eat in my kitchen

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

Tag: Eat In My Kitchen Book

Eat In My Kitchen is out! From the book: Radicchio, Peach & Shallot with Stilton

Radicchio, Peach & Stilton Salad

The Eat In My Kitchen book is out and I’m the happiest person on the planet!

One of the exciting – and often quite challenging – things in life is that you never really know where the journey will take you. It’s like being on a ship out on the open sea. Sometimes it seems like you can control the direction, but it might just be an illusion, and in the end you can only ever go with flow instead of fighting against it. Since I understood this, my life rolls more smoothly than ever. I wasn’t one of those kids that had a clear idea of their future and what it should bring. At the age of 18 I was still a bit clueless about my place in this world, so I decided to go to university and study architecture. I was a good girl and left 4 years later with a diploma in my pocket although I knew I wouldn’t want to work as an architect. Instead, I worked happily in the music industry for 15 years. But things changed, I changed, the music business changed, my direction in life changed. I decided to start a food blog on a cold winter’s day in November 2013, and this decision had more of an impact on my life than I could have imagined back then. I shared a new recipe every day in the first year of Eat In My Kitchen, and although I felt creatively extremely stimulated after those 12 months, I was also exhausted. My writing and photography improved tremendously in that year, and my cooking and baking evolved as well – I became more experimental. However, I had to slow down the pace, it was too much. But the solution was easy: less posts on the blog and I found a rhythm that allowed me to enjoy every single part of being a blogger (it still feels weird to say that).

In the even colder days of February 2015, life, the universe, destiny, luck, or whatever you may call it, had different plans. Holly La Due from Prestel Publishing in New York came into my life, she sent me an email in the morning, we skyped in the afternoon, and sealed our deal in the evening – all in one day. Holly’s decision to ask me if I’d like to write a cookbook, changed my life so drastically that I’m still processing what’s been happening in the past year and a half. I never really got used to seeing myself as a blogger, life was too fast, and now I’m a cookbook author. I still have these moments, when I look at my book using one of the recipes in my own kitchen, and I get a little shock and feel, “wow, that’s my book”. I guess I need a little more time.

Most of the time in life it’s not just us alone, not just a single person who creates, we’re woven into a net of people, ideas, and visions. Whoever pulls the string on one side of the net, affects the whole result. This heavy blue book full of recipes, Eat In My Kitchen – to cook, to bake, to eat, and to treat, is not just lying on my table anymore, today it’s been sent out into the world, now it’s on the book shelves and maybe lying on your table. And this makes me feel peacefully happy and thankful, I could squeeze the world.

This book has been a gift for me from the start. Being able to turn a vision into a physical object makes me feel very humble, I know that this book carries a part of every single person who’s been involved. Thank you, to the most amazing team and friends all over the world:

Holly, Jamie, Jan, Lauren, Karen, Luke, Stephen, Angy, Emma, Oliver, Andrew, Will, Marisa, Ron, Monica, Ellen S, Jen, Pia, Julie, Adeline, Ellen M, Cynthia, Molly, Malin, Yossy, the Cini family, Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, Joanna, Karl, Jo, Iggy, Marina, Türkan, Jörg, Kitty, Hetty, Mama, Uli, Ursula, Uwe, Jenny, Edith, Emma, Alex, Julia, Nina, Kim, Jessica, Luke, Matt, Muxu, Daphne, Nadine, Jan, Essa, Sandra, Chris, Alexandra, Doris, Chris, Anna, Jimmy, Gina, Pattie, Jayne, and all my loved ones.

Thank you my wonderful food loving blog friends, you’ve come back and visited these pages for almost 3 years. Your passion, enthusiasm, your questions and comments, your emails and pictures, made me enjoy my kitchen and my food even more than I already do. You drive me on to dig deeper into culinary traditions and to come up with new ideas every day. Thank you and a big hug!

Today I’ll share the second recipe from my book with you, the colourful salad that made it onto the cover of my book and that became one of my favourites. It’s a luscious composition playing with contrasts: bitter crunchy radicchio, soft and juicy peaches, sweet oven roasted shallots, sharp Stilton, and a little thyme. It’s a beauty on your picnic blanket, a fresh addition to your brunch table, and the easiest starter for a dinner party.

The pictures of me and the picnic scene in this post were taken in July, at Villa Bologna in Malta, for an article in the Eating & Drinking Magazine.

