Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I would like to inform you that this weekend (February 3-4), Fridolin, Maruschka and I will be hosting the WCB #87 round-up...

To join the party, you just need to leave a message in the comment section without forgetting to give your permalink. You can also e-mail me ( the needed informations. I will then feature the link to your kitty picture on my blog.

See you soon!!!

P.S. By the way who will be hosting the two next WCB editions? Does anybody know? Thanks for telling me.

(Cat Party -Pic by

Monday, January 29, 2007


"Basboussa" (or "Basboosa", "Arissa", "Haressa") is a rich Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dessert cake made with semolina flour and drenched in a fragrant syrup...

This cake is supposed to originate from Egypt, but it is also well-spread and very popular amongst the Jewish and Arabic communities worldwide. The Jews know it under the name of "Tishpishti" and it is generally baked during the holidays or for special occasions: Rosh Hashanah or Passover (for Pesach, the semolina is replaced by Matzah meal). The Muslims eat this sweet pastry during the Ramadan. "Basboussa" can also be found in Algeria ("Kabel Louz"), Morocco ("Chamia"), Syria ("Namora/Namoura"), Lebanon ("Hrisseh/Nammoura"), Palestine ("Namoura"), Jordan ("Basboussa") Egypt ("Basboussa"), Turkey ("Revani"), Greece ("Revani"), Bulgaria ("Revani"), Cyprus ("Shammali") and many more place...

Sometimes, the syrup is made with honey instead of sugar, the flavorings (Orange Blossom Water, Rosewater, Lemon, Cinnamon, etc...) differ depending on the country where it is made and certain toppings can be added (walnuts, pistachios, almonds, etc...).

The version I am blogging about comes from my much beloved
as well as used Joan Nathan cookbook "Jewish Cooking In America" and the recipe that she gives is of Egyptian Sepharadic origin.

This "Semolina Cake" is amazing both in taste and texture. It is wickidly sweet, ta
ngy, delightfully moist, very delicately perfumed and exquisitely exotic. I love it!!! "Basboussa" is very delicious and comforting to please...

~ Lebanese Namoura. ~

Makes about 24 squares.

2 Cups Cream of wheat
1 Tsp Baking powder
1 Cup Plain yoghurt
1/2 Cup Castor sugar
3 Tbs Unsalted butter, melted
1/4 Cup Bread crumbs
2 Dozen Blanched almonds
2 Cups Castor sugar
2 Cups water
1-1 1/2 Tbs Orange blossom water (see link)
1 Cup Whipped cream (optional)

~Aswan, Egypt. ~

1. Mix together the cream of wheat and the baking powder in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the yoghurt, the sugar and the melted butter.
3. Add the yoghurt mixture to the cream of wheat and mix well.
4. Grease a 25cm (10 inches) round baking pan and dust with the bread crumbs.
5. Pour in the cake mixture and use your hands to pat it down into the pan.
6. Make a design of diamonds by scoring with a knife.
7. Place a blanched almond in each diamond.
8. Bake in a preheated oven at 180° C (350° F) for 30 to 45 minutes or until slightly brown on top.
9. Meanwhile, make the syrup by mixing the sugar and water together.
10. Bring to a boil in a saucepan and simmer until it forms a syrup and is sticky.
11. Add the orange blossom water.
12. As soon as the "Basboussa" comes out of the oven, pour the syrup over.
13. Let the cake stand until cool.
14. Cut slices following the diamond design and place the diamond-shaped pieces in paper cups.
15. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream (optional).

"Cream Of Wheat" is also called "Semolina Flour" or "Durum Wheat Semolina".
You can easily replace the yoghurt by the same quantity of sour cream.
Instead of using orange flower blossom water, try flavoring the syrup with rosewater, lemon rind or cinnamon (powder).

Serving suggestions:
Serve with "Turkish Coffee" (see info) or mint tea (see recipe).

(Namoura -Pic by
(Aswan -Pic by Danos Kounenis

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Kate, Bustopher and Harmon of "Kate In The Kitchen" are proud to be hosting this weekend's WCB event! So, all cat lovers are invited over to party...

To submit your kitty picture, you can either leave a message in their comment se
ction (with your permalink) or email (kate4797 at hotmail dot com) them without forgetting to give all the informations needed.

See you there, then!

Fridolin loves to lie like a lazy king on the tree top, next to the boiling hot radiator. It is his favorite spot as from there he can see and control everything (birds, landscape, Maruschka,etc...) while behaving like a sphinx.

