Category Archives: Food

Cherry Mistmas…

From a  friend, via email and you’ve probably read it already but you know what, in the most festive way possible, I don’t care, you’re going to read it again! Cos its good!

Tequila Cookies:

1 cup of dark brown sugar
1 cup of butter
1 cup of granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups of dried fruit
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 cups of flour
1 bottle of Jose Cuervo Tequila
 
  1. Sample the Cuervo to check quality
  2. Take a large bowl, check the Cuervo again, to be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Turn on the electric mixer.
  3. Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it’s best to make sure the Cuervo is still okay, try another cup just in case. It’s Christmas after all.
  4. Turn of the mixerer thingy. Break two leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Pick the frigging fruit off the floor.
  5. Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck to the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver.
  6. Sample the Cuervo to check for tonsisticity
  7. Next, sift two cups of salt, or something. Check on Mr. Jose Cuervo.
  8. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
  9. Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don’t forget to beat off the turner.
  10. Finally throw the bowl through the window, finish the Cuervo and make sure to put the stove in the dishwasher.
Cherry Mistmas! 

Review of The Pinguin

Pinguin,
Schutzenmattstrasse 21,
Basel,
Switzerland

The Pinguin Bar is a real hidden gem here in Basel. Located quite centrally but tucked away in a small shopping arcade, it boasts 100 beers from around the world (and the largest mustard collection of any restaurant according to the Guinness Book of Records!). We’ve frequented this place before but decided it was time to go back for an official review. So, here are the votes:

Date and time: 30/10/07 around 7.30 – 10.30pm

Location and ease of access: Located on Schutzenmattstrasse, just down the street from the Spalentor, it’s marked by a small sign and a row of beer bottles above the entrance to the arcade. As it’s still in the old town, it’s well within walking distance of the city centre. 8/10

Beer selection and prices: You can’t get much better than this! The selection is extensive and presented to you in a comprehensive menu the size of an encylcopedia. You can get everything from African banana beer to open fermented Belgian beverages. It’s like a Willy Wonka’s beer factory. The prices are suprisingly reasonable, the only drawback is that the selection on tap is poor. 10/10

Atmosphere: Generally quiet due to it’s “secret” location, there were two or three other groups in there but it’s got a sort of hidden away feeling about it which is good for a quiet few beers. 7/10

Service: The barman and I presume, owner, is a character (you’d have to be to stock 100 beers and the largest mustard collection!). He generally wanders round and talks with the locals and is responsible for getting you the beers. I’ve never seen anyone pour and present a beer with as much detail. He also tried a bit of English with us! 8/10

Smokiness: None to speak of. Top marks 10/10

Snacks: There were packets of breadsticks at each table but we didn’t try any. Not sure what other snacks were available, but I think they serve food during the day. 4/10

Furnishings: The ceilings and walls are covered with beer glasses and tankards. There are also old photos of Basel and in general an eclectic mix of beer advertisements and such. The seating is comfortable but a little too like a restaurant for my liking. 6/10

Music: No music in the background so more top marks. 10/10

“The John”: This was a real find! Possibly the best “bog” we’ve come across so far. They’re clean and decorated with brilliant cartoons of a lurid nature! Well worth a visit just for the toilets alone. They are however locked so you need to get the key from the bar counter. It’s the one with the tennis ball with “H” attached to the key! 10/10

Rated 5/5 on Nov 08 2007 by The Swiss Job
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Review of Unser Brewery

Unser Brewery,Laufenstrasse 16, Basel, Switzerland

l_ubier.gifIt’s been too long since the last review. I know. And I have no excuses for it either. But last night we braved the cold temperatures and biting winds to bring you the latest Basel Bar review. We suffer for our art. Here are our thoughts on the Unser Brewery. I should also note that this place is worth going to, simply to open the door and smell the hops and brewery smell inside. Heaven!

Date and time: 25/10/07 around 7.30 – 11pm

Location and ease of access: This one is kinda out of the way and not very well sign-posted. But it’s a hidden gem and worth the walk. Located on the Grosse Basel side of town and along from the train station it is located at the back of the actual brewery. 4/10

Beer selection and prices: Four of their homegrown beers on tap, a blonde, a dunkel (dark beer), a special October Beer which we sampled and one other I can’t remember! Prices were a little on the high side but worth the money. 7/10

Atmosphere: The place was buzzing when we got in and slowly eased off as the night went on. Pleasant background chatter and German mumblings. There’s seating for maybe forty to fifty people in among the brewery apparatus. One thing I did notice, the crowd was mostly male although I don’t think this should be a reflection on the place, just the night that we were there. 7/10

Service: Good table service, our glasses were never allowed to go empty and the food was brought in good time although Sarah had to wait for her pretzel for a while. Spoke German to them (although they were willing to speak English) as we’re now in Deutsch Intensiv IV and feel like we’re at the point where we can order a pretzel and beer! 7/10

Smokiness: Generally very good, we picked a good spot to sit at and weren’t bothered by the smoke. 8/10

Snacks: Top notch. We got our first beer and two warm fresh pretzels that melted in your mouth. We then had another beer and then ordered dinner, Kase Schnitze for me and Rauchwurst for Matthew. Both of us were happy with the meals. The only downside was Sarah’s slightly overcooked pretzel later on. 8/10

Furnishings: Long simple tables and chairs just inside the door and beside the fermentation tanks. Nice clean room with the old brick work visible and a small bar. 7/10

Music: Very little and the atmosphere was better for it. It doesn’t strike me as a background music kinda of place because it’s still a fully functioning brewery. This was brought home to us when two guys came past wheeling three large sacks of hops! 8/10

“The John”: Through a door into an adjoining apartment block and the toilets were in the foyer? A bit of an unusual situation but it worked, they were clean anddid exactly what it says on the tin. 7/10

Rated 5/5 on Oct 26 2007 by The Swiss Job
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Thinking outside the pizza box

Having the place to myself this weekend also means I can get into some culinary magic. I like to experiment in the kitchen and try things that are a “little outside the box”. Fusion cooking would come close, I suppose, to describe the attempts being made! I’ve currently got a few projects in the pipeline and this weekend may be the time to start the practical work.

