Tag: orange

Orange, Chocolate & Buckwheat Muffins

Orange, Chocolate & Buckwheat Muffins

What a week!

The German Eat In My Kitchen book is out and my English book will follow next week, on the 4th October. Just 2 more nights!

The New York Times included the Eat In My Kitchen book in their list of ‘The Best Cookbooks of Fall 2016’. NY Times’ editor Florence Fabricant wrote a very nice review and also shared one of my recipes from the book. To call me excited would be a complete understatement – I feel insanely happy!

I had my first book launch event in my hometown Berlin, on the gorgeous roof terrace of the stunning Hotel de Rome. It was a golden afternoon, literally, we had blue skies and a slow sunset that wrapped the whole scene in magical light! There were so many wonderful people, fantastic wine from Meridiana Wine Estate in Malta, I offered my first food tastings – and saw many happy faces – and I held my first talk about my book, with dear Cynthia Barcomi. It was an unforgettable event and the best start possible for my book tour (you can see the pictures of the event here). Here’s a picture of me at my launch, taken after I gave one of my cookbooks to tennis legend Boris Becker and his wife – the lunching family had to move table due to our event. I still feel a little bad because of that. Lots of nice pictures from the event are waiting on my computer to be shared on the blog, but I guess they’ll have to wait a few more weeks, Malta is the next stop on my book tour. More adventures, book talks, and travels to come! To be continued …

Here’s a muffin recipe that I came up with – by request – a few months ago. Although oranges are a typical winter fruit, you can find them on the large fruit plate in my kitchen all year round. I can’t live without their fragrant zest, especially in my baking. Pair it with bittersweet chocolate and you end up with one of the best combinations that the sweet world can offer (see last week’s recipe from my cookbook). My quick and easy Sunday muffin is gluten free, made with buckwheat flour and ground almonds. It adds a nutty flavour, the texture is a little less dainty compared to plain flour, but the result is wonderful. Give me a cup of cappuccino and a few of these breakfast treats and I’m in heaven, especially when I can move straight to my sofa after a week of so much excitement.

Orange, Chocolate & Buckwheat Muffins


Orange, Chocolate & Buckwheat Muffins

Orange, Chocolate, and Buckwheat Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

buckwheat flour 200 g / 1 1/3 cups
ground hazelnuts or almonds 170 g / 1 1/2 cups
granulated sugar 100 g / 1/2 cup
freshly grated orange zest 3 tablespoons, plus more for topping
baking powder 3 teaspoons
baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
fine sea salt 1/4 teaspoon
freshly squeezed orange juice 120 ml / 1/2 cup
whole milk 120 ml / 1/2 cup
organic eggs 3
unsalted butter, melted and cooled, 125 g / 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon
bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped, 100 g / 3 1/2 ounces

paper muffin pan liners 12

Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F (preferably convection setting). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, hazelnuts, sugar, orange zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, milk, eggs, and butter. Add to the flour-mixture and stir with a wooden spoon just until a lumpy batter forms. Gently fold in the chocolate. Mind that if you mix the batter too much, the muffins will lose their light texture.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and bake for about 16 minutes (slightly longer if using a conventional oven) or until golden. Take the muffins out of the pan and let them cool on a wire rack for 2 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the tops with a little orange zest.

Orange, Chocolate & Buckwheat Muffins




Orange, Chocolate & Buckwheat Muffins



From my cookbook: Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel

The first picture of today’s post caught the moment I held my Eat In My Kitchen cookbook in my trembling hands for the first time. I had to sit down, or rather, I fell into my beloved old chair in our living room. This chair has seen many emotions, sad and happy, it’s been with me all my life and it’s the place I want to be when the world around me becomes a little overwhelming. So a couple months ago, on a hot day in July just a day before we flew to Malta, this chair had to catch me once again. My knees were wobbly and I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry, so I did both. I received a package from my publisher and I knew what it was before I even opened it: two books, my books.

