Do you want to get a little fatter? Move to Germany. Seriously. I've never known a country for super-sized meals, at least one that's not America. Last month I sat in a cafe in Koln and watched as a huge platter of spaghetti was served to a woman sitting with her partner and three children. 'How nice,' I thought to myself, 'what a convivial way to eat'. Then I realised the pasta platter was just for her - the dad got a steak as big as a placemat and the kids gobbled a pizza each.
We are a reasonably greedy trio but we quickly learned that we needn't order very much while eating out. Since my German is limited, to say the least, this certainly made things easy on the language front. But my it also meant that I had no hope of asking about the little dish of cream cheese and something that came with the enormous 'Bio Breakfast' at a cafe in Berlin, pictured above. (Not pictured: the accompanying basket of bread and tumbling pile of walnuts that were taken by a small hand.) I took this photo to help jog my taste memory when we got home and now, a month later, I think I've got it.
Spiced cream cheese and date spread
I am such a glutton when it comes to cream cheese I could eat this neat, but it's also good on all manner of baked goods, from simple toast to slices of fruit loaf. Or you could use it as a dip for green apples, if you are an alternative eater (Catherine, are you reading this?). It's not quite the same, eating it in my kitchen as it was sitting on a cafe terrace in Prenzlauer Berg, but it's not a bad substitute.
125g good, full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
100g dates, roughly chopped
To make this the lazy way, put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it is a chunky mixture. To make by hand, chop the dates finely (scissors is easiest) and stir into the cream cheese, along with the spices and honey. Store, covered, in the fridge, for a week.
Have a good week, everyone.