Tuesday, 23 June 2009

My weekend in Switzerland's now becoming more of a beautiful memory rather than feeling like something recent that actually happened! It's hard to encapsulate, but it was good to the point of being almost spiritual- a very special occasion (a special cousin's wedding) , a beautiful place- close to Thun by the lake, bordered by mountains and the warmest weather of the season so far, at 30 degrees plus. I stayed with family too, who I don't see so often because of the geography of it, and I absolutely adore them all.
Posting a handful of pictures from the wedding day, it was beautiful.

It was my second night away from the boys, and for that reason, as much as I'd been looking forward to the weekend, I was also anxious- it was such a wrench to board a plane and go off. But it's not as though we were both going away overnight/abroad, still feel they are a bit young for that. In the end though, the boys had been asking me 'mummy, when are you going on a plane?' because I'd said we'd get them a Thomas book from the series around the time I went. Shameless bribery? Yes. But also extra things to occupy them for the weekend! The boys were fine though, of course, and they all came to Gatwick to meet me; exhilirating to see them again!

Vegetarian/vegan swiss experience
I ate so, so well! Aside from the gorgeous wedding banquet (partly vegan, partly veggie) the swiss really know how to do salad. I'm not big on it usually, but in Switzerland there seems to be a knack of how to flavour food.. at Zurich airport, there was a restaurant with an amazing salad bar. Then round for dinner at my Aunt's, amongst other things a gorgeous potato salad. I need to get the recipe! I think though that a lot of the potato dressings include horseradish sauce, which isn't vegan because it has egg in it....

I had an attempt to recreate it back home without horseradish sauce, using mustard, rice vinegar, olive oil and fresh chives. It was good, but... I need to get a recipe!!

On the chocolate front... I must confess, I was very much almost vegan. I couldn't resist milk chocolate in Switzerland. I bought some chocolate from Bern for the boys, boxed with a picture of the bear symbol of the city, which me and my brother had been given as presents as children! There is a delicious brand called 'frey', who also do dark chocolate. I bought some but when checked the ingredients noticed that it had some milk content. Choosing chocolates to take back to Rohan and Luca's preschool proved tricky because I couldn't find one brand that didn't containt nuts (hazlenuts). So tricky with nut allergies, although a cousin with children said that nut allergies are common there too, so you obviously have to know where you're looking and go to specialist shops.

Cant' believe Switzerland was a month ago... the last few weeks have been a whirlwind. And this last one, Mit's been in San Francisco for a week with work. We are so looking forward to having him back tomorrow... has felt far away....tonight's been a funny one, as our online Sainsburys' order didn't arrive, after it had already been rearranged to this evening... I've had to grapple with my sense of perspective because I could have cried when I realised we can't get it til friday! We have a £20 voucher as compensation, however this does not give much cheer to hungry Marly, who's dinner (and breakfast for the morning) was meant to be in the delivery... happily, our newish neighbours are cat owners (and LOVELY!) and gave me some supplies until I can get to the shops after the preschool journey in the morning. Luckily, we have soya milk and basics for us.

Today we got some 'welcome home' flowers for daddy:

And this flower opened up this morning.. treasured friends gave the plant as a housewarming gift last year, purple clematis...looks painted to me, sitting there, almost too beautiful to be true!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

tart time

I want to report back on Switzerland... I'll do that soon....I just need a little more time than I have this eve.. no clothes to wear for anyone so must iron and maybe a few mins on the exercise bike to counteract today's indulgence:

Bakewell Tart from 'Another dinner is possible'. This was divine! When out and about I haven't always been able to resist these... and Morelli's in Broadstairs (went back for the day recently) do a very nice home made type one which just goes so nicely with coffee I think!
Got up early to make the pastry for this, but it was straightforward. The only thing I might do differently next time is to add a few more almonds above the jam (the almonds are all ground and mixed in the pastry in this recipe). The boys layered and iced some a smaller one each and we had such a lovely 'cafe in the garden' moment tasting them after some gardening!

Having mixed results with our planting efforts. The boys had a potato bag each... one bag is doing fabulously... the other nothing, but I think that that was down to some over-zealous attention! We have another pot which has since been adopted..

The coriander grew about 3cm and was looking great. Then one morning, the leaves had gone! The same thing happened with both troughs. I'm not sure what happened there... I think it might have been Marly nibbling it, or squirrels....