Tag: beans

Clean-Out-The-Fridge Soups

Food52 asked me about my approach to soups. Not just any soups, but big-flavor, clean-out-the-fridge soups to cure the winter blues. I love them now, but that wasn’t always the case. We’re like friends that had to learn to love each other. So I shared our bumpy love story, my basic soup formula, and three soup recipes from my new book, 365, on food52.com. Converted and convinced that a soup can be one of the best things to find on your dining table after a long day of work, I also decided to share my article on these pages here (and you can find two of the recipes from 365 below):

I have a new habit, recently, I often have soup for lunch, which is actually my breakfast as I only have green tea with lemon in the morning. My relationship with liquid foods wasn’t always so harmonic. Soups and stews are very popular in Germany, thick lentil, pea, or potato soup enriched with smoked sausage (Knackwurst or Knacker) is a German winter classic. As a child, I ate it, but I wasn’t particularly fond of it. There was something missing, or maybe I just wasn’t ready yet. Then the eighties came, the Nouvelle Cuisine reached home kitchens and all of a sudden soups where always puréed and as bright as candy: yellow squash, purple beet, squeaking green pea pod. Shallow bowls filled with colorful compositions, smooth and shiny, conquered the menus but unfortunately not my palate. Despite their vibrancy, they didn’t excite me. This is essential to me, and my taste buds – I want, I need food to excite me. So I took a break of many, many years until I found the kind of soup that I like.

Fast-forward to today and it has become a constant in my weekly culinary routine. My basic soup formula is very simple:
1. Canned legumes and dried lentils that don’t need to soak overnight. I always have a vast collection of cans filled with butter beans, cannellini, borlotti (cranberry) and kidney beans on my pantry shelves, and bags of black beluga lentils, dark green French Puy lentils, and yellow and red lentils. Legumes make a soup rich and wholesome, they add heartiness and a nutty touch. It’s what turns a light soup into a proper meal.
2. Cleaning out the vegetable drawer. This drawer is a treasure box that needs to be emptied once in a while. Leafy vegetables, kale, chard, and spinach that start to wilt, sturdy roots like potatoes, parsnip, and beets that lie forgotten, the whole range of winter and summer squash, fresh beans, peas, and tomatoes. Every season has its produce that’s just waiting to crown a soup.
3. Using homemade or quality store-bought broth. My mother taught me to always cook my own broth, with leftover vegetables, chicken, duck, and beef bones, with fresh herbs and whole spices like allspice, peppercorns, and juniper berries. And a bay leaf, always a bay leaf. I then freeze it in 4-cup portions to have my tasty broth right at hand whenever I need it. I never use instant broth as I find it adds an artificial flavor. Broth is the base of a soup, it adds its taste to all the other ingredients and therefore deserves utmost attention.

Soups can easily follow the seasons and the cook’s mood. I want to throw them together spontaneously, quickly, without too much planning or overthinking. A quick look in the pantry and fridge and my mind starts playing. A soup is a simple, a frugal dish, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be exciting. Playing with flavors is a boundless game, playing with textures is at least as rewarding. And varying toppings allows the cook to serve a soup repeatedly without anyone noticing. Crunchy bacon cubes or dukkah, a dollop of velvety mascarpone or ricotta, a fried or poached egg, or a crumbled hardboiled egg, fried herbs like sage or rosemary, or roasted fruit like grapes, apple, pear, or apricot.

In my new book, 365: A Year of Everyday Cooking & Baking, I share a recipe for each day of the year, following the seasons and also the rhythm of the week, from Monday to Sunday, from quick and simple weekday dishes to luscious – and more time-consuming – roasts, stews, and cakes on the weekend. Soups are a constant treat in this rhythm, especially during the colder part of the year. There’s a cozy kale and borlotti bean soup for example, cooked in a flavorful duck broth (recipe from 365 below and on food52.com) – a clear vegetable broth works just as well – and it’s the perfect cure for winter blues. It’s crowned with a poached egg and when you cut through the yolk and let it run into the broth, it adds a creaminess that’s even better than cream; as an added bonus: it only takes twenty minutes for dinner to be ready.

