Thursday, July 30, 2009

I love Saisonküche Magazine

Hey you - yeah you foodie you. I am talking to the one that likes all those food blogs and is trying out the new recipes and likes to eat... yeah, that is right - YOU. (wink) Hi there. :)

I thought you might like to know about a magazine that I read in Switzerland - well, the only magazine I have a subscription to actually so that should be telling enough (subscriptions are not $10 like in the States, but more - what's new - this is Switzerland you know...). But I loved this food magazine so much that I had to subscribe to it and I am glad I did.

Saisonküche is a monthly magazine about food, cooking, and food culture in Switzerland. The recipes are great and I specifically love the article each month that deconstructs a typical Swiss recipe to try (see Schweizer Klassiker online). This month for summer they had a Wurst-Käse-Salat (Sausage and cheese salad - and it uses all the stuff from the garden right now - score!).

Now, I know that the magazine is in German - but I think that is actually a good thing, as what better incentive than a big tasty something do you need to learn a bit more of the language? The other potential downside is that the magazine is sponsored heavily (if not owned?) by Migros - so a lot of the ads and food used are Migros products, but that is not too bad. They have really great offers for members to save on cookbooks and cooking equipment, too. And their website gets better each time I look at it.

So if you are a foodie like me and you want to learn a bit more German and enjoy great food - go ahead and get a subscription to Saisonküche and let me know what you think! I guarantee you will enjoy finding it in your mailbox each month.

Bonus! I just realized you can get a free copy of Saisonküche to try. Just fill out this form online.

More tomorrow on how I celebrated Switzerland's National Day in Ulm, Germany - I am crazy - I know! But you still love me right? And a few more cookbooks I recommend as this might just have to be a cooking week on Swisstory! Enjoy!
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Happy 718th Birthday Switzerland!

Saturday, August 1st, is the 718th Swiss National Day! Time to grab your grill and a few cervelats, head down to the river and light up those fireworks to celebrate.

Word on the street and on wiki is that the action is at the Rhein Falls near Schaffhausen, where they light up the falls and set off an impressive fireworks display. I heard that driving there is a nightmare - but then again, what would a fireworks display be without the annoying midnight traffic back-up? So hop on the train or check out what your local area is putting on for the big day (the chances are good something is happening locally - in Urdorf it's on baby) and enjoy the show.

(For all those hard workers - bummer the holiday didn't fall on a week-day, isn't it?) ;)
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Harvest time at the Swiss allotment!

So the garden is in full swing and that means harvest time! All the Swiss plots are full of great fruit and veg and the plots are a flurry of excitement as everyone rushes to harvest their crop at the best times - having garden parties to celebrate the bounty... and me too! Here's the run down on what I am harvesting at the plot this week:
  • The beans are in full swing - yellow and green - and lot of them! They are a bit small at the moment, but I figure if I pick them over time I will get some small and some big ones and it will even out. Yum - fresh beans!
  • The onions are ready - I have spring onions, pickling onions (which I will try to pickle for Jace - fingers crossed that I don't end up with a moldy grey jar of vinegar - it can happen!), and regular big ol' yellow onions. They are coming up over time and eventually I will lift, dry and store them all.
  • We have carrots! For some reason, I figured I would totally fail with the carrots as the soil has to be just right, well draining, forked through and perhaps a bit sandy. I have great soil so I thought I would have forked carrots. Not so! They are awesome - both red carrots and orange.
  • Um, see those huge green things on the right - those are zucchini and yeah, I left them for a bit too long. Can you say zucchini bread, zucchini brownie (so yummy!) and ratatouille? Oh yes, and then some. After making all that, I still have these big daddies. Bread em' and bake them, Mom says. I think I might have to tomorrow.
  • Chilies (hot peppers I mean) are coming. So are the tomatoes. I had to move the chilis this last weekend actually because the tomatoes and pumpkins were drowning them out. They are happy living where the peas used to be, I hope. I hope moving them so late was not a mistake!
  • And how can forget those potatoes? They are all up now - and although they are not huge there are enough of them to last until winter if they store well (paper sack, in a dark, cool place)...
Honestly, I still cannot believe I have grown all this! It has been a lot of work - but it has been worth it for sure. More is still to come - fresh sweet corn, pumpkins (to eat and to decorate), lots more carrots, onions, radishes, chilis, tomatoes, beans, spinach, chinese cabbage, and more!

Enjoy some photos of the harvest - and check in again soon!

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Thanks for your help with the Photo Walk Submission!

Busy weekend... busy week ahead! Just a quick post for today - but I have a garden update coming up tomorrow.

Here are the two shots I submitted for the World Wide Photo Walk - wish me luck! Thank you to everyone for your great feedback and encouragement!

