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Aroma dinner in Basel, Switzerland

25 Jun

Dinner in 8 acts

at the fabulous Stucki restaurant by Tanja Grandits

Location: Basel, Switzerland

This dinner was an explosion in colors and taste. Not much text can describe the taste. Ergo, please indulge in the pictures we took. I would go back anytime again.

Food: 100% tasty, service: 100% great, experience: 100% impressive

To sum it up: We had a gorgeous evening after visiting Art Basel that rounded up the already artsy and inspiring day.

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Thai Basil Lemonade

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Prelude: Amuse Bouche aux Herbes

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Act 1_Green Pea Curry

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Act 2_Salmon with Passion Fruit Cream, Carrots and Tapioca

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Act 3_Seafood Soup

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Act 4_River Trout

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Act 5_Egg Polenta

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Act 6_Lamb with Cassis

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Act 7_Cheese Deluxe with Nut Chutney and Cumin Oil

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Act 8_Strawberry Radish Dessert Explosion

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L’Encore_After Dinner Gourmandises

 

 

Radio Alice: the best pizza in London

9 May

What is special about pizza in London?

Not so much in the first place. I have seen fast food pizza places, pizza trucks and candle-lit Italian restaurants. No doubt about that: You will find a decent slice of pizza in London.

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I want to share a little story from my last night’s stroll around Shoreditch to celebrate my friend Birte’s birthday. A funny coincidence brought me to organic pizza and Radio Alice pizzeria as I bumped into the restaurant’s manager at the convenience store just around the corner on Old Street and ended up having a wine & chat at the restaurant.

Organic pizza, why is that supposed to be special? You can buy almost any food item organic these days. But will you also get served an organic meal in the restaurant? In 90% of the cases probably not. Cheap flour, products containing sugar and canned groceries can be found in almost any chef’s kitchen. What comes on your plate looks nice and tastes good most of the time but you will never ask what is inside. Think about it!

If you don’t trust the source and quality of the meat being served, you might go for a vegetarian meal. If you feel like you barely eat out, you might allow yourself to eat a meat dish.

If you had the choice, would you go to a restaurant that cooks with organic produce only?

This brings me to Radio Alice pizzeria: It has a strong passion for pizza made the proper way with the proper ingredients. All ingredients used come from Italy and are of organic quality. Even the wine served is organic. What is most impressive is that it doesn’t even cost more. I tastes better and is better for you though. Plus, the venue looks super nice, it is an open space loft-like restaurant with the pizza oven and an open kitchen in the middle, and plays fun tunes from the DJ pult. It has just recently been awarded Italian restaurant of the year by Gambero Rosso.

Definitely plan this one in on your next trip to London and don’t forget to book a table: http://www.radioalicepizzeria.co.uk/bookings. The restaurant crew will be happy to serve you what is London’s healthiest and tastiest pizza!

Not from London? Not a problem: Berberè is this pizzeria’s sister in Italy with branches in Milano, Firenze, Bologna, Torino and Castelmaggiore, following the same philosophy.

On top of the mountain in the Czech Republic

20 Nov

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Last weekend marked a friend reunion with Radek and Martin in Prague. Our friendship is a special one, we met 17 years ago during a summer vacation on the island of Korcula in Croatia and since then remained in touch. Every now and then (this time 10 years!) the three of us meet somewhere in Europe. What awaited us was a hiking trip to a historic place: the mountain Rip, just about 1 hour outside of Prague. When I saw it I had a smile on my face. Rather than a mountain it is a cute hill with a small church and bistro on the top.

