Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I wish you all a happy Christmas and a wonderful 2012... and I also want to thank all of you who have read my blog and been part of my adventures this year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

My famous homemade pate'

Ok, so my homemade pate' is not actually that famous, the only thing that it's famous for is that it disappears at the speed of light every time I make it. At some parties I didn't even get to try a bite of it because it was gone so fast. Not joking. What's the secret? Easy. First of all I don't tell anyone that it's made with chicken livers. At least not until they have tried it and loved it. I'm not sure why, but most people seem to have a big problem with chicken livers, so why tell them? Second, I use a lot of butter. I can't stress this enough: if you are going to make pate' you have to use tons of butter. There's no other way around it. No making it "light". Unless you want your pate' to suck, that is.

So here's the recipe. I usually serve it along with cranberry sauce or some other type of berry jam, but it's also good on its own, with a slice of bread.


One onion
1 pound chicken livers
1 spoon of capers
Butter at room temperature
A shot of brandy
1 glass of broth
Salt and pepper
Fresh thyme

In a pan, sauté the finely cut onions in butter until soft and add thyme and the liver ready cleaned and washed. Sauté them until browned. Add brandy and cook for 20 minutes on low heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Let everything cool. Add capers and place in a food processor. 

Process, adding butter one tablespoon at the time until you reach a smooth consistency. Pour in a loaf pan, cover and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.  

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Things I loved about Zurich

Rosti. What's not to love about a generous serving of shredded potatoes, hash brown style, mixed with raclette cheese and ham bits and topped with a fried egg? Swiss perfection on a plate.

Gothic cathedrals against the cloudy sky. I don't usually love cloudy skies, but the clouds I saw on my first day in Zurich where very picturesque and made everything look even prettier.

Serious Christmas lights. This city doesn't mess around when it comes to Xmas decorations and lights, they are in every street and on every building...

 ...including super-cool toy store Franz Carl Weber, a multi story kid's (kid at heart) paradise filled with toys, puppets and games of all kinds.

Oysters at Brasserie Lipp, a wonderful art deco restaurant with one of the biggest and best raw bars I've ever seen. The original Brasserie Lipp is in Paris, but this Swiss replica is as cool looking as the original and serves impeccable food as well.

Christmas markets. I could have bought virtually everything there, although the prices where not exactly affordable. Still I found some cool little presents for my family and friends and vowed to go back next year for more.

 Very cool looking bars. Case in point the Heineken New Bar opposite the Central train station. Neon lights and thousands of booze bottles neatly stocked on the walls.

And speaking of drinks, hot mulled wine of course, or as they call it in Zurich, Glühwein. Throughout the city there are hundreds of little wood huts selling fragrant perfectly spiced mulled wine. The bartenders are dressed like elves and the wine is prepared in big witch-like cauldrons. How cool is that? I wondered what they do with the little huts in the summer. I'm guessing they use them to sell beer.

Fondue chinoise. One of my favorite dishes ever. There's something so satisfying about cooking your meet in hot steamy broth and then dipping it in one of the six sauces it's served with: curry, sweet and sour, garlic, cocktail, tartar and spicy tomato.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas cookies galore!

I'm working today and tomorrow, then I have four days off, which means that I will have time to start baking some Christmas cookies. Although I'm not a cookie person, I know how much people like them, so I make them every year, then take them to the office and hand them out as gifts when I go to Christmas parties. I don't know which ones I'll make this year, but in the mean time here are some recipes that I tried last year and the year before, my personal cookie hit parade.

Baci di Dama: Italian treats. I have no idea why they are called "dame's kisses", but what I know is that they rock. They are a little labor intesive, but totally worth it. Trust me.  

Pepparkakor: Swedish cookies. You can buy them at Ikea, but they are mich better when they are made from scratch. The key is to roll out the dough real thin, otherwise they don't turn out quite as good. These are perfect for those who like spices in their cookies, they feature nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Great after meal cookie.

Brünsli: these cookies are from my nick of the woods. They ail from Switzerland and they are the perfect combination of chocolate and nuts. They are very similar to truffles and they are by far my favorite cookies. What's not to love about dark chocolate and walnuts? Careful though, once you eat one, you might want to eat the whole batch.

Vanillekipferl: as the name implies, these horseshoe shaped cookies have vanilla in them, and lots of butter, which makes them great. I especially like them dipped in Marsala wine, which shouldn't surprise you since I love pretty much any cookie dipped in Marsala =) 

Spicy Mexcian cookies: Last but not least, some dark chooclate cookies that feature crushed red pepper... Mayan style, baby! If you like the spicy and sweet combo, these cookies are for you.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Vin brulé (hot mulled wine)


It's December already. Ever since I've started working in August, time has gone by at the speed of light. So here we are, already counting down the days till Christmas. Temps are still not very wintery and I'm a little disappointed because it hasn't snowed yet, but I'm making up for it by decorating the house and preparing Christmasy foods.

Vin brulé, aka hot mulled wine, is one of my favorite things about this time of the year. I first tried it when I was about 14, mingling at a Christmas market in the Dolomites with my friend Giovanna. We were freezing, so we decided to give it a try. It was the beginning of an obession. I liked it so much I order it everwhere I go if I see it on the menu. No wonder I liked Prague so much, they sell it on every street corner at a price so cheap, you just can't say no.

Of course I also make it home. Last night I had it while putting up the Christmas tree and, I have to say, it was one of the best recipes ever. Try it, you won't be sorry.


1 bottle dry red wine
Peel of one orange
Peel of one lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
8 whole cloves
1 cup of sugar

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan. Slowly bring it to a boil, then simmer for about ten minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Discard solids and serve. 


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