Tag: podcast

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 | Sebastian Frank’s Horváth – Austrian Roots in Berlin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to the podcast episode with Sebastian on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Celery, Aged and Young

by Sebastian Frank / Horváth

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

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

Serves 2

* For the aged celery in salt dough

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

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

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

Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F.

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

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

For the celery salt

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

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

For the chicken soup

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

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

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

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

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

Young celery

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

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

Toasted celery seeds (for serving)

  • 20g / 3/4 ounce celery seeds

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

For finishing the chicken soup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to the podcast episode with Marta on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Chocolate Chickpea Cookies

by Marta Greber

Makes about 22 small cookies

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

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

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

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

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

Meet In Your Kitchen | Mr. Susan’s Kimchi Michelada

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 really helped carve out my identity, it made me realize who I am, but it was also entrée into other cultures.”– Susan Choi

What happens when you grow up in Germany, move to LA to a Mexican neighborhood at the age of six together with your Korean parents then replace California with NYC and finally end up in Berlin with a Dutch husband? You love schnitzel, traditional German food and traditions like Sunday afternoon Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake); your mother’s Korean cooking becomes a safe home inside yourself, a culinary bond to your roots; you develop a weak spot for Mexican ice cream, and adapt to the culinary playfulness that Americans master to perfection so easily.

This is the culinary map of Susan Choi, the owner of Berlin’s acclaimed Mr. Susan bar. Why Mr. Susan? – Susan says “Why not!” Susan embraces, no she celebrates all the colors and shapes, the flavors and textures, the stories and people that this map keeps bringing into her life. She dove deep into each of these cultures, they became a part of who she is today. She welcomes them with respect, curiosity, and infinite excitement and she finds in them endless inspiration to feed her mantra: Life’s a feast!

“My parents worked so hard for us. It is the classic kind of immigrant story where your parents work like a bajillion jobs, bajillion hours to make sure that you have everything that you could want in the world. Every single opportunity I have is because of my parents.“ – Susan Choi

Susan is one of the most positive and energetic people I know – I can’t really imagine her having a bad day. The obstacles in her life were tough, from brutal racism to having to learn to assimilate to a new culture over and over again yet she never let go of staying true to herself. She always knew, even at a very young age, that she either learns to stand her ground or lose the battle and drown. The headwind made her stronger, she’s a tough woman but she managed to keep her soft side. And this combination makes her so lovable, so irresistible, and charming, and also – especially when she stands, smiling, at the counter of her bar sipping an iced coffee – it makes her the cutest. I could just squeeze her.

Her New York life was quite glamorous. Working as a consultant, being a regular in the city’s spectacular restaurants, she developed an even deeper fascination for food in general but also for the people who create it. She learned about the magic of a place, thriving from the dishes, the guests, the location, the interior, and first and foremost, she learned that you lose everything without keeping quality on a constant high level. When you visit Mr. Susan bar today, you can see that she soaked up every detail during her journey. Susan truly understands what makes or breaks a bar, or a restaurant.

Germany’s culinary traditions left a deep mark in her memory. The food, the rituals, the smells, and taste, she finds home in them and they paved her move to Berlin. During one of her first nights in the city, she sat on a swing over the Spree river sipping an Aperol Spritz on a warm summer’s eve and she knew, this is my home. Catering pop-ups and events quickly opened the door to another new city. Berlin welcomed this vivid woman with open arms, thankful for the excitement she brought to the Berliners’ palates. 

Be it her food or her drinks, there’s always something unique and thrilling in Susan’s compositions. Visually and in taste. Maybe because she learned to go through life with open eyes, she never misses a detail. The first drink I had at her bar was served with a paper straw with pink flamingos on it. The straw – and the flamingos – were upside down. It bugged her so much that she had to flip it. Together with her husband Robbert – the two are one of the most complementary couples I’ve ever met – she created a bar that excites, that is fun, and invites you to have a chat at the bar just like you were at home in your kitchen throwing a house party with only fabulous drinks and people (of course).

The recipe Susan shared with me for the Meet in My Kitchen podcast is her playful version of a Korean inspired Mexican drink: Kimchi Michelada! She makes a popsicle of tomato juice refined with kimchi juice and lime juice, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce then she puts the bright red frozen juices into a glass and pours ice-cold beer over it. Despite the fact that I’m German, I’m not the most passionate about beer, but this drink got me hooked. There’s nothing better to have in your glass on a hot summer’s night! If you don’t have popsicle molds, you can use ice cube molds, that’s totally fine. Susan shows how to make the drink in a tutorial in the Highlights of the podcast’s Instagram Stories, click here and go to the Highlight #5 Mr. Susan.

The podcast episode with Susan Choi 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 Susan on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Kimchi Michelada

by Susan Choi / Mr. Susan

No popsicle molds? No problem, try using ice trays for ice cubes!

Makes 6-8 popsicles

For the Kimchi Michelada Popsicles

  • 0.5 Liter / 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon of unsalted organic tomato juice
  • 250 ml / 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 100 ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon kimchi juice*, or to taste, you can buy the kimchi directly from Susan (click here) or at any Asian shop and many organic shops
  • 100 ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 8-10 dashes of Worcestershire sauce (Susan uses L&P)

* Kimchi is a live product, it will continue to ferment over time thus have different flavor profiles so adjust to taste! You’ll need to buy roughly 500g / 17 1/2 ounces of kimchi and then drain it for the right amount of kimchi juice. You only use the liquid for the popsicles, you can use the drained kimchi for other recipes or snacks. The more fermented the kimchi, the juicier it’ll be.

For serving

  • About 2-4 tablespoons lime juice, to brush the outside of the glasses
  • Tajin (chili-lime sea salt), to sprinkle the outside of the glasses
  • Your favorite beer. We suggest a crisp lager. It can also be enjoyed with alcohol free beer!

For the popsicles, mix the ingredients together and pour into your favorite popsicle molds (or ice trays for ice cubes). Freeze for minimum 12 hours. 

For serving, brush some lime juice on the outside of a tall glass (just a wide strip) and sprinkle with chili salt. Place a popsicle in the glass and pour in your favorite beer. Or pour the beer into the glass and lay the popsicle on top of the glass (looks prettier and more dramatic).

Meet In Your Kitchen | Domberger Brot-Werk’s Secret to German Bread

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 kind of everything. It’s a source of conflicts, of love. It connects, it’s sharing, it differentiates. It’s absolutely underrated in Germany.” – Florian Domberger

The first time I visited Florian Domberger’s bakery, Domberger Brot-Werk, in Berlin’s Moabit neighborhood I tried (almost) everything I saw on the wooden shelves: pretzels, croissants, fragrant loaves of crusty German rye and spice bread and traditional buns, such as Vinschgerl, Schrippen, Seelen, and Schusterjungs. All made with sourdough, all made with love. I was hooked. So I sat outside on a bench in front of the bakery in the golden late morning sunlight, all that baked deliciousness spread out in front of me, and every bite reminded me of how bread used to taste in my childhood.

Florian and his team master more than just savory traditional German baking, their sweets are also a generous gift to your palate and hips. His Butterkuchen (a yeasted sheet cake topped with lots of butter and sugar) and his Zimtschnecken (cinnamon rolls) are both the best I ever had in my life. So what is the secret behind this bakery? Florian says it’s just “flour, water, salt, time – and love!”, and I agree, he and his bakers truly understand the core of what their craft is about.

The craft of a baker demands a lot of fascination – and love – for the ingredients, for the flour, the process, the desire to approach perfection and improve each move every day. A baker needs the humble understanding of the importance of time, working and watching your dough slowly and attentively, you can’t rush sourdough bread. And that’s the tricky point where commercial bakeries lost the craft and with this loss they turned the taste of good bread into a faded memory. Commercial yeast and ready-made bread mixes replaced the elaborate simplicity of “flour, water, salt, and time” and paved the way for an industrialization that is conflicting when it comes to food that achieves its taste and quality from a slow process. An undertaking that could only fail and threaten the tradition and variety that once Germany became famous for.

