It’s all about brunching – 3 awesome brunching recipes trying to keep up with Basel’s best brunching-place!

Hello again after a very long time of silence! What’s up, dear fellows? I got some pretty tempting food-stuff coming up today, hopefully not only capturing your attention, but also our taste buds!

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After weeks, months even, in my University’s library, tons of coffee and a lot whining I am finally back on track. I had my Bachelor’s exam in december and since then, I basically spend my days sleeping, cooking, brunching and looking for jobs, mostly in exactly this sequence and with unequal distribution of personal priorities. Now, to feel a little more useful doing all this, I decided to write a post on brunching. Okay, yes, it’s definitely not the most urgent thing to do in my life. But it is the most appealing one indeed, for: whoever does not love a colorful brunch with friends when every single one of them has nothing but time on their hands because they all belong to that lazy species of human beings called students?

So that is why this post includes (as the title already reveals, actually): an absolute must-go-brunching-place in my sweet Swiss hometown Basel plus a couple of recipes for the absolutely most yummy, healthy and easily prepared Brunch ever. Here we go!

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Lately, it was a cold and sunny sunday morning and I was cranky from all the Bachelor-preparation, I decided to go out brunching. That is my solution to everything: treat yourself. Especially when you actually do not have time for stuff like this. Do it all the more!

So, since then I love starting my days off with hanging in bed for ages and then getting up to have an extended (means: till dinnertime) brunch with lots of yummy food, friends, talks and laughter (especially since I gotta wait 6 weeks for my Bachelor-results, how nerve-racking is that?!). This new food-passion was triggered by a pretty little restaurant in one of my favourite Baselean areas (for its ever changing, colorful character): The Kleinbasel around Klybeckstrasse and Feldbergstrasse.

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La fourchette, the fork, it is called and its interior looks like a classy vintage furniture shop. They offer heartwarming dinner and every first sunday of the month there is a huge brunch. And let me tell you one thing: It is worth every cent. After three hours in the warmth of la fourchette and the icy winter winds of Basel hissing outside, I had devoured tons of spinach rolls, croissants, sesame-bread-buns, humus, frittata, cheese, chestnut-cake and chocolate-tart. To sum it up: I felt like a double as heavy , double as lazy and double as satisfied version of myself.

So it was sealed: I needed to become the queen of brunching. And my long way up there is what you get to see now. First of all, there a a couple of things that should not be missing at any good vegetarian brunch:

  1. homemade bread
  2. eggs
  3. fresh fruit
  4. homemade granola
  5. yoghurt
  6. fresh brewed coffee and tea

And that is what I present you with now, in a special and healthy, yet no more complicated version: a homemade flax-seed bread, a slow cooked omelet which needs no supervision, and the perfect homemade granola with an awesome yoghurt-mix. Have a look:

flax-seed braided bread with walnut oil

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ingredients:

  • 500 g spelt flour
  • 2 tablespoons cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil (or any kind of oil you prefer)
  • 1 egg
  • 1,5 cups milk
  • 20 g fresh yeast

preparation:

  • mix flour, salt, sugar and flaxseeds
  • dissolve yeast in milk, add walnut oil
  • mix all ingredients, apart from the egg and knead well
  • cover with a warm and wet towel and let rise for 1,5 hours
  • preheat the oven to 180°C
  • divide dough in three, roll the parts between your hands an braid them
  • put on to a baking sheet and brush egg yolk on it
  • bake until golden-brown, about 30 minutes

slow-cooked omelet with feta, violet carrots and peppermint leaves

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ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 violet carrot
  • 1/4 feta cheese
  • 1 handful of peppermint leaves
  • olive oil

preparation:

  • preheat olive oil in a pan
  • with a potato peeler, peel off thin carrot stripes
  • mit eggs with milk, salt, and pepper
  • roast carrot stripes, then add egg-mix and turn down the heat to medium
  • add crumbled feta on top of the omelet, then put a lid on the pan and wait until egg thickens
  • top with peppermint and fresh carrot tripes and serve with bread and butter

homemade cinnamon granola (on berry-yoghurt with orange-flax-seed-oil)

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ingredients:

  • 500 g oatmeal
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 2 cups popped spelt
  • 1 cup pecan nuts
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup flax seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

yoghurt:

  • 2 cups frozen berries
  • 1 kg greek yoghurt
  • 4 tablespoons orange-flaxseed-oil (or any you like, I got mine at the health store and I love it!)

preparation:

  • preheat oven to 120°C
  • mix all ingredients and stir with your hands
  • spread mixture on 2 baking sheets
  • bake for about 40 minutes or until well-roasted and crunchy
  • for the berry-yoghurt

Now with these three recipes it is nearly impossible to fail any brunch-attempt. Also, they are easy to prepare ahead and allow you to be read for your guests and a cosy day in. Now I wish you an absolutely heartwarming winter-time with all your beloved ones. I myself am getting prepared for a trip to winter wonderland aka Québec next week. I hope to be back with lots of travel-and-food inspiration and chitchat for you guys! See you then!

