The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Lamb curry made with Great Aunt Aline's curry powder recipe

There had been a bit of a discussion about a curry powder recipe on the web site, one of our members Mary had a Great Aunt who was out in India in the days of the Raj. She had brought a recipe back with her when they returned home to the Channel Isles.
Mary had faithfully copied the recipe and I have done a bit of conversion, but kept the proportions about right.

 As  1oz =28.35g so I used 30g

Coriander seed 3oz =90g
Turmeric 3oz =90g
Black peppercorns 1oz=30g
White mustard seed 1oz=30g
Best Jamaica ginger 1oz=30g
Allspice 1/2oz=15g
Jessen Cardomoms 1/2oz (note 1) =15g
Cummin seed 1/4oz =7.5g
Fenngreck seed 1/4oz (note 2)=7.5g
Cayenne pepper 1/4oz=7.5g

Be sure all ingredients are fresh and of the best quality. Finely powder the whole, mix and sift. Keep closely corked and dry. This mixture will make a dozen curries. This suscitating oriental stimulant was brought to Great Britain (in my Great Aunts case, Guernsey and Wiltshire) from India and was passed among those of us families whose delight was gastronomy.

(1) Elettana Ceramomum the seeds of a plant native to the East Indies. Also called Grains of Paradise. Useful in confectionary and curries

(2) Fenngreck - Trigonella Faenum Graecum. A leguminous plant.

(1) There has been a lot of discussion about Jessen Cardomom, so in the end I followed my intuition and used brown (black) cardamom pods as I had used these with success for a Mamta curry recipe in the past.

(2) These are Methi seeds, if buying in an Indian or Asian store.

I have done some conversion and then reduced the quantities to suit the curry that I was making (I used an online programme for the weight to teaspoon conversion factor) and 10% of the original quantity, I mean I didn’t want 330g of curry powder, I already have a jar full of homemade Garam Masala to Mamtas recipe.
For those that it is of interest, this is the conversion tool I used, it is American so will be of use when doing cups to metric etc.

I rounded up and down as I decided that the exact quantities would never have been adhered to in the good old Raj and as this curry powder seems to be for a whole platoon plus the cooks, Punka Wallas and Lady folks as well, a few grains here or there will not make a dammed bit of difference.

 My conversion table for the lamb curry.
spice grammes tsp conversion 10% grammes I used tsp
Coriander 90,00 42,86 4,286 9 4
Tumeric 90,00 35,00 3,5 9 3,5
Black pepper corns 30,00 15,79 1,579 3 1,75
White mustard seeds 30,00 9,10 0,91 3 1
Ginger root (dried) 30,00 16,67 1,667 3 1,75
All spice (piment) 15,00 7,90 0,79 1,5 0,75
Jessen cardomom (I used the brown cardomom) 15,00 6,00 0,6 1,5 0.5
Cumin seeds 7,50 3,50 0,35 0,75 0,5
Fengrek seeds (methi seeds) 7,50 3,50 0,35 0,75 0,5
Cayanne Pepper 7,50 1,42 0,142 0,75 0,5
  322,50     32,25  

I used ready ground Turmeric and Cayenne pepper, the rest were seeds, berries and the dry ginger was rough chopped (it didn’t say on the packet its place of origin).  I put the whole seeds, berries and ginger into a pestle and mortar and crushed quite fine.

I then ground it in an old coffee mill that I keep especially for this purpose. (The coffee tastes a little strange if ground in it).

The remainder of the ingredients for the Lamb Curry:

1kg of lamb, I used chops and ribs as it is always cheap from my Turkish butcheress
2 largish onions sliced into rings
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
2,5 cm/sq piece of ginger (grated)
3 Kafir lime leaves chopped (I buy mine frozen, so always have some at hand)
2 sprigs of Rosemary (not really Indian, but I like it with my lamb)
Zest from 1 bio-lemon
5 carrots sliced
5 potatoes diced
½ red capsicum diced (that was all I had left)
1 yellow capsicum diced
10 mushrooms cut into quarters

small handful of fresh coriander leaves and stalks

2 desert spoons of oil for frying
1 tin of diced tomatoes
some chopped gari (japanese sweet ginger, that I had left over)
150ml of full fat yoghurt (Greek)

Fry the onions over a low heat until soft and just colouring, add the ginger and garlic and allow to soften without burning, add the curry powder and mix into the onion mixture.

