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29 April 2013

Sad and slow weekend

We had a sad and slow weekend. We received news that Hanno's sister, Angelica, died suddenly in Hamburg so there were long phone calls across oceans, talks about Angelica and lots of memories of her. She was Hanno's only sibling. Our family is always special but the importance of family is always magnified when we lose someone special. RIP Angelica.

- - ♥ - -

Over the weekend I did a bit of work but mainly took things slow and almost finished off some knitting I've been concentrating on for a while. I'll show you later in the week. Kerry and Jamie dropped in on Saturday and had lunch with us. It wonderful hearing them drive down the driveway and knowing we can see them so frequently.  We're looking after Jamie this afternoon while Kerry and Sunny have some time alone over lunch and a movie. I should really say that Hanno will look after him. They'll be out in the backyard feeding the chooks and gardening. Hanno will give Jamie some "jobs" such as moving a bucket full of dirt from one garden bed to the next, or picking green leaves. One thing is for sure, he won't leave Hanno's side and he'll want to "work" alongside Opa.

I watched an interesting program on SBS the other night - Food Safari, featuring Danish cuisine. Hamburg is quite close to Denmark so the food is similar and sure enough, they had a recipe for frikadeller (called frikadellen in Germany), and pickled cucumbers. I decided to make the meal for us yesterday and it was delicious. I'd describe it as meatballs, fast pickled cucumbers and I added potato salad, which worked perfectly. I didn't stick to the exact recipe but what I made what close to it and delicious enough to make again ... soon.

This is a good meal for a large family or for those trying to reduce the cost of living. I used 1 kilogram of meat - a mixture of organic beef and pork, that was the most expensive part of the meal and I have enough for three meals. My guesstermation would be $12 for the meal and if you devide that by three, that's four dollars a meal for the two of us. I'll have to make another batch of the pickled cucumbers because we almost wiped out the first lot in one meal.

Here are the recipes in the order I did them, making sure I reused pots and bowls so I didn't have too much washing up.

500 grams beef mince
500 grams pork mince
1 large onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup plain/all purpose flour
2 eggs
¼ cup  milk

Place the meat and onions in a bowl and with clean hands, mix it all together until it's thoroughly combined. Add the remaining ingredients and mix them in the same way. Then, using a tablespoon, measure about a spoon full of meat mixture and with wet hands, form it into round balls. Place them on a plate and put in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up. Then start the potato salad.

Potato Salad
4 large potatoes
1 small onion, chopped
2 poached eggs
salt and pepper
Peel and slice the potatoes into thick slices. Add these two cold water in a saucepan, add a pinch of salt, bring to the boil, turn it down to a fast simmer. They're ready when the potatoes are softish and can be easily pierced with a fork.  When the potatoes are cooked, drain them in a colander and allow to cool.  While the potatoes are cooking, get on to the pickled cucumbers.

Unsalted cucumber and onion above, salted below.

Easy and quick pickled cucumbers and onions
Peel one cucumber (you can leave the peel on if you prefer) and slice the cucumber very thinly. I used a mandolin. Peel one red onion and slice that thinly as well. Place the cucumber and onion in a bowl and sprinkle enough salt over it to cover all the slices - about a heaped teaspoon. Don't worry about the salt - later you'll wash it all off and pour the salty liquid down the drain. Mix the cucumbers and onions around to make sure it's all in contact with the salt or salty liquid and leave for 15 minutes. While that is happening, check the potatoes, drain them if cooked and allow to cool.

Cook the meat balls
To cook, add olive oil to a pan and when it's hot, add the meatballs. I had to do mine in two batches. Cook, turning them when they're brown. They'll take about 10 - 15 minutes to cook over a medium heat. Then turn out onto a paper towel on a plate to drain off any excess oil.

Cool the potatoes and eggs
Wash the bowl the meat was in and use it again for the potato salad. Put some more water into the saucepan you cooked the potatoes in and poach two eggs. You can boil them if you prefer but poaching does the same job and it's quicker. When they're cooked, allow them to cool.

This is the pickled cucumber after the vinegar had been added.

Make up the pickles
Under a slow tap, wash the salt from the cucumbers and onions. Squeeze as much liquid from them as you can and then place them back in the bowl, that you've rinsed out and dried. Sprinkle over 1½  tablespoons of sugar, two tablespoons of good white vinegar and salt and pepper. Taste it and adjust to your liking. That's the pickled cucumbers and onions finished.

Make up the potato salad. I didn't take photos of this process.
Take the cooled potatoes, it doesn't matter if they're still slightly warm, added a small chopped onion, salt and pepper, two finely diced gherkins or a small amount of diced cornichons and enough mayonnaise to coat it all. Taste it and adjust the seasoning if needed.

