Weeknight Dinner – Pasta Puttanesca

THIS recipe is another favourite – so much that I almost cook it on a weekly basis. It is quick, deliciously spicy, has quite a kick and is filling. What more could you want?! Pasta Puttanesca means whores pasta…I am not sure why and to be honest I don’t really care it is just too good!

What you need:

Pasta Puttanesca - ingredients

Pasta Puttanesca – ingredients

  • 1 can of copped tomatoes
  • 3-4 anchovy fillets (can or glass) – finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 2 tablespoon of capers
  • un-pipped black olives – cut into rough chunks
  • pasta (I use Penne or Farfalle)

What to do:

  • Heat a pot to a low to medium heat & add some olive oil. Add the garlic, anchovy & chilli flakes. Fry for a a couple of minutes. The anchovy will start to ‘melt’ & you will be left with a sort of past. Now add the can of tomatoes & simmer.
  • Bring a pot of water to he boil & cook the past according to the instructions.
  • Just before the pasta is ready add the capers & olives to the tomato sauce. Taste the sauce and add salt & pepper if needed. You should not need a lot of salt due to the anchovy.
  • Put the pasta on a plate & add a generous amount of the Puttanesca sauce. You are done!
Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca

The better the olives the better the sauce! I get mine from an off-license around the corner form where I live. The quality of the olives truly transforms the sauce!

Another thing is important – do not worry about the anchovy! I normally do not like them at all & would never eat them in salad or on pizza. If you are only starting out with eating anchovy add only 1-2 fillets to the sauce & see if you like it. Next time you can always add more if you are feeling brave. In this pasta sauce the anchovy add a unique saltines & a very special savoury taste that is simply delicious!

I urge you to try this – I am sure you will love Pasta Puttanesca just as much as I do!

Enjoy & Guten Appetite,


Weeknight Dinner – Cauliflower & Pea Curry (Stylist recipe), Walnut salad & Rosé Wine

Hello & Hallo,

Tonight I cooked cauliflower & pea curry – “Maharashtrian rassa” –  from last week’s (14/09/2015) Stylist Magazine. The recipe looked nice & quick and I am always on the look out for new recipes that will become a favourite!

Stylist recipe - Cauliflower curry “Maharashtrian rassa”

Stylist recipe – Cauliflower curry “Maharashtrian rassa”

My review of the “Maharashtrian rassa” recipe:

The curry took about 30 minutes to cook which is a bit longer than the recipe said. You are supposed to add a whole tomato and mush it once it’s soft which didn’t really happen for me. If I cooked this again I would chop the tomato before adding it. Once you add the cauliflower florets you are supposed to add 500ml of water. This was in a bit much as the curry ended up a bit watery. I added another tomato (this time chopped) towards the end of cooking the curry which I liked as this made it a more flavoursome. You are supposed to have it with roti bread or chapati but I only had corn tortillas which worked fine as well.

Overall, the curry was lovely. It is very light, spicy but not too hot and is relatively quick. This is definitely an option for a repeat!

Weeknight Dinner - Cauliflower curry, Walnut Salad & Rosé Wine

Weeknight Dinner – Cauliflower curry, Walnut Salad & Rosé Wine

The salad:

For the salad add any vegetables you like. Mine was mixed salad leafs, rocket, half a yellow pepper, a tomato and some spring unions. Also add 1-2 handful of roughly chopped walnuts.

For the dressing mix 1/3 walnut oil, 2/3 olive oil, the juice of 1/2 lemon & 2 table spoons of balsamic vinegar. This dressing is quite light and the walnut oil & walnuts match well.

The wine:

The rosé wine is “Spice Trail Pinot Noir” and comes from Hungary. It smells like strawberries (yum) and is very light & fresh. It is said to go well with curries & it was nice with it but I think that this wine is nice no matter what you eat. …and best of all it is only £5.99. (http://www.waitrosecellar.com/rose-wine/spice-trail-rose?gclid=CJjC_PSDjsgCFWoCwwodLi8CwA&gclsrc=aw.ds)

Let me know if you tried this and liked it.

Enjoy & Guten Appetite,


Work/Life – Getting into a work seminar OR “If you don’t ask you don’t get”

Hello & Hallo,

Today something quite excited happened at work.

First, I need to recap. A few days ago an invite to a digital marketing seminar was sent around my office. The seminar is “Evolving Digital” presented by Net Media Planet. I thought this sounded interesting and would like to go but the invitation was meant for people in a more senior position to me. However, I decided to email my team leader anyways and asked if I could go.

Today I found out that there were enough free places for me to attend! YAY!

What I have learned from this is to always ask! If you don’t ask you don’t get. The worst thing that can happen is that they say no…and they might even say yes!

I will report back what the seminar was like.

Bye & Tschüss,


Weeknight Dinner – Oven Roast Salmon

Hello & Hallo,

So THIS is one of my all-time favourite, quick, go- to recipes. I cook this at least once or twice a month! And best of all – it is a healthy fish dish that does not make the whole flat stink like a fish factory!
Unfortunately, I did not think this recipe myself. I got it from  Sophie Wright’s cookbook “Home at 7, Dinner at 8”. This cook book is great – easy, unpretentious, easy and mostly quick dishes – and I use 3 or 4 recipes from it regularly.

What you need (for 2):

  • 2 salmon filets without the skin (if the skin is on you need to cut it off with a sharp knife)
  • New potatoes (2-3 handfuls or however much you need to be full & can fit on your oven tray)
  • 1 pack green asparagus
  • 10-20 Cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon

IMG_2089What to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Cut the potatoes in slices ca 0.5cm thick. On a baking tray lay the potato slices on
    aking paper in a single layer & sprinkle some olive oil over the potatoes. Put the tray with the potatoes in the o
    ven for 15 minutes.
  • Once the 15 min are over take the tray out of the over. Turn the heat down to 180 degree C.
  • Lay the salmon filets, then the asparagus & tomatoes on the potatoes. Pour a little of olive oil over the salmon & season again. Put this in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
  • Once the time is up take the tray out of the oven, put the food on plates & squeeze some lemon juice over it all
    (fish, potatoes – everything).
  • You are done!

This is SO EASY. This recipe cooks itself & cutting the potatoes into slices is all you really need to do. The result is light if go easy on the olive oil (I have overdone it before), fresh (the lemon juice) and just delicious!

Give it a go & let me know what you think!

Enjoy & Guten Appetite,


Restaurant review – The Smokehouse Islington

Hello & Hallo,

To celebrate my London anniversary on Friday I had dinner with a friend at the The Smokehouse Islington. You have to spoil yourself sometimes!

The Smokehouse Islington

The Smokehouse Islington

This restaurant has a lovely little garden with little fairy lights in the hedges…must be perfect in summer! The restaurant itself is centred around a bar and resembles with its dark wood panelled walls & wooden floor a country pub – very gemütlich (cosy)!

The service was very attentive and the waiter friendly and happy to offer advice. As a starter I had the chopped brisket roll & gochujang. For the main I ordered the short rib bourguignon  and I also ordered a side salad and some caramel roast potatoes. As a desert I ordered the banana French toast (recommended by the waiter).

The brisket roll was a bit like a beef croquette – melt in your mouth beef covered with a crispy I guess bread crumb batter. The gochujang was a spicy red pepper flavoured sauce which was a great addition to the beef.

The Smokehouse Islington - menu September 2015

The Smokehouse Islington – menu September 2015

The main was amazing! The beef shortrib almost fell of the bone and melted in your mouth. With the gravy and the masked potatoes this was perfect! The side salad was underwhelming and the design not great. The caramel roast potatoes were very crunchy and a bit too sweet for my taste but the name should have been an indicator for that.

The desert consisted of a not too sweet slice of French toast, a scope of ice-cream (coffee I think), a caramelised banana and caramelised pecan nuts. It nice was overall too heavy after the starter and the main. Next time I think I would get the Raspberry & hazelnut semifreddo or the Smoked strawberries with cream cheese mousse which were also on the menu.

The menu is very beef & pork focused and not the best place for a vegetarian (even though there are a few vegetarian options). The food was good but a bit heavy. I felt absolutely stuffed until the next evening.

Overall, the evening was very nice! The outside space must be fantastic in summer. I would definitely come back for the main but would choose a different dessert next time. …it is always good to have a reason to return!

Bye & Tschüss,


P.S.: If you want to go book a table! The place gets quite busy.


Anniversary / Jahrestag

Hello & Hallo,

3 years ago TODAY I moved to London! It is crazy how fast time goes by and the last 3 years feel long & short at once. Short because it passed so quickly & long because so much has happened – I graduated and got my MA in Media & Communications (the reason I moved here in the 1st place), I got a job & changed jobs and I moved.

This year my anniversary or Jahrestag in German feels different…as if it has got more weight & importance attached to it. I tried to pin down the reason for this and I think I now know why.

This year – now – London actually feels like home! I am not just staying here for a bit. I am living here and will continue to live & build a live here. I am here to stay & I am happy about this!

Bring on the next 3 years!

Bye & Tschüss,


Hello & Hallo!

This is it! I have finally manage to a) get a blog & b) write my first ever post! Yay!

MeI am Marlene – Berliner by birth & Londoner by choice. I love Berlin and it is where I have my roots. I moved to London in September 2011 and this amazing city is now my 2nd home. So the name “LondonBerlin” feels appropriate for this blog.

This blog will be about my live and anything & everything I care and think about – what I do, what I want to do & what I have done in the past. I will write about what I cook (I love to cook), what I do on a weekend or holiday, what I like (fashion / beauty / films / book / etc) and what I plan for my future.

I am looking forward to starting this journey and to some of you join me.

Bye & Tschüss,