Tuesday, February 28, 2006


During our Xmas holidays, we visited my boyfriend's sister (Melanie) who lives high up in the mountains, an hour and a half drive away from Chur, in the Albula valley (Albulatal).

The place is called
Filisur and is close to Bergün where a five-kilometer sledge run ends (starting from Preda, higher up in the valley)...

Filisur is a very nice place located in the heart of Graubünden and is the holiday corner of Switzerland. This narrow valley is very unique and beautiful, so you can imagine that ou
r stay was very enjoyable. The place was totally covered with thick snow, so the view we had was magickal and truely that of a postcard ("cliché"); idyllic!...

The village of filisur (snowing)...
A snowy view of the Albulatal from Melanie's kitchen balcony...
The village of Filisur in the morning, with sun...
A sunny view of the valley...

Monday, February 27, 2006


Since root vegetables are getting trendy again and are not considered anymore like wartime food or cattle food, I chose to cook parsnip as I thought that it would bring a certain novelty to the table...

I was very satisfied, because this puree is very interesting and tasty. It had a sweet, yet tangy carrotty taste and the parmesan cheese and parsley added an interesting nutty and herby aroma. I liked it, although my boy was not so hot about it (oh well, you know men and vegetables...!!!

I invented my own "Parsnip Puree" recipe and spiced it up in my own way... So, what you'll find here is not an exact recipe, but more an idea of how you can prepare this special root.

All the quantities here are free, so it's up to you to play and dose each ingredients as you wish...


Parsnips, peeled and cut in big cubes

Parmesan cheese, grated
Garlic, crushed

Parsley, chopped
A pinch curry powder


1. Steam the parsnip until tender.
2. While still hot, puree the parsnip.
3. In a pan, melt some butter, add the parsnip and mix.
4. Mix in cream, parmesan, garlic, parsley, curry, pepper and salt.
5. Serve hot.

You can also add mashed carrots or mashed potatoes, if you wish...

Serving suggestions:
Serve with fish, lamb or sausages.

You can use it like potatoe puree; it's as nurishing.

(Parsnips -Pic by www.agric.nsw.gov.au)

Saturday, February 25, 2006


It's WCB again!!! Yippee, there are whole lotsa cute kitties around, so we're in good company!!!

Maruschka looking eerie and secretive, or sleepy?...

You will also find this picture as well as others on the great Eat Stuff blog from Sydney, Australia where you can discover Kiri's new pictures... If you also want to participate to Weekend Cat Blogging, then just leave your blog name, URL and permalink in a comment on Clare and Casey's site.

And here are the other cute kitties:
1. Check out the
kitty in the curtains, a great kitty snapshop at Far Cartouche
2. Check out the love advice that Gigolo kitty is giving out at Gigolo kitty *at least we know how he got his name *
3. Check out
Mrs Cat battle with paparzzi to protect her drug taking privacy at Belly-Timber
4. Check out Nala she is feeling very rejected at Les Carnets de sbmarie
5. Check out Marushka, who is sleepy? or just dreming of mice.. we will never know at Rosa’s Yummy Yums
6. Check out Lou Lou *being very very quiet* stalking herbs in the bakyard at Stalking the waiter
7. Check out the cute kitty hobo at Restaurnt Widow
8. Check out Max, the kitty party supervisor at Passionate Nonchalance
9. Check out Pumpkin and Muffin the two kittys that were left behind and have become beloved neighbourhood cats at What did you eat
10. Check out Max protecting his apricot jam at Peanut Butter and Purple Onions
11. Check out Max the playful kitty and Trixie the protector at The Westering Hills
12. Check out the kitty with flames dancing in her eyes at A pretty how town
13. Check out Aggie, squinting from the glare of the paparazzis flash in her eyes first thing in the morning at Kayak Soup
14. Check out the new cat with an inbuilt goose down goretex jacket in the snow at Farmgirl Fare
15. Check out Bella the kitty that wishes she was a home theatre system at A few of my favourite things
16. Check out Sugar her eyes wide with the I WANT IT! Stare at Sweetnicks Place
17. Check out Glinda, and find out why things are not quite normal at Anne’s Food *We hope you feel better real soon *Smooch* Kiri*
18. Check out
Uncle Monty as he makes his WCB debut eating some very nice steak at Tomatom
19. Check out Lucky, another car cat who enjoys looking out the window at These days in French LIfe
20. Check out the napping cat, aren’t naps great when you are so cute? at S’kat and the food

