Exploring Switzerland: Bremgarten (Aargau)

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It’s been almost 6 years since I moved back to Zurich, Switzerland. Six years, and it feels like I still do not really know the country well at all. I meet so many expats here, so many people abroad that have visited Switzerland, and almost all of them seem to know more about the country and have visited more places than me. The reason is simple: work. I’ve been working almost constantly these past few years, with little time to travel other than for work and I’ve not had my car for all too long. And let’s be honest, I was never the type to go “explore” all too much on my own.

Being a Swiss, Sam obviously has seen much, much more of the country than I have. Nevertheless, we made a little promise to ourselves. I want to explore more of this beautiful country, see more places than what is near and around Zurich. A few weekends ago we went to Bremgarten, in Aargau. Sam partially grew up there when he was younger and lived in a house we visited with his family. It was so nice to see where he grew up and kind of get a feel of how his childhood may have looked. At least I know where he went to school, hehe.

The old part / town of Bremgarten is beautiful. So many of the houses are hand-painted and in different colours. You can walk over the river via several bridges and walk into the forest and be in nature within 10 minutes of walking: breathtaking. You all know how much I love and enjoy being out in nature, so it really felt good. Also, the weather was amazing. We stayed for about an hour and a half before we went on to visit his dad and the girlfriend. There we went for another walk with our dogs and then enjoyed a lovely cooked dinner – so good!

Apple Pie – An easy go-to recipe perfect for an autumn family visit

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the perfect golden apple pie

What a wonderful weekend we had! Samuel and I visited his dad in his hometown and had the most wonderful dinner! I was requested to bring a little cake for the afternoon coffee and as we all know; I love baking! The only the I didn’t enjoy when I received the news that I would baking, was the fact that it was late in the evening and I had to bake the cake and be prepared the next morning. Great. So I searched the internet (Pinterest, to be real) and looked for recipes that had simple ingredients and meant I had to do no grocery shopping (if not really necessary). I also wanted something not too big, as we were only 4 in the afternoon and baking a huge cake would have made no sense.

The above picture is the cake before baking it. I will link the recipe here. Do note though, that the dough was way more than I needed. I was debating to use the rest of the dough for making a grid on top of the apples, though then decided against it – I wanted more apples and less dough. Also, I used like 3 times the amount of cinnamon because well, I L O V E cinnamon! One last change: I used margarine (non diary butter) as I cannot eat diary. The rest is more or less the same as the recipe from Pinterest :)

For all those that want the English recipe, continue reading.

For the dough, you will need:
– 250g all purpose flour
– 5 tablespoons sugar (I used brown sugar)
– 150g cold butter (or diary free)
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 3 ½ teaspoons cold tap water (or cold water in general)

Make sure to mix everything up with your hand until you have a perfect dough that is not too soft. Then place it into the fridge, and wait for at least 30 minutes.
During the waiting time, you can cut the apples (I used 5 medium sized sweet tasing apples, peeled) into thin slices (or cubes, depending on how you want to fill your apple pie). Mix the apple pieces in a large bowl together with 80g of brown sugar and 2 (or more..) teaspoons of cinnamon.

Once the dough is cold enough, roll it out on a table. Make sure to use enough flour so it doesn’t stick to anything. You want the dough roughly 0.5-1cm thick at max. Once rolled out, place it gently into the form you are using. Personally, I used coconut oil to in the pan beforehand to make it non-sticky after baking. Once the dough is laid out, I added the apple slices in a pattern I thought looked best for this rectangular form.

The cake will need to bake at 180°C for 30 minutes. If you want it a little sweeter, add some more brown sugar on top before placing it into the oven. E voila! Your cake is ready to be served. It tastes best when serving it a little warm, perhaps with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or cream in general.

I hope you will enjoy the recipe if you do it, too, and make sure to let me know and tag me on your photos (instagram, for example) so I can share it with the rest of the community and be inspired myself!

Thermomix Recipe: Healthy Pumpkin Soup

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Good morning! I cannot believe it’s already Halloween again in a few days – how did this happen so fast? I’ll actually be coming back home on October 31st from my US business travels, so I don’t know how awake I’ll be or whether the jet lag will have me under control that night! Either way, every year when October starts, when the leaves turn orange, and the halloween decorations come out – I crave a good pumpkin soup! And that is exactly what I cooked the other night – or better, what the Thermomix basically cooked by itself for me!