Radicchio, Peach & Stilton Salad

 

Radicchio, Peach & Stilton Salad

Radicchio, Peach, and Roasted Shallot Salad with Blue Cheese

SERVES 2 TO 4

8 shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise (or 4 small red onions, peeled and cut into quarters)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Flaky sea salt
Ground pepper
5 ounces (140 g) radicchio, soft leaves only, torn into pieces
4 ripe peaches, peeled and cut into 8 wedges each
2 ounces (60 g) Fourme d’Ambert, Stilton, or any crumbly blue cheese, crumbled
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

FOR THE DRESSING

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
Fine sea salt
Ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread the shallots on the lined baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, and season to taste with flaky sea salt and pepper. Gently mix with your fingers and roast for 10 minutes. Flip the shallots over and roast for another 5 minutes or until golden brown and soft. Peel any hard or burnt layers off the shallots and set them aside. You can prepare the shallots in advance; they don’t need to be warm.

For the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, both vinegars, and the honey; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange the radicchio, peaches, and shallots in overlapping layers on plates, sprinkle with the crumbled cheese and thyme, drizzle with the dressing, and serve immediately.

Radicchio, Peach & Stilton Salad

 

Radicchio, Peach & Stilton Salad

 

Radicchio, Peach & Stilton Salad

From my cookbook: Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel

The first picture of today’s post caught the moment I held my Eat In My Kitchen cookbook in my trembling hands for the first time. I had to sit down, or rather, I fell into my beloved old chair in our living room. This chair has seen many emotions, sad and happy, it’s been with me all my life and it’s the place I want to be when the world around me becomes a little overwhelming. So a couple months ago, on a hot day in July just a day before we flew to Malta, this chair had to catch me once again. My knees were wobbly and I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry, so I did both. I received a package from my publisher and I knew what it was before I even opened it: two books, my books.

Tomorrow is a very special day, my German book, Eat In My Kitchen – essen, backen, kochen und genießen, will be published and in a week the English book will follow: Eat In My Kitchen – to cook, to bake, to eat, and to treat, on October 4th. The book is already on Epicurious’ list of ‘The 25 Most Exciting New Cookbooks for Fall 2016’ and my heart is jumping for joy!!

So many people keep asking me how I feel about my big publishing day(s), whether I’m excited, proud, or nervous. To be honest, I can’t really say how I feel. Maybe confused and overwhelmed? As much as it felt normal to write this book at one point, to cook and bake the recipes, and to take the pictures, strangely enough it’s starting to feel normal to know that it’ll be out soon. It may sound weird and maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’ll have a nervous breakdown at one point, maybe when I present the book in front of an audience (in the next few weeks, all over Europe and in the US), or when I see it at a book shop, or when I watch people pulling it off a shelf and buying it. I don’t know.

Luckily, I don’t have much time to think about all this, which is sometimes the best thing that can happen. Eat In my Kitchen feels as intuitive, natural, and close to myself as it can get. The physical book just as much as this blog. I’m in my comfort zone, constantly, which I consider to be the greatest gift. I don’t take anything for granted in life, I’m here and I want to learn, grow, and experience everything. I don’t know if I’ll fail or succeed with this book, but it’s also nothing I want to worry about. Every recipe, every story and picture that fill the 256 pages of this book is totally me, to question or doubt its relevance, would be fatal. That would mean questioning my passion and my beliefs, before this book even sees a shelf in a bookstore.

I can say that I’m unbelievably happy that this book exists. With a big smile on my face, I stand behind all I’ve created and written in the past year and a half to fill its pages, in both the German and the English book. I went through many lows and I took the highs with great pleasure, I suffered and I cried, I changed some decisions and stood strongly behind others. I’ve been through my battles, while working on these pages. But now I let go. A month ago I wrote about this transition, this process of letting go of a project. Tomorrow, this process will be complete.

Today sees a premier on the blog, I’m sharing the first recipe from my book with you and, also for the first time, I’ll share a recipe in English and in German. I get many requests to write my blog in two languages, and as much as I’d love to do that, I simple don’t have enough time. I appreciate the effort of so many of you who aren’t that familiar with the English language but still give it a try and follow my recipe instructions in a foreign language. Today, my German readers, you can relax and bake the most delicious, spongy chocolate olive oil Bundt cake, topped with a thick chocolate glaze and sweet and crunchy caramelized orange peel. I love this cake!

