Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tarte Tatin with Whisky Apples and Blackberries

Our last trip to the woods didn't really work out the way we thought. 
Due to a lack of rain and high temperatures we hardly found any mushrooms. 
What seemed to become a rather disappointing trip turned into a quite successful day otherwise.

We went home with a basket full of wild carrots, Canadian golden rut, sea buckthorn, blackberries 
(so sweet, and definitely the best blackberries I ever had!) and apples, 
that we stole picked from trees near the forest...and at least a few mushrooms.

Wil made a weirdly delicious cold carrot dill soup for which he used the wild carrots 
and our homegrown dill seeds for flavoring 
(the carrots we picked were to hard and chewy to eat, but very aromatic!). 
We used the golden rut for tea. Not sure what to do with the sea buckthorn, yet. 
It's still sitting in the fridge waiting for something to happen...

But with the apples and the blackberries I decided to make my first Tarte Tatin. 
And let me tell you, that was not that easy. 
I probably didn't choose the best recipe... 
But I'll do it again. It turned out pretty well!


200g flour
50g sugar 
100g cold butter (cut in small cubes/flakes)
1 dash of salt
1 dash of cinnamon
plain flour for dusting

150-200g blackberries
1,25-1,5 kg apples (e.g. Cox orange or Granny Smith)
2 Tbsp Whisky
2-3 Tbsp lemon juice
150 g sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
75 g cold butter (cut in small cubes/flakes)


Preheat the oven to 200°C.

For the shortcrust quickly mix flour, sugar,butter flakes salt and cinnamon until it comes together in a dough. 
Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Peel apples, remove the cores and cut each into 8-12 wedges. 
Put the wedges in a bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. 
Add whisky and cinnamon.

Take a heavy-bottomed pan and evenly sprinkle the bottom with sugar. 
Place on the hob over medium heat, turning the pan frequently and making sure the sugar doesn't burn. 
Let the sugar caramelize. It's about right when it turns golden brown. 

Remove from heat and place one half of the blackberries over the bottom of the pan. 
Arrange the apple wedges on top of them and place the other half of the blackberries on top of the apple wedges. 
Dot the butter flakes on top.

Dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with flour and roll out your shortcrust until it's big enough to cover your tarte pan. 
Carefully lay the shortcrust over the top of the pan.

Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown.

Using oven gloves take a plate that is larger than the tarte pan and place it on top of the pan.
Holding the plate and the pan firmly together, quickly and carefully flip both, so that the pan is on top and the plate is on the bottom. Slowly remove the pan. The tarte should be left on the serving place with the fruits on top.

Let cool down for a few minutes.

Serve warm with vanilla ice or custard.


I will try a different shortcrust recipe next time. The dough was really hard to roll out. It was very crumbly, which is a common problem with shortcrust, I know. But still, I had better ones before. Even though it tasted really good.
The reason could also be that I used whole wheat flour with the regular flour as well...

I saw on some websites that you can also just use a cast iron pan for it. I'll do that next time, as well!

You don't necessary need to marinate the apple wedges in whisky. It still tastes really good without it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

ZULA Hummus Café

The best hummus in Berlin for good and reasonable prices.
Authentic Israeli cuisine served by super friendly folks who, if you wish, will explain how to best enjoy the different dishes.
Everything is fresh and homemade. 
The pita bread is warm and soft and the garlic lemon dressing rounds out the hummus' flavors perfectly.
Also try the homemade lemonade with fresh red beets. It's very refreshing!

That was our late breakfast...

ZULA Hummus Café, located on Husemannstr. 10 in 10435 Berlin.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tomato, Fresh Fig and Blue Cheese Salad

So for the past days we've been busy harvesting tons of balcony tomatoes and figuring out what to do with them. Every day there are just more and more of them.

Ok, the classics Greek or Caprese salad are great, but can get a little boring after a while.
So I looked through my cook books and searched the internet for a delicious alternative.

One of my favourite sources for food related news and recipes certainly is the New York Times Dining&Wine section. And that's where I found this Tomato, Fresh Fig and Blue Cheese Salad.

We've been eating this salad for the last couple of days. It is SOOOO GOOD!
Really easy to prepare and all those different ingredients are in perfect balance with each other. 
The figs add a subtle sweetness that balances the stronger flavor of the blue cheese. 
Together with ripe sweet but slightly acidic tomatoes, thyme, roasted pine nuts and a vinaigrette of olive oil, sea salt and balsamico, it's heavenly!

