Generations War with Braun
This year, Braun turns 100 years old, so they challenged me: cook the same dish two different way - the older generation does it by hand, the younger by using the latest and greatest Braun has to offer in the kitchen. My dad and I did not hesitate, and agreed to accept the challenge! We had to decide on a dish first - we both love food from around the world, but for this challenge, we decided on a dish from our native Peru: Causa Rellena. The word "causa" actually comes from the Quechuan word 'kausaq' which means "gives life," and refers to the yellow potato (papa amarilla). "Rellena" refers to the stuffing. Making this very Peruvian dish we can use a lot of tools Braun has come up with in the last century.
Old tools vs Braun tools: Here are all the things we will use for our Causa Rellena. On the left, my dad's manual tools; on the right, my modern Braun helpers. I always wondered how much modern tools make our life easier and now we are going to prove it.
1 kg potatoes
A handful of shrimps
Peruvian chili (or Sriracha to substitute)
Salt & Pepper
We start by peeling the potatoes. There is never an easy way here, so we just have to use a peeler. Then we steam the potatoes. I prefer steaming over boiling, as they keep their consistency better and don't get soggy or fall apart.
We finished our mise en place - each of us has the same exact ingredients. As you can see, my side is stocked with the latest and greatest tools from Braun. I have the Multiquick citrus juicer , where my dad has an old hand press. I have my Multiquick 9 with active blade, my dad has a whisk. To mash my potatoes, I have the masher attachment for the Multiquick, my dad will have to use his hand masher. And finally, to cut things small, I have the Multiquick chopper attachment, and my dad has a knife. Let's see who finishes first, or does it better in our Braun Generation Wars!
Mashing potatoes was not even close - I finished way before my dad. The masher attachment for the Multiquick performed splendidly - the potatoes get mashed, but not overly so. I like my mashed potatoes with a few chunks here and there, and it delivered. My dad's potatoes turned out great, but it took him a lot longer. I used the time to start cleaning a little. Once mashed, we add some salt and chili to the potatoes. If you cannot find Peruvian chili, Sriracha sauce will do.
Next we needed lime juice from fresh limes. By hand, that can get a bit strenuous, as my dad's complaints confirmed. Using the Braun citrus press was a breeze, and again, I was finished ahead of my dad, and with no hand cramps. I used this time to boil the eggs - we each needed two hard boiled eggs, so I just boiled them all to give my dad a break.
The citrus press is amazing, it extracts so much juice with minimum effort. I also like how this newer generation has a shut-off, so you can collect the juice first, then drain it into a glass or other vessel. This press is so easy to use, we decided on an orange subscription and we will make our morning orange juice ourselves form now on!
Our next challenge was the mayonnaise. Did you know that back in the day, mayonnaise was made with an egg beater? I am so happy I can make mayo in less than a minute with my Braun Multiquick hand blender. Due to my job, I always have oil and eggs on hand, which means I always have mayo just a (Multi)quick minute away! My dad got tired of beating that egg and oil with the whisk after a few minutes, and cheated by taking my Braun Multiquick to finish the job!
The last step was cutting onions.. who likes cutting onions? a special tip if you don't have a Multiquick, put your onions 10 min in the freezer before cutting, then the juices of won't splash into your eyes and make you cry. My dad did this, which slowed him down even more, but at least his eyes were clear. For me, it was a breeze again with the chopper attachment. Again, not even close.
Next, we mix the hard boiled eggs, mayo and shrimp, and cut some avocado. Causa is made like lasagna, it's all about layering. We start with a layer of the mashed chili potatoes, add a layer of avocado slices on top, followed by a layer of shrimp-egg-mayo, and topped off with another layer of potato. As you can see in the pictures, my dad and I decided on different decorations on the very top - I went with shrimp, he added a slice of egg. Do what feels right, there are no hard rules.
Same dish two generations, they tasted awesome. Mine was very easy and fast to make, my dad's was more difficult and took a lot of time, but at the end we both excelled to make this dish. But to be honest, I like the Braun way better. So many steps were either sped up or made easier or both, there is no way I would go back to doing everything by hand. Causa used to be a labor-intensive dish, but with the right tools, I can whip this up for a quick lunch, without compromising on flavor.
A full video of us making this dish is in my IGTV at @twofoodieseating in Instagram. Thank you, Braun, for this exciting challenge. Not only did my dad and I have a fun afternoon cooking together, but the whole family enjoyed the fruits of our labor, and everyone loved the causa - hand made or with Braun's help, the taste testers loved them both.
Nikkei - a word for a Japanese emigrant or a descendant of a Japanese emigrant in other parts of the world. In the early 20th century, many Japanese citizens left their home country in search for a better life. Many settled in Peru to work on plantations. As is so often, these immigrants brought their cuisine from home, and it melded with the local ingredients and customs. In Peru today, Nikkei describes the distinct cuisine that grew out of this migration.
Having grown up in Lima, I was often exposed to Nikkei cuisine, both outside as well as inside the home, and it earned a special place in my heart. When Hasan from Oceanis Comestibles asked me to create something with scallops for our next collab, I knew that I had to put my own twist on a Nikkei dish. The result: Scallop Tiradito. A traditional tiradito is raw fish sliced like sashimi, with a spicy sauce. My twist is to substitute the spicy sauce for an emulsion of coriander, garlic, ginger and chili. Follow along in creating this delicious and beautiful appetizer.
