Käsespätzle: Let’s Dig in

The main reason why we let the kids have their lunch in school even if it means we have to pay 3.50Eur every meal for each of them is to get the kids familiar with the staple here in Germany. They stay the whole day in school thrice a week and dinnertime of those days we would start our conversation with the question, “What did you have for mittagessen (lunch)?” So they would enumerate what they had, from appetizer to dessert.

kaesepaetzle

One of the food they liked was the Spätzle. It is a type of egg noodle and has many variations. The kids liked particularly the Käsespätzle. Spätzle normally accompanies meat dishes. I would like to think it is the “rice” here although it can be eaten alone. Käsespätzle, as the name suggests has cheese in it.

I haven’t tried to make the noodle from scratch. Based on some instructional videos and cooking sites I’ve seen, it’s pretty simple to make. But me having a little patience in following instructional videos, I just buy those commercially available. 😛

I’ve tried to make the Käsespätzle but I guess I didn’t meet my kids’ expectation. 😛 Emmentaler and gouda are just two of the popular  types of cheese used in this noodle. The noodle is cooked (based on the packaging instructions). Caramelized onion and ham, cut into bits (I prefer bacon, though) are added to this spätzle variation. The grated cheese is put into it and baked. I have read it’s the version of macaroni and cheese here.

I have yet to taste the “real one”. Not really a fan of cheese but for my kids, I will give it a try. I plan to look more closely and follow politely to the instructions to get my kids’ approval next time. Hehe..

Image credit: chefkoch.de

Silberzwiebeln: My New Favorite

I admit I haven’t really embraced German food and the German eating habits 100% even when I’m here for almost 3 years. I still cook Filipino dishes and dine in restos that serves Asian buffet everytime I crave for them. I can’t cook traditional German dishes without the help of instant fixes from Maggi or Knorr. Although unhealthy, for me that’s the only way we can eat German and other European specialties to get us familiarized. Every meal for us is not complete witout rice on the table. We consume 20 kilos of rice in just a little over 3 weeks! But I’m planning to change that, now that the kids are already in school. And that’s the reason why we don’t let the kids bring their own lunch for school. We wanted for them to eat what Germans eat.

abendbrot
Typical Abendbrot

Did you know that Germans only eat bread for dinner? When I say Germans, I’m not saying all of them but I believe most of them. Their dinner is called Abendbrot which literally means Evening bread. They have these different kinds of bread, from pretzels, bread roll and others which really are filling to the tummies. They have salami, ham, leberkaese  or liver cheese which can have different “flavors” such as pizza or pepperoni, lyoner, and so much more sausages to eat with it. Apart from the bread and the meat filling, cheese, butter or flavored yoghurt can be spread on the bread. They also have fresh vegetables on the side. Side dishes can be pickled vegetables, salad, pickled cucumber and the one that I have just discovered recently which I am really starting to love; the Silberzwiebeln which literally means silver onions.

abendbrot, silberzwiebeln
Silberzwiebeln

They are pickled and taste a little sour but just perfect for my taste buds. I love munching on it with the bread. Just the perfect side dish for me. I had a taste of it first during the time Zyc stayed in the hospital for almost a week. Even he liked it then. We even thought it was peeled grapes. Haha! I liked it so much I searched for it as soon as we went for grocery that week. Although we still don’t have bread for dinner regularly, I eat them everytime I got bread even for just a snack.

I’m still looking forward to discover food new to my taste here and hopefully some day I can actually cook them without the instant mixes.

Image credit: de.wikipedia.org
paradisi.de

Maultaschen: Little Cheaters on God

When I was attending the Orientirungskurs (Orientation course for immigrants), an overview of geography, politics, history and culture of Germany were tackled. Although it was just a brief 15-day course, it was indeed interesting knowing I’ll get a little more familiar with the country I am right now. Passing the test of this course is a requirement aside from B1 level language and the exam for citizenship if an immigrant wishes to become a citizen here and have a German passport. Anyway, I found politics a little hard for me however similar it is with our concept in the Philippines. Most probably because of the technical terms. I find them confusing actually. Geography? Confusing for me, too but still was interesting. Unfortunately, I was only able to watch a film when it came to our history session. There were many days that I wasn’t able to attend to class because the kids got sick. We watched Valkyrie which starred Tom Cruise. I just learned that it was a story of the failed assassination attempt to Adolf Hitler.  I passed the test, by the way. Got a score of 21 out of the 25 questions. But do you know that those 25 questions were from a list of 250? I could have perfected that if only I had focused on studying and memorizing those questions. Anyway, making 4 mistakes is not bad at all. 🙂

