Monthly Archives: January, 2013

Fondue Chinoise

Fondue is widely considered a typical Swiss Dish. Most people think about Cheese Fondue when they hear about it and every tourist in Switzerland usually tries a “typical” cheese fondue and ends up with stomach aches, because they are not used to all this melted cheese. What many do not know is this: It is very important to NOT drink water or soda with a cheese fondue but either warm tea or some white wine. I’m not in particular fond of cheese fondue, but if I end up eating some, I ALWAYS drink only warm tea with it, which helps to digest the mass rather fatty cheese. (btw, this rule also goes for Raclette) 

This is what Wikipedia has to say about Fondue:

Fondue (French pronunciation: ​[fɔ̃’dy]) is a Swiss, French, and Italian dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot (caquelon) over a portable stove (réchaud), and eaten by dipping long-stemmed forks with bread into the cheese. It was promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union (Schweizerische Käseunion) in the 1930s but its origins stem from an area that covers Switzerland, France (Rhone Alps) and Italy (Piedmont and Aosta valley).

Since the 1950s, the name “fondue” has been generalized to other dishes in which a food is dipped into a communal pot of hot liquid: chocolate fondue, in which pieces of fruit are dipped into a melted chocolate mixture, and fondue bourguignonne, in which pieces of meat are cooked in hot oil.” 

I remember when I was in San Diego a couple of years ago I went to a small Fondue Restaurant in La Jolla called “Forever Fondue” with a couple of fellow students. For me, as a Swiss Person, it was absolutely hilarious! It was so incredibly cute to listen to the waiter explaining the dish to a group of Swiss and Japanese students. The Swiss thought it was totally funky to have Fondue in California and the Japanese were a bit flabbergasted by this weird food. The restaurant served Cheese Fondue for starters, Meat and Fish Fondue as a Main Dish and Chocolate Fondue for dessert. Let me tell you this: No Swiss person in their right mind would normally eat all of them in one sitting. 😀 But hey, it was a very unique experience! The people from Forever Fondue are also quite innovative and a visit is really worthwhile.  

When I was living in Germany, a lot of my german acquaintances would make Meat Fondue, where they cooked pieces of meat in hot oil. Which is, in my opinion, still way too heavy and not really my choice of fondue. 

Therefore, today I would like to introduce you to Fondue Chinoise – my favourite festive winter meal! (well… we’ve had it almost every weekend since X-mas and are still not tired of it, it’s simply so good!)

It is actually quite similar to Fondue Bourgingnonne but instead of hot oil, you use broth. Whether it is beef broth or veggie broth is entirely up to you. Personally, I like to use veggie broth. I also add one carrot and one leek cut into slices and heat it up on the stove. Here in Switzerland, you can buy very thinly sliced and rolled up meats in every variation. From beef, veal, pork, chicken and turkey to even horse. My favourite is turkey, since it’s not too expensive and it cooks to be very tender in the broth.

Fondue Pot and various Dips and additions.

Fondue Pot and various Dips and additions.

To go with the meat, there are various dips (either store bought or homemade), pickles, antipasti and potato chips. And that’s it. Everyone helps themselves to what they like, put the meat on the long forks and put them into the hot broth for a couple of minutes. When the meat is done, take it out and enjoy.

The plate with cooked and raw meat, dips and pickles

The plate with cooked and raw meat, dips and pickles

And here’s the best part – when you’re finished, don’t throw away the soup! Keep it for the next day, add any leftover meat and maybe some dried tortellini, heat up and voila – you have a full meal and an incredible tasty soup. 

My Mom doesn’t like to eat soup the next day, so she actually freezes the broth into ice cubes and uses it as a base whenever she cooks risotto. 

Fondue Chinoise is a great meal in my opinion, because it doesn’t involve a lot of cooking or preparation. The Mister and I love to have it during the winter months – just the two of us and a good movie. Heaven. 🙂

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Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Well, I might be a bit late with this recipe, but after all it’s still winter and therefore soup-time! 🙂

There’s almost nothing better on a cold fall/winter night than a bowl of creamy, homemade pumpkin soup. It’s easy, too! The most work for this is to cut up the pumpkin and other veggies. Therefore I suggest to cook up a big batch and then freeze the soup into portions. That way you have a quick and easy dinner or lunch at hand. The nice thing about pumpkin soup is that you can also add other veggies that you happen to have about and that might need using. For example carrots or potatoes. 

Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • 1-2 pumpkins, cut into pieces (approx. 1-1.5 kg in total)
  • Powdered veggie broth
  • Curry powder 

Optional:

  • 1-2 carrots
  • 2-3 potatoes
  • 1-2 onions

 For Serving:

  • Cream or Crème Fraiche
  • Optional: some grated cheese for sprinkling 

Peel and cut the veggies into cubes. Cover with water and add broth powder, depending on how much water you used. I suggest to go low on it, though, otherwise it might turn out too salty. You can always add a bit more if need be. 

The Veggies - cut and covered with water

The Veggies – cut and covered with water

Cook on low heat until the veggies are soft. Use a hand blender and mix until you get a smooth mass. Now add approx. 1 tbsp. curry powder and mix in well. Have a taste test to see if the spicing is ok. 

For Serving, add a tablespoon Crème Fraiche, Sour Cream or regular cream per bowl. You could also sprinkle the soup with some grated cheese. 

I usually cook a big pot full of soup and freeze the leftovers. When I don’t feel like cooking, I simply thaw the soup, throw in a lean sausage and voilà – Dinner.  

Note: Always add the cream just before serving and don’t freeze it with the soup.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup