Sunday, July 30, 2006


It's WCB time again, so grab your cat and shoot some memorable pictures of her/him! And if you only want to admire our spoilt felines, then don't forget to visit Clare's site for the weekly round-up...

Here are some pictures of my two cats suffering because of the crushing heatwave we had to experience during the last weeks...

Poor Fridolin looking all sweet and lethargic!
The only positive aspect of the heatwave was that he was a lot calmer than usual and didn't have any energy left to play the crazy monkey on acid that we get when he's losing his marbles during his five famous minutes of total cat mayhem!!!...
Maruschka was also very silent and showed no signs of life. She just lied on her side like an omelet!
The heat even changed her habits; the "sticky" Muschki that we know (who is always after us asking for love and cuddles) was simply not looking forwards to any kind of close physical contact (kisses and cuddles)!
Maruschka was overwhelmed by the extreme temperatures...

You will also find those pictures as well as others on the great Eat Stuff blog from Sydney, Australia where you can discover Kiri's weekly 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.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Here in Switzerland it is still very hot (35°+) and terribly humid. This heatwave is driving me crazy as there is never a break. We all sleep badly and during the day the heat is crushing...

The only way to get "out" of this hell is to get close to the lake; there is at least a bit of air moving and the water is quite fresh, although one could say that it is particularly warm (26°+)!

The lakeside is very nice and we are lucky to have many spots where it is possible to swim or just relax. This little beach is situated in Anières on the left side of the lake. To get there, one hast to take the bus E from Rive, in town and get out at the bus stop "Courbes". This place is not very big, but it is quiet and very pleasant...

Those pictures were specially posted for Chanit of "My Mom's Recipes And More" from Israel who doesn't like the heat! I hope that you'll enjoy them. I didn't find anything looking fresher...

The other side of the lake of Geneva (Lac Léman), a boat and the Jura mountain...
Looking towards Geneva...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


"Jerk" is a speciality from Jamaica in the Caribbean. The origin of this dish can be traced back to the original natives of the island, the Arawak indians who seem to have created it first. Then, later on, the Maroons or runaway slaves had also added their touch to the original recipe.

There are many different theories regarding the term "jerk" which has to do with the process of spicing and grilling the meat. Some say that the word comes from the Spanish "charqui" (term for jerked or dried meat) or from the jerking and poking of the meat with a sharp object, thus producing holes which were filled with the spice preparation...

Traditionally, "jerk" was made with pork, but nowadays chicken, fish, tofu and even vegetables are used. In fact, there is an infinite variation of recipes and everyone will claim that their's is the one and only, but the truth is that all of them can be called "genuine" as long as they integrate the three following ingredients: scotch bonnet peppers, allspice and thyme.

Although my recipe doesn't really list any of the above mentionned ingredients (maybe in the ketchup), I feel that it is nonetheless authentic as it was adapted from Könemann's dense and mammoth-like cookbook dedicated to the cuisine Caribbean "Culinaria - The Caribbean: A Discovery" (all of their recipes are supposed to be authentic)... Of course, if you feel like adding those three ingredients, then that's up to you!

~ The chicken legs marinading... ~

This "Caribbean Jerk Chicken" is a delicious sample
of the flavors one can find in Jamaica. It is a spicy and perfectly perfumed sauce that brings tenderness to your meat. This dish is ideal for summer barbeques and will confer a holiday feeling to any of your meals or parties!

~Caribbean Jerk Chicken ~

2-4 Chicken legs or wings
1 White onion, finely chopped
A few chives, chopped
1 Clove garlic, crushed
1/4 Red chilli or 1/4 scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1-2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs Olive oil

Jerk sauce:
2 Medium white onions, chopped
4-5 Cloves garlic, chopped
4 Tbs Chopped fresh ginger
10 Tbs Ketchup
6oml Lime juice
2 Tbs Olive oil
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tsp Tamarind concentrate
1 Tbs Mild mustard
1/3 Tsp Ground allspice
1/4-1/2 Red chilli or 1/4-1/2 scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and chopped
60ml Rum
Salt, to taste

1. Process all the ingredients for the jerk sauce in a mixer until homogenously pureed. Set aside.
2. Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade.
3. Place the chicken legs/wings in the marinade and leave in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
4. In a frying pan, fry the chicken wings until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.
5. Add the jerk sauce, lower the heat and simmer covered for about 30 minutes or until the legs are cooked and the sauce has thickened.

