Friday, May 20, 2011


Pregny 7 4 bis
As you might have guessed when viewing the above picture, next week I'll be on a short and well-deserved holiday (my last vacation was 6 months ago). But, don't panic, it'll only last a few days, so you should not miss me that much (LOL).

Lately, I have felt quite tired and as if like the life has been sucked out of me, an itsy bitsy depressed and fed up of being stressed by the frenesy of the world we live in. The events of the last months (and years - deaths, having to deal with my toxic family, being unemployed, clueless as to how to reintegrate the working world when I have no diplomas and having the impression of being a real loser) have suddenly caught up with me and hit me straight in the face. Even blogging added more pressure. Therefore, I really need to slow down and take a break, otherwise I'd end up with a total burnout.

Although, I don't have the leisure to go away or travel, I will nonetheless relax and try to explore our beautiful countryside in order to take pictures which I will share with you. Hopefully that will bring my mojo back!

Anyway, my next article will be posted on the 1st of June and I'll be online all the time (I know, I am a bit addicted...).
So, see you soon again, dear friends!

Pregny 4 1 bis

Pregny 3 1 bis

Pregny 5 1 bis
Pregny 6 1 bis

Pregny 2 1 bis

Pregny 1 1 bis

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Egg Salad Picnik collage 2 bis
After having gobbled many chocolate rabbits, Easter pralines and sugar eggs for the last 6 weeks (This year, my boyfriend's Grischun parents literally spoilt us rotten, although we are far from being children anymore!), I am now getting slightly over-saturated with all things sugary. At the moment, my interest is rather focused on eating in a more balanced way and testing new savory recipes with all the marvelous spring vegetables that are inundating the market stalls...

The truth is that even if I can go totally beserker over cookies, cakes, chocolates and any creamy, sticky, gooey, rich and luscious dessert, I have a really soft spot for salty foods too.
Despite the fact that my blog tends to showcase more baked goodies than savory starters, main courses or snacks, it is not meant to be exclusively in that way. A good homemade pizza can drive me as crazy as an ambrosial cheesecake. I refuse to support one camp to the detriment of the other as I am a fervent partisan of both sides. I need to entertain a yin-yang relationship between both worlds, because a lack of contrast and change in my menu plan would bore the socks off me.

Generally, I cook dishes worthy of blogging about during the weekend as my budget is very tight and I cannot permit myself to prepare Sunday dinners every single day of the week. Of course, it doesn't mean that my weekly culinary concoctions are insipid, austere or monotonous and would not deserve to be put under the spotlight
(all the contrary). They are just a lot simpler, humbler and less luxurious/glamorous (no meat, fish and a lot of veggies) than my Friday or Saturday evening meals.

Not forgetting that, during the weekend, the conditions are never optimal to take pictures of my creations, since we usually eat late in the evening when it's dark and there's no natural light. Besides, I rarely have the power to interrupt our romantic repast in order to take pictures for hours while everything is getting cold on the plate, and my exasperated boyfriend is yammering and getting extremely impatient. I am a way too finicky person to do things in a haste, with somebody breathing down my neck and
not such a talented photographer to obtain the desired cliché by only taking a few quick shots.

Anyway, lately, I have been dying to show you the spicy side of my personality. It is for that reason I am trying to remedy to this situation by posting recipes that don't contain sucrose - or at least in very small quantities only...

I would be a liar if I told you that I don't enjoy stuffing myself with hyper-calorific goodies, yet I am a food lover who nonetheless tries to control her diet and always make sure that it is well-balanced. My Monday through Thursday meals are mostly vegetarian and light, thus this gives me the opportunity to devour "dirty" treats in the evening while watching a movie or one of my favorite series. In any case, those aren't even that bad for me as I never buy anything that is industrial or full of additives and make everything myself with quality ingredients.

in order to show you how I eat on a daily basis, and since the weather has been very summery lately and I have been craving sunny as well as healthy dishes, I thought that it would be a great idea to invent an unconvential, unpresumptuous and easy everyday egg "salad" with the ingredients stocked in my well-garnished fridge and Ali Baba's cave-like pantry. There, I found all the ingredients I needed to create something funky and out of the ordinary: some eggs bought at the farmers' market, a leftover rhubarb stalk, galangal, red onions, a bunch of fresh coriander, fruity olive oil and all kinds of useful seasonings (balsamic vinegar, sambal oelek, soy sauce, mustard, grey sea salt and whole black pepper - perfect for putting an original vinaigrette together).

