More May Garden Recipes: a Cocktail, a Salsa, and a Cheese

I’ve been on a total cooking spree these last few days.¬† The weather’s been bad and trying out new things from the garden totally saves my mood ūüôā

First things first, Booze.

I want to give this a cool name, but I’m terrible at naming things.¬† Hanging Garden, maybe?

Anyhow, it’s simple to make and tastes like spring and happiness.

Pour a healthy shot or two of gin into a glass, add lemon thyme, mint, and strawberry leaf and let it sit for an hour or so to really get the flavor in.  Add a healthy squeeze of lime, then flower ice cubes (fill the tray half-way up, freeze halfway, add whatever edible flower you like, then fill the rest of the way and freeze).  Fill with tonic water and garnish with lime.


Second recipe is just as easy, it’s a veggie salad you can put on anything…pasta, toast, chicken, whatever.¬† This time I put it on lettuce and fun stripey pasta.

Take yellow zucchini, tomato, garlic and dice the hell out of them.¬† Then add chopped pea leaves and shoots, japanese mustard greens and radish greens, rosemary and marjoram.¬† Stick on some salt and pepper, then mix in olive oil and lime juice.¬† It’s so good and takes like, 10 minutes to make.¬† It’s a good way to use things from the garden and deal with veggies that need to get used soon.


Finally, today I made paneer cheese with hyssop, rose petals and lemon thyme! I’m really damn proud of myself.¬† It’s totally easy, tastes incredible, and takes almost no time of active cooking (there are a few hours of waiting impatiently next to it, though ūüôā


I used this recipe here, with lime juice (and you do need 3-4 teaspoons if you use lime juice, 1-2 for vinegar. ¬† Mixed in the herbs/flower petals in the colander, squeezed out the whey (I’m currently trying to make mysost with the whey, which is a Norwegian sweet cheese), and pressed the cheese down for 3 hours.

bring the milk to a boil and watch out, it will boil over ALL over the place. Quickly add the lime/lemon/vinegar and take off the heat. there’s a big bowl, the colander is in the bowl, then the linen, then the curd.


so pretty!

Thank you, Discworld!

after I took the photo I sprinkled on a bit of sea salt and pepper.

how cool is that???¬† The garden looks great right now, I’m going to have a ton of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries soon, and I also got a cowberry (preiselbeeren) bush which is covered in flowers right now.¬† I can’t wait!


May Garden Pasta for One

I’ve got an extra day off today so I decided to make something new from the garden and decided on pasta.¬† This time I used pea leaves and tendrils, radish greens, japanese mustard greens, viola petals, Spanish mint, hyssop, and marjoram from the garden, added olive oil, a splash of malt vinegar (only because I don’t have any lemons on hand) garlic, salt and pepper and let it sit while I boiled the noodles.¬† This takes exactly as long as it takes you to cook the noodles so if you’re in a hurry or don’t feel like cooking this is perfect.¬† You can make the dressing a few hours beforehand too, the longer it sits the better it will taste!¬† I also added a bit of parmesan cheese.¬†¬† And again, this will work with any greens and herbs in your garden, I can absolutely recommend this combination though, the mint is really great in it.


about this much is a good amount for one person (about 3 centimeters high I guess)

so good.

The great thing about growing vegetables like peas, mustard and radish is that all parts of the plant are edible so you can use them in a ton of different ways.  Also, all three of them grow quickly and early, so you can get some fresh greens earlier on in the year!

And I do promise to do some more vintage sewing posts soon!¬† First rainy day I promise.¬† Enjoy the fine weather ūüôā

Spring Garden Eggs for One

Finally! my first meal from the garden this year!¬† Even though there aren’t any fruits and veg growing yet, there’s still a ton you can do with what’s available in early spring.

This morning I made eggs with sorrel, japanese mustard greens, lemon thyme and marjoram with viola garnish, and it was so good!¬† If you aren’t growing these in your garden, any greens and herbs will do (like nasturtium leaves, radish greens, and pea shoots, for example).

All you have to do is crack 2 eggs into a hot pan with a bit of olive oil in it, then add 2 chopped mustard leaves, one minced sorrel leaf, chopped marjoram, the thyme leaves and a bit of salt and pepper and wait till the eggs are almost cooked through.¬† Then flip, wait a second and they’re done! serve with brown bread and garnish with viola flowers.¬† I also added a bit of grated parmesan cheese.¬† I can’t think of a better way to start a day off ūüôā¬† Plus this takes MAXIMUM 5 minutes to make, so if you’re in a hurry or really hungry after work these are perfect.

et voila!