Friday, February 24, 2006


Anne (Texmex) of "La Vie Au Jour Le Jour" from Switzerland has tagged me for this meme, so I hope you'll enjoy those smalll moments of "voyeurism" that are offered to you here!...

Four jobs you’ve had in your life:
1. Seller in a music-store.
2. Cleaner in an old people’s home.
3. Helping an aged women.
4. Unemployed and waiting for opportunities!...

Four movies you could watch over and over (in no particular order):

1. Samsara by Pan Nalin.
2. Sopyonje and all other films by Im Kwon-Teak.
3. Once Were Warriors by Lee Tamahori..
4. The Summer Solstice and all films by Anh Hung Tran, and many many more (see "Seven Sevens Meme")…..

Four places you’ve lived:
1. Geneva, Switzerland.
2. Veyrier, Switzerland.
3. I don't know yet....
4. The future will tell!!!

Four TV shows or series you love to watch (in no particular order):
1. The 20h15 documentaries on Arte (at the moment about Alain Ducasse).
2. Carte Postale Gourmande on Arte.
3. Any interesting documentary about history or travelling.
4. Nip Tuck, Six Feet Under, The L World, Everwood, Smallville, Sex And The City, Malcolm, etc….

Four places you’ve been on vacation:

1. Derbyshire & Warwickshire, England at my Grandparent’s place.
2. Peloponese and Attica, Greece with my high school class just before getting my diploma; it was so wonderful. I'd love to go there again..
3. Paris with my high school class when I was about 17 .
4. Berner Oberland and Grisons, Switzerland.

Four websites you visit daily:
1. All the blogs I have linked.
2. Mine!!!…
3. Blog Appétit.
4. Google for recipes or other things (infos, translations, etc...).

Four of your favorite foods (in no particular order):
1. Asian food (Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese, Indian, etc…), especially Southeast Asian curries, salads and kuihs as well as stir-fries.
2. American food (homemade) like pumpkin pie, muffins, hamburgers, cookies, scrapple, corn bread etc…
3. Mediterranean food like pitta souvlaki, lasagnas, pestos, raviolis, kebabs, moussaka, baklava, tiramisu, pasticcio macaronia, etc (Greek, Italian…)
4. Swiss, English and Exotic (Caribbean, Brazilian, etc…) like fondue, raclette, saucisson, langeole, rösti, maluns, spätzlis, scones, cornish pasties, pineapple upside down, steak and kidney pie, fish and chips, moqueca, jerk chicken, cassava cake... In fact, I love so many different things that it’s difficult to say which are my four favorite foods or dishes as it all depends on my mood!

Four places you’d rather be:

1. In a land where the sea is cristal blue and the vegetation is exhuberantly green.
2. In Canada or USA.
3. In a better world where inner harmony and peace exists…
4. At home or on holiday in North America (Canada/USA), Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Greece, England, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, etc...

Four people I tag for this meme:
1. Ivonne of Cream Puffs In Venice
2. Jenny of De Arte Coquinaria
3. And all of you...
4. who want to play!!!

