Make Your Own: Chocolate Truffles, Chocolate Tart

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Dates and oats. Oats and dates. Dates and oats and figs and dark chocolate and coconut and and and.

These chocolate truffles are probably my favourite thing to make ever – I make them every week, keep them in the fridge to have with a coffee, or to give away as a gift.

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Since it was a friend’s birthday this week, I thought of making a tart, instead of dividing up the base into truffles.

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1 cup oats
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
2 tbsp raw kakao or good quality kakao
1 fig
Edible flowers (calendula, nasturtium, borage)
dark chocolate
coconut milk

Soak dates in a few tablespoons of hot water overnight, or at least a half an hour before blending. You can skip that step if you use Medjool dates.

    • Mix up the oats, dates, and kakao well
    • Blend for a minute or two until you have a smooth paste. If mix is a bit dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time – you can’t reverse this step so add extra liquid only a tiny bit at a time.

If making truffles, spoon out a ball of the paste, roll it in your hands and roll the ball in your topping (I love desiccated coconut for this).

If making a flat tart, place a scone cutter in the desired size on a piece of greaseproof paper, and fill the paste inside. Smooth over the top with a spoon as much as you can. Pop it in the freezer for a few minutes.

    • Melt dark chocolate in a bainmarie
    • Once melted, add 2 tablespoons coconut milk (this means the chocolate covering will be more of of a softer ganache, instead of a hard chocolate covering which is difficult to cut)
    • Take date base out of the freezer (if making the tart)
    • Slather chocolate ganache all over the date base / truffles
    • Add fruit, edible flowers, figs, or nuts and seeds as a topping
    • Leave in the fridge to cool

Keep in an airtight container for a few days. They probably won’t last that long though 🙂

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These truffles have dark chocolate drizzled over them (no added coconut milk). You can see the chocolate covering is much more dribbly and thin. It’s alright for the truffles because they are bite size and you don’t need to cut them, but I advise making the softer ganache for a tart. Ok! Ok.

 

Original Unverpackt – Burp Podcast Episode 3

In our third episode, please enjoy my conversation with Milena Glimbovski, founder of Original Unverpackt, an innovative zero-waste supermarket in Kreuzberg, Berlin dedicated to offering locally sourced, organic produce and products. At Original Unverpackt you are encouraged to bring your own containers to fill up on the groceries you need. We like that!

Milena Glimbovski

Listen in to hear how exactly the zero-waste philosophy works in a supermarket, what kind of products you can find there, the new projects they’re working on, and insight to starting an innovative business.

Original Unverpackt is celebrating their 1 year anniversary this Saturday September 19th, so stop by and wish them a happy first birthday! More infos in the FB event.

Berlin Coffee Festival

Did you notice a more jittery general public over the last few days? Last week the first ever Berlin Coffee Festival took place: here are some impressions from the market which was held at Markthalle Neun on Sunday. Lots of Berlin’s favourite coffee folk were there – Blaue Bohnen, Five Elephant, The Barn, Bonanza Coffee. There was also something different on offer: my highlights were the Prana Chai tea, and the “Coffee IPA”, a collabeeration (sorrynotsorry) between the Barn and Heidenpeters Brewery.

After paying the 5 Euro entry fee, you could have a taster at any, if not all, of the stands. Much coffee. Much much coffee. Slices of Five Elephant cheesecake were flying out the door, as well as Oma Marnie’s Pies.

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Entretempo Kitchen Gallery – Burp Podcast Episode 2

Burp is the weekly podcast brought to you by Berlin Belly, featuring interviews with interesting people doing exciting things with food and drink in Berlin!

This week it’s our second ever episode, and we are talking to Tainá Guedes and Thomas Meyer from Entretempo Kitchen Gallery in Berlin.

Entretempo’s kitchen is lead by chef and artist Tainá Guedes, author of the book “Kochen mit Brot” (cooking with bread, recipes against waste) and CEO/curator at Entretempo. Tainá has come a long way since she arrived in Berlin for a job which fell through – what happened next? Lots!  Find out in this week’s Berlin Belly podcast:

I recently attended a special evening of dance, music and food at Entretempo Kitchen Gallery: during the podcast we’ll talk about an upcoming dinner performance event at Entretempo with a similar theme, you can find out more here.

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Oat Loaf for Lazy Oafs

It’s the weekend. Can’t be arsed with kneading dough for 10 minutes but still want a freshly baked vehicle for your butter / gooey egg / cheese?

Step right up: OAT LOAF. Made of the simple things in life: oats, and yogurt.

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Also: technically oats are gluten free. Buy a package which states gluten free, and use gluten free baking soda to fully ensure the gluten free-ness.

