When special people come to visit there has to be special food, too. For us, a certain cake is extraordinary: the Naked Cake. Usually, we keep it pretty basic with „Granny’s Cakes“ like crumble cake of all sorts, sheet cakes, etc. Thus, we relied on one of our classics for this recipe. A moist carrot cake with lots of nuts, dried apricots and other delicious details. We love how variable it is. Be it in a spring form or a whole tray for larger groups, or as cupcakes, be it vegan with aquafaba and cashew creme, or not vegan with a cream cheese topping, as in this case. The cake is just too delicious to not experiment with it. The basic recipe you find in our cookbook.

Beside the cake we wanted to create an unique setting for our kaffeeklatsch with our friends Jules, Maria and Justus from Herz & Blut.

After the last plants left the greenhouse a few weeks ago it was time to use it as living space once again. Sure, in winter with outside temperatures around freezing point, the temperatures inside the greenhouse never rise above 10-15°C. The days are just too short. At least, the cold wind and the moisture stay outside. Wrapped in woolen pullovers and scarfs, and with a lot of candles the atmosphere still gets really cosy. Especially, when the sun sets spectacularly just as it did this particular evening.

Even if we could plant salads during winter, or sow the green manure, we just love to use the greenhouse for ourselves outside the gardening season. Until it is time to sow the young plants and it is warm enough to bring them into the greenhouse in early spring, we will take this opportunity.

We are not what you call full-hearted Christmas enthusiasts, but when the days become shorter we definitely appreciate the contemplative atmosphere. We love decorating our house according to the season and occasion, thus winterly and festive. Still, we don’t turn our house upside down, but especially decorate the place where we gather with our beloved ones: the dining table. The centerpiece of our decoration is a branch which we found during a stroll. Hung beneath the ceiling and equipped with candles it captivates the eye due to its elegance. We are thrilled by the results since it shows you don’t necessarily need a Christmas tree or Advent wreath. We added to the natural materials of our this year’s festive decoration small, atmospheric still lifes, which we made with our instant picture printer FUJI instax SHARE SP-3*. The instant pictures support the calm ambience and play with the details of nature, art, and presentation.

We are often asked for our inspiration, and the answer is simple: nature offers the biggest treasure. Minimalistic and damped, yet cosy and atmospheric – this you achieve best when using natural, recyclable materials. Not to mention the fact that it is resource and space saving.

Another advantage: we get some fresh air to make our cosy little home even more cosy for the festive season. The fun of decorating already starts with collecting branches, grasses, and cones.

Instead of an Advent wreath on the table we hung a huge birch branch above our table. We fixed the obligatory four candles with copper rings. This way, we even have more space for our handmade earthen tableware, which adds to the natural setting, while the golden cutlery emphasizes the festive occasion.

When it comes to table cloths and napkins, we preferably work with dyed linen or natural linen. The folds, which develop over time, add a special character to the whole setting. Conveniently, since ironing becomes obsolete. Our treasures which we collected outside, look especially beautiful on linen. Pine cones, chestnuts, grasses, and leaves harmonise with the soft and natural colours and material. Also, we like how the single items correspond with each other: beeswax tree candles correspond with the honey coloured napkins and the delicious festive pie, while the brown table cloth correlates with the cones on top.

If you follow our blog for a longer time, you know that we are huge fans of instant pictures. It’s not for nothing that we are, together with Nic from Luzia Pimpinella, Igor from Happy Interior Blog, Jules from Herz & Blut, and Vreni from Never Ever, enthusiastic ambassadors for FUJIFILM instax. Susann already wrote about the relevance of instant pictures in her youth. To capture the evanescence of the moment carries an own poetry, and to visualise all these memories, which would have been long gone by now, just by taking out these instantly taken photos…this is magic.

Just as important as collecting and treasuring memories is to us, we love to share memories. We are especially delighted that we can produce a repeatable outcome with the Fuji instax printer – if we want to. Just like the principle of sharing one photo, keeping one, printing next one multiple times and share it with our friends after the festive meal. 

Instead of making spontaneous, fleeting snapshots for the decoration we chose an artistic execution. We took photographs of our wintery motifs like pine cones, walnuts, thistles and grass as a still life on a rusty steel surface. This way, the instant pictures support our natural decoration with staged motifs. We love the harmonic connection between nature and artificial nature, or rather art.

That’s also why we chose a black frame for the instant pictures, since this one appears very elegant.

