Friday, 26 May 2017

Aperol Spritz - Italian Cocktail

Aperol is a very popular cocktail in Italy and, in recent years, it has conquered the hearts of the Swiss. This is a light aperitif made with sweet herbs, plants and fruits, bright orange in colours and created in 1919 by the brothers Silvio and Luigi Barbieri in Padua, Italy.

Aperol is the fruit of an infusion of plants assembled with an alcohol base, with sweet and bitter oranges, quinine, gentian, rhubarb and other selected herbs.

Making Aperol in a Wine Glass

60 ml of Aperol
100 ml of Prosecco
40 ml of sparkling water (I prefer mine with Schweppes Tonic)
1 slice of orange
Ice cubes

Fill the glass with ice cubes.
Add the Aperol.
Pour in the Prosecco.
Add the sparkling water.
Mix gently.
Add a slice of orange as a decoration.

Have a tip top tastic weekend!!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Panoramic Yacht Tour of Lake Lucerne

One of the most popular excursions in Lucerne is a boat trip on Lac des Quatre-Cantons (in English Lake Lucerne).

We preferred the tour of the lake on an elegant yacht of 49 meters instead of the culinary cruise on a steam boat steeped in nostalgia (this gourmet cruise along the water lasts about 4 hours).

Our 1 hour tour took us on the sparkling waters of the famous fjord-like lake, between pastures and steep slopes of the first Alpine summits.

We loved this “walk” through the beautiful bays of Lake Lucerne, surrounded by the majestic breath-taking mountain scenery, towering peaks, verdant forests and meadows and valleys.

This unique lake, which covers 114 square kilometres, is often referred to as the heart of Switzerland. It is surrounded by four wonderful cantons: Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz and Unterwald.

The price of this tour is CHF 25.00. An audio guide was at our disposal to learn everything about the landscape, the historical monuments and the sites around Lake Lucerne.

The excursion begins and ends on the jetty of Lake Lucerne’s Pier 7, opposite the Swan Place.

I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour as much as we did.

Lots of Love

Monday, 22 May 2017

The kings and queens of Lake Lucerne

Hello ladies and gents!

I hope you had a tip top tastic weekend. This week we finish the Lucerne photo album!

While waiting on Pier 7 for our boat tour of Lake Lucerne, we sat by the water’s edge and enjoyed the acrobatics of the swans.

It was a real show for us all, both tourists and locals. These birds of great beauty came close to us, to eat out of our hands, to keep us company and above all to play the “top models”. They like to be photographed, as you can see…

These magnificent beings are a renowned attraction on Lake Lucerne. That’s why they deserve a post of their own. I enjoyed taking snapshots and watching them at such close quarters...

Friday, 19 May 2017

Orange Cake

May 1st - Labour Day - was rainy and chilly in Geneva. Early that morning, we bumped into schoolgirls selling “muguets”, which is the flower symbol of that day. Sweetheart bought a sprig of lily-of-the-valley for me.

Later on, when I returned home, I thought we should celebrate Labour Day. As any celebration requires a cake and flowers (at least for me), I prepared this cake, which is moist, fluffy, delicious and so easy to make. If you like the taste of orange, I strongly recommend this cake.

The one I made was small but I give you the “normal size” recipe for about 10 people.

240 g butter, softened
240 g sugar
2 tbsp sugar
4 eggs
240 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
The juice and the zest of 4 very juicy oranges (I used organic oranges, each weighing 200g)
A little bit of grated coconut (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Prepare the zest of the 4 oranges and their juice.

In a large bowl, work the butter into a cream.

Add the sugar gradually, whisking, then incorporate the eggs, one at a time, without ceasing to stir.

Add the flour and baking powder, then the orange zest and half the juice.

Butter a mould and pour in the mixture.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare a syrup with the remaining orange juice and the 2 tbsp of sugar.

Bring to the boil for 6 minutes.

Unmould the cake and leave to cool slightly.

Sprinkle it with the orange juice syrup you have prepared.

Sprinkle with coconut (optional).

