About one month ago I moved cities within Switzerland. Exciting! Not such a biggie though as a trip to my old “home” is only one hour by train. But, nonetheless, new city (which I love!) = new traditions, or lack thereof. First lack: Herbstmesse. That’s right, there is no Herbstmesse where I now live (SO SAD!!).
For those of you who don’t know Herbstmesse, it’s the Basel autumn fair which last for 2 weeks, spreads across the whole city and is well-known for rides, games and most importantly food. Lots of exciting edible things to indulge in are unique to the Herbstmesse, eg. Beggeschmutz (something like a chocolate covered giant marshmallow), Mässmogge (sugar-candy), Brennti Mandle (caramelised almonds), Biberli (gingerbread like heaven filled with almond paste), Rosekiechli (a thin kind of waffle), Maagebrot (cinnamony/clove/chocolatey bread bites coated in a chocolate/sugar glaze), the list goes on. My personal favorite: Maagebrot. Directly translated it would be called stomach bread…. doesn’t sound too appetising. Honestly, it also doesn’t look appetising. But the combination of the cocoa, cinnamon and cloves in the bread with a thin chocolatey glaze is irresistible.
In an attempt to bring a bit of the autumn fair feeling into my new home I decided to make Maagebrot. To my surprise, it wasn’t even that difficult. As mentioned before, its appearance really isn’t that appetising so sorry for the picture. Try to imagine a christmassy smell, recreate at home and dig in alongside a cup of hot chocolate!
I hope you all spent a fabulous Easter with your family, ate delicious roasted lamb, drank some fruity wine and indulged in things you gave up for Lent. Our Easter felt a bit more like Christmas, waking up to at least 15cm of fresh snow each morning. Great for everyone who can ski – spring skiing is the best. Not so fun for people like moi who are one-armed and banned from all winter sports. I did make good use of my ski pass though and soaked up some sun on the top of mountains. Wonderful.
Need an idea of what to do with some left over chocolate bunnies? How about trying this classic, adapted from an Italian chef – Gennaro Contaldo. It’s one of the last desserts I made for my father and to my (and his) surprise he declared it better than his beloved Stalden chocolate crème (a Nestlé dessert classic for the true Swiss). Now, my friends, trust me when I say that is a compliment. See for yourself.
Chocolate Amaretto Pudding
What is your favorite childhood dessert? I’m sure you all have at least one fond sweet memory of either your mother’s or grandmother’s kitchen. There are many classic Swiss/German “children’s” desserts I (think) was deprived of in my childhood. Ok, that was phrased wrongly, as you know I was a fussy eater. My elders knew better than to serve me a bowl of something that would come right back their way.
Milchreis (rice pudding) was one of them, rote Grütze (something like a red fruit jelly) the other. After a recent birthday party filled with childhood memories, I decided to see what I missed out on all these years and attempted the latter. Conclusion: Aside from the adult-tailored lemony addition (which is amazing, but not child-friendly), I’m pretty sure I would have liked it back then.
Raspberry “Jelly” with Lemon Mascarpone
adapted from Wildeisen
It’s been far too long since I created something with the best (and yes, extremely unhealthy) ingredient: Nutella. My not so secret love affair. There are quite a few palm oil free “substitutes” around, but let’s be honest, none are as good as the original. When it comes to sweets, Italians know what they are doing.
With a trip to Italy in close vicinity, inspired by my Nutella recipe book, I thought I would attempt a twist on an Italian classic – Panna cotta. Funnily enough, I have never made Panna cotta before. One could tell. I knew it would be tricky. The consistency was more like pudding. Oops…… Nevertheless, it still passed as Nutella infused heaven and was an acceptable dessert for a girls’ games night. Regarding the games, it sadly didn’t give me a winning hand.
I’m currently half way through my second week of exciting emergency room escapades after having officially switched sides. Yes, I no longer belong to team red (i.e. surgery), I am blue through and through. Now, is that a good or a bad thing? Not too sure yet. One thing I do know is that team red has a higher number of patients with, let’s call it, “more entertaining” medical histories. A few examples to brighten your Easter weekend:
One guy came in because, as an act of pleasure, he had forced dried beans up his urethra. Creative. He didn’t quite think this through and sadly didn’t manage to get them all back out. Lucky for him a urologist did.
Another patient (whom I have complete sympathy with and have definitely been close to the same dilemma a few times in my life) superglued his thumb and middle finger together. Ouch!
The best for last: someone presented with blood in the stool after having had a wild night. During the evening this person apparently had a drunken epiphany – “glass vases must be great for pleasurable moments”. That’s right – the poor glass vase ended the night in said person’s rectum. What’s more, it didn’t see the light of day until 24 hours later, when it was reborn in an operating theatre.
That being said, the blue side of the emergency room has been lot’s of fun so far, I have learnt and seen a great number of things. The next few months will be exciting. Also, the anti-social shifts finally give me more time to get creative in the kitchen. Yay! In celebration of the rhubarb season I attempted a light compote, which can easily accompany a brunch or can be served as dessert with some ice cream. Mhhhmmmmm.
Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
adapted from Wildeisen
Happy Saturday and happy spring! Spring has finally arrived – and my what an impression has it decided to make this year. Apparently, this side of the world, March 2017 is the warmest since I don’t know how many years. Great for summer lovers, not so good for our glaciers and passionate hibernators. What does this mean for culinary nerds? Time for fresh and light treats. Also, time to bring dusty kitchen gadgets back to life.
My newest gadget? A sous-vide cooker. Best. Christmas. Present. Ever. (No offence to all others – your gifts were great too..). Now, what does that mean? To cook under vacuum. That’s right – you vacuum pack/seal everything before cooking it in a water bath, allowing your whatever to be completely evenly cooked at a constant low-ish temperature. Super exciting. Amazing results. Totally worth the effort. And you can even control it via bluetooth/wi-fi. I don’t think I have managed to serve such tender duck before in my life.
Anyways, back to spring. And time for a dessert. Spring desserts = berries & lemon. Ok, that’s a lie, all desserts must include some sort of citrus if you ask me, not matter what the season. Now, to incorporate my sous vide into the equation I came up with:
lemon + berries + fresh + sous vide = sous vide lemon cheesecake topped with berries
Obviously. Ok, not quite. It was the first water-bath dessert that came to mind. Nevertheless, fitting and worth a try. It turned out surprisingly well, although, the consistency could be improved. If you happen to have such a gadget at home – go ahead and try it. If not, it’s high time to invest your money into something useful ;-).
Sous Vide Lemon Cheesecake
Happy second blogiversary to meee!! I cannot believe The Medical Gourmet is already 2 years old – these past two years have flown by. At this point I could get deep and soppy and reflective, but let me not bore you. For all of you who don’t have a reason to drink some bubbly this evening – use my blogiversary as an excuse;-). And, if you are in search of a delicious dessert recipe to go with your bubbly – you can never go wrong with an indulgent citrusy meringue pie. Well, that’s my plan anyways. Cheers to a great year. Happy Wednesday!
Passion Fruit/Lemon Meringue Pie