Sunday Music

For the first time in ages I cooked something here. Not “cooked” as in “pull of the wrapper, pierce the plastic surface, put the frozen stuff in the microwave, nuke it with thousand watt for ten minutes” – but cooked, as in grab a potatoe, peel it, slice it, put it in this nice, civilised porcellaine form. Ad other vegetables (!), crumble some non-feta-cheese over it (it is called “Balkankäse”, cheese from the Balkans & made from cow milk), do not forget the garlic and the red dog – I call these little red hot Paprikas / Chilis / peppers roter Hund. It is complicated with these names, but “red dog” is simple, and everybody knows what is meant. Gut the red dog first, cut it up, and sprinkle it in the form. Perhaps I just wanted to write “gut the dog” on my blog ? The ingredients are piled up, cheese on top, a little sour cream – ready in fifteen minutes : Voila, un gratin.
Now let’s listen to some swinging music : The guitarist Albert Aloysius CASEY (Ger., Eng.) (1915-2005) performs his song Buck Jumpin’. I hope you enjoy the music, may we all be rescued from the evil.

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Erstens kommt es anders,

zweitens als man denkt. Things never turn out the way one expects them to do. This morning I was called by a friend who lives in this house too. The carpet had moved and crumpled up, so he had difficulties to move through the living room in his wheelchair. Of course I’d help. You know, one thing leads to another, and in the end the ameublement in his living room was re-arranged. At least he has a lot more space to move with his machine around now, and the carpets finally found their place too. So did the Buddha statuettes, the flowers, and a ton of bric-à-brac; I left when he started to eye the pictures on the walls.
The phone call is due tomorrow. I will have to prepare myself a bit.
The Crumble went astonishing well. I will do another one soon, but with better ingredients; this time I used what I found, like some (old) brown sugar, whole spelt flour, a slap of margarine went in too, cinnamon of course … the apples I collected turned out very nice. I followed MITZI’s instructions and measurements, and found that a bit more fruit and a bit less sugar would be more to my tastes. Maybe some chopped (hazel)nuts would fit in well.

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Krumbel

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As you see it was not much of a “riser” (der Teig ist nicht sehr stark aufgegangen); the dark spots are the result of a half-hearted idea to mix in some Marmelade, Quittengelee (Ger.) in this case. But I found the apples brought enough moisture, so additional syrupy fluids are not necessary. Next time I’ll use white flour, white sugar only (but less than MITZI suggests), more apples, and maybe I’ll mix in some chopped nuts. It’s a great recipe, even a kitchen deadbeat like me can produce something acceptable following these guidelines. It screamed for Vanilla sauce!

Soup Days

The winter arrived in the whole of Europe (German article here), from Belgium to Poland it’s freezing. In Franconia things are not different.

So it’s time for soup. When one comes in from the cold a hot soup is the remedy of choice. Today I will fabricate nothing special, just a plain potato soup. What first means to have an expedition through the ice fields over to the discounter and grab a bunch of Suppengrün (Ger., Eng.) and a small sack of potatoes. I peel them, cut them in chunks of roughly the same size and cook them in salted water. The Suppengrün is cleaned, peeled and chopped, I prefer to have it stir-fryed in olive oil just to have it softened. A big gulp of water over it, waiting until it starts to boil. If I am lazy this is the right moment to add some helpers, Suppenwürfel, but not today. In go the potatoes. I let it simmer a bit and then use the Pürierstab (Ger., Eng.) – bzzzmmmm. Ad some spices like Lorbeer, Wacholder, Nelken, these larger black round thingies I forgot the name, salt, pepper, a bit of sugar, Knoblauch, Majoran, curry and paprika. One has to play around with these a bit. Sometimes a bit more hot is nice, so I grind dried pepperoni with mortar and pestle, but only two or three: They are very small and dangerous, a homegrown gift. The soup should have the chance to simmer a bit with all these ingredients; according to taste, mood and Portemonnaie a pair of sausages can be added or roasted breadcrumbs, but this is not necessary. If it became too spicy a blob of yogurt helps on the plate. Generally less is more I think, so I use salt only in small doses; besides it can be a nice thing to use only one or two spices on the whole soup and give them space – but its try and error or, if you prefer, creative play. Today I guess it’s curry, paprika and garlic. And a blop of cream.

 

Postscriptum

It may look a bit… well. It was photographed with a four year old portable. Tasted really good. Strong pepperoni, the cream was necessary.

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Eat It – or better let it dry and use it as a weapon

A serious word. Some of my venerated readers may possibly be travelling in Central Europe, Southern Germany, Bavaria and other places of former K.u.k. cuisinal heritage.
Serviettenkloß, if done properly and really earning the name, loves sauce: It soaks it up like a sponge; if you prepare meat, no matter which sort, and choose to have Serviettenkloß with it, you have to take care and make a lot more sauce as usual. Nowadays some Ersatzproducts litter the supermarkets pretending to contain “Austrian” Serviettenklöse: Plastic thingies containing grey material are cooked in boiling water and result in a cementlike sausage; single slices refuse to take in any fluid, no matter what, the surfaces being absolutely water repellant! The cold sausages are useful as sophisticated tools like clubs, hammers or such. The inventor of this perversity should be hit with them over the derrière, repeatedly.

It’s a Bohemian specialty. You need old white bread or some Brötchen, Petersilie (glatt), small onion, eggs, milk, salt … The bread is cut in cubes, soaked in milk. The onion is sliced in small parts and roasted. A dough is made. Traditionally it is put in a Serviette (ein Leinentuch) and cooked over boiling water (Wasserbad). We used a special pot that gave it the form of a cake (no, MJ, do not even think of it!), the inside was lubricated with butter –  ideally you open the form, turn it around and voilá there’s the Kloß, I only came close to this. Brotstreusel are put in so decorating the outside of the later Kloß. The form is filled only to three quarters, locked well and put in a larger pot with boiling water. It takes some time. Of this basical receipe exist a large number of variations, some even use flour and potatoes – but that is Thuringian, they believe the potato is God’s gift to mankind, a bit like the Irish. Basically you put the pot on the oven and let it simmer until the meat is ready; goes with meat from the hunt or other. By the way: What is called “Gulash“, “Gulyas” etcetc. is in Hungary a soup. If you want to have original Hungarian shepherd’s stew in Budapest ask for pörkölt. The Viennese Gulasch comes in variations and goes very good with Serviettenkloß. It loves sauce, you know?