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Chinese Hot Pot

After having finished grad school, my girl friends from school and I had to part ways. Some found jobs in the South East, some in the Middle East, others in the US. Only a few of us stayed in Europe. Luckily, my very close friend Vanessa has found a job in Basel and stayed with me in the land of chocolate and cheese.

Unfortunately, our hectic working schedules barely permit us to see each other. Despite the crazy workload and the distance (we live in different cantons), Vannie insisted that we meet on my birthday and told me that she was planning to prepare something “typiquement Asiatique”.
And by that, she meant Chinese Hot Pot! Yeeeeyyy!!!

Vannie and I are originally from South East Asia and it is not everyday that we can have hot pot. I was really happy, it was like a feast. 🙂

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It was just perfect for the cold weather.
And look, she baked a cake for me, as well. 🙂

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We had a blast! Thanks again, Van!

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Daily tidbits

 

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La Maison du Prussien

November 19, I had to pass by the office that saturday morning to submit a report that had caused me not to sleep the night before.

As soon as I arrived home, I went straight to bed. After having x amount of caffeine, I felt like I had a hangover, only not from alcohol, and it was even worse. I just wanted to get some sleep!

I woke up at about half past 16. The first thing I thought about was, “Has Kit had lunch yet?, I need to go to the grocery!, What do I cook for dinner?”. At that same moment, Kit came into the bedroom and said, “Hello, sleepyhead! Feeling better?”. I told him what I was thinking about and he replied, “how about you don’t cook dinner tonight? Let’s eat out.. Say La Table d’Edgar or this or that?“. I smiled and thought to myself, “whoa, somebody’s craving for some fancy food and wants to be pampered.”

Kit and I like going to Michelin-starred restaurants, but we normally plan it ahead of time and see if we can afford it (they’re really quite expensive), so I was quite surprised that he wanted to go to fancy restaurants all of a sudden. I was not expecting to get a table at any of those restaurants.. It was already almost 17:00, on a saturday… quite too late to make a reservation. Kit telephoned a couple of restaurants, but had no luck.. Eventually he got lucky and was given a table for 19:00 at a gastronomique restaurant ( no Michelin star ) in the neighbouring canton of Neuchatel.

The restaurant is called La Maison du Prussien. It was our first time at this restaurant. We liked the interior decor of the restaurant; the wide glass windows made it look spacious, its shade of beige and brown went well with the blue glasses on the tables. It was elegant and cozy!

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We took chasselas wine for apéritif and the waiter gave us something to nibble with our wine while looking at the menu..

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Finally, we settled for their Menu au truffe.. About 4 plates in which black truffles were incorporated in each plate. As usual, I do not remember the names of the plates anymore, so I’ll just let you have a glimpse of what we had..

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This dish was a winner; mashed potatoes with foie gras and black truffles. Super delicious!

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Camembert cheese; we thought the texture was weird, but it was fine.

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The food was awesome and the service was impeccable.. Not much of a difference compared to Michelin-starred restaurants.. We actually thought it deserved at least 1 star.

So, we returned home stuffed and happy. But earlier, while we were having dinner, Kit kept on looking at me in a weird way.. I could not figure out what it was until we were already in bed; I was half asleep when he called out “Hun?” I murmured, “yeah?”, and then he asked, “Will you marry me??

I was shocked (in a good way).. I thought I was dreaming, it seemed surreal. I realised he was acting strange the whole evening, but it did not
occur to me he’d pop that question. The last time I remember he did not want to get married, at least not
in the near future. Teary eyed and all smiles, I said “Yes!!!

And that’s what makes the restaurant La Maison du Prussien special and memorable to us.

La Maison du Prussien
Rue des Tunnels 11
2000 Neuchâtel
Tel: +41 32 730 54 54

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Daily tidbits, Restaurant reviews

 

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On Sushis and Sashimis

Sushis and sashimis are on top of our favorite foods to eat.. I have to say Kit and I are a huge fan of this Japanese creation.

Kit and I had sushi during our first date at this Japanese restaurant, Myo, in Lausanne. The food was okay, it just was not to our liking.

Anyway, when it comes to sushis and sashimis, there are three Japanese restaurants in the Suisse Romande region that we often visit:

1.) Restaurant St-Roch, Yverdon Les Bains

This restaurant may not be as fancy and classy as you’d want, but they make really good sushis and serve fresh sashimis. Funny thing is that this restaurant is owned and run by a Chinese family, so you might think it’s not authentic Japanese, right? We can assure you though that they make the food just as authentic as any Jap resto does in the region.

The service is good, not perfect; the staff is friendly and accommodating. What we like most about this restaurant is their flexibility; we can order something that is not in the menu and they make it for us. They also have the best seaweed salad and the prices are very affordable, too.

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The dragon and rainbow roll that we ordered (not listed in the menu)

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mixed sashimi

If you’re in the region, want some Japanese food, and want value for money, we definitely recommend this place.

St-Roch
Rue de PĂŞcheurs 8
1400 Yverdon Les Bains
Tel: +41 24 425 30 87


2.) Ichi-ban, Lausanne

If you are also an Unagi (eel), Tamago (japanese omelette), and Toro (tuna belly) lover like us, then this is the place to go.

The manager who is also the sushi chef is very nice and friendly. The restaurant has a cozy and romantic atmosphere. It is better to reserve a table especially during the weekends. The restaurant is quite small and can only accommodate a certain number of guests (definitely not more than 20 on the first floor).
Yes, this restaurant has a second floor which we believe is alloted for guests who prefer to have hot plates. We haven’t tried it yet, though.

The downside, it is more expensive than St-Roch, probably because it is situated in Lausanne. They also run out of stock (fish, crab, etc.) most of the time, so even if they have the best Toro, they might not have it when you want it.
In spite of that, we still keep on coming back.

