eat in my kitchen

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

Tag: rosemary

Beluga Lentils with Grilled Cherry Tomatoes, Orange and Rosemary

Post sponsored by Volkswagen.

Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes

Spontaneous weekend trips are the best way to calm the weary mind after a busy week. I don’t have to travel far, I don’t even need to stay overnight, just a few hours in a nearby forest or at one of Berlin’s beautiful lakes and I’m back on my feet.

My mother brought many wonderful things into my life. My love for food and cooking was definitely sparked by her own passion. She also fed my need for snuggly Sunday afternoons on the sofa. I sink in a pile of cushions and wrap myself in a cozy quilt, preferably listing to Prokofiev, and a plate of warm waffles on my lap. This used to be one of our favourite weekend rituals. Unfortunately, we haven’t made waffles together in a while, but there’s another tradition from my childhood days that she introduced me to, which both of us still hold dear. Mother and daughter grab their jackets, hop in the car to find a nice spot in the countryside, and go on a short weekend adventure. We prefer relaxed walks that allow us to chat a little and enjoy the scenery around us. In all these years we must have walked hundreds of kilometres. We walked down narrow paths meandering through the darkest woods, jumped over tinkling waters, and crossed the fields on windy hill tops, where the sky feels endless and the views take your breath away. Mud, rain, heat, or darkness never stopped us from our next adventure.

When Volkswagen asked me for a new recipe, I had to think of one of my favourite places in Berlin for long walks, the gorgeous Müggelsee Lake. Be it spring, summer, autumn, or winter, this lake is a quiet beauty in every season. It’s a peaceful place, my beloved weekend get away. Usually, we go to the local bakery and butcher and grab some sweets and a sausage. But this time I had another idea: wrapped in scarves, wool beanie, and a big jacket, sitting on a bench at the lake, we can have a little picnic date, even in winter. I went for a recipe that tastes just as good as a warm lunch and as a cold salad: nutty beluga lentils with sweet and smokey grilled cherry tomatoes and woody rosemary oil. It’s a scrumptious trilogy.

For more delicious recipes and kitchen inspiration, visit Volkswagen’s Pinterest community board Food Bloggers for Volkswagen.

Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes


Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes

Beluga Lentils with Grilled Cherry Tomatoes, Orange and Rosemary Oil

Serves 4

For the lentils

lentils (no soaking required) 280g / 10 ounces
fresh thyme 1 small bunch
fresh rosemary 1 sprig
bay leaf 1
fresh orange peel 4 long strips
balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon
fine sea salt
ground pepper

cherry tomatoes, on the vine, 20

For the rosemary oil

olive oil 6 tablespoons
fresh rosemary, needles only, 4 sprigs

For the topping

freshly grated orange zest, about 1 tablespoon

Preheat the oven to grill / broil (quicker method) or preheat to 220°C (425°F).

Place the lentils in a saucepan with plenty of (unsalted) water, add the thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and orange peel and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until al dente (or follow the package instructions). Remove any excess liquid with a ladle, if necessary, and the spices. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt, pepper, and additional vinegar to taste.

Place the tomatoes in a baking dish and grill / broil for about 12 minutes or roast at 220°C / 425°F for about 35 to 45 minutes—their skins should start to burst and turn partly black. Leaving the tomatoes on the vine, divide them into 4 portions.

For the rosemary oil, in a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the rosemary and, as soon as it starts to sizzle, remove the pan from the heat. Cover and let the herb infuse the oil for at least 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the rosemary from the oil and set aside.

Stir the rosemary oil into the lentils and divide between plates. Arrange the grilled tomatoes and rosemary on top and season with fresh orange zest to taste. Enjoy warm or cold.

Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes


Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes


Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes


Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes


Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes


Lentils, Orange and Cherry Tomatoes


Blood Orange and Rosemary Upside Down Cake

Blood Orange Rosemary Upside Down Cake

I already had my post written for today’s bright orange Sunday cake, but then, yesterday’s news from the US hit me. It felt so wrong to just write about a recipe, my mood, my day; why should I write about me and my food, when on the other side of the Atlantic, a single man throws everything away that our so called civilized world claims to stand for. How can we, or the president of the United States, ban citizens from certain countries (Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria) from putting their feet onto American ground?