Pickled and Jammed: Ways to pass a rainy day

Last weekend I got motivated and decided to jar everything I could get my hands on. ¬†I then got smacked down with a cold and have been swimming in Law and Order reruns and hot tea, so I didn’t get around to posting them till now ūüôā ¬† The jam and cake are my own creation, but the pickled mushrooms and tomato sauce are from two vintage recipes I posted earlier. ¬†I know there’s been a ton of food posts lately, but I’m on a bit of a fad with this right now and it’s the perfect time of year! I’m also trying out different things to do with my garden plants. ¬†Salads are great but there’s so much more you can do! Here are the recipes in case you want to try them.

Peach Berry Jam (honestly the best jam I’ve ever made)

1 kilo peaches

a large handful of raspberries

juice from half a lime

1 kilo sugar (or a little less)

half a vanilla bean (or vanilla extract)

You make this just like the jam recipes I posted a few weeks ago, except this needs to be cooked much longer. Boil 10 minutes the first round, wait overnight, ¬†then 20 to 30 or until it’s sticky. ¬†I didn’t cook it as long as I would have for a thicker jam, as I was looking for something a bit more liquid to eat on cake. ¬†The color is amazing and it tastes so good! ¬†If you use a vanilla bean instead of extract, after boiling for the first time, put the vanilla bean to the mix for about 15 minutes and then remove.

I made WAY more than this...this is the extra jar. I love the color!

so once I had the jam, I decided I needed to use it to make some cake:

Whole Wheat Jam Cake

the smaller cake. I cut it in half before remembering to take the picture. Also, the cake is flipped upside down

(disclaimer…I’m not the most accurate measurer even when I’m baking. I’m a fan of the chaos cooking theory, so things might be a bit off…when in doubt, use your judgement)

Mix 200 grams of sugar with 120 grams of butter. ¬†Beat two eggs and add. ¬†In a separate bowl mix 200 grams of wheat flour with 8 grams of baking powder and add to the mix. ¬†Now here’s the surprising bit. At the supermarket they didn’t have any small containers of regular milk, and I didn’t want a whole liter. ¬†So I ended up using vanilla milk (Landliebe) instead of regular milk and vanilla and it was actually really good. ¬†trust me on this one. ¬†Anyhow, add 150 ml of vanilla milk to the mix, mix it all together and pour into cake or muffin forms. ¬†So I made two cakes, one smaller that I added jam in the middle of (which ended up sinking through to the bottom and making a layer) and a big one that I marbled the jam into. Both were great so run with it! ¬†for a normal sized cake bake for 30-40 minutes or 25 minutes for a smaller cake (my oven is a mini student oven with no settings for heat. If you’re a new baker, I’d go look at some basic cake recipes and follow their temperature and time recommendations.) ¬†I strongly urge you to eat it warm. maybe even with ice cream if you’re feeling crazy.

After which I was desperate for something savory, so I went back to my post with translations from 1919 post-war recipes and decided to try the Mushrooms in Vinegar to Put on Bread, which is basically just pickled mushrooms.

I used minced garlic instead of horseradish and marjoram and hyssop from the garden instead of dill and they turned out AMAZING.  I also added some water to the vinegar (I think it was 1:1), which I strongly suggest.

And, as we’re looking for YET ANOTHER weekend of rain here in Cologne, I’m thinking about sewing some more vintage and doing something with my green tomatoes. ¬†And speaking of tomatoes, my cream sausage and moonglow have put out a few ripe ones this week!

cream sausage and red basil

Moonglow. The color is the best part, it really is a pumpkin orange.


Herbs and Rain clouds

Chances are, no matter where you live now, the weather’s pretty much shit. ¬†You’re either roasting, or, like me, drowning in a never ending sea of freezing rain and cloudy skies. ¬†It’s to the point now where even my garden has had enough of the rain and is starting to look like it normally does in September. ¬†Which is not cool.

