31 December 2006

Buchbesprechung: Thorsten Becker - Fritz

Beendet am 8. Januar 2007

You can find more information at LibraryThing

30 December 2006

Buchbesprechung: Wolf Haas - Das Wetter vor 15 Jahren

Beendet am 30.12.2006

Formal origineller und inhaltlich ansprechender Roman. Erzählt wird die Geschichte des 30-jährigen Bergbauingenieurs Vittorio Kowalski, dessen Spezialwissen über das Wetter in einem kleinen österreichischen Dorf in den letzten 15 Jahren ihn erst zu "Wetten , dass...?" und dann wieder in eben dieses Dorf und zu seiner Jugendliebe bringt.

Zu lesen bekommen wir aber nicht diesen Roman, sondern ein Interview, das dessen Autor Wolf Haas mit eine "Literaturbeilage" führt. Wir erfahren darin über die Entstehungsgeschichte des Romans, die 'tatsächlichen' Begebenheiten um Vittorio, sein soziales Umfeld, die Motivation des Autors, die Reaktion der Kritik. So umschrieben erschließt sich der Plot des Romans, aber auch verwendete Stilmittel wie Variationen im Erzähltempo oder Verwendung von Metaphern, graduell dem Leser.

Sehr vergnüglicher Lesegenuss (hier bietet mir die Rechtschreibprüfung jetzt "Käsegenuss" als Alternative an). Allerdings ist es auch ein klein wenig frech, statt eine gelungene Passage zu schreiben, lediglich eine fiktive Kritikerin eine virtuelle Passage als gelungen bezeichnen zu lassen.

Mehr Informationan auch bei LibraryThing

26 December 2006

Theatre Review: Much Ado About Nothing

Seen on 26 December 2006 at the Novello Theatre in London

Performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company

  • TAMSIN GREIG - Beatrice
  • JOSEPH MILLSON - Benedick
  • ADAM RAYNER - Claudio
  • ...

I was never sure about this play. The fast paced beginning, the engaging and interesting characters, the witty dialogue between Benedick and Beatrice - and then the disappointing, lame ending. Almost as if Shakespeare suddenly realised that he had only a few days left before the opening night and still needed to wrap everything up. And make sure to re-use the expensive tomb prop he bought for Romeo and Juliet. I had seen the play a couple of times before - and never found any reason to change this assessment

This time was different...

To be continued

25 December 2006

Book Review: Neil Gaiman - Anansi boys : a novel

I think I have mentioned it in my review for Neil Gaiman's "Fragile Things": His novels never really excited me. Nice, funny, well crafted - but not at all engaging. In fact, I found this one disappointing enough to put it back on the pile after just 4 chapters.

If you want to read Neil Gaiman I would much rather recommend "Fragile Things" or the "Sandman" comics

You can find more information at LibraryThing

24 December 2006

Potato Salad - Holiday Version

When we were young, Christmas Eve was the big day (it's a German thing). The tree went up the night before, all the Christmas decoration, Mary, Josef and Baby Jesus were on display in the living room - which was off limits until late afternoon when it was time for presents.
As this was quite a bit of work to squeeze into one day, dinner on Christmas Eve was always quick and simple: Potato Salad and Sausages. Became something of a tradition.

So in order to honour the tradition, an extremly rich, festive version of Potato Salad.

You will need

  • Mayonnaise
    I prefer to use home made mayonnaise, and for this occasion it can be a little richer than usual. So take
    • 2 raw egg yolks
    • 2 hard boiled egg yolks (leave these out if it gets too rich for you)
    • 1 teaspoon mustard
    • juice of half a lemon
    • salt, white pepper
    • 250ml good neutral oil. Do not use olive oil, it is usually too strong for mayonnaise and it does not emulsify as easily as other oils do. (if I want the olive oil taste for Mediterranean dishes I use 2/3 neutral oil and 1/3 olive oil) On this occasion I used 225ml plain grape seed oil and 25ml cold pressed grape seed oil
    Put the 4 (really, four) yolks into a bowl, add the mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper and start whisking. (I use a standard whisk and just give it a good work-out. I think I had a higher success rate that way. If you want to use an electric mixer, fine.) Start dripping in the oil and keep whisking. Keep dripping in the oil until you get an emulsion; after that, you can be a little (but really just a little) more generous with the dahses of oil you add. Keep whisking and adding oil until you used all 250ml.
  • Yoghurt
    We always have a little argument about the use of yoghurt in mayonnaise. I think it is not necessary, my girlfriend thinks you ought to use 250ml. So we compromise and use 250ml.
  • herbs - lots of
    Today I used flat leave parsley, chives, dill, tarragon, some small baby gherkins (diced), 1 teaspoon of capers, the whites of the two hard boiled eggs. Whatever you like - the only thing: you really need plenty.
  • salad potatoes - as much as you want to eat. The sauce is enough for about 1.5 kg
  1. chop all the herbs &c.
  2. boil the potatoes for about 11 min.
  3. while the potatoes are boiling, prepare the mayonnaise
  4. mix the mayonnaise, yoghurt and herbs
  5. drain and peel the potatoes, leave to cool for a bit and slice
  6. mix everything together and leave to stand for about 45min or longer

As I said, served with Bockwurst (or any other sausage you like). These days I have a beer with that.

20 December 2006

Buchbesprechung: Hans Magnus Enzensberger - Josefine und ich

Dünn. Nicht nur was die Anzahl der Seiten angeht.

You can find more information at LibraryThing

18 December 2006

Potato Salad

Improvised - after seeing something similar on TV. Slight Asian (Thai to be specific) influence.

  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 2 chillies (red and green
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 (generous) dash of Thai fish sauce
  • 100 ml chicken stock
  • pepper
  1. boil the potatoes
  2. in the meantime finely chop the chillies and mix with the lime juice, chicken stock, sugar, fish sauce and pepper
  3. chop the spring onions and coriander
  4. drain, peel and slice the potatoes
  5. mix everything while the potatoes are still warm
  6. leave for about 45 minutes

16 December 2006

Book Review: Neil Gaiman - Fragile Things

What a pleasant surprise. Of course I have read Neil Gaiman before - Good Omens, most of the Sandman, Neverwhere, American Gods, 1602, &c. - and always liked what I read. Interesting read for a rainy afternoon. But this volume of short stories is better than anything of these; this man is a genius with short stories

Some of them are just pure, hilarious fun; others are scary - and I mean real scary, and one or two just seemed to reach inside my head and do something with my imagination.

He has totally silly poems in this collection - that still triggered me to get out some volumes of serious poetry. He has detective stories intermingled with the horrors of the deep; there is a vision of hell more unsettling than any I ever encountered. The best treatment of the 'Matrix' concept - one, that unlike the movie does actually make sense (well, in a way); variations of traditional fairy tales - Bluebeard, Goldilocks, Aladdin.

Highly recommended.

You can find more information at LibraryThing

Film Review: Pirates Of The Carribean - Dead Man's Chest

What a waste of time. Some funny lines, some funny characters - but both a lame reminder of the sparkle of the first movie. Poor, over-complicated but ultimately uninteresting plot, boring action and a lame excuse for a part three tucked on.

09 December 2006

Buchbesprechung: Silke Urbanski, Michael Siefener - Totentanz. Ein Krimi aus dem Mittelalter

Beendet am 8.12.2006

Silke und Michael sind liebe Freunde, ich habe Silkes vorherige Bücher gelesen (Der Safrantod, Geseke Cletzen - insb. Geseke ist empfehlenswert für alle, die sich für hamburgische Geschichte interessieren) - aus unerfindlichen Gründen aber immer noch nichts von Michael. Also mein erster Siefener.
Die Handlung spielt im spätmittelalterlichen Lübeck - und Lübeck liegt mir sehr am Herzen, ich habe dort 5 Jahre gewohnt.

Spannender Krimi. Der Kaufmannssohn Jordan Wulfledder sagt sich von seinem Vater los und tritt in die Werkstatt Bernt Notkes, des Malers des Lübecker Totentanzes, ein. Doch schon bald nachdem es seine Tätigkeit aufgenommen hat, geschehen mehrere Morde - und der Mörder hat den Totentanz zum Vorbild. Gemeinsam mit der Marzipanbäckerin Lucia Gudalbert macht er sich auf die Suche nach dem Mörder

Die Handlung ist eingebettet in den historischen Kontext: Aufweichen der Zunftprivelegien, beginnende Individualisierung des Künstler, spätmittelalterliche Volksfrömmigkeit, erste Risse in der Ständeordnung, Rivalitäten im Rat der Stadt - das ist der Hintergrund, vor dem sich die Handlung entfaltet.

Die Personen, z.T. historisch verbürgt, andere erfunden, sind interessant gezeichnet; ihr Schicksal - beide Hauptpersonen sind sehr unmittelbar von den Verbrechen betroffen - packend. Die Handlung ist spannend, mit gut differenziertem Erzähltempo, die Auflösung überraschend aber folgerichtig. Ich habe das Buch sehr gerne gelesen

Ein paar stilistische Eigenarten haben mich ein wenig gestört. Viel Information wird in gedanklichen Reflektionen außerhalb der eigentlichen Handlung vermittelt. Das mag am Anfang nötig erscheinen - die Menschen im späten Mittelalter hatten andere Prioritäten; ich hätte mir aber gewünscht, diese mehr in Handlung und Dialog, nicht in nachgeschobenen Erklärungen zu finden. Meistens sind diese überflüssig, manchmal störend und einmal ärgerlich (Seite 142/143)

Fazit: Ein sehr gelungener Krimi, dessen historischer Kontext fundierter und interessanter ist, als gemeinhin im Genre des Historischen Romans üblich. Sehr kurzweilige Lektüre

You can find more information at LibraryThing

08 December 2006


  • 500g good quality minced beef
  • 1 slice of stale white bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tbl spoons Thai fish sauce
  • pepper, paprika
  • no salt
  1. soak the bread in lukewarm water
  2. finely dice the onion and garlic and sauté in a little butter over low heat for about 10 minutes (prepare potatoes and veggies while the onions are cooking
  3. squeeze the bread to remove excess water and mix all ingredients thoroughly
  4. form 8 meat patties, about 5cm in diameter and 1.5cm thick
  5. fry in a little (or no) fat over medium high heat for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally

05 December 2006

Book Review: William Shakespeare - Ein Sommernachtstraum (Übersetzt von Hans Rothe)

Nummer 2 der Shakespeareübersetzungen - Enthalten in 'William Shakespeare, Dramen II (1595-1599), Übertragen von Hans Rothe - mehr Nach- und Neudichtung denn Übersetzung, und auch schon wieder alt (die Ausgabe ist von 1963, basiert aber auf einer Übersetzung aus den späten 20ern)
Der komplette Vergleich kommt, sobald ich alle fünf Versionen gelesen habe. Warum? Wir suchen den geeignete Text für eine Produktion des Sommernachtstraums am Theater Wedel.

03 December 2006

Dibbekuche - Savoury Potato Cake

Pretty hard to translate - this is a regional dish from the Hunsrück area (which you might know if you have seen the Heimat TV series) and there is not even a standard German name for this dish. Dibbe is a dialect word for pot, Kuche (standard German: Kuchen) means cake - so potcake. Well, it is mainly potatoes.

  • 1.2 kg potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • 8 slices of smoked streaky bacon
  • salt, pepper, nutmeg
  1. pre-heat the oven to 225 degrees C
  2. finely grate the raw potatoes
  3. mix in the egg
  4. season with salt, pepper and nutmeg
  5. line a pie dish with the bacon slices and pour in the potatoes
  6. put in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until you get a nice, brown, crunchy crust on the outside
  7. serve with green salad and a crisp dry white wine

Glühwein - Mulled Wine

This recipe is based on one I found at the Frater Aloisius says HELL-O blog. Translated into English and slightly modified.

  • 1 bottle of reasonably good, dry red wine
  • 2 pc. star anise
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • lemon zest
  • juice of 1 orange
  • orange zest
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • Demerara sugar
  1. Put the wine in a pot, heat but do not bring to boil
  2. Add the spices, the orange juice and the zest and leave to steep for approx. 10 minutes, keeping the heat just under the boiling point
  3. Remove all spices &c.
  4. Add sugar to taste
  5. Serve in warmed cups or glasses