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Recipes & Cooking

How To: Make a Roux

Roux - Stolen Image (allrecipes.com)

Roux – Stolen Image (allrecipes.com)

I was asked by a member of the extended family circle about a recipe requiring a roux.

So let’s make a “Roux“… Ahh… yeah, right. Sure. Of course. This is french. It’s pronounced ( /ˈr/ ) and this sounds sooo much better than the german Mehlschwitze, which – honestly – sounds more like a sore throat 🙂 .

A roux is used as a basis for things like heavy sauces, soups or stews. It thickens them up and makes them creamy and rich. Since it’s a base-ingredient, it is very versatile and can be used for a wide variety of cooking tasks from the standard french cuisine mother sauce Béchamel up to New Orleans Gumbo. Google “roux usage” and you’ll see what I mean.

Some people find making a roux a little intimidating because, yes, you can absolutely screw it up, but if you follow these simple steps here, I promise you’ll nail it every time. It’s no magic.

Blamco™ Mac & Cheese

I put the Bethesda Cookbooks that I got recently to use and, after making Skooma from the Elder Scrolls Cookbook, yesterday I made “Blamco Mac & Cheese” (Fallout 4 Item ID: 0002fbe4) from the Fallout Vault Dweller’s Cookbook. Yummy!

Admittedly, basically this is an ordinary Mac’n Cheese, but souped up Fallout-colored. I like that! It’s easy to make, yummy and convenient.

Again, this is the only recipe I will post from the book since it’s all copyrighted (but I’m a fierce and fearless Wasteland Raider and Mac’n Cheese is not such an uncommon recipe). See it as an appetizer if you’re pondering on buying the book.

Pasta Cooking for Dummies

These are my 5 commandments for cooking italian pasta that I’ve gathered over the last years and that have proven useful. It’s not that hard anyway but not everyone is a routined chef and I would have been happy if I had known some of these seemingly plain tips in the beginning.

These basic steps and fundamentals will hopefully help you nail it as much as they helped me 🙂

If you’re still pondering with pasta to cook, have a look at Jamie Oliver’s pasta shapes guide.

Dutch Oven White Chicken Chili

Someone inquired the recipe for the White Chicken Chili I made recently, so here it is, I’m glad to deliver:

Ingredients (for 4 – 5):

500 g ground chicken
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
400 ml chicken broth
4-6 green chilies
1.5 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cans white beans, undrained
Salt & Pepper

Rigatoni alla Gricia

A very simple italian pasta dish that requires only three ingredients, but, when done properly tastes heavenly. Read about the interesting origin of the dish here.


Game Skooma

Game Skooma

My Skooma

My Skooma

Whoever has played Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls Series with enthusiasm and dedication like me will know what “Skooma” is. As I got the official Elder Scrolls Cookbook these days, the first recipe to try for me was – of course – Skooma. By the way: I highly recommend the book, just for the fun!

Here’s the recipe for that booze that I copied and loosely translated from the mentioned above book. I will not post any more of them here since they’re all copyrighted, I just couldn’t resist this one. But hey, Skooma itself is highly illegal in the whole world of Tamriel!

Khajit has warez if you have coin” 🙂

Drying Sage

We cut down about 1/3 of our sage bush in the northern germany garden because it was beginning to overgrow nearly everything else in the spot.

Instead of throwing it away, we decided to dry it for later and I was the lucky one that had to pluck the leaves off the stems. I felt like my grandma, sitting on her porch when I was a child, cleaning several kilos of green beans for canning 🙂 . Anyway, your fingers smell utterly divine after that job!

We then simply dried the leaves in the oven, laid out evenly on 3 trays: Hot air, at 50°C for about 6 hours. With a wooden spoon stuck in the oven door to keep a small slit open to let the air escape.

Tomato Sauce (Basic Recipe)

My basic, easy and quick recipe for a really yummy pasta sauce. This base sauce can then also easily be honed up to your liking.


I made me some Burgers yesterday for dinner – it’s been a long time since – and I really craved for them. I know, making Hamburgers is a quasi-religious thing, but exactly that’s why everybody makes them the way they personally like best – mine are rather simple.

Chicken with Mushrooms in Hoisin Sauce

Another un-fancy, yet yummy recipe you can easily memorize. It requires only a few ingredients, it’s no fuzz to make and it’s hearty and filling. Best served over rice.

Chicken with Hoisin Glaze

I made this these days for dinner. It’s easy and fast enough for a workday evening and it’s yummy as hell. And I will really have to work on my presentation 🙂 Here’s what you want to do:

Basic Udon Soup

I like asian food, especially noodles and whenever I stumble upon a recipe that catches my eye, I try to reproduce it. So here is today’s shot at “Basic Udon Soup” that I discovered on this guy’s very well made Youtube channel that I’ve been following for years now. This is not an overly savoury or particularly filling soup, rather some light meal. Watch the video or read on here how to make it:

Ground Beef and Leek Soup

One of my personal classics, and I’m surprised that I didn’t even post this here yet. It’s a hearty, savoury and filling soup, best eaten on a cold day to warm up both body and soul. Yum! Aaand here’s how:

Farcyde’s Personal Pantry Essentials

Neatly ordered and organized for your viewing pleasure!

What do I need to keep in my cabinets and drawers to be “safe” for most situations when I have to feed some people or scratch up something for two “out of nothing”? This is what I always have in stock and refill reliably, just to have it available without having to think about it.

This is my personal roundup, it may lack a lot of stuff that other people deem indispensable, but it’s a list of staples that I think mostly anyone can get along with fairly well. If you like, you can also have a look on what I deem essential kitchen equipment. Read on…

Breakfast Burrito

This is my sort of breakfast burrito – thrown together from what you’ve got in the fridge and melted together to cheesy, delicious goodness 🙂 Of course you can throw in whatever like but this one is mine. It’s fast and easy in the morning.

Simple Confinement Bread

I’ve had enough time at hands these days due to lockdown and easter holidays, so I made some bread yesterday for me and the SO. Not very shapely and I could have let it brown a little more but nonetheless a delicious, no-fuss and solid wheat bread for breakfast. Other than my usual no-knead bread, I tried a traditional, simple yeast dough this time. Here’s how:

My BBQ Glaze

The 3.645.237’th BBQ-Glaze recipe on the internet. My personal favourite, because it’s easy to make, requires only common ingredients (yes, I DO NOT use vinegar) and it’s fu**ing delicious. Use it for spareribs and red meat roasted in the oven or in the smoker.

Lockdown Lunch:

Improvised glass noodle stir fry with mushrooms, vegetables and chow mein seasoning sauce (actually, you can throw in whatever ingredients you like). Cobbled together in minutes and actually very tasty. Here’s how:

Scallion Oil Noodles

This simple, yet flavourful recipe for chinese Scallion Oil Noodles is taken from here and as usual, I adapted it a little bit. I highly recommend to try it out! It’s easy and veeery delicious.

Butter Garlic Noodles with Oyster Sauce

I got a package of these shrimp flavoured egg noodles and I found them very yummy and flavourful. Here’s an easy and filling Recipe:

Couverts et Baguettes – YouTube Channel

He’s a perfect archetype of a staid french gentleman. Sounds like Gérard Depardieu, always somewhat casually stylish and with a very, very pleasant presentation. He cooks classic french cuisine (aside from other recipes), presented in, well, french (unfortunately for me). To me, with a 25-year pause in dealing with the french language, he’s hard to understand on the first try, but it’s absolutely worth the effort!

The usual disclaimer: I DO NOT make any money by linking to this channel and he doesn’t pay me for this (in fact, he doesn’t even know I exist 🙂 )

Pig’s Trotters and Tails

I’ve got an eMail Request from far abroad, that’s great! Someone from the U.S. wanted to know how we made the pig’s trotters and tails several years ago, so here’s the recipe. Thanks Alan for your request!

Linguine Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino

I don’t know if my recipe for “Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino” is anyhow the traditional italian way, but it is surely delicious!

Ginger Shots

It’s cold and damp outside, its wet and it’s ugly: It’s flu weather. So, in an outstanding attempt to proctect me and herself from the elements, mean viruses and nasty bugs, my wife made some ginger-lemon-lemonade, aka “ginger shots”.

Packed with vitamin-c and the many beneficial components of fresh ginger, we are now armed and ready for battle against the common cold. One shot each in the morning! Here’s the recipe:

Tips on Cold Smoking

I plan on smoking some meat again shortly, so I find it’s a good idea to gather and sum up my experiences on cold smoking a little. I will not describe the actual processes and mechanisms of smoking foods here, but if you’re interested, read on on wikipedia. It’s worth the time.

There are three types of smoking:

Hot smoking (60 – 110 °C / 140 – 230 °F):
This is what you do in a BBQ smoker. More delicious cooking than actual smoking.

Warm smoking (25 – 60 °C / 77 – 140 °F):
The intermediate thing. Some Proteins begin to denaturate at these temperatures.

Cold smoking (10 – 25 °C / 50 – 77 °F):
The “original” way of smoking, used for centuries to conserve goods. The only method discussed here.

Let it Cook – YouTube Channel

I have almost binge-watched this guy’s videos now and I really recommend his channel to everyone who’s interested in reasonable cooking aside from “quick’n easy” recipes. He’s a super likeable person (he seems to be bavarian 🙂 ) and he’s presenting his work in an understandable, instructive and educational way. It’s german language only, but for german-speakers it’s a must-see.

Usual disclaimer: I DO NOT make any money by linking to this channel and he doesn’t pay me for this (in fact, he doesn’t even know I exist 🙂 )

Farcydes Top 5 Recipes 2019

Now for another year, here’s my Top 5 Recipes. I’d appreciate if you give them a try, enjoy and let me know how they worked out for you! Let’s start:

Gyoza Dipping Sauce

I found a recipe for a Gyoza dipping sauce by Adam Liaw on YouTube (he’s such a pleasant and down-to-earth guy!)

That sauce does really taste exactly like the stuff that I always had in the japanese noodle restaurant close to my workplace! So here’s the (stolen and) “Farcyde-approved” 🙂 recipe:


60 g yellow rock sugar
150 ml soy sauce
300 ml Chinkiang black vinegar
150 ml red vinegar (optional, otherwise just use 450 ml Chinkiang)

Slow Braised Beef Short Ribs with Red Wine Sauce

Slow braised short ribs – a delight to me. Although a very cheap cut they come out delicious when done with a little attention, time and some patience.

There’s no magic to it – on the contrary, you’ll have about half an hour of work and will then be able to laze around for 2 1/2 hours! Here’s my recipe:

Romanesco and Bacon Stew

I had two heads of romanesco and a batch of bacon left over from another meal. So I threw everything together and the outcome was indeed very delicious (yes, I will have to work on my presentation). It’s an unpretentious and simple recipe for leftover usage.

Short Pasta with Caramelized Onions

I felt like having been run through the wringer yesterday. Dizzy, wobbly, queasy, tired – you name it. And hungry as hell, so I made these. The recipes requires only a few ingredients, almost no work and a minimum of supervision. Oh, and it’s yummy.

French Fine Dining and Cooking

I want to make a YouTube recommendation this time. This guy’s YouTube channel as well as his Website have taught me a whole lot about some rather upscale cooking or respectively “fine dining”. It’s very much especially not the common “quick & easy” ubiquitous type of internet recipes.

He explains a lot, demonstrates everything in a very comprehensible way and at least for me, everything I tried turned out downright delicious.

