Confuzzledom

Just a place for me to gather my thoughts


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Chocolate Easter Nests

DSCN9420I first wanted to make Easter nests for my colleagues two years ago, but sadly I was unable to find any equivalent of Cadbury’s Mini Eggs. Last year I failed to find any such thing again… I even tried the English shop in Heidelberg, but they had run out. So when I was in England in February, I grabbed two large bags of Mini Eggs. Arriving back in Germany, I discovered that Milka have now released their own version of Mini Eggs… this is the law of sod in action!

There are probably a million recipes for these Easter nests on the Internet, but I’m going to share mine with you anyway… I tell you how to make them in Germany, so my version is totally different, obviously ;-)

Chocolate Easter Nests

You will need:
Cupcake cases
A box of plain Shredded Wheat – in Germany, use the “Original” Toppas. They’re covered in icing sugar, but that doesn’t seem to hurt the nests
Plain or milk chocolate – enough to cover your Shredded Wheat – I used roughly 150g chocolate to 100 g Toppas (guessing as I didn’t actually do any weighing…)
Cadbury’s or Milka Mini Eggs (or your country’s equivalent of chocolate eggs in a colourful sugar shell)

What to do:
1. Break the chocolate up and melt it in a bowl over a pan of water. Or I suppose you could use the microwave… I don’t have one!

2. While the chocolate is melting, in a large mixing bowl break the Shredded Wheat/Toppas into bits. If you’re using Toppas, the ones with most icing sugar might be a little harder to crush – don’t worry if there are some slightly larger bits in there a this point.

Toppas

3. Ad the melted chocolate to the mixing bowl and stir the Shredded Wheat/Toppas and the chocolate together until the Shredded Wheat is completely coated. While stirring, you can crush any larger bits of Toppas that didn’t crush earlier.

4. Place roughly a dessert spoon of the mixture into each of your cupcake cases and use a teaspoon to push some of the mixture up the sides, leaving a dent in the middle. Be careful not to make a hole in the bottom though!

Nest

5. Place 2-3 Mini Eggs in each of the nests. If you think your nests are too dry for the eggs to stick to, you can use a bit of melted chocolate as glue.

Easter nest

6. Place the Easter nests in the fridge for at least half an hour to set. Once they’re ready, you’ll be able to take the cakes out of their cases and they’ll look just like miniature bird’s nests!

Aren't they cute?

Aren’t they cute?

Now go and check out Manda’s recipe post for a different take on edible Easter nests!


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A trip to Colmar

Before Jan went to Turkey, he said that when he came back he would hire a car and we could go somewhere for a day trip.  I chose Colmar in Alsace because even after more than 7 years in Germany I still get excited about being able to just pop to France for the day. Colmar, in the Alsace region, is about an hour and 45 minute’s drive from Karlsruhe – perfect for a day trip!

The very first thing we saw when we entered Colmar was a giant Statue of Liberty. The creator of the original statue, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, was born in Colmar and the city put up a huge copy for his 100th birthday. I don’t have a photo, unfortunately – it was standing on a roundabout at the entrance to town and my photography skills aren’t up to taking decent shots from a moving car!

Colmar

Being in Alsace, Colmar has switched hands between Germany and France several times, and the German influence is very much evident in its architecture… half-timbered buildings are everywhere! There were also lots of buildings with wooden shutters – like the one above. Wooden shutters always remind me of Austria. If I ever have a house of my own, I want some of those wooden shutters with little hearts cut out of them!

Here’s the outside of the cathedral. We had a quick look inside, but it wasn’t that impressive and it was very dark, so no photos of the interior. Check out how green the little roof is though!

A canal runs through the entire town, albeit underground for most of the time. There’s one part of town where it flows freely though, and that area is known as Petit Venise, or Little Venice. According to a sign we read, it was christened Little Venice because of the street below, where the entrances to the buildings can only be reached by boat:

Little Venice

Little Venice was my favourite part of Colmar, mostly because of the water. Here are some photos of the Little Venice area:

Walking back from the Little Venice area towards the main part of the old town, we spotted a traditional style carousel. I was half tempted to have a go on it, but didn’t. I did take a photo though.