400g scallops (since this is a raw dish, make sure you get the freshest product possible)
5 small potatoes
Scallop shells for plating
Leche de Tigre
10g white fish, e.g. end pieces from your local fishmonger
1 garlic clove
1.5 tbsp ice cold water
1 pc. Ginger, about the size of a finger tip
Some chili powder
75ml vegetable oil
1 small bushel of coriander
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of pepper
50ml vegetable oil
1 small bushel of coriander
Chill the scallop shells in the refrigerator for a few hours. This will ensure that the tiradito stays cold while you are plating. Next, steam the potatoes in a pot with steamer basket and let them cool down.
Leche de Tigre:
We start with leche de tigre. While this marinade is used to cure fish in ceviche, we are repurposing it for our emulsion, to give it a traditional flavor in a new presentation. Since we use coriander later on in the process, we are not adding the traditional cilantro stems here. Start by squeezing the lime. Mix the juice with all other ingredients for leche de tigre with a mixer, then chill.
Now add the finished and chilled leche de tigre to the emulsion ingredients, and mix with the hand blender. You are aiming for the consistency of mayonnaise here, so make sure your device is up to snuff. I found that Braun is really on top of things here, and my hand blender does an excellent job and is easy to clean between dishes. Once you have reached the desired consistency, add chili powder and salt to taste, fill the emulsion into a piping bag, and chill.
Blend the oil and coriander with the hand blender, squeeze through a cheesecloth, and put aside. This is an extra step I added after seeing that the dish lacked a bit of depth, as well as color. It’s simple, but effective.
Cut the raw scallops with a sharp knife into thin slices. Place a half potato onto the shell, then drape the scallop slices over the potato in a pine cone pattern, until the potato is covered. Squeeze an amount of emulsion the size of a small walnut onto the scallop slices. Drip some coriander oil around the base of this creation, then decorate with greens like salicornia and micro greens and chill until ready to serve.
Go ahead and give Nikkei cuisine a try, you will not be disappointed. Serve this tiradito as an appetizer for your next dinner party, especially if you pair it with a dry white wine or champagne. I guarantee it will taste amazing and might expand your culinary horizons to my culture of origin.
A Socially Distant Birthday
I am not telling you anything new when I say 2020 has been crazy - we all lived it so far, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Like everyone else, I have many personal stories about how the pandemic impacted me and my family. Today I want to tell you about Pepa’s fourth birthday. If you follow my blog, you know that Pepa and I are social creatures, and leaving our friends behind in Berlin was already tough, but we made a few new ones in the Black Forest before COVID-19 forced us to shelter in place and cut us off from these new friendships. Here we were in March, cut off from most interactions with people around us, just Pepa, Otis and I, with the occasional visit to my parents. I knew that this would not be resolved by the time Pepa’s birthday rolled around in May, so I got to planning for a socially distanced birthday party.
Together with mytoys.de and Pepa’s friends and family, I set to create a new kind of birthday party - one where we bring the party to each individual guest, not the other way around. But I am getting ahead of myself.
When I started planning, I knew I could not have a regular party with guests and cake and games and all the good stuff that makes a little girl’s birthday a special event in her young life, but like with everything in life, I had to adapt. Party at our place was out, many people together was out, so what could I do? I could bring the party to her friends. I spoke with all her friends’ parents, her grandparents, aunt and uncle, and we agreed that I am bringing the party to them, one by one.
I ordered small individual gifts at myToys, one for each family we would visit. I wrapped them in some cool reversible paper that came already pre-cut in the perfect size, no fiddling big rolls, and brought them to each family ahead of the big day. I also created individual cake-and-party-favour bags with a unicorn plate, a cupcake, a slinky, unicorn tattoos and some other goodies, and attached a balloon filled with helium to each one to make them easier to find later. Everything was unicorn-themed. On Pepa’s birthday, Pepa dressed up in her unicorn outfit, and we set out for the treasure hunt.
We followed a pre-drawn path with chalk and walked to her first friend’s house, and were greeted at the door from a safe distance. The friend and his family sang “Happy Birthday”, and instructed Pepa to search for a treasure in the front yard.
In turn, we gave each friend a party favour bag - or more precisely, let their friends hunt for it with a game of "hot/cold" (and made it easier with the aforementioned helium balloon). We repeated this at a few houses, with a lot of fun along the way.
We hopped and skipped to one house, including the grandparents house with music and laughter, and we soon had exhausted the friends list.
Pepa was delighted - she loved her presents, she loved having seen all her friends after almost two months of lockdown, and everyone had a good time. She was very happy about the Steiff unicorn, the Playmobil unicorn and a big and small unicorn from Schleich, but now it was time for the big one.
Pepa and I walked past some horse fields, and Pepa played with them, as she was of course a unicorn. We then went to the edge of the forest, and put on our explorer faces. We explored the forest, finding a few dead-end paths, but not giving up. Eventually, we came to a clearing and Pepa found her new bicycle - it was white and looked like a unicorn! She was over the moon. She rode it all the way back home, and could not stop talking about the excellent day she had had.
It was new for me and everyone else involved, but given the tight rules in this pandemic, this birthday party was a success that Pepa is still talking about today, six months later. From my side, I especially appreciated that the entire party and all presents cost me less than €270, including the cake, costume, party favors and presents. Thank you to all involved for making her day so special after two months of cabin fever, and thank you to MyToys for supporting us.
