Frau Kuchen

cooking and eating in Berlin (and elsewhere)

Autumn Wedding

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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.

Written by hudsons

October 18, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Posted in Cakes, Catering

The Un-Birthday Party (and other events)

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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.

Other events include meetings at the Berliner Festspiele and numerous meetings and events at Betahaus.

Written by hudsons

July 6, 2010 at 10:53 am

Posted in Cakes, Catering

Prinzessinnengarten

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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.

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October 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Lemon Verbena cake

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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.


Image 1: Verbena                          Image 2: Cherry Tomatoes       Image 3: Peppers

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.

Written by hudsons

August 30, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Spaghetti with Squid

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I found some really nice fresh squid in Karstadt this week – on an unsuccessful trip to buy a sugar thermometer [1].  It was a hot day so a light evening meal was called for, and Jim suggested a twist on my favourite Spaghetti Vongole.

Recipe

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

Method

  1. Put the spaghetti water on to boil.
  2. Clean and prepare the squid – there’s a good video here showing you how to do it.
  3. Slice into rings, leave the tentacles whole.
  4. Add the spaghetti to the (now boiling) pan with a drop of olive oil.
  5. 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)
  6. 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.
  7. Throw the cooked squid into the olive oil-lemon-parsley mix.
  8. Drain the pasta.
  9. Heat a little olive oil in the (now empty) pasta pan and fry the garlic, chillies and lemon zest together for a few minutes.
  10. Add the spaghetti, squid-parsley-oil-lemon mix and a cup of dry white wine to the pan.
  11. Give it a few second to heat through and the alcohol to evaporate.
  12. Add salt and pepper and check to see if it needs a touch more lemon (or serve lemon wedges on the side).
  13. Serve.

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.

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[1] 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.

Written by hudsons

August 22, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Granola (or Muesli)

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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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 160C
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl
  3. Spread the mix in a shallow layer in an oven proof pan
  4. Put in the oven
  5. Stir occasionally to stop it catching
  6. It’s done when it looks toasted on top and around the outsides (30-40 mins usually does it)
  7. 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)
  8. Store in an airtight container

Written by hudsons

August 16, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Za’atar

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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

Ingredients:
(serves 4)

  • 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

Method:

  1. Combine the chicken, onions, lemon, garlic, oil, spices (bar the za’atar), stock and salt & pepper in a large bowl
  2. Marinate overnight, or at least for a few hours
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C
  4. Transfer the chicken (skin side up) and marinade to an oven tray and sprinkle with the za’atar
  5. Roast for 30-40 minutes, basting regularly towards the end
  6. Fry the pine nuts in the butter (I dry fried mine).
  7. 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.

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“Egyptian” Rice

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.

Ingredients
(serves 4)

  • 1.5 cups rice
  • 3 cups water
  • a good dollop of butter
  • a glug of olive oil

Method:

  1. Wash and soak the rice for 30 mins (I really do find this helps)
  2. Heat the olive oil and butter together
  3. Drain the rice
  4. Measure out the water
  5. Add a couple of tbsps of rice to the butter/oil mix
  6. 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
  7. Bring to the boil then cover with foil and the lid and simmer
  8. 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)

  9. Fluff up with a fork
  10. Hopefully you have fluffy rice with lovely little nutty brown nuggets.

Written by hudsons

August 15, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Spiced Breakfast Bread

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This is a post I meant to make a couple weeks ago, but I keep getting distracted elsewhere. I took the recipe from Gordon Ramsay “Makes it Easy”, but The Times Online has repeated it here.

It’s a deliciously warm spicy and very slightly sour (from the buckwheat) bread, although it is a bit fiddly and time consuming so make sure you have a cup of coffee at hand and a snack before you start. I guess you could make it a day ahead but you’d miss the smell to whet your appetite and the warmness of the bread. Having said that, there are only two of us, so I put half the loaf in the freezer and we finished it off the following Sunday.

Image 1: Spiced Breakfast Bread

Gordon’s cookbook suggests serving it with a cherry compote, and as we’re in the cherry season I did just that. The recipe for the compote is below – I reduced the sugar in the original recipe and it was still sweet, so I suggest adding sugar to taste.

Image 2: Spiced Breakfast Bread with Cherry Compote & Greek Yogurt

Cherry Compote (serves 6):

  • 1 kg pitted cherries
  • 250ml fresh orange juice
  • 100g sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • mint leaves

Put everything in a pan and slowly bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Shake to stop it sticking. Allow to cool then remove the mint leaves and lemon zest. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

The following Sunday I served the defrosted remaining half with a compote of (some slightly overripe) apricots and apple, and again with greek yogurt. For the compote I used about half and half apricot/apple to the same total weight as the cherries, I added about the same amount of orange juice and sweetened it with runny honey towards the end of cooking instead of using sugar.

Written by hudsons

July 22, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Nigella’s Lamb Cutlets

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A very quick post to say that we tried out Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Lamb Cutlets with Chilli & Black Olives last night. Served with new potatoes and a green and tomato salad dressed with an olive oil, lemon juice and fresh herb (from the balcony) dressing – it was a perfect summer meal.

