Thursday, 28 February 2008

Ich möchte Deutsche lernen

And I will be learning Deutsch at a far faster rate from Monday. 3 hours of class, 2 hours of homework, 5 times a week. Each stage of this intensive course lasts 10 weeks, so I will be cutting it short and then slotting in with another class to begin week 5 later on (hopefully not too long!). Prior commitments are such that I cannot complete the full 10 weeks in one go.

I am looking forward to it but am also a little daunted - so much German in one day is going to be exhausting!

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Nervous eater

Broken glass is like sand. I just went to use a pan lid only to discover the tiny shards left over from the broken cup a few weeks ago...I binned the lid, too anxiouos that there were some more slivers that I couldn't get to, but I think I am still going to be just a little nervous...

I was in the middle of making a bechamel sauce to go with an aubergine dish that I have made. Fortunately there was a little left over so I have made myself some macaroni cheese with roasted tomatoes. Should be good - let's just hope it isn't spiced up with ground glass.


So I have taken the doctors advice and have started walking up more hills. It's a killer....

This morning I took my bike down to the post office and spent CHF6.50 on the tax - bikes here MUST be taxed (I think it may be some sort of liability insurance but I am not 100% sure of that) and the appropriate sticker displayed on it. That was the easy part.

The hard part was getting back up the mountain .....usually I walk down and bus back. Today, I decided to add to my burden by putting shopping in the bike paniers and crawling back up. It took 25 minutes to walk 970 paces. I must've looked real good - stopping every 100 paces or so, sweat running down my face, gulping at my water bottle, checking my pulse (I was ordered not to let it go abouve 140 initially). I don't know what the gradient was, but I am classing it as 'Too bloody steep, crampons may be adviseable.'

On the German side, I begin 4 weeks of intensive German on Monday. Each moring will consist of 4 x 40 minute lessons, followed by two hours homework. I think this may be as exhausting as the mountain hike this morning...


I am about to ask what I feel is a dumb question, but I am going to ask it anyway :0)
Do people who like strong coffee - such as espresso - like it because they have added sugar? See, I think I don't like strong coffee, but I don't add sugar. Is this where I am going wrong?

Saturday, 23 February 2008

It's a hard life...

...sitting on my balcony...shade down so that I don't roast in the sun...knitting....cup of book. what else could a girl want on (yet another) sunny day in Zurich?

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Feeling smug

Well, wouldn't you be? When I was in a bookstore the other day I went to the till and had a short exchange with the sales assistant. When I had to say to her that I didn't understand Swiss German, she looked very shocked and appologised because SHE THOUGHT I WAS SWISS!!!!!!. And then, an hour or so later in a coffee shop, when I used German to say to the (local Swiss) assistant that I didn't speak Swiss German she asked me whether it was English or German that I spoke! Yeehah! - the thrill of not being automatically recognised as a native English speaker as soon as I open my mouth>

And you know, I need moments like this. Last Friday I went to the Univerity of Zürich library to join and find some books. Oh my giddy aunt. After battling with the registration system, I was finally able to locate the books. Rather, I was in a position to fail to find the books. First off, the novels that I was looking for were on level 03. That's the lower basement. Having gone down the stairs in to the upper level of the basement I couldn't find any more stairs. Feeling really stupid, I went back up and was told that I needed to use the lift to access that area. What followed next was tedious and embarrassing. Let's just say that what I was standing beside pushing buttons on for about 5 minutes, was not the lift, and then let us move on...

Of course, finding the correct stack was only half the battle. The books are classified,Jim,but not as you know it. Let's take Alice Hoffman as an example. I want one of her books that was published in 1998, and one that was published in 2006. In the UK they would be on the same shelf. But I am not in the UK. The 2006 book is on an entirely different set of shelves from the 1998. Yep - books are shelved by year of publication. Added to this is the fact that when I look at the catalogue I cannot see anything that might indicate whether or not the book is actually on the shelf. Most of the times I would find the number of the book before and the number of the book after...

Well, it was a bit of an education, one way or another.

