Pear Cake

Due to extreme sleep deprivation, a plummeting bank balance and occasional (Full disclosure? Frequent) boredom, this baby machine is now closed for business.

Subsequently, I have given away my maternity wear, pillows, baby books, to anyone who looks remotely pregnant- even if they are just fat.

Except for my underwear. The hideous ones with the high waist, cut low on the legs, I’ve still got those.

Uncomfortable underwear, shoes and mascara (that stuff hurts more than you can imagine when sharp bits flake off and drop into your soft eye) make me question the existence of feminism.  Forget the glass ceiling or pay disparity and consider the string.   Read more of this post

Suppenbörse, Soup Bar, Mitte

While the twins were still newborns, I managed to read a few books.  Our very own Luisa Weiss’ My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story with Recipes.  Followed by a State of Wonder – a book of fertile older (in their 60′s) women living in the Amazon (ah the irony) and the scientists studying them.  Then I went into Daunts bookstore, said I had enjoyed that and on their recommendation ended up with The J.M. Barrie Ladies’ Swimming Club.  Which is written exactly like a love story for 12-year-old girls, except the protagonist is in her 40′s, set against a backdrop of some eccentric older (in their 70′s) women who skinny dip in sub-zero waters for the adrenaline kick.

The reason I am sharing my summer reading with you is because, firstly, you should all read Luisa’s book and secondly I am on the icy brink of winter but unlike the septuagenarians in the book – there is no adrenaline kick to be had from a winter in Berlin.  Today as I sniffled and shuffled my way to Layla’s school, I gaped at my iPhone’s weather app which informed me it was 0º C.

The worst part isn’t the 0ºC, it’s that the 0 marks the beginning of the long hard slog.  There are Christmas markets to look forward to but I suspect that the novelty may have worn off.

There is nothing for it but to bake cookies and eat soup.  We’ve been having a lot of Carrot, Ginger and Coconut, a dawdle to make as I leave the slicing to my Magimix.  My mother made an exceedingly good chicken tagine from Dorie Greenspan’s book today. Read more of this post

Business Lunch at The Ritz & The Hyatt, Potsdamer Platz

There is one thing you can say about hotel eating: it’s consistent.  Which is like hearing the person you’ve been set up on a blind date with is ‘nice’.  At least in hotels, the concept of service exists (that at the Ritz far exceeds that at the Hyatt – more later) and the lunch prices are a steal!

At Mesa the 3 course lunch is  €15. The portions are petite, especially by Berlin standards. At the Ritz  lunch is €14 for the special, a non-alchoholic drink and coffee.  It’s less food, with my portion of Quiche Lorraine, pivoted in such a way as to visually occupy maximum space on a busy plate and a fluffed up bit of herb salad (quite nice it was too) and some creme fraiche piped onto the plate in a fat braid.

Mesa does German food ‘family style’. I know the last bit because my father and I were stumped when the waitress kept putting all our food beyond our reach on the left side of the table. I figured there must be some reason to the contrived plate handling, so I looked it up on their website and there it was: “German dishes served family-style in the middle of the table”.

Even the small serving of pumpkin soup.

It’s an amusing illustration of how things are often followed to the l-e-t-t-e-r here, even though sometimes it might not make much sense to do it exactly the way you’ve been told.  But deviation is not common.

Neither are smiles. The women serving us are pretty, trim blondes with their hair neatly bound and their cheeks rouged but in the two hours that we sit there, not one of them smiles maybe that doesn’t come with the lunch deal? Maybe you have to go for the more expensive dinner if you want a smile? Read more of this post

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