Bread – Walnuts and Olives

This bread is inspired by the Mediterranean cuisine. The walnuts and the olives give the bread an aromatic taste that you can already smell while it is baking in the oven. Fresh out of the oven, it tastes best with just a bit of butter. It is also a great way to impress family and friends during the next brunch or dinner. 😉

Ingredients

  • 350 g whole grain rye flour
  • 200 g spelt flour (type 630)
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 150 g active sourdough
  • 20 g yeast
  • about 150-170 ml lukewarm water
  • 150-160 g black olives
  • 100 g walnuts

How to Make It

  • Take a bowl and add the rye and spelt flour, then mix it.
  • Add the honey (or maple syrup), the salt, the caraway, and the rosemary.
  • Add the active sourdough and mix it all.
  • Take about 50 ml of the lukewarm water and dissolve the yeast in it.
  • As you mix your dry ingredients, slowly pour the yeast water into the bowl.
  • Mix for 10-15 minutes. Slowly add the rest of the lukewarm water until you have a moist dough.
  • Pit the olives (if necessary) and chop them up coarsely. Add them to the dough and knead them in.
  • Chop up the walnuts. Add them to the dough and knead them in.
  • Cover the bowl and let the dough rest in a warm spot overnight.
Baking with a Clay Pot
  • Soak the clay pot for a good 30 minutes.
  • Once the pot and the dough are ready, pour out the water, dry the pot, and put the dough into the pot.
  • Take a sharp knife and make three diagonal cuts across the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with a bit of water and a bit of flour. If you have a pot with a lid like I do, just close the pot with the lid.
  • Put the pot into the oven and turn the oven on to 250° C. This is important as the pot needs to heat up slowly; putting the clay pot into a pre-heated oven can cause the clay to break.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, then take off the lid and bake for another 40-50 minutes.
  • Once the bread is done, turn off the oven and let the bread cool inside the oven.
Baking the “Standard” Way
  • The next morning, grease a baking tin and pour the dough in. Let the dough rest for at least another hour.
  • Take a sharp knife and make three diagonal cuts across the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with a bit of water and a bit of flour.
  • Preheat the oven to 250° C.
  • Bake the bread for 60-70 minutes.
  • Once the bread is done, turn off the oven and let the bread cool inside the oven.

Tortilla de Espinacas – Spanish Spinach Omelet

Earlier this week, I posted my recipe for the classic Spanish omelet, tortilla de patatas. Another popular variant is the spinach omelet. In this recipe, I also use potatoes in a nod to the classic Spanish omelet, but not everyone does it. If you want, you can leave the potatoes out and just add more spinach. I also add pine nuts to make it a bit more interesting.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 potatoes (≈ 150-200 g)
  • 6 eggs
  • 500 ml of (sunflower) oil
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 200 g fresh spinach
  • salt, pepper, ground nutmeg

How to Make It

  • Peel and wash the potatoes. Cut them into thin and even slices (~ 5 mm)
  • Take a pan (or pot) and heat up the oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, add some of the potato slices and cook them – yes, you want to cook the slices in the oil, not fry them.
  • When the potato slices are done, take them out of the pan with the help of a skimmer and put them on a plate lined with kitchen paper to take off any excess oil. Repeat until you have cooked all your potato slices.
  • In a bowl, whisk the 6 eggs until they are fluffy. Whisk in 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Add the potato slices and stir everything. You may want to squish the slices a bit with the fork so that they mix better with the egg. Make sure that the slices are not too hot or else the egg batter will already get cooked.
  • In another pan, roast the pine nuts (without any oil) until they are golden brown. When they have cooled down a bit, stir them into the potato-egg batter.
  • Wash the spinach and fry it in the pan. Season it with a pinch of ground nutmeg. Once the spinach is done and has cooled off, add it to the batter.
  • Stir the batter to make sure all ingredients are properly mixed.
  • Heat up a spoonful of oil in a pan. Pour in the tortilla batter and reduce the heat to a simmer. You want the batter to set slowly and avoid frying the underside of the tortilla while the mass has not thickened yet.
  • After a few minutes, the tortilla should have set, and it is time to flip it around. Take a plate slightly bigger than the pan, a pair of oven mitts, and cover the pan with the plate. Keep one hand on the plate and quickly flip the pan by 180° so that the plate is at the bottom and the pan on top.
  • Carefully slide the tortilla with the uncooked side back into the pan and let that side set as well.
  • You can serve it warm or cold.

