Sonntag, 20. Januar 2008

Nabe Party

It's my second winter in Switzerland.. This year, I will hold "Nabe Party" at home. Last night, my wish came true for first time!

NABE PARTY

NABE. It's the most important and popular dinner for Japenese during winter. It's like Fondue Cinois is Switzerland. You share one big pan in the middle of the table. As a Japanese, winter without having nabe is unsatisfying.

It was our honor to invite our good friends for first Nabe party at our apartment. In order to have succesful Nabe party, I even requested new table to my husband!!

NABE PARTY

As you see, real Nabe atmosphere is completed with low table. You sit on the floor around the table. Well, Nabe pan is not the real one in Japan which is made by cray but this is the best I could organize at the moment. It also works well.

So what you cook in Nabe? Well, almost anything. I bought some Japanese stuff such as varieties of Tofu in Asian restaurant. Vegetables can be purchased in normal supermarket. Asian cabbage, Shiitake, long radish, carrots. We also bought shrimps, chickens and slices of porks. You cook these ingredients one by one on the table.

NABE PARTY

Nabe is not only good and helthy but also gives you cozy time with others. While you are sharing warm pan together, it's difficult to discuss or argue. Without realizing, you relax and enjoy peaceful time.
Above, two Swiss man enjoying conversation nabe in between.
Thanks to my girl friend who brought special Nabe soup from Japan. It's a soy milk soup which recently became popular in Japan.

Conversation was a mixture of Japanese, English, German and Swiss German. When we talk about something which we don't want to be heard by men, we used Japanese. How pratical Japanese is!:)

NABE PARTY

Dessert was also great, it was beautiful Tiramisu brought by my girl friend. I instantly had to ask her reciept. In this Swiss culture, where you often invite and being invited for dinner, it is important to know some good reciepts of desserts. With her, we like to share information!

NABE PARTY

So the cozy night went on. Nabe, Tiramisu, green tea.. it couldn't be better. We like to take photo of our guests on the couch, in front of Godzilla's art. It's a first photo of our guests with new couch! We bought even new couch together with the table.
Between my girl friend and I, the dinner yesterday was "new year party". We Japanese say first gathering in January as "new year party" no matter how late it is. It was indeed very succesful kick off with them!

Sonntag, 13. Januar 2008

3rd Invitation by Chef Cook in Zürich

Last night, we had again invitation by super dentist couple in Switzerland. It's a couple who owns Godzilla's masterpiece at their living room.

and actually, the one who is now taking care of bad teeth:)

Dinner at Caro

The one on the wall is it.

Dinner at Caro

I was really looking forward to this dinner since the girl is really a big cook. She has won in a big cook competetion in TV show. Whenever I'm invited by her, I always have to amazed...
For example this one.

Dinner at Caro

I thought it's a long bread, but actually,,,,, it was gorgeous hand-made appetizer!!

Inside is Shiitake (Asisan mushtoom) and feta cheese. Ohhhh, I should not eat too much appetizer before a dinner but this one,, I just can't help.. I had to eat 3 Stücks!!

Dinner at Caro

After an appetizer (which was already like a portion of my full lunch), we took seat. Hmmmm, Avocado salad was already there which looks also very very good. My husband started biting before everybody are ready.

Dinner at Caro

Before the first dish comes, we asked "what's the starter?". She said "Vegetable soup". I have imagined something like minestrone. But here comes something even more special. Hmmmmm, creamy vegetable soup which actually contains broccoli, potato, carrot (and something else!). I'm always curious and ask her receipt. Once she gave me the receipt of dipping sauce and salad sauce. Whenever I make this sauce and offer to our guests, they all love it!

Dinner at Caro

Odie was very satisfied with this huge bottle of red wine. My husband stays happy with good red wine. Yeah, they know my husband well:) Perfect arrangemet!

Dinner at Caro

Brooooooooo!! Main dish!! Better than other restaurants in Zürich including the level of the presentation as well! Meat was very soft and mushed potato was also perfect. The best mushed potato I know is the one from New York Girll (one of the best restaurant in Tokyo) but her mushed potato can beat it!!

Dinner at Caro

Dessert was of course hand-made. Hmmmmm, I was very stisfied with this fruits salad..

Dinner at Caro

but she even baked cake! With little hearts on it!

I was very very spoiled this evening...

Dinner at Caro

Not only super delicious food but also the environment. Somehow I understand their German very well. Often, I have to suffer Swiss German or even with high German, I really have to pay attention to understand. Which makes me completely wipe out by the end of the dinner. But with them, I don't have problem. I think it's because they are being very considerable about me and use clear German.

After the diiner, we saw lots of photo from their trip and when we realized, it was already 12am. Fun time goes by very fast... It was another cozy Saturday evening with friends!

Sonntag, 6. Januar 2008

Last day in Lüsai

Since the day I crashed from the lift, I was quite scared of this most UNIQUE (oldest) lift you could find in the world..

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The one, something like an UFO, hanging in the air is the LIFT. Check it out how it's function.

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Wait for the UFO.

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Grab it.

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Pull it down and hold it between legs.

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and let the board slide until the top. Looks easy? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Maybe it's easy for those "advanced people" but for beginners, who cannot control their board well, it is the worst lift you could get.

This UFO is NOT a chair. Once you put the weight on it, you fall. UFO is something just pull you to the top so you constantly have to balance on the board (only one left leg is fixed) considering the EDGE. (this is the most difficult thing).

