Customs in April

We are a multinational team … and we love it! Contact with other cultures is something we experience all the time! Easter is a perfect example of customs and traditions, and we’d like to tell you about some of those. Enjoy.

Easter

Have you ever heard of “Gockelholen” or  “Karfreitagsratschen”? These are centuries old traditions and customs practiced around the Easter period. Gockelholen is a tradition where young men climb up to the windows of their sweethearts, but only if they have danced with each other during the previous year. In former times, it was important not to get caught, of course. Nowadays, the girls await their visitors with gifts such as schnapps, Easter eggs or beer. Another Easter tradition, Karfreitagsratschen [literally, Good Friday rattle], has nothing to do with a gossipy older woman but instead refers to a wooden device equipped with a crank that makes quite the racket when rotated round and round. It is sounded to call the faithful to church. It became necessary because, according to custom, the church bells must fall silent between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday, marking the time that Jesus lay in the tomb. The Good Friday rattle can be heard in the St. Maria Thalkirchen.

the “Karfreitagsratschen” – Many thanks to the rectory Sankt Maria Thalkirchen for the photo.

Qingming

And there are other religious festivals that are celebrated across the world around the time of the Christian feast of Easter. In China, the Qingming Festival takes place on 5th April. This is the Chinese Tomb-Sweeping Day or Memorial Day, akin to All Saints’ Day in the Christian faith. It takes place on the 106th day after the winter solstice, meaning it always occurs sometime between 4th and 6th April. This is a day on which the Chinese remember their ancestors, tidy up their graves, and leave offerings such as fruit, food, flowers and such like. Paper forms of items are burnt so as to make these articles available to their ancestors to use in the afterlife.

Ramadan

Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, begins on 13th April, just a short time after Easter. It is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, whereby the start always rotates by about 10 days each year. Fasting is mandatory for all healthy Muslims of adult age, unless they are prevented from doing so by various things such as travel, being elderly or sick, or if they are suffering from a mental incapacity. Pregnant and breast-feeding women are also exempt. The practice was adopted by people in remembrance of the time in the Koran when the Archangel Gabriel spoke to the Prophet Muhammed. Ramadan not only requires believers to fast from food and drink, but they must also act in a moral and ethical way, and reflect on this form of behaviour. Those who observe the rules of fasting acquire self-discipline and control, while at the same time purifying their body and soul and strengthening their consciousness of God.

The Allround Service Team wishes everyone a greate festive season.

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Ricotta Gnocchi

Ricotta gnocchi is not a recipe special to my family. Although the dish is eaten in almost all parts of Italy, it is frequently unknown to some people. To me, it recalls sweet memories of my childhood. It takes me back to my summer holidays at my grandparents’ in the mountains of Trentino, a place where I was simply just happy. A bit like Marcel Proust and his beloved Madeleine. These ricotta gnocchi awaken my mémoire involontaire.

Unlike the big city where I was raised, in Trentino they still always use fresh products sourced from local suppliers.

As a child, I loved going shopping with my nonna to buy fresh ricotta in the dairy shop. And then I’d often eat it straight away for breakfast. I’d spread it on bread with a bit of sugar – a great way to start the day.

I rang my nonna a few days ago to ask for her ricotta gnocchi recipe.

A very simple, yet tasty dish. Here’s the ingredients you’ll need, and how to prepare it…

For 2-3 persons:

  • 250 g firm ricotta (alternatively you can use ricotta bought from a supermarket, even if the quality is not quite the same)
  • 100 g wheat flour, type 00 (the kind you use to make pizza). You might have to add a little more flour to produce a dough that is firm, but still elastic
  • 2 tbsp. grana padano cheese
  • 1 egg
  • A pinch of salt
  • Butter
  • Sage
  • Optional: grated truffle

Bring some water to the boil (salted to taste).

While the water heats, put the ricotta, egg, some of the flour, salt and grana padano into a bowl. Knead everything together with your hands to make a dough. If it’s not firm enough, add some more flour.

