BBQ chicken. Somewhat Indian.

Summer finally arrived here in Munich – at least for the next two days, then it will be raining again. So I enjoy it while I can… And additionally, it’s the last week before my summer vacation! Just 5 more days to go, then I’ll be staying for 3 weeks in a small house in south-western France, just a 10 minute’s drive from the beach. And I’ll be spending the days at the beach and firing up a real barbecue every night. I really miss barbecues. Because there’s a law and/or regulation for everything in Germany, we’re not allowed to have a BBQ or just a gas grill on the balcony. So I have an electric griddle, but it’s really not the same.

Have you ever heard of the Steven Raichlen’s “Barbecue Bible“? It’s a thick cook book with tons of recipes and general instructions for grilling I find very helpful and interesting (but don’t trust me: I like reading cook books like other people read novels). This is one of the recipes I found work very well, even if you only can use an electric griddle (or a simply pan in winter) instead of a proper barbecue. It works really simple and the chicken tastes best with a side of grilled pita or focaccia bread, some tsaziki and maybe a nice green salad. Because you marinate the meat for several hours, it gets a tangy flavor from the yogurt and tastes exotic (but not too much) because of the different spices.

BBQ CHICKEN Tandoori style

175 g / 2/3 cup Greek yogurt (10% fat)
small pinch of saffron threads
3 large gloves garlic, minced
2,5 cm / 1 in long piece of fresh ginger, minced
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
500 g / 1 lb chicken breasts

Mix the first 6 ingredients together.

Prepare the chicken breast the way you like them and place them in a Ziploc bag.

You can use whatever chicken parts you like, but I’m super picky with veins and silver skin, so I buy boneless and skinless ones and cut everything away I don’t like. By the way, I gently fry all those nasty bits in a pan with a little bit of oil and – as soon it cooled down a bit – my cat Henry is all over it.

Pour the yogurt mixture into the Ziploc bag, close the bag while getting out as much air as possible and make sure every chicken bit is covered with it. Put it in your fridge for a couple of hours – 2 are OK, overnight would be even better (don’t forget to put some beers in you fridge while you’re at it).

Fire up your BBQ/electric griddle and grill them until they are done and have some dark brown bits. Pop a beer and enjoy the meat with a good piece of grilled bread.

Flammekuchen. The lazy version.

The weather around Munich is changing every day, from sunny and warm to cloudy and cold. And back. Twice a day. This roller coaster ride really gets me tired. Plus taking some medicine that makes me feel nauseous all the time doesn’t help at all. So yesterday evening, all I wanted was a quick bite, watch a bit of TV and a hot shower before going to bed.

As I recently discovered that I’m luckily not lactose intolerant (as I thought for the last 2 years), I really enjoy eating dairy products again! Fructose, on the other hand is a whole different matter and I still have to find out what fruits and which amounts I can eat.

Flammekuchen (or tarte flambée) means “cake baked in the flames” and is a specialty Strasbourg in France is famous for. The original recipe calls for paper-thin yeast dough, with very thin coats of crème fraiche, onions and bacon, then baked for few minutes with very high heat. This is why one person can easily eat a sheet of Flammekuchen the size of a placemat or a baking sheet. My version on the other hand is much thicker, but it is a quick and lazy one and ready to eat in 15 minutes.


1 package pizza dough (ca. 400 g / 14 oz) or homemade pizza dough
200 g / 7 oz /1 cup crème fraîche (30% fat) or sour cream
200 g / 7 oz bacon
1 large onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C /400°F. Unroll the pizza dough and place it on a baking sheet, with some baking parchment between them (you can roll the dough even thinner if you like, but I didn’t care yesterday). Thinly spread the crème fraîche on the pizza, then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Then, cut onion and bacon into very thin strips, scatter onion and bacon bits on top of the crème fraîche. Pop it into the oven for 10 minutes, or until the dough is cooked through and the corners are getting brown. Serve with a nice glass of chilled white wine and enjoy!

Risotto. Great to use the rests in your fridge.

Risotto was – just like many other famous Italian dishes – invented by poor people. The goal is to use the stuff you already have, like vegetable rests and leftovers. I very rarely shop for ingredients for risotto, so when I make one it is different every time. First of all, I search my fridge, pantry and freezer of things I can use and then I decide if I want to make a red or a white version, that is with tomatoes or without. Today, I found some chorizo and a rest of red wine, so that really screamed for a red risotto.

RISOTTO for 3 (or 2 hungry ones

3 tablespoons olive oil
250 g mushrooms, cut into thick slices
15 cm chorizo or salciccia, diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 sprig rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 cup risotto rice
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
2-3 cups water
1/2 cup peas (I used frozen ones)
salt and pepper
2 olives, cut into rings
50 g / 1/2 stick butter
1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
some fresh basil leaves

Heat up a wide pot (you’ll need the room to stir later), put in the olive oil and the mushrooms. Let them fry on medium-high heat until they are golden brown, then fish them out of the pot.

