Friday, December 24, 2004

Salsa Mexicana

Yesterday, I was told how to make a proper Mexican Salsa:
Blanch 2 tomatoes and 3 green chili peppers. Peel the tomatoes and get rid of the chili pepper's stalks. Put both with some onions, a pinch of salt and a gulp of beer in a blender. Mix well and serve with tacos.

Fat Chance Without Chutzpah

This is a follow up of Chutzpah Does The Trick.
On of the biggest traveller's problem is, how to get to know the hottest club in town. The local equivalent of Time Out or züritipp is good but local knowledge is better. I share here and now Georgieboy's fail-safe trick with you:
  • Search a restaurant with customers you could imagine to party with
  • Enjoy dinner and keep looking for the group which knows to enjoy the savours of life best.
  • Go over (here, chutzpah is required)
  • Ask for the best places to party
  • Let them note name & address of the venue (must for cap rides) and the best time to be there (there are few things worse than to be in the right club at the wrong time).

Chutzpah Does The Trick

Last Saturday, I joined, together with my lovely flatmate to be, the traditional pre Xmas party of Georgieboy (his real name is Albin, but I've once decided to call him Georgieboy). Georgieboy is the person with the most chutzpah I know. Many many years ago, we spent the New Year holidays in Brussels. On New Year's Eve (technically it was already New Year) we were queuing in front of the hottest club in town. We were still quite far from the door, when the bouncer opened the door slightly and Georgieboy called "We're from Switzerland". The bouncer looked at us and waved us in. The club was absolutely fabulous. I spent six hours straight on the floor. Actually, Georgieboy is Austrian. But who wants to be picky.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Must Haves

A short list of truly must haves, which I propably will not recive this Christmas:
  • G shape ice trays. set of two made of black rubber for £40
  • iPod case with web strap for £115 (waitlist!)
  • christmas stocking. 38 x 51 cm. white fox with white braided leather cord for £1080 (this is more to present the presents, though)


Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Sounds! Awards 2004

The Sounds! listeners have decided. Definetely, the bests of 2004:

Workbench Extension

  1. I'm full of admiration for those who can get some decent work done by means of a pen and a notepad;
  2. I don't want to imply that anything I do has something to do with decent work; and
  3. you can call me pretentious,
... but I had to add computer #5 to my workbench.

One is an embedded PowerPC, hidden behind the one on the left side, having no dedicated screen.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Angel Trivia

Back in November, Ms.Mac wrote about the huge Guardian Angel, which dangles from the ceiling in Zürich's Main Station. Yesterday, Das Magazin, the weekend supplement of the Tages Anzeiger, published some trivia about this angels:

  • Weight: 1.5 tons
  • Artist: Niki de Saint Phalle
  • Place of Birth: California
  • Year of Birth: 1997
  • Route to Dangling Place: California - Panama Canal - Rotterdam - Rhine - Basel - Zürich.
  • Type: Nana
  • Symbolic: The light between the hands symbolises a liquid that flows from one receptacle to another. This stands for the reconciling nature of angels.
As any good housewife, Ms.Mac must have asked herself, how a huge nana angel like this has to be cleaned. This must be done very carefully, because the matt blue surface and the gold leaf of the wings have no varnishing. So far, this happened four times per year after 1 am (it's a busy place, though) by means of pressurized air and feather dusters. Of course, this was never good enough to get rid off all the dust and dirt. Unfortunately, the SBB (the angle's owner) has lost the procedures for the wet cleaning and are quite hopeless. Maybe an angel might help.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

More Luck Than Skills

If I lack one skill, it's to tie up my shoelaces properly. I still remember my struggles to learn the trick back then in kindergarten. Nonetheless, after all these years of hard practice, they never seems to be secured for more than a couple of hours and I have to bend down and tie them again and again... I'm surprised that I've never had a serious accident caused by stepping on my own shoelaces - touch wood.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Savours of Life

This is a follow up of Perfect Xmas Jam.
Some weeks a ago, Jeanpi and I made 80 liters of carrot jam, which we filled in 400 glasses (see recipe). This week, Jeanpi made the final touches and shipped them to 400 customers and friends of Elektro Basa AG. If you will not receive one before Christmas, you did not fulfil the requirements of the recipient list and should consider Elektro Basa AG a bit more. They are brilliant in creating connections.