Next week, I’ll share another recipe from my book with you, on the 4th October, on the day when my English readers can hold the book in their hands for the first time. I’ll be in Malta at that point, celebrating the book at my launch at the gorgeous Villa Bologna before my journey takes me to London, New York, and Washington. I’ll try my best to keep up with writing about all this here on the blog – and I also intend to start sharing videos on Instagram, so please come over and join my journey in the next few weeks and months.

Today I want to thank my amazing team here in Germany, all the wonderful women and men who made this book possible. Thank you everyone at Prestel in Munich, especially Pia, Julie, and Adeline. Thank you so much Ellen Mey for being my editorial guidance.

So very soon the book will be available in bookstores, and in case you can’t find it on the shelves, you can order it at any bookstore in the world, or here:

Amazon US – Amazon UK – Amazon Germany

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

Books A Million

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel

 

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel-2

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel

from Eat In My Kitchen – to cook, to bake, to eat, and to treat, published by Prestel

SERVES 8 TO 12

Dry breadcrumbs, for sprinkling the Bundt pan
2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
5 ounces (140 g) bittersweet chocolate
⅔ cup (155 ml) olive oil
5 large eggs
3½ tablespoons (50 ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
3½ tablespoons (50 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice

FOR THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE

5 ounces (140 g) bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon (15 g) unsalted butter
1 to 2 teaspoons sunflower oil

FOR THE CANDIED ORANGE PEEL

¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 small handful very thin strips of fresh orange peel

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C (preferably convection setting). Butter a 7½-cup (1.75 l) Bundt pan and sprinkle generously with breadcrumbs.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt the choc­olate. Let cool for a few minutes then add the olive oil, eggs, milk, orange zest, and orange juice, and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until smooth. Add to the flour mixture and quickly mix with an electric mixer for 1 minute or until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes (slightly longer if using a conventional oven) or until golden brown and firm on top. If you insert a skewer into the cake, it should come out clean. Let cool for a few minutes then shake the Bundt pan a little and turn the cake out onto a plate. Let cool completely. Trim the bottom of the cake to even it out.

For the chocolate glaze, melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and whisk until smooth. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake, evening it out with a knife or leaving it in voluptuous drops.

For the candied orange peel, in a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. When it starts to caramelize add the orange peel. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the peel is golden and soft—mind that it doesn’t burn. While the caramel is still liquid, quickly transfer the candied peel to a piece of parchment paper. Let cool for 1 minute then peel it off the paper and decorate the cake while the glaze is soft.

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel

German recipe:

Schokoladen-Gugelhupf mit Olivenöl und Kandierter Orangenschale

aus Eat In My Kitchen – essen, backen, kochen und genießen, veröffentlicht bei Prestel

FÜR 8–12 PERSONEN

Semmelbrösel, für die Gugelhupfform
260 g Mehl
200 g Zucker
3 TL Backpulver
1 TL Speisenatron
1 Prise feines Meersalz
140 g Zartbitterschokolade
150 ml Olivenöl
5 Eier
50 ml Milch
1 EL Orangenabrieb
50 ml frisch gepresster Orangensaft

FÜR DIE SCHOKOLADENGLASUR

140 g Zartbitterschokolade
1 EL Butter
1–2 TL Sonnenblumenöl

FÜR DIE KANDIERTE ORANGENSCHALE

50 g Zucker
2 EL Wasser
1 kleine Handvoll sehr dünne Streifen Orangenschale

Den Ofen auf 180 °C (Umluft) vorheizen. Eine Gugelhupfform (1,8 l) einfetten und großzügig mit Semmelbröseln bestreuen.

In einer großen Schüssel Mehl, Zucker, Backpulver, Speisenatron und Salz vermischen.

Die Schokolade in einer großen Schüssel über einem Wasserbad schmelzen. Ein paar Minuten abkühlen lassen, dann Olivenöl, Eier, Milch, Orangenabrieb und Orangensaft dazugeben und mit einem Handrührer etwa 2 Minuten glatt rühren. Zu der Mehlmischung geben und mit dem Handrührer etwa 1 Minute gut verrühren. Den Teig in die vorbereitete Gugelhupfform gießen und etwa 35–40 Minuten goldbraun backen, die Oberfläche sollte fest sein. Ein Metallstäbchen sollte nach dem Einpieksen in den Kuchen sauber sein. Ein paar Minuten abkühlen lassen, dann die Gugelhupfform ein wenig rütteln und den Kuchen auf eine Platte stürzen. Komplett auskühlen lassen und, falls nötig, den Boden gerade schneiden.

Für die Schokoladenglasur Schokolade und Butter in einem Topf bei niedriger Hitze schmelzen. 1–2 TL Sonnenblumenöl dazugeben und glatt schlagen. Die Glasur über den ausgekühlten Kuchen gießen, mit einem Messer verteilen oder in üppigen Tropfen herunterlaufen lassen.

Für die kandierte Orangenschale Zucker und Wasser in einem kleinen Topf zum Kochen bringen. Wenn es anfängt zu karamellisieren, die Orangenschale dazugeben. Bei mittlerer Hitze etwa 3–4 Minuten köcheln lassen, bis die Schale golden und weich ist – aufpassen, dass sie nicht anbrennt. Während der Karamell noch flüssig ist, die Orangenschale schnell auf einem Stück Backpapier ausbreiten. Ein paar Minuten auskühlen lassen, von dem Papier abziehen und den Kuchen damit dekorieren, solange die Glasur noch weich ist.

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel

 

chocolateoliveoilorangecake7

 

chocolateoliveoilorangecake8

 

chocolateoliveoilorangecake10

Blueberry Victoria Sponge Cake, London, and my first book presentation

Blueberry Victoria Sponge Cake

London welcomed me with blue skies and the brightest sunshine – the city looked like a blossoming beauty as I stepped off the train. It was supposed to be a two day work trip but spring temperatures made it feel like a little holiday. Great food and wine and the company of wonderful people almost made me forget why I went to the capital: my publisher’s London team invited me to present my Eat In My Kitchen book for the first time at the Photographers’ Gallery. To say that I was nervous, is a slight understatement. I drove the people around me crazy in the past few days! We just finished the last edits for my book this week, which means I can’t change anything anymore and I’m not yet sure if I like this feeling. Now I have to learn to let go. But the thought of talking about it in front of 30 people straight after closing the last pages of my book to send it to the printing press felt a little overwhelming.

I booked an early flight on Wednesday morning so that I’d have the day to myself. I wanted to have enough time to meet a couple special people. My first stop was the gorgeous Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair where I stayed for the night. My last visit to London – and a scrumptious meet in your kitchen tea time feature – made me fall in love with this wonderful hotel. It’s the perfect choice when you need a relaxing place to stay during a busy trip. London is like a beehive but Brown’s Hotel is the calm oasis you can go back to to rest. Thank you Sophie Grounds for making me feel so good again!

Blueberry Victoria Sponge Cake

A stroll through the sunny streets of Mayfair took me to busy Oxford Street and the charming building of Selfridges. I came here to visit Melissa Hemsely at the sisters’ brand new Hemsely + Hemsley Café located on the third floor of the luxury department store. It’s a cozy place that’s only been open for a month and it was totally packed. All the tables were taken and I saw lots of happy faces enjoying beautiful dishes from the girl’s books, like quinoa roasted vegetables with basil pesto (delicious!), salmon burger with lime slaw, and the sisters’ fantastic sweets. We chatted about our books – they just published their second book called Good + Simple – and I also got to try a wonderfully juicy banana cake that’s not on the menu yet.

Spitalfields was next, and here I met a man whose work I’ve admired for quite a while and who I got to know through another one of my meet in your kitchen features: Sami Tamimi. This man is a great inspiration, he’s open and charismatic and he talks with a warm, calm voice. Sami seems to smile the whole time, genuinely, and it felt like I’ve known him for years. He gave me such a flattering quote for my book and I wanted to thank him in person. Sami invited me to the latest addition to the Ottolenghi restaurants, their deli in the heart of Spitalfields that opened just a year ago. The place is bright and airy and the long counter right at the large window front is filled with the most beautiful food you can imagine. No one presents food as tempting, lush and perfect as the Ottolenghi crew. Large bowls filled with colourful salads and vegetables, the freshest meat platters, and piles of colourful meringue, delicate tartlets, and cakes dripping with thick icing turn this room into a food lover’s paradise. I was in heaven.

Sami constantly works on new creations and tries the food prepared by his team working in and for the five restaurants, he’s an absolute perfectionist. There was a little banana cake on a plate of six that he spotted, it wasn’t as straight as the other ones, so it had to go – right into my mouth, I didn’t mind. Seeing him in this environment, surrounded by the food he creates with so much passion and perfection, made me understand why he’s so successful and why guests from all over the world love the Ottolenghi restaurants so much. The vision that the team behind Ottolenghi once had, has been brought to life completely. There’s no compromise and that makes it so good. Before I left, we exchanged spices, and when I stepped out onto the street I felt a little sad to leave.

Blueberry Victoria Sponge Cake

My dinner plans took me to an old, traditional pub, The Grenadier in Belgravia. It was an early night, I enjoyed my obligatory fish & chips and a glass of wine to the fullest and went to bed early – I had an exciting day ahead.

On the morning of my presentation, I felt like a student going to her exams, but after a few minutes of talking I was fine again – as always in life. The Photographers Gallery was the perfect surrounding and I can only recommend visiting one of their great exhibitions when you’re in town. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time for the arts but I had a lovely crowd to talk to about my book instead, which felt even better. Thank you everybody at Prestel for inviting me and for making me feel so welcome. It was a pleasure to meet you, Andrew, Emma, Oliver, Lincoln, and Will!

My London days called for a traditional British treat when I was back home in Berlin, ready for a cozy weekend on the sofa: a simple Victoria Sponge cake refined with lemon zest, filled with plump blueberries, jam, and whipped cream. It’s an honest, uncomplicated treat that fits perfectly after a week of lots of excitement.

Blueberry Victoria Sponge Cake

 

Blueberry Victoria Sponge Cake

Blueberry Victoria Sponge Cake

You’ll need 2 18cm / 7″ springform pans for this cake. If you only have one pan (like me), divide the ingredients in half and prepare and bake one cake after the other. For the 3 eggs, beat them lightly and then divide in two equal portions.

For the sponge cake

plain flour 145g / 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
cornstarch 15g / 2 tablespoons
baking powder 1 teaspoon
a pinch of salt
butter, at room temperature, 160g / 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
granulated sugar 160g / 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon
freshly grated lemon zest 2 teaspoons
vanilla bean, scraped, 1/2
organic eggs 3

For the filling

blueberry jam, lightly beaten, about 4 tablespoons
fresh blueberries 120g / 4 ounces, plus a few berries for the topping
heavy cream, whipped, about 120-180ml / 1/2-3/4 cup
icing sugar, for the topping

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F (conventional setting) and butter 2 18cm / 7″ springform pans.

For the sponge cake, in a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, using in electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla seeds until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between. Using a wooden spoon, fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture until well combined.

Divide the batter between the two buttered springform pans and make a slight dip in the middle of each of them (to prevent the cakes from rising too high in the middle). Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden and spongy. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Take the cakes out of the springform pan and let them cool completely (about 15-20 minutes).

Transfer 1 sponge cake to a plate and cut off the tip if it rose to high, it shouldn’t be too pointy but it doesn’t need to be completely even either. Brush the top generously with jam and spread the blueberries on top. Spread the whipped cream all over the berries and sandwich with the second sponge cake (you don’t have to even this cake out). Dust the cake with a little icing sugar and, if you want to decorate it with blueberries, dip the berries in the jam and stick them on top of the cake.

Blueberry Victoria Sponge Cake

 

Blueberry Victoria Sponge Cake

 

Blueberry Victoria Sponge Cake

 

Blueberry Victoria Sponge Cake

What it means to write a cookbook – the EAT IN MY KITCHEN book is ready for pre-oder!

eimk_bookcover2

It’s coming to life: my book cover is out, the pre-order link is out, and I’m the happiest person in the world!