With the winter having arrived and freezing temperatures around 0 degrees, we decided to hide inside a cafe after our 2 hour hike. Excellent idea. It has been a while since I enjoyed typical Czech cakes and a real hot chocolate (melted chocolate with whipped cream). The cafe was a local kavarna (= Czech word for cafe) in the middle of the old town center of Melnik. 

http://www.nakopci.com/

From there we headed back to Prague and found ourselves on top of another hill at a restaurant called Na kopci (= on top of the hill). The restaurant is nestled in the middle of a residential area and a little bit hidden. The menu is top though. With St.Martin`s day on Friday the menu still offered traditional goose dishes like goose soup with mini dumplings, goose rillette and roast goose with a variety of home-made dumplings and pickled red cabbage. The food was of excellent quality and came in very nice portions so that we got to taste several courses. I especially enjoyed my deer roulade that was stuffed with a fig-date-noisette paste and came on a bed of spinach with fried gnocchi. 

If you decide to go to that place, don`t forget to book. The place was so busy that we had to go at 4pm.

When we left Prague, I realized that I am leaving with a very happy belly. What you do not see on the pictures is what we got to eat at home at my dad`s place: Home-made halusky (= Czech gnocchi) with blue cheese and sauerkraut, red beet borscht soup and an assortment of cheeses that we enjoyed with red wine. For breakfast we had jablkovy zavin, the Czech apple pie or Apfelstrudel as it is called in Germany speaking countries and kolace (= traditional Czech cakes) with poppyseed, cream cheese and plum filling.

Oh boy, I am already looking forward to Christmas and our Czech tradition of fried karp with home-made potato salad. Pictures coming, promised!

Getting to know: Newman Slayer Mustard

1 May

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Artisan food production is getting more and more popular these days. Thinking back, it feels like it all started with the growing popularity of farmer`s markets and supermarkets like Wholefoods in the US or Alnatura (so called Bio Supermärkte) in Germany that gave us access to a wider choice of fresh and healthy food.

Almost 3 years ago, after traveling through the US, it also struck us back home that we wanted to pay more attention to what we eat and where it comes. One night, we opened our fridge to discover that 2 very industrial products still had their spots at our house: Mustard and ketchup.

Knowing little about how mustard is made, we wanted to give it a try, googled a recipe and bought the ingredients online. 6 weeks later, we got to taste our first batch and liked it so much that we went on with prototyping different flavors. The finale was a mustard tasting with a group of friends who gave us feedback on their favorite flavors.

Honey, rosemary and dill mustard immediately made it to the top three and they are now available in our little online store (http://www.newmanslayer.com/). Cinnamon bay leave, rum and chili mustard were among the more exotic ones that were liked and I later worked on a coffee flavored mustard inspired by coffee infused beers.

So far so good, we wanted to go a step further and launched our online store and facebook page last summer to keep our families, friends and followers in the loop. An important detail to be mentioned here: Our artisan mustard is light years away from industrial mustard – in a very positive way. There really is little comparison in the taste (I recognize the color and the spicy-ness); the taste is much more defined and subtle. On top of that, all of our ingredients are organic and we source them from producers  and vendors in Germany.

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I hope I got you curious with our mustard. We would be very happy about a visit to our website and online shop or facebook page:

http://www.newmanslayer.com/

https://www.facebook.com/newmanslayermustard/

 

 

 

Getting to know: Copenhagen food inspirations

22 Mar

Last weekend was a hit. We spent the weekend in Copenhagen. Best part about it: Apart from the flight, the Airbnb apartment and a few recommendations of friends, we had nothing planned. Blank agenda that got filled with great impressions.

We started out with a guided bike tour with Bike Mike (a curiosity in a very positive way if you ask me) indulging into the flair of Copenhagen. From there we spent the afternoon strolling around the shopping streets and Christiania, the kind of autonomous area (compare it to St.Pauli or Sternschanze’s Rote Flora in Hamburg). We ended the night with a gorgeous dinner at Almanak. The next day was a declared museum and coffee drinking day (thanks to the grey and cold weather it was impossible to spend much time outside). Not bad either, that made us discover some nice cafés and a pretty lively food market.

