Sunday, September 30, 2012

Culinary Impressions from Vienna

Grüß Gott aus Wien! Today I'm blogging from Vienna in Austria. It seems that I forgot how great Vienna is and it's the reason why I haven't been here for ages. I have to change it! It's a pity that's quite far away from my beloved Frankfurt where I live but I am sure that I can change it and I will change it - of course not bringing the cities more close to each other but I have to make a trip from time to time to Vienna to explore the city from the beginning. I ate a great Sacher-Cake in Café Heiner - here's the link to that café and drunk coffee with milk which is called Wiener Melange here. The weather was AMAZING. Not too cloudy, not too sunny but warm and great for walks around the city. My mom had a Sacher-Cake as well and my father ordered some brioche and goulash - which is except the brioche NOT vegetarian but I was never an ultra and I was happy he enjoyed his food and I am going to post the picture here. So take a look at some of the yummy culinary impressions I made today.



Lunch in Hainburg an der Donau/Austria

Because our primary destination is Vienna and Lower Austria, we took the car and went behind the border which is only a mile from the hotel, we passed Wolfsthal and we got to Hainburg a.d. Donau. It's a shame that it started raining!!! But we had fun and hungry as wolfes we went to the first restaurant we saw in Hainburg for a small lunch. I got something vegetarian (don't ask me what, because I forgot but it was delicious) and my parents a Wiener Schnitzel with French fries. My dad was the driver today so I enjoyed a cold and very tasty Austrian beer. I saw the Danube river twice today in Bratislava and in Hainburg. It's so enormous! It's been more than 10 years I've seen our most European river for the last time. Hainburg is a nice and small city. But's very different in its' architecture from the Southern-German cities I am used to know. In a few hours we're leaving to Vienna and because me and my folks we're lazy people, we decided to go there by car and park it in the middle of the city instead of taking the train which runs only 60 minutes from Bratislava to Vienna.




Saturday, September 29, 2012

So many countries in 24 hours

Finally at 2 P.M. we arrived in our hotel I booked in Bratislava-Petrzalka in Slovakia. It's about one mile from the border to Austria and 25 miles from Vienna. I'm here where 3 countries: Austria, Slovakia and Hungary meet together. Bratislava is a nice but not as big city I am usually used to but it's very nice. In the evening I made a walk around and got lost - without a map, it took me about 1,5 hours to get home. We drove about 200 miles today and passed the whole Czech Republic until we finally got to Slovakia. The motorway was okay and as usually in this part of Europe no border controls anymore since the Eastern countries are also in the Schengen area. I passed 3 borders today ;) We also passed Austerlitz where 1805 the big battle was held check it here in Wikipedia - it was in Czechia close to Brno/Brünn.

Czech Republic - a part of my family heritage since some of our ancestors a couple of centuries ago resettled from there to Prussia.

The eagle is nothing special - a commercial of a local mineral water but the last picture was taken near the battlefield of Austerlitz

Arriving in Slovakia - and the bathroom in my hotel room in Bratislava

Friday, September 28, 2012

"Out Of My Mind" Pasta & Quark Casserole

"Out Of My Mind" - I know I am hilarious in creating names for the dishes I cook. But it was really an out of my mind casserole today. We're leaving soon to Austria and it was no reason to do the big shopping for one week. So I cooked pasta, added quark (curd cheese), crushed tomatoes, herbs, salt, pepper etc. But let's start at the beginning - and sometimes I think I am even worse than Ted from How I Met Your Mother who also has a problem with keeping a long story short ;)

Yesterday I wanted to pour some milk into my coffee and I realized the milk got sour. I opened the other one - the same problem. It was a quite good fresh milk which was only pasteurised and not UHT-milk (long life milk). I know that quark or curd cheese is not a common thing in the Americas (Check here the Wikipedia) and I can not imagine a typical German cheese cake without curd cheese... Okay, Ted, come to the point: Instead of pouring the 1/2 gallon milk out I put it into a pot, covered it with a lid and left it for the night in a warm place - not far away from the fireplace. Today I added juice of a 1/4 of a lemon and warmed it up to 90°F (40°C) for a while. I took a white blanket put the mass into it, closed it from the top, hang it over the sink and left it for about 3-4 hours. I got more than one pound (maybe 1 1/2 lb) of great quark. Next time I'll take some photos - I totally forgot about it. When I want to make a really good German cheese cake I always prepare the quark a few days earlier and never use the ready one from the supermarket.


Okay, I didn't think that the curd cheese I made will turn into a part of my today's meal. I cooked some pasta, added the ingredients I wrote at the beginning and the curd cheese as well. After I mixed it together I buttered a baking pan and added some fresh tomatoes and some cheese on the top. I baked the casserole for 20 minutes at 390°F (200°C). It was delicious and my family also enjoyed it very much. I got "rid" of the curd I made today and I made a meal out of NOTHING or better said EVERYTHING I just found in my mother's kitchen. So enjoy the pictures.



