Thursday, December 8, 2016

The history of this traditional german dish & gathering at the Spree

Critical as you may be at the ridiculous lack of ingredients in this recipe (after not having heard from me for a couple of weeks) hear me out before you complain. To explain my absence I've been busy conquering the artistic world, and have taken it upon myself to be locked inside this room recording all day long, and I can happily announce that my Demo EP will be fully recorded by the end of this week. Now the simplicity of this dish, lets call it minimalism is more beautiful than it appears to be at first glance.

"Quark mit Leinöl" or translated curd with linseed oil is a very traditional german recipe. They also called it "Arme Küche" which means poor kitchen as it was eaten frequently by poor peasants in the old days, but the deliciousness, low cost and simplicity of this dish quickly developed into making this an iconic recipe which german families eat to this day. Since I come from quite a traditional german background this was a staple in my diet growing up, and my fathers favourite recipe. The flaxseed oil makes it an amazing source of the Omegas and unlike popular vegan belief I am pro oil, and use it in my diet (even if sparingly, deliberately) and on my skin.

Of course there is this one big problem. Curd is not vegan (and has a disgusting name). Luckily we live in a modern society, and besides women having the right to vote we have also been lucky enough to be born into an era where vegan curd is not hard to find. If you have a vegan supermarket it will most definitely be there. Alternatively you can use vegan yogurt, maybe even mix it with the solid part of the coconut milk to make it more, well, solid.
As simple as this recipe looks, and since you've most likely had all its ingredients separately at one point or another, you HAVE to try this. Its its own unique kind of satisfying and my personal comfort food when I need to time travel and be a child again.

Now the gathering part of this recipe is found in the wild garlic you see at the side of the picture above. The german term "Bärlauch", which is a word I love not only within my associations to this term, translates into boring numbers such as ramson, bear leek and buckrams, all terms none of my english speaking friends have heard before. But then again, most people haven't heard of flaxseed oil either so my friends might just be idiots (love you guys).
I was taking a walk by the Spree in Berlin, when I was overcome by the prominent smell of what I like to call wild garlic. It smells very similar to garlic, but with a note of chives and a little heaven. Garlic, to all my none Spanish friends great terror, is a whole food group to me and the reason I don't have and will never have a boyfriend. Which I am completely fine with. Garlic > boys.
So I smell this scent and start exploring my surroundings time travelling to a time where exploring was what I did all day long. The cold spring air, the trees, the hunt for herbs it all became a moment I won't forget, and the moment I became aware of the fact that this years winter had finally ended and warmer days were approaching. I did end up finding huge amounts of this garlic grass, which actually looks like grass, but when you pick it and rub it between your fingers you potently smell the garlic as you do when you're a mile away. I look heaps of this wonder weed and headed home where I used it in my "Quark" with great success and a nice little story.

I love the concept of gathering for our food in the wild. If not all, which is virtually impossible when you live in a big city, at least have some ingredients that you can freshly pick. Whenever summer comes around I am always on the hunt for fresh berries in german forrest, and there is an abundance. You come out so full you won't have to eat for the rest of the day, and in an age of social constraints and societal obligation this tiny victory of independence  brings me a feeling of great joy and freedom, not to mention the fact that freshly picked things are a much more concentrated source of minerals and vitamins, which fade as your food waits out its doomsday in the fridge, which is a huge argument in the supermarket struggles and a pro for the farmers market concept.

German potatoes (they are much more yellow and taste like utopia)
Vegan curd or unsweetened yogurt
Flaxseed oil
Freshly picked herbs
half of a medium white onion

So you boil your potatoes per usual (if you don't know how to boil potatoes I can't help you), and whilst they are uncruding, which is a word, you can focus on the important bit. Chop and slice your onion as tiny and thin as possible and mix it into the curd. I found a great substitute at the German Vegan supermarket chain "Veganz", but it was quite thick so I mixed it with vegan unsweetened yogurt and it gave me the taste I wanted. Now lovingly slice your "Bärlauch" and add it also. The you serve it besides the potatoes adding a little whole in the middle with a spoon and filling that culinary pond with flaxseed oil making it look like a sunny side up egg, but actually completing this historic amazing dish.

It does not need anything else. Its perfect simplicity.

Give it a try.


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