berlinfood

A Very Berlin Sunday

IMG_4591.JPG

Starting off with a jog towards Treptower Park under cornflour blue skies. Cold war ghosts at every turn.

IMG_4576.jpg

Spot of fancy brunch at Oliv Eat near Potsdamer Platz. Then onto the KunstGewerbeMuseum for a trip back in time, through the ages of fashion.

IMG_4578.JPG

Connecting the dots…this is a plaque near Potsdamer Platz that’s dedicated to the Soviet soldier that stopped in the midst of the Battle of Berlin on this bridge to help a little girl, risking his own life. The Soviet Memorial at Treptower Park depicts this soldier in all its bombastic glory.


IMG_4592.JPG

Snacks with Tacos at MarktHalle 9, check out for their various Sunday events that run each month.

IMG_4595.JPG

Bibimbap for dinner at Mercosy. Fresh & tasty with some beautifully fragrant tea blends.

pavel-nekoranec-yZ_zbQWgUg0-unsplash.jpg

Finishing the day with a movie at one of Berlins’ gorgeous cinemas

FIN

Sketches of Berlin

Doodling is one of my favourite pastimes and so when I find myself with a little extra time, I try to create some characters that could well live here in Berlin.

Often, as with their creator, they are found with food on the mind.

Food in Berlin is wondrous.

Diverse and affordable, eating well in Berlin is pure joy.

That is the main reason I started giving food tours here, so I could share this wealth with others that may be new to the city.

A food tour tells you so much about a city, where it has come from- where it is going and that is exactly the case for Berlin.

In this blog, I introduce you to some of the people in Berlin on a quest for good food that may or may not be a figment of my imagination.

Enjoy!

unnamed-4.jpg

gimme beer

unnamed-1.jpg

to booze, or not to booze, that is the question…

unnamed.jpg
unnamed-3.jpg

The Best Christmas markets in Berlin

It's that time of year again.

The time of year that the heady scent of Glühwein and Bratwurst fills the air and you cannot help but wonder how it can be Christmas again already.

Every year seems to go faster than the last, the year's 'to do lists' left incomplete yet again, we'll do better next year.

So while you're here in Berlin, take a break from the trials and tribulations of the festive season to enjoy all the good things that come along with this time of year.

Roasted chestnuts. The ubiquitous Raclette with its melted ooziness over toasted bread or potatoes with pickled onions and gherkins. And the sometimes too sweet, but always warming Glühwein- mulled wine with oranges and cloves and of course the customary shot or schuss of rum. Just to make sure you don't freeze from the cold, naturally.

There is somewhere between 60 and 80 Christmas markets in Berlin and it could be said that once you've seen one, you've seen them all.

They do tend to have the same offerings of food and general bits and pieces, however some of the markets here in Berlin just cannot be missed and here I have put together a list of my favourite ones.

Merry Christmas!! Frohe Weihnachten!!

1. WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt- situated at one of, if not the, most beautiful squares in Berlin. This market is sure to put even Ebenezer in the Christmas Spirit. One of few that you have to pay to go in (just 1 euro), it is worth every penny. Carols fill the air, great food and drink, overlooked by stunning cathedrals and the concert house. Duration: 21.11.16-31.12.16

2. Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt in der Kulturbrauerei- within an old brewery, this Scandinavian themed market is a must! Try the Swedish Glögg with a shot of rum and a sprinkle of sultanas and almonds. Duration: 21.11.16-22.12.16

3. Weihnachtsmarkt in der Sophienstrasse- something for the weekend, this market is only on Saturday and Sunday. I love its simplicity as it just runs the length of the street. Duration: Each Advent weekend

4. Weihnachtsmarkt Charlottenburg Schloss- another one in a beautiful location with the backdrop of Charlottenburg Palace. Currently covered in scaffolding, it still makes for a gorgeous Christmassy Setting. Duration: 21.11.16- 26.12.16

5. Spandauer Weihnachtsmarkt in der Altstadt- this one is a little further out but very much worth the trip. One of the oldest Christmas markets in Berlin in the old town of Spandau. Duration: Tue, 13.12.2016 till Tue, 27.12.2016                 

6. Rixdorfer Weihnachtsmarkt in Neukölln- THIS WEEKEND ONLY!

One to miss- Weihnachtmarkt am Alexanderplatz. I hate to be a snob but this one is just a bit much in my opinion. Heaving with people, it doesn't have the charm of the other markets.  