Writing a cookbook feels like being on a rollercoaster for months. It reveals emotions that I didn’t even think I’d be capable of. Creating a book throws you up to the highest highs and drops you back to the ground, it makes you crawl into the deepest holes to bring out the best that you can possibly do – because it’s a book. But it’s all worth it, as it’s one of the most exciting and satisfying experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

Usually, a book starts with an idea, a script, that the author thinks is worth sending into the world, or at least to an agent or a publisher. In my case, it was different, I was so busy with my blog eat in my kitchen, to keep the constant flow of a new recipe every day in the first year, that a cookbook didn’t even come to mind. It felt strange seeing myself as a blogger, let alone calling myself an author. Some of my readers mentioned a book, or kept asking when I’d start working on a physical version of the blog, but I never saw myself as a cookbook author. I wrote about my recipes, that felt natural, as I’ve always been inspired by food, so coming up with new ideas in my kitchen is quite an easy task for me. My love for good food keeps the ideas flowing. So when Holly La Due from Prestel Publishing send me an email from her New York office a bit over 1 year ago to ask if I’d like to write a cookbook, I felt surprised, shocked, and overwhelmed. But then, after a few days, when the idea had sunk in, there was just happiness and gratitude for this great chance, and so I started working on what has become my first book:

EAT IN MY KITCHEN – To Cook, to Bake, to Eat, and to Treat is a collection of 100 mainly new recipes plus a few blog classics and six meet in your kitchen features (with Molly Yeh, Yossy Arefi, the Hemsley sisters and some more). I cooked and baked everything myself, alone in my kitchen at home, I took all the pictures, and wrote the book in two languages, in English and in German. To see it come to life more and more every day is rather overwhelming, and then, when I read the quotes about my book from two people whose work I admire so much, I was close to tears:

“Eat in my kitchen is a wonderful selection of recipes, bursting with colour, beauty and flavour. Each page offers a new temptation”. 

– Sami Tamimi, head chef, Ottolenghi restaurants, co-author of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Jerusalem

“Great food like great art speaks the truth. Meike’s recipes and photos are pared down, honest and revealing – I love what she does! She goes right for the sensory jugular leaving you wanting and needing more. Void of superfluous detail, Meike’s all about delicious food – brava!”

– Cynthia Barcomi, pastry chef, founder of Barcomi’s, and author of six cookbooks

The EAT IN MY KITCHEN book will be published by Prestel on the 4th October (in English and in German) but if you’re as impatient as me, you can already pre-oder it online:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.de (the German pre-order link will be available on 8th May)

In the past 12 months, my life has been more than crazy. I pity my boyfriend and I can’t thank him enough for sticking with me, despite my countless nervous breakdowns and the fact that he put on weight due to my excessive cooking and baking. But we managed, all together, with my fantastic publisher team in New York, Munich, and London, and first and foremost, with my inspiring, patient, visionary Holly. I can’t thank you enough.

eimk_bookcover_700

What it means to write a cookbook:

I had lots of doubts at the start of this process, not so much about my recipes, but mainly about my photography. I’m not a professional photographer, I’ve always been far more passionate about the food, and I hate editing pictures (thank you so much Jennifer Endom for taking over this job for my book). So in the first days of shooting recipes for the book, I questioned every little detail and I was sure it wouldn’t be good enough. Luckily, I got over it at one point, I had to, and then it became much easier. I developed all the recipes in a relatively short amount of time, it felt like they’ve always been inside me, just waiting to be turned into a book. After a few skype calls with my mother – the best food consultant I could ask for – and with Holly, my recipe collection was set.

Being well organized is essential when working on a book, and luckily, that’s how my mind works. I can be a bundle of emotions, but if needs be, my head is clear and focussed. It helped that I studied architecture, those days at university taught me how to structure my working steps well and keep an overview (at least most of the time). Lots of lists, excel files, and notes lead to a cooking and shooting plan, including information when certain ingredients are available, which tableware I would use, and which recipes I would cook together in one day. The cooking/ shooting process took me 6 weeks and I was done – and exhausted. I had a strict weekly plan for grocery shopping, working on the blog, as I still posted 3 recipes a week at that time, test cooking, final cooking and shooting, and for writing. There were two moments during the whole process of working on my book when I felt like I crossed my limits, physically and mentally. Taking pictures of food means you’re constantly rushing, to shoot the dish quick enough so that it still looks fresh, and to catch the right light (I only work with daylight). I felt constantly stressed, running out of time, and I was willing to keep the weirdest positions for the prefect shot for longer than my back would normally manage. After those 6 weeks I felt 10 years older.

