La Tienda (one of the cafes we regularly supply) hosted a wedding reception on Saturday. We made several cakes including this autumn inspired one. A honey and orange blosson water scented sponge topped with a simple whipped cream cheese and butter icing and covered in autumn fruits – figs, walnuts, blackberries and pomegranate – and drizzled with honey.
Hudson’s has grown steadily over the last year (my excuse for the infrequent posts), and in addition to supplying the cafes we’ve started doing a bit of catering.
My favourite so far (being a big Alice in Wonderland fan – although not the latest film) was an Un-Birthday / Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. We supplied Scones (plain and fruit), Muffins (cherry-marzipan, and pear-ginger) and our famous “Chocolate & Lausitzer Porter” cake. A couple of photo’s below courtesy of the organiser, K. Umlauft.
In early June we provided ProductCamp (Berlin) with lots of lovely cakes, brownies, blondies and muffins – they ate the lot! You can see some photos on Flickr.
I recently read about, and then visited Prinzessinnengarten. It immediately became one of my favourite places in Berlin. Robert and Marco welcomed me, and didn’t think my idea to grow fruit to bake with completely insane.
Prinzessinnengarten is an urban garden, it’s on a long disused site on one corner of Moritzplatz roundabout. The terms of the lease mean that everything has to be moveable, so all their veg is grown in cartons generously donated by Märkisch Landbrot.
Their own website can tell your far more including how to get involved. This weekend they’re running a Stadtsafari to try and get 11 to 16 year olds to think about how openspace is used in their local environment.
My idea to grow fruit won’t go anywhere this year – it’s too late to start planting – but hopefully next year I can get some Berlin raspberries, blueberries, etc. planted up and then Hudson’s can bake with really locally ingredients. In the meantime we’ve supplied the cafe with cake on a couple of occassions…and work of mouth led us to supply Betahaus next door.
Some time ago I posted a link to some Verbena recipes I’d bookmarked in Delicious. A friend of mine had a glut she needed to use up so I nosed around the internet adding recipes that looked worth trying.
My own verbena is now growing like wildfire along with the rest of my balcony plants, so I asked which of the recipes she had used. The Lemon Verbena Bread came back as a clear favourite.
I have to say I agree, it’s a lovely light sponge with a light lemony taste, although I’ve no idea why it’s called a bread – there’s no yeast and nothing bread like about it. The first time round I made it without nuts; the second time I threw in a couple of handfuls of nibbed almonds. I couldn’t tell you which I preferred, both were good – the first went down stormingly well at a house warming party.
The recipe is unclear on a couple of points:
- I recommend warming the glaze ingredients slightly to dissolve the sugar
- A large loaf tin is a 2lb tin (or 1 kilo), small is 1lb (or 500g) and mini are 8oz (or 250g)
Image 4: Adding the syrup
This isn’t a cake Hudson’s will be able to sell – I can’t grow enough Verbena – but I do urge you to try it out at home. And if you don’t have Verbena it’s a good adaptable sponge recipe.
I found some really nice fresh squid in Karstadt this week – on an unsuccessful trip to buy a sugar thermometer . It was a hot day so a light evening meal was called for, and Jim suggested a twist on my favourite Spaghetti Vongole.
Ingredients (for 2 servings):
- As much squid as you want to eat (about 6 usually works, depending on size)
- As much spaghetti as you want to eat
- Olive oil
- Chopped garlic
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Chopped fresh red chillie(s)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup dry white wine
- Lemon juice (to taste)
- Salt & pepper
- Put the spaghetti water on to boil.
- Clean and prepare the squid – there’s a good video here showing you how to do it.
- Slice into rings, leave the tentacles whole.
- Add the spaghetti to the (now boiling) pan with a drop of olive oil.
- Mix some olive oil, a little lemon juice and the chopped parsley in a bowl. (Be careful with the lemon, the white wine will add acidity too)
- Heat a griddle pan to fairly hot and add the squid; leave it for a couple of minutes (if that) until it’s turned an opaque white colour, turn it over an give it a minute or so more – you really don’t want to overcook squid it goes really rubbery.
- Throw the cooked squid into the olive oil-lemon-parsley mix.
- Drain the pasta.
- Heat a little olive oil in the (now empty) pasta pan and fry the garlic, chillies and lemon zest together for a few minutes.
- Add the spaghetti, squid-parsley-oil-lemon mix and a cup of dry white wine to the pan.
- Give it a few second to heat through and the alcohol to evaporate.
- Add salt and pepper and check to see if it needs a touch more lemon (or serve lemon wedges on the side).
With the day being as hot as it was we ate ours on the balcony with a green salad and white-wine spritzers, followed by some fresh apricots and plums.