(Cd Store -Pic by www.euroconsumer.org)
(Salève, Geneva -Pic by www.pbase.com)
(Hartington, Derbyshire -Pic by www.jenslot.homestead.com)
(Apple -Pic by www.t-w.de)
(Sandwich -Pic by www.marthastewart.com)
(Laguna Chiarkota, Bolivia -Pic by Andreas Leo Urban www.trekearth.com)

Thursday, February 23, 2006


The Petit Salève (small Salève): just a cold, grey and foggy day...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


No comment!....
(Bird Flu -Pic by Chappatte http://www.globecartoon.com/)


While surfing on the great German Tea-Time Blog I fell upon a link that might interest all of you meat eaters!

If you care about what's in your plates quality-wise, about animals and about the future of our small farms...

So, go on The Meatrix site and get informed!

(The Meatrix Banner -Pic by www.themeatrix.com)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


This brown and "unappetizing" looking sauce tastes in fact better than it looks, especially if it’s homemade.

"Onion Gravy" is a popular English sauce that is very tasty and tangy. It is perfect over quality pork sausages or served with our good old “Toad In The Hole”…

The original recipe was taken from
www.sausagelinks.co.uk and was slightly modified by myself.

2 Big white onions, thinly sliced

80g Unsalted butter
1 1/2 Tbs Plain white flour
400ml Chicken stock

100ml Red wine
2 Tbs Sweet/mild mustard
1 Tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 Tsp Garlic powder

1. In a heavy pan, melt the butter and fry the onions over medium heat for 10 minutes, until soft and translucid.
2. Turn the heat down low and cover the pan.
3. Cook until the onions are brown for about 20-30 minutes.
4. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute.

5. Add the wine, stock, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and mustard.
6. Bring the gravy to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes over low heat.
7. Check the seasoning and serve.

Do not burn the onions or the flour!

Serving suggestions:

Serve with “Toad In The Hole” (see recipe), Yorkshire puddings, pork sausages, fried liver, pork chops, ham steak or steak.

(North Yorkshire Moors -Pic by John David www.trekearth.com)


After the rain: a beautifully clear evening light sublimates the Salève...

Monday, February 20, 2006


For those of you who don’t know that “Toad In The Hole” has nothing in common with the craoking amphibian (apart from it’s looks, maybe?!), an explanation might come handy before you start chucking loads of toads into your oven, thus letting us no other choice than to call the animal rescue!!!!…

“Toad In The Hole” is a traditional British dish consisting of pork sausages emprisoned in a Yorkshire Pudding (a type of popover) batter. It is generally served with gravy and vegetables.In fact, it is a little like a savory version of the French clafoutis...

A floppish “Toad In The Hole” is never very exciting to look at nor to eat, so it is poetically named “Frog In A Bog”… And the imagery of this expression is disgusting enough to make you lose your appetite and give you an idea of what a failed "Toad In The Hole" would look if it was unsuccessfully prepared!!!

This popular dish might look a bit nifty and messy, but it’s ugliness should not drive be a cause of repulsion, otherwise you’ll miss the opportunity to be enthralled by it’s golden, crispy and light batter and hearty aromatic sausage “filling”. It is an absolutely delightful meal which big and small children will love!

I'm a big fan of this hearty and humble countryside meal as it's simplicity is charming. That's what I call comfort food at it's best!

This recipe was partly inspired by the small Be-Ro "Home Recipes" cookery book...

Serves 2-3

600g Uncooked pork sausages

200g Plain white flour
2 Eggs (~50g)

600ml Milk
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

1. Mix the flour and salt in a basin.

2. Make a hollow in the centre and drop the eggs.
3. Stir with a whisk and add liquid gradually, until all the flour is worked in.

4. Beat well and add remaining liquid.
5. Reserve for an hour at room temperature.

6. Meanwhile, cut the sausages into 4 centimeter long pieces and cook in a frying pan until golden brown and nearly cooked through.
7. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F).
8. Grease a shallow pan, add the sausages and pour the batter over them.

9. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the batther is golden and cooked through.
10. Cut into square slices and serve.

