This week was my husband’s birthday and I had the “brilliant” idea of organising a secret birthday party for him with about 30 guests. I say “brilliant” because this thought blitz hit me at 6.30 a.m. while I was sitting on the bus on the way to work. It was only after I had sent the emails to his close friends that I realised what I had got myself into with regard to preparation.
Here in my region of Germany there seems to be a trend of ordering party food from a caterer who is usually a butcher. Plates of hamburgers, pots of Hungarian goulash soup (which has nothing to do with the original gulyás soup in Hungary, i. e. the German version served in my area is thickened with cornflour and contains strips of bottled, pickled red pepper) and potato salad made with pre-cooked (and usually hard) slices of potato that are bought by the catering company at the local warehouse are just some of the dishes that you can order. And it’s expensive. My husband reckoned that at the last party we attended the host had spent about 450 Euros on a buffet for around 40 people. It was bog-standard fare: the usual salami and sausage platter, smoked sausages, mini meatballs, potato salads (rock hard potato slices), pasta salad, goulash soup, a few antipasti, cheese and bread rolls and a few desserts. I understand why people who have a long, hard working day order from these catering companies. It is a lot of work preparing a buffet and having everything ready for the party. It’s just a shame that caterers are making money with food which has been prepared with such a lack of joy.
Anyway, despite my worries about spending days in the kitchen preparing the party food, it all went really well.
This is a recipe for German potato salad that I found on http://www.chefkoch.de and it is really good. Even my husband liked it and he’s not really a mayonnaise fan. I made my mayonnaise in the Thermomix. Don’t use the bottled variety because it tastes artificial.
Begin the potato salad the day before you plan to serve it.
2 kg (organic) waxy potatoes, 150g onions (I didn’t use them, I chopped up an apple or two and added them instead), 500 ml vegetable stock (homemade or stock cube), 3 tbsp mild vinegar (I used apple), 1 tsp mustard, salt, pepper, sugar, 250g mayonnaise, 5 hard-boiled eggs, pickled gherkins. To decorate: quartered tomatoes, chopped parsley, slices of hard-boiled eggs, pickled gherkins)
Cook the potatoes in their skins the day before you plan to serve the potato salad. Leave them to cool a bit, remove the skins and leave them whole in a dish, cover with a clean tea towel and put them in the fridge.
The next day chop up the hard-boiled eggs and the pickled gherkins. Cut the potatoes into quite thin slices and add the finely diced onion (or finely chopped apple/s).
Bring the vegetable stock up to the boil, add the vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and a little sugar. The mixture should be slightly acidic, but not too sour. Leave to cool down a bit and then tip it over the sliced potatoes. Leave to stand a few hours so that the potatoes absorb the liquid. Then add the mayonnaise and mix well.
Decorate before serving
Serves 6-8 people.