Arugula Salad with Yellow Lentils, Cranberries, and Cashew Nuts

I have been challenging myself to branch out a bit more and the result is this fruity summer salad. 🙂 The lentils add a healthy component while the cranberries and apple chunks cater to everyone’s sweet tooth. We have been eating it regularly for a few weeks now and it has been universally approved. I hope you will like it, too!

Sweet and filling at the same time.

Ingredients

(enough for 2-3 people)

For the Salad
  • 250 g yellow lentils
  • 125 g arugula
  • 100 g dried and sweetened cranberries
  • 100 g cashew nuts
  • 1 apple
  • 2-3 teaspoons of instant broth powder
For the Dressing
  • 40 ml olive oil
  • 30 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 10 ml “crema de balsamico,” i.e. balsamic vinegar cream, a thicker and more aromatic version of the vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons pepper
  • pot herbs

How to Make It

  • Prepare about 500 ml of broth (with instant powder) and boil the lentils for a good 5-7 minutes in it. Make sure that they do not overcook and become mushy.
  • In the meantime, wash the arugula. I always cut the leaves to make it easier to eat. 😉 Put the arugula into a big bowl.
  • Once the lentils are done, pour out the water and add them to the arugula.
  • Coarsely chop up the cashew nuts and add them to the mix.
  • Chop up the cranberries and add them to the bowl.
  • Wash the apple and core it. Then dice it and add the pieces to the rest of the salad.
  • Prepare the dressing in a separate little bowl and pour it over the salad. Mix thoroughly.
  • Before serving, sprinkle the garden herbs on top. Enjoy! 🙂

Pesto alla Genovese

Pesto alla Genovese is a classic pesto made from pine nuts, basil, a bit of cheese and olive oil. It is really easy to make and tastes best with fresh basil. You can use it for pasta or as a base for pizza.

Freshly made from basil leaves and pine nuts.

Ingredients

(makes about 400 ml / 400 g of pesto, i.e. about 2 servings)

  • 80-100 g pine nuts
  • 30 g fresh basil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 120-130 ml olive oil
  • 90 g pecorino cheese
  • salt, pepper

How to Make It

  • Roast the pine nuts in a pan until they are golden brown. Do not use any oil.
  • Wash the basil leaves.
  • Peel the cloves of garlic and cut them into slices.
  • Blend the pine nuts, the basil, and the garlic until you have a chunky paste. Please be aware that the more pine nuts you use, the stronger the nutty flavor will be. If you are unsure whether you like that, start out with less pine nuts and slowly add more as you go until you have reached the flavor you like.
  • Add about 80 ml of the olive oil and blend everything thoroughly.
  • Add the cheese and at least a teaspoon of salt and freshly ground pepper each.
  • Blend again and add more olive oil until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Taste it and add more spices if necessary. Let the pesto rest for 30 minutes and taste again. You may have to add a bit more salt then.
  • You can freeze the pesto if you want or store it in the fridge in an air-tight container for 3-5 days. Make sure to pour a layer of olive oil on top, though.

Lentil and Pomegranate Salad

In summer, we usually end up eating more salads since they are a lighter, easy meal when it is too warm outside to cook. This lentil salad is super-healthy and the pomegranate seeds give it a fresh and fruity flavor. Let me know what you think. 🙂

Lentils, arugula, and pomegranate seeds – yummy!

Ingredients

(enough for 4 people)

For the Salad
  • 200 g black lentils
  • 125 g arugula
  • 250 g feta cheese
  • 350 g pomegranate seeds (about 1½ pomegranates)
  • 150 g chopped walnuts
For the Dressing
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 25 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon “crema de balsamico,” i.e. balsamic vinegar cream, a thicker and more aromatic version of the vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garden herbs

How to Make It

  • Cook the lentils according to the instructions on the box. Pour out the water and let them cool off, then put them into a big bowl.
  • In the meantime, wash the arugula. I always cut the leaves to make it easier to eat. 😉 Put the arugula into a big bowl.
  • Dice the feta cheese and add it to the bowl.
  • Chop up the walnuts and add them to the rest.
  • Peel the pomegranates to collect the seeds. Careful, it can get a bit messy… Add the pomegranate seeds to the salad.
  • In a separate little bowl, mix the dressing. Add it to the salad and mix it well.
  • Before serving, sprinkle the garden herbs on top. Enjoy! 🙂
Tastes great with a glass of fruity cider.

