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here it wanted it....!

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simple local vegetables

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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Neue...Nouveau...New...every year!

 Chaque année, mais souvent maintenant, tout l’année...
Every year, but often all the year now....
Jedes Jahr, aber leider oft jetzt das ganze Jahr.......
In Germany, one of my favourites was such a simple thing that came around every year, at the time wasn't expensive, was extremely healthy and of a quality second to none..... "Pellkartoffeln". Really a misnamer, it means "skin potatoes" and that is exactly what you DON'T do to them - skin them!..Always best with the living proof, a little REAL earth clinging to them, washed - scraped if necessary, and then (for me) - steamed and served up with a little chopped parsley and butter melting down the sides and over the top of them.....Frankly, I have never eaten anything so delicious but so simple.
Bavaria Ludwig IIImage by iwmpop via 
A little link (in German, but you can use any one of the many "translators" on the Internet if you need to).

It was always a lovely little sign of coming changes, "new potatoes" meant a switch from the almost eternal snows of Bavaria - to Spring, indeed almost early Summer. From conserves or from vegetables with little taste, coming from so far away and generally harvested in a state of unripeness supposedly ready to ripen with the transportation from Chile or Australia or New Zealand or other even further flung places, to relatively local produces, tomatoes full of juice and taste and not water.....

The German production was, and maybe still is, very particular. It was so well known that it was almost as automatic as beer, and the quality was outstandingly good. Together with some of those "matjesfilets" (young Spring herring filets in a creamy but sharp cream sauce) I honestly would have to think a long time to recall anything better! So much so, that whenever I see the pair available here in France (and they always come from Germany), I buy myself a good stock to last at least "a couple of days"...but - somehow, they never do! Then I go on the search for my now famous "champagne for the poor" - Weissbier, normally without success.... Return to Germany...?
Immenstadt kircheImage by iwmpop via Flickr
I recall, many years ago now, my pleasure at finding "pommes de terre nouvelle" in the French shops and market places, but my pleasure rapidly turned sourish when I realised that these were not at all that which I had in Germany. They were, and still are, effectively available all year round! 
It's just a name given to a variety of potato, and although good, they have little or nothing to do with "pellkartoffeln" as I knew them. Some places even go to the extent of leaving some dirt attached, charge more and you're supposed to think these are the REAL things...Well - they're not!
In fact, if you want the REAL McKOY in France, you are advised to look for the variety of pomme de terre called "Ratte".....they are also available all year round, but look carefully at the price....may make your eyes water!   These ARE very similar to the otherwise known as "spring potatoes" both in shape, presentation and taste, and the preparation methods are the same.
It isn't the same as holding yourself back just for Spring and getting hold of those REAL delicious little things. Even in Britain it meant a change of season...what would a Cricket lunch break ever have been without those little new potatoes...?
I recall also, in Britain, that even the famous "Fish & Chip" shops paid tribute to the present of "new" or "spring" potatoes, and would proudly announce "now frying with NEW POTATOES" which was a shame really, because this delice isn't really adapted to frying or roasting - most certainly not mashing....just simple, straightforward steaming or boiling in their skin and served with melting butter.......and my now famous "champagne of the people...Weissbier"......Easy enough - isn't it........

It's the period, so off you go, and if you're lucky enough to have a garden, plant some - that way you are sure of your source, and you don't need many. The best ones I ever ate (apart from the German variety) were little sweet, succulent things that had grown from "scrapings" and left overs thrown into the compost heap....strange but so full of taste...Maybe you'll be lucky as well, it only happened to me once, but it was unforgettable. Shame the heringsfilets don't grow like that as well......!
Of course, if you can't find them, don't want them, then you can always reach into your rich repertoire and follow instructions:'s one way of making sure people won't come back!
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******* iwmpop (mr le marquis)- Vauvert, France - Janvier 2011