Note: The cake must be well impregnated with syrup, to have a pronounced taste of orange.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Zoé Skincare Products

I love to introduce you to quality Swiss beauty products at very affordable prices.

On a recent trip, I forgot to pack my cleansing and facial tonic. So my sister lent me hers. Zoé, the cosmetic line for sensitive skin. I was amazed by this excellent range of beauty products from Migros (a major Swiss supermarket chain).

It was so effective - my skin was radiant - that I offered myself this range of skin care products for sensitive skin. The total price of these 3 products came to CHF 28.20

As you already know, to have beautiful skin, you have to take care of it daily... and use the appropriate products for your skin type.

Let us now turn to the benefits of the Zoé range of products for sensitive skin:

Zoé Ultra-Sensitive Day Cream with UV filter treats and soothes sensitive skin, prone to irritation. Not only does it protect the skin from very harmful UV rays (and therefore against premature ageing), but it also refines the pores while unifying the complexion. No colourants, no preservatives, no perfume.
* Tube 50 ml, CHF 12.80

Zoé Micellar Cleansing Tonic - Lanablue & Cucumber extracts
Alcohol-free, this gentle tonic for the face clarifies and gently invigorates the skin, without irritating it. Its formula, which is based on the Micellar technique, makes it possible to remove dust particles and make-up residue in a gentle manner. Lanablue and cucumber extracts prevent drying of the skin and preserves its hydrolipidic balance.
* Bottle 200ml, CHF 6.60

Zoé Cleansing, soft cleansing foam - Lanablue & Cucumber extracts
This mild cleansing foam gently removes all traces of make-up and dirt. The foam is very creamy and generous, with Lanablue and cucumber extracts to avoids skin drying out and preserves its water balance.
* Tube 125 ml, CHF 8.80

And even if the cleanser acts as make-up remover... two weeks later I bought the cleansing milk.

Zoé Ultra Sensitive cleansing milk
This cleansing milk gently removes traces of make-up and dirt in depth. The skin is gently cleansed without being irritated.
No colorants, no preservatives, no perfume.
* Bottle 200ml, CHF 7.50

It goes without saying that this post is not sponsored, like all my blog posts. It’s just me sharing tips... You are welcome!

Monday, 15 May 2017

EDIE An American Biography by Jean Stein edited with George Plimpton (1982)

Born into a wealthy New England family. Edie Sedgwick became, in the 1960s, both an emblem of, and a memorial to, the doomed world spawned by Andy Warhol. Edie was outrageous, vulnerable and strikingly beautiful. Her childhood was dominated by a brutal but glamorous father. Fleeing to New York, she became an instant celebrity, known to everyone in the literary, artistic and fashionable worlds of the day. She was Warhol’s twin soul, his creature, the superstar of his films and, finally, the victim of a life which he created for her. Edie is an American fable on an epic scale - the story of a short, crowded and vivid life which is also the story of a decade.

Author: Jean Stein is an American author born into a Jewish family in 1934 in Los Angeles, California. Jean has worked as an editor for a number of magazines, including “The Paris Review” and “Esquire”. She is co-author, with George Plimpton, of “American Journey: The Times of Robert Kennedy” and in 1990 she became the editor of the literary journal “Grand Street”, until it ceased publication in 2004. It was described by The New York Times as “one of the most revered literary magazines of the postwar era”.

Author: George Plimpton was born on March 18, 1927 in New York City and he died in September 2003 at 76 years. George was an author, an actor and a literary patron. In 1953 he co-founded “The Paris Review” and published many books, including “Truman Capote” and “The Bogey Man”, to name but a few.

My thoughts: I’m so excited to talk to you about Edie, I mean about a book devoted to her short, intense and chaotic life. In the life of Edie there has been worldwide success and fatal degradation. Even though Edie was surrounded by a huge group of friends, acquaintances and members of her large family, she felt alone and unloved.