By the way, Elektro Basa AG wishes you for 2005 more time to enjoy the savours of life.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

...sino también bailar

This is a follow up of Ensalada de Navidad.
A friend has sent me a note, saying that indeed la navidad en España, como en Latinoamerica es muy alegre. En México no tan solo cantamos sino también bailamos. We have a lot to learn in Central Europe. Christmas in Mexico does not only include blithely singing but dancing as well!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Ensalada de Navidad

This summer, I started taking Spanish classes. Today, we had the last class before the Christmas holidays and our teacher took the opportunity to introduce us into some Spanish Christmas customs. One was singing villancicos. Contrary to the slow and deep Swiss Christmas carols, the Spanish versions have a lively tempo and the lyrics have to rhyme, not to make sense. They are made to celebrate with verve. ¡Viva la alegría de vivir!

You're lucky that this blog is without sound or you would not have made it to this point. I'm a horrible singer. Therefore, I stop with the carols and share a Christmas Salad recipe with you, which we also received in class today:
  • 1 big endive
  • 1 big pomegranate
  • Sherry vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt
  • caraway
Defoliate the endive, cut it into small pieces and wash them well. Shell the pomegranate and get rid off the yellow skin. Put both endive and pomegranate into a salad bowl and mix well. Prepare the dressing, consisting of the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and caraway. Mix everything together. Serve with meat, roast lamp, piglet or turkey.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Praise for Mestization

Yesterday, I was given a bottle of Mestizaje (2002). This Spanish wine, which I could enjoy with the donor, is the intoxicating blend of more grapes varieties than I can name on the top of my head: Bobal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha, Syrah, Tempranillo & Merlot. It's much like discovering a new universe.
I reckon, only one person will decipher the double entendres, but I don't care at all.

No Competition - But Worst So Far

This is a follow up of Slave of the Codex.
I've just thought that nothing can shock me now. The other day, I explained why I don't send Christmas cards. Today, I received kind of a revenge. This is the worst Christmas card I ever received. I hope nobody ever tries to beat it.

Ready for Christmas

This is a follow up of No Kylie - Screwed by Amazon.
Danilo did a far better job than f*ing Amazon - that is, they actually did the job. Today, the Kylie Calendar 2005 arrived. Hurray! Now, I'm mentally ready for all the Christmas stuff. Bring it all in. Nothing can shock me now.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Tree Shock

Yesterday, I was shocked by strange things happening at Ms.Mac castle. They set up the Christmas tree (made of plastic) & put some electric lighting on. This revealed to me that the same events are handled in so many different ways and, at first, only the own way seems to be the right one.

My personal Christmas tree tradition is, that the tree is set up on Christmas Eve. It has to be a real tree, preferable grown in the area. Personally, I prefer spruce, because the pine needles are evenly arrange around the twigs. But any pine tree does the job. Nature is never flawless and somebody might have been faster and the perfect tree went to another home. Nature can be improved - ask any plastic surgeon. Improving the shape of a tree can be done by adding twigs (drill & glue).

Now, one has to open a window and leave the room. Decorating the tree is the job of the Christkind, which also brings the presents at the same time. If the Christkind is nice, it puts candles made of beeswax on. When it has finished decorating and arranging presents underneath, it lights the candles, rings a bell and disappears into the night, and sometimes, leaves just a wisp of hair at the window frame.

The tree will stay in the living room until the feast of Epiphany. However, It's not recommended to light the candles after New Year's Eve.

