After a fair unproductive day on Thursday we needed to get our bums into gear and make the most of Friday, cramming in as much as we could. Our first stop was breakfast at the restaurant Chipps on Jagerstrasse, we needed some fuel to get us going. For me it was tomato, avocado, feta and chilli toast – pretty much my ideal way to start the day. Washed down with some yerba mate tea and an apple, carrot, orange and ginger juice.
After spending about half an hour or so at the memorial we decided to head over to one of Berlin’s most famous landmarks, the Brandenburg Gate which is amazingly impressive, even in the rain.
And then on to the Hamburger Banhof museum for a little art, I love these trees by Katherine Grosse
After a pretty hectic morning we headed over to the wonderful Pauly Saal for some lunch. We had one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time and it’s somewhere I can’t recommend highly enough if you’re in Berlin. It’s in a huge old building which formerly housed a Jewish girls school and is now a collection of restaurants and art galleries. We had Viennese fried chicken with a chive sauce accompanied by potato and cucumber salads. Totally and utterly heavenly (and the waiters aren’t bad either ladies!)
Happy and full we headed upstairs to the galleries above and spent an hour or so exploring. There’s a great exhibition that charts the lives of the Kennedy family in photos on one floor as well as a fantastic exhibition by Martin Schoeller and Christian Tagliavini. You can’t take any photos but I’ll pop the links at the bottom so you can have a look if you so desire.
Next up was a trip to the Berlinische museum of art before visiting the fascinating Jewish museum, where they have this beautiful wish tree. You can write down your wish on a paper pomegranate and then place it in the tree. You can climb right up inside it which obviously I had to do.After running around like loons all day we decided it was time to head back to the hotel to change before jumping in a cab to dinner. We’d heard good things about Schneeweiss (the German for Snow White) so hot-footed it over there. You immediately understand the name, everything inside is a cool white and the chandelier looks like it could have been carved from ice.
Followed by spatzle for me (again, oops) and deconstructed goulash for mum – which was so yummy. The spatzle was good but didn’t quite match the one I’d had at the market. Apologies for the photo quality, the lighting was pretty bad and I only had my phone with me.
Not feeling the American style pancakes? Try these crepes on for size, it’s my absolute fail safe recipe and never disappoints. I’ve given a lemon sauce here to go with them but this recipe is really versatile and it’ll work with any topping or filling, sweet or savoury. It’s the recipe I’ll be using tonight for our pancake day party.
Crepes au Citron makes enough for 4 people
Crepes (makes 12 small):
- 125g plain flour
- 1 large egg, beaten
- pinch of salt
- 10g caster sugar (for sweet ones only)
- 300ml whole milk
- 20g butter, melted to nut brown
- 60-100g caster sugar
- 2 lemons
- 50ml water
First of all, get your batter on the go as you need to let it rest for a while. Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl (and actually sift it, no one likes a lumpy crêpe).
Make a well in the centre and add the beaten egg.
Start to whisk and then gradually add the milk until you have a smooth batter.
Melt the butter and cook it until its brown an smells nutty-not black and smells burnt.
Add to the batter. Cling film the bowl or pour into tupperware and let it rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, this will help ensure a nice smooth batter.
In a saucepan, put the sugar, the juice of one lemon and 50ml of water and bring to the boil. I’ve given quite a variable amount of sugar as it’s completely dependent on how sweet you like things, I love really tart lemony things so i only use 60g but you’ll probably want more so just keep adding sugar and tasting until it’s sweet enough for you.
While the syrup is heating, supreme the other lemon. To do this, you cut off the top and the bottom of the lemon and then cut off the skin around the outside, making sure to remove all the white.
Next, cut between the membrane of each segment so that they don’t have any pith left on them.
Once the syrup has come to the boil, take it off the heat and a the lemon segments.
Next up, make your crepes, wipe a little flavourless oil around your pan, I like to do small ones as I think they’re cuter but do whatever size you like. Bring your pan up to a medium heat and add just enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook one side, then flip. You only want them lightly coloured, don’t let them get too brown.
You want 3 of these little crepes per person. Cook them one by one and then stack them up between baking paper until you need them.
Once you’ve cooked them all, fold each crêpe into 4 and warm up the syrup.
Warm them through in the syrup
Now all that’s left to do is serve them up, making sure to get some syrup and a few of the lemon segments.
Happy Pancake Day!
