Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Making macarons at home (the cheat's way)

We loved macarons in our house but they are an expensive treat. The ones below are from a local shop at 1€50 each - but delicious.

But last week we were in Galeries Lafayette and I saw a box to make 15 at home from around 6€. I couldn't resist. The pack contains a bag of almond  and strawberry flavoured mix, two little sachets of sugar and a piping bag, and you need to provide the egg white. The instructions are in French but easy to translate and to do.

The picture on the left is the raw piped macarons and the right hand one are the cooling cooked ones. Look pretty good, non?

The one thing the box doesn't provide nor does it remind you, is the filling. I used a little bit of cherry jam to sandwich them but next time I will make a bit of simple butter cream. They tasted lovely and almost a good as the real thing. The piping would certainly be easier next time and you can download templates to help pipe uniform circles, for example here and here. There are a number of cook books available on line but this one looks good - Macarons: Chic & Delicious French Treats

C'est magnifique!

The box (not a great photo but now you know what to look for)!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Cha Cha

I have walked past Cha Cha, a Thai restaurant, in the centre of the city a number of times and am always struck by its likeness to Wagamama's. There is bench style dining and also they have a similar tagline of 'positive eating'. My son and I were in the city so we decided to have lunch here. It can get very busy later on during the lunch period but when we arrived at 12 it was almost empty.

Once we had looked at the menu, I realised that it isn't a Wagamama rip off but an interesting Thai eating experience. Almost all of the dishes come in a large or small portion, which I like both from the point of view of eating with children and general lunchtime dining. 

There is a great children's menu (below is my son's choice) and all the children's dishes come with either apple or mango juice. But as a lot of the menu comes in smaller sizes, it is a great place to take children with a more adventurous palate. I was also impressed that the waitress advised me that I had ordered too much for us with the portion sizes.

I found the restaurant very family friendly and an enjoyable experience.

Address: Friedrichstrasse 63, 10117 Berlin

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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Akazienstrasse and surrounding area, Schöneberg

I had the chance to explore this area of Schöneberg and discovered a few interesting shops and places along the way. This area is very close to Kids Corner and worth a wander if you are there.

There seem to be a large selection of hippie type shops on this street. I can't say I saw anyone wearing this style of clothing but the shops are colourful and interesting to look at. There are lots of cafes, restaurants and wine shops along this street

On the crossroad of Grunewaldstrasse and Akazienstrasse there was a great little treasure trove of a toy shop called Kinder Sause.

Address: Grunewaldstrasse 16, 10823

As you continue over Grunewaldstrasse you enter Goltzstrasse with more shops and cafes.

I was delighted to find the Apfelgalerie, a shop selling a vast selection of apple varieties and at the right times of the year, season produce such as asparagus, strawberries, cherries, plums, pumpkins etc. It is a fantastic shop and reminds you of the importance of seasonal food. There is a great article about the shop on the Exberliner website

Address: Goltzstrasse 3, 10781 Berlin

At the end of Goltzstrasse is Winterfledplatz, which is the location for a twice weekly food market on Wednesday and Saturdays. More information here

It was great to see the Schöneberg branches (on Goltzstrasse) of Hobby Shop Wilhelm Ruther, which include the normal hobby shop, a bead and jewelry making shop and also a place where you can take thing to be fired.

I spotted this shop front of a place called Cafe Pink and after a bit of investigating discovered this is an intercultural meeting place for girls from age 10 to young women. This is their website if you are interested in the project.

There is a nice little playground about half way down Goltzstrasse.

Finally on Apostel Paulus Strasse there is a great secondhand and lovely handmade children's clothes and toy shop called Klix. It is the workshop for the Berlin label Glückstück.

Address: Apostel Paulus Strasse 1, 10823 Berlin

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Monday, 22 October 2012

Playground at Auguststrasse 5

This is a great little playground with a sort of pirate/wild west theme - I am not quite sure which but it made the usual fare of swings, slides and climbing frames a bit more interesting. The playground is located at the Friedrichstrasse end of Auguststrasse.

There was a wooden pirate hiding in the bushes.

Address: Auguststrasse 5, 10117 Berlin

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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Allerleispiel Toy Shop

This is another unassuming shop front that disguises a treasure trove of a toy shop. Whilst there are some of the usual suspects in the shop, there is loads of unusual toys and little pocket money toys (or stocking fillers soon).  Well worth a visit.

Address: Prenzlauer Allee 211, 10405 Berlin

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Monday, 15 October 2012

Kids Corner Craft Events

We recently attended the halloween crafting event at Kids Corner and had a great time. After my son got over the idea of having his hands painted, he made a great picture of pumpkins and bats and decorated a glass jar. The event was fun and vibrant with Virginia (who ran it) really helping the children of all ages get into the spirit of the event. Everything is provided for around 9€.

Kids Corner will be running the same event on Thursday 18th October and there are plans for more in the future for Christmas and general crafting. Check out their website for more details.

Address: Apostel Paulus Strasse 32, 10823 Berlin

Photos provided by Kids Corner

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Hobby Shop Wilhelm Rüther - Prenzlauer Berg

This shop on Kollwitzplatz looks very unassuming from the outside but within it has the best selection of paints, crafts and art supplies for children I have seen since we moved here and that includes some of the bigger arts and crafts shops.

I think these pictures say it all. Definitely the place to head for autumn and Christmas crafts projects.

Address: Kollwitzstrasse 54, 10405 Berlin (there is another branch and an online shopping site)

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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Playground and rabbits on Kollwitzstrasse

Yet another place I have often walked past on my way to somewhere else but we finally popped in. It is  right next to the adventure playground for older children, Kolle 37.

There is a small sand pit play area with a cool little teepee for imaginary play at the back of the play area.

The big plus point to the play area, which isn't obvious from the street, is some large cages with the enormous rabbits that seem to be popular here. Great fun!

At the front of the play area is a little cafe selling waffles, snacks and ice creams, which is super popular in the summer.

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Thursday, 4 October 2012

Spotlight on a neighbourhood - Hufelandstrasse

We are usually dashing up this street to get to our weekly music class at The Center but last week I took some time to look about.

This street has masses of interesting individual shops and restaurants, and there is definitely a bit of a Scandi influence. (I heard that when the area was renovated lots of Danes and Swedes moved in and the shops do seem to reflect their tastes)

There are lots of bio (organic) shops both on this street and the adjacent section of Griefswalder Strasse. It may be a bit gentrified for some but I love the atmosphere here. This family friendly neighbourhood is definitely worth an explore plus it is very close to Friedrichshain Park.

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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Book Tree, Kollwitzstrasse

I love the idea of sharing what you have and what you no longer need. I was delighted to come upon this book sharing tree in Prenzlauer Berg a long time ago. I couldn't remember where it was until this week when again I came upon it by chance, I can now share its location. Most of the books were in German and there is an eclectic selection.

Next time we are in the neighbourhood, I will be depositing some of my old reads and I urge you all to do the same.

Address: Corner of Kollwitzstrasse and Sredzkistrasse

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