Monday, August 29, 2011

Goodbye summer holidays...

You may be surprised when I tell you the dinner was entirely without animal products. EVEN this delicious steak you see! Did I intrigue you?

Here is the recipe (very quickly because I need to sleep):

  • fry a chopped onion and a garlic clove in olive oil
  • slice a big piece of seitan and add to the pan when the onions are brown
  • add asian vegetable and fruit sauce and fry it some more
  • because I hadn't any herbs I just added another chopped garlic clove and took it off the heat pretty soon after, so I  had a lot of the flavour left

We served it with baked potatoes and hummus with sundried tomatoes; everyone said they
wanted to return just to eat this good again.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

August outdoor

We have a beach in our garden now!  (Who would have thought that sandblasting the terrace had this effect.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sandwich party in 3 steps!

1. Wait for a sunny day, drag a big table onto the grass and assemble chairs around it. Lay the table. Flowers and tablecloth optional but highly recommended.

2. Prepare the following:

  • Fresh bread, I used italian rosemary bread, olive bread and simple ciabatta
  • Hummus (1 can of chickpeas + 3tbs olive oil + juice of half a lemon + chopped onion +salt + pepper + spices - INTO THE BLENDER as above)
  • Tomato and cucumber slices, lettuce and rocket
  • grilled aubergines, mushrooms, artichokes and anything else that comes to your mind
  • maybe you want to add cheeses and bacon

3. Let everyone create their own DIY sandwich and enjoy!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Plums 'n' Booze

My friend's plum tree was having a good year, in fact so good that Michaela found it impossible to eat all the plums herself. I transformed the basket of plums into this delicious, melting-in-your-mouth cream. Michaela's original recipe contains 10 tbs of rum, I just used 4 tbs and still didn't feel too sure if driving is still ok. Have a try yourselves with as many tbs of rum you think you can handle!

500g plums
100-150g sugar, depending on how sweet and ripe the plums are
1 stick of cinnamon
a stripe of lemon peel
2 tbs cornstarch
4-10 tbs rum

Cut the plums in halves and remove the pits. Cook the plums with the sugar, cinnamon and lemon peel until soft. Remove  the cinnamon stick and blend. Mix corn starch and rum, pour it into the plums and bring it to a boil until it gets thick and creamy.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lipa from Lipniky

We didn't wait for the first signs of a flu to  sip a cup of linden blossom tea, this summer's harvest. It is a gift from  friends from Lipniky, a tiny slovakian village, which precisely got its name from an enormous old linden tree.

And talking about linden blossoms: did you ever smell a linden tree in full blossom? It's  intense, dizzying, luring, evoking jasmine and tuberose.....

Lucky the one who can sleep the siesta  under the original Lipnikian tree in full blossom!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Contemporary Art - Slaughter house Five

The exhibtion "Slaughterhouse Five" is inspired by and named after a book by Kurt Vonnegut. The story is set in the area of the Ostrale. The site used to be a natural resort, in the 20th century it became Dresden's main slaughterhouse. Today the former fattening stables, slaughterhouse, heylofts, fatmelting house, cold storage house, abbatoir refuse processing halls - all this has been transformed into exhibiting space.

The atmosphere at the Ostrale gave me goosebumps. It's really freaky there. The setting is frightening and seems almost otherworldly. The day I was there, my friend and I were nearly the only visitors. Being alone in a place of such horrible history (especially for me, the "almost vegan") added an extra flavour to the exhibited pieces.

Some artists had been inspired by the slaughterhouse theme itself. There were photorealistic paintings, sculptures and weird installations. Overall I was struck with the darkness of imagination that must have been necessary to create such art. One huge hall for example was filled with dozens of rows of human-looking bodies hanging on ropes from the ceiling - without heads. In the background enormous pigs, wearing clothes.

Other pieces were weird (sculpture of shitting dog, called "The Shitting Dog), monotonous (installation: a film of sheep grazing projected on wall), or too abstract to recognise anything. Then there were some rather detached from the theme which were my personal favourites.

Overall I do recommend you visit. My report may turn you away from the Ostrale, but I think it's an experience like no other. And despite all the horror I went feeling hopeful and lighthearted. A very mind soothing exit is guaranteed thanks to the "Vegan Garden" snack bar!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On some days....

On some days I wake up really early without apparent reason. Nobody's ringing the doorbell, no early duties and the rain isn't about to flood into the cellar (this summer I want to express my special thanks to the pump).

Today was one of those days, so I used the peaceful morning to pick some apples from my apple tree to make some delicious jelly for breakfast.