He feels so comfortable up there that when his supper is served, he has to get fetched!!!
Yes, as unimaginable as it sounds, he won't come down even if you call him a hundred times. So, we have to carry him into the kitchen and position him right in front of his plate...
Crazy isn't it?!?

And don't forget that next week, I'll be hosting the WCB #87, so I hope that you'll participate!

(Sphinx -Pic by

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Yay, finally winter has arrived , and in beauty!!!

On Tuesday, the weather changed radically and the temperatures dropped drastically (from 12° C to -2°C). Then, in the afternoon it started to snow and by the evening, everything was covered in white...

In Geneva, the amount of snow which had fallen wasn't too bad (10-12cm). The airport had to be closed for a while and the electricity was cut during the night, because of falling trees.

I love the way things look when everything is white and that very special silence which enshrouds everything when it's snowing is incredibly soothing!...

Wednesday, early in the morning...
The Salève gets brightened up by the last light of the day...
The village houses look rather cold...
A snow-covered end of afternoon Salève...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Here are a few hilarious pictures by Daniela Edburg (see link)...

Enjoy this culinary delirium!!!

~ "Death By Cake" ~
~ "Death By Nutella" ~
~ "Death By Oreos" ~
~ "Death By Tupperware" ~

Which picture do you prefer the most and why?...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


"Blood Sausage" (see link 1, link 2 & link 3) or "Blutwurst", "Black Pudding", "Boudin" is a Swiss charcuterie speciality I didn't like when I was a kid. For me it was too bizarre and totally yucky to eat blood. My reaction was always: "Eeek, not those things again! Bleh!". But now that I'm a little older, wiser and can prepare them my own funky way, I love those "Dracula" sausages!!!

I can understand that for some people it might be a very sick and repulsive (taboo food) act to eat blood, but believe me, once you are able to leave your misjudgements or disgust behind, you'll discover a real delicacy. Yes, "Blood Sausages" are actually succulent and ideal during the wintertime as they are nourishing (calorific and rich in protein, vitamin D and minerals such as iron)!

"Blood Sausages", here in Switzerland, are quite soft (they don't keep their shape very well once the casing is removed unlike "Black Pudding" in the UK), delicately spiced with cinnamon and enhanced with cream.

The following recipe is based on my family's Swiss version of "Blood Sausage" and I must say that it is a great comfort food classic...

Serves 2.


2 Boudins noirs (black)/Blood sausages
30g Unsalted butter

2 Medium onions, sliced
5 Cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
A pinch Italian dried herbs (optional)
Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

1. Open the sausages, discard the skins and coarsely chop them.

2. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add the butter. Let it get slightly brown.
3. Add the onions and garlic, stir-fry until the onions are golden brown.
4. Add the chopped sausage and herbs. Stir-fry over high heat until slightly "dry", about 10 minutes.

5. Salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve.

If you wish, you can also parboil the sausages before opening them and chopping them.
After it has been fried, the blood sausage mixture should still be a little moist.

~ Black and white boudin. ~

Serving suggestions:

Serve the stir-fried "Blood Sausage" with apple sauce/compote and Spätzlis (see recipe), pasta or potatoes puree.

(Pierre Léman -Pic by
(Boudins -Pic by

Monday, January 22, 2007


I'd like you to tell me what this speciality is, where it comes from and how it's used...

It's exotic, it's not spice powder, but it's a condiment and it's made with something which can be found in South America, Africa and Asia (by the way, the lime on the picture is only decorative)...

Will you find out? I wonder...

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Attention all cat lovers, this weekend's WCB roundup is hosted by Sanjee & Co at "Cat Blogosphere", the blog which embraces Feline World Domination...

In order to join the event and be linked, you just need to leave a description of your WCB post and it's permalink in the comment section or send them an email (see link) with all the informations needed.

Get working, then!!!

Maruschka is indeed very sweet and loveable, but sometimes, her affectionate ways can be very tiring and suffocating...
The fact is that she needs to be the center of your attention night and day, without a break.
If you fail to give her the caresses that she's asking for, then you can be sure that she will make a tantrum and rebel.
Rebelling, in black kitty language means dirtying the place or not letting you have a break, sticking madly to you.
At other times, instead of rebelling, she frustratedly eats as a replacement activity.
This "Jammer Tante (Yammer Aunt)" is a real character who can't possibly be ignored and not treated with respect and love, because she is the sweetest thing I've ever met!

(Black Cat -Pic by Unknown)

Thursday, January 18, 2007


The weather here is still very spring-like and doesn't really want to switch over to winter.

