Meet In Your Your Kitchen | Husarenkrapferl – Stefanie Hering’s Christmas Family Cookies

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

Innovation – but always based on tradition. Never neglect tradition. – Stefanie Hering

There’s something very calm and focussed about this woman. Stefanie Hering is the opposite of agitated. Things feel possible, manageable, even in times of disruption she doesn’t forget that the potential to create joy and beauty always lies in her hands, literally.

Stefanie is the founder of Hering Berlin, a traditional Berlin based ceramic manufacturer who changed the way we experience porcelain tableware. Lenny Kravitz, Nicole Kidman, Oprah Winfrey, and the chefs of more than 250 Michelin starred restaurants fall for her bold and uncompromising design. Tom Aikens, Heinz Winkler, Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, they all trust the designer’s vision to present their culinary creations, allowing her to create a frame for their food that’s anything but shy yet doesn’t distract from the chefs’ work.

“We were at the fair in Chicago and there were Charlie Trotter and Thomas Keller talking, saying It’s bloody expensive but damn good.” – Stefanie Hering

The first plate from Hering‘s manufactory that I held in my hands many years ago gave me a sense of a designer who had traveled into the future and came back with an approach to design that dared to question the prevalent, established ideas of porcelain. It was a plate of the Cielo collection, the rim perforated with a pattern of small holes that are drilled into the unglazed biscuit (or bisque) porcelain by hand.

It takes 80 steps to make this plate. So, 80 times, this plate can break or crack, but also, 80 times, the craftsperson gets the chance to approach perfection in a plate that seems so fragile, so delicate, but that is so robust. When I anxiously asked Stefanie how to clean it, she answered “Just put it in the dishwasher.” She’s pragmatic and never forgets that good design should work but also create and accumulate fun and satisfaction in your kitchen.

Hering‘s success came sudden, almost too sudden. When Bergdorf Goodman ordered their products for their NYC department store, when MoMA put a picture of one of Stefanie’s objects on their annual catalogue, she became famous and noticed that she would soon reach the limits of her manufactory’s oven capacities. The time had come to expand and grow, which she managed to do several times in her career, which also included setbacks. But somehow Stefanie always manages to connect with that deep trust in herself and her work that she was already aware of when she was young.

Stefanie is her hardest critic, she wants to excite and surprise her customers with her creations, she wants to impress them with her high standards of hand-crafting, but most importantly, when she started her career, she said to herself “I’ll stopp doing this job as soon as it bores me and I don’t enjoy it anymore. That’s 30 years ago and it never bored me a single day.”

Food is love. It’s an elixir. It’s something I could never live without.” – Stefanie Hering

It’s tempting to romanticize a career like Stefanie’s. Working with a craft that is so rewarding in the process of creating and also in the final products that become a part of many people’s everyday life all over the world, yet Stefanie doesn’t hide the tough times and painful decisions. The more successful a company becomes, the higher the risk, the more people are affected by your decisions. You do need to stay calm within yourself to deal with the pressure, the uncertainties, the fact that the final responsibility will always be on your plate.

Stefanie shared one of her Christmas family cookie recipes with me, the Husarenkrapferl that she’s been baking for her children for years, can now fill your pretty cookie jars. These are Austrian-style thumbprint cookies, however, Stefanie doesn’t use her thumb but the stick of a wooden spoon and she fills the cookies twice, before and after baking them.

The podcast episode with Stefanie Hering is in German. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Stefanie on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Husarenkrapferl

by Stefanie Hering

Mind that the dough needs to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Makes about 40 cookies

  • 140g / 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 70g / 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon ground hazelnuts (or almonds)
  • 70g / 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of salt
  • 140g / 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 150g / 5 ounces black currant jelly (or any other red jam or jelly)
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting the cookies

In a large bowl, combine the flour, ground hazelnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the butter and egg yolks and, using a knife, chop the butter and egg yolks to combine them with the flour mixture until crumbly. Quickly crumble the dough with your fingers and squeeze and form it into a ball and then into a thick log. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, briefly warm up the jelly over medium heat, whisking constantly, until liquid; this will make it easier to fill the cookies.

Cut slices of dough off the log and, using your hands, roll each piece into a ball, around the size of a small walnut. Spread the balls of dough on the prepared baking sheets, leaving enough space between them as they will expand during baking. Using the stick of a wooden spoon, make a small hole in the middle of each cookie.

Using a teaspoon or an icing bag with a small tip, fill the cookies with the jelly then bake for 15-18 minutes or until the cookies are golden and tender; mind that they don’t get dark. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer to a large plate or cooling rack. Dust them with confectioners’ sugar and fill up the holes with a little more jelly. Let them cool completely then enjoy them or gently layer them in a cookie box or jar.

Meet In Your Kitchen | Cynthia Barcomi’s Pecan Pie with Chocolate and Cranberries

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

I do feel that with time I have learned the necessity to calculate my risk. In the beginning I was uninterested in calculating risk, I wasn’t even necessarily interested in spending the time of thinking How risky is this. I was much more focussed on what I wanted to do.” – Cynthia Barcomi

Before I moved to Berlin I used to have a little ritual, every time I came here I made it a point to visit Cynthia Barcomi‘s Deli at Hackescher Markt. I was in love with this place, obsessed with her chocolate cherry muffins, with her tuna sandwich made with the juiciest potato bread, and the world’s best New York cheesecake. Whenever I set on the black and white leather benches in the tall lofty room of her Deli, Cynthia managed to make me feel home and taken care of but at the same time hungry and excited for everything that was new to me in this big city.

There was a lot that this American lady taught me – without ever meeting her: my first carrot cake was hers and the frosting of that cake seemed like a miracle for a German girl in the nineties, almost impossible that something tasting so good is only made of cream cheese, lemon, butter, and sugar. Four simple ingredients creating sweet magic. No one masters the genius simplicity of comforting American-style baking like she does, at least in my world. She approaches her recipes like everything else in her life: with curiosity, discipline, passion, and stubborn persistence. Cynthia only stops working on a recipe – be it for her café, for one of her nine books, or for her TV shows – when she’s 100% sure that she nailed it. She never compromises.