Sous Vide Duck Breast with Red Wine Reduction

This was yesterdays dinner and it turned out great. In fact I was so excited, I forgot to take photo of the final plate. Anyway, here’s how:

Personal Udon

I was forbidden to eat for two days due to a medical examination that I had to take. Thereafter, I was not so much starving (I weigh 100 kg – I’m sure I won’t starve that soon), but I was craving. I had an enormous appetite for noodles, so I grabbed all the remainders I had in the fridge and made my “personal Udon”. Easy, yummy and (any possible asian readers please forgive me) not in any way traditional:

Yesterday Evening’s Beef Shank in Wine Sauce with Mushrooms

I’ll undergo a medical examination where I must not eat for one day in advance. So I treated myself with a grubby and substantial meal the evening before. Here is it:

White Wine and Mushroom Pasta

This is my white wine and mushroom pasta recipe. Easy to make and very delicious. I like to use dried mushrooms for this since they’re more flavourful than the fresh ones. And please do ignore my messy kitchen.

Birthday Barbecue

We celebrated my wife’s birthday yesterday (all the best for you, my love!) and also used the new smoker. A whole chicken, a barbecue fattie and some spareribs – it was yummy and fun. Some Impressions from a beautiful day with friends, food and beer:

Stir Frying 101- Chinese Stir Fry Techniques

Have a look at this guys cool YouTube Video:

Yes, it is nicely made, it’s informative and yes, I did learn from it… But the actual hammer is this elaborate article that guy wrote on reddit as a complement for the movie. This is downright premium content – if you’re even only slightly interested in asian cooking, this is a must read!

Chinese-style Bacon: Part 3

I took the bacon out of the drying box today and did a little taste-test. It tastes absolutely great, though absolutely nothing like the bacon the classically skilled western european ist used to. It is very dry on the outside, yet juicy and soft enough on the inside to be yummy.

Asian Stir-Fry Sauce

Turns out, the marinade for the chinese bacon experiment is a legit hammer-stir-fry-sauce: I didn’t want to pour it away because it smelled so aromatic, decent and savoury. So I boiled it up to kill off any probably existing bacteria from marinating.

Then I stored it in the fridge and used it as a sauce for my evening dinner stir fry (just as you would use teriyaki sauce or similar). Recommendation!

Chinese-style Bacon: Part 2

I am that pissed. Yesterday my wife started her ride into her holidays to the northern germany refuge, visiting her sister and going to relax a little… and I am stuck here having to work and stand to attention, right in the middle of summer… 🙁 Whatever. Here’s the chinese bacon progress so far:

Chinese-style Bacon: Part 1

So I accidentally watched this video on YouTube (see below ↓) and immediately decided to try that chinese bacon recipe. Watch the video and ask again why I wanted to try this… 🙂 I have absolutely no clue how this will work out, so follow here for updates if you like! What I did is this:








Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe is a classic italian dish and I wanted to see if I’m able to produce a decent version of it. I’m a garlic junkie, so I added garlic, which is not at all original. The trick of mixing the cheese with the noodles and creating a nice even coat is not so easy, but it works and the result ist delicious.

Fried King Oyster Mushrooms with Spinach and Polenta

This is what I made for lunch today. Very delicious, but a little work to do. It’s indeed three separate but as such simple dishes to make, but with a little dedication it’s no problem:

Ingredients for 2:

500 g spinach, fresh
2 cloves garlic
1 shallot
6-8 king oyster mushrooms (depending on size)
125 g polenta
salt & pepper to taste

Wakame Udon – a little messed up

I wanted to try and make Wakame Udon for lunch today, which originally consists of udon noddles in broth, topped with wakame seaweed (and perhaps with an additional sprinkle of spring onion). But I ended up using everything I found left over in the kitchen and I thought would fit in. This includes:

Chinese Dark Sauce Pork and Mushroom Noodles

Yesterday’s dinner. Looks a little, let’s say, like something you have to get used to, but tastes like heaven. Simple ingredients and simple to prepare. Well, I didn’t have any mushrooms left yesterday, so I went without 🙂

Preparing dried legumes

Although legumes (e.g. beans, peas or lentils in all their varieties, forms and shapes) are available ready-to-use and cheap in any given supermarket, many people don’t know how to prepare them from their dried state. Yet, for an old freaky prepper like me 🙂 they are very useful: Their shelf life is a felt eternity, they’re nutritious and, well, occasionally they taste really good.

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Bacon

I  gave one of the Bacon sides from recently to a close friend of mine and he made this from some of it! Looks yummy, eh? 😀

He took the recipe from here (english translation below), but he recommends to leave out the butter for more crispiness. I’m glad he liked it!

Cooking Rice without a Rice Cooker

I don’t know anymore where this is from. I Did it once and it worked absolutely well. Nonetheless, I have a rice cooker now 😀

Notes on Flour

Stolen from here

(Updated) Stolen from here

Hey! In reaction to my recent post on yeast I’ve been asked “what about flour”? Well, I’m not a baker, I’m not into cake, cookies and pastry – just baking bread from time to time.

So here’s my (very condensed and one-sided) information on flour types that I have learned over the last couple of years, with special focus on the differences / translations between american and german. Good sources for more information are cheatsheet.com and weekendbakery.com.

(Concerning that Image: I’ve actually never heard of “Flour Type 812” here in Germany…)



Common Slow Cooker Fuck Ups

Ahhh… tonight’s Dinner will be some hearty stew from the Crockpot! To me, my slow cooker is a hassle-free, easy and convenient way to prepare food. It’s really hard to completely ruin a slow cooker meal, it’ll most probably come out at least edible.

However, it’s not completely idiot-proof, so here’s a comprehensive but most certainly uncomplete list of “slow-cooker-don’ts” for information. Some of them are widely available on the internet (for example here) and some of them I’ve experienced by myself, purely and completely on my own 🙂

January Bacon is done

The new batch of home-cured bacon is finally done. Took them out of the smoker yesterday in the evening after two 2.5-hour-runs of smoking with the small burner.

Notes on Baker’s Yeast

I like baking my own bread from time to time. Recently, I came across some useful information on baker’s yeast that I want to share here:

As you all know, there are two types of yeast being sold in supermarkets – fresh yeast and dry yeast. They’re to be handled a little different each since they come in different forms, but they’re both the same organism (“Saccharomyces cerevisiae” – which derives from its origin from brewing beer). They also both do the same thing: They give your dough fluffiness, airiness and volume by natural fermentation.

Fresh Yeast comes in the form of little cubes, always weighing 42g
Dry Yeast comes as a powdery substance in little packages, always weighing 7g

Home Made Pork Rinds

I also bought skin-on pork belly for bacon curing this time and made pork rinds from the cut-offs. Nothing simpler than that: Heat your oven on “broil” to about 250 – 280 °C. Put your pork skin pieces onto a rack and salt them “as you would salt a roast” (statement of the sales lady at the butcher shop). Leave in the oven for about 15 minutes, turn over and grill for another 10 – 15 minutes more – until they’re crisp and blistered. Delicious.

New Batch of Bacon

A new batch of (hopefully) delicious, yummy and scrumptious bacon is on it’s way! They’re four pieces of about 750 g each, salted with my standard meat curing formula and vacuumed tightly. They’re now resting in the fridge to cure for about eight days. My mouth is already watering…

Homemade Bread Dumplings

The cristmas eve edition of homemade bread dumplings as made by my sister-in-law. It’s an absolutely traditional southern german / austrian dish and it’s my first time to make them myself and not use the store-bought ones. Well, the pre-made dumplings will have a hard time from now on.

Yakitori Sauce (Tare)

Crappy image of dipping/glazing sauce for some Yakitori we made last night. It’s very delicious and fairly easy to make dish and the sauce is most flavourful and yummy.

1/2 cup mirin 
1/2 cup soy sauce 
1/4 cup sake 
2 cloves garlic, smashed 
4 thin slices of ginger 
2 tbsp dark brown sugar 
1 tsp black pepper 

Bring everything to a boil and, once it boils, reduce the heat to medium low. Let simmer until reduced to half. Strain and use as skewer glaze or (very savoury) dipping sauce.

Moo Shoo Chicken

This is Moo Shoo Chicken (although the chicken is still missing in the picture above), something that I didn’t make for quite a time. Originally the recipe is with pork, but I only had some chicken breast left so I didn’t care. Generally, since it’s not so easy to get hands on all the original japanese ingredients often called for in those recipes, you’ll have to substitute the one or the other item with what’s closest to the original anyway.

Fermented Chili Hot Sauce

This is the hot sauce that I made from the fermented chili project yesterday. I just added teaspoon of sugar and a dash of vinegar and mixed it until smooth in the grinder. Ladies and Gentlemen: This stuff can blow your scalp off…

Biggest Batch of Sausages so far

Yesterday I made the biggest batch of “Bratwurscht” ever since I’m doing this. It took me a whole afternoon, to grind meat, season, knead and fill into casings. Now I’ve got 2 types of sausages, ending up with 4,5 kg in total:

Private Parts Burning

I was making a new batch of chinese chili oil yesterday. And – since it was an urgent matter – I went to the toilet WITHOUT washing my hands thoroughly before. Thai chili flakes touched by hand and your private parts REALLY don’t mix!!! That shit burns like hell…

Don’t try this at home.

Honey Hoisin Noodles

Holy Crap! These are so yummy – and easily made when you don’t have time and nerves to start a cookout after work. Try them, you won’t be disappointed, I promise:

Home Made Sauerkraut (Jar Method)

Since I was already working on fermenting chilies and, more important, since I’m a “Kraut”, I decided to try to make Sauerkraut on my own. Here’s what I did:

Fermented Chilies for BBQ Sauce

I read an article on home made fermented hot BBQ sauce and I wanted to try it myself. Here are the first results, I promise to post on the progress.

How to: Wrapping Gyoza

To every asian chef or hobby cook that may ever visit my little site here (if so at all…), you’ll have to be very strong now. This is actual footage of a european (german) amateur cook (aka me) wrapping gyoza (japanese dumplings) at home. This is my way of wrapping them and you surely can make them more pretty, but I swear to god they were extra delicious.

My favourite Kitchen Cheat Sheets

Here are the few cheat sheets / info images (from the millions you can find on the net) that I really used and that I really learned something from. I hope this helps a little. Categorized:



Butter Garlic Noodles

For when you get home from work and can’t really be arsed into much cooking 🙂 This is ultra fast, extra simple and nonetheless filling.

Ise Udon

A savoury and warming japanese dish, easy to make and veeery addictive. Here’s how:


New Homemade Cured Meat

Following my standard recipe and rules of thumb I began making another 2 pieces of cured meat yesterday. Hope they turn out well.

Cold Somen Noodles

I had an open package of Somen Noodles in the kitchen, that I wanted to use up, so I made cold Somen noodles for Lunch. Since Somen are very low in calories but also relatively filling, I like this from time to time. They’re fool proof, tasty and, while my version was – as usual – not too optically appealing, they are pretty original. 








My own Booze!

We had a really plentiful harvest of pears this year, so I took some of them to make my own liqueur. Here’s how:

Cooking Oil Overview

A handy overview of the smoke points of different cooking oils. Taken from here.

Homemade “Käsespätzle”

… or “Kasspatzn” in southern german slang. I posted an article on them before, boasting around that I would make them myself. Today was the day and we finally made some. These are gorgeous, delicious little bastards and they’re surprisingly easy to make! An easy, yummy and filling crowd-pleaser.

TL;DR: I’ll never buy the pre-made ones from the supermarket again!


