In August we travelled to Greece to celebrate the love between Maria and Dimitris at their wedding. We spent the whole week basking in the sun, eating mountains of Greek salad and enjoying each others company at the Gulf of Corinth.
a Greek celebration cake (original recipe from the bride’s great grandmother)
1 Tasse Weizen, Einkorn oder Kamut , wenn möglich frisch in der Steinmühle gemahlen 1 Tasse kaltes Wasser 1/2 Teelöffel Salz Brotgewürz nach Belieben
Bereite aus 1 Tasse Vollkornweizen-, Kamut- oder Einkornmehl mit Salz, Brotgewürz und kaltem Wasser einen dickflüssigen Teig.
Heize den Ofen samt Backblech auf 200°C.
Gib den Teig löffelweise auf das heiße Blech und backe ihn 10-15 Minuten im Ofen. Ohne Backofen gibt man den Teig in eine flache Pfanne, die man während des Backens zudeckt. Man kann auch das Waffeleisen nehmen; hier werden die Teig-Götter etwas weicher, weniger knusprig als im Ofen.
Variation: mit eingebackenen, kleingehackten frischen Kräutern oder Pepperoni
On a cloudy day mid-June I was invited into my friend’s rose garden. She has a beautiful collection of historical roses growing in wild bushes and blooming only once a year. Their special charm lies in their wildness. They are not pruned into shapes or put into arrangements. The first thing you notice is the lovely scent wafting through the garden – especially on a warm summer day after the rain.
Their names are full of meaning: Mariage Parfait, Isphahan, Unschuld, La Belle Sultane, Great Maidens Blush, Empress Joséphine, Madame Hardy, Yolande d’Aragon only to name a few. My friend has a map that shows the name and location of each kind.
In the picture above you see the Rosa Mundi Gallica Versicolor, my friend’s most beloved rose.
Diptyque about their Rosa Mundi perfume. “A rose always blooms like every first love story. And all love is a world in itself. Hence Rosa Mundi”.
On my way out my friend generously gave me one of each rose in a huge bouquet. Even though for herself she never cuts them for the vase.
rose petal jelly
petals from 8-10 organically grown fragrant roses 300ml dry white or red wine 200ml water 500g preserving sugar (1 plus 1) 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon rosewater
Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan, remove from heat, add the petals, cover and let steep for at least 30 minutes. Strain liquid into a clean saucepan, discard petals. Let cool.
Add sugar and lemon juice. Bring mixture to a boil, boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat, add rosewater. Pour into sterilized jars and let cool.
Currently gifted with a lot of free time, we got my old art box out, filled with all sorts of chalks, inks, crayons and water colours. I used my french charcoal sticks for some sketches, and fully enamoured with the smooth texture and expressive line, decided that it’s time to make our own locally grown artist charcoal.
Collect fresh branches/twigs. Willow and wine are classically used, but we also successfully tried beech and alder tree. The branches should be at least 8mm thick. (The willow tips within our reach were definitely too thin! They can be used but are a bit fragile.)
Cut the sticks to your desired length, and peel the bark off. We did this step while walking and collected the sticks in our pockets, so you will have to imagine how that looks like. The peeling was easy because the trees were so juicy.
Pictured below: a) willow bark we peeled off; b) my french store bought charcoal next to our alder sticks; c) beech, alder, willow, and elder; d) our own charcoal.
Find a metal box that you can seal. We found a truffle box, also paint cans are suitable. It should be sealed well, but not air tight, in that case simply make a little hole in your container.
Build a fire! The box will stay in the fire for at least 1,5h.
Put the sticks in the box, close it well, and chuck it in the fire.
Set a timer, and wait. Carefully turn the box once or twice (at least that’s what we did).
BE CAREFUL: the box might have build up pressure inside, and it will be extremely hot. The metal was glowing red! Keep that in mind when moving it, use long sticks to handle it, and gently move it away from the fire.
Let it cool down completely, before carefully opening it to check if the sticks have charred fully. If they aren’t all the way black, just put them back in the container and back in the fire for a while longer.
To try out the charcoal I just drew some lines. It’s truly amazing how each stick has it’s own softness and texture: you can see some hard lines and some soft fat, deeply black ones.
Now get yourself some quality paper, and start creating! My advice would be to throw your logical brain out and with it all expectation and control, and just have fun exploring the medium.
What we learned for the next time: Different trees all give great results. Super thin sticks are too fragile. It’s easy, if you have a metal box and a safe fire pit!
