Sunday, 30 August 2015

The Lake House minus the house

 It was Exberliner's article that first got my attention of this place but what really got me intrigued was of course a picture a friend posted on Facebook. If her intention was to make one jealous of her whereabouts, it worked, since I was working inside behind a computer on what was the best, if not perfect summers day.

Regardless, Fabrizio and I finally set out to the lake with bikes and backpacks, taking the S2 all the way to Bernau and then google mapsing our way through small town streets and beautifully thick, dense forest. You know that feeling when you haven't seen the sea in ages, and you drive over a mountain and WHAM, there's the big blue stuff. Well, thats kind of the same thing I was experiencing when I first spotted some specks of blue peering through the trees. A small ride further and we were sitting on a small beach costing us 3 Euros , a small price to pay for the ridiculously clear blue green waters filled with small fish. We dove off the wooden pier, backstroked along the lake and nibbled on icy cold chocolate ice creams, in what seemed like the typical summers day.

An easy peasy trip back home, by biking to the Wandlitzsee Bahnhof and taking the regional train to Karow, and then the S2 back into the city, its a small slice of summers solitude barely an hours distance.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Not my Ouma's Milk Tart

Since living in Europe, I'v always somewhat dreaded baking because this meant I had to face my nightmare of using a gas oven. I can barely light the oven without covering my face in the case of it blowing up, so that pretty much gives you an idea of just how terrible I am. After letting my boyfriend light it for me the first several times, and then watching me do it several times more, I faced the fact that this was how I was going to have to bake for all of eternity. Well, at least just whilst living in Berlin.

The real work began when I started testing out tons of recipes and noting down which gas level they work best at. I can shamelessly admit that it's not an inherited recipe from my “Ouma”, but instead an adapted version of Shades of Cinnamon's recipe. 

125g butter
½ cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt

4½ cups milk
3 eggs
2½ Tablespoons cornflour
2½ Tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
14g Dr Oetker vanilla sugar
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

1. Beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the egg and beat well.
2. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and beat until a fine breadcrumb consistency. Then using your hands to form the crumbly mixture into a firm dough.
3 Press into a 23x3cm deep round pie dish, pushing the pastry up the sides so that it is even all over. This quantity is the perfect amount for this size pie dish if you like a thick pastry base. I however used slightly less for a thinner base (and nibbled on the small leftover dough while the crust was baking). 
4. Once the pastry is evenly distributed, prick it with a fork all over the base, place a sheet of baking paper on top of the dough and spread a small bag of uncooked beans on the base. This will allow the dough to remain flat to allow more filling for later. 
5. Place the dish in the oven and bake for about 15 mins. Once the dough has cooked slightly, remove the beans and baking paper and continue to bake till an almost golden brown . I had to watch mine closely to make sure it didn't burn, but left them in for almost 45 minutes. The longer the pastry bakes, the crisper it will become, although with a gas oven,  found I could never be quite as precise as I would like to.

1. Place the milk in a large saucepan and bring to the boil gently , stirring continuously to make sure the bottom doesn't burn.
2. Beat eggs in a bowl and add the sugar, flour, cornflour, vanilla sugar and salt, mixing well.
3. Once the milk has come to the boil, pour it into the egg and flour mixture and stir well.
4..Return this to the stove and whisk gently but constantly until the mixture thickens. You don’t want any lumps in your filling so be prepared to stand over this mixture until it has boiled and thickened properly.
5. Pour into cooked crust and lightly sift or sprinkle cinnamon on top of the custard like filling
Allow to cool on a shelf until it is room temperature and then transfer the tart to the fridge.