Salmon with Honey Garlic Glaze
As you might know, I am preparing for a move to Schaffhausen, Switzerland and I am already scouting the area and checking what a foodie can do there in terms of eating out and cooking. One place I found is Oceanis Comestibles. They supply our restaurant with fantastic fish and other delicacies. I was talking to the owner, Hasan, and showed him some of my recipes. He liked what he saw, and we agreed on a collaboration.
As our proof of concept, Hasan challenged me with a beautiful piece of salmon belly. All I asked him was to leave the skin on. I remembered some delicious local honey I was given a while ago, and went to work. The result? A beautiful salmon in honey garlic glaze, on a bed of parsnip mash. This recipe is super easy to follow, and the result is absolutely delicious. Let’s get started!
You will need:
600g salmon belly or filet, with skin
2 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp honey
6 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
60ml lemon juice
1 whole lemon
3 cloves of garlic
Some fresh thyme
Salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Add the olive oil and half of the butter (3 tbsp) to a pan. I like to use cast iron here, to get a nice quick sear. Cut the salmon into four equal pieces and sear on high heat for about 2 minutes. Carefully turn the pieces around and sear for another minute, until slightly crispy.
Remove the salmon from the pan and set aside. Cut the garlic into thin slices and add it together with the honey, lemon juice, and soy sauce to the pan. Let it simmer until it reduces a bit, and the consistency is a little less runny. I like to squeeze a fresh lemon here, but store bought lemon juice works as well - it’s only about the flavor in this step.
While the glaze is reducing, peel and cut the parsnip and potatoes into slices and put to boil. I like to cut the roots in slices to simply have them boil faster - you can also boil them as a whole, it will just take longer. I have not noticed any difference in flavor so far.
When you can easily cut a slice of parsnip with a fork, they are soft enough. Drain the water, then add the remaining 3 tbsp of butter and lightly puree everything. I like to still have some potato and parsnip chunks here, just for some added texture. Add salt to taste, and set aside.
Cut the lemon into thin slices, then cut the slices in half. Add the salmon back into the pan and baste with the reduced glaze, which by now should have a syrup-like consistency. Top each piece of fish with half a lemon slice and some fresh thyme, then put the pan in the oven and bake with the grill function for about 10 minutes.
Divide the parsnip mash over four plates, then top each portion with a piece of salmon, some more glaze and some fresh thyme, and serve immediately.
As you can see in the pictures, I don’t really have a cast iron pan, so I used my dutch oven. It still worked, I just had to be very careful when I removed the salmon, so it wouldn’t break apart. A cast iron pan is now on my Christmas wish list!
As for the dish, I could not have been happier with the result. Everyone loved it, and I cannot wait for the next challenge in this Oceanis x TwoFoodiesEating collab.
Tiramisu with Delonghi
With the cold season approaching, I was looking for a dessert to be light enough after a good meal, yet cozy to round off a chilly fall evening. If you know me, you know I don’t function without coffee, so after some deliberation, I thought what better way to ring in this season than with a tiramisu. To put a little twist, I decided to use my trusted ISI cream whipper - because why not? I have a slight issue with the texture of raw cocoa powder, so I substituted it with Swiss chocolate shavings, and I really liked the result. Here is what I did:
300 ml Milk
200 ml heavy whipping cream
300 g Mascarpone
50g Chocolate shavings
20 ml Espresso
100 ml Maple syrup
A package of biscuits (Ladyfingers or Löffelbiscuits)
As you can see in the ingredients list, I divided the amounts of espresso into the two separate parts. It's super easy to make with my Delonghi Dinamica Plus - a shot of espresso for the cream, and a few double shots for later. I like the fact that I don't have to do anything but push a button, and I can go back to other tasks.
Pour milk, cream, mascarpone, 20ml Espresso and maple syrup into a large bowl and mix. I like to use a hand whisk for more control, as I don't want to overdo it. it should have a nice, smooth consistency, but remember that you do not want to actually whip it yet - that will be the espuma device's job.
Fill the mixture into the whipped cream device. Charge with one cartridge, shake 12-15 times, and set aside. With an espuma device, the nitrogen oxide gas enters the chamber as soon as you screw in the gas canister. The amount of shaking determines how much the gas mixes with the cream filling, so you don't want to shake it to death.
Mix 500ml of espresso with 1 tbsp of sugar, and lightly soak the biscuits in the espresso. Start the assembly by layering a large or small dish with the biscuits. I chose small, individual dessert dishes, but you can also just use a larger form to assemble a classic tiramisu that you will cut into small portions.
Cover the bed of biscuits with a layer of the ISI. Add another layer of biscuits and cream, and top everything off with chocolate shavings. Chill until you are ready to serve!
36 hours in Berlin
36 hours. That’s the time we have. We are going to pack food and adventure into 36 hours in this new series. Why 36 hours? You might know that my life has had some impactful changes in the past few years. Two children, a move to the Black Forest, a new job, and an impending move to Switzerland - life became hectic, and I did not have much time for the “foodies” part of the blog. That is about to change. Not that I have more time, but I am shifting priorities. I am going back to writing about two of my great passions: delicious food in interesting locations. The caveat? I only have 36 hours. My new job is demanding, and I am working crazy hours, except Sunday and Monday - both days I have off, so any foodie trip can start on early Sunday morning, and must end late Monday evening. 36 hours. That’s all we have.
