Tabbouleh Style Spring Salad

by Claudia on April 5, 2014, no comments

Taboulé Style Spring Salad

I have been gazing at spring food pictures in quite a few food magazines over the past weeks, longing for the fresh produce to finally be available. Every year I eagerly await the asparagus season. Now it’s finally here! And fresh ramps! Time to make a refreshing spring salad!

This salad is inspired by a classic Lebanese Tabbouleh (or Taboulé) salad. But here it’s Bulgur and spring veggies: perfect match. The almonds give the salad a crunchy twist. The salad is great on its own or served as a side dish. Traditionally Tabbouleh is part of a Mezze.

Look at the beautiful ramps!

Ramps leaves

Green asparagus

Taboulé Style Spring Salad Bowl

Make sure to vote at the Saveur Best Food Blog Award 2014. A few of my favorite food blogs are nominated. Every year I discover fantastic new food blogs through this award. This year it’s Vegetarian Ventures.

Serves two:

  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 1 cup ramps leaves, chopped
  • 10-12 green asparagus stalks, ends removed
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 chopped spring onion

  • For the dressing:

  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

  • Bring bulgur with double the amount of slightly salted water to a boil and then let it simmer for about ten minutes over medium heat until the water is absorbed. Set bulgur aside to cool down. Simmer green asparagus in slightly salted water over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Drain asparagus and allow to cool down. After that chop the asparagus into small pieces. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl, pour the dressing on top and mix everything well.

    Spinach Quinoa Patties

    by Claudia on March 23, 2014, no comments

    Spinach Quinoa Patties

    Today I have a good idea for you to use Quinoa. Why not make some delicious and crunchy Quinoa patties with spinach? It’s quick, easy and the variations are endless. A good alternative to the classic hamburger patty. However, having Quinoa patties in-between two slices of bread or a bun is not what I recommend. I suggest serving the patties with a big green salad.

    Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days. The patties are also good as a snack on the go or as part of a lunchbox. I make myself a lunchbox everyday and I have been looking for new ideas lately. I also bought a good book called The Just Bento Cookbook which has some great ideas for Japanese style lunch boxes. This whole Japanese bento box thing – the art of composing a well-balanced and visually appealing meal in a box – is so interesting! What do you think?

    Spinach Quinoa Patties stacked

    Makes about 8 patties:

  • 1,5 cups Quinoa
  • 2 cups frsh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup whole grain rye flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • Cook Quinoa with about double the amount of water and a pinch of salt. When ready, allow to cool down and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Form little, flat patties and fry them with rapeseed oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat for about five to eight minutes on both sides until golden brown. The patties taste good with pesto.

    White Bean Hummus with Truffle Oil

    by Claudia on March 16, 2014, no comments

    White Bean Hummus with Truffle Oil

    I am a huge fan of Tapas, Mezze, Antipasti or in general all kinds of savoury snack platters. I love this ritual of sharing small delicacies with friends and family and dip my bread in all kinds of dips and olive oil. That is probably why I love Lebanese food so much.

    My snack platters usually include a delicious dip. I often make the classic hummus with chickpeas and tahini. This white bean hummus is not really a hummus but it is some kind of a rich and creamy hummus with roasted garlic, topped with truffle oil.

    Oh, yum! Last night homemade aioli and today this hummus – everyday should be weekend!

  • 1,5 cups Giant White Beans, cooked (you can use canned beans)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Pinch of Cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons white truffle oil
  • A bit of flat parsley, finely chopped

  • Roast garlic with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan until slightly brown. Mix the garlic and olive oil from the pan in a bowl with the beans. Add lemon juice, olive oil, Cayenne pepper and salt and purée with a hand-held blender. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with truffle oil and garnish with parsley. Serve with toasted bread or pita bread.

