Archive for the 'Food' Category

Week 2 – cut down on sugar

Preservative free week has gone well.  Eaten so many vegetables and had heaps of natural snacks in between meals replacing flavoured snacks.  I seriously feel better for it.  This week we are going to add to it by cutting down our sugar intake.  I am a sucker for lollies so they will be first off the list.  No soft drinks (although we managed that last week so that should make it easier).  I do like a sugar in my tea so will try to cut down on that.  Baking is something I love but unfortunately I end up eating a lot of it too so will have to do more savoury baking or cut down the sugar in recipes.

Actually, on the weekend I made a lovely date cake.  The recipe says one cup of white sugar and one cup of brown.  I only did 2/3 cup of each and it can out perfect and plenty sweet enough!  So there, it is possible, at least it is a start!

Lindt Hot Chocolate

Ok, have you seen how all the chocolate brands seem to have a ‘chilli’ chocolate one in there somewhere?  I have tried the Frey Dark Chocolate & Chilli and wasn’t too excited about it, in spite of my love of spicy foods.

Daniel saw Lindt advertising their latest addition to their chocolate range – Grenadine & Chilli – and mentioned he reckoned it sounded nice.  The other day, when I was in Coop, I bought it for him (CHF $3.75).   When he opened it up the other night, I hadn’t intended to try some but he convinced me.  And man, am I glad.  It is so so good.  This baby has fruity liquid grenadine on chocolate mousse and somewhere in there is a bit of chilliness.  And of course dark chocolate with 70% cocoa.  I am a HUGE dark chocolate fan.

The chilli is just enough to tickle your tongue but not too much to make your eyes water.  And it isn’t too sweet so easy to eat the entire block (yip, thats what we did and now I need to go and update our chocolate index).

They have some other interesting flavours in this HOT range including Mango & Cayenne which is next on our list to try.  On the Lindt Germany website there are some weird flavours I haven’t seen here – Maracuja & Jalapeno, Papaya & Chilli.  Also Blueberry & Lavender, Lime & Green Pepper.

I used to swear by Frey chocolate (Migro brand) perhaps because my Dad always ate their stuff, cos he used to work for them (as taste tester / quality control!) and so I felt loyal somehow.  But after trying all the different Swiss brands I am thinking Lindt is definitely one of the best.

Baking up a Big Biscuit storm

We (I think I can speak for all the ladies!) had a fun-as time baking biscuits last night.  My kitchen even coped with the zillion baking trays (none of which fitted in my wee oven!).   We all brought along a biscuit dough or ingredients for biscuits.  We chattered and baked and iced and shared stuff about the book we are reading together “Mama, die Beste Job der Welt” or “Professionalizing Motherhood” (worth reading for all you Mums out there!)

Mostly traditional Swiss biscuits like Vanillehörnchen, Caramellini and some dried apricots with almond dipped in chocolate.  Mmmh.  I tried out gingerbread men.  Here are the couple of photos I promised:


I know it is a bit early for Christmas cookie baking.  But who says I can’t have Christmas biscuits all year round anyway!?  I bought a Swiss biscuits recipe book from Bergli – an English bookstore in Basel.  So I had to try out my favourite – Zimtsterne (cinnamon stars). They were a huge success and really quite easy.  The ingredients consist of egg whites, icing sugar, kirsch, ground almonds and of course, cinnamon. They must be star shaped though, who knows why!?  Notice, no butter or fats! (a gluten free recipe too, i think, Louise!).  Here is the recipe.

Other beautiful Christmas cookies include Brunsli (made with chocolate and almonds) and Chräbeli (Aniseed), Mailanderli and Spitzbuben (translated as naughty boys).  So so good.  And then there are all the beautiful spicy bready cakey thingis, like Lebkuchen and Magenbrot…  I think the chocolate index might be lagging a bit while I fill up on biscuits…

Some girlfriends are coming over tomorrow and all bringing a cookie dough, so we will be baking up a big biscuit storm.  Will post some photos later…

Heisse Marroni

Not much has been happening in our world.  Just every day life, church stuff, work and the family.   But it is all good.  It is cold (high of 5 degrees today) and we are all a bit sick so staying indoors more.

I have to do a wee post about one of the best things about winter… Heisse Marroni.  At this time of year you can get hot, roasted chestnuts at stands on the side of the road.  Perfect to warm you up.  Mmmh.

Toby has been going to a ‘Waldspielgruppe’ every week.  Pre pre-school aged kids venture out into the forest with a couple of teachers and explore and light fires and make rope swings and cook cervelas (sausages).  He absolutely loves it. He comes home filthy but that is all good.   They go in any weather- snow & rain etc.  So cool.  What a great idea.  He is going on Wednesday morning again they are expecting 1 degrees overnight.  Will have to dress him very warmly.