Put the lamb into a bowl, salt and pepper and add the Rosemary leaves, add the onion mixture to the lamb and mix so that the pieces are covered.

Transfer to the base of the Slow Cooker.

Then add all of the other ingredients, pour in 400ml of stock, I only had beef, but veal, chicken, vegetable or best lamb will do. Give it a stir

Turn onto high, set the timer (I originally set it for 5 hours, but mine goes to a warm hold function and was in a good 8 hours), no setting on, no burning.

Serve with plain basmati steamed rice (I have one of those clever little rice steamers that takes all of the guess work out of cooking rice) not that I ever had any problems using the absorption method, but as I have it I may as well use it.

The curry was very tasty, very tasty indeed; it wasn’t at all hot, which was to be expected due to the small quantity of chilli (cayenne) powder. But though this will not be for the Friday night blow your head off after 10 pints of Lager crowd, it is a true curry, it is aromatic, tasty and will go down well with those that are not of the Vindaloo or Madras brigade. If making it for myself or others that I know, I would double the Cayenne or even put a few fresh chillies into the main curry with the rest of the vegetables.

But it got a top ten from me and as I have frozen a couple of large portions for next weekend, I shall also get a second opinion.

Thank you Great Aunt Aline

Three bacons, sausage and egg plate pie

Bacon, sausage and egg plate pie
I used three different bacons for this and small Nürnberger bratwurst

The pastry was the same as the corned beef plate pie but with a bit more herbs in it.

Shortcrust pastry made with 225g of flour, 50g butter, 50g lard, 30g cold water, pinch of salt and a tsp. of mixed herbs.
6 Nürnberger bratwurst
100g of cooked smoked belly pork (sliced very thin)
100g of thin sliced bacon
20g of cured smoked speck small dice
5 eggs

Fry your bacon and speck in a frying pan, but not crispy.

Set aside to cool and then fry the sausages, allow to cool and slice in half long ways.

Roll out half of the pastry, and line the base of a greased pie plate.  Place the slices of belly on the base,

then the bacon and speck, then arrange the sausage halves on top.

Beat 4 eggs together with a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour this over the filling (leave a little to egg wash the top). Break the remaining egg into the middle, leaving whole. Roll the remaining pastry out and carefully (dont break that egg) place on top, crimp the edges with a fork and dress around with the back of a knife, brush the top with the remaining egg. Place in a pre-heated oven at 190°C and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Roast Mediterranean Vegetables with speck, feta and anchovies

Sometimes the very simple meals are the best and especially when the weather is warm and you can’t be fussed with cooking (BBQin’ being the exception). Here is a one that once prepared, you pop it in the oven and only visit it twice.
My take on Mediterranean roast vegetables with feta cheese.

1 large courgette
2 red peppers
1 large onion
6-7 cloves of garlic
2 plum tomatoes (it can be any, but these I had at hand)
Handful of small diced feta with herbs (I bought mine already diced)
6 Anchovy filets
50g Bauchspeck (or smoked streaky bacon)
Handful of cepes (I always have a packet of the frozen ones from Lidl or Aldi in the freezer)
6 new potatoes, halved or large ones quartered
1 heaped Tablespoon of Herds de Provence
1 Tsp. of oregano
Enough olive oil to coat all of the vegetables (and a bit more for later)
Course Sea salt (I have some from the French Atlantic coast with herbs in it.
1 sprig of fresh Rosemary
2 sprigs of fresh Basil (I have the small leafed sort on my balcony)
Plenty of ground pepper
A grinding of dried chillies

Wash your veg.

Slice your courgettes lengthways, slice off the tops of the red peppers and remove the cores, cut into ¼s, roughly slice the onion, leave the skins on the garlic cloves (you can press the soft pulp out if you are lucky enough to get one of these little gems on your plate.
Put the speck, and cepes into the bottom of a deep roasting tin, then the tomatoes and red peppers, sliced courgettes, onions and garlic into the roasting tin(It matters not in which order you add the vegetables), sprinkle (pour) the dried herbs over the top, add the salt and pepper, grind the chillies (how much depends on your and/or your guests taste, pour in the olive oil and now mix so that everything is coated in herbs and spices (now you see why it doesn’t matter).

