Almonds In Bloom

DSC_0414We arrived a week late and some of the almonds were already nearing the end of the bloom, and had been beaten about by heavy rain and hailstorm a few days earlier. However, seeing the entire area covered in white and pink blossom rather than the usual lush yet boring rows of wine is quite something.

Almost every house, street and road, every front garden and hillside is covered in the delicate flowers.

Check it out! Die Pfalz is always worth a visit.

Bye Bye Annabell

DSC_0021Annabell, the beautifully waxy and ultimately flavoursome potatoes which be brought back from Neustadt in September are now officially gone. I just steamed the remainder for one last dish of Bratkartoffeln tonight, then it’ll be back to Elfe or Charlotte varieties. These aren’t bad, but they aren’t good either. They have the right consistency, but are lacking in the deep yellow colour, and in the rich flavour.

Hard times ahead.

(Picture shows Riesling grapes (I think). I didn’t have a nice picture of Annabell or a potato field, but at least the photos is taken in the right area.)

Culinary Evolution

DSCF3825I remember it very well. Back many years ago, even before we moved to the UK, we spent our summer holidays in Ireland. Apart from this being an exceptionally cold and rainy Irish summer, I remember this one incident in particular: Great, we thought, we’d fix ourselves a delicious yet inexpensive meal! We had discovered Black Pudding in the local butchers. Brilliant, we thought at first, that’ll be a spicy, possibly wind-dried sausage made from pigs’ blood and fat – yummy!

We grew up to hearty fare like that, but I recall our astonishment when we sampled it. We truly and honestly thought it utterly inedible. We truly and honestly thought we might have purchased a produce designed to feed dogs. We truly and honestly thought this might not be fit for human consumption.

Nowadays, black pudding is on the food fashion rise again in the great upsurge of Modern British Cuisine (for want of a better label), and I enjoy myself with the occasional slice of baked British Black Pudding. Served alongside a seared breast of duck, together with a poached pear, makes for a delicious meal, or simply fry it up with an egg and a slice of bread.

It’s different from the produce I grew up with, and that’s good. It’s a different country after all. Most importantly, it’s a lot different from what we bought back in ‘em days in Ireland.


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Homo Bratwurstensis

DSC_0053I never thought I needed an Irishman to explain what is now blindingly obvious to me. But I can answer the last question he left open, so I think of this as helping each other out:

Dara O’Briain’s Science Club reminded us on the fact that Homo Sapiens did not descent from Homo Neanderthalensis. They form two different branches of the evolutionary tree, and both descent from Homo Heidelbergensis. Well, there you have it. Homo Heidelbergensis lived practically in our home region of the Pfalz (especially considering the fact that Heidelberg University, after which Homo Heidelbergensis is named, is closely linked with Neustadt). It is very obvious to me, now, that modern man descents from the Pfalz. Africa was just a little trip down south.

No wonder everybody likes a Bratwurst.

Dara also explained that there was some interbreeding between Homo Sapiens and Homo Neanderthalensis for a while, but he wasn’t sure which one of the two species was the more sexually aggressive or submissive one. Dara you fool! It was the males on either side of the evolutionary fork shagging the females, you can put a bet on that. Evolution hasn’t come that far enough in half a million years for such basic behaviour to change.


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This Week, I’ve Been Mostly Eating…

Da werden Sie geholfen This week, I’ve been mostly eating hearty German food. Hardly surprising, give that we were just there, in the Motherland of Sausage and Kraut:

Bratkartoffel (pan-fried potatoes) with Saumagen (a meaty large sausage encased in a pig’s stomach, sliced and baked) and Sauerkraut,

Bratkartoffel (pan-fried potatoes) with Wurstsalat (a cold salad from a Wiener-style sausage),

Bratkartoffel (pan-fried potatoes) with a trio of local sausages: Leberwurst (liver sausage), Blutwurst (black pudding) and Schwartemagen (a meaty sausage with crackling),

Bratkartoffel (pan-fried potatoes) with Leberknoedel (liver dumplings), Saumagen, Bratwurst and Sauerkraut.

Spot the common denominator!

We also ate a lot of other meat produce, such as Beef and Pork roasts, a meaty BBQ, and at least four different types of Knoedel (bread or potato dumplings) at four different occasions.

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Approaching a Myth

turm-in-worms I mentioned it briefly last week already: I am starting to learn the preparation of a traditional meal. Back at home, we call it Grumbeersupp, Dampnudle unn Woisoss (Kartoffelsuppe, Dampfnudeln und Weinsosse). Loosely translates into a vegetable soup, accompanied by salty steamed and fried dumplings (made from sweet yeast dough), and a sweet cream of Riesling sauce. Also often accompanied by custard.

It is thought that only a grandmother can master it, and a whole lot of wealth of myths rank around the secrets of the dough, the right and the wrong frying pan to use, and other aspects. The sister has already proven that grandmotherhood is not required, as she became master of this meal a long time ago.

Now it was my time to try. I tried with a very large pot of soup for twelve (for which I misjudged the amount of vegetables, and the soup ended too watery), accompanied with 40-ish small Dampfnudeln which weren’t quite crusty enough and were a bit wrinkly, ‘coz I had accidentally switched the cooking zone to the small ring – no wonder the pan wasn’t getting hot enough even when I set it on full blast (which would have been way too hot under normal circumstances).

The bottom line is that, while grandmotherhood is not required, a little bit more practise is.

The custard and the woisoss’ were spot on, though, and very popular, so that’s nice.

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