How to make simple apple (any fruit) jelly:

  • wash your apples and cut out the middle
  • put them in a pot, add
  • some sugar,
  • a small cup of water
  • cinnamon/ vanilla/ ginger/ anything you'd imagine to taste nice
  • a teaspoon of agar agar (seaweed extract: properties of gelatine + very healthy)
  • boil til the apples seem soft enough, blend ... et voilà!

Friday, August 12, 2011

How to build a fire and how to grill trouts on that fire

Here's a quick lesson in building a teepee-style campfire as my children taught me. It's very simple, but there are some things you should know.

Step 1: crumple newspaper. My usual mistake is to use a lot and make a very tight ball as you see in the picture below. My children say: no, no, no! In order to light on fire it needs oxygen, so better use small pieces and crumple them very lightly with a lot of air.

Step 2: Pile on dried twigs. For a very successful firelighting experience you can also place some more newspaper pieces in between the twigs. This will save you from the awful moment when you realize your fire setup is so perfect that you can't reach to light the newspaper in the center.

Step 3: Build a teepee structure with your firewood.

Step 4:  Light the fire - and start preparing the trouts, the corn, the potatoes, the beer.....

May I introduce my fire trouts:

Take fresh trouts, fill them with sprigs of parsil, basil, tarragon and any other fresh herbs, salt them from inside and outside and put them on a grill rack.

We also wrapped some vegetables in aluminium foil and placed them in the ember. I cooked them before, because we were really hungry and the trouts only need about five minutes on each side.
If there are still some parts a bit raw I recommend you wrap them in aluminium foil and place them on the rack for some longer.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

sweet fruit pizza

Always looking for  tasty recipes without animal products I invented the sweet fruit pizza. The dough is basically a pizza dough, with the addition of 4 tablespoons of sugar. I also exchanged the water in the original recipe with vanilla soy milk. Eventually all you have to do is spread out the dough on a baking tray and cover it with seasonal fruits.

In the last few months I have read plenty about the positive effects of a vegan diet. Ever since I have tried to cut animal products down to a minimum in my kitchen. However the most vegan recipes keep me wishing for more excitement, more variety and not the plain taste of health. My biggest goal is to create a kitchen, delicious and gourmet, that guests won't even know that it is composed entirely without animal products.

The tea is a rooibos called "Capetown". The trigger to buy was of course the name, and it hasn't failed: everytime I take a sip I sink into pleasant nostalgia.

Sweet pizza dough

200 g                   flour
1 sachet               dry yeast
a pinch of            salt
4 tbs                    whole cane sugar
150 ml                 (vanilla) soy milk

Mix all the ingredients and knead the dough until smooth. Let it repose for half an hour.
Roll out with a rolling pin. Put it on the tray and cover with topping of your choice.

Monday, August 08, 2011

just a few photos ....

...of my kitchen windowsill, as evolved  over the last few weeks. All the flowers are from my garden.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

superstars of tomorrow

in the rehearsal room

These young people are part of this year's Moritzburg Festival Academy. They are students from all over the world, elected in exigent auditions by musicians from  the Met, Berliner Philharmoniker, Staatskapelle and soloists like Jan Vogler, Colin Jacobsen and Mira Wang.  In  Moritzburg they have the opportunity to not only perform orchestral and chamber music together but also to be tutored by some of the world best musicians.

Just read the list of Moritzburg Festival participants and you know how happy they must be!

The opening concert was a breathtaking experience, conducted by the beautiful Anu Tali. She fascinates with her unrefrained energy and extraordinary talent. Here is a video about her.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

#11 Bellini

Recently strolling through the delikatessen of Karstadt, a Dresden department store, we found the perfect tool to prepare an "instant Bellini": a small bottle containing pureed white peaches for longdrinks.  The season of whites peaches is short, so it seemed to be worth a try.  (In case it wouldn't have met my high expectations - there are always dessert creations calling for an extra ingredient.)

To mix the original Bellini, invented more than half a century ago in Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy, you need

2 parts  dry sparkling wine (prosecco)
1 part fresh white peach purée

Pour the peach purée into a chilled champagne flute, add gently the sparkling wine and stir.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Dresden Palais Summer

If you are in Dresden I urge you to pass by the Japanese Palais. The garden in front of the museum is going to be hosting free events every night throughout the next month.

The official beginning of the festival is tomorrow, however my curious reporter-self persuaded me to have a look at preparations already.

If for some reason you can't make it, this is what you will miss:
collective yoga sessions
brunch and nude painting
classical film nights
freshly made organic ice teas, mojitos and snacks
concerts, poetry and ballet
romantic sunsets and a thousand million dollar view
audio dramas
plein air painting featuring ten international artists