Friday, 26 December 2008

First Christmas Experience

Merry Christmas to all of you. I am still stuffed from all the eating and drinking. Burp. So much for being a food blogger, I have left my camera behind on a few occassion and had only captured partial of what had happened since Christmas Eve. Another apology, day is short here hence, my photo´s are dark and not too happening. Energy saving seems to be the buzzword in this part of the world too but nonetheless, I would like to share with you my first Christmas experience with my new family here.

24th December 2008

Come Christmas Eve, we adjourned to Mama and Papa´s place for a little coffee break at 3pm. The Christmas tree trend this year is red, hence Mama had theirs decorated with non other than red Christmas balls.

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It is a tradition in the family to give out a plate of goodies to visiting friends and family too. In it were homemade butter cookies and truffles, store bought chocolates, mandarin oranges (coz the Spanish counterpart are flooding Germany with it now!), apple, walnut and a box of chocolate.

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As usual, Mama brought out her precious China. On several occassion, I had helped with the table setting but thankfully, all are still in one piece.

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Mama baked a Truffle with Ameretto Liquor Torte. It was wickedly good.

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... along with no sugar Berries Tart which was specially baked for Papa whom is diabetic.

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Bubbly as usual. Store here are selling Cava and Prosecco for less than Euro4.00. We can drink till cow comes home but alas, I reminded myself about my 14 days gastric episode a month back. A glass will do, thanks.

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After tea, comes the gift exchange part.

My deary got me a lovely leather slingbag which I have been thinking of getting for the longest time. And now ... I´ve got it.

Thanks Mama and Papa for the lovely WMF Fondue Set! Now we can have our cheese, chocolate and meat fondue everyday! Not to mention steamboat ala Malaysian style :-) Mama and Papa had also been very generous in giving us $$$ in white envelope. Its apparently a tradition in this part of the world to give them too, even during weddings. How chinese!

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This was from Dirk. My other half must have told him about me loving Baileys. And LOOK! The latest Winter Games for our Playstation!

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After gift exchange, it was then time for dinner. Mama had prepared us the yummiest, juiciest Chicken Schnitzel with Cheese and Pineapple stuffing, Croquette and Stew Mushrooms as side dish.

We were thankful that we don´t have to walk to far to get home after all the stuffing :-)

25th December 2008

Christmas Day was pretty much an ONLY US DAY. We, or rather I had planned for a German Pancake breakfast, but it turned out a disaster. The recipe called for an iron skillet, but we figured it can be substituted with a Springform instead. Big mistake. Our spotless kitchen naturally turned upside down as the batter leaked all over. We poured the batter later to another Baking Tray, but of course its never the same anymore because the butter was suppose to be at the bottom of the batter. After pouring the batter, all were mixed together. Surprise, surprise. The pancake did inflate however but instead of one giant inflation from the middle, we had mini inflation coming from all angles. What a start to Christmas Day :-)

Lunch was a much simplier affair of the bestest Caesars Salad ever. Nothing dramatic happened.

We successfully baked a Blackforest Cake too. It was such an exhilarating experience, not to mention time consuming and tedious but the effort were all worth the end result.

Come tea time, we hopped downstairs again to go test out Mama´s home made Ice Cream, made with her latest toy which we got for her and Papa. We are glad that they loved it very much, and I must add that ... SO DO WE! Till today, we have tasted Dark Chocolate Ice Cream and Rasberry Yoghurt. All of them turned out really well and I can´t wait to try out more flavours.

Later upstairs, I spent a good 1 1/2 hour in the kitchen preparing our first Christmas dinner.

I made Jamie Olivers The Real Mushroom Soup, of which I´d used a good 500 grams of fresh white, brown and wild mushroom with. Its browned simply with some garlic, onions and olive oil, than later boil with vegetable stock and blended coarsely. To serve, drizzle over some truffle oil and lemon juice. It was indeed the best mushroom soup I´ve tasted.

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For main course, we had Roasted Pork Loin with Prosciutto Wrap and Rosemary, Spargel (White Asparagus) with Hollandaise Sauce, Brussel Sprouts with Walnut and Bacon Bits and Baby Potatoes.

