All posts filed under: Nature

Montreal’s McCord Museum: preserving the First Peoples’ cultural heritage for future generations

This is a special year for Canada and for my hometown Montreal as they both mark another benchmark year in their respective histories. In recognition, I want to include a piece about a cultural gem that is well worth adding to your bucket list of must-see museums should you ever be fortunate enough to visit. Here, Montreal-born writer Andrea Grimaud gives us her impressions as to why the McCord Museum is so worth your while to experience. Throughout the year, Montreal’s McCord Museum mounts stunning temporary exhibitions dedicated to illuminating for citizens and out-of-towners alike the history, people and communities of this vibrant, multicultural city, which this year celebrates its 375th birthday just as Canada marks its 150th.

Burhrle-Monet-Hermitage-creative-living-geneva

Finding an old flame at the Hermitage Foundation’s exhibition “Impressionist Masterpieces of the Bührle Collection”

One of these days I’m really going to have to thank the directors of the Hermitage Foundation in Lausanne for scheduling their best exhibitions of impressionist art at moments of personal celebration in my life. Last year I had the pleasure of seeing Immersed in Color: Signac’s sublime art at the Hermitage on my birthday in March. This year, just in time for my wedding anniversary in April, they very thoughtfully opened Masterpieces of the Bührle Collection, which continues at the Foundation until 29 October. It seems that our mutual timing could not be better.

castle garden switzerland

“Switzerland’s Loveliest Gardens and Parks” and The Coppet Garden Fair enchants from 12-14 May 2017

Preserving the country’s natural heritage is right up the Swiss Heritage Society’s alley and what better way to do that than to entice people out into nature to show them what’s on offer. A Baroque garden, a large landscaped park, a varied urban square: Swiss gardens offer charming diversity. In honor of the Year of the Garden in 2016, last year Swiss Heritage profiled fifty of these special spaces in a newly-revised, 2nd edition of Swiss Heritage’s guide to the “Loveliest Gardens and Parks in Switzerland”. The 120-page pocket-sized French/German brochure is full of practical information including symbols indicating what’s to be found in each park: a coffee or a place to play, a particular natural setting or a spectacular view. The booklet can be ordered online at CHF 16.- for non-members and  CHF 8.- for members of Swiss Heritage. Visiting one of the 50 gardens featured in this booklet promises a journey into a new world of expertise, imagination and discovery. Who knows? You might even come away with tips and inspiration for your own garden. Coppet Garden Fair on 12, 13, 14 May 2017 Nothing …

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, …

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), …

swiss cheese

Chilly evenings are just right for a Vacherin Mont-d’Or mini fondue

On cold, damp evenings such as we’re having now, one of my winter favourites, baked Vacherin Mon-d’Or served as a luscious mini fondue, makes for a warm, flavourful meal that’s great to share with family and friends (individual and double-sized portions are sold at most stockists)–or as a cosy meal à deux–along with some crisp Swiss white wine. Here’s a little information about this wonderful, seasonal cheese that literally needs to be scooped up during its limited availability in the shops: Vacherin Mont-d’Or AOC is made from September to April by a small group of dedicated Swiss affineurs in the Jura Mountains. It’s one of only six Swiss cheeses to carry the prestigious certified label of origin (AOC) awarded by Swiss PDO-PGI Association. To merit this certification, each stage of production must take place within the region of origin thus guaranteeing its distinct character and unmistakable identity. The cheese comes courtesy of cows brought down from high pasture to spend the cold winter months in stables, meaning it’s not available for very long. Like all good things that too …