Friday, May 27, 2011

Magnolias @ Factory Girl, Friedrichshain

I have a new addiction. It's a dessert named Magnolia, named after the Magnolia Bakery. This is the kind of food you better don't reproduce at home in order to consume it in controlled amounts ;)
You can find it in Berlin's most crowded food-and-drink-mile around Boxhagener Platz at Factory Girl café.
It is declared as a modification of Magnolia's pudding: vanilla pudding with mascarpone, eggs and variable sweets. Creamy with some texture, it is not too sweet and comes close to Tiramisu. The presentation would be probably more appealing by serving the pudding in an extra-glass but fancy it is.

The café owner adores the cupcakes from the New York bakery but did not want to rival Cupcake Berlin on the opposite side of the street. So she recreated this dessert.
The surrounding was cozy and the waiter (Hussein - fluent in Turkish) generous with extra wine and sample bites.

Factory Girl,
Krossenerstr. 16,
everyday 11 am - 8 pm.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad

This is one of those combos that I really wish I had made acquaintance of earlier! At least two decades earlier and I would have been so much better off ;) The moment I had this salad for the first time last summer I instantly knew that it was sheer perfection and that I had always craved for something like this.

Retracing the recipe: a friend brought it to a bbq in the countryside. She had glimpsed the salad on a German VIP dinner programm (equivalent of "come dine with me"). A quick Google search identified
Nigella Lawson as the author (once more). That came with a surprise for I have rarely seen a dish by this lady that did not involve insane amounts of butter, sugar and cream ;)

However, maybe it is an ever existing dish in
Greece? Just did not dare to mail my sole Greek friend to know it better (apart from food bloggers people are not amused to be confronted with food questions out of the blue).

Anyway the
sweetness of watermelon, the saltiness of goat cheese and black olives and the sharpness of the onion make up an ultimately balanced, light and colorful summer dish. Ridiculously easy to make, too.

Here is the original recipe that suggests drizzling the salad with lime juice and olive oil and seasoning with pepper. But the most astonishing thing is, it doesn't hurt when you leave these steps out.

Instead you can enjoy the pure taste of each raw ingredient.

1. Cut the
watermelon into bite-size cubes. As a matter of course the melon should be utmost sweet.

2. Cut the red onion into very thin slices. Cut the black olives into very slices as well.

3. Chop
mint or flat parsley or both very thinly. Parsley alone is fine wheareas mint can be very dominant.

4. Tear off the
feta cheese into flakes. I prefer this to big chunks.

Mix everything together.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Abstract City by Christoph Niemann

If you have a heart for NYC and Berlin and if you want to have a refreshing view on the little everyday moments that in the end make up city life, you will enjoy Christoph Niemann's illustrations.

Formerly NY, now Berlin-based Niemann is an attentive observer with a pure approach and a big sense of humor. His techniques may be not as varied as it may appear at first glance.
Most frequently he points out the components that makes a city distinctive, deconstructs them to their very core and illustrates them by charts that are already familiar to the viewer from a different context.

Niemann's blog has changed its name from the "Abstract City" to the "Abstract Sunday" after having moved to the NYT Magazine though I think that the original one was more to the point.

His picture story I lego N.Y. is a masterpiece of non-cartoon, minimalistic illustration.

More pictures can be found in the correspondent book.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Turkish Delight

Since I started reading food blogs and contemplating food (probably too much) food gifts have become high in rank in the permanent wish list. No matter if plain ingredient, store-bought food or homemade gift - I find them all adorable :).

A privilege of this time of general mobility, you can gather produce from around the globe that dear friends bring as souvenirs. As suitcase space is usually scanty these far shipped gifts are the most appreciated treasures in my pantry. At the moment it features exquisite coffee from Colombia (thanks Anne!), Gyokuro and Matcha tea from Japan (thanks Henning & Su Hyeon!), dark orange chocolate from Switzerland (thanks Anne-Loyse!) and light maple syrup from Quebec (thanks Marlen!).

This beautiful confectionary called Lokum or Turkish delight is the latest acquisition that was a gift from my friend Selin from Istanbul: hazelnuts bound by a gel of cornstarch and sugar and coated with dark chocolate. It has a chewy, marshmallowish consistency with a little to bite. A perfect accompaniment for a strong coffee. Thanks to Selin I have already tasted the plain uncoated version years ago, partly colored with mint and rosewater. With a slight preference for the plain white ones I deeply adore them all.

Now, who can get me some clotted cream for a batch of strawberry scones? Any volunteers?? ;)