#ThatTranslatorCanCook Week Nineteen: Knepfle

I finally decided to get back into #ThatTranslatorCanCook. Work has calmed down after an initial rush, the stockpiling has stopped and we have a regular online food shopping slot, so I figured I had the time and resources to broaden my culinary horizons again and tickle my translator’s tastebuds! So I headed to Marmiton in search of inspiration. I clicked on their random recipe and knepfle came up! I’d never heard of them before, but a quick google search told me they were a speciality from Alsace and similar to Spätzle that I have tried, so I thought why not?

My first dilemma was how to translate ‘accompagnement’. ‘Accompaniment’ sounds a little formal in English, so I settled on ‘side dish’.

I’d heard of fromage frais before (anybody else used to eat Petits Filous as a child?), but fromage blanc was new to me. I did some googling and discovered that ‘fromage frais (‘fresh cheese) differs from fromage blanc in that, according to French legislation, fromage frais must contain live cultures when sold, whereas with fromage blanc, fermentation has been halted’[1]. So it’s very similar to fromage frais, but without live cultures. I figured this would mean I could use fromage frais as a substitute, but it’s actually very difficult to find plain fromage frais in UK shops, so I plumped for their other suggestion – natural yoghurt. As for translation, I left the terms as they were in the original French, as there are no British equivalents.

I noticed that you quite often have to switch around the word order in French recipes.

Also, I really struggled with this phrase: ‘faire tomber des portions de pâte’ – do you have any suggestions?

I was a little dubious about trying this recipe, as it reminded me of gnocchi, which I have tried before and which did not turn out well. However, it was surprisingly easy and with a few modifications, I think I would try it again!

First you mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and then leave it to rest for 20 minutes. I’m not entirely sure why, as it doesn’t contain a raising agent, but hey ho! After leaving it to rest, I noted that the image looked a little wet, but figured, since the instructions said to use spoons to put it in the boiling water, that it was meant to be wet.

My first attempts, as you can see, were not successful. They completely disintegrated and looked and tasted like scrambled egg! So I tried adding in a little more flour, which improved the situation.

The end result was tasty, but I have some changes to make. In the future, I would add more flour again and use smaller spoons to spoon out the mixture. The recipe called for tablespoons, but this ended up with a lot of mixture which didn’t fully cook by the time the knepfle came back to the surface. They were a little dough and rather large, so I think smaller amounts of the mixture might be better. I looked online and found a serving suggestion for bacon and cream, so I made a sauce and it was delicious!

So there we have it, my first foray back into #ThatTranslatorCanCook in several months! It went very well I think and I’ve certainly got the bug again. If you have any suggestions for other recipes to try, either in French or Arabic-speaking regions, then let me know in the comments or on social media!

As always, if you need help with a French to English translation, get in contact with me on my contact page or via email on verity.roat@cantab.net.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fromage_blanc

Published by verityroat

Verity Roat BA CANTAB MA TRANSLATION CIOL Career Associate is a UK-based Arabic and French > English translator, Copy-writer, Copy-editor, Transcriber, Role-player & Tutor.

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