Cover with aluminium foil and put into the oven at 180°, make sure you have put your bottle of Aldi pink in the fridge for later.
Peel the spuds and put into salted water, bring to the boil, cook until just tender.

Open up a cold beer and go and sit on the balcony and read a book or listen to a bit of cricket or if not too hot go for a bike ride (1hr max).
After a good hour, have a look, the veg should be tender, remove the foil, watch the pinkies the roasting tin is bloody hot (I will show you the scares some time) add the potatoes and anchovies, sprinkle with the fresh herbs, olive oil and salt.

Put back into the oven at 230°C on the top rung and cook uncovered until the potatoes brown and the skins of the red peppers blister and go black.  Add the feta cheese and pop it back in for about 5 minutes.

Remove to a heat proof base

and spoon onto the plate, don’t forget the juices, the olive oil and veg juices have mingled with the feta and anchovies, it really is that easy and that fantastic, I had a nice stick of Mediterranean bread with olives and sundried tomatoes , you will require this to mop up the juices, before spooning out another plate full.

You could make this entirely vegetarian, by missing out the anchovies, feta and speck, but then you would be missing out on a wonderful eating experience. You can add any veg you wish, aubergines or those small long sweet pepperoni's, any thing you wish I think chunks of pumpkin would also go well!

I have enough left over for lunch tomorrow cold with bread and for an accompaniment to some grilled sardine’s tomorrow night.

Lübeck Sunday and the battle of the Burgertor

Lübecker weekend

It was a nice morning so up early, packed and breakfast finished, out of the hotel by 08:45. We found a nice parking space right beside the Holsten Tor, there wasn’t many tourists about, with the exception of some Swedes being shepherded by a tour guide. Took the obligatory pics of the Holsten Tor (it has got a serious lean on it).

 Then passing the old salt warehouses (salzspeicher), some under renovation.

These were where the salt was stored, that had been brought by barge from Lüneburg.  Prior to the completion of the Streknitz canal in 1398, the salt was carried on the backs of mules or loaded into oxen carts along the old salt road. The salt was required in the capital of the Hansiatic confederation, Lübeck, for the salting of the Baltic herring or for distribution to the other Hansiatic cities. Salt was a very expensive commodity all over the world in the Middle Ages as it was the main conservation agent for fish and meat.
The brickwork Salzspeicher  that are on the site today where built between the 16th  and 18th Centuries replacing earlier buildings, most probably made out of wood,  that had stored salt and Herrings in previous centuries.

We then went along Holstein strasse turning into Schüsselbuden , one can only imagine that this was the place one went when in need of new bowls and the like, as schüssel literally means bowl.We arrived back at the opposite side of the Church of St Mary where we had finished last night. We had been hoping to have a good look around inside, but Sunday Mass was in full swing and touristy visitors where kindly requested to come back after 12:00.

Adjacent to the Church is the old Workhouse, this is a magnificent building, if having a feeling of  ill-boding about it. (bit of Oliver Twist about it)

We next headed through the church yard via the vaulted passage

and onto Breite Strasse, turning left, passing the Church of St. Jacob (Jakobi) the patron saint of seafarers (Jacobs ladder, the flexible rope ladder used to gain access to a ship while at sea is named after this chap).

Turning  right we hit the Heiligen-Geist (Holy Ghost or Spirit) Hospital (also a church of course), this was once a Hospice for the poor and needy and even today the left hand part is a Hospice for the old in the form of an old peoples home.

We then headed straight down the Groß Burgerstr. to the other main gate into the city the Burgertor, a really magnificent piece of brickwork architecture , just before you reach the gate proper is the sozialamt (social services department), showing with a little thought that even todays  local needs can fit into the buildings of the past.

The gateway was used to get the wares and goods into the city and as this had to be taxed (something’s never change), there is of course a Zollhaus (revenue house) to collect the duties to be paid on the goods.