If you fall on steep slope, you'll be hurt quite hard and I've done it 6 times until I reach to the top.

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For skier, no problem. It's easy for them to balance. The lift is unfriendly to "beginner boarders (like me)".

Another problem is this one.

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"T-born Lift". This is for 2 people.

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again, you grab it and pull it down, keep the bar between legs. Actually, this bar hurt as well. Right inside of my leg has lots of bruise due to this lift. I crashed with this one as well together with my husband.

I almost lose the spirit torward snowboarding but thanks to god, it's started snowing whole night, whole day.

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Everything is covered white. Lots of fresh, powder snow on ths slope.

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So I tried again.

I wanted to get use to the speed. Whenever I have too much speed, my body automatically stop the speed. I was always too scared to fall in full speed. But with this powder snow, I had less fear. I could learn running straight without making turn. I also enjoyed following Ursula.

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My body buried in powder snow many times:)

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Godzilla also took photo of me:)

I've never run that fast in my life. First time, I experienced the shower of snow hitting my face and the wave of snow that my board make. It was beautiful.

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After our last run, we celebrated that all return safely. (well, I return safely). I was so happy that I felt my progress during the stay. My husband even decided to buy the shoes and board for me which we rented. They were perfect for me.

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I'm not yet feel 100% secure about these lifts, but I'm satisfied with my first snowboarding experience in Switzerland.

Samstag, 5. Januar 2008

Cooking Späzli

I've got to know the food "späzli" in here Switzerland. It's something taste like between pasta and gnocchi which often served with meats. Ursula suggested me to cook Späzli for dinner together! I was very curious how to cook it.

Cooking Späzli

Flour, egg, milk and water,, basically you just mix them up all.

Cooking Späzli

Ursula hardly use measure to cook. She often use a word "etwas" which means "some". I'm a kind of person who measure exaclty which written on a cook book, so when she says "some -- ", I'm always questioning in my heart "how much actually???". But Ursula never has problem without using measure. She see the texture and decide. You can check the right "thickness" of Späzli as below.

Cooking Späzli

Rest the bowl of the Späzli on the table for a while. In the meantime, we prepared a sauce.

Cooking Späzli

Hmmmmm, porcini sauce!! Porcini, bouyon, red wine, cream and some spices.

Cooking Späzli

Now comes the most fun part of cooking Späzli. Put one scoop of the Späzli from bowl on the board.

Cooking Späzli

and slice them into bolied water, one by one!!

Cooking Späzli

There is a special "späzli knife" if you need but we used normal knife.

After a while, boiled späzli start floating in the water.

Cooking Späzli

and scoop them up! with special Späzli spoon:)

Cooking Späzli

I enjoyed it a lot!

Cooking Späzli

so here, how we served.

Cooking Späzli

Hmmmm, Späzli with Porcini sauce!

Cooking Späzli

nornally, it will be served with meat like this. Again, grilled meat from fire place:)

Cooking Späzli

we also prepared special salad. Celery salad and Carrot salad. We grated 10 carrots and one whole celery. That was tough work.

Cooking Späzli

It was again huge dinner. 5 star restaurant is here at home!

Freitag, 4. Januar 2008

Müstair

Lüsai, where our family is now spending winter holiday is locating on about 15 min away by the car from this town. Müstair is not really known town compared to the other cities as tourist place but it's a very important place in Switzerland. The monastery here is registered as world heritage and said Müstair is one of the best known Carolingian monasteries. I visited this world treasure on snowy day.

Munstair

Munstair

I had to hold my breathe when I stood in front of the monastery. It was there, standing with the back ground of snow mountain very calm,,,, but imagine, for 1200 years.

Munstair

It's constructed very simple, not fancy at all. It reflects pure worthshipfulness of Christians in those days.

Munstair

I had to freeze again upon I went inside.. The beautiful wall paint was decorating the inside of this simple monastery.

Munstair

Munstair

all the way up to the ceiling.

It said that around 800 the interior of the monastery was painted completely. You could also see the panting of "return of Christ" and "the last Judgment". The painting is in a row and tell story in clockwise direction. I really had to wonder how this amazing work has been done in old days.

Munstair

We also went into the museum where we could find out more about the convent and the life style of nuns.

Munstair

What surprised me the most is these bedrooms.

Munstair

It's like a small cell with very small bed. Were they that small? It's like a bed for a child. There is a hole on the door, no privacy. I was wearing thick coat but even so, I was freeing. How you could sleep in such an ice cold room...

Munstair

There is a small bench where you can overview the scenery outside. Did nuns chat here?

Munstair

inside court.

Munstair

There is a room with full of sunshine as well. It's locating on the top of "winter choir room".

Munstair

with beautiful rose painting on the ceiling.

Munstair

Convent life of course exixst today. It's said "The sisterhood of St. John lives in accordance with the rhythm of sessions of prayer, reading, silent contemplation and labor. Under the directions of a prioress, the nuns' activities are concerned with the convent household, the gardens and embroidery".Munstair

Two nuns passed by while I was in museum. Both showed me very warm smile..

I could never be a Christian but I deeply respect nuns and other true religious people who devote their life to god. These people are very strong to stick to what they believe in. (I don't agree with religious war though). Benedict called the monastery "a school where one learns to serve the Lord".

Munstair

Here, a small community has been praying and working accordance with the rule of St. Benedict for 1200 years. During the visit of Monastery, I felt as the time went back to ancient days. I felt the weight of great European history.

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