Once the dough is ready, put it out on a work surface dusted with flour, and roll into medium-sized balls (or any other preferred shape).

Sprinkle some flour on the shaped gnocchi, and immerse them in the water.

Add the butter and sage to a frying pan, and heat until the butter turns brown.

As soon as the gnocchi have risen to the surface of the water, remove them from the water using a skimmer spoon, add to the pan and fry in the sage butter.

Sprinkle with grated truffle or grana padano according to preference.

Buon appetito!

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Austrian-style Apricot Dumplings

Our recipe for this Week comes from Austria, and it’s introduced to us here by Jessica May.

I can still clearly remember how my grandma often made apricot dumplings during the holidays. I always found this quite special, and it seemed like grandma’s very own indulgence routine.

Nowadays, apricot dumplings are usually eaten as a dessert. They used to be thought of as a main course, as indeed were the majority of Austria’s other pastry dishes.

Did you know that this one-time luxury dish, which then became part of the menu of ordinary households everywhere, is now protected as part of the nation’s culinary heritage? Unbelievable, but true!

It is one of the traditional dishes to have its recipe kept in a safe in the Austrian National Library in Vienna, so as to preserve it for posterity.

So, here is grandma’s very own indulgence routine:

  • Preparation time: approx. 30 minutes
  • Resting time: approx. 1 hour
  • Cooking/baking time: approx. 30 minutes
  • Total time: approx. 2 hours
 Ingredients for making 5 portions:
  • 500g quark (curds)
  • 100 g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 250 g flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • some wheat semolina, to bind the dough
  • 10 apricots
  • bread crumbs
  • sugar
  • butter
  • optional: cinnamon

This is enough dough to make 10 dumplings.

Knead the curd, eggs, butter and salt into a smooth dough, add approximately 1 – 2 tbsp. semolina, and knead again thoroughly. Chill for about 1 hour to allow the semolina to swell.

Pit the apricots You could use plums instead of apricots, if you prefer.

Shape the dough into a roll, and divide it into 10 equally-sized pieces. The dough can be a little sticky, so always dust your hands with some flour when encasing the fruit in the dough. The dough casing should be about 1 – 2 cm thick depending on the size of the fruit

Steep in slightly salted, gently simmering water for about 20 – 30 minutes (depending on whether you are using fresh or frozen fruit). The dough should rise nicely, and the fruit be soft on the inside.

At the same time, melt some butter in a pan, add the bread crumbs and sugar, and brown slowly over a gentle heat. You can decide how much butter, bread crumbs and sugar to add. It’s all down to your individual taste.
Once cooked, drain the dumplings, add to the browned bread crumbs in the pan, coat all over and serve hot.
If you like, you can sprinkle them with some icing sugar and cinnamon.

Enjoy!

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Jiaozi – Chinese Dumplings

The New Year is just around the corner, so what better time for a very traditional Jiaozi recipe from our Austrian sisters, Qionglin and Yuru WU.

Jiaozi is a well-known dish throughout China. The recipe varies from one region to the next. There are also different folding techniques, and the filling can be prepared according to varying tastes … using vegetables or seafood, for example. The Jiaozi we are showing you here, are made using mixed minced meat, carrots and oxheart cabbage.

Hendian (Yuru WU)

Jiaozi is a dish traditionally prepared and eaten together by the whole family at New Year – and that’s how we do it in the WU home, too. Our grandparents and parents, and we the children, all gather round the dining table, and everyone has a part to play:

Papa, head chef of the WU family, prepares the filling, while Mama gets the dough ready. Then, once it’s all ready, Grandma rolls out the dough in the traditional manner, while we siblings fold the Jiaozi into their dumpling shape.

As a family, we all really enjoy it, and it’s a great way to start the New Year together.