Twenty years ago, driving through my home country, I could stop at almost any bakery in any town, village, and city. Those were still individual bakeries who had their family name written outside on the shop’s sign and inseparably connected to their name was the responsibility, and the pride, to only deliver quality to their customers. And that’s where Florian decided to go back to. He put his name on the sign. After a successful international career in shipping and logistics, after leaving his family’s business and telling his father he’s not going to follow in his footsteps, he learned the craft of the baker with the goal to open his own bakery. Five years ago, his wife, Vanessa, and their two daughters followed their husband and father to Berlin and together they built up one of Berlin’s most acclaimed bakeries.

One of Florian’s most popular breads – and the recipe that he shared with me (see below) – is his Beutebrot. A white sourdough bread made with wheat and a little spelt flour, with a firm crust and an open almost moist crumb (the double-picture at the bottom of this post showing the loaf cut in half is the bread that I baked in my kitchen, which worked out perfectly). If you happen to have an active sourdough starter in your kitchen you can enjoy Florian’s Beutebrot in less than 24 hours and feel the sweet satisfaction of a real bread baker.

The podcast episode with Florian Domberger 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 Florian on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Beutebrot / Wheat and Spelt Sourdough Bread

by Florian Domberger / Brot-Werk

You will need a cast iron cocotte (Dutch oven) with a lid to bake the bread and a very sharp razor blade (bread lame / scoring knife) to score the loaves before baking – and of course, you will need an active sourdough starter.

Makes 2 loaves of sourdough bread 

  • 900g / 7 cups unbleached wheat flour (type 550)
  • 100g / ¾ cup whole spelt flour
  • 750ml / 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water 
  • 100g / 3 ½ ounces active sourdough starter *
  • 25g / 5 teaspoons fine sea salt

* Your sourdough starter is active when you refresh it and it doubles its volume within roughly 4-5 hours. For this recipe, use the refreshed sourdough starter as soon as it has risen to its peak, before deflating. To test the activity of your starter, you can add a spoonful of it to a glass of water: it should float, it should not sink, then it’s ready to be added to the dough. On my Instagram you see how I grew a sourdough starter from scratch, it’s in the Highlight Story ‘Sourdough’, click here.

This is my bread baking schedule: On Day 1, I refresh my sourdough starter in the late morning/ around noon, I start mixing the dough at around 5 pm then, after folding and shaping the dough, I leave it in the fridge overnight and remove it from the fridge the next day at around 8:30am. On Day 2 at around 10am, I preheat the oven and bake one loaf after the other in a round cast iron cocotte (Dutch oven) with a lid. At the bakery, Florian shapes the loaves on Day 2, however I find that my schedule works easier for a home baker.

Day 1

In a medium bowl, combine the wheat flour and the spelt flour. In a large bowl, whisk together the water and sourdough starter. Add the flour mixture and, using your hands, mix for about 3 minutes until well combined; it will be a little sticky. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest at room temperature for about 40 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt on top of the dough and, using your fingers, push and rub the salt into the dough. Fold the dough on top of itself a few times then cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest at room temperature (about 21°C / 70°F in my kitchen) for 30 minutes.

Now the bulk fermentation starts, which will take about 3-4 hours: Every 30 minutes, wet your hands with a little water and , grabbing underneath the dough on one side, lift the dough and fold it on top of itself then turn the bowl by 90° and repeat folding the dough the same way on top of itself; turn the bowl by 90° and repeat folding the dough two more times so that the dough has been folded on top of itself from all 4 sides. Cover the bowl, let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes then repeat folding the dough the same way (each time from all 4 sides) every 30 minutes. After 3-4 hours the dough will feel softer and smoother, more cohesive and less stretchy, and it will have risen by roughly 30%. This process will fasten when the room temperature is higher and take longer when the room is colder.