“There was definitely a time when I was like I have to do this and this, more and more, and now I kind of feel like it is really important for me to stay focussed. And it is really important for me to protect this part of myself, which feels incredibly inspired and curious and creative and all these different things, where I know if I get too bogged down by the many other things that are going on in the world or in my life that I cannot access that.” – Cynthia Barcomi

Cynthia came to Berlin in the nineties, tumbling out of a rather protected childhood in Seattle, Washington State, and a few wild years in New York City, studying philosophy, theatre and drama at Columbia University and becoming a dancer at the same time. Those were the eighties and Cynthia lived the Flashdance-life. Although it can’t really get much better than that Cynthia felt pulled to Europe, to Pina Bausch, Paris, Florence, and at one point to Berlin.

Always moving, she can’t stand still. With two kids, she started looking for a more steady life in the food world (maybe the only thing she ever miscalculated), so she decided to roast her own coffee beans and open her first café in Kreuzberg. Today this wouldn’t be such an adventurous career move, but back in 1994, this was a risky endeavor. There were no American-style cafés, people didn’t really care much about American cakes, pies, and cookies, there was simply no demand for it. Germans drank their old-fashioned filter coffee in questionable quality, and were happy with it, and enjoyed their German cakes for their Kaffee und Kuchen. So now Cynthia popped up in the city, ready to conquer and change it all – and she succeeded.

“I think it’s really important that you do stay true to yourself and that you spend less time comparing yourself and your work to other people, which I think is going down a rabbit hole that will suck all the energy out of you. And I really do encourage especially women to kind of not have quite so much shit in their head and just do it.” – Cynthia Barcomi

Three years after starting her first café, she opened her Deli, which is the reason why I moved to the area where I live now. I had to be close to that place. Almost 30 years ago, Cynthia changed they way people eat in the capital. Less competition may make it sound easier compared to today but this also meant that the risk was much higher. She had to pioneer a market that was so unfamiliar with her vision that even the banks told her “Look lady, if this were a really good idea, we’d already have it.” Her answer was “What are you talking about. Society lives from new ideas. We wouldn’t have washing machines, we wouldn’t have cars, we’d be lighting fire, we’d be cavemen. I mean come on. Jesus!” So she just put a plate of her cookies on the guy’s desk and at one point she got the loan.

Sometimes in life you have to swim against the current, ignoring the anxious voices around you. It worked out in Cynthia’s case but it wasn’t always a smooth journey. Last year she had to close her Deli to save her business. A decision so painful that it still hurts her to talk about it. A chapter came to an end, after writing a beautiful story that will always be a part of Berlin, but Cynthia wouldn’t be the person who she is if she didn’t get back on her feet to write another story – to be continued.

Cynthia shared the ultimate Christmas or New Year’s Eve dessert with me: Pecan Pie with Chocolate and Dried Cranberries.

The podcast episode with Cynthia Barcomi is in English. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Cynthia on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Pecan Pie with Chocolate and Dried Cranberries

by Cynthia Barcomi

Makes one 23cm / 9″ – pie

For the crust

  • 125g / 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 25g / 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 180g / 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 25g / 3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch or wholegrain flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 75ml / 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice cold water

For the filling

  • 100g / 1/2 cup muscovado sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200ml / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 25g / 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 100g / 3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 100g / 3 1/2 ounces dried cranberries or dried cherries, lightly floured
  • 200g / 7 ounces pecans, left whole

For a light and flaky crust, cut the butter and the shortening into small pieces and chill in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, starch, sugar, and salt. Blend in the cold butter and shortening with your fingertips or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cold water and stir with a fork until a dough just forms. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and quickly knead the dough into a circle. Wrap the dough in parchment and chill for about 2 hours (the dough will keep in the fridge for several days and in the freezer for several months).

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (convection setting). Have a 23cm / 9″-pie or tart form at your side. No need to butter it.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to about 3mm / 1/8″ thick. Work with a light dusting of flour on your rolling pin and on your work surface. Do not use too much flour or the crust will become hard and dry. Place the rolled-out dough into the pie dish and gently press into the sides. Trim the edges to an about 5mm / 1/4″ overhang. With your fingertips, crimp the edges. Chill while you make the filling.

Make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar with the eggs, then stir in the syrup. Add the salt, vanilla extract, and melted butter and stir to combine.

Place the chopped chocolate onto the bottom of the pie dough, followed by the dried fruit, and the pecans. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the pecans. Bake for 10 minutes at 200°C / 400°F, then reduce the heat to 190°C / 375°F and bake for another 10 minutes. If it seems to be getting brown too quickly, cover the pie with parchment. Reduce the heat once again to 180°C / 350°F and bake for another 14–16 minutes until golden. Leave to cool on a rack for several hours before serving.

Meet In Your Kitchen | Krautkopf’s Roasted Kale, Apples and Potatoes

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

“It’s really the story of simplicity. You can create great taste with just a few really good ingredients. You won’t need much.” – Susann Probst

When I hopped onto the empty platform after a 2.5 hour train ride I found myself in front of an old red brick building with broken windows and a faded sign painted over the door. I smiled as I thought of the last sentence I had written to Susann Probst and Yannic Schon of Krautkopf “If you won’t manage to pick me up in time, don’t worry, I’ll walk around in the village. There was no village.

The first Meet in My Kitchen Podcast On Tour took me right into the picturesque countryside of Mecklenburg Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) in the north-east of Germany. Golden hills draw their rolling lines into the landscape right where the cloudy sky begins, old trees frame the endless alleys, and villages are rare. This is the place that a young couple chose as their new home, after 10 years in Berlin building up one of Germany’s most successful food blogs, publishing a cookbook, and releasing a recipe app.

An old post-war Siedlerhaus (settlers house) rustically built in 1948 out of leftover bricks and beams, compiling of a barn, a couple rooms, and a vast amount of land made Susann and Yannic fall in love with a region that couldn’t be more of a contrast to buzzing life in Berlin. However, exactly that – and the creative potential of the two old buildings and the huge garden – were the reason why they both felt ready for a new chapter in their life.

You see what is in season just because that’s how you planted it. There was all this creativity happening, you went outside and looked into your harvesting basket or in general, you looked at the plants and what was going on there.” – Yannic Schon

The Krautkopf cosmos is the inspiring symbiosis of two minds, well attuned, who express themselves through photography, food, design, and now also gardening. Susann and Yannic found a new playing field for their creative energies initiated through the big move in 2020.

