Month: September 2017

Fall favorite: fried mangold, sweet potato and pumpkin squash

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This  “powerful veggie plate is a must! With or without fried egg

Ingredients: 1 Hokkaido pumpkin, 2 medium sweet potatoes, 3 onions, 2-3 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp honey, 50 ml white wine, 400 ml veggie soup from stock, salt

500 g mangold, 1 clove garlic, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp butter, or oil, sesame seeds

For the fried eggs: 2 tbsp oil, 4 eggs, salt, chili flakes

Directions: Peel the sweet potatoes and the pumpkin and cut them into cubes. Shred the onions and cut them finely. Melt butter in a skillet and fry the vegetables. Spoon the honey let the vegetables a bit caramelized then pour over soup and white wine.

2. Meanwhile washed and cut mangold and place into boiling, salted water, and cook for max. 2 minutes. Then get rid of the water and put mangold aside. Clean the remaining 3d onion and garlic clove, chop them finely and fry them in 1 tablespoon butter. Then add mangold, salt to taste, sprinkle with a pinch of sugar and flavor with balsamic vinegar. Fry until crispy. Scatter with sesame seeds!

3. Smash the cooked potatoes and pumpkin together, make squash. If it is too dry add some cream and butter, stir well into purée.

4. Heat the oil in a skillet and prepare the fried eggs in the usual way. Sprinkle with pepper and with chili seeds.

4. Serve mangold with sweet potato, pumpkin squash and with the fried eggs!P1130306.JPG


The oddest and longest pumpkin festival

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Though the Germans aren’t known for their Halloween celebrations (there are more European traditions like Reformationstag and Martin’s day), they are very into pumpkins. Generally referred to as “Kürbis” which means “squash”, this is a fall staple that must be consumed in mass quantities like Spargel in spring and summer.

So what better place than Germany for the largest pumpkin festival in the world? Taking place on the grounds of a spectacular palace, Schloss Ludwigsburg, over 450,000 pumpkins are on display during Ludwigsburg Kürbis ausstellung (Pumpkin exhibition).

There are 800 different kinds of pumpkins on display from edible to decorative, bumpy to smooth, mammoth to skinny and curvy. With themes like “Pumpkins in Flight” or “The Pumpkin Circus is Coming to Town!” “Rome”(this year) pumpkins are transformed into elaborate action scenes and art pieces acrobatics, clowns, knife throwers and more.

Hundreds of thousands of festive pumpkins are on display every day, but there are several can’t miss events during the festival. It runs from 1st of September until 5th of November! Here is the event calendar:

Pumpkin festival Grounds

The largest pumpkins of the festival are on display again, this time being cut into by famed pumpkin artists. Watch as they cut into orangey flesh to create giant, organic masterpieces. Watch for famed US Pumpkin carver Ray Villafane and his team from 15th to 18th of September. The audience will judge which giant pumpkin is best transformed.

Pumpkin regatta Sunday, September 18 at 12:30 South Garden, Blühendes Barock

It is surprising what will float…like a pumpkin. The annual pumpkin boat race is a highlight of the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival. Daring canoeists try to steer hollowed-out giant pumpkins across the lake as fast as they can

German Pumpkin Championship on Sunday Oct 2 at 13:30 in the South Garden Blühendes Baroque

The heaviest pumpkins from Germany step up to the scales. So far the German record was 812,5 kg (1,791 lbs). Ludwigsburg-17

European Pumpkin Championship on Sunday October 9 at 13:30

Following the German Championship heavy weights from around Europe will compare their girth for this competition. In 2013 the world heaviest pumpkin was 1,053 kg (2,322 pounds) making first in history to surpass the 1,000 kg mark.

Giant Pumpkin Carving on Sunday October 16 at 10:00

Halloween pumpkin Carving Sunday October 22 and 29 at 10:00 Carving tents by the pumpkin sales stand if you are missing seeing jack’o lanterns on every corner, watch the experts carve Halloween pumpkins into sinister smiles and try your skills at an artistic design. There is even the chance to win great prizes!

Smashing pumpkins Sunday November 6 at 12:00

Pumpkin Festival grounds to celebrate the end of the season, the winning pumpkins are honored with horrific pummeling. The winners of the Weigh Off are smashed to bits and visitors can take home some of the giants’ seeds. And besides there are plenty interesting programs such as:

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival for the Kids

The grounds are a fall wonderland for kids and adults alike, but kids can really run free at the Märchengarten -Fairy Tale Garden. Not quite medieval, this kids’ area was built in 1958 and includes interactive sites like a Rapunzel tower, miniature train and boat ride. Children can also observe dioramas of classic German fairytales, some recognizable…some not so much.

And gastronomy:

All things Pumpkin are on the Menu

What fun is looking at all of these delicious pumpkins if you can’t eat any of them? Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival is happy to oblige with tons of pumpkin-inspired foods and drinks.

