English-Book-Strawberry-Trifle and Irena&dots

You probably can only get this excited about trifle and trifle-making when you did not grow up with it. And when the picture in your English book looks so appalling, that you think of trifle as some food another person has eaten before. – Repelling and unknown…it’s the adventure setup challenging every 12-year-old.

If you’re than one of the lucky few who actually get’s to taste it, coz a class mate brings it in just before the Easter break and if it’s than oh so miraculously good – well than: you’re hooked.

My younger one was so excited, he rang me in Thessaloniki to find out if we’d make trifle today-right-this-second, he googled about 800 different recipes to match the one in his Green Line English book – which was at his father’s place – he even went with me on a 3-hour shopping trip by bike! – A rare occasion, normally I get a “nein danke” when it’s grocery-shopping-shifting-bags-home time. – He even promised me 3000 clicks when I’d write about making trifle.

So this weekend, trifle time it was!

Trifle with Black Cherry Jelly - food photography by Sanne KurzWe improvised based on the 800 recipes he googled.
We chose as main ingredients the things laughing at us begging “take me” during our grocery tour and the memories, he had of his last English lesson.
Here is how we did it.
It’s delicious:

  • 1 pack vanilla custard powder for 500 ml (about one pint) milk
  • the milk mentioned above for the custard powder
  • we used 2 tablespoon more sugar than mentioned on our vanilla custard pack
  • 1 pack black cherry jelly (we used jelly powder)
  • water to prepare the jelly
  • 200ml sweet cream, which we whipped until stiff (6.7oz or 0.42 pint)
  • 1 large pack of shortbread or butter biscuits, we used the classic German Leibniz-Butter-Keks – the cookies you choose to use should be fairly dry
  • strawberries (the season just started in Spain…)
  • banana
  • chocolate Leibniz biscuit or other decoration

Vanilla Strawberry Trifle - Food Photography Sanne Kurz

  1. Prepare the jelly. Let it cool down and set it in the fridge to stiffen. 
  2. Prepare the vanilla custard, we added 1 tbsp sugar extra, oh, and: we let the custard burn a bit…not sure if that contributed to the amazing trifle taste…
  3. Whip the cream until very stiff.
  4. Cut the fruits.
  5. Crumble the biscuits in to a large glass device. The bottom layer can be a bit thicker. It works as foundation.
  6. Pour the vanilla custard on the crumbs. We did that when the custard was still hot. It soaked beautifully in to the first biscuit layer.
  7. Sprinkle the strawberry bits on the vanilla custard. Add the banana pieces. Our fruits were cut fairly fine. My son and I were debating if there should be an equal amount of banana and strawberry or not. I prefer a little banana and a lot of strawberry. And since I’m writing this post…use less banana than strawberry!
  8. Whipped cream goes on top of the fruits sunk in to the vanilla custard.
  9. Repeat the layers: biscuit crumbs, fruits, whipped cream as often as you like and your bowl permits you.
  10. Finish with whipped cream.
  11. Scoop out nice bits from the cold jelly to decorate the top.
  12. Add other decoration ad libitum.

Trifle Seite 63 Green Line -  Sanne Kurz

We had the trifle in the fridge over night. That way, all the flavours could come together really nicely and the biscuits got beautifully soaked, smooth and yummy, just like a rich cake. Thanks for the idea and making this with me! – Oh, and: I’ll better get the 3000 clicks you promised me!

Roses and Trifle - Sanne Kurz

The roses in the foreground I got for 8th of March, the International Women’s Day. I only learned about this day after the German reunification – our crèche kindergarteners from the former GDR celebrated it. Flowers for 8th of March is what happens when you find yourself an Eastern European male family member. One of the benefits of these types of husbands: flowers on International Women’s Day.

In fact: not only men give flowers to women. A great lady, whose blog I love to read and who’s images I love to look at is Irena from Irena&dots. She gave flowers to the ladies on 8th of March! Irena is located very central in Europe. She’s blogging from a country, that used to be “East” when we still had an iron curtain dividing our continent. “East” = manners = flowers for International Women’s Day for all the ladies!

