Sunday, October 25, 2015

Goodbye Hamburg

After almost 14 years in Germany. It's time to say goodbye. I came to Germany when I was a young optimistic and naive young adult. I spent almost all my twenties, part of my teenage year and my early thirties here in this land. It become my second Heimat. I love the culture, the language, the directness of life, the cleanliness, the people that become my friends,and of course the food. 

I was a young foreign student in Berlin when I first came to Germany. It was November, extremely cold and grey for a girl who is used to warm and humid tropical weather. I remember it as if it was yesterday. I wore a blue jacket but I still trembled from the cold when my tutor brought us for a short sightseeing tour near Friedrichstraße U-Oranienburger Tor. Maybe it wasn't only the chill but also my cold homesick heart. I was so sick of all those cheese, bread and cold cuts. My comfort food is a piping hot noodle soup and I was craving for Asian food all the time. I learnt to cook by myself and learnt to navigate through the alleys of Asian Supermarket. My only comfort is my weekly routine of eating out in Asian restaurants. It was the only luxury that I allow myself on my meager student's allowances. Through my cravings this blog was born.

It was very difficult to come to this decision. But after Fitzie is born, I want her to grow up in an environment where she has extended families. Here in Germany her family is only us the parents. Of course there are many friends but there aren't the same as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and  many more. Moreover hubby always believe his place is not in Germany but back in Indonesia. So we thought now or later. Later means more work for all of us. So we are heading back to hot and humid tropical land. A land rich with spices and chili. I'm not really sure what will I do with this blog. I want to keep on blogging. So be patient and I will post some stuffs.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Japanese Candied Sweet Potato

Autumn products are plentiful nowadays, last week I bought Aubergine for 99 Cent/kg. Considering the normal Price at € 1,99. It was such a bargain that I bought 2 KGs of it right away. I made Karniyarik (Turkish filled Aubergine) with them and serve them with pilaf Rice and tabbouleh. I'll post a recipe after this post. 

Anyway the title of this post is Japanese Candied Sweet Potato and not aubergine. So here's the intro:

the Asian Supermarket stock fresh and pretty sweet potato. Fitzie loves them so I bought tons of them right away. Now I have so many sweet potato that I'm wondering what I should do with them. Nami from Justonecookbook has such a great sweet potato recipe. It's ridiculously easy and taste so awesome that you can eat a plateful of them right away.

I won't post a recipe 'cause Nami have described them with such Details in her blog that it will such a shame to take credit of it. But here's my sweet potato.

We all love the crunchy and caramelised exterior and soft creamy interior. We finished off this plate in less than 15 minutes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Goldener Herbst

We have such a mild autumn, glorious sunny days. I love how the German words implied how wonderful autumn can be. Goldener Herbst literally means Golden Autumn. Which sunny and dry autumn really is. Trees are colourful, golden leaves on the ground, so many autumn products to be enjoyed. We spent a lot of time outdoor nowadays, Fitzie walks now so we brought her along to pick wild chestnuts

and wild mushroom in the Wood. 

All wonderful autumn's activities that I've missed last year.

We've picked chanterelles, porcini and Bovist and cooked them in various ways.

Our favourite is definitely porcinis. Bovist is a tasteless Styropor, chanterelles have such a earthy smells and taste spicy. Whereas porcini is smooth, has a firm bite and so fleshy. If only the sell Porcinis in supermarket then we won't need to wake super early on sunday morning.

Have a great autumn you guys

Mel and Fitzie

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cherries at Obsthof Schröder

Hubby and me love cherries. Every year we waited patiently for summer and once the cherries hit the market, we drive to Altes Land - a suburb area of Hamburg, where the orchards are located. Usually we bought our cherries in a small shop called Im Apfelgarten. Last year we drive a bit farther away and found another orchard which offer cherries for picking. We were so excited and brought 6 months old Fitzie there. Fitzie just sat in her buggy and probably suffered from the heat. While we, the parents, ate and enjoyed cherries. 

This year we visit them again and Fitzie can walk around and even picked the cherries herself. She ate so much cherries that we were afraid her tummy will burst. Okay that's a joke but really her tummy was so firm and all my friends were astonish that she can eat continuously like that. 

Right the cherries, here they are; Ripe and plump, ready to be picked. 

Here's the yield of the day. We picked 12 kg of Cherries. There were five of us and we divided them equally at the end of the day. If you are curios how my foot looks like. the foot on top in a black canvas shoe is actually mine. 

The white bucket with the black cherries is the species called valeska. Very dark, very sweet and intense. 

Underneath them are Knupper Cherries which are lighter in colour, sweet with a hint of sourness, very fresh and have firm flesh. Needless to say our favourite type. Therefore four buckets full of these Cherries. 

