Friday letters

Guuyysss… how on Earth is it Friday already?! This week has gone so fast! I was shocked when I realised it was Thursday yesterday and not Wednesday like I thought. This weekend I’m mostly going to be finishing off a cross stitch, but I’m hoping I’ll also find some time to relax since it’s the last weekend for a while that we don’t have either visitors or plans (or both!).

letter box

Dear wardrobe. We love you! It’s so nice to actually be able to find all my clothes! And that new wood smell you’re still giving off is also nice.

Dear chocolate. Stop tempting me! There’s a pretty dress I need to fit into in a mere two weeks.

Dear Switzerland. Would you like to explain to me why most supermarkets make you ask for pine nuts at the counter. Are they particularly dangerous? Addictive? What? Inquiring minds want to know!

Dear BBC Big Read books. I’ve said this before, but seriously why are most of you so long?!

Dear crumpets. I think I need to dig out the recipe I have for you and make you again. Toast just isn’t the same!

Enough for today. I need to go and drink a cup of tea on my balcony 🙂

Happy weekend, dear readers!

 

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A taste of home: Crumpets

A while ago, my dad’s cousin – who lives in America – gave me a recipe for homemade crumpets, so while my brother was over we decided to give it a try. I’m not sure where she got the recipe from, so apologies if it’s yours. I’m going to be explaining how to make the crumpets using German ingredients though, so it’s not a direct copy.

First of all, you will need something to use as crumpet rings. Mine was actually a set of two round silicone fried egg moulds that I discovered in a shop in Strasbourg. I think they might have a slightly larger diameter than your average crumpet ring, but they worked really well! And the little handles were useful for removing the rings between crumpets.

Frying the crumpets
Frying the crumpets

Ingredients:

350g (12 oz) strong, plain flour (I used type 1050 because it said on the back it’s the typical flour that baker’s use)
1 level teaspoon salt
1 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast (can be found in the baking section, with the flour and baking powder. Use the Dr Oetker Hefe with “Kein Anrühen. Gelingt sicher.” written on it. There is also a Ruf one, but my supermarket didn’t have that)
300 ml full fat milk
300 ml boiling water
Sunflower oil for frying and greasing

Method:

1. Tip the flour into a bowl (no need to sieve) and add the salt and yeast

2. Pour 300 ml of boiling water over the milk and check that the mixture is luke warm. Ours was not, so we let it stand for 5 minutes before continuing.

3. Add the warm liquid to the flour and beat well for 5 minutes until the mixture is a soft and spoonable consistency.

4. Grease the base of the frying pan and the crumpet rings (if necessary – silicone ones don’t need greasing!), place the rings in the pan and heat until the pan and crumpet rings  (if using metal ones) are hot.

5. Fill the rings about half to three quarters of the way up with batter and cook over a gentle to moderate heat for 8-10 mins. If the bubbles that form fail to pop (which is what creates the little holes), you can gently burst them with a cocktail stick. Then remove the rings and turn the crumpets over.

6. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes until golden, then remove from the pan and enjoy!

We got 10 crumpets from the mixture, but our rings were slightly larger than the size given (6×7 cm). The scones can be left to cool then toasted and can be frozen in bags for up to one month. Allow frozen crumpets to defrost before toasting.

The finished article
The finished article

But I don’t WANT pretzels and Bratwurst…

Isn’t it funny how, when you’re ill, you crave comforting, familiar foods. Foods that you were brought up with, that accompanied you through your childhood. Much as I love local specialities, like Käsespätzle (small, thin dumplings covered in lashings of melted cheese) and Flammkuchen (tarte flambée – technically from Elsace but Karlsruhe is so close to the border that they’ve adopted (and adapted) this dish for themselves), for the last few days I’ve been craving English things. Crumpets literally dripping with salted butter. Heinz chicken soup. Mashed potatoes with a large helping of cheddar cheese mixed in. A chip butty drowning in gravy. Horlicks.
I just know I’m going to be disappointed no matter what we have for tea tonight. Plus, I’ve run out of Lemsip. Doooom!

Wishlist

I wish…

  • I could write as well as I thought I could when I was 10
  • I knew what I wanted from life
  • I could get my Master’s without having to write a thesis
  • My flat would clean itself
  • I understood the German tax system well enough to start working as a freelance translator (I have to do taxes every month for the first year? What?! But I can’t even remember to do my taxes at the end of each financial year!)
  • Crumpets existed in Germany
  • … and Hula Hoops and Heinz Cream of Chicken Soup and Red Leicester Cheese
  • I had a washing machine
  • I could afford to buy this… or this
  • I could do something creative. I totally admire people who can paint or sew or even take great pictures
  • Everyone I know would stop getting married/having babies (I’ve heard about two pregnancies in the past week and have known about a third for a couple of months)
  • It would stop raining

What’s on your wishlist today?

If I could have it I wouldn’t be craving it!

I’m sitting here eating a packet of peanut M&Ms.  I bet at least one person is now thinking “so what? I do that all the time”. Ah, but the thing is I do not do that all the time. You see, the boyfriend is allergic to peanuts. Not severely allergic, as in open a packet of peanuts while he is in the room and he will stop breathing, but allergic enough that he may well stop breathing if he accidently went and ate something from the packet. So I tend not to knowingly buy anything with peanuts in. (He’s fine with “may contain traces…” it’s just actual peanuts that are a problem). But I am alone this week, so when I spotted the yellow packet of M&Ms on the supermarket shelf I thought ‘why not’? And so I am now eating peanut M&Ms. By the way, in case anyone was wondering, Jan has been sent to LA by his work – some computer software in a hospital that needs to be looked at. According to him the problems they’re having are probably their own fault but he has to go and sort it out anyway. *sigh* Take my advice – don’t fall in love with a computer scientist!

Anyway…. back to the point.
Have you ever noticed how whenever you really, really want a certain thing it’s something you can’t have? Even if you’ve been shopping that day the thing you find yourself craving at midnight is guaranteed to be something you didn’t buy. Or maybe that’s just me? Either way, right now I have my packet of yummy peanut M&Ms but what I really want to be eating is poppadoms. I don’t even know why. Poppadoms just popped into my head at work this afternoon and now I desperately want to eat them. Unfortunately that’s easier said than done in Germany. Oh, you can get them, but only if you’re willing to pay over 3 euros for them. And the only ones they have here are the type that you have to cook yourself. By cook I mean place in extremely hot oil for a few seconds, causing your entire kitchen to become filled with smoke. Not a good idea if your little cooking space is miles away from any windows. What I want are those ready-to-eat Sharwoods poppadoms that are available in every single supermarket in England. But I cannot have them, which only makes me want them more.

It’s the same with most of the things I miss from home. When I’m in England I don’t feel the need to eat a packet of crisps every day, but in Germany, faced with the choice of paprika flavour or paprika flavour (although I have to admit they’re getting better) I find myself longing for some Flaming Hot Monster Munch. Or Skips. Or Quavers. Or some Worcester Sauce flavoured Walkers. Occasionally I will find myself in the corner of Karstadt staring longingly at the Kettle Chips. If I’m having a really bad day I might even buy a packet. (That doesn’t happen very often though. Not at the insane price of 3 euros. For a packet of crisps!). And then there’s crumpets. And pasties. And pies. In fact, anything savoury that can be packed in pastry (Hails made me feel very jealous yesterday talking about the sausage rolls she’s been eating). And don’t even get me started on Chicken Soup and Bird’s Eye Potato Waffles! Funny how I barely even noticed these things when I could have them every day.