After the bulk fermentation, gently pour or scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto a work surface, dust the dough’s top with a little flour then flip the dough and gently cut the dough into 2 pieces. Take one piece of dough, fold it onto itself so that the top and the bottom surface is dusted with flour. Using a bench knife or your hands, gently pull and turn the dough, giving it a round shape and building surface tension (you can find tutorials about shaping sourdough loaves online). The top should be round, smooth, and very taut. Shape the second piece of dough the same way then let both pieces rest for about 10 minutes.

Line 2 bread baskets or bowls (about 20cm / 8″ diameter) with kitchen towels and dust the towels with flour. For the final shaping, dust one piece of dough with a little flour and, using a bench knife, flip the dough. Gently stretch and pull the side of the dough that’s lying closest to you a little up and fold it over the middle of the dough. Pull the right side of the dough up and fold it to the left generously over the middle of the dough then pull the left side up and fold it to the right generously over the middle of the dough. Now pull the side furthest away from you up and fold the dough onto itself towards you then lay your hands, shaped like a dome, on top of the dough and pull and rotate the dough, while the seams stay at the bottom, towards you. This builds surface tension and creates a taut, round top. Using a bench knife, lift the dough then transfer and flip it into the prepared basket; the seam should be at the top and the round surface at the bottom. Repeat the same way with the second piece of dough. Wrap both baskets with the loaves in large freezer or rubbish bags and transfer to the refrigerator. Leave the dough to rise in the fridge overnight (for about 11-12 hours).

Day 2

After 11-12 hours, remove both baskets from the fridge, leaving them in the bags at room temperature. After 2 hours, place a cocotte (Dutch oven) closed with its lid on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat the oven to the highest setting (at least 250°C / 475°F) for about 30 minutes. The cocotte should be very hot. Remove one basket from the bag. Line a large wooden board with parchment paper, place it on top of the basket, and flip the basket so that the loaf lies on the parchment paper. Quickly score the top of the loaf with the razor blade (you can find tutorials about scoring sourdough loaves and different scoring patterns online) then immediately, and very carefully (!), remove the hot cocotte from the oven, placing it onto a trivet. Be cautious and mind that the cocotte is very hot and can cause severe injuries! Immediately remove the lid from the cocotte then transfer the loaf (on the parchment paper) to the hot cocotte and quickly but carefully place the loaf (on the parchment paper) in the cocotte. Close with the lid, place the cocotte on the rack in the oven then reduce the heat to 230°C / 450°F and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake open for another 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Transfer the bread to a cooling rack. Let the bread cool for at least 20-30 minutes before you cut it.

To bake the second loaf, raise the oven temperature to the highest setting again (at least 250°C / 475°F), place the cocotte closed with its lid in the oven, and heat for 10-15 minutes. Then repeat the steps described above but mind to reduce the heat to 230°C / 450°F when you transfer the scored second loaf into the oven (a step I often forget).

The bread tastes best in the first 3 days. It also freezes well, you just defrost the frozen loaf, sprinkle the defrosted (or partly defrosted) loaf generously with water then bake it at 200°C / 400°F for about 10-20 minutes.

Meet In Your Kitchen | Maria’s Cannelloni al Ragù

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

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

“I think it’s amazing that we need to eat to survive but the way to survive is to do something that is amazing to do, that you can enjoy, that you have the privilege, the luxury, three, four times a day to do something out of necessity that you can enjoy as one of the I would say best things there is in life.” – Maria Gerace

The first time I met Maria Gerace she came to a Saturday lunch at my apartment, we started at noon and parted at 4 in the morning. Mussels, crêpes, late night pasta, and many bottles of vino – that was the perfect start of a friendship that would always circle around food, wine, and long conversations. When I go to Maria’s kitchen she makes cannelloni for me – not a couple but 20 (you can find the recipe below, Maria uses crespelle/ crêpes for the cannelloni instead of cannelloni pasta). In her kitchen, she’s my Italian mamma who always takes care that my plate (and glass) is never empty!