For our first trip in this series, Sven and I decided to go right back to my old stomping grounds - Berlin. As you might know, I spent a few years in Prenzlauer Berg. I lived and worked in this bustling part of this unforgiving city, and I loved every minute of it, so it was logical to start here.
The trip started with a 3:30 a.m. wake up call, and a very early drive to Zurich airport. We had discussed only a few spots in advance - not even really planned. One thing we both agreed on was that breakfast should be oysters. The classic spot would be KaDeWe. Neither of us thought to check opening hours until we were standing in front of Tegel airport - sure enough, KaDeWe is closed on Sundays. Where to? It was still early, barely 9:00 a.m. We decided to drop our bags at the hotel and see where this city wanted us.
We had booked at Gorki Apartments right in Mitte, and what a great decision that was. We were greeted in the reception and instantly felt at home. The apartment had everything we needed - and then some. The highlight was the gorgeous clawfoot bathtub and the high ceilings that reminded me so much of my old apartment a few blocks over.
As beautiful as the apartment was, we were restless. From the hotel we took only a few steps until I remembered how much I had missed this city. I realized I had not been a Berliner in a while, and I had forgotten that Sunday is hangover and party day - there simply aren't many places open for breakfast. I pulled out my phone and checked my own network - yes, one of my all time favorites would open at 10! By now, we were quite hungry, as the only breakfast so far had been coffee and a bit of tempura at home from the previous night. So we hastened our step in anticipation of what I knew would be a spectacular breakfast - we went to Tinman.
When we walked up, we saw the whole gang outside, and we were greeted like old friends that hadn't been gone for long. We chatted, and were ushered inside. The place is still bright and welcoming as always, the service I have come to love over the years was warm and personal. In no time, we were looking at Eggs Benny two different ways - one gluten free with bacon, the other with all the gluten and a habanero sausage. I was beyond happy that Tinman has not lost any of its charm - nor the food any of its quality. The team still makes some of the best poached eggs I have ever eaten. The bacon was sliced thickly and cooked to perfection, and the habanero sausage was a dream. Absolutely perfect as our first meal in these 36 hours. We left Tinman with a smile on our faces, a full belly, and a recommendation for the next day’s lunch. This was shaping up nicely. Little did we know that, just like our breakfast, plans are not our forté on this trip.
We started to feel the 3:30 a.m. wake-up, and decided to head back to Gorki for a quick nap. The quick nap, which lasted almost two hours, set us up for a spontaneous lunch. We hadn’t really planned anything, other than trying to make our way to Neukölln. The hotel informed us that they rent out electric scooters, so naturally, we had to take them up on it. I had ridden a Vespa in Vietnam, so how different can this be? Turns out, not much, except for a screaming man-baby sitting behind me, holding on for dear life. We took the scooter out of the hotel, and rode it up the road to get a feel for it. We didn’t make it far, because we spotted Yumcha Heroes a short distance ahead. Spontaneous dumplings! We parked the scooter, to the relief of the aforementioned screaming man-baby, and sat down. If you have ever been to Asia, you will be familiar with the wafting smell of steamer baskets filled with small delights. It is a distinct fragrance, usually unique to the back alleys of Taipei, Hong Kong, or Shanghai. Here, in this small street in Berlin Mitte, you are greeted with the same olfactory sensation, and if you close your eyes, you can briefly feel yourself transported a few thousand miles east.
Since I had been at Yumcha before, I knew pretty much what I wanted. Since we were still a bit full from breakfast, this was only supposed to be a small bite to hold us over until dinner. We settled on three kinds of dumplings: steamed black beef, fried orange prawns, and steamed Shanghai bao. These dumplings are simply on point, and they do their origins proud. The twist of coloring the dumplings adds a flair of Berlin to a traditional dish. Overall, as delicious as I remembered.
To contrast the great food, we observed a limping rat dying in the park across the street. Except it wasn’t dying, just playing dead. Sven was not amused.
After our improvised dumpling stop, it was time to head to Neukölln. Since I rarely give up control of anything, I kept on driving our electric scooter. Since I was not familiar with the way, the screaming man baby had to pull it together and guide me with his phone. We passed remnants of the Wall, and the trip only took about 30 minutes, to my delight and his horror, but we made it. We were a bit early, and our appointment happened to be in Wipferstrasse, which is also home to Café Vux. Well, don’t mind if I do try the dark chocolate chilli cake and a flat white.
After this quick pit stop, it was time to get inked. My friend Laura from Bowser Tattoos now works at Baby Berlin, and was gracious enough to fit us in. We had a few exchanges before the trip, and knew roughly what we wanted. We sat down, and Laura had started sketching a few things. We chatted, made some adjustments, and were lucky enough to witness her creative process. The talent she displays is absolutely amazing - she drew a steamer basket with three xiao long bao, the fourth missing, which became the second sketch. Just for fun, we threw in a partner to my alpaca “Karl”: Rubén. We think they are lovers, but we are not sure yet. Need to check back with them.
After we realized that our tattoos take longer than expected, we changed our dinner reservation. We didn't mind - not only because the tattoos were absolutely gorgeous, but also because seeing my friend Laura again was a delight, but what we were about to experience was also worth the wait.
