Lettuce cups with red pepper lentil balls

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Vibrant colours, bright flavour hits and warm spicy notes – all combined in these wonderful Turkish red pepper & lentil balls served on emerald green baby romaine lettuce. Turkish mercimekli köfte make a fabulous appetizer for a crowd, great finger food for a party, brilliant brunch fare or vegetarian meal and look stunning while being super easy to prepare and assemble. In the interest of stability when served as finger food I’d go back to its original shape of a small köfte, an oblong loaf shape, rather then the admittedly prettier balls which only pretend to remain stationary but suddenly start to roll on the lettuce like a fast spinning roulette ball Continue reading

Potato buns

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When the humble potato met the mighty lobster

I have never gone so far to make our own burger buns (well, until now). Usually we prefer a Kaiser roll aka the ordinary German bakery Kaiserbrötchen over a soft bun as a burger vehicle: they aren’t sweet, have a crisp crust outside with a firm interior that holds up well to the weight of a hamburger & all the fixings. A bun for a lobster roll on the other hand should be richer, buttery (but not yet a brioche), soft bordering on squishy with a fine crumb structure and just little bit sweet. Potato bread rolls fit the bill perfectly and I found these worked not only extremely well as a lobster roll but also a burger bun. Continue reading

Lobster roll

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There is no arguing, I have a passion for seafood and a husband who does not give a shell for a clam or a crab which can make coastal holidays and heaping platters of fruits de mer for two a little testing but can be a blessing in disguise when it comes to lobster. In the early days when he ate a huge pot of jet-black mussels with gusto or swooned when I served him self-made sushi (dressed) while never revealing that seafood is not really his thing, I cooked a romantic lobster dinner for two. He drew the line at lobster, owned up and there I was facing two fair-sized lobster halves – yup, hard life, I know. Nowadays we are wiser and lobster is again on the menu for those tête-à-têtes but we’ll celebrate with a surf & turf: steak for Monsieur and lobster for Madame. Continue reading

white bean gratin ( + grilled lamb chops & salsa)

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If the notion of a bean gratin evokes images of heavy & greige institution food, think again. This fine gratin is a layered flavour affair: tiny white creamy beans, a savoury, herb infused broth, a bed of sweet caramelized onions and all is covered by crispy thyme scented breadcrumbs. It can’t get any better and we found it a perfect partner to lamb chops with a slightly acidic tomato, feta & parsley salsa. Continue reading

Scarlet eggs

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I’ll make it short this week: Are these not the most beautiful eggs you have ever seen? Well, should you be looking for a little weekend project, I’d say pickle some eggs and serve this stunning brunch dish / hors d’œuvre on the next. Which leaves plenty of time to think about the rest like shopping for smoked salmon, lumpfish roe, invite some people, I mean, why wait until Easter to have some fancy eggs. Perfumed by fresh tarragon & red wine vinegar, their beetroot dyed vivid scarlet artistically contrasts the bright yellow yolks and already are a picture in themselves. Alternate these on a bed of baby spinach (really makes those colours pop) with the small beetroot & garnish with sour cream, lumpfish roe & dill. Best to have some tiny blini handy. Continue reading

Brown butter ebelskiver

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Æbelskiver are spherical, pillow-y Danish pancakes (south of the Danish border in northern Germany they are known as Pförtchen or poffertjes in the Netherlands) and these two bite-sized marvels were all the rage when we lived in California. Mine come with a nutty brown butter crust and a heavenly soft & light vanilla pancake centre. Being not really on the sweet side they become truly irresistible with a dusting of icing sugar and a sprinkle of dark bitter cocoa powder Continue reading

Aubergines with buttermilk sauce & pomegranate seeds

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I absolutely love aubergines: big shiny purple or the white ones perfectly illustrating why they are also called eggplant, small green or tiny pea-sized aubergines from Asia, long & slender Middle Eastern varieties. The almost meaty flesh is the epitome of savoury when fried, grilled or roasted, creamy and satisfyingly unctuous it melts on the tongue and offers itself as a worthy partner to almost anything from other vegetables (Ratatouille to name but one), lamb or feta or chicken, chillies and coconut or stands proudly on its own when charred for Baba Ganoush – any recipe featuring aubergines is my friend, especially when a meatless dish is called for.

My aubergine guru is Ottolenghi, who seldom lets me down and these divine aubergines with za’atar, a tangy yoghurt-buttermilk sauce & pomegranate kernels guarantee you plenty layers of flavour. One half is a perfect starter, two halves are my favourite lunch Continue reading