Pilzwanderungen

I do miss the chances I had in Germany of going on guided mushroom-collecting walks. They have some here in Havering but I doubt the woods are so exciting. And there was also the Naturhistorische Gesellschaft Nürnberg e.V. with Ursula Hirschmann, where you could sit in the lecture hall and all sorts of poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms were passed round. I remember woods whose floors were covered in deep moss studded with the most various mushrooms, which I largely did not dare eat. There is a system where people qualify as mushroom/toadstool experts and a list of people to contact to inspect your day’s collection. I had my basket, knife and brush, and a mushroom app, but I was cruelly torn out of it.

This might have helped some of the Syrians et al. who have been trying the death cap mushroom (Knollenblätterpilz) recently. That was usually the first one we looked at and learned. The Washington Post reports:

According to a warning issued by Hanover Medical School in northern Germany, more than 30 refugees have been sickened after eating “death cap” mushrooms — a species so toxic a small amount of it can cause organ failure in a matter of days.

Die Zeit has a nice map of treated cases of mushroom poisoning from 2008 to 2013 (most survived).

Guardian: Germany attributes spike in mushroom poisonings to foraging refugees

Lidl: Taste of the Alps

Since yesterday Lidl has had this range available: Lidl: Taste of the Alps.

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Upminster is Aldi country rather than Lidl country, although Lidl has been going through a process of gentrification (it’s in the news for paying all its workers in the UK above the minimum wage) and I am urged to get some of their wine offers, but have not yet made it to South Ockendon.

I don’t suppose the web page will be available for ever. It is fuller than what you read in the Evening Standard or see in the video. But it is amazing how far the Alps extend. Who would have thought of the alpine pig in pork schnitzel, to say nothing of Bismarck herrings? Some are labelled Alpengut, which I keep reading as Alpenglut. Kabanos must be from the Polish Alps. Bavarian Brie is less surprising. But what of Meadow Fresh potato salad?

German Deli – Huh?

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It looks as if German Deli is waiting for the next Olympics.

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huhw

They do have a special offer on Limburger cheese, best before date 28th July. I’m not a great eater of Limburger cheese, and am surprised it has a best before date at all. Also an offer on Halberstädter Wurstsoljanka. It is also the place to get your Sahnesteif, or indeed the Great German Bake-Off Hamper (don’t think Paul and Mary would think much of this one) and pseudo Currywurst pack.

There is apparently also a shop here at Stratford.

Bavarian invention hits the big time abroad

One of the curiosities of Bavaria, and more specifically of beer festivals, is the (mooli/daikon) radish cutting device, which you can see and hear explained on YouTube here.

radi

I am now shocked at the rise of the spiralizer in the UK. Apparently it makes it easier for you to get your ‘five a day’.

Transform your 5-a-day into spaghetti-style spirals to make meals healthier and convert everyone into a curly fruit and vegetable fan. Perfect for preparing coleslaw or salads, the Spiralizer is also great for getting the most out of your vegetables with the latest in food trends: vegetable spaghetti. Feed in raw courgette, carrot or aubergine and it produces fine, looping strands which can be cooked in next to no time so that vegetables retain their vitamin content and act as a quick-cook substitute to pasta.

Telegraph: The best spiralizers, tried and tested

They claim it was a Japanese invention, but I gather some Germans have had spiralizers in the family for decades.

Pease pudding nearly banned from hand luggage

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This is perhaps off topic, but I was surprised to read about this EasyJet case:

Geordie passenger stopped by airport security staff after pease pudding mistaken for Semtex

After being told that the consistency of the pudding could see it ‘technically’ classed as Semtex, he offered to let security taste it to prove it wasn’t.

The pease-pudding lover was allowed through with his snacks and simply warned to pack them in hold luggage the next time he travels.

He said: “I was very glad that they allowed me to keep them in the end. It is quite hard to get your hands on pease pudding down south.”

Since when is pease pudding hard to get ‘down south’? We always have boiled ham and pease pudding on Christmas Eve. And when we moved to Romford in about 1952, my mother was at Romford Market one day and went to sit down in the churchyard to have a rest, where she found two women eating saveloys and pease pudding out of newspaper. And now I read that these are a northern delicacy! And what is a ‘tub‘ of pease pudding?

Or does the actor not like the brand Foresight, which is the usual one down here? I think all the big supermarkets sell it. Well, maybe Foresight is too southern. And it appears that in the north east they eat pease pudding on its own in sandwiches, which is certainly strange.

It does elicit discussion.

English language curiosities

On reading this headline in The Local:

Merkel to meet Putin in January over Ukraine

I wonder whether anyone will shoot them down. However, the earlier headline about the blazing ferry has been improved (Flaming ferry counted 18 German passengers).

In the following, what role was played by Microsoft Word capitalizing words at the beginning of a line?

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but maybe the locals can’t read.

On a different subject, there is probably a law against this kind of thing in Germany:

stollen

stollenslice

Heston also created his own kind of mince pies, which were OK except they weren’t really mince pies, more like Linzer Torte. They had the tangerine-flavoured sugar too.

