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Fish soup with potatoes and sour cabbage

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Ingredients: 1 red + 1 white onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 red chili, deseeded, 2-3 potatoes, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 glass dry white wine, 800 g chopped plum tomatoes or passata, 500 ml stock, 2 bay leaves, ready fermented cabbage, (rinsed and washed the salt out!)

200 g salmon fillet, from sustainable sources, skinned, 300 g halibut fillet, skinned, scampi, prawns etc.,1 large, handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, sour cream, 1 tbsp flour

1.      Finely chop the onions, garlic cloves and chili. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, the halved or quartered potatoes, garlic and chili and sweat gently until soft. Add the wine, tomatoes or passata, squash and stock and bring to the boil.  Flavor with bay leaves. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Season and gently break up the tomatoes.

2. Rinse the fermented cabbage with water and put it into a pot. Pour over water and cook, simmer for 15 minutes.

3.  Roughly chop the salmon and halibut and add to the pan. Add the prawns to soup, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until just cooked. Mix 1 tbsp. of flour into sour cream, spoon out some liquid from the soup and stir well with the sour cream, flour mixture. Dense your soup with this.P1130782.JPG 

4. Taste the soup and season it again with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, if necessary.

5.  Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with the chopped parsley.


Millet salads on my ways

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There aren’t a whole lot of millet recipes around even though millet is such a great gluten-free whole grain. I think it is one of those grains a lot of people forget about or think it is only suitable for birds to eat. However millet is so versatile and a great healthy addition to any kitchen. (Millet is great source for fiber, iron manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and B-complex vitamins). If you can’t find millet or don’t have it ready to go at home, feel free to substitute it with couscous or bulgur.

This is a great make-ahead recipe since the millet will continue to absorb flavor as it sits. If you make this salad a day ahead, add the avocado just before serving. (Pan roasting brings out its nutty character).

Ingredients: 1 cup uncooked millet, rinsed and drained, 4 cups water, 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided, 4 cups fresh corn kernels (about 8 ears), 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 1/3 cup fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons chopped green onions, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 3 to 4 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped, 4 cups chopped tomato, 1 diced peeled avocado

Step 1

Cover and chill 30 minutes. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add millet; cook 10 minutes or until fragrant and toasted, stirring frequently. Add water and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until water is almost absorbed. Stir in corn kernels; cook, covered, 5 minutes. Remove millet mixture from pan, and cool to room temperature.

Step 2

Combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, cilantro, and next 5 ingredients (cilantro through jalapeño). Add cilantro mixture to millet mixture, tossing to combine. Gently stir in tomato and avocado.

I like using it as a substitute for rice or in baking bread. However, I think the easiest way to prepare this is as a cold salad. I keep the salad in an airtight container in the fridge and can eat it for lunch throughout the week.

Millet with paprika or sambal oelek

Ingredients: 1 cup millet (uncooked Organic Whole), 3 tablespoons Sambal Oelek or you can replace it with grilled and puréed paprika, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, 3 scallions (spring onions, ends removed and diced), 2 bell pepper (any color other than green, I used red and yellow -finely diced), 1/2 cup fresh parsley (chopped), salt, pepper

Prepare millet on the same way like in the first recipe.

Then heat olive oil in a skillet, grill bell pepper over medium heat. Salt and pepper to taste. (Use grill spices as well). Put in a blender and make purée from grilled pepper.

To serve: stir lemon juice to tomato paste. Flavor millet with the tomato juice and add grilled pepper to it. Garnish with fresh, finely chopped parsley and scallions.

Köles-Millet salad



Wild bore fillet with lots of vegetables

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Most game recipes tend to traditional accompaniments-roasted vegetables, cabbage, turnips, carrot, probably chestnuts. This recipe takes a totally different approach, because in the mid to late autumn there are plenty of vegetables to choose from. With this recipe it is not what you actually choose, so much as taking advantage of as many flavors as possible. As you will see glancing at the ingredients list there are lots of veggies to warrant the title of this dish.

One more thing it is in fact a reasonably quick recipe, with the bore, potatoes and abundance of vegetables, simply grilled and steamed all appearing from the one “pot”. The flavored potato carries the autumnal flavors of the nutty, knobbly celeriac tuber, the sweetness of the turnips gives extra aroma etc. Here is the splendid recipe:

Ingredients: 1-2 medium turnips, 1 large or 2 carrots, 2 celery sticks, 2 parsnips, 4 potatoes, Savoy cabbage (or Brussel’s sprout, optional), 12 button or pearl onions, 2 cloves of garlic, 1,2 l beef stock, or consommé, 2 bay leaves, large sprig thyme, salt and pepper, 4-6 wild bore fillets or 1 kg, knob of butter, 1 tbsp chopped parsley, 100 ml balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp mustard


Cut sweet turnips and carrots, celery and parsnips into rough dice or into baton-shaped sticks about 5 cms. They don’t need to be perfectly neat, but making all of them similar in size helps ensure even cooking. Cut the potatoes in quarters and shred the cabbage or Brussel’s sprouts into strips. Place the onions in a small saucepan and fry them in some oil. Add garlic cloves as well. Place potatoes, carrots, celery etc. and blanched onion in a large saucepan, fry them for 3-4 minutes and cover them with the stock or consommé. Add the bay leaves and thyme sprig and season with salt and pepper. Put them aside.