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Our Prosecco Rasberry Jelly did not harden as planned. I guess I had not given it the right amount of gelatine.

Some drinking and karaoke session followed. I was exhausted hence we called it a night.

26th December 2008

Breakfast was normal, but lunch was lavish. Starter was a light Cauliflower Soup, followed by the finest Roast Pork slices with Red Cabbage stew, Applemus and Fried Knodel (potato dumpling) as main course. Dessert were naturally Ice Cream from Mama´s new toy and the flavour for today was Rasberry Yoghurt Ice Cream. It was marvelous.

After chatting, tea break followed again in less than 3 hours time. Mama had again baked another 2 large cakes. We had Quark Berry Cake and Grapes Cake in addition to the leftovers from Christmas Eve. Burp.

Since my other half was in town for St. Patrick´s Day celebration with friends, I made myself a light dinner tonight. There´s leftover Spargel from the packet I bought so I had them roasted this time round. With it were a slice of White Fish Fillet, baked simple in a foil with lemon slices.

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I´ve been pampered well again this year :-)

Thursday, 25 December 2008

San Remo´s Cafe

San Remo Cafe is a popular hangout spot amongst the Ahausian folks. It is located right in the middle of Markstrasse where most of the Ahausian activities and shops are located, and if one were to take a seat outside at the alfresco area for no longer than half hour, it is almost certain that you will be greeted by fellow friends or family member that passes by.

But since its winter, I naturally took a seat inside. San Remo serves up basic stuff such as Waffles, Sandwiches, Cakes, Gelatos, Coffee, and all the drinks you can think of. Here´s what I had today.

A Roma Baguette ( 3.95 Euro) which came with slices of Parma Ham, Gerkins, Tomatoes and Mozarella Cheese. All toasted to perfection. It was good.

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Its been a while since I last had a slice of cake in a cafe, hence I ordered a slice of Tiramisu (2.50 Euro). My first impression was ... WOAHHHH ... the coffee liquor and espresso is wickedly good. I must make this one day, with lots of stuff. I felt instantly warmer after consuming them. And what I really liked about their version was, they served them with generous amount of cream and strawberry slices. Good stuff.

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After the two course meal, I was nonetheless STUFFED. Good thing that I was cycling and had planned to go check out the Russian and Turkish grocery store at the other end of Ahaus. Guess what I found in Russian grocery store??? SALTED FISH my friends ... that´s ham yue for those folks back home and I´m more than thrilled to discover this!

Till than ... I´d like to wish you all again, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Weihnach Party in Ahaus Volkshochschule

I am officially enjoying my first day of school break. Gosh, I never thought I get to say that after graduating from school neon ages ago. But yeah. The first part of the Integration course ended last Friday, and will officially commence again on 15th January, next year. And incase you´ve not read about my exam result from my other blog, or Facebook update, I have passed my A1 exams with flying colour of 88%! woohoo!

And so for a little celebration .. hahaha (at least that´s how I felt), it had been a tradition for the school to have a mini Christmas gathering before the school break, and naturally, it was held last Friday.

Everyone were invited to bring something but sadly, most resorted to ordering pizza from a fellow classmate whom works for a turkish pizza cafe after school hour. Most lamented that they have to walk to school hence a bit inconvenient or don´t have time in the morning to prepare etc. Hmmmmm. We had fun nonetheless coz the Turkish groupe (I have 5 of them in my class) turned the Christmas session into a turkish party by changing the Christmas CD to Turkish CD. They danced away in their most erotic manner (seriously!) but insisted that they have to shy away from certain food, alcohol and clothing. Some Turkish guys from neighbouring course caught sigh of them dancing and started joining in and so we had to bear with it for a good half hour of erotic dancing session! haha. It was really strange attending a Turkish Christmas Party coz one minute it was quiet and serene like any Christmas gathering, and next minute, it was chaotic.

Interesting 2009 Christmas Party!

Moving to food, I made Nasi Goreng Kampung with LOTS OF Fried Anchovies and Dried Shrimp. It was a hit, and boy ... was I surprise to find out that a lot of people here fancy SEAFOOD!

