Patience Mein Kinder, We Shall Eat on Thursday, I Promise

Thursday 19/5/2005

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Diary and Notes

Here's an extract of an email I sent my friend Marc in Germany:

On a lighter note: I'm having sauerbraten and nudeln for dinner. I've been marinading a joint of beef for three days in preparation and am cooking it around a friend's house. They've never eaten German food before, so I hope I make a good job and do your country's wonderful food justice. People in Britain have the same idea of German food as the Germans have of the British and I hope to prove them wrong.

Yes it's true my chumly internet dudes, German food isn't bad at all. In fact, German food is on the whole excellent. They pay amazing attention to quality of ingredients, nearly everybody is buying organic and the general populace has both a knowledge and a willingness to rustle up a fairly good dinner on a regular basis (an art that is sadly being lost in Britain).

The stereotypical image of big fat lederhosen clad Germans, eating giant sausages and swilling beer on a daily basis is complete rubbish. I will admit that there are one or two things the Germans make that I don't agree with, Beef and Fish Stew or Grünesauce for instance, but just about all of these things come from Frankfurt and the rest of Germany looks on them with scorn as well. Much of the general bad feeling towards German food is either ignorance, racism or just idiocy. It's a shame because the similarities between traditional British food and traditional German food are striking and we could both learn a lot from each other about new ideas with our traditional ingredients.

So how did my friends find their Deustschenfolksabendnoshen?

Wunderbar! And that's an understatement.

I have never made sauerbraten before and will, without boasting, claim this was brilliant. A tour de force of deliciousness. I found out half way through dinner that neither Gavin nor Jacinta (who I was visiting) particularly like big slabs of meat for dinner and would normally have picked a little piece and not really 'dived in'. This wasn't the case today. The meat was fantastically tender and really sweet and spicy too. It was wolfed down like watching the Simpsons and nobody had anything bad to say at all. Quite marvelous.

So if you can be bothered to wait three days for a really excellent dinner I suggest you give this a go. Have it on Sunday and invite some friends around, unless they are vegetarians they're sure to be pleased.

For a discussion of the German love of pasta (nudeln) see 24/11/2004

Cake Blog

Paris Brest: The name seems to evoke the image of two French cities at the same time so they should be tasty. I got them from the finest range from Tescos (2 for £1.99). Choux pastry filled with cream, jam and a piece of apricot. Good, but needed to be a little sweeter (surprisingly), perhaps a little more jam or some sugar in the cream might have helped.


  • Sauerbraten
  • Chestnut Mushroom and Asparagus Bandenudeln
  • Bread and Butter

  • Paris Brest

  • Cheese and Port


    1 Joint of Beef (Top Rump Today)
    250ml White Wine Vinegar
    500ml Water
    1 Carrot
    2 Onions
    1 Stick Celery
    2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
    2 Tbsp Pickling Spices
    (Cloves, Cinnamon, Bay Leaf, Caraway, Pepper, Allspice etc.)
    25g Butter
    3 Rashers Bacon
    500g Tagliatelli
    15 Chestnut Mushrooms
    12 Pieces Asparagus
    50g Butter


  • Sauerbraten: Chop one of the onions, the celery and carrot into small chunks (a mirepois as I keep going on about). Put in a pan with the water, vinegar, sugar and spices. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Place the beef in a bowl and pour over the marinade. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge. Leave for 3 days, turning the joint every morning and evening. After three days remove the beef and strain the liquid, keeping the liquid and discarding solids.
  • Cooking: Heat a casserole dish and sear the beef all over (getting a good bit of browning). When browned remove the beef and add the butter, a sliced onion and the bacon rashers (cut into small pieces). Fry until the onions are just starting to brown then lay the beef on top, pour over the liquid from the marinade and simmer gently for two hours. When cooked, serve the beef on a bed of noodles. Thicken the sauce with a little cornflour and water and pour some over the beef and the remainder in a sauce boat on the side.
  • Bandenudeln: Cut the asparagu into chunks and the mushrooms into halves. Fry gently in a little butter until soft. Cook the tagliatelli, drain and mix with the vegetables.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for a single person