Somethin' to say? Was zu sagen? Des choses a dire?

Follow mrlemarquis on Twitter If you want to make a comment but can't find the "make a comment" box, which keeps on disappearing, just send it either to twitter, facebook or to me at: , and I'll maybe publish it for you....Only said maybe....! Here's the latest one: (Who IS this guy called Keith.....) "I just wanted to leave a comment to say that (from personal experience), although you get a bit stinky for the first few weeks, after that you don't get any stinkier! And those olives do look nice, don't they? All the best" Keith

hungry?Thanks to Tina Concetta Marzocca.

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here it wanted it....!

somebody (!) wanted to know so here it is...

simple local vegetables

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Monday, 26 September 2011

Once upon a time, in a kitchen somewhere....

In the Army (2) - MDP Units.

In the 1960’s, the British Army in Germany had dealings with various
“anomalies” dating from the end of the War.
One of these things was called “MDP” Units, (Military Displaced Persons)
and consisted of Poles, Czechs, Ukrainian etc displaced after the war,
and the take over of their countries by the Russian forces, and Germans who wanted to show their distinct innocence of anything German Nationalist.
Those from the Eastern Countries, not wishing to stay under USSR rules, or finding themselves already in so called “Free” countries, they were now obliged to find ID Papers, employment and all the other things of life.
Since most of them were of military origins, and since the various
Armies (British, American, French etc) needed people of their ilk, as
translators, drivers, simple workers, guards etc.. etc... and since ID
Papers, accommodation, employment etc., could all be done very
quickly, a lot of them ended up in these “MDP” Units.
Probably a large percentage were nothing other than “slid-in” spies, but
they weren’t really employed in anything very security orientated, so it
didn’t really matter.
Another high percentage of them were German Military Displaced Persons, mainly those who had a Nazi history behind them, but not sufficiently serious to put them up at Nuremberg, or into prison.
German was, in fact, the language used within MDP Units, since few of
them spoke English at the beginning.
These Units had existed from near the end of the War onwards, and
by the time I had anything to do with them, in the mid/end 60’s, and
again in the 80’s, they were well organized, with their own bars,
canteens and all the rest, within the British Army barracks.
Since I was able to speak German, I was a sort of natural choice to have
liaisons with them, at first in my capacities as a British Soldier, and then
(in the 80’s) as a Cook/Chef (civilian) working for the British Army.
I often went for a couple of weeks or months to work in their canteens,
and I always used their bars in preference to the warm beer of the
British Army NAAFI canteens! 

Naafi Duty Free Shops
The prices were the same, if not cheaper,and they had the same access to the duty free spirits etc., with the added advantage that they could get French and German cigarettes duty free as well, and not just English ones .
Here it was, in one of their canteens in Dortmund, W. Germany, that I had my first brush with “Kartoffelnpuffern”!
For some weird reason, this had become their favourite dish, and
although it was on the menu at least twice a week, it was never enough,
so I put it on as a “special” at every meal. Their ability to swallow down
at least a dozen of these things at each sitting (before going on to the
main course) was amazing to see, and they could get a bit nasty if they
didn’t think I had made enough! 
A bit of knife waving (with the largest knife in the kitchen) normally sorted them out – but still!
Now – as a sort of “semi-military” Unit, they all had their ranks, right up
to Captains and Majors, but after that, it was regular British Army
Officers who had command!
This led to all sorts of competitions between the MDP Officers to try and
get something original to please their British Commanding Generals
etc., and what better than “British” food, when the General came with
his Staff on a visit? 
Generally, this happened every Christmas period, and they thought it
was good form to supply the highly important visitors with a “British
Christmas meal” – problem was that they didn’t have access to the
things needed, like large turkeys, Brussels, chipolatas, etc... etc...
Christmas pudding was out as well, and Christmas Cake so – in general -
the occasion was a farce!
 This was when one of the brighter lads had the idea to call on the services of “that Scottish German fellow” – he must have access to,  and knowledge about, such mysteries! Indeed he had, and – for a price – was prepared to share such information!
Little did they know that the General and His Command Staff had
Turkey, Brussels, Stuffing, Pudding and all the rest, coming out of their ears at that time of the year, and would much more prefer a real “Gulyash” (goulash-a brown stew with lots of paprika), cooked by the “Scottish German Fellow” who they thought to be an original Hungarian or Czech or Pole!
They stayed polite, however, and thanked their hosts profoundly and
excessively, for their kind attention to “British Traditions” and how did
they manage to find a Chef capable of cooking British Traditional Stuff so well from within their ranks?
(killing the haggis)
 I invariably ended up being called into the ornate Dining Room, to receive their good wishes for the season, and their thanks for the meal.
I wasn’t polite for too long! 
After a couple of polite exchanges, I suggested - in English - that they would probably prefer a Gulyash to another roast turkey christmas meal, and they may want to give a sweet (or savoury) Roestli -Kartoffelnpuffern a try, this being the favourite dish of the MDP’s.
After the surprise of hearing English, with a slight Scottish accent, they
did indeed think that the idea was a good one, and could I possibly put it
into action the next time?
Now - as a Civilian attached to the Military, I could permit myself some liberties, so - of course I could "put it into action" – at a price – and I did!