 Does anyone know where I can buy a sugar thermometer in Berlin? I’m planning on making some jam with the last of this summer’s fruit; and trying out some of Dan Lepard’s caramel recipes.
Over the years I’ve tried numerous muesli and granola recipes, and although I think that homemade granola is 100% the way to go, I’ve never found that perfect recipe. In my experience they’re either too sweet (lots of honey, sugar or syrup)…or too healthy (look and taste like sawdust).
Recently I’ve decided to trust my instincts; I’ve played around with proportions and ingredients and now I think I’ve come up with the perfect mix – slightly sweet, crunchy and made with loads of seeds. I’m not mad keen on dried fruits and nuts in my muesli; I prefer to top it with seasonal fruit, yoghurt and a touch of honey, – or perhaps a fruit compote and greek yoghurt, – or (in winter) spiced and soaked dried fruit — (it sounds as if more posts may be needed to tell you some of my favourite toppings…).
Frau Kuchen’s (not too sweet, and not too dry) Granola Recipe
- 200g rolled oats
- 150g porridge oats
- 80g pumpkin seeds
- 60g sunflower seeds
- 30g linseeds
- 20g sesame seeds
- 20g poppy seeds
- 10g wheatgerm
- 1/2 cup sunflower oil
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 2 Tbsp honey
- Heat the oven to 160C
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl
- Spread the mix in a shallow layer in an oven proof pan
- Put in the oven
- Stir occasionally to stop it catching
- It’s done when it looks toasted on top and around the outsides (30-40 mins usually does it)
- Turn off the oven, but leave the tin in until it’s cooled right down (this helps it dry out and go nice and crunchy)
- Store in an airtight container
Sorry I haven’t posted for a while – I’ve been away in London for work. Luckily whilst I was there my hosts – both fantastic cooks – made me numerous tasty meals, and in the process introduced me to za’atar.
Za’atar (also known as satar, zahatar or zatr) is a mix of spices used most frequently in middle-eastern cookery. My friend made Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za’atar and Lemon, a recipe which he’d adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook. The recipe and some pictures of my version of the same are below.
I’m a big fan of Yotam Ottolenghi and have frequently used his New Vegetarian recipes in The Guardian. I’ve just ordered my own copy of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook (by Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi) – so I’ll let you know what it’s like when it arrives. Apparently garlic and lemon are involved in nearly every recipe (presumably not the baking) – perfect for me, I already use both in nearly everything I make.
If you can’t find za’atar in the shops don’t fret, there are plenty of recipes on-line. I used this one which seems to be quite representative. Like many spice mixes there seem to be many variations, although the basic ingredients for this one always seem to include thyme, marjoram, salt and sesame seeds.
Image 1: Making Za’atar
Roast Chicken with Sumac, Lemon & Za’atar
- 1 free range chicken cut into four (I used 4 legs, you could also use thighs – chicken on the bone is is definitely better for taste)
- 2 red onions thinly sliced
- 4 crushed garlic cloves
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1.5 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp sumac
- 1 lemon thinly sliced (mine were small so I used 2)
- 200 ml chicken stock or water (I used my favorite Reduced Salt Marigold Vegetable Bouillon)
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp za’atar
- 20g butter (I didn’t use this)
- 50g pine nuts
- 4 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
- Combine the chicken, onions, lemon, garlic, oil, spices (bar the za’atar), stock and salt & pepper in a large bowl
- Marinate overnight, or at least for a few hours
- Preheat the oven to 200°C
- Transfer the chicken (skin side up) and marinade to an oven tray and sprinkle with the za’atar
- Roast for 30-40 minutes, basting regularly towards the end
- Fry the pine nuts in the butter (I dry fried mine).
- Serve the chicken with the nuts and parsley.
We ate ours with what’s known in our house as, Egyptian Rice (recipe below); and a greek style salad made of cos lettuce, cucumber, tomato and red onion dressed in an olive oil, lemon juice, sumac and salt & pepper dressing.
I have no idea whether this is really egyptian or not – a housemate in my long past student days taught me how to make it.
- 1.5 cups rice
- 3 cups water
- a good dollop of butter
- a glug of olive oil
- Wash and soak the rice for 30 mins (I really do find this helps)
- Heat the olive oil and butter together
- Drain the rice
- Measure out the water
- Add a couple of tbsps of rice to the butter/oil mix
- Fry the rice until it is a nice nutty colour, as soon as it’s brown throw in the water (it only takes a minute to catch and go over) and add the additional rice
- Bring to the boil then cover with foil and the lid and simmer
- When nearly all the water has disappeared turn off the heat, cover the pan with a tea-towel and the lid and leave it (for about 10 minutes)
- Fluff up with a fork
- Hopefully you have fluffy rice with lovely little nutty brown nuggets.