Be it name tag, menu, or gift tag, the instant pictures are versatile. Either we just put them on the seat, plain and simple, or we stick it to a pine cone and write the name with a light pen on the black frame. Or we use the front as a picture and glue it to some kraft paper, on which we note the single courses of our menu. Instant pictures are also perfect as gift tags under the Christmas tree.

We took all instant pictures with our smartphone’s camera, but we also could have used our Fuji XT-3, which is compatible with the instant picture printer as well. The printer is easy to set up, you just connect your smartphone or camera with the printer via wifi. Put in the film cassette and there you go. Another big advantage: the printer is not depend on electricity, so you have a wireless printer to go.

Another advantage, which the format and the printer have: we can pointedly set up our pictures, shoot them, and chose and edit them calmly. This way we fulfilled our artistic aspiration, yet kept the nostalgia you feel when looking at instant pictures. Just try it, you will see that the best ideas evolve while…right, while doing it!

There are these kinds of traditions you become fond of and which you remember with a joyful sigh. It’s just like this with our event we organize with Manufactum* and which took place for the third time this year. For this occasion, we invited our guests on this foggy, crispy Saturday into an especially beautiful factory floor in Berlin-Kreuzberg, the Friends Space, to herald the time before Christmas with a festive lunch.

As a greeting, we reached a golden almond milk with turmeric and ginger, cinnamon and a organic Chai Massala Syrup to our guests, which all came directly out of the cold. Considering the temperatures outside, this was just the thing to boost your immune system!

In contrast to the events the last two years when we cooked the whole menu with our guests, the preparing of the food was completely on us. Keeping the upcoming advent in mind, we wanted to create two lasting, culinary delicacies with our guests: apple chutney and a wonderful dukkah blend as presents. Both of the creations were later also used for the menu

We filled the apple chutney made of apples, onions, white wine, cider vinegar and raw cane sugar into sterilised canning jars. Thus, the apple chutney is good for a few months and may bring joy beneath the Christmas tree. Also the dukkah blend is suitable as a present. Here, the careful roasting of all ingredients is the crucial part, which spreads a superb scent in the kitchen.

There is one thing we especially enjoy on those days: to observe which guest takes which part while cooking and how different the methods are. That is truly exciting! There are those who unceremoniously take command and keep an eye on the recipes and everything will be ready in the given time frame. Then there are those who change the single tasks into little challenges: who chops the nuts faster? Who peels the longest apple skin from the apple? Others are so deeply caught in conversation, that a pot boils over or the pan starts smoking… Everyone brings his own quirks – but still, or maybe even because of that an inspiring group dynamic evolves which leads to great results.

Beside the joy of cooking, our guests are united in their sense for aesthetics. They zestfully appreciated not only the gorgeous ingredients supplied by Manufactum (like the delicious Piemont Hazelnuts and the great olive oil from Tuscany), but also the cooking utensils. Those were functional, and nice to look at, too. Manufactum had even more for us, so we really had our fling while decorating: with a selection of linen cloths and napkins, fine porcelain, matt cutlery, countless tea candles, and charming apothecary bottles, we could transform the simple wooden tables into a long, festive table.

After preparing, or better: cooking the culinary presents, we had to take care of their appearance, since “Give&Enjoy” was the event’s motto. Even if we are not too crazy about Christmas, we love to surprise friends and family. If this surprise is also beautiful to look at, you double the joy. Along these lines our guests could give their creativity full scope with different papers, ribbons and yarns, dried flowers, stamps, and lovingly wrap their presents.

Meanwhile, a bubbling and sizzling started in the background, so we could end the afternoon with a mutual, delicious meal.

We asked Benjamin Donath for support with the menu. We started with roasted sourdough bread from the brot&butter bakery, which we topped with baked pumpkin, apple chutney, smoky cashew cream and fried sage. As main course, we had hummus with cauliflower, crispy chickpeas, dukkah and parsley oil. We reached an autumn salad of roasted fennel, apple slices and radicchio along with it. The menu was rounded off with a dessert, which contributed its own part to the topic of tradition: at all our Manufactum events, we used the great professional ice cream maker. With said wonder of a machine, we created delicious ice cream in no time: a creamy chocolate sorbet, conjured of the aromatic Bonnat couverture chocolate, accompanied by a wonderful ensemble of elderberry-pear and speculoos.

Apropos wonderful ensemble: it is wonderful to be able to set up such events! We gather so many interesting and warm people who realise our recipes with lots of love and care. A big thanks to you, you valued guests from far and wide, and of course to Manufactum for their trust to realise this event with us. On that note: to the traditions, the good ones!

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