We hopped back on our scooter, and raced back to the hotel to return the scooter. This was essential, because I was not going to be the designated driver for the evening. We dropped the scooter off and hopped in an Uber towards Friedrichstrasse to save time, where we had a reservation at Crackers. Yes, THE Crackers. I have been here a few times, but only for events, and I lead us down a dark alley to what I believed the entrance was. Turns out, that is only the entrance for events, and the boyfriend now was afraid of being murdered. So, out the alley we go, around the block, to find the actual entrance.
When you enter Crackers, you are greeted with the motto for your evening: “You’re fucking free!!!!!” And we realized how true this rang for us tonight, fourteen hours into our adventure. For thirty-six hours, there were no responsibilities, no pressure, just the prospect of good food and good company. For this evening, we had made plans with one of Sven’s friends, Marco, who lives in Berlin now, but whom I had not met before. He waited for us patiently, because we were terribly late, and he greeted us with a smile. The good company and good conversation part was there, so all that was missing was the good food.
We started out with Burratina with fig, lime, and basil, as well as the Stained Sea Bass and the Tartar of Beef, all of which was on point. This was followed by a main course of Filet of Salmon, a dry aged Entrecôte, and a black feather chicken breast respectively. The Entrecôte was tender and juicy, and the chicken was divine. Marco finished the Salmon all by himself, so I cannot comment on it, but the fact that nothing was left speaks for itself. Since our friend ordered the Salmon, I decided on one bottle of Mosel Riesling for the table, which complemented the dishes nicely. We didn’t want to get crazy just yet, we reserved that for later.
Instead of a dessert at Crackers, we decided that some craft beer was in order - who needs all that sugar, anyway. So back into an Uber we hopped and made our way to Mikkeller. As I had been here before, I knew they always have a Peter, Pale and Mary for my gluten free enjoyment. My partners in crime for the night decided on a Schönramer Hell and a Wildflower IPA. We only had about 30 minutes to closing time, so one beer is what we had. From here, the night still seemed young this side of midnight, so we headed across the street to Neue Odessa Bar.
Here we were first greeted with a suspicious look by the bouncer - and I use that term loosely, as she was only a hair taller than I was. After asking to remove our masks and inspecting Sven’s beard, she approved, and we were greeted with a somewhat full establishment, in which you could easily forget that there is a global pandemic spreading on the other side of the door you just entered through. Happy people dancing, sad people also dancing, but sadder. I made my way to the bar to supply the boys with a staple Gin and Tonic. We had a blast, and the night carried on, as it so often does in a place you feel at home.
Sven tried to play with my camera, and appeared to fail spectacularly to take a picture of me, yet created art inadvertently, and the picture perfectly symbolizes Berlin - not what you set out to do, somewhat gritty, but accidentally hilarious, just like the city that keeps going long after you wanted to quit. After two hours we see the lights flashing, and agree that we will not be swept out of this bar, not again.
We left, said goodbye to our friend Marco, and headed back to the hotel. The first seventeen hours of our trip were a glorious, roaring success. We had fun, we had food, we had drinks, and we had conversation. It was time to rest.
Our second day started slow. We slept in a bit longer than we had planned, as the action from the previous day was still palpable. We decided to go for a breakfast close by - Café Datscha it was. To our delight, they offer a very simple option to try lots of things, the “Arbeiterinnen & Bauern” (worker and farmer, as a play on the designation East Germany gave itself as the Worker and Farmer State).
We sampled scrambled eggs, salmon tartar, trout mousse, blintschki pancakes, baby buffalo mozzarella, eggplant ragout, rösti, avocado, almond quark, and sirniki. Everything was great, but the sirniki stood out, and it didn’t help that there was an uneven number. We eventually traded the last one for some more salmon tartar, and we found that this late breakfast had set a great mood for the rest of the day. Had Sunday been dreary, Berlin tried to make up for it with sunshine and a balmy 19°C this Monday morning. Because breakfast started late and dragged past noon, we knew we could not make it to our original lunch plans, a recommendation from our friends at Tinman. Next time, I promise!
Since the theme of abandoning plans continued, we decided to go shopping for a bit. Laces for my boots, a dress for Pepa and a shirt for Otis were a nice start. We kept just walking, window shopping, and feeling the fall sun on our skin, and chatted the afternoon away. Since everything is more expensive in Switzerland, I decided on a quick manicure and pedicure. The first three places were already booked out, so I ended up in the place I used to go to regularly. The boyfriend took the opportunity for an upright nap on a wooden bench, while I got pampered. By the time we were done, it was almost four o’clock. Too early for dinner, so we tried that ice cream place I heard so much about - Woop Woop.
It started out with what I want to call “flavour soup”, and you could choose from four different flavors. We went for chocolate hazelnut and raspberry cheesecake. The “flavour soup” is added to a bowl, and liquid nitrogen is poured over it, resulting in a spectacular display of evaporating nitrogen. Once frozen, the ice cream is portioned and toppings (or bottomings, as they go first in the cup) are added. Woop Woop doesn’t mess around - these were not pre-packaged toppings. Chocolate and crushed hazelnuts on one, and half a slice of actual cheesecake, along with a raspberry sauce on the other. Delicious!
Sufficiently sugared up, we continued our walk. After an hour we realized that our 36 hours are coming to an end, and we needed to be at the airport by 19:15. Continuing our spontaneity, we decided on the spot that phở was in order as our last meal in Berlin. As I said before, these were my old stomping grounds, so while we tried a few new things, I really wanted to go to tried and tested Đistrict Một.