On March the 8th Irena nominated me for the Super Sweet Blogging Award. These awards work like a chain-letter. They engage you in to a lovely afternoon of reading, exploring new blogs, getting new ideas and a bunch of inspiration and meeting new people and their worlds online. – So: Thank you Irena for nominating me and making me part of this! Here’s my list of what I read and recommend a.k.a. my “nominees for the Super Sweet Blogging Award”:

  1. Irena&dots – I know the people who nominated you are not supposed to be here, but for me it’s a list of reading recommendations rather than a list of people I nominate. Visit Irena for wonderful images that come together with vegetarian and non vegetarian versions of one recipe. Small little texts just enough to read over a coffee give great extra inspiration. – No, she does not pay me to write this.
  2. Nr.11 – I met Nr.11 via Irena&dots. Great, inspiring visuals, English kitchen baking, seasonal cooking, food for a small budget, but still delicious and amazing.
  3. Rockfarmer – Food and environment posts. I tried making her excellent fruit scrap vinegar. it was a big success. All recipes are usually gluten-free and dairy product free.
  4. Breakfasts @Components – Each second Sunday the creative platform Components takes us out to visit photographers, bloggers, artists and have breakfast with them. I love the “Breakfast with…” series and can only recommend! Absolutely my favorite breakfast spot since {365} Breakfasts moved from daily posting to archive only. Recipes only when the interviewed people add them!
  5. Lottie+Doof – When I got there first, I read all through the blog for two days. Very creative, well written food blog with great images.
  6. Hungry Foodies Pharmacy – Pharmacist by day and chef at night. Grown up in a restaurant and finished uni with a doctorate degree. Gluten free&vegan and roast pork&BBQ. I’m not a frequent reader, but love to stop by.
  7. Frugal Feeding – Call me efficient, call me frugal, call me stingy – here I find many things I find inspiring in an economical use of resources…and everything on this page is delicious looking and tempting to read about…coz we wanna be resourceful but we don’t wanna give up daily pleasures, do we?
  8. Things {We} Make – I tried many things from this blog, all my experiments were real winners. Love their brioche!
  9. Liz&Jewels – Two friends from Münster/Germany and New York City/USA who used to live in one city together and now are cooking together across the ocean. 1 recipe / 1 story and 2 results / 2 amazing images. Definitely a read!
  10. Valentinas Kochbuch – Cooking book reviews. Amazing. In German… but reviewing English language books here and there! They do not only review books, but are also cooking recipes from these books, interviewing cooks, writers and photographers… this page is definitely worth heading over for to Goole Translate!
  11. Birds like Cake – This German language blog can be accessed via the”In English Please” Button on the page. Stunning images, mouth-watering recipes, great little stories. Gotta follow this!
  12. Zimt Zucker  und Liebe – German language blog. To read it use the “In English please!” Button right on the page. – The best pear Tarte Tatin I ever saw! A must follow.
  13. Missboulette – Korean and non Korean food, Kimchi goodness or should I say goddess?! Written by a German/Korean in…German.   …what a selfish list-maker I am!

Super Sweet Questions:

1. Cookies or Cake?     
Definitely cookies  a n d  cakes. 

2. Chocolate or Vanilla?
Chocolate eves, vanilla days.

3. What is your favorite sweet treat?
The first raspberries, strawberries and cherries in the garden each year.

4. When do you crave sweet things the most?
When having a tea with lots of milk in the evening getting ready for bed.

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?
Suggestions please in  the comments below…  

 {Last not least the rules of the Super Sweet Blogging Award: *1 Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you. *2 Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back. *3 Answer the “Super Sweet” questions. *4 Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen” ~ 13 ~ blogs, link to their pages in your post, and notify them on their sites. *5 Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.}

Trifle recipe Photo on 2013-03-25 at 09.19

 

Orange Wonder – Polenta Cupcakes

Gluten Free Cupcakes

I’m not a food writer, not a cook and as a cinematographer not even vaguely able to tax-deduct cook books. So each time, I really urgently need a cook book, I creep around the shelf with the book for hours. Ah, what am I saying: I sneak around the shop with the book for weeks! Check it on the net for months! – Until I finally snap it in an instant like a tiger its prey.

Last week I did hunt down Yvette van Boven’s Homemade. Finally!

She’s one of the most inspirational writers in the vast field of cooking books, I love the way she picks you up where ever you are, adore how she inspires beginners and cooking buffs, amateurs and pros. I lover her little drawings, the images are a pure delight to look at and you feel the air of Amsterdam, Paris and London oozing out of each and every page, almost like you’re walking there on a mild sunny day in spring.