I don't belief in the Christkind anymore. Hence, you will not find a Christmas tree at gomad mansion.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Memorable 2004

The countdown has started. 2004 is almost over. I don't want to count the chickens before they're hatched, but I've already found twelve personal reasons, why 2004 is a memorable year:
  1. Favourite Word: rock. Yeah ms.mac, without shit, you're right about that one.
  2. Favourite Country: España. Thank you, Tina, Anigna & Thomas, for dragging me to this amazing place.
  3. Favourite Album: Morrissey, you are the Quarry. Especially & still after a trillion times, I'm Not Sorry For gives me goose pimples. This album's led me in a breeze to...
  4. Favourite Rediscovery: the oeuvre of The Smiths & Morrissey. How can people talk about comeback. Morrissey has never been away.
  5. Favourite Pop Act: beyond the shadow of a doubt Scissor Sisters. Filthy passion has returned to music.
  6. Favourite Rock Act: The Libertines. Who would've thought that anything could ever live up to Up the Bracket. The Libertines did it a f*ing second time and they did it even rocking better.
  7. Favourite Remixes: Depeche Mode 81...04. The 37 tracks have been occupying my stereo set & iPod (Favourite Toy) for more than a month.
  8. Favourite Live Act: The Darkness at Openair St. Gallen. I did shake my boots & backside to a 70s long music loud hair act and I'm not even ashamed of. Justin Hawkins knows how to rock a crowd.
  9. Favourite Film: The Raspberry Reich by Bruce LaBruce. Agitprop meets porn. Tops also in the category Favourite Laugh.
  10. Favourite Challenge: after 21 years, giving up solitude living on December 31.
  11. Favourite Blog: ms.mac's meanderings. Keep meandering, rocking lady.
  12. Favourite New Friend: He knows. Guapo, you definitely rock me.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Advantageous Nut Piles

I'm the responsible person for the Xmas cookie production in my family (the cookie bitch as ABS calls it). My favourite recipe goes back to my great-grandmothers. It fulfils five important requirements of cookie baking: (1) resourceful, (2) fast, (3) easy, (4) cookies taste good, (5) contains booze. Unfortunately, they don't look very pretty. But who cares, when the recipes has so many advantages. Let's start:
  • 500 g of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 250 g of ground walnuts
  • 250 g of ground hazelnuts
  • Kirsch
Mix sugar and eggs. Add nuts and Kirsch. Make small piles. Bake for 1 hour with approx. 120°C. Hard to mess up, init?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Scissor Sisters In Frankie's Footsteps?

Scissor Sisters' forthcoming single Filthy Gorgeous is supposed to be promoted by a video clip in which band members are being spanked, ridden by a midget, and exposed to a vast array of breasts and sex toys. Will this finally be filthy enough to be banned from music televisions' playlists? [article]

Talking about Scissor Sisters: the single I Believe in You, which they have written for Kylie, was released two days ago.

Last Call For Sounds!

I guess, you've almost missed the poll of the year. So hurry up and vote for the Sounds! Awards 2004! [select Musik > Sound!.. > Sounds Awards]

Don't Mess With Lefties

I've thought, the only advantage of being left-handed is to have the zipper on the right side when you're peeling your partner during petting. But thanks to scientists of the University of Montpellier, we now know that left-handers often have the upper hand in a fight [article]. Therefore, I highly recommend not to mess with a lefty (i.e. me).

Slushy Memory

Somehow a post by Ms.Mac has reminded me of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum. But, it's Imagine Day anyway...

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Canned Excitement

Legions of marketing folks are working hard on finding needs which haven't been satisfied yet. The good news is that there is one less to find. Get Sofia Coppola's sparkling & canned wine beverage Sofia Mini as fast as you can.

Wine Soup

This is a follow up of Hot Cider.
Another South Tyrolean discovery was Wine Soup, which surprised me with its terrific flavour and creamy texture. It does not take a lot of time to cook it:
  • ½ litre of well seasoned meat stock
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ¼ litre of cream
  • ¼ litre of Chardonnay
  • cubes of a stale bread roll
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • cinnamon
Roast the bread cubes in butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Mix stock, yolk, cream and wine in a thick bottomed pan. Bring mixture to a boil while whisking. Boil and whisk until the mixture is creamy. Fill in pre-heated soup bowls. Add bread cubes and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve & enjoy.

