Then last week I spotted an article in the paper about German chef Rainer Oberdieck who moved to Hobart with his Tasmanian wife, and a classic German cooking class he was holding at the Wursthaus. The story mentioned Rheinischer Sauerbraten and I was sold. I rang the store first thing Monday and booked in.
We made a traditional apple strudel with vanilla custard, pork knuckles (Schweinshaxe), goulash, the sweet-and-sour roast silverside called Sauerbraten and Bavarian bread dumplings (Semmelknodel) which are a great way to use up old bread rolls and perfect for mopping up sauce or gravy. We then sampled a little of each, accompanied by red cabbage and a selection of German beers from Weihenstephaner. For some of these dishes, it was a case of "here's one I prepared earlier" because they take hours, or in the case of Sauerbraten, days to make. I came home with a booklet of recipes and new confidence to make more of the food I love.
I can't help but think that people who find German food bland have only sampled Schnitzel with mashed potato from a chain restaurant. Although Rainer said he has had to adjust his cooking in Tasmania for local tastes and the availability of ingredients, all of these dishes are well spiced, tender and extremely tasty. To test out what I'd learned, last night we had a few friends over for a giant pot of goulash and some bread dumplings. I am happy to report that everyone found it as tasty as I did . Now I just need to source the cut of beef I need to make that Sauerbraten. Lecker.