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18 posts from June 2009

Karl August Platz Market

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Going to Karl August Platz for my birthday was pure heaven. How refreshing, after braving the hordes of tourists at Kollwitzplatz and Winterfeldplatz, to arrive at a market so unselfconsciously beautiful. Locals wove through the stalls that ringed the spacious square and bought Flammkuchen and ate Quarkbällchen and helped themselves to armfuls of daisies and loitered in front of the fish stand where the pike was on special offer.

As a birthday treat I was permitted to idle as long as I chose, and I think I made six slow circuits before I felt I had looked at everything carefully enough. Afterwards we sat in the playground by the church and ate tarts and radishes while S batted at the balloon a Green Party representative had handed her: it seemed a long time since I had been that happy.

Karl August Platz Market, Berlin-Wilmersdorf (map)
Wednesdays 8am-1pm & Saturdays 8am-2pm

Blueberry-filled yogurt cake

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Did everyone know that you could cook up blueberries and a bit of sugar for, oh, three minutes, and suddenly have the most fabulous filling to sandwich between layers of your French yogurt cake? Because I did not, and could not believe how fabulous and easy it was, and had to pause in my spooning of berries and aromatic syrup onto the first layer, to take a picture of its glorious untidy beauty before the second layer prettied everything up. I used about a cup and a half of berries in total, cooking half a cup with two tablespoons of sugar, then stirring the remainder of fruit in off the heat (this meant most berries retained their shape). I also used just over half a cup of sugar instead of the full cup the recipe calls for, and no-one seemed to notice.

Really I should tell you all about my talk at Interesting and about all the exploring I did yesterday in Mitte, but this just briefly for now. And friends in Berlin, you might want to drop me a line to see if I'm free tomorrow or the day after, because there are leftovers.

Spring onion bhaji

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Such good spring onions everywhere, so densely green and so seldom flabby or brown-tipped! I can't resist buying a few bunches for another round of spring onion bhaji, a dish that became a treat while my mother visited for a few weeks after S was born. You remove the roots and slice the greens, give them a cursory wash, then set them aside while you start the phodni. This requires just a few tablespoons of olive oil heated over high heat for a minute or two; add a teaspoon of brown mustard seeds, half a tablespoon of turmeric powder, two or three fresh red chilis (topped and tailed), a dash of hing (or asafoetida powder, or Teufelsdreck, as the Germans have it). Let this spice mixture sputter for a minute, then add in the green onion and stir virgorously once and then again now and then until it's all cooked down and delicious. Sprinkle with salt and rice flour, then stir again and let sit till everything melds and grows crisp. Serve, for choice, stuffed into pita breads, though the bhaji is also delicious alone. And see, there is a recipe or two left in this old girl yet! PS: I mean it when I say it cooks down: count on one bunch of spring onions per person.

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French yogurt cupcakes

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Nothing extraordinary, not even anything very new, just some cupcakes I made last week for a buffalo-themed potluck, using Bobalis buffalo milk yogurt, naturellement, and Dorie Greenspan's recipe. My head has felt overfull of late and inevitably I've done too little, but I'm catching up now, putting together the photographs that will accompany my little talk at Interesting Berlin and baking cookies and writing emails and, oh, all the usual things.

By the way, have you got a favorite stationery shop in Berlin? I need to buy the perfect blank book to be S's birthday book, brimful of love, this year and for future Junes too.

The Peaceful Revolution (Exhibit at Alexanderplatz)

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After picking our plates clean Max and I wandered to Alexanderplatz, where I was surprised by the care and intelligence that had gone into curating the massive open-air exhibition on the fall of the Berlin Wall. When I first came to Berlin every trip to the supermarket and U-Bahn journey left me prickling with a sense of history and occasion; now these streets have become routine. But I felt a chill afresh as I read of revolutions brewing in Gethsemekirche and Zionskirchplatz, places I now associate more with markets and concerts, and felt a second thrill walking home past these very landmarks, through those very streets. The exhibition is on until November 14.

DMY All-Stars @ the IMA Design Village

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Kate and I had the most wonderful time wandering through the stairwells and corridors discussing design with the IMA Design Village as our backdrop.

(Many thanks to those lovely ladies at Unlike for plucking my name from the bran pie and putting me on the DMY guest list.)

April recollected

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Oh that spring was glorious, and now we're paying and paying. I do not know how much longer I can put up with April's changeable weather smack-dab in June.