    Saffron Polenta with Spinach and Soft-Boiled Egg

    by Claudia on March 8, 2014, no comments

    saffron polenta with spinach and egg

    Spring has almost arrived! We had beautiful weather today and went for a long bike tour along the Rhine. We were so excited to finally go biking. Even though the triathlon is July, we have been very keen to start our training. I can hardly wait for spring in general and to spend more time outside!

    Also I am ready for a change of food! I am so looking forward to spring veggies and flowers on the market. Winter is not my thing.

    We made this polenta dish twice this week and it is really tasty and also looks pretty. We don’t make polenta so often and this week we have asked ourselves why, because it is so quickly ready and goes well with so many things. For this recipe, the polenta is refined with saffron.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    Recipe inspired by Slowly Veggie Magazine 1/2014

    Serves two as a main course:

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 250 g fresh spinach, washed and stems removed, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • A few saffron threads
  • Salt and pepper

  • Put the eggs in boiling water for 5-6 minutes for soft-boiled eggs. Set aside. Bring vegetable broth to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium and slowly stir in the polenta. Keep stirring for about ten minutes for a creamy texture. Shortly before you finish, stir in a pinch of salt and the saffron threads. Remove from the heat and close the lid to keep the polenta warm. Heat rapeseed oil in a saucepan and sear onions and garlic until translucent. Reduce the heat a little and add the spinach. Stir-fry the spinach for about five minutes. Season to taste with pepper and salt. Done. Arrange a dollop of polenta on a plate, top with spinach and a soft boiled egg, cut into halves. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top.

    Cumin Lentil Dip in Endive Leaves

    by Claudia on January 26, 2014, 3 comments

    cumin lentil dip in endive leaves

    Our kitchen has become a test kitchen lately. We are testing different recipes for our first Supper Club dinner on the 8th of February. We will host a dinner in our home for guests who like to experience a meal together with other people they don’t know in a private atmosphere. If you live in the Düsseldorf area you find more information here. The first Supper Club dinner will be a four course vegetarian winter menu with corresponding wines. We are pretty excited!

    Checking out different appetizers, I came across this fantastic recipe from the Sprouted Kitchen: An aromatic lentil dip with cumin and fennel seeds served in endive leaves. Together with more different greens, it also makes a great salad. The crushed fennel seeds and cumin give the dip a fantastic flavor.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    Recipe from the fantastic Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook by Sara and Hugh Forte

    Serves 6 as an appetizer:

  • 1 cup green (du Puy) lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed with a mortar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh fennel fronds or I used flat-leaf parsley (more to garnish)
  • Pepper and salt
  • Some endive leaves

  • Put the lentils in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Drain the lentils and set aside to cool down. Dry-sauté the shallots without oil until slightly charred for about 5 minutes. Remove form the heat and place them in a bowl. Add fennel seeds, cumin, yoghurt and lentils and stir to combine. Add the chopped parsley and season to taste with pepper and salt. Fill the cavity of the endive leaves with a heaping spoonful of the lentil dip and garnish with chopped parsley.

    Discovering the Winelands around Capetown

    by Claudia on January 25, 2014, no comments

    Neethlingshof Mansion

    I love South African wines, so my personal highlight of our Capetown trip were the different wine estates we visited. The Cape Winelands are fantastic. The landscape is impressive and a lot of the wine estates are historical beauties with great mansions and spacious oak-avenues.

    We had the chance to do a wine tasting at Neethlingshof, a 300 year-old wine estate in the heart of the Stellenbosch Winelands. We tasted seven different wines: A crisp Sauvignon Blanc, a fruity Chenin Blanc, a sweet Gewürztraminer, a light-bodied Malbec, a medium-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, a rich Bordeaux Blend and a full Piontage. My favorite was definitely the Pinotage (Owl Post Pinotage) with arresting flavors of raspberries and cherries. We took some bottles of this one home and had them on my birthday recently.

