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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.

For a healthy 2017: Low carb bread

7 Jan

Uff, the time between Christmas and New Year’s day is the most intense time of the year in terms of food and drinks. It is wonderful to come together with the family and enjoy all the good food.

We saw a nice variety of different flavors on our plates this year: From traditional Czech cuisine with karp and potato salad over venison goulash to raclette.

On New Year’s day the fridge looked rather empty and a wish for something not so heavy made me create this low carb bread recipe. You can enjoy it while still warm with salad or cottage cheese. You can also eat it like a normal bread with sausage and cheese. The texture is very smooth and soft, therefore you should consume the bread within 2-3 days and store it in the fridge.

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Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 cups shredded veggies such as carrots, cucumber, red beet and celery (I use the leftovers from my juicer)
  • 1/2 cup condensed milk or cream
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds or flax seeds
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1.5 cups buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt, curry powder and pepper for seasoning
  • Sesame seeds for decoration

Preparation:

  1. Start preheating your oven to 220 degrees Celsius
  2. Prepare your shredded veggies – either by shredding them freshly or by using the leftovers from your juicer
  3. In a blender, mix together the veggies and the condensed milk to receive a smooth paste
  4. Then put into a medium sized bowl and season with salt, curry powder and pepper,
  5. Stir in the oats and seeds
  6. Mix in 1 egg
  7. Add flour and baking powder
  8. Place in a bread pan or rectangular cake pan and decorate with sesame seeds
  9. Back at 220 degrees Celsius for 40-45 min

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!

Cookie dough terrine

3 Nov

Oh my sweet tooth, sometimes it makes me create little recipes without having planned any of it. Last night after dinner was such a moment, I felt like I needed something chocolaty and quick. And voila, this nice and tasty cookie dough terrine came out.

Cookie dough terrine

Ingredients:

1 stick butter or margarine

3/4 cups brown sugar

Salt

1 cup flour

Dark chocolate chips

Strawberries (fresh or frozen)

Preparation:

1) Use soft butter or let the butter melt in a small pot.

2) Combine the butter, sugar, salt and chocolate chips and stir.

3) Now add the flour until you receive a smooth dough texture.

4) Place the dough in small ceramic terrines and decorate with two strawberries.

4) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390-400 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake for about 15 min.

 

For the cookie dough base I used this recipe:

http://www.centercutcook.com/edible-egg-less-chocolate-chip-cookie-dough/

Exotic summer salad

3 Jul

Summer is on and we are enjoying it at full throttle. Sitting on the terrace for a late dinner while there is still light out there feels so good. Because I want to enjoy the long days as much as I can, I tend to make quick meals in the summer.

Last week, I ended up in the kitchen baking birthday muffins and I can tell you that it felt like a visit to the sauna with the hot oven around me. That adds to my point about quick meals without long cooking.

Today, I decided to go for a salad in which I bring together a rainbow of tastes. Let surprise yourself with this summer salad recipe!

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Ingredients (serves 2 people):

1/s lettuce

2-3 carrots

1 shallot

1 fennel head

1/2 cup barley or bulgur

Roast pork

Cantaloupe melon

For the dressing:

Orange

Soy sauce

Basil infused olive oil (or regular olive oil)

Preparation:

  1. Prepare the dressing by squeezing one orange and adding 2-3 tablespoons of soy sauce and oil. Basil infused olive oil will give your dressing an exceptional and fresh note. In case you do not have basil infused olive oil at home, you can as well chop up a few fresh basil leaves and add them together with extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Cut your veggies and arrange them layer by layer on a plate: First comes shredding your lettuce, then peeling and thinly slicing 2-3 carrots. After that, slice the fennel and shallot.
  3. At high heat, sear the shallot and fennel in a pan with a teaspoon of butter. When your done, place it as the next layer on your salad.
  4. Cut the cantaloupe in small dices.
  5. In a small pan, cook your barley or bulgur as instructed. Add a pinch of salt to the boiling water.
  6. Now for the roast pork, you have two options: Buy it cooked and ready for use or make a roast yourself (very time consuming). I used left-overs that I had in the freezer and cut them in dices.
  7. Before you put the last layer on your salad, combine the cantaloupe, barley or bulgur and the diced roast pork in a bowl and add some olive oil and a spoon of the dressing that you have prepared in the beginning.
  8. Pour the dressing over the first two layers, add the last layer (melon-meat-barley/bulgur mix) and enjoy.

 

Tartine breakfast

26 Jun

tar·tine

(tär-tēn′)

n.

A French open-faced sandwich, especially one with a rich or fancy spread.

 

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Rich or fancy spread, that is the question here. I tend to go with fancy and colorful. And most important of all: Tartine sounds nice (better than bread breakfast). You will find lots of varieties of tartine bread or sandwiches in countries where bread is part of the daily food plan.

A few that I can think of are:

Brotstulle – Germany

Sandwich – UK/US and other English speaking countries

Chlebíček – Czech Republic

Smørrebrød- Sweden and Denmark

Bocadillo – Spain

Tartines are allrounders: They are great for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All you need is bread and a topping of your choice. I prefer colorful toppings and try to make my tartines healthy. As you can see in the picture, I used avocado, radish, tomato and egg. When I made this tartine I immediately had a good start into the day.