Goulash or Gulyash (A beef stew or soup)
It seemed to me that the British Command Teams came rather more often than was necessary for an “official visit” from then on!
Mind you - my Goulash was quite something!

That was Army International Cuisine – a true novelty!
When I left -for Berlin and for other things - I was presented with a
“golden goulash gourd” (a sort of large ladle, gold plated) as thanks! 
I kept it for many years, but all the gold wore off, and was probably eaten
in my many goulashes! 
There are worse ways to die than from golden goulasch poisoning..... 

Kartoffelnpuffernrostis.....and that's a word....

To get back into shape for the coming Winter season, when writing about food is more pleasurable, here are a couple of little pieces, edited and republished from some time ago......

In the Army.........(1)

Thursday 1er novembre 2007 - Army style International Cooking.
Just the other day somebody asked me if I knew how to
make things called “Rostis”. 
Stupid question, I know how to make anything in the kitchen, the only
problem is having open and easy access to the ingredients necessary!
In this case, not too difficult, because a “Roestli” is the Swiss German word given to a simple dish made from potatoes with or without onions, eggs, salt and pepper, together with any form of spice or herb one wishes.
The famous, well known ones, are savoury, with onions, garlic (optional),
fried in goose or duck fat preferably, although butter can be used, as a
Sweet potato (yam) rosti with goat cheese.
sort of “open omelette” and served traditionally with Apple puree, or used as a garnish for grilled meat and fish dishes. The Germans actually eat them all by themselves, a dozen at a time......
It can also be made as a dessert, without the onions, and using Yams
(sweet potatoes), some sugar and the spices used in sweet dishes –
garnished with comfiture or honey or chocolate sauce etc..
In both cases, the method is the same:
Peel potatoes or yams, grate them, slice the onions (if used) finely, add
your condiments, and fry them, in the fat chosen, until the potatoes are
cooked. Put them to one side to cool down, and beat your eggs as for an
omelette (at this moment, you can add whatever else you wish, bacon,
ham etc.. and mix it into the beaten eggs).
Now heat up a little fat in a non-stick pan (or an omelette pan, if you have one specially-which every cuisine should have!) and put the desired amount of cooked potato mixture in, just to heat a little, then
pour over the desired amount of egg mixture, swill it around the pan, as
for an omelette, and when the one side is browned (about 3 minutes)
throw it (like a pancake) to turn it over. Pick up the bits from the floor
and brown the 2nd side as well!
To serve, slide the “Roestli” onto a plate, and serve (if wished) with
some apple puree on the side, or in the middle.
For the sweet ones, with yams, you can do exactly the same, without
the onions, of course, and before service, spread the jam or honey or
chocolate sauce over the “Roestli” or serve it apart.
The real name for these things (which are also used to accompany
dishes) is actually German – “Kartoffelnpuffern” – (you can understand
why the Swiss changed the name) and this brings me to the title of this

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Faut le savoir....You have to know....

