Kochfreunde.com is the culinary magazine of Oliver Wagner. Here, everything revolves around the almost most beautiful thing in the world: good food. The focus ranges from reports on exciting restaurants to recipes from his own kitchen, cookbooks and culinary gadgets.


Kochfreunde.com ist das kulinarisches Magazin von Oliver Wagner. Hier dreht sich alles rund um die beinahe schönste Sache der Welt: Gutes Essen. Dabei reicht der Fokus von Berichten über spannende Restaurants bis hin zu Rezepten aus der eigenen Küche, Kochbücher und kulinarische Gadgets.

Aperitivo – Recipe ideas for winter

Aperitivo. A word that immediately triggers pleasant images: a cool glass of prosecco, nice company, good music and one or the other plate with small delicacies – everyone knows this idea. And part of this imagination is actually always a warm summer evening, a piazza in Italy and light summer dresses. With this last part of your imagination I would like to clear up now. Because Aperitivo goes actually always. Even in winter!

Reason enough to make me some thoughts, what you can serve in the cold season or even on Christmas days to the cool sparkling wine. Because the main actor remains the same even in winter. Especially in this case. Because the dear colleagues of Martini have asked me to give free rein to creativity and develop delicious to the Martini Spumante. Wintery, but still Mediterranean. This goes wonderfully – and perhaps already one or the other small inspiration for the coming holidays is there!

Almost all ideas can be implemented quite quickly. After all, who wants to stand in the kitchen for a long time when guests are in the house and the first bottles are opened. That’s why here and there I resort to products that you might have prepared anyway or that you can also buy at a deli of your confidence. And who has desire and time, of course, makes the otherwise anyway itself.

Roasted macadamia with bird pepper and tangerine

Nuts are of course the classic par excellence. And with a few tweaks, these can be tuned up a bit and made into a fancy little first snack. Stevan Paul introduces the baked macadamia on the very first page of his Blue Hour. Instead of using Shichimi Tōgarashi, which is the Japanese seven-spicechili pepper, I use bird pepper made from kâmpôt, turmeric and tangerine zest. This is spicy, Christmassy, and goes wondrously with a glass of Martini Rosé Extra Dry.

Bird pepper, by the way, is about as spectacular and exclusive as its name suggests. Towards the end of the harvest season, small birds peck the best and sweetest peppercorns. They then digest the amniotic membrane, and the nucleus is completely excreted. In the process, it is affected by the enzymes and secretions in the digestive tract of the birds and the flavor is altered, becoming nuttier, chocolatier and deeper. And the Macadmias are also very pleased with the preliminary work of the small Cambodian birds. And who can say no to nuts with bird pepper next to a small glass of sparkling wine? Exactly!200g macadamia nuts
1 egg
1 teaspoon bird pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
A little saltPreparation: Beat the egg whites until stiff and mix with the bird pepper, turmeric and a little salt. Fold in the nuts. Then drain the remaining egg mixture in a sieve. Bake the nuts first for six minutes on baking paper at 180 degrees, then again for six minutes without baking paper in the oven. Then allow to cool well.

Lamb balls in peach sauce

After the first small snacks are on the table and the first glass of Spumante has been toasted, it is time for a first small warm course. And what could be a better way to set the mood for the evening than small, crispy and hot lamb meatballs in a sweet and tangy BBQ peach sauce. Add some peach ginger chutney to dip the balls in again. Next to it on the plate a small piece of Pane Carasau, the “crispbread of Sardinia”. Overall, this is pretty quick to prepare – even in larger quantities if a larger crowd is expected. I would serve a dry rosé spumante with the light spiciness and fruity elements in the sauce and chutney. Fits perfectly!for 6 people

250g minced lamb
30g breadcrumbs
1 egg
Salt, pepper
Pane Carasau (available at Italian delicatessen)
BBQ sauce (either homemade or from a manufacturer of your choice)
Peach ginger chutney (best homemade)Mix minced lamb with egg and bread crumbs
Season vigorously with salt and pepper
Fry in a pan until crisp
Meanwhile, mix the BBQ sauce with two tablespoons of the chutney and warm slightly
Just before the end of the cooking time, add a little of the BBQ chutney mixture to the lamb meatballs.
Arrange lamb balls with a tsp of chutney on plates and serve.

Tramezzini with foie gras, beet and walnut pesto

There is probably no more typical snack for aperitivo than tramezzini. In Italy, the white bread slices are served with a wide variety of products – though often untoasted. My version does not skimp on ingredients, but on the whole is quick to prepare. Only the secret star of the dish, the beet, needs some time and attention. It is cooked over two hours in a sweet red wine broth with vanilla and pomegranate until quite soft. Along the way, you have enough time to make a little walnut pesto. Be sure to make plenty, it goes great the next day with a good pasta.