Carousel

On the way back, we stopped at the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg. The castle was closed (it was evening by now), but the view was nice. Here’s a photo of I have no idea what… Hills mostly, and possibly Strasbourg(?) in the background.

Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg

After that stop, it was time to head home as we both had work the next day. Back in Karlsruhe, we stopped at a petrol station for Jan to fill the car up and I popped into the shop for some frozen pizzas… not having to cook was the perfect end to a lovely day out.


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Friday Letters & Daily Diaries: 5–11 April 2014

Work-wise, this week has been just as full as the two before it, but somehow it’s still managed to go by quickly – probably because of all the deadlines! I’ve spent a lot of time worrying that I wasn’t going to get things finished when I was meant to, but somehow everything was ready by it’s due date. Go me! Anyway, have some letters and some more detail about my week. Apologies for the huge blocks of text without photos – I’m typing this from work, so I only have access to those that are already uploaded.postbox

Dear temperature. How am I supposed to know what to wear when it’s 7°C in the morning and 22°C by the time I leave work? Sort it out!

Dear large groups of women on trains. You have your reserved seats, so please just sit in them and let the rest of us pass, instead of standing next to your seats clucking away!

Dear Easter. This time next week, you will be here! (Well, Good Friday will be). I’m sooo looking forward to my four-day weekend.

Dear stomach. I’m not sure whether the doctor’s pills are working or you would have got better now anyway, but I must say I’m thoroughly enjoying actually being hungry again!

And now for the week that was…

The weekend. As I mentioned in last week’s Friday letters, I wanted a fairly relaxing weekend after the stress of the week before, so on Saturday I actually slept in til 11 a.m! I then had a cup of tea and did some cross stitch before jumping in the shower and then heading out to do some shopping – I purposely decided not to watch the Newcastle United match and I’m very glad I didn’! When I came home, Jan and I made tea together (pumpkin and pasta) then watched an episode of Farscape before heading to bed, where we read aloud to each other from Terry Pratchett’s Snuff.
There was an Easter market going on in Karlsruhe at the weekend, so on Sunday we decided to go and have a look at it. As it turned out, there wasn’t much there… mostly food stands. It claimed to be an “Easter and Gastronomy Market”, but most of the stalls were just from local cafés or the sausage/langos/crepe vans that are at every single event in Karlsruhe ever. However, it was also a verkaufsoffener Sonntag (a Sunday on which the shops are open – towns are only allowed to do this about twice a year!), so we headed to T.K. Maxx because Jan had never been. I managed to get a wooden letter holder thingy, so it worked out pretty well. Instead of going straight home, we stopped off at Bratar for yummy burgers – at this point my stomach was actually feeling fine! Then, back at home, I made practice Easter nests just to make sure I still remembered how (I’ll be making more this weekend for my colleagues). I ate precisely one Easter nest, but by bedtime my stomach felt uncomfortably full and bloated, although not sore. Gah!

Monday. I woke up feeling okay, but by the time I arrived at work my stomach was blown up like a balloon (I honestly looked pregnant!) and I had no appetite. It was 11 o’clock by the time the bloating went down and I could actually eat my yoghurt. By 1:30 p.m., I was slightly hungry but afraid to eat what I’d brought with me (it was curry), so lunch ended up being three rice crackers. I also had a sensation of acid in my throat all afternoon, which wasn’t fun! I had promised Jan toad in the hole for tea, and by the time it was cooked I’d managed to get rid of the acid and feld quite hungry. I only managed a small portion though. Apart from cooking, all I did on Monday night was watch an episode of E.R and wash the dishes.