Maria grew up in a small town in Calabria, close to the sea, right at the tip of Italy’s boot and far away from the life she was longing for. She was raised by her grandmother who planted the seed in the young girl’s soul that a good life is always connected to good food and to people to share it with.

At a young age Maria was already used to patiently peeling pounds of fava beans in the evening in front of the TV; to making passata in the garage once a year with the entire family, each member having at strict role in the procedure – a hierarchy that only slowly alters with age. Food was never just prepared for oneself, but always shared with the whole family. The famous Sunday tomato sauce enriched with polpettine, a weekly ritual, which smell and taste is so deeply woven into her memory, was a frugal feast in her granny’s kitchen that no family member dared to miss. The young ones brought their boyfriends and girlfriends, the aunts and uncles sharing laughs and stories, a constant flow of people pulled to the kitchen of a woman who held everything and everybody together like a magnet.

Once a year the family would gather and go on a ‘pilgrimage’ to slaughter a pig at a small village close by. The blood would be collected immediately to make sanguinaccio, cooked with cocoa, sugar, and spices it was turned into a rich chocolate sauce that the kids loved. Even for the young ones it was normal that every part of an animal was used, that the whole family would always be involved in every food endeavor, and that there were recurring culinary rituals that marked the flow of the year and made it special. Traditions that everyone was longing for.

Although her curiosity and hunger for life made her leave the south of Italy to study industrial design in Milan, to travel and experience the world and widen her view, to then settle in Berlin with her husband Jan and work as an eyewear designer, Maria’s voice always mellows when she talks about her granny, about Italian food, and the sea.

The podcast episode with Maria Gerace 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 Maria on:

Spotify / Apple / DeezerGoogle / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Cannelloni al Ragù

by Maria Gerace

There are many steps involved in the preparation of this dish, so it makes sense to cook it in larger quantities. Cannelloni freeze very well. Follow this recipe and freeze them (in the baking dish) before (!) baking the crespelle in the oven. After defrosting them you can bake them following this recipe again. You can also prepare the ragù and the tomato sauce a day ahead. The crêpes and béchamel sauce (in case you don’t use store bought sauce) should be made the day you finish the preparation and then either bake or freeze the cannelloni.

Makes about 20 crespelle / Serves 7-10 

For the ragù (you can prepare the ragù a day ahead)

  • 100 ml / 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 500g / 17 2/3 ounces ground beef (or mixed beef/ pork)
  • 1kg / 2 1/4 pounds canned whole peeled tomatoes, crushed (or canned crushed tomatoes)
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Nutmeg, preferably freshly grated

For the crêpes 

  • 600ml / 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 225g / 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
  • Fine sea salt
  • Unsalted butter, to cook the crêpes

For the tomato sauce (you can prepare the tomato sauce a day ahead)

  • Extra-virgin olive oil to taste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 500g / 17 1/2 ounces tomato passata
  • Fine sea salt

To finish the cannelloni

  • 1 liter / 4 1/4 cups thick béchamel sauce*
  • Parmesan, freshly grated
  • Nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
  • 500g / 17 2/3 ounces Provola cheese, cut into cubes

* Here is my recipe for béchamel sauce from my book ‘365

  • 1 liter / 4 1/4 cups whole milk 
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • Nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
  • Fine sea salt
  • Finely ground pepper
  • 45g / 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 45g / 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

For the ragù, simmer the white wine in a medium saucepan for 5 minutes to boil off the alcohol and reduce acidity. In a large pan, heat a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat, add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes. Add the ground beef and a little olive oil and cook over high heat, stirring to break up the meat, for a few minutes or until the meat is browned. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, using a spatula to scrape any bits and pieces off the bottom, then add the tomatoes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and gently simmer over medium-low heat for 1-2 hours; the ragù should be thick. Place a large colander in a deep sheet pan then pour the ragù into the colander to drain any excess liquid; for the filling, the ragù needs to be very thick and not runny. Set the sauce collected in the sheet pan aside. Let the ragù cool completely.