The house’s interior brings together warm hues, all shades of earthy colors, it plays harmonically with darkness and light, and it treasures all the old features. The dining room feels like a cozy cave, the kitchen, which used to be the barn, still has the old uneven brick flooring, the little lattice windows letting in beams of light. It wouldn’t really surprise you if you saw a sheep munching on hay next to you. It’s all very rustic but then at the same time it doesn’t have the dusty layer of the past covering up the fact that it’s 2021. It’s minimalist and modern without neglecting the past, here, the presence lovingly embraces the past.

Susann and Yannic always keep all creative decisions in their own hands, be it a blog, a book, a sofa, or the new field of gardening. They read and learned everything they could possibly find about seeds and seedlings, flowers and orchard meadows, bees and bushes. The couple created a garden that combines all the romantic ideas of living in the countryside with the modern desire of a sustainable life with nature and not against it. The huge vegetable garden offers every ingredient a cook could ask for. Tomatoes, zucchini, squash, peppers, peas, beans, and potatoes – all popping when their season has come. There’s really everything right at hand in front of the kitchen door that a cook could ask for – and it all looks so perfect and pretty.

When Susann and Yannic worked on their new book, Erde, Salz und Glut (soil, salt and heat; only in German) they just had to walk into their garden to create all the colorful recipes circling around vegetables that fill their book’s pages. The concept for the book came up during a trip to Scotland. Living in a tent and reducing ingredients, tools, and techniques to a minimum for their travel cooking, the ingredients basically only needed salt and heat. When they moved to their new house shortly after the trip and when gardening and harvesting became such a big part of their everyday life, they added ‘soil’ to the book’s title.

The recipe they shared with me is from their new book. It’s a celebration of their garden and of their favorite season, of autumn, its flavors and its colors: Roasted Kale, Potatoes and Apple.

The podcast episode with Susann and Yannic is in German. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Susann and Yannic on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Roasted Kale, Potatoes and Apple

by Susann Probst and Yannic Schon (from Erde, Salz & Glut)

Serves 2

  • 700g / 1 1/2 pounds small waxy potatoes (with skin)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled
  • 2 medium baking apples
  • 100g / 3 1/2 ounces kale
  • 1 handful walnut kernels
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 70ml / 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon apple juice
  • 4 medium sprigs tarragon

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 355°F.

Cut the potatoes into 4 wedges each. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil on a baking sheet, add the potatoes, toss them in the oil and spread them out. Roast the potatoes, on the middle rack, for 10 minutes.

While the potatoes are roasting, cut the onion into slim wedges, cut each apple into 8 wedges then cut out and remove the core. Trim the kale leaves and tear large leaves into smaller pieces. Chop the walnuts roughly.

Add the onion, apples, and kale to the potatoes, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, mix with your hands, and season to taste with salt then bake for another 15 minutes or until the potatoes are golden and just cooked through. Add the walnuts and roast for 1 more minute.

In a small bowl, whisk together the walnut oil, mustard, and apple juice and season to taste with salt. Remove the tarragon leaves from the sprigs then drizzle the dressing over the roasted vegetables and sprinkle with the tarragon. Serve immediately.

Meet In Your Kitchen | Kiduk Reus’ Bonanza – The Perfect Coffee

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

There was no movement there. We were the movement.” – Kiduk Reus

When a friend took me to Bonanza Coffee on Berlin’s buzzing Oderberger Strasse back in 2006, I felt disturbed and suspicious about the whole thing. This had nothing to do with my beloved old-fashioned Italian-style espresso places where I’d usually have a cup of the dark, thick, bitter drink, a bite of flaky sfogliatella, while Italian opera was soothing my mind, playing in the background. It took me years to understand this new kind of coffee, to taste, to smell, and appreciate the whole complex flavor and aroma profile; to accept that an old tradition was taken in the hands of a bunch of young people to experiment and to create something different with the good old coffee bean that’s been a part of our culinary heritage since at least the 15th century.

Young Kiduk Reus, one of the founders of Bonanza, was one of those kids – curious, brave, and fearless, and ready for a new chapter in his life. After studying design at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam and at the Rietveld Academy of Arts in Amsterdam, after successfully working in the advertising industry, he felt that Berlin was calling his name in 2004. He packed his bags, the vague idea of starting a speciality coffee shop at the back of his mind. That was the beginning of a time that would later become known as the worldwide Third Wave Coffee Movement.

I did it all myself. I fixed it. It wasn’t like the machines were actually working. I had figured out how to get them running and put modern equipment into it so it ran even better. And honestly, that even also took off. That actually saved our business in the end because what happened one day, it became a trend this thing with the cast-iron machines. And then I had a whole side business on that in the evening, which financed the whole Bonanza thing. I must have helped over 250 roasteries worldwide getting their equipment. It was huge.” – Kiduk Reus

Born in Seoul, South Korea, adopted at the age of 4 by an American mother and a Dutch father, Kiduk grew up in the Netherlands in a town famous for cheese, in Gouda. Food played an important role. He remembers being a picky child knowing exactly what he wanted to eat and what he didn’t. His palate was already refined, a skill that would come in handy later in his life. In the following years, Kiduk learned what would become a mantra in his life: I need this, it needs to be better, I improve it. And then, miraculously (or not), other people pick up on it.

Understanding that he has to be the motor to bring movement to his ideas, he always had the soul of an entrepreneur. Not waiting for others to come up with something great or to improve something existing, he jumped in first to create what he needed to move on and fulfill his mission. So when he started the first Bonanza coffee shop together with his partner he knew he wanted to roast his own beans as soon as possible to simply reach and keep the quality that he had in mind.

Coincidentally, Kiduk noticed that some old cast-iron equipment – stored in an old airplane hangar by a friend of his and that he had access to – was the best possible equipment for roasting coffee beans. So he jumped on the occasion and spontaneously started a business that would in the end finance Bonanza for a long time. He bought the old parts and machines, added new parts to make them work even better, and became the Berlin man to supply roasting machines to all the big names in the speciality coffee roasting business worldwide. Blue Bottle, Seven Seeds, and about another 250 coffee roasters went to Kiduk Reus’ workshop and got their vintage equipment, customized by Kiduk himself and his growing team of mechanics.

