Happy Saint Nicholas’ Day, a.k.a another one of my favorite days of the year. I hope your stockings were filled with exciting presents and delicious chocolates. Today is one of the few days where people actually queue for something in Switzerland. Queueing for restaurants, bakerys, theatres, etc. isn’t a thing here unlike in London, Manhattan, Sydney, you name it. My most recent queuing failure in London was an attempt to eat at the new Thai place in town – Som Saa. We arrived at 18:30, the wait would have been 2.5 hours… I then inquired at what time one would have to realistically come to grab a table for “normal dinner times”. The answer: 17:00. Seriously?? Who has time for that?!?
Anyways, one thing the Swiss have understood is the uselessness and inefficiency of queuing. Apart from today – my next queuing failure. On Saint Nicholas’ day, Swiss tradition is to eat a Grättimaa – sweet brioche-like bread heaven shaped like a man, the Grättimaa. If you don’t want to make them yourself, thego to bakery to buy these in town is Gilgen. Naively, I went by early afternoon thinking the rest of the world must be working – my was I taken by surprise – there were 2 queues going right out the door past the next shop! And what’s the magic of queues? They attract more and more people, because whatever is at the end must be good. The beauty of it all – some queuers didn’t even know what they were in line for! By the time I finally managed to order, I whipped out my debit card (having just returned from ‘merica where everything is paid for by card) only to hear the words: “Sorry, our card machine is broken today”. MAJOR FAIL. So I queued for nothing…. at least I know how to make them myself and I can decide on the appropriate sugar to bread ratio ;-).
Yes! I finally did it. After many years of wanting to, but never being allowed to, I stuffed our Christmas turkey not only with traditional stuffing, but also with a quail! HAHA. And why? Because I can! Ha! (Yes ok, you got me, also because Ted gave me the glorious idea millions of years ago. His idea was to stuff the turkey with a smaller turkey. However, a 4-6 person turkey doesn’t have a large enough cavity to fit another turkey – hence the quail, because a quail fits into everything:-).)
If it would be up to me, one should have turkey ,with all it’s trimmings, once a month. Actually, the trimmings alone would suffice – the stuffing, cranberry sauce, the sprouts – NOM. This past month I went a tad turkey crazy with three proper full blown on turkey-experiences. Would I eat turkey&co again tomorrow? Hell yeah!
That being said – if anyone out there is still panicking about what to cook for New Year’s dinner – Turquailakey?
Turquailakey with Pork, Onion & Sage Stuffing, Sprouts, Cranberry Sauce, Celeriac Mash and Red Cabbage
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL! I cannot believe another year has already passed – and boy what a crazy one it was…. so many fantastic moments, a few not so fun times, yet somehow I feel no different to December 2014 (apart from the odd new wrinkle or two). I also don’t really feel like the holiday season has properly started – let me blame that on the lack of snow. WHERE ARE YOU?
Nonetheless, it is truly a wonderful time of the year filled with family traditions, games, mulled wine, presents and exorbitant amounts of food. I’m pretty sure you all have either a lunch or dinner invitation/duty on the 25th. For those of you out there who haven’t had a chance to bake christmas cookies, but promised to bring something homemade along on Christmas day, these hazelnut bites are perfect – unique, nutty, spicy, gluten-free, lactose-free (sadly not vegan – haha) and delicious. Berner Lebkuchen is a special sort of “gingerbread” from my home town – a.k.a. the capital city of Switzerland. Traditionally it comes decorated with the cantons coat of arms – a rude bear sticking its tongue out. Personally I prefer the bite size finish – one doesn’t feel so bad about eating more than two ;-).
Time for a post. Time for dessert. Using possibly the best fruit of the winter season – blood oranges. NOMNOMNOM.
My new favourite city: New York. Even better: New York before Christmas. Not Thanksgiving though – because oh my is Black Friday crazy (I tell you – stay away from the shops or practice boxing before going in..). Anyways, NYC in the holiday season is truly magical – beautiful Christmas lights, ice rinks in central and bryant park, Christmas music playing in all cafe’s, millions of holiday markets, the Rockettes (hahahahahahaha), waaaay too much good food – what’s not to like? Ok, you Londoners are probably thinking – their Subway is disgusting – true that, true that, in comparison your Tube could almost be mistaken for Swiss public transport;-). One of the best experiences I had while meandering about the city was up north in Harlem. My mother would be proud – I went to church on Sunday – a Baptist church – WOW. Breathtaking. Amazing. If you love gospel music, don’t mind putting on your Sunday’s best and dare yourself to travel above 120th street it is worth the trip. It was something kind of like this: Enjoy. And if church doesn’t quite fulfil your expectations, why not head to the Red Rooster for a gospel brunch.
Every year on the 26th December I stare at the turkey leftovers and ask myself: what shall we create this time? Our family standard is to pretend that turkey is venison – we reheat it in a sauce we otherwise usually make with game and serve it with Spätzli and some veg. However, this year I felt like mixing it up a little, checked out some recipes online and decided to attempt this one. Admittedly, it doesn’t remind me all too much of the chilli con carne I usually make, but it was still tasty. Let me know what you think!
Apologies for the long break since the last post – my past few weeks were filled with eating, sleeping, working, getting the flat ready for Christmas, sleeping, working, buying presents and not much more – no time seemed to be left for my brain to creatively think of something to write. With that in mind I thought I’d reveal a classic winner of wintery indulgent desserts – a self saucing lemon pudding. It’s a favourite in my family, simple to make and always hits the spot after any meal. Perfect for frosty winter days. Not to forget – it also looks impressive and fools guests into thinking you puts lots of effort into making a lemon curd and a sponge topping. Little do they know the two are a result of one quick mixture….. So, if you forgot to make a Christmas pudding two months ago, why not give this dessert a go as an alternative for the 25th December – I’m sure everyone will love it!
Admittedly a tad delayed, but still timely, here is a list of a few favorite things which help make Christmas the best season of the year.
1. A great excuse to hold a party or two. With lots and lots of booze.
2. Christmas lights all over cities
3. An excuse to put a giant tree in your living room and decorate it (the smell is just amazing!! Fake trees are not the way to go).
4. Mulled wine. Nom.
5. Turkey and stuffing and trimmings and pudding and brandy butter.
6. MORE FOOD (and almost all of it seems to contain alcohol in some way or another).
8. Gingerbread houses.
9. The spirit in the air: everyone is happy….. ok most people are happy.
10. Yet another reason to get presents (and of course buy some…not the season to be selfish)!
11. Christmas markets
12. Carol singing (definitely the only time of year I actually make it to church)
14. Lots and lots of family time…. probably not appreciated by everyone out there, in some cases 2 days a year are plenty.
17. Tasteless Christmas jumpers….. Primark seems to have been successful in this department
Why can’t it be Christmas all year round? We would possibly all be spoilt and overweight alcoholics by now if that were the case, but introducing a half Christmas in June doesn’t seem like such a bad idea:-).