The first thing I tried, was the Orange Polenta Tarte.Orange Polenta Muffins

Which I turned in to Orange Polenta Cupcakes. – I could not resist. Or would you call it Orange Polenta Muffins?! Anyway:
An Orange Polenta Delight!

Juicy and fresh and creamy and sweet. Full of flavor and looking so lovely, you want to have them every day!

Orange Cupcakes

Orange Polenta Delights

(inspired by the Orange-Polenta-Tarte from Homemade by Yvette van Boven – makes 12 cupcakes)

for the dough
2 organic oranges
juice of one lemon
100g / 3.5 oz / 0.5 cups polenta
1 tea-spoon baking soda
1 table-spoon vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
100g /  3.5 oz / 1 cup ground almond or almond meal
6 eggs
250g / 8.8 oz /  1 cup (caster) sugar
I added crushed cardamom seeds and cinnamon in the dough

for the topping
3 oranges
2 leaves of leaf gelatine
200ml / 7 oz / 1 cup apricot or other yellow sweet jam

Let the two organic oranges simmer with peel complete and in one bit in a generous amount of water for one hour. Let them sit to cool down completely afterwards.

In a food processor or with a hand blender, grind the oranges together with the lemon juice until you got a smooth puree. Add the polenta, the baking soda and the vanilla extract or vanilla sugar as well as the spices. – I used freshly crushed cardamom seeds and a pinch of cinnamon. Rum might also go well with this dough as a seasoning. I made it for a kids birthday…so no rum for us. But try and let me know what you used and how it turned out.

Preheat the oven on 180° Celsius / 350° Farenheit.

Last not least, add the almond meal. Blend well together. I had to add a bit of liquid at this stage. I used the cooking liquid from the oranges. This way, my dough started to be a bit smoother and softer and less stiff. I added perhaps 3 table spoons of liquid.

Beat the eggs with the sugar until you got a nice foam. Carefully spoon the orange-polenta mass in to the sugar-egg-foam and fold it in, until you got a consistent, nice, even dough.

Line a muffin baking dish for 12 muffins with paper or multi-use silicone cupcake or muffin liners. Add the dough in all 12 liners. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, depending if you prefer it a bit more smooth or rather crisp. I had them 27 minutes in the oven.

Prepare the oranges for the topping: Cut bottom and top from all three oranges. Put the orange on its little cut off bottom side and slice the side peel of all around the orange, so that all the white skin under the peel is gone. Discard the peel (here‘s a great idea what to do with all those citrus fruit peels), collect the juice. Slice the oranges to get nice, thin discs.

After the little cakes have baked and cooled off a bit, take them out of the baking dish and decorate them with the orange discs.

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water. Heat up the jam. If the jam has large fruit junks, pass it through a sieve. Press all water from the gelatine. Add the gelatine leaves to the hot jam and stir. Within not more than 30 seconds the gelatine will dissolve and you make the glazing by spooning the warm jam-gelatine mass over the muffins and orange discs.

Let sit before serving for the orange-jam frosting to coagulate and harden a bit.

Orange Polenta Delight Gluten Free Muffins

Bilingual Breakfasts on Snowy Sundays

Frühstück Kaffee Sanne Kurz

Today I’ve been invited for breakfast by Components. It’s an international project about creative minds and social media.
On Sundays, Components are having a guest and I was flattered and proud when I’ve been asked to join!

We had the best conversation: We talked in-depth about my very own museum as well as the best breakfast-spots in Munich. We chatted about what inspires us and all the plans we got for the new year. I got a chance to book my – yes! – own curator and I had the best Sunday morning treat in a long time. Head over to read the interview and guest post on Components or see what other breakfast guests from all around the globe had to say in the past!

{The Breakfast with… / Frühstück mit… series is bilingual English/German.}

components02

 

 

Golden October Apple Pies or Why I Hate to Leave My House at Six.

“Why do musicians get up at 6?” – “Coz the shops are closing at 7!”  – ok, German humour, you got me. And: I’m not a musician anyway. But man, I hate getting up at 6. 6 in the morning that is. But most of all, I hate leaving the house at 6.

