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Chocolatier Tour in Brussels

23 May

We recently did a little weekend trip through Belgium and Holland and whilst I would normally cram our weekend itinerary in one post, I thought I would split it in two. Part one will focus entirely on the first half day of our four day weekend during which we ran frantically in and out of Chocolatier’s in Brussels, sampling and purchasing a lot of chocolatey goodness.

I always thought that Belgian chocolates were Swiss chocolates rivals but it wasn’t until we visited these Chocolatiers that I realised there’s no competition. Belgian chocolate = pralines. Swiss chocolate = block chocolate. Therefore they both win in their respective categories and I don’t have to choose a winner 🙂 The End. Ok seriously though, I would actually choose a good block of Swiss chocolate over pralines and I promise I’m not biased!

Anyway, if you’re visiting Brussels and want to check out some Chocolatiers, then here’s my top picks…

Galeries Royales St Hubert

The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert is a shopping arcade – obvious from the photos below – and is home to luxury boutiques, clockmakers and chocolate shops. Here you will find five of Belgium’s master chocolatiers including Mary, Neuhaus, Godiva, Corné Port Royal and La Belgique Gourmande all offering their own unique pralines. It’s a one stop shop if you’re short on time.

Mary

Belgian master chocolatier since 1919. I loved this shop purely for the looks – the store, the packaging, all so lovely. Their range of pralines and pricing is reasonable. We did purchase a few different pralines but can’t for the life of me remember what we chose or whether we liked them compared to others so you’re just going to have to try them for yourself. Or just stop buy to admire the pretty packages.

Pierre Marcolini

If you visit this store, be sure to try the “Grand Cru” chocolates; a dark chocolate ganache made with cocoa from Venezuela, Java and Madagascar. Elegant black boxes will ensure that your purchases can be safely transported home unless you eat them all before you arrive at your final destination! Pierre Marcolini introduces a new collection each season and the craftmanship is superb, we didn’t see anything like it in any of the other chocolatiers. Eggs and bunnies were in season when we visited since we were there around Easter.

Le Comptoir de Mathilde

Ok so it’s not quite a Belgian master chocolatier and it is actually French, but this little shop is well worth the visit. It has chocolate, of course, in many varying forms (but not the praline sort) as well as many other yummy things to tempt you. If you emerge from here in under half an hour and without sampling everything and without purchasing even the smallest piece of chocolate, I will be very impressed and will likely never be your friend!

Elisabeth

We didn’t stop to buy anything from Elisabeth but I was drawn to it for two reasons; it shares its name with my mother and it had giant meringues.

Well that’s about as much chocolate as I can handle for one day. I know that there are plenty more things to see and do in Brussels but with only a few hours to kill in this city, I think we spent it wisely!

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ANZAC Day Biscuits

25 Apr

ANZAC (The Australian & New Zealand Army Corps) Day is a national day of remembrance that commemorates and honours all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, particularly those who fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The Australian Prime Minister, The Hon. Tony Abbott MP, said in his address to the nation today

“Today Australians at home and abroad pause to remember all who have served our country.
This is the 99th anniversary of the landing in Gallipoli.
Over coming years, Australians will commemorate the centenary of the Great War and remember the tide of events that shaped our nation and that still cast a shadow over the wider world.
The First World War impacted on Australia like nothing else before or since. It was the crucible that forged our nation.
From a population of just under five million; 417,000 enlisted; 332,000 served overseas; 152,000 were wounded and 61,000 never came home.
Of men aged 18 to 42, almost one in two served in uniform. Of those who served overseas, almost one in five were killed in action. Of the 270,000 who returned, more than half had been wounded – and others had mental scars that never healed.
We will never glorify war. Still, the worst of times can bring out the best in us.
This day we remember all who have served our country – in our Army, Navy and Air Force – and through all conflicts: the Boer War, the First and Second World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and everywhere our Armed Forces are sent in our name.
The presence of Australians at Anzac Day events today is a demonstration that we are a nation of memory, not just of memorials. The character of our service men and women has helped to define our nation.
Their courage, mateship and sacrifice has been exemplary.
 
Lest we forget.”

We may only be a small country, in terms of population size, and may not have suffered large scale casualties through all conflicts, wars and peace keeping operations as other nations have, but Anzac Day is probably the most important national occasion, a day that we choose to remember, commemorate and say thank you to our service men and women.