Kiduk says he listens to his mind more than to his feeling. His intuition is definitely absolutely reliable. Many of his decisions seem random at first but then turn into something great. The street where his first shop is on, on Oderberger Strasse, was called Street of Death by house owners and estate agents as none of the businesses lasted long. This street changed a couple years after Kiduk arrived. Leading to Mauerpark – a park that would become famous and turn into a weekly festival scene attracting 30,000 people on a Sunday, all passing by Kiduk’s coffee shop – this street would become one of the most buzzing spots in the city. In hindsight, he couldn’t have chosen a better location.

I get also pushback from my staff because they are again more like It should be like wine, it should be the terroir, it should be the way we’re roasting it, you should be tasting the processing and the varietal! And I’m like But this is so boring, we’ve been doing that all the time, can we not do this! But no, that is not a serious drink! and then I look at the cashier and I’m like Aha, you didn’t sell any of it! No, we recommend them away from that drink, and I’m like Ok.” – Kiduk Reus

When you pay so much attention to each single bean, when you know the farmers, when you set the quality bar so high, you want your customers to taste the whole range of flavors packed into that little bean by nature. Bad beans strongly roasted taste bitter, which covers up bad taste, but you don’t want that to happen with good beans.

And now coffee geeks like Scott Tedder from Leeds (pictured below during a coffee tasting to prep for a coffee competition), Bonanza‘s head roaster and green bean buyer for years, come in to define the perfect roasting process that each bean will go through so that I can actually enjoy the complete complex flavor profile. This means that I have to – or rather want to – question my rigid ideas of how an espresso should taste. I want to give people like Scott a chance to show me something I haven’t experienced before and to allow my taste to develop. And I must admit, it did change. The coffee beans that I buy now aren’t as dark, aren’t roasted as strong anymore. I’m slowly discovering the profiles of good coffee beans.

Kiduk and I might always be a little more experimental and willing to compromise than Scott when it comes to creating new drinks including espresso or hand-brewed coffee, but that’s fine. A baker will always tell you to eat the warm bread just with butter, a farmer will recommend to enjoy the soil-studded carrot on its own, the wine maker wants you to stand in between the vines to feel the terroir when you take the first sip. It’s an appreciation for nature and its miraculous creations, for the pure flavor. Maybe there’s also a little pride involved – which isn’t a bad thing – that they all manage to make nature’s produce shine without distracting from the inner qualities.

Kiduk showed me how to hand-brew the perfect coffee with affordable equipment (you can find the recipe below). You can work with the most basic equipment you have in your kitchen but it’s definitely worth investing a) in a digital gram scale and b) in good coffee beans from a coffee roaster who understands what you’re looking for in taste and who will also grind the beans for you. However, go for small quantities as ground beans will lose their aroma quicker. You will slowly discover flavors in a hand-brewed coffee that you never tasted before and that’s quite an experience. It turns making and drinking coffee into a ritual, like making a cup of special tea.

The podcast episode with Kiduk Reus of Bonanza Coffee is in English. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Kiduk on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

The Perfect Hand-Brewed Coffee

by Kiduk Reus / Bonanza

Makes 2 small cups, or 1 large cup

Equipment

  • 1 coffee paper filter (such as Melita, Hario or Kalita)
  • Coffee dripper / filter (such as Melita, Hario or Kalita)
  • Glass hand drip coffee pot (or any other heat resistant glass pot)
  • Digital gram scale (Kiduk uses an Acaia scale)
  • Kettle with spout (or pour the boiling water into a tea pot with a spout)

Ingredients

  • 220g water (at 95°C / 203°F)
  • 16g coffee, medium grind (most speciality coffee shops will grind your coffee beans if you don’t have a coffee grinder at home; the baristi at Bonanza will happily grind the beans for you if you happen to be in Berlin)

Type of coffee* used by Kiduk (which is also Scott Tedder’s competition coffee)

  • Country: Costa Rica 
  • Producer: William Mora
  • Varietal: Geisha
  • Processing method: natural / anaerobic (anaerobic coffee is fermented / processed in an environment that lacks oxygen)

* Ask your local speciality coffee shop for recommendations for coffee beans suitable for hand-brewing.

Place the paper filter in the coffee dripper, put the dripper on top of the heat resistant glass pot then place the pot on top of the scale.

Fill roughly 240ml / 1 cup of water into your kettle and bring to a boil. Let the water cool in the kettle for a minute until the temperature drops down to roughly 95°C / 203°F.

Add the ground coffee to the paper filter. Tare the scale so that it’s on zero then wet the coffee with a little of the hot water. Wait a few seconds then pour 110g of water on top of the coffee in the paper filter, pouring circular, and wait a minute. Pour the other 110g of water on top, this time straight in the middle. Don’t pour the water in at once, let it drip through the coffee gradually and evenly and make sure that the ground coffee doesn’t swim in water. The brewing time (or water to coffee contact time) should be around 2:20 minutes.

Pour the coffee into 2 cups and enjoy immediately.

Meet In Your Kitchen | Daniel Schreiber’s Sourdough Waffles with Plum-Apple Jam

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

Through food we connect with the world’s gift and also with the gift of the knowledge of other generations.” – Daniel Schreiber

Daniel Schreiber writes books that touch a sensitive spot. He writes about his own experiences yet these are experiences that we all share in one way or the other. In his last three books‘Nüchtern’ (Sober), ‘Zuhause’ (Home), and ‘Allein’ (Alone) – he touches the fears we know but learned to sail around, he writes about his own life but reminds us of our own.

Every word he chooses says the truth, very direct, very blunt, you can feel that, and by this, in a way that is hard to describe, he creates a fragile beauty. It’s the beauty of togetherness, that we are all in this together, that we’re not alone, we’re not the only one struggling, and that we can share our struggles and be open about them. It sounds almost too sweet but despite the pain that is present in his books, there is so much warmth. Like in real life.

It’s like your favorite tea cup, it’s cracked, it’s chipped, you glued it back together, but when you feel its uneven surface drinking your tea in the morning, you don’t think of the pain you felt when it broke. Each crack makes it even more familiar, makes it even more a part of yourself, your story, and who you are. You learn to love these cracks. Daniel manages to transport this feeling in his books. Each crack we have makes us the person who we are. It’s a long and beautiful story of life, love, and learning, and yes, sometimes it also hurts.

