Carneval Drink

Today was a beautiful sunny day in Basel and I enjoyed the day taking in all the great costumes at the Fasnacht, i.e. carneval.

The different masks and costumes are marvellous!

Some are very traditional, others modern.

As I was busy doing my rounds at the carneval, I did not have time to cook. But I had time to mix the typical carneval drink called the Waggis. Waggis is a type of mask and nickname for the people from Alsace, the region bordering on Basel.

The drink is a white wine spritzer made with Schweppes tonic water.

I mix half and half and garnish it with some lemon.

Refreshing and tasty!




Vitamin Kick

I am visiting my parents this week. When I told them about this blog, my mom handed me the very first cook book I got as a child. The Unicef Children’s cook book. It includes recipes from all over the world and lovely illustrations. It is out of print, I think. When I browsed through it, happy childhood memories of me cooking for my family resurfaced.
I decided to make a childhood favourite of mine, a fruit platter that according to my Unicef cook book is typical for Uganda.

The recipe is easy. Just cut up exotic fruit and make a nice fruit salad. I bought one piece of passionfruit:

A papaya.

A mango:

A melon:

You are supposed to add a banana but my toddler got his hands on it before me….
Now mix it all together and you get a yummy exotic fruit salad. Add some whipped cream and you can serve it as dessert, add some yoghurt and you get a healthy breakfast.


Sunday bake off

I had half a cube of fresh yeast left from my Faschtewäje and since working with yeast is a piece of cake to me now, I thought I’d save myself the trip to the local bakery this morning. Instead I turned to Rachel Allen’s book ‘Bake’ for white yeast bread. You can find the recipe here.
It was really fun watching the yeast rise at all the different stages.
From this:

To this gooey mess:

To a proper dough:


And rising:

Make your rolls in all shapes and sizes and leave to rise again.

Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with toppings of your choice. I made rolls with flaxseed, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and a cinnamon sugar mix. That’s what they look like before baking:

And this after 20-25 minutes in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius:

Cinnemony loveliness!

And airy & light, too. I am chuffed to bits!


Wildcard – A 6 course dinner with a view over Zurich

I like dining out in posh restaurants every once in a while. Yesterday evening I had a 6 course meal in one of the trendiest restaurants in Zurich at the moment, in Clouds. It is on the 35th floor of Switzerland’s highest building (126 metres), the Prime Tower.   

Now I had hoped that their menu is available online because when I look at the pictures of each course I cannot remember what exactly they were serving…. The bottle of Petite Arvine we drank with our first 3 courses is probably partially to blame for that.

First we were served oven dried foccaccia bread with several dips (garlic cream, olive oil, sea salt) and butter. 

Then we were served a Gruss aus der Küche, i.e. a greeting from the kitchen. If I remember correctly, it was some root vegetable foam (celery?) with Italian salami and some nice tasting garnish on top.

The first course (my absolute favourite) was a wood forrest salad with beetroot soup and foam. The salad was DIVINE! Bits of baby leaf salad, tiny mushrooms, pureed root vegetables, crunchy bits of vegetables. Simply great. The beetroot soup and foam complemented it nicely.

The second course was a langustine ravioli with a lemon foam. Lovely!

Next up was halibut on tiny beans and a brown sauce. This was my least favourite dish. I thought the beans and sauce were a tad too sweet and overpowered the fish.

The main course was filet of beef with a herb crust on a bed of Swiss chard  and a beef pot with a very light potato mash on top. The filet and the accompanying red wine / balsamico sauce were fantastic. The combination with the beef pot, however, does not work at all. The texture and tastes of the filet and the beef goulash are just too different. 

After a little break we were served the cheese dish. You can choose from a big cheese trolley and I went for Jersey Blue (I love it!), goats’ cheese and what turned out to be a very salty strong tasting Swiss hard cheese. It was served with fruit bread. Very nice indeed!

Up next was the dessert (my second favourite dish). It was tiny bits of variations of apple and rosemary infused baked and frozen delicacies. There was an apple sorbet, a rosemary infused crème brulée tart and lots of other mouthwatering pieces of dessert.

The menu was really lovely, even if a tad pricey at 150 Swiss Francs per head (without the drinks).  But all in all, it was worth it!

Raincheck – High in the clouds

First, let me show you my lovely Grisons nut cake (yesterday’s recipe):

And then let me shout RAINCHECK as I will dine out today in Zurich’s new gourmet temple Clouds. You’ll hear about it tomorrow…

Nut case

Today I made a traditional dish from the Canton Grisons, a Grisons nut cake.
The recipe is from a supermarket (Coop) magazine.
First, make a shortcrust pastry (mix 350g flour, 250g butter, 200g sugar, two eggs and rind of a lemon) or alternatively buy ready made shortcrust pastry. Line a cake dish with the pastry including at least half of the rim. Spread one tablespoon of marmalade (I used strawberry & rhubarb) over the bottom of the pastry.

Put aside and start on the filling. Caramelize 250g sugar in a pan. I added some fresh thyme for extra flavour.

Be patient.

Then you’ll end up with lovely caramel.

Add 250g walnuts.

Add 2dl of cream and 1 tablespoon of honey (I used thyme honey) and mix together over low heat. Pour the mix into the cake dish.

Cover the nut mix with the remaining pastry and put in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

Now comes the hard part: take the cake out of the oven and leave to rest overnight (yes, unfortunately it tastes a lot nicer when left alone for half a day or more).

I will try and leave it alone until tomorrow and post a picture as soon as I have tried a piece. It certainly smells delicious already!


Oh boy oh boy, had I read that today’s recipe properly, I would not have done it in the first place!
Today’s recipe for Faschtewäje, a type of small bread typical for the Basel carnival, had me work on a yeast dough for bloody ages! It involves a total of 3h20 of resting the dough and in between you have to work it in different ways.
I won’t give you this recipe, it’s torture! There must be an easier one on the Internet somewhere. Just google Fastenwähe or Faschtewäje (see for example this recipe).
Mine started off with this (resting 20 minutes):

Turned into this:

Then this (resting one hour):

Were shaped into oval shaped buns and put in the fridge to rest for 1 hour 30 minutes:

Then shaped into the typical Faschtewäje form (and off resting another 30 minutes):

Brush with a beaten egg mix, sprinkle with caraway seeds and off in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 15 to 20 minutes.

Yummy Faschtewäje. Lots of work but worth the effort (once a year, max)!


Shrove Tuesday

Today is Shrove Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent for Roman Catholics. Now I am not catholic but always use the occasion to overeat on pancakes, the traditional Shrove Tuesday dish in Britain (hence its ‘secular’ name Pancake Tuesday).
Today I was lazy and decided to seek assistance from Betty. Not Betty Bossi this time, but Betty Crocker (might they be related?).

Add 200ml of water and shake for 60 seconds.

Make pancakes in a hot buttered pan.

I like to eat them with cinnamon sugar and apple compote.

After indulging on these pancakes I feel like having to give up something for lent. I’ll chose the ‘food’ I am most addicted to these days: Diet Coke (sad but true)…

Carnival food

Today in a week I will be at the carnival in my home town Basel.
To put myself in carnival mood I cooked one of the typical carnival dishes today: Basler Mählsuppe, i.e. flour soup.
The recipe I am using is from Betty Bossi.
First you have to roast 5 tablespoons of flour in a deep pan or pot over medium heat.

You have to stir continuosly and be careful not to burn the flour. It is ready when it has turned a nice golden brown. If you let it get too dark the soup will taste bitter. Set the roasted flour aside to cool.

Thinly slice one onion and sweat off in 50g of butter for a couple of minutes.

Add the flour, stir and then add 1l of beef stock, 1dl of red wine and a dash of balsamic vinegar.

Bring to the boil and leave to simmer over low heat for about an hour. Season with salt and pepper if necessary and serve with grated Gruyère cheese sprinkled on top.

I am looking forward to Morgestraich!

The wild mountain thyme

I bought some thyme honey this weekend and used it to tinker with my staple muffin recipe. So for today’s post I made lemon thyme and honey muffins.
If you want to give it a go, mix 80g butter with 125g thyme honey and add some thyme leaves and lemon zest of 1 lemon.

In a separate bowl mix 250g flour with baking powder (as much as the packet tells you to use for this amount of flour) and a pinch of bicarbonate of soda. Mix with the honey/egg mix and fill dough in muffin moulds.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

I had some leftover lemon butter mix from the whoopee pies (butter, lemon juice, confectioner’s sugar) and used this as a topping for my muffins.

Enjoy with a cup of Earl Grey and a singsong with the Corries, a lovely treat!

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