I collect recipe books like some people collect shoes, stamps or antiques. I love recipe books and love to find previously loved treasures in charity shops and at flea market. When I buy a new book, I try and pick things that I’m unfamiliar with – I love to learn and I love to taste new things. So my latest purchase was Anja Dunk’s Strudel, Noodles & Dumplings.
I came across her book at the wonderful Wright’s Emporium near Carmarthen. This café come deli is a food lovers heaven or should that be haven? If you live anywhere nearby it’s worth a visit and if you are planning on a visit to West Wales, add this to your list of MUST VISITS. The menu is written up every day on a blackboard and changes daily – though it seems some things are constant. I imagine that’s because they get so many complaints if they are removed from the menu! The potato cakes are one such example and are legendary. They are served with a rich aioli sprinkled with deeply smoky paprika. Combined with a plate of charcuterie or char-grilled vegetables and a green salad this combo makes a perfect Autumn lunch.
Healthier but equally tasty options include seasonal salads like beetroot, celery, walnut and blue cheese salad - simple, perfectly balanced, nourishing and most importantly, delicious!
Anyhow back to the book…
I have books covering a lot of different countries cooking – countless Thai (my favourite), a growing number of Japanese (another favourite), too many to mention French (what I grew up with), muchas Spanish (I lived near Cadiz and it’s Lee’s favourite), a spattering of Moroccan, Indian and modern British – to name but a few. German though, is one that I don’t (or didn’t) have until now.
I have followed Anja on Instagram for a while now. She was born in Wales with a German Mother and Welsh Father. Her book is beautifully written and honestly photographed – as Anja points out, she is not a photographer but she took all the photos and they are all real. No clever trickery that you sometimes get and for me, the photos are beautiful and make you want to try the recipes and taste Anja’s food. Her fermented beetroot and simple sauerkraut sharpen up even the dullest of appetites and add a healthy probiotic boost. I have books on fermentation and rarely use them but her recipes made me want to make and eat these feel-good, taste-even-better foods.
And so I did make them and I’m so pleased I did!
A section on German ingredients focuses on spices and herbs that may already be familiar to you – but not in a German sense. Cumin is a spice I use a lot – I use it in Moorish, Spanish and Indian foods – a lot. Anja’s recipe for Cumin Butter Tomato Sauce to serve with noodles is so simple but so delicious. Herrings with rye and paprika is a revelation and Anja’s love affair with caraway is infectious. My nana used to make a caraway seed cake that I absolutely loved. I’m not a cake fan but hers was delicious and not too sweet and thanks to Anja’s book and a purchase of a pack of caraway seeds, I’m going to try and bake one this weekend. I’m also going to make Anja’s recipe for Creamed Savoy Cabbage which is spiked with caraway seeds which I will serve with some Glamorgan
Sausages (leek and cheese) for a meet-free, mid-week supper.
Whatever your cooking or eating this weekend, bon appetit x