Zurich Eats

I don’t think we have yet announced on this blog that Zurich is to be our next home. In fact, Callum has already been there for about 4 months and I will be joining him in a month’s time. So the name of this blog will have less connection to the content, but it’s too good to give up and start collecting followers all over again.

I have visited a couple of times so far but am yet to share the curiosities and experiences, so here is the first of many posts about the capital of Switzerland!

In true ithinktherefore… style, I am going to begin with a post about food and drink – two of our biggest loves.

One of the entertaining things about travel is discovering different flavours of familiar products other countries have. As you can see in the picture below, Switzerland is home to elderflower Fanta and Orangina-flavoured Haribo.

I am a big elderflower fan, so I thought it tastes great (Callum not so much) but we both love the Haribo – they definitely need to expand distribution of those sweets to, say, the UK and the Netherlands. Like, now – before I leave.

I was very surprised at how high the concentration of British-style pubs is in Zurich, and how many other additional places you can buy British ale/beer. Well played Zurich, well played. I can already predict that this will mean I become an addict of London Pride. Incidentally, has anyone ever thought of creating a name for people who are dependent on alcohol? Just an idea…

 Beer, glorious beeeeeerrrr

Not everything Zürich has to offer is familiar though; one pub is offering up a beloved Disney film character as a meal. The barbarians.

Simba... nooooo!

Simba… nooooo! Or, is this what happened to your dad after you couldn’t wake… him.. up? *SOBS*

One of our (already) favourite places to eat is Fork & Bottle. Well worth the bus journey, this place offers a big beer garden with a view to green fields and hills and friendly staff. Also, English is the default language here, which as two non-Swiss German-speaking people, is a definite plus.

Beer Brunch at Fork & Bottle

Beer Brunch at Fork & Bottle

Their beer menu is hand-picked by the owner and Callum describes it as the cream of Swiss craft beer, with nowhere else coming close in terms of offeringS, but (as with other places in Zurich) it is very expensive. You can rack up high bills extremely easily – so be warned! I am a particular fan of the Kurt Pale Ale but am definitely NOT a fan of the basil-flavoured beer they also offer. (That is what you get for being made to feel guilty about sticking with what you know and love!!)

Their food is good; the buttermilk pancakes are my particular favourite, but I felt I had to share my picture of their soft-shell crab burger. It is literally a whole soft-shell crab deep-fried and stuck in a bun. Their fish and chips (which Callum has in the background of the picture below) are also better than any of the Dutch attempts we tried in Amsterdam.

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More Zurich-ness to come…

Staring at Jacob

This great little brunch-and-cocktails place is located on a corner of Amsterdam where Staringstraat IMG_2609meets Jacob van Lennepkade (Staring + Jacob = clever name!). Having sampled the brunch on one previous occasion, we decided to head there last Sunday (along with the camera) and fill up on more delights before a long walk through the city.

 

The combinations on the menu do seem a little odd – Yorkshire puddings crop up in plates which also feature ratatouille – but they do have simple offerings in the ‘sides’ section of the menu, so you could always create your own fare. We both opted for ‘The all-rounder’, as you can see in the picture below:

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Needless to say, we both cleared our plates, drank all of the maple syrup and felt throughly satisfied. Callum also discovered a new beer he’s rather fond of, which is turns out, is from an Amsterdam-based brewery.

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Below are some shots of the cafe itself. We got there at just the right time as there was a table available straight away but by the time we were finished, a chatty queue was building and the bar seating was full of people ordering beers and delicious-looking cocktails (it was about 12:30 by this point, on a Sunday. Definitely drinking time!).

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If you want to see more pictures then head to their Tumblr site or if you’re in the area head over and sample their delights for yourself. It’s still a new place; you don’t have to scroll far down on the Tumblr feed before you get to the construction pictures! I will definitely be heading back for more pancakes and syrup… Perhaps some cocktails will also be sampled??

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(Just one more picture of the food. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

The most wonderful time of the year

I love Christmas. Yes, I’m one of them. One of those people who gets a little excited feeling around mid-OctoIMG_2067ber, just as the air feels like it’s hardening and evening darkness encroaches upon the afternoons more and more. Whilst most are still mourning the lost of summer and have not had the heart to put away their flip-flops, I am already feeling nostalgic and looking forward to seeing fairy lights and eating mince pies.

If you do not share my feelings (i.e. you have a more rational perspective on the Christmas festivities) then you will no doubt feel the urge to hit people like me if we have the nerve to utter the “C” word before Decemeber 1st. Callum doesn’t share my love of the anticipation of Christmas so I have to keep my glee under wraps, as it were.

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Now we have almost completed our first week of December, I need hide it no more. The lights are up, presents have already been bought (some of them wrapped) and I’m playing Fairytale of New York on an almost daily basis. I have already made, written and posted all of my cards – but I didn’t take pictures, which was stupid because I was very pleased with them this year. However, for the past couple of years I have never been able to feel fully in the Christmas spirit because in Holland Christmas is still second-best; Sinterklaas is the big celebration over here and so gets the most attention from shops (and therefore shoppers).

