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8 posts from January 2008

Scottish tablet (A taste of home)


Life came rushing in again, but here, just a bit over a week later, a shot of David's Scottish tablet solidified and looking dapper. (Doesn't that piece on the left seem to be sporting a quiff?)

David made the other Grubbers giggle when he confessed his oh-so-authentic Scottish tablet recipe came not from his Highland granny but from a Canadian website. We did tweak a thing or two, though, after reading up on tablet, so if you'd like to make it our way, add a rounded half-teaspoon of salt and substitute two tablespoons of golden syrup for two tablespoons of the kilogram (!) of sugar. And don't buy that Milchmädchen stuff if you can avoid it -- instead, pick up a tin of Longevity sweetened condensed milk from, say, your favourite friendly local Asian shop.

PS The next Grub is on March 8th -- see our fancy new website for more details!

A taste of home (Preparing for Grub)


Late afternoon in January isn't the best time for food photos in natural light, but I thought you might like a glimpse into our preparations for tonight's Grub.

The pictures might need a bit of explaining. Above is a before/after shot of David's tablet; on the right you see the pale puddle of sweet milk as it began, and on the spoon the rich tan mixture moments before it was poured into the pan. Below, the raw ingredients for my batata vadai, awaiting a whizz in the food processor, thence to be mixed into the potatoes that David is smashing as I type... Till tonight!

Piano Salon/Focaccia King


Amit Friedmann is singing at the piano salon tonight! David and I will definitely be there, and perhaps you will too? Swing by the Focaccia King if you'd like a pre-concert dinner: It might not be quite as very hip as La Focacceria, but the fresh doughy slices topped with all manner of veggie and non-veggie treats will keep you sated through the song cycles, and the gentlest man presided over the small shop each time I was there. Consider buying a brioche to nibble at during intermission.

Focaccia King, Danziger Str. 25 (map)
Tel. 30 40505210
Open Mon-Sat 8.30 am - 10 pm (but if everything's sold out, they might shut as early as 8 pm, so you might ring to check)


Kadó Lakritz (Liquorice in Berlin)


While coughing my way through the last phase of bronchitis I've found my little paper cone full of soft liquorice to be tremendously comforting. And certainly kadó's decor carries a whiff of the apothecary, what with its gorgeous shelves, glassed-in display cases, scales and incredible tins. Though I have a friend who swears by their salty liquorices, I've always cleaved to the safer, sugary varieties (which kadó's salespeople are happy to mix for you, tipping a few cones, a few buttons and a few cubes out of massive glass jars into the waiting metal tray).

Really, you should go to the shop itself to pore over the amazing packaging of liquorice from Norway, Belgium, Italy and further field, then tuck your paper cone into your pocket and munch away while wandering through the Graefekiez; but know that they also have stands at the weekly markets at Winterfeldplatz, Kollwitzplatz and Hackescher Markt.

kadó - Lakritzfachgeschäft, Graefestrasse 75 (map)

Tel. 030.69 04 16 38
Open Tues-Fri 9.30 am - 6.30 pm, Sat 9.30 am - 3.30 pm 


January Tulips


Tulips have debuted in shops and cafes. Have they always been out this early?

Salon sucré


Once Glatteisgefahr has been declared across the city, there's nothing for it but to hole up in your cozy neighbourhood French patisserie and ponder the many cakes, tartes and meringues lining the glass shelves. Sue was a bit skeptical about visiting Salon Sucré during the winter, but it was just the thing to peel off my damp pullover, climb onto a bar stool, lean on the radiator in the corner and sink my fork into two layers of chocolate genoise sandwiching a pale tranche of cheesecake, topped with the tenderest raspberries (perhaps scandalous in January, but there you are).

Our cakes disappeared in a thrice, but we lingered for hours, ordering the odd glass of Sylvaner, cup of tea, and duo of cassis meringues to justify our place. We caught up on everything, only pausing to listen to Eric explain the contents of the pastry case with unfailing enthusiasm to each new customer.

Cakes are a bit pricier than what I'm used to –– 4-5 each –– but portions are generous, and I'm always disarmed by a casual friendliness.

Update 2010: There's a great interview with Eric here by Mary of Stil in Berlin.

Salon Sucre, Görlitzer Straße 32A (map)
Tel: (030) 612 27 13
Open Thursday-Sunday 10am - 6pm in the winter, Wednesday-Saturday 10am - 6pm in the summer (in the liminal months, call ahead to check; I'll update if I discover the exact months; and note that last summer, at least, they were closed for more than a month around August/September)

Zionskirchplatz (The Branches)


I still have not decided whether I'd like to try the cupcakes at the Cupcake bakery, but enjoyed the sight of branches and people passing while I sat at Zionskirchplatz, contemplating that question.