I’m German, my country’s history shows what happens when we tolerate and support the insane actions of a single man. Didn’t we learn anything? Is it still possible for us to allow a man to run a country who doesn’t show the slightest feeling of compassion? Didn’t we, in the western world, hypocrites, arrogantly accuse other countries of exactly that?

Before I was sad, now I’m concerned.

And yes, I baked a cake. It’s an upside down cake – for an upside down world – made with Sicilian blood oranges. It looks like a glowing Mediterranean sunset, peaceful. Some prefer to cut off the citrus fruits’ peel, I leave mine on for a tangy touch. I first sliced and then cooked three fruits in sugar water with a sprig of fresh rosemary to infuse the pulp. About half an hour later they were soft, ready to become the fruity base of a light and fluffy upside down cake, thanks to beaten egg white folded into the batter. The citrus is very present, which I like, the herbal note is subtle. If you prefer you can use less fruits, but I recommend creating a thick juicy layer of orange slices. They keep the cake wonderfully moist and fruity, also on the second day.

Blood Orange Rosemary Upside Down Cake


Blood Orange Rosemary Upside Down Cake

Blood Orange and Rosemary Upside Down Cake

Makes 1 (20 1/2cm / 8″) cake

For the oranges

water 120ml / 1/2 cup
granulated sugar 100g / 1/2 cup
organic blood oranges, rinsed, scrubbed, and the ends cut off, 3
medium sprig of rosemary 1, plus a few needles finely chopped (optional)

For the dough

plain flour 200g / 1 1/2 cups
baking powder 2 teaspoons
butter, at room temperature, 80g / 1/3 cup
granulated sugar 150g / 3/4 cup
organic eggs, separated, 2
vanilla pod, split and scraped, 1/2
milk 100ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
fine sea salt 1/8 teaspoon

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Butter and line a 20 1/2cm / 8″springform pan.

For the oranges, in a large saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium high heat. Stir and let the sugar dissolve. Cut the oranges into thin slices. Reduce the heat to medium, layer the orange slices in the sugar water, and simmer gently for about 25-30 minutes or until soft, but still in shape. Using a slotted ladle, transfer the orange slices to a large plate and let them cool for a few minutes. Add the rosemary to the pot with the orange syrup and set aside.

For the dough, in a medium bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla seeds and continue mixing for about 1 minute or until well combined. Quickly beat in the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the milk. Beat the egg white and salt until soft peaks form and fold into the dough.

Arrange the orange slices on the bottom and sides of the prepared pan, fold some of the slices into the corners (see 2nd picture). Scrape the dough on top of the fruits, even it out and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and spongy. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool for a few minutes before you flip it over, gently remove the parchment paper.

Bring the rosemary orange syrup to a boil over high heat and let it cook for about 2 minutes, let it cool for a couple minutes. Brush the top of the cake with the syrup and arrange the rosemary sprig on top. Sprinkle with a little additional chopped rosemary and enjoy!

Blood Orange Rosemary Upside Down Cake


Blood Orange Rosemary Upside Down Cake









Pear and Blue Cheese Tart from my cookbook and a picnic in Valletta

Post sponsored by Volkswagen.

Pear and Blue Cheese Tart with Rosemary

The sky was refreshingly bright and October’s sun was still hot, it was a glorious Saturday morning when we met our friends at my Maltese mama’s house in Msida. The air was filled with the usual chatting and laughing before we hopped into our cars to drive up to Valletta. We brought along the obligatory guitar and our picnic baskets packed with sandwiches, fruits, and a buttery pear and stilton tart sprinkled with rosemary – a popular recipe from my Eat In My Kitchen book. And off we went to Malta’s capital.

We had planned this day trip weeks in advance: to have a picnic with our friends in Valletta, high up on the bastions opposite The Three Cities, to park Michelangelo’s beautiful Volkswagen beetle in the shade of one of the old olive trees, and set up a little table right next to this blue beauty on four wheels. It was a luscious brunch in the most stunning surroundings and to bake a savoury tart was the best choice for this occasion. You can prepare it in advance, it’s delicious even when it’s cold, and it fits perfectly to a sip of chilled sparkling wine. The topping is minimal, but the combination of baked pear, melted Stilton, and roasted rosemary is so good that it became one of my favourite recipes this year. The creation almost didn’t make it into my book. I had a different tart in mind, but I couldn’t find a certain vegetable on the day of the shoot and I decided that I could also just fill the pastry with fruit, cheese, and herbs. It was a wise choice that I don’t regret.