    Neethlingshof wine estate

    Neethlingshof wine tasting

    Neethlingshof wine shop

    Neethlingshof barrels

    winelands Stellenbosch

    Another picturesque wine estate we visited was Groot Constantia. Constantia is a suburb of Capetown. We went there one late afternoon for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a cheese board. They have a very nice terrace where you can sit among beautiful old oak trees. They also have a frequently visited museum. However we preferred to enjoy the wine as well as the view of the beautiful buildings from the 17th Century and of course the vineyards.

    Groot Constantia wine bottle

    Groot Constantia Garden

    Groot Constantia Cheese board

    Groot Constantia Museum

    Groot Constantia Wine

    Boschendal entry gate

    A must-do when visiting the Cape Winelands is the picnic at Boschendal, one of the oldest wine farms in Franschhoek. I came there with my family a couple of years ago and we definitely wanted to go again. They have a beautiful picnic area, where they serve ready-packed picnic basket with all sorts of delicacies. We spent a couple of hours eating and drinking wine. Two unlucky fellows had to drive back home.

    Boschendal wine estate

    Boschendal picnic area 2

    Boschendal picnic area 3

    Boschendal picnic area

    Boschendal picnic menu

    Boschendal picnic baskets

    Boschendal wine bottle

    Boschendal flowers

    Foodie Hotspots Capetown

    by Claudia on January 19, 2014, no comments

    Capetown Old Biscuit Mill

    Looking at my last post, I realize that I have been absent for quite some time now. Winter time is not particularly great for food photography as I prefer natural light for my photos. Anyway – Happy New Year! I spent Christmas and New Year’s with my extended family in Capetown. Precious two weeks full of sunshine and fantastic day trips and of course: good food and wine! Capetown is a food lover’s Mecca. Especially when you love fish and seafood, like I do.

    So I would like to share some foodie hotspots of this great city with you, starting with the Neighbourgoods Market in Woodstock (an up-and-coming hipster district). The market is held every saturday at a great location called the Old Biscuit Mill – a beautiful brick warehouse with a spacious courtyard. On the grounds of this old factory, you also find the award winning restaurants The Test Kitchen and The Pot Luck Club. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to make reservations there.

    So the market which takes place there every week is a platform for local farmers, grocers, bakers, butchers and other artisan producers. A colorful place to shop and eat and a fantastic place to spend the Saturday in Capetown.

    Capetown Neighbourgoods Market

    Capetown Neighbourgoods Market 3

    Capetown Neighbourgoods Market mushrooms

    Capetown Neighbourgoods Market Tables

    Capetown Neighbourgoods Market 2

    Capetown Neighbourgoods Market Tables 2

    One of my favourite restaurants in Capetown is Wakame, offering Pacific Rim cuisine. Their sushi is super fresh and delicious and from the restaurant you have a fantastic sea view. Their open terrace is also a great place for a drink. If you stay in Fresnaye or Sea Point, I recommend a walk along the Beach Road to reach the restaurant.

    We had divine sushi quite a few times during our stay. Perfect holiday.

    Atmosphere Wakame

    Wakame Atmosphere

    Sushi Wakame

    Dim Sum Wakame

    In Camps Bay, the trendy suburb of Capetown, you will find various good restaurants on the beachfront. Camps Bay can be packed with people. Especially during the Christmas holidays, when everybody wants to go to the beach. Around dinner time, the sidewalks were full of people waiting for busses to go home. There is music and spontaneous dancing everywhere. Probably the most unlikely situation to find at a German bus stop.

    My favorite restaurant in Camps Bay is Codfather, a seafood and sushi restaurant. They have a huge counter with a great variety of fresh fish and seafood to choose from. We had different platters of grilled fish, prawns and squid to share. Family style eating – my favorite thing to do!

    Codfather Atmosphere

    Grilled Prawns Codfather

    Finally, I have a good tip for a chic restaurant in Sea Point called La Mouette (seagull). The restaurant offers modern French cuisine with a Mediterranean flair. The people at the restaurant were incredibly friendly. The menu is full of creative dishes, which were beautifully arranged. I had an extremely delicious bouillabaisse there.

