mardi 19 juin 2012

Goodbye to Berlin

Bild 084 

 I picked out the title long ago after those wonderful Christopher Isherwood stories which describe a very different city. I've often regrretted not having been able to live in the Paris of the twenties or the immediate post-war period or New York in the seventies but with Berlin, I think I managed to catch it at a wonderful time back in 2007. Wedding and Neukölln were still seriously uncool, rents were cheap, the little bars and nighclubs by the Spree seemed there to stay and the property developers and tourists hadn't yet discovered it fully. Berlin is still a wonderful city but it's changed a lot. When I made my decision to leave about a year ago, it didn't seem so harda nd besides, it's rather like reaching 30, you know it will happen one day but never imagine it will really come around. Perhaps I was even a little sick of the city but in the past few weeks I keep going to places I love and thinking how much I'm going to miss all of this. Just taking the U2 line from east to west when it goes overground for a bit and you look towards Potsdamer Platz or seeing the Regierungsviertel at night from the S-Bahn - these are moments that will always give me a kick. This coming Saturday then (at 11:35am if you want to be really exact), I'll leave my home here and Berlin will continue to exist without me, just as it did all those years before as our paths were moving ever closer together. I know that cities don't belong to anyone but it felt good knowing that I had Unter den Linden or the Volkspark Schöneberg at my fingertips. Originally I had made a list of all the thing I wanted to do in my last weeks but I quickly abandoned that, knowing that the stress of the move would make it impossible to do that much and also that I didn't want to accomplish absolutely everything here because that would leave nothing to come back for.

Bild 017
Porridge and scones at the charming Hudson's cakes in Kreuzkölln

Bild 018

Bild 022

Bild 023

Bild 025

Bild 027
Check out the clotted cream!

Bild 028
The best cuppa

Bild 035

Bild 038
Wandering around Neukölln

Bild 040

 I feel very lucky  to have been abe to spend half a decade here, to have been a part of this and know that it will always have a special place in my heart. Back in Febraury I went to a Twin Peaks marathon screening with a good friend at a recreation of the Black Lodge and David Lynch's red room at a tiny bar in Neukölln. A thick layer of snow lay fresh on the ground but inside people came past with big slices of cherry pie and steaming cups of coffee and I chatted to some of the people around me, mainly artists. I though about how that represented everything I love about Berlin - the easiness, the excitement and something special which you just can't put your finger on. There's no easy way to say goodbye, in fact I prefer Tchüss which isn't quite as final. A big thanks to all of you for being so patient with me and give me so much support. It would have been so much harder without you. The next time we meet, I'll be writing from another part of the world.

Bild 042
Nice headwear in Neukölln

Bild 053
Returning to the zoo in West Berlin

Bild 067
A sand cat

Bild 071
The lion sleeps

Bild 119

Bild 121
Berlin's panda

Bild 126
The oriental entrance to the zoo

Bild 128
Coffee time at Café Buchwald

Bild 130


Bild 137
Baumkuchen or tree cake - a butter layer cake topped with chocolate

Bild 143
Outside the Akademie der Künste in Tiergarten

Bild 145
Schloss Bellevue, where the German president works

Bild 148

Bild 149
The rose garden in the Bürgerpark in Pankow

Bild 156

Bild 158

Danish pastries (from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess)

I've been wanting to post this recipe for such a long time but somewhere alog the line, things got in the way. It might look like a lot of work but actually not much effort is needed for fresh pastries which are probably the best you'll get unless you live in Denamrk that is. In fact the pastry and filling can be made ahead and popped in the freezer until you need them. I don't mean to be biased but my friends told me of all the cakes i've made for them over the years, these were the best!

Bild 158

1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk at room temp
1 large egg at room temp
2 1/4 cups white bread flour
1 package rapid rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into slices

Almond filling:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons banched almonds, toasted
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons icing sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg white

Clear glaze:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Sugar glaze:
1/2 cup icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons warm water

1. Beat egg, water and milk together, set aside. Put flour, yeast, salt and sugar into food processor and pulse to mix, add the cold slices of butter and process until the butter is cut up, empty into a bowl and add the milk mixture. Fold together, cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator overnight or up to 4 days.

