Tuesday 29 May 2007

house moving & internet woes

Friends, please do not forget me, because I certainly have not forgotten this blog!

I have had to move house and am now awaiting internet reconnection.

I hope to be back up and running on the weekend. Fingers crossed.

Monday 21 May 2007

kleinmarkthalle, frankfurt's little market

There are a lot of little farmers markets and fresh produce stalls in Frankfurt, including the wonderful Christmas markets in the winter, but in the German spring I happened to venture into Kleinmarkt.

In the centre of Frankfurt, a market has operated on this spot since the 1890s when a pretty glass building was created to house food stalls. Unfortunately the original glass structure was destroyed in WWII fire bombing in 1944, but the building in its place now let’s the remarkable produce and providores act as the real stars.

I was bedazzled by many items in this small market, but here are a few of the more interesting sites on a weekend afternoon.

Cheese and salami stall

Pretty, crinkled cabbages

All different kinds of soft sausages

Bärlauch is a type of giant garlic, also known as ramsons, buckrams,
wild garlic, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, bear leek and bear garlic

Physalis (or cape gooseberries) are popular in the spring

Goose eggs

Skinned rabbits, waiting to be roasted

This shops sells anything to do with pigs!

I can confirm, it's true, Germans just love sausages!

If you haven't been to Germany, I highly recommend German food. It's a seriously underrated cuisine.

More posts on German food:
The food of Frankfurt (Hessen) 
Frankfurt's Christmas Markets   

Friday 18 May 2007

frankfurt food!!!

I’m back!!!

Despite working my butt off, I had some wonderful foodie experiences in Germany and Israel.

My first post back is about my first stop: Germany.

Food there can be surprising. Yes, there are a lot of heavy, fried foods. Yes, potatoes feature regularly. Yes, the serving sizes can compete with the Americans, but there’s a whole lot more to German cuisine than you'd expect, especially in their traditional, rustic style dishes.

Luckily for me I visited in spring and there was plenty of fresh asparagus on the menus, served in a myriad of ways, as well as delicious cherries (one of my favourite fruits).

I visited Frankfurt's Kleinmarkt as well as a farmer's market and took loads of photos of what I discovered there.

Here’s some photos and rundowns of my German meals:

Grie Soß

Boiled eggs served with delectable Grie Soß (green sauce), a Frankfurt speciality made of oil, vinegar and seven fresh herbs. Apple wine taverns throughout Frankfurt specialise in green sauce, each with their own heavily guarded recipe. Usually the seven herbs are an alternating combination of borage, sorrel, cress, chervil, chives, parsley, salad burnet, dill, lovage, spinach or basil.

Apfelwein or Äbbelwoi (apple wine) is another Frankfurt speciality. I once heard that the legend of äbbelwoi started after the region had a very poor grape harvest and had to resort to apples for their wine. They enjoyed the results so much that they never looked back. Äbbelwoi has a strange kind of sweet yet musty and sour flavour, which I prefer to drink pure. You can also have it süss (sweet – with lemon or orange soda) or sauer (sour – with mineral water, bringing on a cloudy effect and sour flavour). Äbbelwoi is served in a ceramic jug called a bembel, decorated in white and blue, and a diamond-patterned glass called a gerippte. The suburb of Sachsenhausen hosts the best äbbelwoi pubs, where guests sit at long wooden tables and benches eating hearty, delicious pub meals. I’ve eaten at the Fichtekränzi and Adolf Wagner and loved them both!

Frankfurters in Frankfurt!
The traditional Frankfurt frankfurters. The sausage is cooked by boiling and can be made from pork or a combination of pork and veal. In English speaking countries they are called frankfurts, frankfurters or wieners. I think it’s funny that in Germany they’re called Wiener (after Vienna) and in Austria they’re called Frankfurter, although both call the short ones Würstchen as well.

Tafelspitz is boiled beef, usually served with horseradish or green sauce (in this case green sauce). Note the deliciously crunchy potatoes that come with the meal. Cooking potatoes in various delightful ways is a skill most German kitchens excel at. And check out the soup bowl full of sauce - they never skimp on the sauce!

Asparagus season means fresh asparagus appearing on every menu in town. The farms are just outside the city so Frankfurt gets a good supply. White asparagus seems to be the popular choice, with long, large spears prevailing. In this dish, steamed spears were served with salt boiled potatoes, some parsley and a gravy boat full of Hollandaise sauce.

This awful looking dish was called Schupfnudeln mit Sauerkraut und Kasslerwürfel. Schupfnudeln are gnocchi-like potato-based pastas. In this case they were boiled then added to a pan of sauerkraut and pieces of fried smoked pork. It looks terrible but it was absolutely beyond delicious.

Do you think they gave us enough crumbed fish?

How could I show photos of German food without a snapshot of an apple strudel?

Since it was asparagus season I ordered the soup at a nice restaurant we visited. I was so impressed that I hope to replicate it for dinner tonight. They used white asparagus to make a light yet creamy soup and had rosettes of saffron and white truffle infused mash potato hidden in the bowl. Divine.

Streusel cake
This was a cherry streusel cake. At the markets we found a streusel shop selling nothing but huge slices of these delicious cheesecakes topped with spiced crumbs. You could get chocolate, apricot, peach, rhubarb, apple and anything else you desired. I went for cherry of course (hello, I’m in Central Europe, one of the best cherry destinations in the world).

Another really interesting discovery was elderflower bunches smothered in a sweet batter and then deep fried. They are then sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon and eaten hot. It was really tasty and the flavour and freshness of the flowers really shone through. What a pleasant discovery!

I’ve decided that currywurst is great festival food. Cook a sausage, chop it into pieces then smother it in ketchup and serve in a small paper bowl. Happy days!

I’m going to have to get back to you all on what this is. [This is Wurstsalat]. I remember it’s a traditional sausage that’s served cold in this manner, like a sausage salad. I’ll check with Simone, who was with me during this meal, and get back to you. If anyone else knows what it is, feel free to make suggestions! Whatever it’s called, it tasted great.

Soon I’ll post some photos of my culinary journey through Israel too.
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