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Food, History & Traditions

Cook Eat Repeat Challenge – Healthy Breakfast Eggnog

I have been following Moons’ blog, Bits and Pieces for some time now and read her post on a traditional form of Chai style tea that originated from Calcutta, as well as the beautiful traditions that surround this drink and its preparation. She’s challenged the blogging community to write about a drink that is a favourite or one that has a special meaning, for you.

sverige
Stockholm

I do like drinking tea and now I have access to tea suppliers selling specialised leaf teas, it won’t come as a surprise to hear that I enjoy a cup of ‘Stockholm blend’ tea – (goodness, even my house is called the ‘Stockholm Design’ by the Builder). But it is not tea, that I will be writing about today, but a nutritious drink that makes a great breakfast food – a powerhouse of nutrition on the go. Perfect for busy people and kids.

craft
Placemat upcycled to a teapot cosy

Traditional Juletime Egg Nog

For many European and Americans, Eggnog is a popular drink to have at Christmas. Harking back to a 14th century concotion called Posset – a kind of curdled milk mixed with ale, Eggnog and cold, winter days just seem to go together. Maybe that’s the added whisky or rum that warms the body and the soul, perhaps? The link below is for the traditional Christmas Egg Nog recipe from Jamie Oliver, but my drink is altogether different.

As most know, or might suspect, I live in a warm climate and as such we don’t have the need to have warming drinks to get us through a snowy morning.

My take on EggNog is completely non-alcoholic, is chocked full of nutritional goodness and makes the perfect start to your morning, especially if you don’t have to time to cook, or eat, a hearty breakfast.

eggnog
Photo Credit: best-eggnog-recipe/

My version of Egg Nog looks the same as in the above picture but is way easier to prepare, packs a punch nutritionally and is suitable for children as well as adults, as there’s no alcohol added.

Healthy Breakfast Drink

Many of the working population are rushed! There’s no time to prep a cooked breakfasts. Others might not feel like eating early in the morning and can only face black coffee! This twist on the traditional egg nog prepares your body and mind for the day, fills the tummy and takes seconds to prepare.

Kid Friendly Breakfast Egg Nog Recipe

  • 1 – 2 Eggs depending on your mug size
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar – Caster sugar dissolves faster
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Milk – can be almond/coconut/full fat/skim or soy
  • Whole Nutmeg * – freshly ground from the whole nut*
  1. Break the egg in a large mug and whisk vigorously with a fork.
  2. Add the sugar and whisk again until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Add cinnamon and vanilla extract and mix through.
  4. Add milk and whisk thoroughly until combined
  5. Grate nutmeg on top to cover with a small grater
  6. Enjoy!

*One of my kids used to get a little confused calling nutmeg – egg mut. Whatever works we thought – regularly calling it ‘egg mut, ‘ until they became teenagers.

Breakfast Egg Nog Variations

Fruit Egg Nog: -Add raspberries or strawberries, even mango and pulse in a Nutribullet or blender, for a fruity, vitamin filled hit!

Choc or Mocha – Add 1 teaspoon cocoa powder and/or coffee diluted with a little boiled water for those with a really sweet tooth or coffee cravings.

strawberries

Nutritional Benefits of Egg Nog

As well as the milk component contributing to the dairy and calcium RDA components in your diet, ingredients such as eggs and spices round out the benefit of a daily Egg Nog drink, (without the alcohol).

One egg has only 75 calories but 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. The egg is a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin.

Nutmeg is low in Cholesterol and Sodium, is a good source of Fibre, and Manganese and support mood, digestion, sleep, good skin and brain health. It may also lower blood pressure. But don’t binge on it. Too much may not be so helpful.

Start the day with a Breakfast Egg Nog or Egg Nog Smoothie! This drink works equally well in filling up children’s tummies at afternoon tea time. This stops them snacking on junk before dinner!

Join in with Moon’s Cook Eat Repeat Challenge here:

Community

Healthy Waldorf Salad with a Twist

I was skimming through an old recipe book today, deciding whether to keep or throw it out. I do have an excess of household ‘stuff,’ that’s been in storage for well over twelve months awaiting our relocation into a modern new house by the beach, so even with the massive amounts of cupboard space the new house has, I still would like to downsize as much as I can.

