Spiced date dip

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There is a curried cream cheese dip circulating the German party scene since several years and for a while you could not escape a version of Sultans Freude (= Sultan’s delight*) anywhere. Luckily, in food as in fashion fads disappear and good things are periodically rediscovered and reborn as new classics. Here’s my plea for this warm curry-spiced date dip to return to this seasons party buffets since it is a perfect companion to most of the autumnal fare around. Think pumpkins, squashes, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, parsnips, topinambur, beets, root vegetables and spiced breads like zucchini bread, banana bread – its clever seasoning & subtle sweetness allows it to oscillate easily between savoury and sweet dishes. Continue reading

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Zucchini beignets with chive-lemon yoghurt

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We are inundated by a glut of zucchini and facing something of the usual dilemma what to do with them. It wasn’t really planned to be like that: I did not get a wheelbarrow full from a generous neighbour neither has my Mum been to visit with the bounty of her garden but I went to the store, loaded the basket and consciously bought the whole 3+ kg (and hauled it home) and was about to start a major pickling session. Well, my husband came home, sighed heavily while staring with blank eyes at the tiny mountain for minutes before he asked with a hollow, croaky (we have a cold) but strangely calming (the crazy?) voice whether we really needed half a ton of zucchini pickles? Nope, maybe not. He has a point.

So, here I am, with my self-inflicted zucchini glut and neither very sad about nor repented of it: Continue reading

Charred spring onions with romesco sauce

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You might have gathered my recent adoration for Spanish food and its regional cuisines. I never really had caught the bug and was hardly interested in the regional cuisines except for this gorgeous preparation for Swiss chard and tapas, of course. Then… I went to Spain a few weeks ago, had an epiphany, surrendered & repented my former erroneous ways and stuffed my suitcase full of glorious things from the market including a huge bag of Marcona almonds.

One of the dishes I ate was a simple but really flavourful starter (it’s all about the ingredients, I tell you): grilled asparagus drizzled with this aromatic, tangy & smoky romesco sauce which I immediately swore to recreate when back at home with anything from the barbecue. Thankfully the weather is in on the plan and provides us with a few days of near-summer experience and I am throwing everything I get my hands onto the fire. Sigh. Continue reading

Duck eggs with almond dukkah

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Oh dear, holiday, Mum visiting & computer issues, time flies and this rather quick but exquisite dish took a while to get here… It would not be an exaggeration (or eggsaggeration) to say that I have gone a bit nuts about eggs this Easter, I’ve bought beautiful powdery-blue Aracauria eggs, extra-grand goose eggs, tiny spreckled quail eggs & off-white marble-shelled duck eggs which I’ve used in this appetite-whetting spring starter. Duck eggs with extra-buttery yolks get a dot of mayonnaise & a sprinkle of aromatic almond Dukkah, an Egyptian nut and spice mix that tastes fantastic when mopped up with a bread dipped in olive oil. Add green asparagus spears for a more substantial (& frankly the ultimate spring) starter – nothing else says ‘Spring has sprung’ except for a gambolling lamb. Continue reading

Falafel with lemony tahini sauce

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Deutsches Rezept am Ende…metric Recipe in German at the end…

Falafel is either made with dried chickpeas or broad (fava) beans or a combination of the two. Most Middle Eastern countries use chickpeas, I have tried the Egyptian broad been version (called ta’amia and the Egyptian National dish according to Claudia Roden) for its hearty, nutty flavour and meaty texture. All largely owned to the ingenuous combination of cooked and raw pulsed beans in the Moro recipe (Please note: fava beans must be cooked & the ground raw beans will get cooked when fried), though chickpea falafel are equally delicious & healthy.

Nowadays veggie burger and bean fritters are ubiquitous as vegetarian alternatives to meat but this fantastic Middle Eastern street food deserves more attention than being just Ersatzmeat. I love a mezze spread with lots of different plates & bowls to pick, dip and nosh from (luckily we are catching up with this convivial food sharing where it is allowed to taste from other plates, yes, I am that person but normally contain the urge) and thinking about it, I always favoured the 24 starter plate (tiny portions) over any main course when we went out for Egyptian food and never ordered anything else. Continue reading

Whitefish salad from halibut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The North-American Lake Whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis aka the Whitefish in Whitefish salad) is not available here and frankly, not everything has to be shipped around the world when there are perfectly fine relatives (still) frolicking in European waters: Renken, Märanen, Felchen are all of the genus Coregonus. Unfortunately this argument will remain solely academic if you are not able to find any of them at a fishmonger (restaurants mostly serve them fresh and not smoked).

Anyway, there are many other delicious white fish around and a myriad of them are availiable smoked for something approximating the classic Whitefish salad. Russ & Daughter’s seriously delectable version includes kippered salmon (I am a fan since I had my first taste of their whitefish salad) but in the present case I prefer to stay with just one variety, especially when it is such an appealing one as the wonderfully cream-fleshed & yellow smoked halibut. Not just being a mere substitute, it makes a refined & subtle, smoky & buttery tasting spread on its own.