Every year for his birthday breakfast I make Alex blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and bacon, it’s his absolute favorite breakfast and such a winner. I normally would always go for a savoury breakfast but I have to say, even I tuck in to these. The addition of the buttermilk just takes the edge of the sweetness a little and adds lots of flavour. If you can’t get your hands on buttermilk then you can make these with whole milk instead, just reduce the amount to 300ml. With pancake day tomorrow I thought it was only fair I share the recipe so you can tuck in too, enjoy! We had ours with a little bottle of Moscato, because you have to have some bubbles on your birthday. This is obviously optional but something I highly recommend!
Blueberry buttermilk pancakes makes about 10
- 200g plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 egg
- 350ml buttermilk
- knob of butter, melted
- 300g blueberries
- coconut oil or butter for cooking
- maple syrup and streaky bacon to serve
First up, whisk together the flour, baking powder and the bicarbonate of soda.
In a separate bowl, mix together the buttermilk, egg and melted butter – I know it doesn’t look too sexy at this point but trust me, it’s going to be so good. Then whisk this mixture into the flour mix.
Seriously, that’s it. Now just melt a little coconut oil or butter in a pan and dollop in little puddles of mixture, about 3 at a time is good. Generously scatter over your blueberries and cook for about 3 minutes, until the underside is golden and little bubbles are appearing on the surface. Don’t worry if they run together a little, just nudge them apart with your spatula.
At this point, flip them over and cook for another 2-3 minutes. You can keep the pancakes warm in a 100C oven whilst you make the rest. When you’re done, all that’s left to do is douse in maple syrup, dot on a little butter, add some bacon if your heart desires and tuck in.
We’re having people over tomorrow for our annual make your own pancake party. The crêpe machine comes out (yes, I have a crêpe machine, I make no apologies for this) and the table is filled with bowls of toppings for people to concoct whatever they want. I think we had a ham, egg and blueberry last year which was pretty strange, I was glad I wasn’t eating that one!
What are you guys all up to?
Was it just my school that made us watch those bizarre ‘Hallo Aus Berlin’ videos? They’re all I can really remember from my forays into the German language and I can’t say it’s helped me very much I’m afraid. My mum and I flew out to Berlin last Wednesday and I was misunderstood from the moment I arrived until the moment I left. Thankfully most people were lovely and spoke very good English!
Our trip started rather bleary-eyed with a 7am flight from Heathrow so we decided to take our first day really easy, a little amble around, some lunch and general chilling. After dropping off our bags and a having a quick shower and change, we were off and ready to go. We were staying in the beautiful historic Mitte area of Berlin and so decided to stay in that area for the day. As we headed towards our chosen restaurant, Sagrantino we stumbled upon the stunning Gendarmenmarkt
It was pretty chilly and rain was looming so we decided the only sensible thing to do was head quickly to the warmth of the restaurant. We were greeted by a lovely, smiley waitress and shown to our table, where we promptly decided to cheers our being on holiday with a glass of bubbles.
I was sorely tempted by some tiramisu but (probably luckily) they had run out. It had started to rain by now and it was thinking about getting dark so we decided it made sense to curl up and have another glass or two of bubbles before retiring early to the hotel.
The next day poor mum wasn’t well so we had a quiet day in the hotel before venturing out in the evening to Markthalle Neun for dinner. It’s essentially Berlin’s answer to Borough market in London but I think I actually prefer it, it doesn’t seem as hectic somehow, despite being just as busy. The food on offer is to die for, stall upon stall of fantastic sights and smells which made it very difficult to decide what to get. The only option? Well, to get lots of course.
Our first port of call was one of my favourite things and something I struggle to resist; arancini. In this case, parmesan risotto around ragu and mozzarella, totally dreamy.
After this we had to try something a little more traditional, Spatzle. A traditional boiled dough, similar to pasta which here was tossed with cheese, black pepper and chives and topped with crispy fried onion. I would fly back to Berlin just for this, it was that good. I won’t lie, I had a moment of regret that we’d shared it, although if we hadn’t I definitely wouldn’t have had room for anything else.
Have any of you been to the market? What did you think?
When I left you yesterday we’d just arrived back at the apartment, cold, wet and in a state of shock at the expense of our taxi ride. Luckily though, it didn’t take much for us to rally and get ready for another late dinner (clearly we’re not the most organised bunch). This time we were off to Nybrogaten 38, on the recommendation of Alex’s Swedish sister in law, Dalit. A tiny, dimly-lit restaurant, also only a 10 minute walk from where we were staying – clearly we’d chosen the right area.
After some delicious cocktails at the bar whilst we waited for our table, we were shown through to the dining room and the incredible food began to roll up.
Veal Sweetbreads. Some parsley butter snails (I got a really gritty one so wasn’t particularly enamoured). Veal tartar, which I’m informed was infinitely better than it looked. A little truffle, Gruyère and jamon toastie. So rich but utterly scrummy and some feta fritters with lemon, really light and fresh.