Between the crispy toasted slices of bread, the three protagonists get along sensationally well. The goose liver (please buy organic!) gives soft melting, the beet gets an almost gel-like texture from the long cooking, gives sweetness and slight acidity – and the walnut pesto provides an additional freshness kick.

To go with the foie gras, I serve a classic Martini Prosecco – an ideal companion.For 4 people

2 slices tramezzini
100g foie gras pâté (organic)
3 Beetroot
1 pomegranate
200ml red wine
1 vanilla pod

100g walnuts
30g pecorino
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 bunch coriander
1 bunch basil
Olive oil
GarlicCook the peeled beet with the red wine, cinnamon, vanilla and honey in a small saucepan for about 2 hours at low temperature until they are completely soft.

For the walnut pesto we need (depending on the size) about half a bunch of flat leaf parsley and a quarter bunch each of cilantro and basil. A small touch of garlic fits quite well here, but can also be left out. This is better than too much garlic, which otherwise becomes too dominant. Coarsely chop all ingredients in small kitchen blender, but not too finely. The walnuts definitely need some more crunch. Add olive oil until a velvety, but not too runny consistency is reached.

Toast tramezzini in a grill pan and cut into strips. Now it’s time to cut the foie gras and the beet into exact strips, matching the size of the tramezzini. Spread the top slice with the pesto.

Tartlets with parmesan espuma and caviar

The small savory tartlets can be filled in no time with virtually anything your heart desires. This version with Parmesan and caviar is not only savory, but tastes salty of the sea and goes perfectly with Martine Spumante Extra Brut, for example.

In the case of caviar, depending on the occasion, you can choose between a cheaper or a more noble representative of its genus.

Of course, you can also buy ready-made little tartlets and fill them – or work with a quick shortbread. The only important thing is that the tartlets do not become too thick, but nice and crispy thin.

The dry Martin Rosé Extra Dry or the Martini Brut go ideally with caviar.300 ml milk
100 ml cream
1 g salt
1 g pepper
200 g parmesan
2 iSi cream capsules


Shortcrust pastry – or ready tartletsOptionally, bake your own small tartlets from shortbread dough and let cool, or buy ready-made (thin!) tartlets.

For theParmesan Espuma, gently heat the milk and fold in the grated Parmesan and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Add the cream and season with a little pepper. Pour through a sieve and the funnel into a 0.5l iSi unit and screw on the first cream cap, shake vigorously. Before serving, place in the refrigerator for at least 2 minutes. Cool for 6 hours, then unscrew the second capsule, shake again.

Now drizzle the espuma into the tartlets and serve with a generous dollop of caviar. If available, you can place two or three leaves of Borage cress on top of the caviar. Not only is it pretty, but it adds a fresh touch with hints of oysters and salt.

Quail egg with anchovies

A classic from Veneto. At first glance, the combination of egg and fish may be a bit surprising – on the palate, all doubts clear up immediately. To keep the snack from being too lush, I transformed it with small, waxy quail eggs. To add an extra kick of umami, you can optionally add some freshly grated bottarga over the eggs or a small pinch of Fish Salt from Red Boat, which is the dried extract from Vietnamese fish sauce. A touch of lemon zest (or small spheres of lemon) provide light freshness and balance. Serves 4

4 quail eggs
4 small pickled anchovies
Bortaga or Read Boat Fishsalt Boil the quail eggs for about 3 minutes until waxy soft
Rinse, peel and cut in half, let cool slightly
Roll up the anchovies and place in the center of the egg
Add lemon zest or lemon pearls to taste
Season with salt, Borttaga or Fish Salt

Winter aperitivo

Based on my quick recipe ideas, you can easily come up with many variations. Above all, you can prepare everything (except for the freshly toasted tramezzini) at your leisure and then serve it when the guests are in the house and the first bottle of Spumante is opened.

The tartlets can be filled alterantivly for a vegetarian version with a fine tomato salad with feta cheese. For the tramezini you can use a good mozzarella instead of foie gras, or grilled vegetables.

High time, therefore, to practice this beautiful piece of Italian lifestyle even on cool and dark winter evenings.

New Aperitivo books

Fortunately, two very nice books are currently published, dedicated to the aperitivo culture and presenting much more good suggestions and recipes to experiment for this fabulous time of the day.

Blue hour by Stevan Paul

Stevan Paul follows the sunset in this book and presents tapas, aperitivo and bar culture recipes from around the world. Very atmospheric photographed by Daniela Haug.

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