eat in my kitchen

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Tag: blueberry

A Summery Berry and Bacon Panzanella with Rosemary

Berry and Bacon Panzanella

A Tuscan Panzanella salad had been on my mind for weeks, I could clearly picture the colourful composition: Dark red cherries, crunchy bacon, crisp arugula (rucola), and chunks of spongy ciabatta dripping with olive oil and thick Balsamico vinegar and then sprinkled with woody rosemary. I was just waiting for the fruits to arrive at my Turkish vegetable shop around the corner.

Unfortunately, the day I planned to throw the salad together, my trusted vegetable man didn’t have cherries and – what worried me even more – the weather was dull and grey. The first problem was easily solved, I replaced sweet cherries with even juicier strawberries, blueberries, and figs, which made the whole thing even more mushy and luscious. It tasted great, but the soggy look made it rather difficult to catch a pretty picture. Even more so as they just put scaffolding in front of my kitchen window, which means the light situation in this room is far from ideal.

In these moments I always know why I love food so much and why photography, sometimes, drives me crazy. Food either tastes good or it doesn’t, of course it should look appetizing, but I believe what tastes good also looks good. But photography has its own rules and mysteries, to be able to capture a dish’s yumminess in a picture, the conditions need to be right, especially the light. So please, when you look at the pictures in today’s post, think of summery-sweet fruit juices, porky saltiness crisped in the pan, the freshness of green leaves, and the confidence of Mediterranean rosemary. Buon appetito!

Berry and Bacon Panzanella

Berry and Bacon Panzanella with Rosemary

Serves 2-4

For the dressing

olive oil 3 tablespoons
Balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon
white Balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon
fresh rosemary, very finely chopped, about 2 teaspoons
fine sea salt
ground pepper

For the Panzanella

olive oil
bacon 4 slices
arugula (rucola) or mixed lettuce leaves, torn, a large handful
ciabatta or rustic white loaf, cut into chunks, 2 large handfuls
strawberries, cut in half, a handful
blueberries, a handful
figs, quartered, 2

For the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together and season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Panzanella, heat a small splash of olive oil in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook for a few minutes on both sides until crispy and golden brown. Take the bacon out of the pan, let it cool for a few minutes, and break into large pieces.

In a large bowl, spread the greens and lay the chunks of bread on top. Arrange the fruits and bacon on top of the bread and pour the dressing all over the Panzanella. Serve immediately, preferably for lunch, accompanied by a glass of white or rosé wine, and think of your next holiday.

Berry and Bacon Panzanella


Berry and Bacon Panzanella


Berry and Bacon Panzanella


Berry and Bacon Panzanella

Blueberry Lemon Cheese Babka

Blueberry Cheese Babka

One of the first recipes that caught my attention as I thumbed through the pages of Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s book Jerusalem, was their gorgeous looking chocolate krantz cake – also known as babka. It’s a Jewish classic – a sweet, soft twisted yeast cake that can be filled with chocolate, ricotta, cream cheese, almond paste, nuts, poppy seeds, or fruit butter. I knew this cake from Cynthia Barcomi’s German book Backen, she sprinkles the loaf with crumbles and adds marzipan to the filling. I never tried it but the pictures in both books looked so tempting that I decided to give babka a go. I didn’t even mind the overnight-preparation that Ottolenghi recommends – if you time it well, it’s not a big deal. Yotam and Sami use water for the dough, Cynthia goes for milk, which I also did. It makes it rich like a brioche.

However, I didn’t feel like dark chocolate but cream cheese, blueberries, and lemon zest. A bit of spring feeling packed in a Sunday breakfast treat. The cheese makes the yeast dough nice and juicy, the berries make it fruity and fresh. I can only imagine how wonderful this would be at an early summer picnic in May but let’s not think about that for now. I made the dough in the evening before I went to bed and gave it a good 10 minutes of kneading until the soft butter, eggs, and milk were well combined and I held a silky, smooth ball of dough in my hands. After a night in the fridge it had risen slightly by the next morning, but hadn’t doubled in size. Rolled out thinly and spread with the filling, it was a bit fiddly to roll it up into a log without loosing the blueberries. I wanted to add even more berries but it would have made it too stressful to keep them inside – so I went for less fruit and a chilled out mood instead. Twisting was next: If you have Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem book at home, you can see how he does it, his technique is too complicated to explain and impossible if you want to fill your babka with cream cheese enriched with stiff egg whites and fruit. I followed Cynthia’s method instead: I closed the roll into a ring and twisted it about seven times. When it comes to this kind of fragile kitchen projects, it’s best to transfer your piece of art quickly and with confidence to a buttered pan – insecurity and hesitance would just make it harder to succeed. When this is done, the cake has to rise for an hour once again, so if you want to enjoy it for breakfast, you should get up in time. Once it’s nice and puffy, the babka bakes in the oven for about 1 hour, but then it smells and tastes so wonderful that you don’t mind the hours of work.