Tuesday.  The acid reflux and bloating were back when I woke up, so I decided it was time for a trip to the doctor.  I informed my colleagues that I would be working from home and called the docs for an appointment (Jan wouldn’t do it for me and I still have no idea what the receptionist actually wrote in the appointments book – I highly doibt it had anything to do with my actual name though!). I managed to get an appointment for 3:30, so I worked til just before 3 then headed out. The doctor’s verdict was hyperacidity of the stomach, probably caused by stress. So he gave me some stomach drops and some tablets to stop my stomach from producting as much acid then sent me on my way, telling me to eat light foods for a few days and come back in 14 days if I wasn’t feeling better. After picking up my prescription, I headed home to carry on working for a while. It was my grandpa’s 80th birthday on Tuesday, so in the evening I phoned by dad while he was at the hospital so I could talk to my grandpa. His voice was very weak, but I could just about hear him say “Thank you for calling” and “Love you”. Wishing him a happy birthday was bittersweet – he always said he would live to be 80, and now he’s achieved it. That night was pub quiz, in which my team came second. YAY!

Wednesday. I went into work on Wednesday, armed with my medicine. This week was our intern’s last week with us and we were having pizza for his leaving meal on Wednesday. I didn’t think pizza counted as 2light food”, so I ordered Pizzabrötchen instead – little bread rolls made from the same dough as the pizza. The ones I chose had spinach and a small amount of goat’s cheese on, and were apparantly plain enough for my stomach – at least it didn’t protest. I had wanted to get an early night on Wednesday, but I ended up coming home, watching E.R then getting back on the computer and working til 20 past 8 before finally getting round to cooking tea. We ate fishfingers with croquettes and frozen peas because it was quick, easy and at least fairly plain.

Thursday. I woke up feeling incredibly hungry and had to buy a couple of muesli bars for breakfast on the way to work – usually breakfast is a yoghurt, but I’m avoiding those til I’m sure my stomach has settled down. The morning was pretty stressful with deadlines galore, but by 3 p.m. I’d finished everything I had to do and was able to move on to a translation that I technically wouldn’t have needed to start til next week. I worked precisely 8 hours for the first time in ages, then went home to sort out the living room ready for Jan’s choir coming over to practice (they’re a double quartet  – so 8 people when everyone’s there, which they never are at my place because they only come to us when the person whose flat they normally practice at is away). I then quickly made us a meal of gnocchi with creamed spinach. Once the choir arrived, I retreated to the spare room where I worked on some cross stitch – it’s an Easter card so I really need to get it finished ready to send off! I also uploaded some photos ready to use in a blog post about Colmar. The choir finally left at just before 11 and, after taking my medicine, I basically went straight to bed.

Friday. And that brings us to today. So far, I have worked a bit on next week’s translation and entered the corrections from proofreaders for two jobs due today. Now I’m on my lunch break and as soon as I’ve posted this, I’ll be reading the news before getting back to work. It’s looking like I should be able to leave on time today, so I’ll be out of here by 5 p.m. Then tonight I’m off to watch my quiz master’s band perform – the first time I’ve seen them this year (although we saw him play solo on St. Patrick’s Day). As for the weekend, other than making Easter nests for mine and Jan’s colleagues, I have no real plans as yet…

And that’s what I’ve been up to. Why not join in with Kate’s link up on Diaries of an Essex Girl and tell us all about your week. Just click the button below…
Daily Diaries with Diaries of an Essex Girl


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German foods I love and loathe

Recently, Deanna at From Casinos to Castles wrote a post on the German foods that she really cannot stand. This has inspired me to write my own list, but to balance things out a bit, I also want to talk about the German foods that I love and will really miss if I ever leave here. I’ll do the ones I hate first so I can end on a high note…

German Foods I Loathe

1. Wurstsalat. I have talked about this abomination that dares to call itself salad before, here. My boyfriend loves it, but I cannot stand it. Firstly, I’m not keen on the meat it’s made with (some kind of soft, mushy stuff), secondly I don’t like the vinegra-based dressing it’s drowned in, and thirdly, it nearly always comes with raw onions, which I also can’t stand. YUK! This is a German food item that I definitely don’t need in my life!

