Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Pie love

I heart pies and if I wasn't married to Mr T, I probably would be married to one of the Hairy Bikers...fact!

Maybe you don't have a clue what I am on about if you haven't lived in the UK, and even if you do you may not understand my weird crush on overweight hairy middle-aged men but I am digressing...PIES!

Anne Craig

Being French, I had no ideas what pies (or Yorkshire puddings) for that matter where until I met Mr T, a Northerner...and God was I missing out!

I bought Mr T the Hairy Bikers' "Perfect Pies" book at Christmas and did not have the patience to wait for him to try one of the recipes (he never follows any recipes) so I got stuck in!

Mr T being lactose-intolerant, it was a bit of a challenge to find a pie recipe that did not heavely rely on cheese or cream but the "sausage and apple puff" recipe ticked the right boxes.

No fancy ingredients: good quality sausage meat, an onion, an apple, bread crumbs and seasoning.

Mix everything and put in the middle of a roll of puff-pastry.

Love pie

Cover with more pastry and be creative!

This glorified giant sausage roll is very good, super easy to make and got Mr T's approval (and he is a pie connoisseur).

With the left-over pastry, I decided to make some mini apple turnovers to be enjoyed with coffee the following morning.

Just stewed apples and a little bit of sugar...

Two were not enough!

I have really enjoyed doing a bit of cooking lately. Mr T is our official cook and does a very good job but I do miss taking the time to cook something special and trying out some new recipes. I have made more of an effort lately to actually browse all the cookery books we have at home and bookmark some recipes to try in the near future. This success has spurred me on!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Schenkenberg ruins

View from main road: our destination

When in need of inspiration to plan little trips in our neighbourhood, I head to the My Switzerland website, full of great ideas for walks or sights to visit in each of the Swiss cantons. Canton Aargau where we live is full of castles so you're almost assured to see one in the distance on any walk in the countryside. It is on that website that I found out that 15 minutes away from us were the Schenkenberg ruins, the largest castle ruins in the canton.

Built in the 13th century by the Habsburg family (they've built most of the historical sights around here), it was abandonned in the 18th century as it had become too costly to maintain and repair. Built on a 631m high hill, its first use was to protect core areas around the Brugg district. It is now a Swiss heritage site of national importance.

From the main road in the small town of Thalheim, up and up we went, past some vineyards...

...past some grazing sheep...

...leaving the town behind.

I had read online the day before that there are two main paths to the ruins and that the shortest one was not pram-friendly. We therefore decided to test-drive Baby Suisse's hiking rugsack now that he is big enough to sit in it properly.

At a power-walking pace, the climb took us about 20 minutes. We were prepared for how extensive the ruins of the castle are... the site is surprisingly big and large sections of the derelict castle still stand.

It must be quite a popular spot in the summer given that we saw 4 barbecue pits in the middle of the site. Only in Switzerland, one would fancy grilling a wurst in the middle of a listed heritage site...

Because the weather was fairly touch-and-go that day, we were alone up there although we had walked past a few people during our speedy ascent.

Nature has taken over the site in many places

We enjoyed very (cloudy) nice views over the valley and the town of Thalheim.

We decided to take the slightly longer way back to the car, not walking through the woods but following a path down the other side of the hill onto the valley.

As the weather looked rather ominous, we didn't hang around for too long but glanced back at the castle one last time.

What a great way to spend our afternoon on bank holiday Monday. This would make a good day trip to anyone passing through the canton or visiting Zürich (public transport links are very good but the bus dropping you at the bottom of the hill).

Now, where should we go next?

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Popping by to say hello and hopefully stay for a while...

Baby Suisse ready for summer if it ever decides to come our way...

Almost 6 months on since my last post, I am starting to feel like I can breathe again. After 4 difficult months at the beginning of the year when Baby Suisse was constantly ill and more often at home than at nursery, I think I am starting to master this full-time working and commuting mum's about time, Baby Suisse will turn 10 months in a few days!

Alf, Baby Suisse, Mr T and I have been on a couple of excursions in la Suisse and abroad (I am hoping to share these with you in the near future) and a few small crafty projects have been completed. Nothing outlandish but I guess that's part of the changes in your life following the arrival of children...small victories appear disproportionately grandiose!

I look forward to catching up with all of you :-)

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