I’d heard many things about Canada before I moved there. A lot of them were clichés; The kinds of things people say, just to say something. Some I found to be (somewhat) true, others not at all. One thing that stuck with me from the beginning on was the comparison of Canada to a salad bowl—a metaphor referencing the American melting pot analogy.

I immediately fell for this description—not just because I totally dig all that green stuff—I also think that equating a country to a colourful salad is very beautiful idea. I want to think of this metaphorical salad as some kind of perfect mess, where the ingredients are not just peacefully coexisting, but enhancing each others flavours and variations in texture and color. The result: a tasty mix, full of new combinations, fuelled by the power of it’s contrasts. A real healthy dinner for all of us, enjoyed together, this imaginary bowl—a country—holds the potential to embrace our diversity and perceive it as a chance to reach for the unknown, rather than being scared. Why would you want to eat the same stuff all over again if there’s a whole world of flavors to discover?

For this recipe contribution, I imagined a literal salad bowl, inspired by some of those 189 (!!!) nations from all over the world, which together contribute to making Berlin so special. I’m not saying that it’s always easy—not at all. We’re all different and that can cause tension and lead to misunderstandings. Change can be painful. But who said cooking was easy? It’s an art in itself—a process where you’re constantly learning new things, about planting and harvesting and about trying out new ingredients—and sometimes about failure and having to start all over again. In the end, when we all sit down at the dinner table, to share our stories, our food, and the appreciation for it, it’s all okay somehow—and you forget, that you might have just cut your finger a bit, attempting to nicely slice this carrot…

So here it is—the ‘multikulti’ salad bowl, with pumpkin falafel, a spicy prune plum chutney and my new favourite, the six-country seed mix!

(I wish I could have included all the nations, but that just wasn’t possible. No offence.)

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The measurements feed 2 hungry people. Adjust according to how big your intercultural dinner party is supposed to be!

Pumpkin Falafel

1/2 of a medium Hokkaido pumpkin (it should be around 1 1/2 cup when cooked and mashed)
A handful of parsley leafs
A handful of mint leafs
1 medium onion
1 clove of garlic
3 tbsp of sesame seeds
6 tbsp of buckwheat flour
1 tsp of cumin powder (plus more according to taste)
1 tsp of coriander powder
A dash of cinnamon
A good squeeze of lime juice
Chili, according to taste
Coconut oil for greasing
Olive oil to drizzle on top after baking
Salt, according to taste

Falafel has become a staple of many Berliner’s diets—being cheap, tasty and vegetarian, it is omnipresent, just like the ‘Döner’, which in some countries is even rumoured to have originated in Berlin. Well… it didn’t, and neither did the falafel, but thanks to all our Lebanese friends, it’s both widely accessible and familiar to most of us. My version includes the traditional spices, like sesame seeds, parsley, mint, garlic and cumin but is made from hokkaido pumpkin, combined with buckwheat—a main ingredient of the Polish cuisine, and also happens to be gluten-free and full of good stuff.

To make the falafel, slice your pumpkin and place it on a baking tray, greased with coconut oil. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with some more coconut oil and roast until golden and tender. Let it cool down an bit, then mash with a fork or a hand-held blender.

Mince the herbs and the onion, crush the garlic clove and mix it with the pumpkin mash. Pour in the buckwheat flour, sesame seeds, salt, spices and lime juice, and mash until a soft dough has formed, that is not too sticky, but also not too dry and crumbly.

Pour in some water or more flour to reach the desired consistency. Then wetten your hands, form little falafel balls and put onto another greased baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven (200 degree celsius) until golden, which should take around 15 minutes. When they are done drizzle with some highquality olive-oil. I used a really nice Italian one, that I just brought from Sardinia. Those Italians really grow some darn good olives.Tabea02

We’re all different and that can cause tension and lead to misunderstandings. Change can be painful. But who said cooking was easy?