Find pumpkin on Flammkuchen (like pizza), in sausage and in Maultaschen. Try Kürbis spaghetti with pumpkin seed pesto or pumpkin burgers and pumpkin fries, find pumpkin in strudel, and in Sekt (champagne) and pumpkin schorle-a non alcoholic beverage with bubbles.

And don’t miss Germany’s biggest bowl of pumpkin soup! Served daily from 11:00 until 17:00 on the weekend of September 24th and 25th. Visitors can enjoy a delicious dish of the record-breaking soup and contribute to charity as 1 euro of each bowl sold is donated to charity.

And if you want to bring a little pumpkin home, there are plenty of delicious pumpkin products. Stands offer everything from pumpkin chutney to pumpkin ketchup to cinnamon-sugar coated pumpkin seeds. Bring your own jug to fill with fresh-pressed apple cider. Take the opportunity to sample everything.  IMG_20150920_172316


Cauliflower, sweet potato burger

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P1130297It’s our new favorite!

Ingredients: 1½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced, 4 cups cauliflower rice, (put it in a blender), ⅓ cup sesame seeds, 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon ground coriander, 1¼ teaspoons salt, ¾ tea spoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 large egg, ¼ cup all-purpose flour (optional), 1 cup bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons hot sauce, 2 avocados, peeled and pitted, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, ½ cup thinly sliced green onions, 4 lettuce leaves


  1. Place the sweet potatoes in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, puree the sweet potatoes, cauliflower, sesame seeds, garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper until smooth. Add the egg and pulse to combine. Add the flour and bread crumbs and pulse just until it’s evenly incorporated.
  3. Divide the mixture into four even pieces and pat into round patties.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and then add the patties to the pan. Cook, flipping once, until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and hot sauce. In a separate small bowl, mash the avocado with the lemon juice.
  6. To build a burger, spread the spicy mayonnaise on the bottom half of a bun. Top with a lettuce leaf, a burger patty, avocado mixture, green onions and the top half of the bun. Repeat to make three more burgers.



Hainan chicken soup

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Two “notorious” women made this soup very popular (Sophia Pou & Ashlee Pham) in the My Kitchen Rules Australian TV sequel, the ‘villains’ who enraged viewers during the 2013 season.

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But since the favorite of my family is the Pho Bo soup (see my blog) I gave also a try to this three-in-one dish (chicken, rice, and soup). It is originated not from Vietnam like the Pho soup but in Hainan, a tropical island off China’s southern coast, and has become a culinary staple in Malaysian culture.

For chicken and broth 1 (3- to 3 1/2-lb) chicken, 3 teaspoons salt, 4 qt water, 4 (1/8-inch-thick) slices fresh ginger, smashed

For chili sauce 6 (3- to 3 1/2-inch-long) fresh hot red Thai chili or serrano chili, chopped, 1 shallot, chopped, 2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger, 2 medium garlic cloves, chopped, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup fresh lime juice

For rice 2 cups jasmine rice, 4 shallots, thinly sliced, 2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 English cucumber, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil, 1 bunch or 1 (4-oz) bag watercress, coarse stems discarded

Garnish: fresh cilantro leaves or sprigs

Prepare chicken and broth:

Remove fat from cavity of chicken and reserve for rice. Rub chicken inside and out with 1 teaspoon salt.

Bring water with remaining 2 teaspoons salt and ginger to a boil in a 6- to 8-quart pot wide enough to hold chicken. Put chicken, breast down, in water and return to a boil, covered. Simmer chicken, partially covered, 20 minutes and remove from heat. Let chicken stand in hot broth, covered and undisturbed, until just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Letting broth drain from chicken cavity into pot, transfer chicken to a large bowl of ice and cold water and reserve broth for rice and soup. Cool chicken completely, turning once. Drain chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into serving pieces.

Make chili sauce while chicken is cooking: Pulse chili-sauce ingredients to a coarse paste in mini food processor.

Make rice:

Cook reserved chicken fat in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until rendered then discard solids. Add vegetable oil if necessary to make 2 tablespoons fat.

Wash rice under cold running water until water runs clear and drain well.

Cook shallots in fat over moderate heat, stirring, until browned. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add rice and cook, stirring gently, 1 minute.

Add 3 cups reserved broth and bring to a boil. Boil until liquid on surface is evaporated and small bubbles appear from holes in rice, 3 to 4 minutes.

Cover and cook over very low heat until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes more. Remove from heat and let stand, covered and undisturbed, 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and cover.

Assemble dishes:

Shave as many long ribbons as possible from cucumber with a U-shaped vegetable peeler and chill ribbons in another bowl of ice and cold water 15 minutes. Drain well.

Stir together soy sauce and sesame oil.

Bring 6 cups reserved broth and watercress to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan and simmer 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and let stand until watercress is a shade darker, about 3 minutes.

Drizzle soy-sesame mixture over chicken. Serve chicken with cucumber ribbons and individual bowls of rice, soup, and chili sauce.