Mormor Larsson’s pepparkakor

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Just in case you might feel a little behind in all things Christmas (I am desperately, hence the tardiness of this post) and have not reached the comforting, all-embracing Christmas feeling that comes with the house being festively adorned, cards sent, presents bought and menus planned. If despite being assaulted inundated by Season’s greetings, bells, songs & carols, decorations, quaint markets with roasted chestnuts and the like, the Christmas spirit has not reached you, then these traditional Swedish spiced cookies should do the trick. Up the dosage and take one to five in the early evening with a large mug of hot, mulled wine – preferably outside around a glowing fire with a group of friends & family.

Pepparkakor is not your usual soft gingerbread, nothing like German Pfefferkuchen although they share the name nor Lebkuchen, Honigkuchen or other gingerbreads. The sweet crisp cookies loaded with aromatic spices are more akin to spiced Spekuloos / Spekulatius biscuits – perfect to be dipped into milk, cocoa or the aforementioned mulled wine (Glögg). Continue reading

scorzonera gratin – Schwarzwurzelgratin

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If you are an afficionado of white asparagus, then by now you are already aching quite badly for the next asparagus season to come around since mid-spring is months away, so absolute agony (remember Cartman wanting a Wii, pacing up & down in front of the shop while trying to summon the day to arrive: “Come on, come ooon” ?). There is a remedy though and winter bestows upon us many marvellous things like snow, Christmas and …scorzonera.

A scorzonera is a root of many names: black or Spanish salsify, winter asparagus, oyster vegetable etc. and its delicate, subtly sweet taste is best described as a mixture of all these exquisite things. Continue reading

Lamb meatballs in tomato sauce

lamb meatballs

 

On Saturday we have been wined and dined exquisitely, including a spectacular tasting goose with all the trimmings. There is nothing so joyful than a long table full of happy people, laughter & merriment, champagne, good food and a few treasures form a well-stocked cellar. I am still dreaming about that particular goose with apple, thyme & chestnuts, red cabbage and Klöße (dumplings) and I am quite sure that something along those lines will become our Christmas dinner.

I don’t know about you, but I never have problems thinking about dishes for big occasions: Christmas, birthdays, dinners and can daydream about splendid meals – preferably perusing favourite cookbooks on a weekend lie-in where the only problem that presents itself is to make a decision when spoilt for choice. The everyday supper on the other hand proves more of a challenge: a weekday meal has to be simpler though equally tasty and sumptuous not just nutrition. Continue reading

Chickpeas, carrots & chard – Kichererbsen, Karotten und Mangold

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Back to the quest for great vegetable dishes and this one has proven itself many times over and therefore is a recurring dinner guest in our house. I love the combination of creamy chickpeas with sweet carrots and earthy chard in a pleasantly spiced sauce. A spritz of lemon finishes it with a jolt of acidity and lots of parsley for a fresh green note. A completely satisfactory & comforting dish on its own, this makes a pleasant change even for die-hard carnivores: add a fried egg or pan-fried halloumi slices for a fantastic vegetarian supper; at other times it’s a great partner to grilled lamb chops or a firmly fleshed fish like monkfish (Baudroi, Seeteufel or Lotte).

As always, find the recipe in English & Rezept auf Deutsch am Ende… Continue reading

Red lentil curry coconut soup

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Thursday I drove through an absolute spectacle of autumn colours in the Palatinate region (Germany) and the northern Alsace: rows upon rows of yellow-orange tinted vines rivalled by copper-coloured or flaming red trees and shrubs, interspersed with flecks of bright yellow and little specks of green. The sun was shining and the sky was mostly blue, what a marvellous day – and hopefully an auspicious one, too. Imagine all these autumnal colours mirrored in this equally warming & exciting soup. It is hearty, not too mushy but with a bite, creamy coconut and bursting with warming ginger & curry with the occasional raisin-sweetness. A sprinkle of fresh spring onion for a little zing and coriander, invigorator extraordinaire complete this bright & beautiful soup which lights up even the dreariest of murky autumn & winter days. Continue reading

Finger cookies

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Happy Halloween!

I’ve made these for our first proper Halloween in California and am, as I was then, still totally smitten with these weird cookies with their red varnished fingertips peeking out in-between the sweets in the bowl. They are totally charming and a mighty quick Halloween treat to make, so here’s the recipe for you to create some severed fingers in no time before the door bell rings. Continue reading