This Far East-inspired main course turned out just as I had imagined it to be. The happy combination of round, musky, sweet, sour, salty, bitter, exotic and heady flavors was amazing and my tastebuds saw fireworks. My "Eggs With Asian-Style Rhubarb Vinaigrette" tasted very fresh, refined and was delightfully aromatic. A fantastic gustative experience!

For those of you who are not familiar with galangal, it is a big pleasure for me to introduce you to this wonderfully versatile and characterful produce.
It would be awesome if thanks to me, this ingredient would enter your kitchen and become a precious cooking ally. That would prove that I do my blogger "job" correctly and that my site is informative/has a purpose...

"Galangal" (aka "Greater Galangal", "Thai Ginger" or "Blue Ginger") is a rhizome of a plant in the ginger family which is native to the grasslands areas of Indonesia. It has many culinary as well as medicinal uses and is cultivated in China and the whole of Southeast Asia as well in
hotter regions of California and Florida. Two different varieties exist: one is known as "greater galanga" and the other, "lesser galangal". The first is larger in size, lighter in color and subtler in aroma than the second which is hotter than ginger and has an underlying "earthy" flavor.

According to research, galangal it is an antibacterial and helps fight against fungal infections (for ex. candidiasis in the intestinal tract). It has been employed for centuries as medicine as it has always been known for reducing cramping and numbness, being a digestive stimulant (laxative), healing bruises and swelling, treating respiratory ailments (tuberculosis) and skin diseases (eczema), removing toxins from the body (blood purifier), having warming properties, settling an upset stomach (indigestion, stomachache and diarrhea), easing nausea, curbing flatulence and combating tuberculosis, eczema, hiccups, canker sores, oral ulcers and gum pains. Apparently, it is also believed to be a stimulant, a tonic, an aprhodisiac and a mild hallucinogenic...

Over a thousand years ago, it was introduced into Europe by Arabian physicians and became very popular in our latitudes during the Middle Ages.
For some unknown reason, it disappeared from European culinary and medical scenes as it seems it fell out of vogue, along with other spices, when milder foods became the order of the day in the 18th century.

Cooks also love to prepare fragrant dishes (curries, dipping sauces, salads, soups, etc...) with this citrusy, sharp, sweet, peppery, piney, earthy, cedary, "soapy" and delicate tasting herb. Galangal masks the fishiness of seafoods and the heaviness of red meats, thereby making them taste cleaner, more delicate and succulent. Before being incorporated into a dish, this seasoning ingredient is either crushed, finely chopped or cut into matchstick-like strips. As galangal is very dense and hard, you'd better make sure to have a sharp knife at hand, otherwise you'll have difficulties cutting through its tough flesh. In Asian supermarkets, you can either buy it fresh or dry (in the form of powder having a pronounced musky and rooty flavor unlike the sharp bite of the fresh root).

An incredibly interesting rhizome which, I hope, will seduce and enchant you!

For more recipes containing galangal, please check the following posts: "Thai Yellow Curry", "Thai Massaman Curry" and "Indonesian/Malaysian Fish Rendang".

This post was submitted to Ivy at "Kopiaste...To Greek Hospitality" who is hosting Creative Concoctions #4 – Cooking with Olive Oil.

Egg Salad Picnik collage 1 bis
~ Eggs With Asian-Style Galangal & RhubarbVinaigrette ~
Recipe by Rosa Mayland @Rosa's Yummy Yums, May 2011.

Serves 4.

