In my attempt to include more vegetarian dishes in our meal plan I came across pide. It is a classical dish from Turkey, little boats made from yeast dough and filled with either spinach and feta or with some meat based filling. The spinach pide turned out nice but the color green on the plate is not so popular around here… So I tried to make a vegetarian version somewhat resembling its meat based original.


After a bit of experimenting, this is what we came up with. And we all love it! All of us, even those who are usually not so fond of tofu.

This recipe makes 16 palm sized pide:

For the dough you’ll need:

  • 500g flour (I usually mix normal and whole grain spelt flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pack yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ca. 300-400 ml warm water

And for the filling you’ll need:

  • 1 onion
  • 400g tofu – the plain one, not marinated, not grilled etc
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • your choice of spices (see below)
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes (400g each)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream (Schmand)
  • parsley

Suggestions for spices:

  • You can simply add herbs de provence.
  • We like it non-spicy and I like to add some Indian inspired mixture: cumin, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, sweet paprika.

How to make it:

  1. To make the dough: mix flour and salt, dissolve the yeast together with sugar in hand-warm water, add olive oil, and combine everything to a smooth slightly sticky dough. Let rest at a warm place for at least 1 hour.
  2. Prepare the filling: Saute diced onion. Add spices and finely diced and crumbled tofu. Saute for a few minutes. Add canned tomatoes and tomato paste and let simmer on small flame until some of the liquid evaporated. The filling should not be too watery. Take the filling off the flame and add squeezed garlic and sour cream. let it cool down until hand warm.
  3. Assemble the pide: Kneed the dough and divide into 16 pieces. Roll out every pieces into an ellipsis, place 2 table spoons of filling in the middle and shape a boats by first folding over one side, then the other and secure the boats by firmly pressing the ends together. Put onto two baking trays, brush the dough with water and bake for ca. 20 min until they start to slightly brown at the edges.
  4. Sprinkle with fresh parsley!


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Tarte Soleil


This wonderfully tasty and decorative tart was recently published by Smitten Kitchen. A soon as I saw it I new I had to try it. With its very tasty filling consisting of dried tomatoes and olives this tart goes very well with wine or is a nice appetizer on its own. I added it last Sunday to our afternoon tea party to complement the sweet cakes.

Of course, this tarte can be made with almost any filling! How about pesto? Or some kind of chocolate cream?!?

You’ll need for the filling:

  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes without oil
  • 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives (the dark ones)
  • 2 teaspoons herb de provence
  • 1 garlic clove
  • olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 packages puffed pastry (ca. 300g each)
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)
  • Fresh parsley

How to make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Blend together the ingredients for the filling. It should be a smooth spreadable paste. If it is too dry, add some more olive oil.
  3. Roll out half the dough and cut out a large round (ca 30-40 cm in diameter).
  4. Distribute the filling evenly over the dough,  leaving a 2 cm edge. Moist the edge with some water.
  5. Roll out the rest of the dough, cut out a large round the same size as the first and cover the filling. Secure the edge by pressing it gently.
  6. Mark the middle by placing a small glass upside down in center – don’t press! The glass is there just for your orientation.
  7. Now cut thin wedges from glass to the edge and turn the wedges carefully three times (3×180 degrees). Take away the glass.
  8. Brush the sun with egg wash.
  9. Bake  ca. 30 min at 180 degrees Celsius. Sprinkle with parsley.

Bon Appetit!

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Bird’s Milk


Bird’s milk (Птичъе молоко) is one of our favorite Russian cakes! My husband makes it for special occasions. It is a chocolate cake layered with an egg white frosting and chocolate glazing.  I thought it is time for me to learn to make it, too, so I finally wrote down the recipe!


As is typical for Russian recipes, the measures are in glasses. Here, one glass = ca. 300 ml (which is a good sized mug).

You’ll need:

  • 7 eggs
  • 1 glass sugar
  • 150g butter
  • 2 tablespoons cacao
  • 1/2 glass milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda + 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 1/2 glasses flour
  • for the glazing: 50g butter, 2 tablespoons cacao, 2 tablespoons milk, 3 tablespoons sugar

How to make it:

