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The Kitchenman: Remembering the Stiererhof's Bavarian delicacies

The Kitchenman takes us down memory lane with a look at recipes from the old Stiererhof Restaurant and Tavern

Back in 1978 I returned back to Ontario from Vancouver finishing my apprentice training at Hotel Vancouver for that year. I now knew being a chef and learning how to cook was tough enough and found that in order to proceed with my career as a chef, I needed a lot more hospitality, food and beverage theory training.

I started the food and beverage course at Conestoga College which required a tuition fee and trips to Waterloo. Peter Basin, an Olympic-trained pastry chef was leading the class. It was the perfect fit. Not only could I learn about the ways to properly cost a recipe, learn how to run a kitchen, make out staff time sheets and the fundamentals of working with people as a team.

The best thing is also got hands on baking experience and the push from a professional chef Peter to learn and practise more efficiently. I was already a good short order cook, but needed a lot more hands-on training preparing the many different culinary dishes of the world. Cooking terms and language and menu wording and design.

Learning Swiss and German cooking slang  besides knowing how to make several German Bavarian Scandinavian dishes, this was a great place to start. I needed to pay for all of this so I took on several part time positions to keep learning at school, pay rent and be responsible for my well being and future needs.

I got an early morning breakfast cook job at the Loft Pancake house on #8 Highway near the old TuLane. One of the other teachers passed on my name to a friend at the Steirerhof Restaurant for a part-time prep cook. This authentic Bavarian chalet was located on the south side of the Kitchener/Guelph Woodlawn Road West back then. I took on the prep position knowing that this eatery was well known for its great family-style platters that would fill up an entire table of university students for about $3 a person.

The restaurant walls were covered with dozens of authentic working cuckoo clocks. Lady Anna would carefully clean and wind them all regularly.   On New Year’s Eve they were all set to the same time so they went off together at midnight. The front of the Bavarian Chalet had balconies planters laden with a profusion of flora fauna and a huge front garden where the chef gathered herbs and plate decorations seasonally.

Most area folks came to the Steirerhof for the buffet and the house schnitzels prepared with many different toppings. Lightly breaded tenderized pork loin, pan fried with lemon and capers and sided with red cabbage and fried traditional German spaetzle.

Here is that good Traditional German spaetzle recipe used at the Steirerhof that everyone loved.

Ingredients Needed:

1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour

2 eggs

6 tablespoon milk or water - can add a bit more to make a slightly softer dough that can be easier to work with

1 tablespoon chives finely chopped

1 tablespoon parsley finely chopped


Mix together the flour, eggs, milk and finely chopped herbs until well combined.

Prepare a large bowl with cold water and bring a pot of water to the boil.

Using a colander, pie plate with holes or a spaetzle tool. Hold the spaetzle tool over the pot of boiling water and push the dough through the holes into the water. Little dough pasta should drop down by themselves when pressed lightly.

As the pieces of dough float to the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon to the bowl of ice water. Continue until you have used all the dough.

Lightly oil a dish, drain the spaetzle from the bowl of water and transfer them to the oiled dish. You can keep them like this, covered, at room temperature for an hour or two or else refrigerate overnight for longer.

When ready to use, melt the butter in a skillet or frying pan and add the spaetzle. Stir regularly as you warm them for a few minutes. If served with a sauce-based dish they only really need to be warmed through, but if having alone, or with a schnitzel then cook a little longer, probably adding more butter, seasonings until they start to brown.

Serve with some more herbs on top and, optionally, some cheese for the Swiss effect.

For desserts which if you spell backwards spells stressed. This cake recipe will relieve it and a second serving is usually needed as proof.

The Steirerhof Black Forest cake served on the buffet table to which I had a hand at making several back then was something I was getting a lot of practice preparing. Here is a most excellent chocolate cake base recipe that you can custom decorate to your liking. Whipped Cream, Black Cherries, Chocolate Shavings stacked or made into individual serving cupcakes or slab cake.

I must also confess that I personally have lost and gained enough weight eating this cake that was the equivalent of another body living within.

I found that I have no willpower when working with chocolate. Chocolate has this mystical element of control on my persona and I’m soon spiraling into a chocolate coma.

I suggest that if you should master one great dessert it should be a good chocolate cake.

I have never ever had anyone turn down a piece prepared using this recipe..

This cake is a dark rich moist loaf that can be quickly mixed with a spoon in a sauce pot. No beater required. Sliced thickly it requires no icing, just a dollop of vanilla flavoured whipped cream and a few berries.

I found that dark 85 per cent cocoa content chocolate is perfect for this dessert. The best chocolate is the one you like the best. Use a good natural vanilla extract and strong left-over coffee.

Bourbon is best but rye whiskey will make an okay substitute.

You will need;

7 oz of unsweetened chocolate 80% Dark

6 oz of unsalted butter

1 ½ cups strong espresso coffee

2 oz bourbon

2 organic large eggs

1 tsp real vanilla extract

2 cups of cake flour (soft wheat, all purpose flour will not work

1 ½ cups sugar

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp kosher salt

Whipped Topping

2 cups heavy cream

2 tsp of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. grease and flour two loaf pans.

In a large thick bottom sauce pan with about a four-litre capacity put in the butter, chocolate, coffee over low heat and constantly stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate melts and then stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth and completely blended.

Set this aside to cool for about 10 minutes.

Now beat in the bourbon, eggs and vanilla.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and sift them together.

Add this to the chocolate mixture and beat well with the wooden spoon until it's well blended and smooth. It should fall off the spoon like a ribbon.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and bake on the middle rack for 45 to 55 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes then turn them out onto a rack to cool completely.

Before serving, combine the cream and vanilla and whip it till it can barely stand in peaks.

It should be fluffy and thin enough to run down the sides of the cake when you place a spoonful on each serving on the cake. Make 2 loaves for stacking layers if you should choose.