Tag Archives: recipe

The same procedure as every year

It seems as though every New Year spent in Germany follows the same pattern. This year though, there was one major difference. Instead of writing about Dinner for One, Bleigiessen and fireworks here, I posted about it on Birds on the Blog, where I also have a column. You can catch up with my New Year’s Eve experiences there.

New Year in Germany

Other seasonal posts I have written there include:

A Small Christmas Miracle

German Stollen – The Cheat’s Version

Grogs, Nogs and Glühweins – The Best German Christmas Drinks




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Courgettes by stealth

We have reached that phase of the Summer that my entire family dreads. It’s the time of the courgette-glut. (If you’re American… that’s zucchini). Every meal contains courgette in some form or other. Stuffed, baked, fried, frittered… and of course by now, none of us can bear to look at another one!

As a keen amateur vegetable gardener, of course I planted far too many of the things. And while we were on holiday, they grew and grew. English courgettes eventually turn into marrows. German courgettes turn into zeppelins. I’ve tried giving them away… but by now, the neighbours disappear into their houses when they see me approaching and slam the door. I thought about leaving courgettes on their doorsteps anyway… but I suspect they’d be returned, along with their own spare courgettes.

The only answer was to be creative about courgette recipes. To find something that everyone would eat and not even dream there could be courgette in it.

Dearest readers… I bring you, the courgette chocolate brownie!

First, mix half a cup of vegetable oil with one and a half cups of sugar and two teaspoons of vanilla.

Fold in two cups of flour, baking powder, a teaspoon of salt and half a cup of cocoa powder (unsweetened).

Once it’s mixed, add two cups of grated courgette… yes really! The moisture in the courgette makes your fairly dryish mixture into a gloopy chocolatey batter.

At this stage you might also want to add any extras… raisins, sultanas, walnuts etc. are all good…

Stick the whole lot into a lined, greased baking pan and bake at 180°c for about half an hour, or until the top is firm and slightly springy.

As a topping, I put cubes of white chocolate on top while it was still hot, then spread the melted chocolate around with a spoon – it makes less washing up than faffing around with a bain marie…

The result…. delicious moist chocolate (courgette) brownies, which nobody will even believe contains courgette!

I wonder whether I should take some round to the neighbours….


Filed under food, Life in Germany

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