Mixed blessings

Categories:Guest Blogger
Lynn

Moving from Shropshire to Somerset recently has been life enhancing, traumatic, amazing, sad, exciting and terrifying.

Our life has become richer yet poorer. We’ve left behind family and friends and an exciting, burgeoning foodie culture.

But a greater adventure was undertaken by my friend & Supper Club diva Kerstin who  moved not only county but country a few months before us.

Kerstin embraces food like we embrace air and we share a passion for making preserves, cakes and great food. I wondered how she was finding the cultural differences and the foodie scene back in the country of her birth.

Ladies & Gentlemen, please put your hands together  and give a huge welcome to my first guest blogger….Kerstin Losch from  

Moving Out. Moving In. How was it for you?

After 25 years of living in Shropshire UK it was time to move back to Germany in the summer of 2013.  It took my husband some convincing but finally the time was right.

When something is meant to happen, everything suddenly falls into place and this is what happened to us; our house sold in record time, I secured a job in our chosen area close at the North Sea coast http://www.ostfriesland-tourism.com/ and a temporary flat was found which would hold all boxes and dismantled furniture until we knew where to put roots down again.

beach Ostfriesland Coast

beach Ostfriesland Coast

Obviously there was a lot of hard work, sweat and tears too, but in December 2013 we moved into our own house. All our belongings were finally unpacked again and put into their new place. Now we in the fourth season here and the house and garden are really shaping up. What a great opportunity to invent yourselves completely new.

How have you found settling in? Have you made yourselves at home?

We love the (completely flat) countryside around here and have clocked up many miles on our spanking new bikes which are the main mode of transport here.

many bikes

main mode of transport



In many ways Ostfriesland has a lot in common with neighbouring Holland where the countryside is shaped by canals, moors, windmills and the coast. Small harbours host a different fete most weekends during the summer months and there are 7 beautiful islands to discover.  We managed most of the historic harbours this summer and two of the seven islands they call the string of pearls along the North Sea coast here. Turning into autumn and winter there will be Christmas fairs and local bazaars to discover.  So far the weather has been much drier and warmer than we were used to from England.

At work I am parts of a small team of eight consisting of about four different nations. Olga and her husband Pol from the famous culinary Spanish region of Galicia were the first “foodies” we connected with. I had an almost commercial sized gas hob installed in my new kitchen which Pol especially likes to take advantages of.  It is great to get together and try all sorts like Moroccan or Spanish food and he conjured up some great sushi for us (obviously not on the gas hob but a Spanish fan was involved).

home made sushi

home made sushi


Being this close to the sea means we can get hold of great fish, especially any kind of herring variation you can imagine.

Herring Stall

Herring Stall


The peaty soil of the moors around here means fertile land for plenty vegetables and fruit.

Of course we are in the land famous for its gateaux and cakes.

cake

More cake?

We are still busy researching tea shops.  Yes, you heard right – we live in the only region of Germany which has a higher per head tea consumption than the UK! And I have it on solid Brit authority that the tea is GOOD!!  Our very soft water has something to do with it, as well as the typical strong East Frisian tea mixture which is popular here.

pot of tea, German style

Tea?


The tea is served in tiny egg shell thin china cups over a large sugar crystal (Kluntje) and the so called “cloud” of cream.

I am only too happy to introduce you to the traditional Frisian tea ceremony on day over here Lynn. (can’t wait – Lynn)  From my grandmother I even inherited the correct china and necessary silver spoons and tongues … http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/ptop/plain/A56992675

What is the food scene like in Ostfriesland?

One of the connections I am most excited about is Slow Food Convivium Ostfriesland. Several of the members live in our village and there is always something going on.

Recently we were invited to one of the beautifully restored traditional houses alongside the main canal through the village. Gabi and Reinhard are local Slow Food members and cooked up a great feast all around venison & game provided by a local game dealer called “The Little Poacher” (der kleine Wilddieb) who also lives around the corner from us.

I am looking forward to our German wine & cheese evening soon and a small local bazaar where I will actually sell a few of my preserves, British Indian style chutneys and Apple Chilli Jelly made from my first own apple harvest.

The biggest surprise however is the frantic foraging fever I experienced here.  I never knew that it must obviously be something in my German genes!!  In Ostfriesland you snooze you lose!!! On my morning bike ride to work I spotted a row of nice fat sloes and on the way home every single one was gone!! Next morning I was prepared and quickly picked as many as I could grab.  We did not fare much better with the blackberries even though the bushes were heavy along all the hedgerows and cycle paths.

Next year I have to come up with a sneaky plan – maybe towels covering bushes at dawn?

and what about the local preserves Kerstin?

Actually my theory there is that the shop bought varieties of jam here are so dreadful that every East Frisian “Hausfrau” worth her salt, ehm … sugar, makes her own.  I am not keen though on the frequent use of readymade pectin / sugar mixture every supermarket offers.  I will stick to my good old British recipes.

For the first time I have even tinkered with making marmalade as I cannot get hold of Lynn’s imaginative marmalade range (*big sigh*).

marmalade

Home made marmalade

Most neighbours and friends were doubtful about this “bitter” English spread but were completely won over by my offerings – a potential market here for you Lynn!

My résumé of the first ten months in our old / new homeland: we are definitely in the right place, we have a lot to discover still and could do with a few more friends to cook for and visit the many fairs with; but we are heading in the right direction and having fun!

Kerstin, Supper Club Hostess


Author:

2 Comments

  1. Lynsey
    October 29, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Lovely to hear of Kerstins adventures & yours too – love from a fellow expat foodie x

  2. Sharon Jenner
    Sharon Jenner
    October 28, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Good to read your guest blog and to know that Kerstins Kitchen is alive and well and blooming in Getmany . Our loss is their gain !