Even years like this are punctuated by rituals and customs, and one of the nicest things about living in Germany is the marking of the seasons with special food and drinks. Here in the north, the year starts with Kohl und Pinkel,

proceeds through a summer full of asparagus to an autumn of promise in ‘Bohnen, Birnen, Speck’ – beans, pears and bacon, knowing that Christmas markets with mulled wine, Schmalzkuchen and gingerbread is just around the corner.

At the beginning of September, regions south of us start to think afresh about wine. The very first wine produced is called ‘Federweißer’.

It’s sweet, and fizzy, and refreshing, often with not too much alcohol and towns and villages have special Federweißer festivals. Here’s one in Landau:

Watching that makes me sad. That’s how life used to be, and for sure we didn’t appreciate it enough.

Anyway, there’s a special food to go with your glass of Federweißer – Zwiebelkuchen, ‘onion cake’, and even though we have no festivals we can now invite friends to join us – at a distance – at home, which is what we did yesterday, and I made a Zwiebelkuchen. I had never made it before, but found a recipe in the internet, which unusually for me I followed carefully, and it tasted very good.

Zwiebelkuchen (Serves at least 10, very filling!)

Dough: Mix 200g quark, 400g flour, 1 egg, 8 dsp oil, 8 dsp milk, a pinch of salt and 2 tsp baking powder to a soft dough. Press the dough into a lined baking tin.

Topping: Peel and slice 1 kg of onions. Fry them gently until transluscent. Cool. Add 40g melted butter, 300ml sour cream, 300g yoghurt, 300g ham, chopped, 300g grated cheddar cheese, 1 dsp cornflour, 3 eggs, salt and pepper.

Spread topping onto dough and bake at 200° for 20-25 minutes.

Guten Appetit!

The Cabin Fever part




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