Sunday, January 11, 2015

Meals on wheels: Budapest, Hungary

Ok, ok, fine, fair enough, I won't make the hungry-Hungary pun on words... Fine then. Our annual Nutracker trip took us to Budapest in 2014. Apart from the absolutely stunning performance (definitely one of the best waltz of the snowflakes I have ever seen!!), we of course also enjoyed sight seeing, flea markets, hot springs and food!

I had a bad start though since I was too sick to eat anything but Tuc-trackers the first day. I guess it's fair to say that I did some catching up for that on Saturday when I, amongst other things, had two Strudel for breakfast...
In Budapest, make sure to have a look at the central market hall. Paprika is what will catch your eye wherever you look. 

Whatever you do, make sure to have a slice of this Zserbó at the Lipóti Pékség bakery in the market hall. It's one of the most delicious sweets I've ever had. And now that I just googled it, I found a recipe which I will definitely have to make in the near future.

Budapest is famous for its coffee house culture and we made sure to squeeze in visits to the two most famous coffee houses.

On Saturday, we went to Gerbaud, Budapest's most prestigious coffee house. I had a Gerbaud slice, which tasted out of this world. It features amongst others chocolate ganache and walnut-almond marzipan! (and might be the same as Zserbó?)

The place was packed, but the waitresses were extremely patient and friendly. The café looks marvelous, especially shortly before Christmas and it definitely has a k. und k. feel to it and almost immediately, you feel the compulsion to say Sissssssi and Frrrrranz! The prices are however also quite royal....

On Sunday, right before relaxing at the Széchenyi thermal baths, we went to New York Café, again an architecurally very impressive building and a coffee house with a lot of history - amongst others, Thomas Mann used to be a regular when he visited Budapest. 

I had one of their cake variations, while my sister had foie gras.

If you only have time to visit one coffee house, I would definitely recommend Gerbaud over the New York Café except what I really liked about the New York Café was the fact that they had a piano player sit and play in the café.

 copyright of all photos j.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year // Breakfast rolls

When I was a little child, I always woke up super early on Chrismas Eve, hardly able to wait until it was finally evening and we got to open our Christmas presents.

This year, I also got up really early. However, rather than the pre-Christmas-excitement, it was the alarm clock that woke me up at 6 o'clock: if you want to make breakfast rolls, you have to get up early! The beautiful sunrise made up for it though!

I learned to make these rolls at the bread baking course I took at Goldhahn und Sampson in September and though they require some planning and some TLC, they are very straight forward and taste so, so good!

Breakfast rolls

for the pâte fermentée (prepared at least 48 hours before you want to bake the rolls) you need

100 gr of wheat flour (550)
70 gr of water
2 gr of fresh yeast 
2 gr of salt

Mix the salt, the yeast and the water, then add the mixture to the flour. After one hour, fould the dough a couple of times. Leave the mix for at least 48 hours .

The day you want to make the rolls, take the pâte fermentée and

250 gr wheat flour (550)
140 gr water
5 gr fresh yeast
5 gr of salt

Even though baking is much more an exact science than cooking, don't worry about the exact amounts. I didn't have a digital scale and it worked out just fine!

Mix the salt, the yeast and the water, then add the mixture to the flour. Add the pâte fermentée. Mix thoroughly for about 10-15 minutes in the food processor until the dough has a dry feel. Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes at around 25 °C, then fold it 4 times (do not knead!). Then, let it rise another 30 minutes. Now, take the dough out of the bowl, cut it into 8 pieces, softly roll the pieces inot round balls without letting any air in the dough escape. Always place 2 balls close to each other on the baking sheet and let the rolls rise again for 45 minutes. Make sure to properly cover the rolls with a piece of cloth so that they won't become dry on the soutside. 
Preheat the oven at around 270 °C. Add a pan of water to the oven so that the rolls will bake in steam. Once the rolls have risen for 45 minutes, slice them on top with a sharp knife, then turn the oven temperature on 220 °C and put the rolls in the oven. Bake them in a lot of steam for 20 minutes, let them cool off a little and enjoy breakfast!
If you want to have breakfast at aorung 9-9:30, you should get up around 6 o'clock. Make sure you can take a nap in the afternoon :-)

Making these rolls should be your new year's resolution. I usually don't have any, except this year, my resolution is to: attend at least 4 protest marches and volunteer for asylum seekers and refugees. During the 1990s, when I was in elementary school, we had a Lebanese refugee boy come to attend my class. My mom made this little German/English sheet for me, because Hassan knew some English, but no German.

I think everyone should do things like that to make people who had to leave everything behind feel at home! I found it again when I cleaned out my bedroom at home and in times of Pegida, it is unfortunately up to date.

copyright of all photos j.

Friday, November 21, 2014


As I had to get back to Berlin from Bretagne via Paris, I decided to spent 2 extra nights there. I had been to Paris several times before, but that was a long time ago.

Actually, I didn't really want to go to Paris, but to Giverny (more on that in the next post). And it also turned out not to be the smartest thing to go to Paris in August, when 95% of its inhabitants, shop owners and chefs are on vacation! Mon dieu, the frustration of discovering that almost all the places (restaurants...) you want to visit are closed!

I did however by coincidence walk right into this little shop "au petit bonheur la chance" (13 Rue Saint-Paul, 75004 Paris) which sells objets trouvés from the past. You can find anything from clothes to post cards to linen to glossy prints, buttons, toys and rubber stamps. I went wild on the rubber stamps but could have just as easily bought up the entire store.

Since I had been to Paris and all its big tourist attractions before, I decided to take things slow and just walk around a couple of neighborhoods, like the Marais. Though I did enjoy myself and definitely have to give Paris another try when stores and restaurants are open, I just don't like it as much as I like rural France. (And it certainly didn't help that I had a throroughly upset stomach from eating a Tartar at a really, really nice restaurant. I so wanted to blog about it but didn't feel like it after I spent my first day back in Berlin in the bathroom...)
So when I wrote that coming back to France after not having been there for some years was like meeting an old lover again, visiting Paris was like the eye-opener when you remember why you actually once upon a time broke up...

copyright of all photos j.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cake Pops

Just kidding! Did you really believe I would disgust you with a recipe of aweful cake pops?

But the light bulbs that represented the Berlin Wall to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall just looked so much like cake pops covered in white chocolate!

The Lichtergrenze was absolutely fabulous, it kind of had a Christo-and-Jeanne-Claude's-gates-in-central-park-mood!

 copyright of all photos j. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014


I was mostly extremely fortunate with the weather in Bretagne: it was always around 20 °C or warmer and except for one day, the sun was always shining. 

I spent the last, rainy day, walking from Ploumanach to Trégastel and back.

Literally right when I got to Trégastel, it started to pour! So I walked into this bar, right at the ocean and by some weird coincidence, this bar (!) had an entire display of Kouign-Amann! Heaven! Kouign-Amann is a buttery-caramel cake that is traditionally made and eaten in Bretagne. I had one with a filling of fraises de Plougastel and a mint tea on the side. Why is it by the way, that even the dingiest bar in France has decent tea bags whereas in Germany, even some great cafés offer you the cheapest supermarket tea?

After having read the entire local newspaper at the bar and listened to the raindrops hitting the window, I put on my raincoat and started my way back to Ploumanach. Hiking in the rain was ok, though I think I would have freaked out if I had had more than just one and a half hours of walking ahead of me. 

copyright of all photos j.