A full version with recipes can be found at the Slow Travel Berlin website. more...
Full version with recipes can be found at Slow Travel Berlin. more...
I've been a big fan of Felicity Cloake's Perfect column for the Guardian ever since it started. more...
Many of the guests who come to Thyme Supperclub are fascinated to find out more details of precisely how we cook our dishes. In particular, people ask a lot about certain foods, keen to ascertain precisely how obsessive we are in doing everything ourselves, from scratch.
I'm always intrigued by what impresses people and what doesn't. For instance, telling people we make our own chocolate truffles never fails to induce jaw-dropping amazement - yet they are the easiest things in the world.
Conversely, I feel a bit shamefaced about the fact that we don't make our own bread. This is because any bread I have ever made myself, although fine, has simply not been as good as the bread we get from our local bakery. However, no-one has ever asked me about the bread. I don't know whether that is because people assume we must bake our own, or because people assume we wouldn't possibly. Being in Germany, where there is a plethora of excellent bakeries, I suspect the latter.
My general principle is that guests are coming here to sample my cooking. It makes no sense, therefore, to buy things ready-made and plate it up to them, when they could perfectly well do that themselves at home. So we would never buy a cake from a patisserie, for instance, to serve as dessert. I would see that as a cheat.
However, there are some food stuffs - such as the bread, above - where ready-made versions are superior to our own. There are others where the time involved in making from scratch is prohibitive and others where we do not have the ability to store items once we've made them.
Listed below are the foods about which we are most frequently questioned, and what we generally do.
We always make shortcrust pastry ourselves. It's simple and the ready-made versions aren't very good. Puff pastry, on the other hand, we buy. I find the frozen puff pastry to be of very good quality here and my homemade puff pastry is not noticeably superior.
We always make it ourselves. I'm still struggling to find a way to store fresh pasta adequately, which is why we don't make pasta dishes very often for our guests. To be honest, we're pasta novices, but I feel strongly that for the supperclub, if we're serving pasta it ought to be fresh.
Always homemade. The ready-made versions are actually not bad, but the texture of homemade ones is definitely superior.
It depends. I like to make my own, but we don't have many Tupperware-type boxes so it can be hard to keep them fresh. As a general rule, sweet biscuits (such as we sometimes serve with petit fours) are usually homemade - the exception to this being cantuccini. The savoury biscuits or crackers we use for our canapes are sometimes homemade, sometimes bought.
I wouldn't be averse to buying this readymade, but I don't know anywhere that sells it in Berlin. At the moment, we make it ourselves.
Always handmade by us.