The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Stuffed Leg Of Lamb cooked in Guinness

St Patricks Day and a stuffed leg with a drop of the Black Stuff

I had been considering doing something for St Pat’s day (Sunday 17 March) so where better to start than with a piece of lamb and a bottle of Guinness. Now getting the lamb in Germany is difficult but is easier than getting the Guinness, I popped into my local Turkish butcher (the best place to get lamb in Germany) and staring me in the face was a nice piece of the top end of the leg, it was just over 1 kg with the bone in, so would do me for two meals.
I then had to traipse the supermarkets and Getränkemarkts (off licences) and was giving up hope of finding a few bottles of Guinness, when I thought about a small one just around the corner from my house, I could have saved myself a lot of heart searching if I had thought of it first.

So it was to be stuffed leg of lamb in an onion and Guinness confit sauce, served with French beans and Champ. Well that is what it should have been, but though I had bought the potatoes I had forgotten the scallions, but I had bought some young leeks so these made a fine substitute.
The quantities can be upped to suit  the number eating, but this would have done two just fine.

1kg of fillet end of a leg (you can get your butcher to debone it, but doing it yourself isn’t difficult)
¼ packet of sage and onion stuffing

250ml marigold vegetable stock
1 large shallot (diced)

3 cloves of garlic (crushed and diced)
3 sprigs of rosemary

6 large leaves of fresh sage
2 large onions

Small handful of freeze dried soup vegetables (or fresh if you have them)
Salt and pepper

Olive oil for frying and sautéing
2 bottles of Guinness

So first debone your piece of lamb, slit along the length of the bone, open it out and work your knife along the bone releasing the flesh, (you could use the bone to make stock, but as I had some I didn’t need too)

Make your sage, rosemary and onion stuffing, I used a packet with additional shallots, sage and rosemary. I made up a cup of vegetable stock, added this to the packet sage in a bowl and left to soak while I chopped the herbs and sautéed the shallot and garlic, added these and allowed to swell.

Open the meat out skin side down on a board and butterfly it, by making small incisions so that the piece of meat is flat, salt and pepper the meat and I put a sprig of rosemary into the centre.  I then filled the centre with the stuffing and rolled, binding together with kitchen twine, pinning another sprig of rosemary under the twine.

Switch the oven on and set to 220°C.
In the mean time I had finely sliced the onions and another couple of garlic cloves, heated a couple of table spoons of Olive oil into my trusty cast Iron casserole (one of the best buys from Aldi ever) and slowly softened the onions allowing them to take on a little colour. 

Removed from the casserole and added some more oil, heated up high and browned the lamb all over, turn the heat down and return the onion and garlic to the casserole. 

Add a bottle of Guinness and the vegetables, lid on and into the oven for 20mins, then turn the oven down to 180°C and forget about it for 1 to 1½ hrs, by this time the lamb will be melting (this is not a rare cooked leg of lamb, that is for another day), the onions and Guinness turned into a fantastic confit, I now removed the meat covered and set aside to rest.

I added 400ml of beef stock, just because I had some, but it could have been any stock or wine or more Guinness. This made a fantastic rich sauce,
I had boiled some potatoes, sautéed some finely sliced young leeks, mashed the potatoes with a good knob of butter and a slug of milk, and added the softened leeks.

I had also steamed some green French beans, so there it was St Patrick’s Day stuffed leg of lamb, oops nearly forgot open up that other bottle and pour yourself a glass of the Black Stuff (wine just doesn’t go with this)

James and the Cook in Kiel restaurant revue

James and the Cook

It had been a busy morning, we had been out taking rubbish to the recycling yard, it all went very well and we got rid of a lot of electronic and other jetsam. Next port of call was to IKEA, to have a look at kitchen cupboards (you can never have enough), I have a top of the range, unused Miele all singing and dancing oven, which I am thinking of building in at eye level so this wanted checking out.