A golden squash, parsnip, and sweet potato soup – basically the tasty finds of a fridge clean out – could be kept chunky but with a nod to the good old Nouvelle Cuisine, I purée it and also go for a more extravagant topping that makes this recipe fit for a Christmas table. Red grapes roasted with woody rosemary until soft and shriveled, and a dollop of whipped orange mascarpone turn this dish into a festive stunner (recipe from 365 on food52.com). However, crunchy bacon bites would make it even heartier and also quite appealing.

One of my favorite soups is the minestrone because there are no rules and limitations. Every vegetable, every combination that the cook finds fitting, works. For my green minestrone, I use green beans, peas (which I always have in my freezer), and zucchini, but that’s not set in stone, and add tiny meatballs refined with lime and arugula. It gives it a fresh citrusy note, similar to lemongrass. This is the speediest of all weekday soups. Once the meatballs are mixed and shaped, the entire soup and meat only need to cook for about 5 minutes (recipe below).

So what changed my mind, what made me fall in love with soups after so many years of skepticism? First, the taste, I had to find combinations that excite me, but then there’s something else. Sitting in front of a bowl of steaming soup is one of the coziest things I can think of. It makes me feel good while I eat it and this feeling stays. A soup is a friend of my mind and my body.

Kale and Borlotti Bean Soup with Poached Eggs

from ‘365 – A Year of Everyday Cooking & Baking’ (Prestel, 2019)

Serves 4

For the soup

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into quarters
  • 2 large cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 7 ounces (200 g) trimmed kale leaves, cut into strips
  • 5¼ cups (1.25 liters) homemade or quality store-bought duck, chicken, or vegetable broth, hot
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 medium sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • Fine sea salt
  • Finely ground pepper
  • 1¼ cups (250 g) drained and rinsed canned borlotti (cranberry) or pinto beans

For the topping

  • 4 to 8 large eggs
  • Coarsely ground pepper

For the soup, in a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic, stirring, for a few minutes or until golden and soft. Add the kale, stir, and cook for 1 minute then add the hot broth, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and finely ground pepper, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the kale is tender. Remove and discard the herbs then add the borlotti beans and cook for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and finely ground pepper and keep warm.

For the topping, bring a small saucepan of salted water to a low simmer. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl. Hold a large spoon just over the surface of the water and gently pour the egg onto the spoon. Lower the spoon into the water and hold until the egg white starts to turn white then use a tablespoon to gently scoop the egg off the large spoon. Poach the egg for 3 minutes. Using a slotted ladle or spoon, transfer the egg to a plate. Poach the remaining eggs the same way, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a low simmer. It’s best to poach 1 egg at a time, but you can cook 2 at once.

Divide the soup among bowls, place 1 to 2 eggs in the middle of each bowl, and sprinkle with a little coarsely ground pepper. Cut the tops of the eggs with a sharp knife and serve immediately.

Green Minestrone With Lime-Arugula Meatballs

from ‘365 – A Year of Everyday Cooking & Baking’ (Prestel, 2019)

Serves 2-4

  • 14 ounces (400g) ground beef
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed, plus 1 large clove garlic, cut in half
  • 2 ounces ounces (60g) arugula leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon (heaping) freshly grated lime zest
  • Fine sea salt
  • Finely ground pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound (340g) trimmed mixed green vegetables (such as green beans, frozen peas, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or kale, cut into bite-size pieces if necessary)
  • 1/4 cups (1 liter) homemade or quality store-bought vegetable broth, hot
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 spring onion (green part only), thinly sliced

Combine the ground beef, crushed garlic, arugula, lime zest, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a generous amount of pepper in a large bowl and mix with your hands until well combined. Form the mixture into 38 roughly 1-inch (2.5 cm) meatballs.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add a little more oil and the vegetables and sauté, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the hot vegetable broth, lime juice, and bay leaf, season to taste with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 4 to 6 minutes or until the meatballs are just cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional lime juice.

Divide the soup among deep bowls, sprinkle with the spring onion, and serve immediately.