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Lots of Love, xx Florence

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northern memories, figs and autumn leaves

My dear friends, I am finally back alright – with a bag full of pretty memories and chitchat, my favourite autumn fruit (and a bunch of recipes circling around it), as well as with ultimate advice for the icy land on the 64th parallel.

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I have come home from Iceland three weeks ago already and, honestly, I thought it would be easy to get home. But it wasn’t, really. Basically, my first few days felt like an enormous sensory overload – so many houses, people, and noises. And after two months of counting seeds, cutting soil samples and collecting caterpillars while listening to the whimbrel’s ringing sound I now got my nose deep into linguistic books (time to bring my studies to an end – or, rather, graduation) and drink chai-tea while the trams rattle by.

One of the amazing things about being back – apart from seeing all the lovely people again – is cooking. I literally did not cook anything useful in eight weeks (the credit goes to the canteen on site, which absolutely made me wanna bathe in the classic Icelandic rúgbraud) ! But I did get a lot of fun food inspiration over there, although not everything is worth copying, to be sincere. From dried fish, fermented shark, liquorice-chocolate, flatbread to lamb-paste I tried pretty much everything edible and icelandic there was to try. My personal favourites (also including the food-related ones) are listed in todays special section “massive DOs in Iceland”, right after todays culinary chitchat and recipes.

With that said, let’s turn to my food star guest today: figs.

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During my last two weeks in Iceland, autumn was totally taking over, sending me back home in perfect mood for pumpkins, chestnuts, colourful leaves, spices, and, of course, figs. Let me tell you one thing: never buy figs in the stores, never! They are over-priced and often spoiled. Go take the time, grab your favourite people and do a little trip to a fresh food market nearby. It’s social, it’s fun, and, eventually, it’s also tasty.

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Having done so myself, I came back with fresh spinach, a bunch of organic carrots, flowers, sweet potatoes and Italian figs. I absolutely love their tender sweetness and variety when it comes to using them for cooking. Want proof? I have brought you three different recipes of how to use figs in your own little kitchen – in an incredibly quick and easy, healthy, surprising and tempting way. Let’s go!

#1 Spinach-Salad with figs, roasted nuts, broccoli, avocado, grilled halloumi and orange-mustard-curry dressing

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put together:

  • 4 broccoli florets, blanched
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 4 figs, sliced
  • 100 g halloumi cheese, roasted and finely sliced
  • 2 handful of young spinach
  • 1 handful of roasted walnuts and pumpkin seeds

blend:

  • 1 dl olive oil
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 0.5 dl vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt, pepper

#2 fig-carpaccio with caramelized walnuts, feta cheese, sesame oil and basil

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put together:

  • 6 figs, sliced
  • 1 feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil
  • pepper
  • hashed basil

roast:

  • 1 handful crushed walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

#3 vegan fig-caramel with almonds and cinnamon

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simmer, then blend:

  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 figs, sliced

You can have this nasty beauty on your toast, apple slices, as a cake topping, or just as it is – pure, sweet, perfection.

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But enough food-talk for today! As I did not really know where I would possibly start telling about my stay in Iceland I simply decided to go for a very straight forward version: The ultimate list of massive DOs in Iceland. And by “DO” I mean: really, really, really DO. I thought about including some DON’Ts, too. But then I figured that most of them are just things that you think you have to do when you are in Iceland for the first time, including me. So I guess you will do them anyways. As long as you make sure you have done the DOs, all is good:

The ultimate list of massive DOs in Iceland

#1: Go to Iceland in mid september, instead of June or July. I mean, it’s chilly there, anyways. So why not have included northern lights and amazing autumn landscapes (and a tiny, tiny, tiny little less tourists)? Especially nice in Skaftafell National Park, and around volcano Hekla (Do not go up there, though)!

#2: Buy wool and knit. It’s what me and my lovely companions did on rainy days: Sit in lovely cafés, chat, knit and feel very Icelandic (and have tourists take pictures of us).

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#3: get your holiday-reading right: pack Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir and, of course, Halldór Laxness.

#4: Go to Húsavík – it’s gorgeously cute. Actually, do go appreciate the whole north: Akureyri, Ásbergi, Myvatn. And pass the Westfjords on your way.

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#5: Participate in Réttir. It’s basically gathering all the sheep (they are everywhere!) and assigning them to their farmers. But it’s tough. Also, it is one of the most fun and Icelandic things I have done over there. Make sure you put on orange rain trousers and an Icelandic pullover. It’s THE dresscode.

