Head to The Burger Republic downtown for tasty, juicy, and reasonably-priced burgers. Aside from using local (from the region) ingredients, they also use fresh-ground beef daily. The Burger Republic also caters to the non-meat eaters by offering a Veggie burger with Portobello mushrooms, Romaine lettuce, Gouda-Basil cottage cheese, and home-made Herb butter.
Leche Flan is the Filipino version of caramel pudding or crème caramel. It's an egg-based dessert so popular, that it's served in almost every special occasion or family gathering. Some people prefer their leche flan to not be so creamy and a bit airier. I, on the other hand, like my flan smooth, rich, and creamy.
Mix all the wet ingredients in a bowl and using whisk, stir gently. Do not beat so as to prevent bubbles from forming. Set aside.
Caramelise the sugar. Usually, a llanera (steel mold that's traditionally used to make flan) is placed on medium heat to caramelise the sugar. Since I don't have one handy, I just caramelise the sugar in a pan, then transfer it into a normal steel mold. For this recipe, I used 2 round molds with a diameter measuring around 18cm.
Keep an eye on the sugar making sure it doesn't get burnt. Once some of the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan a bit to aid the rest of the sugar to caramelise faster. Do NOT stir. Once the sugar turns golden brown, it is ready.
Transfer caramelised sugar into molds making sure that the bottoms are covered. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Prepare your steamer. If you don't have a steamer, use a big pot that can fit the two molds, or use two pots. Fill the pots with 3-4 inch-deep water, and put a metal stand at the bottom where you can place your molds on top it so the molds don't touch the water. Bring water to a boil.
Strain the flan into the molds and cover with aluminium foil. Make sure to cover properly so water doesn't get in.
Place molds into the pots and steam for 40-45 minutes.
Let cool and refrigerate.
Run a knife around the mold, put a serving plate/dish on top, and turn upside-down to get the flan out of the mold.
rock salt (enough to cover the top part of the meat entirely)
2 tbsps. rice wine
Rub rice wine on the meat part of the belly. Follow it with salt, pepper, and the Five Spice powder.
Careful not to have any of the powder on the skin part.
Let the meat sit in the refrigerator skin-side up for at least 4 hours uncovered.
Preheat oven to 200°C (set to "bake"; top and bottom function)
Take meat out and poke a lot of tiny holes on the skin without getting through to the fat layer. Make sure you've gotten rid of the hairs on the skin. If you find it difficult to poke the skin while raw, you may wait until step 9 to do this.
Wrap the meat snugly in aluminium foil (skin-side up) leaving the top uncovered. Try to make the foil tray-shaped to avoid the fat spilling out. Leave about half an inch allowance on the height of the foil to accommodate salt.
Cover the skin entirely with rock salt.
Put in oven, and bake for 40-45 minutes.
Take meat out of the oven and completely get rid of the rock salt. If you haven't pricked the skin yet, this is the time to do it.
Set meat on a wire rack and place foil underneath to catch the drippings.
Put it back into the oven, and "Broil" for 10-15 minutes or until the skin is crackling and crispy.
After almost three years of living in Deutschland, I've finally found a hairdresser who I'm comfortable with. I've been to one of those cheaper salons downtown which offer cuts for 15 euros, however, I've always left feeling unsatisfied. I know that for that price, one can't really expect a great haircut, and that the stylists will often rush to finish the job so that they can move on to the next customer. It still isn't an excuse for doing a piss-poor job. Since my hair is pretty thin and I sport a simple style (long unlayered hair), I've been pretty hesitant to go to the more expensive salons which charge at least 40 euros for a cut.
A couple of days ago, a classmate from my B2+ Deutsch class casually mentioned that she had a haircut appointment later that day. Seeing that her hair was actually cut nicely, and that I've been on the hunt for a hairdresser for a long time, I asked her where she usually goes.
The hairdresser is in Stuttgart-Ost and it is called Friseursalon Lederle. It is owned by a nice lady originally form Thailand who's been here for 22 years. I forgot to ask if she spoke any English aside from Thai and German, but I think it would be safe to bet that she does.
I liked that she asked me what I wanted done and then offered suggestions on how the cut could be better. Unlike the stylists from the salons I went to, she took her time cutting my hair and made sure that I was satisfied with her work. I paid 28 euros for the cut opting to blow-dry my hair myself to save 10 euros.
As an Ausländer in Deutschland and being married to a German, I had to take the Intergrationskurs (Integration Course) which is subsidized by the government. The goal was to have the participants learn the language up until the B1 level, study some history, culture, etc about Germany, and then take the tests. As I already have my A1 certification from Goethe Institut, I skipped a couple of levels, and only took 400 hours worth of language lessons instead of 600 hours. For my first course, I went to
Inlingua where I had to go to class everyday for four hours starting at 9 in the morning. I then decided to transfer to VHS (Volkshochschule) since they offered afternoon classes for only four days a week.
I must say that German is not the easiest language to learn, and this is coming from someone who has taken up a year of Spanish, French, and a semester of Latin. The first few weeks, even the first month, drove me mad as I was always asking the question "why is it like that?". As the classes progressed, I stopped over-analysing and just started accepting what was taught to me. I also paid more attention to how the locals say things in order to learn the nuances of the language.
I guess the most difficult part is (I use the present tense since, to this day, I haven't entirely memorised all the blasted articles for all the nouns!) learning the articles that come with the nouns since they are very important when it comes to conjugating words depending on the cases. As an example, "the table" is der Tisch and it is a masculine noun (like I said, don't ask why, just accept that a table is masculine). "I'm putting the bottle on the table" is translated as Ich stelle die Flasche auf den Tisch whereas "The bottle is on the table" is translated as Die Flasche ist auf dem Tisch. The first example is der Tisch in the Akkusativ case while the second example is in the Dativ case. I'm not even going to attempt to explain this. I think most of my friends, those who speak little German and are also struggling with the language, want to beat me with a stick every time I launch into a mini-explanation of these cases as best I can.
The first part of the exam consists of reading, writing, and listening which lasts for about three hours. I found this part easier than expected, but maybe because the practice tests we did in class were much more difficult. Depending on when your schedule is, you may have a few hours break before you embark on the speaking part of the exam. I had about a four to five-hour break so I decided to head home, grab some lunch, and do some last-minute practicing. Speaking German has always been a weakness of mine (I prefer written German as I have more time to mind my grammar), but I have noticed that after a couple of drinks, I seem to be more confident. Knowing this, I decided to partake in a few glasses of wine before my dreaded test schedule.
The speaking part has three parts: introducing yourself, describing a photo that's shown to you by the moderators and answering any questions they may have about that photo, and last but not the least, discussing or planning something with your test partner. In our case, we had to figure out what course we could take at the VHS together as well as discussing transportation, and some other points. I got partnered with a 60-something-year-old woman, and it was somewhat difficult to have a good flow of conversation since she wasn't really doing a back-and-forth with me. At some points during the test, the moderators had to help out so we didn't get stuck. I was concerned that my partner's uncooperativeness was going to affect my score. Thankfully, the moderators didn't think so as I learned a month later, that they gave me full marks on the speaking part of the exam.
My tip for those about to take the B1 Deutsch test? Don't fret so much come exam day. If you've been regularly going to class and have really been making an effort to learn, you"ll definitely pass it. Plus, the practice tests that the teachers make you take are more than sufficient to train you for the real thing.