-Arawak women.-

Do not forget to turn the chicken legs/wings over while they are cooking in the sauce.
This dish can also be prepared differently. Instead of cooking the chicken together with the sauce, you can cook the sauce separately (bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes, set aside) and barbecue the chicken after having left it to marinate. Then use the sauce as accompaniment.
It is also possible to cook the chicken with the sauce in the oven (30 minutes at 190°C/375°F).
If you decide to have a barbecue, then other meats (beef especially) can be used.

Serving suggestions:
Eat this dish with Haitian "Djon Djon Rice" (see recipe) or any kind of long grain rice of your choice.

(Storm Over Birdgetown -Pic by Jonathan Wilson
(Arawak Women -Pic by

Monday, July 24, 2006


At the moment, it is so hot and humid in Switzerland that creating new posts is an arduous task that demands a lot of energy. The room feels like an oven and my arms are sticking on the table! Cooking/baking anything in such conditions could be labelled as suicidal for it gets very fastly blazing hot in the kitchen...

I guess that I'll have to wait for the cooler days to come back in order to be active and inspired in the kitchen!

A hot looking field nearby my path and the little paradise it leads to...
Beautiful, although I wouldn't like to be there now!!!

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Like most of us participants to the WCB, I am glad to see that Clare and Kiri are back and doing well despite their long silence! We missed you a lot...

A weasel-looking Fridolin...
He likes his bed a lot and lies there undisturbably and visibly satisfied.

Note that this picture was taken at least a month and a half ago, because now, since the heat is overpowering, our poor kitties don't know where to go in order to feel fresh! They generally lie around on the floor like lost souls...

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 weekly 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.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


During the summer days, we get to see many great cumuluses in the sky. Generally, they come from behind the Jura mountain and move over to the plain.

It is a bit like a ballet of clouds which joyously dance above our heads...

No comment is really needed, so enjoy the sheer beauty of those fluffy clouds and let yourself dream!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


"Djon Djon Rice" or "Diri Ak Djon Djon" is a side dish speciality from the northern part of Haiti in the Carribean. It is Haiti's favorite rice...

This rice gets it's distinctive colour and aroma from the Djon Djon mushrooms which are used to perfume this exquisite dish. Those tiny black mushrooms have an inedible stem and are considered a delicacy in Haiti (therefore they are not used on an everyday basis).

This recipe was adapted from Könemann's Culinaria series cookbook "The Caribbean: A Culinary Discovery".


4 Tbs Dry boletus or 125g Haitian Djon Djon mushrooms
250g Long grain rice (US rice)
250ml Water from the mushrooms (+ more if needed)
2 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbs Butter
1 Tsp Dry thyme
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

1. Soak the boletus until soft and rehydrated.
2. Drain the mushrooms and KEEP the water. Chop them coarsely.
3. Heat a pan and add the butter.
4. Once the butter in melted, add the rice, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.
5. Keep stirring for 1 minute, then pour in the 250ml mushroom water.
6. Cook over medium heat like you would do with risotto, stirring constantly, about 20 minutes.
7. Serve once the water has disappeared and the rice is cooked through.

You can use the mushrooms of your choice as long as they have quite a strong smokey flavor. I used Boletus mushrooms...
If you need more water, then add little quantities at a time. The rice has to be fluffy and tender. In fact, it is like making risotto. Don't add too much water otherwise your rice will not be right (soggy). It has to absorb all the water.

-Djon Djon mushrooms-
Serving suggestions:
This rice is delicious when accompanied by meat, fish, barbeques or Jerk Chicken (see recipe very soon). You can also eat it as a main dish with a salad.

(Haiti - Pic by Michel Trottier
(Djon Djon - Pic by

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Unfortunately, Clare of Eat Stuff has still not given a sign of life since a while now... We are all very worried and miss her and Kiri a lot.

This weekend's round-up will be hosted (I think) by Sarah of Chefsarahjane from California, USA. Thanks!

Maruschka is so sad about aunt Clare's silence that she doesn't feel in the mood to play. She prefers to lie down under the cat tree while waiting for her coming back...

Poor little Muschki has got the blues and the heat is killing her. She only does the minimum.
Maruschka has asked my to send her regards to Australia. She hopes that everything's ok for you both...

You will also find those pictures as well as others on the great Eat Stuff blog from Sydney, Australia where you can discover Kiri's weekly 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.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


As promised last week, here's what you get to discover if you continue walking down this beautiful path I love...