You can see my many visits over the years on my instagram, but it is a place close to my heart, and i wanted to share it. We both had the phở, one with beef balls, one with sliced beef. We added some spring rolls and chicken thighs on the side for good measure. The authenticity of the food and the immersive decor always warms my heart and makes me long for my five weeks I spent with Pepa in Vietnam. This was a perfect closing meal for this trip.
After this early dinner, we headed out to Tegel. If you know me, you know I like to travel cheap to have more money to spend on food and wine, and this was no different. I refused to take a taxi, and we took a combination of subway and bus, with a bit of walking in between, but made it with plenty of time to spare. Finally on board of a full plane, Sven put his headphones on me, turned on our travel playlist, and I fell asleep before take-off (note to self: get me some B&O Beoplay H9). Writing all this down, I realize that we packed a lot into this trip, but I don’t want to miss any of it.
“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life ― and travel ― leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks ― on your body or on your heart ― are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.” Anthony Bourdain, The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones.
I can say that the marks this trip left on our bodies and our hearts are all beautiful, and only man-baby said the tattoo hurt a bit.
Help the MachMit Museum
Because in this crazy time, many people and places are struggling to survive, I think now is the time for some "sharing for caring" In this case, I am sharing with you how to help MachMit! Museum for kids to stay alive. This was our favorite place to go with the kids, and it was in my neighborhood. Because of all the actual restrictions, they are closed and struggling. So they found out a way for us to help.
I'll start talking about their Zwergtüten. You can find them outside of the museum and take them home to enjoy with your kids. They have fun projects like the necklace we made from the picture on top. You can leave some donations and just grab a project. Here I'll show you some we got to have fun with.
My niece came by, and we made "Fimo-Spoons". It works like play-doh, and you can bake them for them to harden. Now we have created 6 spoons to use for breakfast or delicious desserts. Super easy to make the kids love them!
You can help them buying some awesome shirts like one Pepa and my niece are wearing. They have 3 designs and they come in Kids sizes: 104 / 116 / 128 / 140 / 152, and adult sizes: S / M / L and they cost 20 euro.
Another way to help them would be to buy a voucher for your next visit or get an abo with them, you can find more info about this and the t-shirts on their website.
We loved making the necklaces from sticks, as much as the kids loved making stamps from Milk cartons. My niece, Sofia, is 10 and Pepa 4 and they had some days of fun with them.
We used the stamps to make postcards for all of their friends to send them some lovely sunny wishes. Pepa didn't know how to chose whom she should send all her cards.
Here you can see how the necklaces look like and the materials we used. Everything comes in the Zwergetüte... even the spoons and sticks.
Both girls were so distracted and entertained that I got to have some fun with Otis and my sister. And have a breather of the constant need to entertain the kids. And last but not least, we made some wooden creatures.. Look at our piggy!
So let's save MachMit! Get a t-shirt or a voucher or get yourself some awesome projects to make at home with the kids... but do something! I really hope to be back there with the kids once the Pandemic is over. Thank you all!
MACHmit! Museum für Kinder gGmbH
Telefon: 030 74778200
DIY Tonie Shelf with Paper Holder
I bought a long time ago a paper roll holder at IKEA, but it just didn't fit Pepa's desk. So it has been stored waiting for me to use it in a project. After having a big drama at home because we couldn't find a Tonie figure for some weeks, I decided to get a shelf or something to store them while being accessible.
I found some cool ones, but sadly they were WAY out of my budget. Then a little light bulb went on over my head, and I decided to make a Tonie shelf with the paper holder in it included.
This corner started as a sink. I removed the sink and painted the wall. So how to go from this picture on the left to the one of the right? First, let me tell you what you need:
IKEA MÅLA holder and Paper
20 Screws 3,5 or 4 cm long
1m2 thin wood sheet
2 boards 2m x 4.5cm or 4 boards 1m x 4,5cm
Water level stock
Sandpaper or sanding machine (paper 80, 120 and 240)
2 colors of wood paint (water-based and childproof would be best)
2 long screws to install in the wall. at least 10 cm long
Patience and a helping hand
It looks harder than it actually is... so don't get scared of the pictures. I am sure I could have made it on my own, and I know every one of you is able as well. As I am into sustainability and in a low budget, I used only materials I had at home. The only thing I bought was the Ferro strip for 9 Euro in Amazon (which I purchased with credit I had sitting there for a while). Altogether, this took about 4-5 hours plus installation. But I separated the job in 4 sittings.
I used the back of a closet for the main wooden board, some old floorboards for the shelves (they are pretty uneven as we tried to make them as close as possible) the paint was the one I used for a dollhouse and a closet I refurbished, and I always have screws at home ;)
First, assemble the MÅLA. Every moving parts should be fixed, so add some wood glue and let it rest for the night. I added extra screws to attach all parts because I know my kid, so I rather have everything sitting pretty tight and fix. You can use any kind of screws, really. Just be gentle and do it slowly as the wood from MÅLA is very light and easy to crack.