Hot Cider

I spent the last weekend with some Rover friends in Bozen. It's a perfect place for a pre-Xmas trip. One of the things I did not know was that the South Tyrol is the biggest apple-growing region of Europe. About 10% of all apples produced in the European Union are from this area.

We were welcomed by South Tyrolean rovers with a new drink (at least for me): Hot Cider.

Use unfermented cider and cook it like mulled wine (just make a bit less use of spices) - that is, bring to a boil with some pinches of cinnamon, cloves and a bit of lemon juice.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Perfect Xmas Jam

Christmas is approaching fast and it's about time that I publish the recipe for the Perfect Xmas Jam. Xmas because it tastes like & perfect because is contains only half as much sugar as standard jam. Let's start with the ingredients:
  • 500 g carrots (no joke)
  • ½ litre of cider (unfermented)
  • 300 g sugar
  • 2 pinches of cinnamon
  • 100 g almonds, ground
  • 8 g agar-agar
Steam the carrots and mix them in a blender. Fill the carrots with the cider in a pan and bring to a boil. Add sugar and keep boiling until the sugar is dissolved. Dissolve agar-agar in cold water or cider and add to the mixture. Keep boiling for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add cinnamon and almonds.

Fill the jam to the brim into glasses. Put the covers on and turn the glasses on the top until they are cool.

Three weeks ago, together with Jeanpi I made 80 litres (or 400 glasses). It's great. Try it.

Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention

At Ms.Mac castle, I've seen a pile of Instant Barbecues, which they've bought in Scotland. These are disposable barbecues. Unwrapping and lighting with a match is all it takes. If the job is done, one can throw it in the trash bin (just allow to cool).

I've told my friend Jeanpi about this item and he responded: "Of course, how would they ever have a chance to have a barbeque between showers without it".

Slave of the Codex

Today, I received a Christmas card (thank you very much, Ms.Mac). Unfortunately, I'm Swiss and Swiss don't do Christmas cards (neither Valentine cards). In addition, we have to fight weird Anglo-Saxon cultural indoctrination (e.g. Santa Claus, Halloween, paper hats). Hence, I can't send Christmas cards to anyone. It may happen that you catch Swiss folks doing anything of the mentioned above. This just shows that there are spineless slobs among us. I do apologize in advance. (PS: I have nothing against receiving Christmas cards - that's not prohibeted by the unwritten codex of Swiss cultur)

Friday, December 03, 2004

Caught by Vibes?

My precious bodily fluids are in heavy circulation and it seems that I'm not the only one. Is this caused by Xmas vibes as some of us suspect?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Ceci n'est pas un chat

Ahmed Bin Salad has called the animal on the flashy new icon and the photo in my profile cat. That's not correct. It shows a marten.

Marten (actually the German Marder) was the name given to me by the Boy Scouts. It is a tradition among guides and scouts in the German speaking part of Switzerland to baptize new members. The idea is to give a name that reflects the characteristics and qualities of person. I have now idea, which of my qualities supposed to be reflected in a marten.

Cultural reference for non art geeks: René Magritte.

Geeky Thursday

Today, I'm sporting a Think Geek T-shirt with the phrase /(bb|[^b]{2})/ *. I picked this garment, because yesterday, a colleague called me Geek.

I'm still not sure whether I should be pleased or offended. Traditionally and as I understood, a geek is person regarded as foolish, inept, or clumsy, who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept. My colleague pointed out that this has shifted and a geek is now a person with a devotion to something in a way that places him or her outside the mainstream. I'm still not totally convinced and sure how to put it. But maybe, buying stuff from Think Geek makes denial pointless anyway.

* hint: coded in Perl, written by a limey during the English Renaissance.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Wax Raider

There's not enough hours in the day for me right now. Hence, this quote is appropriate: "Don't tell me I'm burning the candle at both ends, tell me where to get more wax."

By the way, Madame Tussaud, who was an expert at wax modelling and brought the Wax Museum to London, was born on Dezember 1st, 1761.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Tank to Top

There is at least one more embarrassing situation in my life than the lost & found Kylie ticket: I've used a tank to climb a volcano.