Homemade “Bresaola”

This is the homemade “Bresaola” that I made several weeks ago. You can find the recipe here. While this is certainly not comparable to the north italian original, it is still very delicious and – hey! – it’s self-made!

Curing Fish (Trout, “Lox”, etc.)

Someone from America (!) commented very nicely on my old “Home Cured Trout” post (thank you, Sir!) and wanted to know what to do exactly. I feel honored to answer – it’s not difficult and the results are great. Here’s how I did it:

(I used a fairly large trout that I caught that day, but you can also use salmon – since that’s where the recipes comes from – or for example char. I use the old images here.)

Alabama White BBQ-Sauce

(“Ahh-la-baah-ma whide baarb’quu sooosss” – as I’ve been told 🙂 ) Very delicious, everybody in the family likes it.


1 cup mayonnaise 
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
3 tsp. water 
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
1/2 tsp. kosher salt 
1/2 tsp. garlic powder 
1/2 tsp. onion powder 
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 
1/4 tsp. hot sauce 

Only fly in the ointment is that it’s almost impossible to get hands on apple cider vinegar here in germany. A substitute is mixing apple juice and apple vinegar 50:50 but, honestly, it’s not the same.

Six Hours Rib Smoking Session

I tried smoking pork short ribs using the “professional” 3-2-1 Hours Method yesterday and they really came out outstandingly great! So what does that mean? It means you have three stages of cooking:

Farcydes Top 5 Recipes 2018

Here’s my Top 5 Recipes that I cook really often and that I don’t even have to look up anymore. They’re all no-fuss, absolutely yummy and easy to cook. Give them a try and enjoy! Let’s start:

Bacon Jam

Friends out there! This is shit is crazy good, so do try it! I stole this from here and adpated it a little (as usual). You’ll need:

Steak Cuts Overview

So this guy did a cool overview of steak cuts with descriptions on Imgur. Worth reading!

Sous Vide Duck Breast

Yesterday’s Dinner for two. I should really work on the presentation, but – man! – this was delicious! The sous vide gadget makes sure the duck breast comes out perfectly, pink in the middle and absolutely not overcooked. I really like that thing!

The fat side was seared in the pan and glazed with a mix of sherry and honey. The sauce was a reduction of red wine, balsamic vinegar, garlic and honey. This was serious work, but it was absolutely worth the effort.

Springlane Sous Vide Stick!

This is my Springlane™ “Henry” sous vide stick (it was a birthday present from my sister)! This was some time ago already and now I finally have the time to post an article on it…


First, that thing is large. In all the pictures that I had seen before, it looks rather small and handy but in reality it is 35 (!) cm long, so I first had to find a container that was high enough to fit 🙂

My Kitchen Conversions Cheat Sheet

This is what I put together for personal use (american ⇒ metric). It’s pinned to my fridge wall and I use it often. You might find it interesting too.

New Load of Cured Meat

I made a new batch of meat for curing and smoking. This time I will make two sorts: My standard cured pork (right side) like I already did several times. They’re about 700g each, so I’m planning to smoke one of them after curing and dry the other one.

The other type is “Bresaola” – cured and dried beef. It’s been cured with red wine for 24 hours and is now being cured with salt, sugar and herbs in the fridge. After that It’s going to be dried.

Smoked Sea Salt

Yesterday I made smoked sea salt. I saw a dude on the interwebz using some on a flank steak these days and it looked delicious. So I wanted to try it too.


Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

Made these little creeps yesterday for dinner. They’re absolutely easy to make but are very flavorful and yummy.


Gnocchi for two (about 200g each)
8-10 leaves of sage, coarsely cut
125 g butter
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely diced
Salt and pepper
Grated parmesan cheese

Homemade Garlic Paste

I like garlic and besides the fresh cloves, I use a lot of store bought garlic paste for cooking when I’m in a hurry. So why not make some myself, have it fresh and have a little fun? I normally use this brand, it’s tasty, almost non-chemical and I consider it somewhat “original” since my asia store clerk strongly recommended it to me.

Sourdough Bread

So I put Hauke to a use and made a small batch of sourdough yesterday for testing. Following this Youtube Video, I made it “by feel” using a ratio of 3:2:1 (flour:water:sourdough). After letting it sit for one night it almost doubled in size and got really nice and fluffy (and a hell of a sticky substance). Baked it for 40 mins. in my trusty dutch oven and got this nice result.

Chinese Steamed Rice Noodle Rolls (Cheung Fun)

Now these are a little more complicated… I had stuff like them in a vietnamese restaurant and I was now googling around for some time to find something similar that I’d dare myself. So finally, since I’m neither asian nor a professional, I’ve thrown this together from here, here and here. What can I say? They turned out a bit ugly but indeed really delicious 🙂

Beans with Bacon

As a kid I loved the Bud Spencer & Terence Hill movies! Great stories, even greater comments and… cool food. Just remember them grubbing a full pan of beans and bacon fresh from the campfire and niftily stolen from some starving-ass villains (and occasionally sharing it with their horses). Here’s my (very simple) version – a tradition for the last 20 years:

Hauke, Part III and How to

After one day of rest, it’s day 4 of the sourdough test now. It has a distinct sourly smell, rather fresh and not pungent or moldy and it bubbles. I’ll feed it one last time today and then try it out for baking bread. After all, I can sum up the process as follows:

Garlic Butter Smashed Potatoes

They’re garlicky, buttery, crispy and simply yummy. If you gave me a bathtub full of them, I’d want to drown in it. Had them last night again and here’s how:


500g small, round potatoes 
2-3 tbsp. butter 
2-3 tbsp. olive oil 
2-3 big cloves of garlic, minced
Dried rosemary to taste  
Salt & pepper to taste

Hauke, Part II

The second day is over. I couldn’t see much change when I added 100g of flour and another 100ml of water today. Also, it didn’t smell sourly yet. So let’s wait for day three.

The trick seems to be to “feed” it day by day, until it bubbles. The naturally occuring wild yeasts and lactobacilli in the flour need some time to wake up, reproduce and populate the mixture thoroughly. When this proliferation has reached a certain level, the developing carbon dioxide makes the dough bubble up and the ongoing fermentation produces a wide variety of aromatics – that finally also end up in your bread.

Looking forward to tomorrow evening and on how it is going on.

Hauke, Part I

Let me present to you: Hauke (a somewhat unusual boy’s name in germany), my first homemade sourdough starter – at least my first try. Since I’ve read that they’re living organisms and thus you’re obliged to give them names, I’ll simply call him – well – Hauke. I started him off today with 50g wheat flour (Type 1050) and 50 ml water @ 27 °C (lukewarm). Recipe taken from here.

Part two and more information on how to make a sourdough starter tomorrow, when I’ll have to fill it up.

Bangers & Mash

I made “Bangers and Mash” today, which is sausages and mashed potatoes with onion gravy. Veeery yummy! Here’s how:

Pressure Cooker How To

Since I was an absolute beginner when it came to using a pressure cooker (and I somehow lost the manual…), I looked for instructions on the internet lately. Some were plain BS, some just dramatically told elementary stuff and left out the real instructions and, finally, some (especially the relevant forums!) were very informative. I threw everything together and tried it out (BTW – here’s a good article on what a pressure cooker actually does – I won’t describe the principles of pressure cooking here).

So, here’s my personal “Pressure Cooker How To for Dummies” (tested, illustrated and in full color!):


Honey-Soy glazed Salmon

Super-easy and fast. Oh, I forgot: also yummy!


Salmon for 2 (~350g) 

4 cloves garlic, minced 
2 tsp. ginger, minced 
½ tsp. red pepper 
1 tbsp. olive oil 
1/3 cup soy sauce 
1/3 cup honey

Slow Cooker Pork Neck with Honey Balsamic Glaze

Dug out my slow cooker again yesterday after some time and made some pork neck. I don’t know where I got this recipe from anymore, but I really like it every once in a while since it’s very yummy and easy to make. The meat comes out fork tender and juicy and it has a nicely round and savoury taste.

My Kitchen Equipment

Since I’ve been asked, this is my standard cooking equipment. Oddly, when digging through my kitchen cupboards I found that it is not so very much. Of course there’s some more, since kitchen utensils have a tendency to accumulate like old socks in your drawer, but I don’t use everything regularly. I do almost everything with a very manageable amount of rudimental, yet essential tools that I use everyday:

Mushroom Rehydrating Time Lapse

I like cooking asian and this often involves the use of dried mushrooms. They can easily be rehydrated with boiling water in a few minutes. While for wood-ear mushrooms boiling water is perfectly ok, some say that it is not for shiitakes and one should rather use lukewarm water (having to accept a longer rehydration time) in order to preserve flavour. I personally can’t find any difference, so I always use boiling water for both.

This video is about 20 minutes condensed to 1. The wood-ear mushrooms are perfectly good after about 12-15 minutes, whereas the thicker shiitake take at least 20 minutes to rehydrate. You can save the flavourful liquid from the shiitakes for later use (the wood ear don’t deliver any), for example as soup stock addition etc. And don’t forget to remove the stems.

Cheesecake in the microwave

I’m not much of “sweets guy” but my SO loves a sugary treat from time to time, so I made her these. It’s actually this “Tasty“-Recipe and it works well. Almost no effort, nearly fool proof and apparently really delicious.

Beef Jerky

I made beef jerky again, this time Teriyaki-style. Also, meanwhile I have “professional” Dehydrator that does a real good job and that has temperature control as well as a timer for “fill and forget”.

Seafood Gratin

I made a yummy Seafood Gratin these days. Attention: This is serious winter food – heavy, savoury, warming and high in calories… here’s how to cook it.


My sister in law made Spätzle herself (which is, as far as I know, best translated to “swabian noodles”). It’s a traditional southern german specialty made from small lumps of dough cooked in boiling water and then enriched with melted cheese (“Käsespätzle”) and sauteed onions.

I will snatch the recipe from her…

I will reproduce it…

and I WILL eat them… 🙂

New smoked meat

Eventually, I seem to get the hang on it. The latest piece turned out beautifully. After smoking it thoroughly with the cold smoker and hanging it in the fridge to age for about four weeks, I recently gave it a try and I really like it. Tasty, not harsh, rather mild and the fat melts in your mouth. Luckily, I wrote down what I did precisely, so I can (and will) repeat.

Szechwan Spicy Beans and Pork

Mhh, I think I’m on some kind of asian-cooking-trip at the moment… This one is hot, tasty and easy to prepare. Taken from here and adapted to my needs and possibilities.


Looking for a way for using up stuff in my fridge before it spoils, I stumbled over “Butadon, a kind of japanese rice bowl dish. Due to what I had at hand I simply merged two recipes from two of my favourite YouTube Channels (this one and this one), so here’s MY version:

Takikomi Gohan

I made Takikomi Gohan, a yummy japanese rice dish. I found the recipe here (I like these two girls, here’s their YouTube Channel) and followed it except the konnyaku, that I wasn’t able to find here. It’s tasty and filling and almost no work since the rice cooker does everything for you.

Oven-broiled BBQ-Fattie

I had a full pund of ground meat left over yesterday, so in order to not let it spoil I made an Oven Fattie from it. Man, this is Heart Attack Food… Extra juicy, cheesy and frickin’ delicious. Here’s how to do it:

Homemade Granulated Veggie Stock

I made homemade veggie stock these days for my SO. I’m not so much into veggies personally but she likes it and I made a batch. It’s really easy and it only takes some time to dry (where you don’t have to give it too much attention). This is not so much intended for making soup (although it will somehow work too), but merely for seasoning, for example for sauces and stews.