2. Weizenbier (wheat beer). Sorry, sorry, sorry. I know this is practically sacrilege, but I just cannot get on with wheat beers. I don’t like the taste of them at all. Too bitter… too wheaty. Give me a Pils any day (but please not Becks! I don’t like that stuff either…)

3. Mett. The boyfriend insists that good Mett is really nice, but the one time I tried it, I was nearly sick. And now you’re probably all wondering what Mett is. Well, it’s minced pork. Raw minced pork that Germans like to spread on bread. Did I mention that it’s raw! Bleurgh… keep that stuff away from me!

4. Leberknödel. Literally meaning liver dumplings, Leberknödel consist of ground liver that’s mixed with bread crumbs and egg to form a ball. They’re usually served in the form of Leberknödelsuppe (liver dumpling soup), which is basically a bowl of beef broth with Leberknödel floating around in it. I don’t like liver anyway, and it doesn’t taste any better floating in beef stock. Sometimes, Leberknödel also turn up on meat platters, where they are friend rather than drowned in stock. Still not tasty…

5. Erdnussflips. These are basically peanut flavoured corn snacks. They’re shaped like Wotsits (UK – I think Cheetos are the US equivalent), but instead of being flavoured with deliciously morish cheese, they’re covered in peanut dust. The Germans love these, but I find them really dry and the peanut taste is weird… not like real peanuts. It’s a bit like eating vaguely peanut-flavoured cardboard. I definitely will not miss these if I find myself back in the UK.

German Foods I Love

1. Bratkartoffeln. Literally fried potatoes, my family always called these “fritters”. In their most basic form, Bratkartoffeln are potatoes sliced very thinly and fried in oil until they’re crispy. In less basic versions, bacon or onions are fried in with the potatoes to give them flavour. Either way, they are delicious! (Technically, I wouldn’t actually miss these if I left Germany as I often make them myself anyway, but they’re definitely one of my favourite German foods!).

2. Maultaschen. Usually translated as Swabian Ravioli, this sourthern German dish consists of filled pockets made from a past-like dough. The traditional filling is a spiced minced pork, that I find very similar to English sausages. You can also get Maultaschen in other varieties, such as vegetarian, beef, turkey or even salmon. They are usually served in one of three ways: in broth as a soup, cut into slices and fried along with scrambled egg or “geschmälzt” – fried in butter along with onions that have been caramelised in the same butter. In Karlsruhe, the third variety is often sold alongside potato salad for a carb overload!

Sausages

Om nom nom

3. Sausages. Obviously they need to be on the list… after all, that is what this country is all about! Little mini Nürnberger Bratwurste, hughe Thüringer Bratwurst, Käsekrainer (a type of boiled sausage filled with cheese) or even Currywurst – I’ll take them all! The only German sauage I’m not too keen on is Weißwurst – literally “white sausage”, a veal sausage that is boiled and then eaten by removing the skin and eating the filling. The traditional way of doing it is to suck out the filling… errm, no thanks. I ate mine “normally” with a knife and fork, but wasn’t too keen on the flavouring (cardamom and lemon, among other things)

4. Schupfnudeln. A Schupfnudel, meaning rolled noodle, is a type of dumpling of noodle similar to Italian Gnocchi, in that it is made using potatoes.Unlike Gnocchi, Schupfnudeln are fairly long and thin, with pointed ends. In my region of Germany, they’re sometimes called “Bubenspitzle “, meaning little boys’ willies. It’s probably best not to ask! Schupnudeln are prepared by frying them in butter and can be served alongside sweet or savoury foods. At Christmas markets and the like, you’ll usually find them friend up with Sauerkraut (I never eat Schupfnudeln at markets because I don’t like Sauerkraut!).

5. Kartoffelpuffer, or potato pancakes. Are you sensing a theme here? I may be slightly obsessed with potatoes. Kartoffelpuffer are pancakes made by mixing together grated potatoes, flour, egg and seasoning, forming them into a pancake shape and then frying said pancake. The traditional way of serving them is with apple sauce, but at fairs you can sometimes get them with other things, like garlic sauce or sour cream.  I almost always eat Kartoffelpuffer at the Christmas market.

