30 September 2008


I was longing for tortellini for quite some time and I know that DS produces frozen gluten-free tortellini. Every time I went to a supermarket where they offer products from DS I rushed to the frozen food section. And every time the same disappointment: no tortellini! They had fish fingers and ravioli but just no tortellini. I hope nobody noticed me shouting madly at the freezer...

Well, what to do about it? I was longing for tortellini and apparently I wasn’t supposed to get them at the supermarket. I had to make some by myself.

So far I’ve only made my own pasta dough once and I wasn’t really happy about the dough. When I tried to roll the dough really thin, it just broke apart. Luckily, Carrie from Ginger Lemon Girl put my attention to Gluten Free Sox’s recipe for pasta dough (Thanks for the tip!). I used brown millet flour instead of the cornstarch but I think I’ll try something else next time. The taste of the brown millet was just too distinctive. But it was still really good! And oh my god the filling! The filling was so good that we really had to restrict ourselves not to eat it completely plain. (We used the leftovers as pizza topping the next day and added some feta cheese. I simply love cheese if you haven’t figured it out by yourself yet. My boyfriend is always kidding I have pasta and sauce with my parmesan cheese.)

I planned to have a simple tomato sauce with the tortellini. When I read the recipe for 15-Minute Tomato Sauce from chez pim I just had to try it. I was always too intimidated to try my own tomato sauce from scratch. But this recipe sounded really good. So I bought some tomatoes and actually did my first tomato sauce from actual tomatoes! My boyfriend thought that it tasted too much like tomatoes (he doesn’t like tomatoes) so I reckon the sauce was fine. If you haven’t tried your own tomato sauce from scratch you should really try Pim's recipe!

So I managed the pasta dough, the filling and the sauce. The only problem left was how to form tortellini! It took me a while to figure it out and we probably had little pasta parcels rather than tortellini. But who cares? I finally had my tortellini.

Ricotta-spinach tortellini with self-made tomato sauce

For the pasta dough follow gluten free sox’s recipe. I put the pasta dough in the fridge and let it rest while I prepared the tomato sauce.

For the filling:
1 cup ricotta cheese
200g spinach
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Combine ricotta and parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil and garlic in a frying pan and add the spinach. Season with nutmeg. Sauté until the spinach has fallen. Remove the spinach from the pan and chop it roughly. Add to the ricotta mixture and mix well.

Roll the pasta dough really thin or use a pasta machine if you have one at hand. Cut the dough into quarters (about 5cm²) and put one teaspoon of filling in the middle of each quarter. Wet the rest of the dough with water or egg yolk to make it sticky. Carefully cover the filling with one corner of the dough and roll it over. Stick the remaining ends together.
Bring water in a cooking pot to boil and add some salt. Gently add the tortellini and cook until the tortellini swim on the surface. Serves two (if you are really hungry). Enjoy.

21 September 2008


I have been longing for döner kebab for quite some time now.
You can get döner kebab almost everywhere here in Germany. It has become quite popular fast food and the smell is haunting me every time I pass a place where they sell it.

Usually it is served with pita bread but a döner kebab still isn’t gluten-free without the bread. A döner kebab consists of different layers of meat and can contain minced meat. The minced meat, have a guess, may contain bread crumbs. And if it doesn’t there are still the spices to consider. With all those sources of possible contaminations I just don’t dare to buy a döner kebab anymore. But if you know a place that sells gluten-free döner kebab somewhere, please let me know!!!

Well, I didn't want to give up. I told myself if I want to have a döner kebab, I’ll have to make one on my own. And so I did. I’ve been browsing the internet for spices used for döner keband found pul biber. As far as I understood it is some sort of spicy paprika. Although it took me some time to find it, I finally discovered some in the international food section in one of the supermarkets around here. So I bought some chicken breasts and started to cook.

I was certainly aware that the döner kebab I was making at home in a frying pan will taste different. But still I had high expectations on that döner kebab. You know how it is if you are longing for something really bad and you finally can have it?
Unfortunately, I seasoned the chicken with quite a lot of pul biber. When I tasted the meat the first time it was already too late. It was simply too hot.
Well, I was waiting for that döner kebab for quite some time so we had it anyway. Fortunately, I made enough yoghurt dip to put on the meat to neutralise the taste a little bit. But I can tell you, we were sweating while we were eating!

So I will work on that recipe. Please be careful with the amount of pul biber you use (unless you really like hot food)! I let you know when I found a better combination of spices. And I am more than happy if you have any suggestions!

Döner kebab

For the pita bread:
2/3 cup wholemeal rice flour
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup amaranth
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
1 packet dry yeast
a pinch of salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup lukewarm water

Combine the dry ingredients. Gently add the water and olive oil and mix everything well. Form small balls with your hands. If you wet your hands with some water the dough won't stick to your hands. Flat the balls to the size of your hands. Put them on a baking try and let them sit and rise for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C and bake the pita bread for 20 minutes.

For the yoghurt dip:
1 cup yoghurt
1 tablespoon chives
salt, (cayenne) pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until the meat is done.

For the döner kebab:
2 chicken breasts, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
pul biber (don’t use too much)
1 tablespoon olive oil

While the pita bread is cooling down, gently heat the olive oil and garlic in a fry pan. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Add pul biber. Turn the meat from time to time. Fry the chicken for 10-15 minutes.

Carefully cut the pita bread in halves. Don't devide the bread completely so you get a pocket where you can put some chicken breast. Top the meat with some of the yoghurt dip. Serve with chips if you like. Makes 4 döner kebab. Enjoy.

12 September 2008

It must be autumn

Today I found the first horse-chestnut of the year. The leaves are starting to fall. I reckon it’s autumn. Yesterday was a perfect day with a clear blue sky but today the sky was grey all day long. Nevertheless I realised I like this time of year. You can still feel summer around and yet get a glimpse of the colder and darker season to come.

And there is a whole bunch of vegetables around which I am more than excited about. I always like to go to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings and check what’s offered. I was more than happy when pumpkins started to appear everywhere a while ago since I was eager to make pumpkin soup. I have enjoyed pumpkin soup quite often, especially while I was in Australia, but I’ve never tried to make it myself so far.

So I bought my first pumpkin and made myself a pumpkin soup.

1 butternut squash, cut into cubes
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
vegetable stock
1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
1 teaspoon freshly nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon sour cream

Put the onion with the olive oil and butter in a cooking pot. Sauté the onion over medium heat until translucent. Add the pumpkin and sauté further until you can cut easily into the pumpkin with a knife. Pour the vegetable stock into the pot until all the pumpkin is covered with fluid. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, cumin and coriander. Turn down the heat and puree everything with a mixer. Add the sour cream and the parley.Serves 2 (depending on the size of your butternut squash). Enjoy.

05 September 2008

A diagnosis, finally

I was suffering from iron deficiency anaemia as long as I can remember. The iron pills I was taking didn’t really help. Of course, nobody believed me. I tried “Floradix Kräuterblut” which is really disgusting. But it helped! So I took it. I was feeling better.
My belly was blown up like a balloon quite often. People were kidding that I looked like being six months pregnant. I was told that this is common for young women with my statue.
When I was in my first year at uni, it got really bad. I was tired all the time. I wasn’t able to climb up the stairs. I was out of breath before I managed to the first level. My iron and haemoglobin levels were so bad that I had to be admitted to the hospital. It turned out that I was having a peptic ulcer thanks to Helicobacter pylori. I was sleeping all the time and was almost too weak to walk. That was the time when I started to have iron infusions. They helped really well but it meant to go and see the doctor every second or third day for around two weeks. As soon as we finished the infusions, my iron levels decreased again. I was told that a lot of women are suffering from low iron levels.
Then I went abroad for a year. I wasn’t taking any kind of iron at that time and felt ok. However, during that time I got something new: aphthous ulcer. It started with one or two but at one point my whole mouth was covered. At least it felt like that. Do you know that feeling? That pain? When it is almost too painful to drink, eat or even talk? I was told that I have simply too much stress.
After I got back to Germany, I moved to Heidelberg where it got really bad. 2007 wasn’t a healthy year for me. It started with the flu. As soon as somebody was sick around me, I caught it. Thanks.
In autumn I got diarrhoea. It took a month to find out that I was suffering from a yeast infection in my intestines. I lost 5 kg in four weeks. In addition to the drugs that I got for treatment I had to cut out a few things from my diet, most importantly wheat and sugar. Looking back it was probably a good training. Although I was allowed to eat rye and all other grains besides wheat I was reading labels and discovering where wheat and sugar are hiding.
After I recovered from the yeast infection, I broke my collarbone. I was hardly able to move my right arm for two weeks, then it got a bit better.
After the next series of iron infusions my iron levels dropped far too fast. I went to a haematologist where they took further blood tests. I wasn’t only lacking iron but folic acid and vitamin B12. More pills to take. In addition, I was told to have a gastroscopy.
I had the gastroscopy in early February this year on what we call “Rosenmontag”. Although I have never really been into carnival it is still not a nice day to be told to change your life. Right after the gastroscopy the doctor told me that I was most probably having celiac disease. However, I had to wait for the histological results. I was browsing the internet that night and was surprised. Most of the described symptoms fit me almost perfectly! When the doctor called the next day I already knew: I have celiac disease.
Still I had to get my antibodies checked. Until then I had to continue a diet containing gluten which gave me time to say good-bye to the food I was used to. It was hard to know that you have that pasta or that beer for the last time. When my antibodies were positive for celiac disease I was prepared. I was ready.
Three days after I cut gluten out of my diet I was feeling better. I’ve been feeling better ever since. I discovered that the way I used to feel wasn’t ok. Now I have energy. I am happy. For the first time in my life my iron levels aren’t dropping. No more aphthous ulcer. And I don’t have stomach ache any more.
Since my diagnosis I have been exploring. I have discovered a whole new world. I’ve started to bake my own bread. I’ve started to cook properly. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes I just miss some kind of food. What I miss most at the moment are tortellini and kebab. You can be sure to find those recipes soon on my blog.