What you'll find at the end of it is a little corner of paradise!

After having passed the ungarded border barrier and walked further down this dainty path, you'll enter some woods. It's only a few minutes later, once you have gone through the woods and walked a little more that you'll get to a wild looking swampland with ponds lying nearby the river Arve which passes voluptuously by...

This site is really ethereal and ever so calm. the only "noise" you get to hear is the wild croaking of frogs, the cawing of crows, the cry of a buzzard, the soothing sound of the river or the wind blowing in the trees... Being there is like being in another dimension!

There, the vegetation is exhuberant (water lillies, magnificent trees, flowers, reed, blackberry bushes, etc...) and the animals are numerous (herons, frogs, crows, buzzards by the dozen, ducks, swans, rabbits, etc...) as if they all had decided to gather in this magical place!

Really mind-blowing...

After having walked through the woods (looking backwards in the direction of the Salève)...
One pond...
A romantic view of the same pond...
Again the same pond with an eye-catching view of the Salève...Another view of the Salève...
A second pond: in the background, the end of the Petit Salève and another French mountain called Les Voirons...
The Arve river flowing in the direction of Geneva...

So, did you enjoy this little virtual tour? I hope so...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I came across this recipe when visiting one of the blogs featured in my long list of interesting sites that I have linked. Before this, I had never heard of this flatbread nor did I ever eat such a speciality. I must say that this dish litteraly blew me off my feet, therefore I warmly thank Melissa of "The Traveler's lunchbox" for having shared this precious Nigella Lawson (source: "Feast") recipe with us!...

"Khachapuri" (Hachapuri) is a traditional dish served during feasts in Georgia in the Caucasus. It is a flatbread filled with contrasting cheeses (salty, mild, dense, light, stringy, soft, etc...). There are several types of "Khachapuri" and this cheese one is called "Emuli khachapuri".

In fact, it is a bit similar to the Italian Calzone or even Foccacia. "Khachapuri" is a very filling, rich and hefty dish that is absolutely cheesaliscious! Although it uses a big amount of cheese, this flatbread is in no way sickly; it is quite mild and creamy tasting, thus having a slight sharper twist to contrast with the overall non-agressivness of it's filling...

To resume my impressions, I would just simply put it that way: "Khachapuri" is a wonderful dish to which I pay a lot of respect for it's simplicity and incredible capacity to make you reach new blissful horizons and travel whilst sitting at home!!!...

Yields 10 servings

700g Plain white flour

500g Plain whole-milk yogurt

2 eggs (~50g)

50g Unsalted butter, softened

1 Tsp Salt

2 Tsp Baking soda

Filling (see remarks):

200g Ricotta cheese

200g Fresh Mozzarella (preferably buffalo milk Mozzarella)

600g High-quality Feta (preferably Greek or any real Feta)

1 egg (~50g)


1. In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, eggs, butter and salt.

2. Begin adding the flour, a cupful at a time, stirring or working with your hands to form a silky, soft dough.
3. Knead in the baking soda.
4. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly for a few minutes - this activates the gluten in the flour and will make the dough less prone to tearing when you form the breads.

5. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least twenty minutes, or up to a day.
6. For the filling, chop or mash all the cheeses together in a bowl. Stir in the egg.
7. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F). You can either make six small hatchapuris or one large one. To make a large one,

8. Separate the chilled dough into two equal parts.

9. Roll one of them out on a well-floured surface to a circle approximately 1/2-cm (1/4 inch) thick and transfer it to a baking sheet.
10. Spread the cheese in the center to within an inch of the edge.

11. Roll out the second piece of dough in the same manner and place it on top of the cheese.
12. Fold in the edges to seal in the outside of bread, curling them inwards to form a roll of dough.
13. Press down on the roll with the tines of a fork, sealing the two layers together.

14. Slightly shape/pat the bread so that it is perfectly shaped.

15. Transfer the bread to the oven and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

16. Cool the hachapuri slightly to let the cheese set, but eat warm.

Add as much flour as is necessary to bring the dough to a kneadable consistency - it should not be overly sticky.