Travelling is one of the best inspirational sources…food for your soul and creativity. You start with a blank page when you arrive and leave with a picture book full of impressions. I tried to capture some of my favorite impressions from this weekend for you. So if by occasion you get to spend a weekend in Copenhagen, don’t miss out on these great spots:

Palæo

Palæo

I noticed the Palæo products at a local 7Eleven store where I bought one of their salads with beef and mustard honey sauce. I, myself, am rather a sceptic when it comes to paleo food. If you want to strictly follow such a diet I find it hard to organize your life around it. Having seen Palæo meals and their stand at the food market I must admit that I changed my mind. The food looks and tastes delicious and is fresh and healthy on top. Well done!

Torvehallernre Food Market, Hall No 1, Rømersgade 18

http://www.palaeo.dk/en/

 

Restaurant Almanak at The Standard

Almanak

Almanak was a friend’s recommendation. We went for the 3 course surprise menu and enjoyed it with a craft beer and Alsace Riesling.

The service was great with just the right attention and kindness. The atmosphere: relaxed and cosy. The food: The perfect composition of what I would have chosen from the à la carte menu. Small paintings on a plate.

Starter: Baked Cod & mussel soup, crispy bread and spring garlic with a trait of a very delicious dark green oil

Entree: Stuffed quail with glaced onions, thyme, cep & morrels

Dessert: Haycream, rhubarb sorbet, hip rose, vanilla & “guf”

If you go, don’t forget to book a table. The place is a popular destination! Oops, and sorry, for the lack of pictures. It was too dark inside and I came out with very blurry shots so please refer to my postcard repertoire.

Havnegade 44

http://en.thestandardcph.dk/almanak/about-almanak/

 

Big Apple Café and Juice Bar

Big Apple Copenhagen

 

We discovered this café by plain coincidence. I loved the rustic interior with olive trees and wooden furniture. The place was perfect for a laid-back chill out after our museum visit.

The tuna sandwich with pesto and a drizzle of olive oil was a hit!

Kronprinsessegade 2

http://www.big-apple.dk/locations/big-apple-kronprinsessegade.html

 

The Royal Smushi Cafe in Copenhagen

What the hell is smushi? That’s what I thought when I read the sign in front of the café. Especially in combination with royal I couldn’t imagine what to expect inside the café. My guess would have been fancy macaroon creations à la LaDurée and had to consult google to understand that smushi = open sandwich and sushi.

I like this artsy interpretation of open sandwiches aka smörrebröd. If you enjoy modern interiors with a twist of chic then this café is the perfect scene for an afternoon snack.

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http://www.royalsmushicafe.dk/

For smushi recipes take a look here:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/apr/18/smushi-open-sandwich-recipes?CMP=share_btn_link

Getting to know: Original Unverpackt in Berlin (DE)

2 Mar

+++ English version see below+++Special post in German+++

Mein erster Besuch im Original Unverpackt (OU) Laden hat sich angefühlt wie Weihnachten. Gelesen habe ich von Original Unverpackt schon vor ein paar Monaten und konnte es gar nicht abwarten einmal in Person vor den Regalen zu stehen und live einzukaufen! Meine einzige Hürde war ein Besuch aus Hamburg in das schöne Berlin, denn die bisher erste Dependance befindet sich in der Wiener Strasse 16 in Berlin-Kreuzberg. Etwas versteckt zwischen den anderen Läden der Strasse findet ihr das orange-weisse OU Schild. Schaut selbst:

Original Unverpackt outside

Original Unverpackt

Das Konzept ist ein simples: Fülle ein Ladengeschäft mit Nahrungsmitteln und sorge dafür, dass die Nahrungsmittel nicht vorgepackt in Folie oder Plastik im Regal stehen. Soweit so gut, mögt ihr denken. Im Prinzip ein Tante Emma Laden, in dem die Ware je nach Bedarf gewogen und verpackt wird.