Meet In Your Kitchen I Maria Sinskey’s Culinary Take on Napa Valley

Maria Sinskey

The air is hot and dry in Napa, not the slightest movement, it stands still, wrapping the hills and vines in a magical silence.

We first stopped at a lake, Lake Hennessey, on our way to meet the Sinskeys at Robert Sinskey Vineyards. The scene was too peaceful and beautiful, as perfect as a postcard, the calm water spread out in front of us. A man sat at the sandy bank staring into the bluest sky reflecting on the water’s surface, I walked through the swaying grass and my film team made jokes about unseen alligators. Later, Maria Sinskey told me that there are rattlesnakes in the area – sometimes it’s good not to know the danger around you and enjoy the moment.

I had seen the wines of the Robert Sinskey Vineyards on the menu of some of the best restaurants in San Francisco, friends praised the quality of their reds and whites, so there were enough reasons to pick this particular wine maker in Napa on my culinary trip through California. But what struck me goes beyond an excellent bottle of wine: it’s the Sinskeys’ philosophy of making honest wine, their work ethics oblige them to take care of their team, who also hold shares of the company and have been with the wine making couple for decades. Maria and Robert create an environment of togetherness, they cherish people, nature and its gifts, they live a good life and share it with the ones around them.

Robert Sinskey was a photographer in advertising, he’s an artist, a philosopher, he never went to a wine school, but maybe that’s the reason why he makes good wine. It was a call from his father 25 years ago that changed his life, Sinskey senior needed help at his wine business, and young Rob fell in love with his new obsession for grapes and what you can do with them. He turned the 200 acres of premium vineyards into an organic, biodynamic ecosystem at a time when this step wasn’t as popular as today, he was a pioneer, inspired by Rudolph Steiner’s 1928 “Agriculture” manifesto. Believing that, if you harvest grapes of outstanding quality, you don’t actually have to do much, you can let nature do its thing and trust. In that respect, the Sinskeys feel closer to the European than the American tradition of wine makers. Rob says “wine should not be a quick study, but rather, sneak up on you, seduce you, and evolve in the glass and in the bottle. The goal is to make pure wines of character that pair well with cuisine.” And now, his wonderful wife Maria comes in.

Maria Sinskey is an acclaimed chef and cookbook author from New York, she’s the cooking soul of the winery. She worked at Michelin starred restaurants in France but when Rob won her heart, she moved to Napa and set up her beautiful open Vineyard Kitchen right in the heart of the winery’s rustic stone building, next to the wine tasting room. It’s not a restaurant, you can only book and enjoy her exquisite culinary compositions along with a tasting experience (a visit and reservation is highly recommended). Maria and Rob follow the same credo: nature is good, trust her, treat her well and you’ll be gifted. Organic fruits and vegetables come from the garden, sheep grazing the vineyards provide wool and meat, beehives pollinate the orchards and bring the most delicious honey to Maria’s kitchen.

You could call it a utopia, you could call the Sinskeys dreamers, but decades of creating fantastic wine and food with and not against nature that people praise all over the world, living and working harmoniously in a community with love and passion, and feeling – as a guest – the spark of happiness and dedication jump over, would prove you wrong.

Maria spoilt us like kids with her elegant, deliciously cozy comfort food. Her duck confit was a revelation and her herb marinated rack of lamb with sun-ripened tomato and herb blossom salad tasted just heavenly, thankfully she shared the recipes with us.

Check for visits: robertsinskey.com

In the next months, I’ll share many new Meet In Your Kitchen features with you that took me to California, Italy, France, and Japan. Thanks to Zwilling for sponsoring these features for our culinary trip around the world!



Maria Sinskey

Sun-ripened Tomato and Herb Blossom Salad


Herb Marinated Rack of Lamb with

Buttered Green Beans, Roasted Potatoes, and Lamb Jus

By Maria Sinskey


Sun-ripened Tomato and Herb Blossom Salad

Serves 6

Capture the flavor of ripe, just-picked tomatoes at their peak with this simple salad. The sweet tomatoes are gently scented with herb and arugula flowers that provide small bursts of intense flavor. Blossoms can be gathered as herb and arugula plants bolt. If herb blossoms aren’t available use small herb sprigs and leaves instead.

