April: a usually wonderful month of the year – flowers start reappearing from their winter sleep, chestnut stands slowly transform into ice cream stands along the lake, winter jackets can finally do what they do best (live in the attic), one can leave work in daylight and even go for a run before the sun sets. Technically so much to love – everyone seems to be in a happy mood now that the cold has passed. Or so we thought it had passed….. last weekend the warmth decided to take a leave of absence making way for some spring snow. How rude!
The snow did not stop me from embracing the supposed spring season – it is finally asparagus time again! A delicious unique vegetable which has the questionable side note of adding a peculiar smell to ones pee. We can count ourselves lucky that not all produce does that….. I wouldn’t want to know what aubergine urine could smell like…. or how about egg? Anyways, in keeping with the season with a hint of snow, I attempted a warming spring pasta dish using six ingredients: asparagus, cream, lemon, garlic, parmesan and, of course, pasta. Turned out yums – perfect for a mid week meal and freezable lunch!
Lemony Asparagus Cream Pasta
Upon returning from an exciting Scandinavian road trip I feel I need to detox. Firstly from alcohol, secondly from meat/fish. The Scandinavians have some incredible fresh fish, smoked shrimps and I’m sure you’ve all heard of the famous swedish meatballs. Let me tell you, Ikea’s meatballs are surprisingly good in comparison to the ones you’ll find in a proper restaurant.
Anyways, after 2 weeks my body has started to strike and seems to be craving vegetarian alternatives. And no, the new Ikea vegetarian hot dog does not count (although it is admittedly delicious). Meatless Monday has been around for long – high time to add it to my routine. Inspired by all the beetroot Scandinavians include in their dishes, especially hummus, I attempted a vegetable/feta galette. I went all out and even made the pastry from scratch, apologies for the rustic look. A great start to the week with perfect leftovers for lunch.
Beetroot, Carrot, Leek and Feta Galette
adapted from a friends farm to home vegetable subscription
For the next 6 weeks fate has decided to give me a new challenge: learn to cook with one hand. How come? After a wonderful girlie weekend filled with fresh mountain air, snow, saunas, steambaths, delicious food, excellent company and a terrifying but harmless mass collision on skis, we decided to end the fun with a bang: sledding. Sounded like a great idea. Proved to be a great idea, however, only until two of us lost control, flung ourselves off the sled in an attempt to brake, as one has learnt to as a child. We successfully came to a grinding halt. Sadly, three of our bones were none too pleased with the speed of our stop. Where did the two junior doctors, who clearly don’t know how to sled, end up? Their favorite place: the ER. Diagnosis? Fractures, to be precise 3 of them, fairly divided between the two of us (mine being the fractured wrist). The best part: we got matching green casts! Needless to say, we sure did end our holiday with a bang and a great story. Also, note to self: never go sledding again.
Now, as for one-handed cooking – it’s really not that easy. I miss my left hand! But, never give up and accept the challenge. Here my first successful one-handed dish. Simple (even with one hand), heart warming and delicious.
Cauliflower, Brussels Sprout and Bacon Gratin
One of the best inventions (if you can call it that) nature has brought with itself is honey. In any form, in any meal, in chapstick, in skin cream, in a hair mask – it always seems to find its place successfully. I completely understand and support it being the most important food in Winnie-the-Pooh’s universe.
My father’s family used to have beehives up on an Alp when he was a child (how Swiss, right?), yielding over a yearly supply of the golden goodness. We regularly try to inspire him to set one up again masking it as a new retirement project…. so far we have failed. On a recent road trip along the West Coast I came across an amazing shop revolving around bee keeping and honey in Portland, OR. I almost took the invisible project a step further by buying all the essentials for a DIY beehive… lucky for my father the only item I left the store with was a honey-inspired cookbook. And here you have it, a twist on one of their recipes – duck and honey are a great couple. Let me know what you think!
Oven Roasted Duck with a Raspberry Honey Sauce
inspired by The Fresh Honey Cookbook
Monday seems to be the least appreciated day of the week, especially in late Autumn. On Monday morning it’s especially hard to motivate oneself to leave the toasty duvet cocoon one has been working on all night. Understandable, all that nightly effort gone to waste! The cold wet weather currently passing by is definitely nothing to be enjoyed outside – a front row seat from under the covers more than suffices.
UNLESS, like today, your alarm wakes you to a Winter Wonderland! YAYS, Winter has arrived! Getting up was so much easier and filled with excitement, mainly because my blind self had to stand right in front of the window to confirm that the white haze I saw upon awakening was actually snow and not some post-cocoon-hallucination. Snowman time! Fireplace time! Ice skating time! Turkey time! Also, warming comfort food time! Comfort food of the day – roasted sweet potato and carrot soup – a delicious alternative to the usual pumpkin. Let me know what you think.
Roasted Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup
inspired by bbcgoodfood
Based on ecological reasons, my flatmate has recently decided to turn vegetarian. My, was she a bacon lover.
Nonetheless, I fully support and understand her choice. Despite being born omnivores, the impact and consequences of today’s meat and fish consumption are horrendous. Not only is the amount of water used to produce one pound of meat (ca. 1600 litres, no joke) disgusting, the amount of ongoing soy bean cultivation to create enough meal for livestock is equally shocking. Since the 90’s, soy bean production has doubled globally, with about 85% of the produce being used for oil and meal. On average, for the 87kg meat and 250 eggs each European eats per annum, 400m2 of land are needed per person to keep up with the demand. Unimaginable. The rapid expansion has led to invasion of natural habitats, (including woodlands, rainforests, savannahs in South America), damaging water reserves, soil quality, ultimately threatening wildlife and biodiversity.
