We galloped through the final week of our Germanic adventure, and yet again ran out of time to try everything we wanted to!
Contrary to expectation a month of vegan Germanic food hard wasn’t hard to do. Veganising traditional dishes wasn’t that hard, and there were plenty of vegetable side dishes to choose from. Along the way I learned just how much I love caraway seeds, how delicious cabbage can be, and developed an appreciation for celery – an ingredient I didn’t often use.
German Split Pea Soup
With the weather being wet, grey and cold I decided to make a German version of one of my favourite soups – green split pea. The version I usually make is Italian and includes fresh peas and mint. This was more like pea & ham soup, according to Steve anyway – I don’t recall ever having it before I became vegetarian. One of the great things was just how simple it was, a few ingredients thrown into the slow cooker, and later that evening it was ready to eat. To go with it made some pretzel bread rolls. They’re quite simple to make.
Zürich style tofu and vegetables
This sauce is traditionally made with veal (yuck!) and served with potato rösti, but it makes a fabulous pasta sauce. Steve added golden fried strips of tofu, red capsicum and carrot to the mushrooms which are part of the original dish. All cooked in a white wine and cream sauce which we had served over fettuccine. This would be fantastic with the rösti too, and although there were leftovers we had them for lunch with leftover pasta.
German Mushroom tart – Torteletten mit pilzen
This would have to be one of the easiest ways to make a tart. You bake the puff pastry shells and put to one side. Then you make the filling, in this case creamy mushroom and spinach. The warm filling is spooned into the pastry shells and then they’re warmed in the oven for about 5 minutes before serving. Easy! I made the shells using bought puff pastry sheets, and used some of the leftover bits to make little lids or hats to go on top.
Swiss Barley Stew
The recipe that inspired this was actually a creamy soup, but I didn’t want to make a soup, so along with all the other variations, I made it a much thicker dish. The vegetables are chopped into quite small pieces and cooked with the barley and flavours in stock and then the cream is stirred through at the end. The resulting dish is rich and tasty but not too heavy. Like the split pea soup this has a smoky flavour that usually comes from the meat, but smoked paprika gives it a wonderful flavour.
Austrian style green bean pasta
I had some green beans that needed to be used, so taking a cue from the krautfleckerl I loved so much that we had earlier in the month I made a simple green bean pasta dish in that style. The beans were well cooked with onion, garlic etc. and the cooked pasta was then added to the pan and browned a little, which made it just slightly chewy. It was a big hit with Steve, who I may have mentioned previously isn’t usually a huge fan of green beans.
Black Forest ‘Smash’ Cake
Well I couldn’t go through the whole month without making a traditional German dessert. I don’t really make cakes or desserts very often, since there’s just the two of us, though we do often take it to share with co-workers when I (or Steve) do. The plan was to take a 2 layer black forest cake – usually it’s 3 layers, but I thought 2 would be enough. So I made some cashew cream and the cherry filling, but when it came time to put it all together, I dropped one of the cake layers. Not on the floor thankfully, but nonetheless it was in pieces. So after covering the intact layer with cherries and cream, I crumbled the remaining layer into a bowl and mixed it with some of the cream and cherries, then dolloped that on top. It may not have been pretty or traditional, but it sure did taste good!
German no-knead sour dough
A no-knead bread is just too much to resist, especially when it’s a sour dough! I had to give this one a go. The bread is loaded with grains and seeds, whatever takes your fancy, and is soft and chewy. It’s delicious fresh from the oven, lovely when it’s cooled and makes great toast. I’ve made it a couple of times now, and I think my technique is improving. The dough in the first batch was a bit too soft, but the second time around I added more flour and the texture was better. I need to stock up on wholemeal flour, grains and seeds before I make it again. Or I might find another sour dough bread to try – I’ve got the starter now!
For July we’re not travelling very far, as we begin exploring Scandinavian and Nordic food. With a big focus on root vegetables winter seems the right time for that.