Cumin-chile lamb skewers with lemon yoghurt

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We ate those gorgeous spiced lamb skewers since they were on the cover of Bon Appétit’s Grilling Issue basically all through summer and haven’t stopped since. Why not, caraway & cumin are as much winter players as summer spices and their warm tones are welcome in cooler weather, just as heat & floral notes are provided by Sichuan, Aleppo and black pepper. Most importantly if you have two hurricanes, ahem babies, playing havoc with longwinded supper plans: they are super easy to prepare and quick to make (if you have your butcher debone and cut the lamb shoulder, of course, which you definitely should) and reward you with an explosion of flavour that revives the taste buds after a long, long day. Continue reading

Spring onion tart with wild green garlic

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I always have spare bits of pastry dough in the freezer from when I make some for a smaller tart or when plans change and many days they have been supper savers or made light work of a quick fruit tart for dessert. If you’ll do the same you know what I am talking about: making pastry is not exactly hard labour but sometimes it seems that way. Then you are really glad to have homemade frozen short crust at your finger tips. Just remember that labelling helps is really essential when you do not want to end up with savoury filling in a sweet dough.

Spring brings us again the bounty of fresh vegetables, delicious rich eggs and cream and about time to! There is fragrant Bärlauch (wild green garlic leaves) again and wonderful fresh spring onions, both perfect for a tart to celebrate the beginning of spring. They may seem simple, almost humble ingredients, though the result is a more than impressive. Feel free to glam it up with asparagus, morels etc. which I am not averse to but please try this simple version out first, it is worth it. Continue reading

mushroom and barley ‘risotto’

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Typical April weather calls occasionally for, no, demands the food equivalent of woolly jumpers or cashmere cardigans: soups and stews to keep warm and cozy when the temperature drops suddenly from 20 to 5 degrees. My grandmother’s vegetable and barley soup usually fits that bill being nurturing and full of great memories at the same time, though I’ve had plenty of vegetable soup already in past couple of weeks (my back-up lunch when I could not be bothered). There were bags full of various mushrooms from my last market trip and so a mushroom & barley ‘risotto’ or ‘pearlotto’ was just the thing to go for.

I love the different textures of these mushrooms, especially the intensity and sylvan notes of the trompettes de mort while king oyster deliver bite as well as substance and shiitake a decidedly mushroomy taste. It doesn’t always have to be porcini although I would be the last person to prevent you from adding a few. Continue reading

Kimchi

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Autumn can be glorious, the trees blazing in fiery reds, dark greens, burnt oranges, gold and yellows. Crisp mornings invite to a brisk walk in the woodland, where rays of sunshine are breaking through the thinner tree canopies, chestnuts and acorns are dropping and deer browse on misty clearings. But autumn can be murky, grey and nondescript as well, it is not yet cold, but not really warm anymore, not dark but not bright either, some days are just murky. Though these days are not to be sniffed at, they are perfect for preserving, pickling or making the adequate antidote to the feeling of ambivalence: Kimchi. A pickle extraordinaire, the Korean condiment awakens any dish and tired taste buds, it is punchy without being too spicy, has a funky note from a short term of lacto-fermentation and dazzles with vibrant colour and flavour. Continue reading

Chilled pea shooter + Green peas with pea shoots

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Just back from a little rest (aka bask in the short bout of summer sunshine and blissfully doing nothing much except enjoying myself) and finally getting this out, I can’t say why but it lingered a bit while I had to get on with a few other things – one is a guest post about a fresh & crunchy chickpea salad with cucumber, tomato & peppers – perfect for a bbq, picnic or weeknight summer supper –  at / on / for my friend Jeanette’s Surf Cook blog.

Basically a two-in-one recipe for an elegant-rustic but super simple side dish and a vitamin packed chilled green shot or – here comes the pun – shooter. I’ll throw in some near-instant gratification gardening (grow your own pea shoots in 10 days!), which makes the whole thing extremely satisfying and ultra-local: window sill to table. Continue reading

Potato salad with cucumber

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Over the years, my Mum’s second potato salad has become our first choice when potato salads are called for. Yes, we used to be a solid two-potato-salads-family (Mama’s version & my Oma’s version) but slowly we’ve upgraded to five – so I think it’s save to say we have acquired some deep knowledge about those things. Of course, there is nothing wrong with her original one, the classic German Kartoffelsalat of potatoes, pickled gherkins, onions & mayonnaise (my Grandma’s one is with raw egg yolk and nothing else should ever cross my lips where pan-fried Rotbarsch (rose fish) is served) but one day my Mother presented us with her new & improved version sans mayo but with crunchy fresh cucumbers, sharp onions and a light white wine vinaigrette. Heaven and pretty much the moment of a paradigm shift in my parent’s household concerning potato salads.

I could eat this single-handedly straight out of the bowl (and I do when no one is looking) or as a side to anything. It’s a fabulous potato salad, zingy but pleasingly mellow with a fresh sharpness & cucumber crispness to it which is exceptionally good and refreshing with pan-fried fish, Schnitzel, chicken legs, chicken wings, sausages … you get the idea Continue reading

Mascarpone ice cream

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Somehow I ended up with a (giant) tub of beautiful white Mascarpone in the fridge and no idea what to do with it. It was there as a back up plan (aka raspberry tiramisu) in case the dessert intended for a big dinner would fail terribly – it didn’t and I needed a new plan for a rather large amount. Mascarpone is a fresh triple-crème cheese in fact, basically thickened cream, and cream is really, really good in ice cream – ICE CREAM! There were fragrant strawberries in the house, so are a few bottles of sweet woodruff syrup and they were just begging for a classic egg custard ice cream with an extra jolt of cream Continue reading