About the design, I went for a cloud as Pepa had this super cute cloud pillow on her bed, and I thought it would be nice to integrate it on this shelf. But you can make any form: a square, rectangle a heart, whatever you want. I measured the Tonie figures and the area between bed and wall and drew this. You can do any size really, just be sure to plot it in advance. (you can see the plan in the video at the end or in my IGTV)
First, draw the MÅLA on the wood. Then using a water level stock, draw the lines where your shelves should go. Please be sure to measure a million times if you don't have a water level stock as this is the heart of your construction. If your design seems too big or too small, here is the time to fix that.
Now is the time to draw the form of the whole shelf. You can freestyle or use plates to make the circles. I applied an old school technic: use a thread and a pencil and put your finger in the center of the ring you want and draw. It took quite some tests until I got exactly the form I liked. Don't be scared of drawing and redrawing, You will be sanding this, and you won't see it. Now cut. You can do it by hand with a saw, but it is always more comfortable with a power tool.
Don't forget to cut the boards/shelves in the length you want. And don't worry if they aren't perfect. Mine was very uneven, and I didn't have enough wood to go all the way to the edge on my top one.
Now get a helping hand... or a couple of clamps like these. Fix the shelf where it is supposed to stay. From the back, using a drill, make 3 to 4 holes all the way into the shelf board. Repeat this for all shelves. Now, all holes are on the board and on the shelves boards, so it easy to assemble later on with no mistakes.
Once it is done, check if everything is ok and if it looks good on the wall. Now we need to work on those surfaces. At the moment, all edges are rough, so you need to start with the sandpaper. This is what makes a piece of furniture look good. I will say start with a sandpaper 80 for the edges, then 120 and to finish 240.
Add the screws from the back but just deep enough so you can see only the tip from the front (OMG have you seen how old and dirty the closet back was? haha)
Now you can attach the shelves quickly and screw the screws all the way in. Attach the MÅLA to it with the screws you will use to install it to the wall. And now the shelf is ready... unless you want to paint it... I like adding at least one layer of varnish to protect the wood from weather and dirty hands. Don't mind the clamp there... I screw way too much and deep, so I got a crack on the MÅLA. If this happens to you, just use wood glue and put some weight on it and let it dry with the screw inside.
Take everything apart again. Now is time to work closely on each part. If you are as annoying as I am, check every little millimeter for rough edges and make them as smooth as possible by hand.
Varnish the mainboard transparent on the back and front just to seal the wood, and it stays pretty and straight for years...If you aren't adding color, varnish all pieces and let dry for a night. I used extra matte varnish for a natural wood look.
Cut the Ferro Strip the same length of each shelf board and paste it. Be sure the wood doesn't have dust before you do this. The edges of the Ferro strip are a bit sharp, so I sandpaper them a bit.
Color. If u want the same "ombre" effect, you need two colors of paint. Paint the top shelf in the lighter color and the lower shelf and MÅLA in the darker color. In two little baby food jars, as they have a lid, I made the next 2 colors: the lighter one was 8:1 that means 8 teaspoons of the dark color and one of the lighter color and vice versa. But you can go creative and make it a rainbow or all the same color.
YES! you can paint over the Ferro strip, and it will need 2 coats. The Tonie magnetic system will still work, and no Tonies will fall to the ground. Assemble again once it is dry.
Mark your wall and make two holes, add dowels, and install the shelf to the wall. I added some installation glue at the back of the upper side, just to be sure it will stay even if Pepa hangs of it. Paint the screws in the same cold as the MÅLA, and you are done!
On this shelf, you can fit until 50 Tonie figures and a paper roll that will last for weeks. The figures stick pretty well to the Ferro strip, but it is still easy for kids to take the Tonies.
I hanged it over Pepa's Ferm Living Little Architect desk and bench, threw a Ferm Living Fruiticana rug, and put the little DIY drawers I made last year next to it. Hanged some of the DIY mobile I made for her and voila! The corner is ready. I am still looking for a lamp, but I have time until winter for that.
We have no more dramas trying to find Pepa's favorite ponies, no more stepping on them during the day with naked feet. No more papers are lying everywhere and buying books that break all the time.
Pepa now has her little corner, and I have some more order at home. And the Tonies are happy and safe as well. Did you like this DIY? Let me know if you build one and tag me please on your posts. Here is the video you can see on my IGTV with some videos of the process.
Spring is here, and even though we are all in quarantine, we can at least enjoy some of the great ingredients that are harvested at this time. In my case are strawberries and asparagus. It always gets a bit tricky to cook the same food for us three, as I am an adult, Pepa, a toddler, and Otis, a baby. So here is how I solve this including a video of it at the end.
As I am writing a book for some months now, one of the things I need to do is to try different kinds of cooking technics. KMB & Braun Household send me the Multiquick7 to try it out. I had a Stabmixer from Braun for 20 years, and it still works as if it was new. But much has changed in technology since 1999. And all the new features that it has made my life (with kids) nowadays easier. Now even more as I make all meals for us three at home.
Making meals for us three could be time-consuming if you can't make them at the same time. So this recipe won't take more time than a conventional method, and it will include a baby meal.
What you need for this recipe:
A steamer or a steam basket
2 cups strawberries
1 cup of apples in slices
2 garlic cloves
200 ml of neutral oil
a squeeze of lemon juice
a handful pistachios
salt and pepper
and a multiQuick7 of course
We start steaming now. Add the apples and 1 cup strawberries in the steamer or a pot with a steam basket. If your baby is 10 months old, you can add 1 asparagus. Add some water and let it steam until the apples are very soft. You can add some cinnamon to the water as well.