And there you have it. I could go on forever, but I think five of each will do. Are there any German foods you love or loathe? Or, if you’re living somewhere else that isn’t your own country, what foods do you love and hate in your adopted home?


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Gutenbergplatz Weekly Market, Karlsruhe

tea stallThe market on Gutenbergplatz is Karlsruhe’s oldest weekly market… and, according to all the people who told me to go there, also the nicest. It’s probably the largest, too, along with the one on Stephansplatz, which it alternates days with. I’ve been meaning to go ever since I first heard about it two years ago, but until now I’d never made it. Everybody I spoke to recommended getting there early and, let’s face it, I’m far too lazy to get up early on a Saturday, especially since Gutenbergplatz isn’t exactly around the corner from where I live! But the Take 12 Trips challenge gave me just the kick up the backside I needed to actually drag myself out of bed and head on over there.

According to the Karlsruhe city website (view it here, in German only), the Wochenmarkt Gutenbergplatz ( Weekly Market on Gutenberg Square) takes place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. Both Tuesday and Thursday are out for me – I’m already on my way to work by that time – and there was absolutely no was I was going to be anywhere near Gutenbergplatz that early on a Saturday, but I did manage to get myself there for 5 to 10, which is still pretty early – especially considering I walked there, which took me half an hour! Yep… I definitely think this can be counted as a trip. I even took a couple of photos for you on the way there, almost like a real tourist ;-).

As well as the usual fruit & vegetable and flower stalls, this market has stands with spices, fresh herbs, tea, cheese and various international specialities – I saw a stand selling Asian goods, a van with Italian goods (lots of parmesan!) and a stall selling “südländische Spezialitäten” – literally Mediterranean specialities, but what I saw there mainly looked Turkish and Greek. And, being Germany, there of course had to be bread! I spotted two vans selling various different kinds, both with huge queues in front of them. Here are a few photos. I apologise for the terrible quality of some… in such situations, I’m always paranoid that the stall owner might tell me off for taking photos of their wares instead of buying them!

The square itself is actually really pretty as well, although it’s difficult to notice it. Here’s a photo that might give you some idea of how nice the old buildings are:

Gutenbergplatz

The trees also look much nicer when they’re in bloom or completely covered in leaves. There are two fountains on the North side of square – the Krautkopfbrunnen and the Pelikanbrunnen – but neither has been switched on yet. It went cold again last week though, so they’re probably waiting to be sure that the spring is going to stay!
And now for tourist information part…

What: Weekly market
Where: Gutenbergplatz, between Gutenbergstraße and Nelkenstraße, Karlsruhe Weststadt
When: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays starting at 7 a.m.
Nearest tram stop: Yorckstraße or Sophienstraße (more lines serve Yorckstraße)

The market is quite nice and certainly offers more choice than my own local market (which I think has about 6 stalls!). I wouldn’t say it’s something all visitors to Karlsruhe must see, but if you’re into markets and stuck for something to do on a Saturday give it a go! It’s a produce market though, so don’t expect to find clothes, books or anything of that sort! Saturday is probably the best day to go to that particular market as may of the stalls aren’t there on Tuesdays/Thursdays. Alternatively, if you’re around on a Friday, check out the market on Stephansplatz instead. It has many of the same stalls that go to Gutenbergplatz on a Saturday and is much more central (I believe Stephansplatz is considered to be “Innenstadtwest”, with the actual “centre” of town being the castle).

Do you like to get up early and go to the market? Or do you prefer sleeping in on a Saturday, like I normally do? Let me know in the comments.


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So you want to learn German?

As someone who has been living in Germany for slightly longer than most of the expats I bump into, on more than one occasion, I’ve found myself giving tips on learning German to my fellow non-native speakers (especially the interns that come to my work for their semester abroad!).  I know there are a few people out there in bloggy land who are living in Germany and striggling to learn the language, so I thought I’d gather some of my tips in one place. You never know – it might be useful to someone! Please note, these are coming from an English-speaking perspective, so any notes on pronunciation come from the English way of pronouncing such things and are more “close enough” than “absolutely 100% right”.

