Mutzenmandeln – German almond dough nuts

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Mutzenmandeln, almond cookies or veritable dough nuts, if you so will, are almond cake dough bits shaped in the form of almonds, fried and rolled in sugar while still hot. Eaten warm, licking sugar covered fingers they are still a rare treat to me Continue reading

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

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

Gougères

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Every year we swish through Burgundy on our way to Provence & the Côte d’Azur, only interrupting our journey to spend the night – plus a nice dinner, no question – and continue extremely well fed & refreshed in the morning. Not at snails pace, mind you, who wants to miss the morning opening time at Valrhona and spend some quality time amongst like-minded freaks connoisseurs at the holy grail of chocolate and stock up on ‘essentials’, certainly not me. Though every time I wish we could stay a little longer, explore this village and that wine cellar, revisit places I have been to eons ago on a Romanesque architecture research tour, soak in the smells of the vines, ancient abbeys and dark forests, snoop around in tiny hamlets to find a cheese maker advertised on the side of a narrow country road.

Well, this summer we did! Burgundy is stunningly beautiful and boasts – apart from wine (obviously) & recently granted Unesco World Heritage status (July 2015), first class architecture & art – an excellent cuisine with great eateries and a cornucopia of one, two, three Michelin star restaurants in nearly every, or every other village. The food is remarkable and does not take any prisoners with its use of butter, cream, cheese, more butter, eggs, garlic to anoint snails, Bresse chicken, Charolais beef, frogs legs… deep sigh. Of course all minimum three, no arguing, courses of a delicious menu are washed down accompanied with (properly swirled, sniffed and gargeled) exquisite wines. It is the proverbial Schlaraffenland or land of milk and honey cheese and wine. And that those two go very well together, is known especially in Burgundy where Gougères, little savoury cheese puffs with a crunchy outside and a soft cheesy doughy centre, are served with a glass of wine or as an amuse bouche while you contemplate which delicacy to choose for dinner. I think we’ll make a habit of that. Continue reading

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

green tomato, apple & zucchini chutney

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P.S. Recipe in English und Deutsch.

A recent visit to my Mum saw me return laden with a veritable bounty from her garden: several large zucchini / courgettes with aspirations to be full-grown marrows, apples, butternut squashes, lavender offshoots, super ripe tomatoes which hardly survived the journey and one giant white cabbage, where half of it still lingers in the fridge. I had bought green tomatoes to make us fried green tomatoes again and delayed, so they needed to be used too. The situation could have not been more auspicious for chutney.

I love preserving and the taste of a richly & warm spiced, fruity chutney is one of the most delightful things to be made from surplus of a summer’s glut or from what is normally thought of inferior un- or overripe produce destined for the compost. This green tomato & zucchini chutney is excellent with a strong-ish Cheddar and English biscuits or crackers for cheese. Continue reading

Broad bean bruschette

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German recipe at the end / Rezept auf deutsch am Ende des Beitrages

Simple broad bean bruschette have an effortless & understated elegance about them, not only do they have the looks, they taste spectacular, too. Vivid green broad beans brightened by a little lemon & fresh mint, get piled on creamy ricotta & grilled bread and are finished by a sprinkle of fleur de sel (sea salt flakes).

Absolutely heavenly as a starter or great with drinks, they’ll also transform into a perfect lunch or light supper, which I could eat anytime: and I have done so again & again before I noticed that I might want to take a picture to share them. Adding a few slices of smoked salmon can make them a more substantial meal, if needed.

Broad beans are in season from spring to late summer (now), so in case you have overindulged on broad beans at the beginning of the season (yeah, me) and then sort of forgot about them when faced with summer’s abundance of other vegetables (corn, tomatoes, aubergines, zucchini…) there are still ample opportunities to rectify that grave oversight right now (revert to frozen, when out of luck for fresh). Continue reading