The choice of our setting was as spectacular as our nibbles. If you ever visit Valletta, you have to go to the St. Barbara Bastion and enjoy the breathtaking view overlooking the Grand Harbour and The Three Cities, Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea. Then walk down to the Valletta Waterfront and take one of the little ferries to Cospicua. It only takes a few minutes and it allows you to enjoy two of the most stunning places in Malta, on land and from the sea: the golden beauty Valletta and the three fortified cities.

Thank you Matt, Michelle, Jessica, Michelangelo, Luke, and Jamie for making this day so special!

For more delicious recipes and kitchen inspiration, visit Volkswagen’s Pinterest community board Food Blogger for Volkswagen.

Pear and Blue Cheese Tart with Rosemary


Pear and Blue Cheese Tart with Rosemary

Pear and Blue Cheese Tart with Rosemary

From the Eat In My Kitchen book.

Serves 4 to 8

For the pastry

2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (130 g) unsalted butter, cold
1 large egg

For the topping

2 large, firm pears, cut into thin wedges
3 ounces (85 g) aromatic blue cheese, such as Stilton, Roquefort, Fourme d’Ambert or Gorgonzola, crumbled
3 medium sprigs fresh rosemary, needles only
3 tablespoons olive oil
Flaky sea salt
A few black peppercorns, crushed with a mortar and pestle

For the pastry, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and use a knife to cut it into the flour until there are just small pieces left. Quickly rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until combined. Add the egg and mix with the dough hooks of an electric mixer until crumbly. Form the dough into a thick disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and freeze for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

On a table or countertop, place the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll out into a disc, large enough to line the bottom and sides of a 12-inch (30 cm) quiche dish. Fit the dough into the quiche dish, pushing it into the dish, especially along the edges. Let the dough hang over the rim a little or cut it off with a knife. Use a fork to prick the dough all over. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden. If the dough bubbles up, push it down with a fork. (If you blind bake the pastry under parchment paper and dried legumes, remove the paper and legumes after 15 minutes and bake uncovered for a few more minutes until golden.)

Arrange the pear wedges in overlapping circles on top of the warm, pre-baked pastry, sprinkle with the cheese and most of the rosemary, drizzle with the olive oil, and season to taste with flaky sea salt and crushed peppercorns. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the pastry is crisp. Sprinkle with the remaining rosemary and enjoy warm or cold.

Pear and Blue Cheese Tart with Rosemary


Pear and Blue Cheese Tart with Rosemary


Pear and Blue Cheese Tart with Rosemary


Pear and Blue Cheese Tart with Rosemary


Pear and Blue Cheese Tart with Rosemary


Pear and Blue Cheese Tart with Rosemary




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


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


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

Fig, Chèvre and Honey Focaccia with Rosemary

Fig, Chèvre and Honey Focaccia with Rosemary

I’m back in Berlin, back in my kitchen, and I’m enjoying every bit of the calm silence around me. My life here is a stark contrast to the Mediterranean craziness that I inhale from the moment I arrive until I jump back on my plane, taking me back up north. Living in Malta feels like living in a beehive, and although there are ‘only’ 420,000 people on the islands, it feels far more loud and lively than Berlin and its 3.5 million people. I love and hate this buzz at the same time, it excites me, it pushes me, and it entertains me constantly. There’s no other place in the world where I laugh as much as on our Mediterranean archipelago. But it also exhausts me. It’s hard to find a moment just for myself, the tranquil atmosphere that I need so much to get ready for my next adventure. Berlin satisfies this craving perfectly, but here, I miss my Maltese people and the sea – I guess you can’t have everything in life.

