Saturday, July 6, 2013

soirée celebrations

my friend erika came for a visit! although we both studied English lit. at the same university, and have a number of common friends, we never met until we both worked for the afore mentioned university in China. she then moved to australia, and i to switzerland, and it was the first time we've seen each other in years.

IMG_0226for lunch upon her arrival, the mister made a simple salad and i made some savory cuppycakes. inspired by this recipe, i decided to make a cupcake version with smoked salmon, dill, kalamata olives, lemon, and a bit of gruyere.

ive seen plenty of le cake salé at picnics and gatherings, but ive never seen one with fish instead of meat.

i used:
3 eggs
pinch of sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 blobs crème fraîche
1 packet smoked salmon
big handful of kalamata olives
small handful of grated gruyere
a few healthy shakes of dill

IMG_0238the fish was soaked in the lemon juice, and the zest, sugar, and eggs went for a ride in the kitchen aide until frothy. meanwhile, i combined dry ingredients. when i was happy with the egg consistency, the dry team was introduced to the bowl. then i added the crème fraîche, salmon, olives, oil, and cheese.

i papered my muffin tins, filled the cups, sprinkled on some dill, and baked for about 15 minutes at ~180°C. we did a good job gobbling them up.

IMG_0240the mister has previously stated that he's not always a fan of le cake salé, but i couldnt help but notice he wasn't shy about eating these.

after lunch, we walked around town, visited the cathedral, went to the lakeside and ate ice cream, and soaked up the coveted sun.

that evening, the mister made his famous fondue.


during her time with us, erika introduced us to the world of bananenweizen (she lived in germany for a time)--banana juice and beer. i was not sure about this taste sensation, but i trust erika, and i trust the germans and beer (when i visited europe for the first time, as a teenager, i fell in love with lemonade and beer), so i went for it. not bad! in fact, quite refreshing! we had smitten kitchen's tacos with our bananenweizen.
Return to the Banana Temple!
oh, bananas. i am reminded of the banana temple--a place just outside of xi'an thusly named because of a mistake i made when describing the pagoda i found near where i taught. you see, the name of the temple is xiāngjī (香积), and a banana is called xiāngjiāo (香蕉). i was explaining the pagoda discovery to my students and accidentally said banana instead of xiāngjī. the banana temple was a place i frequented often during my time in xi'an.

I took erika there on a rainy day in the spring of 2008. and lo, it was only appropriate that i take her to the place of interest i visit the most here--Château de Chillon.

IMG_0326after our castle tour,erika bought some wineat the gift shop and we celebrated the 4th of july (and some good news!) in style: a few glasses of wine and whipped cream and berries.

last night we had some friends over and i prepared mojo verde for our guests. i served roasted trout with tomatoes, garlic, and lemon peppered potatoes to go with the sauce, plus corn with lime juice.


for dessert, i made a crisp with leftover berries, nectarines, peach, and apricot. following smitten kitchen's lead, i added ground almonds to my usual sugar, flour, and oats mixture.

and this morning for brunch, i treated us to a USAian breakfast:

we leave this upcoming week for a month in china. i fear the drool might wash us away before we get to the airport. we can. not. wait. to eat some of our favourite and missed dishes.

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