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.

A few weeks ago we were in Rensow for our second Rustic & Raw Workshop and we insisted on visiting Grete’s farm. We inspected all the fields and greenhouses to see what happened since our last visit. Of course, we were not only there to look around but also to lend a hand.

After days of rain the romantic vision of farm life gets chapped. Work has to be done, rain or no rain, and the vegetables have to be harvested nonetheless. Plucking beans with soaked and cold fingers is indeed no nice activity, especially when the beans are not meant for food but to gain seeding material. But that’s part of the deal. Just like we crawled over the ground clearing it of weeds in summer, we crawled in the mud in autumn to plant a special hardy onion which can be already harvested in spring.

The field was not only full of vegetables for seeds, though. Plenty of beet roots, fennel, roots, salads and the most beautiful pumpkins, of which we took some for our dinner the same day, went into boxes.

Once again we were fascinated of the beauty of the latter. In contrast to the standardized staple goods in the supermarkets Grete’s vegetables are characteristic and full of flavor. With the production of old and seeding breeds Grete enhances the biodiversity on the fields. We already said she grows 60 different sorts of tomatoes alone. Those especially we watched carefully during almost their full cycle, starting with the pricking in spring, harvesting in summer up to seed gaining in autumn during this visit. They grew to us and every time we see a known sort we just have to smile.

We wanted to experiment with the pumpkins. We put them into the fire to cook them in the blaze and then peel the soft flesh from the blackened skins afterwards. We had sage butter and roasted sunflower seeds with it. When, in addition, the setting sun came out once more the evening was perfect. Surrounded by old walls and scenting herbs in Knut’s and Christina’s settler house.

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