Followed by Elk meatballs with mash potato and lingonberries (this is Sweden after all). Elk fillet in a red wine sauce. Foie Gras pasta and finally Lamb shank with asparagus and goats cheese.
The next day we allowed ourselves a little lie in before heading to Riche for brunch. Situated in the major shopping district we walked into to a light, airy restaurant, bustling with a loud, chatty crowd. After the odd bloody mary and bucks fizz everyone was feeling much better and ready to tackle the food.
An open-faced reuben sandwich, a ham cheese and tomato omelette, an eggs Benedict and some more meatballs for good measure. Everything was pretty good but didn’t really reach the level of everything else we’d eaten so far.
After a rather beautiful stroll along the river
Where Nathan and I just couldn’t resist climbing inside the old diving bell. Can you believe people actually used to go under the sea in these?
We decided to squeeze in a quick look around the shops afterward but seeing as it was sunday afternoon it wasn’t long before they were closing up for the day. Nathan wanted to watch the football so Alex and I decided to split off and go and explore a little french cafe I’d heard about called cafe Saturnus. We were pretty happy with this decision as it turns out they make the most delicious (and most enormous) cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate. Thankfully we’d decided to share one as I’m not sure I could have tackled this beast alone!
Full and tired, and with the prospect of an early flight the morning we took ourselves home and proceeded to curl up on the sofa for the evening.
Our last memory of Sweden is stumbling upon this rather bizarre sight at the airport!
We were originally flying to Sweden for the weekend to take part in the Vikingarannet, a Swedish skating race across frozen sea ice. The main event is 80km long, starting in Uppsala and ending in Stockholm. Sounds like total madness right? Well we’d opted to take part in the somewhat more manageable 15km race, starting, obviously, much closer to Stockholm. Only Alex’s sister Amber was crazy enough to take on the full 80km, although I think we’re all being dragged into it next year! Anyway as fate would have it, there was a spate of mild weather in the weeks leading up to the race, making the ice unsafe to skate on and resulting in the race being cancelled. Now I’m sure many people found this highly annoying, I however, took it as an excuse to have a bloody good weekend!
We flew in on friday evening and quickly jumped in a cab to our apartment in beautiful Ostermalm where our friends Bec and Nathan were waiting for us, having caught an earlier flight.
We quickly busied ourselves opening a bottle of champagne – it was Valentines day after all; before spending a few hours settling in and getting ready for dinner.
We had a late (10pm) reservation for dinner at a restaurant called Sturehof which happily (given that I was in heels) turned out to be only a 10 minute walk from our apartment.
As it had a bar attached there were doorman who seemed, rather bizarrely to operate on an honour system, asking how old we were and then letting us through without question or asking to see id. Not a perfect system you would imagine. We were quickly whisked through the hustle and bustle of the restaurant to our table by a man dressed in what can only be described as a rather gimmicky looking captains outfit. Luckily however, that is as far as the cheesiness went, the food was divine and the service lovely and attentive.
First to arrive was a basket of crispbreads and the most heavenly whipped butter with herbs and roe. There’s a chance we may have gone through more than one of these – we were starving and it was soooo yummy.
Next up came the starters
Brisket and caper salad for me which is truly one of the best salads I’ve eve had, I’m so sad it’s a flight away.
A traditional Swedish platter of herrings and cheese for Alex, with some accompanying schnapps naturally:
Whilst Bec and Nathan shared the duck liver terrine and the beef carpaccio:
All of these were wolfed down with gusto and greatly enjoyed, all we could do now was excitedly look forward to the mains.
Alex and I both went for the steamed char with oxtail red wine sauce, roasted salsify and mash potato (because really, how good does that sounds?)And Bec and Nathan shared a Sirloin steak and a truffle stuffed chicken, I’m afraid these photos are so bad I won’t subject you to them (ahem, Alex).
We followed up with a crème brûlée (very good crack on the top) some profiteroles (you can never go wrong) and a rather potent lemon sorbet with vodka. Sadly we were all a few too many glasses of red down to even think about photos at this point and all that was left to do was to wander home and take ourselves to bed.
The next morning, bright-eyed and full of excitement we took ourselves off to Stockholm’s famous food hall for a wander around as well as the odd croque monsieur and cinnamon roll – for which Sweden is famous
After this we spent some time wandering around the Moderna Museet
Before strolling through Gamla Stan (the old town) and up to Sodermalm for hot chocolates at Louie Louie
All that was left to do now was jump in the worlds most expensive taxi (the equivalent of £42 for a 15 minute ride) back to the apartment and start getting ready for the evening ahead.