The batter should be smooth and not lumpy, therefore you should add the liquid gradually and beat well.
The batter should be fluid and have the consistency of single cream.
Types of fresh ground pork herby sausages to use: Cumberland sausages, Swiss saucisse à rôtir, Sicilian sausages, Lincoln sausages, Louisiana sausages, Abruzzo sausage, Banger sausage, Boerwurst, Italian sausages, Medisterpoelse sausage, Merguez sausage, Korv sausage, Tuscan sausage or Linguica sausages.
Don’t use precooked sausages like frankfurters or hot dogs!

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot with onion gravy (see recipe) poured over the slice of “Toad In The Hole” and with a nice wintery salad.

(Toad In The Hole -Pic by www.baglady-designs.com)
(Pork Sausages -Pic by www.alpinesmokerhouse.co.nz)

Sunday, February 19, 2006


It's time for another WCB and this time it's another kitty I want to introduce...

Mika (aka Miki), the miniature cat of my boyfriend's parents! She is very cute, but it's very difficult to caress her as much as we'd like because she doesn't like being annoyed, although with age she's getting less wild. She's like a bonsaï house tiger! You might be interested to know that she's the cousin of our cats Fridolin and Maruschka...

You will also find this picture as well as others on the great Eat Stuff blog from Sydney, Australia. If you also want to participate to Weekend Cat Blogging, then just leave your blog name, URL and permalink in a comment on Clare and Casey's site.

Other cute kitties:
1. Check out the 2 baby calico
kittens at Masak-Masak and help Boo to find them homes *Cute Kitten Alert*
2. Check out
Enrique, an ode to a beautiful badass tabby cat at The Westering Hills
3. Check out the I love Lucy *Special* at slowly she turned
4. Check out “the face off” ooh! Fight FIGHT! and Rum and Raisin Oatmeal cookies at Just Braise
5. Check out Stella the hidey hole kitty and Buddy the regal lord at The Poor Cracklins
6. Check out the little day dreamers at A Few of my Favourite Things
7. Check out Upsie, the present fairy at What did you eat?
8. Check out Gansta lucky, with the collar he sold for catnip. No wonder he feels ill, poor little guy at These Days in French Life
9. Check out Mika the caged bonsai house tiger at Rosa’s Yummy Yums
10. Check out Lou Lou as she scans her castle grounds… will she make it outside to defend her territory? Find out at Stalking the Waiter
11. Check out Doodle, and find out why you should never underestimate a kitty no matter how cute and tiny she really is at Farmgirl Fare
12. Check out Le Petite Tigre who is his newest flame? Check her out at Lali et Cie
13. Check out
Gigolo Kitty and find out how the seven dwarves ended up at Gigolo Kitty
14. Check out Ike, Grover, J and Abe and find out what kitties do when it is cold at Restaurant Widow
15. Check out Aggie and find out how she is such a curious kitty at Kayak soup
16. Check out the duchess and see the new model at Kross-Eyed Kitty
17. Check out the cute little campground invader at Country life for the Urbanite
18. Check out Vodka telling me to hurry up! lol at Cel’s Homepage
19. Check out Mickey da boo with the bluest eyes at Paint brush poet
20. Check out Foggy really getting into this whole blogging thing at Lo Spazio Di Staximo
21. Check out Kittaya showing us his domain at Mahanandi
22. Check out Mel and her fish and Shishi with the fire at Skat and the food

Friday, February 17, 2006


The Salève with frost....

...and the same mountain without.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


A few days ago: 7h00 in the morning, the Salève is emerging and the lights in France are still on...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


"Nian Gao" (Year Cake) is a typical Cantonese-style (Southern China) New Year steamed cake. It is eaten as dessert and is often given as a gift.

It is used as an offering or "bribe" to the Kitchen God so that he would give a favorable report on the family's behaviour when returning to heaven. If the report is good, then the family will not suffer from bad luck during the year to come...

