Cumin-chile lamb skewers with lemon yoghurt










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


summer holiday clams (with linguine)









Despite being back for a few weeks (wow, really?) I am still in holiday mode & mood and clinging (like a limpet) to the serenity of lazy days lounging on deck chairs with endless glasses of nice Burgundian whites – hence the … ‘crickets’. To me, nothing says summer & summer holidays more than clams, especially if they are called palourdes or vongole and are brought by a friendly waiter to a table overlooking the Mediterranean Sea or … maybe the Venetian lagoon. But at home they taste just as good tossed with barely melted ripe tomatoes, herbs, garlic and a mountain of linguine. Continue reading

Oregano bucatini with tomatoes









There are days when I feel uninspired, sluggish and my normally sunny disposition tends to be more on the grumpy side. I want to have good food (fast), something delicious and healthy without a lot of pottering around. So, please do not ask me to make ‘something simple’ (without naming one ‘simple dish’ or offering specific suggestions) or let me start the huge complicated dinner project originally planned for that evening – better not ask me anything if you value your life since this state is quickly followed by a hefty side of hangry-ness. Generally carbs, pasta in particular, are a like a St. Bernard for me and these wonderfully aromatic herby, silky, satisfying oregano & tomato bucatini are about the fastest cure for anything Continue reading

Mirabelle & hazelnut cake








Find the German translation (recipe) below / Rezept auf Deutsch am Ende


Wonderful Mirabelle are this cake’s salient feature, they shine like jewels half-sunken in their vanilla & hazelnut batter bed. It is a rustic cake and has a homemade, informal appearance, something that is made with love when you’ll come to visit for a slice of cake and a steaming mug of tea when supposedly summery days get darker and colder and rainier (buckets, cats & dogs & elephants by the look of it) than one beliefs a day in August could or should be.

Mirabelle & hazelnut cake

There is a minimum amount of work involved here since all ingredients are blitzed together in the food processor (which makes this a one-bowl-cake) and the resulting dough is more a batter that gets decanted into the cake tin. The hard bit is a bit of Mirabelle work, I mean keeping the resolve not to pop every second or third one for a “taste test”. Continue reading

rhubarb sheet cake

Soooo, I don’t know about you but we needed to catch up on sunshine, lounging on deck chairs & sipping cocktails and believe me, after one of these there is no way to write a straight sentence. What ever weather the weekend will bring, let there be cake:

rhubarb sheet cake

Pink rhubarb tumbled on top of a buttery vanilla cake batter and sprinkled with sugar to caramelize make for a wonderfully simple & tasty rhubarb sheet cake. It provides an ideal treatment for the sharp rhubarb of the early season – just admonish a little more sugar to mellow the astringency or counter the tartness with sweet whipped cream with vanilla (yum). This sheet cake is quickly thrown together and great fare for a gathering of friends & family at the weekend and it travels well for a picnic outside. If you have a beach close by, have fun – I am jealous. Extra bonus points for freezing well, too: I have just packed a few slices into the freezer for a rainy day, the in-laws upcoming visit or when a neighbour drops in around 4 o’ clock for a cup of coffee & a piece of cake.

rhubarb sheet cake

This is a proper Grandmother-approved-recipe (my cousin got it from a former fiancé’s Grandma), very well & thoroughly tested every year by my cousin & me with the tartest & pinkest of rhubarb your Mum sends you over… and it is my favourite rhubarb cake. The batter is basically the mixture for a quattre-quarts or pound cake, spread onto a baking sheet, covered with a lot of rhubarb pieces who in turn will sink into the batter and transform into pockets of tart rhubarb throughout the sweet cake. It may seem that there is ways too much “fruit” (actually rhubarb is a vegetable) to be arranged in a neat & orderly fashion or for it to even fit onto the sheet & that this greedy amount might turn the cake soggy. None of the sort will happen but you should bake the cake for (most of) the allocated time. If a corner or the outer edges turn brown or even darker, just remember that they can easily be trimmed – all in the name of cake square perfection, of course.

Deutsches Rezept am Ende!



Rhubarb sheet cake

makes 16 pieces

Note on pan sizes & material: this recipe is geared towards a European-sized deep & heavy metal baking sheet called a Fettpfanne in the oven manual (31 x 38 x 3cm). Use ¾ of the recipe for slightly smaller American baking sheets or use a 10 x 13 inch pan, a smaller one will result in a somewhat thicker cake layer which is not necessarily a bad thing though might influence the baking time. I am not sure about other materials: the cake might work in a glas dish and you’ll have a chance to check the bottom though I would not try a ceramic dish.

