Sunday, June 1, 2008

a sunny friday afternoon in basel town, switzerland

Normally I am not too excited shopping in Basel but maybe because it was a nice sunny afternoon. Everything looked more interesting and beautiful than usual. I was most happy to have some nice discoveries: a lot of specialty which I have not noticed before. (Date: 23 May 2008)

Negishi is one of the popular sushi restaurants in Basel town. The price is reasonable. The restaurant is small, nothing really fancy but if you want something quick, this is the place to go. They also do take away. My favorite sushi there is spicy tuna roll.

negishi sushi bar
Gerbergasse 80 (nr. Barfüsserplatz), 4001 Basel

Rathaus and Open Market, in Markplatz

Is this postman bag big enough for a shopaholic like me?

These are old chairs being redone in a stylish way. Werk atelier is a charity organization which supports those people who have psychological problems, e.g. depression. Here they can learn to make all kinds of handicrafts and sell them. The money from the sold items, a fraction of it will go back to the designer as a support for their living. I have bought one of these chairs that day? Can you guess which one I have picked?

An old-fashioned shoe maker in a small street (Die Schuhmacher).

vom FASS was the highlight of that day. This shop is originated in Germany selling a large varieties of high-end vinegars, oils, wine, spirits and liqueurs.

In fact, I was given two bottles of vinegar and olive oil as christmas gift two years ago but I never got a chance to visit the shop myself. I was fascinated by the different shapes of the bottles and how the liqueurs, oils, vinegars, grappas, etc are stored. The staff was very friendly and encouraged me to sample their products.

Basically, you can choose the size and shape of the bottle you like and the staff will fill up the product you desire. The good thing is you can bring the bottle and refill to what you like when your bottle is emptied.

Strawberry limes (seasonal available)
I bought the Strawberry limes that day as it is absolutely divine. You can drink "on the rocks". It is suited best to marinade strawberries, finishing punch bowls, with ice cream or other desserts.

So I was happy and time to go home. Please see my other pictures of that day in Facebook.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

radish, carrot and pork stew

It is actually manageable to prepare some authentic Chinese dishes here even without the need of any special Chinese sauces. I would like to share a Chinese dish to you all that I have prepared recently. After trying the first bite, Mr Vineyard immediately said it tasted "Lekker" (delicious in Dutch), especially the sauce. The ingredients below are accessible in local Swiss supermarket except the Chinese cooking wine which is available in the Asian grocery store. If you don't have Chinese cooking wine, you can replace by other strong spirits at home, e.g. Tequila. I have tried and it worked perfectly for me.

Shao Hsing Hua Tiao Cooking Wine


  • 800g radish (German: radis)
400g pork spare ribs or pork chop
  • 3 thin slices of ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic bashed
  • 2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
  • 250ml water
  • 1 sprig of spring onion (chopped in small pieces) - optional

  • Seasoning:

    • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp oyster sauce (optional)
    • 40g coarse brown sugar (sugar cane)


    1. Peel the radish and cut into big cubes (4cm x 4cm), cut the pork into pieces (2cm x 2cm).
    2. Cook some boiling water in a pan, and place the pieces of pork into the boiling water for 1 min, stir and then remove them from water and place the pork in a sieve and clean them briefly in cold tap water. The purpose of this is to make the sauce of your dish cleaner and clearer.
    3. Heat some oil in a wok or flat frying pan, then add the ginger and garlic in it. When they turn golden brown, add in the pork and radish. Stir-fry them for 1-2 mins, then add in the Chinese cooking wine and the seasoning. Keep stirring and then add in the water gradually. When everything is mixed and dissolved, let it boil for 5-10 mins and then transfer to a deep pan, bring to boil and turn to medium heat. Cover the pan and simmer for 40 mins to 1 hour until the pork and radish are tendered.
    4. Ready to serve with rice, garnish by sprinkle some spring onion on top.

    Monday, May 26, 2008

    best chinese restaurant in switzerland

    A lot of friends have asked me what do I think about the chinese restaurants here in Switzerland. My genuine feeling is that they are not authentic enough and the interior decoration of the restaurants are usually rather old-fashioned with a lot of red and dragon pillars. I am sorry to be so critical but these styles almost do not exist in Hong Kong or even Shanghai anymore. One thing I don't understand why the Japanese restaurants here can be comtemporary but why not the chinese restaurants too. Having said that, I did come across a very nice Chinese restaurant in Davos, the best I have been here in Switzerland. I was so impressed with the interior design and the food was delicious. To be honest, we did not specifically intended to have chinese food that day, I was just curious with the large windows and lights inside and went upstair to check out. I was surprised to find out it's a chinese restaurant as the name ZAUBERBERG does not look chinese at all. Later during the dinner, I discovered that the female boss is also from Hong Kong but she has moved to Holland for over 14 years and then moved to Davos. to start her own restaurant. I said to her that I like the setting of the restaurant very much and she told me that it was designed by her friend who is a HK designer. Then I thought 'no wonder' it made me feeling as if I was in HK.