At the very moment, it is blowing like hell (foehn), gray, rainy and very warm (13-15° C). I hate this kind of disgusting and depressing weather, yuk!!!

Due to this wave of heat, flowers have appeared on certain bushes or in certain gardens and I even saw cattails on birch tree.Quite a chocking and incredible vision! Generally, those phenomenas appear only in March or April and never in January. Terrifying!

For your pleasure, I have posted a series of sunset pictures which I hope you'll like...

Looking in the direction of "Le Fort De L'Ecluse" in France. The sun is starting to disappear below the horizon...
A pinkish sunset...
A few minutes later, it has gained in intensity...
The sun has nearly completely disappeared behind the Vuache mountain in France....

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


As a new year has started and 2006 is already far away (well, not quite), many food bloggers are posting their "Top Ten Recipes Of 2006". Vanessa of the captivating "Confiture Maison" blog kindly invited me to take part in this game, so it is the occasion for me to submit my own list of dishes that particularly struck my attention in 2006.

It was very difficult for me to choose only ten favorite recipes or dishes, because last year was full of positive surprises and interesting discoveries. I loved every single recipe I posted!!!

All in all, 2006 was fantastic food-wise and I hope that 2007 will be as exciting for my palate as the preceding year...

Bon appétit!!!


Cantuccini or Italian Almond Biscotti
(see recipe)
"Those cookies will delight all foodies in search of a delicate treat to end their afternoon or dinner in beauty..."
Caribbean Jerk Chicken
see recipe)"... a delicious sample of flavors one can find in Jamaica."

Hawaiian Salmon Poke
(see recipe)
"...'Salmon Poke' is fresh, quite simple, yet flavorful, delicate and perfectly harmonious."
Matzah Balls
(see recipe)
"Although there is no meat in a "Matzah Ball", those dumplings have a very pleasant meaty taste (a cross between chicken and veal) that is even more pronounced when they are fried..."

Banh Xeo or Vietnamese Stuffed Pancakes
(see recipe)
"This crisp golden pancake is a tantilizing example of how the food from Vietnam can be delicate and yet loaded with flavors. Eating 'Banh Xeo' is a pure sensual experience..."

Tex Mex Cornbread
(see recipe)
"...a 'Tex Mex Cornbread' which would remind us of scrummy foods like picadillo, burritos, chilli con carne, etc..."

Challah Bread
(see recipe)
"The fabulous aromas which fill the house when it's baked announce the forthcoming of a delicious breakfast."

Hot Dog Rolls
(see recipe)
"These light, fluffy and hyper soft rolls are going to make your whole world rock."

Ricotta Fritta
(see recipe)
"It could possibly be the food of angels so much those 'Ricotta Fritta' pancakes are delightful and transcendentally gorgeous!!!"

Khao Soi or Chiang Mai Noodles
(see recipe)
"...this dish is magnificently tasty as the combination of different spices and herbs are perfectly blended together in order to offer a well-balanced bouquet of stunning aromas..."

I'd love to pass this "game" on to the following blogger (that's only if you want to play, of course...):


Have you ever wondered what happens at the Geneva International Airport during the night when the firemen are bored and nobody's looking?

The answer follows!!!....

Although I'm not a big fan of the sound, I found that video hilarious ( particularly like the scene in and on the aeroplane)! It seems that what was supposed to be an internal joke got spread everywhere and even ended up on television, in the news. One Geneva deputy wasn't too happy about this "incident" and didn't find it to his taste, he, he!!!

The original rap is meant to be funny and was created by two French comic artists as a parody. The title is "Fous Ta Cagoule" which literally means "put on your hood"...

Do you feel in security now? What do you think of it?

Monday, January 15, 2007


In order to change things a little and not to fall into a routine, I made some "Cantuccini" for Christmas. I had eaten them a few times before, but had never baked such cookies for the end of year celebrations. Since I love those biscotti an awful lot, it was a good occasion for me to get active in the kitchen in order to make a few for me as well as for my gift baket...

"Cantuccini" ("Cantucci" or "Biscotti Di Prato") are traditional Italian almond biscotti from Firenze, the capital city of Tuscany. They are twice-baked cookies which are meant to keep long, therefore they are of a harder nature.

At the origin, they were flavored with aniseeds, but now, many variants are
to be found (with chocolate, candied orange or lemon, raisins/currants, dried cranberries, nuts of all kinds, different types of flour, etc...), whether sweet or savory. It is a very popular bakery item all over Italy and is also widely spread in Europe or in the US where many different recipes can be found.