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Mona and Talal from Iraq made Baklava. It was soooo yummy.

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My class teacher, Frau Tamara whom hailed from Russia made somekind of Russian Pastry. Have no idea what its called. It taste sorta like doughnut but lighter inside, and crunchier outside. I ate 5 pieces of these.

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Valentine brough with him a store bought Quark Kuchen. Quark is somekind of local, fresh cheese here. Taste very much like Mascaporne. It was cheesecake alright, but lighter than the American version and heavier than the Japanese version. Yummy.

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There were LOTS of chocolates.

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Lately, I have gotten myself addicted to these Limited Edition Ferrero Rocher.

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and more chocolates ... some of which I did not capture.

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One of the Turkish lady turned up with Doner. What is doner? I though its the bread thingy with some meat filling? Why she call this Doner too? It was yummy nonetheless. The Doner came in two varieties of Capsicum and Brinjal. In it were stuffing of rice and meat cooked with Turkish Herb.

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Since everyone ordered pizza, I joined along for a small Prosciutto Pizza. It tasted better than Nahrin! There were other assorted combination in this Turkish Cafe such as Artichokes, Sardines, Tunafish etc hence, I hope to go check out soon!

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The eating session ended exactly at 12.15noon. After cleaning up, we bidded farewell. Some will join a later class citing reasons like they will be away for months etc, but most importantly is, the ones I´m close too will be in my class again next year.

On another note, wanna share with you what Mama got me before I sat for my exam last Tuesday. She got me a pot of flower (no idea what, have to wait for it to bloom or ask her this Christmas eve) and in it were a Weihnachman (this is our 7th Weihnachman received this year as gifts!), and a card wishing me best of luck on my exam. In the card were the sweetest message written for a little girl (and yes, I am her little girl, really) and I am noting this here ... she spelt my name Lee Anne. How strange ...

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Than two days ago ... this was on my doorstep! A letter attention to Li Anne (correct spelling) that also came with a present. And get this .. the sender was Weihnachman (Santa Claus!). The first thing I did was read the letter of course .. and darn, its in Deutcsh. Thankfully, I can manage a little and decoded the message pretty well.

The present came with a red flower ribbon on. I cannot imagine my other half doing this, so ... could it be Mama? But Mama is not very good with computer, needless to say print the letter on some cute Christmas paper along with my name and address printed on some labels???

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The sender knows that I have been studing hard. Okay. He/she also knows that I ... something, something about Asia.

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Why is it dated 24 December ?

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With the letter were a Gift Coupon from Kinderland, a shop I visited a while ago and had picked up LOTS of stuff for my niece before we head back to Malaysia. And I was thinking .. hmmm, did Kinderland sent me this? But wait ... I did not give out my details?

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And in the carefully wrapped present were a Diary for 2009! I was thinking of getting one for myself and had told NO ONE about it. And now I have another avenue for me to express my anger, frustration and all :-)

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Who could this be?

Alright ... I will have some time to figure this out. Haha. I´m going shopping now .. so before ending this post, I would like to wish you all

A Merry, Merry Christmas and Have a Bless 2009!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Counting Down to Christmas

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10 days to go ...

Christmas had always been my favourite festive season of the year. But, its not quite cutting it right for me. Underneath the series of joyous event going on in my life here (trips, parties, school life, new friends etc), I am missing the familiar warmth from back home. The hot blarring sun, the sweat, the hectic life, the polution and uncertainty.

I think I am homesick.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

One of those days ...

I wish for the sun to rise earlier everyday so that I don´t have to scramble through darkness every morning to school.

I wish for warmer temperature so that my face and joints don´t hurt from the chills while cycling. My yoko yoko supply is not helping much, and so does all my thickest winter gear.

I really wish for a more comfortable way to get to school every morning.

Am really hating it right now.

F**K THE WEATHER HERE

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

St. Nikolaus Day

For my Osnaburg Christmas Market experience, click here.