Tomorrow is a very special day, my German book, Eat In My Kitchen – essen, backen, kochen und genießen, will be published and in a week the English book will follow: Eat In My Kitchen – to cook, to bake, to eat, and to treat, on October 4th. The book is already on Epicurious’ list of ‘The 25 Most Exciting New Cookbooks for Fall 2016’ and my heart is jumping for joy!!

So many people keep asking me how I feel about my big publishing day(s), whether I’m excited, proud, or nervous. To be honest, I can’t really say how I feel. Maybe confused and overwhelmed? As much as it felt normal to write this book at one point, to cook and bake the recipes, and to take the pictures, strangely enough it’s starting to feel normal to know that it’ll be out soon. It may sound weird and maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’ll have a nervous breakdown at one point, maybe when I present the book in front of an audience (in the next few weeks, all over Europe and in the US), or when I see it at a book shop, or when I watch people pulling it off a shelf and buying it. I don’t know.

Luckily, I don’t have much time to think about all this, which is sometimes the best thing that can happen. Eat In my Kitchen feels as intuitive, natural, and close to myself as it can get. The physical book just as much as this blog. I’m in my comfort zone, constantly, which I consider to be the greatest gift. I don’t take anything for granted in life, I’m here and I want to learn, grow, and experience everything. I don’t know if I’ll fail or succeed with this book, but it’s also nothing I want to worry about. Every recipe, every story and picture that fill the 256 pages of this book is totally me, to question or doubt its relevance, would be fatal. That would mean questioning my passion and my beliefs, before this book even sees a shelf in a bookstore.

I can say that I’m unbelievably happy that this book exists. With a big smile on my face, I stand behind all I’ve created and written in the past year and a half to fill its pages, in both the German and the English book. I went through many lows and I took the highs with great pleasure, I suffered and I cried, I changed some decisions and stood strongly behind others. I’ve been through my battles, while working on these pages. But now I let go. A month ago I wrote about this transition, this process of letting go of a project. Tomorrow, this process will be complete.

Today sees a premier on the blog, I’m sharing the first recipe from my book with you and, also for the first time, I’ll share a recipe in English and in German. I get many requests to write my blog in two languages, and as much as I’d love to do that, I simple don’t have enough time. I appreciate the effort of so many of you who aren’t that familiar with the English language but still give it a try and follow my recipe instructions in a foreign language. Today, my German readers, you can relax and bake the most delicious, spongy chocolate olive oil Bundt cake, topped with a thick chocolate glaze and sweet and crunchy caramelized orange peel. I love this cake!

Next week, I’ll share another recipe from my book with you, on the 4th October, on the day when my English readers can hold the book in their hands for the first time. I’ll be in Malta at that point, celebrating the book at my launch at the gorgeous Villa Bologna before my journey takes me to London, New York, and Washington. I’ll try my best to keep up with writing about all this here on the blog – and I also intend to start sharing videos on Instagram, so please come over and join my journey in the next few weeks and months.

Today I want to thank my amazing team here in Germany, all the wonderful women and men who made this book possible. Thank you everyone at Prestel in Munich, especially Pia, Julie, and Adeline. Thank you so much Ellen Mey for being my editorial guidance.

So very soon the book will be available in bookstores, and in case you can’t find it on the shelves, you can order it at any bookstore in the world, or here:

Amazon US – Amazon UK – Amazon Germany

Barnes & Noble


Books A Million

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel


Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel-2

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel

from Eat In My Kitchen – to cook, to bake, to eat, and to treat, published by Prestel


Dry breadcrumbs, for sprinkling the Bundt pan
2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
5 ounces (140 g) bittersweet chocolate
⅔ cup (155 ml) olive oil
5 large eggs
3½ tablespoons (50 ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
3½ tablespoons (50 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice


5 ounces (140 g) bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon (15 g) unsalted butter
1 to 2 teaspoons sunflower oil


¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 small handful very thin strips of fresh orange peel

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C (preferably convection setting). Butter a 7½-cup (1.75 l) Bundt pan and sprinkle generously with breadcrumbs.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt the choc­olate. Let cool for a few minutes then add the olive oil, eggs, milk, orange zest, and orange juice, and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until smooth. Add to the flour mixture and quickly mix with an electric mixer for 1 minute or until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes (slightly longer if using a conventional oven) or until golden brown and firm on top. If you insert a skewer into the cake, it should come out clean. Let cool for a few minutes then shake the Bundt pan a little and turn the cake out onto a plate. Let cool completely. Trim the bottom of the cake to even it out.

For the chocolate glaze, melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and whisk until smooth. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake, evening it out with a knife or leaving it in voluptuous drops.

For the candied orange peel, in a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. When it starts to caramelize add the orange peel. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the peel is golden and soft—mind that it doesn’t burn. While the caramel is still liquid, quickly transfer the candied peel to a piece of parchment paper. Let cool for 1 minute then peel it off the paper and decorate the cake while the glaze is soft.

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel

German recipe:

Schokoladen-Gugelhupf mit Olivenöl und Kandierter Orangenschale

aus Eat In My Kitchen – essen, backen, kochen und genießen, veröffentlicht bei Prestel


Semmelbrösel, für die Gugelhupfform
260 g Mehl
200 g Zucker
3 TL Backpulver
1 TL Speisenatron
1 Prise feines Meersalz
140 g Zartbitterschokolade
150 ml Olivenöl
5 Eier
50 ml Milch
1 EL Orangenabrieb
50 ml frisch gepresster Orangensaft


140 g Zartbitterschokolade
1 EL Butter
1–2 TL Sonnenblumenöl


50 g Zucker
2 EL Wasser
1 kleine Handvoll sehr dünne Streifen Orangenschale

Den Ofen auf 180 °C (Umluft) vorheizen. Eine Gugelhupfform (1,8 l) einfetten und großzügig mit Semmelbröseln bestreuen.

In einer großen Schüssel Mehl, Zucker, Backpulver, Speisenatron und Salz vermischen.

Die Schokolade in einer großen Schüssel über einem Wasserbad schmelzen. Ein paar Minuten abkühlen lassen, dann Olivenöl, Eier, Milch, Orangenabrieb und Orangensaft dazugeben und mit einem Handrührer etwa 2 Minuten glatt rühren. Zu der Mehlmischung geben und mit dem Handrührer etwa 1 Minute gut verrühren. Den Teig in die vorbereitete Gugelhupfform gießen und etwa 35–40 Minuten goldbraun backen, die Oberfläche sollte fest sein. Ein Metallstäbchen sollte nach dem Einpieksen in den Kuchen sauber sein. Ein paar Minuten abkühlen lassen, dann die Gugelhupfform ein wenig rütteln und den Kuchen auf eine Platte stürzen. Komplett auskühlen lassen und, falls nötig, den Boden gerade schneiden.

Für die Schokoladenglasur Schokolade und Butter in einem Topf bei niedriger Hitze schmelzen. 1–2 TL Sonnenblumenöl dazugeben und glatt schlagen. Die Glasur über den ausgekühlten Kuchen gießen, mit einem Messer verteilen oder in üppigen Tropfen herunterlaufen lassen.

Für die kandierte Orangenschale Zucker und Wasser in einem kleinen Topf zum Kochen bringen. Wenn es anfängt zu karamellisieren, die Orangenschale dazugeben. Bei mittlerer Hitze etwa 3–4 Minuten köcheln lassen, bis die Schale golden und weich ist – aufpassen, dass sie nicht anbrennt. Während der Karamell noch flüssig ist, die Orangenschale schnell auf einem Stück Backpapier ausbreiten. Ein paar Minuten auskühlen lassen, von dem Papier abziehen und den Kuchen damit dekorieren, solange die Glasur noch weich ist.