Two tipps that I have for you:

  1. Toast the bread before you put the topping on it (unless you use very fresh and fluffy bread)
  2. Use an oily base like butter, olive oil or sour cream

Next time you make your own tartine, do not forget to include colorful and healthy ingredients and you will see how happy this tartine will make you :)

Wishing all of you a good start into the week!

Mousse au chocolat

29 May

Who does not like desserts?

As far as I know, almost nobody. I am sure that out of a group of 10, a maximum of 1-2 persons do not have a sweet tooth and do not get attracted by a sweet seduction after a good meal. For you as a hobby chef, that is good news. Offering a tasty dessert at a dinner party will make your guests happy. That being said, do not skip dessert :)

My experience is that desserts with dark chocolate always are a perfect fit after any kind of main course. They go well with digestives like liqueurs, an espresso or your glass of red or white wine.

I was invited to a dinner party last night and decided to go with mousse au chocolat. Turns out, it was a good choice: It is quick to make and you only need 4 ingredients.

mousse au chocolat

Ingredients (serves 6-7 people):

200g dark chocolate (60% cocoa)

100g very dark chocolate (85% cocoa)

20g white chocolate

400ml whipping cream

2 eggs

Raspberries for decoration

Preparation:

1. Melt all the dark chocolate in a bain-marie.

What is a bain-marie? You do not want to destroy the chocolate by melting it at a too hot temperature. Therefore, you use a bowl or small pot that you place in a larger pot with hot water. Stir the chocolate while melting it and make sure that no water spills into the chocolate. This would make the chocolate flaky instead of smooth.

Put aside and let cool down. The consistency of the chocolate has to be viscous (not liquid) before you continue processing it.

2. Separate egg white from yolks. In separate bowls,  whisk the egg whites until they are stiff and the egg yolks until they are fluffy.

3. Whip the cream with a hand mixer until it has a very firm consistency. Takes about 2-3 min.

4. Prepare a bowl that is large enough for all ingredients. Use a spatula and not a hand mixer from now on as you want to slowly combine all ingredients.

Start with the fluffy egg yolks by adding them to your bowl.

Now stir in the chocolate.

Add the egg whites.

Finally, work in the whipped cream. Leave about 2-3 tablespoons of whipped cream for decoration.

5. Serve the mousse straight away or chill it in the fridge (good idea if you want to prepare the mousse in advance). It is important that the mousse is firm like a pudding. Should that not be the case, cool it in an ice bath by placing the bowl into a larger bowl with ice-cube infused water or in the fridge until it gets firm.

6. Decoration: Melt the white chocolate in a bain-marie (just like the dark chocolate earlier). Wash a few raspberries. In a small bowl, put a scoop of mousse au chocolate and decorate it with a spoon of whipped cream, 2-3 raspberries and drizzle a few lines of white chocolate on top of the mousse. Enjoy with pleasure.

 

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/

 

 

 

Seafood bolognese with sepia pasta

28 Mar

Living in Hamburg, I am getting used to eating good fish and on some occasions seafood. Little did I know for quite a long time that the fish shacks near Fischmarkt (on Grosse Elbstrasse) that do not look very inviting from the outside but make excellent fish rolls and traditional seafood dishes are an excellent escape for a quick and good lunch. If you get a chance to spend a day in Hamburg during the week go there for your lunch and you will get to feel a piece of Hamburgeois life.

This year I tried Stinte fish for the first time – Stint is a fish that lives in the ocean and comes to the river Elbe for breeding. When the baby fish are born end of February/March you will find them on the menus of traditional restaurants across Hamburg. Stint fish are served fried with potatoes (boiled potatoes or potato salad) on the side.

Matjes and hering are also traditional fish here and should you not find the time for a restaurant visit you can go to any supermarket (e.g. Rewe or Edeka) and get your dose of fish to go. Matjes and hering are eaten cold with bread and usually come in a cream sauce.

In my corner, we do not have any fish store nearby. I sometimes store seafood in the freezer so that I have something at hand if I feel like eating seafood and this is what I came up with the other day as I was craving a simple seafood dish on a Sunday night:

Seafood bolognese with sepia pasta

Seafood bolognese with sepia pasta

Ingredients (serves 2 people):

200-250g of sepia colored pasta

1 bunch arugula salad

A handful of cocktail tomatoes

2-3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup seafood (I used frozen seafood – e.g. mussels, squid/calamari, shrimps)

2 garlic cloves

Juice of half a lemon

Large capers for decoration

1/2 teaspoon shrimp or fish sauce

Salt and pepper

For the salad dressing: cranberry vinegar, olive oil, dill mustard

Preparation:

1) Defrost the seafood. For quick defrosting: Pour hot water over the seafood and let stand for a few minutes. Drain the water and drizzle the seafood with lemon juice.

2) Chop the garlic and slice the cocktail tomatoes in half.

3) In a pan, fry the garlic in a little oil, then add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Season with salt, pepper and a little shrimp or fish sauce. Stir in the seafood. Keep warm.

4) Wash and drain the arugula salad.

5) Prepare the salad dressing by mixing 1 part of cranberry vinegar, 1 part of oil and 1 part of dill mustard together. Season with salt and pepper.

6) Boil the pasta as indicated on the package.

7) On a plate, arrange the pasta in the middle, then add the seafood tomato sauce and finally arrange the arugula salad on the side.

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