Stops in Düsseldorf and Cologne, Germany

Düsseldorf and Cologne lie very close to each other in Western Germany, in the Rhine region. We happen to have friends in both cities, Doris and Malte from the Bionics Systems in Düsseldorf, Martina and Tilman from the Büro für Brauchbarkeit in Cologne, all involved in Design and new media. Check out their work.
Cologne is a great city although it is known in Germany for not being the prettiest, for it was badly bombed during WWII. Still, there are very nice areas and this mix of styles makes the charm of the place. The aesthetics of Cologne is somewhat balanced by its locals. The Rhinelanders’ friendliness and humor are legendary (I know a few of them and I can only agree), a characteristic which makes the stay there even more enjoyable.

I’ve discovered Düsseldorf a bit more this time and found its architectural development very interesting – some parts of the city are like in Cologne, some others like in Hamburg. The Medienhafen (media shore) was designed by Frank Gehry (of Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum fame) is worth seeing for the buildings and to enjoy a nice walk by the river.

For the food, our friends in Düsseldorf took us to their local cafe, “Bar Apartment“, in Fürstenplatz. If you like to have breakfast or lunch enjoying a local flair, this is the right spot. The place opened in August 2008 and is owned by Evelyn Wodniok (see picture below) and Mirko Gathge. The vintage designers’ furniture provides the cafe with a lounge-homy feeling. The food is simple, freshly-made and is perfect for a light lunch. We had Portuguese sandwiches with salami and salmon, the Greek, fennel-walnuts and potatoe salads. Artworks are hanging on the wall, they organize exhibitions approximately every 2-3 months.

Portuguese salami sandwich and the very popular rhubarb juice and sparkling water, a rhubarb-Schorle

They only accept cash

Fürstenplatz 5
40215 Düsseldorf, Germany
tel: 0211 38735366
Weekdays 9am-2pm; Weekends 10am-2pm

Back in Cologne we met our friends for dinner at this “new” burger place “Freddy Schilling – Hamburger Manufaktur“. Burger places have bloomed during the last few years in Berlin. I’ve tried a few of them and I gotta say, this one here is really good. I’m no beef fan so I had a veggie burger, although the meaty burgers looked and tasted, so I hear, delicious. One of the specialty of the house are the “Rosi’s”, baby potatoes cooked in butter and rosemary.
They do not sell any alcohol so in case you need to use the loo, try somewhere else. No loo, no alcohol license.

Bruno’s Brenner, BBQ/hot burger  and the Freddy’s Favorit, classic burger

Tante Tatjana’s Burger here with the famous and unforgettable rosemary potatoes

Anna’s Alternative, veggie burger also with the rosemary potatoes. There isn’t actually a burger like you
would expect. It’s only vegetables.

Kyffhäuserstrasse 34
D-50674 Cologne
Tel: +49 (0)221 / 16 95 55 15
Fax:+49 (0)221 / 16 95 55 16
Monday to Thursday 12:00 – 22:00
Friday and Saturday 12:00 – 23:00
Sunday closed


Stops in Düsseldorf and Cologne, Germany

Asian style marinated chicken, Basmati rice, butter Shitake mushrooms

This is one of my favorite homemade recipe. Marinated chicken served with cardamon, star anise flavored rice and Shitake mushrooms fried in butter.
The chicken is tender, the sauce has a nice texture – neither watery nor too thick, it’s sweet, peppery and salty, the coriander adds a touch of freshness to the whole thing. Just simple and delicious.
I prefer organic chicken for its taste and tenderness. For the rest of the shopping you will have to pay a visit to the Asian store or if you are lucky, you can find Asian products at the organic supermarket.

Regarding the combination of the ingredients, you can, of course, decide for yourself how peppery, sweet or salty you want to have it. But I find this mixture of tastes to be very balanced.

For best results, marinate the chicken a day before the actual diner, the meat absorbs the flavors and tastes better.

In the recipe below you can see an optional side dish, baked sweet potatoes. You could also stir fry spinach with garlic in the wok to add a bit of greens. But here I’ll keep it simple. I’ve been told that my recipes are too complicated. There you go.

Serves 2-3
Chicken Marinade

3 breasts of chicken
4 Tbsp Hoi-sin sauce
4 Tbsp Soy sauce (Kikkoman)
2 Tbsp Mirin
2,5 Tbsp Choya
2 Tbsp Maple syrup
1 Tbsp Sesame seeds
2 Tbsp Black pepper
1 Tbsp Sesame oil
2 Tbsp Frying oil
1 Tsp Fresh grated ginger
1 Grated organic lime
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Coriander powder
One red onion

1,5 Cup Basmati rice
3 Cups water
6 Cardamon seeds (optional)
3 Star anise (optional)
A pinch of salt and pepper

Shitake Mushrooms
8 Shitake mushrooms
Salted butter

Option: Sweet potatoes
2 Sweet potatoes cut in half
Fleur de Sel and black pepper
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Sesame and olive oil
Sesame seeds (optional)

Coriander to garnish

Make the dish
Slice the chicken breast thinly and add all the ingredients for the marinade. Let marinate for at least 3 hours.
2. Prepare the rice. Rinse the rice until water is clear.
In a sauce-pan bring the rice to a boil on high heat without the lid on. Once it boils immediately turn the heat down on the lowest and let cook for 10 min with the lid on. Once cooked, set aside.
3. While the rice cooks, in the wok put some of the marinade in the pan with a bit of oil. Turn on high heat. Toss the red onion in.

4. When the onions start getting golden, toss the chicken in, keeping some of the marinade aside. Let it cook for approx. 5 min. on each side. Then add the rest of the marinade.
5. Meanwhile in a frying-pan, toss the salted butter and turn the heat on medium-high. Let the butter melt. Toss the Shitake and fry until golden.

Garnish with fresh coriander, serve.

Sweet potatoe:
Prepare the sweet potatoe: preheat the oven on 180c°. In foil add the salt and pepper, the soy sauce and the oils and the sesame seeds. Bake for 40-45min.

Asian style marinated chicken, Basmati rice, butter Shitake mushrooms

Filled Radicchio Rolls with Tapenade deviled eggs

Once again we are having friends over for diner. It is funny how we tend to look up to the US for inspiration. After Gourmet Magazine there is also the New York Times for its Health Food section:

While browsing their website this recipe inspired my husband for a starter: he combined the Radicchio Recipe with the boiled egg with a heart of tapenade and presented them on a bed of ruccola with toasts.

Both combined work really well. The saltiness of the anchovies and olives with the sweetness of the ricotta, the nutty walnuts, it was all very interesting and unusual.

It tastes delicious, is simple to make and is a perfect starter. With 2-3 rolls you’re satisfied enough to be able to wait for the next course for 25min without losing your patience or starving.

Chop the walnuts – add the egg yolks to the ricotta.

Once the radicchios are softened by the hot water and chilled by the icing water, dry them and fill with the ricotta.

Roll the radicchio leaf

Place in a baking dish and bake with Parmesan.

Filled Radicchio Rolls with Tapenade deviled eggs

Teriyaki chicken meatballs with eggplant and nori rice

This meal is an interpretation of Japanese food. It’s quite easy to make and isn’t very expensive either. The only thing you need is time. Make sure that you take a couple of hours for the meat to soak in the marinade and after being mixed in the mixer carry on with the hands.
You can also quickly pan-fry the meatballs in sesame, soy sauce and mirin before serving that way if you are planing to cook in advance, it warms them up and gives the meatballs a glaze.



2 large chicken breasts (675g)
300g smoked tofu
4 tbsp mirin
4tbsp soy sauce
2tbsp hoi sin sauce
1tsp sesame oil
lime powder
according to taste shiso leafs
3tsp coriander
grated fresh ginger
1 egg
a handful of breadcrumbs
batter flour
salt pepper

Eggplants, dry Shitake mushrooms and sliced carrots
Frying oil and sesame oil mixed for the pan frying

1 cup Japanese rice
1 1/2 cup water
sushi rice seasoning vinegar

Make the meatballs

1. Add the ingredients in the mixer.
2. When well mixed take the mixture out of the mixer and place in a dish. Let the mixture marinate for a couple of hours but mix well a few times with hands.
3. With wet hands form meatballs in the palm of your hand.
4. Boil water in a pan. Place a bamboo steam basket on top. Use baking paper or banana leafs to steam the meatballs so that they don’t stick.
I steamed them 10-15 min. so that they don’t get too dry.

Vegetables & Steaming

1. Pour hot water onto the dry Shitake mushrooms. Let them soak for 30min.
2. Slice the eggplants, thinly cut the carrots ans shitake mushrooms.
3. In a frying pan (here a grill pan), pour the oil mix fry separately the eggplants, the carrots and the mushrooms. Set aside.

Rice & Meatballs

1. Rinse the rice.
In a pan add the water, rice and the nori seaweed. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat on very low for 10 min.
3. When it is cooked add 3 tbsp of the sushi rice vinegar to provide a sweet and sour taste.

Serve with a coriander and sliced nori garnish.

Teriyaki chicken meatballs with eggplant and nori rice