Spiced date dip













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


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

Duck eggs with almond dukkah









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

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

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Tapenade by the james kitchen
Tapenade, a photo by the james kitchen on Flickr.
This is in my book the best recipe for the provençal black olive paste: it is simple and elegant. Jet black velvet like caviar and an intensive, deep taste of olive. You might want to alter some of the ingredients or change the amounts; it all depends on the intensity of the olives. Other recipes add lemon juice, capers or a whopping amount of anchovies. I prefer the dominance of the main ingredient and if served alongside another provençal classic, the anchoïade – anchovies paste, there would be simply too much fish in both. This summer we had these on tiny little toast breads as amuse-bouches with the first (& second) glass of cold rosé

One word about the olives: I buy really dark, salt and sort of semi dried black olives (not in brine) at my Turkish grocer, they are sold in different sizes and I choose the smaller ones which have a really intensive black colour and taste. And they are unpitted, so there is a little work to be done and if one does not want to have black fingernails for a week – better wear some gloves.

makes one small jar

400g (14 oz) black olives
3 anchovies
3 garlic cloves
olive oil (extra virgin, as always)

Pit the olives (you might have about 250g), chop the garlic and anchovies and put all the ingredients together with a few splashes of olive oil into a food processor and pulse until you get a rough, grainy sauce, you do not want to get to a fine purée. Add a bit more oil if the mixture is too dry and compact, the consistency should resemble a granita.
Serve with/on toasts, croutons, crackers or anything you might imagine or use to make these pretty palmiers.

fried green tomatoes

fried green tomatoes by the james kitchen
fried green tomatoes, a photo by the james kitchen on Flickr.

A few weeks ago we finally made fried green tomatoes. Anyone growing up like me at the in Germany probably came across them fort he first time in the eponymus film. Since then they have grown into some sort of mythical creature of Southern soul food in my mind. But looking at the preparation, this is quite similar to the process of coating a piece of thin veal (Wiener Schnitzel) or fish in flour, egg & breadcrumbs. I know that, so we got on with it. These were fantastic and we do like a bit more spice than the original recipe, so I increased some spices and added the spanish hot smoked paprika. And I fiddled a bit with the dressing, making it a little lighter and reducing the amount of mayo. The creaminess suffered not really and at the same time it was a little bit more pourable (something you will appreciate when you are using up the leftovers on your lunch salad or to dip artichokes in, which is what I did).

Fried green tomatoes & jalapeno-buttermilk dressing

Adapted only slightly from the Homesick Texan cookbook – if you do not already own it, this is a definite wishlist item. We absolutely adore it and every thing we have cooked so far is a delight. Here I have changed the spices in the flour mixture and made a (little) lighter version of the dressing.

about 4 (larger) green tomatoes (Update: green = unripe tomatoes; grüne = unreife Tomaten)

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon hot smoked paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons pepper (I used white)
1 egg
½ cup of buttermilk
2 cups of cornmeal (I used german Maismehl, one could use polenta as well)
peanut oil for fryingSlice the tomatoes horizontally into 6 mm (¼ inch) thick slices. Combine the flour and spices in a plastic bag and add the tomato slices. Shake to to get them covered evenly in the spiced flour.

Beat the egg and buttermilk with a fork (my grandmothers always did it like this for anything that was then coated in breadcrumbs) and pour the mixture in a bowl or shallow dish. Prepare another dish with the cornmeal.

Dip the floured tomatoes in the egg mixture, then turn them in the cornmeal until totally covered. Best use one hand for the egg and the other solely for the flour part, otherwise you will find your hands coated in several layers of batter.

Heat about ¾ cm (½ inch) oil in a frying pan or skillet over medium heat until it reaches 175° C (350° F) or if you drop a small piece of bread in it, it starts to sizzle lightly and turns brown in about a minute. Fry the tomatoes for around 2 minutes on each side until they have turned golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain the excess oil.

Serve with the most delicious jalapeno-buttermilk dressing.

Jalapeno-buttermilk dressing

Adapted from the Homesick Texan cookbook and – as I said before – I only changed the amount of mayonnaise (half of the original recipe) and added cayenne. Still nothing one might call low-cal. Definitely excellent with Fish & Chips, too. It is divine and has nothing to do with anything labelled ranch dressing I have ever bought, so much better.

2 jalapeno chiles (seeds removed), chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped
¼ cup coriander (cilantro)
¼ cup broad leaf parsley
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon lime zest
¼ cup buttermilk
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
salt & pepper & cayenne pepper

Blend everything except the sour cream and mayonnaise in a blender to a puree, decant into a bowl and add the sour cream and mayonnaise, season with salt, pepper & cayenne.