Watermelon Feta Salad

The idea for this salad came from a very close friend and I am excited to share it with you! This salad is wonderfully refreshing, juicy, and sweet – all in one – and perfect for summer picnics or BBQs. You can serve it as side dish, eat it as dessert, or have it for lunch on a particularly hot summer day. Enjoy! 🙂

Ingredients

  • ½ watermelon
  • 200-250 g feta cheese
  • handful of fresh mint leaves (about 30 g)

How to Make It

  • Cut the watermelon in half. You only need one half, so cover the other half in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. Cut the rest of the watermelon into bite-sized chunks and put them into a big bowl.
  • Cut the feta cheese into chunks and add them to the bowl.
  • Wash the mint leaves and chop them up. Add them to the bowl.
  • Mix everything thoroughly and let the salad marinade. The watermelon is so juicy that you do not need any dressing.
Works as a side dish, a dessert, or as lunch on a particularly hot summer day.

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! 🙂

Lemon Sorbet

This lemon sorbet is easy to make and super refreshing, making it the perfect dessert. But it also tastes great if you add a scoop or two to a glass of sparkling wine or a glass of sparkling mineral water infused with elderflower syrup.

Self-made sorbet is an absolute treat!

Ingredients

  • 150 ml lemon juice (about 5-6 small lemons)
  • 100 ml water
  • 50 g sugar

How to Make It

  • Squeeze the juice from the lemons. Make sure so pick out the seeds afterwards. Keep the pulp.
  • Mix the lemon juice and the water in a pot.
  • Stir in the sugar. Heat up the liquid just enough so that the sugar dissolves.
  • Pour the mixture into your ice-cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Ginger Water

If you are looking for a refreshing (and healthy) beverage to cool off during the summer, ginger water may be the thing for you!

Refreshing and easy to make.

Ingredients

For the “Base”
  • 70 g of chopped ginger
  • 70 ml of water
For the Drink
  • ⅛ ginger water
  • ⅞ sparkling mineral water
  • about 1 tablespoon of honey of maple syrup

How to Make It

  • Wash and peel the ginger, then cut it into pieces.
  • Blend the pieces of ginger with the water thoroughly. Pour the blended mix through a strainer to filter out the fibers. The resulting liquid. is your “base.” You can store it in a bottle the fridge for about ten days.
  • For the actual beverage, mix ⅛ of ginger water with ⅞ of sparkling mineral water.
  • Add honey or maple syrup to sweeten it. Stir thoroughly and enjoy.
The perfect summer drink.

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.)

Chocolate-Nougat Ice-Cream with Irish Cream Liqueur

If you love chocolate ice-cream, this one is for you! It has a deliciously aromatic chocolate flavor because of the cocoa, but the nougat also adds a sweet component – the result is a rich and intense ice-cream. The touch of Irish cream liqueur adds a bit of a twist and ensures you have an easy to make, yet fancy dessert that is mouthwatering any time of the year.

Yummy!

Ingredients

  • 400 g cream
  • 150 ml Irish cream liqueur (chocolate flavor)
  • 250 g nougat
  • 100 g cocoa powder (the kind used for baking without sugar)
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 g sugar

How to Make It

  • Mix the cream and the liqueur together in a pot.
  • Add the nougat in chunks and carefully heat up the mixture. Make sure not to boil it, though. Stir to dissolve the nougat.
  • Add the cocoa powder and stir until everything is dissolved.
  • Let the mixture cool down a bit.
  • In the meantime, whip up the eggs until they are very (!) fluffy.
  • Add the sugar to the eggs and beat it again until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Carefully stir in the chocolate-nougat-cream into the egg-sugar foam.
  • Pour the mixture into your ice-cream machine and freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Elderflower Syrup

These past weeks, many gardens in my neighborhood had their elderberry trees in full bloom and the white flowers looked absolutely lovely. But it was actually my mother who suggested I try to make my own elderflower syrup – I had not made the connection at all between the white blossoms and the fruity syrup… The good news is that it is surprisingly easy to make, you only need a bit of patience. 🙂

The syrup tastes great as a non-alcoholic refreshment. Simply mix 1/8 of syrup with 7/8 of cold sparkly water, add some mint leaves, and enjoy. Of course, you can also add it to a glass of prosecco or sparkling wine.

Mix it with water or add it to sparkling wine

Ingredients

  • 20-30 umbels of the European (black) elderberry tree (see picture)
  • 1 unwaxed, untreated lemon (so the peel should not have been treated with insecticides)
  • 25 g citric acid (look for it in the baking aisle)
  • 1½ kg sugar
  • 1½ water

How to Make It

  • On your next walk through the neighborhood, pick 20-30 elderflower umbels. They should be in full bloom! Make sure not to crush them or shake them too much.
  • Back at home, cut the umbels into smaller pieces and clean them carefully. The bigger and thicker stalks can make the syrup taste bitter. Also cut off any unopened blossoms. Pick off any bugs and spiders as well.
  • I would be careful about simply rinsing the umbels off, though, because then you also wash off the yellow powder inside the blossoms which give the syrup its taste!
  • Once you are done, put the elderflower blossoms into a big pot or bowl (you need to be able to close it with a lid later).
  • Wash the lemon and cut it into slices. Add the slices to the bowl.
  • Pour the citric acid on top.
  • Take another big pot and heat up the water. Add the sugar to it and bring it all to a boil.
  • Pour the sugar water over the elderflower blossoms, the lemon slices, and the citric acid and let it cool down a bit before covering it all with the lid.
  • Let the mixture rest in a dark and cool place for 4-5 days.
  • Pour the mixture through a strainer and/or a fine cloth into a pot.
  • Heat the liquid up and bring it to a boil. Then fill it into clean bottles and close tightly.
As long as you store it somewhere dark and cool, the syrup should be good for up to 21 months