While the mushrooms are in the hot oil, you can cut up the chorizo as well as the onion and garlic. When you have removed the mushrooms from the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and throw in the chorizo bits. They will render quite a bit of fat and that is perfect for sweating the onions and the garlic. Wait until the chorizo bits are much smaller and a bit crunchy, then add onion, garlic, rosemary and the bay leaf.

Stir occasionally until the onions are translucent, then add the rice. Continue stirring until the rice is covered with oil and getting a bit translucent as well. Add the tomato paste and let it fry a bit, too. This will caramelize some sugars and reduce some acids. Pour in the red wine and let it cook until it is nearly vanished. Then add 2 cups of water, the peas, the mushrooms, salt and pepper. Keep the heat on medium-low and stir every minute.

In my opinion, there’s no need for the classic (and terribly exhausting) risotto method, that consists of adding just 1/2 cup of liquid and stirring ALL THE TIME until everything almost evaporated, then adding the next batch. I get the same creamy risotto when I add all of the liquid and stir it every minute (so that it won’t stick to the bottom of the pot). Plus, much of the creamy texture comes from the starch in the round rice and the fat in the butter and Parmesan cheese.

Test the rice for doneness, if it is still hard in the center, add a little bit more water (ca. 1/2 cup) and let it cook in. Test again. It depends on so many factors how much water you will need (the water content in the rice, how wide your pot is and how much water evaporates), but I use 2 1/2 cups for 1 cup of rice as a thumb rule.

When the rice is done – that is no more hard center, but not yet mushy – add the olives, stir, then add the butter, stir until it is completely dissolved and then the cheese. Stir and let it also melt completely. Feel free to add more cheese and/or wine until you have the desired consistency and taste. Remove from the heat and then sprinkle with more cheese and some basil leaves, either whole or cut into strips.

Sausage salad. The Bavarian beer garden classic.

You heard right: sausage salad. Salad made from sausages. Ham sausage to be exact. This may sound weird, but it’s really delicious.

It’s a Bavarian beer garden classic and I guess that’s why this dish was invented: the sausage keeps fresh longer when you put it in a sour and salty solution. And you needed that when the only available air condition was chestnut trees… By the way, most beer gardens in Bavaria are still “cooled” with old chestnut trees and are BYO (“bring your own”), but a little differently as you might expect if you were born in an English speaking country: you’re allowed to bring your own food, but you have to buy the beer there.


Sausage Salad / Wurstsalat

700 g ham sausage (“Schinkenwurst”, “Leberkaese” or “Lyoner”)
1 large onion
1 cup gherkin slices
1 cup gherkin brine
6 tablespoons vinegar
6 tablespoons water
salt and pepper to taste


Peel the sausages and cut them into 3-5 mm thick slices.


Put them into a large bowl.


Cut one large onion (or 2-3 smaller ones) into fine stripes and put them on top of the sausage slices.


Add 1 cup of gherkin slices (I buy them whole and slice them myself), then give the mixture a toss, so that everything is evenly distributed. Then add salt and pepper and all the liquid ingredients – they should nearly cover the whole mixture. Put it all in the refrigerator and let it there over night.

Serve with pretzels and a nice cold beer.

Salad. Suitable for male humans.

This is a little salad I like to make, because it’s quick and tasty. And not to forget: it’s a light lunch or dinner, but not so light that you’re hungry again after half an hour. Depending on your hunger, you can make it even more filling by adding nuts or Parmesan cheese. Or both.

Another thing: You’ll save washing some dishes, as the salad dressing is made in the pan with the chicken. I like dressing. My husband likes it so much he even drinks it. So don’t be surprised if it looks a little bit too much. If you prefer having less dressing, start with the half amounts of soy sauce and vinegar or let it cook longer.



2 garlic cloves
1 sprig of rosemary
4 slices bacon
3 tablespoons olive oil
300 g chicken fillets
3 tablespoons soy sauce | tamari
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 package lamb’s lettuce or romaine salad


Put olive oil, garlic, rosemary and the bacon into a wide pan and let the bacon sizzle on low until it turns reddish and crunchy. Take out the bacon and let it cool on some kitchen roll sheets. Now you have a nicely flavored oil which is a good basis for the dressing.

Cut the chicken fillets into small bits – either bite size or finger-thick strips.


Turn the heat on medium-high, toss in the chicken bits and let them fry, cook through and get some golden brown spots.
They don’t really have to get brown, as there is already pretty much taste from the bacon and the meat will get brown enough when you put in the soy sauce and the balsamic vinegar.


Speaking of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. When your chicken is cooked through (chicken should always be cooked “well done”), pour them into the hot pan, reduce the heat to low and let it all cook until it thickens a bit and looks somewhat syrupy. When you pour in the vinegar, move your head away from the pan – vinegar vapors are not the most pleasant thing for your nose.

While the salad dressing thickens, go wash the salad. And if you like, heat up some French bread (my favorite is baguette) in the oven.

