What I ate in Germany Part 2

Let’s carry on to take a look at what have I been consuming in Bremen, shall we? / Right, it’s not as if these people are very interested to know… but anyhoo!

Day 6

Another attempt at having a more luxurious and well-balanced breakfast. The toast doesn’t look very toasted because I put it in the oven and the heating element was too far to turn it a nice golden brown.

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Lunch AND dinner were the same thing, just that for lunch, I cooked for one person only to try out the golden ratio of rice to water. It was my first time cooking rice in a pot over the stove and I sorely missed the convenience of a rice cooker.

I used the leftover curry gravy to cook some diced chicken breast and cabbage. I used this cooking aid to make chicken rice. I first discovered it while studying in Perth, and this discovery has led to many more satisfying student dinners back then. I’m pretty sure it will continue to make me many more.
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Day 7

On this day, we were scheduled to take an evening train to Berlin via Hamburg, so I didn’t go to the supermarket to top up groceries, but rather tried to use up whatever was left in the fridge. So it was a japalang lunch of spaghetti with cream of mushroom sauce (actually soup, but I used less water), mixed veggies, the lone bockwurst, and some chicken breast.
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For dinner, it was a quick one at the sausage stand at the Hauptbahnhof. I got greedy and also requested for a small fries €1.60… which turned out to be like a large portion for me. They were also especially generous with their mayonnaise (additional €0.20 for sauce).
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Day 8

We skipped the official dinner the previous night and we were starving by the morning. It was a wet morning (downpour actually!) and we were due to meet our German friend at the U-bahn station nearby, so we grabbed a turkey breast bread roll at the store there. Sorry, too hungry so we wolfed it down. No pictures of that.

We settled lunch at the Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin because I requested for a traditional German meal after visiting the museum. So both our German friend and I had the schnitzel while ZH had the currywurst. We also ordered Apfelsaftschorle for drinks. Schnitzel was salty but I thought it was just me not used to German food so I kept quiet, until our German friend voiced out. Haha, glad to know that I’m not alone. Or maybe our German friend has gotten used to Singaporean food (his girlfriend is Singaporean and a friend of ZH’s).
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For dinner, we had our private chef cook up a meal of tomato cream pasta with mince beef. Simple but very tummy warming! It’s quite good that I think I might have to recreate it soon!
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Day 9

After checking out from our hotel in the morning, we headed to a cafe just opposite the U-bahn for breakfast before meeting our tour guide. Despite the language barrier, we still managed to order a breakfast set €4.80 to share. It was a typical European breakfast with fruit and cheese, with a boiled egg and crusty bread rolls. The bread was so good with the jam and butter! The set also came with a cup of coffee which was really smooth and fragrant.
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We each bought a pastry at the train station for a quick nom on the train back to Bremen but they were not good at all. So bad that I struggled to finish my pastry and ended up throwing it away 2 days later.

It was still pretty early when we reached “home”, so I cooked up some spaghetti for dinner. The supermarkets don’t operate on Sunday, so it was a “I’m still clearing the pantry” meal. Spaghetti with frozen vegetables and ham with tomato sauce, with a couple of lettuce leaves.
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One thing I realised via this Germany trip is that I really really dislike frozen peas and mixed vegetables. I can take frozen corn, frozen carrots, but when they all come together with frozen peas, it’s like “ewww. Get them away from me”.

Day 10

Nothing much to eat so I went to the supermarket in the morning and got us some mushrooms and meat. For lunch, I continued to clear the fridge. I’m seriously surprised by how much a 200g packet of ham, 500g of spaghetti and 250g of veggies can last us!

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I had cravings for beef, so I made us steak with sides of mashed potatoes and onions and mushrooms. The steaks were wonderfully pink in the centre (pan fried each side for 3 mins), but I may choose a different cut in future. I think this was rump and I thought it was a little bit tough. Or maybe I should have tenderized it a little before cooking. The onion and mushrooms were so gorgeous, I should have made more, and it was so easy to cook.