Berlin restaurant inspiration- Sabich

'Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.' Harriet Van Horne

One of my greatest joys in life is to cook here in my little Berlin kitchen.

Exploring the vibrant neighbourhood of which I live and sourcing ingredients- fresh turmeric root from the Vietnamese Supermarket just down the road or pomegranate molasses from the Turkish market on the corner from my house, or fantastic organic produce from the Biomarkt across from me.

A cuisine that has become more and more present here in Berlin is that of Israeli origin. As someone that follows a largely vegan diet, Israeli food is a dream.

In my mind, tahini is nectar of the gods and an ingredient found in abundance within the Israeli kitchen.

Sabich is something that was introduced to me by some of the amazing Israeli restaurants we have here in Berlin such as Kanaan and Sababa. It is essentially a sandwich with unctious roasted aubergine, luscious tahini sauce, sliced boiled egg teamed with a crunchy salad.

The ingredient which makes this dish altogether magical is the 'amba' sauce, you will not always find it included, but in my opinion, is what makes Sabich so special.

'Amba' is a fragrant mango sauce made with cumin and turmeric and its flavour reminds you that it is also used in Indian cuisine with the name 'amba' derived from the Sanskrit for mango. It is also present in Iraqi cuisine and with Israel being a melting pot of many cultures including Iraqi, this is likely how it came to be part of their cuisine today.

With this blog I shall share with you my interpretation of this wondrous dish, taking aspects of all those I have sampled here in Berlin and putting them together.

Enjoy!

Serves 2

Shopping list:

2 eggs (omit for a vegan version of Sabich)

bunch of fresh parsley

1 yellow pepper

2 tomatoes

1 cucumber

2 spring onions

vinegar

olive oil

pitta bread

tahini

1 fresh mango

300g dried mango

cumin (1 tablespoon- whole seeds or ground)

turmeric (1 tablespoon of ground)

fenugreek (1 teaspoon of ground)

2 cloves garlic

rice syrup 

2 aubergines

pickles (gherkins, turnips etc) to serve

Method

First get your aubergines on the go by slicing them either into 1cm thick rounds or simply each aubergine slice in half length ways, scoring the flesh and then (either way) placing them on a roasting tray and rub with olive oil. Roast for roughly 25 minutes or until soft and golden in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius.

While this is happening, its time to make the amba sauce.

Prepare your fresh mango by slicing in half around the stone and removing the flesh with a spoon and roughly chop.

In a small saucepan add 1.5 cups of water, 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of rice syrup and the juice of 1 lemon and put over a high heat.

Add the fresh and dried mango, bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the mango is softened.

Pop your eggs onto boil according to how you like them!

Roughly chop the garlic and then fry in a small pan until soft, adding the cumin seeds, turmeric and ground fenugreek. Add to the mango.

Take it off the heat and carefully pour into a blender, adding salt and pepper, whizz until smooth.

For the salad- roughly chop the tomato, onion and pepper to bite-size pieces. Peel the cucumber and de-seed, roughly chop as the other ingredients and add everything to a bowl. Roughly chop the parsley and throw into the salad. To dress- add a glug of olive oil, vinegar, lemon, salt and pepper.

Tahini sauce- into a small bowl, pour in a cup of tahini. Add a little water and with a fork mix into the tahini until it looks like something has gone very wrong and its curdled. Keep stirring in a little water at a time until it is creamy, smooth and lighter in colour. It should be of a pourable consistency. Add a good squeeze of lemon and salt.

