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.
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
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.
(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).
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!
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!