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gardening

As you can see on my latest posts, I LOVE THE AUTUMN. Really. And I love it double as much when the weather's nice and I am able to leave my flat in the middle of the city and visit my parents who have a big house and a much bigger garden. But having a big garden always means that there's gardening stuff to do. My parents do not have time to plant vegetables but they have some herbs and a lot of lowers and trees in the garden. And there's also always someone needed to mow the lawn. It was my job today and I enjoyed it as I always enjoyed mowing the lawn. I don't know why, I loved it. So I spent a couple of hours today afternoon in the garden and I did what I had to do. I also reaped the pumpkins you can see in the last post and I saw that the cat who lives in the basement has two little kittens. It was only possible to catch one of them with my camera. But they're both so sweet. The second one is white-black. More white than black. The time in the garden was great and I have the good feeling now that I indeed worked with my hands, because gardening on my balcony in the middle of the city DOES NOT COUNT! :) Here are some impressions and effects of my gardening and time I spent outside.


Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins...

I do not know where to start because I have a few ideas I want to post. First of all it's Autumn, that sure and we have wonderful weather!!! That's also the time where pumpkins are sold and and and. Last Friday, shortly before I left Frankfurt for two weeks, I was sitting with a friend of mine in a café over the roofs of the city and I saw that there was something like a farmer's market at the Hauptwache which is the very heart and central place of Frankfurt. And I saw there was a pyramid made of pumpkins. It looked so cool, that I asked M. to take some photos with his iPhone and send them to me. So big big THANKS my dear for that pictures.

Farmer's market in Frankfurt am Main


It's funny because when I am visiting my parents there are always a lot of pumpkins as decoration at the front door or at the windows. My mom is not the World's best chef... so she never prepared pumpkins and let's say it this way: we never ate our decoration. But we do have an enormous garden and we bring the decoration when it gets old outside to the compost heap. So we did last year. And imagine. I hasn't been visiting my parents for a couple of months during the Summer AND the first thing my dad wanted to show me were the pumpkins. I thought he must be crazy to be so excited because of some decoration my mom bought... But later I understood. The pumpkins were growing in the garden! After we compost the old deco-pumpkins the seeds survived and imagine, pumpkins were growing even on trees! Our garden is a little bit wood like, so the pumpkin plants climbed on the trees and the highest pumpkin we reaped was something like 6 ft. over the ground! So now we have 6 or 7 big pumpkins and we have absolutely no idea what to cook out of them. I'll search the Internet for some ideas. Take a look at the pictures:


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Finally I left Warsaw - and now I got to my parental home until we're leaving to Austria for vacations. The weather is so great. I made a small collage of some pictures I took today in our garden. You can as well see our dog - he's enjoying the sun.


I made a great lunch - potatoes, vegetables, feta - a ragout. I forgot to take a picture of the meal so the only picture I got is the one of the "rests". BUT - I had the possibility to try the new induction stove my mother bought. It's a nice invention. I do prefer a gas stove but yes, it's as fast as gas and you don't have to wait ages until something's boiling it was in case of a normal electric stove. But my mom is a little bit "disgusted". She had to say goodbye to 99% of her pans and pots because they were not induction ready and didn't work. Now she has only a few old enamel pots and every 10 minutes I only hear: "my poor pots and pans..." ;)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cooking in Warsaw - Jigsaw Repeated

Me and my friend we cooked together yesterday. We made an eggplant salad which was FANTASTIC. All you need is some eggplants, salt, pepper, sesam paste (tahina), garlic, lemons. Grill the eggplants - on a gas stove top or in the oven (which I tried today - around 30-40 minuts on the highest level), crush them, add the other ingredients - and that's all. We were laughung because the poor eggplant looked after the Polonia-Germania "operation" like they would had a date with Jigsaw. The complete photo-documentary of cooking with my friend and a few impressions from my friend's kitchen (and she's a herb MANIAC!) - below.





I had a fantastic time, so thank you so much W. for the hospitality, for the laughs we had and for everything you've done for me in the past few years but especially months. God bless you & Dziekuje bardzo.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Autumn Walk in Warsaw - First day on Vacations

I knew that I'll find some time to post something and it would be stupid to say „goodbye until October“ knowing that I can't keep that promise. Well. So here I am in Warsaw. The first nice thing which happened to me was that the ticket machine didn't want to sell a ticket for the train to the centre. On the 22nd of September the public transportation in Warsaw was for free. It was the first time that I had the possibility to check the new connection by train from the airport to the city centre. It was opened during the Cup of Europe Soccer Championship in June 2012. And my last time in Warsaw was in April.
Because I have an old friend in Warsaw too I was invited to stay in her place for a couple of days after my adventure with a Polish girl from Warsaw finished and I already had the tickets booked. The weather was so great, so we went for a walk around the neighbourhood and later we cooked – so check the newer post about the eggplant salad!