So how do oat biscuits feature on this occasion?

According to the Australian War Memorial, tales are told of Anzac biscuits being sent and eaten by troops in Gallipoli with evidence to suggest that a rolled oats biscuit was sent to troops on the Western Front. Truth be told though, the majority of rolled oats based biscuits were sold and consumed at fetes, galas, parades and other public events at home, to raise funds for the war effort. This connection to the troops serving overseas led to them being referred to as ‘soldier’s biscuits’.

The basic ingredients for an Anzac biscuit were and still are today: rolled oats, sugar, flour, butter and golden syrup. Shredded coconut is now commonly added as well as bicarb soda. Here’s my recipe.

INGREDIENTS

125g butter, chopped coarsely
2 tablespoons golden syrup
¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon boiling water
1 cup (90g) rolled oats
1 cup (90g) desiccated coconut
1 cup (150g) plain flour
¾ cup (165g) brown sugar

METHOD

Preheat oven to 160°C or 140°C fan-forced.
Combine butter and syrup in a small saucepan. Heat gently until butter and syrup melt.
Combine bicarbonate of soda and water in a small bowl and stir into butter mixture.
Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour over warm butter mixture and stir well to combine.
Roll rounded teaspoons of mixture into balls – creative license here, make as big or as small as you want. Place on baking paper lined baking trays and flatten slightly.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes on baking trays; transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Banana Bread (Gluten Free)

24 Apr

I’ve been keeping this little recipe to myself for a while so thought it was time to spread the word.

I have come to enjoy baking that is gluten free (or partially gluten free) because the use of ground almonds or hazelnuts adds a whole lot of texture to the bake as well as a delicious nutty-ness. Yep, nutty-ness. I think I just made it up so deal with it! Anyone in Geneva will tell you how difficult/expensive it is to buy “specialty” whole foods and so things like coconut flour, or any flour except white flour, nut/seed oils that aren’t peanut or sunflower, and you can certainly forget about buying agave syrup, goji berries… So whilst I am beginning to enjoy gluten free baking, it certainly has its limitations.

This is another recipe from Teresa Cutter at The Healthy Chef and one that I actually got to work properly as I’ve had 50/50 win/loss with her recipes to date. But I absolutely, hands down, love Bananas so I had to give it a go. Seriously, my love for bananas is obsessive and probably borderline clinically psycho but once I tell you how good they are you’re bound to be hooked as well.

Bananas are extremely nutritious; rich in riboflavin, niacin, fibre and potassium (an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function), and the rapid energy boost given by their high sugar levels means that you don’t need to add much additional sugar when cooking with them. Almonds have a mellow flavour is commonly used to form the foundations of frangipane, flourless cakes, macaroons, pralines and marzipan, without overpowering other ingredients or leaving the recipe unpalatably rich so it makes the perfect partner to the banana in this bake.

Banana Bread

Recipe from The Healthy Chef

What you need:

300g (10  1/2  oz)  smashed ripe banana
3 eggs
2 tbsp (60g / 2 oz) honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup (60g / 2 oz)  macadamia nut oil (I used sunflower oil)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2  tsp baking soda + 1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups (200g / 7  oz) almond meal
1/4 cup (25g / 3/4  oz)  ground flaxseed (linseed) or chia seed

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 160 C.

Combine smashed banana, honey, oil, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs, bicarb and lemon (the lemon activates the bicarb). You can do this by hand in a large bowl or with a blender.
Add the almond meal and flaxseed and mix well.
Lightly oil one loaf tin and then coat liberally with extra almond meal or desiccated coconut – this will prevent the cake from sticking.
Spoon batter into the tin and bake for  45  minutes to 1 hour (skewer test here).
Cover the top with foil if over-browning.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before turning out the loaf.
Makes 1 loaf serves 12.
Keeps in the fridge covered for up to 1 week.

My husband and colleagues can testify to the fact that this was a pretty delicious banana bread. It even almost looks like it’s suppose to 🙂

Winter Comfort Food : Rabbit Pie

26 Feb

My husband surprised me last weekend by announcing that he had purchased some rabbit joints at the supermarket a few weeks back. The surprise was not that he had purchased some kind of game meat but that he wanted me to make pies with it. It hasn’t been a particularly cold winter here in Geneva but it is the winter season and good hearty winter food should be consumed – even if the sun is streaming through the windows!

