Month: March 2015

soup recipe

Quick, easy, spicy: tomato & cannellini bean soup with harissa & honey

A few years ago I subscribed to delicious. magazine as a birthday gift for my husband, who loves to cook (and is very good at it, too). It’s turned out to be one of our best and reasonably priced “investments”. We always find at least two or three recipes that we have to try out within days of the new issue arriving in our mailbox. One vegetarian recipe from the January issue that I enjoy making is tomato and bean soup with harissa and honey. I usually have most of the ingredients here at home in my pantry (a converted nuclear bomb shelter. You didn’t know that about Switzerland did you? That for decades newly built houses needed to include a bomb shelter in their basements…perfect for storing tinned goods, wine, and often fresh foods (other than in summertime)). The harissa paste gives the soup a good little kick. It’s filling but not too heavy so it’s ideal for winter but also autumn and spring as well when you don’t need the added bulk of cream or a grain, …

Easter chocolate pastry

Guillaume Bichet in Coppet: chocolate and pastries made with a delicate, contemporary touch

When in 2011 Guillaume and Elodie Bichet opened their eponymously named Confiserie-Pâtisserie in an enticing shop near the medieval stone fountain on  Coppet’s charming Grand-Rue in Canton Vaud, clearly fine-food lovers were in for something special. In a region blessed with an abundance of gourmet chocolate shops and bakeries, it was evident from first sight and first bite that the Confiserie’s exquisite variety of chocolates and bonbons, mouthwatering macarons, temptingly beautiful pastry confections, and selection of homemade breads and croissant, together with warm and courteous service, spoke of one thing: quality of the highest order.   A delicate and contemporary approach From my own personal experience, I can vouch for the delicious fresh fruit and lemon tarts that I served at my birthday party this year; for the fig-and-nut bread and wholewheat croissant that my better half and I enjoy for Sunday brunch; for the fruity macarons that won warm approval as a thank-you gift for a friend; for the indulgent dark-chocolate truffle pastry “Mme de Stael” (named for the 18th-century owner of the nearby Château de Coppet) that I occasionally indulge in …

artisans at work, Geneva, Vaud, Lausanne

Go behind the scenes with master artisans during Les Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Arts 2015 in Geneva, Vaud & Jura

  Have you ever wondered how wig makers create hair pieces and makeup artists apply cosmetics to transform actors into the characters they portray onstage? How marionnettes are made and manipulated at puppet theatres? Or what techniques are employed to restore precious books at public libraries? Ever wanted to take a sneek peak at an actor’s dressing room or into the costume department of a prestigious theatre company or opera house? Or maybe you’re curious to discover how “ordinary” artisans create intricate ironwork, beautiful ceramics, musical instruments, blown glass and fine lace, to name only a few sophisticated crafts. If so, then this coming weekend you can have your questions answered by these master artisans during the Swiss contribution to the Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art 2015 on Friday 27, Saturday 28, and Sunday 29 March in Geneva and at various locations in the cantons Vaud and Jura. A European-wide cultural event Every Spring, as part of the pan-European Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art, cultural and artistic institutions in Geneva invite the public to take part in this free event that gains them access to places as well as people usually visible …

roast chicken

Recipe favourite: roast chicken with bacon, shallots, chili & thyme

This wonderfully tasty and quick-to-make meal is a great fall-back recipe for yourself, family or friends that is sure to please everyone who tucks into it. Based on a recipe by Australian restaurateur Bill Granger from the March 2012 issue of UK Delicious Magazine, it has been adapted by mio marito to suit his flamboyent taste buds and to take advantage of the wonderful herbs that fluorished in our garden despite the admittedly lightweight winter we had this year. The original recipe calls for a whole chicken to be cut up into eight pieces, but my resident masterchef de-bones the bird, adds far more herbs and spices as well as mushrooms and slivers of sun-dried tomatoes. An alternative to de-boning and entire chicken is to use 1kg of a cut called Supreme de Poulet (chicken breast and shoulder) that you might have to pre-order at the counter if you don’t find it already pre-packaged. Be sure to keep the skin on the pieces as this adds flavor to the dish. We’ve also taken to replacing chicken with pintade (guinea fowl), …