Something has to change. Something has to change fast. Reducing your meat and dairy intake would be a great first step – it is mine.
That being said, I went through my recipe index and was shocked by the small percentage of vegetarian dishes cited. So, to improve that statistic, I got to work and am proud to present you with a simple mid-week vegetarian gratin. Not dairy free, but delicious. Meat is definitely not missed here. Also, keeping in tune with the ecological theme, it is avocado free.
Asparagus Mushroom Gratin
I thought working in the ER would give me more time to advance on my culinary skills. Ha. I wish. (For once in my life) I was wrong. Shift work is tiring. The random free time you have, you actually need to recover from the inhumane hours. So, sorry for that!
But, to return with a scrumptios bang, I present to you a recipe for BBQ ribs ala moi (inspired by Jamie Oliver). On my recent trip to the big apple, one must-have american dish I didn’t indulge in is ribs. Ok, hate to break it, I also didn’t have cheesecake….. Whaaaaat was going on in my head?? How could I miss out? Honestly, I don’t know what happened. Well, instead of waiting for my next trip, I decided to recreate possibly the best ribs I have ever had – if you are in NYC or there soon don’t miss out on Georgia’s Eastside BBQ! Next time I think I have to double the sauce.
(Oven) BBQ Baby Back Ribs
(There is no way to make delicious, bbq-sauce drenched, ribs look beautiful)
Any american football fans around? Rumor has it that if you live stateside, Sunday night football is holy. Apparently there is even a theme song welcoming viewers back. Part of the tradition also includes ordering take-out (usually pizza) – the best part in my opinion. Personally, not being such a fan of the sport, one can easily reach a compromise with moi regarding what TV channel will run if the words take out and seamless are mentioned. (Un)lucky for me – my better half is currently based in Trumpland, so I actually have to hang out in New York occasionally. First thing I ever ordered on seamless? Sesame Broccoli Chicken – sticky take away heaven.
Now, sadly, my home town doesn’t offer such a tasty range of unhealthy goodness delivered straight to your doorstep. My solution? Try to recreate. What occasion? Sunday night Academy Awards. Instead of drowning in ones sorrows about celebrities and their perfect bodies, one can drown in some sticky home-made chinese dish. Doesn’t sound too bad? Also, sooooo much better than football. So if you’re still arguing about what’s for dinner – head to the shops and have a go! I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Sesame Broccoli Chicken
How was everyone’s 2016? Glad for it to be over? Mine wasn’t too bad actually – I spent most of it travelling, finally had some successful dates (noone thought that would ever happen) and managed not to get fired during my probation period – how on earth will 2017 top that?? Positive thinking: as long as the new year starts with a delicious meal, some bacon, all the wine and good company, nothing can go wrong :-).
Luckily I’m not on call for new years eve and don’t have to spend it wearing a surgical mask to protect me from my Influenza patient cohort. That’s right, my ward has been transformed into an isolation ward with polymorbid patients who have sadly caught the flu. My, did I underestimate the seriousness of the flu until being exposed to it daily – these people are sick. Roche must be loving my hospital – we are probably the prime customer when it comes to their “Anti-Flu-Agent” Tamiflu. Not like it actually works as promised. But hey, at least we support the best industry of the first world…… should have bought some shares, damnit. Anyways – lesson learnt: as much as you hate getting jabs – the flu jab is worth it!
And if you are still fighting over what to cook tonight – try this. Quick, simple, impressive and tasty. Also, who are we kidding, bacon is always a winner.
Bacon and Thyme Infused Filet of Pork Dipped in a Creamy Tomato Sauce
Just about one month ago I traded my scalpel for a stethoscope, a neurological tuning fork and an ECG compass. What was I thinking?!? No, honestly, these past weeks have been fascinating to say the least, I finally feel like a true medic. Ok, let’s not exaggerate, I finally feel like I could become one…… somtime….. once I’ve managed to drag myself ashore from drowning in the sea of internal medicine. I cannot believe med school is only 3 years back…. Coming from 2 years of operating fun times, my present job makes me question my memory – do I have retrograde amnesia for literally all of those 6 years spent at school? Well, I certainly feel like I do. Maybe I should get myself checked out by a neurologist.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the following before:
“What’s the difference between a physician, a surgeon and a pathologist ?
The physician knows everything and does nothing.
The surgeon knows nothing and does everything.
The pathologist knows everything, but always a week too late.”
My current status: ex surgeon, novel physician = knows nothing and does nothing. Sounds about right. Luckily enough, my previous work experience helped me in perfecting the poker face – a very important asset. Who am I kidding, beginnings are always hard – as long as everyone survives along the way one must embrace each step.
The following recipe made my beginning a lot easier – a homey, warming, hearty pumpkin soup. There is nothing better than coming home to delicious left overs which get better day by day. Admittedly, pumpkin is one of my favorite fruits (who would have thought it’s a fruit…weird right?) – perfect to turn into a curried soup or a spiced pie. Also, perfect to carve for Halloween, although that is sadly still on my bucket list. Anyways, for all you professional beginners out there – buy a pumpkin and treat your soul to some (fruity) goodness. Let me know what you think!
The Medic’s Amazing Pumpkin Soup