So it was in a somewhat semi exhausted state from unpacking, I happened upon the recipe book. Truly, it might have just been easier to toss the whole thing out and start with fresh recipes, but handwritten old favourites evoke family memories too, so I knuckled down with a cuppa and flipped through the yellowing, slightly food stained pages. That’s when I found a recipe for “Avocado Norwegian,” that I had torn from Brisbane’s first ever vegetarian restaurant’s cookbook. The recipe is a form of salad topping an avocado half.

The recipe before the Fusion

Now normally the thought of chomping into half an avocado, (even one with a delicious topping), as one would an apple or pear, turns my stomach, but for some reason I saved this recipe and thus, gave it another look. I thought anything remotely connected with Scandinavia always deserves my attention.

I decided it might work better if I changed it a little and gave it a bit more flair. After all, who doesn’t adapt recipes? 

With the addition of a few extra ingredients, served on a bed of spinach/kale mix, and garnished with dill sprigs, I created a kind of Norwegian Waldorf Salad Fusion.

As an added bonus, the avocado is another way to add Vitamin C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. It surely packs a nutritional punch.

This is the final recipe for Avocado Norwaldorf Salad

Serves approximately 2 people

  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1/2 cup Fresh walnuts
  • 1 -2 red apples – I used a Royal Gala variety
  • 1-2 green apples – such as a Granny Smith
  • Fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
  • 1/3 cup Dill Pickles, roughly chopped
  • Jarslberg cheese, cubed – amount depending on personal preference
  • Mayonnaise to cover
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard or Dijonnaise
  • Dill sprigs for garnish
  • 1 Avocado, peeled and diced into large chunks
  • Squeeze of Lemon juice (optional)
  • Seasoning to taste

Mix ingredients together, adding Avocado last.

Serve with:

Camembert cheese wedges on a bed of Spinach/Kale/Lettuce

Enjoy! Healthy, tasty and definitely worth a second look.

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baking recipes
Community

Raspberry and Almond Shortbread

I am at a loss to remember where I found this recipe, but it was handwritten on a scrap of paper which mysteriously turned up in my cupboard last week, so rather than throw it out, I tried it out! It could well have stemmed from a binge Pinterest session or some online Scandinavian recipe site, but who knows?!

Whatever it origins, the hungry hordes in my house scoffed the finished product down with gusto. Undoubtedly, a good seal of approval.  The biscuits have a lighter texture, akin to a shortbread. In fact, one could easily substitute rice flour if one wanted to avoid wheat!

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Ingredients

1 cup Butter ( softened )

2/3 cup Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Almond extract ( can also use vanilla if you don’t have almond)

2 cups Flour

Pinch of Salt

1 Egg

1 tsp Milk or Kefir ( can also use yoghurt)

1/2 cup Raspberry Jam

Method

Preheat oven at 180 degree °C or 350°F

Cream butter and sugar and add the almond or vanilla extract and egg.

Mix well.

Add in salt, flour and milk/kefir and mix gently but well.

Take heaped teaspoons of cookie mix, and roll into a ball shape

Place 2 inches (5 cm) apart on a greased/lined tray.

Press your thumb into the middle of biscuit and fill the cavity with jam.

Bake the biscuits 14- 18 minutes in preheated oven. Cool 1 minute.

If you are pedantic, you can even drizzle a mix of icing sugar, mixed to a liquid with almond essence, over the top of the biscuits, if desired  – I don’t do usually this, but you might like to do so.

Enjoy!

Calorie content:  Feel free to do the math…..


Tantalizing Tuesdays

Something Edible to Ponder About

 

 

 

 

Polish food
Community

Bigos – A Polish Hunter’s Meal

Polish food
Bigos

Do you live in the Northern half of the world? If so, I am thinking you might be preparing for the onslaught of cooler weather. Me, I’ve just finished with all that for a while; in the southern hemisphere it is all about getting the pool toys out of storage and readying the garden for the long, hot summer. It was during our short winter season that I recreated a taste that I had brought back home with me, when I returned from Poland: the Polish national dish, called “Bigos.”

Bigos is a meal based on the Polish sausage, Kielbasa, but any kind of cooked sausage works well if you make your own version. It might be nice to try Chorizo sausage, but I actually used Bratwurst, as that is what I had to hand. It is still a traditional Bigos no matter what meal you use, as Wikipedia states:

“The variety of meats is considered essential for good bigos; its preparation may be a good occasion to clean out one’s freezer and use up leftovers from other meat dishes.”

