Friday, January 26, 2007

Museums, bread and chocolate

So many things to write about and already it's I'll just do a quick recap of the last weekend. Fridaynight was Museumnight in Basel. From 18:00 to 2:00 you can access any museum in Basel and travel between them for 20chf. So we decided to make the most of it and visited a whole array of places. It was a great opportunity to have a quick glance in a lot of places. First we went to the Tingely museum, had dinner there, then visited the Kunstmuseum, Culture museum, Pharmacy museum, Botanical gardens and more....but the most impressive was a Hydan concert in the Munster where you could listen from the gallery.

The next morning, I got up early to meet a friend across town where we spent the morning at a breadbacking course. We had a great time abd even though I've baked a lot of bread before I picked up some interresting tricks. For example, you can accelerate the rising process by putting the dough in a sink filled with luke warm water or a 50 degrees Celsius ove which you then turn off. Also, to get a nice crust, it't the tension in the surface of dought that's important. The format was very nice where everyone (12 people total) made a different bread with 500g flour which we devided in half. One half we had for lunch and one we got to take home. Then we all learned to make zopf and took that home as well.

Finally, as part of being back from limbo, I figuered I should take part in some of the blogger events again and what better way to start then with SHF#27 hosted by David. However, I got my deadlines mixed and thought it was today instead of last friday. Doh! But it was a great opportunity to finally make some macarons....having read about them for the last few years and am ashamed to admit that I've never had a real one. I followed this recipe and even though it took a lot more work then I thought but they turned out really great. I tweaked the filling slightly to include goji berries, an inspiration that came from here. I soaked the berries while the biscuits were drying. For the chocolate, I used Droste cacao (I'm a dutch girl after I think this chocolate is highly underrated) and Lindt Excellence 85% Dark Chocolate. The result was amazing, really dark chocolat, not to sweet, a but chewy in the middle and the occasional berry for altered texture. My only dissapointment were the tops that were all cracked instead of being round and glossy....prehaps I should have left to dry them longer? Anyway, this is definitly a keeper but I'll have to go and try the real thing soon!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


It's finally started snowing!! When I moved to switzerland in autumn I had visions of a nice cold winter with lots of snow skiiing and fondue. S ofar, it has been the warmes winter ever, then only snow I've seen was in France and even though it was great, there wasn't nearly enough of it!. But now it has finally start, just as my workskitrip this weekend got cancelled due to lack of snow and I pick up my new ski's on friday....perhaps we'll just have to do a daytrip to Engelberg on sunday....keep the white stuff coming!!!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Breaking the silence....

Okay….after about 3 months of hibernation I’m back! With the unnatural warm weather there is no way to have a winter-sleep and there is much to write about. Last Monday I resubmitted the revised version of my paper (Yippie!) that has kept me from blogging about my 1 year blog anniversary, Christmas markets both in Basel and Strassbourgh, a food-filled festive holiday and a skiing trip to Tignes. But what finally got me out of limbo was last Sunday’s bloggers meeting organized by TBF where I met lots of nice people and this made me feel I should perhaps contribute again to internet space ☺

So that evening, I set out to make a dish for the golden shrimp….it was inspired by two things: a great Christmas present of a stainless steel grater and part of a lump of Italian Parmasan cheese my colleague received as a late Christmas present and couldn’t finish. I figured the best way to combine both, would be to make a simple pasta with pesto which was made very quickly. For the pasta I used this recipe and for the pesto I used the recipe in my favourite Italian cookbook. Both were very easy to assemble and tasted great.

For dessert, we stuck to the green theme and made this sorbet. I modified the recipe slightly but adding half the lemon grass to the syrup for a stronger flavour and I pushed the apples through a sieve after blending them as I don’t have a juicer. Also, I forgot about it whilst at the bloggers meeting so it didn’t get stirred and turned into a granita in stead of a sorbet but still tasted great and looked the part in my new Japanese tea cups (another persent). So that’s it for now, but I’ll post again soon!

Pesto (serves 4)
25 fresh basil leaves
100ml extra virgin olive oil
40g pine nuts
50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Blend the basil leaves with the olive oil, pine nuts and a pinch of salt in a blender. Add the grated cheese and process again.