St. Nicholas Day, or Eve, is celebrated on December 6 in Germany or all German speaking countries. This is the favorite holiday of all children because it's a gift-giving day. When evening comes, St. Nicholas, a gray-haired figure with flowing beard, wearing gorgeous bishop's gold embroidered garments, knocks on doors and enquires about the behavior of the children. Its function were pretty similar to Santa Claus but instead of make belief Santa strutting down the chimney while children´s in bed, St Nikolaus knocks on doors with his servant, the `Knecht`. Historically, Ruprecht the Knecht was a dark and sinister figure wearing a tattered robe with a big sack on his back in which, as a legend says, he would put all naughty children in.

St. Nikolaus is a real, unlike Santa Claus and had been a tradition here since he was a bishop dating back to the 4th century. And how did Santa come about? Well ... as how it was, we have to thank Coke for puffing up Santa and turning St. Nikolaus garment colour from green to red.

Ah .. did I mention that all children here will receive gifts on St. Nikolaus Day? Me and Juergen were of no exception. Haha.

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LOVEEEEE my new 100% wool houseshoe from Mama and Papa! Both my feets are FINALLY warm. In the Christmas Sock were other goodies too like her homemade butter cookies, chocolates, fruits and St. Nikolaus Chocolate from Lindt. Her butter cookies were so yummy.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Ski Holiday Trip with a Theme

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Thanks to my other halfs suggestion, we´re gonna have a YABBA DABBA DOOOOO TIME from 27th December to 02 January 09! Its a tradition of my other half and his friends + family to go to Saurland every year to spent Christmas and Year End together. Its a 7 day trip with the group and get this ... we are going to have the WHOLE hostel to ourselves! Yippee! Am sooo excited and god knows what the creative team´s gonna do during the theme´s dinner cum party. For me, I have voluntered myself to be the photographer of the trip hence do expect lots of PIX! Now, who should I go as? Wilma, Betty or baby???

p/s : Juergen´s going as Fred and we will be scouting for our costume soon! Need your suggestions!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

My New Toy

My man gave me a wonderful, wonderful surprise last night.

It is something I have been wanting to have for ages, its something related to the blog that I have to upkeep and please do thank him that from now on, I will have better quality photo to match in the future.

Guess what he got me???

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He got me a LIGHT BOX!!!
This was the exact one he got me. Its a PB05 model from a local company here and isn´t it wonderful that it came with everything. In it were;

  • Light stands
  • Two lights including switches.
  • Adjustable camera stand (tripod) which includes rubber feet.
  • Nylon storage case
  • Carrying bag (fab idea coz I can carry them everywhere easily)
  • And 4 Lighting tent of white, black, blue and red background. Now that I have this Light Box, I can start looking out for yummy background paper.
























And from now, all I have to do each time when I wanna make foodporn photos is, go to our study room, on the switch and tadaaaaaaaaaaaa ....

And its not even Christmas YET! WooOT!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Pasta De Gohan

I ate here 5 months ago and all I remembered was ... this place ROCKS. The Japanese have a way of making a dish seem light, even with a dish famously drowned with fattening cheese sauce like cabonara. I could never get enough of such beautiful fusion creation, but what am I to do, now that its totally unreachable for me. Sob, sob.

Both me and Ruby´s meal came with a light vinaigrate Salad.

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I went for a seafood cabonara variation, where huge pieces of oysters were generously cooked in the lightest, tastiest sauce ever. The raw yolk gave a subtle nudge towards my ahem ... already cholestrol laden heart.

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Ruby enjoyed her plate of pesto with slices of octopus. She was dead silent so I reckon it is dead good.

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We can´t get enough so we Kar Liu. We´re both seafood fan hence, an order of Seafood Pizza BIG was placed. Again, they scored marvelously with their thin crust base, light cheese base and heavy topping! What a great combo!

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Our ending to a perfect farewell lunch from Ruby. Thanks dear! I cannot ask for more!

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Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Turkish Pizza at Nahrin

Today was another cold day here in Germany.

Though not as bad as few days ago when it snowed constantly, it is still cold enough for me to dash back home after school each day and make myself something warm and comforting. But since it was rather warm, and I am referring to 5C here, I decided to brave myself to the Stadt, aligning myself on the right side of the road and cycled myself along the main strasse in search of a Turkish Laden (turkish grocery shop). Some of my classmate had sang praises over the freshness of their vegetables and fruits, but unfortunately, I ended up in PLUS market and STILL had no idea where the turkish shop is hidden.

And since I cycled and could not go on a shopping rampage, I only manage to pick up some fresh mushrooms, two packet of chocolate malt drink which I intend to bring to school tomorrow and following day, and a set of 5 pieces of office stationary container. I bought them because it was cheap and we needed a container with lid to store our Euros. Currently, our euros are being squashed into an old spectacle container and everytime we look at it, it gives us an eyesore. The euros deserve a much better home, don´t they. In the box were a letter tray, a stationary holder, a namecard holder, a paper holder and a box with an accompanying lid. The price was originally 10E but is now going for 2.50E, which was a steal but what I loved about it was the design. Its mocha in colour and had white thread stitches at the hem. If I´m not mistaken, Metrojaya sells a similar looking letter tray holder for around 80 ringgit-ish and when I spotted it .. I was like .. heyyyyy, Metro is making lots of money huh.

Since I picked up some fresh mushroom, I made myself a large plate of mushroom pasta, and got them drizzled with truffle oil for lunch. My tummy were drumming alright hence, it tasted marvelously and had them polished up in minutes. But apart from cooking, there´s a place I found few weeks back in Stadt which I find are reasonable and nice to go to for lunch when I´m not in the mood to cook or when hunger strikes me when I´m in town. Though there are several Turkish Pizza place in Ahaus, I find Nahrin Grill and Pizzeria Place not bad as their food´s not overly salted and are pretty generous with their ingredients.

So far, I have tried their Funghi und Prosciutto Pizza (3Euro for a small) and I loved it. Though small, I was stuffed by the end of it. They were very generous with their prosciutto, and of course, do keep in mind that Prosciutto cost nothing here as compared to an arm and leg back in KL. The pizza were flavoured fully with the chunks of Prosciutto but what made them even better was the Chanterelle funghi used. If only there´s Proscecco ... but its a bit too lavish to have bubbles for lunch isn´t it? But it seems that in Germany, it is not and everyone drinks them like they drink juice coz its only a mere 5 Euro or less per bottle. Anyway, its something that I have to get use to coz my tummy´s not so use to so much of gas. Ahem.

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So instead, I tried Ayran ... A salty turkish yoghurt drink which reminded me very much of indian lassi, minus the sugar and it sure is a much healthier alternative than any of the gassy (ahem, ahem) drink available here.

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Overall, it was good a lunch and I went home with a happy belly.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Minus 3

It had been snowing everyday since last Saturday and my friend Lillian whom lived near the Alps were puzzled by it coz its not even snowing there! And so, first thing I did when I arrived home few hours ago was, made myself a large bowl of HOT UDON SOUP NOODLE coz my ass are freezing blue. Cycling is really no fun lately. It just seems so impossible to try and balance my bike on slippery, icey road and at the same time, trying to keep my jacket hood intact from the strong wind so that my head does not get wet from the rain and snow. But if I were to cycle slowly, thus reducing the wind impact, I will get totally drenched by the rain/snow water. But if I cycle any faster, my body would get numb by the chill temperature.

What should I do!

But after all´s been said ... I am having a Hallelujah time here with my friends!

Today, the students and the teacher had a snow fight! The one in black jacket is Allysa, our teacher and she´s one fiesty lady! She threw snow at us, trying to get us to come out and join in the fun!

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Aysel, one of the fiesty Turkish schoolmate attacked her back! Hehe ...

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After that, a few of us cam whored a little ...

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Rocio, Aminah, Deborah and Me

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But again ... we ended up with Snow Fight!

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Brrrrrrrrrrr .... it is really beautiful here. Though nice to look at, I wish it won´t snow tomorrow coz I hate cycling when snowing.

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Coming up next ... Stammtish trip with the Girls to a Christmas Market than, yummy dinner on 6th December, followed by me throwing a Christmas Party for my schoolmate on 12th December at home! Everyone is suppose to bring a dish from their country, so stay tune!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Octoberfest Party at Home

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We threw a dinner party two nights before I left for KL. The plan was suppose to be a sit down dinner with a few couple whom had in the past, invited us over to their place but one BIGGGGGG speaker blabber our invite to the whole group and we ended up having to invite the whole group. Unfortunately, or fortunately in this case, a few can´t make it and our guest list were down to a mere 8, versus the usual 20. Phew. But, the preparation was nothing short of simple though.