And that's it. You can serve it with a mild German mustard but it has enough taste without it. The sharp taste of the pickled cucumbers and onions cut through the creaminess of the mayonnaise nicely. The meatballs have a fine texture that go well with the full flavours of the salads. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. Do you have a favourite meat ball recipe?


  1. Dear Rhonda and Hanno ~ I am really sorry for your loss. Keep your sweet memories locked in your hearts.

    Your dinner looks delicious and it's always nice when we can make a delicious meal inexpensively.

    Have a very nice week.


  2. So sorry to hear about the sudden death of Hanno's sister, so far away in Germany.

    My (and my children's) all time favourite Dutch meatball recipe is... my own :>)
    Never the same, always new and so very 'mommy's specialty'.

  3. I'm so sorry about the loss of Angelica. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for the recipes, it looks delicious. Enjoy your afternoon with Jamie.

  4. Hi Rhonda! I am so sorry for Hanno & your loss - it must be terribly hard, especially when you are so far away. My thoughts are with you both and the rest of your family!


    The dish you described is a great one - I am originally from a small town just north of Hamburg (it's called Flensburg) and having Frikadellen & Gurkensalat (cucumber salad) is very popular. My mum - like you - always makes the meatballs from a mix of pork & beef mince - they stay nice and soft that way (just like yours look...yummy).

    Thinking of you!
    Kirsten x

  5. So very sorry to hear about Hanno's sister. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  6. That meal looks so good Rhonda...YUM!

  7. Condolences on the loss of your sister-in-law - those family connections grow even more precious as the years pass. And thank you for the recipes - frikadelle are a specialty of a German deli close by, and I've often thought it would be possible to make them myself. And the salad looks to be a perfect match.

    ~Dianne in Canada

  8. Hi Rhonda

    Mine is not a meatball recipe but a comment on the cucumber.

    We have an abundance of cucumbers (yet again) so I make this salad for my lunch.

    Peel and slice a cucumber, finely slice some onion.
    Layer the cucumber and onion rings on a plate, sprinkling each layer with a tiny amount of good quality sea salt. Allow to stand for 30 mins to allow flavours to mingle.
    Top with a dollop of yoghurt and enjoy.

    When I was a child this was a salad that was always on my grandmother's table - served in a pretty cut glass oval dish. It is great to be able to re-create food memories.

    I am sorry to hear of Angelica's passing. My condolences to Hanno, you and all of the family.

  9. Sad news about Hanno's sister.
    Oddly my husband and I visited Hamburg 2 years ago and loved it. I bought a skirt in Wedel and we visited the really old town nearby whose name escapes me at the moment. Glen has a cousin in Germany and Hamburg is one of her favourite holiday destinations.

  10. Oh Rhonda, I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of Hanno's sister. I must be a comfort to him to spend time with Jamie at a time like this. (I've always loved your grandson's name, my son's name is Jamie also) My meatballs are always different, eyeballing ingredient amounts but they always contain bread crumbs, egg, a splash of milk and a tiny squirt of mustard for kick. The seasonings will be adjusted based on what I will do with them - Italian seasonings to pair with pasta, or just salt and pepper if they're going into BBQ sauce, or maybe thyme if they'll be served with a brown gravy. Your recipe looks very similar to mine. Now I'm in the mood for meatballs!

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas

  11. Hi Rhonda - I am very sorry to hear the your sad news. As others have said keep those beautiful memories of Angelica close.

    Your dinner looks and sounds delicious, it will be a guaranteed entry on my Monthly Menu for May, thank you for sharing.

    It is lovely that you get to spend precious time with your family and grandchildren.

  12. Dear Rhonda and Hanno, so sorry to hear about the passing of your sister and sister in law, it's a very sad time for you both.

    The meal looks delicious, I'd like to give this a try.

    I made bread in my bread machine yesterday using the instructions from a post on your site. I had not used my break maker for a very long time (at least 10 years!) as I'd previously used mixes and found the bread very heavy. This time the bread was absolutely delicious - I'm so glad I gave it another try. In all of the decluttering I've done over the years, for some reason I always held on to the bread maker - maybe I knew one day I'd give it another go, and make some delicious bread. Yay!

    Judy xx

  13. I'm so sorry to hear about Hanno's sister. Take care of each other. My thoughts are with you. xxx

  14. My condolences to your family. It's especially difficult being far away from family.

    Your dinner looks delicious - I'll have to try the pickled cucumber salad this summer.

  15. please give Hanno our deepest sympathies, I lost my only sibling in 1987, & miss him every day, but little things often remind me of him & that makes me smile. Your recipes look delicious, I can't wait to try them, hope you have a lovely day with Jamie, grandchildren are the best therapy - he will be good for Hanno, Deb M

  16. Very sorry to hear of the loss of Hanno's sister. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

    I don't have a favourite meatball recipe per say but do love throwing a few meatballs into a soup to 'beef it up', especially if my husband is craving meat. The River Cottage cookbook has a recipe for chorizo mix that I've been meaning to try. It's not in sausage skin so you can make it into meatballs very easily. That would really spice up a dish!