In summer 1993, I made a discovery journey to Kamchatka*, which consisted mainly of river rafting with an Aeroflot life-raft and volcano trekking. One volcano, which we tried to climb, was Mutnovsky in the South of the peninsula. Two vachtovkas** brought us in a seven hour ride to the base of the volcano. Early on the next morning, we made our first attempt for the crater. Unfortunately, we did not succeed due to various reasons:
  • we were surrounded by fog
  • we did not have any maps nor navigation means
  • our local guide was big-mouth but did not strike at all
  • the other guides insisted on cooking a soup for lunch with fire wood they brought along (this takes at least 2.5 hours at that altitude)
Back in the base camp, a worker from the nearby construction site for a steam power plant came along and offered his tank for $ 50 including driver. It looked like an infantry fighting vehicle without weapons but with a huge hook for dragging heavy stuff through this mars like environment.

First, the offer was out of question for all of us. But right in then, the fog disappeared and the volcano showed its true beauty. Within an hour everyone gave in.

Both the rides up and down took about 1.5 hours and it felt like being trapped in a blender. Luckily, I don't get motion sickness, but this also restricted me from the only hatch. It was a ride in darkness.

But It was worth both trouble and embarrassment. The crater is magnificent. See the pictures of another party.

* A brief summary for all those who had a place next to the window in geography: Kamchatka Peninsula is a 1,250-kilometer-long peninsula in the Russian Far East, with an area of 472,300 km². It lies between the Pacific Ocean (to the east) and the Sea of Okhotsk (to the west). The central valley and the Kamchatka River are flanked by large volcanic ranges, containing around 160 volcanoes, 29 of them still active.

** six-wheel-drive truck with passenger cabin (picture).

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Xtreme Lost & Found

This is a follow up of No Kylie - Screwed by Amazon and Ultimate Seduction.

On the eve of Kylie's Fever concert in Zürich I realised that I had no idea where the ticket was. Usually, I put them under my vintage telephone (one that still looks and sounds like one). But there was nothing at all. Four hours later, I had moved all furniture at least once, had been through the waste paper three times and had emptied and put in order all drawers. Still no sign of the ticket. Depressive feelings and self-pity had taken control over my usually quite stable personality hours ago. My fingers were trembling when I wrote a panic SMS to Jeanpi, who supposed to go with me to the concert.

At noon on the day of the concert, Jeanpi entered my apartment and found the ticket within 30 seconds in a cupboard in the bath. I have still no idea why and when I put it there.

How the concert turned out can be read in No Kylie - Screwed by Amazon

Friday, November 26, 2004

Grands Crus

My swimming mate Antonio works for wine magazine Vinum. He has sent me a back issue with the title story Grands Crus From The Apple Tree by acclaimed wine journalist Thomas Vaterlaus. Extensive research in Europe's leading cider regions had led Vaterlaus to:
I am going to write about some of Vaterlaus' findings in following blogs. However, I highly recommend to order this back issue as long as it is still available. It can be ordered in German (Switzerland), German (Germany), French or Spanish.


Ultimate Seduction

La Minogue requests the honour of our company: April 1st, 2005, Basel. Be there & be ready for the ultimate enchantment in one of Europe's oldest intellectual centers. I Should Be So Lucky...

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The Forbidden Fruit

My recommendation for pre-Xmas is De Verboden Vrucht (Dutch) or Le Fruit Défendu (French) ['the forbidden fruit' for the ones who do not speak either language]. It's a strong Belgian ale (8.8%). But let's listen to the experts:
Dark red-brown in colour with a loose, bubbly head, this well-known strong ale from Hoegaarden (now owned by Interbrew) has a delicate, fruity, malty nose with lots of red berries present, along with estery pear-drop aromas and a touch of sherbet. In the mouth it is initially lively and malty, but the malt soon develops more complex fruity notes, again with red berries predominant, although there is only a little sweetness. It is also worth noting that the strength is exceptionally well disguised, even for a Belgian ale. Finish becomes chocolatey and warming, though, leaving a chocolatey, fruity aftertaste. A stunning beer, somewhere near the dubbel style, but difficult to categorise comfortably. Fruity and complex, with a hidden kick. (Source: The Oxford Bottled Beer Database)
De Verboden Vrucht Cheers


