Revenge of the Mettigel


Our workmate Elke celebrated her birthday last week. As a treat for all the omnivores at the office, she created an iconic 70s German party centrepiece - the 'mettigel', a hedehog made of raw minced pork.

The mettigel is something of an urban legend, and most of my workmates claimed never to have seen one "in the flesh". But here it was, in front of our eyes, all pink and glistening and terrifying.

If I had ever encountered one of these as a kid, I'm sure I would have had recurring nightmares. It's easy to imagine that thing creeping up the stairs and chasing children from their beds, leaving a slimy trail on the banister, shedding pretzel sticks in the thick shag carpet.

If you have the stomach for it, the TV skit below shows unemployed Herbert serving a mettigel as appetiser, main course and dessert to Uta the vegetarian and Klaus the architect.
"If she has a weak stomach, she should have said so. Then I would have used the fresh eggs."

Mettigel - MyVideo


Following in the footsteps of Posh Nosh....Colin was raised nearby

Sad Food Songs of the Day

In honour of Broadcast's incandescent Trish Keenan, here are two almost-food-related songs: Lunch Hour Pops (above) and Before We Begin (below), in which she advises throwing salt over your shoulder.
RIP Trish.

The Tyranny of Christmas

photo 3


My Photo_3


Courtesy of Hock at Xmas NZ '10 after one very worthwhile trip to Portland, Oregon and Podnah's Pit...Thanks Andy for helping to make our Xmas even yummier
work of art

Potato salad to Germans is a blank canvas to project their identity on. There are regional varieties, but every household has their own favourite recipe, and home-made potato salad is as a rule more delicious than the stuff you'll find at restaurants here.

The potatoes are almost always cut into slices - not the parboiled chunks that seem to characterise potato salad in english-speaking countries.
Some regions of Germany favour the use of mayonnaise. Similar to Japanese potato salad, or the Spanish 'ensaladilla rusa', it's more of a mélange, so it's often hard to tell where the potato ends and the mayo begins. I prefer the vinegar-based recipes, which really show off the savory waxy yellow German potato.

Though naming this stuff 'salad' is a bit misleading ('cold starch dish' might be more honest), potato salad can be a refreshing counterpart to meat or cheese dishes. Our workmate Wulf does an excellent vinegary potato salad with cucumber slices, to accompany his Käsespätzle, baked cheese noodles. The salad and the noodles are both specialties of the Swabia region.

But my favourite potato salad might just be our friend Andreas' spin on a potato salad recipe from Baden-Württemberg (pictured). He made it for a party at an art curator's office on New Year's eve in Berlin, and it was a great way to start the year, after viewing chaotic fireworks from a rooftop above a McDonalds on Alexanderplatz.

Little fat-free bacon specks add a toasty flavour to the mellow acidity of the vinegar-dressed potatoes, dill adds its herbal punch, and Andreas' addition of gherkin adds a little extra crunch & acidity. It really is a work of art.

like it says

(Adapt this recipe according to taste...e.g. vary the herbs, the vinegar, leave out the bacon or the gherkin, etc).

1 kg waxy potatoes
6 tbsp wine vinegar
1/8 litre of hot beef broth (from a stock cube)
1 red onion
125g finely chopped bacon without the rind/fat
Salt & Pepper
Pinch sugar
1/2 bunch of parsley dill & chives (Andreas just used dill)
A few gherkins.

Scrub potatoes and add to covered pot of boiling water. cook 30 min. Drain, rinse under cold water and peel off the skins. Cut into slices while still warm, add to a bowl and put the bowl in a warm water bath. Mix with the vinegar and stock/broth.
Finely dice the onion and add to the bowl.
Finely dice the bacon, heat the oil in a pan and sauté the bacon until golden. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Pour this over the potatoes and mix carefully.
Let the salad bowl sit in a hot water bath for 20 minutes. (Andreas skipped this step)

Wash your herbs, dry them and finely chop along with the pickled gherkins. Add to the salad and serve.

Serve with smoke machine, flashing lights, gin, Britney Spears 'Toxic' and Prince 'U got the look' (optional).


Ichi Roku Taruto

Inspired by kinakoJam's entry, a little googling of 一六タルト (Ichi[1] Roku[6] Taruto) has brought me some wonders...

Apparently, it has become one of the "yuru chara" ('loose' mascot character) of Ehime prefecture in Shikoku region.

Like castella, it it supposedly inspired by the Portuguese upon their arrival to Nagasaki port in the 17th century.

The name taruto comes from torta/tarte, and it has been localized by adding red bean jam with a hint of yuzu, famous citrus from Shikoku.

It goes out on the street...

And it even goes to take HIV exam with other yuru chara's.

Amazing Japan.

Itami Juzo used to appear on the TV commercial series - he went to high school in Matsuyama, where this cake is famous.

Kakizome & 一六タルト


I enjoy learning kanji, in a masochistic kind of way, but lately I am starting to wonder if I'll ever graduate from, say, reading the ingredients on the back of instant egg soup packets. There are just so many kanji to learn, and so few spare hours in the day. No surprise, then, that I botched my New Year's calligraphy attempt at Mamecha café in Berlin last week.
Maybe it's just a challenge that I'm not meant to overcome in this lifetime.

I feel similarly about sponge cake.
Particularly castella, the very soft yet densely-crumbed Japanese sponge derived from a Spanish or Portuguese recipe in Nagasaki quite a few centuries ago. There are many recipes I'm willing to attack in the name of creative reconstruction, but castella is not one of them. There just wouldn't be any point in creating a cake that was anything less than pristine and box-fresh.

I've been doing Japanese night classes lately, and tonight our teacher served up pieces of an Ichi Roku Taruto cake that she'd bought when visiting her parents over new years. The rolled sponge was like a next level castella.
Flavoured with yuzu citrus and rolled with azuki bean paste, its unearthly uniform perfection was like a fleeting dream: the essence of everything beautiful that we will never quite find the time for.

yummy Japan

I can't help getting sucked into Muji on my few but every visit to Tokyo.

And can't stop worshiping bouncy udon with the just-right garnish and dipping sauce.

It's a texture-pleasure.

I am not sure why sanuki-style udon is not winning the world recognition, yet, like sushi. I gobbled sushi too but didn't dare taking pictures when I was sat at the counter facing the serious sushi man. If I had blond hair, maybe I would have felt foreign enough to do so...

Take away lessons include:

1. Don't forget the herring.
2. Bass drum = partytime.

Digestive Songs of the Day

Afternoon tea: The Kinks from Brian Jones on Vimeo.

"Sore was I from the crack of an enemy's hose,
And the horrible sound of tomato

Soup and puree
Don't get left behind ...

So I stood with a knot in my stomach,
And I gazed at that terrible sight
Of two youngsters concealed in a barrel,
Sucking monkberry moon delight"

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