Confuzzledom

Just a place for me to gather my thoughts


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Foodie penpals July reveal

I am a terrible blogger and forgot to get my foodie penpals post ready for the big reveal on the last day of July. Oops. In my defence, I received my parcel relatively late in the month and I had a wedding to attend. In the UK. Those are my excuses and I’m sticking to them! Anyway, my foodie penpals this month were both in UK. I sent a parcel to the lovely Selina and received one from Kate (I would provide links if they had blogs…). Here’s what I got from Kate:

Foodie package

What? You can’t see everything? Here – I took the items out of the box for you!

Foodie parcel

I have to confess, I very cheekily requested the beef Hula Hoops. I love beef Hula Hoops! (Also Flamin’ Hot Monster Munch, Skips, Bacon Fries, Mini Cheddars and Wotsits, just in case anyone was thinking of sending me a care package ;-) ).

This month I actually managed to restrain myself for long enough to take individual photos of some of the items, so here’s what I received in detail:

Foodie penpals

Baking stuff, specifically mini loaf cases, chocolate honeycomb decoratey type stuff and cardamom pods. I’ve never used a cardamom pod for anything in my life! Research shall have to be done…

Foodie penpals

Yummy sweet treats! Fruit crumble sweeties, treacle tart flavour chocolate and raspberry flavoured pieces of dried coconut. SO TASTY!

Foodie penpals

Beefy stuffs! The aforementioned Hula Hoops and some sweet/sour/spicy flavoured beef jerky. Kate is a vegetarian but she sent me meat. How nice is that?! The beef jerky was yummy.

Foodie penpals

Smoked chilli flavoured mayonnaise. I haven’t tried this yet – it’s sitting in my fridge waiting for an opportunity. What does one serve spicy mayonnaise with?

And that was this month’s package. Yes, I took my photos on the floor. So what?

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, here’s what I sent to Selina:

Foodie penpalsSwitzerland in an envelope, so to speak.

The matches for August came out today, so if you haven’t already I’m afraid you’re too late to sign up for this month, but you can sign up right now to take part in September. To read the rules and sign up go here. (This is the European version, for those of you in the US/Canada, the original Foodie Penpals on The Lean Green Bean is here.)


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A Wedding in Wokingham

Bearwood College

My cousin got married this weekend at Bearwood College in Wokingham, so I had a (literally) flying visit back to England: flew out on Friday morning, attended the wedding on Saturday and flew back yesterday afternoon. It was worth it though – I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many members of my mum’s side of the family in one place! In fact, the last time I saw some of my cousins some of the other cousins weren’t even born! (That includes the bride, who I hadn’t seen in at least 12 years and unfortunately didn’t really see at the wedding either, other than to say congratulations as we left the room the ceremony was held in. She had a baby a few weeks ago and by the time I went looking for her she’d already taken him home).

I can’t post any pictures of people because I don’t like to do that without permission, but I can show you few of the venue and the decorations. The location was amazing! We even saw a deer when we first arrived and were waiting outside for things to start happening! Unfortunately my camera ended up on a wrong setting and most of my photos turned out blurry or too dark, but a few are vaguely okay.

Here’s Bambi, plus a shot of the hall (yes, there are people on that one but I think they’re far enough for it to be okay).

The groom’s mum  made the cake! I was amazed – it looked so professional. And she also made the chocolate lollies that each person had at their place at the table.

Wedding cake

Instead of a number, each of the tables had the name of a place that holds some significance for the bride and groom. Ours was Bruges, which I presume is just somewhere they’ve been on holiday. The most important tables were Slough, which is where they met, and Windsor Great Park, where the groom proposed.

The food was delicious! Pork belly with Bramley apple sauce and chorizo to start, followed by steak with hand-cut chips and then Tart au Citron for dessert. The vegetarian’s obviously got something different, but I don’t remember what that was.

We continued partying until around 11:30, took a taxi back, then headed to the bar at the hotel for a night cap as it was my mum’s birthday the next day and she wanted to stay up until midnight. It was a really nice wedding, the bride looked beautiful (I’m sure I won’t look anywhere near that amazing less than 2 months after giving birth!) and it was amazing to see so many members of my family. It had been four years since the last big family gathering. Hopefully this time it won’t be as long before I see them all again!


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Olten Street Food Festival

I’ve mentioned the Olten Street Food Festival on my blog before because it happened to take place on June’s photo an hour day. However, I also meant to write a full post dedicated to the festival and Olten, and that hasn’t happened yet. There’s another Monday Escapes linkup happening today, so it seemed like a good opportunity.

Olten is only about half an hour from Basel by regional or inter-city train (faster by ICE – express train – but more expensive), but it’s already in another canton, namely Solothurn, and some of its surrounding towns are in another one again – Aargau. The town, which has a population of roughly 17,300, is located on the River Aare.

The food festival was taking place in Kirchgasse and Baslerstrasse. On the way there, we admired the streets of the old town.