Making Bigos is a great use of leftovers, especially sausage and cabbage, because unless you like curried sausages, which my other half most decidedly doesn’t, you aren’t left with too many other options with using up leftover bratwurst.

But Bigos IS an option you do have. And what’s more, it’s a very forgiving dish. Being a traditional dish of not only Poland, but also Belarus and Lithuania, it is said that there are as many recipes for Bigos, as there are cooks in Poland!

Traditionally, Bigos would be served at large family gatherings, like Christmas or Easter, but centuries ago, it was more common to cook Bigos in a simply pot over a camp fire, whilst out, “hunting,” hence the term, “Hunter’s Stew.”

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

Like many stews or casseroles, it has a flavour that improves with subsequent reheating and refrigeration. One can vary the amount of sauerkraut/fresh cabbage and meat ratios used and thicken it with several ingredients such as flour, crumbled rye bread, or even grated raw potato. In Silesian Poland, they add a potato dumpling to thicken the stew prior to serving. [Note to self: I must try that next time!]

This very forgiving flexible, hearty dish is just the ticket for an upcoming cool Autumn/Winter night. It could also be easily made in the slow cooker, ready and waiting for when one arrives home from work, in the evening!

Originally, this recipe came from Allrecipes.com, but I have varied it a great deal and so have reproduced it here.

POLISH BIGOS

Ingredients

  • 2 thick slices hickory-smoked bacon
  • 1 large cooked bratwurst, kielbasa other Polish sausage, sliced
  • 250g cubed pork/ham
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 sticks celery, sliced
  • 2 carrots, diced  or other hard vegetables
  • 1 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage – any variety is fine
  • 250g sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) dry red wine- I didn’t have any so I left this out
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pinch caraway seed, crushed
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 50g mushrooms,  diced
  • 1 dash hot chilli sauce (optional)
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups beef/chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoons tinned tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup tinned diced tomatoes

Method

  1.  Add the bacon and kielbasa/bratwurst sausage to a large saucepan on medium heat. Cook and stir until the bacon, sausage, pork or ham is lightly browned.
  2. Add the garlic, onion, celery, and saute for several minutes.
  3. Add carrots, mushrooms, cabbage and sauerkraut. Reduce heat to medium, then cook and stir until the carrots are soft; about 10 minutes. Do not let the vegetables brown.
  4. Add the red wine and heat, stirring to loosen all of the bits that are stuck to the bottom. I used a little stock as I had no wine!
  5. Season with the bay leaf, the herbs, paprika, salt, pepper, caraway seeds and cayenne pepper; cook for 1 minute.
  6. Mix in the mushrooms, chili sauce if you wish, Worcestershire sauce, remaining chicken or beef stock, tomato paste and tomatoes. Heat through just until boiling. Cover with a lid.
  7. Simmer on the stove for 1 1/2 hours or Bake in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or on low/auto in a slow cooker.
  8. I omitted the use of flour, but if the Bigos has not condensed down to the consistency of a casserole, add 1 -2 tablespoon of cornflour mixed in a little cold water and mix in. Cook for 5- 10 minutes till thickened.

Easy to cook, traditional meals are really worth pondering about during winter.

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baking recipes
Food

Scandinavian recipes -Waffles from Norway

 

Tantalizing Tuesdays

” Norsk Vafler ”  or   Waffles from Norway are more like a western style pancake in texture than a western
waffle. And are perfect for a  late Sunday breakfast or a mid morning snack, well…. they are nice anytime….

Be warned: whatever you think beforehand, one is never enough!

N.B. (You will need a waffle iron to cook them in the traditional shape seen below)

 

waffles
Norwegian Waffles

West Coast Waffles

Ingredients:
4 eggs (aeg)
4 dl milk  (maelk)
6 tablespoons sugar (sukker)
150 g melted butter (smoer)
300 g Plain flour (mel)

1 teaspoon baking powder (bakepulver)

Melt butter, beat egg and sugar together till really fluffy.
Add melted butter milk flour and egg.
Mix well and let sit for a while.

Optional:You might like to add some cardamon or vanilla sugar.

