Cooking With

Helena Hauff


by Zofia Ciechowska, food image by Carlijn Potma


Hamburg’s best-kept musical secret, Helena Hauff, spends her nights coming up with concoctions of electro, acid, minimal wave and a smattering of raw house and techno to boot. Despite coming from a long line of bad cooks, as she confided to us – sorry, Helena! – Hauff can’t be stopped from enjoying the best food that Hamburg has to offer. We talked to her about what happens after-hours and eating calves’ brains.


‘I really like meat. It keeps me going when I have to be up playing a set. In the early hours of the morning in Hamburg, you can pick up a fresh bread roll with peppery raw minced pork called Mett.’

‘There are certain animals I wouldn’t eat, but in terms of animal parts, I’ll eat them all. I think that if you kill an animal, you need to eat all of it. This recipe for calves’ brains comes from a friend’s old recipe book. I loved this dish the moment I tried it in a restaurant in Hamburg.’



Helena’s calves’ brains 


2 calves’ brains
7 tbsp butter
10 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
fresh thyme
fresh parsley
1 onion, chopped


1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup capers
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil


How to make Helena’s calves’ brains:

• Soak brains in cold salt-water for 3-4 hours. Drain and remove membranes.

• Put in a pot of water with a bay leaf, peppercorns, fresh thyme, parsley, chopped onion and white wine vinegar. Boil, then simmer 2 minutes. Drain.

• Roll brain in flour, salt and pepper. Melt some butter and oil in a frying pan and sauté meat until golden brown.

• Heat remaining butter. Add capers and red wine vinegar.

• Serve the calves’ brains with butter sauce, fresh parsley and Schwäbische Kartoffelsalat (German potato salad).

Helena Hauff plays on 13 March at Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ in Amsterdam as part of the Pan Label Night with Bill Kouligas and Helm. The show is free for Subbacultcha! members. More info here.