Their can be few simpler pleasures than nibbling the remaining pieces of lamb from the bones of a lamb chop or cutlet and licking your fingers afterwards.

Lamb is one of my favourite summer meats, ideally cooked on a barbecue so it’s slightly charred on the outside, but retains its pink and juicy interior.

Unfortunately most of the lamb on sale in Berlin seems to be from New Zealand [1], and I try my best to avoid huge food miles. Last week I found some bio (organic) lamb on the Türkenmarkt – at €18/kilo it was pricey, but we eat so little meat that I don’t begrudge spending a little more now and then.

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[1] If you know of anywhere else (particularly in the Kreuzberg area), that sells German – or at least European – lamb, please do let me know.

Written by hudsons

July 20, 2009 at 8:49 am

Restaurant Krokodil

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Last weekend we made a long planned cycle trip to Köpenick. The trip was partly inspired by a desire to cycle along the Spree and see the changing architectural/urban environment (Jim – architectureinberlin.wordpress.com) and partly because I wanted to visit Restaurant Krokodil and Hostel am Flußbad. I’d read about the Hostel and Restaurant on Berlin Hidden Places – always a god site for some inspired and off-beat touristing.

We planned our route using the brilliant BBBike site.  If you haven’t used it give it a try, you can plan any cycle route you want in Berlin, with options to stick to cycle routes and green-ways if you choose (and the added benefit that it’s provided in english, as well as auf deutsche).   It gives you a clear set of printable instructions and the option to print the map in a number of different formats.

On the way we cycled along Treptow Park, crossed the river and cycled most of the rest of the way through the Volkspark Wuhlheide. A lovely route through a park that we haven’t explored before.

Image 1: The Wuhlheide (with Parkeisenbahn) [1]

Our hunger drove us on through the centre of Köpenick and past the bands playing in the Schloss and the town square (I assume as part of the Blues & Jazz Festival, which runs though to the end of August). The small side street (Kietzer Str.) leading on to Gartenstr. where Krokodil is found, has some wonderful old, and now protected, buildings that used to be part of the independent Fischerkietz.

Image 2: Fischerkiez [2]

Restaurant Krokodil and Hostel am Flußbad could easily be missed, they’re set behind a big red-brick wall.  Once you’re inside it’s a beautiful space, the hostel looks lovingly converted, and the restaurant and seminar rooms are thoughtfully designed. Perhaps because it was rescued by a local group with the needs of local people in mind.

We found a spot under the awning an dug into the Sunday brunch buffet.  I have to say that after my initial excitement about Sunday buffets when I first arrived in Berlin, I’ve now rather changed my mind. The quality at buffets is often poor – sliced meats and cheeses from Lidl – and I rarely feel like I’ve eaten well afterwards.  Having said that, the Krokodil buffet wasn’t bad; there were several hot items, including pork and sauerkraut; dauphinoise potatoes; and, chunky chips; plus a variety of meats (rare beef, salami, etc), smoked fish (mackerel, salmon, eel, trout) and a mix of different salads (including tomato & mozzarella and potato). My only complaint would be the lack of a big green salad – something I tend to eat with every meal.

Image 3: The Beach with Hostel and Restaurant

Image 4: Restaurant Krokodil

The regular menu, and changing wochenkarte (weekly specials) look good – although there are a few too many main dishes with fruit in for my liking (fruit in a main dish is rarely done well imho).  I was slightly annoyed that I hadn’t held out and extra hour for the menu (before a certain time – sorry I forget when – you can only order the buffet) as the Matjes mit  Bratkartoffel und Salat (Herring with Roasted Potatoes and Salad) from the Wochenkarte looked and smelled particularly appetising as it whisked past my table later on.

Krokodil is particular good if you have kids – there were a few families who looked like they were regulars.  The adults can sit under the awning and eat, drink and chat whilst the kids play on the sand and swim in the well marked out swimming area.  If you’re feeling really adventurous you can borrow kayaks or rafts, or be taken on a guided tour (including multiple days with tents if you wish).  On the Sunday we were there we saw a group of kids – probably a birthday party – going out on a led tour on the raft, it looked great fun.

Image 5: The Beach

Image 6: The Terrace at Krokodil

According to their website they have quite a lot of live music events, seminar and conference facilities and can host parties or weddings. We didn’t investigate the hostel, but from a peer inside it looks clean, airy and spacious, and the proces are really good. All in all a great local facility.

I wouldn’t go to Köpenick just to go Restaurant Krokodil, but if you are there and you fancy somewhere relaxed and a bit different to eat or drink then do pop in.  Particularly if it’s a sunny day and you have kids!

After watching a couple of the bands – still playing in the town square – we made our way back though the Wuhlheide. This time we stayed on the the north bank, wending our way through the Kleingarten and exploring the ruined buildings on Köpenicker Chaussee.  Although tempted by Funkpark and numerous other (seemingly spontaneous) parties en-route we headed home along the edge of Rummelsburger See  and over Treptower Brücke.


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[1] Image courtsey of Jörg Kantel (also known as Schockwellenreiter) under a Creative Commons licence.
[2] Image courtesy of snow73, also under a Creative Commons licence.

Written by hudsons

July 19, 2009 at 7:37 pm