250g (8.8oz; a little more than 2 sticks) butter, unsalted & soft
250g (8.8oz) sugar (165g + 85g)
250g (8.8oz) plain flour
4 eggs, separated
7.5g or 1.5 tsp baking powder (1/2 packet)
Vanilla essence or 2 heaped tablespoons of vanilla sugar
7 rhubarb sticks, cut into 1 inch pieces (roughly 900g or 2 lbs)
sugar (2-3 tablespoons)

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F & line a sheet with baking parchment.
Cream butter and 2/3 of the sugar (165g), incorporate the egg yolks and quickly stir in the sifted flour & baking powder. Beat the egg whites together with the last 1/3 of the sugar (85g) until they form stiff peaks, fold into the dough: stir in first only a little amount to loosen the mass, then swiftly fold in with only a few movements.
Spread the batter onto your chosen baking sheet or into pans, loose cover the top with the rhubarb pieces and sprinkle with sugar (roughly 2 tablespoons, to taste). Bake for 40 minutes (turn the sheet around after half-time) in the middle of the oven until golden brown. Cool and trim (extra) brown edges or sides before serving.



Für 16 Stücke

250g weiche Butter
250g Zucker (165 + 85g)
250g Mehl
4 Eier, getrennt
½ Paket Backpulver (7g)
Vanillezucker (2 EL oder 2 Pakete) oder Vanille-Essenz (auf keinen Fall Aroma oder künstliches Zeug)
7 Stangen Rhabarber (ca. 900g), in 2-3cm große Stücke geschnitten
Zucker (2-3 EL)

Den Backofen auf 200°C vorheizen (180°C Umluft) und ein tiefes Backblech oder die Fettpfanne mit Backpapier auskleiden.
Die Butter schaumig rühren, dann zwei Drittel des Zuckers + Vanillezucker oder Vanille Essenz hinzugeben und nach und nach die Eigelbe unterrühren. Mehl zusammen mit dem Backpulver vermischen und über den Teig sieben, nur noch kurz verrühren bis ein Teig entstanden ist. Eiweiße mit dem letzten Drittel Zucker steif schlagen und vorsichtig unterheben. Dünn auf dem Bleck ausstreichen und mit den in Stücken geschnittenen Rhabarber belegen und anschließend mit Zucker bestreuen. In der Mitte des Backofens für ca. 40 Minuten backen, eventuell nach der Hälfte der Zeit das Blech umdrehen (wenn an einer Seite oder einer Ecke weniger Teig ist und diese dunkler oder sehr dunkel werden: einfach hinterher beschneiden), dann auskühlen lassen und aufteilen.



salmon fish cakes

salmon fish cakes by the james kitchen
salmon fish cakes, a photo by the james kitchen on Flickr.

Make leftovers for Fish cakes. As I said before, we always use any leftover white fish or salmon for fish cakes and you should plan an extra portion for some to be made for supper or freezing during the next 5 days. They can be easily frozen for an instant and hardly-any-work lunch supper, too and are absolutely delicious. This salmon-dill version with mustard and a little cheddar (you can leave the cheese out without any problems) which we made a few weeks ago is a great one.

Salmon-dill fish cakes
makes 4 servings

200g (7 oz) salmon, steamed or baked (best to make one extra portion of saumon en papillote for this)
about 150g (a little more than 5 oz) potatoes, mashed
chopped fresh dill (to taste)
1 tablespoon coarse Dijon mustard
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon English mustard powder (Coleman’s)
1 pinch paprika
salt & white pepper
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon plain flour
a handful of coarsely grated cheddar
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk (half of this for the fish cakes, the other half for dredging)

Carefully break the salmon into pieces, do not mash them up totally. Press the potatoes through a ricer (or use mashed potatoes) and add along with the dill, mustards, mustard powder, paprika, salt & pepper, breadcrumbs, flour, cheddar and half of the beaten egg & milk. Mix all together until combined, form little cakes about the size of small apricots and flatten them a little bit. Place on a sheet and let them rest for about 10-30 minutes in the fridge while you clear up and prepare the dredging station. Turn each fish cake in the flour, then the egg and lastly in the breadcrumbs. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the cakes for about 5 minutes over medium heat and about 2 on the other side. Serve with a crispy salad and a yoghurt-mustard dressing and more dill. Pickled gherkins or cucumbers, too.

To freeze: make the cakes up to the point where they are covered in flour and place the naked but floured cakes in a single layer on a sheet, cover with cling film (plastic/ceran wrap) and freeze individually so that they do not cling together, afterwards they can be placed in a freezer bag.

Cook from frozen: Take as many out as you need for dinner, preheat the oven to 120°C (250°F), dust the frozen cakes with a little more flour, dredge in an egg mixed with the milk (obviously you will need a new egg here) and breadcrumbs and fry these in a skillet with a little oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side to a light brown colour. Place on a baking sheet covered in parchment or kitchen roll (kitchen towel) to absorb some of the surplus oil and warm for 20-30 minutes, turning the cakes over once. Leaving them in a little longer if you need to is not a problem.