Put the salad on a plate, arrange the bacon and the chicken on the side (so that the salad won’t go flat because of the heat – lamb’s lettuce is very fragile) and slowly drizzle the dressing over the salad. Tastes best with a hot french bread and a nice cold beer.

Carbonara. Quick comfort food.

One of my all-time-favorite comfort foods is Spaghetti Carbonara. It’s quick, simple, I almost always have the ingredients at home – and most important of all – it’s delicious. How could you not love noodles with a creamy, cheesy sauce and bacon? The recipe I use is a very traditional Italian one, although I like it best with capers. Yes, I know it’s not the classic combination (some might even shout “blasphemy!”), but I like the acidity of the capers in contrast to the creamy sauce. Please don’t kill me, try it. If you don’t like it you can still use the traditional chopped parsley.



250 g spaghetti, linguini or other thin, long Italian noodles
8-10 thin bacon slices (200 g)
2 egg yolks
100 g cup cream
50 g fresh Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper

Bring enough water to boil, put plenty salt in it so that it tastes like sea water and cook the spaghetti.


Cut the bacon into fine strips and let it get crisp in a pan, then add the butter.

Pour the cream into a small bowl (or just leave it in your measuring jar), stir in the egg yolks and the grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, but keep in mind that the bacon and your spaghetti are already quite salty. I also like to add 1 tsp of the caper brine, that gives the dish a very subtle flavor and deepness. Or maybe it’s because I use lactose-free cream which tastes a good deal sweeter than regular cream.

As soon as the spaghetti are done (al dente), drain them and put them into the pan, letting them brown a tiny little bit. Now – this is very important – kill the heat and move the pan to a cool surface. If your pan has a very thick sandwich bottom, pour the bacon and spaghetti into a glass bowl. If you don’t do this, you’ll get scrambled eggs instead of a creamy sauce (in case that happens, tell the people its a rustic version). Back to the hot spaghetti in a cool place: pour the cream-cheese-egg mixture on top an quickly mix it with the spaghetti. Ready to eat!

Serve with capers or fresh chopped parsley. And don’t forget some freshly ground pepper.

As I make this dish quite often, I end up with tons of egg whites. I freeze them and still have to think of ways of using them (macarons and pavlovas come to my mind).

Quiche. With tons of leeks.

In winter in Germany, you often get to buy leeks in 1 kg bundles. It was cheap, but I only needed one leek for a stir-fry. Every time I opened the fridge I was wondering: “What the hell should I do with all those leeks?!?” Then I remembered the Swiss cheesecake my mom used to make – it has tons of onions in it and I thought I should try and substitute the onions with leeks. It was a full success!

Though I really liked the dense leek flavor, but somehow missed the sweetness of the onions. I guess I will make it 50/50 the next time.

By the way, this is NOT suitable for people trying to loose weight! There’s tons of cheese, eggs and bacon… On the other hand, it’s quite low on carbs, if that is your thing.

The cake is easiest to cut on the next day (like any cheesecake), but I like it piping hot and straight from the oven.


makes one pie with 28 cm in diameter, ca. 5 cm height

1 package flaky pastry (or savory pie crust)
5-6 leeks, cut into rings (original: 4-5 onions, diced)
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar
5-6 eggs
1-2 tsp caraway seeds
200 g cream
200 g sour cream
200 g cream cheese
400 g Gouda cheese, grated
400 g Emmental cheese, grated
100 g Parmesan cheese, grated
400 g lardons/bacon, diced

Butter and flour a pie springform pan, line the bottom and the sides with the flaky pastry and punch some hole in the bottom. Preheat the oven to 180°C.


Heat up a pan, melt the butter and throw in all the diced onions (you can also cut them up into rings half rings or whatever you like. Just don’t make the bits too small). Add a little bit of sugar and sauté the onions for a couple of minutes. Don’t let them get too soft, you want the translucent with some brown bits, but also some bite to them. Let it all cool down.

Put the eggs in your mixer (whisk attachment) and beat until fluffy. Add the spices, then turn the speed down and add the cream, the sour cream and the cream cheese SLOWLY. Otherwise, you’ll get a terrible mess. Continue mixing until you have a smooth, thick liquid without any cream cheese bits left, then remove the whisk and change to the hook (or don’t and use a large wooden spoon and your hands instead). Again, on low speed, gradually add the cheese bits, the bacon cubes and the leeks/onions. Check that the leeks/onions have cooled down, so the eggs won’t curdle if you stir it into the mixture.

Pour it into your pie dish, flatten the mixture a bit and put it into the preheated oven (180°C) for about an hour.

Yes, the top NEEDS to get brown, that’s what makes it so tasty. Just be sure it won’t turn black. Cut it up immediately for a hot, gooey and messy (but heartwarming) dinner, maybe with a nice green salad. Or let it cool down and you have great lunch for work (either cold or heated in the microwave).