For the crêpes, whisk together the milk, olive oil, and eggs then add the flour and a pinch of nutmeg and salt and whisk, using a stand mixer or a whisk, until smooth and well combined. Let the batter sit for about 30 minutes.

For the tomato sauce, heat a splash of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for a few minutes then add the passata, season with a pinch of salt, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the garlic then let the sauce cool for at least 15 minutes.

For the béchamel sauce, combine the milk, bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon of ground or freshly grated nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of pepper in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately take the pan off the heat, remove and discard the bay leaf, and set aside. To make the roux for the béchamel, melt the butter in a separate medium saucepan over medium-high heat and as soon as it’s sizzling hot, whisk in the flour. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the roux and whisk until smooth. Simmer on low, whisking occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken. Season to taste with nutmeg, salt, and pepper and set aside.

To cook the crêpes, spread out 4-6 kitchen towels on a work surface. In a 20 cm / 8“-non-stick pan or cast iron skillet heat 1/2 teaspoon of butter over medium-high heat. Pour in a ladle of the batter, tilting and turning the pan so that the batter spreads evenly and very thinly. Cook the crêpe, flipping once, for about 30-60 seconds per side or until golden. Spread the crêpe on the prepared kitchen towels and continue cooking about 19 more crêpes with the remaining batter, adding a little butter to the pan and adjusting the heat as necessary.

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F.

To finish the cannelloni, spread a little tomato sauce on the bottom of 2 large baking dishes, drizzle with a little béchamel sauce, and sprinkle with a little Parmesan. Season each crêpe with a little nutmeg and sprinkle with a little Parmesan. Place a generous spoonful of the ragù in the middle of each crêpe and top with Provola and a spoonful of béchamel sauce. Gently roll each crêpe into a tight wrap and arrange them tightly, side by side, in the prepared baking dishes. Cover the crêpes with the remaining tomato sauce, the sauce collected from the ragù, and the béchamel sauce, sprinkle with a little Parmesan, and bake for 30-40 minutes or until it’s bubbling and the top is golden brown. Let the crespelle sit for a few minutes before serving.

Meet In Your Kitchen | Nobelhart & Schmutzig

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.

“Nature is much larger than our actual doings as humans because she can create so much more variety and so much more depth in taste.” – Billy Wagner / Nobelhart & Schmutzig

Nobelhart & Schmutzig seduces the hungry mind with a vibrant cosmos that is hard to resist. The restaurant is not just about food, there is a rebellious, a critical attitude behind it that likes to challenge the comfortable eater. Restaurateur and sommelier Billy Wagner and chef Micha Schäfer create dishes with verve, heart, and precision. They skillfully caress their guests’ tastebuds yet a visit at their Berlin restaurant goes beyond an exciting flavor experience. Billy and Micha dare to question and shake up established structures, to reshape and experiment with all the facets that a visit to a restaurant is about.

When you ring the restaurant’s door bell, when you’re seated at the c-shaped counter – the ‘kitchen table’ framing the open kitchen -, when Micha and his team cook and serve their refined compositions right in front of you, and when Billy, the conductor, takes care that you’ll never forget this evening, then you’re part of an almost orchestral experience that includes all your senses and excludes the outer world for a little while. There’s the excitement of the unexpected but there’s also the comfort of an ambience that allows you to be fully yourself. Isn’t that what a visit to a restaurant should be about?

Rewarded with a Michelin Star only nine months after the opening and with 16 points by Guide Gault Millau 2021, ranked at No. 57 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list (Update October 2021: now they are No. 45), Nobelhart & Schmutzig quickly found its fame in the Berlin and in the international restaurant scene. As good as the praise may feel, the ‘old couple’ Billy and Micha – that’s how it feels when you meet them – entered the culinary scene with more profound intentions.

