The icy grip of winter holds us firmly. Just as I was thinking we were going to get the mildest winter in years, things took a turn and we are now facing the coldest winter in decades. It totally amazes me how we are at the mercy of Mother Nature.
The temperatures have dropped drastically and the record was -20 degrees C, which I noted yesterday morning as I left to work. At such temperatures it’s hard to get out of bed and face the cold. Each day we are facing new issues that the arctic cold brings with it. Frozen water-pipes, flocculation of diesel fuel in Tom’s car, coughs, fever and the sniffles.
I am taking it in good stride as I am gathering new experience with each hurdle. Our frozen pipes are getting the luxury warmth treatment - wrapped in blankets warmed with their own little heater called … wait for it “the frost guard”. I wish I had my own personal frost guard warming me every time I go out.
Unfortunately though, I tried to brave the fever and sniffles both Soeren and Tom have carried around for the past week and alas - it looks like I am coming down with it. First Soeren who was out for a whole week and then Tom came home from Stockholm feeling feverish and weak.
It’s been lots of heartwarming soups and comforting stews around here lately topped off with plenty of Vitamin C. And special little treats - because how better to get them smiling and fit again than with divine sweet desserts.
One of Soeren’s favorite treats are the nostalgic and traditional quarkkeulchen. He’s been asking me for several months to put up the recipe on the blog and share it with my readers. He does not do this often but every now and then he is convinced you all will enjoy a recipe and suggests that I put it up.
We made these the week he was at home ill. He had lost a lot of his appetite and I really needed him to get some nourishment into him as he was surviving on liquids, antibiotics and cough syrup!
“Oh no!” he exclaimed looking at the menu planner for the school cafeteria for the day. “I am missing quarkkeulchen at school today!”
That was all the motivation I needed. Quarkkeulchen are easy to make with simple pantry ingredients. They are soothing and satisfying and I knew Soeren would devour them.
Tom’s family comes from the German region of Saxony and quarkkeulchen are one of the specialties of this region. I adore Tom’s grandmother’s cooking, who at the awesome age of 90 still lives alone, baking and cooking some incredible dishes. She has a wonderful knack of serving Saxonian specialties, like lentil soup with hearty sausage or dumplings made of yeast and served with stewed cherries (also something I have been told several times to share) and quarkkeulchen smothered with cooked prunes.
It’s always an attraction for me to watch her cook. Her silver hair gleaming in the sunlit kitchen and her small hands kneading or chopping as she tells stories, sometimes happy but often sad, of how they fled the Nazis during the second world war. Both Soeren and I can listen for hours, my eyes often welling up at the courageous lady standing in front of me making one of her specialties for her great grandson and me.
Quarkkeulchen are typically made of boiled potatoes, quark cheese, flour and raisins and served with generous dollops of applesauce. Fritters, flat dumplings, pancakes - they have been called all sorts of names but they are and will always be quarkkeulchen and there is no mixing them with the other dishes. They are generally eaten during lunch time or as a afternoon snack.
My recipe is based on Tom’s grandmother’s recipe with a few of of my minor adjustments. I prefer adding dried cranberries or cherries to the quarkkeulchen and usually make either fruit compote or stewed fruit, spiced with cinnamon, cardamom or nutmeg. I also hang the quark overnight to make it thicker and cheesier, which gives the quarkkeulchen a great consistency.
Soeren and I wish you Guten Appetit.
Make double portions of these because I guarantee you, plates will be licked cleaned and you’ll be begged for more. They freeze easily and can be quickly defrosted in the microwave or in the oven on a low heat. Hanging the quark overnight makes the quarkkeulchen creamier, and adds a lovely tangy note to the dish. Quark is very much like fromage frais and with the consistency of cream cheese.The Saxonian quarkkeulchen however are not to be confused with the quarkkeulchen from Berlin. What gets sold in Berlin as quarkkeulchen is something quite different to the quarkkeulchen from Saxonia. They still contain quark, but there's no potato in the dough and they are deep fried as balls. The result is more like a donut.
My blueberry compote provides the perfect sweet balance adding a fruity highlight and the cinnamon provides a wonderful sweet warmth.
Hope for all those also fighting the icy frost - stay warm and stay well. For those who are basking in the summer’s sun - send us some of that warmth mate ;o)
Our Plate to Page workshops are designed not for the instructors to impose their style on others, but to help participants hone their own skills. We believe that all who attend Plate to Page are talented in their own right, even if they are personally feeling uninspired or in a creative rut. Often, inspiration is just waiting to be unleashed and all that is needed is the right environment, guidance, push and motivation. To give you an idea of the fantastic work produced on the workshops, we would like to present some of these assignments. Hope you enjoy a wonderful piece, an excerpt from what was produced by Marta Majewska and Elizabeth Pizzinato when asked to produce a foodie article and pictures in the style of a gossip magazine like Hello: Ciao Bella Contessa - a peek inside a Plate to Page assignment.
In April I’ll be in Dubai and giving a two day food photography and styling workshop at the stunning Nasimi Beach at Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai. If you are in the area and have always wanted to improve your food photography and styling skills come and join me.
Details as follows:
When: Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th April
Where: Nasimi Beach, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Your Instructor: Meeta K. Wolff
Your Host: Sally Prosser
Thank you to the awesome people at the Atlantis for sponsoring this event.
You might like these sweet ideas from WFLH:
|Lingonberry Dark Chocolate Buns||Saffron and Cardamom Doughnuts with Pistachios||Spiced Chocolate and Orange Bread|
All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2012 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First