When I got to leave the house at 6am, rushing to the airport, leaving my warm bed behind, I hate my job. My kids are rubbing their eyes to tired to say good bye, the bags to carry downstairs were less many and less heavy last night, when I packed, and the coffe boils to slow to be ready in time. I will have to make this one a Starbucks morning. – I hate leaving the house at 6am.

Today, I got to leave only at 6:30! Joy. It does give me some time to think about a lovely weekend, golden October days and the apple pie we made from the windfall apples my friend Margarete brought me.

I take

  • 300g full grain wheat flour, pour it in a bowl, put than
  • 125g sugar in the middle, add
  • 1 egg on top of the sugar
  • 200g ice cold butter go in bits as tiny as possible on the flour around sugar and egg.

Than I knead and, once ready, put the dough wrapped in something letting it not drie out fridge. Meantime, I peel and cut

  • about 1kg apples, Boskop are great or any other sour apple. When the apples are to sweet, I add the juice of
  • 1 lemon. I also love
  • lemon zest
  • a tiny bit of nutmeg and
  • cinnamon on my cake. Most people take
  • raisins as well and some add a little
  • rhum

 

Now 30 minutes should be over. I take the dough out of the fridge, squish it wit my hands flat in a baking dish (flat, large) and keep some dough to decorate the top later. To avoid the bottom getting all soggy, I add

  • breadcrumbs
  • on top of the dough. Speread them, pour the left overs not sticking to the bottom out. Apples on top of breadcrumbed dough, left over dough on top of apples.
  • Milk and
  • 1 beaten egg

on top of the decoration does all the magic. Off in the oven you go, 50-55 minutes, 180 degrees Celsius in the preheated oven. Non-metric values and Farenheit to follow tonight, I gotta run leave the house!! – Fell free to do the service and add non-metric and Farenheit in the comments! Thanks! Bye!

 

Wrapping Day.

All stamps via Yellow Owl Workshop. Brown strong parcel wrapping paper via amazon. Green and red stamp ink via Pelikan. Red ribbons: vintage home collection. Embroidery: vintage flea market find.

Slow Summer Weekend

Apart from a slow summer, you can have a slow weekend. Which is what we did:

It was to hot outside to possibly stand it in the garden any longer than the time necessary for a quick breakfast coffee…so I went inside cooking up something my great great aunt had invented.

A bit of whisk swinging…

And there he was, the yum-nut cake.

So I took my most beloved mobster for a cup of tea…and a piece of cake.

Later the day, we had some of our pickles and went for a barbecue…

…to the garden. Cooled down by than, lovely fresh, shady and with a perfect chill. Why the Man was surprised and what made the dozen pictures full you can see here. He was in shock…one more!

Here is what he had to face…

 

 

Nut Bread: Homemade. Artisan. Fast. Easy. Yummy.

It’s the darkest, rainiest day in August humanity has ever seen. This is how  the Deluge must have started. A perfect day to stay at home, think about if it’s insane to put on the fireplace in August and: To bake!
For my non-baking friend Ju, I’ll spread here and now publicly the secret of my fathers fast, easy, super yummy, not to mention healthy, homemade artisan bread:

Peter’s Nut Bread

In a sentimental homage to my very much only German-speaking  father, who tought me all my cooking skills and is a divine chef, I added the German terms in italic. Whoever is bored by that might see it as challenge to pick up a few words in a foreign language before holidays.


Put in a large bowl

  • 300g / 2 1/2 Cups wholemeal wheat (triticum aestivum – Weizen)
  • 300g / 2 1/2 Cups wholemeal spelt (triticum speltum – Dinkel)

Make a little depression in the middle, take from fridge and tap

  • 1 pack of fresh yeast (Baker’s Yeast. 42g / one cube / 0.6o ounce – Hefe)
  • 600ml / 2 1/2 Cups lukewarm water (Wasser)

Crumble the yeast in the middle of the depression. Pour the lukewarm water slowly on the yeast. Stir yeast and water to dissolve the yeast. I use for stirring the end of a wooden cooking spoon. It’s easiest to clean later I found. Try to only stir in the middle and let some flour sit around your well untouched. The yeast dissolves easier this way and stirring in water is less work than stirring in heavy dough.
Add to the lot

  • 1 teaspoon sugar (Zucker)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (Salz)
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar (3 Eßlöffel Essig)

Now, stir everything in your bowl together. It will be a quite heavy goo – certainly not a bread dough suitable for hand kneading. Take

  • 1 cup of nuts or seeds (1 grosse Tasse Nüsse oder Kerne – ca. 2 Hand voll)

And stir it under the bread dough. Fill all in a 28cm Kastenform (11 inches long cake tin for a loaf). Do NOT pre-heat the oven. Set the box type loaf pan in the COLD oven at 220°C / 430°F. Bake for 50-60 minutes.