Blueberry Lemon Cheese Babka


Blueberry Lemon Cheese Babka

Blueberry Lemon Cheese Babka

Mind that the babka has to rise twice, the first time overnight (for about 8 hours) in the fridge.

Makes 1 loaf cake.

For the dough

plain flour 260g / 2 cups
granulated sugar 50g / 1/4 cup
fast-acting yeast 1 1/2 teaspoons
fine sea salt 1/4 teaspoon
milk, lukewarm, 60ml / 1/4 cup
organic egg 1
organic egg yolk 1
butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces, 75g / 1/3 cup
oil, for the bowl

For the filling

organic egg whites 2 plus 1 egg yolk
a pinch of fine sea salt
cream cheese, drained, 250g / 9 ounces
granulated sugar 30g / 2 tablespoons
vanilla pod, scraped, 1/4
freshly grated lemon zest 1 heaping teaspoon
fresh blueberries 150g / 5 1/4 ounces

For the glaze

organic egg yolk 1
milk 1 tablespoons

For the yeast dough, in a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Whisk the milk, egg, and egg yolk and add along with the butter to the flour mixture. Knead for about 10 minutes, starting with the dough hooks of an electric mixer and continue kneading and punching with your hands for a few minutes until you have a soft and silky ball of dough. Transfer to a clean, oiled bowl, cover with cling film and put in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, for the filling, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff. In a large bowl, whisk the cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar, vanilla seeds, and lemon zest until creamy. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites until combined.

Butter a 11 x 24cm / 4 x 9″ loaf pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.

Punch the dough down, take it out of the bowl, and knead for about 30 seconds. On a floured counter top, roll out the dough with a rolling pin into a 28 x 40cm / 11 x 16″ rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough, leaving a 2cm / 3/4″ rim, and sprinkle with the blueberries. Brush 1 of the shorter sides with cold water. Starting from the other short side, roll up the dough tightly into a thick log. Press to seal the end onto the roll and place the seam at the bottom. Gently stretch the roll a little and close into a ring, pushing the dough of both ends together to seal the filling inside (see the 5th row of pictures). Leaving the ring lying on the counter top, push the ring gently together, and, starting from the middle, carefully twist the roll about 3-4 times on the left side and then on the other side. The more you twist it, the more layers it will have, don’t worry if it tears a bit. It should look like a thick spiral (see the 2nd row of pictures). Lift the roll with a large knife and quickly transfer to the prepared pan. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place (I put it on the heater) for about 60-90 minutes or until puffy.

Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F (conventional oven). For the glaze, whisk the egg yolk and milk.

Brush the loaf with the glaze and bake in the oven for 35 minutes, then cover loosely with aluminium foil and bake for another 30 minutes or until golden brown and almost firm on top. Check with a skewer, it should come out almost clean. Take the pan out of the oven and let the cake cool for at least 10-15 minutes before you remove it from the pan. Enjoy slightly warm or cool.

Blueberry Lemon Cheese Babka


Blueberry Lemon Cheese Babka


Blueberry Lemon Cheese Babka


Blueberry Lemon Cheese Babka


Blueberry Lemon Cheese Babka


Blueberry Lemon Cheese Babka

A Perfect Raspberry and Blueberry Tart with Bavarian Cream

Raspberry + Blueberry Tart with Bavarian Cream

More than twenty years ago I spent a beautiful two weeks in the South of France together with my uncle’s family. We stayed in a pink house in the hills of Grasse surrounded by a blossoming garden full of roses, jasmine and lavender. My room faced this fragrant oasis, a French picture book scene in white, blue, red and pink. I used to sit on my bed with the windows wide open, watching the curtains fly in the warm wind, mesmerized by the scent that caught all my senses. Grasse has been known as the “world’s perfume capital” since the end of the 18th century. Thanks to its warm climate it is ideal for flower farming, this is where the best parfumeurs get trained to distinguish between thousands of scents. Although I didn’t go there with any professional intentions I’m sure my sense of smell wasn’t the same after this holiday!

This leads me to another sense, the sense of taste! My family is very passionate about food and so are my aunt and uncle. We went to amazing restaurants and kept the cooking in the house quite simple but nonetheless delicious. Salads, fruit, pasta but also quail and fish were on our table. One afternoon, we invited some friends to come over for tea and the lady who took care of the house offered to bake a fruit tart. Her creation was one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen and definitely one of the best I have ever eaten. It was very simple, a perfect short crust base topped with circles of four or five different berries, all sweet and ripened under the French sun. We all loved it!

