Monday, December 21, 2009

X-Mas matters of taste
There are these december weeks... you all know them:-)

They come back every year and every year nearly everybody feels stressed again because of these litte holidays and their organisation around x-mas – be for private or business life.
Sometimes it seems to me as if the 24th of dezember is a suddenly upcoming little catastrophe nobody ever heard about and no one ever knew before... and most important impression: everybody acts like if everything not being finished before the 12/24 will never have a chance of being finished. Therefore the world MUST finish everything under every circumstance until the 24th of December or better before the 21st of December.

Gingerbread spice mix everywhere
There are a few other phenomena in our marketing driven cluture around chrsitmas concerning taste. After the first cinamon christimas cookies in September!!! my nose and tongue get bored faster and faster to smell all those – in general wonderful – spicery like cinamon, artifical orange and overdosed gingerbread spice mixes. Therefore I decided a few years ago to eat exclusively self-made cookies and not to taste any of those overdone x-mas chocolates at any of those before christmas parties anymore. That was a very good decision:-) and I´ve never regretted it, above all my culinary senses:-)

Cinamon for example is a very fine spice and furthermore one of the oldest known ones. Scientists presume cinamon to be used in China already 3000 B.C. From the 16th to the 18th century it was one of the most expensive spices. Its smell and taste are connected in nearly every mind with the experience of Christmas. Nowadays the cheaper Cassia Cinamon, used for all the industral bakery, is even considered to be harmful if you eat a whole package of cookies. But the much more expensive "Conamon Verum" also known as "Ceylon Cinamon" stays one of my favourite spices - if used modestly. For example a pinch of this original cinamon used within a vension ragout with red wine and african pepper could refine this taste ensemble around the meat in a very special way. It is often the same, be it cooking or life(style): quality and dosage are the things that really matter:-)

Another wonderful spice is cardamon. The capsules of this plant of the ginger family, originally from India, have a very strong and exceptional taste. The more aromatic Malabar Cardamon is one of those spices I like to refine my dark, selfmade hot chocolate with, after having cooked carefully the a vanilla bean in the milk first. A whiff of cardamon can also enlight good strong espresso. Therfore you have to mix it into the coffee powder and brew it together.

Last but not least: Staranis
I get to know staranis very late in my culinary life. Not being a fan of all those anis tastes known from liqueurs like the greek Ouzo or the french Pastisse, I used anis very seldom in my kitchen. This fact changed immediately after having discovered a wonderful recipe of one of my favourite cooks, Vincent Klink ( He uses pestled star anis and black pepper as a cold marinade for salmon filets and leaves the fish covered with the two spices overnight in the fridge. The salmon absorbs the hot and the sweet of the two spices, smells and tastes slighty after those two different components after being marinated - wonderful! Before frying the salmon filets in butter he removes the marinade. You feel nothing on your tongue except for the soft and tasty fish. Vincent Klink really is one of those masters of the right combinations and the right dosage of spices and herbs in his marvellous kitchen. His salmon recipe is one of my favourite chirstmas dishes. This year it will be the dinner for the evening of the 25th.

So the first half year of this blog is over. I hope you enjoyed the entries and I hope you will be my readers again in 2010! Whish you all a merry X-mas and a happy new year with a lot of fine food, good moments, interesting people and new discoveries, be they big or small!

dolce vita ahoi • best wishes• mobile minds • monika ebert

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New café culture in the Uckermark

Driving direction north from Berlin to the city of Prenzlau you arrive approximately after one hour in a region called "the Uckermark". The Uckermark has a wonderful soft lined scenery, beautiful lakes around the Feldberg area and offers quiet forests for extensive walks. The region is the home of a very special mixture of people: The "original Ukcermaerkers" on one hand and the "new Uckermaerkers" on the other. The former have a very special way of communication, better a short-cut-non-commmunication, even if they are very heartful people. The latter – the new Uckermaerkers – migrated by the majority from Hamburg or Berlin to the region. This second part of the habitants tried to settle down and also to establish themselves in the resgion over the past 20 years. So, as a stranger, you have to get used to the short-cut-communcation of the original Uckermaerkers as well as to the very different mind-sets within the groupof the new Uckermaerkers - not that easy, I can tell you:-)

Two dear friends of mine entered the Uckermark 8 years ago as new Uckermaerkers and are now nearly established as Old Uckermaerkers. Since then they have renovated step by step and very carefully a landmarked, marvellous garner in Kraatz near Prenzlau. That´s why I have an extraordinary interest in and a very close relationship to this special region.