Ingredients

for 4 – 6 people

Dough
  • 750 g flour (type 450)
  • 2.5 tbsp. salt
  • 400 ml lukewarm water
Filling
  • 500 g mixed minced meat
  • 250 g chopped carrots
  • 250 g chopped oxheart cabbage
  • 3 tbsp. soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp. dark soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 pinches of pepper
  • 3 pieces of scallions
  • 30 ml of oil
  • 20 g ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves

Preparation

For the dough, simply mix the flour, salt and water. When you see lumps beginning to form, knead the dough well with your hands. To test if the dough is soft enough, press it with your finger. If it regains its shape without any indent forming, then it is ready. If this is not the case, simply moisten your hands with some water, and continue kneading the dough. Once it has been kneaded, allow the dough to rest for a while. Do this by spreading a cloth or some cling film over the dough to prevent it drying out.

NOTE: The longer the dough remains wrapped in the cling film, the softer it will become, BUT don’t let it get too soft, so keep a close eye on it!

Now, let’s turn to the filling.

Add the carrots and oxheart cabbage to the minced meat, and season everything with the soya sauce, oyster sauce, salt and pepper. Mix the filling well. Now, heat the oil and add the finely chopped garlic and ginger. After 30 seconds, or once you can smell the aromas, mix the garlic and ginger, together with the oil, into the filling.

The filling can be varied according to your own particular preferences. For vegetarians and vegans, we recommend substituting the meat for vegetables with low water content.

Now it’s time to shape our dumplings. Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface, and put about a third of the dough onto the surface. If your work surface is large enough, you can put all of the dough out in one go. Cover the rest of the dough. You need small round discs of dough to make the dumplings. There are two ways of doing this:

  1. The quick method: roll out the dough until it is about 2 mm thick, and cut out the discs using a large circular cookie cutter (approx. 10 cm in diameter).
  2. Traditional method: shape the dough into a roll, and using a knife, cut it into equally-sized pieces about 4 cm long. Using your hand, press down the small lump of dough until it is flat, and roll out into medium-thick discs (approx. 2 mm). The discs should be about 10 cm in diameter. Make sure that the edge is a little thinner than the centre, so that after shaping the dumplings, they have the same thickness all over.

Now for the filling.

Place about 1-2 teaspoons of filling into the centre of the disc of dough, and seal. Take a look at the video to see how to fold the dumplings properly. You’ll soon get the hang of it with a little practice.

Place the sealed dumplings on a tray dusted with some flour, and cover with cling film to stop the dough drying out.

Now you just have to cook the dumplings in boiling water for about 7 to 9 minutes.

Finally, serve with a small bowl of soya sauce. And they’re ready.

As we say in the WU household, 请慢用 [qíng màn yòng] and 新年快乐 [xīn nián kuài lè]!

(Bon appetit and a Happy New Year!)

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Christmas Cookies

Christmas is just around the corner and for all of us who enjoy a sweet treat or two, Elisabeth Feulner has just the very thing for those grey, rainy days … streaming Christmas songs while baking yummy cookies. A sure way to get in the Christmas spirit, and you won’t be able to wait for the festive season by the time you’re cutting out these cookies.

The recipe I’m suggesting is one that I’ve been using for a long time now. There are two things going for it. First, you don’t necessarily have to be a baking maestro to make these cookies, and second – and the main thing, of course – they taste truly delicious. Just be sure to reserve enough time, because depending on the size of the biscuits you cut out, it can take a while to spread out each of the layers. I always tend to use relatively small cookie cutters, because I find this makes the cookies taste even better, and it looks like there’s more of them too.

Happy Christmas and happy baking!

Ingredients:
  • 150 g flour
  • 40 g sugar
  • 75 g butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 100 g marzipan paste
  • 50 g chocolate coating
  • 50 g apricot jam
  • Walnut kernels
Preparation:

Combine the flour, sugar, butter, egg yolk and a pinch of salt, and knead into a dough. Roll out thinly and cut out the cookies. Bake in the oven at 200 °C for 5 – 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

Spread some apricot jam on the cookies, and add a piece of marzipan. Then cover with the chocolate coating and decorate with a walnut kernel.

