|Spicy Thai Soup|
Switzerland, the land of cheese, chocolate & ridiculously expensive fare! A great place to travel, not only because it's a beautiful country of soaring mountains & placid lakes but because (& pardon the pun) it runs like clockwork. The transport system is frankly awesome & made our whistle stop tour so easy. From Zurich to Luzern to Grindelwald to Thon to Bern we didn't experience a moments delay at anytime. The Swiss are quite a serious lot at times, i kept wondering what would happen if a train actually was delayed...? I had visions of a platform of people all with mini cuckoo pocket watches looking confused. We choose a good time to vacate London that's for sure, with riots & looting rife, eating our way round the Alps was definitely the preferred choice. Quite scary to think that something like that could happen so quickly & so close to home. Maybe i should enroll the Houseboy onto a home defence course. Or get a barking dog doorbell.
|View over Lake Luzern|
What i love about Switzerland is the way each individual canton (26 in total) has it's own strong identity be it in cuisine, people or scenery. Food is one thing i noticed varied as we traveled. Like Zurich's 'Zuri Gschnetzlets' a dish of Diced Veal in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce, or Bern's 'Berner-teller' a variety of hot & cold meats including Pork Sausage, Beef Tongue & various Hams served with Beans & Sauerkraut. Emmental, not only known for it's cheese is famous for it's Creamy Meringues & Berries. Each canton or village takes enormous pride in it's specialities & i think that it's something that has been lost in Britain over the years. I suppose that East End London has it's Jellied Eels & Pie & Mash but there aren't many counties which boast regional dishes. Scotland of course has it's national dish of Haggis (i refuse to takes peoples criticism unless they have actually tried it) which i LOVE. But where i grew up, apart from having a baked good called "Border Tart' there aren't many dishes linked to the area.
Lake Luzern is a stunning & a perfect place to take a boat trip & do some walking, after a long days walk (22k - just had to boast about that one!) you need a nice dish as a reward. Alpler Magrone is one of my favourite feel good Swiss dishes. Basically it's Macaroni Cheese with potatoes mixed in served with Apple Sauce & Fried Onions & occasionally bacon. So good after a long day skiing or after some serious sightseeing & beers. It's maybe not the best dish if you are diet prone...but sometimes these things have to be embraced. Several times in one week if you are on holiday. In Grindelwald we bashed out some more serious walks & indulged in some even more serious fondue. The Bernese Orberland does not take cheese lightly & we tried a local variety with bacon which we scooped up with bread & potatoes. The Houseboy was fully involved & i saw hints of the Cheese Mania which threatened to consume him while in France at New Year. He may be scathing about my love of dairy, but when presented with melted cheese he may as well role over & wag his tail. Bern the capital is a small but captivating city, although not as buzzy as say Zurich, it is full of charm & if anything visit so you can head to Altes Tramdepot a great local microbrewery which serves up traditional fare such as 'Spatzli' & 'Rosti'. The Rosti served with Bacon, Apple Sauce & a Fried Egg was hot, hearty & very filling. Apple sauce & potatoes is a combination winner. The beer was also very good, but maybe a little lost on me.
|Standard Bakery Fare|
The result of this holiday is to try and avoid bread, cheese & wine for a while. Given i'm heading out for dinner tomorrow night with the lovely Miss Stuart it's not looking very likely. I'm just banking on the Houseboy not reading this weeks waffle so i can avoid the reproachful looks after me moaning the whole way home that i need to start eating more healthy. Bah.
Now this dish is not Swiss in anyway but it is an easy & delicious soup, perfect for a midweek dinner when you are flat out. You can pad it out by adding different veggies-mange tout & broccoli works particularly well. You can also opt out adding the red chili if you prefer a milder dish.
- 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
- 1 tin of coconut milk
- 400-500mls chicken stock
- 1 tin (200g) sweetcorn
- 5 spring onions - thinly sliced
- 1/2 red chili - thinly sliced
- 300g (2 packets) Amoy straight to wok noodles
- 500g (2 packets) raw king prawns
- 1 small bunch of coriander - chopped
Heat your wok (or pan) up & add the curry paste, cook until it starts to sizzle. Add the coconut milk & stock, bringing it to a simmer. Carry on by adding the sweetcorn, spring onion & red chili-cook for 3 minutes. Then add the noodles & keep at a simmer for a couple of minutes. Lastly add the prawns & coriander & gently cook till the prawns are done.
|View from hostel - Grindelwald|