time + alcohol + time + cleaning + time + creativity + time + new kitchen + cravings
Revival of The Medical Gourmet.
Just over a year ago the last sign of life made it to this blog….the horror! It’s not like I didn’t cook for 365 days and lived off of take away… on the contrary, I still love spending time in the kitchen and getting creative – I guess commuting, outdoor adventures and travels came in the way.
But, thankfully we now have Corona in our lives, which is forcing us to stay at home and generously bestowing us with the chance of really getting to know ourselves, our brilliant sides and our flaws. Or, if you already feel you have connected with your inner self and are content, you can finally focus on all the cleaning and cooking you have never done before.
I am one of the lucky bunch who gets to work “normally” during this pandemic (ah, how I dream of home office days in pyjamas). It is fascinating to see what our healthcare system has managed to create in the shortest period of time. Apparently all specialties suddenly CAN work together. It is admirable to see multiple teams become one, have each others back in all situations, and pass on their knowledge. In my hospital we set up a new ICU ward, trained all staff necessary to run it, changed rota’s, gave up holidays and weekends, all in time for day X, as we called it.
The illness is no fun and is definitely no normal flu as many people seem to think. Granted, working in the ICU I only see the worst end of the spectrum. It causes insane inflammation, an intense cytokin storm, an impaired gas exchange which can’t keep all organs trying to function in form of an ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) and probably leaves its survivors with life long impairments. It can be lethal. And putting someone on a ventilator, as one reads in the news, doesn’t solve the problem. They need a break/help from breathing for about 2-3 weeks whilst in an induced coma, which brings along potential failure of other organ systems with it. So when you are told to social distance – please do.
Back to the food business. What is a period of isolation without a warming piece of baked deliciousness? Not even worth trying out! So if you are on a back log in the baking department, here is a slightly spiced zucchini bread attempt of mine. My new oven did surprisingly well – I am sure yours will too.
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!
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.
Happy May Day! I hope most of you are luckier than me and actually have the day off. If not, I feel for you. But hey, what better way to celebrate International Workers’ Day than by working? Exactly. Great Monday motivation right there.
For those of you who do get to spend the day lounging in your pyjamas – how about being a tad productive and making a fresh loaf of bread for brunch/lunch? Homemade bread beats any store-bought equivalent and is so easy. So easy. You just have to make sure your yeast is fresh (do NOT use dry yeast) and not past it’s sell by date, then I guarantee nothing can go wrong. But be warned: once you have mastered the art of bread making it’s hard to stop due to deliciousness. One of my friends made 4 loaves in one week. No joke. Trust me, you’ll understand as soon as you succeed yourself. So get out of bed and get baking! Your guests will be oh so pleased.
Who would have thought a significant link between food and doctors has existed for decades? Granted, food is an essential part of life, is partially responsible for shaping our day and is of course also clearly correlated with health. As food and it’s appearance seem to be something everyone knows about and can relate to, instead of challenging the brain with confusing latin names, the medical world has been kind enough to supply laypersons (and medics) with less technical, descriptive food related, terms. It is great for describing findings! If I told you a manifestation of Kawasaki’s disease and Scarlet Fever is an erythematous tongue with hyperplastic fungiform papillae your brain would probably process this: ?!*?!*?!*?!*?!*. If I told you that basically means the tongue looks like a strawberry, your brain could cope. In 1979 the British Medical Journal published a Review titled: Gastrology: the use of culinary terms in medicine(woopwoop research skills put to excellent use). I even found a blog solely dedicated to this! Anyways, here is a list of a few day brightening medical food terms:
Cherry Red Epiglottis – occurs in epiglottitis, an infection of the small flap stopping your food from going down the wrong tube.
Pancake Brain – radiologic description of alobar holoprosencephaly, where your forebrain does not separate into two halves at all during in-utero development.
Salt and Pepper Retinopathy – when affected by the rubella virus, the back of your eye (retina) can show lots of small dark and light spots (like salt and pepper).
Corkscrew Oesophagus – radiologists description of DES (diffuse oesophageal spasm), where the contractions of your oesophagus are uncoordinated and result in a pretty xray
Apple-Peel Intestines – malformation of the intestine with either absence or narrowing of a segment, looks like apple peels
Strawberry Tongue – Scarlet Fever or Kawasaki Syndrom
Cherry Red Spot – seen on the Retina/back of the eye after occlusion of the supplying artery
Peau D’orange – Manifestation of inflammatory breast cancer
Coffee Bean Sign – a radiologists description of a twisted sigmoid (segment of the large intestine)
Cottage Cheese Discharge – Thrush….nasty
Apple core sign – when your colon’s lumen is compressed by a large colorectal carcinoma
Omental Cake – Not from Hummingbirds sadly: Invasion of the omentum majus (fatty tissue within your abdomen) by a tumor, usually related to ovarian cancer
Butter Stool – can happen when fat absorption/digestion becomes impaired through liver/pancreatic/gall diseases….your stool becomes greasy and fatty.
I’m sure you could all picture something under these terms. Today’s recipe is semi-related to the number 26: Butterzopf. It is a Swiss Sunday breakfast classic, made with lots and lots of butter. Lucky for you it doesn’t cause butter stools in the average healthy individual. Definitely a must try for your next Sunday family breakfast!
A couple of weeks ago the most legendary beer fest took place on the Theresienwiese in Munich. Sadly, without me. Last year I made it and it was truly a wonderful, beery, winey (fyi: drinking many a Maß of white wine spritzer instead of beer in order to keep up with the beer drinkers on your table… not such a good idea:-P), beery, kaiserschmarrn, beery, schnitzel, beery, lebkuchen heart, dirndl and lederhosen filled experience. One would think wearing a dirndl, hiking boots and braids in the metro is awkward…not when the whole city does it! Then you’re stared at when dressed as a normal civilian.
What I always forget when I put on my dirndl is where to tie the bow of the apron. I didn’t even know it had a meaning until lots of drunkards started chatting me up. My accompanying “Octoberfest-regulars” enjoyed the situation for a while, but then tried to enlighten my somewhat tipsy self to the meaning behind the bow (who’s place often tends to change the longer the evening and the flirtier the ladies get… :-)). So for the unknowing and forgetful out there:
Bow tied on the right side: in a relationship, engaged, married
Bow tied on the left side: single, or at least for the night 😉
Bow tied in the middle: virgin
Bow tied in the back: widow
In the spirit of Octoberfest I decided to bake some Brezeln. Also because good versions of this type of bread (or almost any bread compared to back home) are a rare find in London. And because I had to wait for 5 hours for a guy to come install my phone line. But that’s beside the point.