Linden EXTRA

RUTH HöFLICH & Natasha Bieniek

We recently caught up with Ruth and Natasha and they agreed to share their favourite recipes.  

Ruth Höflich’s Focaccia

Thinking about recipes, what comes to mind first is ‘bread making’ because of its large degree of unpredictability. A successful outcome might be heavily affected by atmospheric factors such as the present quality of water or air. You could say, that bread requires a certain mood. I have attached an image of a simple bread recipe by Ottolenghi that I have attempted several occasions and often failed at despite its simple set of ingredients.
Ruth Höflich, May 2021

330g strong white bread flour
1 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1 tbsp coarse sea salt 

1 ½ tsp active dried yeast (or 15g fresh yeast)
420ml bottled still spring water, lukewarm
330g strong white bread flour 

Topping 1
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
30g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
50g kalamata olives, pitted
coarse sea salt 

Topping 2
300g seedless red grapes
50g caster sugar
2 tsp fennel seeds 

Topping 3
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
100g goat cheese, crumbled
coarse sea salt


  1. For the starter, put the yeast and water in a large mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until the yeast dissolves. Add the flour and stir until you get a porridge-like consistency. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave somewhere warm for about 2 hours, until doubled in size.
  2. In a mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, mix the starter with the flour, sugar and olive oil. Knead on a low speed for 6 minutes, and then add the salt and work on a fast speed for 2 minutes.
  3. Brush a large bowl with oil, place the dough in it and brush the surface of the dough with more oil. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Turn the dough on to a floured work surface and stretch and flatten it into a rectangle. Try not to work it too much. Take one of the short edges of the rectangle and fold it into the centre. Take the other end and fold it over the first one to form 3 layers of dough.
  5. Take a heavy baking tray, placing it so the seam is at the bottom, and flatten it by pressing hard with your fingers. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for another hour. During this time, you need to work on the dough 3 or 4 times. Press it down with your fingertips and stretch it out gently to the edges of the whole tray each time. By the end of the process, it should cover the whole tray in a layer about 2cm thick and have lots of bumps and little hills in it.
  6. Preheat the oven to 220C / Gas Mark 7. Follow one of the topping instructions below. Place the focaccia in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 190C / Gas Mark 5 and continue for 15-20 minutes. Check underneath the bread to make sure it is baked through. When it is out of the oven and still hot, brush with plenty of olive oil.  

Natasha Bieniek's Polish Pierogies with Potato and Cheese


2 cups plain flour
¼ cup soft butter
½ teaspoon salt
Butter and Onions for sautéing
1 large egg
5 large potatoes and cheese for filling
½ cup sour cream

Method – Pierogi Dough
Mix together flour and salt
Beat egg and add flour
Add ¼ cup soft butter and ½ cup sour cream
Work dough until it loses stickiness
Refrigerate at for a least 30 minutes

Prepare Dough
Roll out dough onto floured board to 4 mm thickness
Cut into circles with drinking glass
Place a tablespoon of filing inside
Fold dough into semi circle
Press edges together with fork
Boil pierogi for 8-10 mins until they float
Fry in butter, chives and bacon
Potato and cheese filling
Peel and boil 5 large potatoes until soft
Sauté one finely chopped onion in butter
Mash potato and onion together
Add a cup of grated cheese or cottage cheese  
Add salt and pepper
Serve with sour cream, chopped chives and bacon

IMAGES [Top to bottom] > Photograph by Brooke Lark. Source: Unsplash
> Photograph by Adam Bartoszewicz. Source: Unsplash
> Photograph by Adam Bartoszewicz. Source: Unsplash
> Photograph by Adam Bartoszewicz. Source: Unsplash
> Photograph by Kristina Tripkovic. Source: Unsplash
> Natasha Bieniek's Polish Pierogies. Photograph by Natasha Bieniek. 


By Dr Marion Piper's essay. 

At various times throughout the day my hands and feet tingle. Nothing life threatening or anything, but noticeable enough to stop me in my tracks. It’s a sensation that runs along the surface of my skin...
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