E is hard??? “Endives au jambon” says the roommate

17. April 2013 | Category Alpha cooking project | Comments Off

E is HARD.

But it can work. So voila : ENDIVES :)

This is a veg I was intro’d to back in 2001 during my year in Paris. It’s Belgian in origin and rarely found in N.America outside of snobby places–so not on my regular menu :)

MMMMMMM at the moment, roasting veg in the oven and they smell amazing for the letter O!!!!

Back to E….endives are hard to prepare also if we’re not so used to them so I just asked my roomie for her advice and voila…Frenchie style = cheese, cream, ham and it is good…oh don’t forget the butter.

AND yes the endives r in there but totally under all that sauce–Bechamel!


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C is for cabbage rolls

17. April 2013 | Category Alpha cooking project | Comments Off

Hello there! It is hard to post in order b/c I have a pic uploading problem from my phone and sometimes I am just too excited by today’s post to go back in time to earlier letters….

Anyway, cabbage rolls are another “I wish I had time” recipe inspired by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa which is thankfully on UK food network also.

Note: must use oven for best results. I did stove top and it was just ok…great for a weekday meal but not off the charts in terms of this project so I say, do not stray: use the oven or don’t make at all.

still have pic prob but it is coming….

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F = fries, fijitas & fennel

14. April 2013 | Category Alpha cooking project | 1 Comment »

It was Saturday and the end of the first week of cooking and I had been doing it everyday and making some complicated things so I wanted to cheat…

Option 1: “French fries” says the boy. Great idea I think….easy peasy and I love sweet potato fries…

Option 2: I’ll make fennel salad too b/c he does not eat too many veggies and it’s easy too…ahhhhhhhhh.

Phone call to his mum takes place: “but fries are chips…and that isn’t really something that starts with F…. (darn British ppl!) about fajitas?”

Me: She is right.

Boy: But you are Canadian so who cares?

Me: But she is right and you are British. And fries are so easy and I’ve made them before.

Sooooo? Me = off to grocery store in FRANCE on FOOT b/c Swiss shops close earlier and COST MORE!??!!!

But she was right: our meal was much better and for the record, he called the fries chips so clearly, I needed more F-foods :)


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14. April 2013 | Category Alpha cooking project | 1 Comment »

Just word up: I’m a God-loving gal but I can enjoy these eggs with relish–lol!

So I do like me some eggs in all types but I did not want to make frittata for F.

And I have never made deviled eggs and I thought it’s be fun not to mention DELISH-CIOUS!!!!!!!

AND it was. I saw a pic of some with tops instead of sideways-cut so that’s what I did cuz I wanted to add an element of difficulty and use a piping bag :)

PS I used yogurt instead of mayo.

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Liver n onions

11. April 2013 | Category Alpha cooking project | 1 Comment »

Now this is an “old” person’s classic. And I am always close to iron-deficient. AND liver is the cheapest source of protein in Geneva of the meat-like offerings.

Soooooooooooo it’s time to learn how to make this dish and make it good so I can eat it: you tooooo :)

Tip of the day: soak the liver in milk! IT makes a difference and this was so easy and the onions are perfect alongside b/c they are sweet and the liver is rich and with its light flour crust, mannnnnnnnnnnnnnnn it was soooooooooooooo good!

I only wanted to eat a test piece before sharing with friends later but I ended up eating the whole thing…lol!

Damn! Good! Yah! WIN!

PIC to come…yeah I’m not in Vietnam but my Internet still sucks! :P

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M does not follow B BUT….

10. April 2013 | Category Alpha cooking project | 1 Comment »

Today’s creation was MINESTRONE soup! Italian originally, now we see this soup often on cafeteria menus in Canada all the time and probably in other countries too I believe….

INSPIRATION: For Easter weekend, or rather, the FEASTING of it, I was fortunate enough to be invited to an AWESOME, homemade Eastern European-style dinner made by a few lovely boys from CERN..Do you know what CERN is? I probably should be ashamed to say that I didn’t…before I moved to Geneva. But I do now ;) Anyway, these boys know how to cook! And the first course was MINESTRONE!!!! Kinda hilarious but as I was going to eat smthg that boys made and science-nerdy boys too, I wasn’t expecting much… BUT.I.FORGOT.I.AM.IN.EUROPE.BABY! And food here usually outshines the North-American norms but again, I digress….

So they prepared a lovely soup that we ate with creme fraiche and bread with duck fat on it….seriously DELISH!!!!