Our kitchen in berlin faces a very quiet backyard. I leave the windows open to hear the birds sing, and then it’s often just me, alone with my thoughts and ideas, picturing ingredients and remembering old classics or coming up with new recipes. I get the cooker or oven started and my meditation begins. I have celebrated this ritual every day since we got back, I just cook in silence. Seeing that the weather hasn’t shown the slightest hint of summer, I concentrated on rather hearty pleasures. I made cheese spaetzle (Southern German egg noodles with lots of melted cheese and golden onions), pasta with sautéed radicchio, chicken liver, and mustard butter, and we had our obligatory Sunday pizza night. I tried out a new cake recipe with the sweetest greengage plums, which was great, and I experimented with some dip variations. It was all very relaxing, calming, and it put my mind at ease.

I also pulled one glorious – and much appreciated – dish out of my oven that combined all the luscious enjoyments of summer: a spongy, oily focaccia topped with ripe figs, soft chèvre, honey, and rosemary. It’s perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a snack – I could even eat it at teatime with a cup of flowery Darjeeling tea.

Fig, Chèvre and Honey Focaccia with Rosemary


Fig, Chèvre and Honey Focaccia with Rosemary

Fig, Chèvre and Honey Focaccia with Rosemary

Makes a 25 x 32cm / 10 x 12 1/2″ focaccia

For the dough

plain flour 500g / 3 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons
fast-acting yeast 1 (7g / 1/4 ounce) envelope
fine sea salt 1 teaspoon
granulated sugar 1 heaping teaspoon
water, lukewarm, 260ml / 1 cup and 2 tablespoons
olive oil 120ml / 1/2 cup, plus 1-2 tablespoons to oil the baking sheet

For the topping

honey 2 tablespoons
ripe figs, cut in half, 6
soft chèvre, torn into pieces, 150g / 5 ounces
fresh rosemary needles, a small handful
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar (optional)

For the dough, combine the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the lukewarm water and half the olive oil (60ml / 1/4 cup) and knead on medium-high speed for a few minutes until well combined. I mix it on ‘4’ on my KitchenAid. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. Transfer the dough to a table or countertop and continue kneading and punching it down with your hands for about 4 minutes or until you have a smooth and elastic ball of dough. Place the dough back in the mixer bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm place, or preferably in a 35°C / 100°F warm oven (conventional setting), for about 60 minutes or until doubled in size.

Oil a 25 x 32cm / 10 x 12 1/2″ baking sheet.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, take it out of the bowl, and knead for 1 minute. Using your hands, stretch and spread the dough on the oiled baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes or until puffy.

Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F (convection setting). Heat the honey in a saucepan over low heat for about 1 minute or until liquid.

Using the round bottom of a wooden spoon or your finger, punch around 6 x 7 holes into the surface of the dough. Pour the remaining olive oil over the dough and into the holes. Spread the figs (cut side up) over the focaccia and push them gently into the dough. Sprinkle with the chèvre, rosemary, and a little flaky sea salt, and drizzle with the warm honey. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and light brown. Sprinkle with crushed pepper and enjoy warm or cold.

Fig, Chèvre and Honey Focaccia with Rosemary


Fig, Chèvre and Honey Focaccia with Rosemary-1





A juicy Grape and Rosemary Tart

Grape and Rosemary Tart

This tart combines two of my favourite Mediterranean flavours – grapes and rosemary – and the result is nothing less than heavenly. The fact that the aromatic filling lies on top of buttery crisp puff pastry only exaggerates the temptation.

After failing miserably at making my own puff pastry on a few occasions, I only use this sweet delicacy when I’m in Malta, when I can buy it frozen in exceptionally good quality. If I ever manage to come up with a recipe that’s as good as the product that I can buy here from the supermarket, I’ll be a very happy baker. You could also use a shortcrust base for this summery tart but I like the elegant look and flaky texture of puff pastry in combination with the syrupy, juicy grapes. The chopped fresh rosemary sprinkled on top of the warm cake as soon as it comes out of the oven adds a woody aroma and gives it an unusual touch – try it, it’s fantastic. I used it for a focaccia recipe last year and got hooked on this tasty duo.

I’ve already baked this tart twice since we arrived in Malta and it immediately gained huge popularity within our family – everybody loves it, kids and grandmother included!

