Notes From My Kitchen

quail egg breakfast

quail egg breakfast

For a special occasion such as New Years, or just for a lovely weekend brunch or breakfast, try quail eggs instead. Here a selection of breakfast favorites, just smaller and all on one plate:

eggs benedict with prosciutto and poached eggs

boiled eggs

omelette with mini porcini mushrooms and fresh herbs

fried egg


baked goat cheese salad

baked goat cheese salad

An easy salad with great taste and quite the wow effect:

On lettuce with balsamic reduction, walnuts, cranberries and pink pepper serve a baked goat cheese wrapped in prosciutto, topped with a spoonful of cranberry marmalade.

Bake the cheese in the oven for about 3-5 minutes to warm it through, and then with top heat for a minute or two to let it bubble up a bit before serving it immediately.

Buon appetit!

Walnut Rosemary Bread

Walnut Rosemary Bread

Ingredients – makes 2 loaves:

325 grams bread flour
200 ml water
25 ml olive oil, extra virgin
16 grams dry yeast
30 grams chopped walnuts
2 – 3 teaspoons dried rosemary
sea salt & green and pink pepper


Knead all the ingredients together, let the dough rise for 2 hours and knead it through again; or put all the ingredients into a bread maker (setting artisan bread) for the knead, rise and knead, rise cycle.

Take the dough and put it in a lightly oiled bowl and (covered with plastic foil) let it rise in a warm place for another 10 – 12 hours.

Make 2 loaves (round or baguette shaped – slash the top, if desired) and bake in the oven with a bowl of water at 220 degrees Celsius for 35 – 40 minutes until the crust is crisp and golden. Let the breads cool down a bit and serve with fresh slightly salted butter, olive oil for dipping or cheese and cold cuts.


gruyère thyme gougères

gruyère thyme gougères

Hot Gruyere Thyme Gougères

Ingredients for 24-28 gougères:

1 cup hot water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1/3 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 Teaspoon of dried and finely ground Thyme


Combine the water, butter, salt and sugar, and heat until the butter is melted. Add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a firm ball and breaks away from the edges of the pan. Remove the dough from the pan and beat in the eggs, one by one until the “pâte à choux”is  firm, smooth and waxy.

Add the cheese, mustard and the thyme to the pâte à choux and blend thoroughly. Butter a baking sheet and drop the dough by spoonfuls, or press through the plain tube of a pastry bag, making small round mounds on the sheets.

Sprinkle with a little additional cheese.

Bake in a 150°C oven for Abut 35 to 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the gougère to dry out in the oven for a few minutes before removing them to prevent them from weeping — that is, showing drops of moisture.

Serve the gougères hot – they are wonderful with a glass of champagne.

pate sablee cookies

pate sablee cookies

Pate Sablee Cookies


125 grams of flour “00”
100 grams of butter, cut into small pieces, slightly softened
50 grams of icing sugar
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
dark chocolate, sugar and almond slivers for decorating


Mix the flour with the salt and icing sugar. Gently work in the butter and the egg yolk with your fingertips until completely smooth.

Wrapped in cling film, let rest in the refrigerator for an hour.

Roll out to 2mm thickness and create desired shapes. Set on a baking sheet or silpat. Bake in pre-heated oven at 170 degrees for 6 – 10 minutes until blond or lightly browned.

Decorate with dark chocolate, brulee-ed sugar or almonds.

Seafood Trio

Seafood Trio

Seafood Trio:

Mussels in Dijon-Mustard Saffron Broth
Garlic-Lime Shrimp with Parsley and Lime Dip
Scallops Seared in Duck Fat with Thyme and Tangerine Zest

And here the recipes:

Mussels in Dijon-Mustard Saffron Broth

Ingredients for 4 people:
1 kg mussels (250grams per person) in the shell, cleaned
50 grams of butter
3 cloves of garlic
1 medium sized shallot
1 teaspoon of pink pepper
good pinch of grey sea salt
1 cup of dry white wine
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
25 milligrams of saffron
2 – 3 teaspoons of starch for binding
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, pot or wok.
Sauté the garlic and the shallots until tender, but not browned.
Add the pepper, the salt and the mussels and sauté for about 1 minute.
Add the white wine and steam cook the mussels for about another 5 minutes, stir occasionally.
Take the mussels out of the liquid, discard any unopened mussels and de-shell the open ones. Distribute the mussels evenly in 4 pre-warmed bowls and cover.
Add the Dijon mustard to the cooking liquid and bring to a boil, add the starch for binding the broth.
Add the saffron.
Pour the broth over the mussels and serve immediately.

