I’ve been very reliant on a certain German to see me through after nights out in the centre. Herman ze German is located near Trafalgar Square and is very convenient if you’re travelling from Charing Cross or Embankment stations. They open till late…and the exact time seems to depend on the night and how many people show up.

I like their simple menu featuring only three types of sausages – Bratwurst (pork and veal), Bockwurst (smokey pork) and Chilli beef (spicy beef and pork). That said, I would love them more if they also served a Käsekrainer but I think that’s really Austrian. They also have meatballs but I’ve never visited when they had them available.

Currywurst

That’s a plain currywurst above. While I do like their sausages as is, in a bun with mustard/ketchup and crispy fried onions, their currywurst has to be my favourite. The curry sauce that comes slathered on top of the cut-up sausage comes in three levels of heat: mild, hot, and burner, but from what I could tell, I think there’s just one curry sauce and then varying amounts of a chilli powder sprinkle.

This is my usual order though – a currywurst with fries (it’s a little over a fiver altogether).

Currywurst with Fries

I have no idea how they make fries that are cooked with no oil. They don’t have the same texture as fried fries but you do feel less guilty eating these. Very addictive too when dipped in that curry sauce and do try to get them to sprinkle those crispy fried onions on top if you can.

Herman ze German
19 Villiers Street
London WC2N 6NE

Herman ze German on Urbanspoon

Oh, the summer is leaving us this year but I can still reflect back on some great al fresco meals we’ve had – ok, who am I kidding? I have a bit of a photo backlog from this summer and I’m finding a few gems here and there to share with you. Like that day we went bicycling along the Thames and the path was so pebbley that I thought either one of my tires would get a puncture or my teeth were going to jiggle out. And then we came home and used Google Map Pedometer to map our ride and it turned out to be 30km – nice. Only when I thought about it, it felt like much longer since we were negotiating all those pebbles.

At about lunchtime that day, we’d reached Richmond – no coincidence since I’d timed for us to arrive there for our midday meal. We were headed for Stein’s, a consistently busy beergarden on the Thames serving Bavarian food and beer. It was a fine day when we got there but do call ahead if the weather’s bad (as suggested on their website). I can’t remember if they had outdoor heaters.

We parked nearby, secured our table, and I joined the long queue for food. The queue moved at a snail’s pace, what with the people wishing to practice their German, people unclear on what to eat, people unclear on the drink policy (drinks are only served with a main meal and a pretzel is not a meal!). Drinks you collect immediately but the food is brought to you when it’s ready. To drink, I had an Almdudler sparkling herbal lemonade imported from Austria; no photo of it but it tasted like a slightly gingery lemonade – gorgeous stuff.

Bayerische Schlachtplatte

To eat, we ordered the Bayerische Schlachtplatte – a Bavarian Sharer platter for 2: A selection of grilled Nuernberger, Thueringer and Polnische pork sausages & bacon, served grilled with lots of sauerkraut and potato mash, all with a little Bavarian flag on top. While the little Nurnberg bratwursts weren’t up to scratch, the Polish style one and the big Thuringer bratwurst were both delicious, as were the Polish sausage and the bacon. The bacon was actually sublime – porky and meaty and a far cry from the watery specimens found at most supermarkets. The big slab that looks like Spam is Leberkäse (don’t worry – no liver and no cheese in it) and it was very moreish as it wasn’t as salty as the version I’ve tried previously. The sides were alright – nothing can compare to the memory of the porky sauerkraut I tried in Munich!

Bayerische Schlachtplatte

The platter might look huge but we managed to put it away rather easily and also found space for a slice of mediocre Sachertorte. A number of cakes are on display for dessert and are joined by a few others listed on the menu – I’m up for trying the Dampfnudel mit Vanillesauce next time! Actually, what I’d like to do is gather a group of friends to try Die Grosse Bratwurst Sause (a whacking huge platter) for 6-8 people!

Stein’s
Richmond Towpath
Rear of 55 Petersham Road
Richmond TW10 6UX

Stein's on Urbanspoon

I first tasted spaetzle in Munich where it was simply boiled and served with a meatloaf-like dish covered with a mushroom gravy. They’re delicious little pasta blobs that soak up flavour from any additions. I have to admit though that I didn’t think much about recreating such a dish – I’ve seen recipes for spaetzle online but I had no time to make it from scratch or at least, I preferred to use my time to make other complex dishes.

Then, last week, I found a bag of ready-made spaetzle at one of my local shops. They were already cooked and only needed a brief spell in boiling water to heat them up – a perfect base for a weekday dinner. After a friend mentioned the addition of cheese and butter, I took a look online and came up with this rendition of käsespaetzle, cheese spaetzle. It’s total comfort food – starch, cheese, butter – and would be perfect for a chilly evening.

Käsespaetzle

Käsespaetzle
serves 2.

500g bag of spaetzle
3 tbsps butter
1 cup grated cheese (gruyere preferable, but I used a mild cheddar since that was what I had in the flat)
2 onions, thinly sliced
salt and black pepper

In a pan over medium heat, heat some olive oil and then slowly fry the sliced onion – you want them slightly caramelised and a light brown. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

In the meantime, bring a pot of water to the boil. When the water’s boiling, boil the spaetzle for 2 minutes – I had to do this in a few batches. Drain and mix with the butter and most of the cheese. Pour into a buttered casserole dish. Top with the onions and the remaining cheese. Place in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the onions have gone brown.

I had it with a salad on the side. We had a little bit leftover too and it was even better the next day.