2. To turn into pastry, let it get to room temp, roll into a rectangle, fold into thirds turning it afterwards so that the closed fold is on your left. Roll out again to a rectangle and repeat the steps above 3 times. 

3. Cut in half, cover and put in refrigerator for 30 minutes. To make the almond filling, toast the almonds, then process with the icing sugar until finely ground. Add the butter then process again, then the almond extract and egg white.

4. Roll out pastry into a large square and cut into 9 equal squares.

5. Take each sqaure and put a tablespoon of the almond mixture onto the pastry.  Bring up the opposite corners and pinch together, then flatten the pastry slightly.

6. Place on baking sheets and brush with the egg glaze, leave them to rise until they have doubled in size (about 90 minutes) 

7. Preheat the oven to 350, cook for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

8. To make the clear glaze heat the water and sugar to boiling and then brush on pastries when they have cooled a little. 

9. To make the sugar glaze, add the water to the icing sugar a little at a time to make a runny icing.  When they have cooled drizzle over the sugar glaze. Velbekomme!

Bild 188

15 commentaires:

  1. Wonderful pictures! I really like the one of the sand cat.

    That Baumkuchen looks amazing and your Danish pastries must be exquisite. Great filling.

    Wishing you a smooth move...



  2. Ich kann mir vorstellen, wie schwer diese Stadt zu verlassen ist. Und ich war sehr glücklich, als ich wieder zurück war... Für mich ist Berlin die beste Stadt der Welt und aller Zeiten, denn nur in Berlin treffen sich die Wege und Epochen.
    Ich wünsche Dir, dass ein Teil von Berlin immer mit Dir wird. Und alles Gute!

  3. Beautiful photos. I have never tried to make a pastry like this. When it is cooler here must give it a try. All the best with the move. New adventures are on the horizon.

  4. Lovely, lovely pictures. If only saying goodbye wasn't this hard! *long-drawn, consecutive sighs*!
    Although it'll be going back to the old, it'll still seem foreign and vague for some time; it's still an ongoing process with me. But I believe, it'll all work out for the best in the end. Good luck and take care.

  5. Es wird bestimmt kein Abschied fuer immer. Berlin holt uns alle frueher oder spaeter wieder zurueck.
    Ich wuensche Dir einen guten Umzug. Bis bald. Tschuess.

  6. It's been a privilege to follow you around Berlin, Emily. You're brave to move on; you can always revisit. Or move back. You just never know (I know!). xoxo

  7. C'est toujours difficile de quitter les lieux que l'on a aime, quelles que soient les circonstances. Alors bon courage pour samedi. Mais dis toi bien que Berlin t'appartient quelque part, et que tu seras toujours heureuse d'y retourner.
    Bon retour chez toi

  8. I've found that it's always sad to say goodbye, even when it feels time to go. I'm excited to see you move into this new chapter in your life. I've never seen a sand cat, such an interesting looking creature. It seems part domestic and part wild.

  9. I so know how you are feeling, treasure your time and look forward to all the adventures you will be having from now on!! All the best to you and much inspiration ahead! Hugs from Chrissi and Henning

  10. I will miss seeing Berlin through your camera. When we were there, we did not allow enough time, so we'll be going back. Good luck with your new ventures.

    1. Danish pastries (or "Wienerbröd", as they, strangely enough, are called in Swedis) are the best. It's actually something I really miss here among all the French patisseries... I might just have to try out this recipe next weekend! :)

      Like so many others here, I will miss the window to Berlin this blog has provided, but I'm really looking forward to hearing about that other part of the world. Bon voyage! Or hyvää matkaa, as it goes in Finnish!

  11. J'ai hâte de te découvrir dans un nouvel environnement. Les lieux et les êtres que nous aimons ne nous quittent jamais de toute façon... Nous sommes sculptés intérieurement par leur absence. Bonne chance ! À bientôt !

  12. I hope you will share your new world view, whereever it may be. Your eye on the world is so fine and unique. You should be a photo journalist for NGeo or Conde Nast....

  13. A lot of good things and new experience are waiting for you! Looking forward to hearing from you soon. xx

  14. As always your photos are so nice and lovely!
    Good luck with your change....
    Waiting for your new photos at the soonest