    ZAUBERBERG Chinese Restaurant

    Hotel Europe

    Promenade 63, 7270, Davos, SWITZERLAND

    Thursday, May 22, 2008


    I am not a Mexican food fan but this dish is so easy to prepare. I have a short version if don't have much time to prepare or a long version if you have time to prepare a more sophisticated one. We have it from time to time as an evening snackie when we watch movie at night. I know it's not good to have snacks at night but avocado is antioxidant....meaning anti-aging!!! OK, OK, we only eat this occasionally, I don't need to rationalize and be so mean to myself, right?

    Guacamole can be prepared a few hours ahead, and keep in the fridge. To prevent it from being oxidized, you will need to cover the bowl with Clingfilm, pressing it onto the surface of the guacamole to avoid contact to air.

    Ingredients for Quick version:

    • 2 big ripe avocados
    • a packet of guacamole mixing powder
    • 2-3 tbsp lime juice (if available at home, this will help preventing oxidation)
    • a pack of Nachos


    1. Cut the avocadoes in half, peeled and cut into cubes. Then use a fork to mash the avocado into a paste in a big bowl.
    2. Mix in the guacamole mixing powder and fresh lime juice.
    3. Serve immediately with Nachos or keep in fridge as described above.

    Note: I don't use the whole pack as it may be too spicy.

    Ingredients for long version:
    • 2 big ripe avocados mashed
    • 1 small onion (or red onion), finely chopped
    • 1 jalapeno chile (seeds and ribs removed and finely chopped), the canned one works as well
    • 1 plum tomato (seeded and cut into small cubes)
    • a handful of chopped coriander (or cilantro, how it is called in the US), you can chop the stems and leaves.
    • 2-3 tbsp fresh lime juice
    • a bit of salt if necessary


    Basically the method is same as the quick version except we use more fresh ingredients here. You can add some guacamole mixing powder if you like but if I am making such a big effort to make this one, I would opt out the powder as this give you a more natural and fresh flavor.

    So why not pick a movie and try it out this weekend!

    long table vs round table

    When I was in HK, I seldom invite my friends to come to have dinner parties at my home for two main reasons:

    • I lived with my parents
    • HK is too convenient with all kinds of cuisines you want: from causal to formal at all price levels

    Now that living in Basel, it's more common to invite friends over from time to time. It is very enjoyable to have these types of gathering, it's more relaxing and fun than dining in restaurants, I must say. They are more formal in general here. In my opinion, if you eat out, you should feel relaxed. One more thing I found is that it's easier to chat with your friends when you are in someones place. Why? Do you notice that in general the Western style restaurants use long tables and Chinese restaurants use round tables? I find it more difficult to mingle with the group when you sit in long table. You end up only be able chatting with your left and right. And in the end the group dinner splits in 2 or more subgroups. And of course you can challenge that what about those big round table for 12 people, but that's more a banquet occasion.

    Anyway, after sharing my funny views, I have come to an idea to note down my favorite dishes that are suitable to prepare for a causal party or an apéro. May be you feel the same problem to decide what you would like to prepare for your friends some times. I personally find a group of 6 or 8 people maximum will be most ideal, too many people I find it rather difficult to handle if you want to have some decent food.

    I am going to write about guacamole as my first favorite snack.

    Please do feel free to add in and give some suggestions to me and perhaps share your recipes.

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    homemade bread why not called 'handmade' bread

    After uploading numerous cooking images in Facebook, I would like to give a go to write my blog. This gives more space for me to write. I know it requires a lot of time and commitment but you got to start from somewhere isn't it?

    Bread baking is my new hobby but I think I got the grasp of it nicely. Funny enough, I seem to like it more than baking cakes. Less fattening I suppose and bread is part of the stable diet in Europe. There are just so many variations you can make to your dough. I have restrained myself to get a bread machine and it's more special to have handmade bread. Everything handmade is more precious anyway, agree? Oh! just realise I am using the word 'handmade'. I was thinking of using my hands working on the dough. All of a sudden I am wondering why we always call 'homemade' bread but not 'handmade' bread, could it be because not to mix up with "handmade bags"? Sorry I love BAGS too!!! Probably this hobby will enable me to buy fewer bags but to make more breads.......or BAGuettes.