Some information on the origin of the apple:
  • Apple is the fruit (pome) of the genus Malus belonging to the family Rosaceae, and is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits.
  • Table apples are of the species M. domestica or hybrids of it.
  • The wild ancestor of Malus domestica is Malus sieversii (which has no common name), a tree still found wild in the Tian Shan mountains of central Asia in southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Xinjiang Province, China. M. sieversii resists many diseases and pests that affect domestic apples, and research with it to develop new disease-resistant apples is continuing.
  • Almaty means "Father of Apples". Alamty (Алматы; formerly known as Alma-Ata) is a city in Kazakhstan, with a population of 1,168,000.
So far, I've been three times to this area:

Riding a Kazakhien Ibex

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Apple Tiramisù

Due to a strange dizziness on Monday, I missed Anigna's birthday party and therefore a delicious Apple Tiramisù as I've been told.

Serves 6 to 8

Apple Rings
- 75 g sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 drops lemon juice
Mix all together in a wide pan and bring to a boil without stirring. Reduce heat and let boil until it takes the colour of Caramel. Remove pan from stove.
- 50 g butter in small pieces
Add butter to the mixture.
- 4 apples (approx. 600 g), peeled & cored, cut into 5 mm thick rings
- juice of one lemon
Mix apple rings with lemon juice and add to the mixture. Parboil for 10 minutes. Let apple rings cool down.

Mascarpone Mixture
- 225 g mascarpone
- 180 g sour milk
- 75 g sugar
- 1 apple, peeled, cut in small cubes
Whisk mascarpone in a bowl. Add sour milk and sugar. Mix well and add apple cubes. Cover the bowl an put in a cool place.
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 3 tablespoons caramel liquid from the apple ring procedure
- 2 tablespoons Calvados or Thurgados
Mix all together.
- 150 g spoon biscuits
Fill a bowl in layers from the bottom:
1) biscuits with the sugared side down.
2) let liquid drip on the biscuits.
3) apple rings
4) mascarpone mixture
5) biscuits (dipped in liquid)
6) liquid
7) apple rings
8) mascarpone mixture

Store in a cool place for at least two hours. Enjoy with family and friends


Lonely Planet for Cider India

This is a follow up of Cider India.
If you want to travel to Cider India, then choose May when the apple trees are in blossom. If you insist on doing it in autumn, then visit Bosch's Wystübli in Boltshausen (+41 71 622 44 27).

Unfortunately, the big cider producers in the area, Thuralla and Moehl, produce only cider for the mass market. Therefore, cider can not be the only reason for a trip to Cider India. My father still makes his own cider, but you have to like vinegar to really enjoy it. It's strong stuff, though.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Cider India Ribbon

This is a follow up of The Chopstick Challenge.
At least the linoleum print did work on the waitor's "ninja" ribbon.
ribbon Picture by Phon

The Chopstick Challenge

This is a follow up of Cider Creme For The Masses and Cider India - on Carla's request.
Of course, a theme like "East of Cider India" asks for chopsticks and chopsticks have prints. The challenge was to get the theme printed on the chopstick which turned out to be more difficult than we'd expected.

The first approach, which I'd brought in, was a linoleum print. Luckily, it had been turned down by Carla's father who's an acclaimed sculptor. In hindsight, I have to admit, he was right. It would not have worked.

Carla then contacted Speckert+Klein to order a stamp and stamp colour, which had to be non-toxic and oil and water resistant (one has to eat with it, though). They found egg colour, which fulfilled all our requirements and is normally used to stamp the date onto eggs.

Carla did work for the Swiss Post for some years, and therefore, is kind of an expert in how to stamp properly. But she failed with the first set of chopstick (more than 100) which she had bought at IKEA. The colour run into the wood. It was a blur not a stamp.