And here are some pictures of our Warsaw walk - my first walk in the Autumn, because on Saturday it started for good and we left the Summer behind us. The weather was like we would order it at the Gods personally! I like Warsaw! I'll still come there back :)



Friday, September 21, 2012

The Beautiful Blue Danube

Sometimes also I need some rest and vacation. I think I got travel nerves because I am leaving on Saturday and I still have some things to organize before I'll run to the airport. And I am eating the fridge empty and not cooking for the next two days. I'm leaving to Warsaw for a few days - a city which I know very well and hate because it's so crowded dirty and big but I always enjoy coming back there and I am always happy leaving it. It's kind of a funny story: you are happy to go somewhere but later you're always happy to go home - it means you had a great time but you enjoy things which are familiar to you. And because I know the city so well I am happy to visit all the nice places which I know they're worth to visit. I'm also going to collect some new ideas for the future because I know that I'll go there again for a couple of times in the next 12 months.
In this two weeks I'm going to 4 countries, Poland, Slovakia, Austria and Hungary. The most of the time I'll spend in Austria discovering Vienna and Austria. And I'll have my parents as my companions so our family trip can begin. I know Vienna and I love it even if skipped visiting the city for 10 years. I am VERY curious on the culinary impression I'll be able to collect during my trip and I am happy to know that I'll come back home and try to cook some of those stuff. I would say goodbye, ciao, do widzenia, ahoj, szia and tschüß until October but I am quite sure that I will find some time to post some of my culinary battles - but for the moment take some musical impressions from the countries I am visiting.





Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Ultimate Cooking Revenge - Chris' Waterloo


First of all I can proudly say that I lost the first round in the battle for the tittle of a KITCHEN DEVIL. On Tuesday evening we had the cooking revenge for my Sunday pasta & cake creation. And I must say I know how Napoleon had to feel after the lost Battle of Waterloo. But why have I said "proudly". Well the food was so delicious that in this case everyone would be willing to loose a culinary battle. In excuse of my "pasta" and cake I can say only one thing: I was not prepared and I
I'll do better. Tanja: One point for you and THE BATTLE IS OPEN AGAIN. After I'll be back from vacation, next round will be held in my home again and this time I am sure to do the point. Be prepared!

We were 5 people this time having a lovely evening. The food was fantastic! Everything was vegetarian except the tuna salad. I like the kitchen of the lady of the house: it's a square one. I always loved square rooms because you've got more space for the stuff. Yes I knew the kitchen before but this time I took my camera with me to take some photos of the place where that yummy food was prepared and because it was a "cooking revenge" I knew from the beginning that I am the loser of the first round - and having the camera was a good companion to make a documentary of the dishes. 

I love those magnet plates for the fridge. They bring some life to a kitchen and break that sterile routine of the most of the kitchens. Here's a plate remembering the plates in Berlin during the Cold War.
I know my friend is crazy on tea but this collection tops everything I have seen ever before.
We were served a lot of different dishes and dips - eggplant paste, tomato butter, tuna salad, Greek feta with herbs and and and. To be honest I forgot what exactly we ate... It was so much and so delicious that we were only concentrating on the hedonistic tastes of Tanja's haute cuisine we had the possibility to enjoy.



For dessert we were served coffee, mousse au chocolat and a squash cake. It was heavenly. Although I had to skip the mousse au chocolat round because it was too sweet for me. I tried it, it was so soft and heavenly light but nothing for someone who does not like sugar too much. But I did enjoyed the squash cake.



Thank you for the evening - enjoy the 0:1 and see you in 3 weeks in my kitchen, I hope in the same or even extended caste for the cooking battle part III.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Apple Pie à la Andrea & Udo