Simply saute the onions in the unwashed pan after frying the steak so that it sorta deglazes the pan and cooks the onions with the steak juices. Add in sliced mushrooms after the onions have softened and also some salt and pepper to taste.
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Day 11

I was at IKEA in the morning, bought myself a pair of “EXTRA SHORT” jeans from the mall next to IKEA and then returned home for lunch. Leftover mashed potatoes, a couple of slices of ham and a sunny side up. Man, I’m getting good at frying sunny side ups! And making up japalang meals for myself using leftovers.

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But I remember I made beef stroganoff with mushrooms for dinner. It was super yummy. *Sad face that I couldn’t find the photo* Or maybe I was too hungry to remember to take photos. That situation occurs quite frequently.

Do you have that problem too? It’s like “ok, I must remember to take photo of this meal since it sounds so yummy” Then the next minute the food arrives and *ATTACK!!!!*. Mid-way through the meal, then “alamak, forgot to take photo again”. -_-”

Day 12

I ate like a pig today. Probably because I know I was returning home soon and that I need to live it up in Bremen! LOL… so I ate non-stop with nary a care about weight.

I settled for an early lunch at Nordsee to avoid the crowd (Crowd? What crowd? This is Bremen, not Orchard Road or Raffles Place!) and with sign language and simple English, I managed to order myself this Fish Fillet Champignon. Oh, and a nice hibiscus tea as well. I miss fish. And seafood. Despite the city being near the sea, I cannot find any fresh prawns or squid in the supermarkets! Only frozen ones…

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I finally caved in to my craving and got myself soy yogurt. This milk protein allergy has got me quite frustrated at times because I do love my dairy products and it’s not easy trying to avoid it at all. But luckily, Alpro has got some lovely products! I tried making my own soy yogurt before back when I was crazy over making homemade yogurt with my Severin yogurt maker, but it was just horrible! I wonder what went wrong.

Anyway, it was just €1.99 for 4 tubs of delicious soy yogurt. Why don’t we have this in Singapore?!?!

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Our 2nd dating anniversary coincided with the trip, so I requested for a dinner at a restaurant. I can’t believe that ZH forgot about it, so did he. *Throws hands up in the air* But anyway, we aren’t the type to make a big hoo-ha out of special occasions, and so I wasn’t too bothered about the fact that he forgot. I did have a lot of fun teasing him about it though.

We visited Loui & Jules, a restaurant that was situated near the city, next to the river. I came across this restaurant when I was searching for “what to eat in Bremen” and read its review on an English blog. The restaurant only had German menus, but my German was good enough to guess what was what. LOL.

The restaurant served us complimentary bread (oh, have I mentioned how much I love bread? Germany is made for me!), and we had cute little frying pans to contain the olive oil dip for the bread. Loui & Jules produces their own range of olive oils and BBQ sauce which were absolutely stunning. There were 3 types of olive oils: natural, lemon, and red pepper which had just the slightest tinge of heat. We were pretty tempted to buy a bottle of the lemon olive oil home (Singapore), but decided against it because we know we will be back soon!
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Being small eaters, we skipped the appetizers and went straight for the mains. I had a pulled pork burger which was quite salty, but that’s German cuisine for me – almost everything is quite salty to me. Other than that, I absolutely loved the cool creamy coleslaw. The beef patty was a little dry though.
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ZH ordered a rumpsteak (150g). Looked tiny on the giant plate but was the perfect serving size since we also ordered a truffle fries and Mediterranean vegetables to share. The entire meal set us back by around €40, including drinks. I’d love to return in summer, just to enjoy a light meal by the river. That would be lovely, me thinks!
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Day 13

Alright! We had a feast the night before and we are back to our regular schedule of cheap, easy meals. Does this look like Chinese noodle soup? Hee hee! It is actually spaghetti soup. We had the same soup with rice for dinner. I need to increase my repertoire of recipes if I’m going to be a full-time housewife!