Ingredients :
8 Hard boiled eggs, shelled
90g Rhubarb
1 Tsp Mild mustard
2 Tbs Sweet soy sauce (ex. Kikkoman)
2 Tbs Dark balsamic oil
6 Tbs Virgin olive oil
1/3 Tsp Sambal oelek
3 Tsps Fresh galangal root, finely chopped
1 Small Red onion, finely chopped
1/2 Bunch Fresh coriander (+ more for decorating), chopped

Fine Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Cut the hard boiled eggs into thin slices and place them on 2 plates (in an overlapping manner) or coarsely chop the eggs (if you serve this salad in verrines).
2. Cut the rhubarb into very small dice.
3. Mix together the mustard, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, oil, rhubarb, sambal oelek, galangal, onion, coriander, salt and pepper.
4. Sprinkle the salsa over the eggs or mix the vinaigrette together with the chopped eggs and serve in verrines.
5. Let rest for about 20 minutes, then decorate with coriander and serve.

Egg Salad Picnik collage 4 bis
You can replace the galangal by chopped lemongrass or finely diced ginger.
Finely chopped garlic can be added to the vinaigrette.

Serving suggestions:
Serve that dish as a starter or serve as a main course, accompanied with cold soba noodles, glass/mung bean noodles (both seasoned with sweet soy sauce and sesame oil), boiled potatoes or sourdough bread.

Pair with a good Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewürtzraminer, Chasselas or Petite Arvine.


Egg Salad Picnik collage 3 bis
~ Oeufs Et Sa Vinaigrette Asiatisante Au Galangal & A La Rhubarbe ~
Recette par Rosa Mayland @Rosa's Yummy Yums, mai 2011.

Pour 4 personnes.

Ingrédients :
8 Oeufs durs, pelés
90g de rhubarbe crue
1 CC de Moutarde douce
2 CS de Sauce soya douce (par ex. Kikkoman)

2 CS de Vinaigre balsamique foncé
6 CS d'Huile d'olive vierge
1/3 CC de Sambal Oelek
3 CS de Galangal frais, finement haché
1 Petit Onion rouge, finement haché

1/2 Bouquet de Coriandre fraîche (+ un brin de plus pour décorer), hachée
Sel de mer fin, à volonté
Poivre noir, à volonté

Egg Salad Picnik collage 5 bis
1. Couper les oeufs durs en tranches, puis dresser en écailles sur 2 assiettes
ou les hacher grossièrement et les mettre dans un saladier (pour les verrines).
2. Couper la rhubarbe en très petits dés.
3. Mélanger la moutarde, la sauce soya, le vinaigre, l'huile, le sambal oelek, la rhubarb, le galangal, l'oignon, la coriandre, le sel et le poivre.
4. Verser cette préparation sur les oeufs et laisser reposer 20 minutes (mettre dans les verrines si vous ne les présentez pas coupés en tranches, sur une assiette).
5. Servir en parsemant de coriandre.

Vous pouvez remplacer le galangal par du lemongrass ou du gingembre hachés finement.
Un peu d'ail haché peut être ajouter à la vinaigrette.

Idées de présentation:
Servir cette salade comme entrée ou comme plat principal avec des nouilles soba ou des vermicelles transparentes froides (assaisonner les deux avec de la sauce soya et de l'huile de sésame), des pommes de terres à l'eau ou du pain au levain.

Accompagner d'un bon Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewürtzraminer, Chasselas ou d'une Petite Arvine.

Egg Salad Picnik collage 6 bis

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


May Apple Trees 1 1 bis

May Tournettes 2 1 bis
~ Delightful Teas For The Hot Season~

Here are a few quality Le Palais Des Thés (look in my blogroll for the link to their site) tea blends which I highly recommend you to try. They a
re so refreshing, intoxicating and enjoyable. Perfect for drinking in the morning (Thés Des Sources & Thé Des Sables), in the afternoon (Darjeeling) or in the evening, after dinner (Blue Of London) or for making ambrosial ice teas and luscious baked goods.