Nicht ganz, denn genau die Verpackung stellt hier die Herausforderung dar: Die Ware soll möglichst umweltschonend und ohne Müll zu produzieren an den Mann/die Frau gebracht werden. Für den Otto-Normal-Verbrauch im 21.Jahrhundert ist das leider keine Verständlichkeit mehr.

Für den Kunden heißt das: Bringe die entsprechende Anzahl Behälter oder Gläser mit, die du für deinen Einkauf brauchst.

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Soweit so gut. Nun stehe ich voller Vorfreude im Geschäft und stelle zu meiner Schande fest, dass ich vergessen habe mir Gläser bzw. Tupperdöschen auf meinem Besuch aus Hamburg mitzunehmen. Ähnlich ging es wohl auch der französischen Familie, die mit Verzücken neben mir den Laden durchstöbert. OU weiß für die spontane Kundenspezies Rat und stellt sowohl leere Einmachgläser zur Verfügung, die man für einen kleinen Betrag (ca. 1 Euro) kaufen kann, wie auch kleine Papiertütchen. Etwas peinlich war es mir schon, doch zu meiner Verteidigung möchte ich anmerken, dass ich ja noch gar nicht wusste, was ich kaufen wollen würde.

Erste Erkenntnis: Der erfahrene OU Shopper kommt vermutlich mit einem Einkaufszettel vorbei :)

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Wie kauft man die Ware ein?

Aus hierfür hat OU eine einfache Lösung parat. Neben dem Regal steht eine Waage und an jedem Behälter befindet sich eine Art Messlöffel oder Hebel zum Portionieren. Aufkleber spart man sich, denn gewogen und bezahlt wird die Ware an der Kasse im Eingangsbereich. Die sehr freundliche und gut gelaunte Bedienung war aus dem FF mit dem Sortiment vertraut und so musste ich mir noch nicht einmal merken, was ich denn so alles in meine Papiertütchen gepackt hatte.

Zweite Erkenntnis: Man benötigt etwas mehr Zeit als im Supermarkt bis man ausgesucht, abgemessen und verpackt hat. Es macht aber auch irgendwie mehr Spass und zur Auswahl gibt es tatsächlich nur das eine Produkt und nicht ein Produkt von vier Marken…das macht mich im normalen Supermarkt eh manchmal kirre und führt zu Entscheidungskämpfen.

Welche Produkte kann man erwerben?

Das Sortiment würde ich spontan aus dem Kopf so zusammenfassen: Eine grosse Auswahl an Körnern und Trockenware für den Vorrat wie z.B. getrocknete Früchte, Bohnen, Reis, Müslizutaten von der Haferflocke bis zum Leinsamen, Gewürze und Pasta erwartet euch. Dazu gibt es noch frisches Obst, Gemüse und Backwaren, eine Auswahl Getränke und Eingemachtes sowie Putzmittel. Ernährt man sich vegetarisch oder gar vegan, so findet man eigentlich alles vor Ort. Die Carnivore unter uns müssten dann nur noch einen Abstecher zum Metzgermeister wagen und ich persönlich würde noch einen Abstecher zum Käsefachmann machen. Diesen Teil des Einkaufs kann man genauso gut auf dem Wochenmarkt oder mit der Abo Biokiste abdecken.

Dritte Erkenntnis: Das Angebot ist vielfältig und auf den ersten Blick völlig ausreichend, zumindest für diejenigen unter uns, die gerne selbst kochen und zuhause statt Fertiggerichten einzelne Zutaten aufbewahren. Das Sortiment eignet sich auch super zum Experimentieren mit Produkten, die man nicht kennt, da man sich so viel abwiegen kann wie man möchte und nicht an eine bestimmte Verpackungsgrösse gebunden ist. Meine Entdeckung des Tages war ein grünes Weizengraspulver!

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Original Unverpackt 1

 

Fazit: Ein Einkaufserlebnis, an das man sich gewöhnen kann. Einfach aber gut. Ein charmantes Erlebnis.