Garlic-Lime Shrimp with Parsley and Lime Dip

Ingredients for 4 people:
600 grams of large shrimp
¼ cup of olive oil
juice of 2 limes
5 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of ground pink and green pepper
small bunch of flat leave parsley (fresh) – chopped with 4 sprigs preserved for decorating.
pinch of grey sea salt
Make a marinade with 2/3 of the ¼ cup of olive oil, juice of 1 lime, the garlic (peeled, crushed and roughly chopped) and the teaspoon of pepper .
Marinade cleaned and de-veined shrimp for at least 1 hour, but no more than 3.
Heat the rest of the olive oil in a pan.
Sauté the shrimp until tender, about 2 minutes. Set on the plates for serving, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and decorate with the parsley sprigs.
Add the juice of the second lime and the sea salt to the pan and let it boil up for a few seconds. Pour in little dipping dishes with the shrimp and swerve immediately.

Scallops Seared in Duck Fat with Thyme and Tangerine Zest

Ingredients for 4 people:
3 – 4 tablespoons of duck fat
zest of 1 tangerine
1 teaspoon of chopped thyme (fresh)
12 medium-sized scallops, cleaned and out of the shell
Heat the duck fat in a medium size pan, large enough for all the scallops.
Sauté the scallops until tender and lightly browned on both sides, about 3 – 4 minutes depending on the size of the scallops.
Plate and sprinkle with the thyme and tangerine zest. Serve immediately.
Wine Pairing:
Use the same dry white wine used for the mussels, ideally a Soave or Sauvignon Blanc.

La Cucina di Cariya

I am cooking again – it was about time!

After having had a few too many bad dinners in Venice, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I invited friends over and cooked a nice 12-course dinner with wine pairing to find out, if I can compete. It seemed like I can (I am very happy and thrilled about the very positive feedback – thank you, Guys!)

To formalize things, I put some information together on facebook – please take a look and let me know if you “like” it!

Thank you and see you soon at my table!

my TV appearance on

My first India TV appearance went quite well and I got some nice feedback – a big “thank you!” to everyone, who took the time to watch!

For those of you, who communicated interest, but didn’t have a chance to catch the show on TV, here two links to what you missed:

Let me know what you think and thank you for watching!

decoration, appetizer or main course

asparagus stuffed rigatoni

These asparagus stuffed rigatoni are a great way to make two simple ingredients look fabulous:

Cook the pasta and the asparagus both al dente and then stuff the asparagus into the pasta. It works nicely as a decoration for a bowl of pasta with asparagus or a vegetable or tomato sauce, with a dipping sauce as an appetizer, or, if you have the patience, you can make a whole main course of it!


panna cotta

panna cotta with caramel and chocolate sauce

this is a recipe for a classic panna cotta. I served it in two separate cups with caramel and chocolate sauce, but it also works very well with fruit, nuts, or simply plain.

recipe for 8 – 10 servings depending on the size of the ramekins or custard cups you are using


4 cups of heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean (Bourbon vanilla works very well here!)

2 packets of powdered gelatin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)

6 tablespoons of cold water

Heat the cream and the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and then remove from the stove and add the vanilla.

Lightly spray custard cups with a neutral-tasting spray. You also can use a neutral oil or butter if you prefer.

