I can’t wait for spring and all the fresh fruit and vegetables it will bring. For now I turned to citrus – again – I was looking for a recipe for an orange cake and came across this one from Greece. Since I also had some phyllo dough languishing in the freezer I decided to give it a go. I wanted to make a vegan or at least egg-free version though. I love eggs and dairy, but I’m trying to eat less of them, so I’m usually looking for ways to replace them when baking. Ground flax seeds work well for this purpose. Here the (vegan or regular) yogurt, olive oil and orange juice add moisture and the phyllo gives the cake some structure. It’s light and refreshing and has a lovely custardy texture, especially once it has soaked up all the delicious orange-cinnamon syrup at the end.
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Sunchokes (Topinambur in German) are funny little creatures. They have a mildly sweet, nutty flavor with a hint of artichoke, which is how I think they got their name – actually they are a type of sunflower. When making this soup, make sure to use fresh sunchokes, they keep in the fridge only for a few days. In any case, the pairing with very bright citrus flavors works perfectly for the sunchokes, especially during this endless winter…
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The first snow, in Bavaria right after Christmas! Now we’re back to our typical grey rainy Berlin winter, but it was nice while it lasted. This is a soup I made during the holidays using celeriac, or celery root. I love that vegetable, even though it’s often overlooked. I paired it with pears here to add some freshness and acidity, because celeriac on its own can be a bit too earthy I find. The lemon juice and honey help to soften those flavors. Have this soup with some fresh baguette and a nice glass of crisp white wine…
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Did you read this article the other day, about children’s breakfast around the world? The differences are so fascinating. Here is a recipe for upma, a typical South Indian breakfast dish. It’s savoury and simple but has a lot of unexpected flavor. It’s based on this traditional preparation. For variation, you could add vegetables such as peas, tomatoes or even spinach during the cooking process (after the onions, before the semolina). But even in its plainest form, upma is delicious.
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Finally I was in enough of a holiday mood to bake some cookies. I had this planned for a while – after all, Germany is famous for its abundance of x-mas sweets and bakery, even though I’m usually just glad when this season is over :) These vanilla flavored cookies are shaped like little half moons and one of the classic types of cookies for x-mas. I made them vegan, using coconut oil instead of butter. You may have seen this very useful post on baking with coconut oil. It’s indeed a bit tricky and I’m still experimenting with the right consistency. What I found in this case is that it’s important to bake the cookies at relatively low temperature so they don’t dry out too much, and to store them in a warm place so they stay crumbly and soft. I used a ‘real’ vanilla pod here and would really recommend it, but using a bit more vanilla flavored sugar or a few drops of vanilla extract is an alternative option. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!
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It’s been ages since I posted a recipe here – apologies. I’ve been missing it though, and I’m happy I got to make this little winter salad. Radicchio has a delicious bitterness but also a mild nutty flavor that only comes out when it’s grilled or braised. In fact, this article from the New York Times from 1988 (!) says it all – time to eat more radicchio, for sure. Here I combined it with creamy avocado and a tangy lemon-mustard dressing to balance the bitterness and bring out the sweetness. It’s nice to mix the warm grilled radicchio with the fresh ingredients. A little ricotta salata adds some salt but is not absolutely necessary. Same with the almonds – which can be replaced with hazelnuts or even cashews I guess.
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