This month, we are enjoying various new recipes that I want to try out. Our cooking has developed quite a bit since we know each other. During our studies, we of course ate at the student restaurant which was, after all, ranked among the best in Germany. Unfortunately, this ranking didn’t really impress the food itself – I am not sure if the deep-fried mushrooms, the deep-fried cauliflower and the deep-fried leek (the whole leek! in one piece! Not cut! No kidding!) actually knew they were among the most delicious student food in Germany. And after a while (and some unfortunate hours in the bathroom after eating a Friday dish which was probably a mix from all the leftovers of the week) we preferred to cook at home. As we both studied international study programmes, we were in the lucky position to taste many international dishes. Karsten’s and my first dinner (we weren’t yet together) took place at the student room of Karsten’s Nigerian friend. It was a Nigerian dinner – which means that the small student room (15 square meters including the small kitchenette) was filled with 15 people. 10 of them from Nigerian, Cameroon and Ghana, and 5 from Germany and Greece. The 5 from Germany and Greece (including us) were served first and ate under the curious and slightly amused looks of everyone else (we ate it in the traditional way which means fingers instead of forks and spoons which was a first for me, but gave Karsten the opportunity to show off in front of me because he had already spent some time in Ghana and was able to eat in a very professional way). No need to say that it was absolutely delicious and we have had many African meals ever since (Karsten even ate the famous pepper soup which is made out of water, chilis, pepper, onions and dried beef skin. In contrast to many other African dishes this was a once and never again moment for him :-)).
We also learned how to cook a proper Italian ragù after our Italian friend was deeply appalled when she found out that Karsten and I love to eat spaghetti simply with ketchup and parmesan. Our Italian friend was very good cook anyway. When we once celebrated an international summer party with various international food stalls, she cooked all night (I am not joking! She finished it at 7am!) in order to offer proper Italian food.
Our Mexican friends invited us to Mexican dinners, I learned how to make Chinese dumplings (which keeps you busy for a whole day) and we enjoyed Russian food. As compensation, we were creative as well and as a result our student years turned out to be very delicious (and close to gluttony). These memories are filled with happy evenings, good company, laughter, jokes, interesting discussions and comedy of situation.
When the little one was born our cooking was a little more boring than usual. Breast-feeding somehow dictated the exclusion of spicy curries, too many onions or garlic and all those delicious but flatulent ingredients. This period was followed by some months were the little one started to insist on eating the same food as us so I had to be very careful with spices and ingredients as well. However, it turned out that our girl enjoys international food as much as we do (one of her favorites is mild curry with leek, chicken and pineapple) so slowly we are having “proper” meals again.
This evening, for example, we tried one of the recipes from the cookbook we ordered for christmas. The Sambukas (from Syria) turned out to be a little bit different than on the pictures in the recipes (as always) and I also needed 1,5 hours instead of the suggested 35 minutes, but they were delicious nevertheless.
And since Karsten’s ambition was suddenly sparkling again, he started to make paneer (Indian cheese) in order to cook an Indian vegetarian dish on Monday (our library is small but it has an excellent cookbook section in which I love to browse!). It’s the first time that we make our own cheese. So far, it looks very promising. The milk successfully flocculated and turned into cream cheese. Fascinating, I tell you! So cool!
Three hoorays for international cooking!