Banana Bread

Banana bread is a classic comfort food, especially in the U.S. Now with the corona virus slowing down all public life and confining families to their homes, it has made a spectacular comeback. The sweet taste is certainly soothing, and baking does bring people together, turning it into a stabilizing tradition. Sharing food is a great way to connect with loved ones, so I thought I would post my favorite recipe for banana bread here as well. This is a recipe friends kindly shared with me years ago and that is also why the ingredients are listed in American measures.

Banana bread is a staple comfort food.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup walnuts or pecan nuts
  • 1¾ cups flour (basic wheat flour will do)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 3-4 really ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

How to Make It

  • Preheat the oven to 180° C.
  • Take a bowl and mix the flour, the sugar, the baking powder, the baking soda, the salt, and the cinnamon.
  • Chop the nuts and add them to the flour-sugar mix.
  • Squash the bananas with a fork.
  • Take a second bowl and mix the squashed bananas, the eggs, the melted butter, and the vanilla.
  • Carefully fold in the liquid contents of the second bowl into the dry ingredients of the first bowl. You want to make sure that the dough is thick and chunky.
  • Butter a baking tin and pour the dough into it.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes at 180° C until the banana bread is golden brown on top. Let it cool down.
  • (You can freeze it easily as well.)

Bread – Wholegrain Rye & Nut Mix

I love bread made with rye flour – especially wholegrain – because of its aromatic, intense flavor. In this version, I added some nuts and seeds to the dough to make it a bit fluffier and juicier. The loaf develops its full flavor range after a day or two in the bread box and then it tastes delicious with a slice of cheese and/or Black Forest ham.

Aromatic and full of nuts and seeds.

Ingredients

  • 175 g nut mix (e.g. pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
  • 350 g wholegrain rye flour
  • 150 g rye (type 1150)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon caraway
  • 135 g active sourdough (make sure to activate it in time)
  • 200-220 ml lukewarm yeast water (if you do not have any at hand, just use regular water)

How to Make It

  • Soak the nut mix in water for 1-2 hours. Drain the nut mix thoroughly before using it.
  • Mix the two types of flour. Add the syrup (or honey), the salt, and the caraway and mix it. Add the sourdough and mix it.
  • Keep mixing and slowly add the lukewarm yeast water. The dough should be fairly moist.
  • Add the nut mix and keep kneading. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes.
  • Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it, and let it rest in a warm spot for at least 3 to 4 hours. The dough should have grown significantly in size.
  • Take a baking tin and grease it. Fill the dough into the baking tin and cover it with a moist towel and let it rest in a warm spot for another 2-3 hours (the longer, the better).
  • Preheat the oven to 250° C.
  • Take a sharp knife and make three diagonal cuts across the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with a bit of water and a bit of flour.
  • Fill a fire-resistant small bowl with water and put it on the floor of the oven. Bake the bread at 250° C for 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to 200° C and bake the loaf for another 30-40 minutes.
  • Once the bread is done, turn off the oven and let the bread cool inside the oven. Make sure to take the loaf out of the baking tin once it is cool enough to touch.

Bread Rolls – Pistachios and Oatmeal

My parents came to visit us over the weekend, and I wanted to invite them to a nice breakfast. Self-made bread rolls are a fun way to make the breakfast (or brunch, rather) a bit more special, but of course there is no time to actually bake them from scratch that same morning unless you want to get up hours in advance. I did not, so I compromised: I half-baked these rolls a few days before and froze them. On the day of the breakfast, I took them out, put them in the oven and finished baking them. They were delicious and my parents were seriously impressed with the chopped pistachios. 🙂

The pistachios give these breadrolls an unusual twist.