Now you might be wondering what is Maultaschen. Our teacher told us breifly of the history of this food of Swabian origin. I found it fascinating that this was started during the Lenten season when Catholics are refrained from eating meat. Since men need energy to perform heavy work, the meat was concealed under the pasta dough so they can not be seen by God, hence the nickname Herrgottsbescheißerle or Little cheaters on God.

maultaschen

Maultaschen comes in different sizes. They are originally wrapped just like ravioli but bigger and in rectangular shapes. We bought the sliced ones. Main ingredients are pasta dough, minced meat, smoked meat, spinach, bread crumbs and onions. (Wikipedia). A variety of flavors was also introduced. They can be grilled, pan-fried or simmered in soup just like we normally do.

I personally like Maultaschen. aside from being easy to cook (hehe..) I like its taste. It is my refuge when I get tired of cooking and eating meat. 🙂

Cupcakes First

Since we bought the oven I’ve been itching on trying to bake everything I could think of. But before I tried I searched first in the internet some technical terms, do’s and don’ts and tips in baking , and of course, recipes of the cakes that I want to bake. Since I’m still a beginner I first tried the instant ones, those bake mixes that are bought in the supermarket coz I thought I should use them first as guinea pigs just to apply the things I’ve read and so I would know where had I gone wrong.


I first tried the cupcakes Ryz requested. It was a box of Hello Kitty cupcakes. It was a fun bonding time with the kids. I got to let them help me put the ingredients and mix them. And not just a bonding time but I was hoping I could instill to them the interest in cooking.

Wondering what happened to my first cupcakes? Well, I did a dumb thing on the supposed to be a glacier on top of the cakes. With a little time in my hands, I searched in the net on how to do frosting.  I just found out that icings are just made of butter and powdered sugar! (Yeah, I’m that kind of beginner). Anyway, not following the measurement given in the video (since it’s for big serving) I just trusted my taste buds and made sure it’s not too sweet. Luckily I did it right. My drawback on this though, I put the icing on the top of the cupcakes too soon that they melted. Haha! Also, I didn’t know why but they were a little toasted even though I followed the instructions on the box.

hello kitty cupcakes, cupcakes, hello kitty
Despite those mistakes it was a success in general as my kids just loved them. 😀

3 Considerations You Must Have About Food for Kids Birthday Parties

birthday party, parties, kid's party, children's party

Planning a child’s birthday party can be a challenge. You have the guest list, theme, party games and food all to plan. The following article aims to give you a helping hand by providing you with three essentials you must consider when planning what food to serve.

Time to prepare

You need to be prepared. Decide what food you will serve and try to make the most of the food you already have. This will insure that you don’t go over budget. Another thing you can do to be budget friendly is purchase any premade food in bulk. Remember that children are more concerned with play time than eating, so it’s best to go with inexpensive foods. Rather than providing the children with a meal just provide a lot of snacks so they can help themselves. It’s best to also serve juice, punch or soda from large bottles so you can monitor how much sugar the children have had.

Kid-Friendly food

This is about supplying foods that are easy to eat and have a broad appeal. Many children won’t eat it if it doesn’t look good. The following ideas should go off with a bang at the party:

  • Buy the hard, thin breadsticks or crackers that come in a box in your grocery store’s bread aisle. Slather one end with cream cheese or a simple flavoured dip, and then wrap a thin slice of turkey, ham or other deli meat around it. Delicious!
  • Make fruit kebabs by cutting pineapple, cantaloupe and watermelon into bite-sized pieces then threading them onto wooden or plastic skewers. Promptly remove the skewers from the table after the fruit has been eaten so the kids don’t use them as weapons or use something with a blunt end, like chopsticks, for younger kids. They look good and taste good.
  • Make ordinary sandwiches fun by cutting them with cookie cutters or turn bananas, celery sticks or other healthy snacks into animals with a few well-placed raisins or carrot slices. It’s all about presentation.

Sugar and allergies

Watch the sugar! Yes, birthdays are meant to be a time to splurge and celebrate but that does not mean that you have to be excessive. You don’t want to encourage a behaviour problem fuelled by sugar or even worse with all your guests with a belly ache. Moderation is key. If they don’t get lots of sugar they will be more appreciative of what they do receive. You also need to be alert to allergies; you should ask parents ahead of time whether it be in person or through the invitations. This will allow you to plan your menu accordingly. You need to take special precautions, cleaning your cooking utensils before beginning to cook to avoid cross contamination.

