Spring ramp soup

Ramp (wild garlic) is a very special plant, one of the first foods avalaible in the spring. Soups are always a great way to enjoy them. This recipe is very simple; in a nut shell, it is a basic potato soup made with shallots and the ramps added at the end. Just let the ramps shine and enjoy its special flavor in this simple soup!



  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 lb russet potatoes, cleaned and cut into cubes
  • 4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 20 ramps, feel free to use more if you have more
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Sautee the shallots in butter until translucent.
  2. Add paprika quickly, stir for 1 minute and add a little cold water.
  3. Add the chopped potatoes, the stock and let it cook for about 20 minutes.
  4. At the end add the whole ramps and cook for a few mintes on a slow boil.
  5. Add the cream, salt and pepper and puree the soup with an immersion blender to get a creamy consistancy.
  6. Serve with yoghurt and croutons if you wish!


Photo and text by twincitiesherbs.com.

photo by twincitiesherbs.com

Cannellini Bean Vegetarian Meatballs

Wow that is quite a mouthfull for the name of a simple recipe!

I wanted to bring the vegetarian version of meatballs to a banquet where they served meatballs. The organizers decided that the vegetarian alternative would be to leave out the meat; however, most vegetarians like protein so leaving out the meat is not a solution. This challenge got me this amazing recipe though so no complaints.

These beanballs are mouthwatering, my corgi thinks they are meat. How do I know he likes it? He starts putting out his paw to shake my hand without being asked and he licks his bowl for another 10 minutes after he finished eating hoping he can find some more.

Let’s talk about the cannellini beans briefly. They are the main ingredient and with their high protein content they replace the meat easily.

These beans originated in South America, most likely in Peru or Argentina. Today, they are popular all over the world but surely are a vital part of the Northern Italian cuisine. They are part of the kidney bean family so with its kidney supporting qualities they are beneficial during the winter time. Also, there is evidence that these beans help with diabetes and weight loss.

When trying to find a replacement for meatballs, cannellini beans seemed like the perfect choice. These nutty, earthy and savory flavored beans are a fabulous addition to this Italian staple. They taste more like chestnuts so they really add a lot of flavor to the dish. I would suggest to make the beans at home from scratch rather than buying the canned version. I could taste the difference for sure.

Enjoy this tasty dish!


Makes 10 beanballs (2 inch in diameter). I usually end up doubling the recipe if I cook for the family.


  • a heaping 1/2 cup of dried cannellini beans (1 can)
  • 1 yellow onion, graded
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • a handful of pistachio nuts, chopped
  • a handfull of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 tomatoe sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning,
  • 1 tsp salt

Tomato sauce:

  • 1 bayleaf
  • salt and peper to taste
  • garlic
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Qt jar of tomato sauce

Italian seasoning

  • 1 tsp fennel, ground
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp chilli pepper


  • Soak beans overnight or at least for 8 hours. Cook them for 2 hours or until done.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Boil a big pot of water and cook spagetty according to its instructions.
  • Coat a baking sheet with a thin film of oil.
  • Put the beans in a large bowl and mash them with a potato masher. You can use a food prossesor for this step.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients chopped pistaccio nuts, 1 egg, breadcrubs, oil, tomato sauce, parsley, salt, Italian seasoning, garlic cloves and onions.
  • Mix well
  • Using about 2 Tbsp portion of the mixture, form balls by rolling between the palms of your hands.
  • Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet evenly spaced.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until the balls have a nice golden brown color on the outside.
  • While the beanballs are baking, prepare the tomato sauce. Choose your favorite Pasta sause, add 1/4 basmatic vinegar, 1 bayleaf, 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, garlic and salt to taste. Cook for 10 minutes. Serve with the beanballs.
  • Serve warm with tomato sauce and spaghetti.


Receipe, photos, text by twincitiesherbs.com.

Holiday dinner ideas

I associate the Christmas season with good food, heartwarming music and the company of friends and family. I can help you out with the food part but I leave the rest for you. Please check out holiday dishes from my earlier blogs, hope you can find one for your holiday dinner: festive salad, mouth-watering meat, fabulous vegetarian and tasty vegan dishes. Enjoy!


Traditional Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Recipe

Vegan Russian Sour Kraut Soup (Shi) Recipe

Pork with prunes Recipe

Kale Salad with cranberries. Recipe

Festive Strudel with Lentils, cabbage & mushroom Recipe

Happy Holidays!

Creamy Celeriac Soup with croutons

This delicious dish uses this forgotten vegetable, celeriac. The sweet and bitter celeriac is the perfect vegetable to eat as we enter the colder months. It can also nicely offset the heavyness of other dishes that we eat during the holidays. The celeriac along with the potatoes are cooked in a stock and are infused with thyme and bay leaves. Serve with cream and some croutons or hazelnuts on the top. Enjoy!




1 medium onion

2 large garlic cloves

1 tsp dried or 2 tsp fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 lbs celeriac, peeled and cut into 1/2 ” chunks

1/2 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ chunks

1 slice of bacon, cut into small pieces (optional)

4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock or more

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup hazelnuts or croutons

chopped parsley

crushed red hot pepper to taste


Cook bacon on medium high heat, in a little for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Sautee onion in a little oil for about 5-10 minutes, stir often. Gently fry the garlic for a short time, do not burn. Add the thyme, bay leaf, celery, the potato chunks, bacon pieces and the stock. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium low heat. Cook for about 40 minutes or until all the vegetables are nice and tender.

