Tag Archives: tomato

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


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.

Portuguese tomato jam (doce de tomate)

17 Aug

Tomato jam? Wouldn’t you normally use fruit to make jam? That is right and yet it is also what make this jam so fabulous. It’s my latest discovery from Portugal. I recently spent a weekend in Lisbon and Cristiana, a Portuguese friend of ours, told me to try it. I would have not imagined that ripe, caramelized tomatoes and a sip of Port wine could create such a mouth-watering delicacy.

While the tomato season is still on,  I strongly recommend you to get at least 1 kilo (2 pounds) of very ripe tomatoes and to give it a shot yourself. The good thing about jams is that you barely cook them for longer than 10-15 min. You want to avoid caramelizing your ingredients too much because that would change the taste. The trick is to let the water evaporate a little bit and then to seal the jam in jars while it is still hot.

For one kilo of tomatoes, you will need 3 medium size glass jars of 160 ml (5 oz) as shown in the picture.

The jam is fantastic on whole grain bread or with a slice of cheese (e.g. goat cheese) or meat (e.g. steak).

Doce de tomate


1 kg tomatoes (very ripe)

370 g brown cane sugar

50 ml port wine (preferred kind: Ruby port)

1 pinch ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground cloves

1 tablespoon lemon zest (from an untreated lemon), about 1 tablespoon


1) In a large pot, cook the tomatoes until the skin comes off (this takes about 10 min). Drain the tomatoes under cold water and immediately take off their skin. In a blender, process the tomatoes. Transfer the tomato sauce back into your cooking pot.

2) Stir in the sugar, port wine and season with cinnamon, cloves and the grated lemon zest. Bring to a boil at maximum heat and cook for 5-10 min. Stir well while you keep the jam at high temperature.

3) As soon as the texture becomes jelly, lower the heat and simmer for another 5-10 min.

4) Sterilize the glass jars by dipping them in boiling water or by pouring hot water over them. Use a pair of tongs, you can easily burn your fingers.

5) Fill in the jam up to the top of the jar and fix the lid tightly. For my jars I used rubber rings and metal clamps, a normal lid will do as well.

6) Store the jam in a cool, dark place or in the fridge. Sealed jars should last you at least 6 months.


Add a pinch of pepper and chili powder for a little kick.




How to make the best pizza in the world

16 Feb

A pizza is a pizza is a pizza. Well, not quite. Different toppings give you a variety of tastes. Some like it salty with anchovy, some meaty with bacon and pepperoni and others like it sweet with pineapple. The dough and the tomato sauce remain pretty basic though. To give your pizza the extra edge, I like to play around with different variations of the pizza sauce. Plain tomato sauce will do as well but I recommend one of my two creations.

P.S. We had our home-made pizza for three meals this weekend, what a pizza feast ;)

Holicious pizza sauce

Pizza sauce I


3 table spoons tomato paste (concentrate)

2 table spoons sweet mustard

1 garlic clove, pressed

1-2 table spoons olive oil

1 teaspoon anchovy paste

2 table spoons caper juice or tap water

Italian herbs (thyme, rosemary, estragon)


1) In a bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well.

2) Store in a jar in the fridge. Ideally let the sauce sit for 1-2 hours to get the full aroma.


Pizza sauce II


1 jar sundried tomatoes in oil

2 garlic cloves


1) In a blender, combine the sundried tomatoes with approximately half of the oil from the jar and the 2 garlic cloves.

2) Blend everything and either use the sauce immediately or put it back in the jar and store it in the fridge.

HelloFresh’s Tomato Mascarpone Gnocchi

11 Jan

I am a curious person and when I unpacked my HelloFresh Kochbox I immediately wanted to get the pot on the stove and did so, Thursday lunch plan secured ;)

Here is an overview of the ingredients that I received for the tomato mascarpone gnocchi. Serves 2 people, prep and cooking time 30 minutes:


1 pack gnocchi (500g)

1 can tomato cubes (400ml)

1 pack mascarpone (250g)

50 ml veggie broth

1 garlic clove


fresh basil leaves



DSC_0081Step 1: Chop garlic, pistachios and basil leaves

DSC_0085Step 2: Bring water to a boil and boil the gnocchi for only 2 min (as indicated on the package). Meanwhile, add a small spoon of oil to a pan, fry the garlic and add the tomato sauce. Also, add 50ml of veggie broth. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar and leave on the heat for a few more minutes.