Let the gelatin dissolve for about 10 minutes in the cold water and then pour the very warm cream with sugar and vanilla mixture over the gelatin water and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Pour the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them in the refrigerator until set – this will take about two hours.


some dishes and a few quotes

mushroom stew

Having had good feedback from the 9-course wine pairing events on April 6 & 7, I wanted to share a few pictures of the food and some feedback from the guests:

“the food was delicious and mouthwatering”

“it was a great evening – the food was outstanding!”


“I had a very exciting and delightful evening”

“great job last night!”

cheese mousse

“Thank you for a fantastic dinner!”

What can I say? I am happy when my guests are happy, and I am looking forward to many more occasions – probably at a new location next time!

Valhalla menu

fine dining experience

We are getting ready for April 6th and 7th at Valhalla and here is the menu to whet your appetite ahead of time – I am looking forward to seeing you there!!!

sparkling wine with

1. hot gruyere thyme gougeres


2. romaine lettuce with heart of palm, pomegranate & champagne vinaigrette

Sauvignon Blanc with

3A. grilled shrimp


3B. char-grilled vegetables

with hot and cold dipping sauces


4. pea cappuccino

Pinot Noir with:

5A. stuffed basil pesto chicken filet


5B. stuffed fire roasted bell pepper

on lemon butter rice


6. cannelloni with spicy tomato sauce

Shiraz with

7A. lamb in red wine


7B. mushroom medley stew

on creamed mashed potatoes


8. blue cheese mousse

9A. panna cotta with caramel and chocolate sauce


9B. melon & dragon fruit sorbet

bread dumplings

bread dumpling in mushroom cream

bread dumpling in mushroom cream

bread dumplings are a great winter dish and fabulous for making use of old and stale bread. However, they work just as well with nice fresh bread, too!

Ingredients for 4 – 6 people:

one French baguette (sourdough, rye, rolls or hearty dark bread are fine as well – you also can mix if you like)

2 eggs

milk (skim or full fat)

bread crumbs (unflavored)

half an onion (medium size, white)

parsley (dried or fresh) – optional

caraway seeds (optional)




Cut the bread in medium size cubes – maybe about 1″x1″ – and put them in a large bowl. Pour milk on the bread that is nicely dowsed. Don’t drown it though, you want to soak the bread, not making a liquid bread soup.

Dice the onion finely and add to the bread and add the parsley and the caraway seeds if you like. Season with salt and pepper. Mix everything together. The mixture should be kind of crumbly at this point. Don’t mush the bread completely – it is okay to still have visible junks.

Add the two eggs and knead everything together. Add breadcrumbs until you reach a consistency that allows the dough to stick together and you can form it into a shape.

Make dumplings – as large or small as you like. If you have them as a side dish, make them a bit bigger. If you want to serve them in a soup, I recommend a smaller size to make it easier to eat.

Bring a large pot of salted  water to a boil and boil the dumplings in the salt water until done. The small ones will need about 20-25 minutes, the big ones up to 35-40. Another option is to steam them – it keeps the outside drier and the risk of them falling apart during the cooking process is eliminated.

Check one dumpling to make sure that they are really done – the inside needs to be dry. If it it is still wet and doughy, they need longer.

Serve the dumplings with anything from a beef stew to a light creamy mushroom sauce. I love fresh chanterelles for example – as a soup or in a sauce.


cooking in Venice

Ca' Zen kitchen in Venice Ca’ Zen kitchen in Venice

Now is this a kitchen or what???

This is my kitchen – at least for a week! The week over Christmas that is and it is in Venice, Italy, and I am a very, very lucky person!

Here my special Italian Christmas dinner, fitting to these great surroundings:

fresh vegetables from the local market (it is amazing – if you come to Venice, don’t miss it!), pane (freshly baked from the wonderful little bakery around the corner) with butter and formaggi (ok, not very Christmas-y, but very, very good!), home-made pasta, with three sauces (pesto, pomodoro and mushroom cream) and a few other Italian delights I was craving when we were in India!

No Christmas goose or ham for us though!

The coming week I will catch up on all the other wonderful Italian delights in abundance, and then go on to sample the culinary offerings in Casablanca, Morocco. I most certainly will share my experiences there!

In the meantime: Happy Holidays!!!