Still, I managed to calm my battered ego with a(nother) trip to Cakefriends. Man, I love that place :0)

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Soup Kitchen

As I think I mentioned previously, dinner/tea can be a bit tricky because of Number Guy's finishing time, so some tasty homemade soup and bread is filling the gap at the moment.

My current favourite book is still
Soup for all Seasons . Today I put it to good use by making FOUR different soups: Creamy Baked Garlic & Onion; Carrot & Ginger; Roasted Parsnip, Lemon & Vanilla and Apple, Vine Tomato & Smoked Bacon.

Of course, I only ever cook stuff that I like, so I am not sure how much of this Number Guy will actually be allowed to eat. Hmm. Looks like dinner/tea solution may need a rethink.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Just in time

I checked the piano out the other day and it has three broken keys :0( The good thing is that the company I contacted to give a quote for the insurance policy can come on Monday at 10.00am. And because this is Switzerland I know that he will turn up at that time :0)

Of course, once the quote has been given I need to wait for the go ahead from the insurance company. So I guess my neighbours have been given a bit of a respite ;0)

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Having a smashing time

What is it with me, breadmaking and glassware? Every time I make bread, I seem to lose yet another piece of glassware.I suppose this time wasn't as bad the last time, when I had to ditch a whole batch of dough because I couldn't be certain whether or not it was safe. This time I only had to spend half an hour on my hands and knees, searching for miniscule shards in the dishwasher. Hopefully I got it all...think I'll get Number Guy to check, too. Kind of makes me nervous, shreds of glass and delicate tummies...

Still had a nice day, though.German class this morning, followed by a walk with two other Spooglers in the afternoon. Ambling gently along under the bright blue cloudless skies, taking in the sights,stopping for coffee, pondering over which cake to was a tough day ;0)

Monday, 11 February 2008


AKA 'It's recyclying Jim, but not as we know it.'

It is not enough to take one's recycling to the correct area, scale the stepladder and then teetering on the top, fling the magazines in. No. One must put the magazines/papers into bundles and tie them together with string. I might not have known that this morning, but I surely know it now ;0)

To be honest, I am quite happy to be given a recycling lesson from my new companions, Since I am living in Switzerland I want to so things the Swiss way, otherwise I may as well be in Scotland.Still, it was a bit of a blow to have to bring my magazines home for want of some string.

But know that I think about it, now I know what to do with all that blinking cotton yarn that is languishing in my stash...

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

(Probably) the most expensive vanilla extract in the world

60ml for CHF 20.45 = £9.50.

Granted it is organic, but - wow! I have looked in a lot of places for vanilla extract but 'all' I could find was vanilla pods/vanilla sugar. Of course, I shouldn't be surprised at the price. I bought it in
Jelmoli where a can of Heinz's finest costs about £2.00.

I didn't merely go to Jelmoli today, though. The market at Hauptbanhoff wwas also on the agenda. I bought a waffle for lunch, which was not nearly as nice as my own, to my disapointment. I also snaffled up some bread, cheese, fresh lemon ravioli, olives and....something else which I can't remember right now. My plan is to try a different bread and cheese each week. It may take some time :0)

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Work canteen?

At Google? I think not....I have seen restaurants that can't match the quality and variety the poor old Number Guy has to eat each day. SinceI would not ask him to have only a snack at lunchtime and have his main meal with me in the evening because that would be unfair, I am basically back to cooking for one. But it does leave me in a bit of a dilema about evening meals. I am not going to compete with Google chefs since in that way madness lies, but I want to be able to serve up something simple and tasty.

At this point in time that means soup. Today's offering is cauliflower and almond, from the New Covent Garden Soup Company recipe book.

This could go either way - heavenly or hellish. If it's the latter, let's hope that Number Guy has the sense to tell a little porky pie ;0)

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Ditch the Dairylea

There are some great markets in Zürich. So it stands to reason that the one day in the week that I deliberatly left my trolley at home was market day.

Never mind, I still managed to get my hands on some great olives and a huge wodge of
Taleggio cheese. Much cheaper price than at 'home' but no less delicious, of course. Today I find myself in the happy place of having some of my own French bread and loads of cheese left to spread on it. Never a big fan of 'cheese' spreads, I'll never be looking another tube in the face again