“When I came to New York it was quite a depressive period for me but something happened at that time in connection with food that helped me a lot. I started cooking through the Larousse Gastronomique and practically cooked every evening. I went shopping to the market or supermarket every day to try out new recipes. That gave me a lot of strength.” – Daniel Schreiber

And what does food have to do with it? Daniel’s eyes start sparkling when he’s talking about his mother’s garden in a tiny village in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) where he grew up. When he talks about picking fruit and vegetables and filling a bucket up to the rim with the harvest to take home to his kitchen in Berlin every time he visits his parents. His mother’s cooking and recipes – some of which she keeps secret until today – laid the foundation for Daniel’s love for cooking. A love that taught him that there’s light even in the darkest of times – and he can choose to switch it on.

Food and literature were held up high in his family’s house and became his companions on his own journey. Studying literature in Berlin and New York City put the young man in touch with buzzing metropolitan life and helped him shape his identity as a young man. His original academic dreams faded and instead he worked for newspapers and magazines. He wrote a celebrated Susan Sontag biography followed by three books, weaving his own experiences into a scientific, psychological, and philosophical context.

“Most of us have problems to say what we really want to say. Society and our families don’t educate us to really find an authentic relationship with ourselves. We have to fulfill certain roles, certain expectations, that we ourselves and society force upon us, economical and social expectations. And these internalized expectations and roles are in our way most of the time.” – Daniel Schreiber

No matter how rocky his life got at times, no matter how far he drifted away, Daniel always searched for and found the way to the kitchen and with this, a way back to himself. Working as a private chef, cooking and catering for families and events in Manhattan and the Hamptons, strengthened his confidence as a cook and sparked his curiosity. Cooking through a vast collection of books, experimenting with recipes, turned Daniel into a person who knows the tastiest recipes for almost every dish you can think of.

His sourdough bread and waffles reach perfection in taste and texture, the homemade jam collection on his kitchen shelves can easily compete with a professional jam manufactory. Whatever he sets his mind on becomes his passion. His terrace looks like a dense green jungle speckled with colorful blossoms in all shapes and sizes – and he can tell you the name of every single plant there is in his green kingdom. He turns piles of wool into the favorite scarves, quilts, and sweaters of family and friends. And he puts words and letters together in ways that I want to read his books even when they force me to face my own fears.

Daniel shared two recipes with me that are perfect for an autumn brunch or cozy teatime: Sourdough waffles, crisp on the outside and spongy inside, crowned by dollops of crème fraîche and crimson colored jam made of dark plums and firm apples infused with star-anise and vanilla.

The podcast episode with Daniel Schreiber is in German. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Daniel on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Sourdough Waffles with Plum-Apple Jam and Crème Fraîche

by Daniel Schreiber *

* The waffle recipe is adapted from a New York Times recipe and the jam recipe is adapted from a recipe by Christine Ferber.

For the plum-apple jam

Mind that the jam needs to sit overnight before you finish cooking it the next day.

Makes 6-7 small jars

  • 680g / 1 1/2 pounds dark plums (Zwetschgen, Italian Prune Plums), cut in half and pitted (weight without pits: 500g / 18 ounces)
  • 750g / 1 2/3 pounds firm, sour apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Idared), peeled, quartered, cored, cut crosswise into very thin slices (final weight: 500g / 18 ounces)
  • 800g / 1 3/4 pounds granulated sugar
  • 2 star-anise
  • 1 vanilla pod, split in half
  • 2 medium lemons, juice only
  • 7 small jars with their lids, sterilized

The day before you want to cook the jam, combine all the ingredients in a tall, large pot and let it sit for 1 hour. Over high heat, stirring gently, bring the jam to a boil. When the jam starts bubbling and rising, immediately remove the pot from the heat, cover with a lid, and let it sit overnight.

The next day, place a saucer in the freezer. Remove the lid from the pot and bring the jam to a boil over high heat, stirring gently. Cook the jam for 10-15 minutes or until it thickens and reaches its setting point. To see if the jam reached its setting point either use a sugar thermometer, the temperature should be 105°C / 220°F, or place a small spoonful of jam on the chilled saucer that you kept in the freezer, wait 20-30 seconds then push the jam with your finger. The jam should wrinkle up. Remove and discard the vanilla pod and star-anise. Using a ladle, fill the jam into the sterilized jars, close them tightly with their lids, and store in a dark place.

For the sourdough waffles

For this waffle recipes, you make use of the sourdough starter that you usually discard every day when you refresh your sourdough starter. Just make sure that you take 240g / 1 cup sourdough starter aside before (!) you refresh your starter. Mind that you need to prepare the batter the night before you want to bake your waffles and finish it the next day.

Serves 2-4

  • 240g / 1 cup sourdough starter that hasn’t been refreshed (fed)
  • 220g / 1 cup buttermilk
  • 120g / 1 cup all-purpose flour (German flour type 550)
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped, or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 60ml / 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

The night before you want to bake the waffles, whisk together the sourdough starter, buttermilk, flour, sugar, and vanilla seeds in a large bowl until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature overnight.

The next day, when you’re ready to bake the waffles, preheat a waffle iron (ideally a square Belgian waffle iron). Add the egg, olive oil, salt, and baking soda to the sourdough mixture and whisk to combine.

Pour a ladle of the batter into the hot waffle iron and bake until golden brown and crisp. Transfer the waffle to a cooling rack and let cool for a few minutes. Continue baking more waffles with the remaining batter.

For serving

  • Crème fraîche

Place a dollop of crème fraîche and a dollop of jam on a warm waffle and serve immediately.

Meet In Your Kitchen | Cookies & Co’s Ricotta Lemon Cake with Yuzu Cream

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

Food is existence. It’s therapy. In our case, food is a way of expression. It’s a reflection of our personalities and our believes. Food in general is pure pleasure. – Mira and Ori

She loves baking, he loves coffee. She grew up in the Soviet Union before it became Russia, he grew up under the hot sun of Israel. She calls herself a lazy perfectionist – she’s anything but lazy – and dances around with her two little kids while preparing filigree cakes for the bakery, tired but happy. He tells you about the most painful moment in his life and how it became one of the most beautiful moments of his life. Mira Koretsky and Ori Kidron of Cookies & Co are two opposite poles, two planets orbiting and dancing around each other. There’s so much energy, so much trust. They are one of the most positive couples I’ve ever met and together they are riding life’s turbulent waves as they come.