  • In German, the letter “z” is always pronounced the same way as the “z” in pizza… so like a ts rather than the sound a bee makes. For example, zu (meaning to) is pronounced like, tsu not zoo!
  • Meanwhile, the letter s sometimes is pronounced like the sound a bee makes. So the word zusammen (together) is pronounced “tsoo-zammen”. Double s is pronounced the same way as in English.
  • Articles are confusing! Even after more than 7 years here, I find it impossible to guess whether a word should be der, die or das. But here’s one small tip… most two-syllable words that end in the letter e are feminine, for example die Kerze (candle), die Sonne (sun) and die Sahne (cream). When I told this rule to a bunch of Germans, they spent all night trying to come up with exceptions and ended up finding exactly two: der Käse (cheese) and der Name (name). So when in doubt, go with die! It’s pronounced dee, by the way, nothing to do with ceasing to live ;-)
  • A potential exception to the above rule is animals. Here, the article is based on actual physical gender, so der Löwe (lion) is not feminine because a lion is male (a lioness would be die Löwin). Die Kuh (cow), on the other hand, is feminine because a male cow would be der Stier/der Bulle (bull) – by the way, Bulle is also an impolite colloquial word . The same goes for people… der Kunde (customer) is masculine because one assumes a customer to be male (if you want to make clear that a customer is female, use die Kundin).
  • Words ending in -chen are diminitives and therefore take the neutral article das. This is why it’s das Mädchen (the girl), even though girls are clearly female! In case you’re wondering, it comes from die Magd (maid or maiden), so a girl in German is basically a “little maiden”. Hmm.
  • Nouns ending in -ung, -heit, -keit and -tät are feminine. Examples: die Bedeutung (meaning), die Dummheit (stupidity), die Schwierigkeit (difficulty) die Universität (university). There are no exceptions that I’m aware of.
  • Nouns ending in -ion are also always feminine, and all the letters are mostly pronounced. So die Religion is rell-i-gee-ohn and die Situation is zit-you-att-see-ohn
  • Again with the feminine… all nouns ending in -ik are die, and the -ik is pronounced eek, not ick. die Logik (logic) = loh-geek, die Mathematik (mathematics… yup, it’s singular in Germany) = ma-tuh-ma-teek
  • Most German rivers are feminine… die Donau (the Danube), die Mosel, die Elbe. But because this is German we’re talking about, there natually have to be exceptions, so it’s der Rhein (the Rhine) and der Main.
The deutsches Eck in Koblenz, where die Mosel und der Rhein meet.

The deutsches Eck in Koblenz, where die Mosel and der Rhein meet.

 

  • There are two ways to pronounce the -ch ending in German – voiced and unvoiced (yeah, it’s a technical term. Don’t  ask me!).
    1. If the ch is preceded by an o,  an a, a u or an au, it’s pronounced the same way as in the Scottish “loch”. Examples: auch (also/too), noch (still/yet), nach (after, to, according to), das Buch (book)
    2. Otherwise, the ch is always pronounced a bit like the h in huge. Try doing the Muttley laugh (say “hehehe” sort of breathlessly). That sound where the “ee” ends and the next “h” starts is the sound of a German -ch. Examples: ich (I), mich (me), die Milch (milk). The ch at the beginning or in the middle of words  is usually also pronounced like this (for example in die Chemie (chemistry) or das Märchen (fairy tale, myth)), but in some exceptional cases it’s more like a K. The ones I can think of are das Chaos (chaos), der Chor (choir), das Orchester (orchestra) and names beginning with Ch, like Christoph, Christian and Christina (so Christina and Kristina are pronounced the same).
  • Sch is always pronounced sh, so das Schiff (ship) is pronounced shiff, schottisch (Scottish) is pronounced shottish and der Tisch (table) is tish.
  • Qu is pronounced like kv, so die Quittung (receipt) is a kvittung. You will often hear Germans talk about die Kveen… that’s Queen Elizabeth II, to you and me.
  • The letter e at the end of a word is pronounced, so the name Christine is kris-tee-nuh, not kris-teen and die Linie (line) is lin-ee-uh.