You can use leftover uncooked veggies and also kitchen scraps for this, as long as you make sure they’re clean and reasonably free of roots or hard skins. This is what I did:

Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce is one of the staple ingredients in japanese cooking. It means “shiny grilled” literally (Wikipedia) and while it’s normally just prepared on the fly while cooking, I find it nice to have a small stock of it in the fridge to use.

I tried to find a recipe that is as original as possible because there are so many “western” variations of it to be found on the internet and I wanted the real thing. Eventually, I found a simple and easy instruction in this video (at 4:20 – I generally like that guy and I have already cooked a lot of his dishes) and will follow this, because most “japanese” or at least “original asian” looking sites say mostly the same.

Potato & Egg Breakfast Cups

I like these and always make them in advance for a few days. It’s not too much work (let it be 10 minutes) and they reheat in the microwave in 2 minutes in the morning, so they’re easy and convenient. They keep in the fridge for about two days, otherwise I think you could also freeze them. But usually they don’t last very long…


Latest cooking Experiment, yesterday evening for dinner: “Elsässer Flammkuchen” (some kind of french pizza, with a very thin bottom topped with sour cream, onions and bacon). Very yummy, luckily everybody liked it.

Tasty Beef Leg Stew

My SO is on tour visiting her familiy, so I had the opportunity to make my delicious beef leg stew in the crockpot yesterday. It’s really easy, yummy and filling. Follow this simple recipe and enjoy a real manly comfort food:

Veggie Cooking Cheat Sheet

An interesting cooking cheat sheet that I found somwhere and that I use from time to time when planning meals.

Being more of a meat person who sees vegetables as sides primarily, I nonetheless don’t like them mushy or overcooked. So this helps me to time my cooking.

More cured meat!

Another batch done. Oddly, it took several days longer to reach the 35% of weight loss in the fridge (see here), but, man! This shit tastes great!


Seafood Chowder from the Slow Cooker

Ugly Fotos this time but a great meal! This is the Seafood Chowder we had for Dinner yesterday. 3 hours in the slow cooker made hearty, aromatic, fragrant and filling meal. Almost no work at all, easily available ingredients and a simple recipe. We’ll definitely do that again! Trust me: Do try this at home!

“Ants climbing a tree”

This chinese noodle dish with the exceptional name (basic recipe and explanation here) is fast and easy to cook and yummy as hell. Man, I love that shit! 

(BTW: Sake is required, not Oyster Sauce as on the picture). As usual I adapted it a little, aka mixed several recipes that I found on the internet until I liked it best.

Boiling veggies

I stumbled upon this today. I’m cooking a lot but I didn’t know this simple rule!

BBQ Times

We had some barbecues these days. A piece of rib eye steak that turned out really, really good and some kind of a “freestyle burger assembly session” a day later. I f**ing like this grill!

Melting cheese

Who doesn’t like melted cheese? 🙂 Here’s a useful chart.

Dry curing done

As much of a setback the smoking session last weekend was, as heavenly the dry cured meat turned out!

Took ’em off the hook today since they had reached the planned weight. Firm to the touch, dry and with a really delicious scent. It came out almost “creamy” with an unobtrusive taste, the herbs I used come through not too heavy and they have a very pleasant texture.

Pork neck with the surface fat trimmed diligently turned out to be the most suitable piece to use. Only thing I will change is that I will use a little larger pieces next time. O.K. so let’s skip smoking and concentrate on dry curing instead 🙂

Smoking done… but not good.

So yesterday the four pieces of pork went into the smoker for two sessions with about 4 hours each. Unfortunately, only one of them came out good, the other three didn’t. Very harsh taste, almost bitter. Not really pleasant. At least they looked pretty…

Dry box in use

The meat that I cured some days ago are now hanging in the dry box for “brennen”. I’ll do that intuitively, so I’ll see if it takes one or two days for a good result. After that they’ll be going into the smoker for 6-8 hours.

Slow cooker conversions – Update

Here’s an update to my former slow cooker conversion chart. Unlike the old one it also mentions oven-time vs. the applicable slow cooker times. Loads of recipes there, too.

Cold smoking again #1

So I think I’m starting large-scale production now… 🙂 I have four new pieces of pork here again (belly, neck and shoulder) that I want to cure in different ways and that I plan to cold-smoke next weekend.

Meat Curing Progress

The waiting is over now after six days of dry curing in a vaccum bag. So I gave each one a different spice: Coarse pepper, Thyme and Rosemary, corded ’em up and hung ’em in the fridge. Now it’s about waiting for them to dry.

Next attempt on curing meat at home

Since the last batch worked out so beautiful, I have started another one but this time three times as much. The procedure is always the same:

New Batch of Sausages

Man, this is gonna be a large gallery. I made a new batch of sausages today, following my basic recipe – we hope to have the one or the other grill party here with some friends. Not everything went straight, but in the end, it worked out fine.

Meat curing is done

Three weeks ago I began curing some meat just in the fridge, without smoking. Today, after 24 days I think it’s done so lets try it. It has lost more than 35% of it’s weight (the goal was 310g, it is 305 g now), it is firm and has no unpleasant odor.

Chili Ramen

A Simple Ramen Dish made from chicken soup and my homemade chili oil. This is way better than the industrial ramen packages.

My favourite BBQ Dry Rub

The 2.574.956th approach to rub on the net. This is my personal favourite. I like it because it’s absolutely easy to make and it simply tastes great. Just mix it up and you’re ready to go.

Oven-baked Short Ribs

So I made me some of my favourite barbecue short ribs yesterday for diner. Here’s the sequence of events:

Product Review: Garlic Grinder

So I got myself this new little Garlic-Grinding-Machine-Application-Thingy. Works absolutely great! I like garlic a lot and this really comes in very handy, since it makes cool minced garlic in no time, is easy to use and easy to clean. No mess, no smelly hands and almost no work.

Kitchen Conversions

This is the kitchen cheat sheet that I often use. Since I’m used to the metric system this comes in handy for me. I don’t know anymore where I got this from.

My standard meat curing formula

So here’s my standard recipe for curing meat that I mostly use. It can be adjusted to personal needs in terms of herbs and spices, but I strongly recommend to stick to the directions concerning the curing salt.

Recipe (per kg of meat):
30-40 g curing salt (rule of thumb: 3-4%)
10 g brown sugar
1 tsp. freshly and coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried rosemary

Curing meat (no smoking)

I cured a nice piece of pork with salt and herbs over the last 4 days. Now it hangs in the fridge to age for another 3-4 weeks until it has lost about 35% of its weight (current weight at start is 480g so the goal is about 310g). It’s nicely wrapped in cheesecloth and tied up neatly. I’m curious!

And, oh my god, I’ve got to clean that fridge. (It’s funny how there’s things that you never really take notice of until you take a photo of them…)

Chinese Chili Oil

I made asian/chinese (whatever) chili oil for cooking again – simple, fast and tasty, and the smell fills the whole kitchen… mhhh…

How to reasonably load your fridge

Found an intersting article in the german Newspaper Die Welt on how to reasonably store your goods in your refrigerator according to the different temperature zones. I’ve taken the liberty of translating it.

Very delicious Takoyaki

Finally had the time to make my first homemade takoyaki trying out my recently made makeshift apparatus. I recommend this strongly to everyone who likes japanese food! They’re multo delicioso!

Chinese salt and pepper chicken

Very very yummy! Another one that I really wanted to try for some time now, I made it with garlicky, buttery beans as a side dish. It’s easy enough to make even on a workday evening and I think it would also go well with rice or any other greens that you like.

Takoyaki welding project

I had Takoyaki some days ago, and I absolutely loved them. Naturally, I want to try to make them by myself, but unfortunately there are virtually no takoyaki pans available for induction stoves 🙁 .

First Smoker Action this Year!

Yeah! Four racks of baby back ribs and two barbecue fatties! I’m going to try out he new “small” UDS that I made last winter. It has worked beautifully for cold smoking bacon, now I’m curious about how it’ll perform smoking a serious load of meat. Some friends are going to come over tonight, we’re going to have some beer for the boys, some wine for the ladies and lots to eat. My mouth already waters in anticipation…

Miso Soup Stock

Another japanese thing that I use really often: A simple Soup stock for Miso soup. Very convenient, since you can prepare it in advance, store it in the fridge for almost forever and use it fast and straightforward when needed. It’s taken from here.


Mentsuyu is a japanese allround dipping sauce and soup base – it seems to be a very common condiment there and it tastes great. I use it as a dipping sauce for cold Soba/Somen noodles. The following recipe is not completely original, since Kombu seaweed and Bonito flakes aren’t available here and I substituted them with plain dashi powder. But I cross-tried it in a japanese restaurant and it does come close enough.

How to store Mushrooms?

Day #6

Im ending my field test today, because a.) I’m hungry and b.) I won’t be storing mushrooms longer than 5-6 days anyway.

How to store Mushrooms?

Day #4

Almost no recognizable difference. They’re all a little dried, but none of them are spoiled in any sense. One Thing seems to be that you have to store them uncovered and on newspaper or kitchen towel. Let’s give ’em another few days.


Other Episodes:

How to store Mushrooms day #6
How to store Mushrooms day #4
How to store Mushrooms day #1

How to store Mushrooms?

Day #1

So every other batch of mushrooms that I buy and that I don’t eat right away is spoiling 🙁 . Having read several hints and tips on how to best store mushrooms for a few days and each one contradicting the other, I have decided to do my own FIELD TEST!

Cooking Steak

I still have nice piece of rib-eye in the fridge that I don’t want to spoil, so that’ll be tonight’s dinner. Here’s my cheat-chart for the internal temperature. I’ve got a cheap meat thermometer to measure the temps because I’m not skilled enough to eyeball it and I don’t want to ruin a good piece of meat.

BBQ Rub Mixtures

I ran out of Rub after my medieval dinner three weeks ago, so I stocked up again and made some of my super secret “Personal BBQ Dry Rub”.

Veggie Stock

To be (rudely) honest, I don’t like those “Tasty” videos so much, but this one really caught me and I tried it. It’s a cool way to re-use your kitchen scraps by just keeping them in the freezer and – once you’ve collected enough – make vegetable stock from them.

And. It. works. 🙂

Got new Shit!

This is what I received in the Mail today: My new Lodge™ Cast Iron Dutch Oven. It’s 5 qt. (4,7 l) and it weighs a solid 11.6 lbs. (5,25 kg). And I will mainly use it for… baking bread. I also got a pan from them which suits me really well.

It came pre-seasoned, so I won’t have to do this, but you can read my passage on re-seasoning cast iron anyway if you like.

Spicy Hoisin Ribs

This is yesterdays dinner. My SO was not so amused, since she can’t eat pork meat, but she always lets me cook things like this just to see me rolling around, completely overeaten and swearing to never do this again… 🙂

Thai Omelette

Had this for breakfast again today and I still love it. “Recipe” for a Thai-style Omelette, that I picked up somewhere…

1 Serving:

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1.5 tsp. Fish Sauce
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • Much oil for frying (this is close to deep-frying!)

Add a generous amount of cooking oil to a pan or preferably a wok on high heat and let it warm up to the point just before it’s starting to smoke. Mix eggs and fish sauce in a bowl, add salt & pepper to taste and whisk together.