Cookies & Co is one of Berlin’s highly praised cafés / bakeries. The two owners never compromise to please everybody. Instead, they attentively take care that their place keeps its unique soul. A lot comes from Mira’s style of baking, which – despite its perfect look and taste – never loses its charm. She’s a professional baker with the soul of a flexibel home baker. Unpredictable influences cause that not every pastry looks the same. Taste and texture vary slightly according to the seasons or changing weather conditions, which means that every cookie, every cake, and croissant is unique. This is not a baking factory, it’s the opposite. All pastries are made by Mira and her assisting pastry chef, Lior – who is at least as passionate about baking as he is about Beyoncé. The two bakers share the same quality standards and values and also curiosity to dive into unexplored baking adventures.

Once you move your body, you’re moving forward. That’s the circle of life. As long as there is movement something is happening.” – Mira

Maybe it’s because Mira grew up in a political system that didn’t allow culinary abundance but had a strong baking tradition, her recipes simply work and impress even if she left out the firework. However, let her start her firework and you will see the most colorful sweet feast. Fascinated by Japan’s modern baking culture, she tops her perfectly moist Ricotta Lemon Pound Cake with a flowery-sour Yuzu Cream (recipe below). Her Black Forest Cake is refined with miso and the bakery’s popular Compost Cookies stay true to their name: take a thick and chewy cookie and add chunky pretzels, chocolate, and potato chips to it. It sounds funky but it’s so good!

One of the masterpieces from the Cookies & Co bakery, it’s like the movie star that everybody wants to take a picture of, is their glorious, beautifully laminated Croissant with Yuzu Filling and flamboyant purple Italian Meringue. It’s a diva, you’re almost too shy to cut it. It’s dramatic, it’s loud but it keeps its promise: it looks like something that will excite you and it definitely does. And then the husband comes in, serving you a cappuccino or espresso that is just right. Ori is the barista in the family, obsessed with good coffee, and also taking care of the guests while his wife is getting creative in the kitchen. Sometimes Ori has to slow Mira down otherwise the guests would never see their beloved Cookies & Co classics on the menu again. If she could, Mira would change the menu every day. Luckily, he stops her so that we can enjoy her creations more than once.

“And you’re thinking to yourself, how do I deal with this now, how do I go on, how do I make the most out of this, how do I optimize myself ’cause this requires so much more out of me, out of us as people, as parents, actually being there for someone who needs you so desperately. And you don’t even know in what sense, what is going to be required of you. Then all of a sudden came a song by Sade. It’s called Long Hard Road and the chorus says There’s a long hard road ahead but a voice inside me said it’s gonna be alright. It was just exactly what I needed at that point. And I just started crying right there in the street and as emotional as all of this was, I remember telling myself this is one of the most beautiful moments I have ever had in my life.” – Ori

There are many bakeries offering perfect pastries all over the world but the ones we stick to, we keep going back to, are the ones that touch us, the ones that have a soul. Mira and Ori do almost everything on their own, keeping the quality level they once defined for themselves without compromises. Even if their energy is running low, they keep the motor running constantly. They are young parents, their youngest daughter was born with trisomy 21. The situation challenged them but they decided to face it with the same stubborn energy and positivity that they, individually and as a couple, activate every day to deal with all facets of life. They are honest, they know the gifts they got. They don’t look for the easiest way but they always find a beautiful way to enjoy life as it is: an endless circle of ups and downs. And in Mira’s and Ori’s case it’s a dance.

Mira shared the recipe for her Ricotta Lemon Pound Cake with Yuzu Cream with me. You can either bake the cake in a loaf tin and serve it with dollops of the fruity cream or go for the pâtissier-style serving and bake the cake in a deep baking dish, cut out circles, and pipe the cream delicately on top. Just like they do at the Cookies & Co bakery.

The podcast episode with Mira and Ori is in English. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Mira and Ori on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Ricotta Lemon Pound Cake with Yuzu Cream

by Mira Koretsky / Cookies & Co

It’s best to prepare the yuzu cream the night before you serve the cake.

For the yuzu cream

  • 2g / 2/3 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 80g / 3 ounces white chocolate
  • 120ml / 1/2 cup heavy cream (divided into 2 x 60ml / 1/4 cup)
  • 70ml / 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon yuzu juice

For the pound cake

You can either bake the cake in a 26 x 12cm / 10 x 5″ loaf tin or for the pâtissier-style serving, cutting the cake into circles or squares, use a baking dish of roughly double the size.

  • 170g / 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 350g / 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (or 300g / 1 1/2 cups sugar if you prefer it less sweet)
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 360g / 13 ounces ricotta, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 200g / 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the yuzu cream, stir the gelatin into the water in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. In a small saucepan, melt the white chocolate in 60ml / 1/4 cup of heavy cream over medium heat, whisking constantly; remove the pan from the heat. Add the cream mixture to a blender (or leave it in the saucepan and use a whisk), add the remaining 60ml / 1/4 cup of heavy cream, the yuzu juice, and the gelatin-water mixture and blend, or whisk, until smooth; cover and let sit overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 160°C / 325°F. Butter and line a 26 x 12cm / 10 x 5″ loaf tin with parchment paper, or a baking dish of roughly double the size.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each egg before adding the next one, and continue beating for a few minutes until creamy and light yellow. Mix in the ricotta and lemon juice then add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until smooth and shiny. Transfer the dough to the prepared loaf tin or baking dish and bake for around 40-50 minutes, checking after 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden; if you insert a skewer in the middle of the cake it should come out clean. Let the cake cool completely.

For serving, whisk the yuzu cream to fluff it up. You can either cut the cake into slices and serve the yuzu cream separately or cut the cake baked in a baking dish into circles (using a round cookie cutter) or squares and, using a piping bag, pipe the yuzu cream on top.

Enjoy!

Meet In Your Kitchen | Sebastian Frank’s Horváth – Austrian Roots in Berlin

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

“When there’s a feeling coming up like Can this dish compete with the one before, did I go a step further? then I try to push it away. It does come up, there’s nothing I can do to avoid it, especially when I remove a dish from the menu that was the bomb. That’s just the way it is, the quality in developing new dishes can’t always be the same. If I were a machine and I could only create dishes that are the bomb, I’d do it, but I can’t.” Sebastian Frank

Two worlds fruitfully combined in the midst of Kreuzberg: Austria and Berlin. His home country, Austria, feeds the chef Sebastian Frank with the knowledge, passion, and inspiration he needs to create unique dishes of rare honesty. He built up one of the capital’s most praised restaurants, he has been rewarded with 2 Michelin Stars but when you talk to him, he makes it sound so easy. And somehow it is. Some people have a genius mind and still manage to keep their feet on the ground.