Grape and Rosemary Tart


Grape and Rosemary Tart

Grape and Rosemary Tart

Makes 1 (28cm / 11″) tart, serves 4-6.

frozen puff pastry, defrosted, 320g / 11 ounces
dark grapes, preferably seedless, 500g / 18 ounces
granulated sugar 120g / 2/3 cup
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon
roughly chopped fresh rosemary 1 generous tablespoon

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F and butter a 28cm / 11″ tart pan.

Line the tart pan with the puff pastry, pushing the pastry into the pan, and put in the freezer for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, using a large spoon, mix the grapes, sugar, and lemon juice and spread on top of the chilled pastry. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp at the edges. The grapes will be juicy, so the bottom of the tart won’t be crisp. Sprinkle the tart with the rosemary and let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Grape and Rosemary Tart


Grape and Rosemary Tart




Grape and Rosemary Tart



Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary

Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary

I once read that the 3rd Monday of January is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year – Blue Monday. I don’t know if it’s true, luckily it has already passed, and I didn’t notice my mood drooping drastically that day. However, I’ve felt a rising impatience for more light and warmer weather to come back into my life. So much so that I had to book flights to Malta last night. This always makes me feel so much better, no matter how far in the future the departure date lies, just the thought of it puts me in a good mood.

Another way to lift my spirits is food. Cosy food, colourful food, or simply delicious food. This dish combines all of it: nutty Beluga lentils, topped with thin slices of rutabaga, quickly cooked in the pan with lots of ginger, orange zest and juice, and fresh rosemary. The rustic root is as bright as the sunrise over Malta’s east coast and its earthy flavour can easily deal with some strong aromas. I was surprised how well it merged with the dark legumes.

Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary


Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary

Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary

Serves 3-4

For the lentils

lentils, or any lentils (no soaking required), 280 g / 10 ounces
small sprig fresh rosemary 1
bay leaf 1
olive oil
balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon
fine sea salt
ground pepper

For the rutabaga

peeled rutabaga, cut into wedges and very thinly sliced (use a mandoline or cheese slicer), 300g / 10 1/2 ounces
freshly grated ginger 1 tablespoon
freshly grated zest of 1 orange
freshly squeezed orange juice 100ml / 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons
fine sea salt
ground pepper
finely chopped fresh rosemary needles 1-2 tablespoons
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

Place the lentils in a saucepan with plenty of (unsalted) water, add the rosemary and bay leaf, and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until al dente (or follow the package instructions). Remove excess liquid with a ladle if necessary and stir in a generous splash of olive oil and the vinegar. Season to taste with salt, pepper and vinegar.

While the lentils are cooking, prepare the rutabaga: In a large, heavy pan, heat a generous splash of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the rutabaga and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and al dente. Scrape the rutabaga to the side, add a little more olive oil to the pan along with the ginger, cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the orange zest (leave a little of the zest for the topping) and juice and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the rosemary or use as a topping once the plates are ready. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until the desired texture is reached.

Divide the lentils between plates and lay the rutabaga on top. Sprinkle with rosemary, orange zest, and crushed peppercorns and drizzle with a little olive oil (optional). Serve immediately.

Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary


Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary


Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary



meet in your kitchen | London: Jo Rodgers’ Chocolate, Hazelnut, and Rosemary Pie

Jo Rodger's Pie

Jo’s hands, an open book on a wooden table, and a cup of tea are the reason for this meet in your kitchen feature. A few months ago, I came across the Instagram account of this gorgeous American woman living in London and since then, I basically follow her activities every day. There is a kind of peace in her pictures that struck me immediately. In the beginning, her images often showed her hands turning the pages of her current favourite book surrounded by snacks and nibbles and a cup of warming hot chocolate or tea, or a glass of wine. And all this accompanied by her beautiful words describing the scene in her cosy cottage in the heart of London. Jo used to work as an editor at Random House and a literary agent at WME but, since she became a writer for Vogue a few months ago, her little Instagram stories shifted from books to exciting trips to the English seaside, the Provence, the English countryside, and – my favourite – a luxurious railway journey with the Belmond Royal Scotsman through Scotland. When she also started writing about cosy treats such as the perfect omelet, stuffed pumpkin, cranberry muffins, and mince pies, I knew I had to meet this woman during my stay in London a couple weeks ago.

