Das Beste am Weihnachtsmarkt: Gebrannte Mandeln

Der Winter ist mir die liebste Zeit im Jahr, weshalb ich versuche jeden Moment so gut wie möglich auszukosten. Die Weihnachtszeit bringt so viele Kindheitserinnerungen zurück – mit Freunden und Familie in Düsseldorf und auf der ganzen Welt. Meine absolute Lieblingsbeschäftigung ist das Besuchen der Weihnachtsmärkte.


Allein in Düsseldorf haben wir 12 verschiedene Christkindlmärkte in der Stadt verteilt, die vom 19. November bis zum 23. Dezember geöffnet sind. Ich habe schon viele Märkte in Deutschland besucht und muss sagen, dass jeder einzelne auf eine andere Art besonders ist. Dennoch gibt es ein Merkmal, welches einen guten von einem überragenden Weihnachtsmarkt unterscheidet: Die Qualität der gebrannten Mandeln, welche an den kleinen Verkaufshäuschen angeboten werden.

Wusstet Ihr, dass die Herstellung von gebrannten Mandeln seit mehr als hundert Jahren Tradition hat? Auch heute noch hat jeder Mandelröster sein eigenes Rezept und Produktionsgeheimnis. Vielleicht sind dies nur kleine Unterschiede, dennoch können sie den endgültigen Geschmack der Mandeln beeinflussen.

In einem alten Kochbuch von 1870 habe ich ein sehr einfaches Rezept gefunden, bei dem man einfach nicht anders kann, als es auszuprobieren. Für das Rezept benötigt man nur 500g Zucker in Wasser gelöst, worin 500g Mandeln gekocht und gebraten werden. Danach werden die Mandeln mit Zimt bestreut und im heißen Ofen noch einmal geröstet, sodass sie ihren typischen Glanz bekommen.

Wenn Ihr den leckeren Geschmack und den unverkennbaren Duft von frisch gerösteten Mandeln genau so mögt wie ich, dann besucht doch in den nächsten Wochen mit mir gemeinsam die Weihnachtsmärkte in und um Düsseldorf. Natürlich helfen die Persönlichen Assistenten vom Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel auch gerne bei der Suche nach Eurem persönlichen Lieblings-Weihnachtsmarkt.

Wenn Ihr gerne gebrannte Mandeln außerhalb der Weihnachtszeit genießen möchtet, kann ich Euch die Düsseldorfer Mandelrösterei empfehlen. Hier könnt Ihr den Geschmack von Weihnachten ganze 365 Tage im Jahr erleben!

Thanksgiving In Washington D.C.

The weather has started to shift and autumn is clearly upon us.  But don’t let that get you down! After all, my favorite fall holiday is just around the corner!  Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate every blessing, friend and family member.  Not to mention, the delicious turkey holiday spread.  It is my favorite way to kick off the season and fortunately Washington D.C. knows just how to celebrate.


What is Thanksgiving without a themed parade?  Luckily, you have a few parades to choose from within the D.C. Metropolitan area.  The Silver Spring Thanksgiving Parade and the Reston Town Center Holiday Parade are two great ways of spending the day having fun with friends and family.  Festivities are kicked off with an annual race for kids at Fountain Square in the Reston community.  After the kiddo’s cool down from their athletic endeavors,  the parade gets going.  It includes the celebrated Washington Redskins Marching band, 50-foot balloons, and amazing colorful floats.



If you are looking to enjoy a delicious feast after a long day out and about at the parades, retreat back to Georgetown and spend Thanksgiving in The Grill Room. Enjoy as Executive Chef Frank Ruta’s prepares a family style and plated dinner.  As a special token, each family will receive a signature hot cocoa mix to enjoy during the holiday season, made especially by our Pastry Chef, Aggie Chin.  Continue to get in the holiday mood with seasonal fall cocktails like a Rye Toddy and Hot Apple Cider. I’m ready to curl up by the fireplace just thinking about it!