  1. Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Separate egg whites from egg yokes. Put egg whites aside.
  3. Melt butter and let it cool down.
  4. Beat egg yolks and 1/2 glass sugar.
  5. Mix with cacao, melted butter, flour and milk.
  6. Add baking soda and vinegar: I usually put the baking soda onto a large spoon and add the vinegar to it and mix. Add the mixture to the batter and mix well. The kids love to watch the chemical reaction!
  7. Butter a baking tray and distribute the batter evenly.
  8. Bake for ca. 10-15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius until the cake is almost ready (check with a knife or wooden stick).
  9. Beat egg whites with remaining 1/2 glass sugar until stiff.
  10. Cover cake with beaten egg whites and bake for another 10-15 minutes until it starts to slightly brown.
  11. While the cake is baking make the glazing: mix all ingredients over medium heat until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved.
  12. When the cake is finished baking take it out of the oven and cover the hot cake with the glazing.
  13. Cut the cake while it is still hot into diamond shaped pieces, take the pieces out of the tray and let them cool down.

Приятного аппетита!

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Russian Sauerkraut


When ever my mother in law comes to visit us and it is cabbage harvest time, she will spend two days with shredding, cutting and kneeling large amounts of cabbage, carrots and salt. She will fill our nice large clay pot and after ten days we have the most wonderful квашеная капуста (Russian sauerkraut). It is so delicious and fresh and juicy! This Russian type of  sauerkraut is different from the typical German sauerkraut: it needs much less fermentation time and is therefore not as soft but much crunchier, and it contains carrots which makes it a bit sweeter. This sauerkraut we eat mostly raw. With a splash of olive oil and maybe some finely chopped parsley and dill it is a delicious side dish on its own. Or we add a handful sauerkraut into our standard green mixed salad, or into our beloved vinaigrette. So, for most part of the winter we have a small bowl of sauerkraut almost daily on the dinner table providing us with fresh deliciousness and much needed vitamins in the dark and cold time of the year. And because this type of sauerkraut is so easy to make, I want to give you the recipe and want to encourage to try to make it yourself!

You need:

  • white cabbage (this is the usual outside a bit greenish round head of cabbage)
  • carrots
  • large grained salt
  • a large pot made from clay or a pot which is enameled inside. I would not use a stainless steel or other type of metal pot to avoid any reaction between the the developing acid and the metal.
  • a plate that just fits into the pot
  • gloves to protect your hands when kneeling the cabbage (the usual gloves which are used in food preparation or other clean rubber gloves).

Preparing the sauerkraut

  1. Remove the outer layer of leaves from the cabbage and put them aside. Cut the cabbage head into quarters and remove the stem. Shred the cabbage into fine slices. You can use a food processor or cut it by hand with a knife as my mother in law usually does it.
  2. Prepare your pot: clean it thoroughly and cover the bottom with half of the cabbage leaves which you set aside.
  3. Clean the carrots and grate them using the large wholes on your grater.
  4. Measure the ingredients:  for reach kg of cabbage you need  2 hands full of shredded carrots and 1 teblespoon of salt.
  5. Now mix cabbage, carrots and salt and knead everything together. Wear rubber gloves to protect you hands! This process needs some strength but is very important. The point here is that the cabbage and carrots start to generate a bit of juice through the salt and your squeezing. This sounds harder that it is. If you put a small portion of the mix into a small bowl and squeeze it a bit with your hands, you will quickly notice the appearance to the juice. Then put the squeezed mixture with the juice into the big pot and continue that way until your pot is full or your cabbage mixture is used up.
  6.  Cover your mixture with the rest of the large outer leaves from your cabbage which you put aside earlier. Put the plate on top and press it down with some weight. This can be a smaller pot filled with water, a clean stone or any other non-metal heavy wight. Cover it with a clean dish towel.Now comes the fermentation time.
  7. Every day at least once you have to remove the weight and plates and leaves and, using the long end of a wooden cooking spoon make some wholes into the mixture to release the developing (smelly!) gases.
  8. If the cabbage generates too much juice that threatens to overflow, remove the juice. This is a very healthy and delicious beverage! Some of it you might want to keep stored in the fridge to add to the cabbage later when there is space in the pot again after you have started to eat it.
  9. After about ten days the cabbage should be ready. Transfer your pot to a cool location – you can transfer your sauerkraut into smaller containers and store it in the fridge or, as we do it, put it into a protected corner of the balcony (as long as it is not too cold outside).


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Russian Zupfkuchen for Valentine


Of course, being married to a Russian man, I was very curious about a cake we call “Russian Zupfkuchen” (maybe one can translate it into “Russian Pull-Off Cake”). When I asked him about an original Russian recipe for this tasty chocolate and cheese cake, I was met with utter puzzlement: such a cake is not known in Russia. So, where does this cake come from and why is it called Russian?