Where shall I start, we planned to bake a pie together but I was late and London’s light is not very forgiving. To avoid shooting this sweet beauty in the dark, her husband Andrew was so kind to take all the pictures of the pie. Thank you so much for that! In the end, the two of us didn’t spend much time in the kitchen, instead we spent four hours chatting, drinking tea, eating delicious chocolate chip cookies baked by her husband (the poor guy must pray that I’m not coming back soon seeing how much work I caused him!), and we finished our afternoon with a walk through Belgravia. I call it her village, Jo showed me William Curly‘s fantastic chocolate shop/ patisserie, the Poilane bakery on Elizabeth Street, her butcher, flower shop, her pub and favourite restaurants. After an hour of strolling around with her, I could have moved to this quiet – not very London-like – neighbourhood.

Besides having a wonderful girls afternoon, I can say that I found a friend. Jo and I had never met in real life but as soon as the fair blond woman opened the iron gate that leads to the yard in front of her navy blue door, it felt like we’d known each other for years. Jo is very calm and humble and has an honest kindness that comes straight from her heart. Her life is extremely interesting and it’s so exciting to hear about it, although she herself wouldn’t agree on that. She lived in Australia, Chicago, Boston, New York City, and since 2010, London. Jo studied 19th century British literature and would love to write a novel one day if her busy life would offer a little more free time. She has a beautiful way of playing with words, which makes them flow like a smooth river. Reading her articles is fun, so much so that I can’t wait to hold her book in my hands one day. So we made a deal, from now on I will start bugging her and asking her every few months if she started working on it.

Jo shares her delicious pie recipe with us: a rich, buttery Chocolate, Hazelnut, and Rosemary Pie – she calls it a grown-up pie!

You can read all of Jo’s articles for the American Vogue here.

Jo Rodger's Pie

Jo Rodgers’ Chocolate, Hazelnut, and Rosemary Pie

For the pie crust

plain flour 200g / 1 1/2 cups
salt 1/4 teaspoon
cold butter, diced 115g / 1/2 cup
cold water 60ml / 1/4 cup
milk 1 tablespoon

For the filling

hazelnuts (whole) 100g / 3/4 cup
eggs, lightly beaten, 3
light corn syrup 180ml / 3/4 cup
sugar 200g / 1 cup
melted unsalted butter 115g / 1/2 cup
salt 1/2 teaspoon
vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
chopped fresh rosemary 2 tablespoons
dark chocolate, chopped, 170g / 6 ounces
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, for the top of the pie

On a flat work surface, combine the flour and salt, then incorporate the cold diced butter with your fingers. Rub the butter into the flour until the butter pieces are no larger than the size of peas. Make a well in the center of the flour, and pour in the cold water. Using your hands, mix the water into the flour until dough is formed. Wrap the dough in plastic and put in the refrigerator for one hour.

Preheat your oven to 175 °C / 350°F .

Toast the hazelnuts in the oven until they begin to get fragrant, about 7 minutes. Let the hazelnuts cool, then rub off the skins; you can do this with your fingers or a cloth towel.

Roll out the dough wider than your pie mold (there should be plenty of dough for any size or shape of pie mold; mine is quite deep, and there is still quite a bit of dough left over). Gently lay the dough into the mold and trim the overhanging dough with a sharp knife. Put the pie mold back in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine eggs, corn syrup, sugar, melted butter, salt, and vanilla extract. Stir in the chopped rosemary.

Take the pie mold out of the refrigerator, and brush the edges of the dough with milk. This will help the pie to brown nicely.

Spread the chopped chocolate evenly over the bottom of the pie. Pour the filling over the chocolate. Arrange the hazelnuts in concentric circles on top of the filling. Place the single sprig of rosemary in the center of the pie.

Bake for 50 minutes, until the pie is browned and bubbling. Remove from the oven and let cool for one hour before serving. Serve with a dollop of mascarpone or crème fraîche.

Jo Rodger's Pie


Jo Rodger's Pie

You moved from New York City to London nearly six years ago, and decided to stay. What do you love about this city and your life here? What turns a place into a home?

I love New York, but I think that London is the best city in the world. When I’m away for too long I get homesick, and when I see it again from the airplane my pulse jumps.

