Tag: meet in your kitchen

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 | 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!

meet in your kitchen | Phia & Josh bake Mum’s French Cake

Phia, Josh and a Fruit Cake

This is the start of a new series of features on the blog – meet in your kitchen! I will be meeting artists, chefs – people with a great passion for what they do, in their kitchen, to cook or to bake while we talk about their culinary life, current projects and inspiration.

I’m very excited to start with two artists who I first saw live a couple years ago, Phia and Josh! Phia performed on a houseboat on a big lake outside Berlin and mesmerized me with her singing, her Kalimba and the loops she created during her show.

The two artists grew up in Melbourne and decided to move to Berlin three years ago to grow as artists and touch new musical ground. They soon found that their ideas worked well together and the time was ripe for a colaboration. Phia, the singer who plays the kalimba and Josh, the guitarist and producer understand and enhance each other and in a few months they will share their musical vision on the first Phia album!

Although the two are very busy in the studio at the moment they took some time out and invited me to their Berlin kitchen. They arrived in the city with little more than a suitcase and had to piece together everything from scratch. The furniture and every single pot, plate and mug has its own story, mostly coming from friends who moved back home or flea markets, a unique space full of soul and personal memories.

Phia’s family is very passionate about cooking, both her parents love to be creative in the kitchen. She chose to share a very special recipe with me that she used to bake with her mother when she was a child, a recipe rich in young kitchen memories! It’s Mum’s French Cake, a spongy and fruity cake which is as delicious as it is quick and easy to bake, a perfect candidate for those spontaneous late night (or early morning) baking sessions! Phia covered the cake with apples, but plums are another of her favourites for this recipe.

Phia, Josh and a Fruit Cake

 

Phia, Josh and a Fruit Cake

Mum’s French Cake

“I chose a really simple cake recipe that my mum taught me. I’m not the most confident baker but this one is so simple. Depending on how large you want the cake, you take 1-3 eggs and weigh them, then put in the same weight of flour, melted butter and sugar. Then choose whatever fruit you want to put on top. My mum actually brought the recipe home from a French class she was in when I was younger.  So the first time we made it we did it in French: “… deus oeufs …” etc!”

For an 18cm / 7″ springform pan you need

apple, quartered and thinly sliced, 1
organic eggs 2
weigh the eggs with their shells and measure the same weight of the following ingredients
plain flour
butter, melted
sugar
baking powder 1 tablespoon
a pinch of salt

Set the oven to 180°C / 355°F and butter the springform pan.

Combine the dry ingredients. Mix the eggs and butter for a few minutes till fluffy and add the dry mixture, mix until well combined. Pour the dough into the springform pan, arrange the apples in circles and bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Serve warm!

Phia, Josh and a Fruit Cake

You both grew up in Australia, what are your food memories? 

Josh: Australia is a fairly wealthy country with really good weather and at various times a great influx of immigrants from around the world (although not currently because of our extreme rightwing government). This has meant that food is in wide variety and really great quality. You could find Indian, Afghan, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Chinese, Turkish, Thai, African, Lebanese, Japanese and a lot more (as well as modern fusion) to a beautiful standard all within close proximity. Restaurants just don’t survive if they’re not doing it the way it’s done in the home country. I guess we’re spoilt in a culinary way. This standard or commitment to food is still lagging very much in Germany which I find surprising because there are a lot of people from around the world living there. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist but I still have not found a decent curry.

What effect did the move to Berlin have on your cooking?

Phia: I’ve become a lot more confident since moving here! Last year I became really bored with the recipes that I knew, so I bought a couple of cookbooks and made some new meals. My favourite was Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Plenty”, a vegetarian cookbook. He has this delicious soup made with chickpeas based on a Tuscan ribollita which I make a lot now.

What was the first dish you cooked on your own, what is your first cooking memory?

Josh: I started lifting weights after high school, trying to get buff. At the time I was known as “Mr. Vegetarian” because I was pretty big but still vegetarian. My memory of cooking by myself (that wasn’t frozen dim sims or pizza) was a taco filling that was packed with kidney beans and chickpeas for protein.

What are your favourite places to buy and enjoy food in Berlin? 

Phia: We are really spoiled for choice in our part of Neukölln. All of these are within walking distance of us:

Favourite coffee: Five Elephant, a super nice place in Reichenbergerstrasse
Delicious and cheap tapas: Gaston on Weserstrasse
Best gelati: Fräulein Frost on Panierstrasse
Fresh fruit and veggies: the turkish market on Maybachufer

Josh: Everything Sophia has said plus ‘Il Casolare’ – excellent pizza and atmosphere by the canal.

You live and work in Berlin at the moment, what are your upcoming projects?

Josh: The Phia album is still in full swing, still producing… we’ve mixed some of the tracks and still going over the editing and post-production stuff for quite a few of them. Final mixing should happen at the end of August. 