Lobster in the pantry? Dinner for three? Assuming you have some booze left from the quarantine and some vegetables I recommend you take another step into uncertainty with this freestyle lobster soup. The recipe came to me by way of a seven line Whatsapp message with absolutely no quantities. We will pass on the instructions to you as we received them. The result was marvelous!
Boil the lobster, remove the meat from the claws and the tail, put it aside and fry the rest of the lobster (yes, the shell!) in olive oil along with diced carrots, shallots, tomato and celery. Drench in Cognac and flame. Extinguish the flames with Pernod (or if you don’t have with Pastis). Add white wine and seafood stock, letting it boil for a while to absorb all flavours. Strain through a musselin cloth and add Sherry or Cognac to taste. To finish, add cream, salt, pepper and the lobster meat. Let it come to a boil one last time and that’s it!
Garnish with dill, serve with the rest of the white wine and enjoy! Works well with bread, if you haven’t traded it for toilet roll already.
A hearty dose of herbal remedies that you can conjure with ingredients found on your walks or even in your garden. They are easy enough to recognize but for beginners I recommend buying a book highlighting the similar but toxic friends.
Edible parts: leaves, stems, buds and blossoms
Contents: calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, B-vitamins, phosphorus, zinc, copper, silicic acid, vitamins A and C, essential oils, tannins and plant-based proteins
Effects : cooling, anti-inflammatory, blood-cleansing, hemostatic, diuretic, digestive and analgesic
Use: pure in salads, dips or crostini juiced with apple blended in smoothies dried as a metabolism-enhancing tea
Edible parts: leaves, seeds, buds
Contents: flavonoids, magnesium, potassium, iron, silicic acid, vitamin A, C and E, plant-based proteins In the seeds: 30% oils, especially linoleic acid and vitamin E
Effects: diuretic, blood-cleansing and detoxing, anti-inflammatory, digestive, anti-rheumatic, anti-diabetic, tonic
Use: leaves: fresh or dried for tea blanched similar to spinach, raw in salads, juices and smoothies seeds: dried or roasted as a condiment
Edible parts: leaves, stems (the milk is not toxic), blossoms and roots
Contents: bitter substances, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamins A, C, B2 and flavonoids.
Effects: diuretic, detoxing, blood-building, anti-inflammatory, wound healing The bitter substances have a beneficial effect on the stomach, intestines, pancreas, liver, gall bladder and kidneys.
Use: juiced or blended in a smoothie in salads and dips dried (leaves and roots) for tea flowers: in salads, or fried in batter
1 cup green mung beans, soaked over night 1 tablespoon lemon juice 2 tablespoons plain yoghurt 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 2 tablespoons coriander, chopped 2 cups spinach, chopped 1 teaspoon sattvic spice mix (recipe below) 1/2 teaspoon salt
Ghee or coconut oil and 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds for frying.
Drain and rinse the mung beans. Using a high-speed blender pulse to purée the beans, lemon juice and yoghurt. Transfer the mung bean mixture to a bowl. Combine all other ingredients with the ground mung beans. the mixture should be the consistency of a thick pancake batter. If it’s too thick you may add some water.
In a frying pan warm some ghee or coconut oil on medium heat. Sauté the mustard seeds until they pop. Pour the mung bean mixture over the ghee and spread evenly. Cover and cook over medium heat until the sides begin to brown, 3-6 minutes. Flip the frittata by using a plate (transfer to the plate, let it glide back into the pan) or two large spoons or spatulas. Cover and cook 10 minutes more until golden brown.
Transfer to a serving platter and cut into bite-size pieces. Serve with yoghurt or a fresh salad.
sattvic spice mix
This mix is especially nice in dals and soups. In Ayurveda SATTVA feels like : content, restful, peaceful, steady, satisfied, fulfilled.
Roast the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until you can smell them. Cool and then grind these spices together with the salt, ginger, turmeric and asafoetida to a uniform powder.
1/2 cup basmati rice 1/2 cup yellow split mung beans, soaked overnight or at least a few hours 4 cups water 2 teaspoons sweet spice mix (recipe below) 2 apples, cored and chopped 4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Rinse the rice and mung beans well. In a saucepan bring the water, rice and mung beans to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer, uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Add the spice mix, apples and dates. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes more, adding more water if needed. The consistency should be of thick oatmeal. Turn off the heat and stir in the salt and coconut oil. Let stand for 5 minutes before eating. You can store the kichari in the fridge for 4 days at least.
Top with some fresh chopped apple and date.
Spin offs: Dates can be replaced by raisins. Apples can be replaced by pears.
sweet spice mix
This mixture aids in the digestion of sweet foods. Use this mix in hot cereal, spiced milks, baked goods, and anywhere you want a warm touch.