This requisite sticky rice fruit cake is absolutely delicious as it's sweet and delightful to please! "Nian Gao" has an addictive taste of rice and a unique texture that will drive you crazy. I really love it!

There are hundreds of varieties around, but I've chosen to give you Karen Lee's recipe which was adapted from "Chinese Cooking Secrets". As usual, I have added my own touch to the recipe...

Yields 2 small cakes or one medium cake

140g Glutinous rice flour
2 Eggs, with whites and yolks separated (~50g)
63g Unsalted butter
110g Castor sugar
90ml Milk
1 Tsp Rum (optional)
100g Candied mixed fruits and peels, diced
1/2 Cup Walnuts, chopped

1. Grease a loaf pan that is approximately 4"x 8" (or two small pans) and set aside.
2. Beat the egg whites until stiff.
3. Cream together the butter and the sugar.
4. Add the egg yolks and mix thoroughly.
5. Add one-third (a little less than 1/2 cup) of the glutinous rice flour and mix.
6. Add about half of the milk.
7. Continue adding the rice flour and the milk alternately until the entire amount is mixed in.
8. Stir in whichever fruits you are using and the walnuts.
9. Then add the beaten egg whites, folding them into the cake batter.

9. Pour the cake batter into the loaf pan and steam, covered, for about one hour.
10. Allow to cool and cut into thin slices.

Regarding the fruits which are to be used, the Karen Lee suggests 1 cup Chinese dried fruits, pitted if necessary and diced (preserved seedless plums, preserved pears, or Chinese seeded red dates/jujubes).

Serving suggestions:
Eat this cake as a dessert or simply like you would do with any other cake...

(Guilin -Pic by http://bigwhiteguy.com)


Those pictures are used for Swiss milk (Federation of Swiss milk producers) commercials and they are pretty hilarious! I thought that you might like them...

Lovely is a strong cow and if you drink her milk, then you'll also be fit like her!...

(Lovely -Pics by www.swissmilk.ch)

Monday, February 13, 2006


The following pictures were taken during our Xmas holidays in Grisons.

We stayed in a small village called Felsberg and which is a few minutes away from Chur. That's where my boyfriend's parents live...

Looking in the direction of Domat-Ems...

A bench by the Rhein river on a cold gloomy day...

The countryside around the village of Felsberg...

Beautiful trees...

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Zorra of the very interesting "Kochtopf" has asked me to participate to her Valentine Cooking Round-up. As I'm always looking for a new challenge, I immediately started thinking about this event and how I could give a nice cosy touch to this special evening...

"What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lie."- Ralph Waldo Emerson -

Since, you'd probably not want to spend hours in your kitchen in order to prepare that Valentine's Day meal, those recipes are exactly what you need!

So, here's my idea of a Valentine's Day with a full menu (apetizer, main course and dessert) to help you make your choices. It's an all Italian culinary feast which I hope you'll enjoy wether you are alone or
with your loved one!

(Romance -Pic by www.love-poems.co.uk)
(The Kiss -Pic by Gustave Klimt

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Since I got "The Silver Spoon" for my birthday/Xmas, I thought that it would be a bad idea to try one recipe for you...

So, I chose to cook "Blueberry Pork Chops (Braciole Ai Mirtilli)" as this dish is very easy to prepare and seemed quite humble. I was eager to see what it would give... And as an accompaniment, I invented those hot Italian-style tagliatelle which are perfect when eaten with the pork chops as their sweetness contrasts with the spiciness of the pastas.

The meat is tender, the blueberry sauce is delicate yet very tasty and the pastas don't overpower the beautiful aromas of the meat and sauce, but rather enhances the whole dis
h with a round garlicky touch and a little aphrodisiac warmth confered by the chilli pepper...

Simply de-li-cious!!!

