Unusual Fact: In Germany it is illegal to run out of fuel on the highway

Image by: St Josephs University
Image by Inspired Luxury Escapes

Well, here we are. I cooked Germany in January. And now it’s September….. It’s been a pretty crazy 9 months, with everyday consisting of some kind of shakespeare, cell biology and integration. Even my past two holidays have been full on with trips to Byron Bay. Hobart and Japan. But for the next two weeks I’m back, so hopefully I will get a few countries done, no guarantees though, I’ll do my best.


So what did we make exactly 232 days ago? Sauerbraten with Napkin Dumpling and Sautéed Cabbage. The sauerbraten is beef marinated in vinegar and red wine, then cooked down with some vegetables and a whole host of flavours including raisins, ginger bread, star anise, and red current jelly. This whole meal will want to transport you to the middle of winter in Europe with snow falling outside, which is hard to imagine on a 30˚C night in sub tropical Australia.

The napkins dumplings were very fun to make. Getting your hands all squishy in there with the bread, milk and bacon. They do have to be cooked in a muslin cloth though, we just got ours from the baby section of the supermarket. Make sure you fry these off in some butter after they’ve been boiled for a quality time.

And finally the cabbage. I have to say that I went against hundreds of years of German’s perfecting this recipe and added a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. But I thought that it worked out perfectly. The sauerbraten and the dumplings are both quite stodgy, the acidic cabbage cut through this perfectly and complimented the meal without fault.


To finish it all off we dined on the epic dampfnudel. I personally really loved these, expect for the part where I forget they were on the stove, and they burnt onto the pot and it took 3 weeks to clean…

Dampfnudel are sweet dumplings, almost like bread rolls that are cooked in milk then served with custard and berries. Oh man they are good, just ignore the burnt bits on the pan and you’ll be laughing.


Sauerbraten recipe by SBS Food Safari

  • 200 ml red wine
  • 200 ml red wine vinegar
  • 500 ml water
  • 6 juniper berries (or more to taste)
  • a few star anise or whole allspice berries
  • a few peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 kg piece of beef brisket or rump
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, roughly chopped
  • a few flat-leaf parsley stalks
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • 60 g gingerbread from last Christmas, crumbled (optional)
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 100 g redcurrant jelly
  • 150 g sultanas or raisins


  • 1 large good-quality, day-old vienna loaf, crusts discarded and cut into chunky cubes
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 100 g speck, diced
  • duck fat or lard
  • 4–6 eggs
  • ½ bunchf lat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • a little freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh breadcrumbs if needed
  • butter (optional)


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 100 g speck, diced
  • 1 tbsp duck fat or lard
  • ½ cabbage, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1-2tbs apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • salt

Bring the red wine, vinegar and water to the boil. Add the spices and bay leaves and allow to cool. Place the beef, vegetables and parsley in a deep bowl and pour over the red-wine marinade. Marinate in a cool place (or in the refrigerator) for a minimum of 2 days, turning the beef frequently.

Take the beef out of the marinade and pat dry with paper towel. Rub the beef generously with salt and pepper. Heat some olive oil and a knob of butter in a heavy-based ovenproof pot and quickly seal the meat, browning well all over. Add the vegetables from the marinade and sauté with the beef.

Pour over the marinade liquid and add the gingerbread if using. Bring almost to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and braise the beef over low heat for 1½–2 hours or until the meat is tender. Add more water if necessary to keep the beef covered while it cooks.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Place the bread pieces in a bowl. Heat the milk and pour it over the bread. Sauté the onion and speck in a little duck fat or lard until the onion is glossy and the speck is cooked and add to the bread. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, mixing well with a wooden spoon. Add the parsley and nutmeg and season well with salt and pepper. If the mixture seems too dry you may need to add another egg or two. If it appears too wet, add a handful of breadcrumbs. Turn the mixture onto a piece of muslin cloth and shape into a large sausage. Roll up inside the cloth and tie the ends tightly with butcher’s string.

Carefully slide the dumpling into a saucepan of boiling salted water and cook for about 40 minutes. Remove from the water and let it cool a little before unwrapping and cutting into slices 2 fingers thick. You can serve the dumplings like this, or pan-fry the slices in butter to add a bit of extra flavour and crunchiness.

When the beef is cooked, remove it and keep warm. Strain the liquid, discarding the vegetables, and return it to the pot to reduce a little and form a sauce. Whisk in the sour cream and red-currant jelly and season well. Rinse the sultanas or raisins under warm water and add to the sauce. Keep simmering at very low heat.

To make the cabbage, sauté the onion and speck in the duck fat or lard until the onion is glossy and the speck is cooked. Add the cabbage and sauté for 2–3 minutes. Add the caraway seeds and a little salt.

Slice the beef and arrange on a warm plate. Dress with the sauce and serve with the hot dumplings and cabbage.


Damfnudel recipe by SBS Food Safari


  • 1 x 7 g yeast sachet
  • 90 ml warm milk
  • 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
  • 500 g (3⅓ cups) plain flour, sifted, plus extra, to dust
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 70 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 250 g punnets blueberries

Vanilla sauce

  • 500 ml (2 cups) milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 185 ml (¾ cup) double cream

Poaching liquid

  • 60 g unsalted butter
  • 310 ml (1¼ cups) milk
  • 55 g (¼ cup) caster sugar

Dissolve yeast in 60 ml warm water in a bowl. Stir in milk and 1 tbsp sugar, then set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 minutes or until mixture bubbles.

Place flour and remaining 90 g sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add eggs, melted butter and yeast mixture, then knead until combined. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or until dough is smooth (it will be slightly sticky). Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.

Meanwhile, to make vanilla sauce, heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat to just below boiling point. Place egg yolks, sugar, flour, vanilla and lemon zest in a large heatproof bowl and whisk until pale and thick. Whisking constantly, gradually pour in hot milk. Place bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water (don’t let bowl touch the water) and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes or until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and stir in cream. Strain through a fine sieve, then refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours until cold.

Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into 10 equal portions and roll into balls.

To poach dough balls, heat butter, milk and sugar in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Add dough balls, ensuring all are sitting on the base of pan, then immediately remove from heat and stand for 15 minutes or until balls double in size. Return pan to medium heat and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until balls soak up three-quarters of the liquid. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high and cook for a further 5 minutes or until bases of balls are golden and caramelised.

Carefully remove dampfnudel from pan and divide among serving plates. Spoon over vanilla sauce and top with blueberries, to serve.


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