Chocolate & Marriage

Yes, our chocolate index is a bit behind for being here 6 months.  If we were eating the same amount as the average Swiss we should be well over 12 kgs now (for our family total).  I think our current 7.8 kgs sounds greedy enough though! I have bought about the same amount again in chocolate and sent it home to NZ.  Perhaps that should be included!  Man. Perhaps our consumption will pick up a bit over the winter months.

And that word marriage is in the title – nothing to do with chocolate – just thought  I would share a cute story about Toby and his thoughts on marriage:

He asked me what the purpose of each of his fingers was – yes, he is at THAT ‘why?’ stage – you know index finger, middle finger, pinky etc.  I won’t tell you all my answers cos I just made them up (anyone have the right answer for me?).

Anyway, when he got to his ring finger he asked ‘what is this for?’  I said ‘on that finger you will wear your wedding ring when you get married’.  He thought a moment and said ‘I don’t want to wear a ring when I get married, I think I will wear a t-shirt instead’!

Funny guy.

Pasta Alle Cinque Pi

We spent last Sunday in Basel visiting friends Doris and Patrick.   We hung out with them and went for a visit to the Basel Zoo.  I love Basel.  A very friendly, international city.

Doris cooked us spaghetti with two different sauces.  One was this beautiful vegetarian sauce called ‘Cinque Pi’.   I forget that there are millions of sauces that go with Spaghetti apart from the traditional Bolognese.

The name Cinque Pi refers to the 5 (5 in Italian is cinque) most important ingredients in this sauce.  They all start with the letter p (in Italian of course!):

  1. panna (cream)
  2. purea di pomodoro (tomato puree)
  3. prezzemolo (parsley)
  4. parmigiano (parmesan)
  5. pepe (pepper).

This pasta dish which originates from Italy is very popular in Switzerland.

Here is the recipe:

300ml cream ——> bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes
3 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons tomato püree
bunch of chopped parsley
salt to taste

Add remaining ingredients to the cream and cook for another 5 minutes

Serve with spaghetti – can mix it in advance or just let everyone takes as much as they like – and a green salad. Delicious!

(Can also make a healthier option with added vegies such as carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, onion and tomato paste and light sour cream).

Emmentaler Cheese… Mmmh!

I had the privilege of driving home through Emmental country on my way back from Thun and Bern.  It is where the famous holey cheese comes from.  It is beautiful countryside with rolling green hills and of course, lots of cows and farm houses.

Emmental country is known in Switzerland for it’s supersize everything.  Supersize meringues, supersize houses, supersize people.  Maybe it is the America of Switzerland?!  No, not even close.  No Macdonalds or skyscraper in sight, except for the snow covered mountains in the background. I love the traditional houses in Emmental with the huge roofs.

We visited the Emmentaler Schaukäserei where you can view a factory making Emmentaler cheese and find out how it gets the holes in it.  Very cool! A must-see if you are ever down that way.

Wikipedia says this about the cheese: It is noteworthy that “Swiss Cheese” not made in Switzerland typically tastes considerably different, primarily because the raw milk to make the cheese should not be transported over long distances, as the vibrations homogenize the milk, and thereby changes the outcome. So if you want to try the real thing, you will just have to come to Switzerland!

Zopf & Öpfel Chüechli

We love Swiss bread.  Especially the dark crusty loaves full of seeds and wholegrains.  The boys love getting a ‘bun’ from Migro and often choose the dark healthy ones over the white.  So great.

I have decided it is time for me to do some bread baking. I am going to try a Zopf today, a white bread, not the healthiest but oh, so good!  I found this Betty Bossi Zopf recipe in English.  I love the translation – check it out – Before baking, sweep with the yellow of an egg. I think they mean, before baking, brush with an egg yolk.

Anyway, I will let you know how it goes.  My previous bread baking efforts haven’t been too successful.

My favourite Swiss food at the moment are Öpfel Chüechli (apple cakes), traditionally served in autumn.  They are to die for.  Mostly they are fried but Betty Bossi sell a tray to bake them in.  Mum, I will have to get one and bring it home!

Breast-milk for Dinner?

That is the title of the email I received from my good friend Louise. A little concerned what she was cooking up for her family I had to keep reading, fast… Actually, she sent me a link to an article about some crazy Swiss restaurateur who serves meals cooked with human breast-milk. He pays woman money for their breast-milk. Hmmm. I think I might find it hard to eat his meals. Dunno. What do you think? Here is the link to the article in the UK Telegraph. Thanks Anita for sending me this link too. So funny to get the same article from both you and Louise! You must know my love of hospitality and restaurants well!

Thanks for checking in on us.