Baking Problems

I love to bake. I don’t think that anything beats a home made cake. I don’t actually have a sweet tooth but something about home made cake is just sublime.

I think that the best recipes for cakes BY FAR are those by Mary Berry. Just nom. None of her recipes have been a failure for me and really I am no pro.

When I moved to Germany I sold or gave away most of my belongings, just came with 2 suitcases, I however made sure that I brought what is I think the best ever baking recipe book,  Mary Berry’s Baking BibleEdit. It really is the ultimate baking guide and in my opinion every home should have one.

Anyway, as the title shows, there has been a slight baking problem. There is no such thing as self raising flour in Germany. Aaaagghhrrrrr. I was confused and thought noooo I can’t use my Mary Bible. Actually I went to the library and borrowed some German baking books. Tried a few recipes, using plain flour and baking powder, but they just didn’t compare to the great master.

I decided that I needed Mary’s cakes in my life and tried to make my own self raising flour. Did it, used it, and it works perfectly with the self raising flour recipes in my favourite book. In fact, its better. More even rising, more succulence, a better texture. I don’t know why. Maybe the flour here is better (doubtful I know), or maybe the fact that the baking powder is freshly mixed in is an advantage. Could be that I have a better oven here. Probably option 2 or 3.

Anyway I just add 2 teaspoons of baking powder for each 150g of flour, and a pinch of salt. I sieve it all into the mixing bowl and make sure its properly mixed together. My mum felt my pain and bought this for me Baking Powder 1kg. Works out cheaper than buying the little sachets and is much better for making the flour fresh. I guess more environmentally friendly too.

For Germany dwellers, you need the type 405 Mehl (flour) and Backpulver mixed together as above, and if you are German your cakes are completely super. Different texture to ours though and you need to try some of our recipes and you should deffo check out our Mary 🙂


How to make Mushy Peas

I have a friend here in Germany. Just one. Actually he is one of the nice German boys from the 1980s. He was my first love. He had great shoes and my friends and I dedicated the song ‘I love your Shoes’ by Furniture to him. He didn’t know that. I found him on Facebook and he just lives around the corner and we are super great friends. He didn’t know that song but I forced him to listen to it and now he knows that he is an Eighties Icon. Really, he had such great shoes.

Anyway it was my turn to cook and I asked what he fancied eating. I’d been telling him about The Macc Lads and their song beer and sex and chips and gravy and he decided that he wanted to try British mushy peas.

I hadn’t eaten mushy peas for two years. They don’t exist here. I hope all my friends feel the pain of this torment.

I like this guy with the great shoes a lot and I proceeded to google for mushy peas recipes. Now, British mushy peas are made with marrowfat peas, which I have discovered are peas which have been left out in the sun too long. Something like that anyway. Brain getting old can’t exactly remember the details.

Of course marrowfat peas don’t exist in Germany. They quite clearly look after their pea fields properly. And I will not lie, I cannot remember which recipe I followed. Well, I didn’t follow one actually because I didn’t have a lemon. And I added mint. So anyway, here’s my recipe for home made made mushy peas…

Boil one kg bag of frozen garden peas in water with a bit of salt and a sprinkling of dried mint, for about five minutes.

Then drain it, then put it back in the pan.

Add a tablespoon of butter and a generous squirt of that lemon stuff that is supposed to be squirted on pancakes. About one teaspoon probably.

Add salt and pepper. Add half a pot of single cream or Schlagsahne for those of you who live in Germany. Add half a cup of water. Cook on low heat for about two minutes, stirring. Then use a hand blender to purée it. Add water if it’s too thick, or more cream. That’s it! Just purée it until it’s correct for you. I left mine quite lumpy.

You can use a vegan butter replacement and vegan cooking cream if you are dairy free by the way.

Now I’m pretty sure that there’s no butter or cream in tinned mushy peas or chippy shop mushy peas, and these peas are not like that. These mushy peas are posh. They were delicious actually. They tasted like Michelin star restaurant peas. Well I’ve never been to a Michelin star restaurant because I’m poor but I’m pretty sure that the mushy peas there would taste like this.

My lovely friend with the lovely shoes really enjoyed them. We ate them with chips and some mushroom pancake thingies mm they are tasty. Like crispy pancakes but with mushrooms inside. Mmm.

If anyone out there has perfected making mushy peas in a chip shop stylie pleeeease let me know but hey I recommend giving this recipe a try. They were great.

Friends Reunited

I feel I should explain how I came to live in Germany.

in the 1980s I had orange hair and wanted to be a Robert Smith cool indie type but ended up looking like Cilla Black somehow. That’s me in the pic. Wearing a stunning jumper I know.  

The best things about the eighties for me were The Smiths, The Cure, Vesta Chow Mein and taking part in the school German exchange trip.

I looked forward to the trip all year long, the ten days abroad without my family was just the most exciting and incredible thing in the world.

My exchange partner and I were such good friends, and of course there were boys around. Nice interesting German boys. 