This mix will keep quite well in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Cook in waffle iron  and serve traditonally with either jam (sylteytoey)
and sourcream, or lemonjuice and sugar.
Even icecream and maple syrup.
Delicious.

 

Try and eat just one…. and email me if you are successful!!! You will then have my endless admiration!

When one is suffering from the munchies or just peckish, you will no doubt ponder about waffles, once you try these for yourself.

savoury muffins
Community

Savoury Muffins – School Lunch Recipe

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Summer in Australia means school aged kids are under their parent’s feet at home, yet, paradoxically, many parents actually look forward to School holidays. Why? One reason is that holidays means a slower start to the day, no school run stress, no juvenile screaming they can’t find their hat/maths homework/bus-card, and most significantly, no need to prepare school lunch boxes, each and every morning.

 

workingmother

 

Day after school-term day, many parents over-stress and almost tear their hair out trying to provide a nutritious, yet appealing school lunchbox for their kids, particularly during the high school years. As any parent with teens knows, asking adolescents to consume anything remotely wholesome and not packaged in four layers of plastic or laced with half a salt mine, is tantamount to offering them a piece of buttered cardboard and likely to be received with this enthusiastic response:

yukkyfood

[Source -dailymail.co.uk]

So how does home-cooked food, originating from the household pantry or fridge, compete with the highly addictive products of multinational food companies or their derivatives, with the myriad of flavourings, salt and sugar content? How did we get to this situation?

What society thought school lunch should look like –

foodpyramid

What teenagers thought school lunch look like –

junk food

What parents think school lunches are like –

 

mum lunchbox

With the impending start of the school work year, I  decided the school lunchbox had to be not only visually appealing, but tasty as well and, it had to tick most of the ‘healthy lunch’ boxes, (no pun intended!) So I studied a few basic muffin recipes and came up with my own savoury muffin that I am confident even the fussiest teen would be hard-pressed to refuse, (and if he/she does, there is always bribery and corruption as Plan ‘B’….)

The real secret to this recipe is that it looks like a sweet cake in appearance, (first duplicitous manoeuvre) and, secondly, it tastes like the junk food on offer at most food outlets, (but is actually good to eat).

Enter the Savoury Muffin to Die for……

savoury muffins
Amanda’s Savoury Muffins

The rosemary and sea salt topping really stimulates those adolescent taste-buds and once your teen has shown a positive interest such as, “What’s that you are cooking, Mum?” comments, and eats a few here and there:   then and only then might I suggest slowly, (over a few batches), decreasing the amount of sea salt used as topping, to improve the nutrition levels further. Easy does it though: Teen noses and taste buds can easily detect the covert operation you might have in mind.

The list of suggested fillings, is one that you can add as many or as few of these as you have on hand, or in the pantry, without unduly affecting the outcome of the recipe.

Experiment to see which flavors teens like best.

Savoury Muffins

[Makes 12 serves]

Ingredients:

2 cups Self Raising Flour

(or 2 cups Plain flour with 4 teaspoons of baking powder added)

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

80 g Butter, melted

1 tablespoon good quality Olive Oil

1 Egg

1  cup Milk ( I use low-fat)

1 slice Ham – diced

1/3 cup grated Zucchini (courgette)

1 clove Garlic, minced

1/3 cup Baby spinach, diced

1/3 cup cooked Pumpkin (roasted or steamed)

1/3 cup Capsicum strips, roasted (can use jarred variety)

80 g Feta cheese ( crumbled)

Toppings:

savoury muffins20 g Feta cheese ( crumbled), extra

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon Rosemary

Sea salt

Optional extra or substitute fillings:

1 tablespoon Olives, sliced

1 tablespoon Parsley

1 teaspoon Mint leaves

2 sticks Spring Onions, sliced

1/3 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes

grated carrot

Pineapple Pieces – (drained well)

Method:

Pre-heat Oven 200 degrees

Mix Flour and Baking powder in large bowl.

Mix melted Butter, Oil and Egg and Milk in separate bowl.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix gently with a wooden spoon.

Fold in the rest of the ingredients only until just mixed and no lumps of flour remain.

Fill a Muffin pan that has been lined with paper Muffins cases to 2/3 capacity.

Sprinkle Parmesan, extra Feta and a mixture of Rosemary and Sea salt on top.