The Battle of Lübeck 1806

It was in front of this gate (and all of the other ones as well) that the great Prussian General, Blücher confronted Bonaparte on the 06 November 1806, he had arrived in this precarious position because he and his army where retreating from the combined French armies, they had chased him and the remnants of the Prussian army after the battles of Jena and Auerstedt. He had headed to Lübeck via Brandenburg in the hope of obtaining ships (by fair means or foul) for passage either to Prussia or England (it not mattering one jot that the Hansa cities were neutral, some things change little in war). But alas the fleeing Swedes, who had been stationed in that area as a buffer, they belonged to the Hanoverian kings army and thus an Ally of the English. (It was thought they would stand and fight alongside the Prussians, wrong they turned tail and fled) had reached Lübeck first and commandeered all available ships, they had even went to Travemunde and also got every sail in sight, so when Blücher arrived they were already homeward bound.
Enough to say the 21,000 Prussians got a wuppin’ and fled in the direction of Bad Schwartau, Blücher, his troops by this time down to 8000 men, tired, no food or ammunition, seeing the pointlessness of his position and the uselessness of further killing, sued for peace and signed the document of capitulation on the 07 November in a small town called Ratekau . He lived to fight another day and was to come to the aid of Wellington, in his time of need 9 years later at the battle of Waterloo 18 June 1815.

Sorry for getting carried away, but I do like a bit of military history, so where was I, ah yes the Burgertor and the last remaining parts of Lübecks walls, now repaired and looking grand. We retraced our footsteps and ended up at the Schiffergesellschaft  were we had eaten that smashing meal prior to Turandot. It was alas not quite 11:00 so it wasn’t quite open, we crossed the street and had a coffee in a Bavarian place (I ask you, and that in Schleswig-Holstein).

We wandered down the side streets and arrived at Beckergrube (bakers ditch) and the last remaining old bakers shop in Lübeck.

Turning along the Untertrave (the quayside) we popped into the Niederegger opponants the Marzipan Warehouse, here is a display of sweetness to turn every diabetic into a deadly shade of pale.

We also passed the Irish Pub, well they say there is a one in every town in Germany! They do tend to get everywere, don't they? hee, hee!

We returned to Holsten Tor and the car, by now all parking spaces full and the tourists like ants around a sugar lump, I had wanted to go across the border (Fictitious now) and along the invisible border, that replaced the not so invisible one about 20 years ago. We went through the once border town (part of Lübeck) of Schlutup into Mecklenburg Vorpommern, this would have been a no go area and full with Border guards, mines and fences, now it is a place of serene tranquillity a nature reserve,We reached Dassow a sleepy little town that is just awaking from its forced exclusion from the outside world. Turned North along the Dessower lake and then onto Priwal an isthmus that was once a thorn in the eye of the old DDR, it being on their side of the Trave. This is and was the home of the Merchant Navy marine training school and also the place that is home to the Passat, besides a museum to German partition the only thing of note is an very large old peoples home and the ferry back across the Trave.
We took the ferry and luckily found a parking space right on the quayside, we decided to walk along to the fishing boats selling their catches, I bought a couple of still flapping plaice, that was until the old fisherman with an expert cut and twist decapitated them (I don't think Linda enjoyed that part of eating fish.

My old Scouse mucker who has just recently returned to the UK after 25 years of luckcherry, took his money and ran. He is looking for a job and also a boat, I think I have found just the one for him, bit flash for a scousers cruiser, but he can afford it!

A Scousers dream come true

We walked a bit further and then decide on, guess what? Fish for lunch!

Linda had Rotbarsch (catch of the day) and I had three fried fresh herring both served with bratkartofflen . While eating, we had an old seadog serenade us with sea shanties on the accordion, was a fitting end to a nice weekend by the sea.

Well not quite the traffic back to NRW was horrendous and what should have been a 3 hour trip turned into a six hour one, but hell you can’t have everything, alas!  

Oh! yes the plaice, I had been thinking all day yesterday how I was going to cook them, Finkenwerder (speck and onions), with brown shrimps or with fried potatoes, in the end I just seasoned them in flour, salt pepper and celery salt, fried in a mixture of butter and olive oil, sometimes the simple things are the best.

 A couple of very tasty plaice