  • You can use instead of nuts raisins, fried onions, olives, dried herbs etc.
  • If you replace wholemeal with standard flour (Type 405) the bread will be a bit lighter in color and a tiny bit more fluffy and high. but believe me: we are totally not the organic and/or health food consumers and all family loves this bread as is.

The measurements given make a loaf for a family. The bread does not dry out to quickly and stays fresh for a couple of days. But usually, after one day, it looks like that:

All cups are given in US cups. Should you use a smaller baking dish than 28cm/11 inches please recalculate the measurements according to your dish size.
For conversion gram/cup of flour I used this site. It has volume/weight conversions, metric and US cups and takes in account that different types of flour have a different volume. Temperature, length and volume measurements I converted with this site.
Different types of yeast and US measurements of fresh yeast are explained really well on this site. Scroll down to the middle to see the block I am talking about. You’ll find it in the supermarket with refrigerated goods.

 

Homemade Hungarian Pickles

Imagine you are a freelancer, running to a business meeting, just able to squeeze through the door in the last second and all you got as excuse is “I had to pickle cucumbers!”

Pretty lame, he? But oh so true.

Having sown heaps of gherkins ‘Vorgebirgstrauben’ this year, I simply do not know where to put them all. Cucumis sativus ‘Vorgebirgstrauben’  is listed sometimes as cucumber, sometimes as gherkin (the difference between the two, anyone?!?). The Net is straight forward on how to use them: pickle, pickle, pickle. – Having never done that it took me a while and one and a half friends from Eastern Europe to find the method I like best:

Hungarian Pickled Cucumbers

The hight of summer is apparently called in Hungarian uborkaszezon – cucumber season. People put kovászos uborka – summer cucumbers for pickling – in a jar outside in the sun and wait for the magic to happen…lactic acid fermentation

  • 1 jar large enough to fit the cucumbers you’d like to pickle
  • cucumbers/gherkins for pickling (smallish&often with rough skin – 4-10cm/1,5-2,5 inches long)
  • water
  • salt
  • herbs and spices
  • one slice of bread

Sterilize jars in boiling water.  Take out. Let dry and cool. Cut each cucumber from the top in half, stopping short before the end. Do the same from the bottom, this time 90 degrees to your first cut. You got now a gherkin split twice but still intact. The herbs and spices infuse this way better. No time? The recipe works ok without cutting.

Bring fresh water to boil. Stir and add salt until it does not dissolve any more. Now the water is saturated with salt. Let cool.
Stack your spices, herbs and cucumbers in to the jars.

Start with leaves such as dill, cilantro/coriander/bay leaf/borage or vine leaves.
Put in the cucumbers, depending on size they can stand upright or lie.
Add spices such as garlic cloves, chilli pods, large chunks of onion, peppercorn, mustard seed or for the more adventurous ones even clove, anis or cardamom.
Top of with one more layer of leaves or thick slices of onion.

Make sure nothing sticks out of the jar. After the salt water has fully cooled down, pour it over the cucumbers, filling the jar entirely. With a clean spoon, squeeze all contents well under water.

Almost done. curtains up for: The Eastern European part.
Add a slice of bread on top of your last layer. It can be dark of white bread – my friends started fighting about this. But: it must definitely be sourdough or yeast bread.- The Hungarian word kovászos uborka  for summer gherkins originates from Hungarian Kovász for sourdough – cucumbers preserved not with heat and vinegar, but with a mild lactic acid fermentation, ready to eat in as soon as a week.

Place the jar on your window seal or another warm spot. Best put a plate underneath, during fermentation the liquid spills quite a lot.

Do not twist on the lids. The jars might explode. You can loosely place them on top, but I prefer to ‘seal’ my jars: Throughout fermentation process place a small muesli bowl on top of your jar. It should press down the bread make sure all stays under water. Add a weight in the bowl for stronger pressure if needed.