Believing that the worst – or let’s say, the hardest part was over – I went to Malta for 4 weeks, as I wanted to write the stories and final recipes in my Maltese mama’s house in Msida. It was a great time, not very productive, but we had fun. I went snorkeling every day, we met our friends and family, and my mother came to visit for my birthday. I couldn’t complain. And then I finally met Holly for the first time in person. She came to Malta to make the final selection of the pictures for the book together with me and while I had her on the island, I showed her around. It was beautiful and I wish that working on a book would always feel this way. But my rather relaxed Mediterranean schedule soon came to an end.

Writing didn’t work out as easily under Malta’s burning hot sun as I had expected, too many distractions, day trips, dinner parties, and the sea of course, left me with a manuscript that I wasn’t that happy with. Back home in Berlin, I had to sit down at the desk – our dining table – and re-write almost everything. But then after a few weeks back in the North, I was happy with the results and my boyfriend was happy, who’s the most critical when it comes to my book, which helps me a lot. So I sent everything to Holly and our copy editor Lauren Salkeld, who helped me put the recipes in a proper, professional cookbook approved, form. And this – to my surprise –  took months. We emailed back and forth, changed grams to cups and rucola to arugula, rewrote instructions to avoid misunderstandings, added spaces and deleted spaces, and then after 3 months, we were done and I felt close to a breakdown. From the start, I’ve been quite paranoid that there could be mistakes in the book. Be it in the writing, measurements, conversion, or whatsoever. Like a maniac, I read these pages countless times to avoid mistakes, and then every time we changed something again, I was so worried that more mistakes might sneak in (which did happen). The fact that I did the German translation right away didn’t make it any better. Now, I worried about two books and not just one. You don’t write a book that often in your life, and if you get the chance to do it, you want to do it right. People have expectations, they will be willing to spend their money on this book, and I want to give them something that they enjoy working with in their kitchen, a book that is inspiring, and that’s also nice to look at. Everybody has been telling me from the start, “Meike, there will be mistakes, like in any other book,” and I’m aware of this, but I want to keep them as rare as possible. Thanks to my proof-reading friends in LA and Berlin, we made it: Kisses to you, Pattie and Ursula!

There is one part of working on a book that I actually enjoy a lot, and that’s when the designer comes in. I’m so glad to have the amazing Jan Derevjanik at my side, I trust her eyes and taste, we seem to speak the same visual language. Whatever she does, feels right and I never had to explain any of my visions to her. Be it the fonts she chose, the layout of the pages, colours, or the cover – which I love so much, it feels so much like me – Jan took a lot of weight off my shoulders as I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about anything she does. Thank you for that!

So finally we’re almost done and I slowly understand that there will be a printed book soon, my book. It still feels a little strange, and the moment I truly understood that “it’s a book”, was the moment when Holly sent me the cover design. When I saw EAT IN MY KITCHEN and my name written on the cover, and the picture of this salad that I can still taste in my mouth, I knew that we had created something great all together.

In autumn, we’ll have book launch events in New York, Washington, London, Malta, and Berlin and there might be a few more, we just started working it out. So the journey continues, and wherever it may take me, I’m grateful for every single experience.

And now, the biggest thank you goes to you, you wonderful eat in my kitchen readers, for being a part of this adventure! You made all this possible and I wish that you’ll enjoy my book as much as I already do.

Meike xx

I’ve never shared a post on my blog without giving you a recipe, and although I intended not to write about food this time as the book is already so exciting, I can’t help it:

This is not really a recipe but it’s my favourite food – although some people can’t believe it. I love juicy white bread with olive oil, or dark German bread with butter. I need my daily dose of bread, I can’t live without it. So to celebrate my appearance on Amazon as an author, we popped open a bottle of Champagne, broke chunks off a soft loaf of ciabatta, and drizzled them generously with fine Italian olive oil – I couldn’t have asked for more!

Serves 2, when 2 want to celebrate

the best ciabatta bread you can get hold of, 1 loaf
the best olive oil you can get hold of, a few tablespoons
the best Champagne you can get hold of, 1 bottle

Enjoy with a special person!

Happy News: The Eat In My Kitchen Cookbook & Espresso Chocolate Biscotti

Espresso Chocolate Biscotti

An exciting email from New York changed my life! Holly La Due from Prestel/ Verlagsgruppe Random House asked me if I’d be interested in writing a cookbook filled with my recipes, stories and photographs. I had to read this email twice before I ran to my boyfriend who was still in bed, it was 7 in the morning, I put the laptop on his chest and made him read the email to me again. I screamed and laughed out loud hysterically!

