Thursday, 31 January 2008

A call to (culinary) arms

The Germans are coming! To the barricades! Dont mention the war!

Seriously, the Germans are coming - the first tranche of clan Beloved for 2008 invades arrives next Wednesday. Beloved's younger brother Frank, his wife Katja and their 3-year-old, Maya. I'm really excited because it will be great fun to have them visit, but I'm also a little apprehensive.

I am pleading for your help, dear friends. Have mercy on me and my kitchen!

I thought our family were big eaters, until I met the Beloveds. They are seriously big eaters. Actually, theyre quite normal for the Germans in general; if you've never eaten out in Germany (or a German-themed restaurant), then buckle up your appetite and hang on.

Here's a meal Beloved had (just him, its a single serve) in a pub one night. Just a regular pub. Its a sort of mixed grill, and those long things opn the left are crumbed, deep-fried asparagus with hollondaise sauce. Then there's pork, steak, turkey and fried potatoes. And a salad on the side that you cant see.

Thats a frypan folks, a 25cm (10") diameter frypan. Holy hardening arteries, Batman, charge those paddles.

Anyway. Our visitors are big eaters. Last time they visited, with two other friends, between the 4 of them they used an entire 400ml bottle of sweet chilli sauce on one bbq meal.

That in itself doesnt usually frighten me, I just make more, but they are also very conservative eaters.

Frank has a saying: "the farmer eats what the farmer knows". In Bontkirchen, the farmer doesnt know Italian or Thai or Moroccan or Mexican or Indian or Chinese. Or anything that doesnt eat grass.

Bang goes three-quarters of my repetoire.

I hesititate to say he's a "fussy eater", he'll usually give something a try, but he's certainly a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. Katja is much more adventurous, and often bemoans that Frank's tastes are pretty pedestrian.

Its also very warm here right now, so my usual fall-backs of stews and casseroles are off the menu.

And there's only so many bbq's we can have a week without endangering the local cow and sheep population (and my sanity).

So, I'm after your suggestions for quick and easy fare that will fit the bill. My requirements are:
  • filling
  • quick (I work!)
  • not too challening to the tastebuds
  • not too heavy on the budget
  • child-friendly (but non-fussy kids)
So far, my list includes things like spag bol, schnitzels (Ja whol!), meat with sauce (eg. steak with mushroom sauce), pasta bake, roast chicken.

Seriously, I'd love an email or some ideas in the comments. Please!

You dont want to see a grown pregnant woman cry, do you?


Rose Red said...

My god that's a lot of meat!! And sweet chili sauce!

I think roasts are always a good option, as you can change the meat so it's kind of like a different meal. How about rissoles and veg? Or shepherd's pie, or even stir fry, but I guess fairly plain (ie not thai style). Good luck!

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

He didn't eat that whole thing did he?....DH has realized that the middle age spread is upon him and has stopped binging at the supper table. Other wise he'd be right there with Beloved.

Do you have acess to a slow cooker/ crock pot (or whatever they call them is Aus? That's what I use in the summer months for a stew.

Alwen said...

Well, I can't be any help where cooking is concerned, but have to add my "Whoa!" to the comments on that skillet!

amy said...

I got nothin', Georgie. So sorry. While in Germany I stuck to spaghetti bolognese and beer, because it was the only thing I could decipher on the menu. (Germany and I, we didn't get along so well.) I'm curious as to what you'll come up with, though!

kms said...

good lord check out that frypan. so i am no gourmand, but my thinking is marinated beef/lamb kebabs on the bbq with potato salad; maybe make schnitzels into burgers one night and serve with oven chips and maybe some homemade pizzas with supermarket bases but covered in lots of sausage and cheese? maybe once they realise how hot it is theyll be happy with tomato sandwiches and lemonade :)

gemma said...

How about roasts???
All I can really say is good luck. ps sausages sound good, and a second mortage if all else fails to lay in a few cows ....

TinkingBell said...