...I wasn't aware of this event until yesterday when I read about it in a Facebook article. This particular page deals with the Department of the Gard, but you can find what's on in your neck of the woods by using the address search bar on the same page.
Everybody welcome......?
A lot of the events in my area seem to be limited to "chain" restaurants, but there are a few places who started already on Monday for a full week of special offers and prices and menus. One of the offers I like the look of is the invitation in a number of places saying "your guest is our guest" - meaning that if there are two of you then one gets for free........Hope they get it right,
For those who prefer to stay at home, a chance, I guess, for all the amateurs as well to get their "long Tom's" on their heads....

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Since it's September, logically it's Oktoberfest.....
...Just to clarify straight away, this is a "SPIT ROASTED OX" - (oxen in pluriel are a member of the bovine race, as are cattle, cows, etc - read here for their principal use..... but they are also used occasionally as a human food source)
During the Oktoberfest, in Munich (Munchen) Germany, there are, quite frankly, around 10 million gluttons (they call them visitors) who consume enormous quantities of just about anything, particularly beer.
Now one of the things about beer is that it makes you do two things - get hungry and have a pronounced need for toilet space.  Munich is really the centre of the world for beer and its Oktoberfest is the biggest festivity of the product, associated with all those things that go with it, so the occasion lets us have a look at some of these German specialities, almost all of which you can prepare at home as well.
The simpler things are "pretzels" - a sort of bread production, just to mop up the liquid consumed. Already when you've consumed one of these things, you feel totally bloated, just right to launch yourself into the other specialities, always with BEER somewhere ready!  Starting with some "lighter" items, like the famous "weisswurstl's" - a typical German sausage originally made from veal, but more and more being invaded by pork and even poultry meat. These are considered "healthier" since they are "poached" being careful that the skins do not burst open. Other varieties include the equally famous "grillwurstl's" or "bratwurstl's" mainly from pork, occasionally from beef - these are grilled  and often served with fried onions or cold potato salad, mainly simply with mustard and a small bread roll - a "brotchen". One of the largest sellers id the "hand'l" - Bavarian slang for a half chicken, roasted 
and literally sold by the thousands. Of course, the standard classics like "hax'n" (knuckle of pork cooked for an very long time and served in enormous pieces, an entire knuckle of pork being a standard portion) served often with a "knodl" ( a dumpling) but like all of these dishes also often served with the standard "cold weather places" sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) or rotkraut (red cabbage) even to potatoe puree, or potatoe scones/pancakes.....
The list is seemingly endless, and even includes, now and then - FISH, but almost always smoked varieties - Germans don't understand too much about fresh fish, so smoked eels, smoke sprats or the same things smoked and then grilled, and the like are popular.
The Bavarian has an immense capability of "sinking" quantities of beer and the food that goes with it, only rivalled by his capability of cursing and swearing for hours on end, without stopping, and STILL makes it sound as though he is complimenting you!
As the reader may imagine, with all this available, and not only at the Oktoberfest, but at home all year round, there are not many slim - "trim" Bavarians, ......particularly not among the male of the species, but they do exist, amongst the womenfolk, although they are regarded with suspicion, unless they happen to look like this....(with slight apologies to the American readers....)  ...No need to get upset, "larger" Bavarian ladies do exist as well.....  maybe we should say "more solidly built" rather than just plain fat!
If you get the chance to go to Munich, try to visit, I've been on many occassions, particularly when I could persuade a bank manager to part with a new mortage for me, because - believe me - IT ISN'T GIVEN AWAY!
..This year, 2011 - the record has been broken, the "mass" bier is at 9.40euros - and that's only the beer!
But....what pleasures, with a full stomach, a little walk and a ride on one of the "pleasure trips" - ..Just make sure you're NOT walking UNDERNEATH the thing........

