mercredi 30 mars 2011


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We took our seats close to the front, still bundled up in thick winter coats and gloves in spite of the sun and the fact that spring is officially here. The seat next to the microphone was soon occupied by a young woman with her hair put back into a chignon, wearing a long ruffled skirt and knee high boots, perching an accordeon on her knee, one half of Duo les Gosses. As the first notes sounded, her friend rushed in from the back to greet her and began to sing. Dressed in a simple black dress with a red neckerchief and dark bobbed hair, she took us on a journey through the streets of her city where people go out dancing late, where the customer you have been longing to talk to comes and sits in front of you, about her heartbroken friend Lucien who felt suicidal. And then there were the songs of Edith Piaf which sometimes made us smile and sometimes feel sad. Next up was the Jeanette Hubert band whose lead singer strummed on her guitar, smiling at us all the time and singing songs in English about Sunday mornings and those little moments that make life special. Images came to my mind of San Francisco and the ocean which my friend Sabine had just been telling me about. The longer the concert went on, the more the music mingled with the delicious smell of hyacinths. There was a pang in my heart at the announcement of the last song, knowing that the festival was drawing to a close. This was my fourth year at the Herzgrün Liebeslieder festival, an event very few people seem to know about but maybe that's a good thing to keep it intimate. For the first time my good friend Chrissi couldn't be there but I didn't want to miss the burst of colours and songs. Some things never change; the man in the green felt suit sitting in the white tent in charge of handing out the precious tickets, the announcer who reads the favourite love poem of the artists at the start, the strange mix of people in the audience, including the woman in a large hat, secured with a pin and her friend who seem to go to every concert. As we came out, still shivering, there was the sound of the rock concert in the opposite greenhouse drifting up towards the high roof and filling the Sony Center all around. The food there is unfortunately geared towards the tourists, pretty bad quality and overpriced so we headed to Nollendorfplatz instead for an Indian meal at Amrit with yogi tea, curry with large servings of rice and bhatura bread which burns your fingers and leaves them greasy. Warm once again, I walked back to the underground station, listening to the birds singing and hoping the rest of spring will be as good as this.

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Duo les gosses

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Jeanette Hubert and her band

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At Viktoria-Luise Platz

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Salad for dinner

To finish, yet another cookie recipe and yet again from Mingou but they were so popular with my students, it doesn't seem right not to share the recipe with all of you.

Lemon meltaways (original recipe from Mingou here)

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Makes around 30 biscuits

16og very soft butter
125g icing sugar, plus some extra for coating the biscuits
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of an untreated lemon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
260g flour
20g cornflour
a pinch of salt

1. In a larg bowl, mix together the butter, icing sugar, lemon zest and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
2. Add the lemon juice and salt and mix in.
3. Pour in the flour and cornflour and blend again until fully absorbed.
4. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a sausage shape of around 4cm in diameter. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or in the freezer for 15 minutes (I chose the latter).
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Remove the rolls of dough and cut them into round shapes of around 1cm in thickness. Place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper and bake for about 10 minutes. When they're ready and fully cooled, coat them with some icing sugar.
They can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

20 commentaires:

  1. Gorgeous spring clicks! Those flowers are marvelous.

    Your cookies looks irresistible! Citrusy treats always gets my vote...



  2. The event sounds wonderful, the spring flowers a sight for sore eyes, no blossoms here. I like the cookie recipe and will try it. Cheers.

  3. Your description of the festival is lovely. I especially like an event that starts with an announcer reading the artists favorite love poems. I'm taken with your photograph of the thoughtful little guy -- so sweet. You ended the evening so well, with tea and curry. Wonderful.

  4. Tres belles photos de printemps, j'aime beaucoup la premiere (on dirait un tissu Liberty).
    Tu es en train de faire toute la collec de petits sables de Mingou dis moi!

  5. The little boy looks as if he has an old soul. I could smell the hyacinths too...

  6. Cela sent bon le printemps ici ! C'est merveilleux !

  7. @Rosa - Good to know you're also a citrus fan
    @P.K - The buds on the trees are still shut and the blossom ha yet to arrive but it's lovely to see some colour again at last. More for the weekend hopefully.
    @Denise - It would have been nice to have you along at the festival too and i'm sure you could have come up with your own spring poem too. Tht event is so charming and a Berlin highlight for me. Curry is one of my favourite things and I should eat it more often.
    @Graceienne - La première ´photo est ma préférée mais je n'avais pensé aux tissus de Liberty - merci! C'est vrai que les petit gâteaux de Mingou sont terribles. J'avais très envie de ces sablés aux cranberries que tu as faits il y a quelques moi mais ce n'est plus la bonne saison.
    @Tracy - I know, the young boy with that grandpa headwear really tickled me. So dapper as well. I always forget in between how glorious it is to smell such flowers again.
    @Alice - Merci, j'espère que le printemps est bien arrivé en France aussi et que tu en profites pour faire de belles photos. Bises.