  17. So sorry to hear about your loss Rhonda. Distance doesn't help either, but I hope you will soon be able to gather your family together to celebrate her life x

  18. So sorry for the loss of Hanno's sister.
    My hugs and prayers are with both of you at
    this sad time...

  19. Good morning Rhonda,

    Our condolences to dear Hanno on his sad news.

    We also saw the Food Safari episode and loved it. My mother who is from NE of Hamburg was quite excited to see the similarities to her home's menus. It is great to see the producers are now showcasing some of the lesser known cuisines like Danish, Maltese etc.

    Once again, our best wishes to you both.

    Kind regards,
    Barb and Peter

  20. The warm fireplaceApril 29, 2013 8:32 am

    Sending my condolences to Hanno for his very sad news.

  21. So very sorry to hear about the loss of Hanno's sister.

    My Grandmother came to America from Belgium and my family has always made frickadellas(not really sure of the correct spelling)for holidays and family gatherings.We make them very similar to your recipe,a few different ingredients.We roll meat into balls,then boil till almost cooked through,then fried in butter.

  22. Thoughts and prayers are with you both at this difficult time particularly being so far away from Hanno's family. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  23. So very sad to hear about Hanno's sister. Sending love and hugs across the miles xoxo

  24. I'm so sorry of the passing of Angelica. Big hugs to you and the family. Hold those precious memories close to your hearts.
    <3 Alison_S

  25. my loving thoughts are with Hanno and you Rhonda, on the sad passing of Angelica, hold your memories and love close in your hearts.
    Enjoy the day with Jamie, grandies are wonderful.
    Lorraine xxx

  26. Sooo sorry to hear about Hanno's sister. Give him a hug for me....I know he doesn't even know me, but I understand what he's feeling...


  27. Rhonda - my condolences to your family. The nicest thing anyone said at my aunt's passing, "she is not gone, so long as one remains who remembers"

  28. So sorry to hear about Angelica. It's always sad when you lose someone close. Thank you for the recipes.

  29. My condolences to Hanno & family at the loss of your much loved sister. It must be difficult being so far away.

    Dinner looks nourishing, delicious & simple.... although we're not fans of cucumber, I'm sure I could try zucchini instead.

    Take care,
    Ann & Don

  30. Hi Rhonda, I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your Sister in-law and Hanno's sister, I am sure she will be greatly missed.
    What a pleasant surprise I had on the weekend, whilst also grieving the loss of a loved one, (our beloved Grandfather) to see your face in the Sunday Herald Sun 'Body & Soul' magazine. It's great to see the simple living movement in mainstream media. Hopefully a lot of people were reached.
    Thinking of you,
    Bec. Victoria, Australia

  31. I'm very sorry Hanno lost his sister - no matter how old you are, a sudden death is a shock. We'll remember him in our prayers.

  32. I'm so sorry to read of your loss, Bec. Take care.

  33. Hi I was sorry to read about the sudden death in your family. Initially it is hard to just get over the shock of hearing that bad news and then you have to face the grieving. Its a hard time for any family to go through. It is lovely that you look to your other family as distraction from the tough times and making many more wonderful memories with you. Your meatballs look good. When I used to make meatballs I never added milk. So maybe they would have been better with it. I dont make them now as I cant tolerate any oil. My husbands mother used to use weetbix as a binder in her meatball recipe.

  34. You are in my prayers...



  35. Such sad news. To have loved ones around at these sad times is so comforting. Jamie would certainly have helped in that department I'm sure.

  36. Rhonda, I am also sorry to hear about Hanno losing his sister. I have lost a sibling and I felt like I had a part of me missing for some time. It is a sad time.

    Thank you for the yummy looking recipe. I will try that out soon.

  37. I am very sorry to hear about your loss Hanno and Rhonda. May the wonderful memories help sustain you through the pain of loss and carry you.

  38. Sincere condolences to Hanno and your family.
    I lost my brother in February, so I can relate to how you are feeling about now.
    It is never easy letting go, no matter the distance.

    Thank you for sharing all the recipes.
    I will certainly try them.
    I would like to save even more in our home.

    1. So sad to read about your brother, Annie.

  39. Deep sympathy for the loss of Hanno's sister. I'm sure the meal and Jamie were a balm for his heart.

    Thank you for the recipes.


  40. So sorry for your loss Hanno and Rhonda. Must be hard for Hanno not living close to be able to be by her side. Nice that he has little Jamie to cheer him up.