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel







Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary

Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary

I once read that the 3rd Monday of January is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year – Blue Monday. I don’t know if it’s true, luckily it has already passed, and I didn’t notice my mood drooping drastically that day. However, I’ve felt a rising impatience for more light and warmer weather to come back into my life. So much so that I had to book flights to Malta last night. This always makes me feel so much better, no matter how far in the future the departure date lies, just the thought of it puts me in a good mood.

Another way to lift my spirits is food. Cosy food, colourful food, or simply delicious food. This dish combines all of it: nutty Beluga lentils, topped with thin slices of rutabaga, quickly cooked in the pan with lots of ginger, orange zest and juice, and fresh rosemary. The rustic root is as bright as the sunrise over Malta’s east coast and its earthy flavour can easily deal with some strong aromas. I was surprised how well it merged with the dark legumes.

Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary


Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary

Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary

Serves 3-4

For the lentils

lentils, or any lentils (no soaking required), 280 g / 10 ounces
small sprig fresh rosemary 1
bay leaf 1
olive oil
balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon
fine sea salt
ground pepper

For the rutabaga

peeled rutabaga, cut into wedges and very thinly sliced (use a mandoline or cheese slicer), 300g / 10 1/2 ounces
freshly grated ginger 1 tablespoon
freshly grated zest of 1 orange
freshly squeezed orange juice 100ml / 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons
fine sea salt
ground pepper
finely chopped fresh rosemary needles 1-2 tablespoons
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

Place the lentils in a saucepan with plenty of (unsalted) water, add the rosemary and bay leaf, and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until al dente (or follow the package instructions). Remove excess liquid with a ladle if necessary and stir in a generous splash of olive oil and the vinegar. Season to taste with salt, pepper and vinegar.

While the lentils are cooking, prepare the rutabaga: In a large, heavy pan, heat a generous splash of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the rutabaga and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and al dente. Scrape the rutabaga to the side, add a little more olive oil to the pan along with the ginger, cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the orange zest (leave a little of the zest for the topping) and juice and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the rosemary or use as a topping once the plates are ready. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until the desired texture is reached.

Divide the lentils between plates and lay the rutabaga on top. Sprinkle with rosemary, orange zest, and crushed peppercorns and drizzle with a little olive oil (optional). Serve immediately.

Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary


Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary


Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary



Lamb Chops with Orange-Herb Crust & Mediterranean Mashed Potatoes

Lamb Chops with Orange Herb Crust and Mediterranean Mashed Potatoes

When the popular German food magazine Lust auf Genuss asked to feature eat in my kitchen in their February print issue I was more than excited. This magazine is a culinary gem! Their fantastic team creates so many amazing recipes and shares detailed information about our every day ingredients. I really love their special columns about wine makers and other fascinating food producers and their delicious products, just reading through the pages and seeing the pictures makes me want to cook!

I was very lucky, this month’s issue was about citrus fruits which made my pleasure even greater, there is barely a recipe without oranges, lemons or tangerines coming out of my kitchen at the moment. So a whole magazine dedicated to my beloved powerful fruits felt like the perfect surrounding for a feature about me and the blog, especially because I was asked to contribute a new recipe which wasn’t on the blog yet. My first choice was guinea fowl with lemon ricotta stuffed under the skin but the magazine’s own cooking team had a similar recipe in mind. Lamb chops were next on my list. Easter is close and there’ll definitely be lamb on the table at one point, it also combines wonderfully with citrus flavours. It seemed just perfect. The decision for the final recipe was actually made in the forest, during an afternoon walk with my mother. We chatted about the feature and within seconds the idea was set: the chops quickly seared and topped with a thin slice of orange then finished under the grill. The orange coated in a layer of chopped, fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme and sage) mixed with parmesan and olive oil. The ripe cheese creates a fine crust in the oven and adds its wonderful aroma to the composition.