That done and I wanting to watch Saturday Kitchen on BBC, I dropped Linda off to go shopping at the market, we had agreed that fish would be on for evening meal and that Linda would be cooking the Hairy Bikers belly pork  with apples, sage and cider.
The bottom line is that the fish was left on the fish stalls counter and we went out to have dinner instead.

Not far away from us is a small restaurant, that we had often passed but had never visited, as it was a bitter evening and only a short walk to get there.

The restaurant is called James and der Cook, it has a menu based on Namibia and South Africa with a local twist (they use a lot of local produce), the menu is not large (not a bad thing) and does have a very good vegetarian selection (if you’re that way inclined). The wines list is also short but well selected, I would have expected more SA wines but they had only one on offer.

The owners  James Pennell,  the front of house and the cook, Andreas Hansen run a small (25 seat- 7 tables) restaurant, it is well situated at Eckernförder Straße 59 just a stone’s throw from the large Wilhelmsplatz so no problem with finding a parking space.
It has a rather non-descript appearance from the outside, it does have a couple of outside tables, so may be a place to sit and have a bite to eat while watching the traffic zooming up and down. The inside is simply but pleasantly decorated (not a lot of faff).  The kitchen is directly adjacent to the entrance and is open for all to see, this was previously an Indian take away restaurant and the kitchen is in the same place.

We had booked (as advised) and James gave us a choice of tables when we entered, he is an expat but has been around the world a bit before settling in Germany, he met his business partner Andreas and as both had been around the world and had a liking for Namibia, they had turned this into the main theme of their restaurant (though not only as they use a lot of local meat and fish).

We had a little chat with James expats to expats and then he informed us that Andreas was not cooking this evening as he also runs a cookery school and he had a course that evening. James also informed us that a couple of things were not on the menu.

The menu is a nice triangular shape and well sorted, it is not large (in the number of dishes), but covers most things, it even does vegetarian food and a lot of their recipes can be adapted to suit.
We ordered a Spanish wine, this was Cal Y Cantos and very nice as well. I ordered a goats cheese Crème Brûlée as a starter and Linda a curried fish and apple fish soup. My starter was very nice and the sweet crust cracked and added a wonderful  roundness to the dish, alongside was a fried potato cake (not as was on the menu a Rösti) and sautéed mushrooms (button and Shitake) with paprika. It was a very large portion and was very, very tasty.

Linda’s was not so nice, in fact she said it tasted as if they had just  put a spoonful of bought curry powder into the soup, she also said it lacked seasoning.  So mine was good and Linda’s not so good.

I had ordered the wild boar ragout, served with spring vegetables and spätzle for my main and Linda a stuffed chicken on a bed of Ratatouille served with roast potatoes .

Now as many will know I am a huntsman and pride myself in being able to source, hang and cook game and in particular wild boar. Alas this missed the point; it came served in a small cast iron pot (I think to give it a SA campfire feel).

The meat was nice and tender, but that was all that could be said of the dish, I found it lacking in flavour, it could have done with a bit of pepper and salt to season, in fact it was so bland that it could have been anything, but not the strong game flavour of wild boar. Alas the spätzle were not homemade, at the price of the meal I would have expected them to be. The vegetables were done a la dent, crisp and very nice, but I would question the reasoning behind serving them with a winter meal and would have expected something a bit heartier.

Linda said her chicken was very tasty and cooked perfectly, but that the Ratatouille was not at all what she would have expected and said the tomatoes were tinned, such a pity that they are taking short cuts that lowers the status of the meal.

The starter that I ordered was the one saving grace, even though it was my second choice as I would have liked the South African plate as this consisted of Ostrich salami, Ostrich ham and Babootie served with a sweet-potato and pineapple bake, this was a one that was off that evening.

We eat out quite a bit in Kiel (in fact we eat out quite a lot in many places) and feel that we have eaten at some of the very best restaurants in Kiel, but this is not one of them. Both Linda and I agreed that there was a lack of attention to detail and a lack of tasting in the kitchen as why else would they serve such bland food.
May be if the “Cook” part of the team had been in the kitchen it would have been more accomplished, I certainly hope so. I do not think that we have time to visit gain before leaving Kiel, and I must say that I will not be disappointed.
Sorry to publish such a negative revue, but in the on a scale of 1-10 in the Kiel restaurant scene it is pretty low down.