You can see all the photos that were submitted by the Zürich walkers (or at least those that submitted a photo!) here: Zürich World Wide Photo Walk submissions

There is also a great Flickr page with a lot more shots from the day. Enjoy!

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Almost Famous - Swissnews Article by Chantal

Blogging for business & pleasure by Chantal Panozzo
So a few months ago, a fellow blogger and mega-talented writer, Chantal Panozzo, interviewed me for an article in Swissnews about blogging and it just came out today! There are some great bits in there about what I do, how I blog for fun and for fortune (albeit a small, tiny, could carry it in my pocket fortune), and how Jace is my editor and chief (Ooh I love that quote the most!).

I am not the only one featured - Julie from Zurika and Toma from the Antiques Diva also were featured - rightly so, I love their blogs. Please check them out. The article turned out smashingly - if I do say so myself - and I hope you take a second to check it out and let me know what you think.

Read the article:
OH - and welcome Swissnews readers! Thanks for stopping by! (Now click on those ads...! - just kidding... :)
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Walk on the Wild Side...

Another great shot from the Worldwide Photo Walk...

Switzerland is full of rules. Sometimes too many. Here are a few things to do if you want to be a bit different and walk on the wild side in Switzerland. Have fun.
  1. 'Rechts stehen, links gehen.' Have you heard this before? It means 'Stand to the right, walk on the left.' It pertains to when you are standing on an escalator - you should stand on the right and walk on the left. Want to be different and piss some people off in the meantime, how about standing in the middle? Or perhaps you want to lay down on the escalator. Be my guest. (Jace hates this too! hehe)

  2. Instead of kissing on the cheek - go for the hug. It throws the Swiss off... way off... perhaps it is too much contact. Then again, I would rather hug a lot of people than come that close to them with my mouth. Up to you!

  3. Don't dry your hair. I do not even own a hair drier. I cannot tell you how many weird looks I get when I wear my hair wet or come to work with wet hair - despite it being 80 degrees out. I think it goes against all Swiss principles...

  4. Eat peanut butter in public. Man - this is almost a universal annoyance to anyone that is not American. No one, especially the Swiss, can fathom why you would spread peanuts on bread - and couple that with jam or jelly and they just go INSANE.

  5. Dip pineapple in your fondue... I love to tell the Swiss what I like to dip in their fondue. If it is not bread, it just drives them mad... 'Oh yea, I love to dip pineapple, broccoli, cauliflower... all that straight into my Appenzeller. Just dip it right in, yum, yum, yum.' And watch the jaws drop.

  6. Answer the phone with just hello. Oh does it stop them in their tracks. RING RING... 'Hello.'....... PAUSE FOR 16 hours... 'Um...Gruetzi, Frau Schweiz am Apparat..'... and then just say 'Ja.' Oh is it great. Then again, I don't like answering the phone so sometimes I just don't.
Got any others? What do you do to have a bit of fun with the Swiss... (before they take their alphorn and beat you over the head with it for making them resent letting you into their great country...) :)
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Monday, July 20, 2009

Worldwide Photo Walk (Help!)

1. Reflections of you.
Saturday afternoon, amazingly during a dry spell, I took part in the 2nd annual Worldwide Photo Walk in Zurich. Over 900 cities around the world took part in the walk, organized in part by the notorious Scott Kelby with help from sponsors and local organizers around the world.

The goal: Walk around with a group, take some shots, meet new people, enjoy photography, and win great prizes. Who knows if I will win anything - most likely not. But I had a lot of fun watching all the photo enthusiasts scurrying around Zurich, shooting up a storm... and I got a lot of fun shots! But don't take my word for it - see for yourself!

Ps. This is where I need your help! I have to submit 2 photos to the Walk site/competition. Here are those that I liked. What do you think? Help! Let me know in the comments what you like best! And check out the photo walk site in August to see shots from other participants around the world.

2. A clean game of chess

3. The bars of Zurich

4. Handling it all

5. Swiss scenes

6. First steps together

7. An apple a day 1

8. An apple a day 2

9. Church scenes

10. Fish out of water

11. River contemplations

12. Round the corner

13. Steps

14. Chess pieces

15. Defeat

16. Thirsty work

17... Woops! This is Kerrin! She and Nik were both on the walk as well! Nik already posted a lot of great shots (of us!) on Facebook from the event - here is one of my favorites... hopefully we will see more of their shots on their blogs!

Now - back to the matter at hand - which shot do you like? ;)
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 2 - Stereotypical Prague

Day 2 in Prague was much more relaxed. We did a bit of shopping and walking around the city - lots and lots of walking - and took in all things that are stereotypically Czech.

For example - we did some souvenir shopping. It seems that if you are in the market for some typically Czech souvenirs, you cannot go wrong with the following: marionnette puppets, matroyska dolls (Russian dolls but also Czech specialties, like those in the first picture), and decorated eggs. And don't forget the crystal... no pictures of that though.