After leaving school I studied German a level, passed it, and then proceeded to make a catalogue of disastrous life choices. Unfortunately I lost touch with all of my German friends and never visited the country again.

Six (ish) years ago my parents received a letter from an interesting German boy, now of course a man. He was hoping to trace me and hoped that my parents could pass on his letter. Ooooh I said to my Dad, it’s K from the 1980s (his name has a hyphen I can’t be bothered to keep writing it so let’s call him K) I bet he wants to marry me I will say yes if that’s the case.  My dad laughed.

Well K just happened to contact me when I was a twice divorced single parent to a young baby. I called him, we emailed, he visited me. that was weird. Sometimes I found him attractive, sometimes I thought he looked just like Jeffrey from Rainbow. I thought oh no of all people to resemble it’s flippin Jeffrey from Rainbow…

Anyway, he annoyed me. He had split up with his wife and he couldn’t stop talking about her. Yawn yawn. It got right on my nerves. Still, I enjoyed the company and after he left I was a bit lonely again. Anyway, it fizzled out. He knew that I was somehow finding his topic of ex wife and children rather tiresome and our contact stopped. There were a couple of emails, he was having random girlfriends and I was still a single mum. No time for men. I was trying to survive financially and was just really busy and enjoying being a mum.

I need to add that he said during his visit that he would love to marry me. I remembered this and about four years after his visit I decided that I did indeed need to marry him. I emailed him to see if he was single and divorced or not, he replied and said yes to both, and invited me to visit, which I did, then I asked him if I could come and live with him as we were both single and seemed to quite like each other and he said yes let’s get married though as you need medical insurance and it will be free of charge if you marry me. 

Because I like to make crazy life decisions, that’s exactly what happened, very quickly actually, purely because he was a nice German boy from the eighties, and I have never really left the eighties and hey you only live once right, and the paprika crisps really do taste good….

German Food nom nom nom

Ok I like food. Who doesn’t eh? The first question from my best friend when I came on the German holiday was what’s the food like? Delicious, I said. Yes but what is it she asked.

As I described the food to her, she started to make puking gestures and announced that if I do indeed go to live in Germany she will never ever visit me.

Key details of what created a puking face as follows….

Minced meat purchased at the supermarket is generally mixed pork and beef together. This just doesn’t happen in the U.K. We don’t mix our dead animals. I’m vegetarian by the way. The Bible of Morrissey taught me that Meat is Murder.

Fish counters sell stuff like cold herrings in dill mayonnaise. 🤢

Cold, sour cabbage is a traditional delicacy. This one finished her off completely.

Also noteworthy…

There’s no gravy 😫

Mushy peas do not exist 😑

No fish and chips, kebabs just aren’t the same, no Sunday dinners, well no gravy dinners of any sort, loads of pork ugh, no proper tea and indeed no self raising flour.

Anyway, the food here is delicious and I have to say that I don’t miss the British stuff at all. The only thing I miss is a proper Indian curry. There’s one Indian restaurant in this town and it’s ridiculously expensive and I just know that it won’t be a proper British Indian curry so I haven’t been.

The Germans like to BBQ. Grillen they call it. It’s a tad difficult for me to write about this as of course the thing that is grilled is sausages and of course German sausages are the best in the world and of course I’m vegetarian. We BBQ veggies and mmm it’s tasty.

Germans eat a lot of potato salad. It’s very tasty. The mayonnaise is thick and creamy and one can purchase a giant pot of it for around one euro. 

German bread is yummy. The choice is massive and there are bakeries everywhere and it’s so easy to pop and buy fresh bread for breakfast. Lovely.

Thee are lots of Turkish supermarkets. There’s a massive Turkish population here and I love to go to these supermarkets. One can purchase big bundles of fresh herbs such as coriander and dill, very cheaply, wonderful ripe and juicy tomatoes, ingredients such as tahini and wraps for making yummy home made falafel based meals.

Crisps are mostly paprika pepper flavour mm yummy.  There is great beer mm yummy. Chips covered in mayonnaise mm yummy.

The food is great. 

I’m hungry now nom nom.

Holiday to Germany 🇩🇪

Two years and a bit years ago I decided to visit Osnabrück in Germany. I had a sort of friend there. Ok, a man friend, and I guess more than a friend, and I decided to go visit him. More about him later…

As a teenager I used to take part in the U.K./Germany exchange programme which was organized by my school. I was pretty good at French and German and my parents were great and supported me by allowing me to visit to France and Germany. I would stay with a family there and in return the host child would come and stay at our house.

France, well, yes that was interesting. Germany, well that was my life really.  I loved it. I had the most amazing exchange partner and her mother fed me endless yummy food. We went on trips to amazing places, a group of young people away from their parents and having so much fun and freedom in this beautiful country.

I feel I must cut a long story short. I went on the holiday to the town of teenage happiness, and now I live here.

This blog will be a story of love, sausages, and reliving the 1980s. Thanks so much for reading it you are great.