Freekeh is one of the best grains out there. It has a lot of fiber and a nutty but fresh taste. This is probably because it’s wheat that has been harvested when still young. The dried wheat is then carefully burnt, so the seeds remain intact. This is what gives them their special flavor. Freekeh is a typically middle eastern food, but in Germany we have a very similar thing called Gruenkern, which is spelt processed in a similar way. Gruenkern is one of the foods of my childhood, it’s actually delicious! Today I mostly eat it in salads, such as this one, which has a nice mix of flavors and textures with the fresh figs and the roasted aubergine. The tahini dressing is my new favorite, it’s good in everything but goes especially well with this salad I find.
[Read more…] about Freekeh salad with figs and roasted eggplant
Socca is a delicious, light but flavorful chickpea-flour pancake from Southern France (and similar things exist in other countries of course, Italy for example, where it’s called farinata). It’s actually street food, so it’s simple and easy to make and tastes great even without any special toppings. A little ground cumin in the dough helps to enhance the slightly earthy chickpea flavor, and sea salt and olive oil round it off.
[Read more…] about Socca with avocado, peas and mint
The last few weeks have been quite eventful for me and I can’t wait for the beginning of the summer break. In such exciting and hectic times it’s nice if something works out without much effort or any trouble, as was the case with this improvisational recipe, which resulted in a not only edible but delicious vegan rhubarb and hazelnut cake. It is sweetened only with raw cane sugar and rice syrup and contains (soy) yogurt instead of eggs and olive oil instead of butter. The rhubarb is roasted for a few minutes first, so it becomes a little sweeter, even though I really like the special slightly sour taste of rhubarb.
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Just in time before the season is over, a white asparagus recipe. I had this first at a friend’s birthday party, it had been prepared by another guest and was absolutely delicious. It’s strange how well white asparagus and cilantro go together, two things I would have never considered combining until I tried this pasta dish. The cilantro somehow enhances the asparagus and both flavors come out clear and strong. Even better, it only takes a handful of ingredients. I used whole spelt noodles here, but regular spaghetti work just as well of course. Too bad white asparagus season lasts just a few short weeks…
[Read more…] about Whole grain pasta with white asparagus and cilantro
Spring seems to have finally arrived in Berlin, just when – as every year – the cold and grey skies began to feel almost unbearable. Now the city is exploding with green and flowering trees and the collective mood seems to brighten a bit. In tune with this transition, the salad here is a delicious and energizing spring dish; the addition of mint makes it light and fresh, whereas the sweet potatoes with the cinnamon give it a nice sugary note. Lately I started mixing grains into my salads and bulgur is one of my favorites in this regard since it’s light and fluffy but still substantial enough. And leafy greens are something we should probably all eat more of. The vinaigrette of lemon and olive oil is probably my favorite dressing, and healthy too. You can of course omit the feta cheese to make the salad vegan, or maybe add some smoked tofu instead.
[Read more…] about Green bulgur salad with sweet potatoes and mint
This is a delicious, rather wintery stew. The spinach adds a nice and fresh note to balance all the earthy flavors of the beets, mushrooms and lentils. Beluga lentils are among my favorite kinds of lentils because they stay firm even when cooked and have a light nutty flavor. They are great also in salads, and in fact this dish works as a cold salad as well, maybe with a little added olive oil and lemon juice.
[Read more…] about Beluga lentil stew with beetroot and roasted mushrooms
This is a very simple and fast recipe for a warming winter breakfast porridge. It uses spelt semolina and is ready in just a few minutes. In fact, semolina, or Grießbrei in German, is something I haven’t eaten since my childhood, and then I didn’t like it at all. I’m glad I rediscovered it though because it’s actually quite delicious, especially with the vanilla! Of course it can be adjusted in terms of the fruit you add, depending on what is in season. If you want to make it vegan, just use almond or oat milk.
[Read more…] about Wintery semolina breakfast with caramelized blood oranges
Recently I watched Gabrielle Hamilton make a particularly delicious-looking dish on ‘The Mind of a Chef’. She chargrilled aubergines over the open flame of a gas burner, then turned them into a simple but sumptuous spread with lemon juice, olive oil, parsley and freshly-baked flatbread. Around the same time a friend told me about an Ottolenghi/ Tamimi recipe for burnt aubergine soup. I decided to give those aubergines a try and ended up with this pumpkin-sweet potato-aubergine mix. It’s a warming, spicy and smooth soup, perfect for chilly autumn days. I didn’t dare roasting aubergines over the open flame in my kitchen but instead chose to grill them in the oven, which achieves – I find – the same result: the burnt aubergine has a light smokey flavor, which is a perfect complement to the sweetness of the pumpkin and the deep aroma of the za’atar. Try it, I’m sure you will love it!
[Read more…] about Creamy pumpkin and burnt aubergine soup with za’atar
For some reason, kale is still rare in Germany. It’s strange because kale – or green cabbage – is one of the most traditional German greens – typically cooked for hours with slices of sausage, it was my grandfather’s favorite dish for example. But the whole modern kale movement has almost evaded us here. Which is why whenever I see kale somewhere, I buy it. My favorite way to prepare kale is in salads, such as this one from Choosing Raw, which inspired me to make the sesame-flavored version here. To be eaten raw, the kale leaves should get a good massage with the dressing first, don’t hesitate to crunch them until they are a little wilted. With rice and red cabbage they make a quick, super healthy and yet filling salad.
[Read more…] about Sesame rice salad with kale and red cabbage