Confuzzledom

Just a place for me to gather my thoughts


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Let’s talk about Swiss prices

So, I made it to Switzerland! I actually managed to get all the cleaning done in time and the move itself went smoothly. It was a looong day though, hence no blog post last night.

I’ve got this week off to get settled in, so since Jan is at work, I went shopping today. Here’s what I bought:

shopping

That little lot cost me 34 Swiss francs, which is 32 euros and 82 cents or 23 pounds 49p. I think it’s about time Jan got his first Swiss pay check!


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35 Before 35: Make cheesecake

A few weeks ago, somebody posted a recipe for Toblerone Cheesecake on Facebook. I love Toberlone and I love cheesecake, so I immediately made a note of it. Then, when I was looking for simple, quick recipes for our leaving party, my mind went back to that Facebook post. With only five ingredients (chocolate Digestives, butter, cream cheese, cream and, obviosuly, Toberlone) and no need for baking it was definitely both quick and easy! I used this recipe from the BBC Good Food website. The Philadelphia website also has one that’s basically the same, but of course they insist you use Philadelphia rather than any old cream cheese (as it happens, I did buy Philadelphia, but only because it was on offer!). Here’s my finished article:

Toblerone cheesecakeEveryone who tried a bit said it was delicious and I liked it so much I actually ended up having some for breakfast on Monday because I couldn’t possibly wait til I got home from work to taste it again ;-)

And that’s another item crossed off the 35 Before 35 list.


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A photo an hour: Saturday, 21 March 2015

I managed to quickly upload these photos last night before Jan took the computer apart so that I could spend my lunch break writing up Saturday’s photo an hour. The chosen date happened to be the day of our leaving party, so for once the photos aren’t just drinking tea, cross stitching and doing housework! However, I also forgot to take any more photos after the party started so the day ends at 9 p.m. ;-)

8:30 a.m. Faaar too early to be up on a Saturday, but I have loads to do. But first a cup of tea is needed! (Will there ever be a photo and hour day that doesn’t start with tea? I doubt it!)

9 a.m. (switching back to on the hour because I prefer it). Trying to find a recipe for the evening’s vegetarian option. It shall be curry, but which one?

10 a.m. Showered and dressed. How amazing are these tights?! I fully expected them to be ripped by the end of the evening, but they lived to see another wearing. Woo hoo!

11 a.m. Crushing biscuits, a.k.a wishing I owned a food processor!

12 noon. Melt chocolate, melt!

1 p.m. Taking a break from the kitchen to put together another box to be filled with things from the spare room.

2 p.m. Back to baking. Mixing flour and cocoa powder together.

3 p.m. The dairy-free chocolate and coconut cupcakes are out of the oven. Now they just need to cool so they can be frosted. Also, look at my fabulous new cupcake holders!

4 p.m. Switching to savoury food. Time to make cheese scones. (And immediately after taking that photo came the thought “Aaargh, it’s 4 p.m. and I haven’t even started peeling the potatoes for the curry yet!)

5 p.m. The potatoes are peeled and chopped, so I’ve decided to make a start on the chilli while I wait for Jan to return from the shops with the remaining curry ingredients.

6 p.m. Curry and chilli coming along nicely. (Please ignore the stack of dirty bowls in the background that I hadn’t got round to washing yet.)

7 p.m. First batch of sausage rolls done!

8 p.m. Moving things over to the table.

9 p.m. Finally everything’s ready (ages after our guests arrived)… let’s eat!

Aaaand that was it as far as photos are concerned. I didn’t get to bed until 3 a.m., but a photo an hour ended there. A very busy day, but the food was yummy! (I’m just glad the chosen date wasn’t the next day, otherwise this post would have consisted of 12 photos of half-packed boxes with different contents!)

You can see who else joined in this time on Jane’s and Louisa’s posts. Thanks for hosting, you two!


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A Photo an Hour: 21 February 2015

Yesterday I took part in A Photo an Hour, hosted by Jane from Is That You Darling? and Louisa from Duck in a Dress. Here are the results of my efforts.

11 a.m. A late start to the morning (but in my defence, I’d had a looong day the day before… and a long week for that matter!). First things first: a cup of tea is needed!

12 noon Doing a bit of cross stitch (actually, at this point I was unpicking. Yes, I messed up right at the beginning and had to start over)

1 p.m. A spot of lunch (brunch?) while looking for even more flat adverts to respond to. Jan took the tablet while I was fetching my camera and then wouldn’t give it back to me, so instead of a real estate website, you get a photo of my empty plate.

2 p.m. Wrapping a new home gift for a friend ready to take it to the post office.

3 p.m. Showered and dressed… aren’t my spotty tights fab?

4 p.m. Post office done, now to head home via the supermarket. I happened to be passing St Stephen’s Church at 4, and its chimes reminded me to take a photo so I decided it deserved to be the subject of said photo.

5 p.m. Time to wash some dishes. I’m ashamed to say that I was washing dishes from Thursday!

6 p.m. Sorting out some of my crafting supplies… a task that desperately needs doing so I can pack up the spare room read for the move.

7 p.m. Cracking some eggs to make omelets for tea.

8 p.m. Carrot and apple salad (it’s a German thing…)

9 p.m. (actually 9:30… I got distracted!). Cross stitching while watching TV.

11 p.m. I forgot to take a photo at 10! Not that it would have made much difference… still cross stitching. Working on the dreaded French knots of dooooom!

And actually forgetting to take a photo at 10 turned out quite well because it means I get to keep my symmetry. I went to bed after the news, which finished at 11:35, so there was no midnight photo.

So, that was my Saturday. Pretty boring! How was yours?