The owner of this orchard. Herr Schröder and his family are very kind and friendly. If you visit with children, he kindly saw branches for the children so that the kiddies do not need to climb the ladder. You see, cherry trees can be quite high. And he always kindly invite his guests to snack on the cherries. He says don't just pick the cherries, you need to taste them too. And in the end, when we went out to weigh the cherries, they always give some extras, we actually picked 11,8kg but they just ignore the 800gr and ask us to pay 11kg. 

Their rustic and small shop is also so cute. They sell the freshest and most delicious apple juice ever and they also bake cakes and German sour dough bread directly in the shop in an old wood oven. You can imagine how heavenly their shop smells. They also sell jams, wines and various organic veggies from their garden. I bought a giant cucumber for 1 euro and a bucket of fresh summer potatoes for 3 euro. They are exactly my perfect family out of my childhood Enid Blyton's books. So if you are in Hamburg Area and want to find an idyllic getaway. This is the ideal place. 

Obsthof Schröder
Hinterbrack 6
21635 Jork

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Lindt Dark Chocolate Souffle Cake

My dear neighbour, Ute, gave us 3 Lindt Gold Bunny this Easter. 

Fitzie loved to play with them, there're bells which chimed prettily and she loved to threw them onto the floor and picked them again. Surprisingly those bunnies are really robust. She played with them for three months until last Saturday. One of them broke. I thought, now it's the time to bake a cake with it. I've been saving the dark chocolate for this: 

Lindt Dark Chocolate Souffle Cake

200 gr high quality dark Chocolate (2 Lindt Easter Bunny 60% Dark Chocolate)
125 gr butter 
125 gr sugar 
2 Tsp almond flour (fine grounded almond)
6 eggs separated
Fresh strawberries and icing sugar for decoration 

Melt dark chocolate with butter in a double boiler. If you dare, heat them in the microwave or directly in the pot. I love to multi-task so it's easier for me to slowly melt them on top of hot water.  

Heat your oven to 190°C and butter a baking form. 

Boil water in a kettle and pour them into a baking sheet. Heat the water in the ofen. It's for a French baking method called Bain Marie. 

While waiting the chocolate and butter melts to cool off. Beat egg white till soft peaks form.

Once the chocolate and butter cools off, mixed in sugar, almond flour and egg yolks.

Gently fold in the egg white meringue to the chocolate mixture in three separate steps. 

Transfer the batter to the buttered form and bake bain marie for 40 minutes. You will see the cake rises.

After the cake is done, don't take them out directly but wait till it cools off a bit then take them out of the oven. Direct temperature change shocks the cake and will make them shrink. In the end the cake will shrink a bit too. But it will still have some volume. 

Decorate with strawberries and icing sugar.

The cake is dense with chocolate flavour, soft and fluffy. Hubby complained that the structure is almost similar to mousse au chocolat and he prefered cake which has more structure. But hey it's souffle cake. It should be creamy and fluffy. I love it the way it is. If not for the calories I'll eat half of the cake in one eating. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

French toast topped with strawberry and vanilla sauce

We picked strawberries last weekend. It was so much fun, we were so full after that and went home with almost 3 kg of strawberries. I made jars of jam out of it and eat the rest of it just like that. Nothing beats fresh strawberries directly out of the farm. Well maybe fresh cherries but it's stuff for next week. 

Anyway for breakfast I made this, French toast topped with fresh strawberries and a drizzle of vanilla sauce

French Toast

Slices of old bread, I had Ciabatta so I used them
1 egg
a splash of milk
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs butter
Vanilla sauce (My favourite is Matilde but this time I was testing the one from zum Dorfkrug, very yummy too) 

Beat egg, add in milk and sugar.
Soak slices of bread into the custard
Heat a pan and melt the butter, put in the mushy bread and pan fry them into golden brown.
Put half of strawberries on top and drizzle with vanilla sauce

Oh and that's Donald Duck Frühstücksbrett, which I bought at Butler's. I just love it, makes me smile every morning 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Guacomole and Caipirinha for World Cup Brazil

It's World Cup Time and we diligently watch each and every German match. For the Germany vs USA game last Wednesday I made this: Guacomole with nachos and Caipirinha


2 ripe Hess avocado
1 small shallot
3 cherry tomatoes
1 lime
a sprinkle of dried chili flakes
sugar and salt to taste

Mashed the avocado
Cut the shallot, cherry tomatoes and mixed in to the mashed avocado
Season with salt, sugar and lime juice 


1 lime, quartered
2 Tbs brown cane sugar
4 ml Cachaca
Lots of iced

Put in sugar and quartered lime into a Caipirinha glass and crash them with Caipirinha stock
Fill the glass with ice
Measure 4 ml Cachaca and pour it into the glass
Wait till the ice melt a bit but not to much and start to sip

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Simple penne aglio e olio for lunch

Fitzie is now one and half year old. How time flies, I can still remember the day she was born and how small I thought she was. Now she's almost walking and loves to eat so much that I need to control her portion. Otherwise she will eat eat and eat. 

