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A few weeks ago we caught the last of the snow in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a gorgeous town in the Bavarian area of southern Germany. We did a little skiing, but I was left wanting a summer visit to see more of the town itself and take the opportunity to take trips out to the surrounding sights.
Actually made up of two towns (Garmisch and Partenkirchen!), it only became one when they were forced to unite by Adolf Hitler in 1935, just before the Winter Olympics of 1936. These are not as famous as the summer Olympics held in Berlin later that year, but it was the first time that Alpine skiing was included in the games (won by Franz Pfnur, men and Christl Cranz, women) and the only time that the British team won a gold medal at the ice hockey!
Partenkirchen is the older of the two market towns, dating from Roman times, whereas Garcmisch appears to have built up hundreds of years later, and you can still feel this difference today. The Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain, overlooks the town, providing a dramatic backdrop.
Next time, I’d like to see the Partnach Gorge, where the Partnach river is forced through a narrow, mile-long gap between high limestone cliffs, the castles of Ludwig II, and to take the train to Innsbruck and Oberammergau.
Of course, I’d also like the opportunity to taste more the wonderful local pastries and would return to the Thron Café and Konditorei, a fabulously old fashioned spot for afternoon tea serving delicious cakes!
What does the gardener do during the long winter evenings when pottering in the garden simply isn’t an option? Well, at the moment, I’m dipping into a memoir by Joy Larkcom. Aside from having a glorious name, Joy is a gardening writer, who, during the 70’s, toured Europe to find out how people grew vegetables in different parts of the continent and to bring back rare varieties to the UK. Her work changed how we grow our veg today, as well as recording, in some cases, practices that were disappearing from the landscape. This memoir includes Joy’s writing from that trip, as well as her later discoveries in China and her own gardens back in the UK and later in Ireland. A wonderful companion for those winter evenings.
These little vegan, gluten free nibbles are great with a spicy salsa, in a pitta with garlic mayo, or even with ketchup and chips! The original recipe is surprisingly old, as it’s by Charles Walter Forward from 1891 and features in Early Vegetarian Recipes. That’s why the measurement for the lentils appears here as a 1/2 pint! It sounds odd to modern cooks, but I’ve found measuring out lentils in a pint jug to be pretty effective! I find that a greater proportion of rice than in the original holds the mix together better, and I’ve coated them here in gluten free flour rather than breadcrumbs. The flavouring I’ve used is as in the original, but they can also be spiced up with chilli, garlic or curry flavour for when you want to ring the changes!
1/2 pint shelled lentils
5 tblsp rice
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped into small pieces
1 pint water (and more if needed)
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
Salt and Pepper
Gluten free flour for coating (or use fine cornmeal)
Boil the lentils, rice and vegetables together until cooked and the mixture resembles a stiff paste. Add the pepper, salt, chopped parsley, and dried herbs and stir in. Leave the mix to cool completely.
Shape the mixture with your hands and a small spoon to make small patty shapes. Sprinkle some gluten free flour onto a plate, then coat each of the patties in the flour.
Cover the bottom of a frying pan with oil, and heat thoroughly. Fry the patties on both sides until brown.
Imagine having your own chocolate kitchen. Or your own chocolate chef! Apparently King George I had both of these things – one Thomas Tosier ruled over a small but vital room, preparing the King’s chocolate drink every morning, and for special dinners and entertainments. Tosier’s wife, Grace, was also something of a celebrity (see Grace Elliot’s blog here) and traded on her royal connections to promote her own chocolate house in Greenwich!
The chocolate kitchen is a recent discovery at Hampton Court Palace and has now been opened up and visitors will also be able to see chocolate making sessions in action. The demonstrations start on 18th April. I’m thinking these are going to be a must-see!