Please welcome Nina and her unusual expertise in culinary arts, thanks to her Italian-German ancestry.
I’m Nina, 40ys old, stay-at-home-mom and rugby player, peer-to-peer breastfeeding counselor, Italo-German living in Bremen, Germany, have 2 children and a husband plus a demented grandmother I care for. Here’s my cooking blog:http://tofusofa.antville.org/ which is pretty abandoned as I have other special interest blogs on women’s rugby and feminist mothering. They’re more on top of my list at the moment.
- What do you remember about family meals and your mother’s cooking style when you were growing up? I come from a rather dysfunctional family and my mother was never the best cook or housewife, so one of the things I missed the most when my parents separated was my father’s (Italian) cooking. My mom could make a decent pork roast and pretty good bolognese sugo, and that’s about it. I learned most of my cooking from watching my father cook, as I wasn’t allowed to help, and from both my grandmothers.
- How is your cooking style different from your mother’s? Well, she did not cook unless was told to. I love to cook for lots of people and that’s why I have a family.
- What is your favorite gadget? Really sharp knives. I have a wonderful Zwilling Santoku knife which I adore.
Do you entertain, and in what circumstances? What is the biggest party or meal you have hosted to date? I like to have friends and neighbours over for Dinner. Back in the days I catered for a DIY PunkRockShowBooker and was out there cooking mostly vegan or vegetarian buffets and meals for visiting Bands like the Cro-Mags etc. The weirdest job ever was a buffet for the opening party of a S/M brothel…. I was also working as a “professional” chef and when I started that job (I had no professional training) the very first evening we shoveled out 450 meals.
- Can you share a typical daily menu? Weekly menu? Today we had a Risotto. I call it Smugglers Risotto, as it’s in honour of my grand-aunt Angiulina. It’s made with Italian sausage (lughaniga) and extremely tasty! I don’t have a weekly menu as I love to shop for groceries and always find something special on one of the wonderful markets we have here (but which are crap compared to the markets in Italy…).
- How has your cooking style evolved over the years? As a kid i was a picky eater. Every kind of meat had to be well done, plus I was eating mostly pork and turkey. I wasn’t a diverse eater, when i was at a Greek restaurant for the first time I thought they were going to poison me and I really hated Dolmades (I love them now and make them myself with fresh wine leaves from my garden). I guess the “break” came when I really got into cooking, in German schools you had to do an internship in 9th grade and as I was lazy and always hungry I decided to do it in a restaurant. I had so much fun and they even gave me some money! After that, I really started to become interested in cooking.
- Can you recommend any cookbooks, TV shows or websites that have inspired you?
I love the BBC shows from Antonio Carluccio, I really love Giorgio Locatelli’s “Made in Italy” Book. It’s a bit odd that I like two Italian chefs that made their career in the UK – but on the other hand both of them come from an area near to my home village (near Lago Maggiore), so I kinda “get” their style of cooking. I also love the “Zu Tisch in…” (Cuisine des Terroirs) Series of French/German Broadcaster ARTE, they are incredibly good! But most of my cooking books are in German or Italian…
And I used to get a lot of input from foodblogs, such as http://kochtopf.twoday.net/, http://nutriculinary.com/ and others.
I started blogging very early (around 1999), but my food blog is much younger, it only started 6ys ago…
- What posts on CM have you enjoyed? Do you have suggestions for future posts?
I enjoy every post as I like the very down to earth, yet “professional” attitude. I bet with 6 children there is a lot more to consider, be it economical or organiational. I loved the “rice washing” post! Just keep it going!
- What is the most unusual dish you’ve ever made? Rheinischer Sauerbraten (a special roast made from horse meat). Wasn’t as good as I expected, but was my own fault. I had shortened the marinating time…
- What is the oldest item in your kitchen? The newest? OMG! I have no idea! I got some pretty old glasses. And the last thing I purchased was a new dishwasher.
- What would you like to change about your cooking style in the coming year? I’d love to think a bit more ahead, I had lots of stuff going to waste in the last months which is a shame, but I love to buy groceries that much…. Plus I try to not buy any conventional meat anymore, only organic. So we’re heading towards a week of veggie meals and then a good Sunday roast
Please share a favorite recipe and cooking tips.
OK, this is veggie and yummy:
Recipe: Celery and Raduccio Salad
Summary: Raw green salad with mozzarella and garlic
- Bunch of Celery
- Middle sized bunch of raddicchio lettuce
- Ball of fresh Mozzarella
- Garlic (if it doesn’t have garlic in it, it’d better be a dessert)
- Salt, Pepper, Balsamico (balsamic vinegar), Olive Oil
- Put away the outer stalks of celery, chop up the celery.
- Cut the mozzarella into small cubes.
- Mince the garlic.
- Pour some balsamico onto mozarella and celery and garlic.
- Chop up the radicchio.
- Put in the spices and some oil, mix.
- Let it sit for like 10 minutes.
Substitute cottage cheese for mozzarella.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 10 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Diet tags: Reduced fat, Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 4
Culinary tradition: Italian
My daughter loves it! I stole the recipe from a Moevenpick-Restaurant where they used cottage cheese instead of Mozzarella. But I hate cottage cheese! Try it with buffalo Mozzarella, but cow’s milk Mozzarella (fior di latte) is just a s good as the Balsamico is the big “Player” here.