The eating of rabbits is part of our family history. We have a family property back in Australia where wild rabbits run rampant, the enemy, and given that rabbits are “the building blocks of any true hunter’s repertoire” my Dad and sister would proudly bring home their furry loot for my mother to cook up and as I grew older and got married my husband would bring home his trophies for me to cook.

I’ve used a few different recipes for rabbit pie over the years and honestly cannot remember which was the best one or the easiest or the quickest or the tastiest but since I had just bought back my Stephanie Alexander Cook’s Companion from Australia I thought it proper to use her recipe. Rabbits are best braised but we have previously attempted roasting one. This recipe requests 1 whole wild rabbit with a note to say that “A farmed rabbit would be an extravagance for this dish“. Wild rabbits have firm, meaty flesh and a subtle, gamey flavour whereas farmed rabbits lack this depth of flavour and can be fatty and bland in comparison. I’m not entirely sure what we had as the package just said rabbit pieces but at a hunch I’d say we had a farmed rabbit (or 5 pieces of farmed rabbit).

It’s a long recipe (as in time) but not very complicated so just make sure you have a few hours or a whole afternoon set aside to make this. This recipe will sufficiently feed 4 people.

Ingredients

1 whole wild rabbit (about 1.5kg)
2 litres Stock (or water)
1 stick celery, chopped
½ carrot, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 piece lemon zest
1 stalk parsley
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1 tsp black peppercorns
100g smoked streaky bacon, minced
200g button mushrooms, sliced
100g flaked almonds, toasted
1 cup freshly chopped parsley
1 quantity Shortcrust Pastry
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
sauce
150g butter
150g plain flour
1.25 litres reserved cooking liquid
200ml cream
juice of 2 lemons
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

Remove kidneys and liver from rabbit and reserve. Simmer rabbit in stock with celery, carrot, onion, zest, herbs and peppercorns until back legs test tender, about 1-2 hours. Allow rabbit to cool completely in stock. Remove rabbit and set strained cooking liquid aside. Strip all meat from carcass and cut into small pieces. Discard bones.

Lightly saute bacon and mushrooms and quickly sear reserved kidneys and liver. Chop kidneys and liver and mix with rabbit meat, bacon, mushrooms and almonds in a bowl. Mix in parsley and season well. Cover with plastic wrap.

To make the sauce, cook butter and flour over a gentle heat to make a roux. Gradually stir in reserved rabbit stock and bring to simmering point. Add cream and lemon juice and simmer for 10 minutes, using a simmer mat to prevent sauce sticking. Check for seasoning, then add enough sauce to meat to make a creamy, not sloppy, filling. Allow to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 200C. Line a 28cmx18cmx5cm pie dish with pastry (reserve some pastry to make a latticed top if you wish) and bake blind for 20 minutes. I have these great little individual springform tins which I like to make my pies in so feel free to make individual portion pies if you can.

Remove pastry case from oven and allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 180C. Spoon filling into pastry case. Scatter breadcrumbs on top and criss-cross strips of pastry over the filling if you wish. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pastry is well browned.

Eat and stay warm this winter!

Winter Comfort Food : Best Baked Beans on Toast

14 Jan

So the husband and I got back from a ski-turned-hike weekend late on Sunday night (more on that saga later) and having not planned food for our return home we discussed what fast food / take-away options we had. We always have a few tins of Heinz Baked Beans in tomato sauce – because there really is no other kind – stashed at the back of the cupboard for emergency situations such as these but instead of opening up a can we decided to throw together our own batch of baked beans from scratch. Ok so it takes a bit longer than 3 minutes in the microwave but these homemade beans knocked my socks off they were that good. Seriously! And somewhat surprisingly! I honestly didn’t expect it to turn out as good as Heinz but I was wrong.

These beans are so easy and so yummy, I promise you’ll never buy tinned beans again.

Oh wait, you will need to buy a few tins of beans to actually make this recipe unless you want to soak dried beans for a whole day and night or cook them on the stove for a few hours… Tinned beans it is. Would never want to come home from a weekend away and have to stand over the stove cooking beans for a few hours. No way!

