Monthly Archives: June 2008

A very unique recipe

This week Birgit and I had some business visitors. So I asked my husband to cook lunch for everybody.

Knowing better than to leave the choice of menu entirely up to him, I whizzed down to the supermarket and bought the kind of ingredients that any culinary ignoramous can’t mess up. Right? Pasta, mushrooms, cream, salad. Everything that you’d need for a nice pasta and mushroom sauce with a crisp salad on the side.

But I hadn’t reckoned with the ambitious cunning of my husband. You see, as he rarely gets chance to cook, whenever he does get free rein in the kitchen, he likes to add a little flair to his recipes. So while the rest of us were sitting around a flip chart talking about business processes, he was searching the internet for exotic ways to jazz up a mushroom sauce.

When we came in for lunch, I have to say though, that he was looking a little nervous. My fourteen year old son was standing by the cooker declaring: “It’s inedible. It’s a complete disaster!”

On first inspection though, I thought it didn’t look at all bad. It was recognisably a mushroom sauce, and the pasta was done to perfection.

What I’d failed to spot was the mysterious addition of “ingredient Z” to the mushrooms.

On first taste it was obvious that something was very wrong.

“What did you put in this?” I asked, appalled.

Birgit piped up immediately: “Is this an English speciality? What else can you expect from a nation that lays carpet in its bathrooms!”

“Have a guess.” I can see my husband starting to sweat.


“Erm. No. Actually it was Baileys.”

“Baileys? You put Baileys in the mushrooms?”

Trust me, readers, this is not a recipe recommendation. Baileys and mushrooms goes together about as well as would marmelade and prawns, or banana and pickled gherkins. I know, I’ve tried it. I hope you never have to.

Praise be to the spare jar of pesto in the cupboard!


Filed under food, Life in Germany

Germany versus Greece – philosophy football

As the entire household settles down in front of the TV tonight, chilled beers at the ready, to watch the Germany v. Turkey match in the European Championships… my mind goes back to that very famous game between Germany and Greece…. Monty Python’s Philosophy Football.



Filed under comedy

The day the music died

Just over three weeks ago a close friend and fellow co-musician to my brother was murdered in Crumpsall, near Manchester. Michael was a brilliant Klezmer violinist, a loving husband and a father. He was expecting to celebrate his fortieth birthday the following week.

I can’t even start to imagine how his family and fellow musicians will ever come to terms with his random and violent murder.

In the days since Michael’s death the music community has come together to play and remember Michael with love and warmth and share their grief and disbelief that he could be so suddenly taken from them.

For now though, I’ll leave you with a clip of Michael playing with Ros Hawley. Rest in peace Michael.


Filed under klezmer

Okay – yodelling. What’s that all about then?

Finally Youtube provides the answer….

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Filed under comedy, German video, Life in Germany

Teenage boys – what’s not to like?

Last Autumn our lawnmower finally went phut. Died. Ceased to mow. Went to the celestial greenhouse….

Being somewhat disorganised, and reluctant gardeners at that… we haven’t got around to replacing it yet.

So when the boy’s teenage mates came around to play football on our lawn… they were faced with an over-the-knee meadow with a set of goalposts just visible at the far end.

Imagine then, how gobsmacked we were when a set of German teenagers popped indoors to see me and my husband and asked: “Do you mind if we mow your lawn?”

They went and secured the requisite tools from their own homes and before we knew it, there was a buzzing and growling of electric and petrol motors at the far end of the wilderness garden.

I had to go and see this with my own eyes…  and indeed it was an amazing sight. It was as though the team from Ground Force had descended. One lad asked me (in polite English) for some “big scissors” – by which I assumed he meant shears – and proceeded to prune the bushes too.

The whole thing took them about 45 minutes.

And did they still have the energy left to play football? Yes… of course! Once they’d stocked up on calories from the fridge!

Teenage boys! What’s not to like?


Filed under Life in Germany

A very happy birthday

It was my birthday at the weekend.

On Friday my husband suddenly announced that he was taking me for an impromptu weekend trip to Bruges in Belgium – so we flung a few clothes into a bag and off we toddled.

If anyone hasn’t visited Bruges… it’s one of those things you must do before you die. The entire city consists for medieval streets, houses, pubs, churches and public buildings. All of them are beautiful and many absolutely breathtaking in their loveliness. It’s like walking into a medieval timewarp – the sense of history is overwhelming.

What’s more… the town is alive. It’s not a museum, or a Disneyland. There are real people living their day-to-day lives in these houses and these streets.

We had a fabulous birthday lunch on the St. Stevinplaats and then wandered around the town, browsing the shops, marvelling at the buildings and the canals.

There were two other highlights of the day. One was a very specially made gift from my daughter – a mug she had printed with a photo-montage of photos she took of our various cats.

The other highlight was finding this lovely review of Planet Germany on Andie’s blog. What a fabulous surprise… it really made my already perfect day!


Filed under books, cats, Life in Germany