500g oats
500 ml natural yogurt
2 tspns baking soda
1 tspn salt
2 tblspns olive oil
Optional:
Garlic
Rosemary
Sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 180ish C

When you’re measuring out ingredients increase the effortless level and use the 500ml yogurt tub to measure out 2 tubs of oats. None of this weighing malarkey. I toasted the garlic in the olive oil first, and but you can skip if you want. Add whatever herbs or seeds you prefer.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl
Mix wet ingredients in a bowl
Add wet to dry and mix, in a lazy weekend fashion
Turn out into your loaf pan (I used a ceramic dish and lined it with baking paper)
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. For the last 10 minutes, remove the loaf from the tin/dish and turn it upside down.

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Let it sit for about 10 minutes when it comes out of the oven: then you’ll be able to peel off the paper effortlessly, or take it out of it’s tin without sticking.

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Slather on your favourite toppings: avocado, gooey egg, goats cheese

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Oat loaf lazy oaf level: achieved.

The Best Pizza in Berlin

…comes out of your own oven!

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Sironi Bakery in Markthalle Neun not only offers delicious pizza, focaccia, ciabbata, maritozzi, and giant loves of freshly baked bread – but did you know you that at the Sironi counter you can also pick up bags of Italian flour to take home and make your own? Last week I bought a kilo bag of their Italian 00 flour to make pizza. Bonus: at the time I didn’t even realise, but it’s organic as well.

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Pizza is pretty simple:

1 kilo flour (this will give you about 6-8 pizza bases)
1 tablespoon salt
2 sachets of yeast into 650 mls of room temp-ish slightly warm water
1 tablespoon honey (or you can use sugar. Some people say honey adds colour and crunch to the crust (I agree). Try it!)

Add the tablespoon of honey and 2 sachets of yeast to the water, mix and allow the yeast to get busy for a few minutes.
Empty your flour into a large bowl with tablespoon of salt mixed through. Start adding the yeast mixture to the flour, mixing with a fork as you go. (You can use a flat work surface if you have ninja flour handling skills, but I’m too messy so I use a bowl.)

Flour a clean work surface and turn your dough out of the bowl. Knead the heck out of your dough for about 10 minutes. Daydream about eating pizza to help pass the time. Words that describe what you’re looking for: smooth, elastic, springy. This takes about 10 minutes to achieve, and your dough won’t rise if you don’t knead it for long enough, so hang in there! Stretch the dough away from you, stretch it between your hands, turn, repeat. After kneading, place the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with a clean teatowel and leave somewhere cosy (no draughts please) until the dough has doubled in size – at least an hour.

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Omg gigantic dough pet! Turn your dough out onto a clean work surface and divide it into 6-8 pieces, shape each into a ball. How many pieces you cut your dough into, depends on what size pizzas you like. Freeze some for another day, or use them all fresh if you’re having a pizza parrrrrrty.

Flour each ball of pizza dough and cover with clingfilm, leave to sit for 20 minutes. Crank up the oven to VERY HOT (I set mine to 250 C, it never seems to quite there, but it tries). Put your tray in to heat up, which helps with cooking the base. Use pizza stone as per instructions.

Now flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll out your pizza bases to desired thickness. Transfer the base to the pizza stone or tray.

For tomato sauce:

1 tin tomatoes (organic if you can, there is a difference in zinginess, taste and brightness of colour)
3 cloves garlic
salt, pepper
olive oil

Using a blender, blend the tomatoes and garlic together and season with salt and pepper. Don’t cook the pizza sauce, it will cook on top of the pizza, and the taste will be much more vibrant (plus you save time and pots).

Slather the tomato sauce on to your pizza, add whatever toppings you like. Roll over the edges of the pizza base to create a little border to stop toppings oozing out the sides.

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Pop it into the oven and keep an eye on it, can take 12-15 minutes at 250 C (my oven).

Of course, nothing compares to the real thing. You’ll still find me queueing for my fix of a Sironi Margherita slice. I only hope you try to make your own pizza sometime, it’s fun, it tastes great, you save money, and time.

Breaking down the cost, I think the Sironi flour was around €3.50, the organic tinned tomatoes were about 80 cents, and mozzarella 55 cents. You could make four good size pizzas with those toppings, and have 4 bases stashed in your freezer for a rainy day. You can also use organic bread flour (type 405) to make the pizza base, which you can find in supermarkets here for about €1.

Kombucha Berlin Society – Burp Podcast Episode 1

Burp is the weekly podcast brought to you by Berlin Belly, featuring interviews with interesting people doing exciting things with food and drink in Berlin!

In our first episode we meet Audie and Lucy from Berlin Kombucha Society – a new drinks company based in Berlin offering small-batch seasonal fruit and veggie flavoured kombucha: it’s raw, it’s naturally bubbly, it’s stored in stylishly designed glass flip-top bottles, and it’s likely stocked in a cafĂ© in your kiez.

The Burp podcast is hosted by Elizabeth Rushe. Now repeat after me: a symbiotic-colony-of-bacteria-and-yeast!

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Look for the Berlin Kombucha Society bottle next time you reach for a beverage in your local caff.