In the afternoon one day prior to the event, she finally found varnished chopsticks which were stampable at Cash+Carry.

chopstick Picture by Phon

Cider India

This is a follow up of Cider Creme For The Masses.
We have chosen the theme "East of Cider India" for the dinner a fortnight ago, because the east of Thurgau is called Cider India (Mostindien) due the many apple trees in that area. For a lot of Swiss, Switzerland ends about 10 km west of Thurgau. They seem to have a mental border and don't realise that there is some more (a least a lovely area - the people have quite traditional views and values). Hence, a bit cheek in tongue was involved in the selection of the theme.

A local cider producer even advertises with an Indian who speaks the local vernacular:

Cider Indian

Monday, November 22, 2004

Mass Cooking

This is a follow up of Cider Creme For The Masses.
Tina was again involved in a mass cooking. Last weekend, she produced 80 liters of pumpkin soup concentrate. Which was the basis for 150 liters of pumpkin soup to be sold at a fair in Diessenhofen (Swiss don't use pumpkins just for decoration as ms.mac does suppose).

Talking about fairs: Sirpa, also involved in the East of Cider India cooking, will be working at Uschter-Märt on November, 25 & 26. Pay her a visit at the Ox stand.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Cider Creme - For The Masses

This is a follow up of Cider Creme - Basics & Reframed.
On May Day, Carla, Schwafli, Chilli & I cooked for a wedding dinner. It was hard work, but every thing went quite well. We only messed up the Cider Creme. I mean, we failed completely - not just admirably. The bloody creme burnt on its way from the stove to the sieve. As I warned in the basics blog, this is the tricky part in preparing this delicious dish.

A fortnight ago, Carla & I with another team, were cooking again. This time for the approx. 110 participants of a conference of the Swiss Guide & Scout Movement. We'd chosen the theme "East of Cider India" (more about this theme in another blog later on) and set Cider Creme on the menu for dessert.

Our friend Tina has warned us & we have made a bad experience ones. But success is getting onto your feet once more than you have fallen. Hence, we did it again. Just for the record, the ingredients:
  • 600 g cornflour
  • 18 litres cider
  • 60 eggs
  • 15 lemons
  • 1 litre Thurgados
  • 5 litres whipped cream.
The big difference this time was that we did the cooking in 20 portions. Topo & I were whisking for almost three hours but the approach worked perfectly. The Cider Creme was the proper completion of a great meal.

cider creme cooling Picture by Sirpa
The Cider Creme while cooling down.

Bloody Nose

Yesterday, a certain Lars, who has written a brilliant essay on Pedro Almodóvar's Hable Con Ella, got a bloody nose because he got messed up with fellow student Carla's earring while kissing her neck.

Note: It might not be obvious, why this gossip shows up in a cider creme thread. But belief me, Carla plays an essential part in it (I'm still supposing that I'm able to build up some suspense).

Cider Creme - Reframed

This is a follow up of Cider Creme - Basics and Reframing.
I have to swerve a bit to get to the reframed cider creme. Sorry, but it's really necessary:
  • 1st Swerve: Another thing I've learned from Tom is to discuss my current projects with as many different people as possible. This is an unsurpassed source for the reframing process [Sub swerve: yes, I steal -- wherever I can. I was brought up in Thurgau. Malicious gossip says that people from Thurgau walk around the house first thing in the morning to see if all stolen goods are still there].
  • 2nd Swerve: Tiptopf is a brilliant book. It's almost fail-safe. All the basics required for cooking are described in detail. On the other hand, the book contains only basic recipes. Reframing is essential to turn them from solid and good to brilliant and breath taking.
The decisive input for the reframing of Tiptopf's cider creme came from my colleague Martin. He brought me the recipe of a Norman cider creme (the Normandy is a great cider region - more on that in another follow-up). The tiny but essential difference is that the Norman recipe uses less lemon juice and adds 1 dl of Calvados in the last stage. Of course, as a Thurgauer, I suggest to use Thurgados instead of Calvados.


