this is the archive for the ‘foooood’ category:


zimt & mehl

i’ve wanted to write about this place around the corner for ages now… it’s a very normal café & bakery, the kind of place you have in practically every corner of berlin, filling the street with the smell of baked gluten at certain hours. the pastries are the opposite of fancy, the coffee is very meh… it isn’t hip or cool at all and for a reeeally long time, the background music was exactly the same. every. single. day.

and yet, we love it so much (and come back so often) they already know how we take our coffees without asking… it’s lovely!

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there are 2 things rather special about zimt & mehl. first of all, it opens at 6am! in a city where a café that opens before 10am is hard to find, this is extraordinary. it allows us to come in early and do one of my favorite morning rituals: the early morning study sessions. we show up as early as 7am, get a coffee, sit down and just study something, while all around us, people read their newspapers and grab their coffees-to-go and sandwiches before heading off to work.

sometimes friends join us, and for one hour or so we go over online classes or educational podcasts, translate ted talks, study languages… anything goes, as long as it is learning or working towards a specific (not work-related) goal. right now i’m studying gut flora, paulo is doing a course on stocks and bonds and our friend max is learning korean. i’m an early morning kind of person, so i find it nice to jump out of bed and right into something.
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second, they make omelets! big, fluffy omelets! you pick the ingredients, and they’ll make them for you. yes, they still come with bread (or this wouldn’t be germany), but if you skip that or push it towards the other end of the table, you’ll be fine for a no-frills, gluten-free meal. for people who are a bit picky about that, this is nothing short of a small breakfast revolution. plus, eggs are pretty much still my favorite thing – so this makes me happy.

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and there you go: our favorite café in the whole of berlin! sometimes it’s the little things that count the most :)

adventures in fermentation

it all started with a podcast from the food program some months ago, in which they interviewed people who had read the art of fermentation and raved about how empowered they felt to give it a go, and how easy it was to ferment things… it was inspiring, so much so that i immediately dived into the book as well. after a few pages, i was already feeling the itch to roll up the sleeves and ferment something!

since we’re in germany, sauerkraut seemed like the obvious choice. i’ve sort of acquired a taste for it over the time we’ve been here, actually. i like to mix it with the salad for the hints of acidity that make it less boring, or just as a side for a dish of meat or the morning’s omelet.

before embarking on this endeavor, i researched fermentation vessels, and decided to go with my leftover fido jars from coconut oil. i never part with them when the coconut oil is over, just because they’re so handy, so i had plenty laying around. some people say fido jars weren’t really made for fermenting things and can explode (!) if they cannot release pressure, so just in case, i adjusted the tightness of the lid, making mine a little bit looser.

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making sauerkraut is messy but unbelievably easy! all you need to do is to cut cabbage very thinly, add salt, and press it with your hands until the water comes out. then, pack it in the jar really tightly and add a weight on top to keep it submerged to avoid spoilage (i used a second, smaller jar). close it, and wait patiently without opening for 3-4 weeks. voilá! things will foam and overflow in the first few days, but after that the bacteria will quietly do their thing.

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my first batch was plain — just a test to see if i could do it. when i opened the jar three weeks later, i could hardly believe how good it looked for something that sat on the window sill untouched for weeks… not even a bit of mould or slime in sight! oh, and the sauerkraut was crunchy and delicious! :D i immediately dived into batch #2, this time with cabbage + beets…

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also a resounding success! i don’t usually like beets by themselves all that much, but this was really nice, with just a hint of earthy flavor and lots of crunchiness. and that color… magical!

i think i might be addicted to the process — there’s so much room for experimentation and it’s just so satisfying! for sure i’ll never buy another pack of dodgy supermarket sauerkraut ever again :D

a list update: 22% done!

i’ve crossed quite a few random things off my 101 things in 1001 days‘ list in the past few months, so it’s time for a list update. let’s see…

- riding a paddle boat: check!
i spent my birthday this year in amarante with friends, munching on traditional sweets and paddling up and down the tâmega river. the trick to paddle boats is to go slowly! don’t put all your muscle into it, just relax and take it easy :)

- make cheese: check!
we made delicious cottage cheese! the hardest part was locating fresh, unskimmed, unpasteurized milk…
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- reduce our energy consumption in 10%: check!
in 2013, we spent an average of 7.44 kWh/day, but in 2014 this number dropped to 5.32 kWh/day, a 29% reduction! :D

- visit an island: check!
guernsey was all kinds of lovely and we must go back someday.
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- see Daniela get into a university: cheeeeeeeeeeck!
all of that studying back in june/july paid off! the kid managed to get into the nursing school closest to her home, which means she now has a proper chance to finally get out of the village, and do something for herself.
sometimes it’s still hard to believe i saw her come to the world 18 years ago, changed her first diaper in the hospital and all… and now, she’s become this amazing person, a fighter, someone who knows what they want, someone able to make a plan. i’m currently bursting with pride! :)

first ice-cream of the season!

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a lovely peanut butter specimen from fräulein frost! i declare this ice-cream season… open! :)

the story of the lactose-intolerant meiadeleite

i feel like this blog (ergo, me) is in need of a swift kick in the butt, to set it back straight. there’s so much to tell you… let’s just get to it!

friends who stay with us often seem surprised to discover that i, miss meiadeleite, cannot stomach milk. it wasn’t always this way. i used to love drinking milk with everything, up until about 3 years ago.

but then, in early 2011 i stopped drinking milk, as part of our diet experiment. i didn’t really miss it, so i skipped it for months and promptly forgot about it. later that year, i received my 23andme dna test results and was a bit intrigued to see this:

“who, me? lactose intolerant? nonsense!”, i thought – i drank milk my whole life!

but then i started to think about it… and some things started making sense. in the last few years, every time we went back to portugal, we ate whatever our parents put in front of us – not wanting to burden them with too many rules and restrictions on our short time there. so we drank meiadeleites for breakfast and ate leite creme to our little heart’s content… and invariably, while we were there, i’d get stomach problems. i would write it off as the consequences of general unhealthy eating… but then it got me thinking… could it be that when i stopped drinking milk every day, my body just gave up on dealing with the lactose? (i imagine it doing it in a overly dramatic fashion, with a big sigh of relief…)

this was a valid hypothesis, so, as scientists that we are, we experimented. the results were quite… striking. a glass of milk? immediate disaster. a tiny yoghurt cup? disaster. cheese was ok in small doses, as was butter, but all the rest was off the table.

and this is how i found that i’ve made myself lactose intolerant. the name of this blog hasn’t made sense for quite a while now, but i don’t mind. i know i could probably re-introduce it in the diet if i wanted, but truth is, i just don’t miss it all that much – and when in doubt, there are usually lactase pills nearby! :)