I served the lamb with lemony Mediterranean mashed potatoes to keep it pure and simple, just olive oil, sea salt and a bit of lemon zest chopped with a knife into the roots. This is the right meal to get into the mood for spring and all its culinary fragrant pleasures!

Lamb Chops with Orange Herb Crust and Mediterranean Mashed Potatoes


Lamb Chops with Orange Herb Crust and Mediterranean Mashed Potatoes

Lamb Chops with Orange Herb Crust & Mediterranean Mashed Potatoes

For 2 people you need

For the lamb chops

lamb chops (1 1/2-2cm / 3/4″ thick) 6, about 450g / 16 ounces
organic orange, ends cut off, very thinly sliced, 1 (you’ll need 6 slices)
olive oil 3 tablespoons plus more for frying
mixed fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme), finely chopped, 1 tablespoon
grated ripe parmesan 2 tablespoons
salt and pepper

Set the oven to grill, the oven has to be hot when you put the meat in.

Whisk the olive oil, herbs and parmesan and coat 6 slices of orange generously with the herb oil on both sides. Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan and sear the lamb chops over a high heat for 1 minute on each side. I like them rare, keep them in the pan for another 30 seconds if you prefer them medium. Take the pan off the heat and season with salt and pepper. Lay 1 slice of herb coated orange on each piece of meat and put the lamb chops under the hot grill for about 1 minute (just let cheese melt and the rind turn golden brown). Serve with the mashed potatoes.


For the mashed potatoes

potatoes, peeled and cooked in salted water, about 400g / 14 ounces
olive oil 50ml / 2 ounces
lemon zest 1 1/2 teaspoons
sea salt

Chop the warm potatoes with a knife until they have a lumpy texture adding the oil constantly. Stir in the zest and season with salt.

Lamb Chops with Orange Herb Crust and Mediterranean Mashed Potatoes


Lamb Chops with Orange Herb Crust and Mediterranean Mashed Potatoes


Lamb Chops with Orange Herb Crust and Mediterranean Mashed Potatoes

Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric Roots

Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric

I’m still in my post Christmas meat-reduced phase, I just don’t feel inspired to throw a heavy roast in the oven, or put a steak in the pan. Although the annual feasting is already a month ago, my appetite calls for vegetables and seafood, light on the body and preferably refined with lots of citrus fruits, herbs, spices or whatever comes into my mind.

Out of all the wonderful culinary gifts we get from the sea, mussels are one of the easiest to prepare and luckily, they’re still in season. I like to be brave when it comes to seasoning their cooking juices, I want each single flavour to be present to infuse their meat, this is not the time to be shy! Today’s recipe follows this rule and makes the most aromatic broth, it’s perfect to dip little pieces of crunchy baguette in. This is almost the best part of this meal and every time we have mussels on the table, it fills me with excitement. So, I chose a combination of sweet blood orange, fennel, fresh ginger and turmeric which literally melts in your mouth, it’s a colourful explosion of fresh flavours. Look at the bright yellow, the vibrant orange and refreshing green, translate that into taste and you’ll have an idea of what happened at our lunch table!

For the cooking broth, I mixed the citrus fruit’s juice with some white wine and grated a little zest which created a wonderful aroma. Roots were my next addition, strips and slices of warming ginger and luckily, I can get fresh turmeric at the moment. The deep orange root is a fragrant concentrate, it’s so unique you can’t compare it to anything else, not even the powder. When I peel the thin skin off it turns my fingers into a golden yellow, it had the same effect on the broth and looked stunning. I couldn’t help it, this buoyant dish just put a smile on my face!