Toast or heat your pittas in the oven. Once the aubergines are nicely roasted, take from the oven and assemble your Sabich. You could simply just stuff the pitta with all the ingredients and munch away, but I like to make it pretty by placing the whole aubergine half on top of the warm pitta, drizzle with the sauces, scatter over the sliced boiled egg and a little salad on the side, pickles, eating it with a knife and fork. Perhaps this is sabich sacrilege but it makes me happy.

בְּתֵיאָבוֹן! (enjoy your meal!)

Vegan version without the egg- just as yummy in my opinion!

Vegan version without the egg- just as yummy in my opinion!

Ode to Autumn

 

And so it is this way every year.

One day you´re waking up basking in the late summer rays, and the next in comes the gusts of Autumns' cold breath- our annual reminder that Winter is just around the corner.

Berlin has grown cold yet again and thoze lazy, hazy days of Summer are long forgotten.

Alas! It´s not time to lament this period of eternal cloud (its started already, nooo), but rather to celebrate all that we have in store.

Pumpkins. Cinnamon Schnecke. Piping hot soups with crusty brötchen. Glühwein and iced star-shape cookies. The Christmas markets and their ubiquitous Raclettes.

The shorter days are not to be afraid of, but embraced. It's time to make the most of the hibernation to read our favourite books, finally learn how to crochet and of course to enjoy our most comforting foods.

If we can however, find it in us to crawl out of our cozy havens and venture into the dark, damp depths of the City, (and we do, I remind myself many times a day), then here is a list of some of my favourite spots to have a munch or a slurp.

They´ll be sure to warm your soul and give you that little spring in your step we need during these colder months.

Hirsch- the cosiest of cosy. Traditional South-German fare. A schnitzel and a schnapps will be sure to warm your cockles.

Michelberger hotel- exquisite yet unpretentious. Seasonal, local cuisine. A rustic countryhouse that lost its way and became a restaurant in Berlin. (Fantastic vegan options available).

Perlin- wine and tapas bar where you pay what you think it was worth. You can´t get more welcoming than that!

Victoria bar- step back in time to the 60s and enjoy joyful service and equally as pleasing cocktails.

IMG_0850.JPG

Fraulein Kimchi- spicy, fermented cabbage will always warm your bones and add that to an awesome ramen burger with the BEST fries ever and you´ll be golden. (Fantastic vegan options available).

Beusters- beautiful Beusters and their beautiful cocktails. The Sloe-gin fizz is nectar of the gods.

 

 

Rhubarb season means Rhubarb Hummus

This is a crazy little hummus recipe I came up with some two years ago, as rhubarb began to decorate the supermarket shelves and we realised Spring had finally sprung.

It was then chosen for one of the Telegraph's rhubarb reader recipes and I cannot describe the excitement I felt. My name on the Telegraph website was one of my proudest moments.

Then just two days ago a friend notified me to the fact it had been featured again in the latest Telegraph article on the Hummus crisis back home in the UK.

So as I sit here, glowing in the fact that I am now a seasoned cookery writer, (I mean I'm basically Nigella, right?), I thought I would share this recipe that has come to mean so much to me. Plus rhubarb has returned to us, so its perfect timing.

The idea for this slightly unusual hummus popped into my head one day on considering the similarities between rhubarb and the vibrant spice Sumac. I find both flavours tart with citrus notes and since I love to add a little sumac to my regular hummus, I decided to give a rhubarb version a try- and it's great! The addition of roasted rhubarb gives the humble, earthy chickpea dish a tangy undertone that is delicious. I served it simply with fresh vegetable crudités but it would work equally well with flat bread or perhaps as a side with some taboulleh.

Enjoy!

3 sticks of rhubarb

Large can of chickpeas (800g or 2x 400g)

Rapeseed oil 1 tbsp

paprika 1/2 tsp

sumac 1/2 tsp

cumin 1tsp

coriander 1 tsp

salt to taste
lemon to taste
1/2 orange or satsuma
tahini
olive oil
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped


To start, chop and trim your rhubarb into 1 inch pieces, removing any stringy fibre as you go.