Add the eggs to the hot wok and fry until the underside is golden brown. It will produce bubbles and fry up. Turn down the heat to medium-high and flip over. Bake 1 minute or so more, then serve.

This is not where this recipe is from, but it’s almost the same.

Slow cooker conversions

Since it was an issue for me these days: Here’s a conversion table for slow cooker settings.

My slow cooker really was one of the rather reasonable purchases for my kitchen. Especially when you don’t have too much time for cooking: Throw stuff in. Turn it on. Completely forget about it for a few hours and – bang! – Hearty meal! I love it.

Medieval dinner

Images from yesterday’s “Medieaval Dinner” with some of my dearest people. I think it was yummy, abundant and tasty. (At least I hope so.)


Basically, this is a simple yeast-dough: Knead all the ingredients to a firm-to-the-touch dough (I use my food processor). Just knead until it doesn’t stick to the surface of the bowl anymore. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for at least 2 hrs.

New Oshibako put to use

Yep. We tried it again and this time we took photos. The new mould (”Oshibako”) has better dimensions and makes more handy pieces. Also, we tried more nori and wasabi mayonnaise. We were so stuffed and happy yesterday evening.

New bacon, new approach

Smoking the cured meats from recently in the new “small” UDS.

Deep fried Mushrooms

Yesterdays dinner. Oyster- and king-oyster-mushrooms, deep fried with some veggies. Man I really need to get hands on some tips on how to properly take photos of food…

Pan-fried flatbread

I couldn’t resist. Another batch of pan-fried flatbread yesterday evening.

Homemade pressed Sushi – “Oshizushi”

The pressed-sushi-mold put to the test and it worked absolutely fine! As usual, I was so excited working with it, that I didn’t take any photos. If my SO hadn’t taken some there would be none at all…

“Oshibako” – Sushi mold

This is a so called “Oshibako“ – a kind of mold used for making “pressed sushi”. I made it today – as usual from the finest scrap-wood that I had lying around… 🙂

Cold smoking bacon

The next batch of homemade bacon is on the run. It’s hanging to air-dry now before smoking, In german-language it’s called “brennen” wich literally means “to burn”, but it says no more than to air-dry it for 24 hrs. or so. This time I rinsed it thoroughly to wash off the salt a little that builds up during the curing process.

Delicious bread

Crusty, delicious homemade bread. Out of the oven just minutes ago. Recipe here.

Christmas Lox and Blinis

Homemade Lox and Blinis.

Vietnamese crispy spring rolls

We made spring rolls yesterday evening! Delicious little bastards…

Christmas Pancakes

Today morning’s “christmas pancakes” for my SO. Recipe:

Meat cuts

Bacon done!

Yeah. Sooo yummy. I’ll definitely do that again!

Homemade Bacon How-To

Here’s how I make my own bacon (Recipe/How-To):

Smoking preliminaries

Here’s the bacon that I began curing recently. It has given off quite bit of liquid and it’s starting to become fairly firm. After two weeks of curing they hung to dry for a night. Hopefully I’ll get to smoking them tomorrow.


Finally got my cold smoke box ready, including a cold smoke generator (idea taken from here). Luckily, it’s all made of scrap that was lying around, so nothing is really lost if it doesn’t work. Can’t wait to try it out.

Home curing bacon

Also, here’s my first attempt on curing homemade own bacon, as well as a new batch of beef jerky that’s waiting to go into the dehydrator tonight.

My Asian-style fried rice

Asian-style fried rice: Easy, delicious, fast. (Serves: 1)

405g of dry aged rib-eye steak

405g of dry aged rib-eye steak.

Easy no-knead bread

No-Knead Bread

Absolutely delicious and the smell is marvellous. Of course I’ve got this one from the internet, but I don’t remember from where anymore.

Cast Iron care

So your faithful old cast Iron pan is a little rugged up? Here’s how you can re-season it after cleaning:

Sous vide apparatus, new approach

The next attempt in sous vide cooking.

Sous vide apparatus, Fuckup

Well. Shit.

Sous vide apparatus, Part two

I have refurbished my Sous-Vide-Cooker since I was so excited about the old one. This is the new version – tomorrow I’ll try out a new Steak in it and i will report here.

Sous vide apparatus, Part one

Believe it or not: This heap of scrap is my new self made sous-vide cooker! Cost me exactly € 10.99 for the immersion heater, everything else was lying around in the shop. I was not very convinced of the concept of sous vide cooking in the beginning so it was merely a side-project just for fun, but the steak turned out SO delicious I will definitely do this more often!

Bacon rack

Had 3 days off because I called in sick with the flu (or at least as much as I could, since I’m the Boss…)

My own cookbook!

I made my own cookbook!

Hibachi noodles

“Hibachi Noodles”, I LOVE this stuff.

Gyoza again

Yummy homemade Gyoza yesterday evening. Not pretty but tasty…

Recipe here.

Hot smoking char

Got everything ready to smoke some char for new year’s eve dinner tonight in my homemade tabletop-smoker. I wish everyone a happy new year! And yes, it was yummy!


Another Grilling/BBQ-ing incident in my garden

Had a small BBQ-Session yesterday. 20 People, loads of Beer and lots to eat.

Homemade Sausages – Recipe for “My Bratwurscht”

This isn’t some kind of official recipe, it’s just how I do it. I’m german so I use metric measures, not imperial. Work clean and wash your hands and tools frequently! This recipe contains no Ice (and thus: no Water) and no preservatives. It‘s just pure meat, spices, dedication and lots of love.

Next batch of sausages

The last (and first) batch was delicious, so here’s the next Try. This time it was 3,5 kg altogether (!) since we’re planning a barbecue.

Homemade beef sausage

My first attempt on self made sausages. And you know what? They taste absolutely GREAT!!!

Slow cooker teriyaki-style honey and sesame turkey breast

(What a title…) A new try with the slow cooker. Teriyaki-style honey and sesame turkey breast with mushrooms and spring onions for three persons. Since it turned out delicious, as I promised here’s the recipe. I found it somwhere on the internet and (strongly) adapted it to my needs.

Grilled Ribeye With Soy Butter Glaze

Look at that… Recipe/Instructions from here: Grilled Ribeye With Soy Butter Glaze

BBQ Pig’s feet

Barbecue Pig’s feet – years ago, by my Friend Steve. Absolutely delicious, spicy and unhealthy. Great for gnawing and nibbling, getting your hands oily and having lots of beer with them!

Dehydrating food

My spacy-looking, self-made food-dehydrator. I love beef jerkey. Mushrooms shrink down to just about nothing when dried. This is one Tray of Button Mushrooms. And the first third of dried Tomatoes, ready to be filled with some Garlic, Oregano and Oil. Yummy.

Beef leg stew

Yesterday evening’s beef and bacon stew. Delithiotho.

Cooking STEAK

Steak cooking basics: How to make the perfect Steak

Mushroom Info

All About Wild Mushrooms on Food52.


Homemade Gyoza Recipe. I love them.

Home cured trout

Curing a trout that I caught yesterday. Yummy.

DIY Projects & Instructions

Soldering Flame

I had to solder some zinc pipe these days for the garage gutter. I wonder what substances are contained in the tin-lead solder that the soldering iron gives off such a beautiful vibrant green flame. Does anybody know?


I had a small, old lidless oil drum left over in the shop and decided to turn it into a fire barrel. I call it a “Fassl”, which is the german/bavarian diminutive for “barrel”, so the closest relatable translation would probably be “keg”.

Tutorial: Knife Care with a Sharpening System

I had a friend of mine over these days with two well-used and now dull knives – this inspired me to write this article. At a certain point of knife usage, just honing a blade’s edge won’t do the job anymore and you will have to re-sharpen your knife and give it a nice clean edge again.

This is how I do this with all my knives, kitchen or outdoor, in this case using a Lansky knife-sharpening-system (which I know is discussed controversially on the internet). With a little training and devotion you can achieve excellent results with it – and in a much easier way than with a traditional whetstone. This is my way to do it and it works absolutely satisfying for me.

Box Bellows

I was fascinated by a japanese blacksmith’s video where this guy was working with a (seemingly) traditional two-stroke box bellows, and as things worked out, my hairdryer that I used as a blower for my coal forge recently threw in the towel. So the mission was clear, I wanted to make such a cool box-bellows-contraption myself. After doing some internet research, here’s what I did and what I used:

DIY Bucksaw

I got a very good saw blade for christmas that I finally wanted to put to use. As boyscouts, we had simple bucksaws when out on camp so I decided to reproduce one the like.

Raised Garden Beds

It took me some time to make these two garden beds, interruptions and delays included, but now they’re done and ready to grow some greens.

Well. Shit.







Unfortunately, that didn’t go as planned. Two of the mycelium jars obviously got infected, a moldy green and gross substance is growing all over the grains and sadly, I’ll have to discard them now. Next time I will have to work even cleanlier and disinfect everything even more thorough to give the mushrooms a good start. My hopes lie on the third one which still looks promising until now.

Propagating Mushrooms – Some Progress

So here are the first signs of growth in the mushroom jars after one week. I hope it’s mushroom mycelium, not mold 🙂

Propagating Mushrooms

So I will try to propagate some of the mycelium from the oyster mushroom growing kit. I have already done this years ago and it worked fairly well, so I hope these will thrive as well.

The materials for the growing substrate are 500g of rye grains, 25g of gypsum and 500ml of water. Cook this over medium heat, stirring often, until no more liquid is left over in the pan. You want the grains to be evenly covered in gypsum and well soaked but reasonably dry on the surface.

Plant Hanger Post

I made a post for my SO where she can hang some flower baskets in the northern germany refuge garden. Mounted (at least decently upright) on a dead tree stump, I think it looks beautiful.

Growing Oyster Mushrooms from a Kit

I grabbed an oyster mushroom growing kit at a garden store sale almost half a year ago and I finally found the time to put it to use. It’s a convenient and un-complicated way to learn how to care for and cultivate your own home grown mushrooms.

DIY Indoor Smart Garden

I stumbled upon the concept of a “smart garden” in the last weeks, something for example like this one or this one. I like the idea, they look neat and I like the idea of somewhat “controlled” inhouse herbs- and greens-growing.

After some research, I found out they all do basically the same thing: They’re all some kind of an automated hydroponic system, with some sort of grow light, water and nutrient control and easily interchangeable growing pods. Most feature a wick system to ensure constant water supply to the plants, an aeration system and an electronic contraption to monitor and regulate everything.

The Fairy Door is Finally Mounted!

The fairy door I made some time ago for the northern germany refuge is finally mounted and ready for the hard “use”!

Fierce and Deadly Churrasco Swords

I found an interesting image of some churrasco spits on the internet and thought to myself: Yeah! Why not make them look like a sword? It’d be wide enough to hold any piece of meat firmly and prevent it from rotating on the spit, plus I can poke into the ground if necessary, and – plus plus – it would simply look cool.

Refurbished Guest WC

We’re finally done renovating the small WC in the northern germany refuge. In fact, the room itself it wasn’t much work (whereas building the new washstand really was) – a little color, a shelf and some reasonable lighting. Looks much nicer now.






My Makeshift Simple Anvil

I got myself a piece of good old german steel railroad track from eBay to use for an anvil (you can find a shitload of videos on that topic on YouTube). So my simple construction consists of no more than a piece of a oak tree stem (left from last year’s round-up) and said railroad track piece, screwed tight with the meanest, thickest and longest screws I could find in the shop. Drilling the mounting holes was such a pain in the ass…

Smoker Platform

I don’t have a reasonable place for grilling and barbecue in the northern germany refuge yet. In order not to have to improvise very time I want to use my UDS, I made a rollable platform where the smoker can sit on.