Some more mussel inspiration:

Saffron Bouchot Mussels with Tomatoes, Garlic and Parsley

Spiced Mussels with Ginger, Lemongrass and Coriander

Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric


Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric

Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric

For 2-3 people you need

fresh mussels 1 kg / 2 pounds
white wine 200ml / 1/2 pint
freshly squeezed blood orange juice 50ml / 1 3/4 ounces
blood orange zest 1 tablespoon
small fennel bulb, quartered and thinly sliced, 1 plus the fresh green, chopped, for the topping
fresh ginger, cut into small strips, a thumb sized piece
fresh turmeric, sliced, 1 thumbnail sized piece
bay leaf 1
salt 1/2 teaspoon

Rinse and scrub the mussels under cold water and cut off the beard, discard any broken mussels.

In a large pot, bring the wine and juice with the zest, fennel, ginger, turmeric, bay leaf and salt to the boil. Add the mussels to the hot broth, close with a lid and cook on lowest heat for 5 minutes or until the shells open (shake the pot once or twice while cooking or gently mix with a slotted ladle). Discard any mussels that don’t open! Sprinkle the mussels with the fresh fennel green and serve immediately, preferably with baguette and a glass of chilled white wine.

Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric


Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric


Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric

Elisenlebkuchen – Juicy Spice Cookies with Bittersweet Chocolate


Elisenlebkuchen are essential German Christmas treats! A bite of these juicy spice and chocolate cookies, a sip of my mulled wine and some John Fahey tunes in the background and I’m right in the mood for the 1st Advent!

These dark sweets are a special kind of Lebkuchen, made without any flour or butter but lots of ground hazelnuts, almonds, spices and citrus fruits. They are often compared to gingerbread (which I find difficult as there’s no ginger involved in the recipe), with a similar aromatic juiciness which is no surprise as they combine all the wonderful flavours associated with festive baking, like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, all spice and citrus. A simple Lebkuchen officially becomes the queen of all  Lebkuchen, the fine Elisenlebkuchen, when the dough contains more than 25% of nuts and less than 10% flour. It’s kind of a royal upgrade to keep the quality and protect its tradition. Originally from Nuremberg (Nürnberg in German), the city gained fame all over the world for this sweet delicacy. I remember emptying one package of them after the other as a child at Christmas, preferably the ones covered in bittersweet chocolate. The Nuremberg Lebkuchen are either ‘naked’ or glazed with sugar or chocolate, which were the most popular ones in my family so I had to eat them quick.

After years of stuffing my belly with them under the Christmas tree, the time has come to start the Lebkuchen production at my home. Elisenlebkuchen are often quite big but I wanted a smaller size, just a small bite to enjoy them more often. The preparation is surprisingly easy. The dough can be used as soon as it’s mixed although some bakers recommend keeping it in the fridge overnight. It’s a bit sticky but manageable. You just have to drop a dollop of it on a thin edible wafer paper for cookies (also known as oblate) and put them in the oven until they are golden but still soft inside. The result is almost spongy and so fragrant that it wasn’t easy for me to watch them cool before I could brush them with bittersweet chocolate. When you have a treat like this in front of you, the last thing you want to do is wait!

In the past, certain bakeries were specialised in the production of Lebkuchen all over the country to create their own christmassy signature sweet for their region. The textures and shapes vary, some are cut into squares like in Aachen in the west of Germany, or baked in the shape of hearts like in Bavaria. Elisenlebkuchen are still my favourite, with chocolate of course and preferably in large amounts!

Have a jolly 1st Advent!





For 40 cookies you need

organic eggs (at room temperature) 3
sugar 210g / 7.5 ounces
hazelnuts, roughly chopped, 40g / 1.5 ounces
ground hazelnuts 200g / 7 ounces
ground almonds 80g / 3 ounces
candied lemon peel 50g / 2 ounces
candied orange peel 50g / 2 ounces
lemon zest 2 teaspoons
orange zest 2 teaspoons
ground cinnamon 1 1/2 teaspoons
ground cardamom 1/4 teaspoon
ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon
ground coriander 1/2 teaspoon
ground allspice 1/4 teaspoon
ground mace 1/4 teaspoon
a pinch of salt
edible round wafer papers for cookies (50mm / 1/4″ diameter), 40
(if you use a bigger size, add a little more dough on each of them and bake the cookies a bit longer)
bittersweet chocolate 300g / 10.5 ounces, for the topping
butter 1 1/2 tablespoons, for the topping
almonds 40, for the topping

Set the oven to 180°C / 355°F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a sauce pan, melt the chocolate and butter for the topping.