Last but not least, consider going for a party theme for the fun factor. For example, you can do a ‘tropical’ theme and have your cupcakes decorated as tropical fruits. You might also want to opt for a unified look by incorporating the party theme into the design of your custom birthday invitations!

Image credit: madeformus.com

Dampfnudel: Siopao Look-alike

“Siopao!! I want siopao!!” These are the words I uttered upon seeing those white, siopao-like figures sold in a store when we went to the Weihnachtsmarkt in Stuttgart. I have been craving for these steamed buns for so long. So I went immediately to the store and read its name and learned it is called “Dampfnudel”. Hmm.. so that’s how Siopao is called in Germany, i thought. I stood in line and ordered one just to favor my craving. I even ignored its price which was 4.50Eur or almost $5.

The man in front of me also got the same and this was the time I was shocked. The lady put a sauce on top of it! What is that??? So the food I thought as siopao is indeed NOT siopao! I glanced at hubby and saw him laughing. 😛

The lady asked me what would I want to drizzle on it and suggested something. I just said yes having no idea what was it. Haha! There came my dampfnudel and we all had a taste of it. It was our first time to have it and found it really good.

Last weekend we saw these white figures again sold in the supermarket. We decided to buy a pack to have it here at home. One doesn’t have to be a good cook to enjoy it. You just have to have it steamed. For the sauce, a mixture with vanilla powder is also available, you’ll just have to add milk and mix.

dampfnudel, germknödel
So who wouldn’t think these are not siopao?

Dampfnudel is a white bread which originated here in Germany. It can be eaten as a meal served with vegetables such as cabbage or gherkins, or with salad. As a dessert, it is eaten with vanilla custard or jam.

dampfnudel, germknödel
Germknödel with vanilla sauce

What we got were Germknödel. Same with dampfnudel, it is also served as a dessert or main course. It is filled with a sweet and spicy plum jam. This is better when served hot topped with vanilla sauce and crushed poppy seeds and sugar.

The main difference between Dampfnudel and Germknödel is the former is cooked in a deep pan while the latter is steamed or boiled.

 

 

Sandwich for Lunch

Oh my! I almost forgot to make a post about this food we had, I think a month ago. For those who don’t know, me and hubby have a bonding time during Sundays. We call this Yummy Sundays where we try new menus from our recipe book or from what I have researched from the internet.

This time I let hubby decide what to have as our main dish and he chose a simple sandwich. You see, one of the staple food here in Germany is bread. You could see bakeries in almost every corner in the city center where an assortment of bread with different sizes are available. Marmalades, cheese, butter and cold cuts like salami and leberkase (liver cheese) are just some of the popular partners of these bread. We thought of trying to have bread or sandwich for lunch instead of our usual rice menu, for a change.

Hubby found this simple sandwich preparation in our recipe book and made it our lunch.

egg and bacon muffin
Egg and Bacon Muffin

Yes, that’s for lunch not breakfast or snack. You might be wondering why are they 5 when we’re only 4. Actually, they are 6 but since the other one doesn’t look appealing we just set it aside and not include in the photo opp. 🙂 And yes, hubby and I ate 2 each plus some slices not finished by the kids. 😛 With our appetites, we couldn’t settle for just only one sandwich. Haha!

As for me, I prepared a salad. I love salads and as much as possible I want to explore and try different kinds. I did Grilled Feta Cheese and Tomato Salad which I also saw in the recipe book. It’s the first time I heard of feta cheese and according to Mr. Wiki, it is a brined curd cheese made traditionally in Greece. Here, I had to fry the cheese ’til golden brown. At first I thought I was doing it the wrong way removing them from oil many times. The cheese were crumbling and I was really unsure of it. But when I saw the last 3 pieces turned out fine and according to the photo in the recipe book, I was relieved. I thought, at last I have a few pieces which are presentable enough to take a photo of. Haha!

Here it is…

grilled feta cheese and tomato salad

For the tomato salad, I did not use the one that is in the recipe which was only Balsamic Vinegar and chopped basil. Instead I used my readily-prepared Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette. This tasted really good even Zyc liked it. He munched on the cheese actually.