It’s an easy construction made from pallet wood and some concrete for the firebox bottom. Today was the premiere and it worked fine. I’m still pondering if I should lay the bricks in mortar finally or leave it as it is and just stack them for easier transport.

Fairy Door

I made a fairy door for the northern germany refuge. A simple, yet cute and adorable thing to add to my garden 🙂 The images below explain themselves; it was a fun and beautiful little side project for me.

Electrical and Faucet Post for the Cistern Pumps

We have (involuntarily) found out how the outside rainwater draining works in the northern germany refuge. There is a drainage sump as well as a ring drainage around the house and two cisterns in the garden that serve as a reservoir and have an overflow pipe in case they’re filled to a certain level. These cisterns can of course be used for watering the garden using a submergible pump, as they’re filled with free rainwater. Here’s what I came up with as an idea to make use of this reservoir. It’s a post combining the electrical wiring of the two pumps and an outlet for watering:

This is as much as I can do for now, since I need an electrician to wire the thing up correctly. We’ll see how (and if at all) this works this summer 🙂


Mouse Livetrap – a sad Victory

After pimping up the contraption with a little vegetable oil I finally can report success! First little critter trapped, but unfortunately it has died in the bucket.

But why? The oil stands at best about 1mm high on the bottom of the bucket – absolutely not enough to drown in – and it was trapped in there no longer than 5-6 hours – not long enough to die from starvation either. Poor little guy.

Edit: Another casualty, now the death toll is two 🙁 . I think I’ll try a (bought and boring) livetrap from the hardware store now as an alternative.

Northern Germany Refuge: Windowsill Hatchery 2020

Corona! I’m in self isolation, just as thew whole country is, working from home and apart from that having next to nothing to do. So I decided to try growing vegetables on the windowsill, as I do it every year.

Mouse Livetrap – the next Step

So this has become personal now: Me vs. THE MOUSE.

In my strategic ponderings I have come up with a new artifice of war, taking the epic battle of Man vs. Mouse to a whole new level: I have lubed the trap (see part one and part two). With Sun. Flower. Oil. Not so easy climbing a bucket with oily fingers any more, right?

Take that, Jerry!

We’ll see… 🙂

Mouse Livetrap Update

“Jerry’s Demise” – my Ass! I tried the mousetrap on my attic over the last days and the little fuckers licked the nutella bait cleanly off the rotating plastic bottle! So either the bucket isn’t deep enough and they were able to escape, or the little buggers easily outsmarted me somehow 🙂 .

I bet they’re rolling on the floor with full bellies right now, loughing their tiny asses off. I’ll try again.

Small Forge DIY – First Part

I wanted to make a coal forge for quite some time now, and (everything has a bad and a good side to it) now in lockdown-mode I had the time to do it. It took me three days, mainly because I wanted to allow the concrete to cure adequately between steps. It’s a simple construction from what I had on hands, now I’ll let it sit for some days before gently firing it for the first time and see what happens.

Outdoor Faucet

Our garden water tap is at a completely impossible position. Due to structural demands the maximum height is fixed so it can run clear in winter. I really didn’t like it so I found a remedy building a disconnectable faucet-board. It resembles a little fountain and it looks nice enough. Please see my highly sophisticated sketch/drawing if you’re interested in building your own 🙂

Mouse Livetrap (aka “Jerry’s Demise”)

I have the sneaking suspicion that a little mouse might dwell in the attic in the northern germany refuge… Faintly low, scratching noises can be heard from above at night and the cat is closely monitoring the ceiling from below for minutes. I’ll try to catch Jerry with this simple contraption and set him free on the fields near my house.

It looks like fresh from the scrap yard (well… it actually IS) and cost me nothing at all. The principle is widely available in loads of variations all across the internet but here’s how it works again.

Hammer Makeover

One of the rusty and scruffy tools that I found in the northern gemany garden was a small hammer with cracked pien. So I tried to restore it into a japanese-style hammer by just cutting the tip off and give it back some shine. This is the result (though I might have to replace the handle again).

Planing Stop

I came up with something completely new! Something never ever done before! I’ll revolutionize my woodwork and that of everyone who reads this! I made… (drum roll)… a planing stop! Such a lockdown is great for finally making some long postponed projects.

Water Level Indicator

I had some water damage recently in the northern germany refuge, due to a defective pump and a resulting overflow of the respective reservoir. So I came up with the idea of installing a water level indicator system to it, enabling me to have an eye on the filling level in the future.


Finding a LED’s Polarity

LED PolarityI needed this for a project that I’m working on at the moment (I can never remember it correctly…) I thought perhaps someone might find it useful.

More about LEDs on Wikipedia.

Shop Vac

I refurbished the cyclone dust separating addon (click for an explanation!) for the shop vacuum – finally, after about two years of not being really content with the old one. Got a new and more durable bucket for it, added an air vent and installed it in an unused corner of the shop.

As usual, this is not a professional setup and also my vacuum cleaner is a little weak in the chest, but it’s enough for my small shop and it cost me next to nothing. Now the new one works perfectly and it’s ready to go.

Damn thing is that now I don’t have an excuse anymore to clean the shop.

DIY Leather Balm

(The Image above is NOT stolen, although it looks like so. I just reused a tin that I already had.)

I made some wood wax finish again lately that really works very well and I wanted something to care for for my leather items as well. Leather Balm is cool for keeping your leather items good-looking, water-proof (to a certain degree), soft and nourished – thus – well cared for.

Applied and used properly, it’ll make your leather last a lifetime. Summarized, you want to provide for your leather with natural oils and fats and at the same time protect it from the elements as good as you can.

Meat Slicer

I watched a very inspiring YouTube Video lately from a guy who made himself a meat slicer. Now, since I’m rather productive making bacon, dried meat or sausages every so often, I decided that I wanted one of these too! Mine is not as sophisticated as his (he is definitely “carpentry level: god”), but it works and I’m proud!

Wireless Charging Station

I made a wireless charging station for my phone lately. It consists of this wireless charger and some leftover – hold on fast – lemontree wood scraps! More or less thrown together (well, it was not that much of a challenge), sanded finely and wax-finished.

Prepping: My “EDC Kit”

Thinking about various occasions where an “emergency kit” might come in handy lately, here’s also my list of things that I carry around with me by default – I don’t even notice it in my pocket anymore. Nobody needs any more than that if he’s not in, like, Canada’s wilderness 🙂

Prepping: My Car “Get Home Kit”

There was a veritable winter storm with much media coverage sweeping over germany the last days. I got stuck in traffic (harmless), the weather got worse and worse and I had some free time to wonder about what I’d do when there’s a real SHTF situation of that kind. Here’s what I came up with for a wintery, cold and unpleasant car-sticky-situation:

Simple Balance Scale DIY

I wanted to try to build the simplest possible balance scale because I saw one being used in an internet video (1:01).

The principle is known since the ancient world (thus, in german it’s called “römische Waage” – “roman scale”) and it’s fairly easy to do. It’s not known for precision and accuracy, but it’s a nice example of the lever principle in action. I made it “no fuzz”, so just to test it and there’s definitely potential for improvement. It was a fun weekend project and this is how it works:

Chisel Sharpening Jig

I made a jig for sharpening my chisels now and then. It’s not a new idea, instead you can find tons of instructions on the net. This one is my approach:

The idea is to keep the chisel’s blade right angled and at the same time always at the same inclination to the surface in order to achieve maximum sharpness. So I made this jig with a right angle stopper that I can use with worn-out sanding belts. 30° is a good grinding angle for me. While this is not a super precise and professional contraption, it is perfectly functional and absolutely satisfies my needs. The construction itself is as self-explanatory as the usage, just have a look at the images. I hope you like the idea and prehaps even make your own.

DIY Wax Wood Polish

This is my recipe for an easy, yet useful wax wood polish. It’s what I’ve tried out and what worked for me. Alas, as usual, the internet provides a vast mass of recipes and details.

Hatchet Makeover

I refurbished a cheap old axe/hatchet from the hardware store that was hiding itself in my garage for quite some years. It took me several angle grinder discs, loads of elbow grease and almost one year of time (since I didn’t have the time to work on it consequently).

DIY Washstand

I made a washbasin for the northern germany restroom from a very beautiful slice of walnut wood that I got hands on and some items that were left over from previous projects. Perhaps someone might draw some inspiration from it 🙂

How To: Anti-Rust Bubble Bath


I’ve got a lot of rusty old tools lying around here that I thought were a reasonable winter project to clean and restore. So the first thing was to clean off the heavy “crust of rust” on them and the easiest way to do this is with an electrolysis bath. This is how it works and what you’ll need to do this by yourself. It’s cheap, easy and effective.

Squirrel Feeder for the Northern Germany Refuge

I made another squirrel feeder for the nothern germany garden. The little guys must be darn hungry these days so I wanted to help them out a little.

Bevel Filing Jig

I have realised with a little dismay, that most of my knife making tools (such as for example this one or this one) are back at home in munich and that I’m not overly well equipped with the little things here at the northern germany refuge. So I made the working vise some days ago and now I finished a bevel grinding/filing jig to be mounted on my bench vise. Although they’re simple, non-complex tools, it feels very good to do things by hand again.

Simple Knife Working Vise

I have the same one at home but now I had to make another one for the northern germany refuge. It’s a simple construction, consisting of not much more than a wooden block with two holes for attaching clamps and a smaller block at the bottom so I can mount it to the bench vise. Additionally, I added two small holes on the top for a “stop-screw” that keeps verything in place when working.

Ugly Firestarters and How They Work

We got a new fireplace installed in the northern germany refuge last october, so I made a batch of my ugly firestarters. Here’s a short video on how they do their job.


Laundry Flip Folding Board

This is neither new nor in any way special, but I wanted to make my own for simplifying doing my laundry: The T-Shirt-Fold-O-Mat.

Quick Clipboard for the Shop

I made it from a leftover piece of wooden flooring to keep my scraps and notes organised in the shop.

Patched up the Garden Shed













I finallly did the necessary touch ups on the garden shed in the northern germany refuge. To be honest, it is still not pretty and you cannot see so much of a difference, but as so often, it was the little things that required attention:

1. Replaced the broken roof tiles
2. Reinforced the wooden beams where necessary
3. Added an additional side wall for added space and stability of the projection portion of the roof
4. Fixed the front roof-cover

Pheew… Maybe I’ll give it a paint job in spring next year.

Trashcan Screen done

I finally finished the trashcan screen in the front yard. Here are some impressions, video below:








Barn Door in the Living Room

Lately, we removed a part of the wall separating the kitchen from the living room, creating a counter. Thus a normal living room door would always have stood in the way, so we decided to put in a sliding door instead. It’s “Barn-Door” style and, well, it is really barn-ish looking:

Northern Germany Smoker

I finally finished the smoker for the northern germany refuge that I was longing for for so long! It’s design is loosely based on the “munich smoker” at home (see series parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and in action), but with a few modifications, adjustments and additions. But first, some images:

Trashcan Screen from Pallets

It was really not a pretty sight when you came home and the first thing you saw were three dirty trashcans in front of the house. So we grabbed all the remaining pallets from the garden and turned them into a screen to cover the trash. It’s a simple construction made from five regular euro pallets (in diffenerent states of decay 🙂 ) screwed together with simple metal brackets.

