Only the Committed Drink on Tuesdays

glass red portrait

“Boss,the guy at the bar is making trouble.”

I looked up from the roster. Dario nodded towards the white-haired, red-faced man leaning on the bar with one elbow, clutching his wine glass. The man glanced erratically around the room then unsteadily focused on Manuela behind the bar. She had moved to the far corner by the coffee machine and was stiffly staring ahead. Her hands kept polishing the rim of a wine glass, round and round, and her eyes seemed shiny.

I sighed and got up. He owned a clothes shop in the neighbourhood, a confusion of colourful velvet, beads and mirrors. If it weren’t right on the main tourist thoroughfare, he would have been bust long ago. As it was, it still seemed to support his drinking habit. He seemed worse than usual tonight. Continue reading

Fancy seeded soda bread

Version 2This is a quick and easy bread. There is no kneading or proofing (rising) time involved – just measuring and gently stirring the ingredients together. With baking time, it takes an hour and a quarter (depending how fast you are in measuring!). Even the implements are straightforward: three bowls, a whisk, a measuring spoon and a stirring spoon. Continue reading

Berlin Book Fix – No.6: Goldhahn & Sampson

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Where to find books in English in Berlin?

No.6 – Goldhahn & Sampson in Prenzlauer Berg. The cook book lover’s treasure chest.

Goldhahn & Sampson caters for the mind as well as the palate. They sell food, wine and delicatessen – local specialities from around Berlin and elsewhere. A contradiction? Not at all: speciality food is generally rooted in a certain locality. That’s what makes it special and different from the foods from other localities, and of course from the mass-produced products that have the same taste (or lack thereof) everywhere. Continue reading

A Berlin Lunch – Liver, Potatoes and Beer (and all local products!)

img_0899-1My lunch today was a “Berlin Lunch” in more senses than one. Fried Liver with Potatoes is a traditional Berlin dish, and I also made it with all local ingredients: potatoes, greens, liver, onions – and craft beer.

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Office-friendly pudding

office-friendly puddingA little bite of something sweet is sure to brighten any day at the office. Also, our brains need sugar to do all that important thinking we do throughout the day. Those are my excuses for sweet treats at coffee break or after lunch … Whatever yours are, here is another suggestion for something you can make ahead and grab on your way out the door.

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Weekday Scones

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I put chocolate and some orange marmalade into this one… oh yeah.

I like something sweet with my 11 o’clock coffee at the office, but the coffee shop at the corner offers mostly cakes, or overly sweet or heavy pastries. And I couldn’t really afford to keep up a daily cake habit, not for my waistline nor for my wallet!
Luckily, there are scones. Deliciously crumbly and not too sweet, they are perfect as a mid-morning snack. I make a batch once or twice a week most weeks. Now, I know, can’t nobody be dealing with complicated recipes and mountains of washing up twice weekly in the evening after work and commuting and possibly even a stab at a social life. But the recipe I am sharing today is not called “Weekday Scones” for nothing. It takes about 45 minutes from the moment you pull out your mixing bowl until you’re done, washing-up included. Ooohhh…magic. Continue reading

Homemade Baked Beans – A hug in a jar

IMG_1643_NEUMmmmh… beans… hero of weekend breakfasts, lively companion of the humble baked potato, saviour of hungry evenings when you have not managed to buy food for a proper dinner and come home from the office absolutely starving…

Those are not the days however when you should be making homemade baked beans, because that takes about 14 hours, all told. Why then should you go through the trouble at all? Easy, my friend: flavour. Imagine the goodness of soft warm beans in a fruity-fresh sauce with a little sparkle of spices, not too sweet, not too salty, just as you like it. Continue reading

See you on Thursday!

Imagine a street festival where you can buy delicious food from different countries at every stall, everyone shows up in their hippest summer gear, there’s microbrewery beer and good wine but no mosquitoes and it happens every Thursday… too good to be true? Not at all! It’s the new Street Food Thursday at Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg. I was there yesterday and enjoyed an insight into this year’s hipster summer fashion (cut-off jeans, men’s shirts and tousled hair) as well as a Kimchi beef taco from Fräulein Kimchi. Delicious.

You may also feel like Vietnamese pork sandwiches, Jamaican brown stew, a cheese and meat board, house-smoked fish or Thai papaya salad served on a banana leaf and I say go for it, grab a beer brewed in-house by Heidenpeters and let the summer season begin!

Image by Street Food Thursday

PS. Nobody pays me to write this. It’s just great that people are putting all these things together and making the city an even more fun place to be.

Berlin Favourites – Pizza a Pezzi

Just a picture of tomatoes

Just a picture of tomatoes

This one is about simple pleasures. The pleasant and civilized feeling of grabbing a bite to eat after work on your way to a meeting, and that bite being a slice of fresh pizza made with good ingredients, served hot on a board, with a glass of red wine – for 4 Euros. Served in 5 Minutes. Good food IS possible, even in a hurry and on a Neukölln street corner. They have a few choices – one of them, to my absolute delight, is ‘nduja, the chilli-spiced soft pork sausage from Calabria. It sits on top of the rocket-covered pizza slices, like an orange-red devil’s egg. In the oven, the pork fat melts and the ‘nduja becomes a little chunky puddle of heat on top of your crispy steaming slice of dinner. Fantastic. Though I recommend beer with that.

There is ample place to sit at wooden tables, and in warm weather they open all the windows wide and serve you and your friends hot delicious pizza with your umpteenth beer of a summer evening.
What do you call walnut-sized amorphous pieces of soft yet solid something? Not chunks, as in bread. Not balls, because they aren’t. Clump sounds to heavy, so does clod (plus would you want to eat a clod? I certainly wouldn’t).  Nearly a glob, though that would be too soft, like mashed potatoes, and you don’t spoon ‘nduja, you dig it out with your fingers…but I digress. Must be the wine.

Pizza a Pezzi, Weserstraße 208, 12047 Berlin-Neukölln.