Hummus. Yet another middle-eastern dip.

This may sound a bit silly, but the first time I tasted hummus was in New Zealand. The reasons for this: My co-worker was vegan and loved it. And it was available in the supermarket in dozens of varieties. From plain to lime & jalapeño to sun-dried tomato. With Turkish salsa was my favorite. It was great just sitting on the Auckland pier at lunchtime and having a little pick-nick with hummus and a fresh bread.

When my husband and I returned to Germany, we still had the craving for hummus, but it was nowhere to be found in supermarkets around here. Luckily, hummus is incredibly easy to make.


1 (400 g / 14 oz) can chickpeas/garbanzo beans
1 lemon, juice only
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon harissa
1/2 teaspoon ras-el-hanout (seasoning for cous-cous)
1 teaspoon tahini

Open the can (haha), drain the chickpeas and put them in a high mixing bowl. Unless you have a food processor, then put them in the mixing bowl of your food processor. But have an immersion blender so I use the highest vessel I can find in my kitchen.

Add the rest of the ingredients and then stick the blender in (or hit “go” on your food processor). Blend it as long as you want, you can make it light and fluffy or – if you’re like me – leave some bits and pieces for an more interesting structure.

Done! But wait, this looks a bit boring. Let’s make a little topping:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon ground paprika

Heat up the oil and the paprika powder in a point just until it starts to bubble and starts to smell intensively like paprika.

Pour the hot oil over the hummus and enjoy the taste.

Baba Ghanoush. Dip for eggplant lovers.

Basically, I hate eggplants. Especially if they are soggy, mushy, bland and/or bitter. Or even soaked with oil floating in a boring tomato sauce. Horrible.
A year ago I discovered that eggplants – also called aubergines – actually CAN taste good, as long as you cut them in 1 cm thick slices, lace them with garlic and put them on the BBQ until they are dark brown and soft.

And then we went to a Persian restaurant and ordered a mezze platter. There were all those incredibly tasty dips: hummus, some kind of tzatziki, spinach with yogurt, olives, feta and this really tasty dip where I couldn’t place what it tasted like or what it contained. Can you believe my shock when the waiter told me it consisted mostly of eggplant! Since then, I always have to remember myself that I like eggplant, at least in some very specific preparations.


1 large eggplant
1 lemon, juice only
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon tahini (or peanut butter)
1 package / 200 g / 1 cup yogurt (Greek style if possible)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin or ras-el-hanout (seasoning for cous-cous)

Heat up your oven to 200°C/400°F. Stab the eggplant several times with a knife, then put it in the oven and leave it there for 30 min or until the skin is shriveled and black and the whole thing feels soft.
By the way, always punch a few holes in vegetable skins before putting them into the oven, many people report exploding vegetables (just have a go in Google). Not that this would terribly dangerous in a closed oven, but imagine having to clean every nook and cranny!

Get the eggplant out of the oven, grab a large knife and split it in half. Let. It. Cool. I burned my fingers because I was too impatient.
Now it’s time to scoop out the “meat” and I found that the ice cream scoop you see in the picture is perfect for the job. Or just use a regular large spoon.

Once you have removed the skin, place the “meat” into a tall container, add the rest of the ingredients and puree it with an immersion blender until everything is smooth. As I don’t have a food processor I use this method, but feel free to give it a few spins in the food processor if you have one.

I know, it’s not a pretty sight. But don’t let that intimidate you, the taste is great!
Serve with nice pita or focaccia bread, some olives and a glass of cold white wine. Perfect snack for hot summer evenings.

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.

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.