Eating our way through Austria!

This week, we have been in Austria. When I say we, I mean us two along with a bunch of golfing buddies. Yes, we went there to play golf. Austria traditionally summons up images of the Sound of Music, Lederhosen, Dirndls, Alpenhorns and skiing (think of Franz Klammer). However, there also happen to be over 140 golf courses in Austria. Some might not rate as being top notch from a golfing standpoint but they certainly rate highly by way of the views!
We stayed at the Grand Park Hotel in Bad Hofgastein, in the Gaseinertal ( Gastein Valley) and grand it was.Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 09.12.58

At this time of year the occupancy rate is low but that did not mean that the standard of service slipped. Quite the opposite; from Claudia the General Manager to Petra in Sales and Marketing, to

Petra at half way house
Petra at half way house
Wine tasting in the cellar
Wine tasting in the cellar

Jatin, the Maitre d” the wait staff and the spa staff, they pulled out all the stops for us. From breakfast to dinner, from the golfing “halfway house “

to wine tasting, we ate our way through the week. The breakfast buffet is just the most amazing breakfast buffet I have ever seen, not just boring old cornflakes or cold scrambled eggs for us! And the evening, well, we could have had the spa menu, but no! We ate all the 5, 7 or 8 courses that were on offer. The Menus were always published in English and German and  on the menu each day was an Austrian option, ie, a typical Austrian dish of the day. I did try to persuade them that listing the dish of the day, as “Boiled beef “or “Symphony of Blood Sausage”, would not encourage the average diner to try them, not for the faint hearted

However some of our little group,  were not of the faint hearted variety and you will find some of these dishes pictured below. But I am not going to give you the recipes, unless you really want them.

gala dinner, the starter
gala dinner, the starter
Gala dinner menu
Gala dinner menu
gala dinner, the starter
gala dinner, the starter
Symphony of blood sausage
Symphony of blood sausage
bolied beef
boiled beef

(While in the area we visited Kehlsteinhaus, which is situated 1834m (6017 ft.) above sea level in one of the most strikingly beautiful locations in Southern Germany. It is also popularly known as the “Eagle’s Nest” and was commissioned in 1937 by Reichsleiter Martin Bormann as a fiftieth birthday present for National Socialist leader Adolf Hitler. The spectacular mountain eyrie perched on top of the Kehlstein Mountain in the Berchtesgaden Alps is reached by a combination of mountain road and an amazing huge brass clad elevator. Apparently this is where Hitler and his lover Eva Braun would meet – it’s a truly beautiful spot.
Today it is a tourist spot and the once famous conference room is a restaurant. Here I had Wurst Salat. ( Sausage salad).I has to be almost 40 years since I last ate Wurst Salad, but Yummy, especially if good quality ham is used instead of Bologne. And then , I indulged in Apfel Kuchen mit Sahne (apple cake with cream) along with the local white wine! Yum. Himself had the Kase Torte (cheese cake).

Hitler's former conference room
Hitler’s former conference room
Wurst Salat
Wurst Salat

Another product of the region that comes from Southern Austria, an area called Styria, is pumpkin seed oil, or kürbiskernöl .The viscous oil is light to very dark green to dark red in colour and has an intense nutty taste. Pumpkin seed oil serves as a salad dressing when combined with honey or olive oil but do not use it in cooking as browned oil has a bitter taste. The oil is also used for desserts, giving ordinary vanilla ice cream a nutty taste and is considered a real delicacy in Austria. You can also add a few drops to pumpkin soup to enhance the flavour. In the UK it is also available online by way of Amazon!

Pumpkin Seed Oil
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Ice Cream with whipped cream Pumpkin Seed oil and nuts and seeds
Ice Cream with whipped cream Pumpkin Seed oil and nuts and seeds

So, inspired by my recent trip to Austria here is my recipe for Wurst Salat.
German Sausage Salad
To serve 1-2 people

Equal amounts of good ham and cheese slices (about 135 grams +/-4oz of each) 1 clove Garlic crushed
1 Red onion thinly sliced
4 small gherkins chopped
1/4 cup vinaigrette type salad dressing, bought is fine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Slice the meat and the cheese into thin strips.
Mix the salad dressing with the mustard, the garlic and the salt.
Mix the meat and cheese with the chopped gherkins and then the salad dressing mix.
Put in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving. Pile onto a plate and decorate with the sliced onions and a little bit of gherkin.Adjusting the seasoning and maybe leaving out the onions and gherkins could be a quickie for those who have little ones.
Serve and eat with a pile of French Fries!

Pumpkin Seed Salad dressing

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons of maple syrup or honey
1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil
1 pinch salt

Preferably put everything into a container, either a jar or a special salad dressing shaker, and shake.
Nothing could be easier and it does not need refrigeration. Delicious!