Billy comes from a family of restaurateurs; named Sommelier of the Year several times, gaining experience at the German 2-Star Michelin restaurant Zur Traube amongst others, he achieved a deep understanding of what a satisfying visit to a restaurant should truly be about. Dropping out of the 2-Star Michelin restaurant Villa Merton in Frankfurt at the innocent age of 27 and taking over the responsibility for the culinary creations in Billy’s endeavor right from the start in 2015, Micha also had a very clear vision of the food that inspires him as a chef.

Both men envisioned a menu that pulls the single ingredient right into the spotlight, and with that also the farmers, the butchers, and bakers that are responsible for each ingredient. Focussing, reducing, leaving out the unnecessary, that’s where they found their mantra and the clever and tasty answer to a changing way of eating and indulging. It’s about pure taste, thriving and prospering from seasonal, regional, and responsibly handled resources. And above all, it’s about having a good time and forgetting about obsolete conventions. Nobelhart & Schmutzig is the seductive synergy of two men, two opposite poles, one calm the other impulsive, which Billy modestly describes with the words: “Micha takes care that our guests enjoy the food and I take care that the guests are there.” Below you can find the recipe for Micha Schäfer’s Mashed Potatoes, Onions, Unripe Apples and Savory that he cooked for me at the restaurant.

The Nobelhart & Schmutzig podcast episode 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 Billy and Micha on:

Spotify / Apple / DeezerGoogle / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Mashed Potatoes, Onions, Unripe Apples and Savory

by Micha Schäfer / Nobelhart & Schmutzig

“Our recipes strongly depend on the quality of the ingredients – this counts for each ingredient and that makes the difference. The more regional the ingredients that you buy yourself to prepare this recipe the bigger the possible differences to the ingredients that we held in our hands when we created this recipe and that’s great, that’s really good! This offers the possibility to experience cooking in a new way and to learn to always base a dish on the produce, that’s your starting point, just as we do at Nobelhart & Schmutzig. So be brave and adapt this recipe to your own local conditions!“ – Micha Schäfer

Serves 2

For the onions

  • 150g / 5 1/4 ounces onions
  • 80g / 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • Fine sea salt

For the mashed potatoes

  • 300g / 10 1/2 ounces waxy potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked butter (you can buy smoked butter online, in the Nobelhart & Schmutzig shop, or replace it with regular butter but then, unfortunately, you’ll miss out on the smokey touch)
  • 60g / 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 90ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of the water used to cook the potatoes
  • About 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Fine sea salt

For the apples

  • 1 large or 2 small firm sour baking apples or unripe apples
  • unsalted butter, to cook the apples
  • 1 medium sprig savory

For the onions, peel the onions and dice them very finely. Heat the butter in a small pot over medium heat, add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook slowly, stirring once in a while, over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes or until very soft and pale-golden; they shouldn’t be brown.

For the mashed potatoes, peel the potatoes then cut them into halves or quarters and boil them in salted water for about 20-25 minutes or until soft; mind to keep the water used to cook the potatoes when they are done and set it aside. In a medium pot, mash the potatoes until very fine; you can also use a very fine sieve. Add the smoked butter and the butter and, using a wooden spoon or a whisk, beat / whisk until combined. Gradually add 75ml / 1/3 cup of the potato cooking water, whisking constantly, adding more of the liquid until the mashed potatoes reach the desired creamy texture. Season to taste with vinegar and salt, cover with a lid, and set aside.

Core the apples (don’t peel them) then cut small apples into quarters and large apples into 8 wedges. Heat a teaspoon of butter in a small, heavy pan over high heat (the pan should be very hot). Quickly sear the apple wedges in the hot pan on both sides until golden brown; they should stay firm.

Arrange a spoonful of the onions and a spoonful of the mashed potatoes on 2 plates then arrange the apples on top of the onions. Sprinkle with savory and serve immediately.

Guten Appetit!

Meet In Your Kitchen | Berlin’s Best Bagel Baker

This post is part of my new 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.

For months, a friend who knows how much I love to talk, question, and discuss has been bugging me to start a podcast. So thanks to my friend Anne‘s persistence, here’s my new baby: the Meet in My Kitchen podcast!