6 ripe garden tomatoes, about 2 pounds, assorted colors and sizes
Extra virgin olive oil
Aged balsamic vinegar
Flaked sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup (a handful) mixed herb blossoms – dill, arugula, basil, chive

Core and slice the tomatoes into ¼-inch / ½-cm thick slices and fork-size wedges. Arrange the tomatoes on a serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with sea salt and grind a few grinds of black pepper over. Scatter the blossoms over the top. Serve with simple crisp flatbread if desired.


Herb Marinated Rack of Lamb with

Buttered Green Beans, Roasted Potatoes, and Lamb Jus

Lamb Jus (to serve with the rack of lamb, can be prepared in advance)

Yield: 2 cups (470ml)

1 head garlic, cut in half horizontally
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 medium shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
1 cup (240ml) red wine
4 cups (950ml) lamb stock
1 medium plum tomato, fresh or canned
1 3-inch / 8-cm sprig rosemary
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Wrap garlic in aluminum foil and bake until garlic is aromatic, soft and caramelized, about 45 minutes. Reserve.

Heat a 3-quart / 2.8-l saucepan over medium-high heat, then add 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter starts to brown, add the shallot and cook for about 2 minutes until the shallot is wilted and starting to turn golden.

Add the wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until wine is almost dry, about 10 minutes. Add the lamb stock, roasted garlic head, tomato, and rosemary spring. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until stock is reduced by half. Strain the jus into another pan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve at room temperature for up to 4 hours otherwise refrigerate.

To serve: Return sauce to a simmer. Check seasoning, then whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter until emulsified. Serve immediately.


Herb Marinated Rack Of Lamb

Serves 8

The herb marinade for the rack really perfumes the meat if it is done a day or two ahead of time. The same marinade can be used for many other cuts as well. It is best to remove as many of the herbs and garlic before roasting as they will burn and create off flavors.

2 lamb racks, 8-9 ribs each
¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoon for roasting the meat
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled and crushed
2 4-inch / 10-cm rosemary sprigs, crushed
6 thyme sprigs, crushed
4 rosemary sprigs for garnish
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Clean the rib bones well by scraping off meat and sinew with a small sharp knife. Cut the racks in half so that each has four ribs. Mix together the olive oil, crushed garlic, crushed rosemary and thyme sprigs in a large bowl. Add the lamb and coat well. Grind some coarse black pepper over all. Wrap well and marinate the racks overnight.

The next day prepare the roasted potatoes first, then continue roasting the lamb.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Remove the lamb from the marinade and scrape off as many herbs as possible.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the lamb well with salt; no additional pepper should be necessary, and sear fat side down until golden, about 7 minutes. Turn over so that the fat side is up and roast in the preheated oven for 17-20 minutes for medium-medium rare (120°F / 50°C internal temperature). Let the rack rest for 10 minutes before cutting. Prepare the beans while the meat is resting.

To serve, cut each lamb rack half into 2 equal pieces, two bones per chop, and serve on individual plates or a platter with the roasted potatoes, beans, and lamb jus.


Olive Oil and Sea Salt Roasted Potatoes

Serves 8

2 pounds yellow potatoes, Yukon Gold or similar
Sea salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

Peel the potatoes and cut into ½-inch / 1.25-cm pieces. Reserve in a bowl of cold water to keep from browning.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil, season well with salt. Add the potatoes and boil for 7 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Drain the potatoes into a colander. Make sure they are very dry.

Place the well-drained potatoes in a large sauté pan and toss them with the olive and butter and additional salt to taste. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 30 to 40 minutes until the potatoes are golden and crispy on the edges. Keep them warm.


Buttered Green Beans

½ pound freshly picked green beans or haricot vert
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Trim the stem off of the beans but leave the slender pointed tips. Reserve.