Before deciding what to eat, we had a walk around the festival to see what was on offer. It wasn’t particularly large, but there was still quite a range of foods! Quite a lot of Indian stands, but also Japanese, Argentinian and Italian, just to give a few examples. And, of course, there was raclette!

Finally, we decided to start with something “local” – there was a stand offering tiny burgers (just the right size to be able to fit more food in afterwards!) and proudly proclaiming that the beef was from happy, Swiss cows.

The choice was a good one – the burgers were delicious! Tasty beef and yummy melted Swiss cheese.
Next up was a Columbian/Venzeuelan speciality – Arepas, corn bread with various fillings! Jan chose a vegetarian one with black beans and cheese while I went for chicken, which also came with cheese. It tasted a bit like the enchilada fillings you get in Mexican restaurants, but less spicy. Very tasty though! We had to wait a while for our order to be finished, so while I queued and Jan fetched drinks, the camera came back out ;-)

As you might have noticed from the photos, it was a bit of a weird weather day. One minute it was bright sunshine, like in the photos above, the next it was cold and chucking it down, only to clear up again and become far too hot for rain coats 10 minutes later!

From one South-American cuisine to the next… we were getting quite full by this point, but we decided we still had time for a little Coxhina from a small Brazilian stand. This time, Jan chose chicken and I went for beef. Jan’s was delicious and mine had a nice flavour but unfortunately was still slightly cold inside. The filling was precooked though (they just reheated them at the stand), so I ate it anyway.

CoxinhaAt that point, Jan decided he would like a coffee and I remembered seeing a sign for Turkish coffee at the entrance to the festival, so we headed to the Turkish stand. I chose a homemade lemonade, as I’m not a fan of Turkish coffee. The stall owner tried really hard to get us to also take one of his pastries, so we chose a pistachio-filled one to share.

The lemonade was lovely and refreshing and the pastry was not too sweet.
Having done enough eating for the day, we decided to have a walk around the rest of Olten while we were there. The old ton area is pretty but fairly small. Outside the old town, the buildings aren’t quite as nice, but the entire town is surrounded by mountains and greenness – a description that could apply to anywhere in Switzerland really ;-)

Once we were back at the river, we were also almost back at the train station. With no room inside for more food, we decided to take the next train home. All in all, it was a lovely afternoon out and after reading so many other bloggers’ accounts of food festivals I was happy to finally get one of my own to try! There are more street food festivals planned by the same company for Lucerne (7-9 August 2015) and Berne (14-15 August 2015) and I’ve just read about another one in Solothurn (the city that gives the canton its name), which is taking place on 29 and 30 Augzst 2015, so hopefully I’ll make it to another one this summer!

Have you been to a street food festival? What would you have chosen to eat if you’d been in Olten with us? Let me know in the comments! And if you’ve got a travel tale for Monday Escapes, click the button below.

My Travel Monkey


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Apple, walnut and cranberry salad

Salad

With all the ridiculously hot weather we’ve been having lately, the idea of cooking full meals is just not pleasant. The result: lots of salads for dinner! This one is probably technically more of an autumn salad as it uses apples, but since they’re available all year round these days it’s an easy one to make at any time and the fruit is lovely and refreshing on a hot summer’s day. Here’s the recipe:

Apple, Walnut and Cranberry Salad

Ingredients:
100g lettuce leaves (I use lamb’s lettuce – I find it goes well with the walnuts)
1 apple
100 g walnut halves
75 g dried cranberries
2 dessert spoons walnut oil
2 dessert spoons apple cider vinegar
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Method:
1. Toast the walnuts by placing them in a hot frying pan for around 5 minutes (or do them in the oven), then set aside to cool for a while. While they’re cooling, core and slice the apple.

2. Wash the lettuce and place it in a salad bowl, then add the walnuts, sliced apple and dried cranberries and toss everything a bit to mix it evenly.

3. For the dressing, mix together the walnut oil, apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt plus black pepper to taste.

4. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss so everything is covered in dressing. This amount serves 2 as a side dish. We had it with marinated grill cheese, but I imagine it would also go well with pork (thanks to the apples) or grilled chicken.

Food


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A photo an hour: 20 June 2015

In the middle of last week I read about a street food festival that was taking place in Olten (about 45 minutes train ride from us) on Saturday, which seemed like perfect timing – usually I find out about these things just after they occur rather than just before. When Jane pointed out that Saturday was also photo an hour day, the timing felt even more perfect. Obviously it was my fate to go! I’m planning a full post about the street food festival for later in the week, but for now here’s Saturday’s photo an hour:

10 a.m. I’m up! As usual, a cup of tea is needed before I do anything else. Trying to switch things up a bit by taking a photo of my cups in the cupboard.

11 a.m. Shower time! Look, it’s the shower in the new flat!