Coffee Crème brûlée

For our wedding dinner, we chose coffee crème brûlée as dessert, in part because the restaurant only offered it on those occasions and never on the regular menu. My husband was obsessed with the notion that he could otherwise never eat it at the restaurant there. However, on our actual wedding day, he never actually tried the coffee crème brûlée because he talked to guests and friends and did not notice when the waiters finally cleared the table. It haunts him to this day and he finally complained enough about it so that I took pity on him and tried to recreate the dish.

Rich in coffee flavor.

Ingredients

(enough for about 4 desserts)

  • 100 ml milk
  • 400 g cream
  • 75 g sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 4 egg yokes
  • 50 g coarsely ground coffee
  • extra sugar for caramelizing the top

How to Make It

  • Whisk the milk, cream, and sugar together in a pot. Be careful not to whisk too hard, though, as you want to avoid any sort of bubbles.
  • Cut open the vanilla pod and scrape out the vanilla seeds. Add them to the milk-cream mix.
  • Lightly heat up the liquid to make sure that the sugar dissolves. You really do not need much heat to accomplish this; do not boil the cream.
  • Add the yokes and stir carefully.
  • Add the ground coffee and stir again.
  • Cover the pot and let it all cool down. Let the mixture rest in the fridge over night so that the milk-cream mix can absorb the coffee flavor.
  • The next morning, preheat the oven to 150° C.
  • Take the pot out of the fridge and pass the mix through a sieve into the ramekins (or cups or bowls) you want to use for the crème brûlée.
  • Boil water in a kettle.
  • Once you are done, put the little bowls on a deep baking tray. Put the tray into the oven and immediately pour enough boiling water into the tray so that the ramekins are covered to about half their height.
  • Bake the crème brûlée in the oven for 50-60 minutes until it has curdled.
  • Once they are done, take the ramekins out and let them cool down. Before serving, sprinkle some sugar on top of the crème and caramelize it with a burner.

Maruccia Cocktail

A few months ago, my husband and I went to a cute little Spanish tapas restaurant and, by pure chance, came across a new kind of liquor. The Maruccia Elixir is a delicious liquor made by a German who has his own vineyard on the island of Mallorca and now cultivates and produces his own wines and liquors. For obvious reasons (my husband is Spanish and I am German), the man’s story resonated with us and we took a bottle of his Maruccia Elixir home with us.

The liquor has a very smooth and fruity taste, especially of oranges. You can drink it pure, but our favorite cocktail by far is the one I share below.

(Unpaid for and unsolicited advertisement because of brand mention.)

Ingredients

  • 40 ml of Maruccia Elxir
  • 200 ml of tonic water
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (adjust to your own liking)
  • ice cubes

This is a great summer drink when you want to ring in a sunny weekend and treat yourself!

The Maruccia cocktail with lemon juice and tonic water.

Have you come across this cocktail before? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram and Twitter and share your favorite cocktail with me.

Apple Sauce

Apple sauce is a classic dessert in my family. It is easy to make and a yummy and healthy dish for any time of the year. It is also a great way to use up older apples – the juicier, the better!

Ingredients

  • ca. 1.5 kg of apples
  • 100 g of honey
  • 50 ml of lemon juice
  • if desired: preserving jars

This makes about 950 ml of apple sauce.

How to Make It

  • Peel the apples, cut out the apple seeds, and cut the pieces into quarters or even eighth (depending on the size of the apples). Make sure that the pieces are roughly the same size. For reference: after peeling the apples, I had 1 kg of mass left.
  • Put the pieces into a big bowl and pour the lemon juice over them. Mix it so that all the apple pieces are covered in lemon juice. It prevents the apple pieces from browning and adds a fresh and fruity taste to the apple sauce later. Let the apples marinate for a few minutes.
Let the apple pieces marinate in lemon juice for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring water in a kettle to boil and fill it into the preserving jars. Close the jars tightly. This is a trick I learned from my grandmother: The idea is to heat up the glasses so that you can preserve the apple sauce more easily later.
Jars filled with hot water and closed tightly.
  • Take a big pot, add the honey, and bring it to a boil.
  • Add the apples and the lemon marinade. Stir everything so that the apples get covered in the melted honey.
  • Lower the heat and let the apples simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Leave the lid about halfway on the pot the entire time. The apple pieces are done once they are soft.
  • Take a potato masher and mash the apple pieces, depending on your personal taste you can leave bigger chunks or mash it all into a homogeneous mass.
  • If desired:
    • Empty your preserving jars but be careful – the glasses are very hot by now!
    • Fill the jars with the apple sauce, close them tightly, and turn them around. This helps to create a vacuum. Let the glasses cool.
  • The apple sauce is great as a stand-alone dessert, but also tastes great in combination with plain yogurt, vanilla custard, or rice pudding. If you like, you can sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top of the apple sauce as well.
Ready to eat.

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