Together with his partner, Jeannine Kessler, Sebastian moved to her home city, Berlin, 10 years ago and thanks to fortunate circumstances they both took over the Horváth restaurant and turned into the gem it is today.

“Women are just better chefs and I’m convinced that every man who is a good chef has a strong feminine side.” – Sebastian Frank

For a long time, the Austrian chef thought he missed out on international experiences, that he couldn’t compete with other chefs who did work abroad, particularly the chefs who worked in French kitchens celebrating haute cuisine. Little did he know that exactly this would become his greatest asset.

Although Sebastian started to learn in kitchens at a young age, at 14, it was only in his late teens and twenties that he learned about all those praised culinary luxury products, about a way of cooking that could possibly be rewarded with Michelin Stars and Gault Millau rankings. He was hooked but he still needed time to find himself in the vast culinary universe and all its possibilities. Yet when he stopped looking outside but opened up towards what he already had inside himself, he found the answer he was looking for. He says that he only discovered the confidence to trust himself and work with what he had found inside himself when he was 30, when he started working at Horváth.

Growing up in eastern Austria, close to the border to Hungary, only experiencing the local cuisine until he reached his twenties, smelling, tasting, and working with just local produce and products of exceptional quality, left a mark deeper than he expected at that time. Sebastian noticed that when it comes to the cuisine and the products that he up grew with, no one can fool him.

Being limited opened up his mind – and the flood gates – to a more profound knowledge and understanding of the food that he had had on his plate all his life. He experienced a much deeper level of tastes and textures by working with just a small range of vegetables. He wasn’t distracted anymore. He could study a celery root, carrots, beets, potatoes until he totally understood their flavor profile. He could dive into the regional recipes until he totally understood what makes or breaks them. And at that point, he could start playing. Sebastian also had another great advantage, he already had the emotional connection that you need for true inspiration. And this emotional connection took him right back to his childhood, to his own roots and memories.

Today, Sebastian Frank plays with an imperturbable down-to-earth confidence that is impressive. He only needs to visit his culinary archive in his head to find an endless source of old knowledge and new ideas to feed his kitchen repertoire. It’s not arrogance, he is open to other opinions and criticism, but he himself knows best when something is right – and then he makes his decision within seconds.

Usually I’m a rather chatty person when I go to restaurants but when I indulged into a 9-course dinner at Horváth, accompanied by non-alcoholic drinks based on vegetables, fruit, and broth that were just as refined as the compositions on the plates, even I had to keep my mouth shut and just enjoy the full range of tones that Sebastian plays with; sometimes they are harmonic or a harsh contrast, familiar or a surprise, quiet or loud, sometimes they build up slowly but then explode so vibrantly that it makes you smile.

The recipe Sebastian shared with me is called Celery, Young and Aged. One part of this recipe is a celery root that has aged in salt dough for a year and that’s being grated over the dish. It looks like white truffle, is packed with umami, tastes like concentrated salted celery, and looks absolutely stunning. The crusty salt dough shell, when it’s cracked open, looks a bit like Parmesan rind. You automatically feel a lot of respect for this product that needed so much time to age and that people have been taking care of for a whole year. You can’t really detach this feeling from this dish. However, if you don’t feel like waiting a year to try out Sebastian’s recipe you can either make the alternative celery salt (which I bagged him to come up with) or order an aged celery from the Horváth shop (which I highly recommend).

The podcast episode with Sebastian Frank is in German. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Sebastian on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Celery, Aged and Young

by Sebastian Frank / Horváth

(from his book KuK – cook, published by Matthaes Verlag, 2019, in German, you can order the book here)

The aged celery in this recipe ripens in salt dough for 1 year*. Alternatively, you can order an aged celery from the Horváth online shop or use celery salt instead – you can find both recipes for the aged celery and celery salt below! You can buy the celery seeds used in this recipe in spice shops or online.

Serves 2

* For the aged celery in salt dough

You’ll only need some of the aged celery for this recipe. Please weigh the ingredients for accuracy and don’t use cups.

  • 250g / 9 ounces instant flour (doppelgriffiges Mehl)
  • 165g / 6 ounces fine salt
  • 160ml / 2/3 cup water, at room temperature
  • 1 whole knob celery, roughly as large as a fist, with skin but without the green

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and water until smooth. Form into a ball, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest, at room temperature, over night.

Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F.

Rinse the celery, pat dry, and cover evenly with the salt dough then transfer the celery to a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180°C / 350°F and bake for another 40 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely (don’t remove the salt dough crust!).

Store the celery in the salt dough crust in a place with a constant temperature of about 15-20°C / 60-70°F. In the first 2 months, flip the celery every second day so that the moist bottom side is at the top. In the following 6 months, turn the celery once a week. In the last 4 months, you don’t need to turn the celery at all.

For the celery salt

  • 2 tablespoon celery seeds
  • 5 tablespoons Maldon sea salt flakes (or another flaky sea salt)

In a medium, heavy pan, toast the celery seeds for a few seconds; they shouldn’t get dark. Transfer to a mortar and crush lightly with a pestle, add the salt, and mix to combine. Store the celery salt in an airtight container.

For the chicken soup

You’ll only need 200ml / about 3/4 cup of the soup; you can use the remaining soup for other recipes.

  • 500g / 18 ounces chicken carcass
  • 300g / 11 ounces chicken skin
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 garlic bulb, with skin, cut in half
  • 100g / 4 ounces carrots, peeled and diced
  • 150g / 5 ounces celery, peeled and diced
  • 100g / 4 ounces leek, cut in half
  • 30g / 1 ounce parsley stalks
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 3 star-anise
  • 10 cloves
  • 5 juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves

In a large pot, bring the chicken carcass, chicken skin, and 2.5 liters / 10 1/2 cups of cold water to a boil.

In a small pot or pan, sear the onion and garlic, cut side down, until very dark then transfer to the pot with the chicken carcass, along with the carrots, celery, leek, parsley, and spices, and gently simmer for 90 minutes.

With a large spoon, remove the chicken fat on top of the soup, transfer to a bowl, and set aside (you’ll need the chicken fat warm and liquid for serving). Strain the soup through a very fine sieve and muslin towel and set aside.