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The vibrant colour of this apple & blueberry kombucha by BKS

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Audie and Lucie of Berlin Kombucha Society

Inner City Greens – Botanical Garden Blankenfelde

Growing your own food and sourcing local products like honey and err, cake is easier than you think in Berlin. Imagine a place just a short bike ride from the bustling Eberswalder U Bahn station where you can:

Bask in vast fields of wildflowers,

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Wander down laneways of apple trees,

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Enjoy fallow deer nibbling grass gently from your hand,

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Learn about beekeeping and take home a jar of Pankow honey,

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Pay a visit to the cactii,

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Grow over 25 varieties of vegetables and herbs on your plot to take home,

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And eat a slice of home made cake?

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That place is the Blankenfelde Botanic Garden!

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Only a 30 minute enjoyable bike ride from U Bahn Eberswalder, and you’re there. The Botanischer Volkspark Blankenfelde-Pankow dates back to 1909 and was a fruit and vegetable garden during both world wars. These days it’s a public park with a coffee shop, community garden, apiary and deer park – aka heaven. The first week I discovered the park I couldn’t get enough and visited three times.

The Bauerngarten community garden in the middle of the Botanic Garden is a wonderful initiative where you can rent a plot for a year – and you get to take home over 25 varieties of veggies and herbs during the growing season. The team provides you with seedlings, young plants, compost, manure, tools and advice. You can also just come to buy plants if you already have a garden.

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We collected some fallen apples (not sure if this was naughty or not) and bought a jar of Pankow honey from CafĂ© Mint – the botanical garden coffee shop with a beautiful range of homemade cakes. There are beekeeping courses on weekends starting again April 2016.

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Photos and text © Elizabeth Rushe 2015

Watermelon Salad Bowl

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We’ve all carried a watermelon at some stage. This time, carry that watermelon with pride, you’ll be putting together a delectable summer salad (and perhaps cocktails for two).

Watermelons are awesome because i) they are watermelons and ii) you can use them as the serving bowl!!!!! How cool is that. We like that.

This salad couldn’t be easier. Assemble your ingredients:

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These anniversary bottles of Bertolli olive oil were on sale at the supermarket. Straight into my basket.

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Watermelon (that you carried). Halve, scoop out the flesh, and chop it into bitesize pieces.
Feta
Mint
Red onion
Dressing: olive oil & fresh lemon juice
Optional: freshly crushed black pepper

Chop, crumble, drizzle and mix everything together. Transfer to the now hollowed-out watermelon and serve up.

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You can basically eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Great as a side dish if you’re serving meat, I had a large bowl for lunch. Next time I’ll try this with baked halloumi.

Of course, there’s that watermelon juice. When you’re scooping out the melon, drain off the juice every now and then, you’ll have enough to share a glass with your honey. Or have two glasses for yoself. (With a splash of vodka or prosecco, if you fancy).

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Watermelons are still in season so carry one home today!

Make Your Own: Flatbreads

These flatbreads are a gorgeous fluffy and bubbly bready side dish, ideal for dipping in a curry or seasonal soup, or slathering with hummus as I chose to do.

The glory of this recipe is that it’s equal parts yogurt and flour. Yogurt? YOGURT! Really? Yassssssss! Easy to remember, easy to get your mise en place all mised up.

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Go big or go home, so:

500g plain flour*
500g yogurt
1 sachet baking powder (16g)
Pinch of salt

Add baking powder and salt to flour in a large bowl. Add yogurt gradually, mixing well as you go. Once all the ingredients are mixed together in the bowl, flour your hands, shape the dough slightly and turn out onto a floured surface. Knead for a minute, just to bring it all together (the kneading required for yeast bread not required here!). This dough makes about 15 flatbreads (I like them about hand-size). It’s handy if you cut the dough in half, then cut each half into about 7-8 pieces.

*As we are in Germany, self-raising flour is a rarely spotted species. So add a 16g packet of baking powder to the 500g plain flour as a replacement. If you live somewhere with easily accessible self-raising flour, use it, and enjoy that luxury my friend.

Turn your griddle on to medium-high (or if you don’t have one, a heavy bottomed pan as I used). Roll out each flatbread to about hand-size, and use a knife to cut a few lines into the dough. Give each flatbread a couple of minutes on the heat for each side in the pan/on the griddle. You don’t need to add any oils etc here. It won’t stick, I promise! You’ll notice the bread poofing up and developing bubbles and gorgeous bihha char.

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For next-lev flatbreads, toast some garlic in olive oil in a seperate pan for a few minutes. Take the oil off the heat once the garlic is golden. Chop up a bunch of parsley and mix it through the oil. Brush your flatbreads with this garlicky, herby unctious oil, and then rub your belly with glee.

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One day I wondered if a flour and yogurt flatbread could me made, and lo I found Jamie Oliver’s recipe. It calls for self-raising flour, and uses a slightly less amount of flour. I also opted for oil instead of butter for the additional add-on slathering.