Well. What a week that was, filled with long walks in the sunshine and some proper treats in terms of food – the former, thankfully, going some way to balance out the latter. The Easter weekend we celebrated with friends visiting from London and Berlin, which obviously required a proper cake-fest, and one that I was able to partake in enthusiastically thanks to a bag of gluten-free flour (Pamela’s, miraculous stuff – I wish I could find a dealer outside the US) that I discovered in back of my wildly disorganised baking cupboard. Sunday was mostly spent gnawing on the best spare ribs in town at Das Treibhaus – always a pleasant way to spend an afternoon; and after a long walk on Easter Monday, my husband and I stopped at Café Eden by the Nerotal Park in Wiesbaden for lunch. I demolished a substantial and very more-ish plate of goat’s cheese, fig and dry-cured ham (pictured above) and a lip-smackingly sweet Rhabarberschorle (rhubarb spritzer – if you’ve not tried one, you’re missing out!). It’s truly lovely sitting at the end of the park there in the Spring sunshine; the food’s a little on the expensive side but it’s far and away the best salad I’ve had here so I’d say it’s worth the extra pennies if you fancy a lunchtime treat.
I came away with a good haul at the Wiesbaden Farmer’s Market on Wednesday and staggered home under the weight of, amongst other things, our first white asparagus of the season, some wonderful, waxy new potatoes and the most enormous and flavoursome pork chops I’ve ever had the fortune to purchase. We’ve been eating rather well at home the last couple of weeks, now I’ve (a) worked out how to get a decent dinner on the table when there’s a 6 month old baby to bath and put to bed, and (b) discovered Diana Henry, a Northern Irish food writer whose love of food and approach to cooking is an almost exact reflection of my own. If you’ve not heard of her and wouldn’t mind a plate of good food on a weeknight but don’t have much to make it then I’d highly recommend checking out the recipes on her website. (She also writes a column for The Telegraph.)
Yesterday I joined a small band of fellow blogging folk in Heidelberg for a hike up to the 500-year-old castle (home to the world’s largest wine barrel) and a generally very pleasant wander around town in the sunshine. We enjoyed lunch in the centre of the Altstadt at Heidelberg’s oldest café, Knösel, where I ate some rather expensive but very tasty white asparagus (with ham, potatoes and the lightest of Hollandaises – almost frothily so; pictured above, ca. 17,00€) whilst everyone else devoured sizeable, wafer-thin Flammkuchen, salmon steaks with spinach, and Pfannkuchen stuffed with asparagus and shrimps. I had to leave the group early due to the 10kg of baby I had strapped to my front (which is presumably why I feel today like I’ve taken part in a marathon wearing a lead suit) and therefore missed out on a visit to the Student Prison and the sampling of frozen yoghurt, but it was a great day spent in a beautiful, vibrant town with some lovely folk.
If you’d like to have read about the experiences of the other expats that I met yesterday, then have a browse of the links below. My new British and American internet friends live in Mannheim, Frankfurt and further afield, write about education, travel, indie rock and everything in between, and their blogs are all well worth a read.
Indie Rock Kid, a music-loving Mancunian in Mannheim
Sherbert and Sparkles, a British Japanese video games translator in Frankfurt
Steven Glassman, a Floridian in Regensburg who writes about music and travel
Mrs Ralf, who shares her reflections on living and teaching in Germany
Beer Time with Wagner, an American political science student in Heidelberg
Confuzzledom, an English translator in Karlsruhe.
Food News and Recipes from Germany…
★ German Substitutes for US Baking Ingredients
★ New Burgers in Frankfurt’s Bahnhofviertel at Der Fette Bulle
★ A Community-supported Brewery in Berlin – and Berlin’s Growing Beer Scene
★ German Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble Cake Recipe (in German)
…and further afield:
★ Argentinian waiters compete in their annual 3.2km race – carrying a full tray of drinks
★ Low in Calories, High in Wool: Knitted Comfort Food (via Swiss Miss)
★ Tofu Varieties: What’s the Difference?
★ Top Chefs Reveal Their Biggest Mistakes.
Hope you’ve all enjoyed the Spring sunshine this week, and here’s to Spargelzeit!