Foodie penpals: November 2015 reveal

I was supposed to post this on the last day of the month. Oops! Buuut, in my defence, I only received my package on Monday and my Colmar post was already scheduled by that time, then yesterday I had to check in for the reading challenge. Today I have no other posts planned though, so I can reveal what was in my final foodie penpals package of 2015.

This time I was paired up with two people in Germany, sending a package to Sabine and then receiving one from the lovely Jana who blogs here, mostly in German, but she writes foodie reveals in English. Jana sent me some local goodies along with some of her own favourites and, best of all, homemade biscuits! Let’s take a look:

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A box of yummy treats… and for once I took the photos on the table ūüėČ

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First up is tea and biscuits. A tea advent calendar, containing 24 different kinds of tea bags, and home-made cinnamon waffles, which Jana told me she made using a special waffle maker she inherited from her grandfather. What a special treat for me!

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I’ve had Schogetten before, but I had no idea they were from Jana’s area of Germany (the Saarland – specifically, Schogetten are from Saarlouis according to the packet). They look like just chocolate bars, but actually each square of chocolate is separate, for easy portioning. Jana sent me two varieties – Alpine Milk Chocolate and Nougat (with a hazelnut cream filling). Yummy!

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This is a spice mix for “spice cake”. On the back, there’s a recipe for the cake. It looks very Christmassy and I can’t wait to try it!

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I have seen Karlsberg beer in the shops, but never tried it. I’ll probably have this at the weekend.

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A mix for tabbouleh (spell check thinks that’s the English spelling?), complete with all the spices. All I need to do is add some veg. I love tabbouleh and Migros has an Alnatura section, so if this is good I may end up buying some.

And finally…

Saarlodis

I saved the best for last ūüôā This is a jar of mustard. What’s special about it is the little figures – these are the Saarlodris. They’re little cartoon figures that Jana told me are the Saarland version of the Mainzelm√§nnchen – little cartoon mascots of the TV channel ZDF. Jan didn’t know the Saarlodris either, having never lived in that part of Germany (Mainzelm√§nnchen, on the other hand, are broadcast everywhere). Jana wrote that, once the mustard is gone, I should wash out the glass and use it for what, to which Jan said “Yep, that’s what you do with mustard glasses!”. So I guess I learned a new thing about Germany?

This was a wonderful end to this year’s foodie penpal packages, and now I’m looking forward to what 2016 has to bring!

(For those of you wondering what I sent.. I thought I’d taken a photo but I can’t seem to find it?! So sorry!)

Carol Anne is taking a well-deserved break in December, but you can sign up now to take part in January. Read the rules and sign up here (This is the European version, for those of you in the US/Canada, the original Foodie Penpals on The Lean Green Bean is here.).

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Foodie penpals: August 2015 reveal

The time has come again to reveal what I received in my latest foodie penpals package.

August ended up being a little different – I was originally matches to two people in England, but then the person who was supposed to send to me failed to contact the person who was supposed to send a package to her. Under the rules of Foofie Penpals, if you fail to contact one of your partners by the 13th of the month, you’re taken out of the running for that month and your two partners are rematched to each other.

Coincidentally, I was rematched to somebody I already know from the blogosphere. Alie is originally from Britain and now lives in Germany. She blogs about expat life in Germany and travel at Starting Over in Stuttgart. Go visit her ūüôā

Alie sent my package a little later than the deadline (with my agreement) as she had a trip to England planned and made the offer to also put some British goodies into my package. As it happens, I only had one request so most of the contents were German, but we’ll get to that.

My package arrived this morning and I immediately opened it up. Please try to ignore the fact that my photos were taken on the floor (again!) and my rug desperately needs hoovering…

I swear my penpal packages get better every month! I just hope I’m doing as good a job with the ones I send out! Here’s what Alie sent me in detail:

Teabags

Tea bags! I can’t wait to try them, especially the Caramel Apple Pie ones. They sound perfect for autumn!

Apple chips

Apple chips. But not just any apple chips – Swabian ones ūüėČ A nice healthy snack for me to munch on.

Desserts

Dessert items. Two Angel Delight type things that I just need to add milk to and a pack for making lemon-flavoured frosting. Yum! I think I need to do some baking soon…

Sweets

Sweeties. A Double Decker, which was my one request from the UK (for some reason I really fancied one – and yes, I ripped it open as soon as I was finished photographing my goodies!)and Gr√ľn-Schnabel (Green beak) gummi sweets. I’ve never tried these, but I love Katja’s pig sweets so these are bound to be yum.

Food

An Indian spice mix and a herbes de provence spread. Jan and I both enjoy Indian food and I can’t wait to give this spice mix a try! And I bet the spread will be good on toast or crackers.

Just how amazing is that package? I am a very lucky foodie indeed!

Alie also sent me a card, and even drew her own little stamp on the envelope. Love it!

Again, the person I was sending to doesn’t have a blog, but I took a quick photo before placing her goodies in the envelope. Here’s what I sent (this time I actually took the photo on the table, like a normal person!)

Swiss food

The new matches go out on Saturday, so you may be too late to sign up for September, but you can give it a try anyway. If it doesn’t work this time you’ll automatically be added to October’s list. To read the rules and sign up go here. (This is the European version, for those of you in the US/Canada, the original Foodie Penpals on The Lean Green Bean is here.)

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 vinegar-based dressing it’s drowned (yes, 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. Leberkn√∂del. Literally meaning liver dumplings, Leberkn√∂del consist of ground liver that’s mixed with bread crumbs and egg to form a ball. They’re usually served in the form of Leberkn√∂delsuppe (liver dumpling soup), which is basically a bowl of beef broth with Leberkn√∂del floating around in it. I don’t like liver anyway, and it doesn’t taste any better floating in beef stock. Sometimes, Leberkn√∂del 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 pasta-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 “geschm√§lzt” – 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 N√ľrnberger Bratwurst, huge Th√ľringer Bratwurst, K√§sekrainer (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 Wei√üwurst – 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 or 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?

Going native?

Jan bought me a recipe book for Christmas entitiled “German Cooking Today”. No, not a hint ūüėČ but I kept asking him about traditional German foods other than the ones from this region and he didn’t know any, hence the book.

I’ve never really done much real German cooking, despite living here for 6 years! The couple of times we’ve had homemade Sp√§tzle Jan did the cooking and for Maultaschen we just buy ready made ones and heat them up. Jan made them once with some friends (before we were together) and apparantly it takes ages!

Since we had some baguette left over from the weekend, which had gone pretty stale, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to make Semmelkn√∂del (bread dumplings) using the recipe in my book. I won’t post the recipe here for copyright reasons, but here is someone else’s: http://cookingweekends.blogspot.de/2011/04/semmel-knodel-german-bread-dumplings.html It’s similar to mine, but I had to beat the eggs before adding them to the rest of the mixture.

Semmelknödel floating in water while I telepathically beg them not to fall apart...
Semmelkn√∂del floating in water while I telepathically beg them not to fall apart…

It took me forever to make the Kn√∂del plus the side dish of pumpkin in a garlicky-tomato sauce (I suspect with practice it will be quicker), but they didn’t fall apart and ended up looking as they were supposed to. They’re pretty filling, and I couldn’t manage to finish all of mine, so Jan ate the last one. I’m taking that as a compliment ūüėÄ

The finished product.
The finished product.

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 K√§sesp√§tzle (small, thin dumplings covered in lashings of melted cheese) and Flammkuchen (tarte flamb√©e – 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!