This week, there are so many premieres happening at once: (1) Summer has a fulminant start in Germany this weekend with temperatures crossing the 30° C mark for the first time today (2) I am doing my first ever drink recipe on the blog, and (3) I am doing it in German for the first time since I started writing brag&butter in November – not here, but on the German blog Konsumbude, where (4) I am guest-blogging for the first time! Yve from Konsumbude found me online and invited me to join her for a special on summer drinks. All pretty exciting, and so my Rosemarycano sundowner is the perfect drink to launch summer as well as my celebration cocktail! Continue reading
I almost cannot believe it has been four weeks since I last wrote something for this blog. May – that’s M-a-y, the entire month – has passed and I haven’t gotten around to sitting down and thinking about what I cooked or ate in writing and sharing it with you once. Actually, I haven’t gotten around to cooking a lot to begin with. May was incredibly busy for me, so I mostly ‘prepared something to eat’ rather than ‘cooking’ – really spending time in the kitchen, coming up with recipes, letting my mood and intuition guide me, and enjoying the process of pottering around amidst my spices, pots and pans. I missed it. A lot. So I was very happy to find myself back in the kitchen this last weekend, for a crazy marathon of concept cooking and getting back in touch with the heart of my home.
It’s that time of the month when Clara from tastesherif.com calls for recipes for her #ichbacksmir bake-along, and it’s that time of the year where a chilled glass of crisp white wine and a loaf of good bread on a terrace, a balcony or somewhere near the river in front on my house are all I need after a day at work or – even better – on a weekend night. This month, Clara called for anything with citrus, from orange cakes to lemon pies and lime slices. If you read brag&butter regularly, you may have guessed that I l-o-v-e a dish that celebrates citrus (such as my blood orange churros or my zesty cedro lemon caesar which is built entirely around one of my favorite winter citrus). And although I do love lemony sweets, I wasn’t in the mood for something sweet at all for Clara’s challenge – I wanted something savory. Something to celebrate the first hints of summer with.
Think of this as my version of a green smoothie. The best thing about it? It’s not an actual green smoothie. This salad will most probably not make you live considerably longer, cure any diseases or make you lose 6 pounds in two hours, I’m sorry. But, instead of being a more or less desirable pulpy concoction of fruit and leafy greens, it is an appealing and delicious assembly that celebrates the textures of spring vegetables and comes with a ton of flavor: creamy fava beans and tender green asparagus, tumbled with crunchy watercress and cool mint are tossed in a simple dressing of sharp young garlic and pungent nigella seed. It’s a joy to eat and look at, and to me, joy is what eating and food should be all about.
Apparently, having a bowlful of my unseasonal brown-food cooking last week was already half of what it took to get me over my lingering winter blues. Today, I am happy to announce: I am R to the EADY for spring! I’m open. I want it. All I needed was a bit of starting aid. And boy – did I get some yesterday morning. When I wandered around the market, my brain got SMACKED by the gorgeously shocking pink color of the first, young, and oh so beau-shi-ful rhubarb stalks. Springtime is ON. Continue reading
It’s been a while since I last shared something with you. Almost a month has passed, and in that time, so much has changed. In a good way, that is: the world has turned from grey to green, there are flowers and blooming trees everywhere, mild weather, whiffs of flowers and grass, open ice cream parlors, kissing couples, a slight tan on my face already. Although I’m not much of a spring person, I can’t but feel revived. Walking around the city and along the banks of the Rhine river, I keep hearing the first three movements of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in my head (even without my iPod): the quick movements in a pronounced electro-pop-ish version, a kind of “Vanessa Mae and Emily Autumn wearing neon catsuits and playing their e-violins hanging from helicopters over Shanghai by night” interpretation (excuse my imagery). The slow movement in a solemn, almost sacral character, with hints of sadness laced through (gosh, I really am dramatic today). Springtime, in both its facets – happy and contemplative, vivacious yet still a bit drowsy – seems to be “on steroids” to me this year. Maybe that is why I don’t feel quite there yet with all the springy lightness. I’m allegro non molto this year. Continue reading
Now that carnival season is over, the trouble is just about to begin: Lent is upon us. Well – not upon me. I do not believe in fasting. I live by the motto ‘either you live, or you are being consistent‘ (‘Entweder man lebt, oder man ist konsequent’) by the German writer Erich Kästner. In my opinion, life is way too complex to live by strict rules: balance is everything, and consequently, you have to live on your tippy-toes. This, of course, requires energy, which demands one or the other indulgence now and then (Also, to be honest, I’m really bad at self discipline). To keep balance, I trust my cravings. And this post-carnival week, I was craving artichokes. Conveniently, they are one of the vegetables with an impressive reputation in terms of healthiness: They are packed with antioxidants, are said to help regulate your cholesterol levels and aid your detoxing functions (especially valuable after carnival). More importantly for the lust-seeking self, though: They taste great. I wanted mine all pure and simply boiled, but with a delicious sauce to go with them. Although modesty is not my strong suit, I went for a sabayon that is really virtuous (a.k.a. very low in fat) – but still sexy.
When it comes to cheesecake, everything in me balks at simply posting a recipe and calling it a day. I just can’t. Cheesecake is serious business. We need to talk about it. But before I lose myself in an exercise in cheesecake catechism below, let me just quickly tell you that today’s post is a luscious ricotta cake with toasted pine nuts, rosemary and honey. Actually, you might rather call this a ricotta bake than a ricotta cake, since it doesn’t have a crust and it contains no flour whatsoever: Just the pure, immaculate milkyness of the ricotta, a few eggs, and the aforementioned aromatic additions. The pine nuts provide some tender bite and a savory hint, which together with the woody freshness of the rosemary and the aromatic sweetness of honey takes you straight to a forest in summer. I chose Italian flavorings as a nod to Sicily, where ricotta cakes are very popular. And I chose the Italian naming because it allowed me to not call this cake a cheesecake. Why this should be an issue? Well… Continue reading
My trip to Hamburg last weekend has left me with many good memories, wanting to go back, and – an annoying cold. I clearly underestimated the wind up north. So as I lay in bed sick the last days and Alex was out and about most of the time, we were left with a rather frugal amount of fresh things in our kitchen today. And as in the (very catholic) region of Germany where I live, shops are closed on Sundays, we had to make something out of the almost nothing we had. To be exact, there were no more than six kind-of-fresh mushrooms at the bottom of our fridge. Although I feel a lot better today, I never feel like going out before I’m not completely back in shape. The first real trip I usually make is – back to the kitchen. I know that I am on a good track when I’m able and willing to go back to the stove again. And nothing says “back in the game” like a fridge forage and store cupboard stir-up.
This last week has been FRANTIC, with intentional caps lock. And additional exclamation mark. After a never ending workday on Monday, work on my desk kept piling higher by the minute I was at the office on Tuesday. The rest of the week until now: no different. So why, you might wonder, are there four images above, indicating four recipes to follow, and not just one as usual? Have I gone mad? Not entirely.