To make six small khachapuris, divide the dough and the cheese into six equal parts. Using your hands, press each piece of dough out into a rough circle about 8 inches in diameter. Mound a sixth of the cheese into a fat disc in the center and start bringing the sides of the dough up around it, pleating them as you go (you can moisten the pleats with water to create a better seal). You should have a gathering of dough at the top when you finish - twist this around itself to seal. Now pat this cheese-filled dough ball out until it is about 1/2-inch thick.
I used 200g Ricotta, 300g Mozarella, 350g Feta, 150g Gruyère (matured) and one egg for the filling.
Bake for about 10-15 minutes. You can also cook this bread in a heavy skillet on the stovetop until both sides are golden brown.
If you wish, you can brush the top of the khachapuri with egg glaze; that will give it a nice colour.

Serving suggestions:
Eat warm with a nice salad and toasted walnuts.

(Georgia -Pic by Sopho Nadareishvili

Sunday, July 9, 2006


It's WCB again...So, if you love cute, "evil", malign or special cats, then it's the right time of the week for you. You'll not be disappointed as the kitties are always fun to have a look at and her posts are really interesting and yummy!!!

An exceptionally calm Fridolin ...
That's the face he makes when he's feeling satisfied. His paw is clawing the towel and that's a sign proving that he's enjoying a moment of pure bliss.
I love it when he's a relaxed kitty as he is then in a particularly cuddly phase and is so sweet...

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 weekly 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.

Friday, July 7, 2006


With the arrival of hot and humid days, we are all a little too "tired" to bother about cooking anything really elaborate and we surely don't want to sweat like monkeys in our kitchens!!! We need botherless, yet scrumptious food bursting with seasonal flavors...

This "Ham And Parmesan Cake" is then perfect as it can be eaten as a complete meal with a salad or just cut into fingerfood-sized cubes for your apperitive. Accompanied by a fine glass of rosé or white wine, this cake will be very successful as it offers an ideal alternative to a traditional meal cooked and prepared for hours in a kitchen feeling more like the entrails of Hell than Paradise!!!

Very summery in taste and not too calorically rich, this savory bakery item is exactly
what you need to treat your body and soul with!...

I have "created" this recipe by comparing and compiling different recipes and keeping only what I wanted, so I hope you'll enjoy this cake!

Makes 1 cake.

200g Plain white flour

3 1/2 Tsp Baking powder

4 Eggs (~50g)

1 1/3 Tsp Salt

1/2 Tsp Castor sugar

1/2 Tsp Garlic powder

1/5 Tsp Ground paprika

Pepper, to taste
50-60ml Beer

40ml Olive oil

150g Green olives, pitted and quartered
170g Ham, cubed
110g Parmesan cheese, grated

8 Leaves basil, chopped

- Olives from the market.-
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F).

2. In a small bowl, combine the sieved flour and baking powder.
3. In a big bowl, mix together the eggs, salt, sugar, garlic powder, paprika and pepper.

4. Beat this mixture until doubled, fluffy and white.

5. Continue beating while adding the beer and oil.
6. Add the flour, slowly and mix delicately with a spatula.

7. Once the flour has been fully integrated, add the olives, ham, Parmesan and basil.

8. Give a quick mix and pour into a 25x15cm (9.8x5.9 inches) baking pan.

9. Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when incerted within the center of the cake.

10. Cool on rack for about 5 minutes and remove from the pan. Cool for another 10-15 minutes.

11. Eat warm.

Instead of beer you can use white wine, but it will give a more acid and alcoholic taste to your cake.

If you wish, you can replace the Parmesan by any cheese of your choice (as long as it melts and is similar in texture).

The mixture might need a bit more beer, so keep an eye on it and add as much as needed.

Serving suggestions:

Eat warm, lukewarm or cold.
Butter your slices and serve with a fresh green salad or cut mediums cubes and serve with other apperitive items (crisps, vegetables & dips, etc...).

Wednesday, July 5, 2006


A few minutes away from my home, there's a very nice walk that we like to do in the evening or on Sunday morning.

The street we take goes down in the direction of the Jewish cemetary which we walk by until we get to the border (simple barrier). You have to cross over to France and continue walking down...

The path right after crossing the border over to France...
A field with cows grazing...

If you are interested in seeing where this path leads, then you'll have to wait a few days until I post the following pictures! You'll be very surprised to see what awaits you only a few minutes away from there...

Tuesday, July 4, 2006


Being passionate about Asian food, it is totally natural for me to love Vietnamese food as the cuisine from this part of the world is exceptional!

Some years ago, after having eaten those pancakes in diverse restaurants and having found them delicious, I decided to make my own. Since then, I cook this yummy dish quite often...