Bake for 20 minutes or till golden brown on top.

Cool on a wire tray covered with a fresh tea towel to prevent muffins drying out.

These muffins freeze well wrapped individually or in a seal-proof container.

The perfect morning tea or lunch snack for those on the go.

P.S. If you are really daring or have one of those ” I’ll eat anything as long as it’s food,” kind of kids: Round off the lunch box offerings with some hummus, hard-boiled eggs and fruit.

Tantalizing Tuesdays

Filling the lunch box give parents ‘Something to Ponder About’

 

 

Food, History & Traditions

Scones with Tea – A Morning Tradition

In my husband’s family, it is a tradition to have morning tea. That is, a cup of hot tea with a scone of two with butter or jam. My husband’s paternal grandmother was a brilliant farmhouse cook and used an old wood burning stove – one that was without thermostat or temperature gauge. Yet she cooked everything to perfection, testing the temperature only with the back of her hand. Wouldn’t we all love that skill? Granny Mac was of German heritage, so perhaps her cooking skills came from a background of generations of women cooking in the kitchen? Or perhaps from necessity?

Together with her husband, they owned a dairy farm, atop ‘Clear Mountain’, so it is self-evident that there was plenty of fresh cream available.

Thus, making and then selling the scones was a way to supplement the farm’s income and feed Granny Mac’s ten hungry children at morning tea time.

This same recipe made the scones served to the State of Queensland’s Governor, as well as many tourists, or day trippers, in the 1950’s, who drove up the steep, Clear Mountain Road, for a weekend picnic.

This is that never-fail secret family recipe!

Granny Mac’s Scones

Ingredients:

NB. the quantities of ingredients were never measured by the original cook, just estimated. However, for the rest of us, I have provided the following measurements:

2 1/4 cup Self Raising* flour

*(Self raising flour can easily be made by combining 2 teaspoons of baking powder per cup of plain flour and sift well)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup cream

Optional: a good handful of currants/sultanas/chopped dates – my kids love that)

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, place all the dry ingredients, (and fruit), and stir to mix thoroughly.
  2. “Cut” the wet ingredients into the mix by stirring thoroughly with the blade of a flat butter knife.
  3. Knead mix a little with extra flour, if needed. (You will want a dough that is smooth enough to handle, but not too dry)
  4. Roll or pat out on a floured board, to 1 inch high (no less)
  5. Cut 6 cm rounds with a scone cutter or as Granny Mac used: a used, empty, small baked beans tin, (cleaned and dried, of course)!
  6. Bake 12 -15 minutes @ 210 degrees Celsius on a metal scone tray

Delightful served with butter or jam and cream.

Best eaten while hot, however they do freeze well.

Is there a traditional recipe within your family heritage? Do you still make this food?

Will you keep up this tradition for generations to come?

Something to ponder about….

Cakes, Community, Food

Chocolate Brownies – so Quick and Easy ‘No-Nuts’ Recipe

This is a very easy recipe,  one you really can’t muck it up, even if you add the ingredients together in the wrong order. It takes around an hour from start to finish, including time for cooling out of the oven.

No icing is required and the kids and parents at the Playgroup gobbled it up furiously. A good sign, no doubt. It is even a recipe children could make so very easily. In fact, next time I will make it AT playgroup!

Image

Ingredients

125 g butter, melted

1 1/2 cups caster sugar, (or fine white sugar)

1/2 cup cocoa

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup Plain All-Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Baking powder

1 cup White Choc bits

Method

Pre- heat oven 170 degrees celsius or equivalent, and grease and / or line a lamington tray 8″ x 10″ with baking paper.

1. Melt the butter (I use the microwave on med high for 1 minute or so)

2. Combine the castor sugar and cocoa and salt in a large bowl

3. Add the eggs and vanilla together and add to sugar and cocoa mix.

4. Stir in the melted butter, (which by now has cooled a little and won’t cook the eggs!)

5. Fold through the combined flour and baking powder, and finally the choc bits.

6. Spread into the lamington / slice pan evenly.

7. Bake 170°  for 25 – 30 minutes.

8. Cool a little and slice into rectangles for serving.

The best thing is this slice is sweet enough, there is no need whatsoever to ice it, however, a dusting of vanilla sugar looks divine for presentation purposes. ( and no nuts, so great for kids with allergies!) Something for those with a sweet tooth to ponder about.