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Day 14

On the final stretch of the journey, really really clearing the fridge for sure now!

Remember the bratokoffeln I mentioned in my previous post? Yeap, it was still sitting in the fridge, until the very last day! So, I just made myself a simple breakfast of that, an egg, ham and a tomato. Blergh, the potatoes were dry and horrid. I’m pretty sure it’s not meant to be that way. Perhaps it was just not nice frozen.
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I got us some nice cocktail prawn salad the day night and so I had it over lettuce and tomato (sorta like a salad dressing), together with some chicken patties. Note to myself: 100% chicken patties are bone dry. Do not make these again.
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That day was also the opening day for Freimarkt, the world’s oldest fun fair, so we headed down to the city centre at around 4pm to join in the festivities. Got ourselves some fruit wine, some expensive and delightfully salty ham (super nice!!) and met up with the rest of the guys for the first time. We also shared a bowl of champignons €4. I love mushrooms!
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Day 15

Ok, our real final DAY in Bremen because we are going to fly home at 6pm!!! The hotel we were staying at were fully booked and so no chance for late checkout. But I think they probably will charge us for late checkout even if they were not full.

We just finished up the perishables (like the half tub of cocktail prawn salad, 4 slices of bread, 4 slices of ham, and the half bottle of Apfelsaftschorle) before checking out, storing our luggages in the hotel’s office and heading out to one of the apartments that the company rented for the Batch 1. We had pantry items to pass to the guys, such as cooking oil, paper towels and onions. LOL.

For lunch, ZH and I headed back to Freimarkt and gorged on more food. I so love the mushrooms from the previous night and got them again.
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I also caved in to my cravings and thought “what the heck, just eat it”. I ordered us a fried camembert with cranberry sauce.IMG_6615

Labskaus has been on ZH’s mind all the time, so despite its ugly outlook, we gave it a try and were glad that we did. It was fantastic! I loved the vinegary tang of the pickled beetroot with the salty beef.
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To end the feast, it was Baileys and Nutella poffertjes!
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What I ate in Germany Part 1

It’s going to get hard to do a day by day post of my 15 day trip in Bremen, so I’ve decided to split the entire trip into ‘sections’ – what I ate, what I did, what I saw, where I went, what I bought. First up, as always, food is the dearest topic, so just a quick recap of what I ate, cooked or bought.

Day 1

My first meal was actually rostbratwurst (€2.10) – a  sausage in a crusty bread roll. We didn’t actually know how to order it because neither of us spoke German and I didn’t know what was it called in German, so we just pointed at what we wanted. We followed what everyone else did – stand around the cocktail tables in front of the food kiosk and finish up the food before moving on. The rostbratwurst was yummy and so easy to eat (didn’t require any utensils!). At €2.10, it was also one of the cheapest meals we had in the entire trip.

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That same night, we cooked something more fanciful, apart from the usual spaghetti and jarred pasta sauce that ZH makes for himself on weeknights. We went to the supermarket and bought ourselves some bacon slices, fresh mushrooms and chicken fillets. I modified the recipe a little as I wanted to maximise what we already had in the pantry. For the sauce, I used powdered soup (mixed with a little water, not too much or it won’t be a sauce anymore) and I served it over spaghetti for a more substantial meal. It was delish! So little work for so much flavor!
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Day 2

