Mini Franzis (Franzbrötchen)

24 Jan

Hamburg is my home base. A very lovely city that is not as hyped as other European cities (Berlin, London, Paris) and my hidden gem with loads of outside activities to do, secret spots to discover off the path, a varied culinary scene and the best about it: Some traditional Hamburgeois foods. Nothing too fancy. Simple and tasty. That`s what is Hamburg to me.

Why not take the occasion to introduce you to what Hamburg has to offer.


My number 1 is our local answer to French croissants called Franzbrötchen (Franz roll for a literal translation). Franzbrötchen are sweet cinnamon buns and in most bakeries you will find them with varieties of toppings (pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, chocolate). They are a very good accessory for your weekend breakfast table.

They look very artsy and I have not dared to bake them on my on so far. It turns out that making them is not difficult at all so I recommend that you give it a try. The more difficult part about the recipe is to get the yeast dough right. Follow those steps and I am sure you will succeed:

Ingredients (for 10-12 small rolls)

Yeast dough:

125 ml milk

35g butter

250 g wholewheat flour

1 teaspoon dry yeast (or 1og fresh yeast)

35 sugar

1 egg

1 pinch of salt


40g butter

40g brown sugar or honey

1.5 tablespoons cinnamon

3 tablespoons seeds (e.g. pumpkin or sunflower)

2 tablespoons milk


1) Heat up the milk to medium temperature (no boiling) in a small pot, then add the butter and let it melt, too.

2) In a bowl, combine the flour with the yeast and a pinch of salt. Mix in all other ingredients: The milk-butter-liquid, sugar and egg. Stir by hand or with a hand mixer until the dough is smooth and gooey. Put the dough aside (minimum room temperature at 18 degrees or warmer) and let it double in size. Meanwhile start preheating the oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).

3) Now comes the topping: Melt the butter and combine with the sugar, cinnamon and seeds.

4) Knead the dough once more and roll it out to a square on a dry surface sprinkled with flour. Your square should be the size of 20x60cm rectangle.
5) Apply the topping and roll the dough. Cut small, 7cm wide trapezes (picture 1)
6) Turn the trapeze on the long side and gently press a hole in the middle using a spatula or a rolling pin (picture 2+3).
7) Lay out the rolls on a baking tray leaving enough space between them so the don’t stick together while baking and brush the rolls with milk before you put them in the oven. Don’t forget to grease the baking tray or line it out with baking paper.
8) Bake for 10-12 min until golden and serve while still warm.
Picture 1:  Apply the topping on the dough and roll it. Cut small, 7cm wide trapezes.


Picture 2: Turn the trapeze on the long side


Picture 3: Press a hole in the middle using a spatula or a rolling pin


Picture 4: Leave enough space on the baking tray and brush the rolls with milk before you put them in the oven


Inspired by this German recipe:

Fruit & nut cake

18 Oct

What is a good alternative to a breakfast cereal or porridge? If you like sweet for breakfast then my answer is: Cake. Not that it has to be a large piece with whipped cream. I am looking for something healthy that gives me an energy boost for the day.

Today I tried out a wholegrain recipe with nuts and a lot of fruit. Delicious it was. Top it up with butter, jam or honey and a coffee and I guarantee you an excellent start into the day!
Fruit & nut cake


2oog wholegrain wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 pinch of salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1/4 cup raisins

Fruit in sirup (e.g. walnut, fig, grapes, orange, lemon) – I used 2 walnuts, 2 tablespoons grapes and 2 large orange slices

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup water

1 egg


  1. Preheat the oven at 220 degrees Celsius.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves and salt.
  3. Add the hazelnuts, brown sugar and raisins.
  4. Cut the preserved fruit into smaller pieces and add them to the bowl.
  5. Pour in the buttermilk and water bit by bit and stir well. The dough should not be too liquid.
  6. Mix in the egg.
  7. Transfer the dough into a baking pan and drizzle with sugar.
  8. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes.

Tip: If you experience difficulty finding fruit in sirup use dried fruit instead and leave it in a bowl with warm water for about 30 min before adding it to the dough. That way you allow the fruit to absorb water and it gets softer. Fruit in sirup is a delicacy in countries like Greece where the mild climate lets fruit grow in abundance. The sirup preserves the fruit and gives it a very juicy and sweet taste.

Carrot cake: Moist and delicious

31 May

Somehow this month is coming along with plenty of cake occasions for me: Birthdays, weddings, a job change and sometimes simply a sweet tooth on a weekend afternoon made me look through my collection of cake recipes. I stumbled across a carrot cake recipe that I was given by my German friend Mareike about three years ago. What I love about this recipe? This carrot cake is very soft, moist and the frosting gives it just the right amount of sweetness. You almost can’t stop after one piece, I swear. A practical side effect on top: It is made without nuts which is perfect for people with nut allergies and instead of spending quite an amount of time grating carrots you use a jar of carrot baby meal.

Carrot cake


25o g vegetable oil

400 g cast sugar

4 eggs

500 g flour

1 pack vanilla sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla aroma (in Germany: Butter-Vanille-Aroma)

1 pack baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

380 g carrot baby meal (e.g. 2-3 jars Hipp baby meal depending on size or 400g of boiled and smashed carrots)


75 g butter

250 g powder sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla aroma (in Germany: Butter-Vanille-Aroma)

75 g cream cheese


1) Except for the carrots, whisk all ingredients together until you have a smooth dough. Then add the carrots and bake at 190 degrees for 35 min (important: do not preheat the oven). You can use a normal deep dish baking pan, a cake tin or even a Auflaufform.

2) As soon as the cake is baked, remove it from the oven and let it cool down.

3) Prepare the frosting by whisking together all ingredients as indicated above and spread a thin layer over the cake.

Tip: If you do want to eat the cake immediately I suggest to store it in the fridge so that the frosting doesn’t dry out.

Simone’s home-made granola

22 Mar


Muesli and granola are my favorite breakfast meals. Paired with fruit they give you a powerful start into the day.

For a while I have been looking for a simple and kind of healthy granola recipe. I got inspired by Simone, our Airbnb host in Copenhagen, last weekend. She was so kind to invite us for breakfast on the Sunday morning and made us here home-made granola with yoghurt. Yummm.

I couldn’t resist to try my own version of it once back home and here is the result:


Sunflower seeds

Pumpkin seeds

Sesame seeds



Ratio: 1/2 cup of seeds & raisins on 1 large tablespoon honey

Simone used nuts as well (hazelnuts and almonds if I recall it right) and skipped the raisins. It’s up to you to decide which seeds or nuts you want to combine. Definitely use honey instead of brown or white sugar.


1) Preheat a pan and put a large scoop of honey in it as soon as the pan is warm (use medium heat, you don’t want to burn it)

2) While stirring let the honey melt. Then add your mix of seeds and raisins and keep on stirring.

3) Wait for the honey to caramelize. You will notice the caramelization by the change of color that will go from light brown to brown. Don’t wait for a dark brown nuance, that might burn your seeds.

4) Serve while still warm or let cool down and store in an air-tight container (e.g. Tupperware, glass jar).

P.S. Should you be planning a Copenhagen trip and not be sure about accomodation yet, I suggest to check out Simone’s apartment on Airbnb:

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:



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


Restaurant Almanak at The Standard


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


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


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.

Amagertorv 6

For smushi recipes take a look here:

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.

Original Unverpackt 5

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 :)

Original Unverpackt 4

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!

Original Unverpackt 3

Original Unverpackt 2

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.

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.

Everybody loves…a pumpkin pie

9 Nov

Before the wonderful pumpkin season is over I want to share a very easy pumpkin pie recipe with you. In Germany, pumpkin pies are not very common to my surprise. Pumpkins are everywhere though!

I have seen many recipes using a ton of cream. I prefer it a little simpler with just a sip of cream. If you want to make somebody a nice surprise, bake the pie in a muffin pan. Serve while still warm with a dab of whipped cream and you will make their day!

Pumpkin pie

Pie Crust

1 cup flour

1 pinch salt

1/3 cup vegetable shortening (in Germany I use Butterschmalz)

2 tablespoons cold water


1) In bowl, combine flour and salt. Then mix in the vegetable shortening and finally add the cold water. Mix until the dough is smooth and holds together.

2) I usually leave the dough in the fridge for about 30 min.

3) On a clean surface, sprinkled with flour, roll out the dough. It should be about 1-2 mm high and round. Tips: Use plastic wrap to roll out the dough.


1 pumpkin (e.g. Hokkaido pumpkin)

Cinnamon powder, ground cloves (1/2 teaspoon each)

1/2 cup brown sugar

2-3 tablespoons heavy cream


1) In a large pot, bring about 2 l of water to a boil. Meanwhile, clean and cut the pumpkin into slices or cubes. You do not need to remove the skin.

2) Boil the pumpkin at medium heat until soft. This takes about 10-15 min. Drain and put aside to let it cool down.

3) In a blender mix the pumpkin pieces until you receive a smooth pumpkin paste.

4) Transfer into a bowl and season with cinnamon powder and ground cloves. Stir in the sugar and then add the cream. For a spicier taste, add more cinnamon and cloves.


1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).

2) Use a pie baking pan or round ceramic bowl to bake the pie.

3) Instead of greasing out the baking pan, I used baking paper so that the pie would not stick to the baking pan.

4) Place the dough in the baking pan and with your fingers line it into the baking pan.

5) Fill with pumpkin puree and bake for about 20-25 min until the crust has a nice brown color.

For the pie crust, I used this recipe: 

Getting to know: Die Pâtisserie in Hamburg, DE

25 Oct

This morning I woke up to a typical Hambourgeoise autumn day: Grey drizzling skies with temperatures around 13 degrees. Not very inviting to go outside. Unless you know where to go for a cozy and delicious breakfast!

In Hamburg, I highly recommend Marktzeit @ Fabrik Altona ( The Fabrik in Altona is an old factory building that is used on Saturdays during the colder months for a kind of farmer’s and artisan market where you will find all sorts of hand-crafted things and great food.

Die Patisserie

Die Pâtisserie is one of my favorites there and I want to introduce you to their brilliant French pastry today. The smell of fresh croissants, pains au chocolat, madeleines and brioches will bring you to their stand and you will be enchanted by the French flair within a second. Pierre and his wife Nissa do their best to make us taste a piece of the French savoir-vire. This morning I couldn’t stop myself and had to try a little bit of everything :)

Don’t miss out on their great pastry during your next Hamburg visit or Saturday morning stroll through. What’s even better: Die Pâtisserie will open a small shop in Altona in the new year. Stay tuned for more!



Liquid pleasures: Home-made smoothies

21 Oct

What’s healthier than ice cream? Smoothies. What’s better than juice? Smoothies. What makes you happy? Smoothies.

Voilà, I officially declare the smoothie our remedy for the upcoming winter months. My sister Becci believes in her breakfast smoothie. It took me a while to become a fan myself but now I think she is right. Smoothies without sugar added are an incredible refreshment and great start into the day. Maybe it is the bright color that fascinates. No, actually it is both: Taste and color!

Good news for you: There is very little that can go wrong with smoothies. All you need is a decent blender and you are ready to start smoothie-mania.

Red smoothie

I have prepared a selection of my favorite smoothies for you (quantities make 1-2 servings). Feel free to mix and match veggies and fruit:

Pink Power (see picture above)

Red beet (1/2 piece)

Banana (1 piece)

Soy milk or coconut milk (1 cup)

Vanilla flavoring or sugar (1 spoon)

Coconut flakes for decoration

Cucumber Mellow

Cucumber (1/2 piece)

Lemon (juice of 1/2 fruit)

Buttermilk (1 cup)

Pepper and Sweet Paprika as seasoning

Green and white smoothie

Green Zombie Variations (see picture above)


Spinach leaves (1 handful)

Soy milk (1 cup)

Coconut flakes (1-2 tablespoons)


Spinach leaves (1 handful)

Banana (1 piece)

Soy milk or butter milk (1 cup)

Lin seeds (1-2 tablespoons)

Cinnamon (1 teaspoon)

Coconut flakes (1-2 tablespoons)

Honey (1 tablespoon)


Diced apple (1 piece)

Banana (1 piece)

Spinach leaves (1 handful)

Lemon (juice of 1/2 fruit)

Celery (optional, 1 stick)

Fresh ginger (optional, 1 inch)

Tropical Breeze

Banana (1 piece)

Mango (1/2 piece)

Orange juice (1 cup)

Banana Classic (see picture above)

Banana (1 piece)

Milk or vanilla flavored soy milk (1 cup)

Ice cubes (3-4 pieces)

Weekend treat

Diced pineapple (1 cup)

Frozen or fresh raspberry (1/2 cup)

Soy milk (1 cup)

Mint leaves (a few leaves)

Crumbled chocolate muffin (1/2 piece)


1) Clean, peel and cut all ingredients as needed. Then add them to your blender and mix for 1-2 minutes until the liquid is smooth. Add 2-3 ice cubes if you like or a little water if the smoothie mixture does not come out liquid enough.

2) The smoothies can be stored in the fridge for a few hours but should be consumed the same day.

No preservatives are used: Therefore, the smoothie`s color can change quickly and they look and taste better if consumed immediately.

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