May Lady Statue 1 1 bis

Blue Of London bis bis
Blue Of London
Whole leaf black tea from Yunnan delicately aromatised with bergamot from Calabria.
A refined, heavenly, fresh and well-balanced blend that is exceptional.
One of my favorite Earl Grey teas ever!

May Tournettes 3 1 bis

Thé Des Sables bis bis
Thé Des Sables
Whole leaf green tea flavored with the famous Damas rose, grown on the slopes of the Atlas mountains, and exotic fruits such as mango, yellow peach and citrus fruits which giving it a unique flavour of petal jelly.
A fresh and sensual tea blend inspired by a trip to Morocco.

May Statue Bull 1 3 bis

Thé des Sources bis bis
Thés Des Sources
Whole leaf green tea combined with bergamot and mint leaves as well as rose and cornflower petals.
Intensely refreshing and floral.

May Tournettes 1 1 bis

Thé Aux 7 Agrumes bis bis
Thé Aux 7 Agrumes
Darjeeling tea fragranced with natural extracts of lemon, lime, sweet orange, bitter orange, grapefruit, bergamot and mandarin.
An outstandingly fresh and citrusy blend.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Chickpea Salad Picnik collage 5 bis
The unique, tantilizing, heady and sunny flavors of Italy and Morocco have been rocking my world since a long time now. Already, when I still lived at home, I ate quite a few classic Italian dishes such as "Lasagne", "Pasta Alla Bolognese", "Ravioli Ai Funghi", "Ravioli Alla Ricotta E Spinaci", "Ravioli Alla Carne" (we bought the Ravioli from a caterer whom you can find selling his homemade goodies at the Geneva markets) and "Pizza". My parents being quite open food-wise, I was also blessed have the possibility to taste certain Moroccan specialities such as "Tajine" and "Couscous". Yet, although I am not new to those sunny Mediterranean cuisines, I still have a lot to discover as both are very multifaceted, offer an enormous variety of recipes and their repertoire is practically bottomless.

The food of both countries has always attracted me as it is authentic, convivial, rich in traditions, extremely palatable, wonderfully refined in it's apparent simplicity, rich in herbs and spices, so colorful, very seasonal and really healthy (lots of vegetables, olive oil as well as good protein and not many fatty sauces). With not much it is possible to create fantastic dishes with colossal visual appeal and intense gusto...

As summer is appraoching fastly and we are lucky to be able to find all kinds of amazing spring vegetables and fruits (strawberries, rhubarb, asparagus, fennel, mushrooms, fresh garlic, etc...) on the stalls of our local farmers' markets, I am once again dreaming of making fabulous Italian and Moroccan dishes that remind me of the warmth of the hot days and the relaxed atmosphere surrounding that season.

Well, last Saturday, while watching Jamie Oliver's "Jamie Does Venice" and "Jamie Does Marakkech" series (from the "Jamie Does..." TV show), I started craving the fares of Italy and Morocco. The young, cheeky, bubbly, playful and energetic British chef's enthousiasm for the incomparable food of those regions of the globe caught me and his boundless love for laidback meals gave me countless ideas. Cooks who know how to communicate emotions as well as joyfulness through their cookbooks or television programs and whose passion for all things edible is contagious always stimulate my creativity and cooking mojo. They have the art of inspiring me and making my brain spin.

My fertile imagination ran wild and within a few seconds, my blank piece of paper got filled with all sorts of disorganized scribblings and an embryo of recipe took shape. Since the temperatures are rising and picnics are trendy again, I absolutely wanted to put together a salad that imperatively had to contain Swiss as well as seasonal veggies (you know my nature-friendly philosophy) and ingredients I particularly enjoy at the moment.

So, I decided to use chickpeas and lightly pan-fried fennel as a base for my salad. Then, I found that it would be interesting if I incorporated a lemony, "Ras El Hanout" and safron infused tomato sauce to wet the whole (I know whjat you are going to say about out of season produces, yet I am partially to blame here! I could not restrain from buying Geneva tomatoes from the supermarket. Not too seasonal maybe, but at least they are grown regionally), and I added a little chopped basil for an additional Italian twist. Then, once the salad had been plated, I shaved some pungent Parmigiano Reggiano and drizzled quality Jordan virgin olive oil over the top of my creation.

