Who would have ever thought that we cook in a real restaurant one day? We definitely didn’t! When Alan Micks, head chef of the Michelberger Hotel’s restaurant, approached us for a mutual event we were pretty surprised, confused, unsure, but most of all honored. Were it not for Jonathan, a longtime friend and sous-chef since two years in that restaurant, and Zoe, who’s wedding we photographed as Paul liebt Paula last year and who plans events for the restaurant, we probably would not have gotten into this experience so fast and accepted the offer. To be surrounded by so many great people, it could only be great.
We followed Alan’s and his team’s actions in the kitchen for quite some time now, and we discovered similarities to our preferences. Similar thoughts, combinations of flavors or unusual ingredients which we discovered for ourselves. All just fit well together and you can only improve yourselves by trying something new. Together we decided to host a relaxed Sunday Lunch for which we created a menu of different components. The food should be served on dishes and plates, so everyone could help themselves how they pleased. On the menu we had: beetroot hummus which you already know from our blog, glazed carrots with dukkah and naan from the tandori oven. To our favorite potatoes with polenta crust we served a salad of fennel, apples and radicchio, and black salsify with white beans. The recipe for this you find, in a different version with asparagus, in our app. As dessert, we served our crumble cheese cake, but matching the season with apples. For this version, you don’t need as much sugar in the filling and don’t need starch at all.
The day before our Lunch, we arrived with a small suitcase at the Michelberger, having our own knives with us and some sleeping clothes, as we were allowed to spend the night at the hotel. In the evening, we chowed straight through the dinner menu and enjoyed a extensive breakfast.
All in all, the event was incredibly easy going for us. We did not have to take of everything ourselves, for a change. Jonathan got the best ingredients for our recipes. The Michelberger cooks with high quality, organic and seasonal products anyway. Jonathan coordinated everything and gave us a great look behind the scenes of a professional kitchen. Zoe took care of the management. The flowery decoration was arranged by “Blumenmädchen” Claudia without us having to worry about it. Even the menu cards came out the way we would have done it. It is a great feeling to know you work with people who think similar as you do, when you can rely on them that everything turns out well, even if you don’t take over control.
Because so many people took part in this afternoon, we finally had more time to sit with our guests to talk and enjoy the whole thing without stress. Actually, this is the best part which often comes up short. Watching the guests while they eat; asking them afterwards what they liked; hearing that usually they don’t like fennel, but enjoyed it in this salad; answering curious questions about ingredients; talking about everything and anything…
Preheat the oven to 200°C (aircirculation). Halve the carrots. Mix honey, seabuckthorn juice, sunflower oil and salt to a dressing. Spread the carrots on the baking rack and mix with the dressing. Bake them for 20-25 minutes on the middle rack and turn them once in a while. For the dukkah, roughly chop the almonds and hazelnuts and roast in a pan without oil. Roughly pound the cumin and coriander seeds. Give them into the hot pan together with the other spices, mix and let it cool down. Sprinkle the carrots with seabuckthorn juice once again and add the spice blend as you wish.
Cut the stems from the fennel and finely slice the fennel. Afterwards, roast in a pan with a bit of olive oil and salt. Core the apple and thinly slice it. Pluck the radicchio in bite size pieces. Roast the walnuts in a pan without oil and roughly chop them. Mix maple syrup, red wine vinegar, mustard, walnut oil and sea salt to a dressing. Mix all ingredients to a salad.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (air circulation). Peel the potatoes, halve if necessary, and cook them for 10 minutes in saltwater. Drain the water and shake the potatoes in the closed pot so the polenta will stick better. Add olive oil and salt and mix with the potatoes. Roll in the polenta afterwards. Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes, turn, sprinkle again with oil and bake for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, split the onions. Pluck the sage from the stems and roughly chop the leaves. Fry the onions and sage until they are crisp. Eventually, add the pine nuts and season with salt. Sprinkle the potatoes with coarse sea salt before serving.