Throw the rhubarb into a baking tray and drizzle over the rapeseed oil, spices, a little salt and squeeze over the juice of the orange half. Mix with a wooden spoon so that the rhubarb is evenly coated.

Pop in the oven at about 200 degrees Celsius and roast until soft, this will take roughly 15/20 minutes.

While this is happening pour your chickpeas into a saucepan, liquid and all, along with the garlic cloves. Bring to a boil and then a low simmer until the garlic has softened. (I find this makes the garlic mellower).

Drain most of the chickpea liquid away into a small bowl as you may wont re-incorporate some liquid when you get blending later.

Once your rhubarb is softened remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, reserving a couple of pieces to garnish. Now tumble the rhubarb into the pan with the drained chickpeas and garlic. Drizzle in about 1/2 tbsp of tahini, (you can adjust this to your preference, adjusting my hummus can become almost obsessive!), add your lemon, a little sprinkle of cumin, sumac and also the juices from the pan the rhubarb was cooked in.

With a hand blender/ processor etc blend until you have the consistency that pleases you. I prefer something creamy but with still a little body to it.

Adjust the flavours to your liking- perhaps more salt or lemon or even some more of the spices.

To finish, spoon the hummus into a serving bowl and drizzle with a little more of the cooking juices, some olive oil, sumac and serve with crudités.

Berlin restaurant inspiration- Sabich

'Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.' Harriet Van Horne

One of my greatest joys in life is to cook here in my little Berlin kitchen.

Exploring the vibrant neighbourhood of which I live and sourcing ingredients- fresh turmeric root from the Vietnamese Supermarket just down the road or pomegranate molasses from the Turkish market on the corner from my house, or fantastic organic produce from the Biomarkt across from me.

A cuisine that has become more and more present here in Berlin is that of Israeli origin. As someone that follows a largely vegan diet, Israeli food is a dream.

In my mind, tahini is nectar of the gods and an ingredient found in abundance within the Israeli kitchen.

Sabich is something that was introduced to me by some of the amazing Israeli restaurants we have here in Berlin such as Kanaan and Sababa. It is essentially a sandwich with unctious roasted aubergine, luscious tahini sauce, sliced boiled egg teamed with a crunchy salad.

The ingredient which makes this dish altogether magical is the 'amba' sauce, you will not always find it included, but in my opinion, is what makes Sabich so special.

'Amba' is a fragrant mango sauce made with cumin and turmeric and its flavour reminds you that it is also used in Indian cuisine with the name 'amba' derived from the Sanskrit for mango. It is also present in Iraqi cuisine and with Israel being a melting pot of many cultures including Iraqi, this is likely how it came to be part of their cuisine today.

With this blog I shall share with you my interpretation of this wondrous dish, taking aspects of all those I have sampled here in Berlin and putting them together.

Enjoy!

Serves 2

Shopping list:

2 eggs (omit for a vegan version of Sabich)

bunch of fresh parsley

1 yellow pepper

2 tomatoes

1 cucumber

2 spring onions

vinegar

olive oil

pitta bread

tahini

1 fresh mango

300g dried mango

cumin (1 tablespoon- whole seeds or ground)

turmeric (1 tablespoon of ground)

fenugreek (1 teaspoon of ground)

2 cloves garlic

rice syrup 

2 aubergines

pickles (gherkins, turnips etc) to serve

Method

First get your aubergines on the go by slicing them either into 1cm thick rounds or simply each aubergine slice in half length ways, scoring the flesh and then (either way) placing them on a roasting tray and rub with olive oil. Roast for roughly 25 minutes or until soft and golden in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius.

While this is happening, its time to make the amba sauce.

Prepare your fresh mango by slicing in half around the stone and removing the flesh with a spoon and roughly chop.

In a small saucepan add 1.5 cups of water, 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of rice syrup and the juice of 1 lemon and put over a high heat.

Add the fresh and dried mango, bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the mango is softened.

