Friday, 31 August 2018

A beautiful sunny day in the Japanese Garden, Valais

Hello everyone! I hope you are all well! I have had quite a splendid and relaxed summer and now that holidays are drawing to a close I feel a bit nostalgic for all the amazing moments I have experienced…

Last month, while on vacation in the Valais, we went to visit the Japanese Garden. I took many photos during our walk on the way up to the Japanese Garden. There are images of a beautiful flower; of the marmot hidden inside the rocks and the breathtaking views surrounding us.

I adore collecting beautiful images like these with my camera. For me, photography is a way of freezing memories from a journey that I can look back on and enjoy for years. I hope you will enjoy this tour!

To get to the Japanese Garden, we took the Tortin chairlift from Siviez, then we walked up to the top of the valley of Tortin, to reach the Japanese Garden which is a natural site situated at the summit of a beautiful glacial moraine, the view over the region is superb and the water that runs down the numerous meanders makes it special.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Birthday lunch at La Cigogne

It was my birthday last month and we celebrated in style with lunch at a splendid place.

On the actual day Sweetheart took me to his favourite restaurant, the classy and renowned Restaurant de la Cigogne at Hotel de la Cigogne.

The Cigogne is located in the beautiful place Longemalle, between Lake Geneva and the Old Town. The setting is beautiful: a luxurious period building, very elegant with exceptional service. The waiters are stylish, friendly and not at all stuffy.

Restaurant de l’Hôtel de la Cigogne

The restaurant terrace…Tables far apart from each other...

I loved this intimate and quiet place in the heart of the city where art and the sweetness of life blends perfectly.

What about meal? It was excellent, very beautifully presented dishes, savoury and refined tasting. We opted for the menu consisting of several dishes.

Our Menu à la carte

Appetizer: Carpaccio

Multigrain Bread - So delicious ... Need I tell you that this bread is absolutely brilliant served warm

Starter: Ceviche de cabillaud et gambas, crémeux carotte, salicornes et radis rose

Sweetheart main dish: Filet de canette rôti, pesto fève-pistache, mille-feuille d’abricot et épinard.

My main dish: Côtes d’agneau poêlées, cannelloni d’aubergine et tomates farcies

Dessert: Mousse façon cheesecake, abricots compotés, croustillant de riz soufflé. The dessert was brought to me to blow out the candles on my birthday. So cute. It was a very special moment...

Sweetheart and I had a really fantastic time at De La Cigogne, the food is excellent, but what really stands out is the service.

After lunch, we went for a walk by Lake Geneva. The day was very beautiful, and we could see tourists taking in the beautiful views from the English Garden. This garden is home to several attractions which makes it an absolute must for tourists who happen to take a stroll down the famous left bank of Quai Gustave-Ador.

Hôtel de la Cigogne 
17, place Longemalle
1204 Genève, Suisse
Tél.: +41 22 818 40 40

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Old-fashioned Sweet Brioche

Basic Brioche
Basic Brioche

This is one of those recipes that I have been longing to share with you. During winter I often baked these sweet brioche buns from my childhood.

Although my brioche buns do not have an attractive appearance, I can tell you without pretension that they were super delicious. The crumb was perfect, very soft and light. 

The ingredients are very simple - flour, sugar, eggs, milk and fresh yeast.  However, this old-fashioned method used by grandmothers is a slow rise method. It takes approximately 4 hours for the first rise and another 2 hours for the second rise. It is worth the wait as you get the traditional taste of brioche.

Usually I prepare the yeast dough in the evening and let it rise over night completely, then I take the dough the next morning, shape it, leave it to rise a bit more, cover with egg yolk and bake it. It’s easier this way and works perfectly well! 

Sometimes I varied the amount of butter and the flavours. The one in the photo is richer in butter and has an orange flavour (I added the zest of an orange to the dough and I used 150g of butter). A real treat, we feasted. 

Now it’s up to you to add your touch to this recipe - by adding dried fruits, various nuts, crystallised fruit, spices (vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, etc.) - however respect the steps of the recipe. 

I have written the method and observations so you can succeed easily. This brioche recipe is great to make at the weekend. Perfect for any brunch, picnic or tea time.

Orange Brioche
Orange Brioche
Orange Brioche
Orange Brioche
Orange Brioche
300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 eggs
70g sugar 
140g butter, at room temperature (plus extra for greasing)
100 ml lukewarm full-fat milk
10g organic baker’s yeast
1/2 tsp salt
*Icing sugar (optional)

For the egg wash:
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk

1. Mix the yeast in the lukewarm milk.

2. In a bowl, make a well with the flour, sugar and salt. Add the yeast milk and the beaten eggs. Mix well. Knead with a spatula or with the dough hooks of an electric mixer, until a soft and smooth dough is obtained 

3. Then, add the butter in pieces and knead again until dough becomes elastic
(until the dough comes away from the container).

4. Then, cover the dough and let it rise to double its volume (for 4 hours) at room temperature. 

5. When the time is up, remove the dough and place it on a well-floured surface.

6. Knead again and then, divide the dough into 7 portions.

7. Roll the dough into a ball.

8. Arrange the dough on a well buttered cake mould and cover. Let it sit for another 2 hours or until it is puffed up.

9. When dough has doubled in size, and before putting the mould in the oven, brush the buns with egg wash (mix the egg yolk and the milk).

10. Bake in a preheated oven at 180ºC for about 20-30 minutes until golden brown.

11. Remove, unmould, and leave to cool on a wire rack.

The amount of butter: the more the dough is rich in butter, the better the brioche. By contrast, the dough will be much harder to shape because it is very soft. As a rule, the weight of the butter is at least 50% of the weight of the flour.

Avoid over-kneading once you incorporate the butter - diced and at room temperature - stop as soon as the dough is smooth. If the dough is kneaded too long, there is a risk of having a rubbery crumb.

Monday, 20 August 2018

A superb night out in Sion

A few weeks ago, during my holidays in Heidi’s Country, we went for dinner at L’Enclos de Valère in Sion.

This restaurant has been on my bucket list for a while and now that I have been, I urge you to try it, because everything was perfect.

But before that, let me take you for a little tour through the centre and the old town of Sion. We arrived in the afternoon and we wandered lazily around the city. For the “things to do in Sion” I invite you to take a look at my post last year. You will certainly fall in love with this medieval town, so full of charm.

Et voilà, the stroll over, now I present to you this wonderful restaurant in the heart of Sion “L’Enclos de Valère”.

We arrived for dinner at 7pm, and we were installed at a table in the pretty shady garden, a haven of peace in the middle of the old streets of the city.

The menu was excellent, the dishes very well presented and the cooking perfect; simply the best!

We chose a menu which consisted of several dishes. Small appetisers (amuses-bouche) to start the feast. The starters were excellent and beautifully presented. The main course and the dessert were superb.

Our Menu:

Les délices de l'Enclos "terrine de foie gras de canard en fine gelée d'abricots, tartare de veau aux perles de jus de truffes, cannelloni au sérac du Valais et coppa en manteau d'orties, tomate et mozzarella de bufflonne au basilic"

Racks d'agneau en croûte aux herbes et à la moutarde, jus parfumé, trio de pommes de terre et jardinière de légumes

Steak de bœuf, beurre café de Paris, pommes frites et salade mêlée

Tarte Tatin avec double crème et glace

Duo de fraises et framboises, double crème de la Gruyère, meringue et glace vanille

What more can be said? We found the welcome warm, the staff friendly and professional, the setting at the foot of the castles just beautiful!!

L’Enclos de Valère Restaurant
Rue des Châteaux 18
Sion 1950
Tél.: +4127 323 32 30