Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Years Feast

Kaes-Spaetzen (pronounced by my family as Kase-spuchen)

My Dad has made this dish for as long as I can remember. It was always eaten on special occasions and I always loved watching and helping my dad make it (even if it was only to sneak handfuls of the cheese). 
Dad is German and he is an incredible cook. Like me, he cooks from instinct and makes the best Bavarian feast ever!  He tells me Kaes-spaetzen is a peasant dish, something anyone could make, because all you need is flour, eggs, onions and cheese  - and most families had these ingredients available on their properties. (It’s kind of like a German Mac and Cheese – just way better) .

Tonight we are having Malcie and Maurice over for dinner and even though they have already tasted the "famous" Kaes-spaezten, it is New Years Eve so I’ve decided to do it once more before the year ends. I’ll serve it with crispy iceberg lettuce with a garlic and mustard vinaigrette.

Here goes with my take on one of my favourite meals ever....
You have know idea how good this tastes !
This will serve 6 very generously or 10 normal servings with salad;
Preheat your oven to 150 c
Start with caramelising the onions because they take a while;
10 large brown or red onions chopped finely then fried in 3 tablespoons of olive oil - I used a mixture of brown and red because that's what I had a home. The onion take about 30 - 40 min to get really brown and yummy.
Chopped onions - I found out after the fact, that I had not used enough so use heaps, because as you see they cook down to nothing .

been on for 10 min......
been cooking for 20 min.......
40 min later you should have this - clearly not enough for the amount I needed !

The spaetzle dough:
1 kg Organic plain flour 
8 or 9 organic or bio dynamic eggs
pepper & salt  - half a tablespoon each
1 cup of whole milk
About 200ml water  - stir it in vigurously til the mixture has no lumps and resembles slightly runny chewing gum .

ingredients for Spaetzle + water
consistancy needed - but much smoother

Emmental cheese - 1/2 kg - I could only get the Swiss one but if your cheese shop has others ask for a try, and pick the one that has the best flavour.
Gruyere cheese -1/2 kg - same with the Gruyere . I personally like the Comte but there are others that are equally delicious.
Grate the cheese either in a food processer with the grater attachment or by hand and mix in a bowl together so it's well combined.

2 large bunches of parsley washed and finely chopped.
cheese ready for grating

Iceberg lettuce - I couldn’t get any iceberg today so I ended up using butter lettuce which was delicious.
tomatoes for your salad - any variety, as many or as little as you like.

My dad's mustard garlic dressing ;
in a small jar mix 4 tablespoons of vinegar - apple cider , white wine or plain, it’s your choice - I like them all.
1 large garlic clove grated into the vinegar 
1 heaped teaspoon of good mustard - I used Eden organic yellow mustard (Dad would use German mustard)
1 teaspoon of good quality mayo - Doodle Creek is my mayo of choice or you can always make it, which I have found out only recently is very easy.
A little salt and pepper 
1/2 teaspoon of sugar or agave or maple syrup- again your choice
And lastly Extra Virgin Olive oil 8 tablespoons
Shake !!
salad ready!

Ok here goes :
preheat the oven to 150c
Get a large Le Creuset (or similar heavy based pan) with lid and rub a little oil on the bottom of the pot.

My dad gave me this spaetzle maker, you can buy them online or alternatively you can use a colander with small holes in it and a wooden spoon. 

Spaetzle machine ready to go......

Pour the mixture into the spaetzle thing over boiling salted water and move back and forth until the mixture has gone, refill and do it again. Once the little pasta comes to the surface its ready to take out - I do this with a smaller sieve.

the messy bit

Yay it's working.....

This is what the little pasta look like
scoop it out now so they don't over cook
pay me some attention mother !
Are you proud Dad ?
Spaetzle draining
Now each time you finish a batch of spaetzle you do a layer of spaetzle then a layer of cheese and you pretty much repeat this till all the pasta is done and the cheese is finished. Remembering each time to put it back in the oven with the lid on.
first layer with cheese
close up 
Layer upon layer upon layer......

Now once you have finished, take your very caramelized onions and cover the top of the Kaes-spaetzen, then cover the onions with the chopped parsley.
clearly not enough onions, needs to be disguised by parsley

give me my food mother !
or I'll tip this water all over the floor !
cutting into the deliciousness....
Ready to serve, bring the pot to the table with your salad and dish up
You have know idea how good this tastes !

It is mandatory to have salad at the same time on the plate with the Kaes-spaetzen, I think it’s the vinegary juices mixed with the onions and cheese that is just to die for.
Anyway my nearest and dearest to me have all tasted my Dad’s and I have to say Dad, mine is nearly as good as yours!My critics gave me a 10/10-can’t ask for much more than that !

We all ate way too much, as you do with Kaes-spaetzen, and there were even leftovers for the morning to fry up as is tradition in my Dad’s house the next day.

Anyway the night ended with an incredible dance preformed by Mima and Wilco – choreographed by Malcie, and fireworks at the fishpond park.
Happy New Year Everyone !!!
                                                   photo's by Max and Jemima Doyle
©michelle Schoeps 2013


  1. That looks incredible. Now, can you please just come up and cook it for us! Kids are drooling. xx

  2. Can you come down here ? You know Im terrified of flying !xx

  3. A request from a mystery reader:

    I love taking my two young children to birthday parties and watching their faces light up when the birthday cake is brought out. To my never-ending amazement, even my amateurish creations elicit a similar response. But no matter how meticulously crafted or beautifully decorated a cake is, it can never compare to my childhood memory (circa ‘84/’85) of the magnificent croquembouche at your birthday party. It was simply breathtaking and the fact that it has lived on in my memory for such a long time is a testament to that. Oh, what I wouldn’t give for my short-term memory to be so reliable!

    Anyway, I’m wondering if there’s any chance you’ll share the recipe for (organic) croquembouche on your blog? Making one has only been on my bucket list for the past 25 years!

    Okay, I dare not spend any more time building suspense surrounding the identity of your mystery reader because, chances are, you may not even remember me and, let’s be honest, what a horrible anti-climax that would be! And that’s okay (a quarter of a century is a pretty long time after all). It’s Simone. Simone Hunt? (My surname is Greenbaum now) Ringing any bells?

    Your blog, by the way, is absolutely delightful; so beautifully written, and clearly filled to the brim with love of food and family. The recipes all look mouth-wateringly delicious and it’s been fun ‘seeing’ you again and, of course, your lovely family. You might be interested to know that I discovered your blog via a post on Melinda’s facebook page and didn’t feel at all comfortable being a blog ‘lurker’, so here I am outing myself as a reader.

    I might re-start my now defunct blog and add myself as a follower, if that’s okay? But first I’ll have to sort out my procrastination problem!
    All the best with your new blogging adventure and a happy New Year to you and yours.
    Kind regards,

  4. Hello Simone Hunt! Wow it's been a long time.......
    Can you remind me what theme that party was, there was so many and so many croquembouche's ? Where did we live ? Thanks for writing that lovely post and bringing back memory's of a long time ago, it's kind of scary as my biggest is 11 and we must have been around the same age ?
    Now to that croquembouche, I have never attempted it but Im happy to give anything a go. I will research and do it in a future blog . xx Mich

  5. Hi Michelle, Heather sent me via her blog.Your food looks amazing. I look forward to following your culinary adventure.


  6. I think you lived in Mentone, and I vaguely remember having to cross a bridge over water to get to the front door. It was a pool party and lots of fun. I guess we must have been about the same age as your oldest. Scary how time flies!

  7. You'll never beleive it but I found some photos of that party, will post with croquembouche recipe when I finally get around to doing it ! xx