Image and Illustration: Tara Deacon
Recipe adapted from Shades of Cinnamon:

Friday, 31 July 2015

IGNANT Hashtag - Colour Coding

iGNANT are a multidisciplinary online magazine that feature art, design, travel and architecture in the most tasteful way possible, they also just happen to be " Berlin Based" as well. I recently started  following them on Instagram due to their content brightening up my feed every so often, when I came across something they title as their weekly Hashtag projects. Iv never quite been one to enter Instagram competitions, but this one really got me inspired. Withing minutes of reading the brief, I grabbed my camera and went scouring the streets of Berlin , looking at each color that passed me by in a more artistic and "color coded" way. I must admit, I became quite obsessed after a day or two and even had my boyfriend submit some of my images on his account, needless to say neither of us won or were 1 of the 10 of the featured submissions.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Grapefruit & Yogurt loaf

Since my last attempt at baking in our gas oven went dismally to say the least, I haven't exactly been too eager to face any more failed baking attempts . Instead, I'v been indulging in Graeffestrasse's  Kaffee Bar's drool worthy cakes and sweet loaves and even though I haven't tried their Grapefruit Yoghurt loaf, it inspired me all the more to bake one myself. The recipe is adapted from A Cozy Kitchen's , of which I had no choice but to adapt since they didn't use a gas oven. Never had I thought I'd be hoping for a new convection oven for my Burthday, but its seems now's a good a time as any to make that wishlist.

Grapefruit & Yogurt loaf Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all­ purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole­milk yogurt
1 cups white granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated grapefruit zest (1 grapefruit)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice (1­-2 grapefruits)
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons reserved cake syrup

1. Turn on gas oven to level 7. Grease an 20 x 12 cm loaf pan. Line the bottom with baking paper.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs and grapefruit zest. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about an 45 mins to an hour or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
3. Meanwhile, to a small saucepan, add grapefruit juice, sugar, a splash or two of water and the thyme. Cook until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside so the thyme can steep, about 30 minutes. Strain and set aside.
4. To make the glaze, add two tablespoons of the grapefruit/thyme syrup to a bowl. Sift in the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.
5. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Using a skewer, pierce a few holes into the cake's top. Pour the grapefruit syrup on the cake and allow it soak in. Let the cake cool to room temperature.
6. Pour the glaze over the cake and grate Grapefruit zest

Saturday, 28 March 2015

The District Six Store- A piece of South Africa in Berlin

The most heartwarming comments received on the opening night of the new District Six Store in Kreuzberg is its on point resemblance and atmosphere of Cape Town and South Africa. Nestled next to the ever popular Anna Durkess Ice Cream store, Number 80 Graefe Strasse has become a bold, colorful and vibrant space of which Caroline, the owner of The District Six Store and my dear friend and colleague couldn't be prouder of. Not a day goes by where stories of passerby's share their experience in South Africa, inquire about the great African playlist blurring in the background, and remark on the beautifully curated products and put together space the store has. 

Only the best of South African Design has found i'ts way to the store  some of which include Pichulik, Klomp Ceramics, Lauren Fowler prints and illustrations , and Heather Moore's ever popular Skinny Laminx.

Having a small part of South Africa in Berlin is truly something  unique, and The District Six Store is always eager to see new face and a different story with each person that comes and goes.

Their opening hours are from Tuesday to Friday from 11 - 19:00 and on a Saturday from 11- 17:00. 
Their online shop is always an alternative to late night shopping for those who can't make the shop hours or who simply aren't anywhere near South Africa or Berlin

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Skeletons in my closet

It's no secret that from day one of living in Berlin, my clothes have had to stay nestled snugly on the floor as a means of storage (I term this in the loosest possible way). It's also an unwritten law that when you move into your significant other's apartment, it's only obvious that you'd share closet space. However, when both the closet and apartment are as small as they can get, that is imply no option. The funniest part is that I was strangely drawn to the idea of keeping them neatly piled on the floor whereas in the past I'd fling anything unfolded and worn into a deep dark corner of the closet.

Seven months down the line and we finally found the perfect non closety looking closet at a fraction of the price of the hundreds of other possibilities we looked at (and no, Ikea was not even on our list of last resorts). It was an unsuspecting find at the Market at Boxhagener Platz on Sunday and it didn't take a lot to convince us that this was the one we had been looking for.