Edie was the muse of the great artist Andy Warhol - a character I call opportunist and who was described as a manipulator by many members of The Factory.
The Factory was an artists’ studio opened by Andy Warhol in 1964 and located in New York. It was used for the production of Warhol’s pop art works, the making of films and concerts and many party celebrations were held there too.

Returning to Edie, she felt a great emptiness in her life which drove her to get lost in the world of the night: alcohol, parties and drugs, lots of hard drugs. She died prematurely at the age of 28 years from an overdose of barbiturates. Strangely, Edie always knew she wouldn’t live long, according to her close friends. A gipsy, she said, read her palm and told her she had a short lifeline.

Edie had loneliness as an enemy. That came from her childhood as one of many offspring of one of the most prestigious rich and successful old American families: the Minturns, the Forests, the Sedgwicks.

She grew up with her many siblings on the family ranch where she never really felt at home. As a young teenager she was interned in an institution for anorexia. There were rumours of incest involving her father. The family lived in a closed circle, and always displayed a happy air, a facade. Knowing the self destructive fate reserved for some members of Edie’s family, one understands that there was a great lack of love.

In short, (if not I will write a thousand pages... hahaha...), I would say that this book is very rich in details of the American society of the sixties. We also learn about pop culture. This richly documented biography tells us historical facts about the USA, since Edie’s family was strongly linked to the history of the United States of America.
It is written in a pertinent and sincere way with the intervention and testimonies of people who worked at the Factory and members of her family, including a historian.

Edie moved me: a shy, generous, naive girl, very intelligent and gifted in the arts and terribly touching with huge black eyes and a bewitching regard... that’s how I perceive her. In addition to being the greatest model of all time, Edie created, rather than followed fashion. Her trademarks: dark eye make-up, large earrings, black opaque tights, a touch of glitter and all that enhanced by her natural grace. Her full name was Edith Minturn Sedgwick, she was born in Santa Barbara on April 20, 1943 and died on November 15, 1971.

It goes without saying that I loved this book, which is more than just a biography. I read it twice in August 2007 and 2012. “When we love, we don’t count” as we say over here!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello dear readers! This cake, that you discover now, was our Easter cake. I have only just had time to put together this post – better late than never, right? I hope this recipe will please you.

We are fond of this spicy, moist and creamy cake (the cheese cream topping adds that little something to it)…This is a great cake with a gorgeous topping for a special occasion, such as the upcoming Mothers’ Day here in Switzerland on Sunday 14th May.

I decorated mine with a DIY cardboard stick and wrote “Happy Easter”, then I added a white Alstroemeria (in English, a Peruvian Lily). Enjoy!

Ingredients (Serves 8)
5 eggs
200g finely-grated fresh carrots
200g sugar
200g almond powder
2 ml kirsch
1 grated lemon zest
50g of flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Separate egg whites from yolks. Beat the egg yolks and 100g of sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and foamy.
Stir in the grated carrots, almond powder, grated lemon zest, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, flour, kirsch and mix well.
In another bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with 100g of sugar until soft peaks form. Then, incorporate it gently into the batter.
Then butter and flour a mould of 22 cm in diameter and 5 cm in height and pour the mixture in.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in a preheated oven at 190 degrees. Allow to cool before removing from the mould.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Whisk 100g of butter at room temperature until creamy.
Add 400 g Philadelphia cream cheese, and continue mixing.
Add 2 tsp of vanilla extract, and 150g icing sugar.
Whisk everything until obtaining the final texture: creamy, without lumps.

Assemble the cake
Using a sharp bread knife, cut the cooled cake into two layers.
Place your first layer on the plate followed by a big amount of frosting in the centre. Spread the frosting thickly and evenly across the layer.
Spread from the middle of the layer out to the edges and slightly down the side.  Add your second layer on top of the first. Repeat the frosting process by starting with a large dollop on the top and work your way down the sides, filling and smoothing with a spatula.
The frosting doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth. Actually it looks prettier when it is irregular.
You can store your cake in the fridge until time to serve.

If you want to make your carrot cake a little sexier, you can put small carrots made of marzipan on top.