I would definitely lie if I told you that I was not proud of this "chef-d'oeuvre". My complexly fragrant "Italo-Mauresque Chickpea And Fennel Salad" was extremely delectable. Even my boyfriend who is not the biggest fan of legumes gobbled it and asked for seconds. The aromas of Italy and Morocco (some ingredients employed are common to both lands) blended together harmoniously to constitute a well-balanced, exquisite, summery and fulfilling dish. Never was a wedding between two different nations more perfect and sublime!

My description might have enlightened you on the nature of this gorgeous salad, but I'm sure that some of you are wondering what "Ras El Hanout" is. Rest assured, dear friends. As usual, you will not leave this blog without learning something new (I hope) from Professor Foodfreak...

"Ras El Hanout", is the king of spices in North Africa. Not surprisingly, its Arabic name translates to "head/top of the shop" and refers to a mixture of the best spices that a seller has to offer. This blend is composed of numerous different spices. Depending on the variety, certain mixes can hold up to hundred spices. Some of them are bright yellow like madras curry, certain are vibrant red and others are murky brown. Each cook, person, company and spice dealer has their own recipe of which they are proud and a combination that they carefully keep secret. Not only are all mixes unique, but they also vary from region to region, country to country and household to household.

In most "Ras El Hanout" you recognize spices such as cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ground chilli peppers, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, peppercorn and turmeric, but with some more elaborate versions you'll have problems knowing what they are made of for they also include rare spices such as ash berries, chufa, grains of paradise, orris root, monk's pepper, cubeb and dried rosebuds. Usually all ingredients are toasted before they are ground up together.

In Morocco it is commonly referred to as the "lazy cook's spice". The reason for this nickname is that no matter what you add it to, it will always give that extra oomph or umami flavor to your dishes and will drastically uplift the taste of your food. Generously sprinkled into balmy tajines, incorporated into broths and couscous, added to liquid for poaching fruits, rubbed into meat or stirred into rice, it'll be impossible for you not to fall under the charm of that intoxicating and addictive seasoning. Maghrebans even believe it is an aphrodisiac, so you have been warned!

Chickpea Salad Picnik collage 4 bis
~ Italo-Mauresque Chickpea & Fennel Salad ~
Recipe by Rosa Mayland @Rosa's Yummy Yums, May 2011.

Serves 2.

Ingredients for the "Spicy Tomato Sauce":
6 Tbs Olive oil
1 Medium Onion, chopped
4 Cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 Tsp Ras el hanout
1 Pinch (0.125g) Ground safron
2 Medium Tomatoes, chopped coarsely
8 Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
The zest of half a lemon
3 Tbs Fish sauce
2 Tbs Dark balsamic vinegar
1 Tsp Red Tabasco
Sea salt, to taste
Ingredients for the "Salad":
1 Medium fennel, cut into thin slices
2 Tbs Olive oil
260g Cooked chickpeas
1 Handful Basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Sea salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Shaven parmesan cheese, to taste
A few basil leaves, to decorate
Olive oil, to drizzle over the salad

Chickpea Salad Tomatoes 1 5 bis
Method for the "Spicy Tomato Sauce":
1. Place a sauté pan over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the olive oil (6 Tbs) and the chopped onion. Stir-fry 1 minute, then add the sliced garlic and continue stir-frying for another minute.
2. Add the ras el
hanout, safron and stir once, then immediately add the tomatoes, zest, fish sauce, balsamic vinegar, Tabasco and salt.
3. Let cook
over low heat, about 12 minutes (stir regularly and crush the tomatoes), until it resembles a thickish and homogenous sauce. Remove from the heat and let cool (it has to reach room temperature).
Method for the "Salad":
4. Place a sauté pan over medium heat. When it is hot, add the olive oil (2 Tbs) and the sliced fennel. Stir-fry for 6-8 minutes (the fennel should be cooked, but still snappy). Remove from the heat and let cool at room temperature.
5. In a medium salad bowl, mix together the chickpeas, fennel and basil.
6. Add the tomato sauce. Pepper and salt to taste. Mix well.
7. Serve on 4 ind
ividual plates. Top with shaved Parmesan, basil leaves and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil (to taste).


