom and Omelette Sandwich

 

Mushroom and Omelette Sandwich

 

Mushroom and Omelette Sandwich

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Ricotta and Lemon

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Lemon

A few days after we got home from our summer holidays, the two of us met in the kitchen late in the evening, not sure what to make for dinner. Usually, a night light this calls for pasta and a simple tomato sauce, but we were in the mood for more, we wanted some spices on our plates! A quick look in the fridge offered a bunch of cherry tomatoes, fresh ricotta and a jar full of my Moroccan preserved lemons. The parsley on the kitchen counter looked like it wouldn’t last much longer but the leaves were still crisp and green. We pulled out the mortar and the pan, heated up some olive oil and crushed a spoonful of black peppercorns and our Maltese fennel seeds. We cooked the spices with a pinch of cumin in the oil for just a minute to unfold their aromas. When their peppery smell filled the whole kitchen, we added the chopped lemons and cherry tomatoes. After 3 minutes it was all done, ready to be mixed with the spaghetti, some lumps of ricotta and the fresh parsley leaves.

It was great, spicy and fragrant, a delicious mixture of the Italian and Arabic cuisine. Unfortunately, we had forgotten about this dinner. It was quite late, we were tired and we went to bed straight after we savored this meal. Weeks later, I remembered our spontaneous cooking session but it took me a while to recapture the recipe. So here it is, we cooked it again and loved it just as much!

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Lemon

 

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Lemon

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Ricotta and Lemon

For 2 people you need

spaghetti 200g / 7 ounces
cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quartered, 400g / 14 ounces
ricotta 125g / 4.5 ounces
Moroccan preserved lemon, chopped, 1/4 or the zest of 1/2 lemon
black peppercorns, lightly crushed in a mortar, 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons (depending on the spiciness you want to achieve)
fennel seeds, lightly crushed in a mortar, 1 teaspoon
cumin, a big pinch
salt
olive oil
parsley, the leaves of 1/2 small bunch

Cook the pasta al dente in lots of salted water.

In a large, heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil and cook the spices on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the lemon (preserved or zest) and cook for a few seconds before you stir in the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes for 1-2 minutes until they start to soften and take the pan off the heat. Season with salt, mix in the spaghetti and top with ricotta and parsley.

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Lemon

 

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Lemon

Beluga Lentil Salad with Pear, Blue Cheese and Thyme

Beluga Lentils with Pear and Blue Cheese

When I went through the shelves of my pantry to bring some order to the boxes and bags filled with all kinds of dried lentils, beans and seeds, an open bag of Beluga lentils fell into my hands. I could have chosen Swabian Heirloom lentils, or the red, yellow or green legumes, but this time my eyes got stuck on these pearly black beauties.

The black seeds inspired me to make a salad that looks like it came right out of a Renaissance painting, dark, dramatic and a bit mystic (although it’s just food, it has its own aura). Beluga lentils don’t need much preparation, no soaking in water and they’re done in just 20 minutes. I cooked them with a bay leaf and a handful of lemon thyme sprigs and stirred in a little bit of olive oil after they soaked up all the cooking liquid. For my salad, I cut a firm pear very thinly with a cheese slicer and arranged the sweet slices on top of the warm lentils with small lumps of Fourme d’Ambert. You could also use a ripe Stilton or a soft Gorgonzola if you prefer a more subtle blue cheese flavour.

I like it when the white cheese melts into the warm dark lentils but you can also serve it as a cold salad.

Beluga Lentils with Pear and Blue Cheese

Beluga Lentil Salad with Pear, Blue Cheese and Thyme 

For 4 people you need

Beluga lentils, rinsed, 220g / 8 ounces
bay leaf 1
fresh sprigs of thyme, a small handful (if the sprigs are woody just use the leaves)
olive oil
blue cheese, broken into lumps, 120g / 4.5 ounces
ripe but firm pear, cut in half, cored and sliced with a cheese or vegetable slicer, 1
salt and pepper

Cook the lentils according to the instructions on the package with the bay leaf and thyme but without salt. Mine needed 2o minutes in 750ml / 1.5 pints of water. If the lentils don’t soak up all the liquid, drain them but keep the cooking liquid and the sprigs of thyme. Stir a splash of olive oil into the lentils and season with salt and pepper to taste. Now, you can add a little of the cooking liquid if the salad is too dry.