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#6: Go collect wild thyme, crowberries and blueberries. At dawn.

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#7: Eat Lousiana Chicken Strips at Vegamót. Eat dessert at Grillmarkaðurinn.

#8: Check the aurora forecast. Rent a car. Drive some place where there are no artificial lights (not very hard to find in Iceland, really) and enjoy mother nature’s light show.

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#9: Buy: icelandic tomatoes, smoked haddock, blueberry skyr, flatbread with butter, rúgbraud.

#10: watch the sunset at the harbour of Stykkishólmur. On your way, stop for a hike at Eldborg, a volcanic caldera.

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#11: When in Snæfellsnes, look for Lýsuhóll hot spring and have a bath in hot fir green water. Or else consider these amazing suggestions (by one of my favourite icelandic bloggers): Drive it yourself for Snæfellsnes.

#12: Stay at least two weeks. At least. Believe me, you will need the time. You do not wanna be one of those people who try to drive around the whole island in one week.

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#13: Attend at least one concert. Even if it’s not your music style. I have randomly seen Páll Óskar and it was incredibly fun. Consider the event calendar and go to local events.

#14: Hike along Heimaey’s coastline up on Helgafell or Eldfell and enjoy the amazing view. Be prepared for wind. A hell lot of wind. And book your ferry ride there early!

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#15: Have a picnic in the warm black sand on one of the many amazing beaches of the south. But don’t try have a bath in the sea. It’s one of those things you only do once.

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#16: Make Icelandic friends. Let them show you the best places to eat out and drink. And go horse riding.

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#17: Stay flexible. Believe me, I am the very first to be stressed when I do not have things under control. So I had to learn to let all the amazing stuff I did not have in mind and did not expect happen.

With that incomplete list (I am open to any complements from your side) made of pure love for that quirky country, all that I have left to say for now is: enjoy your autumn, guys, stay curious and be open to all the amazing things life has to offer. I will do my best to be back soon, depending on how much my bachelor-exam readings are about to swallow and digest me.

Much love, Florence

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berries, coffee and the beautiful suðurland

Daginn from the beautiful Suðurland! I finally made it to Iceland. But do not fret, dear reader, there will be food around here, still! Do you remember those days when your Mom would pre-cook food for your dinner or lunch? Yes? That’s basically what I did, only virtually. Apart from that I do of course have some icy updates for you up my sleeve.

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Now, my first couple of days were, well, Icelandic. At. Its. Best. I spent my first day of work weighing caterpillars, counting seeds, painting my own coffee mug and keenly observing nearby volcano Hekla. Hilarious. You know, Icelanders are crazily particular about their coffee. There are about three or four different types of coffee I can get around here and whatever kind of working step you may have completed (be it driving the car or having a walk to another building), it will be rewared with a cup of coffee. So no surpise that everyone working here need their own coffee-mug. My second day was passed all outdoors and guess what: I got a sunburn, digging in the dirt from morning to evening (that might sound like a simplification of what I did but it’s not really).

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At night – daylight hours are still spoiling me and my dear colleagues here – we went out picking berries around the stunning area of Gunnarsholt, revived by the Soil Conservation Service. If you have time, go book a tour there and learn something about the area and big girl Hekla (about to erupt, they say – they have been saying that for a long time, though). Either way, I felt very hunters-gatherers. And seriously: that landscape with its wild thyme, crowberries, bilberry-bushes, limegrass, lupins (invasive plant, though) and the Eyjafjallajökull and all the other trouble-makers in the background is simply breathtaking!

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Talking of berry-picking brings me to your edible treatment today. Before I went, I prepared a neat little entrée (or afternoon-snack, or whatever-kind-of-daytime-treat) for you guys. Having picked the slightly sour and bitter crowberries yesterday, I thought it would probably taste even better with these, however, I used raspberries back then. Here you go:

goat cheese tartelettes with raspberries, onion, basil and balsamic

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INGREDIENTS (10 tartelettes)

  • 300 g spelt flour
  • 150 g butter, cold
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 150 g goat cheese
  • 1 handfull of raspberries
  • 1 onion
  • balsamic
  • 1 handful of basil
  • pepper

PREPARATION

  1. cut cold butter into small pieces, to salt and flour, then rub between your hands until everything’s evenly crumbly
  2. add the egg and merge to a smooth dough
  3. grease muffin tins and form little tartelettes out of the dough with the help of the tins, meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°
  4. bake the dough in the muffin tins until crunchy and golden-brown
  5. cut goat cheese and onion into thin slices
  6. Let the tartelettes cool down, then fill with goat cheese and onion-rings and top with basil, balsamic and raspberries
  7. Enjoy with fresh salad

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Hear from me soon! Bless bless!