Pasta, quiche, more pasta, risotto, kebabs, lots and lots and lots of new potatoes, roasts (as per above) chicken/mince pies, fried rice, chinese (australianised) - eg sweet and sour pork, oh and toad in the hole!! and lots and lots of BBQs - go get 'em gal!

Michelle said...

Gawd, and it's so hot, cooking will be the last thing you'll want to do!

I suggest making a huge variety of salads - bean, potato, greek - and your sides are done.

I also humbly suggest my Porco Pizzaiola recipe Just double it! And if you use eggplant instead of meat, they'll never notice it!

My other suggest is three little words - Pide House Banquet. If you get it as a takeaway, it will be so huge I doubt they'll be able to finish it all off.

With a Q said...

Two word for you Georgie - Slow Cooker

Big meals, cheap cuts, no heating up the kitchen

Bells said...

Holy mother of God!! Why do we always hear about Americans and their big serves but never the Germans!

Ditto on the salads and the slow cooker. I have one you can borrow if you don't have one. It's only been used to dye wool once!

Jamie Oliver has a fabulous, tasty and light pasta salad that I make often. It feeds a hoard. You could add that to the list.

You have your work cut out for you.

oh and deep fried asaparagus??? WOW!

Em said...

Gracious, that's enormous! I'm with Bells, why do people think Americans eat too much if that's a German meal?

I have some recipe ideas to e-mail to you that you might find useful for girding your loins for feeding the masses, hopefully they'll help a little. I have similar requirements for meals over here, I see where you're coming from.

Anonymous said...

Oh my.

Last night I managed to buy some leg ham at three dollars a kilo. If I lived closer I'd buy you a few. That and salad etc would be quick and easy. Coles is selling some hams at $4.99 a kilo this week.

What about some Mexican style things like burritoes or taco? You'd need a bunch but eveyone assembles their own and you could even could make it blander by adding way more meat.

I also add red lentils to mince dishes. Add about 30 minutes before you are prepared to serve it. The lentils disappear and the sauce is creamier.

Good luck.

Donna Lee said...

I second the slow cooker idea. You can put almost anything in there and have filling meat and potatoe dishes without running the oven all day. Some nice jambalaya with sausage and shrimps over rice? Or is that too fancy?

amy said...

Of course I will send you the stuffed shells recipe--but doesn't that fall under "the farmer doesn't know Italian"? At any rate, I'm very loosey-goosey on quantities, but I'll send it over, so look for it. ;)

Anonymous said...

I'd make whatever you want to, and serve it with masses of potatoes (chips/salad/roast/fried - whatever goes best) on the side - he can fill up on those.

And take them to the Austrian Club at Mawson for a pigs knuckle - it is the biggest meal for one person you can get in Canberra - it comes out on a serving tray. (Once you cut off all the fat and the bone it isn't so massive - but it looks impressive.)

Anonymous said...

If you're going Mexican, quesidillas also keep people happy without being threatening. I make them for non-veggie friends, but they're just as good with meat in them.

What about stroganoff or kedgeree? Bread is good for filling up men, too. Good luck! It sounds like you'll need it :-)

Jejune said...

Oh good heavens above 0_o

Come over and talk recipes with me, my dear, I have a ton of cookbooks for easy fast meals. I can ply you with tea to ease the pain :)

Kuka said...

Rose Red beat me to it with the shepherds pie.
You could actually do a whole bunch of mince one (cooler)day, then freeze and break up the bbqs with lasgne/sheperds pie/spaghetti/tacos etc
Roast would be a good idea - depending on the weather - and baked potato too.
I like the Turkish pide idea...

Souhair said...

Veggie soup and good bread
Frittata and salad
Quiche and salad
Cold meats and salad
Bought roast chicken and salad
Smoked fish, good bread and salad

Casp said...

What about lamb stew?

Heaps of cheap lamb chops, heaps and heaps of potatoes, carrots and onions, and boil it up for hours.

You'd need a really massive pot for the hordes though.