Ingredients

  • 3 bags of active dry yeast (in my case, this amounted to 33 g of active dry yeast)
  • 300 g rye flour (type 1150)
  • 200 g wholegrain rye flour
  • 100 g oatmeal
  • 150 g chopped pistachios
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

How to Make It

  • Prepare the yeast according to the instructions on the bag. In my case, I mixed the powder with 300 ml lukewarm water and 6 tablespoons of rye flour. Let the mix rest for 15-20 minutes.
  • Mix all other ingredients together.
  • Slowly add the yeast into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix carefully. You may have to add another 50-80 ml of lukewarm water so that the dough does not become too tight and dry.
  • Knead thoroughly for about 5 minutes.
  • Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 45 minutes in a warm spot.
  • With your hands, form 15 little balls. Place them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Let the dough balls rest there for another 15-20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200° C.
  • Take a knife and make a cut on the surface of each roll. Sprinkle them with water and flour.
  • Bake in the oven at 200° C for 30 minutes.
  • These bread rolls can also be prepared in advance and stored for later use. Take them out after about 20 minutes and let them cool down thoroughly. Then freeze them. When you want to eat them, take them out of the freezer and bake them for another 20 minutes or so.

Bread – Wholegrain Spelt & Hazelnut

Here comes another tasty bread recipe, this time with an interesting twist: hazelnuts. I like this bread because the hazelnuts add such a distinct flavor to it. I baked this one for my grandmother last week and sent it to her to give her some joy during the Corona virus pandemic – and she loved it! Since this one is grandma-approved, there is no reason why you should not give it a go as well. 🙂

Self-made and grandma-approved!

Ingredients

  • 400 g wholegrain spelt
  • 100 g ground hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 100 g sourdough (make sure to activate it in time)
  • ca. 180-200 ml lukewarm yeast water (if you do not have any at hand, just use regular water)

How to Make It

  • Mix the spelt and the hazelnuts. Add the syrup (or honey) and the salt and mix it. Add the sourdough and mix it.
  • Keep mixing and slowly add the yeast water.
  • Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes.
  • Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it, and let it rest in a warm spot for at least 2½ to 3 hours. The dough should have grown significantly in size.
  • Take a spatula and fold the outer edges into the middle of the ball of dough and put the loaf into a proofing basket (really, any kind of breadbasket works fine in my experience). If you do not own one, no problem at all – just form a loaf with your hands. Cover the loaf with a moist towel and let it rest in a warm spot for another 2-3 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 250° C. If you have a pizza stone, great – put it on the oven now and heat it up thoroughly. If you do not have a pizza stone, also no problem – you can bake your bread on a normal baking tray. I recommend heating up the tray in the oven as well.
  • Take a sharp knife and make three diagonal cuts across the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with a bit of water and a bit of flour.
  • Fill a fire-resistant small bowl with water and put it on the floor of the oven. Bake the bread at 250° C for 40-45 minutes.
  • Once the bread is done, turn off the oven and let the bread cool inside the oven.
Out of the oven and with a yummy crust.

How did your bread turn out? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram and Twitter. I would love to hear from you!

Bread – Rye & Walnut

I love slightly unusual bread flavors and this one is another example. The chopped walnut pieces add a tasty element to the whole affair and make the bread quite juicy.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram and Twitter!

Ingredients

  • 350 g rye flour (type 1150)
  • 150 g ground walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 135 g sourdough (make sure to activate it in time)
  • ca. 160-180 ml lukewarm yeast water (if you do not have any at hand, just use regular water)
  • 100 g chopped walnuts

How to Make It

  • Mix the rye and the ground walnuts. Add the syrup (or honey) and the salt and mix it. Add the sourdough and mix it.
  • Keep mixing and slowly add the yeast water. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes.
  • Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it, and let it rest in a warm spot for at least 3-4 hours. (Rye flour takes longer to rise.)
  • Chop up the walnuts and knead them into the dough.
  • Put the loaf into a proofing basket (really, any kind of breadbasket works fine in my experience). If you do not own one, no problem at all – just form a loaf with your hands. Cover the loaf with a moist towel and let it rest in a warm spot for another 3-4 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 250° C. If you have a pizza stone, great – put it on the oven now and heat it up thoroughly. If you do not have a pizza stone, also no problem – you can bake your bread on a normal baking tray. I recommend heating up the tray in the oven as well.
  • Take a sharp knife and make three diagonal cuts across the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with a bit of water and a bit of flour.
  • Fill a fire-resistant small bowl with water and put it on the floor of the oven. Bake the bread at 250° C for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 220° C and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes.
  • Once the bread is done, turn off the oven and let the bread cool inside the oven.
Fresh out of the oven and with a lovely crust.

Enjoy… and do not forget to send me your pictures on Instagram and Twitter!