Quick quisine : cucumber salad and fast fish

When the weather is sweltering and humid and there is nothing better than staying in the water, you need light dishes that tempt those taste buds.

  • 150 g fish fillet per person
  • lemon juice
  • lemon pepper
  • aluminum foil
  • 1 – 2 cucumbers
  • 1 – 2 cups of sour cream
  • spring onions, chopped
  • chopped dill
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice to taste
  • a crusty baguette
  • sauce Remoulade

I go to my favorite French marketender at the Friday market and buy some fillet of plaice, about 150 g per person, wrap it in aluminum foil with a bit of sulphurized paper to keep it from sticking, sprinkle lemon juice and lemon pepper on top and shove the packets in the oven at 200° till done, about 14 min.

Meanwhile peel 1/3 cucumber per person and slice it thin into a large salad bowl. Wash the spring onions and the dill thoroughly and chop them into small bits, add to the bowl. Add in 1 – 2 cups of sour cream, a generous spoonful of salt and pepper and lemon to taste. Stir carefully until blended.

Serve the fish hot, if desired with Sauce Remoulade, the baguette and the salad. Let it melt on your tongue!

Burgers German-style – Frikadellen

My hubby asked for Frikadellen and I thought, oh wow, that’s a kind of burger other countries don’t know.

Ingredients (2 p.):

  • 400 g ground beef
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 roll, previously soaked in water and squeezed (I used a Brez’n)
  • 1 tsp. spicy mustard (we love French Maille – “il n’y a Maille qui m’aille”)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pepper (cayenne pepper makes for a good mood)
  • 4-5 potatoes, boiled and sprinkled with paprika and butter
blend all ingredients well

Mix all the ingredients with a fork until blended. If the dough is too moist you can add bread crumbs. Moisten your hands and shape patties, best all of the same size. Cook in a heavy skillet with some margarine, turning the patties several times to ensure they are cooked all the way through.

Cook on medium heat turning the patties several times. Make sure the beef is cooked through.

Serve the Frikadellen with spicy (Maille) mustard and the boiled potatoes, buttered and sprinkled with paprika for flavor.

Veggie Variation: Sometimes I add in grated carrots, which offer a special touch of flavor. We call those our “Bunny Burgers”.

Quick quisine: noodle salad

the noodle salad in a ceramic fish bowl bought in Barcelona near the Picasso museum

Whenever we invite friends over to a barbecue, I always make a noodle salad, one of potatoes, one of cucumber, one of tomato, sometimes a fruit salad. Of course we always have Brez’n, buns, cake and ice cream, prosecco or crémant with crème de cassis and different kinds of German beer.

Ingredients (about 8 servings):

  • 250 -300 g noodles (spirelli), cooked according to directions (8 min.)
  • 1/2 jar Miracel Whip / mayonnaise
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1 -2 onions, peeled and chopped (or spring onions)
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 4 large pickles and pickle juice
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 bell pepper, washed and chopped
  • herbs, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper

First cook the noodles al dente, about 8 minutes, then drain and leave to cool. Meanwhile, chop and dice all the vegetables.

When the noodles have cooled down, mix all ingredients. Add salt and pepper, lemon juice and herbs according to taste. Leave in the fridge for several hours to cool and blend.

Variation: buy half a ring of Lyoner / bologna, cut it into bite-size chunks and add it in if you don’t have steaks.

Enjoy on a warm summer evening!

Quick and healthy: asparagus with potatoes and ham

Here in Central Europe May is the month of asparagus and strawberries and rhubarb! In France they tend to eat more of the green kind that is only peeled at the bottom end. Here in Germany both kinds are sold, but the fat, white stalks are the most common, from Pörnbach, Abensberg or Schrobenhausen, although they are also sent up from Greece. The first ones arrive in April and the last harvest is traditionally towards the 24th June, Johannistag (St. John’s).

One kilogram usually costs about €12. I’d suggest buying about 5-6 stalks per person. I use a special peeler (cf. photo) and peel first the ends, then the top end while staying away from the shoot which doesn’t necessitate anything. The yellowish in-between layer must also be peeled away. Then the bottom end is cut off, a little more if the end is tough.

My asparagus are cooked in a large skillet, but professionals use special cylindrical pots so the bottom is cooked longer than the bud. I cook mine for approximately 10-11 minutes in salted water, some people add in a bit of sugar, some like them more al dente and cook them a minute less.

Meanwhile wash some potatoes with flaky skin and cooked them in salt water for about 20 minutes depending on their size. I poke them after 18 minutes or so to check the degree of softness.

You can make your own sauce hollandaise out of butter, shallots, egg yolks, vinegar, salt & pepper, whisked creamy in a bain-marie. Or you simply buy a packet of sauce hollandaise, also as fat-reduced, and heat it along with the asparagus, adding a splash of lemon.

Delicious accompaniments are cooked honey, smoked, lemon-pepper or serrano ham, also small veal scallops or beef tournedos.

Basque pipérade

You may already know this easy and quick recipe, there are different variations of this sausage and veggie mixture with a fluffy omelette. It’s a meal I like to do when I want something tasty, spicy and not too heavy. Try to buy very fresh eggs and vegetables, you will notice the difference in taste!

The recipe originated in South France, hence the typical vegetables. You can also try experimenting with different types of sausage, like chorizo.

for 2 servings:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 Wiener sausages, cut
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 aubergine, diced
  • 1 – 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • olive oil / margarine
  • salt & pepper
  • herbes de Provence
  • 5-6 large fresh eggs
  • some milk, salt & pepper

fresh crusty bread or a baguette to accompany the meal

Start by preparing all the vegetables. Then heat the oil in a skillet and toss the onions and the sausage bits until they start browning. Add the other vegetables with the salt & pepper and the herbes de Provence. If the mixture is too dry, add a little water and put a lid on the skillet at a low setting until all are tender.

Meanwhile crack the eggs into a large cup or bowl, add a little milk and salt & pepper and beat them with a wire whisk until blended. Pour the eggs into a medium hot skillet with butter or margarine and let them set. Gently turn the omelette several times until cooked, making sure the omelette stays fluffy.

When everything is finished, gently spoon the vegetable/ sausage mixture onto a plate, add in the omelette, garnish with chives and enjoy!