Here´s what we did.

We sprung up the place as much as possible. We had our dining table removed and got them replaced with Octoberfest table and bench. Frank borrowed us his precious flag from a reputable Octoberfest pub in Munchen. We had them hung up, and it immediately transformed our little haven to a beer tent wannabe. Earlier that day too, we did a bit of shopping. Some white and blue decoration for the house were called for, which saw our place litted up with the theme candle, serviettes, and what not. Mama loaned us some pieces of blue and white table cloth that can be passed off for the theme too. It was awesome. Our motto was, wanna do something? Go all the way out. Yeah.

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My man, was happily stocking up his favourite beverage from our regular beverage store. I was happily collecting the stamps that came with the purchase so that we can exchange them some other beverage with the stamps are full. The 8 of us consumed ....

THESE (and not forgetting another 2 dozen being chilled in our fridge).

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We also finished 3 barrels of BECKS.

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Please don´t ask me how much I drank ... coz I lost count. But I can tell you how many pieces of sausages and meatloaf I ate :-) Traditionally, the Bavarians are radish eaters. Not any cooked radish but raw ones, sliced to about a cm thick and eating them simply as it is.

Seriously, all I can think of that night was boiling them for hours with BBQ pork ribs :-)

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Though you can find freshly made Pretzels in every corner of Munchen; in bakery of course but also some are found on roadside stalls when I last visited, the only place I´ve come across them in Ahaus was during a festival here. We got ours from the supermarket´s frozen department and for a layman like me, I really can´t tell the difference.

The only difference is, we had to bake them for over 20 minutes versus buying them off the shop.

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We didn´t do much cooking from scratch. It was very much preparation work of reheating and serving. I was a bit apprehensive over such dinner, but by end of the preparation, I was kinda glad that we did not go overboard with the cooking prep due to our time constraint.

For salad, we bought two boxes of Cabbage Salad. I love this. Different from saurkraut where it can get a bit too sourish to my liking, this cabbage salad tasted everything cabbage should be. Fresh, with a hint of light sweet and sourish dresssing.

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No pork knuckles coz we don´t know how to cook them. So instead, we bought a kilo of Bavarian Meatloaf. It was really yummy! It taste pretty close to the chinese luncheon meat but not as watery, and one can taste the wonderful aroma of the pork mince and its spices. For these, we had them roasted in our oven for a good 45 minutes.

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Knodel or Potato Dumpling, one of my favourite Bavarian side dishes. Tried making them once and it was super tedious. The texture is chewy, a bit bouncy and taste every bite of a potato of course, but its nothing like the usual potato that we eat. We bought them in packets and got them presoaked, than boiled for some minutes. There´s a few varieties to this, some plain and others with bacon bits etc and my personal favourite is still plain but made fresh and available in any Bavarian restaurant in Munchen. This one is passable.

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What´s an Octoberfest without their fame sweet mustard? German sweet mustard are THE BEST. Yum.

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And naturally, we served along boiled sausages all the way from Bavaria. This was really good
too.

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Fooddddd ...

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Mama Else kept on commenting that I look like a little girl. She´s always calling me `Meine Kleine Madchen` :-) I´m really so spoilt here.

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And my Bavarian man for the night. Ahem. Big, Strong and Friendly.

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We ended the party around 12 midnight and went straight to bed for much needed rest. We spent the next morning cleaning up our place and returning back all the borrowed items to the respective owners. It was quite a hectic day as I remembered it, coz not many hours after the cleaning, we had another party to go to; which was Juergen´s boss´s 50th party.

Somehow, we manage to find time still for a little R&R before my flight back to KL on Sunday. We didn´t do much except munching on the chocolate bouquet we received from our friends here. Thanks so much you all! And psssstttt ... there´s even 25E to replenish the chocolates!

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So, this was our first dinner party at home. Pretty interesting I´d say and looking forward to another one soon.