As a result, my advent calendar is less typical than those we have in England (although not as much as Callum’s), I’ve had to hand make a ‘Happy Xmas’ banner and still haven’t eaten a single mince pie. (My options are to pay more than €5 for six M&S ones or make them. It’s practically a violation of my human rights.) Think this is likely to dampen my Christmas anticipation? Not at all. I just know that it won’t really feel like Christmas time until I reach jolly ol’ England toward the end of December…

PS. If you’re still feeling more Scrooge than Santa, have a listen to my newest favourite Christmas song by Aussie comedian Tim Minchin. It’s lovely:

I suck at being an adult

*Sigh* Being an adult is hard. You need to make decisions, get work done and generally not rely on other people if you want anything to happen. Kids do not know how good they have it.

This evening I had every intention of being a proper, fully functioning adult and made a plan of my evening activities in my head:

  1. Food shopping
  2. Clear up kitchen
  3. Lesson planning
  4. Make dinner
  5. Eat said dinner with one glass of wine
  6. Indulge in dessert only if hungry

15 minutes after I got home this evening, the wine was open, I had only done a third of the dishes and I was spooning chocolate pudding in my face.

Ahh, well, screw it. I’m an ADULT I can do whatever I want, that’s the point of being a grown up, isn’t it??

If you like the pictures, please click on them; they should take you to Hyperbole and a half, which is a very amusing blog and articulates these issues better than I can.

Oh dear, my wine glass appears to be empty…

Getting my bake on

It’s been a long time since I posted anything on here (Callum has been pretty much solely responsible for quite a while now) and I’ve been feeling rather guilty with my lack of participation, so here is a post with my latest baking efforts for you to enjoy.

I’ve been doing a lot more recently, as I have found that my colleagues are work are appreciative of my flour-based efforts so I always have an outlet to distribute the goods. (Prevents Callum and I from eating everything and becoming obese).

This week I decided to make biscuits, based on this BBC recipe. The only change I made was to use a vanilla pod instead of extract (ooh, fancy) and had to leave them in my oven a little longer but they taste really good. Mmmm… butter.

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Cooled down and waiting to be iced

The icing isn’t perfect on them, but I had over 30 to do and not a lot of time in which to decorate them. Hopefully they’ll be enjoyed at work tomorrow.

Bier Fabriek

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Bier Fabriek is a micro-brewery on the Rokin, currently hidden behind the metro development. This doesn’t keep the numbers down; the weekend demands a reservation. And rightfully so.

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They brew two of their beers on site in the middle of the bar. Size demands that extensions to their range are brewed offsite on their behalf. This is currently an unfiltered pilsner crafted in collaboration with the family run Brewery Alfa and is bloody splendid. It is quite similar to the “Lager” at 1516, Vienna, if that helps?

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The menu is extensive so long as you want barbecue chicken. Which you should, as it is moreish.

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Venue: 8/10

Industrial-chic isn’t easy to pull off, but De Bierfabriek does it and then some; there are even parts that feel cosy. The service is splendid too, which in Amsterdam is like a virgin behind a window in the Red Light District. There are also monkey nuts everywhere; I don’t think I need to explain why that is brilliant.

Beer: 7/10

Only three beers on the menu to choose from, but they are all their own and cover pils, amber-weisse and black. They are good, undoubtedly, but not as fine as the frustratingly micro-brewed offerings at “1516” in Vienna.

Crackin’ curry

Taken from the BBC’s Good Food website, this Chickpea, tomato and spinach curry is not only awesome but really healthy, which (let’s be totally honest with ourselves) doesn’t happen that often. “You’ve made me healthy vegan food? Mmmm, I can’t wait to try this wet cardboard with damp, old vegetation.”

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I made it for the second time this week, but substituted the broccoli with yellow pepper and potato. I reduced the amounts and still got three servings, chucking in some spicy chicken with the last of it. I am stuffed but very satisfied… now where’s the cake?

Our weekend in cake

Following on from ‘Our weekend in books’ post on our other blog, here is one about cake. Sundays were invented for cake. Not rest and church and all that other rubbish. As today is Sunday, I made cake.

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Mini coffee and chocolate fairy cakes

Lots of cake…

This is a blueberry and lemon drizzle cake

This is a blueberry and lemon drizzle cake

The only thing missing now is cup of tea.

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It’s got blueberries in, so there’s almost no calories. Fruit cancels out fat. Everyone knows this.

LM

Bazar

Bazar is a foodie institution in Amsterdam.

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The location is unlikely; an unassuming entrance onto a street that is either a vibrant market (Albert Cuypmarkt) or, after 6, a run-down looking mess. Inside however, is one of the more unique interiors in town.

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The menu seems to be south-east Mediterranean and near-east, with staples such as the house humous, tahini and babaganoush. The kitchen is open until one after midnight too.

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The portions are huge, which makes Bazaar really good value. Better than the food is the atmosphere and energy. It’s possible to just sit at the bar in the middle and soak it all in too.