DSC_0086Step 3: Drain the gnocchi, let them cool down for a minute until the steam is gone and then add them to the pan. Put as many tablespoons of mascarpone to the gnocchi tomato mix as you like (I used half of the pack, approximately two large tablespoons) and stir well.

DSC_0090Step 4: Decorate with basil leaves and pistachios on the plate and season with pepper as needed.

Getting to know: Kochhaus (Germany)

10 Oct

Innovation and cooking are two things that go well together. I moved to Hamburg last week and was very happy to discover Kochhaus. Kochhaus is a local start up revolutionizing fast food. For any meal they offer, the customer purchases the individual ingredients (multiples of 1 person, depending on how many hungry souls you would like to feed) and does the cooking at home. Together with the purchase, you receive a brochure with the recipe. The best part about it: No need to buy large packages of something you won’t eat after you’re done cooking, no left-overs in your fridge and all that at very affordable prices. The meal I made below was around 2.5o Euro per person. Let’s have a look:

I cooked for two people. As you can see, I picked up 1 pack of spinach, 1 box of ricotta cheese, 1 pack of dried tomatoes, 1 pack of pasta and 1 cube veggie stock. Inside the store, little islands display each individual dish and the ingredients are presented on the tables, too. Have a look at their website: http://www.kochhaus.de. Currently, they run stores in Hamburg and in Berlin.

In case you would like to cook this dish, here is the link to the recipe:


And because it is in German, here is my translation:

Ingredients (for 2)

1 box ricotta cheese (250 g)

1 pack spinach leaves (300g)

dried tomatoes, preserved in olive oil (100g)

1 pack pasta (fusilli avellinesi) (250g)

1 cube veggie stock

75ml white wine or water

salt, pepper


1) Bring water to a boil in a medium-size pot.

2) Cut the tomatoes into small pieces, then fry them in a pan for about 2 min (fry them in the oil that came with them).

3) Now add the spinach leaves and at medium heat stir until the leaves shrink.

4) When the water is ready, add salt (1 tablespoon) and cook the pasta for 8-9 min (until al dente).

5) Meanwhile, pour white wine or water over the spinach/tomato mix and stir in the soup cube.

6) When dissolved, add the ricotta cheese and season with salt & pepper.

7) Finally, add the cooked pasta and combine with the sauce. Tatataa :)

My tip: Don’t be afraid of using some extra seasoning. I noticed that the recipes usually don’t come with a lot of seasoning. This pasta dish, for example, tasted great with a sip of balsamic vinegar and some nutmeg would have given the ricotta cheese a little more aroma.

Spinach cake with home made tomato sauce

2 Mar

Sometimes you have those days when you open your fridge or freezer and hope for something tasty to come out. This especially happens when you know that your fridge is empty because you didn’t have time for grocery shopping. You then wonder what could be made out of butter, eggs & co. I had this moment this week and look what came out. Doesn’t even look that bad, right?

Ingredients (serves 2):

Frozen spinach (300 g)

4 eggs



5 tomatoes

1 garlic clove

1 small onion, chopped

a fresh chili, a spoon of chili sauce or some all’arrabiata pasta sauce

salt, pepper, ground nutmeg

1) Preheat your oven and defrost the spinach.
2) Mix the spinach with 4 eggs and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
3) Mix the flour with salt in a separate small bowl, add the soft butter and with your hands process the ingredients to a small dough.
4) Boil the tomatoes for about 10 min, then peel their skin off and cut in small dice.
5) Now chop up the onion and the garlic.
6) In a small sauce pan mix the tomatoes with the garlic, onion and the chili sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7) Pour the spinach-egg mix in a small, round glass or ceramic pan (mini casserole) and bake for about 20 min (at 200 degrees Celsius).