Ichi-ban
Avenue d’Ouchy 58
1006 Lausanne
Tel: +41 21 601 31 68

3.) Miyako, Lausanne

Miyako being one of the restaurants of Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne is the fanciest and the most expensive out of the three. But that doesn’t mean they serve the best food, although we can say that they have the best service compared to St-Roch and Ichiban.
Miyako is the place to go if you feel like having japanese food and pampering yourself at the same time. Reservation is advised, this restaurant is much smaller than Ichiban.

Miyako
Beau Rivage Palace
Place du Port 17-19
1000 Lausanne
Tel: +41 21 613 33 33

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Restaurant reviews

 

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Fondant au Chocolat

Kit has such a sweet tooth and since it is only during the weekends that I can spend some decent time in the kitchen, I try to make desserts to satisfy his cravings for sweets.

Not wanting to slave myself much in the kitchen (Weekends are my “faire de mĂ©nage” and rest days too, ya know! ) I normally opt for simple, easy to make desserts, yet delicious..

So yesterday, while I was trying to get rid of unwanted papers, I came across this recipe of fondant au chocolat, which my friend gave me..

It was incredibly easy to make and not time consuming either..
Et voila, le resultat:

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Kit really liked it. 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Home cooking

 

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Chicken and Shrimp Dumplings

Last saturday, I passed by the Japanese store, Uchitomi, in Geneva.

I was actually looking for Japanese nuts, but I came across this bamboo steamer and ended up buying it instead, as well as a pack of dumpling wrapper.

I couldn’t wait to try my new bamboo steamer out, so I went straight to the kitchen as soon as I got home and started cooking.

I used about twelve pieces of prawns (minced), 1 boneless chicken breast (ground), 1 medium carrots (shredded), 1 medium sized shallots (finely chopped).. I mixed them all together, seasoned with salt and pepper et voila.. I started wrapping…

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And steaming..

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Since the steamer is quite small, I was able to steam only 6 pieces per batch. I made about 24 pieces.
Light but filling saturday lunch. 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Home cooking

 

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Chicken Empanadas

Two nights ago, I dreamt of empanadas which I used to have when I was in elementary in our school canteen during our break time. I suddenly remembered how delicious it was and could not help but crave for it as soon as I woke up.

The empanadas I used to have at school had tuna fillings, but this time I was craving for chicken empanadas.

Refusing not to buy one from the Peruvian store next door ( Damn, a piece costs 10 freaking Swiss francs!), I have decided to make some myself. This is actually the second time I am making empanadas, my first attempt was a big failure though.. the dough or crust was as hard as stone that you could literally throw it at someone you are mad at.

I am quite happy with the result of my second attempt..

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The dough turned out exactly as I wanted it to be.. crunchy and flaky..

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Unfortunately, the filling came out a bit dry.. but still good enough to satisfy my cravings.

Hopefully it will be perfect the next time I make these. 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in Home cooking

 

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Italian Saturday

For those who frequent this blog, you might know now that Kit and I usually spend saturday night with friends.

Working in another canton or state during the weekdays makes it difficult for us to hang out with friends, that is why we make it a point to see them on weekends no matter how tired we are.

Last night, Kit took this bottle out from our cave for our usual saturday apéro..

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You might be wondering, a cave inside the house? Seriously?!? The answer is yes and no.. Yes, we have a cave at home and no, it’s not that kind of cave..
It’s the type where one would keep and store their bottles of wine a.k.a. wine cellar in english.

This wine belongs to our collection of Bourgogne wines. Gevrey Chambertin Les Seuvrées 2008 has a medium red colour that delivers an aroma of dark red fruits on the nose.. Soft and well-balanced taste in the mouth. Kit and I would give this wine an 8 out of 10.

After finishing the whole bottle while catching up with friends, we decided to go to this Italian restaurant called L’isola. It is situated in the neighbouring canton of Fribourg and is a good 45 minutes drive from our place, but Kit has been craving for fresh pasta and this is by far the only Italian restaurant that we know which makes fresh and home-made pastas, so wth..

For starters, Kit just ordered a mixed salad. I did not want to order an entrée at first, but their moules et vongoles avec sauce piquant (mussels and clams on spicy sauce) was rather tempting, and so I took that for my entrée.

Et voila….

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C’Ă©tait complètement Ă©norme! A gigantic plate of seafood for starters arrived. Our friend, Kristine, had to help me finish this. We really enjoyed this despite its huge portion. The mussels and clams were executed well and the jus was flavourful.

For our main course, Kit ordered the tagliatelle au noir de seiche avec tomates et gambas (squid ink tagliatelle with cherry tomatoes and shrimps)..

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The colours on this plate were so lively, the tagliatelle was cooked perfectly al dente and the shrimps were divine.

While Kit was enjoying his dish, I looked at my plate and worried that my choice would be a disappointment, because the dish looked rather pale and sad.. I ordered ravioli châtaigne au boeuf braisĂ© avec jus Ă  l’orange (chestnut ravioli stuffed with braised beef in orange sauce)

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Much to my surprise, this dish was actually very nice. The flavour combination of the ravioli, jus Ă  l’orange and rucola was surprisingly wonderful.

Since I could hardly breathe anymore after I finished my dish, I did not order any desserts anymore. Meanwhile, Kit ordered soufflé au grand marnier for dessert..

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Overall, a great dining experience. L’isola may not have a michelin star, but it serves good food with good quantity and also very affordable. We’ll keep on coming back as long as we crave for freshly made pastas.

Restaurant L’isola
Rue de l’industrie 1
1700 Fribourg, Suisse
Tel: +41 26 422 24 53

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Daily tidbits, Restaurant reviews

 

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