You’ll need:

2 x 400g tins of beans, drained and rinsed – we used the big white ones or Cannellini Beans but you can use whatever you have
1 x 400g tin of crushed tomatoes
1 x red onion, finely chopped
2 x cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 x chilli – we used about 1 tsp of dried chilli flakes
Handful of fresh rosemary
Handful of fresh thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp dark treacle – we forgot to add this, oops!
Splash of vinegar – we forgot to add this, oops!
 
Bread for toast – not optional!!

Method

1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion, garlic and chilli. Stir and fry for a minute or so until soft and beginning to colour. Season with salt and pepper and add the rosemary and thyme, then add the paprika.

Onion, garlic, chilli, paprika, herbs

Onion, garlic, chilli, paprika, herbs

2. Add the tomatoes and treacle (optional) and half a can of water from rinsing the tomato tin. Then add the vinegar and the butter beans.

Tomatoes and beans

Tomatoes and beans

3. Let it all simmer for 10 minutes and it’ll be ready to serve on hot toast.

Beans on hot buttered toast

Beans on hot buttered toast

Please excuse the mess… I do need to work on my presentation and photography skills 🙂

This is also a seriously cheap and satisfying meal so perfect for those on tight budget.

Having forgotten to add two of the key flavour ingredients I have already decided to try Worchestershire sauce in the next back instead of the treacle and vinegar. I will let you know how that one works out.

How do you eat your beans?

My Interview with Expat Blog Published Online

9 Jan

Hi guys, check out my interview on Expat Blog!

http://www.expat-blog.com/en/interview/137_sarah-in-geneva.html

This is a great community of expat bloggers from around the world with so many interesting stories of daily life abroad and I just love being apart of it.

If you’re an expat and you’re a blogger, why not become part of the Expat Blog community.

More Autumn Recipes #2 : Pumpkin Spice Loaf

28 Nov

In between running and socialising and working and more socialising, I managed to whip out this little beauty.

Remember those  gorgeous pumpkins we picked up at the farm a few weeks ago? Well we finally cracked one open for this lovely bake. My husband has had this recipe earmarked since last Autumn when I refused to make it for him. See the thing is, I’m not much of a fan of savory loaves and this one has “ginger” in it which put me off even more. There are two flavours I like least of all out of all possible flavours and they are ginger and aniseed. I don’t like ginger biscuits and I certainly don’t like licorice. All the more biscuits for my husband and licorice for my sister!

Anyways, I finally caved and made this cake for my beloved a few weeks ago and I was surprised at how nice it was. I would perhaps go a bit lighter on the spices next time because they overpowered the pumpkin flavour entirely. The most time-consuming part of this recipe is preparing the pumpkin so ladies, a word of advice, get your men involved here for flexing a bit of muscle and cutting up the pumpkin – it makes for a nice show and you can just sit back with a cup of tea and watch! Well, that’s what I did anyway, minus the cup of tea 🙂

If you’re like my mum and you don’t like pumpkin, here’s what’s so good about pumpkin and why you should eat some. Pumpkin might be difficult to prepare but it sure is quick and easy to cook. You can whack it in the microwave as suggested in this recipe, you can boil it, bake it, fry it, grill it… skin on or skin off… what’s not to love?! Roasted pumpkin is my absolute favourite and I would recommend using roasted pumpkin in this recipe if you have the time. Pumpkin is a great source of carotenoid antioxidants (the orange-red colour pigment in pumpkins) that help the body reduce the inflammatory action of free-radicals and help to support a healthy immune system. The potassium content of pumpkin is so good that it makes a perfect pre- and post- workout recovery fuel for the body.  Potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes and supports heart and muscle function. The added cinnamon in this recipe helps to stabilise blood sugar levels as well as helps to boost brain function. Having said that, there is a lot of sugar in this recipe so please use a suitable substitute if necessary.

So it’s like I said, pumpkin is good, I like pumpkin so why not give this Pumpkin Loaf a whirl. My husband enjoyed this loaf, I enjoyed a few pieces myself and my work colleagues devoured the rest. Enough talk, here’s the recipe.

Pumpkin Spice Loaf

Recipe courtesy of taste.com.au

Ingredients

  • 650g butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Method

Step 1 – Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease base and sides of a 6cm deep, 10.5cm x 20.5cm (base) loaf pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at both long ends.