12 noon. Sorting out dry washing. *Yawn*

1 p.m. On the train (actually not 1 p.m. because we were busy buying tickets then and I kind of forgot about the photo. But 1 p.m. ish).

2 p.m. Still on the train. At least the view from the window was nice!

3 p.m. Waiting for some food at the festival! The weather kept switching from bright sunshine to rain literally within seconds – I felt like I was back in Britain! In this photo, it’s about to rain again.

4 p.m. Drinking lemonade from a Turkish stall. Very tasty and actually cheap!

5 p.m. Back on the train. I think we were near Sissach at this point.

6 p.m. Home! Doing a bit of cross stitch.

7 p.m. Erkältungstee time! I’m still not sure how a bunch of herbs can cure a cold, but anything’s worth a try, right?

8 p.m. Taking a break from cross stitching to read.

9 p.m. A late and light dinner since we spent the afternoon stuffing ourselves at the food festival.

10 p.m. (Ahem. Sort of). Rush (the film about Niki Lauda) was on Channel 4 so we decided to watch it. We get Channel 4 in Switzerland (and E4, More 4 and the BBC and ITV channels!).

11 p.m. Still watching Rush.

Midnight. Will this film ever end?!
It actually did end 15 minutes later then I went to bed without taking a photo. I don’t want to ruin my symmetry though, so here’s a bonus photo of the bedroom that I took a while ago to show my grandma our new place. You can see from the noon photo that we have different bedding on now.

The photo an hour roundup post isn’t up yet, but once it is you’ll find the link here.


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Basel Markthalle

Basel Markthalle

The May Day weekend was too rainy to really go anywhere (the photo above was taken the following week when the sun finally showed its face!), but seeing as it was both a long weekend and my first weekend in my new home it seemed a bit of a shame to spend the entire time at home. We had seen the Markthalle (literally market hall) a few times from the tram and another blogger had mentioned it as being a place where you could get relatively cheap food (cheap is always relative in Switzerland, unless you’re talking about taxes), so we decided to check it out. Unfortunately, a lot of the stalls were closed for the long weekend, including this one that was the very first thing I spotted when we walked in:

Basel MarkthalleIf you look closely you’ll se the words “Pie another day” on the stall :-D
Oh well, at least now I know where to go when I have a craving for pie and mash that isn’t made by me!
Here are some more photos. The place was fairly empty when we were there – I’m not sure whether we were just too early for the lunchtime rush or everyone else knew it wasn’t worth going on May day weekend.

We finally decided to purchase lunch from a stall selling Lebanese cuisine. They also have a restaurant just round the corner from where we live so checking it out seemed like a good idea. I chose a mixed plate so I could have both meat and vegetables. You could choose between a chicken or lamb kebab – I went for lamb while Jan had chicken.

Just look at all that hummus!

Just look at all that hummus!

I also had a Lebanese lager, which you can just about spy behind my plate. It was okay, but nothing special.
This was a whole month ago and I’m useless so I don’t actually remember what this plate of food cost, but it was definitely less than in an ordinary Swiss restaurant! I will certainly be visiting the Basel Markthalle again – apart from my need for the occasional pie there’s Persian, Argentinian and Phillipine waiting to tickle my taste buds. Yum!


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My first Foodie Penpals reveal!

I heard about Foodie Penpals from Meredith, who blogs over at Kaffee und Kuchen, and was immediately interested. I mean, the only thing that could possibly be better than receiving mail that isn’t bills is receiving mail that isn’t bills and consists of yummy food. I went and signed up immediately and then had to wait a whole week for May’s matches to come out. With Foodie Penpals, you receive not one match but two – one person to send some treats to and one who sends you goodies. My package came from Birute in Lithuiana. I wasn’t clever enough to photograph the individual items separately so all you’re getting is this crappy snapshot ;-)

Lithuanian foodImmediately after taking that photo, I devoured the little chocolate bar you can see at the front, in between the cheese and the instant mashed potatoes. Most of the rest is gone now as well – the cheese went on a home-made pizza, the sweets gradually disappeared over a few days and a small piece of the dark chocolate went into some vegetarian chilli (dark chocolate in chilli is amazing! Seriously, go try it!). Only the tea bags are still hanging on (that’s the pretty box at the back). They contain a tea with thyme, mallow root and… I don’t remember what else (sorry – too lazy to go and look in the cupboard). I was very impressed with my first foodie package :-)

My other partner was Emma from England, who blogs at Something New Each Week. Unfortunately I haven’t heard yet whether her package has arrived – I hope it has though because I sent it at the same time as I sent another package to a friend (also in England) and hers arrived over a week ago. Here’s a little sneaky peek of what I sent to Emma anyway:

Swiss foodsFoodie Penpals is taking a break in June because the lovely Carol Anne who runs it is off on holiday, but if you’re interested in taking part in July you can read the rules and sign up here. (This is the European version, for those of you in the US/Canada, the original Foodie Penpals on The Lean Green Bean is here.)

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