Ready a medium bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt until the water tastes of the sea. Add the beans and cook until tender about 3-4 minutes. The thinner and fresher the beans the faster they will cook. Remove the beans from the pot with a pair of tongs or skimmer and plunge into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When beans are cool, remove from the ice bath and let rest in a strainer or colander to drain.

To serve: melt the butter in a large sauté pan and add ¼ cup (60ml) water. Bring to a boil to emulsify, season with salt to taste. Add the beans and toss until heated through. Remove with tongs to a serving plate. Serve immediately.

Maria Sinskey


Maria Sinskey


Watch my interview with Maria in Napa in September 2017:



Thank you, Maria!


Maria Sinskey


Maria Sinskey


Maria Sinskey


Maria Sinskey


Maria Sinskey


Maria Sinskey


Maria Sinskey


Maria Sinskey


Maria Sinskey


Maria Sinskey


Maria Sinskey

16 Recipes for Winter Salads

Celeriac Kumquat Salad

Despite the grey skies and frosty temperatures that come along with Berlin’s long lasting winter, I’ve been in the mood for salads surprisingly often this January. Cozy soups, stewy and rich, would have been more obvious, but no, my appetite longs for winter salads. Celeriac, cabbage, beans, roots, and potatoes inspire my cooking and satisfy my longings for fresh vegetables. And thanks to the addition of citrus fruits, fresh coconut, or turmeric root I never get bored. If you feel the same, take a look at these scrumptious compositions collected on Eat In My Kitchen over the past 3 years (click the titles for the recipes):

Celeriac Salad with Cardamom-Yoghurt, Caramelized Honey Kumquats, and Walnuts

Celeriac Kumquat Salad


Blood Orange, Olive, and Red Onion Salad with Rucola

Blood Orange Olive Rucola Salad


Green Bean, Pea and Kumquat Salad with Turmeric and Mint

Bean Pea Kumquat Salad


Potatoes with Cinnamon Hummus, Basil, and Prawns

Potatoes Hummus Prawns


Beetroot Carpaccio with fresh Coconut and Coriander

Beet Root Coconut Carpaccio


Mediterranean Octopus, Fennel and Orange Salad

Octopus Fennel Orange Salad


Beans and Peas with Tahini Lemon Mayonnaise

Bean Pea Tahini Mayonnaise


Orange and Fennel Couscous with Orange Blossom Water and Mint

Orange and Fennel Couscous


Belgian Endive and Radicchio Salad with Persimmons

Radicchio Endive Persimmon Salad


Mozzarella di Bufala, Rucola, Orange, and Chervil Salad

Orange Mozzarella Rucola Salad


A Salad with Winter Purslane, Sautéed Mushrooms, and Nasturtium Flowers

Winter Purslane, Mushroom and Flowers


Belgian Endive, Pomegranate, and Orange Salad with fresh Turmeric

Endive Pomegranate Turmeric


Green Beans, Pear and Walnut Salad with Bacon 

Bean, Pear and Bacon Salad


La Ratte Potatoes with Roast Lemon Peel, Olives and Parsley

Potato and Lemon Peel Salad


and from my book:

Radicchio, Peach, and Roasted Shallot Salad with Blue Cheese (you can replace the peach with ripe persimmon or pear)

Radicchio Peach Shallots


Bavarian Cabbage Salad with Crispy Bacon

(I’m sorry, there’s no picture to share, the quality is too bad. It was one of my early blog recipes …)


Celeriac Kumquat Salad

A Salad with Greens, Cannellini Beans, Capers and Olives

A Salad with Greens, Cannellini Beans and Olives

Some days call for a quick salad and today is one of them, a little snack at noon!

We had a friend over from Costa Rica for a couple nights with her two young kids, so my kitchen creations had to be child friendly. Lasagna, pizza and cake made them very happy (I didn’t expect anything else)! We were lucky, summer has come back to the city so we spent many hours out at playgrounds, lots of walking and running around for those little legs which made them hungry all the time!