    Starter La Moette

    Starter 2 La Moette

    Fish Soup La Moette

    During our stay, we visited three fantastic vineyards around Capetown, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. I will tell you about those later. Enjoy your sunday!

    Dinner in Antwerp, Belgium

    by Claudia on November 6, 2013, no comments

    Fiskebar Antwerp Philipp

    I will tell you about two fantastic restaurants in Antwerp without actually showing you some food. The thing is, I don’t have any pictures of what we ate. I was too excited about the food I guess.

    So we spent a great weekend in Antwerp, Belgium, which is only two hours by car from where we live. It was a nice short weekend trip.

    It is an open secret that I have a soft spot for fries with mayonnaise so what was the first thing we did when we arrived in Belgium (the country of fries)? We stopped at a “Frituur” to have a big portion of fries. After that we took a nap. Of course. Apart from that our trip involved excellent food on Friday and Saturday night. I found two great restaurants called Fiskebar and Le John.

    Fiskebar Antwerp

    On Friday we had dinner at the Fiskebar, a lively and laid back fish restaurant in the trendy south of Antwerp. It is probably the best place to have fresh fish in the city. The menu is on a chalkboard on the wall and either you speak the language or the people at the restaurant are happy to help. We had Ceviche and mackerel sashimi to start with. I had swordfish with a beetroot risotto and Philipp took catfish with mashed potatoes and fennel. It all tasted divine.

    Good food and great atmosphere. The look of the restaurant is quite Scandinavian. We really liked it and would definitely come back.

    Fiskebar window Antwerp

    Le John Antwerp

    Saturday night I chose Le John for dinner. A rather fancy and hidden restaurant and bar. They offer fusion cuisine with a Mediterranean focus. Minimalist interior and friendly service.

    We both had pasta for dinner. Philipp had wild boar ravioli and I chose fettuccini ai funghi. We had a good red wine from Sardinia. My food choice was ok.

    After dinner we went upstairs to have a drink. They have a nice lounge and bar upstairs. It was great to lounge on a sofa after dinner to have a drink. Love the concept. They have a wide variety of drinks. We can recommend this place as well.

    Le John Antwerp dinner

    Le John Antwerp Bar

    Le John:

    I recommend making a reservation!

    Veggie Sushi Bowl

    by Claudia on October 27, 2013, no comments

    Veggie Sushi Bowl

    The blog Green Kitchen Stories by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl was one of the first food blogs that I bookmarked. Their healthy and simple cooking style has definitely inspired me over the past few years. So I was very excited when they released their first book this year. “The Green Kitchen” is a collection of beautiful vegetarian recipes and tips on how to get a healthier and more versatile pantry. You should definitely have a look at this great book!

    more →

    Classic Spiced Pumpkin Soup

    by Claudia on October 13, 2013, 4 comments

    classic spiced pumpkin soup

    Pumpkin soup is an all time fall classic for us. My version is based on vegetable stock and coconut milk, flavored with ginger and various spices. Usually I make a big pot, which we warm up the next day or to make myself a work lunch. I love pumpkin soup. Sometimes I intermix leftover vegetables such as carrots or parsnip.

    There is another pumpkin left in the kitchen so I would say: pickled pumpkin! I am a big fan of pickles but I am a total beginner when it comes to making preserves. But making sweet and sour pickled pumpkin is quite easy and super tasty.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend – maybe with a hot pumpkin soup!

    classic spiced pumpkin soup 2

    Serves 4:

  • 4 cups (about 450g) of pumpkin, deseeded and chopped into small chunks
  • 1 piece of ginger as big as a large thumb, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 550 ml) of vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 400 ml) of coconut milk
  • 1 heaped teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 heaped teaspoon coriander
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cumin
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cardamon
  • Salt to taste

  • Sear pumpkin and ginger with some olive oil and the spice mixture for about 5 minutes. Add vegetable stock and let everything simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until the pumpkin is slightly soft. Add coconut milk and then purée everything. Season to taste with salt.