Herb Quark: not a 70s jazz musician.


The linseed oil and chopped onions are traditional.

Here at Helsing’s kitchen we have been discussing lunch. Before we abandoned a camping trip yesterday – the mosquitos, the horseflies, the heat, the kayaking teenagers! – we stopped at a traditional Brandenburg place to eat. On the lunch menu were some delicious dishes. Two of the best were ferryman’s schnitzel filled with cucumber and horseradish served with fried potatoes and the other was stuffed beef rolls with dumplings like grandma used to make. There was also a venison goulash as a special of the week. This kind of solid, traditional home-cooking is called “Hausmannskost” in German. Continue reading


Cucumber soup, despite the mosquitos.

cucumber soup

Cool as a cucumber …

Here at Helsing’s kitchen we are scratching like a couple of mongrels with a bad case of fleas. Many dozens of mosquito bites, despite relentlessly spraying ourselves with anti-mozzie spray, is an unfortunate reminder of what was a brilliant day out yesterday in the watery Spreewald in south-east Brandenburg. It is an area of small waterways (or “Fließe”) formed after the last ice age and is home to the Sorbish people who have their own officially recognized language. The Spreewald was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1991.  Continue reading

It’s June, so it’s got to be herring!

Bismarck and Matjes

Bismarck and Matjes herring rolls, with the all-important liquid lubrication.

Here at Helsing’s kitchen we are feeling very mittel-European. That’s because it is the season for that very essence of middle-European food: herring. Even down at our local beach bar, which is very much a chips-beer-and-bratwurst kind of place, you can always get a herring roll. It’s a fast-food staple as much loved as burgers and currywurst in this part of the world. The herring that goes into the roll is what we know in English as soused herring. But, it gets more complicated. Our beach bar serves two kinds of herring roll: Matjes herring or Bismarck herring. The Matjes herring is slightly saltier and is served with onion rings. The Bismarck herring is less salty and is served with onion and pickled cucumber.   Continue reading