A bit of research revealed  that Zupfkuchen is known in Germany for many decades. The name comes from the spots of chocolate dough, which are on top of the cake, and those spots are created by pulling off (in German zupfen) pieces of dough. Only in the 1990 the company Dr. Oetker brought a cake mix onto the market and – yes – just named it Russian Zupfkuchen, presumably because the dark dough pieces sometimes look before baking like Russian church towers….

So, and here is our Valentine edition of a Russian Zupfkuchen, where we did not pull off pieces of dough but instead cut out little hearts…


And, as is typical for Russian recipes, the measures are in glasses. Here, one glass = ca. 300 ml (which is a good sized mug).

You’ll need for the dough:

  • 200 g Butter, soft
  • 1/2 glass sugar (ca. 100 g)
  • 2 glasses flour (ca. 350 g)
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder (ca. 30 g)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs

You’ll need for the filling:

  • 180 g Butter, melted and cooled down
  • 3/4 glass sugar (ca. 150 g)
  • 4 eggs
  • 500 g curd (Quark), low fat
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch

Now you have to:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
  2. Beat butter, sugar and eggs until fluffy.
  3. Add flour, cacao and baking powder and mix well. Eventually combine well by kneading the dough by hand.
  4. Take 1/3 of the dough and cover bottom and rim of a round cake form (ca. 26 cm diameter).
  5. Mix well all ingredients for the filling.
  6. Fill into the covered cake form.
  7. Roll out the rest of the dough (not too thin – at least 2 cm thick), cut out hearts and place them onto the filling.
  8. Bake at 180 degrees for ca. 50-60 min or until beaked through. When the cake is getting dark too early (which usually happens to me…), cover it with some tin foil.

Guten Appetit and приятного аппетита!

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Carrot Cake


For a very long time I am trying to write this post about the carrot cake. We bake this cake often, it is one of our favourites. So, what prevents me from snapping a nice photo and from writing down the recipe? Well, this cake is typically faster eaten than I can run to grab my camera and wait for suitable light. The photo above is as good as it gets. And even then I didn’t manage to snap a picture of the cake in its entirety. I had only this short moment before the cake was completely devoured by my cake hungry family.

The recipe is from my husband’s Russian grandmother. As is typical for Russian recipes, the measures are in glasses. Here, one glass = ca. 300 ml (which is a good sized mug).

You’ll need:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 glass of sugar (our cakes are not very sweet)
  • 200 g sour cream (in Germany I use Schmand)
  • 50 g melted butter (cooled down)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/16 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 glasses flour (I prefer whole grain spelt flour)
  • 1 tsp baking soda + vinegar
  • 1 glass finely shredded carrots
  1. Mix well eggs, sugar, sour cream, butter and spices.
  2. Add slowly the flour. Mix well.
  3. Add baking soda and vinegar: put the baking soda on a table spoon, add some vinegar to the spoon and mix both with a little spoon. Add to the batter. Mix well. The soda and the vinegar will react with each other – its fun to watch for kids!
  4. Mix in the shredded carrots.
  5. Poor the batter in a buttered cake form – we usually use a ringlike form.
  6. Bake for ca. 1/2 hour at 180 degrees Celsius. Check with a knife if the cake is ready and take it out if the batter just doesn’t stick anymore to the knife. Don’t over-bake!


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The food of the month February (yes, I am a bit behind. What shall I say, three kids don’t leave much time) are sprouts! Its a great way to get some fresh foods and vitamins and it is really fun to make.
My favourites so far are Alfalfa sprouts which are great in salad and on sandwiches, and lentil sprouts which I love as some kind of spiced warm lentil salad.

It is still not clear to me if it is advisable to eat sprouted legumes raw. Beans, lentils and other legumes contain the toxin phytohemagglutinin which is destroyed through cooking  – but also soaking and sprouting are ways to destroy the toxin. I am just not sure, if sprouting is enough to remove all toxin, or how much of it is still left. For this reason, I decided to at least saute my sprouted lentils for a few minutes before eating.

I do my sprouting in a glass. I close the glass with a mesh (usually used to make window screens). Key is a good hygiene – the seeds have to be washed and watered twice a day and thoroughly drained, and the glasses and covers have to be well cleaned with warm and soapy water before and after use.


