Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Dinner

I know we've all just got over it, but I'm going to bring it up just once more.. Christmas Dinner!
I put a lot of planning into Christmas dinner this year, researching and searching weeks in advance. It's a tradition between Isaac and I that we spend Christmas Eve together and then the big day separately with our families, and as this was our 1st Christmas in our new place I wanted it to be extra special. I was super organised too, making sure I'd everything we'd need in advance and that on the day I'd as much done ahead of time, so we could relax and enjoy the day fully!

Our menu was: a lentil, chestnut and cranberry loaf with a sticky cranberry glaze. With this we'd have roasted red onion and sweet potato with tahini and pinenuts, roasted carrots with pecan nuts and maple syrup and a basmati, chestnut and sweet potato stuffing. To finish we'd have mince pies!! A proper festive feast!

All the bits and pieces came together perfectly and we had a huge amount of leftovers (I was meant to have the leftovers on Christmas day with my family however I woke up Christmas morning feeling awful, so all I could manage was a bowl of soup!). It was a lot of fun putting it all together and we'd a wonderful Christmas Eve together. I was so spoiled with gifts from Isaac and my family. I put all my food/cooking related gifts together and thought I would share.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed every bit of your dinner too!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mini Mince Pies

IIIIIIIIIt's Christmaaaaas! And what says Christmas better than a mice pie? A little treat to be enjoyed with a cold glass of milk, steaming cup of tea or maybe something a little stronger?

The ones I make are based on the ones  I tried a couple of years ago from Blazing Salads. I use their recipe for the dough, which is very simple, vegan and takes no time at all to knock up! I used 50/50 white and wholegrain organic spelt flour. I like the pie bases to be very thin and crisp, so I par-baked them in the oven for 10 minutes before putting the filling in and topping it with a little star (I know my rolling pin is teeny tiny, I've had it for as long as I can remember. It came in a baking set for children but I love it!).

 I did however cheat slightly on the filling, homemade is always best but I found a gorgeous organic and sugar free version that tastes perfect, it's full of fruit and has just the right amount of spices. A teaspoon of filling was more than enough for each pie and I only needed one jar of filling. I ended up using half of the dough and made 20 mini mince pies in total.

What will I do with the rest of the dough? I guess I'll just have to make more..oh well!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Eating our way around Berlin - Day 4

My apologies for the delay in this post, a trip to London and getting ready for Christmas slightly got in the way! Anyway..

This was sadly our last full day in Berlin but we were determined to make the most of it and we really did. We started breakfast like the day before, the usual hotel kinda breakfast - cereals, breads, yogurt etc etc. For lunch we went to another lovely market  in Gendarmenmarkt (Berlin has over 70 of them so you're never more than a stones throw from a great one!). It had snowed heavily the night before and was bitterly cold so of course what else could we drink but more glühwine!! With mine I had a lovely homemade carrot soup topped with fresh coriander and Isaac had a bratwurst. Both went down very well and it was lovely to have good warming food inside us!

On the way back to the hotel we passed by another market and just couldn't help ourselves - more glühwine!! I had a blackthorn and elderflower wine and Isaac had honey wine, both would knock your socks off but were delish!

For dinner we found a great place that was highly recommend in our guide book called Chi Sing (Rosenthaler Straße 62  10119 Berlin) where we'd a fantastic feast! We kept with the theme of the day and ordered a gorgeous cocktail. Mine was the Chi Sing Sour - apple, green tea, peppermint, elderflower and vodka - and was amazing!! We started with grilled aubergine and sautéed spinach both with an incredible sauce, I cannot do the flavours of the dishes justice but we could have drank the divine juices from the bowls! We both went for the same main course, a gorgeous broth with crisp veg, rice noodles, tofu and lost of ginger. It was an amazing way to finish off our last day in Berlin and as we walked back hand in hand to the hotel with snow crunching under our feet we were already planning our next trip to Berlin!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Eating our way around Berlin - Day 3

We had big plans for day 3 in Berlin but decided that a quick fuss-free breakfast in the hotel (lazy I know, but it was just easier). Here's the view from our room.

