Scrolling deep down one’s Instagram gallery makes you discover amazing things you’ve had totally forgotten about (one’s memory is playing dirty tricks on one, believe you me!). Anyway, if it hadn’t been for this sudden interest in my own posts, I could have sworn to never ever have done an apple gugelhupf (now, if you don’t know what a gugelhupf is, just gugel it 😂😂😂 — sorry, I just had to make this stupid joke). The apples for it came directly from our garden, as usual, and I guess, it must have been delicious, it does look delicious, doesn’t it? So why in God’s name had I forgotten all about it??? Please, someone tell me!
Let them eat cake, qu’ils mangent de la brioche, Marie Antoinette is said to have replied quite stupidly when confronted with the people missing their daily bread, and although this has often been disguised as quite untrue a quotation, it somehow still sticks to her. So, whenever I’m in Switzerland or France, I think of the Queen of France when I have brioche, although never when I eat cake—you see, truth be told for once, brioche is nothing like cake, it’s way too neutral in taste, it’s great with breakfast and café au lait, but it does taste wonderful cake-like when stuffed with truffles from Sprüngli, one of the world’s finest chocolatiers. So, as a basic rule, whenever you’re in France, have brioche, but whenever you’re in Switzerland, try a Truffe Brioche. For Marie Antoinette’s sake.
My Italian is merely basic, I can order cappuccino when in Rome or Florence and una altra bottiglia di vino rosso e panna cotta per tutti at dinner, but that’s it more or less, so I’m not sure if the Italian name for my newly invented dish is even correct: ravioli in brodo all’olio di olive con spinaci e mozzarella—therefore I named it “The Spinaccio!”. But correct or not, it describes very well how it is prepared. Go ahead and try for yourselves, you won’t regret it. At least, I hope so… nulla è garantito, as they say in Italy.
Cinnamon, the one from Ceylon, is my favourite seasoning in winter, as far as I’m concerned, it needs cold temperatures to develop its charm, and some apples from our garden, slightly sour and ever so organic apples. All through winter, my family’s entire house smells of my mother’s cinnamon-apple-pies, flanked by some roses from the hall, like an edible version of Estée Lauder’s Youth-Dew perfume. Anyway, when we were having them some time ago, with tea of course, they’re best with some strong tea, it started snowing, which always puts a smile in my face, and then it started snowing heavily, really heavily, and then I stopped smiling and started worrying if I would make it to the station to get my train to Berlin. There were no more cars on the streets. Frozen traffic. Thanks to the only taxi company that hadn’t given up, I made it to the station, I enjoyed a 10 km/h one-man show and was deeply impressed by the driver’s unyielding performance, he laughed in the snow’s face, and it wasn’t a pretty face—if Napoleon had been surrounded by such hardy people and striving, the Russians would speak French today. But I would have made it on time no matter what though, as my train arrived four hours late. Apparently, Napoleon’s soldiers were all reborn as Deutsche Bahn engineers.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been crushing white pepper on everything I eat. Everything hearty, I mean, I wouldn’t dare to pepper up a perfectly good crème brûlée, of course. Anyway, its spicy aroma lifts up everything else, right into culinary heaven, one might say—forgive my being so enthousiastic about it, but you can transform the stalest of store-bought ravioli into a fine dish with just a bit of olive oil and some freshly crushed pepper, don’t be shy, one cannot overdose, and with all that puristic allure that comes with a meal like this, you might even appear as a hell of a cook. And if they ever find out there’s some incredibly healthy stuff enclosed in peppercorns, I will make it to my 150th birthday. At the very least!
On the first day of snow this year—which was last Saturday, to be quite precise—I decided to see Berlin’s Olympiastadion for the very first time in my life. It was strange to see it there, lying still in the outskirts of this buzzy town, covered in light snow, not much seems to have changed since 1936, the Olympians of that year are all gone, Jesse Owens being the best of them all, teaching the Third Reich a lesson by being decorated with four gold medals, each one unquestionable proof that Hitler (like so many others… ) was wrong about white supremacy. The architecture of the place, however, is flawless, puristic art deco at its best, flanked by lithic, never ageing athletes. I went home smiling, a young girl’s little snowman in front of the gigantic, sky scraping gate, had put my mind at ease.
On a very cold winter morning, an icy cold one, one might say, as minus six degrees Celsius is rather frosty, almost Siberian a temperature, I decided to go to town. As Brandenburg Gate is near to Friedrichstrasse and Dussmann’s, my CD supplier de choix, I later went for a touristic stroll, I hadn’t been there in months, and when some very stylish people with a lot of Louis Vuitton luggage left the Hotel Adlon right in front of it and took a taxi, presumably to the one airport that works in this town of non-working airports, I saw some people take photos of them. They must have been famous, although I have no idea who they were. Not a clue. As I was nicely dressed in my Dsquared jacket with that giant black fur collar that gives me a somewhat Russian nobility expression, a modern version of Prince Bolkonsky, at least that’s what I like to tell myself, I decided to linger around in front of the famous hotel, as if I would wait for my personal assistant with my luggage, imaginary huge black Goyard trunks, and to give people the oppurtunity to take pictures of me. But nobody did. I would rather have been arrested for loitering with intent…