A sense of community is what turns a place into a home. Neighbors you bump into at the bakery, friends you have over for supper. We have lived in one small area of London for the time we have been here, so we have been walking to the same florist, farmer’s market, chocolate shop, and so on for the duration. It is a comfort to know a place well, even if it is just your neighborhood.                                   

What do you miss about America?

Our friends and family who live there.

You graduated from Wellesley College, an all-women’s university in Massachusetts, where you studied Victorian literature. What was it like being at Wellesley, and what drew you to your subject?

I was head over heels for Wellesley. Other than my husband, all of my closest friends are women. The strength of those relationships is due in part, I’m sure, to an education that placed the highest value on supporting other women.

I was drawn to nineteenth century literature because I love novels, and that period was the heyday of the novel. I remember sitting in my dorm room with the windows open, curled in a chair with a piece of toast and Middlemarch (or The Woman in White, or Bleak House) and thinking—well this is heaven.

As a travel journalist, you get to see the most beautiful places. Which of your recent trips struck you the most?

I had a really wonderful time on the Royal Scotsman, a five-day train journey through Scotland. Having a whisky while watching the highlands go by is very difficult to top. The trip also begins and ends in one of my favorite cities, Edinburgh.

You were an editor for Random House in New York and then a literary agent at WME in London, where you worked with lots of fantastic cookbook authors. What did you love about working on books about food?

I have always been a great eater as well as a reader, so working on a few cookery titles as well as novels seemed like a natural fit. The company of other people who love to cook and eat is always such a pleasure. 

How do you develop new recipes when you are writing for Vogue?

Slowly. I generally begin with a dish I know very well, consider whether there is anything that could be improved, and then stress-test the recipe for consistency quite a few times before it goes to print. I did a piece on cranberry muffins recently, and the whole neighborhood was eating cranberry muffins for a month.

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

Sugar cookies from The Joy of Cooking. I lost my head in the spice cabinet (Curry? Nigella? Why not) and left a huge, inedible mess. My mother was not pleased.

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

We do the majority of our shopping within a few minutes walk of where we live. Daylesford for most groceries, William Curley for chocolate (the hazelnut and almond bark is my favorite), Polaine for bread, Partridges for wine, and our farmer’s market on Saturdays for meat and vegetables. Exceptions are dried pasta from Lina Stores, cheese from Neal’s Yard or La Fromagerie, and sourdough loaves from Brickhouse Bakery.

If Andrew and I are eating out, we almost always go to a friend’s house for supper rather than a restaurant. Apart from the odd evening at Hunan, where they send course after course of the most brilliant Chinese food until you can’t eat any more (great fun when there is a larger group of people, and you’re absolutely starving), and the terrace at La Poule au Pot in the summer.

For a rare treat, we might go to the River Café or La Petite Maison.

You share your Chocolate, Hazelnut, and Rosemary Pie recipe on eat in my kitchen. Is there a story behind this recipe?

The three main components are ingredients that I adore; working them into a pie was an excuse to have them more often. I love to serve this at dinner parties in the winter, when there is still some red wine on the table, because it is wonderful with wine.

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

My husband Andrew’s cavolo nero pasta with bread crumbs. I could eat it five nights a week. For something more exotic, anything cooked by Michel Guerard at Les Pres d’Eugenie.

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

If I have a few hours notice, maybe a leg of lamb with gratineed potatoes, or beef bourguignon, because I so enjoy eating it. Always a few bottles of red wine, fresh bread, and a cheese course.

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

Spaghetti carbonara, which I still love. I have so many favorites now, but it would probably have to be roasted chicken (lots of butter, thyme, and lemon over the top) with a green salad, and some good bread to scoop up the jus.

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

I enjoy both. If I’m on my own I like to listen to something—opera or BBC radio 4, or maybe an audio book. When cooking with others, I like having someone else to taste things with.

Which meals do you prefer, improvised or planned?


Which meal would you never cook again?

I don’t think I have one. There are plenty of things that I’ve made a mess of, but I’m incorrigible and always want to try again.

Thank you Jo!



Jo Rodger's Pie


Jo Rodger's Pie


Jo Rodger's Pie


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