Oxtail Jardinière

A Spring Saturday Morning In Early March

Mary (a friend from the Wildfood board) had been making oxtail soup and this triggered a longing in me, I hadn’t made Oxtail for many a long day and one of my favourites was Jardinière, that hearty peasant stew with loads of vegetables, even though it was spring (according to some), it was still cold in the mornings, in fact we had been having a bit of frost of late.

I had popped into our local slaughter house (Tönnies) as they always have that type of stuff readily at hand (heart, tongue, beef kidney and pigs heads) and bought some fresh vacuum packed, it weighed in at 2.2 kg.

Saturday was a smashing morning, the sun was out and it had raised the temperature a bit so I thought I will make the jardinière and then go out and do a bit of bird spotting at the gravel pit.

You will require (for the Jardinière not the bird spotting, for that you need bino's and a camera)

2 kg (approx) of oxtail

500g of onions

3 large cloves of garlic

2 tbsp of oil

1 handful of freeze dried soup vegetables

4 brown mushrooms

1 Ltr. of beef stock

2 large carrots

1 large piece of celeriac

White of a leek

Bunch of parsley

Grinding of lemon pepper from the mill

The Aromatics

10 pepper corns

3cm piece of cinnamon (broken into small pieces to fit into the tea egg)

A piece of mace

4 juniper berries

2 cardamom pods

1 bouquet garni (consisting of. Sprig of rosemary, thyme, a few sage leaves and a large bay leaf)

100 ml (or there about) of port

So I unpacked, washed and chopped the oxtail into smaller portions,

gave it a good grinding with lemon pepper, I then peeled all of the available onions that I had (some white, some red and also a large shallot that was lying around doing nothing) and 3 large cloves of garlic.

Sliced the onions and crushed and chopped the garlic

Heated the oil in a large frying pan and slowly browned the onions and garlic, removed with a slotted spoon and put in the bottom of the SC.

Next I raised the heat and browned the pieces of oxtail all over, I needed to do this in two lots, during this time I had heated the stock and added the freeze dried veg, allowing to soften a little.

Transferred the oxtail to the SC and deglazed the pan with the stock and the Port, this went into the SC on top of the oxtail etc.

I put the aromatics into a tea egg (you know the type of thing; it is what was used to keep the tea leaves out of the cup before tea bags).

This was pushed down into the liquid, and then came the bouquet garni, also pushed down into the liquid. Lid on switched onto high and went out for a couple of hours doing a bit of bird watching at the gravel pit.


I hadn’t been to the gravel pit since the end of last years breeding season and was surprised and somewhat taken aback, the owners had been in with a bulldozer and chain saw, the bank bushes and saplings had disappeared, these gave cover for first the ducks, geese and other water birds, but also provided nesting areas for all the small song birds that abound in the wet lands.

But I was happy to see that the opposite bank had not been touched (I hope it stays that way) and was full of geese, ducks and cormorants.

The water was alive with moorhens and coots and a pair of great crested grebes had once again settled there (I hope that they breed as they did last year).

I counted 30 coots and these only the ones on the water also a flock of barking Canada Geese had also taken up residence on the far side of the pit, alongside them was a pair of European Cormorants and a single Barnacle Goose.

There is this year as there was last year a pair of pure white ducks (I thought at first I had a pair of snow geese in my sights but alas they turned out to be the same pair of white American Peking ducks as last year. These unlike the Chinese and European Peking ducks do not walk upright

I walked to the other side of the pit, forcing the birds into the water so that I could get a few good photographs of them swimming

and the cormorants in flight and on the water

I then retraced by footsteps back to the car and headed into Gütersloh market to get some root vegetables and lunch of fish and chips (not too bad but the batter was very greasy so I didn’t eat it). I also popped into a Supermarket to get a pack of frozen broad beans (for me a must in Jardinière).