And here’s my remake using a vegetarian recipe that seemed easy enough:

A WORD ON SOUPS chez Cathy: It has been ages since I’ve made a giant pot like this. I used to do this more in Vietnam with all the fresh veggies–I know, I know, it’s kinda weird to make and eat hot soup in a hot country??!! but it was nostalgia. Hilariously, I made more soup in VN than in freeeezing Ottawa :) But then, I had my awesome slow cooker–baby I still love you!

Sooo the minestrone was different from the CERN soup but good. IT was very tomato-y which is how I like it :)

PICS to come…

bon appetit tout le monde!

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BBBBBBibimbap! Korean Kuisine at its finest!

10. April 2013 | Category Alpha cooking project, Asian travels | Comments Off

So I love Korean stuff–food, people, tv dramas…etc.

I am fortunate to have met some awesome Korean folks who added loads of fun to my life :) Thanks guys & gals!

And with their inspiration, I turn to the letter B. BIBIMBAP is a delicious rice dish that has an assortment of seasoned veggies and meat topped off with a sunny-side up egg and let me tell YOU: it’s the egg that pulls together all this deliciousness!….and maybe the spicy hot sauce too!

I have never made this dish before but it has sizzled in front of my eyes several times on a hot plate when I was living in Vietnam…FUN FACT: did you know there are loads of Koreans living in the ‘Nam? And this is why they have some awesome Korean cuisine there. My personal observation was that all the Korean businesspeople were really hard-working and would have factories in many areas (furniture, appliances, travel, even socks!).

Sooooo here’s the recipe I used (always loosely followed) by searching “easy bibimbap recipe”.

And here’s my final result:

Honestly, making this is Geneva was a bit pricy so I did go over the 10 francs by a bit but that’s because sesame oil is already half of that and bean sprouts and Asian mushrooms are truly a luxury in this part of Europe but it’s just b/c of my location. It’s still not an expensive dish but I do happen to have a nice ol’ jar of Korean chilli paste, given to me as a good-bye gift in Ottawa by my awesome friend Jin :)

OH and there’s a reason no one ever posts the pic of bibimbap after it’s mixed up = NOT tantalizing!
So give it a try and I guarantee you’ll like it. It’s just a bunch of chopping and seasoning but it does take about an hour so not hardcore labour though not free and easy either :)

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Nostalgia splatter! ODE to Vietnam memories

9. April 2013 | Category Lists, Top of the pops: my lists, Vietnam Voyage | Comments Off


Soooo it’s been awhile and I am up to my ears in other things i need to blog about…I’m on letter H of cooking and letter A of blogging… = PROBLEM :(

But that’ll all come. Today I want to test my memory. Finally I’m catching up with friends and the VNese memories keep coming back. So here we are: LISTS!

1. Rollerblading: never did this in VN but I remember sleepy Danang streets when my pal Boram was the ONLY blader in town and like…10 bikes FOLLOWED his every move! LOL!

2. Riding scooter sans helmet! Yup been there done that in 2006-07 until Boram reminded me that I COULD DIE! Yup then I used mine all the time and then they made it a law at the end of the year and BOOM, just like that, ALL the Communist country’s ppl had helmets!

3. the white-headed turtle!!!! And the giant one in Hanoi ;) The former belongs to my landlord who loves the birds and the bees (seriously he took the bus with birds in cages but he’s 80 so they let him do what he wants) And the latter is a mythical creature that only few see in real life—UNLESS you happen to be me n my dad in 2006 at 5:30 am! SCORE :)

4. heat, smells, lush greenery! gosh it all flashes by on this lovely day in 2013 and it has been 2.5 years!!! When shall I go back…?

This was the original blog pic and from my first visit to VN ever–with my awesomely great parents aka translators :)

5. the friends! oh the friends! i know ppl from many parts of the world after living in VN for 4 years :) Some are in Europe near me now and I’ve seen two here in Geneva and many others are scatttered…. reunions do come my friends, they do!

6. the food!!! ahhhhhhh, VNese cuisine is 10x as pricey in Geneva and like 10% as good. so it is a baddddddd deal! I will go to Paris for VNese and it is still half of what it costs here = ridicule! but I cannot wait to return to Trung Nguyen, my tropical coffee shop!

I think that ends this session of mind blurt, brought to you by the memories of a gal who hasn’t slept much b/c of sheer excitement and good talks about her beloved former home :)

Now back to the drill of responsibility….booooooo!