We shared a rollo (bought from the kebab store at the Bremen Hauptbahnhof). It was €4 for 1 rollo, so I suppose this was even cheaper than the rostbratwurst we had the previous day. This rollo was sooooo good! Granted the beef slices were a little dry but I guess it’s a given with any kebab since the meat has been grilling for “dunno how long”. But the chili sauce that they put in the rollo more than made up for it! It tasted like a magic mix of mayonnaise, sweet chili and siraccha. Love the shredded veg they included as well – tons of fresh, crunchy veggies!
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We also had the most wonderful gelato in Bremen, and it only costs €1 per cone! This was at Weserpark Eiscafe Venezia. Ice cream was not on our minds when we entered the mall (after all, it was kinda cold outside), but we saw many people having a cone in their hands and decided to go check the hype. The gelato was extremely rich and the cheap price definitely made it even yummier!
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For dinner, I decided to make a pseudo-Shepherd’s Pie. Why “pseudo”, you may ask. Because I didn’t use mashed potato for the topping, and I didn’t really cook the mince according to recipe. I used this recipe as inspiration and just made it up as I went along cooking. The potato topping was mashed up frozen bratkartoffeln, because that was bought by ZH a week ago and still sitting in the fridge. The filling was just sauteed onions and garlic with beef mince and frozen veggies. It didn’t really taste like a shepherd’s pie but more like just beef mince and some potatoes. Will definitely need to “beef” up the taste (pun totally intended! LOL)
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Day 3

I tried to make the man a nice hot breakfast instead of cold muesli on a cold morning. So I pan fried 2 bockwursts and 2 eggs for the man. Those eggs were super fresh!! Something simple since I didn’t have much to work with.
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For a mid-morning snack, I had a butterkuchen. €0.90 for the slice you see below

Insert tidbit here: I was at the farmers’ market snooping around the food trucks. The friendly lady “hello-ed” me and asked if there was anything I would like in German but I didn’t know what was good (there were no tags nor labels). So I asked what was good in English and she couldn’t understand nor speak English. She probably guessed what I was saying and started to ask if I would like this or that or that etc. And I picked up on the word “butter”! I remember reading about this popular Bremen snack cake with the word “butter” in it! And so “one slice please”.

It was a cross of bread and streusel cake, with the base dough slightly chewy (like a focaccia) and the middle a little moist with lots of butter dotted in between. The toppings were sugar with sliced almonds.

I subsequently tried a few more different bakeries but none of them were as good as this.
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For my first lunch alone, I decided to have a Nordsee mix box (fried prawn, fish fingers and calamari rings with some wedges), with a cup for soy latte from Starbucks. The restaurant at the city centre was packed to the rafters so I decided to do a takeaway box from the Hauptbahnhof and luckily I did because the guy at the HBF spoke pretty good English and so did the Starbucks guy. Interestingly as well, the Starbucks guy also spoke a bit of Mandarin (!!) because he did an exchange program at an university in Beijing.

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ZH wanted a simple instant noodles dinner. I supplemented the dinner with some leftover mince and veggies. Instant noodles were brought over to Bremen.
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Raspberries were on offer at the supermarket, only €1.79 for a 250g punnet! That’s about S$3, whereas it would cost around S$6 for a 80g punnet here!
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Day 4

I was at the outlets shopping park this day and they didn’t have many food choices available, PLUS it was drizzling so I zipped into the nearest familiar store – MacDonalds! Gosh, everything was expensive there so I picked the cheapest meal which was the Filet meal at €4.99 (I think)
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It was homecooked dinner again: onion omelette and cabbage with meatball soup with rice. If you notice, the same ingredients have been appearing in several of our meals (because the supermarket didn’t have any smaller packets!) LOL
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Day 5

Made french toast with a side of oven roasted tomatoes for breakfast.

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Lunch was just a currywurst (€2.40), not that I wasn’t hungry but I was upset with myself for forgetting to claim tax at Primark (about €17). So after I was done shopping, it was a quick lunch at the food court and a gelato cone (Raffello flavor, but the cone wasn’t good) and I went home to mop over my mistake.

The currywurst was pretty good and I liked that they sprinkled curry powder over the sauce, upping the spice factor. But it was quite a lot of sauce, and it was pretty salty too.
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Dinner was much better since I cooked curry chicken and a side of stir fried cabbage/lettuce and mince, topped with fried onions. We invited the boys over for dinner. I bought a total of 1kg of chicken thighs and I was glad that the boys polished them off! We only had the curry gravy left over and I used that for lunch the next day.