Step 2 – Wash and cut pumpkin into 4cm pieces. With water clinging, place pumpkin in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on HIGH (100%) for 3 to 4 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Set aside to cool. Drain and place cooled pumpkin in a food processor. Process until smooth (you should have 1 cup).

Step 3 – Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well combined. Stir in pumpkin.

Step 4 – Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves over pumpkin mixture. Stir gently to combine. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth surface. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Lift onto a wire rack. Serve warm or cold.

Enjoy x

Did you try making the Green Tomato Chutney or Pear and Almond Tart yet?

Weekend Hiking in Emmental

22 Nov

Emmental, a dairy region in central Switzerland, famous for its Emmental cheese (or the Swiss cheese with holes in it) and Kambly biscuits.

A beautiful area of rolling hills and green pastures and views of the Swiss Alps. My husband had planned a two-day hike for us to do last weekend and the weather was looking to be good – chilly and overcast but no chance of rain equals perfect hiking conditions.

We packed our bags and headed to Burgdorf on Friday night after work, about 2 hours by train from Geneva. We stayed the night in Burgdorf before starting our hike from Langnau on Saturday.

*You will notice a theme throughout the weekend… can you guess what it is*

Burgdorf

On Saturday morning before starting our hike we took a quick turn around Burgdorf. A typical Swiss town; super cute and totally quiet in the early morning.

Day 1 Hike : Langnau to Eggiwil

The map below is from the national hiking trails website and the route we had planned to follow – 10km of easy hiking.

Trans Swiss Trail - Langnau to Eggiwil

Trans Swiss Trail – Langnau to Eggiwil

This what we ended up doing – 17km of moderate intensity hiking

My Garmin - Langnau to Eggiwil

My Garmin – Langnau to Eggiwil

All through Switzerland, hiking trails are marked by small yellow signs, some with place names and arrows, some just a marker. Right at the start we missed on of the signs and started walking in the wrong direction. We found ourselves in Emmenmatt after 2.5km, not a place we were suppose to be walking through on our way to Eggiwil. My husband had said that the first few kilometers were all uphill and so when we had been walking on fairly flat ground for 2.5km we did start to wonder what was going on. After a quick read of our map (thank goodness we printed them out!) we backtracked the 2.5km and started “up” the right path. Here’s what we saw along the way…

We passed by one local dairy farmer who provides milk to the Emmentaler cheese dairy. Over 150 farmers provide more than 28,000 litres of fresh cows milk every day for the production of just 20 wheels of cheese each day. I’m sure this place would be more lively in the summer months so we may just have to come back.

We also made a slight detour via Blapbach for a pit stop at the Restaurant Blapbach. This restaurant is famous for its meringues, yum 🙂

We stayed at Gasthof Baren (a popular name for Guesthouses in the Bern canton) in Eggiwil – the only guests I think – which was quite cosy and enjoyable.

Day 2 Hike : Eggiwil to Trubschachen

For this part of our weekend hike we joined two hikes together. Unfortunately I can’t show you on the Swiss hiking website but here is what my Garmin showed – 15km of moderate intensity hiking

My Garmin - Eggiwil to Trubschachen

My Garmin – Eggiwil to Trubschachen

We didn’t take any wrong turns this time! We started off just after 9am and this is what we saw along the way to Trubschachen…

With such a rapid increase in elevation, it wasn’t long before we hit snow. Green pastures and autumn coloured leaves soon turned to white. It was a fairly steep climb but we took it slowly and stopped every now and again to take some photos and greet some alpacas. The sun almost broke through the clouds at Pfyffer but we were sadly unlucky.

Upon arriving in Trubschachen, I could smell freshly baked bread, like a bakery smell. To my surprise, the Kambly factory was located in Trubschachen! Kambly has been making biscuits in Switzerland for more than 100 years. There is no tour of the factory, no tourist video to watch, only a small cafe and shop selling the biscuits.

Did I mention free tasting of ALL the biscuits? Yep, that’s right, free tasting! The absolute best way to end a weekend of hiking.