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My alphabet month: A is for ARANCINI aka risotta rice balls

9. April 2013 | Category Alpha cooking project | 2 Comments »

I find myself in the err-interesting situation of being time-rich and money-poor…but what to do with all this time? Clearly I cannot snooze it all away so my pals J and K came up with an idea and semi-forced it on me: cooking to the ALPHABET.

So we came up with some loose rules: 10 swiss francs per dish, main courses mainly or at least savoury, semi-complicated concoctions. Alpha-order is not necessary but so far, it helps me plan.

Any ideas? I’d love to hear them.

So I had always wanted to eat/make arancini (which are deep-fried rice balls meant for using leftovers) since I’ve seen them made on the Food Network a few times but since I’m not that skilled at making risotto anyway, when would this happen? Ahem, NOW seems a good a time as ever ;)

So I was inspired by this recipe and this marinara sauce is truly excellent and a must-make even though the rice balls are great on their own.

A few side notes: I made the risotto from scratch since I forgot to make rice the night before AND I had to make my own breadcrumbs from a dried out baguette by hand (no food processor) so that took a lot more time that is necessary if you have the ingredients ready-made and on-hand to use :)


Look :)

According to the taste-testers, these arancini were a major hit and started the project off with a serious BANG!
SCORE! WIN! FUN! Just the kind of motivation I needed for the next 25 entries….

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2. December 2012 | Category Geneva, Lists, Songs | 1 Comment »

Life abroad moves FAST! So does every life I think but sheesh where did the time go?

Two months ago, I was meandering Genevois streets on a sunny day with these folk = they rock!

and today it snowed and I’m thinking about Christmas parties…that fun memory seems like ages ago…zoooom!

And with the busy storm, me bloggy gets neglected :(

So here’s some of the whirlwind I’ve been caught in :)

1. ISTANBUL—Gosh I want to write in more depth on how lovely this city is :) And I should but could I just say in a few words that it was a marvelous delight—worth every penny and from their airline to the pick-up arranged by the hotel—wow! Food is amazing; people charming; sights so stunning; and prices just right!

It was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo nice to be in an exotic (= different and quite foreign to me) place with stimulating scents, sights, sounds, and colours AND HEAT!!!! After living in the calm and clean and orderly of Geneva (except for my red-light-neighbourhood), it was such a treat to discover the rambling, windy roads with delectable shops and smiley faces—do I sound like a satisfied tourist? B/C I totally am! Ahhhhhhhhhhh I want to go back in the summer! Although Mel n I had a fabulous time, it did get cold at night and I had to buy a shawl (such a bargain at $10!) so I’d love to be back on those boats and having a crispy fish sandwich with Turkey coffee, apple tea, and salep on the side in the hot hot heat….l’annee prochaine peut etre? It’s a direct flight from Geneva so on sait jamais…. could happen :)

—> my shot at being a gourd :)

2. Visitors—Whether it be for work or friends of friends, I am busy meeting ppl here and it’s totally fun :) Alone, I’m not so big on seeing the sights but when there are others around, I’m ready to roll. So finally make it to the “catacombs” or rather the underlayings of the big cathedral here which were semi-recently opened up to the public (I love spooky-ish things) and out to a few museums thanks to my pals.

3. Cooking & volunteering—I love making messes in the kitchen. And what’s better than giving away your homemade goods? I’ve recently attempted lasagna (bechamel/spinach/mozza), yogurt cake (it’s French; I’m not; I failed!), bread pudding a l’anglaise (rich w/brandied apricots n awesome with cream :) ), lamb & quinoa AND spicy simple Korean noodles (I seriously want to eat some more as I write this!).

—> food delivered to my room by Helena = too kind!

Oooh and I served yummy chicken stew at a soup kitchen recently. For vegetarians, there was an orange juice, mint reduction with veggies—looked so good that I think I gotta make that one day :)

4. WORK—You know when you just love what you do? That is totally my case!!!! Everyday is kinda like amazingness….Geneva is chock-full of great positions if you can land one that is! Mine is a contract but oh yes, I do want to stay :) So appreciative of the opportunity to be here :)

5. LIFE—I’m made some friends, feel quite comfortable, intend to stay. It feels like a wonderful beginning to something new, true, and totallly guuuuuud :) Ahhhhh :)

Thankful, happier than happy (joy!), busy, refreshed but still totally messy and a bit random, c’est moi :)

And so, why not leave you with my sister’s repeat hit of the moment (ahem 10 yrs ago!) :P

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