I just had to take a picture of these marionnette puppets together - doesn't this just scream scandal? And the eggs were amazing but I did not know how I felt about carrying around real eggs (YES! Those are real eggs they decorate! Not wooden!). It would just be a disaster waiting to happen with me...

I believe for breakfast we also went full out and had sausages... scratch that, we had kielbasa. That is right, I tapped into my heritage and roots to ensure we had the really good stuff. Everywhere in the tourist area there are carts full of sausage for you to dig into, and the ladies behind the counter serve you with a smile and ask, 'Sausage, please?'... 'Drink, please?' Ah it killed me.

Here Jace said, 'Yes, pleassssssse!' And it was good.

The other thing that is typical about Prague is that it seems to be the party capital of the East - perhaps even of Europe - and the sin taxes are low and the sin establishments are high. So you can get cheap beer, absinth, cigars, and dancing girls all probably while waiting in line for KFC. Thank you fall of Communism, hello rise of commercialism. So you see a lot of these party limos around town, just begging to take you to a smoky, dodgy establishment where you can no doubt get all that above at cheap prices... Sugar Bar anyone?

Then again, if that is not your style, how about this sweet ride I stumbed into? Talk about a blast from the past.

Prague is also a music center - I believe several famous classical composers are from Prague - anyone want to remind me who? So we took in one of the many advertised concerts on Saturday night and heard some Mozart while the sun went down... if you don't want to pay for a concert, perhaps you will run into a rag time band like this one below, playing on the Charles Bridge.

And finally, as Tina mentioned when I asked for tips before leaving for Prague, do not miss the dark beer. Jeez was it good. It was like molasses and brown sugar and honey and barley all having a party in my mouth... I think. I am not a good beer connoisseur, not like Tina. But I know what I like, and Tina was right. This stuff is GREAT!

So did you get that list of sterotypical Prague things to do? Let me reiterate:
  1. Get a typical souvenir: decorated eggs, marionnette puppets, matroyska dolls, Czech crystal, etc.
  2. Eat a sausage.
  3. Pay your sin tax - or at least bask in the flashiness of it all.
  4. Catch a concert.
  5. Drink some dark beer.

More on the Jewish Quarter of Prague tomorrow. It was very moving and interesting... until then, how about another slideshow?!
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A birthday in Prague

Last Friday, Jace and I took the day off to celebrate our birthdays, both Cancers, and take a long weekend trip to Prague. In summary, it was really lovely. Not what I expected, but looking back, I am not sure what I really expected - perhaps more Eastern Block, less tourism... but despite all the tourists and commercialism (can you say KFC, Subway and Hard Rock?), Prague is lovely - great architecture, good food ('Sausage, please?!'), cheap and delicious beer, and a lot of culture and history (can you say goodbye Communism?).

On Friday, we arrived via Swiss Airlines and got a 3 day metro pass for the weekend. It took about 25 minutes to get to our hotel from the airport via bus (119) and line A to Namesti Miru. After a quick brunch (at KFC, I know, we should be shot), we walked into town (the long way) taking in all the sites... eventually ending up at a market in the center of the tourist district.

Before heading to the castle, we pretty much just explored the main tourist area of the city near Staromestska metro station, including the Astronomical Clock (at the hour the apostles do a little dance and a skeleton hits a bell... nothing to write home about, but nice)...

the Old Town Square ...

and the Charles Bridge and surrounding area...

before stopping for some refreshment...

We then walked up to the Prague Castle, entering from the Ke Hradu end, west of the Castle. We paid what felt like an astronomical amount for the audio tour of the castle, including over 25 (sometimes painfully long...) audio clips just about St. Vitus Cathedral and the palace surrounds, but in the end the 1000 koruna was really only about CHF 58 (we paid more than that to see Van Gogh in Basel!). All in all, the audio was worth it - as the Castle and Cathedral are the main tourist sights in Prague - and everyone else knows it! It gets very busy here, so plan accordingly.

Zlatá ulička (or the Golden Lane), east of the cathedral, is also where Franz Kafka's house is - or so I think - and quite a tourist trap. But the little houses are quaint and fun to see tucked into the castle walls.

After walking around the castle, church and monestary, we walked down the other side of the castle by Svatováclavská vinice (St. Wenceslas´ Vineyard), on the east. This was a beautiful section of the city with amazing views and little wine cafes tucked into the hillside. Simply lovely.

After a long day, we went back to the hotel to refresh and get ready for some goulash dinner and a few pints of dark Czech beer before tucking in to prepare for Saturday... more details tomorrow!

Here - something new: A slide show of all the photos from Day 1! Ps. The first pictures is a tree with what looks like budding orchids I saw in Prague - brownie points if anyone knows what this tree is! (ps. I don't have a clue what it is! But I like it...)

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