For this new series, I invite people to my tiny Berlin kitchen whose journey in life I find inspiring, to find out how they got to where they are in life, to learn about the struggles they had to overcome, how the highs and lows shaped them – and what food has to do with it. My guests are chefs and home cooks, farmers, bakers, and artists, they are all curious adventurers who share a deep zest for food and life. I also visit each guest in her or his kitchen, or restaurant, or bakery, where they share a recipe with me, which you can find in my blog’s Meet in Your Kitchen series.

You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links), there will be English and German episodes.

“Food is making other people love me, it’s very manipulative. That’s how I use food!” – Laurel Kratochvila / Fine Bagels

Many years ago, I discovered a small book shop in my Berlin neighborhood, specializing in English literature. It was a quiet, dark space with wooden floors and vintage furniture, and a little counter filled with the loveliest loaf cakes. I came back almost every week, mainly for the sweets, and soon found out that the shop was run by an American/ Czech couple: Laurel from Boston, responsible for baking, and her husband Roman Kratochvila from Prague, taking care of the books.

They left my neighborhood too soon, creating a void that could never be filled, but they re-opened a much brighter and bigger spot just as charming. This became the famous Shakespeare and Sons / Fine Bagels on Berlin’s lively Warschauer Strasse, praised and loved for Jewish baking classics – and good books. Laurel’s bagels, babka/ challah knots, and rugelach are known across town and get me to hop on my bicycle regularly to enjoy her sweet and savory treats.

I’m intrigued by Laurel’s passion and dedication, and her irresistible smile that wipes away all sorrows. She started as a home baker and then deepened her knowledge and education in French bakeries, but she still has this relaxed aura of ‘a friend who’s just baking in her kitchen.’ Laurel treats her dough like a baby, she knows it well, watches and works it precisely, until it unfolds its true beauty.

For this podcast episode, Laurel shared her recipe for Brick Lane bagels with me (named after London’s famous Brick Lane Beigel bakery). She calls it a mix of a New York and a Montreal bagel. Quick to prepare, a little chewy, and perfect for a luscious sandwich filled with salt beef, mustard, and gherkins, you can now satisfy your bagel cravings in your own kitchen any time.

The podcast episode with Laurel Kratochvila 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 my podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Laurel on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer/ Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Laurel’s Brick Lane Bagels

Makes 12 bagels

  • 1 kg / 7 2/3 cups bread flour or all purpose flour (type 550 in Germany, T55 in France)
  • 50 g / 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 envelope (7 g / 1/4 ounce) fast-acting yeast or 18 g / 2/3 ounce fresh yeast 
  • 10 g / 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 420 ml  / 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 large egg
  • 15 ml / 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • sugar for boiling the bagels
  • sesame and / or poppy seeds for the topping

For the sandwich

  • salt beef, very thinly sliced
  • mustard
  • gherkins, sliced

Preheat the oven to 230°C / 450°F (or the highest temperature setting of your oven). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt then, in a medium bowl, whisk together the water, egg, and vegetable oil, and add to the flour mixture. Mix into a shaggy mass by hand or with a wooden spoon. Then knead by hand for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth. Avoid adding more flour as you knead it. Form the dough into a ball and set into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let rise for 30 minutes in a warm environment. Meanwhile, set a large pot of water on the stove to boil.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll them into tight balls, cover with plastic wrap. After ten minutes, press a hole through the middle of each ball of dough with your thumb or elbow (see pictures below). Stretch out the bagel a bit and place on a lightly floured work surface.

Add a couple spoonfuls of sugar to the boiling water. In batches (2-3 bagels at a time), boil the bagels for 30 seconds to 1 minute, flipping them once. Don’t overdo it! Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove the bagels from the water and transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Top with seeds of your choice. Bake the bagels for about 10 minutes or until golden.

To make the sandwich, cut a bagel in half, stuff it generously with thinly sliced salt beef, drizzle with mustard, top it off with a few slices of gherkins, and close the bagel with its top.

Enjoy!