This is where I’m going to leave you for today but get ready for part two tomorrow xx
Flowers, £75 by Phillipa Craddock http://fave.co/1bndoon
It’s that time of year again and whether you love it or you hate it there’s nothing you can do to stop it rolling around again, it’s Valentines Day. Whilst I can do nothing to slow it’s arrival, I can make life much easier when it comes to what to buy that special someone. Whether you’re single or coupled up here’s my guide to the best presents around, for her, for him, or for yourself. I’ve added links to everything so all you have to do is click and order, how easy is that? xx
Who doesn’t love a good candle? Especially this limited edition Rosa Mundi one from Diptyque, £42:
If you want something to brighten her mornings, this big mug from Emma Bridgewater, £16.95 should do the trick:
These silver earrings are small enough that she can wear everyday so she’ll always be thinking of you, £12:
Or if you’re inclined to splash out a bit, how about this gorgeous pink wallet from Sophie Hulme, £240:
Give her something she can always wear to know she’s loved. Love bracelet £85 by Astley Clarke:
Or some rose massage oil from Aromatherapy Associates, £40 if she’s in need of a bit of relaxation:
Now that she’s nice and relaxed, maybe her pj’s need a bit of an update? You can’t go wrong with this little number from Elle Mcphearson, £60:
If she’s always scribbling something down, what better place to do it than this Smythson notebook, £35. It’ll make her smile every time:
This personalised box of scrolls containing ten reasons why you love her will earn you some serious brownie points and is something she’ll treasure forever. Love Scrolls £18.50
Or if soppy’s not really her thang, I don’t know many girls who wouldn’t love this bag, a total classic. Lancaster bag £295 by Russell and Bromley:
All he’s really going to want is you, especially when you’re all wrapped up in this underwear from Mimi Holliday, from £18.50 :
But if you want to get him a little something he’ll actually be able to tell his mother about, this tie from YSL, £95 is a good option:
Or some cheeky chocolates from Rococo, £14.95:
This stylish and practical holdall, £149 from Barbour will last him for years (and may give him the inclination to book a weekend away, win win):
And because you can never go wrong with Penhaglion’s, how about miniatures of their best selling fragrances. Gentlemen’s collection, £30
If he’s partial to a tipple then this is a must, £9.99:
And if his knicker drawer is looking a little lacklustre then these Ralph Lauren’s, £25 are sure to brighten it up!
February’s a pretty bleak month as it is so why not brighten things up by treating yourself to this beautiful scarf, £165 from Liberty?:
And if everyone else is getting chocolates then so should you, these are some of my faves. Salt caramels, £13.95 from Artisan du Chocolat:
And of course there’s always the classically cool Larsson and Jennings watch, £205:
Or maybe you fancy a bit of pampering, get baby smooth skin with this body polish, £32 from REN:
Maybe your technology needs a bit of snazzing up, this cover, £38.50 from Whistles should do the job nicely:
Not forgetting of course, the timeless red lipstick, £25 from YSL. I love the old school glamour of this packaging:
Haven’t been together that long? How about taking your other half wine tasting? It’s fun, you’ll learn something and that wine will get rid of any nerves that may still be hanging around.
Happy Valentines Day!
What are you hoping someone will treat you to on Valentines Day? Is there anything you think I missed?
Welcome to the Chinese Year of the Horse. Apparently this is a good year for travel, health and wealth which sounds pretty darn good to me. I have lots of trips planned over the coming months so I guess I’m off to a pretty good start already!
Seeing as this year is apparently going to be so good to us, it only seems fair to bring it in in style and that’s where this delicious little number comes in. I don’t usually do a lot of Asian cooking in our house, my boyfriend Alex specialises in south-east Asian food so I usually steer well clear but I thought I’d give it a whirl this weekend and we were both incredibly glad I did.