Tip: You can use up the white of the eggs by making some macaroons later on.

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Munich White Sausage

I was born and raised in Munich as were my parents and grandparents before me, so, as a veritable child of Munich (or Münchner Kindl as the locals would say) when it comes to relaxing and enjoying some downtime, I’d recommend a convivial breakfast of white sausage.

Who invented the white sausage? There have always been numerous stories surrounding its origins, and they are all there to be read online.

München – by Petra Schmidt

And what is the basis of the old saying: “White sausage must never hear the chimes of the midday bells”? Well, back in the days before refrigeration, if the sausages were not pre-cooked, they would have to be eaten quickly otherwise they would spoil. Today, this rule is no longer applied quite so strictly. The important thing is to make sure you have some sweet mustard and pretzels to hand, and a beer is the perfect drink to accompany the meal.

For me, eating white sausage is also a way of life. Going to a traditional inn, you’ll often find yourself sitting and conversing with strangers at a table, and it’s a nice way to meet with friends, too.

Ingredients per person:
  • 2 to 3 white sausages
  • 1 to 2 pretzels
  • Sweet mustard
Preparation:

Boil some water in a saucepan – add salt to the boiling water.

Now place the white sausages in the saucepan and remove pan from the heat. Simply let the sausages cook in the hot water for about 10 minutes – and you’re done.

By the way – some families still retain the tradition of eating white sausage for dinner on Christmas Eve night.

Enjoy!

Petra Schmidt

White Sausage with pretzels and sweet mustard

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Black-Eyed Beans with Gari and Plantains

Our fourth recipe comes from Ghana in West Africa and is presented by Theresa Messerer.

You may well be thinking that my name has nothing to do with Africa … but Eric, my partner’s, does. He was born in Togo and grew up in Ghana, and I love his recipes and cuisine.

Fufu is without a doubt the dish that is most typical of West Africa. Fufu is a mash made from warm water and cassava flour that can be served with a variety of sauces. But believe me, mashing fufu to make it nice and smooth and getting just the right balance between water and cassava flour can be hard work without a bit of know-how. I’ve therefore decided to show you a different, but equally delicious dish instead – beans and gari with ripened plantain.

Gari (also spelt “garri”) and beans are pretty much staple foods in West Africa. Gari, obtained from cassava, is used in a wide variety of different ways: fried, boiled, mashed, grated or ground. When my friends ask me what cassava is, I often say that it looks like an African potato. Cassava is also very commonly found and extremely popular in places like Brazil, Mauritius and other parts of Africa.

There must be a thousand variations of this dish and various ways of preparing it and pepping it up with other ingredients.

Here’s my recipe – I hope you enjoy giving it a go too:

  • Portions: 4
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45–60 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups balck-eyed beans
  • 2 plantains (the riper the better)
  • 2 onions
  • 500 ml vegetable oil
  • To taste: gari (cassava semolina)
  • salt
Preparations:

Black-eyed beans are cooked in the same way as rice, with plenty of water and a little salt. If the water boils away too quickly, simply add some more. A lot of water is needed to ensure that the beans turn out nice and soft. Simmer the beans for a total of 45–60 minutes (+/-) until they are soft.

While the beans are cooking, cut the onions into half rings and fry in plenty of vegetable oil. The onions should swim a bit in the oil, which we will be using again later.

Slice the plantains and fry in the vegetable oil until golden brown. It best to use a little more oil here too, so that the plantains stay nice and moist.

Once everything is sizzling and cooked through, serve.

When serving up, Eric is very particular about the order of things: First the beans. Then drizzle some onion and some of the oil used to fry the onions over the beans. This gives the gari a nice crispy texture. To finish off the dish, place the plantains on top.

Bon appétit!