I popped back home, chopped the vegetables, diced the mushrooms, add these along with the beans to the SC and turned down low, then went out to watch the Bundesliga  around at the pub (only drinking water, but I still lost at dice).

I returned to the wonderful smell of oxtail stew, the vegetables by now just cooked, I had a baked potato that I hadn’t eaten from Wednesday, and I removed the skin, diced and adding this to the jardinière. I allowed it to warm through and then poured myself a large plate full, perfect just what the doctor ordered.

A short revue of Ann (an Asian restaurant in Kiel)

Linda had been to a Japanese come Korean restaurant with some of her English speaking friends who meet up for a girlie's night out every so often. They had visited this restaurant previously and had extolled its virtues, she had been been talking about it with a few of our cookery club friends, so some of us decided to give it a lunch time bash.

The restaurant is situated on Holtenauer Straße at number 158, now Holtenauer Straße though wide and full of parking spaces, is not the easiest place to find a free one, but just around the corner is Blücherplatz and here you are sure to find a free space (unless it is market day).

We visited Ann on two separate occasions, once on the pre-planned Saturday lunch time and then a week later popping in on the off chance, on the way to see Les Misérable, at the Metro Cinema just a couple of doors down.

We had reserved a table for the Saturday lunch, so had no problems, though even if we hadn't we would have still got a table, as during the lunch it was never more than half full. The restaurant is quite small and the tables quite near to each other, I do not mind but can see that it would not make for a nice clandestine rendezvous or an intimate Te-ta-Te. I do not mind being close to others, but then I think that sushi bars are by their very nature quite intimate and sitting close and watching what your neighbour picks from the conveyor belt is part of the fun.

Ann does not have a conveyor belt and the Sushi is brought to the table by the very efficient waitress, but you can if you wish sit at the bar and watch while the Sushi chefs mesmerise you with their knife skills and their decorative detail.

On the Saturday lunchtime visit, Linda and I drank Green Tea and Kalle and Carolyn drank beer.  We all decided on a soup starter, Linda and Kalle ordered the Miso vegetable soup

 and both Carolyn and I settled for a Korean beef broth.

My beef broth was full bodied with lots of thinly sliced beef fillet in it, it was full of flavour and very, very tasty. Both Kalle and Linda said that their soup was also full of flavour.

When ordering, we had asked the lovely waitress, if the chef could make us a selection of various sushi, she said this was no problem at all. When it came it was a veritable display of colour, the slate having 2 different sorts of rolls (Maki), salmon and avocado, the rice adorned with fish (Nigiri) consisted of salmon, mackerel, sweet prawn, white fish and an egg omelet. It was of course accompanied by the pickled ginger (gari), wasabi, shredded mouli and carrot and finely sliced cucumber, it was all so nicely decorated that I thought it would be a shame to spoil it, but I soon put that thought out of my head.

It was all fantastically fresh, it showed the skill of a true artisan. We all agreed that it was excellent and said we would visit again (little did Linda and I know it would be within a week.)

A week later we had arranged to meet our friends Marianne and Carolyn to go and see Les Misérable at the Metro cinema, we had been out at our new flat to be, in Lübeck and decided to have a spot of supper before hand. We had tried  to get into Tan Tamar, a very good Thai restaurant just across the road, alas no room at the inn and no chance of squeezing us in so that we could be finished before 19:45 (film start). We therefore crossed the road and popped into see if Ann had any rooms at their inn. All tables either taken or reserved, we explained that we would be finished before 19:30 as we had booked for the cinema (well Marianne had).
On this proviso we got a table, we ordered from the menu this time and just a main course, Linda ordered the Hanoo a fiery assortment of inside out rolls and Nigiri

I plumbed for the Samuri, a selection of toasted Nigiri and inside out rolls adorned with flying fish roe and napped with a teri-yaki sauce.

It was a pity that we were in such a hurry, as I would have loved to have dallied a while longer, watching the Sushi chefs going about their business, the food was once again exquisite.
We will most certainly be visiting here again, before leaving Kiel.