Food, History & Traditions, Travel

Travel Odyssey – Sightseeing in Lucerne, Switzerland

DSC00874
The view over the Vierwaldstaerttersee ( Lake Lucerne)

Part 10

EXCURSION to MT PILATUS

The top of the World… From Mt Pilatus, Lucerne, Switzerland. From there, one can see the Bernese Oberland, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland…fabulous. And this is was our destination this morning, by Cable car and Gondola.

Once upon a time, citizens thought it would bring bad luck to climb Mt Pilatus, but now, millions of tourists visit every year, without any kind of disastrous consequences. In winter, one might see snow at this altitude, but not this year. There was no snow to be seen in early December, at least.

Nevertheless, the views are still spectacular in weather such as this: it was sunny, mild but not cold! Ordinarily, the mountain is covered with fog in the morning, but not so today. The vistas were ours, to be seen.

The entrance to the Mt Pilatus Gondola attraction…

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Our gondola’s wheels whirled and bumped along the track taking us higher and higher. Below, we could see quaint Swiss style houses with ever so neatly packed timber piles, and a summer toboggan run.

Several fellow passengers started to get a bit nervous with the ever-increasing height…. but this was not a time to opt out, so up we went,  higher and higher. “Just look out, not down, or up”, I reassured them.

Up ,UP, UP, the Gondola went until we came to the end of the Gondola cable..DSC00895 DSC00893

But the ride was not completely over, as we weren’t yet at the summit of Mt. Pilatus.

Now we had to squish 40+ people into another cable car, that had the maximum capacity of only 40. Slightly disconcerting to say the least, as it swung back and forth, like the pendulum on  a clock, in mid air. It reminded me of thes cene in one one of those James Bond movie scenes. Was Roger Moore going to pop his head through the roof to rescue us?

And then, the thought struck me, we have to go down in this thing, again with 40 + people.

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The Cable car entrance

Don’t you just love the shadow Mt Pilatus throws in the next photograph?

It looks like some ancient mythological giant..

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The incline suddenly became EXTREME, but it was only moments later that we arrived at the summit…

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The American did a version of Planking: T- balling at 7000 feet. Weird.

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DSC00874
You can see the cable and severe slope it climbs in the foreground.  The summit views were mind blowing!

However we still weren’t standing at the actual summit.  That required a short walk, about 50 steps, that took us to the very highest point possible, where a small hut, possibly containing metereological instruments, is located.

This is where the incredible photo opportunities abound.

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The stairs visible in foreground…

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A small cafe and souvenir shop is located inside the building, where you alight from the Cable car. It was here that I bought a rather lovely Swiss watch, one that had a leather band with edelweiss and the Swiss emblem embroidered on it. And no surprise: it keeps great time! Well, I confess I also did HAVE to get the mandatory T – Shirt,  to say I had made the 7000 ft Ascent. Possibly my highest ascent to date. (We don’t have too many high mountains in Australia).

On the way down, I pondered why the return journey passes ever so much quicker. Then just a short coach ride took us back to the Astoria hotel in Luzern itself.

The breakfast we had earlier,that day, provided by Hotel Astoria, in the building next door, was nothing to write home about, (so much for Swiss cuisine), so we headed straight for the Bakery, opposite Bucherer.

And yes, we did collect both THOSE souvenir spoons, on the way.

What did I eat? I could not resist a Berliner donut, deliciously decadent, and so incredibly unhealthy, don’t you agree?

Sitting on the shores of beautiful Lake Lucerne, in the glorious sunshine, temperature an almost perfect 6 degrees. The moment so fabulous, I decided to text my work colleagues back home in Australia. Just thought I should share. I did not think afterwards, it was the middle of the night and probably woke some of them up. Oops.

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SHOPPING in LUCERNE

If you arrive in Lucerne late on a Thursday night, you will find the shops open til late, but remember many shops such as Casa grande, one of the main souvenir shops, closes during the daytime, around lunch, for 2 hours.

The Swiss are quite protective of their midday siestas.  As for what to buy  here: it is expensive, but if you stick to locally made goods, (ie. Swiss made), you can snag a good buy.