Spaghetti Ferrari

6 Feb

Looking for a quick, yet delicious recipe? Lately, I tried to find a spaghetti alternative to the all-time favorite spaghetti bolognese and I came across a recipe from Chefkoch. Spaghetti Ferrari are incredibly easy to make, not too heavy and very tasty. The name comes from the spicy taste, as the sauce is made with shrimps, chili gives it a nice kick. So tasty it was that I did not even get to take a picture. Isn’t that an argument? :)


1 pack spaghetti

700-800g shrimps (if you are cooking for several people, count 6-7 shrimps per person)

500g cherry tomatoes

2 onions

3 cloves garlic

1 chili or 1 teaspoon sambal oelek

Olive oil (for the pan)

Salt, pepper, parsley, basil or marjoram


1) If you have bought your shrimps pre-cooked, peel them. If you are preparing raw shrimps, first boil them in hot water for 10 min, then peel them.

2) Peel the onions and the garlic, then cut in small dice.

3) Cut the tomatoes in half.

4) Sauté the shrimps from both sides, add your onions, garlic and chili and sauté until the onions are glassy.

5) Now take out the shrimps and put them aside.

6) Add the tomatoes to the pan and let cook for 5 min (the tomatoes should get soft but they should not fall apart).

7) Season with salt, pepper, parsley and basil or marjoram.

8) Boil the spaghetti as instructed.

9) Serve directly on a plate or mix the spaghetti and sauce in the pan, then serve. If you like cheese, sprinkle with parmesan.

Tipp: For a change, replace the traditional spaghetti with whole wheat spaghetti and/or decorate with rocket leaves.

For the German translation go to the original recipe: http://www.chefkoch.de/rezepte/381211124468349/Spaghetti-Ferrari.html


16 Jan

Tabouleh is a kind of salad made from Couscous. Couscous is made from wheat. Its structure is a little bit like that of grits. Tabouleh is a typical North African/Arabic dish. What I particularly like about it is that it’s a light and tasty dish. Give it a try! Oh, and if you are wondering about where to buy the couscous: You’ll find it in most supermarkets nowadays, if not try an Arabic specialty store or a bio supermarket like WholeFoods.


1 cup couscous (there are different styles: plain, whole wheat, seasoned, you can use any of them)

250 ml veggie or chicken stock (the easiest is to dissolve a cube or stock powder in boiling water)

1 cucumber

1 yellow bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

1-2 tomatoes

1 spring onion or small red onion

juice of 1 lemon

a few table spoons of olive oil

30g raisins (optional)

Seasoning: fresh parsley, fresh mint (optional), salt, pepper, cumin (optional), ground turmeric


1) Clean, peel and chop up the veggies in little dice. Season with salt & pepper. Mix with a few spoons of olive oil and the lemon juice.

2) Boil the water and dissolve the veggie or chicken stock in it. As soon as it is boiling, place it off the stove and pour over the couscous (pour in just a little more water than couscous). I usually have the couscous ready in a small bowl as the cup would not be big enough. Let it soak up for about 5 min.

3) Now mix the couscous with the veggies and raisins (optional) in a bowl. Add the fresh parsley. If you prefer a stronger taste, replace the parsley with mint and season with cumin. I sometimes also add turmeric to give the couscous some color (only if you use plain or whole grain couscous).

4) Serve immediately with chicken kebabs or other meat.  Can also be eaten cold as a salad and stored in the fridge for a few days.

Tex Mex Salad

29 Jul


1-2 cans Kidney beans

1 can corn

2-3 tomatoes, diced

1 bell pepper (green or red), diced

1 small red onion, diced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 table spoon piri piri or tabasco

chili powder

vinegar (red wine vinegar, cider or white vinegar), olive oil


Mix all ingredients in a large salad bowl and season to taste


Tastes great with fresh baguette, garlic bread or even tortillas (add some sour cream, cheese or guacamole if you like). Also great with a steak.


3 Jun


1-2 red or white onions,

sliced garlic (half a bulb, min. 3-4 cloves),

1 egg plant,

2 zucchinis,

1-2 bell peppers (red, yellow or green),

4 big tomatoes,

1 fresh rosemary bouquet,

1 glass of red wine,

olive oil


You can’t do much wrong about the Ratatouille, only remember to cook the ingredients separately. That means:

Onions and garlic first, then egg plant and zucchinis, add the pepper to that after the egg plant/zucchinis have gotten a little softer, tomatoes last!

My tip: Boil the tomatoes for a few minutes and peel the skin off, before dicing.

Add some of the red wine to the onion/garlic mix and keep the rest for the end. After you have mixed everything together, let it cook for about 5-10 min, don’t forget to add the rosemary!

Buon appétit!

%d bloggers like this: