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!
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
I hope most of you are lucky enough to dig into a turkey, some stuffing, some sprouts, some mash, a spiced cranberry sauce and most importantly, a slice of pumpkin pie. This will be my 2nd Thanksgiving stateside, actually my 2nd in Manhattan. Last years orphan event in Soho starring a 22 lbs turkey, prepared by Australians no less, will be hard to top, but I’m just as excited.
When I was little we used to always celebrate Thanksgiving in Switzerland thanks to an American family member. Sadly I can only vaguely remember the (extraordinary) extent of the buffet, but I’m told it was out of this world. And me being the difficult child I was didn’t eat any of it. WHAAAAT??? All the goodness I missed out on. Hard to believe with my current appetite and food obsession.
That being said, its high time to catch up on the culinary delights of this holiday, starting with the best part: pumpkin pie. Happy Thanksgiving!
Delicious Pumpkin Pie
This post is dedicated to one of my favorite replacement parents. More specifically, my Monday night chaperones. The best skills I claim to have acquired as an almost infinite single is third-wheeling. It’s kind of like dating, without the hassle of actually having to impress and perfecting your make up. Yes, I have sadly reached the age where most of my friends are happily settled and being single seems to be crime (THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING SINGLE!!). So, hanging out with couples becomes inevtable. Lucky for me, I love third-wheeling – especially with these guys, it’s the perfect excuse to hang out with two of my besties. And they both get to hang out with me. How is that not a win-win situation?
Over the years I feel I have accumulated couples for all occasions – wining and dining, sports, nights out, movie nights, not to forget drunken madness. Which reminds me, my Monday chaperones have also recently, like good parents, put a roof over my drunken head (now that’s probably only a win situation for me…). For that I am eternally grateful – I would not have made it home alive.
Our typical Monday evening entails sweat pants, the one or other youtube video and of course dinner, mostly created from leftover groceries in their fridge, usually resulting in some sort of comfort food. Last week we watched olympics. Now, during the olympics, comfort food is essential – I mean how unsporty and pathetic do those athletes make you feel? It’s like the 5k you just ran to hatch a Pokémon egg (and of course become the next Paula Radcliffe) were not even worth the effort. How is that going to help you towards perfecting the triple back flip screw synchronised diving thing or swinging round the asymmetric bars in gymnastics? And 25m pistol shooting – how is that an olympic discipline?? Anyways, this video of failed Filipino diving will make you feel better. Enjoy it with some red lentil dal. Perfect Monday night.
Red Lentil Dal
T-2 days until I am officially unemployed for 2 months! Scary! Anyone have a guide to leading the life of a pensioner?
In my hospital, tradition calls for junior doctors to spoil their co-workers with a sweet breakfast sometime around their last day of work. Another compulsory “cake baking” moment in the life of a junior doctor, respectively surgeon in training, is after being allowed to operate something for the first time. There is an unwritten rule stating one has to bring a cake after each new surgical achievement. Sneaky, sneaky surgeons. Now, instead of always bringing cake, I figured I could be creative and bring rolls. Who doesn’t like rolls? My personal favorite – cinnamon rolls – would be a tad too intense for my Swiss colleagues to digest at 8 am. So I decided to stay on the safe side and made these hazelnut rolls – NOM. Secret ingredient: a hint of cinnamon, obvs.
Nussschnecken – Hazelnut Rolls
I’m sure you have all heard of kale (if not, go read about it here – haha ok, so not quite the kale I had in mind, but who knew it was also a beautiful boy). If I recall correctly, the hype about this, let’s face it, not so special cabbage, started a couple of years back in Europe. Everyone was crazy about it. Kale chips, kale salad, kale pesto, kale soup, not to forget kale juice, the list goes on. Personally, I never understood the hype. Now, I must admit, it’s probably due to my only kale experience in 2014 being unsatisfying – kale crisps from Pret. The flavour wasn’t right, they weren’t satisfying, and honestly – fried cabbage? – not my thing.
In most aspects of life I’m not really one to follow trends, I would say I’m always at least a few trend-generations behind. One of my exes always tried to widen my music-horizon by constantly showing me new songs. I’d listen to them once, label them as terrible, forget them for 6 months, then hear them on the radio, fall in love with them and proudly show my ex the greatest new songs of the month. Classic. And how often did this happen? All the time. After a while he gave up. Understandable. Same story with kale, only here it took me years, not just months. How have I lived without it?? In my opinion, the best use of kale is in a curry. YUMS – so here you go, try it.
Butternut Squash, Sprout, Chickpea and Kale Curry
As previously promised – a post for my Swiss readers. Respectively, for Swiss residents.
Yes!! If your sweet tastebuds have been craving a bite of The Medical Gourmet’s creations all along (and you have not yet been lucky enough to try any) – head to The Nail Stop in Gstaad this afternoon. Never heard of it? It’s probably the cutest nail salon ever. Interestingly, it is also the first nail salon in the town/village of Gstaad to date. Looks like the creators discovered a niche. And boy, what a successful one. It is booming! Having opened a few years ago in a small location, it has sadly/luckily had to relocate to a bigger space. Lucky for me, the owner decided to add a Café featuring the one or other medical gourmet special. With winter finally arriving and village life picking up it is high time for the first cupcake special. Head down this afternoon, grab a bite, enjoy.
And for those of you too far away to actually drop by – try the recipe below, add more spice, maybe puree the pumpkin yourself and let me know how it turns out:-).
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
inspired by Delia Smith, Annemarie Wildeisen, Gordon Ramsay & Ted Mosby Continue reading
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 ;-).
Berner Lebkuchen Bites
adapted from Wildeisen