Seriously, try it yourself. 
You'll be surpirsed how good it is and how quick and easy it is prepared!


  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 large or 2 small ripe tomatoes, about 8 ounces, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound fresh figs, cut into quarters
  • 1 ounce crumbled blue cheese, like Fourme d’Ambert, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Black pepper.


1.       In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and salt. Whisk in oil. 

2.       In a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast pine nuts, shaking the pan occasionally, until light golden, about 2 minutes.

3.       Spread tomato slices on a large plate. Scatter fig quarters and pine nuts over tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese and thyme, drizzle with dressing and finish with pepper.

 Bon appetit!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Restaurant: Bandol Sur Mer (Berlin)

A couple of days ago we went for dinner at Bandol on Torstraße in Berlin-Mitte. 
photo source:Tip Berlin, Essen Und Trinken
Bandol is a strange little place. It is tiny with only a few small tables and an open kitchen that is almost as big as the service area. You definitely need to make a reservation for either 6 or 9pm.
First I thought this is another 'Berlin-bullshit-we are better than you' thing. But it actually makes sense, and I was positively surprised by how nicely it effected the atmosphere in this small space. Every table was served almost at the same time.

photo source:
There are usually only two set menus each night which, when we were there, were 49€ and 59€ each. They contained four to five different French cuisine inspired courses, of which each was written down on the giant chalkboards that cover most of the restaurant's walls. For those who were not able to read the quite questionable handwriting on the boards (me), they handed out printed menu cards. 

The waiters were very friendly and helpful. Ok, one of them was a little grumpy, but you know, more in a cute way. Not arrogant or anything. He just needed a few moments to get used to us, and then in the end he was adorable!

However, the other waiter offered us a wine pairing to each course which we happily said yes to, of course.
It was amazing! The wine was so so good, and I made tons of notes. 

To start off right, I had a glass 
Vilmart et Cie Grand Cellier Premier Cru Brut, Champagne. 

First we got a little Amuse Geule (greeting from the kitchen)
I don't fully remember it. But I think it was:
Chilled Red Pepper Soup and a Baby Scallop with some sort of sauce.

Wil's first course:
Red Mullet and Veil Head, Nettles, Capers and Lemon.

2010 Maison Moillard Bourgogne Chardonnay Tradition, Burgundy

(which had a very nice creamy and buttery aroma and texture),

My first course: 
Foie Gras de Maison with Apricots, Cellery and Brioche.
(I actually had promised myself to never eat Foie Gras again...Oh well at least it was delicious)


2009 Frank Brohl Marienburg Riesling Spätlese dry.
(unusual to pair Foie Gras with dry wine, but this was an excellent choice)
Second course:
Saddle of Rabbit and Green Lipped Mussels with
Passepierre Algae, Tarragon, Velouté and Violets

2010 Saint Bris Sauvignon Domaine Sorin, Cuvee, France

The waiter also made us try:
2006 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Muscat Clos Rebgarten, Alsace, France
This is a biodynamic wine, means it is produced in small quantities by only using natural sources
like the moon and sun rythm/power and homeopathic additives...something like that, and only the natural yeast of the grapes. 
The wine had almost a 'beery' taste to it, yeasty, a bit similar to lambic beer, but very elegant and subtle. 
Quite interesting. I could have drank more of that. 
Oh wait, I was already drunk...well, then maybe not...
So this must have been where the wine kicked in for the first time, 
because I obviously missed taking a photo of our third course: 
Tartare and ham from Schorfheide deer with corn and onions.

2005 Domaine Theulot Juillot Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise, France 

Ah, here we go again!
Fourth Course:
Braised Free Range Beef Tenderloin (served medium)
with Chanterelles, Rosemary, Kohlrabi and Red Currant

If I only knew!
I guess I forgot to write that one down, as well...damn it!

Ok, this is embarassing. No dessert photo, either.

Cherry, Praline and Yoghurt

2005 Gres Saint Paul Muscat de Lunel Rosanna, Languedoc-Roussillon, France 

To my defense I have to say, that really I was f***ing wasted by the time I walked out of Bandol.
The waiter served us way to much wine. He promised there would be small glasses.
But I guess he lied...a white lie, of course.

Well, it was a wonderful night with wonderful food and wine and really good service in a cosy and intimate atmosphere. 

And we learned so much about very interesting wines. 
 The prices for this kind of food were absolutely moderate and they gave us an incredible deal on the wine.

In my opinion one of the best restaurants I found here in Berlin.
I would definitely go again!