  8. Beautiful pics! Spring is on its way here too. I sat on my balcony enjoying the sun this afternoon, and spotted a few crocuses on my way home from work-yay! This little festival sounds very interesting. Sometimes, as you said, it is nice when something does not become too popular, as things change quite a bit when it does.

  9. Ravie qu'ils t'aient plu, mais ce ne sont pas MES biscuits, j'ai repris la recette sur un autre blog ! (idem pour les amaretti de Nilufer et les chocolate crinkles)
    (D'accord avec Gracianne sur la première photo)

  10. What fun little adventures. You mentioned the smell of hyacinths ... and now I'm longing for some. And those lemon meltaways would be nice as well.
    O, the photos are lovely...

  11. C'est bien ce que je pensais... l'arrivée du printemps est un délice à Berlin aussi et tes étudiants ont beaucoup de chance de goûter à tes délicieuses pâtisseries ! Quant à ce festival, ça avait l'air drôlement chouette !

  12. One of the reasons I love spring/summer is because it's music festivals time. I love going to concerts and listening to good music. When I think I have seen Dead Can Dance, Portishead and David Bowie live I can't believe my luck. All in Greece by the way.
    As always, I love your photographs. I've been meaning to ask you, what camera do you use?
    Have a nice weekend!

  13. @Pearl - Glad to hear you've had a little sunshine too. Such an amazing day here and I'm hoping to go to Sclosspark Charlottenburg tonight for the sunset. Just returned from doing laundry and I regretted not taking my camera because of the mass of blue flowers either side of the tramlines.
    @MM - Je te remercie en tout cas pour l'inspiration! J'aimerais bien une robe d'été avec des fleurs comme dans la première photo mais je ne sais pas si je peux en trouver ici.
    @Indie tea - The smell of hyacinths is so rich and magical - makes me want to get lost in the woods among a carpet of flowers. These biscuits are really easy and I'm sure they'd be a hit.
    @Julia - L'étonnant à Berlin, c'est que le soleil et les couleurs reviennent tellement vite, comme une explosion, et on oublie le froid du week-end dernier. J'ai hâte de voir les aubépines en fleur près de chez moi. Je suis sûre que ce festival te plairait bien.
    @Magda - It must be amazing to go to festivals like that and there's nothing lovelier than a day filled with sunshine and good music. I'm going to look for some other nice ones in Berlin. Thanks so much for what you say about my photos; I use a Canon 1000D with a 50mm lens. It suits my style because I like to focus on small details but for buildings, architecture etc. it has some limitations. Sometimes I think about saving up for a macro one but I'm happy with what I've got for the moment.

  14. It's spring in Berlin! Unfortunately Paris hasn't greeting with the same weather.
    That venue sounds awesome...I wish we had something similar happening in the next couple of weeks (although we probably have, but I'd need to be more in the know).
    As for the food.. it looks scrumptious as always. Anything that has lemon in it is fine by me!

  15. Charming festival, Vanessa! Loved the red hats! We don't wear hats nearly enough in the U.S.
    It may still be cold, but seeing all those spring flowers must make you happy!

  16. Hooray for spring!

    Looks like you have nice light in your kitchen.

  17. @Pia - It was simply incredible last weekend, 23°C and pure sunshine. The trees became green and the flowers bloomed. I hope we have a proper spring though, not just an early summer and that Paris gets a little sun too. I'd like to share these cookies with you!
    @Barbara - It's pretty unusual to wear hats here too but when I see it, I love it and wonder why we don't do it more often. An old fashioned custom we should bring back!
    @Lecia - Yes, finally it seems to be here. Yesterday it poured with rain but today the sun is back. The apartment is actually a little dark because the windows are quite small but things have improved with the weather and I'm looking forward to taking more photos inside.

  18. Vanessa, please bring me a little bit of spring and teach me German. Please?...

  19. I'm sending some springtime your way, first class delivery of course! Seriously, hope things warm up in Canada a bit. You should come and stay for a while in Berlin, then we could go to cafés, visit markets and bake cakes together and you'd pick up the most important German vocab in no time.

  20. Tres belles photos de printemps, j'aime beaucoup la premiere (on dirait un tissu Liberty).
    Tu es en train de faire toute la collec de petits sables de Mingou dis moi!