Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas preps and post from Australia!

Hello all!

My, it has been a long time since I wrote a blog post! December arrived with it's usual chaos and winter brought me a nice cold which send me to bed for several days. Yuck. Fortunatly I am back on my feet for christmas!

It was my birthday last week and I was a very lucky girl indeed! Lots of cards, phone calls and presents. I felt very loved! The boyfriend got me a waffle iron for belgian waffles - I wanted to have one for a long time and it is brilliant! I tried it out when my family came to visit last saturday and yumyumyum! I was ordered to bring it to my parents place for the christmas celebrations... :P

I also got a parcel from Mich and Janelle. Look at the pictures and see for yourself! Aren't I am lucky?!

I am on holidays since last friday and it's brilliant! To tell the truth, it is the first holidays I ever had  where I have nothing to do! When I was still at uni there was always something to do and later, as a teacher, there was always some exam to correct. This year... blissful nothingness! Of course that doesn't been I feel bored... Lots of crochet to do after all! There was a plan (mine I confess) to make tons of crochet presents for christmas. I managed some but not all. The others will become birthday presents in 2014 I reckon. Also, I ran out of stuffing and couldn't get any new one this morning. Sold out! Can you imagine it?! Sometimes it's hard to believe how popular crochet has become here in Germany. When I returned from Sydney and spent my time crocheting, a lot of people looked at me as if I was crazy. One guy even told me the following "Is that the picture of a woman you want to give yourself?!". Can you believe it?! I still can't. As you know I continued crochting and now - all of it sudden - it is very trendy! Weird world...

I spent most of yesterday making and writing christmas cards:

They went to the post office this morning and shall arrive tomorrow. If I am lucky that is. The post office was PACKED with people! I had to wait for over an hour to get to the counter. There are four counters and only two where open. Ouch. Shouldn't they have more staff during christmas time?! When I left the office, the cue was up to the street outside! Oh a warning for all the Germans out there: Don't use coloured envelopes! I had to pay extra "because they are more complicated". Oh well... I hope people will like them at least!

The boyfriend and I will celebrate christmas eve here in Dortmund and then go and see the families in Leer and Weyhe on the first and second day of christmas. The christmas tree is already lying on the balcony waiting to be put up later today. My parents got it from a christmas tree field for us and I looking forward to decorate it!

We will have duck for dinner and creme brulee afterwards. We got the duck earlier this month on a farmers marked and froze it. Less stress this way! The boyfriend started to prepare it yesterday. It now rests in a yummy marinade in the fridge:


Can't wait for christmas dinner!
It's crazily warm here in Germany. The forcast predicts 15 ° C tomorrow. That and rain. Yuck! I wish for a proper white christmas! But I reckon this weather is better for driving to the north on the first / second day of christmas. Today it's warm, sunny and stormy. A bit though to get into christmas mood but I shall manage!
I will try to post a picture of the tree tomorrow!
Have yourself a very merry christmas!!
Take care,

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


As you probably know, I am very interested in food and cooking, and in the last few years we have expanded our cooking into meat preservation such as Gravadlax and our amazing bacon experiments (which we will hopefully be repeating over summer!).

The latest challenge was for my very favourite swiss cured meat, bündnerfleisch.  Unfortunately, bündnerfleisch requires pressing, which we are not equipped to do, so I had to find an achievable but similar recipe.  The answer? Bresaola! Both are beef, cured in wine and then dried over a long period to get just the right taste and texture.  I managed to find a recipe from the Gourmet Farmer (click here for the link) and so we set off!

The recipe starts off with 4 kilograms of beautiful topside beef...

...and an amazing array of ingredients for the cure:

The cure ingredients are all chopped and crushed and mixed in a bucket until they look something like this:

And then we added nearly 4 litres of red wine (!!) and left it in the fridge to cure for 8 days:

After the 8 days, the meat had totally changed.  It was much harder, much darker and the smell was just fantastic.

We scraped off the errant juniper berries and peppercorns and rolled it up in cheesecloth, tied the ends and hung it up over a tray in the fridge in the garage at my parents' house. We decided at this point that if it came out well, we might think about investing in a wine cooler fridge to make more preserved meats!

The suspended meat bundles stayed in the fridge for 4 whole weeks.  My brother said it smelled very strong for the first few days, but then the smell disappeared.  At no time did it smell bad, or off, or rotting - I was very glad of this!

Then, the big day - the unravelling and tasting! It was incredible how the texture and colour of the meat had changed again.  It was really hard and really dark, but there was no mold on it! I think my cheesecloths might take a bit of time to recover though...

We then washed the meat pieces, brushed them with vinegar to kill off any nasties, and rubbed them with olive oil to start softening up the outside crust.

And then, my absolute favourite part - the TASTING. We used our deli slicer to peel wafer thin slices off the chunk of beef.

And it was great. At least as good as my memories of bündnerfleisch in Switzerland and Germany. To be perfectly honest, I am trying not to drool just thinking about it...

We've wrapped the pieces in an airlock bag and stored them in the fridge. I hope there is some left for Christmas to take to the lake and share with lots of friends!