Young celery

  • 1 knob celery, roughly as large as a fist, with skin but without the green

Rinse the celery and, using a mandoline slicer, carefully cut into paper thin slices. Steam the celery slices for 2 minutes at 90°C / 190°F or until tender but al dente. Let them cool.

Toasted celery seeds (for serving)

  • 20g / 3/4 ounce celery seeds

In a hot, dry pan, toast the celery seeds briefly until dark.

For finishing the chicken soup

  • 200ml / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the chicken soup
  • 30g / 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Salt

In a small saucepan, warm up the chicken soup and butter until hot, it shouldn’t start boiling (it should be 80°C / 175°F). Remove the pan from the heat, whisk in the egg yolks to bind the soup, and season to taste with salt.

For serving, arrange the steamed celery slices on a large, deep plate. Pour a little bit of the whipped chicken soup around the celery slices. Sprinkle with the toasted celery seeds, and drizzle some of the chicken fat on top. Break open the salt dough crust of the aged celery, remove and discard the salt shell, and grate some of the aged celery all over the plates. Alternatively, sprinkle with a little celery salt. Enjoy immediately.

Meet In Your Kitchen | Marta Greber’s Chocolate Chickpea Cookies for Breakfast

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

“Food is comfort. Food makes me happy.” – Marta Greber

Marta is an adventurer – driven by curiosity and trust. She explored New Zealand in a camper van with her 2-year old daughter and even when the van broke in the middle of nowhere she felt they were safe. She travelled around South America on her own, taking precautions and cutting her hair short as matches and adorning her face with not the cutest glasses to cause anything but attraction. Marta avoids risks but she doesn’t miss a chance when she sees it. Australia, South East Asia, Europe, there isn’t really a dirt road she hasn’t been on yet.

When it comes to very spontaneous, very intuitive decisions that always lead to a good ending, no one beats the Grebers: be it on her own or together with her husband, Tomasz, and their daughter, Mia, living in their camper van called Thelma – Marta says she’s Louise but hopes for a better ending than in the movie; be it backpacking, or moving to a new country for good.

I first heard of Marta when I started my own blog and found endless inspiration in hers, on What Should I Eat for Breakfast Today?. Her photography drew me into her digital wonderland of breakfasts and traveling. Her pictures are full of joy, depth, and color. Marta has a great talent, she can tell a story in a single picture. Once, many years ago, she shared a picture of a dish that was shoot on an old Yves Klein-blue door. The contrast of the blue surface and the spring green food made the dish almost pop out of the screen. Marta is the reason why both of my books have blue covers. 

Always drawn to breakfasts – years ago she told me it’s the only time of the day that you can really plan – it was in Australia when she felt overwhelmed by the variety and excitement that this meal of the day can bring to your life and table. Banana bread and pancakes, Dutch baby and chunky cookies, Finish pannukakku, shakshuka, Portuguese pastel de nata – her insatiable Wanderlust and appetite became the endless source of inspiration for her food blog, one of the most popular blogs in the last 10 years.

It’s about living in a van. Imagine when it’s raining, you sit in your apartment, you have this awesome window, you look through the window, you look at people running on the street and hurry somewhere and I am always in a different place. So when it’s raining I’m looking, for instance, at the sea, and at the storm over the sea. There’s the wind, the beach is empty, a bird is fighting with the wind. For me it’s amazing and whenever things like this happen, it’s like each second day, I tell Tomasz: This is the reason why we’re here!”Marta Greber

Her life wasn’t meant to be so adventures from the beginning. Marta grew up in Poland, still experiencing the communist system in her childhood years. She studied law, married early, and for a long time she didn’t even question that she would live a settled life in Poland. However, her first long trips to the US, staying in Las Vegas as part of a work and travel program for Polish students – there couldn’t have been a bigger contrast between her country’s communist past and this flashing capital of capitalism – living in and exploring Australia together with her husband followed by various adventures in South East Asia, they all changed her. 

So as she went back to Poland, reflecting about where she sees herself at that point in her life, after all those impressions and experiences, she decided to take the time to figure exactly that out. She didn’t want to be a lawyer but she had no idea what the next steps should be, she couldn’t see her future yet as a successful blogger, photographer, and journalist but she grabbed the chance to find that out.

When you hear her talk about her beloved mornings when the family is on the road, stepping out of her camper van welcomed by silence and the sun rising over a lonely beach, or misty hilltops, her cup of coffee in one hand, she’s the happiest person in the world. And I totally understand why. To see someone being so brave to actually make all those radical changes in her life and to do what many just talk about, to see the peace she found, this is very touching. There’s so much I learn from this woman and I’m sure this will never change.

Recently Marta had to change her diet and she reduced her consumption of flour but she didn’t want to spoil the fun so she got experimental. For the Meet in My Kitchen podcast, she shared a flourless cookie recipe with me, made of chickpeas, peanut butter, bittersweet chocolate, and a squeeze of lemon. The cookies taste so good and have such a moist texture that we emptied the tray before the cookies had a chance to cool. The recipe is adapted from one of Marta’s blogger friends, Texanerin

Giving up their apartment in Berlin – actually while we recorded the podcast – and now moving to Lisbon, the Grebers are ready for a new chapter in their life. This is the reason why we shot the recipe in my kitchen and not in Marta’s. Thank you, Mia, for being an awesome kitchen assistant, reliable cookie tester, and for patiently waiting behind the closed kitchen door until Marta and I finished the podcast recording before we could start baking together.

The podcast episode with Marta Greber is in English. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Marta on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Chocolate Chickpea Cookies

by Marta Greber

Makes about 22 small cookies

  • 240g / 1 1/3 cup drained and rinsed canned chickpeas
  • 175g / 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, at room temperature
  • 60ml / 1/4 cup agave syrup, or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • A squeeze of lemon
  • 100g / 3,5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F (preferably convection setting) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the chickpeas, peanut butter, agave syrup, baking powder, salt, and lemon juice and, using a food processor or blender stick, briefly puree but keep the mixture a little chunky. Using a large spoon, fold in the chocolate.

Shovel a spoonful of dough into your hand, form into a ball, and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Slightly flatten the dough with a teaspoon. Repeat to make around 21 more cookies, leaving a little space between them.

Bake for around 10 minutes or until golden; they will still be very soft and moist in the center. Let them cool for at least 10 minutes before you transfer them to a cooling rack; they will stay quite soft. Enjoy!