We were both pretty tired last night so I wanted something that was quick and easy but that also had bags of flavour. I also wanted to be able to grab everything we needed from a quick dash to waitrose – Chinatown was seeming far to far away. I had a quick skim through a couple of recipe books and found a recipe that i then adapted into what you see here, tender sticky chicken fresh with ginger and chilli, served with an addictively crunchy and bright cucumber salad. So quick and so healthy. To make it a bit more substantial (especially good if you’re cooking for boys) serve this with some jasmine rice as well. If you’re looking for a way to ring in Chinese New Year or if you just fancy something scrumptious for dinner tonight, have a crack at this, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Sticky Soy Glazed Chicken – Serves 4
2 tbsp groundnut oil
8 free range, bone in, skinless chicken thighs
2 big cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
6 spring onions, 4 into finely sliced rounds, 2 in long diagonal slices
8 tbsp water
1 generous tbsp runny honey
6 tbsp light soy sauce
3 1/2 fresh red chillis, de-seeded and finely sliced
celery leaves to garnish (optional)
Heat up the oil in a wok (or a big frying pan if you’re wok-less) over a high heat. Brown the chicken thighs all over, you may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of the wok. Once this is done, set the chicken thighs aside and fry off the ginger, garlic, chilli and the 4 sliced spring onions for 2-3 minutes until softened.
Then add the chicken back into the pan and toss everything together. Mix together the water, honey and soy and add it to the pan.
Bring to the boil and cover with either a lid or some foil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid/foil and turn the chicken thighs over. Continue to cook them until the liquid has reduced to a sticky glazey coating on the chicken.
Before popping on a serving plate and sprinkling over the 2 remaining sliced spring onions and celery leaves – how easy was that?
Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before devouring.
Zingy cucumber salad – serves 4 (or in our case, 2)
1 large or 2 small cucumbers
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 a fresh red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 finely sliced spring onions
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp caster sugar
pinch of sea salt
Peel and chop the end off the cucumber(s), then take a teaspoon and scrape out the seeds. Slice the cucumbers on an angle and pop them into a bowl with the chilli, garlic and spring onions. In a separate bowl mix together the rest of the ingredients to make the dressing before pouring over the cucumber mixture a few minutes before serving.
So yummy, you’ll wish you’d made more. Have a great weekend everyone xx
I’ve been meaning to make a trip to Jackson and Rye for a few weeks now as I keep hearing such good things about it and today I finally made it there for lunch. Let’s just say those good things were justified. My mum and my brother were coming up to London for the day and I had a feeling they’d like it too, so off to Soho we went.
We rushed in, glad to get out of the cold and were soon sat at a table busying ourselves with studying the menu.
It took us a while to decide as everything just looked so tempting and there was a lot of too-ing and fro-ing but eventually we did manage to make a decision. All that was left to do was wait (and salivate over the table next door’s food). This gave us a chance to have a little look around the interior. It sounds a little odd but it felt almost like a Parisian brasserie with an american twist, it was very relaxed and cosy, the kind of place i could happily curl up with a book and munch away the afternoon.
Luckily though, before too long, our starters arrived. Beetroot, kale and pecan salad with horseradish for me
It may not look like anything particularly special but it seriously delivered on flavour, the caramelised pecans added a delicious crunch and there was a real kick from the horseradish that I loved.
Mum went for the crab and avocado which she happily declared she could eat all day
and Thierry (my brother) went for the truffled macaroni cheese which also disappeared rather quickly.
We then were offered the dessert menu by 2 separate waiters which was slightly bizarre given that we hadn’t had our main courses yet but luckily that was our only little hiccough and our mains swiftly followed.
This time it was beef and veal meatballs in a roasted tomato sauce for me, with a side of grilled baby gem lettuce
The meatballs were great, light and soft and full of flavour. I wasn’t quite so taken with the grilled baby gem however, there was a taste in there that i definitely didn’t love (I’m pretty sure it was a fennel seed or two knocking around).
Mum went for the grilled sea bass with a caper sauce which was delicate but with plenty of punch from the capers and the most shoestringiest of shoestring fries
Thierry went for one of the specials, this rather spectacular looking hot dog.
Whilst we probably should have resisted looking at the dessert menu, everything else had been so yummy that we just couldn’t. I’m SO glad we didn’t resist, the desserts were possibly the best part of the whole meal.
Mum had the cheesecake (her standard) but which came with a tart fruit compote that offset the richness nicely
I was torn between the pecan pie and the apple fritters, eventually settling on the fritters as i figured they’d be a little lighter. Man alive were they delicious. Tart apple encased in a light batter and dusted with cinnamon sugar, with a little pot of sour cream to dunk them in. Totally and utterly heavenly.
Thierry had the most delicious smelling blueberry cobbler with warm vanilla custard which I’m assured tasted every bit as good as it smelled. Something I think the boyfriend will definitely be after when I take him there.
However he also ordered the bourbon pretzel shake which was distinctly less good, it was essentially a salty milk with whiskey. Probably won’t be going for that one again in a hurry.
All in all we had a great lunch, obviously the company was great but the food matched it and i feel that it won’t be long until I’m finding an excuse to return.
Jackson & Rye: http://www.jacksonrye.com
56 WARDOUR STREET