Not another Burger… No! it’s a Posh Burger

Over the weekend I had  the good fortune to eat in three of  Richard Caring’s restaurants, which is actually not very hard to do, if you live in the London Area. Richard Who? And restaurants? I hear many of you cry. Well, for the uninitiated, Richard Caring is the owner of amongst other things Wentworth Golf Club, but he also owns or has serious interests in many restaurants, amongst them The Ivy, Le Caprice, J. Sheekey, Daphne’s, Scotts, George, Soho House, Annabel’s, Bam Bou, Carluccio’s, Belgo and Cote.

Cote is a French style Brasserie, think of Cafe Rouge, think of Chez Gerard, and then think better. There are 26 branches of Cote in the capital and another 18 or so in the home counties. They are very reliable, housed in attractive buildings with smart waiters, good service and on the whole good food. They always have a lunch special, 2 courses for  about £10 and likewise an early dinner option. Otherwise the a la carte menu has starters from £4.50 and mains from £10. Wine prices are also not unreasonable. They are open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
So on Friday after a round of golf we ate at the Richmond branch. It’s not, in my opinion, the best building for a branch of Cote. It is on Hill Street, so right in the heart of the town, but it is rather cramped and on two levels. We were seated upstairs, where I could see the dumb waiter and the dirty dishes and a stack of high chairs by the emergency exit. Now those who know me know that I am really fussy about where I am sat, so Himself changed places with me so the detritus was out of sight.

So what did we eat? Well to start with I had the crab mayonnaise with avocado, cucumber, capers and tarragon with toasted sourdough bread.  I have had this before and it is very good. This was followed by Himself and I sharing a Cote de Boeuf, which was a special of the day and was excellent. Our friends had  the Rib Eye steak and the Skate. This is a really meaty white fish not often found on menus and she said it was very good.

On Saturday I took myself off to my local Cote for a light breakfast, where I had the yoghurt with fruit compote and granola. It is served in a very pretty large glass dish and is good. On Sunday I returned with Himself and # 2 daughter, again for breakfast. It is usually pretty reliable, though on this occasion the crepe complet was disappointing, with the eggs being over cooked. Ah well, you can not win them all.

However the other Richard Caring restaurant we visited, was J. Sheekey, St. Martins Lane, which is between Leicester Square and Charing Cross, London. I really like J. Sheekey. The menu is seafood predominately but they do cater to both vegetarians and carnivores alike. I had some oysters to start with followed by oops! dressed crab, didn’t I just say that for Cote! Am I predictable of what? Ah well, it was very good. Better than Cote? Yes. More expensive than Cote? Again yes at £6.95 -£17.95 !  Himself had the Shrimp & Scallop Burger with spiced mayonnaise in other words a Posh Burger! So this is what I decided to cook for Sunday dinner.

Looking up the recipe I found that  it was made with shrimp, scallops and salmon. As I did not have scallops, I made a Posh burger using salmon trout, shrimp, and crab meat. The result was delicious and easy to do. Normally when making any type of fish cake, there is a binder, either with potato or breadcrumbs, (I usually make then using Panko breadcrumbs) and mixed together with beaten egg, coated with beaten egg and then dipped in breadcrumbs before frying. These “posh” burgers are just pure fish, no fillers, no eggs

So this is my recipe for Posh Fish Burgers with Chilli Mayonnaise.


Makes +/- 8

For the Chilli Mayonnaise

  • 1 medium whole egg ( I use whole egg trying to be a bit healthier)
  • pinch fine Sea Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • +/-1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 chopped red chili
  • 1 clove of garlic




Put egg, salt, lemon juice and any spice or garlic and water to a blender or food processor  (I use a stick blender). Blend on medium high speed well.

Slowly drizzle the oil into the egg mixture until you have added all of it, keeping the blender on medium high speed the whole time.

Blend until you have a creamy, opaque emulsion….mayonnaise.

I do not refrigerate as the cold will sometimes make the mayonnaise separate.



For the Burgers

  • 4 fillets of Salmon Trout or 3 portions of salmon
  • 1Lb, crab claw meat ( I buy it from Costco, see photo)
  • 1Lb uncooked large Shrimp( I buy them frozen from one of the Chinese supermarkets, or fresh from Billingsgate fish market)
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 red chili peppers finely chopped
  • juice of one lemon



Finely chop the salmon, and the shrimp. Shred the crab meat, put all into a mixing bowl, along with the onions, and the chilies and lemon juice. Mix well.
Shape into patties, heat some olive oil in a non stick pan and and gently fry them on both sides until golden brown, care is needed when turning them, as they are fairly fragile put the cooked ones in a warm oven whilst cooking the rest.
Serve with steamed asparagus and the chilli mayonnaise. Do not forget the 1/4 of lemon, which has been trimmed. See the photographs.




Have Fun and Enjoy