Today, we do not only start a new category on our blog, but open a whole new chapter of our life.

As much we enjoy the advantages of living in a great city, our wish to live a primal and conscious life in close touch with nature grew stronger the last years. We leave Berlin again and again, with increased regularity. Even if we tried to fulfil this wish partly in the city, for example with a opulently planted balcony, it can of course never be the same as nature itself.

The consequence is a safe haven, far away from all the fuzz: a settler house in Mecklenburg. Built 1948, surrounded by fields, it stands with a barn on a larger than 3000m² piece of land, on which cherry, apple, plum and peach trees grow, and which waits to be cultivated by us. Since country life is not always as romantic as one might imagine now and then, but has a work-intensive daily routine, we are curious how this will change us.

All we know is that every time we’ve been into nature before for a few weeks, we found ourselves a bit more. How grounding ordinary things as chopping wood and making fire can be.

Man always strives for something higher, for new challenges, wants to achieve something to give meaning to his live and forgets to cherish the simplicity.

Is the meaning of life not to just live? Here and now. Do we really have to leave our mark on the world? Don’t we chase an idée fixe which blinds us for the important things in life?

Masanobu Fukuoka writes in his book The road back to nature: “In the same extent man detaches himself from nature, he detaches from his centre.” We want to find back to this centre. We want to appreciate the music of nature, the swish of leaves, the rushing of the wind. Feel earth beneath our fingers out of which fruits and vegetables grow.

How often did we rack our brains what a seasonal and regional diet actually means to us. Most important has always been to be close to nature again by cooking along the seasons. To support this from our own garden has been a big dream of ours. The planting of our balcony alone changed our appreciation for food. The grasp of the effort, work and especially the necessary knowledge to grow a nutritious fruit out of a seed. All of this was on our minds for a long time and will have its own place on our blog from now on. We want to tell you from our daily life in our garden and share our thoughts and experiences about our settler house with you. We hope you like to join us on our adventure.

We’ve been to Mecklenburg quite often this year. It’s not the tranquility or relaxing which constitutes the beauty of it, but the companionship we experience there. In Rensow, you are not alone in nowhere. All around gather people who enrich this freckle of earth between the Mecklenburg Lakeland and Baltic Sea coast with their ideas.

Everybody helps everybody, often you sit together with a glass of wine and ponder new projects. We are incredibly inspired everytime again. That’s why we hit the road immediately after Knut suggested that we could cook a Christmas Dinner at the Manor in Rensow.

It is routine for Knut and Christina since they cook for 20 to 30 guest every Wednesday, and we were there, too, to swing the cooking spoon. Suitable for the manor, there is always a roast meat along a large variety of vegetables and salads, which is the core of the table and which is cut by the host or a special guest. As vegetarians, this was not quite our tradition and so we welcomed Knut’s idea to transform it into a vegetarian dish. His idea was a filled savoy cabbage. Together we thought about how to fill and prepare it. Grated vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts…there were so many possibilities! With what the cabbage was filled in the end we show you in our recipe here. However, we did not only want to create this centerpiece, but also a delicious side dish.

Just the traditional three components menu with a main dish, supplement and sauce. Suiting not only the manor but also Christmas we wanted to serve a potato roll filled with mushrooms and a strong port gravy.

The ideas were ready; so far, so good. If the gas tank had not been drained to the last drop and thus not only the heating cold, but the gas stove. So we cooked on single hot plates spread in three rooms in the spacious manor. In one of the holiday apartments on the first floor the swam in boiling water, in another small kitchen the cabbages sweat in the oven, and to put every heat source to perfect use we also had pots on the wood fired ovens. In other ways as well there were odds and ends to take care of. To get everything on the table warm was quite a challenge, and this is what we love so much about our trips to the countryside. There is always something to learn, you are challenged and grow with your tasks.  When finally all sit around the table, warmly illuminated by candles, and every digs into their food we are happy.

At home we cooked this dish again, this time under normal conditions and wrote the recipes down. It is a perfect main course for Christmas, yet the single components can also be arranged with other dishes as well to prepare a varied buffet for a festive table.

At the beginning of october, we packed our bags for our second Rustic & Raw workshop. Have you read about our first one? Then you know how this was an exceptional experience for us. We pondered for a long time if it is even possible to continue. Everything had been just perfect, the group has been incredibly harmonic. How would it be with other people? Would we manage to create such a special atmosphere again? We are perfectionists. On the one hand, this what drives us, on the other hand it drives us crazy from time to time. Completely in vain, as we should learn.
We welcomed guests from all over over Germany and even from Switzerland. Diverse and yet connected through their love for cooking and photography. The spell was broken within seconds, and again we had the feeling of being together with friends.
In early fall it was already time to heat the ovens, to cook on the old iron stove and to listen to the raindrops on the windows. The „Alte Schule“ radiated cosiness in this cool season. It was perfect to cook together, gabble and enjoying this time-out of everyday life.

We breakfasted very long each morning, before we started preparing lunch like sweet chestnut porcini ravioli with sage and pine nuts or potato waffles with pumpkin. One evening the rain settled down a bit and we could prepare a lentil potato salad with plenty of fall vegetables on open fire outside.
And during all that, the camera had to be with us everywhere all the time! We love it when our photos come up all natural and we don’t have to set up anything. Of course, we chose a a beautiful underground, a suitable dish and the place with the best light to photograph our food. However, in this house you can take whatever you like, you can place your set-up wherever you want, you will receive a great outcome. That’s why we love being there. If you are inspired by your surroundings you automatically imagine pictures and you just know what to do. We experience this every time we are there and this is exactly what makes the workshop special for our guests. You can’t escape the excitement for every detail once you’re there.
The rest of the story we rather tell in pictures. If you want to know more about our workshops check out this.

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