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30 posts from January 2007

Leek and olive tart


I can't say it's something I'd whip up every night of the week - it is a touch too much work for most evenings - but after a few spartan meals over the past few days I wanted something that felt like dinner, and this leek and olive tart, paired with glasses of cold wheat beer, seemed just the thing.

Fields of Greens is the successor to the Greens cookbook and represents a view of cooking a few years on, with an early-nineties attention to healthy cooking. Accordingly, the leeks are sauteed in olive oil, and the butter in the yeasted crust is restrained. Of course, if you substitute the half and half almost completely with cream, you're back to the luxurious decadent vegetarian cooking I so laud Deborah Madison for (meatless does not have to equal abstemious, is one of my refrains).

Half and half or cream, I was delighted with this tart, both hot last night, and at room temperature this morning. This was my first attempt at crust and filling in this manner, and it marked my debut with the 9-inch tart pan I received for Christmas too. I did feel like a conjuror, whipping something so whole from the oven.




A pill or a pie indeed: Our guest from Austria brought along a packet of these Mozarttaller (2 inches in diameter) by way of thanks for our invitation. Two thin layers of milk chocolate surround even thinner layers of marizpan and nougat. Yes, they're delicious, and yes, I must get away from all this chocolate.

Raisin scones II


The Cheeseboard's take on raisin scones was a buttery blowout perfect for the holidays, but when I found myself craving something sweet and simple the other night I went back to my standard recipe for raisin scones. It's the whipped cream, I imagine, that gives them their perfect flaky crumb, and I find they keep better than the Cheeseboard's scones.

I used this Epicurious recipe with a very few variations: Rather than measuring the zest, I just used the zest of two organic lemons, I used only golden raisins (because that's all I had at home), and instead of rolling out the dough I just used a spoon to roughly shape rounds on the baking sheet. I might actually try rolling out the dough next time, for neater-looking scones.

Midwinter fondue


Strawberries in chocolate is not what I expected to be eating for dessert tonight, but arriving home from a working Saturday I found that David had not only whipped up a delicious red Thai vegetable curry, but had also managed to work a trip to the Galleries Lafayette into his day, and had as his bounty a jar of chocolate cinnamon fondue in a nifty heat-retaining stoneware jar, waiting to be gently heated to deliquescence. For less perfect nights when such treasures are not to be had, the following will also do.

Chocolate cinnamon fondue

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • Splash of vanilla extract

Heat the cream in a small heavy saucepan until just boiling, then add the other ingredients and stir until the chocolate has melted. Serve, ideally, with strawberries.

Homely chocolate loaf cake


I tried to sex it up with a bit of confectioner's sugar, as you can see, but this cake is unremittingly, unapologetically homely, but that should not make you pause for a moment before you decide to make it for company. It's delicious, it's dense, it has the solidity of a fine ripe cheese; if you bring it to a buffet, say a leaving party that your husband's old friend has invited you to, you will not be able to restrain yourself, unseemly as such greed may be, from having seconds and thirds, forsaking the stuffed fish skin, the chocolate and vanilla puddings, the spreads another friend brought from the Greek delicatessan down the street. It slices into satisfying wodges of chocolate redolent of molasses, and accompaniments, though they suggest themselves (crème fraîche, whipped cream), are superfluous. You will be unsurprised to learn that this is another recipe courtesy of Nigella Lawson. The impetus to make was David Lebovitz - I may have missed the party, but I had a hell of a time trying on recipes for size.


I forgot my camera when we went to Liebling, but that seems fitting, for Liebling has neither a website nor a card nor a menu printed or chalked nor hardly even a name. 'Liebling' is nowhere to be found without or within except for scribbled across the magazines they keep for their visitors, to discourage pilfering. I think of these as the quiet days, before the place has a name, and we refer to it as the old artists' supply shop (which it was) next to the old Negativeland (whose space Goldhahn & Sampson now occupy).

Of course Liebling is more than an assemblage of absences. Walking in you see the customary extravagent use of lillies, white-on-white avian wall decals, a finely-tiled white barfront, furnishings in white, wood and silvery sage, excellent lighting fixtures (oval cameos of milky light) and everyone there that night was dressed neatly, wore glasses, and looked serious, except for the barman, who was unbespectacled, relaxed and kind. The most surprising element in the place was its "Plat du jour": Grünkohleintopf mit Knacker, a hearty portion of curly kale cooked with onions, bacon bits, potatoes, and pickled pork, and served with a sausage.

Liebling, corner of Raumerstraße and Dunckerstraße (map)
Open daily from 10 or 11 on

Goldhahn & Sampson


I knew Prenzlauer Berg was rapidly gentrifying but Goldhahn & Sampson seems to mark a turning point, bringing an urban-country style of posh food shop I associate with London to a Berlin neighbourhood that usually continues to insist on a certain scruff.

I'm not complaining. I like decor as much as the next girl, and was pleased by their wooden lingerie-counter-converted-to-bread-display case, by their comfy reading room with cookbooks in various languages fanned across a table, by their tongue-in-cheek instructional diagrams pinned to the walls. David, in turn, liked the Belgian beers I bought him (Orval and Hoegaarden for 2.50 EUR apiece). A certain scruffiness is retained in the secondhand coffee and spice grinders for sale, and the place, while swish, is not snotty.

On display is a nicely edited medley of items from Hawaii, England, Spain and even Saxony: I was impressed by the restrained packaging of Stadtgut Görlitz's various goulashes and fricassees. Along with great browsing potential, there's also a small counter serving up drinks. Barely open for a month now, the shop's already doing a brisk trade, and I'm looking forward to the cooking courses slated to begin in the next month or two!

Goldhahn & Sampson, Dunckerstr. 9 (map)
Tel. 411 983 66
Open Mon-Sat 10 am to 8 pm, Sun noon to 4 pm