Schwäbische Alb bei Lenningen-Schlattstall, Hans Schwenkel, 1939
Hope you all had a lovely Christmas; full of laughter, good food, drink, family and friends. We sure did. We overindulged a little on lots of yummy dinners and delicious cocktails and I spent most of my time roasting, baking and mixing in the kitchen (we all know how much I love that, although it did get a little tiring towards the end ;)).

And now it's New Year's Eve and we are getting ready to go over to our friends' house, packing bags of more drink and snacks for a quiet and relaxing evening.

I am looking forward to what the new year has to bring:
we are planning more DIY projects in our flat, which I hope I will be able to share on here, I want to finally start using my sewing machine and make some lovely things for the house (this pretty Christmas present from Susie and my brother will definitely come in handy), blog more often and share the stack of recipes I have on file and I am really looking forward to all the exciting projects that await me at work.
Most of all we are planning to eat healthier and more consciously, cutting down on meat dishes and trying out more vegetarian options, exercising more (starting the mile-a-day project and joining the gym) and spending more quality time together.

Now lets start the new year with a vegetarian meal of roast broccoli and lemon linguine that is so easy, delicious and healthy.


COOKS 30mins

  • 1 medium size broccoli (cut into bite size bits, including the stem)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 360-400g linguine, cooked to instructions, keep a tiny bit of water in the linguine after draining
  • grated parmesan (optional. This makes it less healthy but much lovelier.)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Place the broccoli onto a baking tray and drizzle with the honey (mainly onto the florets). Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes until the florets just start to char.
  2. After about 15 minutes start making your linguine (they should still be hot once your broccoli is done).
  3. Combine the linguine, broccoli, lemon zest, juice and minced garlic, drizzle with plenty of olive oil and mix well.
  4. Serve hot with some grated parmesan or pecorino.
Enjoy with a crisp white wine or glass of cold beer.


I tried to start my Christmas baking early this year, because I've been finding it hard to get into the Christmas mood... well and because we all know how much I love baking. My best childhood friend came over for a long weekend and what better way to spend a day off than baking your favourite Christmas biscuits. These little babies are called Zimtsterne (cinnamon stars) and are everything a Christmas biscuit should be: sweet, nutty, spicy, chewy, crispy... just amazing.
They literally have been my favourite Christmas treat for as long as I can remember and I don't see this changing any time soon.

And before you say anything...yes I know they aren't stars, as they are meant to be (I didn't have the right cookie cutters).

Please try these, you'll instantly feel twice as christmassy!!


MAKES 25-50 (this depends on the size of your cookie cutters)
COOKS 25mins
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 250g Icing Sugar
  • 1tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of Ground Coffee
  • 375g ground Almonds

  1. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff. Sieve the icing sugar and carefully (spoon by spoon) mix with the stiff egg whites.
  2. Remove 3 tablespoons of the mixture and set aside. 
  3. Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, coffee and as much of the ground almonds until the mixture is not sticky anymore.
  4. Place the mixture between two large sheets of cling film and roll out evenly until 1cm thick.
    Place on a flat chopping board and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 125˚C. Open up the cling film and cut out stars using a cookie cutter (ideally stars of approximately 4 cm diameter). Dust the cutter with a bit of icing sugar every now and then to avoid sticking. 
  6. Place the stars on a baking tray lined with baking paper and brush with the egg white/icing sugar mixture you set aside earlier.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes then turn the temperature down to 100˚C and bake for another 10-15 minutes (make sure the egg white stays pale).
  8. Once done place on a cake rack and leave to cool.
I promise you these will be gone within the day. Enjoy! 


It's taken me ages to finally get to the second course of my Sunday lunch menu. Damn you Christmas stress! On the positive side I have got tons of lovely wintery recipes to share with you very soon!!! But before I go off and do some more wrapping and baking and tidying and decorating here's the main course of my winter Sunday lunch. A delicious, earthy warm lentil salad with sweet apples and tender marinated pork fillet. Enjoy!

COOKS 45mins-1hr

  • 400g pork fillet
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, remove stalks and finely chop leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 175ml red wine
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 200g  puy or brown lentils
  • 500ml beef stock, left to slightly cool down
  • 2tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar.
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1/2 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and cut into chunks
  1. Mix the rosemary, garlic cloves, red wine, brown sugar and olive oil in a large bowl (whisk or stir until the sugar has dissolved). Add the pork fillet and move around in the bowl until well coated with the marinade. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes. For maximum flavour you can do this the night before and refrigerate over night.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Place the butternut squash on a baking tray, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with some olive oil. Put in the pre-heated oven and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes add the apples and cook for a further 15-20 minutes until the butternut squash is cooked.
  3. In the meantime place the lentils into a saucepan and add the stock so the lentils are just covered. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20-30 minutes until cooked. Keep an eye on the lentils and keep topping up with stock if they get too dry. 
  4. After your meat has had time to marinade and the squash has been in the oven for 30 minutes place the pork into a baking tray and pour over the marinade. Place into the oven and cook for about 20 minutes.
  5. Once the meat is done, take it out of the tray, place on a warm plate and leave to rest. Make sure it is cooked through and the juices run clear.
  6. Add the juices from the tray into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the balsamico and simmer until the mixture starts to thicken, then take off the heat.
  7. Slice the meat into medallions. Distribute the lentils between four plates and top with the spinach, squash and apples. Place the medallions on top and drizzle with the dressing.
And that's it, enjoy with a nice rich red wine or a glass of cider.


      I thought I might start a little series of posts on easy weekend lunches, that feed loads, are easy to prepare and make a memorable event. A few weekends ago we had my mum and dad round and I really wanted to make a light two course lunch that was full of winter loveliness. Last year I made this super yummy borscht with mushroom dumplings which went down a treat. It's that time of year again where beetroot seems just right. So for starters I made an earthy, thick beetroot soup with tangy feta and a crusty rye bread.

      One thing I often dislike about winter lunches is that they are too heavy and you end up being so full after starters that you can hardly stomach mains let alone pudding. This little beetroot soup is just the right amount of filling to get you started.
      Make it on Saturday and just re-heat for Sunday lunch. You'll save time and gain extra flavour.

      Here it goes, my Sunday lunch starter:

      SERVES 6
      PREPARATION 10mins
      COOKS 30-45mins

      • 3-4 medium sized beetroots, peeled and diced (grate 1/4 of one beetroot as a garnish)
      • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
      • 1tbsp tomato puree
      • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
      • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
      • 500ml strong stock (I used beef)
      • 125g Greek Feta, crumbled
      • Olive oil
      • Small handful of chopped dill (optional)
      • Salt and Pepper to season
      • Rye or sourdough bread to serve
      1. Heat some olive oil in a medium size saucepan. Once hot add the onion and sautee for a few minutes, until soft.
      2. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so then add the tomato puree and stir until well combined. Mix in the diced beetroot, tomatoes and stock. Turn down the heat to medium and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the soup's thickened and reduced. Stir occasionally.
      3. Blitz with a handblender. It doesn't matter if you have a few chunks of beetroot left. If you feel the soup is too thick add a little more stock and mix in.
      4. Season to taste with salt and pepper, bearing in mind that the feta is quite salty.
      5. Dish up into soup bowls and top with the crumbled feta, grated beetroot and the chopped dill.
      6. Serve alongside buttered rye bread.
      This soup is great cold too and you can substitute the tinned tomatoes for 500g of roast tomatoes in the summer. But to me this just screams winter starter :) Enjoy with a glass of light red wine.
      Main course of pork fillet and warm lentil salad to follow shortly.


      Recipe taken from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and adapted by Etta.