However, today I managed to scrape together enough veg to make a small salad, which thrilled the hell out of me. ¬†It’s the first 100% mine salad I’ve had this year:

8 ball zucchini, cream sausage tomato, monkey face peppers, red basil, lemon thyme, and gold oregano. For dressing I just used a bit of olive oil, black pepper and balsamic vinegar (I put it on after the photo so you could see the colors)

Now probably the best bit of my garden is the herbs. ¬†If you’re thinking about starting a container garden, start with them. Most of them are hardy, last all year in a mild winter, and can be used all the time! Also, you can use them on just about everything. ¬†And when the weather is this bad I find making things from the garden is a good way to cheer myself up. ¬†So I also made rolls with herbs:

this takes 5 minutes to make. Toast a bread roll, add cream cheese, a bit of vinaigrette, fresh herbs (I used marjoram, hyssop, lemon thyme, red basil and hyssop flowers) and squeeze half a lime over the whole thing. awesome.

And of course you need booze so I made a sort of pimped out gin and tonic:

to make: a bit of gin, a lot of tonic, Spanish mint (from the garden), juice from a slice of lime. garnish with raspberries and half a slice of lime.

and here are some photos of the balcony now (we had exactly 11 minutes of sun today, so you might see a stray sunbeam now and again), you can see how pissed off my tomato plants are looking:

8 ball zucchini. They're small but it's the first year I've managed to get any zucchini to grow at all. I was starting to take it personally.

my sad-looking moonglow and cream sausage tomatoes.

the herbs and strawberries are looking amazing though.

one of my mystery tomatoes. I'm thinking it's a mr. stripey.

monkey face peppers, which I bought only because of the name. Turns out they're really good, hot, but not scorching and a good flavor. I totally recommend growing these!

two of the mystery tomato plants turned out to be green sausage. Seriously if you're going to grow heirloom tomatoes, make sure you have a few from the "sausage" family. They grow quickly, produce early and A LOT, so while you're waiting for your other tomatoes to give up the goods, you can always have some of these to eat.

another mystery tomato, I'm hoping it's a Black from Tula

the bees have been making sweet love to my dahlias and marjoram flowers all summer.

Happy Saturday!

Mushrooms and Forest Tea: 1919

So a few weeks ago I stumbled across a magazine on ebay called Hilf Dir Selbst, a post WWI self help magazine that sounded interesting. ¬†I got it for 1 euro and it’s wonderful! It has articles on everything from starting your own rabbit farm to turning an old skirt into a bed jacket to lots of useful articles about recipes and herbs.

This was published the year after the war ended and people were seriously poor, which means people pretty much had to figure out ways to live without a lot of luxury. ¬†What I love about these kinds of magazines is that you get interesting info like “recipes often call for pepper because it’s so hard to get”. ¬†All the recipes below can be made on an extremely low budget, easily, using only plants found in forests or easily grown in the garden. ¬† I thought these were really interesting so I’ve translated them and put them up. ¬†If you notice any translation mistakes or try any of these at home, please let me know!

Hilf Dir Selbst May 1919

(ignore the nightshade picture in the middle, it belongs to an article on the previous page. Also, sorry the scan is so blurry!)

Mushrooms in the Kitchen


The mushrooms, regardless what kind they are, should be cleaned, washed and put in a very little bit of water. ¬†Add a small onion and a little salt and stew them slowly together. [when these recipes call for mushrooms, it seems many of them expect the mushrooms to be first prepared in this way, although I don’t see that it’s necessary]

Mushroom soup with noodles and or oat grits.

The mushrooms should be slowly stewed together with an onion and the noodles. ¬†Then stir in a little flour to bind it and some finely chopped parsley. ¬† If you’re using oat grits, the flour isn’t necessary.

Mushrooms with potato:

Mealy potatoes should be boiled with some onion, salt, and a soup cube.  Mash the potatoes, then add the mushrooms and some parsley to taste.

Mushroom and potato salad

Mushrooms should be cooked till soft with their own juice, some vinegar, salt and onion, then drained in a colander.  Take the liquid and add a little sweetener, finely chopped chives and parsley, borage, and salad burnet to taste, then add the finely chopped mushrooms and a sliced, boiled potato.    You can also add celery stalks.  Then let the salad sit for a few hours before serving.

Mushrooms in vinegar to put on bread

Cook the mushrooms till soft in its own juices and a little vinegar.  Then make it spicy with some horseradish and herbed vinegar or dill.  Serve on bread or also as a side dish with potatoes and beef.

Mushroom Ragout

Your Sunday meat should first be cooked with a lot of soup vegetables to make a meat stock. ¬†Let the stock stand until it is cold and remove the fat to use later for the vegetables. Then brown the flour without using any fat, add it to and boil it in the stock till it’s clear, then add your finely chopped stock meat and the prepared mushrooms. ¬†Then add herbal vinegar (if you don’t have any regular), a tiny bit of sweetener, and salt to taste. ¬†You can also add salted, boiled potatoes to the dish.