I’ve been producing some music for a few other artists too.

I’m also working on my own project ‘Josh The Cat’. I sing songs, tell stories, dance a little bit with my guitar. Influenced by Bowie, TuneYards and Radiohead but people say it’s sounds a bit like The Whitest Boy Alive with a loop pedal and I look like the guitarist from Incubus. I recently heard The Whitest Boy Alive have disbanded so maybe there is an opening for me.

What or who inspired you to become musicians?

Phia: I grew up in a household filled with music. My mum and my sister and I used to sing three part harmonies, I learnt piano, sung in lots of choirs and did musicals. It never occurred to me that I could be a professional musician though. At school I thought I would be a teacher, or a writer. After high school I made a spontaneous decision to enter a music university rather than the law degree I had been accepted into. I thought I’d complete a year and then go back to academia, but I stayed!

Why did you choose Berlin as the place to live and work?

Josh: I wanted to shake up my life a little. I’d played in a few different bands in Melbourne ranging from Synthpop, FreeJazz to Instrumental soundscape. It was either NYC, Tokyo or Berlin and Berlin won. It’s a great base for branching out, there’s a lot of creatives to bounce off and I find the East meets West, the old crashing into the new, inspiring.

You just finished recording your album, what were your biggest influences during the writing and recording process? 

Phia: The songs on the record definitely reflect the period of change of moving from Melbourne to Berlin. Some were written just before the move, and some after, and I think you can hear a continuous thread throughout the album of conflicted feelings change brings. The joy of expanding our experiences to the pull of homesickness. 

Our lifestyle has been so different since moving to Berlin. The people we’ve met, the places we’ve toured, even just day-to-day living in Neukölln and having the luxury of working on music. You can definitely hear that on the album.

What did you choose to share on eat in my kitchen and why?

Phia: I chose a really simple cake recipe that my mum taught me. I’m not the most confident baker but this one is so simple. Depending on how large you want the cake, you take 1-3 eggs and weigh them, then put in the same weight of flour, melted butter and sugar. Then choose whatever fruit you want to put on top. My mum actually brought the recipe home from a French class she was in when I was younger.  So the first time we made it we did it in French: “… deus oeufs …” etc!

If you could choose one person to cook a meal for you, who and what would it be?

Phia: Merril Garbus from Tune-yards. I bet she’d have some killer recipes.

Josh: The RZA from Wu-Tang Clan comes to mind. It would be good to have a chat with him too.

You’re going to have ten friends over for a spontaneous dinner, what will be on the table?

Phia: Definitely a big salad, maybe with orange and chickpeas, lots of wine, maybe some roast veggies or a baked dish.

Josh: Depends what is in the house. I find lentil soup very satisfying and hopefully the guests would too.

What was your childhood’s culinary favourite and what is it now?

Phia: I wasn’t the most adventurous eater as a child so it was probably that Australian staple borrowed from our Italian immigrants – spaghetti bolognaise. Now I love eating new foods from the countries we go on tour. Last year I tried perogi in Poland for the first time, which was amazing.

Josh: My favorite food is Indian or Sri Lankan, I love the spices they use and the vivid flavours. Although I’m not vegetarian I prefer vegetarian food and this goes well for me with all the lentils, vegetables, chickpeas and the occasional paneer their food has. I don’t remember particularly liking food as a very young child but I guess I’ve liked any food from Asia since about the age of 12 or 13. I’ve always hated asparagus and it still makes me gag.

Do you prefer to cook on your own or together with others?

Phia: When I wasn’t so confident I needed to do it on my own, I didn’t like being watched! But now I love learning from others and it is fun to cook together.

Josh: I think someone who is good with food generally needs patience or at the very least a sensibility for how all the elements interact. I don’t really have that. Or perhaps my problem is that I usually try to ignore I’m hungry until I am absolutely ravenous and by that point I have no patience for preparing things properly. So cooking for myself comes out of necessity and cooking with others is probably more fun because it has probably been planned ahead. By others, I mean Sophia, who has good ideas generally, plans ahead and never allows herself to get so hungry as to become irrational and hasty as I do.

Which meals do you prefer, improvised or planned?

Phia: I’m definitely a meal planner – no improvising in the kitchen for me!

Josh: I would admit that conceptually a planned meal should work out the best but I haven’t properly tried that.

Which meal would you never cook again?

Josh: When I was at university I was known by my housemates for my signature dish: “bachelor’s special” which ingredients consisted of pretty much everything cooked in a saucepan served over some sort of carbohydrate. I think I’ll leave that one in the past.

Thank you Phia and Josh!

Here you can listen to Phia and Josh’s music and find out when the album will be released: www.listentophia.com

Phia, Josh and a Fruit Cake

 

Phia, Josh and a Fruit Cake

 

Phia, Josh and a Fruit Cake

 

phia16

 

Phia

 

phia17

 

Phia, Josh and a Fruit Cake