Cosmic egg and lentil mash with tahini

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We tell ourselves stories in order to live. Every culture has it’s own cosmogony- a story or a model about the origin of the universe. The world egg or cosmic egg is a mythological motif, a legend, according to the universe comes into existence by hatching from the egg.

The Sanskrit scriptures offer the earliest idea of “egg-shaped cosmos” called Brahmanda (“Brahma”- the creator god and “anda” meaning egg). One of the first lawgivers in India was Manu. He opens his statute book Manusmrti, that is not to be understood in a juristic sense, but as a normative ethics, with a story about the creation (Genesis): Prajapati, a lord of creation and protector, wanted all kinds of creatures to generate from his own body. Therefore, he created water trough one single thought and put his seed inside of it. The seed became a golden egg, shiny like the Sun and in this egg he was born himself as a Brahman, the creator of the world… This divinity lived for one year in the egg, then he divided the force of his thought in two parts:heaven and earth. Because he divided his own body in two parts he became half man and half women…

And so on in China, Greece, Japan, Rome, Finnland, Egypt…

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In 2018 one of the stories we seem to tell ourselves, collectively, is that we are what we eat. And what we eat is no longer about creation, universe, mythology, divinity. A new story is all about our story that, trough the curation and sharing with the entire world, forms our identity. But today, we don`t identify ourselves anymore by what we do eat, but what we don`t eat.

“I’m vegan, I don’t eat eggs, those are chicken babies.” Think about that for just a second. Pause. Deep breath. OK, moving on.

Everything we eat is dead. But egg? Egg is a lively universe! Taste it, don’t waste it!

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Mashed lentils with tahini and boiled eggs

Ingredients (serves 2):

200 g lentils
1 Tsp butter
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 Tsp cumin
1 small chill pepper,
finely minced (if you don’t like spicy skip this)
1 tsp cilantro powder
3 dl tomato purée
100 ml water juice of 1 lemon
5 Tsp tahini
2 boiled eggs
salt an pepper to taste for

garnish:

1/2 onion, finely sliced
fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp smoked paprika powder

Directions:

1. Place lentils into a smaller pot and cover with 4 dl water. Bring to boil and cook for 20-30 minutes,  until lentils are soft. Drain the lentils and set aside.
2. Heat the butter in the pot until it’s completely melted. Add garlic, cilantro powder, cumin, chill, stir and steam for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, water and lentils. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes. Add tahini, lemon juice, salt and pepper. While regularly stirring, cook everything for 5 minutes more on medium temperature. Remove from the heat and using a potato-musher stamp lentils until they have reached a consistence of a thick mush.
3. Spread lentils mush over the plates and cover with onions, cilantro and paprika powder. Serve warm with boiled eggs.

 

 

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Baked Leek with Pomegranate and Hazelnuts

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Cooked meals

her daily mantra.

Their portraits

sacred icons.

Collected they carry around a memory

of all her faces.

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 Baked Leek with Pomegranate and Hazelnuts

Ingredients for two plates (as a starter or snack):

two leeks, washed and drained
seeds of 1 ripe pomegranate
70 g roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
2 Tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. hazelnut oil
few leaves of fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese for garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts over the baking trail and put them in the oven for 7 minutes. Use that time to clean leeks and cut the root end of. Rinse the leaks well in cold water, leave them if necessary to soak in cold water so you are sure to get all the sand and soil out of them. With a sharp knife half each leek lengthwise. 
2. Remove hazelnuts from the oven and set aside. Put the leeks on a baking tray with baking paper and drip with olive oil and salt. Bake leeks for 20 minutes at 200 degrees, so they get well burnt and caramelized on the outside and soft and sweet inside. Use this time to chop hazelnuts and clean the pomegranate.
3. Remove the leeks from the oven. Using your hands divide them on the long way (carefully, they are hot!), so that you get strips, almost looking like pasta. Spread the leek-strips over two plates and cover with other ingredients.

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Pickled Onions

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I love onions and I eat them almost every day. This is a very important part of my culinary heritage from Bosnia. People from Balkans generally think that garlic and onion can improve your health. Therefore, these ingredients are not only the foundation of EVERY dish in the countries of Ex-Yugoslavia, but are used as magic ingredients, a prescription signed by nature in the fight against bacterias. People there drink them as tee, grate them into unction and cover with them painful places on the body. Today, while so called alternative medicine is en vogue, that even the performance-artist Queen Marina Abramovic starts celebrating her garlic-ish roots in her newest documentary The Space in Between, the territory of Ex-Yugoslavia could  become a mecca for new age healer and shamans from the Westerns. They would say, life is more “grounded” there: great, nourishing, homemade food (new healers, just like Gods are always hungry!), amazing (only a bit mined) nature, locals are great hosts, full of passion,  life there is cheap, life is beautiful.

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Years ago, for similar healers, we were sick monsters, who can’t deal with their own past and that is why we killed everything and everyone around us, (while they were watching…).  No one gave a fuck about our magical garlics and onions, that were indifferently scrunched with many brand new NATO boots.  (For them) We were and still are regressed, drunk, bearded religious freaks, a place for international-intellectual orgies, an exotic folklore, European darkness (like I read recently)…

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I don’t eat onions to improve my health, but I do think that they are very healthy. Every time I eat them I remember my grandmother, who’s name should have been Cepula (latin for onion) and not Bosiljka (serbo-croatian for basil). Every day she ate her finely minced onions. We always knew when she is around, because her breath would announce her. We made so much fun about her, about her regular meals, breakfast at 9, lunch at 3:30, dinner at 7. Now I know, that this was her only stability in the chaos she lived in. 2 wars and much more IS a big deal.

I eat onions, because I like their taste. It is a taste of my past, I’m currently  more then ever dealing with. It is fresh, but spicy. I makes me cry and I’m grateful for it. I don’t want to give up this taste, although it is very difficult to live with it in a country where Knoblauchfresser (garlic-devourer) is an insult to migrants you hear often on the street. In a city where people are obsessed with clean and pure food that doesn`t leave marks and smells on their body. There are moments, and they are not that rare, when I feel just like already mentioned Marina Abramovic in her performance with an onion from 1996. But sometimes, I make it more delicate. I pickle the onion.

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“I am tired from changing planes so often, waiting in the waiting rooms, bus stations,
train stations, airports.
I am tired of waiting for endless passport controls.
Fast shopping in the shopping malls.
I’m tired of more and more career decisions, museum and gallery openings, endless
receptions, standing around with a glass of plain water, pretending that I’m
interested in conversations.
I’m so tired of my migraine attacks, lone
y hotel rooms, dirty bed sheets, room
services, long distance telephone calls, bad TV Movies.
I’m tired of always falling in love with the wrong man; tired of being ashamed of my
nose being too big, of my ass being too large; ashamed about the war in Yugoslavia.
I want to go away, somewhere so far, that I’m unreachable by telephone or fax.
I want to get old, really old, so that nothing matters anymore.
I want to understand and see clearly what is behind all of this.
I want not to want anymore.” (by M.Abramovic)

 Pickled Onions

Ingredients (makes jar, 500 ml):

300 ml distillate white vine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
4 bay leaves
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 Tsp refined sugar
7 peper corns
3 red onions, thinly sliced

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients except onions and bring to a simmer over low heat. Place onions in a large bowl and carefully pur the brine over the onion. Let cool, the transfer to a clean pint-sized jar; cover and refrigerate (in a sealed jar) for up to 1 month.

 

 

 

 

 

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