Sunday, November 23, 2008

On culture and cheese

I'm determined to stay with the blogging at the moment but let me explain why I haven't posted for two weeks. Last weekend we had a three day trip to Vienna which was amazing. A beautiful city filled with fabulous buildings and museums, a bustling Christmas market, comfy coffee houses with tasty cakes and a delicious food market filled with many cafe's. After our stay, the feet were very sore from all the walking, the bellies full of the delicious tarts and sausages and the senses overloaded with their plethora of museums.

Then this weekend has been filled with dinners and meeting friends with at the top of it all, a scrumptious cheese fondue in a friends vineyard this afternoon. It's a small plot of land that first her father and now her brother work as their hobby. We walked up there around 3.30 in a snowy winter wonderland. Once we got to the little house they have, we cooked the cheese on the wood stove and drank their white wine....the most perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon if you ask me! The way down was a bit more challenging as it had started snowing again and there was a fierce wind making it very exciting in the dark.

Finally, a little bit of crafting with this year's dinner table light decoration. Still sticking with a natural theme like last year but using a different plant. And the little leaves swing happily around if you have some candles lit on the table.

Cheese Fondue a la Bischof
(calculate between 150-200g cheese per person depending on the appetite)

600g of cheese (equal amounts of Gruyere, Vacherin Fribourgeois and Appenzeller - or what you have at hand)
3 cloves of garlic (making for a fairly garlicy taste so reduce if you don't like it too strong)
300 ml of white wine (and plenty more for drinking!)
grated nutmeg
2tsp cornflour
a small glass of Kirsch (again, have some extra on hand to sip as it aids the digestion)
black pepper
a pinch of bicarbonate soda
plenty of your favourite bread (we had potatobread with walnuts and also half white)

Chop the garlic roughly and put it in the pan, add the cheese, wine and cornflour and place on the heat. Stir until all is dissolved and then stir in the kirsch, nutmeg and pepper. Mix well and just before serving add the bicarbonate soda and mix well. Serve with the bread whist stirring in the shape of eights - this prevents the cheese from burning at the bottom and makes for a fantastic "Grossmutter". This is the crust that forms at the bottom and make sure you have some room left as it's the best bit of the whole fondue.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

First pottery piece..

...that I made in my new course (started in April). The progress i this course is much slower but the pieces are finished better and I learn a lot more then before. One down side is that the glazes are a lot less spectacular then in my last class. But at the same time it's nice to glaze thing simply and make a form that suits that.

This cake stand is the the perfect piece to present these small savoury tarts on (made with some delicious Cashel Blue and left over beer and coconib jam)and it was soon empty again.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Where have I been?

It's been quiet on the blog for the last few months but real life has been busy and bustling. We've had a summer of fabulous sunshine and Rhine swimming coupled with friends visiting, music festivals and mountains. Interspersed there have been many dinners, bbq's, crafting, pottery and testing Japanese recipes.

In addition, some life changing events have taken place: I finished my job at the university at the end of July. After months (even years) of doubt I finally made the decision to change careers. After 2 months of job searching (a wonderful week at home and lots of the above mentioned Rhine swimming) I found a new position and have very happily transited to the pharmaceutical industry since the start of October.

Last but by no way least, there has been a very unexpected but welcome proposal on the middle of a glacier a few weeks ago followed by a very swift OF COURSE! filling life with lots of champagne,celebrations and this incredible happiness. Who would have thought this would change so much in our happy living together state ...says the Dutch girl always skeptical of marriage, I guess I have to eat my words but boy, they taste sweet :-). With that comes lots of planning/organizing to be done in the next few months.

So with all that I fear the blog will suffer even more!

I had great plans of overhauling it this summer which obviously hasn't happened and have now decided to merge the two back here and abandon the other one. So this will see a bit more craft which will be interspersed with some more food and general ramblings. Thanks for hanging in there and look forward to sharing the experiences with you...