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Spicy Prune plum chutney

Around 10 prune plums (‘Zwetschgen’)
1 medium-sized onion
1 tbsp of Ras el Hanout
Chili, according to taste
Salt, according to taste
A dash of lime-juice
A dash of agave nectar
1 tbsp of coconut oil

Prune plums pop up at every farmers market this time of the year, so it’s great to make a good use of it. In this recipe I wanted to try out something else, than the traditional German ‘Zwetschgenkuchen’ (prune plum cake) that is a typical thing to eat in late summer. Instead I made a very spicy chutney out of them, that perfectly accompanies the falafel. A main ingredient of this recipe is the wonderful Ras el Hanout spice mix, that is one of the main spice mixes in North Africa. It normally includes a huge variety of spices, like cardamom, cumin, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, dry ginger, chili peppers, coriander seed, fenugreek, and dry turmeric. You get it at most of the Turkish markets and this new kid in your spice rack is a real keeper.

To make the chutney mince the onion and glaze in a sauce-pan with the coconut-oil until lightly caramelized.

Add the plums, cut into small pieces and cook for about 15 minutes—you really want a lot of water to evaporate, to enhance the intense plum taste.

Add the Ras el Hanout, salt, lime juice, agave nectar and some chili. Let it all cool down for a bit and blend lightly with a hand-held blender. You want the final consistency to be a bit chunky—not too much like a sauce.

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Six Country Seed Mix

3 tbsp of buckwheat groats
1 tbsp of coriander seeds
3 tbsp of unhulled hemp seeds
3 tbsp of pumpkin seeds
3 tbsp of sesame seeds
1 tsp of sumac
1 tsp of agave nectar
Some salt
Some chili if you like it hot!

This seed mix adds a really nice crunch and some extra flavour to your salad bowl. You can prepare more of it and store for future creations. It also makes for a nice little present to bring to a dinner. An ingredient, that might be new to you here is sumac, a powder made from the fruits of a small flowering tree that grows in Africa and Asia. It has a very distinct, tangy taste and is an important ingredient in the Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine. Hemp used to be one of the most important agricultural crops in Germany since it can handle our weather conditions pretty well and is able to feed and robe a lot of people. It’s unhulled seeds get very crunchy and nutty when roasted and are extremely versatile.

To prepare, mix all the seeds and roast in a preheated pan until fragrant and golden, really taking care not to burn them. Most of the time 2 minutes, while constantly stirring is enough.

Season with salt and slightly caramelize with agave syrup. Let the mix cool down a bit, then add the sumac. Store in a glass jar or munch right away.

Sesame Sauce

6 tbsp of tahini
1/2 cup of water
Juice of 1/2 a lime
A dash of agave
Salt, according to taste
1 garlic clove, mashed

Mix all the ingredients until a creamy not too runny sauce has formed. This is a no-brainer that
you can pour over almost everything to make it very, very amazing!

Salad Bowl Base

Wild herbs
Spinach
Thinly-sliced red cabbage
Parsley
Carrots
Cucumbers
Leek

For the base of the salad I mixed some local wild herbs with spinach, parsley, carrot and cucumber sticks, because this was what was available to me at the local farmers market at this time of the year. Feel free to throw in whatever works for you or challenge yourself and try to top it up with even more nations. I imagine something pickled like a good old ‘Spreewaldgurke’or the Korean version Kimchi, to be an amazing add-on. Have fun playing around!

Assemble all the ingredients in your favourite bowl, drizzle with the sesame sauce and serve with the chutney aside. Guten Appetit!

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In the end, when we all sit down at the dinner table, to share our stories, our food, and the appreciation for it, it’s all okay somehow—and you forget, that you might have just cut your finger a bit, attempting to nicely slice this carrot…

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A Visual Artist, interfacing photography, with an affection for styling and creating sets and visual strategies, Tabea Mathern always sees the bigger picture. Provided with a keen eye and a love for conceptual thinking, she deeply believes in the power of visual storytelling and the diversity of ideas and perspectives.
“I love playing with particular constellations of different textures, techniques and mindsets. Capturing and collecting moments, colours, thoughts and things to often put them into a new context my photography, setdesigns and projects are fuelled by everyday phenomena and the fascination with humankinds constant search.”
Regular photographer for SemiDomesticated, Tabea is also a passionate cook with a love for healthy, seasonal and plant-based ingredients.
See more of her extraordinary work on her website, here.