Haist! I hope to learn taking pictures of food nicely so they could look appetizing. 🙁

My New Kitchen Buddies

When we transferred here in Aalen, we had to buy a whole new kitchen block since the house we’re moving in had no kitchen. One of our options was to buy a complete set, meaning with built-in appliances like oven, refrigerator and dishwasher. They will deliver this block and install them for you. Thinking that we’ll not be staying here permanently we didn’t get a complete one. Also we already have a secondhand refrigerator and just bought a separate dishwasher. We also found it cheaper if we buy them separately. We hadn’t bought yet our oven because it’s kind of pricey for us that time so we just reserved a block for it.

Now, as Christmas is approaching we’re planning to complete our kitchen. We’ll be likely adding a single block for extra working space and a cabinet. But to start with, we just bought some useful things we need in our kitchen. Since hubby and I are having this bonding time every Sunday, I thought we could use these to explore more in our food experiments. Hehe…

This is a glass-based chopping board and can also be a work space. Our kitchen is small and whenever hubby and I are both there, we couldn’t move freely because of the limited space. We placed this board on top of our dishwasher. Although we could also use the space on top of the dishwasher, we chose to add this board so we can directly chop or slice on it.

We love frying. Unhealthy right? Hehe… We initially got this since Zyc loves fries. And who doesn’t love fried chicken and spring rolls? Well, these were just some of the food I have cooked using this deep fryer. We couldn’t resist buying this because it went on sale, from 60 Euros to 39 Eeuros. Not bad considering its quality and who could resist a Tefal brand. Downside? Minimum oil used is 1.9L, so what I do after the first use is filter the oil and transfer to bottles for reuse. Well, it depends on where I used the oil.

From unhealthy, to healthy… This is my grill pan. I’ve also been looking for one since I saw one menu in the recipe book hubby bought me that needs to be grilled. I used to grill in our mini oven but this time I want to try out using this one. Hubby also loves grilled food so I want to cook one for him. This could also be useful for the sausages my kids and I love to eat, especially the currywurst.

There… These are my new kitchen buddies.

International Fest

One of the most awaited fest here in our city is the annual Internationaler Fest or International Festival. People even from neighboring cities comes here to experience the fun. We had a perfect weather that day unlike last year’s celebration.

In this celebration, immigrants gather and organize to represent their country. They have their own stalls or kiosks and there they showcase their food specialties from their homeland. This is definitely the best chance to taste the various cuisines these countries are famous for.

The Turkish women making their pita bread.

The Tamils from India
Food from Japan and China. (I think they are just from restaurants who serve these kinds of food. 🙂
The Thais
From Sri Lanka
The Americans’ burger.

And of course, the Germans’ beer.

From Aalen’s brewery.

Those were just  few of the stores I’ve taken a shot of. There were really so many kiosks especially from the Turkish. This did not come as a surprise since among the immigrants, Turkish has the most number.

There were also presentations from various groups. We chanced upon the one from Turkey who performed their traditional dance. This was really well-applauded.

I also met other Filipinas thru my new-found friend. They were from Ellwangen which is around 25mins drive from Aalen.

With a little number of Filipinos here, we wonder when can we have our own kiosk for this International Fest…

Full and Satisfied at Grand Asienpalast

As long as we’re here we won’t stop searching for and dining in Asian restaurants. Two  weeks ago we went back to Grand Asienpalast. It’s already our second time to dine in this resto, the first was during hubby’s birthday last February. A 10-minute drive from our place, it is a restaurant that serves (yes, you guessed it right. Hahaha!) Asian cuisine in buffet and also in a la carte.

This will welcome you at their main entrance. From this you will know right away that they have a very nice ambiance. As expected, it was full already when we came in. It was a Sunday and many Germans dine out during this day as they spend time with their loved ones.

Here are what we got from the buffet spread.

This is plate #1 for me. I so missed the dessert, buchi, I put it on my first plate. 🙂

Now this is plate #2 for me. Haha! Yeah, I have that big appetite. But I think this was my last plate ‘coz I was really, really full I couldn’t breathe!

 The Mongolian Barbecue hubby got for us. He got the mussels for me ‘coz he knows I really miss eating them. He’s not into it so I don’t cook them at home.

 Our dessert made by hubby. Vanilla, chocolate, cookies & cream flavored ice cream, on top of the fruits.

Let me share the ones we had when we celebrated hubby’s birthday two months ago. Pardon for the shots, it was night time and the lights inside the restaurant were a little bit dim.

This was my first plate (again with the buchi). Start counting! 😀

My second plate…

The Mongolian Barbecue…

Of course dining in an Asian resto is not complete for me without my fave California Maki.

Yes, I ate all of those. I find buffet dining in these Asian restaurants expensive so I was thinking I have to have our money’s worth.  😀