It’s not completely done yet, since we plan to additionally cover it with a wicker fence from the hardware store, but it is already an improvement.

Ruined Holesaw

So the pice of wood that I’m working on these days is really hard. This is what happens to a standard holesaw insert when you don’t have a keen eye on what you’re doing (not to mention the ripping in the wood…)

How To: Setting up a Hammock

I’ve got a lot of trees here in the northern germany refuge and now I also finally got a hammock (Amazon) again! I’ve set up hammocks many times before – as a boy scout – but it’s about 25 years since then… so here’s how I used to set up a hammock:

How To: Using a Lashing Belt with Ratchet

I used a lashing belt for setting up my hammock and someone I know who didn’t do this ever before asked me how a lashing belt works. Although it’s fairly easy I want to explain the general use step by step here:

Tying a Bowline Knot

I’ll need this one in the next days, so I tried to dig up some long forgotten boyscout knowledge from 30 years ago. Didn’t work… 🙂

Thus, here’s a very good video on how to tie a bowline knot the easy way and if I remember it right, this is the method that I learned as a boy. It is used for mooring ships as well as securing climbing harnesses, aaaand – in boyscout camps all over the world in every imaginable way.

The most common german word for it is “Palstek” in the north (and resembles the vast use in shipping). But I grew up in southern germany and I know it better as “Rettungsschlinge” (used e.g. by rescue personnel) or as “Ankerstich” (which is the term that I learned). Here’s more on it on Bowline – Wikipedia.

It’s very useful, fairly simple and absolutely worth the effort to learn.

Heating Unit for the Drying Box

I wanted to add a means of heating to my meat drying box (e.g. here or here) so I can also make some beef jerky or biltong directly in it. What I eventually came up with is a 100W heating bulb for… terrariums! Just added a drip plate and mounted it to the already provided (and sealable) hole in the back wall. Looks nice by now.

The Simplest Imaginable Cellphone Holder

The mobile communications network in my house is downright lousy (welcome to the germany of the year 2019… no more comments needed…), but I identified the perfect spot for my iphone on the windowsill.

Since I’ve got some Airpods lately, my phone finally doesn’t have to be close to me when I’m at my desk, and since standing upright seems to improve reception, I made this veeery simple cellphone holder:

Cat Toy

I wanted to create something for the Lady of the House to play with and stimulate her a little when it’s cold and rainy outside and she doesn’t want to prowl around in her garden.

Just hot-glue some of those inside toilet paper cardboard rolls into a carton box, randomly drop in some favourite cat treats and there you go! No cost, no fuzz and much fun!

(Unless she’s just lazy and more or less intelligent enough to just topple the whole thing over in order to get her paws on all the delicious good stuff  🙂 ).

Drywall Build

So we finally installed a drywall construction to divide the large basement room into two. The stud framing was done by a friend of ours since I didn’t have clue how to do that. The rest was easy. I plan to grout the edges shortly, install the door and it’ll be done.

Mounting Internal Doors

So, finally, a friendly professional person installed the door to the shop for me. I have observed this work many times, but I don’t dare to do it on my own. It requires absolute accuracy, precision and, last but not least, knowledge about what you’re doing.

First, one half of the doorframe is glued and screwed together and inserted into the door-hole. After levelling everything carefully with a spirit level, it is fixed in the correct position with several wedges and the hollows are filled with construction foam.

To ensure the correct position of every part of the frame, the whole construction is fixed with tension rods until the foam has cured and hardened. Next, the other half of the Frame will be installed (foam, glue and screws) and the door is ready.

More information and instructions (german language):

How To: Miter Joints for Baseboards

We got wooden flooring in the northern germany refuge recently, and I had to install the baseboards (the mouldings covering the joint of the walls and the adjoining floor) over the last days. Since it’s an older house and not every corner is a perfect ninety-degree-angle, I had to rely on some measuring and precise cutting to make the baseboard joints nice and flush.

Demolition Man!!!

I started tearing down the old and worn brick and stone grill in the northern germany refuge today. I didn’t expect it to be that sturdy – never judge a book by it’s cover! Whoever built this monster, he really knew what he was doing!


We also started fencing the property these days. Slowly but surely everything is coming together…

Kitchen Countertop

Finally the top for the kitchen counter ist done and mounted – I even got it level! It’s a solid board of wood, 4 cm thick and 1 m long with the edges left natural.

Key Hanger for the Northern Germany Refuge

Scrap wood – need of a key hanger close to the main door – some stain – some laquer: Done. I even found some neat and beautiful copper nails! So, for the small available space I think is is a suitable solution.

The Pallet Couch is Finally Done!

So finally I got hands on some feasible cushions for the pallet couch posted earlier. This has become a real relaxing corner for me. I like it!

De-Construction Work in the Northern Germany Refuge

So today they removed the part of the wall that’s going to be the new kitchen counter. There’s a super cool wood trading company only a short distance away, where I plan to purchase a solid slab of wood for the countertop.

Pallet Couch

Everyone seems to repurpose old pallets, and I wanted to try that too. I couldn’t find a suitable couch for the location I wanted one for, I wanted it to be a cozy man-corner but also suitable for one person to spend a night on it. So I finally got hold of 2 well preserved pallets from a local transporting company and turned them into a couch. I’m still missing the cushions and a matress, but the basic work is done so far.

How to: Change Door Handles

After the windows were upgraded, I wanted to change the old-fashioned door handles for newer and little discreeter ones. Changing door handles is also not a big deal – a little bit more complicated than the window handles, but not much of a challenge and not much work either. You’ll need some more tools – I strongly advise a power drill – and a little more time.

How to: Change Window Handles

I’ve done some touch-ups in the northern germany refuge yesterday. One thing was changing the 20 year old window handles for new, lockable ones. It’s really easy, also for the inexperienced and here’s how:

January Bacon is done

The new batch of home-cured bacon is finally done. Took them out of the smoker yesterday in the evening after two 2.5-hour-runs of smoking with the small burner.

New Batch of Bacon

A new batch of (hopefully) delicious, yummy and scrumptious bacon is on it’s way! They’re four pieces of about 750 g each, salted with my standard meat curing formula and vacuumed tightly. They’re now resting in the fridge to cure for about eight days. My mouth is already watering…

Kitchen Remodeling for a small Buck

We’ve been in the new house in northern germany for a couple of days now and the first thing we wanted to go about was the kitchen. We just added a little color, rearranged the furniture and gave it a reasonable lighting. It feels much cozier now and it suits our needs.





Balcony Fire Bowl

I decided to try to only smoke on the balcony from now on, simply because you smoke much less when you have to go out every time. Since it’s winter here and temperatures easily drop below zero, I dug out the old fire bowl that I made from a cheap dollar store Wok and some scrap metal two years ago. Still works fine and makes a comfy, cozy feeling on the balcony.

Casually Made Serving Tray

I had a leftover piece of plum wood lying around from bass building. Not usable for instrument making anymore, but suitable enough as a kitchen utensil. I like the wood grain, although it has a bad spot in the middle and the olive oil coating really made it look cool.

Pallet Dismantler

As soon as I get my welding equipment clean and functional again, I will make this little tool for dismembering euro-pallets.

Euro-Pallet Dimensions

Since I’ll be needing this most probably in the near future, here’s a scheme. Taken from Wikipedia (de).

I did a Thing…

Signed the contract yesterday! I finally bought a house in a very beautiful, rural and quiet area in northern germany. Now imagine how fed up I am with the big bad city, that I – a cocksure born and raised bavarian – am at least partially moving up to the north… 🙂

Squirrel Feeder

My neighbour, who is a biologist told me that squirrels have had a hard time the last winters here in urban southern germany and that she doesn’t think the situation will improve much this year. Seems the little critters are so excited about the long and hot summer that they simply forget to collect their nuts as supply for the winter. So I made a “squirrel-nut-depot-all-you-can-eat-bar”.

Outdoor Wood Storage

We made this wood store this morning. It won’t win any beauty contest and it looks… umm… a little patchy, but it’s made based on the simplest possible late night sketch and also exclusively from material we had at hand. We didn’t buy a single screw. Hey, no extra euros and more space in the shop!

My “Grab’n Flee” Kit

This is what I always have packed in a convenient pouch in case “I just want to get out of this shit”. Just grab this, money, a jacket and a toothbrush and get the hell out of here.

Simplest Possible Rope Tensioners

Well, I was a boyscout when I was young and, yes, I did learn some useful things back then. So when we set up our new awning lately, I recalled the simple line-tensioners we made back in the days when we went camping with the boyscout group. They’re easy to make, simple to set up and cost next to nothing. Here’s how they work:

Sprouting Glass – Results

The result after 4 days of letting them grow. Cool, I hope they taste good.

Sprouting Glass

So they sell what they call a “Sprouting Glass” for growing e.g. mung bean sprouts etc. in my local garden market. Basically, that gadget is not much more than a glass jar with a slotted lid and an attached stand. I think you could easily make one yourself, but it was only 5 bucks and I liked the idea, so I really didn’t care.

Simple Pergola for the Hamburg Garden

We made a simple pergola from an old garden tent to sit under and drink some beer 🙂 – we wanted to give it some “beach bar look”. We used the frame of an old party garden tent and attached several 2 x 5 cm bars as a roof construction. 

Makeshift Smoker-Addon for the Barrel Grill

A friend made me a steel divider sheet for the barrel grill (if you like: See here, here, here and here) so I can use it as a simple smoker. Basically it works like those Weber-fireboxes you can buy at the hardware store: The idea is to put the coals into the left half of the firepit, setting the divider and thus having a zone of indirect heat and smoke on the right side. Simple, effective and it works (somehow) 🙂

Windowsill Nursery 2018

Some images from my windowsill these days. I’m trying to grow some herbs for the kitchen from seeds. Most of it works out rather well. It’s only the Rosemary that is is a little peaky and doesn’t really seem to like growing very much. The Tomatoes were planted (from plain supermarket-tomato-slices) only about a week ago and I’m pretty satisfied with the progress. Those Chilies grow like hell and I’ll have to germinate the blossoms with a soft brush these days when I have the time and ease to do it.

I made a Thing…

So, over the last few weeks I bolted and welded together some kind of a chuckwagon-kitchen-appliance for my garden firebowl. As usual I tried to use mainly scrap from the shop, recycling what I had but in this case I had to buy some steel rods and small parts.

Parts of an Anvil

Another interesting info image with the english terms for a german DIY-er. Taken from here.

Hauke, Part II

The second day is over. I couldn’t see much change when I added 100g of flour and another 100ml of water today. Also, it didn’t smell sourly yet. So let’s wait for day three.

The trick seems to be to “feed” it day by day, until it bubbles. The naturally occuring wild yeasts and lactobacilli in the flour need some time to wake up, reproduce and populate the mixture thoroughly. When this proliferation has reached a certain level, the developing carbon dioxide makes the dough bubble up and the ongoing fermentation produces a wide variety of aromatics – that finally also end up in your bread.

Looking forward to tomorrow evening and on how it is going on.

Hauke, Part I

Let me present to you: Hauke (a somewhat unusual boy’s name in germany), my first homemade sourdough starter – at least my first try. Since I’ve read that they’re living organisms and thus you’re obliged to give them names, I’ll simply call him – well – Hauke. I started him off today with 50g wheat flour (Type 1050) and 50 ml water @ 27 °C (lukewarm). Recipe taken from here.

Part two and more information on how to make a sourdough starter tomorrow, when I’ll have to fill it up.