For the dressing, you need to make a mayonnaise first. This is super easy with the Multiquick 7. Check the video here or at my IGTV. Put in the glass the egg, oil, lemon, and insert the Multiquick 7 stab. Start blending with the Activeblade all the way down for a while until you see white coming up. Then lift the blade slowly until all is mixed and then push up and down until the consistency is perfect. This takes about a minute, and it is fools-proof. Add some vinegar to it until it reaches a dressing consistency.
Change from the Activeblade to the mini processor and use it to make the pistachios small. You can use any other nuts, but I love how strawberries taste together with pistachios.
Heat a pan with some oil and add the chopped garlic. Break the last part of the asparagus stems with your hands and fry them until they are golden and take them off the heat.
By now, the fruits should be done. If your baby has no teeth still, I would use the Activeblade again to make it very smooth, but in my case, I changed to the mashed potatoes accessory and puree it until the fruits were done. Put it aside and let it cool down.
In plates, add the lettuce and spinach, use the rest of the strawberries thinly cut, and the asparagus cut in 3 cm pieces. By now, the baby food will be at room temperature.
The cutest thing I got with this PR package was this lovely bib for Otis... Isn't it the cutest? I drool every time he wears it!
Now we are ready to eat. Add the vinaigrette/dressing over the salad and sprinkle the pistachio dust over it, and you are ready to eat.
As I never get to eat warm, because I need to feed Otis, and sometimes Pepa, at the moment, I am eating a lot of cold foods. This salad tastes delicious warm, or after some time sitting there.
Eating fresh food that has a similar taste to the food that you regularly eat, helps your kid develop the same taste in food as you have. This will help you in the future to avoid "food dramas" and unnecessary "double cooking."
Otis was a big fan of this food and couldn't get enough, Pepa had the salad and even got to help to feed Otis. This meant one spoon for her and one for him... kids!
Here is a short video of how easy it was to make this spring meal at home using Braun´s Multiquick7. I hope you liked this and you will make it at home. Please tag me in your stories or posts to see how you did!
Through Black Forest with our Fox
This Friday, we couldn't cope anymore with quarantine. And as we are allowed to go to the woods or outside to get some air, we decided to go to Tannenmühle, one of our favorite Black Forest restaurants since forever. No, don't worry, no one was there as it is forbidden to gather together in public.
Tannenmühle started as a mill here in the Black Forest with a tiny restaurant next to it. With the years, the restaurant got larger and larger, and they started breeding trouts, building guest rooms, and they even have a petting zoo and started breeding other animals like deers.
I asked Tannenmühle if we could have a small picnic on their premises, and they said yes! Hooray for us! We packed the fox, our picnic blanket and some snacks and drinks and drove to the small village of Grafenhausen, where my parents have an Inn. I thought I'll do a Fox Test and see how versatile it is for short trips. As it is a super light stroller and folds quite nicely, it is the perfect companion for excursions if you don't have the Ant already.
We usually walk through the woods these days, and we love that the wheels of our Bugaboo Fox can be locked for long stroller through nature, and it is light and easy to steer when we are in the city... A real All-Terrain.
Since last week the Fox2 is available with a couple of simple changes. The folding is supposed to be even more comfortable than it is now, and you can fold it in one piece. It has a peek-a-boo window like our Cameleon3 used to have. But I am super happy with our Fox first gen., and having the "Sister Board" is just fabulous as I can manage with 2 small kids while shopping or traveling.
Being in a place with as much History as Tannenmühle is fantastic and even better with such great weather. For the non-German speakers, "Tannen" means fir trees, and "Mühle" means mill...roughly translated. Our picnic was just in front of the old mill, as you can see.
Such a pity we couldn't eat there this time. They have mouth-watering trout specialties, which are prepared in a variety of ways, and have earned them an outstanding reputation across this area. And they sell their trouts as well, I got some fresh ones to grill this Easter Sunday.
On sunny days, It is hard to be outside with a baby when you haven't packed a parasol. But one of the Fox features I love the most is that you can use the stroller seat as a regular seat. So, Otis was protected with the canopy and enjoyed the time with us in the sun. With milk instead of Juice, of course.
It was so relaxing to hear the water of the creek behind us with laying down eating muffins in the sun. Being all alone in such a beautiful place. That typically is filled with tourists and locals.
After our picnic, we went around the premises walking form their restaurant and zoo towards their Inn. We couldn't use their awesome playground because of the quarantine rules, but looking at the animals and getting some fresh air was just what we needed!
We hope soon they will be open again and we can come and eat here and play with the animals and jump through the playground. Until then, we can buy trout and dream of better times.
Back to Bugaboo and our Fox. It was the best match for this small day trip. It was comfortable through the forest, practical for a picnic, little enough for my car, comfy for Otis nap, and it gave enough shade. Pepa had some rest on her board, and as it is so easy to steer, I was not exhausted at the end of the day... Yes! We love our Fox!
Shirt - Vila Clothing
Jeans - 501 Levi´s
Mules - Gucci
Cap - Zara
Shirt - Zara
Shorts - Non Signe
Shoes - Bobux
Dungarees - OshKosh
Shirt - Zara
Bandana - Disney Vintage
Shoes - Bobux
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I am Andrea, or as my friends call me, Jinx. I am a foodie living in Berlin, eating my way through life. Here are my recipes, cooking events, dining experiences and more...