Vorbei sind die Zeiten, in denen die 1kg Familienpackung Spaghetti im hintersten Eck des Küchenschranks verstaubte oder wir nach Feierabend mit Kohldampf 10 Dinge gekauft haben, die wir eigentlich nicht brauchten. Ich denke da z.b. an die bunte Packung Fruchtzwerge oder die grosse Tüte Chips. Pfui.

+++++++++++++++++ English short version +++++++++++++++++

In this post, I am introducing you to a new supermarket concept seen in Berlin. OU (Original Unverpackt) is a small store in Berlin-Kreuzberg offering products in the most environmentally friendly way namely unpackaged. You buy only as much as you need and bring your own storage containers. So simple, so good.

www.original-unverpackt.de

Getting to know: A Praça in Lisboa, Portugal

18 Nov

I love discovering hidden gems that serve good food. Restaurants with heart. Soul food in a good atmosphere. That’s how it should be. And this weekend was a strike. Something like a 9 or 10 out of 10. I am talking about a restaurant called A Praça in Lisbon. Not in Bairro Alto where you might expect it. Hidden in LX Factory, an old factory area right under the bridge called Ponte 25 de Abril aka Lisbon’s Golden Gate bridge. The place opened a few months ago and walking in you will immediately be enchanted by the open kitchen space, the fresh vegetable counter and the black and white interior. Industrial charm:YES. Good dinner atmosphere: YES. Great taste:YES. Affordable food:YES. Humongous gin & tonic drinks:YES. Must go to-place: YES.

Before I get carried away by too much enthusiasm, let me show you a few pictures:A Praca Lisboa1The interior with stylish factory chic

A Praca Lisboa2Starters: Goat cheese on toast, sautéed mushrooms, mini aubergine lasagna

A Praca Lisboa3Coated and baked Albeira sausage with almonds

A Praca Lisboa4Main course: Spinach, ricotta and walnut cannelloni

Now a few words on the food: The menu is simple with a good selection of starters and a straight forward list of main courses. The menu is rounded up with some nice desserts. You will easily make your choice. In my eyes, there is seldom worse than a long, confusing menu that does not only annoy you but the waiter as well who needs 1o minutes to take your order.

Go for a handful of starters to share, they will make you want more food :) They are made of fresh ingredients, discreetly and tastefully seasoned with a Mediterranean touch and a Portuguese note. Look at the Albeira sausage for example: It’s a typical Portuguese sausage (you find interesting articles on Wikipedia about its Jewish origin). The almond coating gave it a new interpretation.

The main courses were mainly pasta dishes. Ricotta is a great alternative to Bechamel sauce and the caramelized walnuts went extremely well with the sweet tomato sauce. The pesto ravioli were something for the taste buds as well.

I also remember trying a piece of my boyfriend’s delicious almond cake but to be honest I was more focused on my espresso for digestive reasons after this gorgeous dinner!

I dearly hope A Praça will become a Lisbon institution. That would be well-deserved with Antonio and the rest of the crew having taken excellent care of us that night!

And P.S. Don’t forget to book a table! The place was packed within 10 minutes!

Obrigada e adeus.

Getting to know: Caramelized, the cookbook app

28 Jun

Caramelized…mmmhh, that must be a desert or cake you must think, maybe crème brûlée. Not quite. Sorry to disappoint you, it’s much better: Caramelized is a smart phone and tablet app that lets you to find great cookbooks, manage your favourite recipes and even download the shopping list to your smart phone. Gone are the days of cramped bookshelves and soaked pages.

Caramelized

It seems that every day another piece of our world is getting digitalized. And so it is with Caramelized. Caramelized is a digital cookbook library:  You have all your purchased cookbooks on your tablet and cook with it next to you in the kitchen. While you cook, you can even zoom in on the individual steps of the recipe so at any time you know what to do with one finger flip, perfect!

Some cookbooks include short videos on how to make the food. In fact, Caramelized turns any paper cookbook into a smart cookbook: If you want to cook for more people than indicated in the recipe, fill out the multiplier and you will be shown the exact amount of ingredients needed for your dinner party.