The liquid will turn from clear to milky. That’s normal and a good thing. After fermentation the pickles should last 4-6 weeks in the fridge. But: we are eating them much faster than that!


You can use left over liquid as a super-delicious salad-sauce if you like. Ah! Next year again in my garden!

(You figured already I love cooking but do not post recipes to often…I did share however some cookies and Mozartkugel tricks as well as some Indian-German Cuisine recipe sharing cook-off I had in Assam.

Do you actually prefer to look at images, check out the food photography section in my stills portfolio.)

PS. As you can see in the images: this recipe works with all slightly harder vegetables. Courgettes/zucchini/squash/beans/pumpkin…Famously Kimchi and Sauerkraut are made following the same principles.

From Field To Mouth: Strawberry Fields

Should you ever happen to visit Germany in June, make sure you ask for strawberry fields. At about 3 Euros the kilo you can pick your own strawberries, fresh from field to mouth.

We went there today for a cycling trip and it’s hard to tell what was more fun: cycling in sunshine, the air fresh from nightly rainfall, picking fruits, round and red or coming home, cutting the strawberries, mixing them with sugar and adding some cream, milk or vanilla ice. Mouth-watering.

Only thing left to worry about: When will cherry picking fields be introduced?

Can’t visit Germany? Check pick-your-own to find out if close to you can be found some similar joys.

Assamese Cuisine, German Spätzle And What’s Slime Got To Do With It.

I love Couchsurfing. I host, I travel, I have been doing it alone and with my family and children. I do it when I am working for a low-budget movie, I do it when I am longing for a holiday, I do it for exchange. I have been given keys, city tours, beds and couches. I gave time, love, dedication and cooking recipes.

Never an extended family showed such overwhelming hospitality like we encountered in Guwahati. It was hard to keep track with names, this many people took care of us. Oona, my wonderful host, introduced me to each single one of them and made us feel at home. We had time to recover from exhausting travel, we have been shown some really lovely spots in the not very touristic place Guwahati (Peacock Island, Fish Market before 8am and Farmer’s Market where the villagers sell own produce – fresh yoghurt packed in banana leaves…yumm…) and:

We cooked together! Oona and her mother made a countless number of amazing Assamese dishes for us, did share some of their secrets and recipes and I made Spätzle – a German speciality mostly related to pasta probably – for them. It’s worth checking the link and reading more about Spätzle – or simply…

…join our cooking pots:

Various Assamese Potato Dishes, Smoked Pork with Bamboo-Shoot and Spätzle

For this dinner for a medium sized family, you prepare a little bit of many different (Indian and German) dishes, and serve them together all at once. Make sure you chat a lot in the kitchen whilst doing it…it’ll be delicious, you’ll see.

  • Aloo (potatoes, fried)

Fry some black cumin seeds in cooking oil, slit 1/2 green chilli and add to the cumin. Add small blocks of potato and fry until done.

  • Aloo Pitika (mashed potato)

Mash boiled potatoes. I like them boiled in their skin, they’ll be than less watery. Peel and mash. Make sure you use floury potatoes. Add than for Aloo Pitika fresh coriander leaves, 1/2 chopped green chilli, 1/2 raw chopped onion (in German cuisine you would probably fry it, but believe me, the Assamese version with raw onion was simply delicious!) and, to make it true Assamese: a little bit of mustard oil.

Pitika can be made as well with roasted aubergine (eggplant) or – very yummy – with boiled egg and potato. I like to finely grate the hard-boiled eggs before mixing with the potatoes, but finely chopped might be nicer for people who still like to bite on something.

  • Tiny Aloo (my little red note-book says: Allo Sahadshi – which might be Assamese or Hindi or none of those…on the Net I found Aloo Bhaji as well as Aloo Sabzi – which both contains some sounds from the word I noted originally  … hm … better handwriting to donate to me anyone?? … suggestions of Indian readers on the real name for this dish most welcome!!)

As the (wrong…) recipe title suggests, you fist need to find really tiny potatoes. A good idea of how large is tiny you get on this image. Wash them thoroughly, and fry them in cooking oil with turmeric, chopped onion and cut spring onion. I use scissors to cut spring onion.  – Oh, stir-fry till the potatoes are ready.