OK, that’s all for now because 1) I don’t want to bore you (yeah, I know… too late) and 2) I can’t think of any others right now (also, that’s 13 tips and I like the number 13). And please don’t ask me how to pronounce a German r or what the difference in pronunciation between u and ü is because I can’t help you there! (What I can tell you is that e and ä are pronounced basically the same… some Germans say they’re not, but plenty of others can’t actually hear the difference, so you’re perfectly safe pronouncing der Käse as if the ä in the middle were an e…)

Are you learning German? Have any tips for fellow learners? Leave a comment and help the rest of us out!


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A taste of home: Sausage rolls

I’d been living in Germany about 5 years, buying sausage rolls every time I went home, before it finally occurred to me that I could make them myself! I’ve made them a few times since (Jan loves sausage rolls!) so when I was trying to think of something to bring to a party on Saturday, sausage rolls seemed like the obvious answer… easy, fairly quick and I knew nobody else would be making them! I thought other ex-pats who are craving sausage rolls might like to know how to make their own, too, so I decided to share mine. There are loads of recipes all over the Internet, of course, but mine comes with instructions on what to do if you live in Germany ;-)

Vegetarians and others who are disturbed by the sight of raw meat might want to look away now…

You will need the following:

  • These are the sausages you need

    These are the sausages you need

    1 packet of pre-made puff pastry – Blätterteig in German (yes, I’m that lazy!)

  • 500g sausage meat or pork sausages that you can easily remove the filling from (in Germany, you need to buy the fresh “grobe Bratwurst” type… Nürnberger and things like that won’t work!)
  • About a teaspoon of dried parsley (or chopped fresh parsley if you have that stuff around. I never do, unless I buy it specially)
  • About a teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • A dash of cayenne pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper

1. If using sausages, remove their skins then place your skinned sausages or sausage meat in a large bowl. My bowl contains a lot of sausages because I tripled the above ingredients to make sure there would be enough…

Skinned sausages

Skinned sausages

2. Add the crushed garlic and mash/stir it into the sausage meat until it seems evenly spread.

3. Add parsley, thyme, a small dash of cayenne pepper (seriously… just a small dash, unless you want spicy sausage rolls, in which case feel free to add more) and as much freshly ground black pepper as you like and combine everything together well.

The sausage meat mixture

The sausage meat mixture

4. Unroll your pastry and place a thick line of sausage meat close-ish to the edge, leaving a gap slightly larger than the width of your sausage strip for rolling.

sausage meat and pastry

sausage meat and pastry

5. Fold the edge of the pastry over the sausage meat and cut the pastry just past where it comes to, then roll the pastry around the sausage meat. If the end doesn’t stick by itself, use a tiny bit of water. Repeat this step until you run out of pastry (hopefully you will also run out of sausage meat at the same time).

Rolled

6. Cut the rolled-up, sausage-filled pastry into whatever sized pieces you would like. I tend to make mine fairly small because I’m paranoid about poisoning people and think if they’re small they’re more likely to cook through properly.

All ready for the oven

All ready for the oven

8. Brush the top of the sausage rolls with a little milk, if you want (I didn’t because I knew at least one person attending the party is lactose intolerant) and bake them at the temperature shown on your pastry packaging for about 15-20 minutes.

The finished article...

The finished article…

9. Leave the sausage rolls to cool for a bit before enjoying. I’m serious… they may look tempting, but those things are hot when they come out of the oven!