This year, I am thankful for my supportive team at Capella D.C.  To which I share a million laughs with, share my difficulties with, but above all, gain my support and strength from.  I learn something great and new every single day from this dynamic group.

I would love to see photos of what you are all thankful for as well.  Just tag @CapellaDC on Instagram and Twitter so that I can share it with our community.

Sending warm wishes to everyone this holiday season from the Nation’s Capital!

A Unique Chicken Satay Recipe

With Singapore’s 49th National Day just around the corner on 9 August 2014, I decided to catch up with Capella Singapore’s Junior Executive Sous Chef, Aaron Goh, to talk about local food. As proud Singaporeans, we love our food. Visitors to our country often comment that Singaporeans are seen eating all day long – it is true! We have 24-hour coffee shops and hawker stalls such as Old Airport Road Hawker Centre, Newtown Hawker Centre, Chomp Chomp Hawker Centre and more all around the country just to satiate our huge appetites!

Chef Aaron shared, during our conversation that he was working on a very Singaporean-inspired dish Tiger Beer Chicken Satay. Yes, you heard right! Chicken satay marinated in Singapore’s national beer, Tiger Beer.

It sounded too delicious, so I persuaded him to share the recipe with you in celebration of National Day!  And if you happen to be in Singapore for the holiday, make plans to join Aaron at the hotel and try it yourself.

Chef Aaron's Tiger Beer Chicken Satay

Chef Aaron’s Tiger Beer Chicken Satay

Tiger Beer Chicken Satay Recipe


4 chicken legs and thighs (preferred) or 4 chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
Bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 2 hours to avoid burning)
1 Bottle Tiger Beer

Spice Paste:

1tsp coriander powder
2 stalks lemongrass, white parts only
6 shallots (peeled)
2 cloves garlic (peeled)
4 tbsp cooking oil
1tsp chili powder
2 tsp turmeric powder (kunyit)
4 tsp of kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
1tsp oyster sauce
1 cucumber (skin peeled and cut into small pieces)
1 small onion (quartered)


  1. Cut the chicken meat into small cubes and marinate in Tiger beer overnight.
  2. Grind the Spice Paste in a food processor.
  3. Add in a little water if needed.
  4. Marinate the chicken pieces with the spice paste for 10-12 hours.
  5. Thread the meat onto the bamboo skewers and grill for 2-3 minutes on each side.
  6. Serve hot with the fresh cucumber pieces and onions.

Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt

Easter is a month away, and I am already looking forward to the festivities!  What is your favorite Easter tradition?  As a child and even now, I have always loved the Easter Egg Hunt and of course, the Easter Bunny.

The Easter Bunny legend began long ago in Germany with an egg-laying hare named Osterhase.  German children made nests and left them outside for the hare to lay her eggs in, which the children would collect as a prize.  Actual Easter Egg Hunting began in America when German immigrants brought their Osterhase tradition to Pennsylvania in the 1700s.  The festivity soon spread across the nation, and baskets replaced nests.  Eventually, the game evolved into a treasure hunt, and the prizes expanded from just hard-boiled eggs to include chocolate, candy, toys and coins.

After discovering the history behind this Easter tradition, my team at Capella Washington, D.C. felt it was only appropriate to establish our very own Easter Egg Hunt.  And not your average children’s hunt, but one especially for the adults.  Picture a city wide hunt with golden eggs, sensational prizes, Washington, D.C.’s most well-known landmarks, and of course, the unique Capella experience.

I am so thrilled to announce the launch our first annual Capella DC  Easter Egg Hunt!

Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt

The Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt Details:

  • One golden egg will be placed in a unique location in Washington, D.C. every weekend, the three weeks leading to Easter Sunday on April 20th, 2014.  Your mission is to keep a look out for the photo clue on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram the morning of, which will give you a hint to where the Easter egg will be.
  • Next, locate the golden Easter egg and take a photo at the location of you and the prize.  Share your photo with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and be sure to use the hashtag #CapellaEasterEggHunt and tag us @CapellaDC.
  • When you open the Golden Egg, you will find a contact phone number.  Once you call this number, one of our Capella service professionals will reveal your winning prize!  We are offering a wide variety of prizes – from Sunday Brunch at The Grill Room, to a luxury overnight stay at Capella Washington, D.C.

Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt Schedule:

Saturday, April 5th
Sunday, April 7th
Saturday, April 12th
Sunday, April 13th
Thursday, April 17th
Friday, April 18th
Saturday, April 19th
Sunday, April 20th

For more information on the Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt, be sure to contact our Easter events squad at 202-617-2429!  Keep a look out for the first photo hint on Saturday, April 5th at 9:00am!

Chef Rurik Salazar’s Tamales Nejos

February 2nd marked a very popular holiday in Mexico, Candlemas day, or Día de la Candelaria.  At Capella Ixtapa we honored Mexican traditions by serving tamales.  But these weren’t just any tamales!  These were Executive Chef Rurik Salazar’s special Tamales Nejos!

They were absolutely delicious and, while I had never made tamales before, I simply had to learn how.  Chef Rurik agreed to teach me, ensuring me the process was simpler than I thought.  Indeed he was right and now I am sharing the recipe with you:

 tamales nejos

Tamales Nejos Recipe

Masa or Tamal dough

  • 8 Tbsp of Corn Flour
  • 1 Tbsp of Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 pinch of Salt
  • N/A Water
  • Ashes of a tortilla

Mix the corn flour with the vegetable shortening, add water slowly and whisk it up until gets spongy, seasoning with the salt and the tortilla ashes.

Duck Tamales Nejos

  • 1 square of a plantain leaf (15 cm x15 cm)
  • 1 Tbsp of shredded duck breast
  • 1 date

Heat up the plantain leaf until it gets soft in a pan on a low flame.  In the middle of the leaf put the tamal dough and stuff it with the shredded duck and the date.  Wrap it like a candy, and steam for 18 minutes.  Garnish with some green mole or any kind of salsa.


Buen provecho!

El Chef Rurik Salazar Nos Comparte Su Receta Para Tamales Nejos

Febrero 2 marca una de las fiestas mexicanas más populares, el Día de la Candelaria. En Capella Ixtapa hicimos honor a esta tradicional fiesta mexicana sirviendo tamales. Pero estos no eran tamales ordinarios! Eran Tamales Nejos, especialidad de nuestro Chef Ejecutivo Rurik Salazar!

Estaban deliciosos, y mientras que nunca he cocinado tamales antes, tenía que aprender como. El Chef Rurik accedió a enseñarme, asegurándome primero, que el proceso era más simple de lo que creía. Y de hecho tuvo razón, por lo cual aquí les comparto la receta a ustedes:


Receta para preparar Tamales Nejos

Masa para tamales o nixtamal

  • 8 cucharadas soperas de harina de maíz
  • 1 cucharada de manteca vegetal o
  • 1 pizca de sal
  • Agua
  • Cenizas de tortillas

Mezclar el harina con la manteca, añadir agua lentamente y batir hasta que quede una masa esponjosa, sazonar con la sal y las cenizas de tortilla.

Tamales Nejos rellenos de pato

  • 1 cuadrado de hoja de plátano (15 cm x15 cm)
  • 1 cucharada de pechuga de pato deshebrada
  • 1 dátil

Calentar en un sartén a flama baja la hoja de plátano hasta que suavize. Al centro de la hoja poner la masa de tamal y rellenarla con el pato deshebrado y el dátil. Envolverla como si fuera un dulce, y cocinarla al vapor durante 18 minutos. Se puede agregar mole verde o cualquier tipo de salsa como guarnición.


Buen provecho!