So, did any of you guess the theme of our weekend? Anyone? How about the fog? Did any one notice the fog? I’ve seen photos of what scenery we should have been able to see on this hike but unfortunately for us we were enveloped in a thick hazy of cloud all weekend long. *sigh*

Stay tuned for more hiking tales from Switzerland xx

More Autumn Recipes : Green Tomato Chutney

20 Nov

As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, we’re spending more time inside and in the kitchen.

I want to share with you what I ended up doing with all the green tomatoes I had from our tomato plant that wouldn’t ripen. We could have put them in a warm sunny room for a few weeks in an attempt to encourage them to ripen but my husband really wanted to make more chutney.

**As as side note, we cracked open the first jar of Red Tomato Chutney we made a few months back and it was gobbled up in a week! Must have been yummy!**

I searched for a suitable recipe and found that all the one’s I looked at were all based on a fairly similar theme so decided to just make my own version of this theme – mainly because I didn’t have all the ingredients for one particular recipe 🙂

I started off trying to peel the tomatoes – same as when I made the Red Tomato Chutney. I put a cross in the bottom of each tomato, put them in hot water for a minute or two then straight into cold water. Should have been simple right? Wrong! None of the skins had started to feel away on their own like the red tomatoes had so I plopped them back into hot water for another minute or two then into a bowl of cold water again. Still no sign of peeling.  Unfortunately, this meant that I spent the best part of the next hour trying to pry the skins off these completely un-helpful green tomatoes. A word of advice; don’t bother!

Aside from that the process is pretty straight forward as you’ll see below. It will still take you a few hours from start to finish but once all the stuff is in the pot and on to boil you can leave it and not think about it.

Do you have any green tomato recipes that you’d like to share?

Green Tomato Chutney

Ingredients

1 kg green tomatoes
200g onions
200g sultanas
200g cooking apples
200g sugar – I used coarse brown sugar however most recipes called for light muscovado sugar
500mL vinegar – I used apple cider vinegar with added mixed spice as most recipes called for spiced pickling vinegar

Method

Dice up the tomatoes, finely chop the onions, roughly chop the sultanas, and peel, core and chop the apples.
Put the sugar and vinegar into a large pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Add the sultanas and apples and simmer for around 10 mins. Add the tomatoes and onions to the pan and return to the boil.
Simmer for about 1 hr, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick and pulpy. Transfer to warmed sterilized jars and cover with lids. Store for a few months before consuming.
*The simmering took about 90 minutes for me to get a thick consistency to be prepared to wait it out!
Now you have perfect Christmas gifts!

Autumn in Geneva + An Autumn Recipe

11 Nov

Has it really been 11 days since I last posted something on this blog of mine? Really??

The weeks are just flying by and before we know it December will be upon us and that means Christmas, winter and snow and cold and before I get carried away I should probably get on with the fact that we’re loving Autumn! So what have we been up to?

We went to our little farm down the road to pick up some pumpkins and chestnuts…

We went for a little stroll in Meyrin…

Then we had a few little dinner parties at our place and thus begins the cooking tales of the past few weeks.

Even before I started planning the menu for this particular dinner party I knew I wanted to have an “Autumn” sort of theme.

Switzerland is so very unlike Australia when it comes to food shopping. Australia is such a large country with space and varying climates to grow just about anything all year round and you can therefore buy most fruits and vegetable from the supermarket all year round. Switzerland on the other hand is a tiny country which imports a lot of its fruit and vegetables and as a result only stocks those that are currently in season.

My husband and I have discussed this often and agree that eating according to the seasons is much more exciting. It’s Autumn now and we’re excited about the new Apple varieties coming in, pears, pumpkins, root vegetables… Oh what fun!

Anyway, back to my little autumn dinner. The menu I finally settled on consisted of a Polenta toast starter with Olive Tapenade and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, followed by a Mustard and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts wrapped in Proscuitto and a Pear and Almond Tart for dessert. I have made this tart three times now and it never fails to impress and never fails to taste 100% delicious!! So I’m going to share this recipe with you.

Pear and Almond Tart

Courtesy of Donna Hay
  • 90g butter, softened
  • ½ cup (90g) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (120g) almond meal
  • ¼ cup (40g) plain flour (or gluten-free flour for a gluten-free dessert)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder (or gluten-free powder for a gluten-free dessert)
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored and quartered
  • ½ cup (90g) brown sugar, extra
  • raw sugar, for sprinkling
  • double (thick) cream, to serve
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