Serves 2

3 Spare-rib chops
Plain white flour, for dusting

20g Unsalted butter
2 Tbs Olive oil

130ml Red wine
225g Blueberries
75g Clear honey
Salt to taste

Pepper to taste (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
2. Dust the chops with flour.
3. Heat the oil and the butter in a small flameproof frying pan.
4. Add the chops and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over.
5. Pour in the red wine and cook until it has partly evaporated.
6. Season with salt (and pepper).

7. Pass the blueberries through a food mill and mix with the honey in a bowl.
8. Spread this mixture over the chops, then cover the pan.
9. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
10. Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then serve.


Serves 2

200g Dry tagliatelle
40g Unsalted butter, creamed
1 Clove garlic, crushed

1 Medium red chilli, seeded and chopped
5 Tbs Fresh parsley, chopped
A handful dried boleti mushrooms, soaked in water and sliced

Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

1. Add the crushed garlic, red chilli, salt and pepper to the butter and mix well.
2. Cook the tagliatelle and drain.
3. Heat a frying pan.
4. Add the butter mixture and the mushrooms.
5. Fry over medium heat for about 1 minute.
6. Add the pastas and stir-fry gently for about 2 minutes, then add the parsley.

7. Mix well and serve.

Don't overfry the pastas; they should not be crispy nor dry; just like normal pastas should be (al dente).

Serving suggestions:
Eat the blueberry pork chops with the tagliatelle and a delicate winter salad (chicory, radicchio, romaine lettuce with walnuts, olive oil and dark balsamic vinegar). Serve with a Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or a Médoc.

(Ponte Vecchio, Firenze -Pic by Renato Nasi www.trekearth.com)


"Panforte" is an Italian confection from Siena in Tuscany. It dates back to the 13th century and enjoys a wide popularity in Italy. Originally, it was baked for Christmas, but now we can eat or buy "panforte" all year long...

"Panforte" means "strong bread" in Italian and it's named so, because of it's spicy flavor. This delicacy is, in fact, a kind of cross between, candy, spice bread (Lebkuchen) and fruit cake. "Panforte" is a flat and dense round "cake" which is quite hard and chewy.

If you've never eaten that speciality, then you'd better get cooking very fastly as it's an absolute hammer! It is a bit similar in taste to Florentine cookies and is the ideal treat to end a good meal... DELIGHTFUL!!!

Recipe for a 22cm/8" round pan

100g Toasted and hulled hazelnuts, coarsly chopped
100g Toasted blanched almonds, coarsly chopped
100g Candied lemon, finely chopped
100g Candied orange, finely chopped
50g Plain white flour
2 Tbs Unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 Tsp Ground cinnamon
1 Tsp Spices for "spice bread"/Lebkuchen/pain d'épice*
100g Light runny honey
100g Castor sugar
Icing sugar to sprinkle over the top

1. Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).
2. In a bowl, thouroughly mix the hazelnuts, almonds candied lemon, candied orange, flour, cocoa, cinnamon and spices together.

3. In a pan, slowly heat the honey and sugar while continuously mixing, until the mixture slightly foams.
4. Remove straight away from the heat.

5. With a wooden spoon, incorporate to the ingredients in the bowl and knead slightly.
6. On the previously greased round pan, press the dough down with your fingers so that it is flat and in shape.

7. Bake for about 30 minutes.
8. Cool for a few minutes and remove from the pan, then finish cooling on a wire rack.
9. Sprinkle with icing sugar.

Don't overbake, otherwise the panforte will be hard!
Keep the cake wrapped in cellophane for up to 2 weeks.

Serving suggestions:
Cut in thin slices and serve with a homemade (or not) limoncello or vanilla ice cream.

* If you can't find them, then use 1/3 Tsp ground cinnamon, 1/5 Tsp ground cloves, 1/5 Tsp ground nutmeg, 1/5 Tsp ground Coriander, 1/5 ground anise and a pinch ground allspice.

(Siena -Pic by Marek Lubiarz www.trekearth.com)
(Panforte -Pic by www.dolcimessagi.it)