As a fan of good cakes I like to explore every new place in the region where people open a café or sell homemade stuff. When I travelled to the Uckermark last time, I visited two very different cafés: the first one, the "Kräutercafé" meanwhile well known, located in Parmen, led by a very nice, native Uckermaerker woman called Andrea Tietz ( And a second one in Friedenfelde, called "Salon im Gutshaus" led by family Nowatzki (


Café of herbs by Andrea Tietz in Parmen

Andrea Tietz is a very nice woman with an awesome herb garden. She knows her herbs deeply and every plant in her garden is carefully signed. 

Her own herbal tea-mixtures and all the other products sold wihtin the little store are lovely creations, evolved from her dedication to the plants. I fell for her tea housemix with citronella, lemon gras, mint and a lot of fine other herbs.

Andrea´s cakes are delicious, real homemade stuff. I´ve never seen a visitor eating only one slice, they all take two. Last time I tried a cake called "mother-in-law-cake" and if I will ever merry I hope my mother-in-law is as tasteful as this wonderful sweet piece of bakery with cherries, nuts, in a white dough, covered by a roof of chocolate. 


Café Salon im Gutshaus Friedenfelde

The second one which I like to propose is the Cafe Salon in the Gutshaus in Friedenfelde. This lovely Cafe is owned by family Nowatzki. To Mr. Nowatzki, a very nice man, I had the chance to talk during having my cup of wonderful fresh organic coffee.

The Café offers a nice garden outside as well as a cosy salon café inside. The whole heating of the house is organized by very big tiled stoves, which the owner couple reinstalled carefully in the house.  Another sweet curiosity is a collection of over hundred coffeepots. The cafe sells fine cakes and organic little dishes like fresh goat chese sandwiches or salads.

To sit in the garden of the Gutshaus Firedenfelde in the warm autum sun was one of those marvellous moments in life when the world embraces you softly and your mind takes a total break. For sure I´ll be back soon to sit near the tiled stove and attend one of their literary winter events.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Get to know Mr.Chocolate

Yesterday I met a real master of culinary seduction, the man in the kitchen of one of the most delicious chocolate manufactories of Berlin: The "Chocolatier" of In´t Veld. His name is Christoph Wohlfarth, a young, smart, ambitious and passionated
one. Christoph is the creator of one of my favourite chocolate products: very thin, long, dark chocolate sticks with 1 percent of sea salt. These sticks offer an unusual, deeply seductive and fine taste combination.

The only problem with this high level chocolate is, that the little bit of salt acts like a devil: it avoids stubbornly to bring up the feeling of having eaten enough "sweet" chocolate. Very dangerous stuff:-) Never buy more than one package, unless you are twosome.

Get into it:
the multiple ways to chocolate heaven

I was part of a guided tour including chocolate lecture and tasting. The evening event took place in the kitchenrooms of the manufactory. Christoph´s professional world consits out of two little backyard rooms in Berlin Prenzlauer Berg. With his typical northern, kind narration style - originally he comes from Bremen - the Chocolatier led us to the process of production: from the cacao fruit to the bar, up to the different tastes of handmade, high class chocolate.
He elucidated all criteria that influence the quality of the product in the end: different plants and growing areas of cacao, the combination and amount of the ingredients like sugar and cacao butter as well as one of the main issues in chocolate production: the temperature. Christoph only uses goat milk within his chocolate kitchen and well trainded tastebuds savor that fine difference in taste.
My favourite Italian chocolatier, the man behind Domori, a real enthusiastic maniac and perfectionist in that business, is one of their raw-chocolate suppliers. Domori had also been the manufacturer of their first own product line in the early days of foundation of In´t Veld in 2002. Another manufacturer to be mentioned in the high levels of chocolate heaven is Zotter, a very dedicated austrian Chocolatier, producing "from bean to bar", with an addiction to wild, nice experiments.
Like all good and ambitious manufacturers Holger In´t Veld and Christoph Wohlfarth as well want to produce their own raw material as soon as possible to be able to influence every step of their chocolate.

The tasting
My favourite chocolate within the offered varieties during the tasting was In´t Veld´s 80% dark with goat milk. This chocolate melted astonishingly smooth in the mouth and was at the same time full of complex dark aroma. Maybe the 80% one has the power to replace my current chocolate stick addiction, even if both, the bar and the sticks are not comparable in any way. They are two different sides of chocolate heaven, and as a highly addictd one, I never want to be forced to make a decision between two places in that heaven. I prefer to enter both.

PS: If you run out of money and need a cheep and tasty "Barcelona Chair" go to and satisfiy your need. No idea is ever safe from being rebuilt in chocolate:-) Maybe at the next guided tour you will see a "Le Corbusier Chair".

dolce vita ahoi • mobile minds • monika ebert

Friday, August 21, 2009

Floral summer salad with apple-lemon-dressing and handmade goat cheese
A mixed summer salad – fresh form a garden – is a real luxury if you live in the middle of a big city. Nasturtium with flowers is nearly top of the city summer luxury level. The fresh flowers of this plant are very sensitive to handle, therefore rare to get and then mostly overpriced. I have to admit: I adore them deeply.
Nasturtium with flowers is not only wonderful to look at, the whole plant is magnificant and sapid. To feel the slightly acrid taste and the smooth texture of the flowers on the tongue evoces immediately my personal high summer feeling.

Wild salad mix of the day
The salad mix I had yesterday came from my beloved organic food store, directly brought from their own little farm, freshly cut in the morning. This really means to have a salad almost as carefully treated as in the own garden. I bought their wild, randomly arranged garden salad mix of the day which consists out of nasturtium, orache, a special salad gabbage, a very fine young rocket, small dandelion leaves and red oak leaf lettuce.

Fresh, handmade present from the farm
Furthermore, one of the ladies gave me a very nice present: a fresh, handmade, wonderful gentle goat cheese. Lunch of this day seemed to become a real feast. To perfect my feat of the day I bought a fresh baguette, a lemon and a bottle of unfiltered natural apple juice. Arrived at home I mixed the goat cheese with a bit of fresh crushed sea salt and stored it in a few spoons of mild tuscan olive oil until lunchtime.

The dressing
For the garden salad mix I composed a fresh dressing with a very mild olive oil as a basis. To this basis I added  tea spoon of lemon juice, a spoon of apple juice, a bit of a mild honey, sea salt and minimum of fine crushed white pepper and stirred it altogether until it became a gentle, creamy 

I didin´t add any herbs or other ingredients because I did not want the sophisticated flavours of the salad being overlayed. Fortunately lunchtime arrived quickly and I sat down, met the dressing over the garden salad, cut a piece of fresh baguette and dipped it into the goat cheese. I was very happy to have time to savor this feast for lunch and thought about the next dinner invitation for friends to share it, with a spark of hope, that the wonderful goat cheese is for sale next time.

dolce vita ahoi • mobile minds • monika ebert

Monday, August 10, 2009

Stewed vanilla apples with orange peel 
and calvados

Last sunday I was invited to a wonderful afternoon coffee. The event took place in a tiny little allotment in the south of Berlin. To be honest, I´m really no fan of 
allotments because of their narrowness and all those neighbours sitting so close to you that they can understand every word you say. My personal conception of a 
garden is wild and big, neighbours far away. But I have to admit that being there under a sunshade on a lazy hot afternoon, having coffee and nice cakes combined with interesting talks was cushy and very recreative. 
Furthermore, the smell of the little wooden house there reminded me to the smell of our old sailing boat at the Chiemsee. That was why I fell in the mood of thinking about other tastes of childhood. One of those tastes were light warm stewed apples with cream of wheat sprinkled with cinamon and sugar. 

Different garden apples as inspiration
Having the opportunity to get a few fresh garden apples to take with me, I did not hesitate a minute. Driving home with this nugget of a frist-class ingredient, having their fresh smell in my nose, I invented a huge amount of combinations for stewed apples with different spices and flavours in my mind. The one I nominated as the winner I tried later on in my kitchen. 

Taste enhancement: Orange, vanilla, brown sugar, 
butter and calvados
Important with my winner was to use spices that enhance the apples very own flavour. Cinamon and cloves, the first spices that came to my mind, are also very tasteful in combination with apples. But I regarded them as too strong together with the bright and sour natural taste that fresh garden apples donate.
My idea was to add more slight tastes that enhance the apple aroma and so I decided to use orange, a bit of vanilla, butter sugar and last but not least Calvados.
I started to brown butter and sugar softly with an opened vanilla bean in a flat pot. Afterwards I added the peel of one orange cut in stripes. 
Shortly before the brown suggar-butter became dark, I added a bit more than a quater of fine calvados in sips and reduced the heat. 

After having met the peeled and sliced apples, more or less 750 grammes, in the pot, I stirred it altogehter carefully. It really has to be cooked very slowly about 20 minutes – lid on. Before the stewed apples cooled down completely I lifted the lid and was very content about the smell:-) I put a small amount of stewed apples into a bowl and served them with a spoon of double cream and a few fine stripes of orange peel. This was an unbelievable harmonic finale for a lazy sunday afternoon in august spent in an allotment.

dolce vita ahoi • mobile minds • monika ebert

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mango-Orange Sorbet with a whiff of laurel

Currently I find myself stuck in a strong mango phase. In plain language: I´m addicted to these supersweet fresh fruits and therefore I try to compose all kind of dishes around them.

Last night I cooked for a very dear friend of mine. We 
had one of those satiny summer nights, when you loose the feeling for time while dining, and talking, and laughing, and drinking light white wine...

Furthermore, last night was a perfect night for an icy sorbet as desert and finish of our dinner. Though I like mangos very much, this fruit sometimes seems to be not more than sickly-sweet. To avoid an only-sweet-sorbet-experience, the mango needs to be accompanied by fresh tastes or strong spices like curry or chili.
For our satiny summer night finish I decided to add lemon, orange and something completely unusual: a very small, fresh laurel leave from my windowsill, to insert a surprising whiff of spice into the sorbet.

The preparation of the fruits
For the sorbet one mango has to be peeled, cut in slices and then pureed afterwards. From the orange I only rubbed off the shell, form the lemon I used not more than the juice. 

Sorbet cooking
The base of this sorbet was half a liter of water, a very small leave of fresh laurel and 50 grams of brown sugar, together boiled up until the sugar dissolved. Then I took the pot off the cooker, removed the laurel and let the liquid cool down a bit. Later on the pureed mango, the lemon juice and the orange shell were added into the sugared liquid. I stirred one leave of soaked gelantine into the puree at the end. Gelatine in general makes the texture of sorbets a little more smooth.

After the sorbet cooled down in the fridge I filled it into my little ice machine and turned this horrible kitchen utensil on. I quickly left the kitchen for a coffee outside: this machine unfortunately has a sound like a tractor, that is why sorbet @ mobile-minds really has become a highly rare desert:-).

Serving the sorbet
Before the sorbet was served I took it out of the fridge and let the surface melt a bit so that I could easily abrade little portions. Wonderful decorations with the mango-orange-sorbet are candied violets and a few spots of vanilla yoghurt. 
Our evening ended far after midnight – having still a mix out of white wine and softly melting sorbet on our tongues.

dolce vita ahoi • mobile minds • monika ebert

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Light asian summer chicken 

Asian flavours like fresh lime, lemongrass, lemon basil, coriander and ginger always remind me on my journeys to asian countries. It only needs one of these tastes and all asian travel images, food aromas and colours emerge. They than take me to a marvelous short asian trip in my mind and on my tongue.
Summer is the season suited for all those asian flavours. Summer is also the season for fish and light, white meat. I developed the idea for the following recipy by the accidental discovery of a typical asian fruit: I found a rest of dried mango slices in my cupboard. Starting to think about what to do with those slices before their expiry-date will arrive, I tried to integrate them into the dinner I wanted to cook for friends.

Beside their intensively sweet flavour, Mangos carry a nice, colorful acid when they were dried. Furthermore, dried fruit in general are able to absorb liquids, a very good attribute when you roll/put them into meat, because they soak the gravy inside and create wonderful new flavours on the meat as well as later on in your sauce. 

So I made up my mind: I wanted to cook a delecate chicken brest filled with coriander, dried mango slices, a little piece of garlic, fresh red chilli and lemon basil. The best with this combintaion of flavours is the entourage of a sweet basmati rice I think.

Preparation of the chicken

I bought big fine slices of chicken brest of organic grown-up chicken. I hope that dear little chicken had had a happy life.
I washed and dried the brests in the usual way. Afterwards I cut a bag into each of them. Thereafter I searched nearly half an hour for my cookery appropriate packthread. This unlucky search reminds me strongly to store needful cookery acessories not to far from the kitchen and furthermore not to use them for inappropriate purposes - my cookery packthread was nearly completely gone for parcel packing:-)
The brests were salted and peppered with black pesteled pepper from all sides. I filled the bags with the herbs, then placed garlic, red chili and two slices of dried mango in it. I rolled and packed the brests carefully wiht the rest of my thread and put them in the fridge again for a minimum of two hours. That time really is necessary so that the aromamix feeds in the meat.

Fry the chicken brests
Half an hour before I started, I took the brests out of the fridge again. I heated a good amount of sesamoil in a pan and fried them from slowly until they encrust a little bit. After the brests were done, I rewrapped them carefuly and took out the mangos and the herbs for the sauce. The garlic and the red chili I layed aside for later decoration. The chicken brests have to be keept warm until they are served. 

The sauce
The gravy, the herbs and the mangos I pureed together with a spoon of sweet sherry, a half glass of white wine, a dash of mild, very old aceto balsamico, a little bit of brown sugar and a spoon of butter. 
After the sauce boiled up once more, I mixed  two spoons of creme fraiche in.

Flavoured Basmati
Good qualities of organic basmati have their price. But you should never regret your buy - no matter if you bought organic for flavour or sustainability reasons. As a side dish of the asian summer chicken it is nice to boil the basmati rice wth a piece of butter and two long slices of fresh lemon grass.

The wine  
Since I drunk that wine for the first time in 2007 it has remained one of my favourite Sauvignon Blanc within the 10 Euro class: It is the Spanish Sauvignon Blanc out of the Rueda Region called "Palacio de Menade". This light, fruitful wine overwhelmes you with intense fragrances and tastes of mango, gooseberry, white peaches and apricot: sunny and at the same time sound, with a discreet acid. This wine is perfectly in line with chicken and asian herbs like coriander. It is one of these summer wines you are very surprised when the first bottle is already empty and very glad that you bought a second one. 
There´s another little detail I fell for: the colour of the cork is almost neon-green, as well as the main color of the simple but nice label design. And that´s another reason why it is worth to buy a third bottle sometimes.
dolce vita ahoi • mobile minds • monika ebert

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer experiments: savor for red jelly 

To take care of a big garden is a lot of work, above all in the summer period. The timeslot between end of May and end of July is a hot phase for every garden owner. Nearly all the berries maturate within this period and they all have to be reaped and handled at their own right time. Marmalade, jelly and jam are the magic words bringing up the beads of perspiration to the gardener´s forehead at that time. After the first week of happiness about the red glory it soon begins to turn into real work. A shelf full of tasteful jellies in autumn is a hard won area. But when you open a glass in winter and feel all those exploding summer flavour flirting with your tastebuds, be sure that every bead of summer harvest sweat has become completely unimportant. 
The most challenging berries in my opinion are red, white and black currants. Their harvest is demanding as well as time-consuming. Never the less their taste transformed into jelly is wonderful straight: light acidic aspects in the base, covered by an unagitated sweet.

White, black and red currant... and not to forget: Jostaberries
White, black and red currant are different concerning their sepcific taste. The white berries are the lightest, the red ones carry the mots fruity lines and the black ones are overlaying nearly every other taste with their broad dark berry tone. It´s similar to the colors of a painting: White is the brightest colour, red is the most intense one und black is the deepest - overwhelming all the others.
The Jostaberry is a crossbreed of black current and gooseberry: considering their size, they are located between the two original breeds, concerning the outside color tey are as dark as the black currant, the inside color is near to a gooseberry. But their layers of taste are simple and not that intense. They are the handsome ones among all the listed berry breeds.
The conclusion out of these differences is a very simple one: essential for the taste of your jelly is the right mix of berries .-)

It´s jellytime!
As mentioned before, the sweetness of currant is not as complex as for example the sweetness of a strawberry. The more experienced you become by having passed jellysummer by jellysummer, the more you want to have new compositions of jellies with new flavours on your shelf. 

1 The "red childhood" combination
Being invited to a wonderful country house garden of an equally wonderful woman at currant harvest time, I was asked to bring in my ideas for the creation of new taste levels for jellies. 
Closing my eyes and excavating all the different moments of currant taste out of my brain, the first combination that came to my mind and tongue was butter caramel. 
We tried that new verison of jelly with mostly white and red currant and a few jostaberries. Therefore we prepared the sugar (portion according to the amount of fruits) with butter - as you do it for the creation of soft caramel candies. After the buttercaramel was melt, we added step by step the clean fruits (be careful, caramel is a very hot thing to handle!). The result was such an extraordinary taste combination, that we could not resist to try a bit of the new lukewarm jelly on a slice of fresh buttered bred. 
This new taste I called "red childhood" because caramel candies were the first candies I can remember.

2 The "dark cool summer" combination
The next challenge was to handle a hughe amount of black currant, those who overlay every other partner in the jellypot with their deep taste. The idea was to cook them with a bunch of strong mint (spearmint is fine for that). 
We were content about the new taste, but there seemed to be a fine dark taste layer missing to perfect it. The additional component we were looking for appeared quickly: 
We melted a bar of strong dark chocolate (70% or 80%) in the pot right before the jelly was finsihed. There it was! The new jelly composition got the name "dark cool summer".
For my role as "harvest girl" I was so generously rewarded with our extraordinary new jelly compositions, that I believe I will open the last glasses of "red childhood" and "dark cool summer" around Christmas - unless it continues to rain until the beginning of autumn.

dolce vita ahoi • mobile minds • monika ebert

about mobile-minds

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gaumenperlen - a label by mobile minds, monika ebert::: gaumenperlen is a diary about affairs of the heart. I´m addicted to delicious food, unique and extraordinary places as well as valuable things, fine arts, design, music, tango argentino and interesting people. The focus of this diary is food. Delicious food is much more than nutrition, health or prestige. it is the basis of your body& soul, it is at the core of your way to think, to live and act, it is your attitude towards nature. For me cooking is a wild, joyful, creative process with the objective to share the result in the end. This process is surrounded by a bunch of exciting encounters - nevertheless where I am:: at the markets, talking to producers, at the book stores, in restaurants, in my kitchen. That´s why I love cooking and travelling.