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Seed Crackers

Seed crackers are a tasty, healthy snack and are made using a great variety of seed types. What’s more, the chickpea flour version doesn’t even have any carbs! They are the perfect accompaniment to a glass of wine or beer and taste great with salad, cream cheese, guacamole or pesto, or can simply be polished off on their own. Our boss, Monica Nadal, became such a fan that she absolutely had to have the recipe, and thus was born the idea of introducing you to some of our favourite dishes and treats.

At first glance, you could indeed be forgiven for thinking, “Wow! That’s a lot of ingredients!” (available in drugstores and organic food shops, by the way), but although the ingredient list is long, the preparation time is short. You may, however, be faced with one tiny problem: these crackers are so tasty that you’ll have to keep making them, over and over again.

Enjoy the baking, and the nibbling, of course!

Wörnbrunn – from Veronika Becker
  • For approx. 50 crackers
  • Preparation time: 15 min.
  • Baking time: 30 min.
  • Calories per cracker: approx. 35 kcal

Ingredients:

  • 80 g sunflower seeds
  • 15 g pine nuts
  • 80 g chickpea flour (alternatively wholemeal spelt flower)
  • 40 g hemp seeds, hulled
  • 40 g linseeds
  • 10 g chia seeds
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp mild paprika powder
  • 4 tbsp olive oil

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 175°C. Cover a baking tray with baking paper. Coarsely chop the sunflower seeds and pine nuts.
  2. Mix the chopped seeds and nuts in a bowl with the chickpea flour, hemp seeds, linseeds, chia seeds, caraway, ¼ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, thyme, rosemary and paprika powder. Add the olive oil and 150 ml water and stir into a dough using the beater attachment of your hand mixer.
  3. Pour the dough onto the tray and spread thinly using a tablespoon or spatula. Place the tray in the oven (middle rack) and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the baking tray from the oven and cut the layer of dough into squares (approx. 5 x 5 cm). Then bake the seed crackers for a further 20 minutes, until crispy.
Seed Crackers (Source: Hannah Frey/ Zuckerfrei, die 40 Tage Challange )

Have fun while baking and until next week!

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Tunisian Tagine with Cheese and Chicken

The next in our series of recipes is one from Tunisia, brought to us by Samah Djebbi.

Back home, Sunday was always “Couscous Day with Tagine” for us. As children we’d always be helping Mama to prepare the food – peeling and chopping the vegetables and such. And you can be sure that we’d always try and pinch some of the fried diced potato … however loud Mama’s indignant protests, it was simply to delicious to resist! I often find myself thinking back on those days, and it’s always with a smile.

Sunday is Couscous Day with Tagine, no question. And it’s a childhood tradition that I carry on with my own family today.
Now it’s my two sons who lend me a hand, and they too will happily pilfer some of those scrumptious potato cubes intended for the tagine.

La Marsa – from Samah Djebbi

Tagine is a kind of hearty soufflé, which can be served as a side dish or main course with some salad. There are various ways of making it. You can prepare with tuna, minced meat, or mozzarella. The version I’m showing you today is our own personal favourite – tagine with cheese and chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 8 potatoes
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 eggs (size M to L)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Ground coriander
  • Turmeric
  • 200 g grated cheese, e.g. pizza cheese, Gouda or Emmental
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Oil for frying

Preparation:

Wash the potatoes and chicken, and dice into small cubes. Wash the parsley and chop finely, dice the onion.  Fry the diced potatoes in a frying pan with plenty of oil, and allow to drip dry on some kitchen paper. Heat some oil in a saucepan and sauté the onions. Now add the chicken and the crushed cloves of garlic, season well with salt, pepper, coriander and turmeric, and sauté. Add a little water and simmer. Once the chicken is cooked well through (about 15 minutes), add the washed parsley and steam to leave a viscous liquid consistency at the end.

Now whisk the eggs in a bowl, then add all the remaining ingredients (chicken, potatoes and cheese), and mix everything well together. Add a little more seasoning if you like, and pour everything into a greased oven-proof dish.

