A Mid Week Vegetarian Supper

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

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May Day Treat: Wheat-Rye Bread

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.

Wheat-Rye Bread

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inspired by the one and only Ace
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Queueing Failures

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, the go 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 ;-).

Give it a go and let me know what you think.

Grättimaa

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adapted from SRF
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Hazelnut Rolls

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

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How to Cure Your Flatmate’s Hangover

This past month has been insane – I can’t believe it’s already March. It started with two days out of my usual surgical routine, namely in the life of an Anesthetist, because why not. A perfect base specialty for going into emergency medicine – a potential career goal after (hopefully) successfully becoming a surgeon. It continued with a few crazy days of Fasnacht (= my local carnival), the highlight! Have you been? If not, add it to your bucket list. Apparently it’s even listed in 1000 Places to See Before You Die, the city goes insane, who thought Swiss people could actually have fun? Fasnacht lasts for just 3 days, but what glorious days these are. One calls them the “drey scheenschte Dääg” (= three nicest days of the year). I don’t think I would go that far, but they are fun. In a nutshell – parades of giant burning wood pieces, booze, confetti ALL OVER, parades of crazy people throwing oranges, flowers, alcohol and again, confetti, at you, flour soup (ew), booze, cheese tart, cellar bar hopping, booze, more confetti, amazing brass bands, schnitzelbängg (satirical poetry), crazy costumes. Also, very little sleep. Retrospectively it would have been wiser to take the days off work before my 10 day shift……

Now, after all this booze, my roommate and I were not in the best of states, understandably. Ideal culinary hangover cure? 1. Bacon, 2. Garlic, 3. Bacon, 4. Garlic, 5. Alcohol (always), 6. Panko breadcrumbs. Turn that into something crispy and satisfying? You end up with Chicken Kiev. There is a debate going on whether this dish is of American, Ukrainian or Russian origin…. honestly, who cares, thank you to whoever invented it, it’s delicious.

P.S. Apologies for the picture – blaming it on the hangover.

Chicken Kiev with BACON

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