It was only a short visit but we enjoyed every second of it! Now that they left, the flat is quiet again and I feel like some lighter food. I hadn’t made any kitchen plans so I had to work with what I found and inspired me, a big lollo bionda lettuce in the fridge, some parsley on the kitchen window sill, a small can of cannellini beans, my Maltese capers and some black Kalamata olives (this jar is never missing in my pantry). All this thrown together in a large bowl and mixed with a light vinaigrette can make two people very happy. You could also add some canned tuna or tomatoes but I found my Saturday snack perfect as it was.

A Salad with Greens, Cannellini Beans and Olives


A Salad with Greens, Cannellini Beans and Olives

A Salad with Greens, Cannellini Beans, Capers and Olives

As a lunch for 3 or a side dish for 4 you need

lettuce (lollo bionda or rosso), rinsed, dried and torn into pieces, 1 big head
canned cannelli beans, rinsed and drained, 240g / 8.5 ounces
Kalamata olives 12
capers 4 tablespoons
the leaves of a small bunch of parsley

For the dressing
olive oil 3 tablespoons
white Balsamico vinegar 2 tablespoons
salt and pepper

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing and season to taste.

In a large bowl, mix the lettuce, beans, olives, capers, parsley and dressing.

A Salad with Greens, Cannellini Beans and Olives

Fava Bean Pesto with Mint on a Sandwich

Fava Bean Pesto with Mint

Finally, fava beans are back in season and just peeling them is a sensual experience! These beans are crunchy beauties wrapped in silky transparent shells, protected by the velvety inside of their fleshy pods. To peel them, smell them and finally taste them is a spring highlight to me! I know it sounds a bit overwhelming, but spring vegetables have this effect on me. Luckily, the preparations have a meditative side effect as you have to buy lots of  beans to end up with just a handful of this green treasure, but the effort is worth it. The firm texture and fresh green taste stands for everything I love about spring!

Usually I peel the beans out of the shells to achieve a finer taste but for my pesto I skipped this part. The beans were so young, the skin so tender and soft that I could keep them in their shell which also has a nutritional value.

This time, I made a pesto out of my fava beans, cooked only 5 minutes and mixed with garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and fresh aromatic mint. You could mix it with pasta and some grated Pecorino but I spread it on a sandwich. I covered my juicy focaccia bun with a thick layer which I sprinkled with even more chopped mint leaves.

Fava Bean Pesto with Mint

Fava Bean Pesto and Mint Sandwich

For 4 sandwiches you need

focaccia or soft buns 4 (you could also use thick slices of ciabatta bread)
fava / broad beans, peeled out of the pods, in their shells, 900g / 2 pounds for around 260g / 9 ounces of peeled beans
garlic, quartered, 1 clove
water 100ml / 3.5 ounces
freshly squeezed lemon juice 3 teaspoons
olive oil 1 tablespoon plus more for frying
fresh mint, chopped, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon
salt and black pepper

In a sauce pan, fry the garlic in a little oil on medium heat for 1 minute and mix in the beans. Add the water, season with salt and pepper, close with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes.  With a slotted ladle (you will need some of the liquid), take the beans and garlic out of the pan and purée in a blender (or with a stick mixer) together with 1 tablespoon of the liquid from the beans, the lemon juice ,1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of mint. Season with salt, pepper and mint to taste and spread voluptuously on your sandwich.

Fava Bean Pesto with Mint


Fava Bean Pesto with Mint


Fava Bean Pesto with Mint

Bean and Ramp Quiche

Bean and Ramp Quiche

Quiche is one of those dishes which makes me feel good, always, no matter what my day has been like. As soon as I see a quiche in my oven and smell its buttery aroma spread through the kitchen I have to smile. Maybe it’s the butter, or the eggs or the fact that I can look forward to another tart on my plate! That’s why I’ve already written about a couple of my quiche recipes, my classic with leek, tomatoes and thyme, the Italian one with fennel and parmesan and here is another one, packed with greens. I fill this savory tart with beans, ramp (wild garlic) and spring onions and it has a deliciously light spring feeling!