Those half-moon pancakes are called "Banh Xeo" in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and are a traditional speciality from the south of Vietnam. They are a kind of fast-food item that one can find nearly everywhere.

The word "Xeo" is an onomatopy that imitates the sizzling sound made by the oil in the pan when the pancakes are fried and "Banh" is the word for "cake" in Vietnamese...

The thin batter used for those crepes contains no eggs, only coconut milk, rice flour and is spiced with fish sauce and curcuma powder which gives this omelet look-alike a beautiful yellow colour. Different kinds of fillings can be used (meat, vegetable or seafood) and the recipe varies from family to family or from restaurant to restaurant. Although Vietnam's culinary traditions were highly influenced by the French colonialists, this kind of pancake existed long before the country got occupied...

This dish is simple to make, but taste-wise it has a wonderful and complex bouquet of different flavours all mingling together for your biggest delight! "Banh Xeo" is a very light meal which is ideal for the summer as it is fresh and healthy. This crisp golden pancake is a tantilizing example of how the food from Vietnam can be delicate yet loaded with flavors. Eating "Banh Xeo" is a pure sensual experience that transports you on a journey to a country where the cuisine is uniquely surprising and still quite unknown for many of us!...

The basic recipe was taken from "Easy Vietnamese Style Cookery" by The Australian Women's Weekly, but many details have been changed to make it my own...

Makes 4 pancakes

75g Rice flour

35g Cornstarch

1/2 Tsp Ground curcuma
1/2 Tsp Castor sugar

2 Green shallots, thinly chopped

300ml Coconut milk

2 Eggs (~50g), lightly beaten

1 1/2 Tsp Fish sauce

230g Leftover roast beef, thinly sliced (bite sized)

70g Carrot, coarsly grated

100g Button mushrooms, thinly sliced

40g Bean sprouts

1 Small fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

1/2 Cup Fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Peanut oil

Nuoc Cham dipping sauce:
120ml Water

1 1/2 Tbs Sugar

2 Tbs Rice vinegar

5 Tbs Sweet chilli sauce

7-8 Tbs Fish sauce

1/2 Tbs Sesame oil

4 1/2 Tbs Lemon juice

1-2 Clove garlic, crushed

1. Mix together all ingredients for the sauce.

2. Pour into a pan and let simmer for about 2 minutes.

3. Taste and rectify seasoning if necessary and pour into a bowl. Let cool.

4. In bowl, combine together the rice flour, cornstarch, curcuma and sugar.
5. Mix together the eggs, coconut milk and fish sauce.

6. Gradually stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients.

7. Mix to a smooth batter.
8. Add the green shallots.

9. In another bowl, combine together the beef, carrot, mushrooms, bean sprouts, chilli and coriander.

10. Heat 1 Tsp oil in a 20cm (7.9 inches) heavy-based omelette pan.

11. Pour 125ml (1/2 cup) of the batter into the pan.

12. Quickly tilt the pan to spread the batter.
13. Top pancake with a quarter of the beef mixture, cover and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes.

14. Fold the pancake in half.
15. Serve.
16. Repeat the operations with the remaining batter and beef mixture.

Instead of beef meat, you can use 8 medium uncooked prawns, barbecued pork rashers/boneless pork chops, spam-like Vietnamese ham (Cha Lua) or any other kind of cooked meat (leftovers).
I didn't have any bean sprouts, so I used chinese cabbage instead.
The recipe is best made just before serving, but you can prepare the sauce a day ahead.

Serving suggestions:

Pour a bit of the Nuoc Cham sauce over your pancake and eat while hot.

(Woman Selling Food -Pic by Yoram Weinreich

Sunday, July 2, 2006


For certain bloggers around the world, the weekend is synonymous of Cat Blogging... We love our pets so much, therefore this time of the week is dedicated to our fluffy four-legged companions!

Maruschka and Fridolin really appreciate one another in an fashion that people rarely get to experience. Being siblings, they always stuck together to play and cuddle since the day they were born. Fridi and muschki were always unseparable and they are still so 10 years later.
It is very sweet to see how they take care of one other. It is not unusual to see one of them lovingly wash the other or hold tightly on the other while sleeping; they look like two lovers!...

This time, Clare of the great Eat Stuff blog from Sydney, Australia will not be hosting this edition of WCB. Boo of the cool Malaysian blog Masak-Masak has decided to help her and is doing the hosting... If you also want to participate to Weekend Cat Blogging, then just leave your blog name, URL and permalink in a comment on Boo's site.