We met up with our lovely friend Kate who is a wonderful blogger - check her out!  - and went to a really cool cafe called Blumencafé (Schönhauser Allee 127, 10437 Berlin). Blumencafé is split in two, one half is the cafe and the other a flower and garden shop. I loved the food, drink and company but one of the coolest features was the in the shop lived 2 parrots that could fly around as they pleased and could talk, one called Arno said "chüs" when we left! So cute! We all ordered a lovely pumpkin soup, full of flavour and perfect on a very chilly day. Isaac had tea while Kate and went for peanut milk (hot and frothy milk mixed with peanuts), it sounds mad but tasted delicious!

We then took the train to go to the gorgeous Christmas market at the Charlottenburg Palace where Kate was so kind to treat us to wonderful festive treats! Isaac got a chocolate coated gingerbread and I got a dried fruit and nut stollen (it was a healthier version of the original) which was absolutely delicious! Isaac and I then got to try our 1st Glühwine (mulled wine), he stuck to the original while Kate and I got blueberry flavour - amazing!!

As if we hadn't already over indulged we then headed to another market at Alexanderplatz where we got a bag of sweet roasted mixed nuts, which are far too addictive and a huge salted bretzel that we couldn't even nearly finish!

          What an amazing German food day. Bring on day 4!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Eating our way around Berlin - Day 2

After a great sleep we wrapped up warm and headed out to find somewhere nice for breakfast, we could have had something where we were staying but's more fun to find new places to eat.

We found a gorgeous bakery and cafe called Zeit Für Brot (Alte Schönhauser Straße 4  10119 Berlin), with shelves filled with freshly baked breads, pastries and sandwiches. I ordered their homemade bircher muesli, full of crunchy pieces of apple, seeds, organic rolled oats, natural yogurt and topped with a berry compote. It wasn't too sweet or heavy and was a lovely way to start the morning. Isaac went for one of their beautiful pastries, a sweet swirly bun with toasted almonds and a moist filling. We both had a coffee and then were on our way back out into the crisp morning air!

We went for an enormous walk that afternoon, almost walking half the city!! We thankfully we were able to stop off at a great little find called Yellow Sunshine (Wiener Straße 19  10999 Berlin), a 100% veggie cafe. Ok, this place won't win any beauty awards, or Michelin stars, nor is it in a great area..however their food definitely makes up for it! They serve pretty simple stuff, juices, smoothies, veggie burgers of all kinds and most importantly for any veggie in Berlin..vegetarian currywurst!!! and it actually was really good. We also had a "burger" without any sides, mine was just a simple veggie patty while Isaac got a chilli burger. We both had had our fill so stayed in the hotel for dinner and had something light (forgot to take pics, sorry!).

                                      Day 2 was a huge success and we couldn't wait for more!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Eating our way around Berlin - Day 1

Hey all, sorry for my few weeks absence, I caught an awful virus and took over 2 weeks to fully recover and after that myself and Isaac spent 5 amazing days Berlin. We did a huge amount of walking, sight-seeing, Christmas shopping and of course eating!!

We arrived in Berlin at around 2pm and after dropping off our bags went went in search for lunch. Isaac had heard about a Californian style burrito place called Dolores (Rosa-Luxemburg-str. 7, 10178 Berlin) and very thankfully we stumbled upon it! I had the "Dolores Vegan" and Isaac had the "Classic Chicken". They were enormous, full of fresh and tasty ingredients and both around €6 - a steal!! We washed them down with their homemade lemonade which was delish! I couldn't finish my burrito, it was too big but thankfully I'd an eager helper.

For dinner we stayed close by and went to a gorgeous Vietnamese place called Monsieur Vuong (Alte Schönhauser Str. 46 10119 Berlin-Mitte). It was really busy and filled with the cool locals but we managed to get a great table. We started off with a cocktail, I had a mango, orange, mint and vodka (yum!) and Isaac had a raspberry, chilli and vodka (double yum!).

For mains we both went with a beautiful noodle broth, mine with crispy vegetables, seaweed, cabbage wan ton, tofu and lots of ginger. Isaac went for a similar base but with chicken and Thai basil. We left with very happy full bellies and we very tempted to return a couple of days later. 

If you're ever in that area you have to try these places (and many more), there are some fantastic eateries in this wonderful and cool area.