Mix the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer for about 7 minutes until light and creamy, there shouldn’t be any sugar crystals left.

Combine the ground nuts, almonds, candied peel, zest, spices and salt and gently stir into the egg sugar mixture with a wooden spoon until combined. Stir in the chopped nuts and put a heaped teaspoon of the dough on each round wafer paper. Put the cookies on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 13 minutes or until golden, they should stay soft inside.

Let them cool on a rack before you brush them with the melted chocolate and garnish each of them with an almond.














Chilled Summer Sangria with Rosemary

Sangria with Rosemary

This is one of the best summer drinks, chilled summer sangria with lots of orange juice and woody rosemary. I use more juice than wine, so it’s stuffed with vitamins – you could almost call it a healthy drink! The juice of a lemon adds a bit of sourness which I don’t want to weaken with too much sugar. Only 1 tablespoon, that’s all I put in and its enough to push the fruit’s natural sweetness. A glass of brandy and a few orange slices make this Spanish classic complete. You could also chop in some peaches or strawberries, but I like to concentrate on citrus fruits. That’s how I remember it from my holidays in Ibiza and that’s how I love it. The rosemary is my personal customization, we tried it once and got hooked on it.

For 1 big bowl of sangria, I mixed 750ml / 1.5 pints of dry red wine with 900ml / 2 pints of good quality orange juice and 150ml / 5 ounces of brandy. I added the juice of a lemon, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 4 small sprigs of rosemary and the slices of 1 organic orange. The sangria is best slightly chilled and when it can sit for at least 1 hour.

Sangria with Rosemary


Sangria with Rosemary


Sangria with Rosemary

Bittersweet Chocolate and Orange Sponge Cake


Last week I wrote about one of my numerous phone calls with my Maltese granny who is actually my boyfriend’s granny but over the years, after so many stays on her home island and through our shared passion for food she “adopted” me. That’s how it feels, she became my granny. In our last conversation she gave me a wonderful recipe for the Maltese tea time cookies with vermouth and she also mentioned a cake made with bittersweet chocolate and orange (juice and zest). I love this combination but my boyfriend isn’t so fond of it and I didn’t want to end up eating a whole cake on my own. But she insisted on giving it a try, she knows her grandson after all, and she was right!

We both agreed that this cake is amazing, simple but so aromatic. The texture is very spongy and on top it has a fine sugary crust, a bit flaky. I sprinkled it with some more chocolate when the top was still a bit warm and it melted into the crust. Granny Edith was right, I didn’t have to eat the cake on my own and it didn’t even last for 2 days!

Orange Chocolate Cake

Bittersweet Chocolate and Orange Sponge Cake

For a 20cm / 8″ cake pan you need

butter 180g / 6.5 ounces
sugar 210g / 7.5 ounces
plain flour 180g / 6.5 ounces
baking powder 2 teaspoons
pinch of salt
organic eggs 3
orange juice 2 tablespoons
orange zest 1 1/2 tablespoons
bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarsely, 100g / 3.5 ounces plus 1 tablespoon finely grated for topping

Set the oven to 175°C / 350°F (fan-assisted oven) and butter the cake pan.

Mix the butter with the sugar and orange zest till fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well for a couple minutes. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and orange juice and mix quickly until everything is combined. Stir in the chopped chocolate and scrape the dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes and sprinkle with finely grated chocolate.

Orange Chocolate Cake


Orange Chocolate Cake


Orange Chocolate Cake