Every day life, food & strangeness in a big city

Month: August, 2012

A Handmaid’s Tale Baddie-style

About what seems like aeons ago but must have been only 3 to 4 weeks, Mr. Baddie came home from football  in crutches. Turns out he had torn some ligaments in his right foot. I freaked out. And then I freaked out some more. And then we were told that he would not need a cast, or an operation, and it should get better in a month or two. So I turned down the freaking out dial a notch. But the reality of it was, if you have a torn ligament in your foot, there’s going to be pain. Lots of pain. And cursing. And clumsiness. And that was just me!

No, seriously now – there were better ways I wish we could have spent some time in summer. The first few weeks were particularly bad – because Mr. Baddie could only hobble around on crutches, and not go very far, so we spent a lot of time inside, me fetching like the proverbial labrador. Or Saint-Bernard? Anyway, the result of this confinement, coupled with the fact that I am on summer holidays, was that I began experimenting in the kitchen. I have so far made the following:

1. Rumpsteak with fresh rosemary and thyme butter, steamed green snap-peas seasoned with fleur-de-sel, and cherry-tomato in vinaigrette salad (own recipe, minimal work)

2. Iberico pork filet roast, in a sauce of cream and fresh chanterelle and parsley, accompanied by homemade Spanish croquettas filled with Serrano ham and Manchego cheese (very complicated, especially the croquettas, they need at least one day of advance preparation)

3. Homemade Churros with chocolate sauce. This was a midnight project during which both Mr. Baddie and I prepared the dough and then took turns coaxing the snake-shaped things out of a special device into the wok filled with hot oil. The whole activity bore an uncanny resemblance to the papanasi incident – with a prettier outcome. Very tasty.

a sweet dough, deep fried and served with icing sugar and chocolate sauce… heard it’s popular as a snack after clubbing in Spain – we had it at all hours 🙂

4. Homemade chicken schnitzel (mom’s recipe), with potatoes baked in the oven, sprinkled with olive oil, cumin seeds, freshly ground black pepper and sea salt (mom-in-law’s recipe); also, a puree / mousse of courgette hearts, fried with a drop of lemon; decorated with sprigs of sage and bits of lavender.

We have also purchased an electric grill for our balcony which has twice now proved itself to be an excellent investment. The yumminess of German sausages has been praised by better writers than I.

And last but not least we have ventured to the cinema (mostly by cab) to see Ice Age 4 (meh), Brave (yay), and The Dark Knight Rises (SUPER YAY).

where Mr. B and I go to the cinema. A LOT.

And, to end on a sweet note, we have also spent some happy moments in the absolutely amazing Gelateria of the Potsdamer Platz Arcades. They have the tastiest ice-cream ever, but here are some photos of other specialties:

including: a punchy espresso, a glass of water, melt-in-your mouth Italian pastry biscuits, a cold custard with orange flavour and creme brulee crusty top, and chocolate wrapped in blue foil

Warm dark chocolate cake with a liquid centre, creamy pistachio and vanilla icecream scoops, and lace-work of white chocolate – looking a bit like crowns 🙂


Double or Nothing: Camille’s sorry fate

It’s been a while since my rant directed at the evil drycleaner around the corner. And honestly, after that much bitterness I thought I’d take a break, retreat and… lick my wounds. What I did not expect was any trouble from the nice, posh drycleaners I had decided to entrust with my second new garment from lovely Damsel in a Dress. The appropriately named Camille was worn exactly once to go out for dinner at a Korean restaurant I love, and needless to say it promptly became closely acquainted with some spicy bibimbap sauce. And some other unidentified (but therefore not less greasy) fluid. And so it needed some professional help…

Which, to be quite honest, it got. To such an enthusiastic degree, apparently, that it probably wished it never made the trip from England. I can just imagine Camille’s clear, crystal-cut silky voice ordering the brute who manhandled it: “Unhand me sir! This very instant!” Alas, it was not to be. When I arrived to pick it up, it was too late, and the damage was already done. The lady at the counter took me aside and described in mournful tones that the cleaning, unfortunately, was done so vigorously that the cleaning pistol (they used a pistol? on my poor sensitive Camille?!) left some irreparable creases and discoloration in the upper part of the dress. They were very, very sorry.

I looked at my dress. Then I looked up. Well, I was about to say, at least you still HAVE my item. But I didn’t get to say anything, as the lady started a veritable torrent of apologies, reassurances that they will reimburse me in full, and pleas that I would consider remaining their customer. Now don’t get me wrong, you can see the damage – but it’s a small spot that could be covered with a brooch. I’m not even that tremendously bothered. So I was all the more gratified at this lady’s reaction and at their policy. “Just write down your name and address here – and the value of the dress – don’t worry if you don’t have a receipt…” WHAT? I gasped. They don’t even want a receipt? Compare and contrast with the evil drycleaner, gentle reader.

In the end, we agreed that they would call me when the manager was back, in two weeks, and I would get back the dress and a sum close to the original cost. I even provided a receipt – ah, the joys of ordering things online! And guess what, on the day they said they would call they did, at ten o’clock in the morning, and invited me to come pick up my dress and compensation. Not only did that go very smoothly, but miracle of miracles, I got a letter from the insurance company of the evil drycleaner the very same day. Saying they would transfer 70% of the value of my Hobbs top to my bank account. And… they did. That same day.

Que “It’s A Wonderful Life” …