The recipe, once more with the Thermomix, is super, duper easy! First of all, the ingredients are:
Pumpkin, and
Ginger
Yup, that’s it. All you really need is pumpkin and a little bit of ginger (only if you want a hint of spice!). Now, I of course added spices and herbs, but that really depends on what taste you are looking to get at the end. Here is what I did:
1) cut 800g of pumpkin into large pieces (and roughly 1,5cm of peeled ginger if you like), add them into the Thermomix bowl, cut them for 10 seconds at speed 5
10 sec / speed 5
2) now add around 75g of oil to the pot (I used rapeseed oil), and cook it at 100°C at speed 2 for 5 minutes
5 min / speed 2 / 100°C
3) add all your spices and herbs as you wish! I used a hint of salt and pepper, around 1 tablespoon of curry, 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika, ½ tablespoon of ground chilli (or add in a fresh chill if you like it spicy!) and cook it for another 12 minutes at Varoma steam, speed 2.
12 min / speed 2 / Varoma (120°C)
4) to get it creamy, you now have to stir it for 10 seconds at speed 7.5 – tada, you can now serve the soup hot and tasty!
10 sec / speed 7.5

Thermomix Recipe: The quickest Salad

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3.. 2.. 1.. done! I swear this is the easiest and quickest way to preparing a healthy and yummy salad! Slowly but surely I am falling in love with the Thermomix. I mean, I’ve always wanted one but then when Sam brought it into the apartment, I never really used it as much. I consider myself still being a fan of the “traditional” cooking. I love cutting the vegetables and foods by myself – I find it to being one of the most relaxing things to do after a long day at work. At the same time, however, I often just want to eat and not do anything at all. Ha, anyone feel me?

With the thermomix one can do a salad within seconds it feels. Ok, let’s be honest, not seconds. Yet, I swear it did not take me longer than 5 minutes!

One should start of with what you want in the salad:
1) Salad – I chose the Iceberg Salad, but any green leaves should do
2) Cucumber
3) Paprika / Bell peppers
4) Mushrooms
5) Radish
These are the ingredients that I used.

You simply need to add the salad (medium sized leaves), largely cut cucumber and bell peppers (around 5cm diagonal), the mushrooms and radish (I cut them in halves) all into the Thermomix. Then chop them all for 5 seconds at speed 4. Done. Take out the cut ingredients, add them into a bowl, feel free to add (for example) corn, fruit or seeds, and finish it by adding the dressing. I simply used olive oil and balsamic – and added one cooked egg on top (always gotta have that protein)!
5 sec / speed 4

Organizing my life with the GoodNotes App

A good overview of all my to-dos, tasks, reports that need to be done are essential to keeping my life organized. I have always been a huge, huge fan of making to-do lists for almost everything. Be it for scheduling when and what I want to blog about next, what tasks I need to do at home (from washing to cleaning the bathroom sinks), what my travel plan will look like the upcoming weeks or months, or simply writing down ideas I get on the go.

Finally, after searching forever and trying out multiple apps, I have found the one: GoodNotes. I have been testing it for a while now and I am more than happy with it. For me, it’s important to be able to hand-write my notes. It gives me that warm tingly feeling of still being old-school haha. Also, it makes the writing down and crossing off tasks so, so much more fun. On the other hand, I am also a huge fan of having everything digitalised. That is, because I am always on the go and it is super practical to having the same notes on my iPad, my iPhone, my iMac (office and at home) or even my laptop (yes, I am an Apple fan!).

The app also allows me to work “offline” – or so it feels. I can sit down, away from my actual desk to write down notes and brainstorm certain topics, and still have it immediately show up on my iMac when turning around or going back to the desk. Especially now with the new macOS Catalina update, I can easily connect my iPad to my iMac or laptop. That is probably the best new feature the macOS Catalina treated us with! You can so easily write on your iPad now and have it immediately transferred to your computer (think about all those documents that you need to sign off on or when you want to annotate a PDF but still hand-write!). Anyway, before I drift off..

The GoodNotes app includes the following features (reason enough why I love them):
– possibility to hand-write notes, etc.
– can open several notebooks with different paper formats and styles
– possibility to easily switch between the notebooks (ex. I always have my meeting notes open, as well as my to-do lists and conference notes when on a business trip)
– possibility to search through your notes (it even recognises your hand-written notes!)
– able to type directly if you don’t want to use the iPad pen
– synchronises easily via Dropbox
– allows you to annotate PDFs, Powerpoints, Images, etc.
– inexpensive (8CHF for the iPad/iPhone and another 8CHF for my iMac is what I paid)

For those that have been looking for an app that can do all these things – the GoodNotes app really is a game changer!