I’ve praised its short crust at length which is so crisp and buttery, to me it’s just perfect. My quiches always have a thin layer of an eggy and creamy mixture to keep it light and to leave space for the vegetable filling. Some recipes focus on the creamy filling which can make a quiche too rich and heavy, at least for my taste. I want to be able to eat a piece of quiche with my fingers, a tart for a picnic!

Bean and Ramp Quiche

Bean and Ramp Quiche

For one quiche you need a round (27cm / 10.5″) or oval baking dish or tart pan.


For the short crust base

flour 250g / 8.5 ounces
(I use spelt flour type 630 but you can use any other plain flour)
butter, cold 125g / 4.5 ounces
organic egg 1
salt 1 teaspoon

Combine the flour with the salt. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and work the butter into the flour until combined (there shouldn’t be any lumps of butter left). Add the egg and continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a disc, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.


For the filling

green beans 200g / 7 ounces
ramp (wild garlic), just the leaves, cut into slices, 30g / 1 ounce
spring onion, cut into slices, 1/2
organic eggs 3
heavy cream 125 ml
crème fraiche or sour cream 125ml
salt 1 teaspoon
ground black pepper
nutmeg, freshly grated, a generous amount


The quiche

Set the oven to 210°C / 410°F top/ bottom heat.

Blanche the beans in plenty of salted water for a couple minutes until al dente.

Mix  the eggs with the heavy cream, crème fraiche, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Roll out the dough between cling film and line your baking dish with the flat pastry. Prick it with a fork and blind-bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes.  Take your baking dish out of the oven and set the temperature down to 180°C / 355°F.

Spread the beans, ramp and spring onions on top of the pre-baked pastry base and pour the liquid mixture over it. Put the quiche on a baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden, the top should be firm. Let it cool for 10 minutes.

Bean and Ramp Quiche


Bean and Ramp Quiche


Bean and Ramp Quiche

Butter Bean and Fennel Soup

Butter Bean and Fennel Soup

It’s time for soup! The colder it gets the more I feel like food that is up-lefting and soul-warming. Something that makes me feel strong and prepares me for the cold, dark months ahead of me. Although I love winter, the snow, even the cold, when you get cosy inside, slow down and relax, it’s important to treat yourself to the right food to renew your body and mind.

I’m in the mood for a thick soup, smooth but light – like my Minestrone with big butter beans and fennel with some parsley and black olives sprinkled on top. The texture is velvety and it tastes a bit sweet. Today I add a piece of bacon to it as I feel like something deeper in taste. Usually I cook the vegetarian version, I don’t prefer one over the other, both are nice winter treats!

Butter Bean and Fennel Soup

Butter Bean and Fennel Soup

Keep in mind that you have to soak the dried beans in water overnight. I like to cook soups in bigger batches to store some in the freezer – great for busy days. This recipe is for 4 people, sometimes I even double the amount.

dried butter beans or Cannellini beans, soaked in cold water overnight, 250g / 9 ounces
fennel, rinsed, cut in thin slices, 300g / 10.5 ounces
celery stalk, cut in cubes, 1
onion, cut in cubes, 1
broth or water, around 1500 ml
optional: a piece of bacon, 40g / 1.5 ounces
garlic, crushed, 1 clove
bay leaf, 1
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying
parsley, chopped, for topping, 2 tablespoons
black olives, chopped, for topping, 4
good olive oil for topping

Heat some oil in a large pot. Fry the onion, celery, garlic and bacon (left in one piece) for a few minutes. Add the fennel, take the beans out of the water and put them into the pot as well. Fill with broth, add the bay leaf and close with a lid. Don’t season with salt before the beans are done or they won’t become soft. Cook for 30 minutes or until the beans are soft. Depending on the bean’s texture it may take another 30 minutes. Mine needed 60 minutes today but I must admit that I found them in a dark corner of my shelf.

When the beans are done, take out half of the vegetables (cooked beans and fennel) and put them to the side. Mix the other half of the vegetables together with the liquid in a blender and season with salt and pepper. Put everything back into the pot together with the remaining vegetables. When you arrange the soup in soup bowls sprinkle with olives and parsley and drizzle your best olive oil on top.