Saturday, December 19, 2015

It's the most wonderful time of the year ...

Christmas tree ornaments food themed fruit vegetable cabbage pomegranate oyster

'It's the most wonderful time of the year' ... or or so they say. I have to admit that for the longest time I only thought of the winter holiday season as a spring board for an annual expedition to warmer shores and an escape from all Christmas spirit. But ever since moving to San Francisco, and into a Victorian flat with gloriously tall ceilings, I have fully embraced the holiday spirit - having fun with tree trimming, hall decking, nut roasting et al ...

food themed Christmas tree ornaments

Monday, November 9, 2015

A traditional éclade de moules in San Francisco

A glorious Indian summer weekend in San Francisco, celebrating our friend Maxime's birthday and gathering in a hidden backyard garden to set up an epic meal ~ an "éclade de moules", a traditional mussel preparation typical of the region around Île de Ré in South West France.

With over 50 pounds of fresh mussels this éclade was a group effort: traditionally started with just four mussels set up in iconic cross formation, additional mussels are slowly added in ever growing circles and arranged hinge up on a large plank of pine wood that has been soaked in seawater. 

eclade de moules mussel eclade

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A modern townhouse in Cologne & flammkuchen in a hidden garden

More long overdue catching up with this summer's dinners with friends while traveling and finally editing the photos of this fun flammkuchen feast with our friends Andrea and Bernd in Cologne. Both expert mushroom foragers and passionate home chefs, they had invited us to their fabulous townhouse for a long summer evening in their garden and catching up on life over flammkuchen and dry white wine ...

Flammkuchen translates to flame cake, a Southern German {& Alsatian} speciality, a bread dough rolled out very thin, either oval or rectangular and usually topped with crème fraîche, thinly sliced onions and lardons - although Bernd's interpretation with fresh sliced porcini mushroom made for an an amazing variation!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A cool loft in Cologne and making pizza with old friends ..

No Cologne visit would be complete without a dinner with these two! Back in the olden days Petra and Feli, wardrobe stylist and DJ respectively, used to be our next door neighbors. Now they own a cool loft in the heart of Cologne, an art filled industrial space built out to their needs with an open kitchen, lots of cool details, a glorious bathroom and a hidden green oasis on the roof terrace above.

We started the evening off with bubbly and nibbles, catching up on life in the old vs. new world, while watching Feli do his pizza dough magic ...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Sicilian lunch in the shade of the fig and carub tree ...

On the tail end of an epic Italian road trip {following roads less traveled from Toscana through Campania and Basilicata to Calabria} we eventually boarded a ferry to our final destination ~ Sicilia!
After a day of exploring Mount Etna's lush green valleys {& savoring the ultimate pistachio gelato in the pistachio capital Bronte}, we took in Catania, wandering its amazing fish market and exploring its baroque sights.

And in Catania we met up with our friend Luca for an exploration of Sicilia's South, stunning Siracusa and the Val di Noto, slowly making our way West - and eventually arriving at Il Paradiso, his family's enchanted summer house outside his hometown Mazara del Vallo ...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Making Gnocculi con Pesto alla Trapanese in Mazara del Vallo { recipe }

Pesto alla Trapanese Recipe

I have to admit, if there is one thing that always intimidated me in the Italian kitchen, it's handmade pasta. For some reason I always associated it with a high maintenance dough, special tools, tricky timing - but, most of all, with very little cooking fun.

While cooking with Silvana Mannone & her family in Sicily earlier this summer, I was finally converted! With just two ingredients we made enough Sicilian gnocculi to feed a battalion! And while Silvana shared the secrets for the perfect gnocculi, her husband Giovanni was kind enough to let us in on his interpretation of a classic pesto alla Trapanese - so both of these recipes I am happy to share here ...

Follow along on Instagram ...


all photos © dinners with friends

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