Legendary German bakers

It seems that the adjective legendary is applied to German bakers and pastry chefs. Actually, legendary pastry chef is a thing. Although even legendary translator gets a few ghits.

Konditor and Cook (thanks, Trevor!) have been around for a while and have a book.

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Here is a brain meringue which I didn’t try:

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The best-looking thing in the window was a home-made Victoria sponge. The Spectator writes:

Konditor and Cook (Ebury, £20, Spectator Bookshop, £18) is the book of an Anglo-German cake shop, which, given the excellence of German cakes, is oddly rare on the scene here. Gerhard Jenne is notable for his quirky decorations and humorous take on fondant fancies and you get a fair share of jolly stuff here, but there are also things like plum streusel in the German fashion. It’s all delicious, but I should warn you that some of the cake bases are quite dense, the cooking times aren’t always geared to domestic ovens and there’s a variation on a Victoria sponge (extra egg yolk, added crème fraiche) which comes squarely into the category of gilded lilies.

There’s another legendary German Konditormeister in Edinburgh, Falko Burkert. Stern borrows heavily from the Observer:

Jeden Monat kämpft er um die Zutaten für seine Kuchen. Er räumt den Supermarkt leer, sollte der ausnahmsweise mal Quark haben. Gehobelte Mandeln muss er aus Deutschland kommen lassen, Briten kennen nur gehackte und gemahlene Nüsse. Auch das echte Marzipan mit dem traditionellen Zweidrittelanteil Mandeln lässt er liefern. Die meisten britischen Varianten enthalten höchstens 30 Prozent. Er zahlt fast ein Drittel mehr für ungesalzene Butter (gewöhnliche Butter ist auf der Insel stets gesalzen) und muss aufpassen, dass er reines Mehl erhält und nicht solches mit Backpulver (“self raising flour” genannt).

Down here in London we pay the same for salted and unsalted butter, but perhaps it’s different when you’re bulk-buying. There’s plenty of marzipan with 30% almonds in Germany. In fact I seem to recall that 54% is the best I could get. It actually says here that Lübecker Marzipan by Niederegger has 70% Marzipanrohmasse, but then the Rohmasse already contains sugar, so that doesn’t mean 30% almonds, does it? And Falko should be capable of asking for plain flour rather than self-raising.

Joanne Blythman wrote:

For a 37-year-old, Falko is curiously old-fashioned in his instincts. He is both passionate and inspiring in his belief that time-honoured, labour-intensive, artisan skills can never be replaced by machines. He elevates taste over aesthetics. ‘I want to eat cakes, not look at them,’ he says. ‘A cake should not look like an overdecorated Christmas tree.’

His style is all about restrained amounts of sugar and subtle flavours. He will have no truck with the technological armoury used by most modern bakers, refusing, for example, to use a proving machine to speed up the making of his breads and insisting that all sponges are raised by hand in the orthodox German manner by beating air into the eggs, not with the addition of raising agents.

Schichttorte – Baumkuchen – Baumstriezel

I was mystified by the German Schichttorte in the Great British Bakeoff programme, but then I realized they meant Baumkuchen.

I think the word Schichttorte is a misnomer. Any cake with layers is a Schichttorte, and it will usually have buttercream between the layers, like an opera cake. Whereas the cake they showed consisted simply of twenty layers of sponge cake, each grilled separately as they were built up, with no filling but with a coating.

The programme did show a real Baumkuchen being made: the cake mixture is dripped onto a sort of metal spit revolving on a grill. Here are pictures from the LA Times. you can buy one from the German Bakery in Windsor.

The cake in the program was grilled layer by layer in a cake tin, but it was still a Baumkuchen in structure, although the layers run in a different direction.

By chance I am more familiar with the Transylvanian Baumstriezel. It is also made on a rotating tube, but the pastry contains yeast and it is covered with caramelized sugar. It is apparently the Hungarian Kürtőskalács.

Meanwhile, the Japanese besieged Qingdao in World War I and thus inadvertently introduced a Baumkuchen maker to Japan.

Baumkuchen is one of the most popular pastries in Japan, where it is called baumukūhen (バウムクーヘン?). It is a popular return present in Japan for wedding guests because of its typical ring shape.[6]

It was first introduced to Japan by the German Karl Joseph Wilhelm Juchheim. Juchheim was in the Chinese city of Tsingtao during World War I when Britain and Japan laid siege to Tsingtao. He and his wife were then interned at Okinawa.[7] Juchheim started making and selling the traditional confection at a German exhibition in Hiroshima in 1919. After the war, he chose to remain in Japan. Continued success allowed him to move to Yokohama and open a bakery, but its destruction in the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake caused him to move his operations to Kobe, where he stayed until the end of World War II. Some years later, his wife returned to help a Japanese company open a chain of bakeries under the Juchheim name that further helped spread baumkuchen’s popularity in Japan.