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I am a bad blogger…

The Lebanese flag

The Lebanese flag

As I mentioned on Friday, we went to look at a flat in Basel on Saturday. The appointment was late afternoon, so we decided to stay the night in Lörrach (on the German side of the border, where hotels are cheaper) and take some time on Sunday to drive around all the areas of Basel where we have inquired about flats. On Saturday night, we went out to eat at a Lebanese restaurant in Lörrach where I failed to take a single photo. Bad blogger! I can assure you that Lebanese food is very tasty, though. For me, it seemed like a mixture of Greek and Turkish cuisine, which is interesting seeing as it’s nowhere near either of those! The menu contained lots of aubergine, chickpeas and lamb dishes. Making a decision was difficult, so we chose a four-course set meal to get a bit of everything. There was a mixed starter plate followed by salad then a main course of meat, meat and more meat served with a spicy tomato cous cous. Dessert was some kind of coconut/cream cake plus a plate of different fruits. It was all delicious and I can highly recommend Cedar’s Lebanese Restaurant if you ever find yourself in Lörrach. You might want to reserve though – it was busy! We were initially sent away for an hour and then asked whether we minded sharing a table with another couple.

In other news, the flat we looked at was nice but much smaller than our current one! It’s in a nice area and has a big balcony out the back, though. We’re currently in the process of filling out forms for the (potential) landlady and gathering evidence that, should we move in, we can actually pay the rent! It seems there are many hoops to jump through before you can actually rent a flat in Switzerland… Meanwhile, we have 2 more appointments arranged for next weekend and are still frantically checking rental websites for new ads every day. Fingers crossed something works out soon!


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Raspberry chocolate dessert pots

DessertThe company Jan currently works for celebrated it’s 30th anniversary last week, so he and all his colleagues were working extremely hard to get everything ready for demonstrating to the visitors. The result was that Jan and I ate together precisely once last week (on Friday – the anniversary was on Thursday). In fact, he didn’t come home before midnight on any of those days. After all that hard work, I decided he deserved a treat, so I made this dessert last night. The amounts given here make 2 pots.

Raspberry Chocolate Dessert Pots

Ingredients:
70 g chocolate digestives (or similar biscuits)
35g butter
125g raspberries
50g dark chocolate
200 ml tub of cream
Caster sugar

Method:

1. Melt the butter in a pan and, while it’s melting, crush the chocolate biscuits. Once that’s done, stir the melted butter and crushed biscuits together.

2. Divide the biscuit crumb mixture between two dessert glasses/bowls (I used glass pots that had previously contained shop-bought cheesecakes. Recycling!), then cover the pots with tinfoil and place them in the fridge for around 15 minutes.

3. Place all but 10 of the raspberries in a bowl and crush them with a fork. Add half a teaspoon of caster sugar and stir it in well, then your pots/glasses back out of the fridge and spread a layer of crushed raspberries over the biscuit-crumb base. Put the pots back in the fridge.

4. Melt the chocolate and 20ml of the cream in a bowl, either in the microwave or over a pan of water, then place to one side to cool for a bit. Once it’s cooled slightly, add a layer of chocolate over the layer of raspberries in your pots then return the pots to the fridge again.

 (*Note: I’m writing this recipe down the way I did it. The chocolate layer ended up hardening though, so next time I might put the chocolate directly on top of the biscuit layer than add the crushed raspberries on top – it might be less messy when eating the dessert later!)

5. Whip the remaining cream until it starts to for firm peaks. Don’t over-whip otherwise it will go liquid again and nothing will persuade the peaks to come back! Take 6 of your remaining raspberries, halve them, and then carefully stir the raspberry halves into the cream. Finally, spoon the whipped cream/raspberry mixture on top of the chocolate layer in your post. Decorate with the remaining raspberries and anything else you want. As you can see, I chose chocolate stars.

 


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Sausage and fennel pasta bake

Pasta bakeRecently I’ve been experimenting with adding fennel to my dishes. I’d seen it in the shops countless times, but never really knew what to do with it. Finally, I decided to just buy some and find out what happened. This is a nice, comforting dish for autumn/winter and has the added bonus of being quick and easy enough to make in the evening after a long day at work. This amount serves 3-4 (me, Jan plus some leftovers for me to take to work for lunch, but Jan eats more than I do – it would be enough for 4 of me).

Ingredients:
Olive oil for frying
1 clove garlic
500g pork sausages (Germany residents: I would normally buy “grobe Bratwurst” but the supermarket didn’t have those this time)
1 fennel bulb
Any small pasta (I like penne, but fusilli or farfalle would also work)
1 400g tin of tomatoes
Cheese (one with a fairly strong taste, like Cheddar or Bergkäse)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (roughly 390°F). Heat some olive oil in a pan.

2. While the olive oil is heating, chop the sausages into bite-sized chunks. Once the oil is hot, crush in the garlic clove and fry for about a minute before adding the sausages.

Sausages and garlic

Sausages and garlic

3. While the sausages are cooking (stir them once in a while so they cook on all sides), chop the fennel into chunks. Once the sausages are mostly brown, add the fennel to the pan. Stir occasionally.

Add the fennel

Add the fennel

4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until it’s just short of being ready (with mine, that took 8 minutes). Drain the pasta then add it to the frying pan with the sausages/fennel.

5. Add a tin of tomatoes to the frying pan, stir everything together and season to taste with salt and pepper, then pour the entire mixture into an oven-proof bowl.

6. Grate cheese all over the top – how much is up to you – and place in the oven until the cheese has all melted. This will take about 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven and exactly how melted you like your cheese.

And there you have it – meaty, cheesy, comforting goodness… and it’s even pretty healthy (as long as you didn’t go too overboard on the cheese). If you wanted, you could add extra vegetables (leek might be nice), replace the sausages with a tin of tuna or, for a vegetarian version, use aubergine or tofu in place of the sausages. It’s entirely up to you!

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