Tom Peters has a bit fallen from grace but I still think he's right by saying:


"The world of WOW Projects rests on but one word: REFRAMING. That is . . . every "assignment"/"task"/"job" is merely a starting point. Your real "job": Turn that--often apparently mundane--task / job / assignment into something cool/memorable/WOW!"


Source: Tom Peters (1999). The Project 50: or, Fifty Ways to Transform Every "Task" into a Project that Matters! New York: Knopf, p. 25.
I've never failed, applying this recommendation and I often did, ignoring it. Failing means in this case, producing something forgettable, predictable, risk-avers, boss-driven & tune less.

Note: this is just another piece in the big cider puzzle.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Cider Creme - Basics

This is the basic recipe for Cider Cream from the Swiss school cooking bible Tiptopf:

Put 2 tablespoons of cornflour in a pan and mix it with 6 dl of cider (the unfermented version). Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 eggs and mix well. Put on the heat and keep stirring with a whisk while bringing to a boil. As soon as the mixture boils, sift it into a dish. At this point you have to be fast or the creme burns. Let the creme cool, which requires several hours. Prior to serving, add the juice of half a lemon and 1-2 dl of whipped cream. Serves 4.

More about the reason for this blog will follow in due course (I try to put some suspense into my blog, though).

Friday, November 19, 2004

Never in Rose

Blogger promises that it takes only 3 easy steps to create a new blog. That's right - but they don't tell you that a lot of decision making is involved. One is to choose a template that reflects the personality & style of the blogger. At least one thing was clear for me from the beginning. My colour option will never be set to Rose!

As a small boy, I had a nightmare, which I will never forget. My mother had got one of this handy all purpose kitchen chopper from Zyliss with sharp blades. In my dream there were 5 m tall, upright-walking cats, which had those kind of blades in stead of pads on the front legs. They were rose from head to tail and wherever they walked, the ground caved in a rose swamp. The cats used the blades to catch people and chop them into tiny pieces. I woke up when they got hold of my grandmother.

Zyliss Chopper

Two weeks ago, I bought one of those choppers. So far I did not have any nightmares. It looks like I don't have to waste money on therapy.

No Kylie - Screwed by Amazon

If back in Stock Aitken Waterman days somebody would have told me that I would ever go to a Kylie concert, this would have ended in a tough fight - no doubt. But then appeared Nick Cave's unforgettable duet with Kylie on "Where the Wild Roses Grow". The world was never as before. In 2002, she definitely enchanted me by giving this fantastic Fever Tour. This show sent me on a five day high like freshly fallen in love (I've enjoyed better concerts music-wise, but no other has had a similar emotional impact). Ever since, the Kylie calendar is on the Xmas shopping list. If you get it from me it's a sign of deep friendship. I think, I've drawn the picture.

Swiss shop's are expensive but not necessarily the best stocked in the world. Hence, I have to get it from overseas. After last year's disaster (I could not get hold of them before end of January 2004), I made my shopping early in September on

Now, after two and a half months of waiting I did receive the following line from them: "We are sorry to inform you that we have been unable to obtain the (...) "Official Kylie Minogue Calendar 2005" This item has now been cancelled from your order..."

Thursday, November 18, 2004

First Experience

experience, living through events and the impression on a person or animal of events. In epistemology, distinction is made between things known inductively, from experience, and those known deductively or theoretically, from a priori principles. The ancients, under the influence of Plato and of Euclidean geometry, tended to prize deductive or theoretical knowledge above that gained through experience. Their influence was dominant through the Renaissance. With the rise of modern empirical science the preference was reversed. Immanuel Kant's critical epistemology, however, emphasized the dependence of all experience on the mediation of the intelligence. Modern thought has tended to agree with Kant; accordingly, discussion has centered on what, if anything, can be said to be immediately experience, and how this experience may be conditioned by social factors affecting the social milieu or by perceptual processes themselves. ...says The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia.

Let's see what my experiences in the blogging world will be...