Pressure Cooker How To

Since I was an absolute beginner when it came to using a pressure cooker (and I somehow lost the manual…), I looked for instructions on the internet lately. Some were plain BS, some just dramatically told elementary stuff and left out the real instructions and, finally, some (especially the relevant forums!) were very informative. I threw everything together and tried it out (BTW – here’s a good article on what a pressure cooker actually does – I won’t describe the principles of pressure cooking here).

So, here’s my personal “Pressure Cooker How To for Dummies” (tested, illustrated and in full color!):


Rotisserie DIY

I welded together a rotisserie mostly from scraps in the shop! I wanted it to fit into the grate slots of my stone barbecue grill so I had to design it exactly to size. I also had to grind up an idea on where to put the electric motor since, in my case, there are walls in exactly the spot where all the store bought ones have their drive.

Steamer Rack

This is a steamer rack that I made today, the pictures explain what it is good for. Honestly, I was just bored today so I took one of those Ikea-cutlery-holders that I had already misused earlier anyway and just cut 4 cm off. Man, a simple empty tuna can would do the same job, but at least this one is stainless steel and it looks at least a little better…

Japan-inspired Wooden Plates

You can officially call me the great Recycler! I had this leftover piece of beechwood lying around (and constantly in the way) and I saw an inspiring video on japanese cuisine.

Weapon Locker Shelf

A friend of mine who is a sports shooter needed a simple shelf for his gun locker to store his Ammunition. So I made him an IKEA-like construction for self assembly at home 🙂

New Cold Smoker: First real Action

As much of a little weakling my first cold smoker was, as much of a fu**ing hellraiser is this one. I even have the feeling it might do a little too much…

Cyclone Dust Separator

…for the Shop Vacuum. I ordered this piece from Amazon for a few bucks and glued/screwed it to a wall-paint mixing bucket.

It’s desigend to separate larger grains of dust/debris from the airstream in order to keep the actual vacuum cleaner from clogging up. I hope my SO will notice. See the image for the principle.

As always when I do something, I realized AFTERWARDS that my vacuum’s hose it too small to fit on the connectors… 🙂 Let’s see if I can grab one for small money…

Cold Smoke Generator – Next Test

Ma-han! That thing absolutely works!!! As soon as you do it rigtht, it suddenly works…

I used smaller wood chips this time and an additional hole for added draft. It really glows like hell now and I’m looking forward to smoking some bacon tomorrow.

Cold Smoke Generator – New Approach (Prototype)

I know that not all folks out there like those cold smoke generators for smoking meat. Many rather rely on the good old openly glowing wood chips in a bowl at the bottom of their smoke house. But for my small batches in my small smoker, these generators come in really handy. Since, unfortunately, the last cold smoke generator wasn’t so much the bringer of happiness, I tried a new approach:

A7-Notebook Cover

I like Lleatherwork. So i made a cover for the most used notepad in Germany: Size A7 (which is approximately 2.9 x 4.1″ in the english system). I’ll carry it with me in the front pocket of my favourite jacket.

 Yes, I know it’s not too nice… But it does what I want. Here are the Dimensions that I made it after.


Great ugly Firestarters

It’s an old trick but it works perfectly. Fire starters made from egg cartons, dryer lint and sawdust, covered in wax.

My SO is is nicely collecting dryer lint and candle remnants over the year, so I can make some when “winter is coming”. It is the hell of a mess to make them but it’s also easy, they cost nothing and burn for half an eternity. Always remember to put in the dryer lint as the last layer, so they keep together well.

Kitchen Labels

These are the labels I made for my kitchen supplies – my god, that man must be bored… No, at least not sooo much, actually 🙂 But I’m cooking a lot and I wanted them to look halfway decent.

For anybody interested in using them: Here’s the .psd-file.

Small Chuck Box

I made this small chuck box for my Lada Niva about a year ago, when I thought it would come in handy some day.

Hedgehog Hilton

My SO wanted a hedgehog box in the garden for the little fellows to have a secure and cozy hideout during winter. I liked the Idea but due to my job situation lately, I neither had the time nor the nerves to make one myself. So we bought this one instead:

It is roughly 28,5 x 48 x 38 cm (H x W x D) and it’s a simple construction – you can put it together in minutes. We gave it a good coat of linseed oil for weather protection and as soon as the oil had dried we placed it outside. We hope it becomes our personal “Hedgehog Hilton” this winter.

Angle Grinder Jig

This is another approach on grinding bevels to my self made knives. It consists of an angle grinder connected to an adjustable arm with a ball joint at the end to allow it to move freely. It can be set to multiple grinding angles and it’s swinging radius is also big enough for large blades.

The Planting Table is done

The shed mounted planting table is also finally done. It has three layers of paint now – eventually we didn’t use oil but a white outdoor wood paint that matches the rest of the shed.

Planting table

I made a planting table for my SO today. The old one finally gave up due to weather, wear and tear. It’s going to be mounted on the garden shed’s wall with hinges so it’s “foldable” to save some space when it’s not in use and also to protected from the elements a little better.

Smoking done… but not good.

So yesterday the four pieces of pork went into the smoker for two sessions with about 4 hours each. Unfortunately, only one of them came out good, the other three didn’t. Very harsh taste, almost bitter. Not really pleasant. At least they looked pretty…


This is the Drying-Box that I made the last few days. Originally no more than a standard wooden box from the hardware store.

Cutting board

Forgot to mention that I made a cutting board from scrap wood this weekend.

I still had a piece of pretty enough and sufficiently heavy kitchen countertop wood lying around that was left over from building my shop workbench. I didn’t really know what to do with it, so last weekend I converted it into a new cutting board.

Self Made Bevel Grinding Jig

I made myself a reasonable jig for grinding bevels on my knives. It’s very hard to do that with bad or wiggly jigs (that I had before) and – for a non-smith like me – virtually impossible to do only by hand. This is the result:

Axe makover

O.K. Call me mad… nuts… crazy… I want to try an Axe-makover. I had this hatchet lying around in my garage, cheap, blunt, neglected and dirty. Aaaand I want to turn it into some object resembling a viking battle-axe (something looking roughly  like this).

New Thermostat

Finally the new item has arrived. I got a new thermostat for my Lada (that’s a fair barter, I know… 😉 ) This one opens at 80 °C instead of the original 85 °C, so I hope the car takes longer to run hot than before. As usual, I also wonder when I will have to time to install it.

Tabletop Fireplace

So I made a tabletop fireplace for my SO these days (she likes shit like that):

Takoyaki welding project

I had Takoyaki some days ago, and I absolutely loved them. Naturally, I want to try to make them by myself, but unfortunately there are virtually no takoyaki pans available for induction stoves 🙁 .

Making a Garden Table, Episode 3

So the Barrel-garden-table is finally done. It looks nice enough and I’m looking forward to trying it out.

Planting Tomatoes

Planting tomatoes the not-so-traditional way. Just buy some meaty, juicy tomatoes with many seeds in the supermarket and slice them up, about 1/2 an inch thick. We had some cocktail tomatoes left over here, but any will work as long as they’re halfway fresh and juicy. Lay the slices into a pot with good potting soil, giving them some space (or using seperate pots) and cover with about 1/2 an inch of dirt. Water lightly and… wait.

Making a Garden Table, Episode 2

Finally the weather was good enough to let me make the paint job on the high table. Black, of course, just like my heart / my lungs 🙂

Making a Garden Table, Episode 1

I had a 200 l Steel Barrel left in the Garage and decided to make some kind of a garden-/bar-/high-table from it for when we have a barbecue. It’ll have space for bottles and glasses, and I’m pondering on giving it a small integrated trash can and/or a cooler.

Roasting Device

Some uniquely ingenious unknown guy on the internet posted this self made gadget and I want to make this so badly! Absolutely great idea!

It reminds me of a “Döner”-grill a little, and I think it’d be fun to try this out with some friends a some beers.

UDS “Roasting Ring”

I can’t think of a better description for this.

New Oshibako put to use

Yep. We tried it again and this time we took photos. The new mould (”Oshibako”) has better dimensions and makes more handy pieces. Also, we tried more nori and wasabi mayonnaise. We were so stuffed and happy yesterday evening.

“Oshibako” – Sushi mold

This is a so called “Oshibako“ – a kind of mold used for making “pressed sushi”. I made it today – as usual from the finest scrap-wood that I had lying around… 🙂

My Notebook-Update

The smaller Midori-Style Notebook that I wanted to create for myself. It’s already in heavy use and I really like it.

Midori-style Notebook

As one can see, I really sort of like my SO…


So I made another wax burner for my SO from an old or antique sort of… thingy… that she found in the attic. I don’t even know what that thing was good for before… 🙂

Cold smoke generator

New approach to a cold smoke generator for my smokebox. Idea taken from here.


Finally got my cold smoke box ready, including a cold smoke generator (idea taken from here). Luckily, it’s all made of scrap that was lying around, so nothing is really lost if it doesn’t work. Can’t wait to try it out.

New UDS, the finals

Final burning out with about 350°C for “decontamination”. Now it’s ready to use.

New UDS, Part 4

Done! Can’t wait to light it up.

New UDS, Part 3

3rd day of making the new UDS: Added a small, removable shelf (for thermometers) with hooks and a moveable lid for the main Air intake. I also finished the firehole door and a drain-hole for when it might get flooded (again). It’s also got it’s first layer of fire-proof laquer. After that, it got de-oiled with a felt litre of Acetone.

New UDS, Part 2

Second step for the new UDS. I even found an old grill lid that fits.

New UDS, Part 1

Began working on a new Ugly Drum Smoker. Smaller in size for easier temperature control and easier handling.

Skewer holder

Made myself a shashlik-skewer holder that fits snugly into the grate slots of my garden grill. Can’t wait to try it out.

Candle eater

Made my SO a wax burner from some copper tubes and a flower pot these days.

Sous vide apparatus, new approach

The next attempt in sous vide cooking.

Sous vide apparatus, Fuckup

Well. Shit.

Sous vide apparatus, Part two

I have refurbished my Sous-Vide-Cooker since I was so excited about the old one. This is the new version – tomorrow I’ll try out a new Steak in it and i will report here.

Sous vide apparatus, Part one

Believe it or not: This heap of scrap is my new self made sous-vide cooker! Cost me exactly € 10.99 for the immersion heater, everything else was lying around in the shop. I was not very convinced of the concept of sous vide cooking in the beginning so it was merely a side-project just for fun, but the steak turned out SO delicious I will definitely do this more often!

Pergola construction, Part two

This is what my Balcony looks like since the Hops has grown and is providing a screen towards my Neighbours. Finally got my balcony-pergola-construction done. Attached a retractable Tarp and destroyed a Multitool.

Pergola construction, Part one

So I have constructed some kind of a pergola on my balcony this week. I will post updates as soon as I have the sunscreen attached.

Bacon rack

Had 3 days off because I called in sick with the flu (or at least as much as I could, since I’m the Boss…)

Fishing Rod Holder

My new Fishing Rod Holder for the Garage. I think I’ll give it a paint job and then mount it.

Juri gear

This is the gear that I shove around when I’m on the way with my “little fellow”. Please note the rubber chicken.

A faraday cage

And – the old semi-prepper that I am – I also made a Farady-Cage for my electronics 🙂 Simple & easy and done in five minutes.

A sundial

I made a sundial from Forex ™ according to this Instructable. Nice. Waiting for a sunny day now to try it out.

Notebook and Cover

I made my own leather Field-Notes-Clone. Not at all perfect (as usual) but I really like it.