Remove the bay leaf and let the soup cool off to room temperature. Pour in the cream. Puree the soup. You can use an immersion blender or a regular blender.

Return the soup to the pot and start warming it up. Add salt, pepper and red hot pepper.

Serve with croutons or hazelnuts and parsley.

If using hazelnuts, heat up a pan and lightly roast the hazelnuts for 6-8 minutes. Make sure they are toasted on all sides. Chop the cool hazelnuts.


Receipe, photo and text by twincitiesherbs.com.

Gin cocktail with cucumber and basil

This is a savory, refreshing summer drink made with gin, basil and cucumbers.

Serves 1 drink


  • 1 shotglass of gin (I used Prairy organic gin)
  • 1/2 – 1 shotglass of simple syrup (Please see recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup spritzer water
  • 5 basil leaves or more to garnish
  • 8 thin cucumber slices
  • pinch of ground black pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lime or more to garnish
  • pinch of salt
  • ice, optional


  • Make the simple syrup. It is very easy. Slowly cook 1 cup of water with a 1 cup of sugar in a small pot. Be careful not to boil it. When you see a nice thick syrup, it is done. Take off heat and let it cool. You can refrigerate what you don’t use for later use – if not used up in a few days.
  • Preapre the drink in a jar big enough to hold 1 cup of liquid. Add the gin, the simple syrup, spritzer water, lime juice, basil leaves, cucmber slices and salt. I also like to put in the lime peel. Put the top on and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Remove the plant material before serving.
  • Add ice if you wish.
  • If you don’t have time to put the drink in the refrigerator, you can use a muddler to gently bruise the vegetables with the simple sugar to get the juice out for a few minutes and then procede with the rest of the recipe from above.
  • You can garnish with fresh basil, cucumber slice and lime slice if you wish.


Shakshuka with pitta bread

This is a tasty vegetarian dish that can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is made with simple ingredients that you most likely have in your kitchen. The eggs are poached in a delicious sauce made of tomatoes, green peppers, onions, garlic and the warming spices of North Africa. I served this dish with home-made pita bread, Hummus and Eggplant parmesan.

Shakshuka is made thoughout Middle Eastern countries today and there are numerous recipes around; however, it originated in Northern Africa. This recipe uses the lovely spices of Northern Africa, the special trio of cumin, coriander and paprika. Enjoy!



  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander powder
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • hot pepper flakes to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves


  • On medium high heat, sauté the onion in olive oil for 5 minutes.
  • Add the green peppers and continue sautéing while stirring frequently for another 5 minutes. Add the spices (cumin, coriander, paprika), stir for 1 minte and add the garlic.
  • Quicly add the diced tomatoes and the tomato sauce, stir. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Turn down the heat and let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes covered.
  • Uncover and let the dish cook for another 5 minutes or so until the sauce thickens.
  • Using a wooden spoon, clear some space in the sauce or make a ‘well’ and drop 1 egg in. Do this three more times with the other eggs. Cover and let the eggs poach in this lovely, well seasoned sauce until the whites are set and are not runny.
  • Uncover. Add salt, pepper, parsley, mint leaves and hot pepper flakes.
  • Serve it warm with pita bread (recipe).
  • I also served it with Hummus (recipe) and Eggplant parmesan (recipe).


  • Photos: twincitiesherbs.com

Dutch baby with berries

Berries are ready! An easy way to use up these delicious berries for breakfast is to make dutch baby. Dutch baby is made with three basic ingredients: milk, eggs and flour. Watch it puff up in the oven and wow your friends and family with this delicious breakfast. Make sure your guests are seated at the table when you bring it out because it settles pretty fast.



  • 1 cup of white flour
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 5 eggs
  • handfull of berries (1 cup), sliced
  • 3 Tbsp butter, divided
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp sugar


  • You will need a 10″ (2″ deep) oven proof skillet
  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Mix milk, flour, eggs, salt, melted 2 Tbsp butter, vanilla extract untill no lumps remain. You can use an electric mixer on high speed for 1 minute if you wish.
  • Let it rest for 1 hour. You can make it the night before too.
  • Meanwhile gently warm up the remaing butter in the oven proof skillet and poor in the batter. Make sure it is at room temperature.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the top is nice and golden brown.
  • Let it cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.
  • I served it with maple syrup.


Recipe, photo and text by twinctiesherbs.com.

Rhubarb muffins

If you are like me and just can’t get enough of rhubarb right now, try these delicious muffins. The tangy rhubarb works nicely with the whole wheat dough that will make them tasty and filling. They were gone fast in our house …



  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour (you can replace 1 cup with 1 cup of white flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 2 cups of rhubarb stalks, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp fresh or 1 tsp dried ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts nuts


  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • In a large bowl, combine butter and the sugar. Cream them with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. You could do this with an electric mixer.
  • Beat in 1 egg until combined, then whisk in 1 cup buttermilk.
  • With a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until just barely combined, then add 2 cups fresh rhubarb and fold until evenly distributed.
  • Bake in the preheated oven at 375F for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick poked into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around each muffin to release from the tin and turn out onto the rack.

Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Recipe, photo and text by twincitiesherbs.com.