You can replace the chickpeas by any other legume of your choice (Borlotti beans,
fava beans, white beans, etc...).
Serve that salad at room temperature, so that all the flavors are fully developped.

Serving suggestions:
Serve some with pan-fried fish and sourdough bread.
Accompany with dry white wine (Pinot Grigio) or with a spicy rosé from Prove
nce (Bandol)


Chickpea Salad Picnik collage 3 bis
~ Salade Italo-Mauresque Aux Pois Chiches Et Fenouil ~
Recette par Rosa Mayland @Rosa's Yummy Yums, mai 2011.

Pour 2 personnes.

Ingrédients pour la "Sauce Epicée A La Tomate":
6 CS d'Huile d'olive
1 Oignon moyen, haché
4 Gousses d'ail frais, coupées en fines tranches
1 1/2 CC de Ras el hanout
1 Pincée (0.125g) de Safran en poudre
2 Tomates moyennes, hachées grossièrement
8 Tomates cerises, coupées en deux
Le zeste d'un demi citron
3 CS de Sauce de poisson
2 CS de Vinaigre balsamique foncé
1 CC de Tabasco rouge
Sel de mer, à volonté
Ingrédients pour la "Salade":
1 Fenouil moyen, coupé en fines tranches
2 CS d'Huile d'olive
260g de Pois chiches cuits
1 Poignée de Feuilles de basilic, grossièrement haché
Sel de mer, à volonté
Poivre noir fraîchement moulu, à volonté
Parmesan, en copeaux (à volonté)
Quelques feuilles de basilic, pour décorer
Huile d'olive, pour verser en petite quantité sur la salade

Méthode pour la "Sauce Epicée A La Tomate":
1. Faire chauffer une poêle à feu moyen pendant environ 3 minutes. Ajouter l'huile d'olive (6 CS) et l'oignon haché. Faire revenir pendant 1 minute, puis ajouter l'ail et continuer de faire suer.
2. Ajouter le ras el hanout, le safran et mélanger rapidement, puis immédiatement aj
outer les tomates, le zeste, la sauce de poisson, le vinaigre balsamique, le Tabasco et le sel.
3. Cuire à température basse pendant environ 12 minutes, jusqu'à obtention d'une sauce assez épaisse et homogène. Retirer du feu et laisser refroidir (il faut que la sauce soit à
température ambiante).

Chickpea Salad Picnik collage 2 bis
Méthode pour la "Salade":
4. Faire chauffer une poêle à feu moyen. Une fois qu'elle est chaude, ajoute
r l'huile d'olive (2 CS) et le fenouil. Faire revenir en remuant constamment pendant environ 6-8 minutes (le fenouil doit être cuit mais pas encore croquant). Retirer du feu et faire refroidir à température ambiante.
5. Dans un bol moyen, mélanger ensemble les pois chiches, le fenouil et le basilic haché.

6. Ajouter la sauce tomate. Poivrer et saler. Bien mélanger.
7. Disposer dans les assiettes, ajouter le parmesan et les feuilles de basilique dessus, puis verser un filet d'huile d'olive (à volonté).

Vous pouvez remplacer les pois chiches avec les légumineuses de votre choix (bolotti, fèves, haricots blancs, etc...).
Servir cette salade à température ambiante. De cette manière, les saveurs auront pû se développer.

Idées de présentation:
Servir avec du poisson grillé et accompagner avec du pain au levain ainsi qu'un vin blanc sec (Pinot Grigio) ou un rosé de Provence épicé (Bandol).

Chickpea Salad Picnik collage 1 bis