Friday, March 26, 2010

What to eat in Zurich

In short: chocolate, macaroons and cheese. And if you have more time, get some fondue, roesti, sauerkraft, sausages or visit Michelin star restaurant.
Last week I spent 4 days in Zurich using hospitality of my brother and his wife. As many of my trips, this one was food orientated as well. Oh yes, we went to Luzerne and Rigi (one of Alp's mountains) and explored Zurich's surroundings a bit. But most of all we just wanted to enjoy each others company - with such a distance between us it doesn't happen so often.
So I had fondue in my brother's place, sausages with sauerkraft and roesti (potato pancake) in lovely gastropub just off Bahnhofstrasse and amazing experience in Michelin star restaurant mesa. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures in mesa Restaurant - I was far too busy admiring the food and guessing which cutlery to use for each dish ;-)
As usually the important part came - what to bring home. If you are like me - love chocolate too much - you would be spoilt for choice in Zurich. I am sure I've seen at least 1000 different types of Easter Bunnies, I've never seen so many of them in my life. 5 of them found the way to my house too.
The most famous chocolate place in Zurich is probably Sprungli. And I can see why. I was feeling like a kid in candy shop, literally and it took me a while to choose some gifts. Beside Easter Bunny and box of pralines it was box of macaroons which are called Luxemburgerli here.

They are still looking wonderful in this picture, bearing in mind they had traveled 1000 km.

There was a note saying "best enjoy as soon as possible" So I did. My favourites were bourbon vanilla, caramel fler de sol and cappuccino.

This is another important thing that I was looking forward to. Fresh chocolate Laderach sold by weight. I had to lock it in the cupboard to prevent from getting eaten before Easter.

Well, Zurich is really place for chocolate lovers!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Stracciatella torte

So far not everything has been going on as I planned this year. I planned to be very active, to post more often on my blog, to loose some weight, to make more bead earrings, to try more recipes, to finish knitting my red jumper... After bad weather in January, I got really bad tonsillitis in February and all my great plans were long gone. I did not feel like eating or moving, let alone trying something new and do some stuff! When I eventually got a bit better I did try something new - in this case biscotti, which I will post later about.
As my husband is working away for a while, we did not have a chance for Valentine dinner in time. He gave me very nice present - CDs and DVD of my favourite group Nerez. This music brings back the memories of my years at college... I was listening to it when I was preparing our belated Valentine dinner: prawn and rocket salad for starter, smoked salmon risotto for main and stracciatella torte as desert.
It is the best way to prepare the sponge the day before and fill it after it has rested for good few hours.
125g caster sugar
3 eggs
80g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa
Cream eggs and caster sugar in electric mixer until the mixture is pale and thick. Then sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa and mix. Pour into buttered 20cm baking tin and bake in preheated oven for 175 C for about 25-35 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean. Remove and leave to rest, preferably overnight.
Cut horizontally in 3 and get the filling ready.
Mix 250g ricotta, 50g icing sugar, 1 tbsp vanilla extract and 10g finely grated dark chocolate.
Now you can assemble the cake. Put the first layer on the cake stand and moisten with few drops of liqueur. I used Creme de Cassis, but amaretto or some fruit liqueur would be nice too. Spread half of ricotta mixture over, cover with the second part of sponge, moisten with liqueur again, spread the rest of ricotta mixture and cover with the remaining sponge part.
Then whip 250ml of whipping cream with 2-3 tbsp vanilla sugar (to your taste). Spread whipped cream on top and sides of torte and smooth it slightly. Grate dark chocolate over the whole cake. It is best to do it from about 30cm above cake as the chocolate distributes evenly. I used sugar coated chocolate balls for final decoration, but you can use any chocolate chips or omit this altogether.
Goes very well with cup of espresso.