Those "Cantuccini" were are real succe
ss both for the baker (me) and the gourmet eaters that were the happy recipient of my parcel! They were crunchy to the perfection, not overly sweet, beautifully nutty and had a delicious amaretto flavor (although the extract used doesnt originate from the same almond). Because of their hard texture, "Cantuccini" are ideal for biscuit dunkers, because they can be dipped in coffee, milk, alcohol or any other beverage in order to soften them. Those wonderful cookies will delight all foodies in search of a delicate treat to end the afternoon or dinner in beauty...

This recipe comes from a
dainty little book that I'm proud of possessing and that I recommend to anyone interested in cookies, brownies, bars, scones and more: "Afternoon Delights" by James McNair & Andrew Moore.

Makes about 1 dozen large biscotti.

2 Cups Plain white flour

1 Cup Castor sugar

2 Tsp Baking powder

1/4 Tsp Salt

3 Eggs (~50g), lightly beaten

1 Tsp Almond extract

1 Cup Almonds, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 150° C (300° F).

2 Line a baking tray with kitchen parchment.

3. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk to mix well.

4. Mix together the beaten eggs with the almond extract.
5. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients in the bowl and mix well with a spoon.
6. Stir in the toasted nuts.

7. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Dust your
hands with flour and gently knead it until it comes together, about 1 minute.
8. Transfer the dough to the lined baking tray and shape (with floured hands) into an even, flat rectangle about 15x23 centimeters (6 by 9 inches).
9. Transfer the baking tray to the oven (middle rack) and bake
until the dough is lightly golden and feels firm when lightly touched in the center with your fingertip, about 50 minutes.

10. Remove the baking tray to a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes.
11. Peel the dough rectangle from the parchment and transfer it to a cut
ting board.
12. Return the parchment to the baking tray and set aside.

13. Using a serrated knife, slice the rectangle into slices 2 centimeters wide (3/4 inches).

14. Lay the slices (with one of their cut side
down), about 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) apart on the lined baking tray.
15. Return the baking tray to the oven and bake until the exposed cut sides of the slices are golden, about 20 minutes.

16. Then, turn the biscotti over, return the baking tray to the o
ven, and continue baking until the other exposed sides of the biscotti are golden, about 20 minutes.
17. Remove the baking tray to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes.

18. When the biscotti are cool enough to handle, transfer them directly to the rack to cool completely.

Instead of almonds, you can use hazelnuts, pistachios, pine nuts or any other nuts as long as you toast them first and replace the almond extract by 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.
To toast the nuts: place them on a baking tray and transfer to a
n oven that has been preheated to 190° C (350° F) and toast the nuts, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
Once you've added the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and s
tarted mixing, the dough will be crumbly.
The kneaded dough should be sticky.

As the dough bakes, it will spread into a large, rounded rectangle.
The biscotti may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Serving suggestions:
Eat accompanied by Vin Santo, a tight expresso, ristretto or coffee.

(Florence -Pic by Spiros Vagelakis

Saturday, January 13, 2007


After a week without host nor clear informations, our long-awaited WCB event is back!!!

For the very first time, the kind Sher and the beautiful Upsie of "
What Did You Eat?" from USA are hosting the round-up... If you wish to participate the rules are easy: leave them a comment with your permalinks or send them an email with all the informations needed.

Sometimes, Fridolin can be a real pain in the backside when HIS space is occupied by Maruschka. His Heirness "King Gümpel" is then all stressed and gets in his typical "unemployed" modus (not knowing what to do of himself and searching for something).
If she is on his tree top or bedside, he doesn't can't lie down and then paces back and forth in the apartment looking like a clueless and lost goof!

Fridolin can't install himself anywhere else; it has to be on his usual spot or nowhere.
Generally, during this uncalm lapse of time he will do all kinds of stupidities like opening the cupboards, going under the bed/settee or putting his nose where he should not (that cats!), grrrrr!
But, at the end he always chases her away and there's a lot of hissing...

(King Cat -Pic by

Friday, January 12, 2007


At the moment, the weather here isn't like it should be in January. It is very warm (15° C), "foehny" and rainy/sunny (like light rainstorms)! When you look outside, you feel more as if it would be October or the beginning of spring. The smell in the air is metallic/electric, pungent and reminds me of the warmer days when nature is awakening and the soil liberates a deep perfume...

It's crazy! I have to pinch myself in order not to daydream about the sweet song of birds, the buds starting to open and nature going wild! No, it is still winter and that's the problem.

I have read that the last time it was so warm was in 1920 and, then, the temperatures were even more incredible (17.6° C)!

As I'm still hoping to see Mr. Winter come back to finish his work, I thought that a few pictures showing the foggy side of Veyrier would please you and put you back into a winter mood.

Here, as we are very close to the Arve river and the Salève mountain, the (low) fog can be quite thick and build up in only a few seconds. I call it "mushy peas"...

Looking towards the village. Normally, on the right, you should see the church...
On a less foggy day. The church is more visible...
The sun above gives the fog an eerie color...
The sun is rising.
At the foot of the Salève, you can see the filaments of fog being stretched by a strong current of air (like in a corridor). That's generally where everything starts...

Thursday, January 11, 2007


A few months ago, I bought a bottle of "Kewra Water" (Pandanus flower water) from my favorite Indian store...

You can't compare it to "Pandanus Essence/Extract" (made with the leaves of the pandanus plant) as it has a very distinct flavor and tenacious smell that somehow reminds me of incense and rosewater, whereas the delicate flavor of "Pandanus Essence" is close to the one of vanilla, with a subtle herby green touch and a Thai jasmine rice aroma.

I know that it can be used to make sweets (Barfi, etc...) and can also be used in the preparation of savory dishes (Basmati rice, meat, etc...).

I have only experimented with this scented water when making muffins (which turned out fine), but would like to know more about it's use...

I would be very grateful if you could give me recipes, links or tips, because I'm a little out of ideas considering the fact that "Kewra Water" is a very special flavoring.

Thanks a lot!

(Kewra Water -Pic by

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


For my Christmas goodie gift basket, I wanted to make some cookies that were not going to be the usual ones you find everywhere. So, I settled upon making non-traditional cookies that still had a festive taste, but which were radically different from the ones we are all used to see, bake or buy during this period of the year...

After a long research, I stumbled upon this 1964 South African King David Schools "Lemon Honey Cookies" recipe which I found on Chanit's wonderful blog "My Mom's Recipes And More" from Israel (I really recommend you to visit her blog as you'll not be deceived by what you'll find). I must say that whenever I visit her site, I always find many great baking recipes that I print and keep like treasures in my immense cookery files!

Those "Lemon Honey Cookies" are pleasantly smooth, light and ever so slightly crunchy/snappy on the outside, a bit like little hybrid cakes. The honey gives them a warm, aromatic and hearty and deliciously rich taste dimension/deepness. As I love lemon flavored food, those cookies are perfect and to my taste; a real sensation!...

Makes about 45 cookies.

125g Unsalted butter
1/2 Cup Castor sugar
1 Egg (~50g)
1/3 Cup Light runny honey
2 Cups Plain white flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Baking powder
The rind of 1 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 190° C (375° F).
2. Cream the butter and sugar together.
3. Add the egg, runny honey and lemon rind.
4. Sift all dry ingredients.
5. Add to the butter mixture and blend well.
6. Drop by teaspoonful on to a baking tray (cookie sheet) lined with parchment paper.
7. Bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes.
8. Cool on a wire rack.

Instead of using lemon rind, you can replace it by orange rind.
Don't forget to use untreated lemons or oranges. Otherwise, wash/brush their skins thoroughly under water.

Serving suggestions:
Those cookies are ideal as gifts (Christmas, birthdays, etc...) and delicious at any time of the day to accompany your coffee or tea...

(Lemon Zest -Pic by
(Honey -Pic by

Monday, January 8, 2007


A few weeks ago, I asked you to tell me what the following Swiss speciality was (see link).

Nobody had really found out what it was, although certain bloggers were quite close to coming up with the right answer. Vanessa of "Confiture Maison" spoke about "Zopf/Zupf Bread", Paula of "The Cookbook Junkie" thought that it looked like a "Poppyseed Roll". For a very obvious reason, Burekaboy of "Is That My Buréka?" knew what it was, but didn't want to spoil the game and decided to keep his mouth shut!!!

So what was this mysterious food item?!?....

It is a peasants' pear and nut bread from Grisons which is in many ways similar to the Alsatian "Beerawecka". It is made with dried pears, dates and figs, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, sultanas, raisins, candied orange and lemon, "Birnbrot" spices and "Zopf Bread" dough, Kirsch, and many more ingredients...

This special Christmas (it is also eaten throughout the whole year) bread is delicious when cut in slices and eaten with butter. "Birnbrot" is very nourishing and healthy. Due to it's sturdy nature, it can be kept for quite a long time.

~The inside of a "Birnbrot". ~

Here are some recipes if you want to try that bread at home (click on text link):