Have you ever been to a hair salon for dinner? 15 guests enjoyed this experience two weeks ago, when my friends from the Ceci n’est pas un restaurant supper club – featuring yours truly – hit Uschi’s hair salon in Frankfurt and served up a fabulous 5 course dinner amidst mirrors, vanity tables and hairdressing supplies after closing time. 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.
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
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.
Some people say everything tastes better with bacon. For others it’s chocolate. For me, everything tastes better with – well, okay, butter of course, but I’m trying to make a different point here – with company. Eating is a profoundly social activity and I am a very social eater. I hate eating alone, even if it is the tiniest snack (my snacks are never tiny, but anyway). Apart from the actual eating (which I love), I so much enjoy the talking, laughing, caring for each other, and spending time together, that sharing a meal is as well. However, every now and then, a solitary supper all by myself, cuddled up in bed with a bowl of spoonable goodness can be a true solitary pleasure. Continue reading
So many things in the kitchen are ‘time machines’: Their sight, sound, or smell transports you to places you have been, people you have met, moments you have loved. The scent of cinnamon always brings me back to my childhood, and so do the crunchy churro swirls I’m telling you about this week. Back in the late 1980s though, in southern Germany, neither me nor anyone I knew did know anything about churros. But each year during the carnival season, there would be masses of deep fried doughnuts in countless shapes, and they would be thickly covered in cinnamon sugar that crunched alarmingly between your teeth. I loved those. There was nothing delicate or precious about them: there were just piles and piles of them, and in the middle there was usually me, full-handedly enjoying the mere fact of my existence and the end of theirs as I greedily gobbled them up. Continue reading
Whaaat?! Yes. And wait until you’ve tried it. This is based on a recipe from my friend Massi, a Finn currently living, working, cooking and blogging in Denmark. Alex (my husband slash sous-chef) and I went to visit her and our beloved circle of Danish friends two weeks ago. As you can easily imagine, being friends of ours, they all live on the food-loving and high-carb side of life. And so, after days of mouthwatering roast chicken & root veggies with tsatsiki, dazzling honeycomb, sumptuous cheese fondue with homemade bread, the carniporn extravaganza that goes by the illustrious name Stegt Flæsk med Persillesovs and the most amazing pizza (turns out: you have to travel north), it seemed only appropriate to have something substantial for our 9 hour-car ride home. Continue reading
I know, this is a bit groundhog-day: Just the other week I put a whole turkey in the oven, this week it is a piece of pork belly – carniporn galore. But somehow, especially this time of the year, the old-fashioned business of having a roast in the oven and having the aromas permeate the kitchen (or the whole house for that matter) seems to provide a sense of coziness and succor that I need and crave. Continue reading