Monthly Archives: July 2015

Lobio in London

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When I was in London I stayed near London Fields in the Hackney neighborhood. It was my first solo AirBnB experience and I stayed in a lovely apartment on the park with a couple and their teenage son. I did a lot of walking in London, which is one of my favorite vacation activities. While walking from Haggerston Park to London Fields park I passed a small cafe called Little Georgia Cafe. After looking at the reviews online, I ended up eating their one night. It was sweltering outside, so it maybe wasn’t the best plan to get stew in a hot restaurant, but this was recommended by the woman working there and it was so delicious I wanted to replicate it when I got home!

The day after coming home I worked on this version in the pressure cooker. I froze most of it and have been taking it for lunch! People have been pitying me “sad soup” lunch, but I think it’s tasty!

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Amolesili Lobio – stewed kidney bean and walnut stew
Adapted from Saveur

  • 2 strips bacon chopped (optional)
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 1/2 small leek
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp hot paprika
  • 1 lb kidney beans (pre-soak overnight if you’re not using the pressure cooker)
  • 10 -12 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste

If using bacon, cook it in a pot or pressure cooker. If not using bacon, add a few tablespoons oil in a pot or your pressure cooker over medium high heat. Add garlic, carrot, onion, and leek and saute for about 10 minutes until golden. Add coriander and paprika and cook until fragrant.

Add beans and stock. If using a pressure cooker, don’t go over the fill line of pressure cooker. If using stock pot feel free to add up to 12 full cups of chicken stock. Add red pepper flakes.
If using pressure cooker, bring to high pressure and cook for 20-30 minutes. Release using quick release. If beans are still firm you may have to return it to the pressure cooker for 10 more minutes.
If using normal stockpot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 2-2.5 hours until beans are cooked.

Meanwhile, puree walnuts and olive oil until smooth. Set aside.

When beans are cooked, ladle half of the beans to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to pot.

Stir in walnut puree, cilantro, dill, parsley, and salt to taste.

Berlin: Sam’s First Taste of Flammkuchen


Our flight from Amsterdam to Berlin was supposed to leave at 9pm, but the plane was late arriving because of thunderstorms in Amsterdam. By the time we finally left, the pilot told us that there was a good chance of us not reaching Berlin that night, because the airport CLOSED by midnight. We’d then have to turn around and land in Hamburg. Sam and I had NEVER heard of this before, and the Israeli guy next to us on the plane was very upset about this possibility. I’m glad we made it to Berlin, but at least we had some people to call if we had been stuck in Hamburg for the weekend!

We made it to Martin and Monika’s apartment very late and they were great hosts for the weekend.

On Saturday after an excellent late brunch of bread, meat, cheese and fruit we took a stroll around the central area of Berlin (Alexander Platz to Potsdammer Platz). Since it was the same day as the Champion’s League final in Berlin, Juventus vs Barca, the central area was packed with fans so we retreated in the heat to a Beer Garden and the cool, refreshing Radler that awaited us there. Radler is the best thing on a hot day: lemon soda (like sprite) mixed with beer.

That evening we went out for Flammkuchen and Beer before watching the Football match. This was Sam’s first taste of Flammkuchen and it was a hit! Flammkuchen (literally Flame Cake) is traditionally more from the South of Germany bordering France, and is known in France as “Tarte Flambee”. Legend has it that it was invented when bakers would test the wood burning ovens temperature by tossing in some flat dough. If it burned or caught on fire, then it was too hot. One day someone decided to top it with sour cream, speck (thick bacon), and onions and the rest was history!

Our first full day back in Seattle was also a hot day and we decided to test out some of the recipes we found online. I opted to not go for the yeast dough recipes as we enjoyed the crispness and flatness of the one we had in Berlin.


Flammkuchen Dough
Adapted from

  • 200 g (7 oz) All Purpose Flour + more for rolling out dough
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 175 ml water
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together. Dough should not be sticky, so add more flour until it comes together and no longer sticks to the side of the bowl. Dough can be used immediately.

Classic Flammkuchen

  • 1 Flammkuchen Dough recipe
  • 7 oz Creme Fraiche (can also use sour cream. I didn’t have quite enough creme fraiche so I cut it with some greek yogurt)
  • Speck / Pancetta / Bacon cut thinly
  • Red onion cut thinly
  • Scallions (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 450F.
  2. Pan fry bacon until lightly browned. It will also partially cook in the oven so you don’t want it crispy yet.
  3. Roll out dough and bake on pizza stone or cookie sheet for 5 minutes.
  4. Take dough out and layer on creme fraiche. Top with Red Onion and Bacon and any other toppings.
  5. Bake for another 8-10 minutes or until crust is golden brown.