Curry paste was brought over from Singapore, and it was our favorite A1 brand! I actually spent around 1 hr at the supermarket that morning because 1) I wasn’t sure which chicken parts to purchase (they were all labelled in German, so I had to stand around and wait while Google Translate was loading at snail pace), and 2) I couldn’t find evaporated milk and Google Translate told me “kondens milch” is evaporated milk. Er…. I don’t read German but I’m pretty sure that kondens milch is sweetened condensed milk. Anyhoo, I took a picture of the packet and sent it to my German colleague in Singapore to help confirm. LOL.
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What I did in Germany

Or maybe I should be more city specific and say “Bremen“! Because I was living the life of a housewife. No, seriously I was. I wasn’t travelling around Germany like an avid tourist.

For the first week, I was like a dutiful wife, waking up early together with my husband and ate breakfast with him. For breakfast, we had muesli on most mornings because ZH bought 2 large boxes of that before I arrived, so we had to clear those up or throw the balance away when we left. But in any case, cereal/muesli was fine since we didn’t have time to head out for breakfast anyways.

After he got changed and went off to work at 8.30am, I would then do the dishes, handwash some clothes (because we didn’t have a washing machine and the hotel charges 6 Euros for a bag of clothes – I’m too cheap for that, so I wash the clothes in the bathtub and hang them out in the living room or balcony to dry).

Sometimes I would slack around in the room, playing Farmville and chatting with friends on the GMT+8 timezone, but I’d still walk to the supermarket around 10-ish to get groceries for the day. Mainly to get out of the housekeeper’s way and also because my friends on the GMT+8 timezone would have knocked off from work and are on their way home.

After getting back from the supermarket, it would be around late morning and I’d whip up a simple lunch for myself. I hardly eat out because 1) the portion is too huge for me and I don’t like to waste food, 2) it actually costs quite a fair bit to eat out. Then it’s time for me to go explore what Bremen has to offer, be it shopping malls or tourist spots.

I usually cover one area in a day because I only have about 4 hours before ZH knocks off from work and I like to be home when he gets back from work. Sometimes, I do my routine the other way round, meaning I go out to the touristy spots in the morning, come back for lunch and go to the supermarket after that.

That was the first week.

The second week saw me sleeping in till 9am and ZH has already reached his office. HAHA. Yeap, I didn’t eat breakfast with him anymore. And because my second week there was also ZH’s last week in Bremen, we had to clear as much pantry and groceries as we can, so my breakfasts were a little more varied. Sometimes a fried egg with ham sandwich, sometimes muesli, sometimes a simple ham sandwich with whatever veggies I find in the fridge.

Bremen is a small city, and so whatever tourist spots and shopping malls they had, I’ve already been there in the first week. So I merely just took walks along the river (a stone’s throw away from the hotel), or head to the city centre to browse through the farmers’ market, or just walk around looking at stuff around the city centre. There was one day I even went to IKEA. Obviously I didn’t purchase anything from IKEA but it’s good to compare prices anyhoo. LOL

It may sound like I wasted 2 weeks of my time in Bremen, not doing much, but I suppose that’s going to be the way I live after marriage. And I had better get used to it fast!

Germany in October

Guten tag! I’m in north Germany now, visiting the boy who is on his last week of a 7 weeks training course. Prior to coming here, I wasn’t sure of what to expect since Germany wasn’t really high up on my “places to visit” list. But since arriving here a week ago, this place reminds me of Perth (albeit the language difference). It’s the same kind of autumn weather, shops close early and same kind of laidback lifestyle.

I haven’t been going much out since Bremen is a small town. The city centre was covered in a day or two. The shopping centres each took about a day as well. So basically, my days are quite relaxed and I’ve been cooking quite a fair bit. It’s just cheaper to cook your own meals than to eat out all the time (not many shops around where the boy is staying at).

I’m really liking it here.