Fry the bore in some oil or butter for five minutes on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Smear it with mustard and pour over balsamic vinegar. Remove meat from the pan and place onto a skillet. Surround meat with the fried vegetables. Cover with alufolie and bake for two-three ours at low temperature (180 degrees) until meat is tender.

To serve, lift the bore fillets from the roasting tray. Add a knob of butter to veggies, if you wish before spooning into plates. Place the fillets into the centre of each plates, ladling the cooking liquor over and sprinkling with chopped parsley. P1130706

Berkeley and the Verbena tea

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When I lived in Berkeley my favorite café was the Chez Panisse Café where I fell in love with the verbena tea. At first when I randomly popped in that nice place it was cold so I decided to order some herbal tea. The tea arrived in a large, clear, glass teapot, filled with green leaves and hot water. It was lovely – light, lemony, minty. After I finished it, my curiosity got the best of me and I started fishing out the leaves from the pot, wondering what was in this tea anyway? M waitress noticed this odd behavior and quickly came to the table offering to provide us with fresh leaves.

“These leaves here are mint, but what are these long green ones?”- I asked. -“Lemon verbena,”- was the answer and she happily addressed my battery of questions about this herb.

Lemon verbena is a bushy shrub that grows quite well in Northern California but the best one can be found in France. It originally comes from South America, but has been cultivated in Europe since the 1600s. It has a strong lemon scent and it is used to add a lemon flavor to many dishes. Here’s the method for making simple mint tea with lemon verbena:

1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves (not the stems, they’re bitter), rinsed, lightly packed (about 20 leaves)

1/2 cup of fresh lemon verbena leaves, rinsed, lightly packed (about 10-15 leaves)

2 cups of waterIce tea kaamillával

Liver and digestive support

The verbena plant is also a potent herbal remedy that is sometimes overlooked. The medicinal uses of this plant date back to ancient Roman times for the treatment of a variety of illnesses, and thousands of years later the herb is still implemented as a natural remedy and detoxifier that is perfect as an addition to certain colonic cleansing techniques. Verbena’s effects range from bodily purification to the treatment of psychological or neurological problems. Generally, the aerial parts of the plant are used to brew a tea, or a tisane. The herb is easily grown in the garden and can be picked to create homemade verbena tea, or it can be purchased as a stand-alone product. Herbal specialists suggest beginning treatment with verbena to promote a healthy liver by drinking large amounts of the tea once per year for a small period of time. It can also stimulate the body to better absorb the nutrients from food. If you experience digestive issues on a regular basis, drinking a cup of this tea every day can help you improve digestion and resolve minor problems such as diarrhea, bloating, nausea, cramps and flatulence. You can also enjoy a cup of this tea with or after a meal in order to encourage better digestion overall.

Other speculated benefits of this tea are yet to be confirmed by research however they include the stimulation of milk production in breastfeeding women and its topical benefits on the skin.

Verbena and Guy de Maupassant

The world famous French writer Guy de Maupassant who was the master of the short story, -depicted human lives and destinies and social forces in disillusioned and often pessimistic terms – among of his brilliant short novels my favorite is the Window, in which the verbena has a key (sexual) role but not in the form of beverage rather a parfume.

Return to the verbena tea it can be a great drink to enjoy any time or whenever desired. If you have found an interest in giving verbena tea a try, you may be able to find this brew for sale in the tea section of a local health food store (bio shop). When it comes to organic herbal teas, the best one the Buddha Teas as one of the highest quality merchants as far as I ‘ve known.

To prepare verbena tea, simply take one verbena tea bag and place it in a cup of boiled water. Allow the tea to steep covered for a period of 3 to 5 minutes. Afterwards, sugar, honey, or lemon can be added for flavor if desired!

Verbena liqueur

Ingredients: 1/2 cup lemon verbena leaf, tightly packed, 1 strip lemon zest, about 5 inches long, 4 cups vodka, 2 cups sugar or maple syrup. Lightly bruise the lemon verbena leaves.

1.     Place the lightly bruised lemon verbena leaves, lemon zest and the alcohol in a large jar with a tight fitting lid.

2.     Leave for at least 2 weeks in a cool, dark place before straining out the solids.

Other recipe or tip: Verbena-camomile cream brulée

chamomile cream brulée






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.