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A Sunday stroll

The sun actually came out today and I felt the need to get some fresh air, so I decided to go out for a walk.
First, I headed towards the train station. On the way there I spotted some daffodils dancing in the breeze.

daffodil

I walked along the front of the zoo, stopping to see whether I could spy the red pandas. On the photo below, you can see a red ball of fur curled up in the tree. The other panda was in a higher tree further along. Most of him was hidden behind a branch though, so I didn’t take a photo.

red panda

After calling in at the train station to see whether they still had my cross stitch magazine (they didn’t – I knew I should have bought all three last week!), I headed towards Beiertheimer Allee (a street leading towards the part of Karlsruhe called Beiertheim… although I actually walked down it away from Beiertheim). In the middle of the street, there’s a large area of green with paths leading through it and a play area part way down. When the sun comes out, the green area (it’s not a park or garden, really) is incredibly popular with parents pushing buggies, joggers and dogwalkers. I spotted more signs of spring in the grass.

flowers

Continuing my walk, I passed the Karlsruhe minigolf course… still closed for its winter break until 1st April.

mini golf

The play area that you can just about see beside the minigolf is actually inside the Stadtgarten bit of the zoo.
Leaving the minigolf course, I turned a corner and came to Festplatz, a square that houses the buildings belonging to the Karlsruhe Kongresszentrum (congress centre), where many conferences and trade fairs are held. The one pictured below is the Stadthalle (City Hall… not to confused with the Rathaus, which confusingly also means Town Hall or City Hall…).

Crossing over Festplatz, I made my way back to the Südstadt and home for lunch after a lovely walk in the Spring sunshine. If only we could have weather like this every weekend!


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Look Up, Look Down – Signs

This morning, my train was full of people dressed as monsters and snake charmers and ladybirds, all drinking beer and wine at 7:30 a.m. I assume they were all on their way to Cologne for schmutziger Donnerstag (Wikipedia tells me it’s actually schmotziger Donnerstag, but in my region it’s schmutzig!), aka Fat Thursday – not to be confused with Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras). It’s the last Thursday before lent and part of the Fastnacht/Fasching/Carnival season. I’m not actually sure what schmutziger Donnerstag is for… apart from yet another excuse to wear costumes and get drunk. I would have tried to get some sneaky photos for you, but I fed to the quiet carriage with all the other commuters. The Fasching celebraters all had beer, wine and – most annoyingly – bells! Not what you want to put up with on the way to work. So instead, here’s my entry for the weekly Look Up – Look Down photo challenge with Travel With Intent.

When out and about, I often take photos of interesting signs and random features that I spot high up on the walls of buildings. All of the photos below were taken in Weil der Stadt.

Do you ever find yourself taking photos of random interesting signs? Which of the above is your favourite?


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A spontaneous trip to Bruchsal

I woke up early on Saturday and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to take a spontaneous trip somewhere. I arrived at Karlsruhe train station with no real plan in mind, checked the board and decided to jump on a train to Bruchsal that was about to leave. Technically, I’ve been to Bruchsal before, but only to the castle so I had no idea what the town itself was like. I knew it wasn’t that big though, so I thought it would be the perfect place for wandering around by myself. In a proper city, I would only go and get myself lost! At Bruchsal train station, I had a quick look at a map, made a note of the general direction of the town centre then was on my way. Here are a few photos:

After about 45 minutes of walking around, I found myself at the castle. As I said earlier, I’ve been there before, so I didn’t go inside. There are some pretty interesting exhibits in there though – including the Deutsches Musikautomaten-Museum (German Museum of Mechanical Musical Instruments) and an exhibition showing the history of Bruchsal from the Stone Age until now . I had a quick wander around the grounds, took some photos, then headed back to the station where a train was conveniently waiting for me to jump straight on!

In terms of tourism, Bruchsal isn’t actually all that interesting. There are some nice looking streets and a few parks, but the main attraction really is the castle. Once you’ve seen that, there isn’t actually a great deal to do. I definitely wouldn’t come from further afield specifically to visit Bruchsal! It was good enough for my purposes though – not too far from Karlsruhe and it got me out of the house for a few hours. I didn’t want to stay out for too long in case there was any word from England, so this gave me the perfect opportunity to explore a place that I didn’t really know without going too far away from home. If you’re ever in the area with an hour or so to spare, I would certainly recommend visiting the castle.

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