Unsuprisingly, most of these gastronomic ideas revolve around pizza. The first one is inspired from a pizza place I used to go to when I lived in Boston. They had a pizza with potato on top and I instantly had the idea of merging shepherds pie and pizza! I think I’ll call it Shepherds Pizza. Now bear with me here.

Start with a normal pizza base, top with the minced beef, tomatoe sauce from a shepherds pie (carrots optional) and finish off with thin potato slices sliced. Sprinkle with cheese and maybe a few herbs and I think you’re onto a winner there.

Next up was an idea inspired from Tuesday nights fondue. I’d like to call it Fonduzza. Fondue already takes care of the bread and cheese aspects of pizza. Just mix a little tomato and herbs in there and you’re almost done. I’m still a little undecided on how to incorporate the salami and mushrooms but this weekend I think I can get round that little technicality.

Did I mention I’m giving away these ideas for free? Any hints or tips on how to improve these dishes would be welcome!

 

The itinery

This weekend I have the place to myself. Here’s the plan:

Friday evening:

  • Order Food (not sure what to go for?)
  • Watch France vs. New Zealand rugby game from last weekend
  • Watch more TV

Saturday:

  • Sleep in
  • Help a friend dig a hole
  • Do some shopping
  • German homework
  • Watch Australia vs. England from last weekend
  • To the pub to see France vs. England semi final with a few pints and random rugby supporters

Sunday:

  • Sleep in (11.30am-ish)
  • Cooked breakfast (black pudding, toast, bacon, lots of ketchup)
  • General moping about (have to roast a chicken)
  • Watch South Africa vs. Fiji game from last weekend
  • Tidy up the place
  • Have the roasted chicken with the Golden shrimp
  • Watch South Africa vs. Argentina game
  • Go to bed a contented man.

I can’t wait! Anything I should include for the perfect manly weekend? I have left out the scratching and belching that should be taken for granted!

Dipping my big fork

Yesterday was the last day with the visitors, they’re on a train as I type on their way back to Holland. We had a great few days including the trip to the Alps and it was all topped off last night with the first fondue of the season!

It doesn’t matter how many times I have it, I will never tire of fondue. There is something so good about plunging a cube of bread into the bubbling deliciousness, seductively swirling it round (a figure of eight we have been told  is the most efficient), letting the excess drip off and then  gorging yourself on the creamy goodness!

I was trying to put a touch of “Nigella Lawson, softcore food-porn lingo” on the paragraph above. Did it work? Anyway we had a cracking fondue with the works, salad, pickled onions, fresh cracked pepper, wine, kirsche, good company and a late night. I love this time of year because it means there’s plenty more fondue, raclette and rosti to come. It’s important to stay well fed during the winter months!

But fondue is such a good idea for when you have friends over. It takes fifteen minutes to make, you plonk it in the middle of the table and everyone digs in. You eat as much or as little as you like, you can take as long as you like because the little heater keeps everything bubbling and everyone likes to play with their food! Of course, if you have a cheese allergy it’s best not tried! Speaking of which I remember being in a pizza restaurant in the States and the guy behind me said he’d like a pizza but he had a bad cheese allergy so there couldn’t be any cheese anywhere near the pizza! Who goes to a pizza place with a cheese allergy?

I’m digressing. Anyway, fondue is brilliant. Full stop.

The New Jersey Diet

There comes a time in every mans life when the metabolism begins to slow and weight starts being distributed to less desirable areas of the body. It’s when the futile claims of “just one more pint” or “what, there’s one pork chop left…well it’d be rude not to!” catch up with you and you know things have to change. I think I’ve reached this milestone, the pendulum is swinging and I’m determined to do something about it.

To combat the ever increasing size of my mid torso, I’m going on the New Jersey diet. You mightn’t have heard of this one before. The Atkins and South Beach diet have been popular over the last while. These diets generally involve lots of carbs or no carbs, high/low salt, low fat, omega oils, trans fatty acids, vitamin supplements, rigourous work outs, grapefruit only meals, GI indexes and a bit of pilates. But that’s all a little too much for me.

The reason I need to lose weight and I’ve decided on the New Jersey diet is because I’ve ordered a new jersey (see what I did there?). A new rugby jersey to be precise. The official Ireland World Cup rugby jersey has been ordered and will hopefully be in the post soon. This new jersey encapsulates all of the modern fabric design and technology.

Here’s the bumpf from the website:

Canterbury has also dispensed with its classic loop collar and replaced it with a tight-fitting, asymmetric neck-line – again to reduce fabric that an opponent could grip on to.

The slim-fitting garments include Lycra side panelling to ensure a snug fit and increased comfort. Each jersey also includes a series of grip areas where a unique rubberised polymer has been added to the shirt to enhance ball handling and binding.

You’ll notice it mentions tight fitting and slim-fitting. There’s the problem, I have to redistribute the “muscle” from my gut somewhere! I’m looking for a wingers physique, not a prop row forward and so I’ve been walking on Sunday, running on Tuesday and playing squash on Wednesday. All for my country’s cause!!

On another note, I’m excited about the “grip areas” and “rubberised polymer”. I definitely need to get out more I think!