Holly is the most patient and helpful editor any author could ask for, she has been following eat in my kitchen for a while and I felt pretty soon that we’re a very good match. So the past few weeks were filled with lots of excitement and many, long Skype calls across the Atlantic. Discussing how we’re going to do this together, talking about our ideas and our vision for the book which will be published in English and in German. Prestel is highly renowned for its publications in art, design and architecture so I don’t have to worry about the aesthetic development of my book. With a great publisher behind me, I have the wonderful freedom to fill almost 300 pages with many new recipes, some blog classics and my own photography. After working only digitally on the blog, it feels like a natural transition into the physical world, everything you find on my blog, my style of cooking and baking and my photos, will be merged into the pages of the Eat In My Kitchen cookbook. There will be many more of my salads, soups and vegetable creations, meat and seafood recipes, sandwiches, and there will be lots of baking happening as well. The American Eater brought it to a point a few days ago, “comfort food with a Mediterranean palate”. My German upbringing, my mother’s cooking in particular, my boyfriend’s Maltese/ American family, many summers spent in Malta and Gozo, these are my influences in the kitchen, my never ending source of culinary creativity.

And now I can do what I love so much, I can cook and bake even more, write new recipes and take many, many pictures so that all of us can hold this book in our hands next year. I feel so inspired, I have so many recipes on my mind, there’s so much energy and happiness that I can already feel coming from these pages.

It must have been around a year ago that some of you started to ask me about an Eat In My Kitchen book, a physical alternative to my blog’s online platform. I had never really thought about it before, although there were enough recipes to fill a couple books, it wasn’t on my mind. That changed in the past few months, to get so much support from all of you, so many emails from happy food lovers who enjoy my recipes so much, this experience let this idea ripen in my head, so Prestel asked me at the right time, I’m ready!

Although there are still quite a few months of work ahead of us before the big release day, which will be in the Fall of 2016, I know that we’ll need the time to create a book that touches and inspires everybody like the blog already does. Thank you for your ongoing support, thank your for your wonderful words and trust in my work!

The happiest regards from Berlin!

Meike xx

This much excitement asked for a kicking taste experience to feel that I’m actually not dreaming: crunchy biscotti, refined with espresso butter, spices, dark chocolate and hazelnuts. These little treats are so good with a cup of tea or a tiny black espresso, they are definitely for adults who need a moment of intense savouring, bittersweet and full of flavour!

You can read the first announcement of my cookbook on Eater here!

Espresso Chocolate Biscotti

 

Espresso Chocolate Biscotti

 Espresso Butter Chocolate Biscotti

For about 45 biscotti you need

butter, melted, 100g / 3.5oz
instant espresso powder 2 teaspoons
plain flour 400g / 14oz
baking powder 2 teaspoons
sugar 210g / 7 1/2oz
salt 1/4 teaspoon
five-spice powder (fennel seeds, star-anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper) 2 teaspoons
cardamom 1/4 teaspoon
organic eggs 3
bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped, 120g / 4 1/4oz
hazelnuts, roughly chopped, 50g / 1 3/4oz

Set your oven to 180°C / 355°F (fan-assisted oven) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the espresso powder into the warm, melted butter and let it cool for a few minutes.

Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and spices. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until creamy and mix in the espresso butter. Add the dry mixture and mix with the dough hooks of your mixer until just combined. Stir in the chocolate and nuts, form a ball and divide into four parts. Form each into a long bread shape (around 5cm / 2″ wide) and place on the baking sheet, bake for 25 minutes. Take them out and let them cool for about 20 minutes.

Turn the oven down to 170°C / 340°F.

For the second round, cut each loaf gently into 1 1/2cm / 1/2″ slices and lay the biscotti flat on the baking sheet, sprinkle each one with a little sugar. Bake for 6 minutes, turn them over and sprinkle the other side with sugar. Bake them for another 6 minutes or until golden brown, put them on a wire rack and let them cool. You can keep the biscotti in an airtight container for days.

Espresso Chocolate Biscotti

 

Espresso Chocolate Biscotti

 

Espresso Chocolate Biscotti

 

Espresso Chocolate Biscotti

 

Espresso Chocolate Biscotti

 

Espresso Chocolate Biscotti

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