Pop your eggs onto boil according to how you like them!

Roughly chop the garlic and then fry in a small pan until soft, adding the cumin seeds, turmeric and ground fenugreek. Add to the mango.

Take it off the heat and carefully pour into a blender, adding salt and pepper, whizz until smooth.

For the salad- roughly chop the tomato, onion and pepper to bite-size pieces. Peel the cucumber and de-seed, roughly chop as the other ingredients and add everything to a bowl. Roughly chop the parsley and throw into the salad. To dress- add a glug of olive oil, vinegar, lemon, salt and pepper.

Tahini sauce- into a small bowl, pour in a cup of tahini. Add a little water and with a fork mix into the tahini until it looks like something has gone very wrong and its curdled. Keep stirring in a little water at a time until it is creamy, smooth and lighter in colour. It should be of a pourable consistency. Add a good squeeze of lemon and salt.

Toast or heat your pittas in the oven. Once the aubergines are nicely roasted, take from the oven and assemble your Sabich. You could simply just stuff the pitta with all the ingredients and munch away, but I like to make it pretty by placing the whole aubergine half on top of the warm pitta, drizzle with the sauces, scatter over the sliced boiled egg and a little salad on the side, pickles, eating it with a knife and fork. Perhaps this is sabich sacrilege but it makes me happy.

בְּתֵיאָבוֹן! (enjoy your meal!)

Vegan version without the egg- just as yummy in my opinion!

Vegan version without the egg- just as yummy in my opinion!

The Best Christmas markets in Berlin

It's that time of year again.

The time of year that the heady scent of Glühwein and Bratwurst fills the air and you cannot help but wonder how it can be Christmas again already.

Every year seems to go faster than the last, the year's 'to do lists' left incomplete yet again, we'll do better next year.

So while you're here in Berlin, take a break from the trials and tribulations of the festive season to enjoy all the good things that come along with this time of year.

Roasted chestnuts. The ubiquitous Raclette with its melted ooziness over toasted bread or potatoes with pickled onions and gherkins. And the sometimes too sweet, but always warming Glühwein- mulled wine with oranges and cloves and of course the customary shot or schuss of rum. Just to make sure you don't freeze from the cold, naturally.

There is somewhere between 60 and 80 Christmas markets in Berlin and it could be said that once you've seen one, you've seen them all.

They do tend to have the same offerings of food and general bits and pieces, however some of the markets here in Berlin just cannot be missed and here I have put together a list of my favourite ones.

Merry Christmas!! Frohe Weihnachten!!

1. WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt- situated at one of, if not the, most beautiful squares in Berlin. This market is sure to put even Ebenezer in the Christmas Spirit. One of few that you have to pay to go in (just 1 euro), it is worth every penny. Carols fill the air, great food and drink, overlooked by stunning cathedrals and the concert house. Duration: 21.11.16-31.12.16

2. Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt in der Kulturbrauerei- within an old brewery, this Scandinavian themed market is a must! Try the Swedish Glögg with a shot of rum and a sprinkle of sultanas and almonds. Duration: 21.11.16-22.12.16

3. Weihnachtsmarkt in der Sophienstrasse- something for the weekend, this market is only on Saturday and Sunday. I love its simplicity as it just runs the length of the street. Duration: Each Advent weekend

4. Weihnachtsmarkt Charlottenburg Schloss- another one in a beautiful location with the backdrop of Charlottenburg Palace. Currently covered in scaffolding, it still makes for a gorgeous Christmassy Setting. Duration: 21.11.16- 26.12.16

5. Spandauer Weihnachtsmarkt in der Altstadt- this one is a little further out but very much worth the trip. One of the oldest Christmas markets in Berlin in the old town of Spandau. Duration: Tue, 13.12.2016 till Tue, 27.12.2016                 

One to miss- Weihnachtmarkt am Alexanderplatz. I hate to be a snob but this one is just a bit much in my opinion. Heaving with people, it doesn't have the charm of the other markets.