Mushroom casserole with vegetables:

In a prepared casserole dish, layer finely weighed prepared mushrooms, then sauerkraut, mashed potato, finely chopped turnips, mushrooms (always put some in between), onion, dandelion, and pour broth of 1/4 liter of soured milk and a little potato flour over it all.  Bake in the oven for 1-2 hours.

Sauteed potato and mushrooms:

Leftover potatoes can be added to mushroom broth with a finely chopped onion and sauteed.  When they are soft, add the prepared mushrooms, and finally some parsely should be sprinkled on top and mixed in.

Mushroom gravy:

In a pot add some browned flour, finely-chopped onion, some salt, nutmeg, and finely chopped prepared mushrooms. ¬† With a little vinegar and pickled onion and 1 tsp. of mustard, mix the mass and put the dip on fish or beef. ¬†If you don’t have these, put it on potatoes.

Mushroom spread for your bread

Take finely chopped mushrooms and add various herbs like chives, parsley, and thyme; then add onions and salt and cook everything together [I assume in a little water?]. ¬†Boiled grits or oat flakes should then be added and mixed well, and the mass should be put into jars. ¬†It must be thick so that you can spread it easily. ¬†In all recipes fine pepper is recommended because it’s so hard to get. ¬†However, most mushrooms (with the exception of button mushrooms and steinpilzen (porcini mushrooms) ) taste better without it.

Mushroom patties cooked in lard

Finely chopped mushrooms that have been drained of their juices should be mixed with boiled, grated potato, chopped onion and salt and as much egg white as you need to keep everything together should be formed into patties, and then fried in lard.   Then brown some flour, add the mushroom juice, small pearl onions, and chopped cucumber and serve over green beans or sour cabbage.

Mushrooms with herbs

Dandelion, orach [also called mountain spinach], and other wild vegetables should be boiled till soft and then finely chopped.  Do the same with the mushrooms when the herbs are done.  Then mix together with some onion, salt and flour and cook them through.   You serve this with potatoes.

Mushrooms and pearl barley

Soak 1/2 kilo of barley for 24 hours, and boiled for 2 hours in lightly salted water.  Fresh mushrooms should be cleaned and steamed in a pot with a little fat and water.  Larger mushrooms should be chopped, but leave the smaller ones whole.  After steaming them for about 20 minutes, mix them with the barley.

Collect Leaves and Blossoms for Tea

Nut Leaves

In June you an collect the young leaves of the walnut tree. ¬†They must be dried quickly in artificial heat (the oven) so that their green color stays. ¬†Walnut leaves when dried have a spicy smell, but not as strong as the fresh leaves. ¬†If they turn brown, you can’t use them.

Strawberry Leaves

You can collect the leaves of wild strawberry in every forest, preferably in May or June before they are fully grown.  Dry them in a warm, airy place.

Waldmeister (Sweet Woodruff) Leaves

By Waldmeister (Asperula odorata) we are talking about the entire (best dried quickly on high heat) above ground part: the stem, flowers and leaves.  It grows in shadowy green forests, especially in beech forests.  You collect the herb in May, preferably before the flowers have fallen as it has the best aroma at this time. The flowerless plant can be used for many things, but not for tea.  You can tell the difference by the strenght of the aroma.  Waldmeister becomes blue-green to black-green when dried.

Deadnettle Flowers

Deadnettle (Lamium album) for tea can be found all over Germany on village streets, as hedges, ¬†and often grow in thick masses. ¬† On the plant, the leaf stalks grow to 1/2 meter and look like burning nettles but don’t sting.¬†From the end of April to June the beautiful, large, snow-white flowers grow, and should be collected before they’ve totally opened on a warm, dry day. ¬† Take the flowers out of the green part and dry them quickly and on high heat. ¬†If they turn brown, don’t use them.

Blackthorn Flowers

The 1-3 meter high thorny blackthorn grows on sunny hills and forest edges all over Germany.   It is also often planted as a hedge.   The blackthorn puts out many little flowers in April and May before the leaves are fully developed. Collect them on dry days, remove the green part and dry them in the sun.  If the flowers are collected after rain or not dried quickly enough they become brown or black and are not usable.

Blackberry and Raspberry Leaves

The leaves on blackberry and raspberry brambles that can be found hanging everywhere in light forests, mountains and on forest paths are best collected in June and July while they’re still young.