  41. Those meatballs are exactly what we are having tonight, with mashed potato - I think of them as Danish rissoles because I was shown how to make them by a Danish friend years ago - now I know they are traditional I understand why my Danish grandfather (Dad's father) always asked for them when he came to stay but wasn't happy with my mother's more english version that included tomato sauce and always with cabbage. Thanks for helping me to understand that.
    Losing a relative overseas is always difficult and illustrates the need for regular contact before it is too late. I have been through it too and you always feel a little left out of the shared grief, memories and family togetherness.

  42. A big virtual hug to Hanno and to you. I think that dish looks like a balm to the soul, a perfect balance. I'm so sorry for your loss, lots of love to you two xx

  43. Sad times for your family Rhonda and Hanno. I pray that all the happy memories come forth for you as you mourn the loss of your dear sister. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Thank you for the recipe Rhonda, I'll be trying that one and great hint about poaching the eggs, I had never thought of that.
    Blessings Gail

  44. Hi Rhonda & Hanno sorry to hear about Hanno's
    sister Angelica passing ...she will always live on in your hearts...Can I make a suggestion place of white vinegar with no health benefits you could use kombucha instead with so many health benefits..I used to brew my own kombucha in the mid 90's but just started again last year...Since using it I'm really experiencing so many health benefits as I was diagnosed with Lyme disease just before Christmas...good to know why I have felt so sick all these years...Sherrie :) Blessing to you and your whole family <3 :) X

  45. Hanno and Rhonda I am so sad that Angelica passed so suddenly. My only sibling lived far from me and I saw him rarely. He died suddenly and it was difficult indeed. Please take care of one another and love to you both at this sad time.

  46. So sorry for your loss, my thoughts and prayers are with you both. Happy for you that your family is so close by, nothing like spending time with your grandchildren to sooth the soul.

    Thanks for the recipe but I could not figure out where the poached egg came in-mixed into the potato?

    1. Karen, the egg is chopped up and added to the potato salad. I'm sorry for leaving that out but egg is so much a part of every potato salad I make, I think it's the same for everyone. :- )

  47. Our condolences to you both for the loss of Angelica. Does Jamie know what role he is playing for Hanno?

    We make a similar "pickled" cucumber salad, but without the salt, simply slicing the cukes and onions and putting them in the vinegar/water/sugar mix. It is best if it can stand for a while before eating, but if not, it is still fine, and leftovers are also. We often add some dill seed or dill (green parts) or chopped parsley as well. If anyone is concerned about the salt content, this is one solution. The cukes and onions are of course much crisper this way.

  48. My condolences on losing your sister-in-law.
    It sounds like things were a bit easier over the weekend having your immediate family visiting and being able to enjoy them in your time of grief.
    Your menu sounds lovely - I will bookmark this & try it very soon.
    My favourite meatball recipe ever is BBQ meatballs - a favourite from a very old Woman's Weekly recipe book from the 1980s which I still have!

    DeeJay in Whangarei, New Zealand

  49. Losing a sibling has to have its own kind of pain and sorrow. Sending a big hug to Hanno and you.

    What a sweet and comforting meal you made.

  50. Thinking of you both as you grieve the loss of Angelica. Such a difficult time for you both ~ especially Hanno to lose his only sibling :( I'm very sorry...

  51. My condolances to you both.

    Trinidad & Tobago

    p.s. I do my meatballs just like this but with basil added.

  52. So sorry about Hanno's sister. Take it slow this week and spend time remembering. I always find it interesting that so many things we remember about loved ones is the funny things and laughter. We all eneded up being quite silly at my MIL's funeral 4 years ago but she would have been smiling at all of the good times and laughter of remembering her that day.

  53. So sorry to hear of your loss, you will be in my thoughts

  54. So sorry for your ad Hanno's loss, Rhonda. May your memories help heal your pain over time.

  55. Deepest sympathies to Hanno and you for your loss. Glad family is close by to help get through the sad moments.

  56. I'm so sorry for your loss Hanno and Rhonda. It must be extra difficult as you're so far away from your European family. I'm thinking of you both.

  57. So sorry for your loss, Rhonda and Hanno. Sending prayers and happier thoughts.

  58. I am so very sorry for your loss. Mein herzlichstes Beileid, Hanno.

  59. So sorry to hear of this news. My thoughts go with you and your family at this time.

  60. Rhonda, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Hanno's sister. How very sad for the both of you and to be so far away must be heart wrenching. My thoughts and prayers are with you both. Gaye

  61. We are sorry for your loss Hanno. Thinking of you all at this time xo

  62. Log Cabin LadyMay 01, 2013 2:09 am

    So sorry to hear the sad news. Thoughts and prayers are with Hanno and you and your family. Take care.....

  63. so sorry to hear the sad news.
    grüße aus germany


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