The app is free, simply download it from the App store or Google’s play store and only pay for the cookbook or single recipe (for as little as 0.89 Euro) that you want to purchase! Most of the cookbooks are available in German, some in English. With your account, you can share the recipes with up to five devices.

And here is a teaser for you: Sit down with a cup of coffee and select what you want to cook for dinner. Then send the shopping list to your husband`s smartphone and let him buy the groceries, it couldn’t be easier :)

For a quick overview of the features and content visit their website: https://caramelized.de

Have fun exploring the new cooking experience, foodists :)

Getting to know: Restaurant Vienna @ Fettstrasse, Hamburg

20 Jun

Moin readers, this post is for the Hamburg folks among my followers.

Some of the best culinary discoveries I make are typically those of small, hidden restaurants and restaurant Vienna (Fettstrasse, Hamburg) is my latest discovery. You might have been to this place before, if not, TAKE YOUR PHONE AND MAKE A RESERVATION.

Vienna’s menu is creative and French cuisine inspired (not really Austrian as you might have expected). When we were there we got offered a handful of starters to choose from, a handful of main courses and two to three deserts plus a nice wine list. The menu is hand-written! I was a little indecisive but the very patient waiter gave me great advice and so we ended up with a great dinner and two bottles of red wine with three people. Happy guests, happy host :)

The restaurant is tiny but very cosy with a small wind protected terrace and it’s only a short walk from Sternschanze Sbahn/Ubahn station. For the outstanding goût I found the pricing very reasonable, starters were around 8 Euro, main courses between 12 and 18 Euro.

This is what made it on my plate that night:

dorade auf gurkensalat mit rhababerwuerfelnCold dorade (gilt-head bream) filet with red beets and cucumber

lammleber auf salatbouquet mit artischockenWarm lamb liver on a salad and artichoke bouquet

topfenknoedelMini curdcheese dumplings (Topfenknödel) with vanilla sauce

 http://www.vienna-hamburg.de

P.S. In case you know why the restaurant’s name is Vienna, let me know :) I haven’t figured it out yet.

Getting to know: Lehka Hlava in Prague, CZ

18 Mar

This weekend I had the pleasure of a full-time family weekend in Prague. My parents are Czech and even though I was raised in Germany I grew up with a lot of Czech traditions and especially Czech food. You should have seen our reaction as kids if grandma hadn’t had time to bake a traditional apple strudel (jablkovy zavin) prior To our arrival; it was scandalous. Homemade dumplings were another obligation.

Lucky enough, I didn’t miss out on anything from the colorful and very tasty culinary palette this weekend (for the connoisseurs of Czech cuisine (svickova, clebicky, kolace, vetrniky, klobasa). It’s always an adventure to stroll through a local supermarket where so much food is global merchandize, yet it’s easy to spot the local delicacies especially in terms of meat, dairy and baked products.

During my last trips I have started exploring the local food scene that goes beyond Czech restaurants and I am pleasantly surprised. Not necessarily with the imitations of Italian and French cuisine (crostini are small pieces of toast and not half a baguette sandwich as seen at Cafe de Paris) but with the veggie-vegan offer. My favorite is a restaurant called Lehka Hlava (Clear Head, literally light head which wouldn’t quite suit the place).

Lehka Hlava

First time I was there I enjoyed veggie skewers with homemade potato gratin. This time I had a raw salad with red lentils and goat cheese with spinach and potato gratin. My favorite drink is aloe juice.

The restaurant is in a hidden corner about 3-5 min walking distance from Charles bridge and has a unique and lovely interior. Next time you want to avoid the typical tourist traps, this place might be a good idea.

What to eat there?

http://www.lehkahlava.cz/en_jidelni.htm

Where to find the restaurant?

Borsov 2/280, Prague 1 – Old Town

Where to find Lehka Hlava in Prague

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