poached pear with vanilla and cinnamon

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apples and pears

I just adore pears. Cute butt shapes and so many ways to prepare them. They are delicious with game, paired with elderberries and quinces for jam , poached or simply eaten out of hand.

My pear tree had very little water and a lot of sun this summer and proudly presented me with seven (wow!) ripe pears. Here’s the recipe how I poached them with some lovely spices for my birthday lunch.

poached pear with vanilla and cinnamon

6 pears (Williams or Conférence)
1l red wine
100g sugar
1-2 sticks cinnamon
1/2 vanilla pod

Put the sugar and the wine into a heavy saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low.
Peel the pear leaving the stalk on.
Add the pears , the cinnamon and the vanilla pod.
cover with a lid and bring again to a boil. Turn the heat right down and simmer for 30 minutes. Let the pears cool.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or panna cotta and a drizzle of the poaching liquid.

raw baby spinach soup

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Lunch / Soups
raw spinach soup

raw baby spinach soup
(recipe inspired by Anthony William)

1 generous handful baby spinach
1 orange, peeled
2 tomatoes
1/2 avocado
chili salt and freshly ground black pepper

For more spiciness add a clove of garlic, chili, cilantro or basil.

First blend the orange with the tomatoes, then add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Enjoy cold or lukewarm. Top with sprouts, herbs or roasted seeds.

raw spinach soup

seedy olive oil granola

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seedy olive oil granola

A recipe from Sara Forte’s cookbook the Sprouted Kitchen: Bowl and Spoon. The salty-sweet and slightly spicy granola becomes amazingly addictive when paired with creamy yoghurt, a spoonful of honey and fresh fruit like peaches, raspberries and blueberries.  

seedy olive oil granola
(makes about 6 cups)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups rice crispy cereal (unsweetened)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons hemp, sesame, flax seeds, chia seeds or a mixture

You may play around with the choice of spices and seeds, but keep the ratio of liquid to dry ingredients.

Preheat oven to 165°C (325°F).

Mix the olive oil, maple syrup, sea salt, cardamom and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Add the oats , crisp rice, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and your seeds of choice. Mix to coat.

Spread the granola mixture on two rimmed baking sheets in a single layer. Bake on for 40-45 minutes or until the mixture is toasty, stirring every 15 minutes to ensure even crispness.

Granola will keep in an airtight container for 2 weeks.

Sara's granola

delicious mess of tomatoes, peaches and goat cheese

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Lunch / Salads
peaches and tomatoes

delicious mess of tomatoes, peaches and goat cheese

tomatoes and peaches in equal amounts, quartered or chopped
1/2 onion, white or red, finely sliced
fresh goat cheese
basil leaves
balsamic vinegar
native olive oil
a spoonful of honey
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a bowl mix the olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and peaches, top with the onions and the crumbled goat cheese.

Mix gently before serving. Top with basil leaves.

mung dhal

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Dinner / Lunch
mung dhal

Whenever I prepare this mung dhal the  smell of sizzling spices teleports me to Hassan’s kitchen  in Madame Mallory and the smell of curry.  It’s irresistible.

spicesmung dhal

mung dhal (basic recipe)

200g mung dhal
double the volume of water
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon rock salt

1 tablespoon ghee
2 teaspoons cumin powder
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice powder (cinnamon, clove, star anise, Sichuan peppercorn, fennel seeds)

Soak the mung beans during the night or for a minimum of 4 hours.
Drain and rinse.
Bring the water to boil in a saucepan, add the mung beans, the curry powder and the turmeric. Simmer on medium heat with a lid on. Cook for 25 minutes. Finally stir in the rock salt.
Meanwhile dry fry the cumin and the Chinese Five Spice powder for a minute until fragrant on medium heat. Add the ghee and stir occasionally. (If you like so you may add grated garlic and ginger to the spice/ghee mixture.)
Finally combine the mung beans and the spices. Enjoy !  💛


jung dhal

Salsa California

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Lunch / Salads
Salsa  California ingredients

Definitely THE sauce of this summer!!

Salsa CaliforniaSalsa California 

Salsa California

1/2 onion
a piece of chili pepper, seeds removed 
half a bunch of fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
6 ripe tomatoes

Blend for a few seconds. Do not over mix, leave chunky.

I love it with pasta, grilled fish, salad, vegetables (green beans, asparagus!)  or on grilled ciabatta.

Spin-off: Take the Salsa California ingredients, add half a cucumber and a glass of iced water, blend all ingredients thoroughly. Adjust salt and vinegar to your liking. Voilà, a Californian gazpacho!

Cilantro fabulous facts

Cilantro has powerful detoxifying properties. It rids the body of heavy metals, as well as accumulated salt and waste products. It helps improve digestion and fights free radicals. Cilantro contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, chlorophyll, vitamin K and folate.


Salsa California


midsummer mood and a homemade Nocino

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Drinks / Jams + Preserves

the river Elbe at Loschwitzwalnut treenocino in the making

Homemade Nocino (green walnut liqueur)
(a David Lebovitz recipe)

On the 23 and 24th of June the green walnuts are traditionally harvested in Italy for  the use of liqueur making. It’s when inside the shell the walnut is starting to form. No hurry, harvesting until mid July is still fine!

30 green, unripe walnuts
500g sugar
1l Vodka
2 sticks cinnamon
10 whole cloves
the zest of a lemon (organic, not sprayed)

Quarter the walnuts (PLEASE wear gloves, if you don’t want to  be mistaken for a heavy smoker because of the yellow stains on your fingers)

Mix everything in a jar, stir until the sugar is dissolved, then  add the quartered walnuts.

Tightly close the jar and let it stand for 2 month on the counter shaking the jar every day.When it’s ready to bottle filter it through a cheesecloth or coffee filter and pour it into a clean bottle

The ideal version of a Nocino is spicy, sweet and slightly bitter. Or as David Lebovitz says “It should have a dreamy espresso-like walnut aroma”. Read here the verdict of my experts friends I invited for a homemade-Nocino- testing 6 years ago.


Moritzburgcherry gardensummer