Saturday evening - me after having a long week and a hard and long and not easy Friday - decided to bake a cake. Not only my 5 minutes in the kitchen but my hour. There's a reason for my last cake before a pause I'll take for vacation: I am going with two of my friends for a bike ride to the Palace Philippsruhe in Hanau-Kesselstadt tomorrow. You don't know Castle Philippsruhe? Don't worry. Here's a link to the German Wikipedia article. Sorry, there's no English version, but check the photos. I've been there last week with an other friend and we had the luck to catch the "city party". It was funny and we drunk some beer. As always I had a headache after drinking beer - I am indeed a wine guy. After the tour which will be about 17 miles we're be for sure very hungry so I made something for a late lunch and later we have coffee and the apple pie. It was called Old Country Style Apple Pie, but I'll call it Apple Pie à la Andrea & Udo. Why? Because I got some CDs, from Andrea Berg and Udo Jürgens to cheer me up. You don't know Andrea? Here's the link to the English Wikpedia. Well, what can I say about Andrea - it's something like German pop but not Folk or Polka which I really hate. Just some hits in German which are sometimes very touchy. It was so peaceful doing something manual work (preparing the cake) and listening to the Schwerelos album from 2010. Sometimes sad sometimes positive. Just the way life is. The second CD I was listening was the latest one of Udo Jürgens. Come on, you're not going to tell me you don't know Udo Jürgens, one of the most popular singers in the DACHLi countries (German speaking World) and in my opinion one of the best singers in the DACHLi World. Here's the Wikipedia article. He has style and his music is so peaceful but sometimes more than touchy. Maybe it's why he's popular in ALL age groups. My granny loves him, my parents love him and I love him. 3 generations - yes, he has style and he's singing in a wonderful German. The album Der ganz normale Wahnsinn which is his newest one is really well done and the songs have class and style. So that's why I called the cake, the Andrea & Udo Apple Pie.

Okay, okay, you want the recipe. It's a two-step-cake so pay attention to have the ingredients of both steps. Here it comes:

Step one:
  • 4 1/2 oz (125 g) soft butter
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4 1/2 oz (125 g) sugar
  • 1 package vanilla sugar or some vanilla extract for 7 oz of flour
  • 7 oz (200 g) flour
  • 2-3 teaspoons baking powder (not baking soda!)
  • 3 tblsp. yogurt or cream
  • juice of 1/3 lemon (my secret ingredient)
  • 1 1/3 lb (600 g) apples
  1. Mix the butter with sugar + salt + vanilla sugar until it becomes like cream.
  2. Add the eggs. Mix it for a while.
  3. Add the yogurt or cream.
  4. Add  the flour you mixed with the baking powder. Mix it for a while until all ingredients become creamy.
  5. Put the dough to a 10 1/4" (26 cm) round baking pan.
  6. Peel the apples and cut them in 8 pieces every. Put it on the cake.
  7. Bake the cake for 12 minutes at 350°F (175°C) for 12-15 minutes.


Step two:

In the meantime you'll take:
  • 3 oz (90 g) sugar
  • 7 oz (200 g) sour cream (Schmand)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 package vanilla sauce OR some vanilla sugar/extract together with 2 tablespoons potato flour/farina instead (what I did).
  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. After those 12-15 minutes the cake was in the oven, take it out and put the topping from step two over the cake.
  3. Put it to the oven again and bake for ca. 50 minutes more.

That's all. The picture you can see on the top of this post was taken after the cake was 10 seconds out of the oven. So it took me one hour to write this post. Enjoy the cake and have a great Sunday.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Waffles With Chocolate Cream

 

My Granny got totally crazy on that waffles with Nutella I made last week. So I decided to make a double portion for her and one portion for our Futurama marathon on Thursday - so Ch. I hope you won't read this post otherwise you know what I am bringing for the movie night. All you need is waffles (like cones; the ones I can buy in my supermarket are Czech "Oblaty") and Nutella (or other chocolate cream). You daub the Nutella on the waffles, add a new layer, daub it again, add a third level and cut the waffles the way you want them to have. That's all ;) As I said - EASY! I took some pictures during the preparation.

My helper in the kitchen was a film on DVD: Stepmom with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. An old and a very, very sad one.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pasta with Chanterelles Sauce

I totaly forgot that I made a very tasty dish: pasta with chaterelles sauce. While cooking the pasta I took the chatererelles and stewed them in butter (yes I always use butter for a better taste). I added salt, spices, black pepper and some milk and a shot of white wine (that's the ultimate kick for the gustative nerves). I stewed it for a while again. Because the milk will turn to water, I took 2 tablespoons of curd at the very end after I switched off the stove top. You can add some yoghurt or mascarpone to get the viscid stiffness. At the very very end I put the pasta to the sauce and mixed it together. It takes, hm as long you have to cook the pasta because you prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking. I would say: 15 mins. Yummy!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Busy busy Saturday

It took me a while since my last post. I was busy with my stuff, with planing my vacation (I already booked the hotels and the tickets), running from doctor to doctor and negotiating with the guys from the health insurance fund. But I did it and they accepted backdated and future costs of the therapy. After the correction in the attest was made the treatment can go on and the costs of the medication will be refunded by the health insurance fund. God Bless Germany.

In the kitchen: I made waffles. I just bought ready waffles and a jar of Nutella. Easy easy and fast fast fast. Look the picture:



Today I had some time to clean up my flat, get rid of old stuff, sort my books and to dust the book shelf up. I have too many books. The last time I count them it was more over 600. And I buy month to month some new. So it should be something around 700+. I found so many old books I forgot that I even had. Sometimes I wish I were a book - a book that someone would read over and over again. Yes, that would fit to me...

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