Rezept in deutscher Sprache wie immer am Ende

Continue reading

Eggs with Frankfurter Grüne Sauce – eggs with green sauce

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Happy Easter!

Hopefully you have found many Easter nests and Easter eggs and are enjoying the fantastic weather. Even knocked out with the flu, it looks glorious. After you have eaten all the chocolate, fondant, cream & other eggs, here is an eggscelent dish to cope with the surplus of hard-boiled variety after Easter or to have a nice vegetarian dish up your sleeve to detox after all the eggstravaganza of four feasting holidays. Enough, this herby sauce is an eggstraordinary great condiment for cold cuts of meat or smoked fish (trout, mackerel), too.

Eier im Kräuterbett

Every Hessian market stall in spring is packed with wonderful billowing parcels of herbs for Grie Soß, green sauce. As soon as you point to one, a white paper scroll brimming with green garden herbs is carefully unrolled before your eyes and today’s mixture explained. For this green sauce is a local speciality, it is a seasonal dish since the herbs have to be grown here (nearly an appellation contrôllée & no far flung air-travellers allowed) and therefore composition of greenery changes as the season progresses. The market woman recants the different herbs and either for theatrical purposes or in case you are not so familiar with some of the rarely seen herbs points to them and explains some more, gives recipe tips and so on. You see, this green sauce and the herb mixture is a matter of pride and at least 7 of the following herbs have to be present: curly parsley, chives, chervil, cress, salad-burnet, borage, sorrel, dill, tarragon, lemon balm.

Traditionally, eggs with Frankfurter Grüne Sauce are eaten predominantly on Maundy Thursday (Gründonnerstag). According to local folklore it was Goethe’s favourite dish and why not: a simple dish of new potatoes, eggs and the intensely green, fresh & herby sauce is a spring delight. Some recipes are rather more strict on the ingredients & herb selection, others include finely chopped hard-boiled eggs in the sauce but that’s too many eggstra eggs for me. And before some are up in arms: the picture shows a green sauce with more quark in it – eggscident.

Frankfurter Green sauce

Though is a classic dish throughout the whole season and can be found in various forms on every Straußwirtschaft menu, casual little taverns or pubs at a vineyard, preferably outside, where homemade cold cuts, small plates & little morsels, salads & hearty fare is sold, just perfect for a stop on your Sunday stroll and naturally, it provides a good base for some extensive – where you expecting a different word? – Riesling tasting. My favourite is ham in aspic, topped with a dollop of a runnier green sauce and fresh rye bread. Oh, why don’t we go now?

 


 

Frankfurter Grüne Sauce (green sauce)

200g or 7 oz fresh herbs (choose 7 of the following: curly parsley, chives, chervil, cress, salad-burnet, borage, sorrel, dill, tarragon, lemon balm)
a tub of sour cream
white vinegar
sunflower oil
a few tablespoons of quark or optional: mayonnaise
salt & pepper
hard-boiled eggs
boiled new potatoes in their skin

Chop your herbs very fine and tip them into a large bowl. Add sour cream until you have a green puree and thin the sauce with a little vinegar (start with a tablespoon) and some oil (2-3 tablespoons). Most times this sauce is rather thin though I like to add a few spoons of quark for a stiffer version to serve with eggs & potatoes (some people prefer the unctuousness of mayonnaise). Traditionalists even add finely minced hard-boiled eggs to it – too much if you eat it with eggs, I think. Serve with just about hard-boiled eggs & new potatoes. Riesling, anyone? Bon appetit.


Frankfurter Grüne Sauce

200g frische Kräuter, mindestens 7 der folgenden: krause Petersilie, Schnittlauch, Kerbel, Kresse, Pimpinelle, Borretsch, Sauerampfer, Dill, Estragon, Zitronenmelisse
Saure Sahne (ein Becher, ca. 250g, eventuell auch etwas mehr)
weißer Essig
Sonnenblumenöl
ein paar EL Quark, Schmand oder Mayonnaise (nach Geschmack)
hart gekochte Eier
neue Kartoffeln mit Schale gekocht

Die Kräuter sehr fein wiegen und in eine große Schüssel geben. Saure Sahne unterrühren und das grüne Püree mit etwas Essig (zunächst 1 EL, eventuell mehr) und mehr Öl (2-3 EL, eventuell mehr) mischen. Je nach Geschmack und gewünschter Konsistenz mehr oder weniger Essig & Öl hinzugeben, für eine dickere Sauce zu Kartoffeln gebe ich noch etwas Quark oder einen Löffel Mayonnaise hinzu. Mit Salz & Pfeffer abschmecken und zu den harten Eiern und warmen Kartoffeln servieren. Vielleicht ein Glas Rieslíng dazu?