Quark – The Guilt Free Ingredient and next Big Thing in Nutrition

I love Quark (‘kvarg’)

.. and I don’t mean the type of matter particle you find in your physics books.

No, I am talking about the Quark that is lovely and creamy, very easy to work with and super healthy too.

Quark is very popular in German-speaking countries and I am really surprised why Quark is still not very common in the UK. But what is it? Quark is a fresh curd cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk. You can easily miss it among of all the cottage cheeses, cream cheeses and ricottas. From a nutritional standpoint, I would go for Quark over Greek yoghurt, normal yoghurts and other soft cheeses any day.

Here a little comparison to give you the full picture

 

Lake District

Fat Free Quark

Total 0% Fat Greek Yoghurt Onken Natural Yogurt Low Fat
Energy             63kcal          96 kcal              46kcal
Fat              0.4 g           5.0 g               0.1g
of which saturates              0.2 g           3.6 g               0.1g
Carbohydrate              3.4 g           3.8 g               4.3g
of which sugars              3.4 g           3.8 g               4.3g
Protein              11.6 g           9.0 g               5.4g
Salt

             0.1 g

           0.1g               0.2 g

 

As you can see, it is a great source of protein, naturally fat free and low in salt and sugar – perfect if you are in training mode or simply like to eat healthy and look after yourself.

I use a lot of Quark in my daily cooking and Berlin brünch popups. It is such a versatile dairy ingredient perfect for mixing and baking, in savoury and sweet dishes. At my pop ups many of my guests ask me  where they can buy Quark.

Unfortunately, you cannot get Quark everywhere but don’t despair. The Lake District Dairy Co. Quark, which I personally really like comes in three varieties – ‘Original’, ‘Lemon’ and ‘Vanilla’ and you can get your hands on a 250g pot at a larger Sainsbury’s (the smaller stores often don’t have it). They usually put it separate from the yoghurts and close to the Mascarpone and Ricotta. A pot at the supermarket costs you £1.25 but Sainsbury’s house brand Quark is pretty good too and costs £1.

Here some interesting facts about Quark

  • Quark originated in Europe and is very populat in the northern countries
  • Quark accounts for about half of the total cheese consumption in Germany
  • It has double the amount of protein content than common yoghurts
  • It is the perfect healthy alternative to ricotta, mascarpone and cottage cheese
  • Unlike most commercial cheeses, quark contains neither rennet nor added salt

Now then, I hope this gives you a bit of an idea what I am on about. All I can say is give it a go, taste it and experiment with it. Below a few inspirations and recipes which I love and which are easy for you to try at home.

One of my own signature brünch dishes is Vanilla Quark with home-made Amaranth & Chia Granola. If this sounds too complicated, come along to one of my brünches and I walk you through it.

Tip – Don’t buy the ready-made Vanilla Quark but add fresh vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste and some icing sugar to the ‘Original’ version. If you don’t have Granola at hand, top it up with some fresh fruit and nuts and et voilà 🙂

18.1.15 (2 of 17)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or how about a German Quark Cheesecake with poppy seeds?

 

Quark Cheesecake by Essen und Trinken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture & Recipe from ‘Essen und Trinken‘

Tip – Always drain the Quark in a towel before adding it to the mix, otherwise the cake becomes too wet.

Or, if you like it savoury, try out this delicious herb quark (German – Kräuterquark) on rye bread

Krauterquark

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture by Eatsmarter.de

Tip – I like to add chives, parsley, garlic and onion but you can add any herb you like really. Add the Herb Quark to your tortillas, sandwiches, on boiled potatoes (typical German dish) or Sweet Potato Wedges instead of sour cream and Mayonnaise.

Or Waffles with Quark?

Tip – Best with fresh fruit, icing sugar and perhaps some golden syrup

 

 Waffles with Quark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture by brünch 

RECIPE FOR YOU TO TRY AT HOME

So here it comes – one of my favourite Quark recipes is QUARK ICE CREAM

IMG_20150603_105323

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture by brünch 

I can eat ice cream any day of the year and any time of the day.

I love a proper gelato – creamy and rich in a fresh home-made waffle. So GOOD! My friend Michael, who is possibly the best chocolatier in London and also a passionate cook, made a fantastic ice cream at one of his dinner parties and I got very excited. Weeks after I was still thinking about it and had so many ideas of what type of ice creams I could make. So I borrowed his ice cream machine and tried a few things out. It is brilliant – you can literally add anything you like ie Molasses, dry sourdough bread (yes, it’s amazing), earl grey tea, Nutella, your favourite chocolate bar, fresh fruit and QUARK.

I was designing my menu for my German-inspired Summer Dinner Pop Up and I decided to serve Quark Ice Cream with Rote Grütze, a German fruit compote which I serve at my Sunday Berlin brünches. A few days later, Michael, his girlfriend Alex and their little daughter Augustine witnessed the making of the best Quark ice cream I have ever tasted (well, it was kind of the first one I tasted..)

Making ice cream is so easy and done within only one hour – perfect for when you have friends spontaneously showing up for dinner. This one is definitely a winner. We tried a few versions until we were happy with the texture, flavour and looks of my frozen desert.

Here is how it goes:

Ingredients

  • 150 gr of sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 200 ml double cream
  • 300 gr natural quark (The Original Dairy Farm Quark from Sainsbury works well)
  • 2 vanilla beans OR 2 tablespoons pure vanilla bean paste

Method

takes 20 mins to make and 30 mins in the ice cream machine

makes about 500 ml of ice cream

 

  • Add the sugar with a little bit of water (3-4 table spoons) into a sauce pan until dissolved.
  • Beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl and slowly whisk in the sugar syrup until pale and creamy and tripling in volume.
  • Whisk together the cream and quark with a hand-held whisk until it becomes creamy and smooth. Add the vanilla and stir.
  • Fold in the egg mixture and blend with a baking spatula until fully combined.
  • Add the smooth cream into the bucket of the ice cream machine (¾ full) and set the timer for 30 minutes. If you don’t use a machine, fill the cream into a Tupper Ware Box and put into the freezer overnight. Blitz the frozen mix in the morning and back into the freezer for an hour. The latter takes longer but tastes equally delicious.

Ready!

The ice cream maker is definitely on my birthday wish list. Mum I hope you are reading this..:)

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