Bake for around 30 min. in the oven at 180 °C, upper/lower heat on, until golden brown.

Remove from oven, allow to cool, then turn over onto a plate. Cut into pieces of the required size, and serve.

Tunisian Tajine with cheese and chicken

Shehia Taiba (or Bon Appetit if you like)

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Recipe collection

Here you can find all recipes for our delicious dishes of the Allround Service Team. Let your taste buds go on a culinary journey with us.

Upside-down bowl (Bol Déviré)

This dish is a Chinese-Mauritian fusion and is very popular amongst Mauritian households. It typically consists of a filling of chicken or pork cooked in a wok with oyster/soya sauce and some veggies at the bottom of a bowl. It is then topped with fluffy basmati rice patted down which is turned out onto a plate. The domed shaped dish is then garnished with a fried egg on top and some chopped coriander.

My Mauritian grandma used to make this quite frequently on a Sunday afternoon and it was always fun to watch her make it.

There are various different ways Mauritians cook this dish, but I’ve shared an adaption of my grandma’s recipe. I hope you enjoy!

Tunisian Tagine with Cheese and Chicken

Back home, Sunday was always “Couscous Day with Tagine” for us. As children we’d always be helping Mama to prepare the food – peeling and chopping the vegetables and such. And you can be sure that we’d always try and pinch some of the fried diced potato … however loud Mama’s indignant protests, it was simply to delicious to resist! I often find myself thinking back on those days, and it’s always with a smile.

Seed Crackers

Seed crackers are a tasty, healthy snack and are made using a great variety of seed types. What’s more, the chickpea flour version doesn’t even have any carbs! They are the perfect accompaniment to a glass of wine or beer and taste great with salad, cream cheese, guacamole or pesto, or can simply be polished off on their own.

Black-Eyed Beans with Gari and Plantains

Fufu is without a doubt the dish that is most typical of West Africa. Fufu is a mash made from warm water and cassava flour that can be served with a variety of sauces. But believe me, mashing fufu to make it nice and smooth and getting just the right balance between water and cassava flour can be hard work without a bit of know-how. I’ve therefore decided to show you a different, but equally delicious dish instead – beans and gari with ripened plantain.

Munich White Sausage

And what is the basis of the old saying: “White sausage must never hear the chimes of the midday bells”? Well, back in the days before refrigeration, if the sausages were not pre-cooked, they would have to be eaten quickly otherwise they would spoil. Today, this rule is no longer applied quite so strictly. The important thing is to make sure you have some sweet mustard and pretzels to hand, and a beer is the perfect drink to accompany the meal.

Christmas Cookies

Christmas is just around the corner and for all of us who enjoy a sweet treat or two, Elisabeth Feulner has just the very thing for those grey, rainy days … streaming Christmas songs while baking yummy cookies. A sure way to get in the Christmas spirit, and you won’t be able to wait for the festive season by the time you’re cutting out these cookies.

Jiaozi – Chinese Dumplings

The New Year is just around the corner, so what better time for a very traditional Jiaozi recipe from our Austrian sisters, Qionglin and Yuru WU.

Jiaozi is a well-known dish throughout China. The recipe varies from one region to the next. There are also different folding techniques, and the filling can be prepared according to varying tastes … using vegetables or seafood, for example. The Jiaozi we are showing you here, are made using mixed minced meat, carrots and oxheart cabbage.

Austrian-style Apricot Dumplings

It is one of the traditional dishes to have its recipe kept in a safe in the Austrian National Library in Vienna, so as to preserve it for posterity.

Ricotta Gnocchi

Ricotta gnocchi is not a recipe special to my family. Although the dish is eaten in almost all parts of Italy, it is frequently unknown to some people. To me, it recalls sweet memories of my childhood. It takes me back to my summer holidays at my grandparents’ in the mountains of Trentino, a place where I was simply just happy. A bit like Marcel Proust and his beloved Madeleine. These ricotta gnocchi awaken my mémoire involontaire.

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