Here is the warm sprouted lentil salad:

You’ll need:

  • sprouted lentils (and if you want some sprouted chickpeas)
  • olive oil or ghee
  • garlic
  • turmeric
  • soy sauce
  • fresh ginger
  • some water (or wine)  if needed

How to prepare:

  1. Saute finely chopped garlic together with some turmeric in some olive oil or ghee on low flame for about a minute.
  2. Ad the sprouted lentils and some soy sauce. Cover and let simmer on low flame for about 10 minutes (if you add chickpeas let them simmer first for 10 minutes before adding the lentils).
  3. If lentils are too dry add some water (or white wine).
  4. Add finely grated ginger. Let simmer for 1 minute.
  5. Add salt to taste.
  6. Sprincle with fresh parsley or cilantro.


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Especially the best husband loves his Quarktasche (curd filled filo-dough bags) in the morning. After dropping the kids at school he often stops at the local bakery to pick-up his Quarktasche for breakfast. But on Sundays we have Quarktaschen for everyone!

You’ll need:

  • ca. 500 g filo dough
  • 500 g curd
  • 75 g sugar
  • 100 g butter meted and cooled down
  • 1 egg
  • 1 table spoon heaped corn starch
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • zest from one lemon
  1. If you have frozen filo dough take it out of the freezer and let it thaw according to package instructions.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  3. Melt the butter and let it cool down.
  4. Combine the butter with all other ingredients.
  5. Roll out the dough and cut from it ca. 10-15 cm large squares.
  6. Place one spoon full of the curd mixture in the middle of the square and fold in all four corners, making little packages.
  7. Bake them for ca. 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Variations: add 100 g of steamed poppy seeds to the curd mixture and one more egg.

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Beef Broccoli


As I mentioned earlier, I want to add this year at least one new recipe each month to our list of recipe standards. I want to get a bit more variety into our daily dinners and I want to venture into new fields of cooking and challenge myself with new ingredients,  flavors and techniques.

Our dish of the month for January is beef broccoli. Some years ago I bought Jaden Hair’s book “The Steamy Kitchen Cook Book” when it first came out. Jaden has a great food blog and in her first cookbook she offers wonderful Asian dishes. The recipes are very tasty and easy to follow. Her version of beef broccoli is real quick and easy and everyone in the family loves it. The challenge here is the preparation of the beef. In general I prefer vegetables over meat in terms of both eating and preparing, so I am trying my best in getting decent pieces of beef….

Here it goes. This is what you’ll need:

  • 500 g  beef (sirloin) cut into thin slices/stripes
  • 750 g broccoli
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • high heat cooking oil

For the beef marinade:

  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp cooking oil

Stir-fry sauce:

  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp Chinese rice wine (I used 2 tbsp dry Riesling wine instead and it was really nice)
  • 2 tsp Chinese black vinegar (I used balsamic vinegar)


  1. Mix the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl and marinade the beef in it.
  2. Prepare the stir-fry sauce by mixing the ingredients in a small bowl and put aside.
  3. Steam the broccoli for 3-5 minutes. It should still be crunchy.
  4. Heat a large pan or wok. When hot add cooking oil, coat the pan well. Add the meat and fry in a single layer both sides for 30 seconds.
  5. Add minced garlic and stir-fry sauce and stir to combine. Let simmer for about 30 seconds until the sauce thickens.
  6. Add the broccoli and toss to coat.
  7. Serve over steamed brown rice.


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Fast Breakfast-Rolls


We love fresh home-made breakfast-rolls on a Sunday morning! And we also love to sleep in on a Sunday morning… So, needless to say, I was very happy when I came across those fast delicious rolls at tastsherif. There is a lot of curd in the dough for a nice moist texture and the baking powder cuts the preparation process really short.  The rolls can be prepared and baked in less than an hour – and this is the time it takes anyway until everyone is up.


You’ll need:

  • 500 g curd (I prefer to use a curd with high fat content, but I guess any curd will do)
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 g sugar
  • 1 pack of vanilla sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 500 g flour (I like to use whole grain spelt flour)
  • 1 pack of baking powder (ca. 15-20g or 1 tbsp)
  • optional: 100 g dried cranberries (or raisins)
  • some milk
  1.  Whisk together curd, eggs, sugar and salt.
  2.  Add flour and baking powder and combine into a smooth dough.
  3.  With wet hands form 16-24 balls and set them onto two trays.
  4.  Brush them with milk.
  5.  Bake at 180 degrees  for ca. 15-20 minutes.


Yummy! As variations we baked the rolls with poppy seeds (replace 100 g of flour with 100 g of steamed poppy seeds), or with raisins, or with cinnamon and a bit more sugar – and we all loved them!

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