Baked plum porridge

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As the days get shorter I am so happy to switch to a warm breakfast again and even since I did not grow up eating porridge (or Haferbrei as the German equivalent is called) I am a total porridge-freak. I prefer a very simple, near ascetic version of oats cooked in water and some salt and not too smooth mind you, I’ve got all my teeth – but then I top it with blueberries and a little golden syrup. Bliss. Of course, on the weekend a more glamorous breakfast is called for: bring on the baked porridge / oatmeal, a concept totally new to me but I am a convert if you need a healthy and yummy breakfast dish for a few weekend guests or a stress-less brunch.

Lusciously juicy red plums not only lend their marvellous purple-pinkish and yellow colour to this baked porridge but I think their taste is transformed from a sometimes rather watery fruit to a real sweet & warm plummy plum. Add the almond studded delicately maple-sweet oatmeal with the slight tartness of the kefir, a fermented thickened milk, and a hint of lemon for a great, great breakfast dish that could please a crowd for brunch as well as just two. Continue reading

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green asparagus, tomato & avocado salad

Back home. There is a smell of spring in the air, daffodils & tulips are out, magnolias are in bloom and it is cold but sunny with no icy winds (I love New York but the wind can be biting). The market stalls are filled with vernal vegetables (ups, no kale anymore) and I picked up a lovely bunch of green asparagus and some avocados to fit my most immediate need for some kind of a hangover cure. Long flights & jet lag always make me hanker for bright, savoury & tangy food with quite a bit of salt added. Where did they say, that astronauts need to have strongly seasoned food in space because the taste weakens considerably in space? Substitute high altitude for space, add a tiny bit of tiredness with a dash of hypochondria and that is me today.

Well, green & fresh food is what I am after now. Don’t think I haven’t eaten very well & very healthy in the past two weeks (ignore the giant Cuban Steak sandwich or the Sturgeon bagel right before take-off). Cooking in NYC is sometimes challenging: tiny kitchen, no dishwasher, extremely limited counter space, check, check, check. On the other hand it is fun & easy since you have all the great/my favourite shops & fantastic markets with their abundance of the choicest produce and beautiful displays (oh, I missed them so so much) at your doorstep or a short subway trip away. I have a myriad of new ideas and recipes that I can’t wait to try out & experiment with.

Tip: To make sure you do not get any tough asparagus pieces, I use this method of snapping the spears between my two hands until the hard fibrous bit breaks of naturally. There is a more economical method, too, which you might want to use if you had to sell a kidney to pay for the green gold (here, anyway): peel the skin of the asparagus ends if there is tough skin or you’ve got white/purple pieces to render them edible.

German version at the end / Deutsches Rezept am Ende.

 

Green asparagus, tomato & avocado salad
serves 2 as a main or 4 as a small starter or side dish

1lb or 500g (a German pound) green asparagus
1 avocado
250g vine or grape or cocktail tomatoes (= 20 small tomatoes)
2 green or spring onions (optional)
fresh coriander
2-3 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
juice of one lime (adjust to taste, sometimes half a lime is enough)

Wash & trim the asparagus: snap off the tough ends by bending the spear between your hands until it breaks naturally or peel the hard skin off the bottom quarter if they are tough or white/purple (see tip above). Cut the green asparagus in 4-5cm or 2 inch pieces and blanch them for 5-7 minutes in generously salted water, drain and refresh in ice water.

Peel the avocado and cut into chunks, halve the tomatoes & cut your spring onions on the bias into thin rhomboids. Mix the asparagus, avocado chunks and tomatoes in a bowl, sprinkle with the spring onion and coriander leaves and season with soy sauce, sesame oil and lime juice to taste. Ideally the salad should rest for a while and you need to check & adjust the seasoning again.
 

Salat aus grünem Spargel, Tomaten & Avocado
Für 2 Personen als Hauptgericht oder 4 als kleine Vorspeise oder Beilage

1 Pfund grüner Spargel
1 reife Avocado
250g kleine Strauch- oder Cocktailtomaten (= 20 Tomaten)
2 Frühlingszwiebeln (optional)
frischer Koriander
2-3 TL Sojasauce oder Tamari
2 TL Sesamöl
Saft einer Limette (nach Geschmack, manchmal reicht auch eine halbe)

Den Spargel waschen und putzen: eine Stange zwischen zwei Händen halten bis das holzige Ende abbricht oder wenn man es ökonomischer möchte: die harten oder auch teilweise noch weiß-violetten Enden einfach schälen. Den grünen Spargel in 4-5cm große Stückchen schneiden und in großzügig gesalzenem Wasser 5-7 Minuten kochen, dann in Eiswasser abschrecken. Die Avocado schälen und in größere Stücke zerteilen, die Tomaten halbieren und die Frühlingszwiebeln schräg in dünne Rhomben schneiden. Alles in einer Schüssel mischen, den Koriander darauf streuen und mit Sojasauce, Sesamöl und Limettensaft nach Geschmack würzen. Idealerweise sollte der Salat eine Weile ruhen & muß dann natürlich noch einmal abgeschmeckt werden.