it might be a catholic guilt thing or i might not be as agnostic as i like to believe, but on high catholic holidays like today i celebrate a day of abstinence. i even avoid to eat meat, mainly because this dogma has been rammed down my throat all my life. i have to admit that i bought and ate a turkey bacon sandwich today before i remembered it was good friday. and i felt a tiny bit guilty because of that too. again, this must be my catholic upbringing :D
i was not allowed to eat meat on good friday growing up and i was always pretty upset about this. as i might have mentioned before i only know the bare necessities of my faith. apart from an extensive interest around the time of my confirmation i just never was a very religious person, i was not raised that way. but i highly admire people with a strong faith, whatever faith that is. and i am really interested in various different religions.
so while we where not raised particularly religious i found it always pretty strange that my mother was so strict about those specific days of abstinence.
over the years i found my own meaning in those days: serenity. i try to reflect and recollect. and i try to reinforce my state of mind with traditional food i know from my childhood, a very sparse meal of topfensterz for example.
it is hard to really describe topfensterz. a sterz is similar to polenta, it is a very simple dish, very rural and very austrian. it has probably been eaten by farmers and servants out on their fields for a few centuries. many variations exist, it is mainly made of buckwheat in styria, made of cornmeal in carinthia and known by the name of frika in slovenia. it can also be made of potatoes.
our family sterz is made of curd cheese though. i have never seen anyone prepare this sterz just like we do, but apparently it is heavily influenced by bohemian cuisine. it seems that up to this day my family is deep-rooted in rural history, and i really like that idea.
500 g curd cheese
500 g flour
3 tbsp of butter - usually 5 tbsp of lard are used here, but i don't have that in my kitchen and 5 tablespoons would be way to much for my taste ...
- melt the butter in a casserole - put it in the oven while you preheat it to 200°c
- crumb together the curd cheese, the flour and the egg
- add a pinch of salt
- make sure that the mixture stays crumbly
- pour it in the casserole and give it a quick stir
- put the mixture in the oven and bake until the top starts to get brown
- turn off the oven. tear up the crust and stir the sterz
- leave in the oven for another few minutes
- serve with a glass of milk - the sterz tastes best (in my opinion) if you dip a spoon full of sterz in the milk and then eat it .... mhhhh!
my sterz looks a bit different from the sterz my mother makes.
but still, it tastes the same