Souvenirs to buy include: Swiss knifes, Swiss watches, Swiss army knives, one for each of my family, with a variety of gadgets suited to their particular needs. I also purchased one of the very best kitchen knifes you could possibly get, at Bucherer.

It is fine quality, not hideously expensive, perfectly weighted, and will last forever! I love it. Also a great souvenir. I made a mental note not to forget to declare it to Customs, as I did not want to tell my husband I would be late home as I had been arrested!

I am repeating something from the previous post, but feel it warrants a seondary mention: You simply must try a Swiss fondue which I had tried the night before

(see previous post)

which more or less constitutes the following recipe:

Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue

Rub a garlic clove around a Fondue pot and heat gently with the following ingredients.

Select a quantity of cheese suited to feed the number of persons dining:

1/2 of which is Emmanthal Cheese, and 1/2 of which is Gruyere cheese

1/2 teaspoon of Cherry Brandy, my absolute favourite spirit. Mind you if I bought it for the purpose of cooking, I can tell you that it would not make it to the pot.

A quantity of stale brown bread. Dip square into the pot and generously coat with melted cheese.

Tastes so good, and so much it could feed a Swiss Army 😛

Next entry: An afternoon cruise on Lake Luzern (Lucerne)

Cakes, Food

Blueberry Muffins with Brown sugar

Blueberry muffins with fresh blueberries
Blueberry muffins with fresh blueberries

We must take advantage of blueberries when they are in season, and if you live in my corner of Australia, that is right now. They are cheap as chips and so good for you, protecting against diseases and ageing, as well as helping to metabolise carbohydrates, proteins and fats, which is excellent if you are wanting to loose weight. See below:

Thus, I will share with you my recipe using brown sugar and a little butter. Nutritious, easy on the waistline, simple and quick to make, and very few dishes to wash up. That is the kind of recipe I like to ponder about.

BLUEBERRY MUFFIN RECIPE

2 cups Plain flour ( this means general all purpose flour)blog pictures 002

3 teaspoons of Baking powder

3 Tablespoons of Brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/4 cup ( 55 grams) melted butter

1 punnet fresh blueberries (that is around 125 g)

1 tablespoon brown sugar, (extra)blog pictures 004

Method:

Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl.

Melt butter in separate bowl, let cool slightly, then add milk and egg and mix well.

Add wet and dry ingredients together and stir gently for 30 seconds, or until well mixed.

Gently fold in blueberries. Don’t fuss too much. You don’t want to smash them like at Cold Rock.

Fill muffin cases 2/3 with mixture. Sprinkle brown sugar on top of each muffin and press down lightly.

A 12 muffin baking tray requires a moderate oven (190 degrees) for 12 – 15 minutes.

Test them close to the end of the cooking time to see if they bounce back when lightly pressed.

This is a good sign to say that they are cooked through.

Enjoy with a dob of sour cream or cream. ( if you are not counting calories, or course)

Makes 12 Muffins

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Blueberries nutrition facts

From: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/blueberries.html

Sweet, juicy blueberries are rich in pro-anthocyanin natural pigment anti-oxidants.

These tiny, round blue-purple berries have long been attributed to the longevity

and wellness of indigenous natives living in the subarctic regions in the Northern hemisphere.

  • Blueberries are very low in calories. 100 g fresh berries provide only 57 calories. However, they possess notable health benefiting plant-nutrients such as soluble dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and pigment anti-oxidants that contribute immensely towards optimum health and wellness.
  • Blueberries are among the highest anti-oxidant value fruits. In addition, these berries have other flavonoid anti-oxidants such as carotene-β, lutein and zea-xanthin.
  • Altogether, the phyto-chemical compounds in the blueberry help rid off harmful oxygen-derived free radicals from the body, and thereby, protect the human body against cancers, aging, degenerative diseases, and infections.
  • Further, research studies suggest that chlorogenic acid in these berries help lower blood sugar levels and control blood-glucose levels in type-II diabetes mellitus condition.
  • Fresh berries contain a small amount of vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E. Altogether these vitamins work as potent anti-oxidants, which help limit free radical mediated injury to the body.
  • The berries also contain a small amount of B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, folates and pantothenic acid. It contains very good amounts of vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and folic acid. These vitamins are acting as co-factors help the body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
  • Furthermore, they contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, iron and zinc. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required for the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation.