Late nights in Neukölln

I had these disjointed, messy dreams last night and snippets of them keep coming back to me. My former boss with some new madcap schemes. A country road and a coastal path. Being stalked by some girl who wanted to collaborate with me, and getting off in an office with some other girl. Getting a message from a boy I kissed last summer and never contacted again; he told me he still liked me. I think I woke up feeling oddly guilty, and finding it hard to distinguish these memories from reality.

My guest from Belfast has been volcanoed, which means he is sticking around for another couple days. This means that tonight we are going to see Late Nights In Squat Bars at Monster Ronson’s.

Prior to Saturday, the largest number of people I had ever cooked for was probably about six. On Saturday night I decided to host a dinner party, given that I have a whole lot of space in this flat and have pretty much settled in now. Since I invited people with only a few days’ notice, I figured lots of them would be unavailable. Instead, half the New Zealand expat community descended upon my flat, along with a handful of other nationals and a token German, and the grand total of guests was seventeen. Preparing for the event was somewhat nervewracking, but I was fortunate that the Berlin Welcoming Committee and my Belfast guest were around to help.

I’d have taken pictures but I was too busy and distracted. But I know you care, internet, so here’s the specifics. Dinner consisted of:

  • Khobz with za’atar.

  • Salad of rocket, tomatoes and pine nuts, with parmesan shavings also available for the non-vegans.
  • Tortilla: so simple, and yet, so beautiful! I made several of them, so now I can officially cook it. I felt like a goddamned culinary genius for this one.
  • Leek, mushroom & lemon risotto, with added pine nuts. I regularly cook this, but making such an enormous quantity of it was daunting. I was relieved that an Italian arrived early and offered to take over risotto duties while I dealt with other stuff.
  • Vegan brownies, baked by a kind guest and served with strawberries and Black Forest gateau-flavoured ice cream.

I spent a while being awkward and nervous – many of the guests were people I’d only met once or twice, though it was hard to figure out what, if anything, I needed to actually worry about. It all turned out good, though, and the last guests left some time after 3am. Although there was drunkenness, it was way more civilised than the trainwreckery which was so characteristic of my life in Edinburgh. It’s like a whole new era! I had fun. I like talking to nice people. And I like not being a train wreck. Although, hosting visitors from Ireland and Scotland does, I’ve already discovered, tend to pose a threat to this new wholesome trend.

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3 responses to “Late nights in Neukölln

  1. yay! not being a train wreck IS fun, isn’t it? I spent quite a while being one myself as you know. I still fall off the wagon sometimes (argh) but generally I have been able to enjoy life as just a plain old funster. it doesn’t mean I don’t drink, it just means I keep it to a level of drunkenness that doesn’t come with massive apologies and feelings of horrifying stupidity the next morning.

    also thanks for the tortilla recipe! I loved it when I worked at the deli, but Canadians don’t have any clue what it is generally. haven’t seen it in years!

  2. Seriously! You know how I love to be a drunken wretch, but in the past year or so it got kind of excessive. It’s nicer to remember stuff beyond the vaguest of flashes and “oh god I think I physically assaulted somebody”. That’s a really big reason why I am embracing my new wholesome(-ish) lifestyle.

    You’re welcome for the recipe – enjoy! I think tortilla is going to become a regular feature for me.

  3. “a token German” — haha, this is familiar from many of my social gatherings in Germany :-)

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