Nowadays when I cook, I try to plan food that Fitzie can eat along with me too, preferably something she can grab herself so I don't need to feed her. It's not so easy to find such meal but here is one which is perfect for both of us. Penne Aglio e Olio for her and Penne Aglio e Olio con Pepperoncino for me. Honestly I just drizzle my home made chili oil on top of the pasta and that's all. 

The recipe is actually so simple and since I'm not Italian, I don't think I'm even suited to write this, But hey, I think my Penne tastas delicious. 

Penne Aglio e Olio

1/2 Package of Barilla Penne Rigate (around 200 gr)
Generous amount of Olive oil
3 cloves of Garlic
1 Cup of grated Grana Padano and Pecorino Romano
Chili oil (for my version of Penne Aglio e Olio con Peperoncino)
Basil for garnishing

Heat up a pan and drizzle generous amount of very good olive oil. I don't have Italian EVOO so I used the one I brought from Graz, South France, which "gasps" shouldn't actually be heated up. But hey since I'm not Italian I think this will do. 

Put in minced garlic and slowly heat the oil and garlic till the garlic started to color. Transfer to a big bowl.

Cook Penne according to the package instruction. I used Barilla, cause my Italian neigbhour in Berlin, Lara, swore on Barilla. She never bought anything else. So I follow her suit and only buy Barilla. Back to Penne cooking, It says 11 minutes but Fitzie was eating this penne with me so I added extra 2 minutes so that Fitzie could bite her pasta easily. 

After the penne is done, work quickly, drain them and transfer them to the bowl with garlic oil, throw in the grated grana padano and pecorino romano. Let the heat of the penne melt the cheese and quickly toss them to incorporate all components. Lightly salt the finished pasta. 

Dish up, garnish with some basil, Fitzie can eat her pasta now and for me some extra chili oil for heat

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Persian Kubideh at Padideh

Let me present my new favourite Persian Restaurant in Hamburg ..... *drum rolls* Padideh in Eilbek. We just found this one coincidentally, we drove around that area and saw Persian Restaurant. Hubby and me thought let's give them a try. So we went in. The restaurant is spacious and clean. We take a peek at the menu. Yes! our favourite lamb kebab Kubideh is on the menu. And we ordered them right away. 

First we were served some appetizers. Flat bread with crumbly cheese, some herbs (parsley and mint), sad looking radish and sweet crunchy onion. 

Here is how they are assembled. Take one piece of the flat bread, cut some of the cheese put some herb and roll them. Fresh and cheesy. We always save the herb for later use. Because we like to combine the lamb with parsley and mint so we never eat much of the appetizers

Then here comes the main dish. The Kebab Kubideh. Whenever we eat Persian food, this is the only dish we ordered. Mainly because this reminds us of our student time in Berlin. We used to eat at El-Reda and their famous kebab kubideh for €3,50 was one of our fondest memories of Berlin. 

So for the sake of our remembrance we always order kebab kubideh. Lamb Kubideh in papideh is surely not €3,50 but still very cheap for Hamburg's standard. €7,00 and you get two lamb skewers, one tomato, appetizer and heap of rice. 

Of course the only way to enjoy the rice is to put tab of butter on top of it and let it melt it by the heat of the rice. The basmati rice is airy and fluffy, combined with the melted butter. I think I can simply eat the rice as it is. 

But no! look at those juicy lamb, how can I say no to this. Mix mix with some of the drippings and charcoaled tomato. This dish is just so purrfeeectt. We were transferred back to our student time. Summer night eating this similar dish in front of the restaurant enjoying cool summer breeze. 

And here's Fitzie enjoying her piece of flat bread. No she's not asleep she's concentrating on putting the bread into her mouth. 


Hammer Steindamm 51
Eilbek Hamburg

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Homey Japanese Meal

Whenever I'm planning a menu for my family I will plan a coordinated menu, If it's Kimchi Jigaee, I will surely buy kimchi and prepare other ban chans. If it's spaghetti then we will eat salat and open up a wine. If it's Soto ayam then I will buy kerupuk and brew some sweet jasmine tea. So it's not a surprise when I feel like Chicken Karaage I will prepare cucumber salad, Hiya Yakko and Miso Soup to complete the meal. I even bought umeboshi just so that I can put it on top of my rice. 

Here are some close upsof the meal. Chicken Karaage with lemon slice

Rice with umeboshi, 
Cold tofu with shaved bonito, grated ginger and sliced green onions as toppings.
Miso soup with tofu and green onions

Cold cucumber salad with sesame seeds. 

For Recipe: I followed all the recipes from Just One Cookbook. Nami is really such a great cook and all her pictures are so pretty. So I don't think I can take the credit. So I will just redirect you to her awesome website.