Wilma, my godmother, has been living in Berlin ever since I can remember. She’s Bolivian, just like my mom, and she and her husband were close friends of my parents. My parents actually met in Berlin, so I’ve always felt a special connection to this amazing and vibrant city, which was formerly separated by a wall and which is now united, as it should be, and our nation’s capital.Due to our moving around, I only saw Mine (as we call my godmother endearingly) occasionally. Whenever I visited my friend Nora (who lived in the eastern part of the city) back in the nineties, I always made a point of at least grabbing coffee with her. I would always enjoy our short meetings very much, and seeing the rest of her family of course, her husband (who was one of the funniest most poignant people I have ever met, it was a very sad day for me when I received the news of his death) and their children.
I visited Berlin last in 2003, when I was feeling a bit under the weather. I had just gotten out of an awful relationship which had ended with a catastrophic break-up. My self-esteem had hit rock-bottom and my insides were a mess. I had picked up smoking again after having quit for about six months (to give you an indication how bad I was feeling). That summer, a week-long visit to Berlin, planned around a PJ Harvey concert, seemed like an excellent idea to get myself distracted. I stayed with Mine and her husband in her gorgeous apartment, their son graciously moved in with his girl-friend and gave me reign of his room. My godmother’s apartment was the ultimate testimony to style, a place characterized by high ceilings, large windows and lots of light. In every room you could find carefully chosen antiques and oil paintings, tastefully arranged to match each other and bring each other’s best side. I loved being there ever since I was little, and could have stayed there forever, if asked.
I visited Berlin again, just a couple of weeks ago, to attend a seminar hosted by the German Celiac Association. A meeting with Mine had to be scrapped from my agenda, because she was out of town. I was sad about not being able to see her, but I’m sure we’ll have another opportunity soon. Around the time I was preparing my Berlin trip, I remembered that during my last visit Mine and I cooked dinner one evening. She’s a very resourceful cook, particularly on the subject of light and healthy eating, and this was the recipe she taught me that evening. I have made this recipe many, many time since then, and since I purchased Mephisto, I’ve been serving it all the time. It’s so much less work! It includes finely grated carrots, roasted sunflower seeds and a honey-mustard dressing. It’s great comfort food which won’t clog your arteries. Plus, it’s got loads of Vitamin C and zink! This salad is best with normal-sized or small-ish organic carrots. Buy them with greens, if you can. Nothing will turn you off eating carrots more than carrots, which have been overgrown, turned bitter and separated from their greens for too long! I also recommend eating this while the sunflower seeds are still warm. It’s amazing!
And on the subject of Berlin: if you can, visit! It’s an amazing piece of earth!
Wilma’s Carrot Salad
Six medium carrots
50g sunflower seeds
1 tsp honey (for a vegan version, use a bit of agave syrup)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp white vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp each fresh parsley and chives (chopped; I used frozen)
1 tsp gluten-free vegetable broth powder
pepper and salt to taste
Wash the carrots, cut off the ends and peel them. Grate them finely using your kitchen machine or elbow grease and place the grated carrots into a bowl.
Mix all of the ingredients for the honey-mustard vinaigrette together in a small bowl.
Place the sunflower seeds into a pot. Heat your stove to about medium heat. Gently roast the sunflower seeds (stirring every once in a while) until they are golden brown and fragrant. This may take anywhere between five to seven minutes. When done, pour sunflower seeds onto grated carrots, add the dressing, mix your salad well and serve immediately.