I’m a big fan of these summer tarts, buttery short crust and fruit is just my kind of combination. This is a cake you can enjoy in the hottest temperatures when heavy cream cakes are already out of the question.

This holiday will always remind me of this wonderful cake and the memories of the smell and the hills of Grasse will always inspire me to bake a tart. Today I gave it a raspberry and blueberry layer on top of a delicious Bavarian cream, fluffy, light and full of vanilla. The pastry is crisp and light but strong enough to carry the cream without getting soggy. This is a perfect tart to me – so good that I always bake two of them straight away!

Raspberry + Blueberry Tart with Bavarian Cream


Raspberry + Blueberry Tart with Bavarian Cream

Raspberry and Blueberry Tart with Bavarian Cream

For 2 tarts in 22cm / 9″ tart pans you need

blueberries 200g / 7 ounce
raspberries 100g / 3.5 ounces


For the short crust base

flour 400g / 14 ounces
(I use spelt flour type 630 but you can use any other plain flour)
sugar 100g / 3.5 ounces
salt 1/4 teaspoon
butter 200g / 7 ounces
organic egg yolks 3
water 3 tablespoons

Combine the flour with the sugar and salt. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and work the butter into the flour until combined (there shouldn’t be any lumps of butter left). Add the egg and water and continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form 2 discs, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F top/ bottom heat.

Roll out the dough between cling film and line your tart pans with the flat pastry. Prick it with a fork and blind-bake in the hot oven for 20 minutes or until golden. Let the tarts cool completely before you take them out of their pans.


For the Bavarian cream

organic egg 1
organic egg yolks 2
sugar 80g / 3 ounces
a pinch of salt
milk 250ml / 8.5 ounces
vanilla bean, slit slightly, 1/2
gelatin sheets 2
heavy cream, whipped, 230g / 8 ounces

Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water for a few minutes.

Whisk the egg, egg yolks, sugar and salt till thick and fluffy.

In a sauce pan, bring the milk together with the vanilla bean to the boil. Take the vanilla bean out, scrape the seeds out of the bean into the milk. Whisk the egg mixture into the hot milk and put the pan back on a medium heat, stirring constantly. When the cream is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (it will take around 5 minutes depending on the temperature) take it off the heat.

Squeeze the soaked galatin sheets into the egg mixture and crumble the sheets in. Whisk well, fill in a bowl and let it cool for a few minutes before you put it in the fridge to bring it to room temperature.

Gently fold in the whipped cream and cool in the fridge for 2 hours until the cream is set.


The fruit tart

Divide the Bavarian cream between the 2 tarts and spread evenly. Garnish with the fruits and serve immediately or keep in the fridge.

The crust is best when it’s fresh but we still enjoyed a couple pieces after the tart had been in the fridge.

Raspberry + Blueberry Tart with Bavarian Cream


Raspberry + Blueberry Tart with Bavarian Cream


Raspberry + Blueberry Tart with Bavarian Cream

Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes with Maple Syrup and Cinnamon

Blueberry Pancakes

A couple weeks ago I wrote about French toast, my ultimate cosy weekend breakfast! I mentioned that there is one sweet treat I enjoy as much, fluffy morning pancakes! Even better, blueberry pancakes with maple syrup! The sweet berries taste divine with or without any kind of syrup but if I can choose maple is my favourite in this combination. Sometimes I replace the berries with thick slices of apple and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. That’s how my mother used to make them for me, or I add some chocolate spread or my blood orange marmalade, but when I saw the thick and juicy blueberries from Chile at the market my breakfast choice for this weekend was made!

When I make pancakes, I make lots of them because I can eat lots of them. I enjoy them straight out of the pan, warm and fluffy as well as in the afternoon with a cup of tea when they are already soft and cold. For my dough, I start off with 4 organic eggs, separated, the egg whites beaten till stiff with a pinch of salt. I combine 180g / 6.5 ounces of flour (I use spelt flour type 630 but you can use any other plain flour) with 2 scant teaspoons of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of sugar. I add 200 ml of milk, the egg yolks and mix everything well before I gently fold in the egg whites.

I fry the pancakes in batches, 3 at a time always adding a teaspoon of butter before I pour a ladle of my thick dough into the pan. I sprinkle the soft dough with the blueberries, pushing them in a bit so that they won’t burn when I turn the pancakes. When they are golden brown on each side, I pile them up on a plate, pour the maple syrup on top and sprinkle with cinnamon. Sometimes I even let some butter melt on their golden tops, it’s the weekend after all!

Blueberry Pancakes


Blueberry Pancakes


Blueberry Pancakes


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