Ottimo, c’ha tirato su

This evening I got to see a sneak preview of some of the pages from grandson Elliot's school project on Germany. He's getting to be an expert and not just from having to push the supermarket trolley around Lidl and Aldi in Ireland.

There were more pages of photographs taken from Blip and cut-outs from various magazines. It's quite difficult to describe "the country" Germany as it has only existed in its current form since 1990 and before that was a mass of small kingdoms, each with its own very special traditions and histories. Bavaria isn't Germany but it becomes very easy to use the cliches of the Bavarians to describe Germany - I certainly have a problem and explains why I so often write about "Bavaria" rather than "Germany".

Anyway, very proud of his work and look forward to hearing what reaction he gets at school.

In the last few days have mentioned wholesome, regional and seasonal food. On Thursday when I was in Memmingen, I did drop into Lidl, spurred on by my daughter's early morning photos of all the German food she had bought in her local store in the "Alpen" special offers. Son J in the UK chanced his luck by waiting until evening but was lucky enough to get everything he wanted including a tin or two of wheat beer.

I had only intended to get a litre of milk and a loaf of bread as well as see if, in a tit for tat move, Lidl was doing a British Isles special offer week - No.

As I passed the fruit and vegetables I saw a pallet of wonderful looking strawberries - €0.99/500g. But I knew they would taste of nothing, they weren't particularly regional although Spain is acceptable even if we know what "forced" agriculture is doing to their water supplies and April really isn't seasonal. I couldn't resist and took two punnets.

Then passing the packaged fish, I thought I might indulge myself in a 1960s old favourite of prawn cocktail. Searched the shelves for some prawns that weren't already mixed up in some sauce and only found one, the colour of which looked far too red and they were far too big to be from coastal European waters. Using the mobile phone app and the QR code on the packaging, found they came from the coast of Peru and so they ended back on the shelf - no prawn cocktail for me.

But then next to the prawns saw Smoked Mackerel Fillets. I know the Bavarian mackerel fleet have been having bad times for the last few millennia but hoped at least they were from the North Sea and possibly from the UK. And so it proved to be.

On Friday, being fish day (seldom for me as I am not a great fish eater), I made my mother's early 1970s smoked mackerel pate, I suspect stolen from Delia Smith. And lovely it was too. Luckily Angie is even less of a fish eater.

I did try the odd strawberry, straight from the packet and dipped in sugar - they actually tasted of strawberries, the quality was excellent yet somehow I couldn't get over excited about devouring the rest that way. Last week I had used up all the remaining self-made meringues and so a version of "Boris Johnson Eton Mess" was not on the cards. And then for some reason, I came up with Strawberry Tiramisu, not something I have ever made and probably never eaten.

Had to wait until Saturday to get the copious amounts of Mascarpone and it wasn't until late Saturday evening that the masterpiece was finished. And boy was it good - alternative layers of sponge biscuits covered with a Cointreau/strawberry/sugar puree, topped with mascarpone/yoghurt/whipped cream and then a layer of thinly sliced strawberries. Unlike the classical coffee based Tiramisu, no eggs.

Seems strange that nobody really knows when and where Tiramisu started nor exactly its contents. The word simply meaning "pick me up". Most recognise it to be from Italy, some say with "Zuppa Inglese" or "Bavarian Creme" (forms of custard) or Zabaglione rather than Mascarpone and there is a possible connection to the classical "Charlotte".

Talking of which. I did promise granddaughter Charlotte (Elliot's sister) that I would make a Charlotte for her. Maybe this recipe would do the job as father Barry is a Tiramisu fan.

Even Angie got stuck into it which is just as well as there is a massive amount to be destroyed in the next day or two - see extra photo.

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