Sunday, 7 December 2008

More German Delights

Yesterday my flatmate and I went to the German Christmas Market in Edinburgh city centre. Every year a bunch of Germans come to Edinburgh and set up a traditional market as part of the city's Christmas celebrations. We just went for the food, but next week once exams are over I'm going to go again for the ice skating and the chair-o-planes.

There were quite a few stollen stalls, although all the stollen had marzipan in, which I don't really like. I think my hatred stems from eating it as a child when I thought it was just icing. I might try to make some stollen if I have time this Christmas, I've already made Christmas puddings (that are currently maturing in the cupboard) so it is really down to how much food we can eat! I am torn between stollen and panettone as my favourite Christmas themed baked good.

We went round the market and ate something from most of the food stalls. We got some pork steaks with garlic mayonnaise. The pork was very succulent, and the mayonnaise was very garlicky. I think they must have boiled the pork steak as well as grilling it, as it had a similar texture to a frankfurter rather than a standard pork chop, which can be a bit dry.

What it lacked in looks it made up for in taste. You can also see the fried potatoes we got, they were a bit bland in my opinion but the little bits of crispy bacon mixed in with them livened them up a bit.

The potatoes and the steaks were cooked in a giant skillet, with the fresh stuff cooking on one side while the stuff that was ready was kept warm on the other. I find there is something very appealing about eating from a massive dish, it makes you feel like you are part of a big event rather than one rather cold student eating their dinner in freezing weather.

We also got some wheaty German beer that I thought was called "Paula" but it turned out that the sign was just half hidden. It is incredibly cold in Edinburgh at the moment so taking off our gloves to eat the pork and the drink the beer meant our hands were frozen. So we headed over to the Gl├╝hwein stall and stocked up on mulled wine and ginger biscuits.

It came in these little jugs, complete with a pouring lip. It wasn't bitter but it wasn't too sweet either. In the market, anything that comes in proper glass or on a proper plate (such as the wine and the beer) means you have to pay a deposit that you get back when you return the glass. I was quite tempted to take the beer stein but the mulled wine jug was a little too tacky for me.

Finally we finished the night with one of my favourite things: Poffertjes. These are tiny Dutch pancakes that come with butter and icing sugar. Other sauce options are not authentically Dutch! They are probably hideously bad for you, but they are super delicious and remind me of when I went to the Netherlands to visit a friend who was studying there, and the whole weekend was the quest for the perfect poffertjes. I have only seen them in the UK at Glastonbury and the continental market that sometimes pops up in Edinburgh, although you can buy the pans to make them on ebay, so maybe that is something to investigate further!