Viel Spass......Guten Appetit .....Vergelt's Gott......!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

 Vegetables...Yes - it's nourishment as well!
Meat eaters often (and I'm as guilty as anyone) overlook the merits of these little things that come in a multitude of shapes - tastes and textures.
From the humble potato - and did you know that there are around 39,600,00 recipes for potatoes shown on a simple Google search? Even allowing that many are simple "adaptations" of traditional dishes, that still leaves at least 3-4,000 different ways of producing them through to luxurious asparagus and others ! How many do you know?
For many years, I have tried to make use of the vegetable course, basically called "légumes" on Classical French menus, as something worthy of its name -  and it is amazing just what delicious things can be produced by using those ingredients that are normally mentioned as something in "meat and 2 veg" other words, nobody is really sure what the devil it is!
From broths and soups to complicated gratinées in complicated sauces, or with luxurious ingredients, if a vegetable course is signalled as such, then we tend to take more care what we do with it, how we prepare it, how we present it and serve it, and in general, we enjoy it more, occasionally to the extent that it actually becomes the main course, and meat just doesn't appear, which isn't such a bad thing now and then! Good for the purse strings as well, and particularly for the health.
Of course, a reasonable diat is simply made up of a reasonable mixture of reasonable amounts of everything, including oils and fats, so it's quite reasonable!
Attention has to be paid with "mayonnaise" or "egg yolk based" sauces such as hollandaise or béarnaise, because these are intended really to turn whatever they accompany or cover, into a major part of any meal, if not the main course itself indeed.
In general, if we take care to cook and serve ANY of our dishes that make up a meal, from "ante-pasta" to "entremets" then any one of these courses can suddenly take over the whole meal, and that is not a crime - so long as a balance is kept, and nothing is wasted!
The other advantage of vegetables, apart from their diversity and health factor, is that almost without exception, they can ALL be used hot or cold, in some manner or other, and so wastage is exceptionally limited. Even quite a number of those "peelings" can be used in other preparations - carrot peelings and onion peelings to make stocks for broths and soups and sauces - the dark green pieces of leek, too bitter for normal use, can be used for the same purposes, those pieces of other vegetables that one tends not to eat, can all be used in what you should always have on the bubble - the stock pan!
I know, nobody does it nowadays, and it is true that it takes a lot of space, a lot of thinking about and planning the use of, but if you do have one, then you can happily forget those over salted little cubes of "something or other"......and everything - or almost - goes in, tomato skins, celery tops, you name it - so long as it isn't bad or dirty (like potato peelings) in it can go...
Another economical use of those useful things called vegetables!
I'll even go as far as to accept conserved and frozen vegetables, as convenience and time savers. In fact progress has been made to such an extent that some of the "processed" vegetables are actually better than the fresh ones - and infinitely simpler, with much less waste...I think in particular of the simple garden pea, already shelled, cooked tender and served maybe with a bechamel sauce, or simply "Lyonnaise" (with lots of fried crispy onions) - what a pleasure!
So - off to your veggies...if today happens to be your anniversary of marriage, birthdays or whatever, that's not really an excuse, but I suppose we could make exceptions......

Bonne Appétit....

iwmpop(mrlemarquis)  -    Vauvert,France   -    Sept 2011

METEO chez moi-Bei mir-my zone

This is what it's doing right now....or nearly! Go with your mouse to the image and click....

Lecker...Tasty... Appétissante

Des bonnes choses - de presque partout...! Leckereien von fast Uberall...! Tasty things from almost everywhere...! *********
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******* iwmpop (mr le marquis)- Vauvert, France - Janvier 2011