Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wild herbs, a beautiful castle 
& two impressive women

I am still very happy that I was one of the participants of that extraordinary cookery course about wild herbs last weekend, held by fabulous Eleonore Gliewe in the kitchen of an awesome location: Seeschloss Schönhausen
One of the owners of Seeschloss Schönhausen, Petra Sauer, attended the course as well. On top of the wild herb lessons she inspired us with a few very interesting stories: how they found the castle, her former life as a marketer and last but not least a little bit of local gossip.

The Location
Seeschloss Schönhausen is a dream of a landmarked castle in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern with an own lake.
The neo-classical style of the building reminds on a tuskan country chateau. The marvellous lakeview is one of the scenic attractions.
Bulit in 1843 by Wilhelm Buttel, the castle was carefully renovated by the two owners Peter Schmidt & Petra Sauer over the last 8 years. Another permanent resident should be mentioned: their smart and very special french Briard dog "Gizmo". I´ve never met such a huge dog with so bright ginger fur and that very deep typical wet dog perfume before.

The Mistress of wild herbs: Eleonore Gliewe
The day of our course started with a two hours walk around the lake. All participants were equipped with baskets, knifes and scissors.
During that first part of the day ELeonore talked about the beginning of her passion for wild herbs: Before she began to work with these special plants she took up her discovery by a very long period of exclusive observation: at different locations, within different seasons, during different phases of plant growth.
Not till then she started to use them in the kitchen and created her very own style of experimental cooking with all kind of wild herbs. The experince to get to know these local plants - be it rose of Sharon, orache or stinging-nettle - by walking with and talking to her was inimitable. Elenore´s high developed sensitivity is as astonishing as her comprehensively respectful handling of the herbs inside and outside the kitchen.
I never learned so quickly and easily including a deep holistic understanding for this little cutout of raw nature. At the end of our excursion Eleonore delighted us with a first sample of her wonderful culinary skills in the castle kitchen: a coconut-milk-soup with potatoes, carrots, smoked tofu and stinging-nettle. Served with that wonderful soup was a handmade bread out of spelt flour, seasoned with cucuma and coriander. The bright yellow colour of this bread was as amazing as the very nice new taste. This spelt flour bread was accomplished by some delicious spreads: wild-cherry-jam, elderflower-jelly and a very aromatic, creamy paste made out of sunflower seeds and origam.

Cooking dinner with Eleonore and the crew
After beeing well saturated by the wonderful soup, we began to sort and wash the collected herbs. In collaboration with Eleonore we decided how to combine them and what courses to cook for dinner.
For the entrée we chose to cook a mixed salad out of bishop´s weed, dandelion leaves, chickweed, cashew nuts and a few cocktail tomatoes. The vinaigrette consits out of lemon juice and a marvellous oil. We used a selfmade seasalt flavoured with dried poppyflowers - incredible taste!

Main course
For main course we cooked special hash-browns with nettle seeds, an unbelievably aromatic combination: the seeds with their nutty taste moved us in a new part of the potatoe heaven. I would choose stinging-nettle as plant of the day:-) By the way it is one of Eleonore´s favourite plants, she told us.
Another amazing discovery were Eleonores vegetarian little Hamburgers, a special mix of coconut flakes, oatmeal, yeast flakes and a portion of wild mugwort.
Besides theses two parts of the main course she served a deliciois spinach combination out of nettle and orache, refined with a bit of mustard and tomatoe puree.

For desert we had icecream (vanilla and chocolate), a
wonderful whipped cream with a brown suggar - flavoured with melilot - and the elderflower jelly.
This menu was dining at it´s best. Petra´s fondly layed table, Elenore´s cooking masterhip and the best out of nature´s summer, the wild herbs, turned this dinner into an unforgettable evening of taste and inspiration.

The new drink 
"Seeschloss Schönhausen"
Petra served us a remarkable unknown drink with our meal: she put one thrid of white wine together with two thirds of tea made out of nettle and licorice. 
An unbelievable new, light summerdrink that can be enjoyed either warm or iced.

After this marvelous day full of new tastes, culinary experiences and inspiration I´m really looking forward to Eleonore´s next wild herb lesson and to my next visit to this unique place Seeschloss Schönhausen.

PS: Thank´s for the pictures to Edda and Petra (castle)

dolce vita ahoi • mobile minds • monika ebert

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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.