  • Smoked Pork with Bamboo Shoot (North-Eastern dish)

You’ll need to fry in cooking oil smoked pork in larger slices or smaller blocks (ad libitum), ginger and garlic  (I found many people in North-East India mash ginger and garlic with mortar and pestle, you can grate it finely or chop it as well). After a bit, your nose will tell you when (there’ll be the most amazing smell), add tomatoes and salt (I use tin-tomatoes, un-chopped,  fresh ones in big chunks work as well). Salt, dry chilli as well as fresh chilli and a bit of water – since I learned this dish should have a very juicy consistence (we’ll need the sauce to go with the Spätzle)

Cheap, easy, simple and fast to make and – very tasty. My part of the party.

For about one large hand full of wheat flour (I open my hand and kind of scoop the wheat, which makes a very large hand full) I use one egg. Do not try to use full grain flour, rye or spelt…the consistence will be not as buttery, smooth and tasty in the end…

I think in my family we use fewer eggs than most recipes indicate, our Spaetzle therefore are with a bit more bit to it, slightly harder and less fluffy…maybe like pasta with or without eggs??

Anyway. My family does add water to the wheat and the flour. Slowly, whilst beating the dough with a whisk, you add more and more water…till…and now we come to the slime:

Till the dough is shiny and the consistence is like the one of slime, the kids toy….remember?? Mattel, in the 70ies…

Sorry I really can not think of any other thing to describe it right! It’s easy when you are in the kitchen with me and you’d never think of slime, of course…

Must be  tough, but soft, flowing, but not trickling. When you lift it up with your whisk, it should slowly and steadily splotch-blob down, sticking still on the whisk whilst hanging already almost on the ground of the bowl again.

Understood?? – Let the dough sit now for 5-10 minutes. – Boil salt water.

For four persons, I take two large hand fulls of flour and two eggs.

If you feel you got to much water, simply add flour.

I usually start out with far too much flour and only one egg…the dough does not get really shiny than…later during whisking I than add a second egg… you can not really do anything wrong: more eggs, simply fluffier and softer Spätzle, lovely for sucking up sauce from your plate – fewer eggs, more of an al-dente feel and better to fry after.

Ok. Almost done (so much talking for such a simple dish…)

People from different regions get Spätzle in different ways cooked. some use a colander with large holes, some trust even in a grater…my family, however, exercises the very traditional board-chopping method:

You take a large soup spoon and put some of your dough on to an equally large chopping board. Make sure it is a normal, simple one, none of those with fancy-pansy boards people like Jamie Oliver are selling, to fat to lift for long or with a little furrow running all around it…nonono…Good board to be seen here – bad board here.

Take a chopping knife, at least as large as your soup spoon and your chopping board. Hold the board with the dough over the pan with boiling salt water. Chop the dough off the edge of the board in to the hot water. After each chop, make sure you dip the knife with the new-born spaetzle in to the water. That way nothing will stick or cling on your knife. Keep chopping until your first lump of dough is finished. You can chop from a line of dough as wide as your hand large chunks (this is what I do), you can make a thin, sausage like dough line and chop almost square or round chunks (in Swabia they call those smaller ones Knöpfle, meaning small buttons). If you use a colander, your result will look similar like the spaetzle you can buy in Germany dried like pasta in a shop.

Chop all your dough in to the boiling water.

When the spaetzle swim on top, take them out with a slotted spoon like a skimmer.

You can serve them like this, or – the way I love it: fried with butter and croutons. My Grandmother served them with home-made preserved poached pears, it’s super delicious fried with onion and cheese or, simply use it as a side dish to have with our yummy juicy Assamese food, like we did.

Meet Oona’s photographer cousin and his stunning work here. Read on about our journey through tea gardens and Kazirange National Park here.

Other posts from our India Travel Diary are:
I use Trains when travelling in India
Happy Holi – Spring in India
Running from Holi we took Rescue in Haridwar
Half Indian Doors and Memories in little red Note Books
Guwahati, Assam, North-East India.
Assamese Cuisine, German Spätzle And What’s Slime Got To Do With It
Tea Gardens And Kaziranga
Lovely People and Empty Ministries: Kohima
Twice a Day a Bus at the End of the Known World: Khonoma
Last Stop Paradise: Meghalaya, India
Another Travel Diary of mine takes you to Israel and Palestine in 2012. You can start reading it here

Thanks for coming with me on this journey.