Apple Cake with Brown Sugar and Treacle Icing

There is an expected amount of causality in cooking as in life.  Want a nice body? Diet and exercise (or if you’ve got a wad of spare cash, lipo and pain).  Want to get ahead in the world? Work your butt off.

So it follows, want to make superlative baked goods?  You need a certain amount of skill (acquired over time) and some expensive kit comes in handy (Hello? Making marshmallows without a stand mixer? Much much harder.).   So when I come across a recipe that is easy and fast to make, I am skeptical to the extreme.  Regardless of my doubts, out comes a fluffy moist cake, not too sweet, enhanced by a spectacular icing that takes the cake from healthy tasting (think oven baked apples) to one of those cakes where you scrape maniacaly at any streaks of icing left on the plate.Frankly, it makes everything feel a little topsy turvy, like finding a €10 note on an empty street, making a show of bending down to pick it up.  Pivoting on your planted feet this way and that, note held up high (as proof that you attempted to look for the person to whom it might belong) before shrugging your shoulders and tucking it into your pocket.  You still feel a little guilty though, don’t you? That this good luck was bestowed on you while some poor sod is looking for his tenner (Unless it’s my husband.  Walk behind him. He loses money every time he reaches into his pocket.  Shall I describe him to you?) Read more of this post

Steamed Apple Pudding (& trying to learn German)

The women’s toilette at Nopi is all mirrored, the door, the walls, everything. When you wash your hands and look at your reflection in the mirror you see yourself (obviously and hopefully) but behind your reflection, is another smaller you and another and another. I feel my brain’s mental eye expand until what it perceives is so large the edges of the picture wobbles, the picture implodes and then contracts into a tunnel, me hurtling through it into the tiny pinprick at the end before resetting to normal leaving an unsettling shadow of what just happened, in a fraction of a second.

I think German is having the same effect on me. Like a never-ending deck of cards, each with an answer, all furling out and laying on their backs, information bared as far as my eye can see and then just as quickly, *thup*, they get sucked back in, into a neat stack, contents impenetrable.When I say it’s hard to learn German people say, “Yes, the verb is at the end.” But where the verb is hanging out equates to a little Chihuahua nipping at my ankles, when the real problem is that I am locked in a cage with a hungry tiger.

Before melodrama overtakes me completely, let me explain (and also say to you all who have learned German as a 2nd language - hell even as a 1st language: RESPECT!).My grievances can be outlined in 3 main points:

1. The words are long. You will no doubt say to me “Ah yes, but they are mostly made up of words strung together, like ‘kugelschreiber’ which means pen - and could be translated as ‘ball writer’ because of the little roller ball in ball point pens. And I will answer back to you ‘Gänseblümchen’ which means ‘daisy’ but translates as ‘goose flower’.

And also,that my ability to stay concentrated is much like my ability to hold my breath under water, finite. So when I am confronted with something like this: ‘Verständlichwerweise, denn der Vogel war schon von Generationen von Köchen, die hier ein-und augegangen waren, getriezt worden -…”* my brain gives up and goes out for a smoke after the first word, which I think might mean ‘understandably’.

2. The capitals in written sentences are totally distracting, like visual Stolperstein (Stumbling Stones) without meaning. Equivalent to a news reader wearing a bright red clown nose. Anyone prone to distraction (me) will immediately think WTF? and not hear the news. Spoken German has a lot of consonants bunched up together (Someone help that man! He’s choking! Oh, no - my bad, he’s just speaking German), dipping down into vowels and then back up again. So that if I do manage to utter a sentence, I end up feeling like one of the Von Trapp kids crossing the Alps. It’s physical. Olivia Newton John would have not trouble working out to it.

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Apple Marzipan Galette - David Lebovitz

July and August was full of Plum Pinwheel Tarts in our Mitte Flat.  The arrival of Autumn means apples are here and right now my prefered recipe is this David Lebovitz galette.  Read more of this post

Apple Gallery - Apfelgalerie

For me, smell is the only one of the five senses that has the ability to yank you by your collar so that your feet dangle clear off the present and hurl you into some distant memory. That is what happened to me when I stepped into the Apfelgalerie in Schöneberg.  Wham! I was no longer a thirty something wife and mother of one, all of a sudden, I was a little girl, hiding behind my father while he negotiated with a man about some apples. Read more of this post


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