Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Read-Cook-Eat: Drei Männer im Schnee: Pasta with Beef

Just recently I have been to a book flea market and got some old books. Among this was the book Drei Männer im Schnee (Three Men in the Snow) by German writer Erich Kästner. He was born in 1899. The most popular ones of his books are children books, like Emil and the Detectives, which has been translated at least 21 languages. Some of the books were also adapted into films. Maybe you also know the movie The Parent Trap.
Whatsoever, we are not talking about any of the children books, but Three Men in the Snow, which was written in 1934.

Basically it is about a millionaire, who participates in a contest under a false name, wins the second price - a stay in an exquisite hotel. However, he goes there in disguise as a poor person, because he wants to see how they would treat him.
His daughter secretly calls the hotel to 'warn' them, but a mix-up occurs and they take the first winner of the contest as the millionaire and treat him very good and the real millionaire rather bad. Anyway, it's a funny book.
Well, we are not going to concentrate too much more on the book, but rather get cooking. The favourite dish of the millionaire is Nudeln mit Rindfleisch (Pasta with beef). There are not given any details in the book as to what it's like, but it reminded me of a dish my mom used to cook in my youth. So I took that as a guide and added the things I felt needed to be in there. It's nothing to fancy, but it tasted delicious.

500 g pasta (Fussilli)
500 g beef, cut into cubes
Some flour
Some oil
250 g mushrooms (whatever you can get), sliced
500 ml beef stock
2 tsp. sweet paprika
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
A knob or two of butter (or more)
A few sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper

Really, you can cut the beef in the size you like. Lightly coat the meat with the flour and start browning it in a hot pan with some oil. While you are at it, season with salt, pepper and the sweet paprika. Once the beef is sufficiently browned remove it to a bowl.
Get some more oil into the pan and throw in the mushrooms together with the garlic and start softening them. When you are feeling you are getting there - you already have the lovely smell of garlic - add the leaves of the thyme and a good knob of butter. When the mushrooms are soft and shining lovely remove them from the pan and add them to he bowl with the beef.
Reduce the heat of the pan, add some more oil and another knob of butter into it. Time for the onion to go into the pan and to be softened. After that you can put the beef and the mushrooms back into the pan. 
Then add the beef stock and bring everything to the boil. It's time to let things simmer and reduce. You can give it 30 minutes or more. In the end it should be ready together with the pasta.

Do as you wish, mix the pasta with the beef or simply serve the pasta on a plate and add a few ladle full of the beef and mushroom sauce. It's up to you. I thought a salad on the side would be lovely.
By the way, this time I took the photos in the front room instead of in the kitchen. I wanted to see, how things look there. Of course, this is only possible, when the light is right.

I hope you liked the dish. I did. Now let me tell you, why I came to this idea in the first place ...

The lovely Galina from Chez Maximka asked me whether I liked to do a joint reading-cooking challenge with her. What a wonderful idea! So we teamed up this month to go for it and you can join us in this reading and cooking feast.

The idea is to choose a novel, classic or modern, and find a quote about a meal or a dish and then let yourself be inspired by this and recreate this meal or dish in a blog recipe. It would also be very nice, when your post tells us a bit about the book you had in mind and maybe you could even do a quote from the book.
My first idea was something by Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, but I couldn't find anything about a meal that could be used. Fine, next idea was Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, but here the ingredients for the dishes were a bit too exotic for me. However, some other novels from Jules Verne would do just fine. Then there were also more than one ideas from Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
However, there are endless opportunities, depending of course on what kind of books you read ... and obviously I am not referring to cook books.

I promise you, this will be a totally new experience of your favourite novel to taste and smell the food the characters are having. Well, somehow it's like 3D for books or even better 4D.

We hope, we can count you in. When you do join in, please use the above badge in your post and link back to Galina and me, and either use the link-up tool below or add the url of your post as a comment. Another option would be to email either of us with the link to your post (Galina's email is sasha1703 at yahoo dot com and mine is cookingatworld at yahoo dot co dot uk). 

The challenge is on and will come to an end on 30 April 2014.
Galina will Pin all blogs posts taking part in this challenge, as well as RT and Google+. Of course I will RT and Google+ all posts that don't escape my notice. 


  1. What a marvellous dish, Chris! I know the author, as I read Emil when I was a child, but I have never heard of this book, it sounds fun. Thank you for doing a joint challenge with me!

    1. I am glad you like it, Galina. Naturally the book is not as widespread as Emil, but it's really fun. Now I am really excited, how the challenge goes. I hope not only to see some lovely dishes, but also learn about some good books.

  2. I love the idea of this challenge. I used to read a lot but these days I am so busy I hardly ever manage to read an actual novel. I'll do my best though and maybe pick a book I remember reading. Good luck with this challenge - the posts should make really interesting reading.

    1. Thank you, Corina! Yes, it can be quite hard to find the time for reading a whole novel, when there are a lot of other things to do. I would love it, though, if you find the time to join us on this challenge.

  3. This recipe has all of my favorite things!!! Beef, Mushrooms, and Pasta! yummy!

    1. So, it's a winner through and through. I thought so myself.

  4. That pasta looks gorgeous. Will have to think about this, its a great challenge

    1. Thanks, Alison! I hope we will see you joining.

  5. This sounds like a superb, comfort-eating dish for sure. I've never read the book (or anything by him, to be honest) but I did see Parent Trap - does that count? :) I'm currently writing up my own blog entry for this fantastic challenge. I hope you will like it. :)

    1. Fine, I let that count. :-) Exciting, you are writing something up. We'll be looking forward to see it ... and like it. :-)


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