Put the lentils into a large bowl with some of the thyme sprigs and arrange the pear and cheese on top. Serve warm or cold.

Beluga Lentils with Pear and Blue Cheese

 

Beluga Lentils with Pear and Blue Cheese

 

Beluga Lentils with Pear and Blue Cheese

 

Beluga Lentils with Pear and Blue Cheese

Plum Dumplings with Cinnamon Breadcrumb Butter – Swabian Zwetschgenknödel

Plum Dumplings

Plums, potato dough, browned breadcrumb butter, sugar and cinnamon – this southern German sweet doesn’t call for many ingredients but it puts them together in just the right way. The result is heavenly: sweet plum dumplings with browned breadcrumb butter and cinnamon sugar – or in German – Zwetschgenknödel!

My versatile Gnocchi dough makes another appearance for this recipe. For Friday’s Bavarian beer roasted pork, I recommended savory potato dumplings with the same dough. For this traditional Swabian dish, I use it to wrap sweet and sour plums with a thin layer of the potato mixture to turn the blue fruits into sweet, fruity dumplings.

Whenever I make this recipe, I consider reducing the amount of butter and sugar for just a split second, but luckily I never do. This dish really needs all the lusciousness of its decadent topping. I learnt about these dumplings from my Swabian step father Uli and he taught me that a dessert is there to enjoy and not about counting calories. Every time we make the Knödel together in my mother’s kitchen, he reminds us to keep the potato dough layer very thin, that’s how he learnt to do it from his mother and grandmother. It’s our job to form the dumplings but it’s his to take care of  the quality control, and he is a very picky instructor!

It can be a bit fiddly getting the little balls in shape, to make it a little bit easier you should use small plums like Damsons and keep your fingers moist while  you’re working with the dough.

Plum Dumplings

 

Plum Dumplings

Plum Dumplings with cinnamony Breadcrumb Butter – the Swabian Zwetschgenknoedel

For about 30 plum dumplings you need

small plums (like Damsons) 30 (about 800g / 2 pounds)
sugar cubes 30

Cut the plums open on one side, take out the seed and fill each fruit with a sugar cube, close the fruit as well as possible.

 

For the topping

butter 100g / 3.5 ounces
breadcrumbs 50g / 2 ounces
sugar 50g / 2 ounces
cinnamon 1 teaspoon

Combine the sugar and cinnamon.

In a sauce pan, melt the butter with the breadcrumbs. Cook the mixture for a few minutes on medium-high temperature until golden brown. Don’t let it burn or it will taste bitter.

 

For the potato dough

potatoes, cut into cubes, 450g / 16 ounces
butter 30g / 1 ounce
organic egg yolks 2
plain flour 120g / 4.5 ounces
salt 1/2 teaspoons

Cook the the potatoes in salted water until soft (around 15 minutes), drain them when they are done. Press the drained, warm potatoes through a potato ricer and mix immediately with the butter and egg yolks. Let the mixture cool completely before you continue with the next step!

With a spoon (or your hands), mix the cold potato mixture with the flour and salt until combined.

 

The plum dumplings

Your fingers should be wet while you’re forming the dumplings, so keep a little bowl of water right next to you.

In a large pot, bring lots of water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the boil.

With a tablespoon, take a walnut sized ball of the potato dough. Shape a flat ball and lay it flat in the palm of your moistened hand, pushing down the middle with the thumb of your other hand. Lay the plum (cut side down) into the center of the dough and gently start pushing and rolling up the dough until the whole fruit is covered with a thin layer (the blue of the plums will be just visible in some places, see my second to last picture). If the dough starts tearing, take a little bit more to cover the fruits. Place the dumplings on a grid until you’re done with all of them (when you take the dumplings off the grid you might have to even out the grid’s mark with your fingers).

Cook the dumplings in batches in the hot but not boiling water (simmering) for about 8-10 minutes or until they start to float on the surface. Take the dumplings out with a slotted ladle and let them drain on a grid for a few seconds.

Put the cooked dumplings into a large bowl or onto a plate, pour over the warm browned breadcrumb butter and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top.

Plum Dumplings

 

Plum Dumplings

 

Plum Dumplings

 

Plum Dumplings

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