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January 29, 2013 / thevazfamily

Bündner Gerstensuppe



Hello there – I am back – sorry for being missing in action for so long!

Anyway – its cold her and we needed some warming up so I made some Bündner Gerstensuppe – its very traditional in the mountains when we are skiing – and being Scottish I grew up with scotch broth so it reminds me of it (must be the barley!)

Here is how I made mine :-

A tablespoon of butter

1 onion – chopped (roughly – I like this soup to be a bit “chunky”)

1 large leek – chopped

3 carrots – chopped

150 – 200 grams of smoked bacon / lardons – chopped

2 pints of chicken stock

250g pearl barley

2 or 3 potatoes – chopped (skin on or off depending on what you like)

half a small green cabbage – chopped

cream (optional)

salt & pepper

Parsley to garnish

Chop and cook the bacon for a few minutes then add your vegetables, when they have been cooking for a few minutes and beginning to soften add the stock, pearl barley, potatoes & cabbage.  Cook until the pearl barley is soft (around 45 minutes).   Season to taste, add cream if you want to, serve & garnish with parsley.   Enjoy xx

November 20, 2012 / thevazfamily

Sorry I’ve been missing

Hi everyone

Sorry I have been missing for so long – I have been setting up a business in Switzerland ( and generally caught up in family life – promise I will get back into this and post something this week!!  


September 25, 2012 / thevazfamily

Courgette & Spinach Lasagne

OK – I know it doesn’t sound that great but my son refuses to eat courgette (zucchini for the Americans reading – hello Carla!) and he loves this.   Plus thought we should have something healthy after the weekend!  Not that I had too much to drink or anything… of course not……


You can be a bit flexible with the ingredients – I used :

1 clove garlic – finely chopped

1 onion – chopped

spoonful of oil

3 courgettes – chopped

200g frozen spinach

100g cream cheese with garlic and herbs (you can also use mascarpone, cream, normal cream cheese – if you have them in the fridge use them rather than buying more ingredients)

1/4 of a nutmeg – grated

1 tin chopped tomatoes

lasagne sheets

small carton cream

small piece of cheese

To start soften the garlic and onion in the oil – then add the courgette and fry until soft but not browned.     Add the frozen spinach (you could add fresh but I always have frozen in so I use it) – stir until melted then add the cream cheese & nutmeg and mix well – if the mixture is too dry – add some cream / more cheese / milk until it  will drop off the spoon easily but not as runny as soup (does that make sense??  it does to me but I have made this loads of times).  Season to taste.

When that is done – layer it up with the lasagne sheets in an ovenproof dish – I think I used 3 layers of sheets with the top layer being the lasagne sheets    (you can if you want swap the lasagne for other pasta / gnocchi etc – just mix it well and put in your ovenproof dish)

Next – open the tin of tomatoes and put this over the top of your layers – drizzle over the cream and add the cheese (chopped or grated depending on how much washing up you want to do!   Guess which option I went for??)

It honestly doesn’t look too appetising at this point but don’t worry – put it in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes at 200c until the top is nice and brown

Ta da!  Looks much better!   Now just cut and serve – with garlic bread and some salad if you have them – and of course a glass of wine 🙂


September 23, 2012 / thevazfamily

Lavender Sugar Scrub


A quick post today – with an activity to keep the kids amused for a bit – Lavender Sugar Scrub

First you need an empty jar, some lavender flowers, sugar and some lavender essential oil if you have it (if you don’t – just leave it out)ImageAdd these to the jar and give it a bit of a mix – then fill up with washing up liquid – I used one with balsam so its kinder to your hands.Image  Mix well – you might had to add a bit more sugar & washing up liquid to fill up the jar.  Then the kids can make labels to give these as gifts – or you can leave it beside the sink to clean your hands when you have been gardening or the kids have been painting.  If you wanted to used this as a sugar scrub in the shower you could replace the washing up liquid with shower gel.

September 22, 2012 / thevazfamily

Happy Birthday Sue & Joanna


I have been a bit busy and not able to post – plus I have put the charger for my camera “somewhere safe” and can’t find it – so all photos are with my son’s camera which has been another major reason for not posting!

Anyway – today I have been busy baking a cake for my friends Sue & Joanna – they are having a birthday party tonight – so looking forward to it!  Thought I should post this today as I shall probably be hungover tomorrow!!

The cake is a chocolate sponge – this is the recipe I used – though I had to double it up for this cake

150g butter

175g caster sugar

2 eggs beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

215g self raising flour

60g unsweetened cocoa powder

185ml milk

You mix together the butter & sugar, when this is well mixed add the eggs on at a time with a small spoon of flour – when they are all added then alternate some of the flour then milk until everything is combined.  Put in your greased cake tin (I used 2 25cm tins) and bake for 45mins at 180c.

To decorate I used a chocolate buttercream – mix together butter, cocoa & icing sugar until it tastes the way you like it (I don’t like mine too sweet).   I crumb coated the cake (put the top cake on upside down to give you a flat surface on top!) – this is putting a think layer of icing on the cake and then refrigerating until it is cool – you then can add the second layer without getting crumbs coming through the icing.  The photo of Sue & Joanna I ordered online (search for edible cake toppers if you would like something like this for your cake).

Anyway – I hope the cake goes down well – though by the time it gets cut I think we will all have had a few glasses of wine and won’t care 🙂

Bye for now!

S x

September 14, 2012 / thevazfamily

Apple Cake

Hello Again!
Ok this post was meant to be crispy duck – I made it the other day and annoyed my family by taking loads of pictures while they were waiting to tuck in – however I had forgotten to put the memory card in my son’s camera (mine has run out of charge!) so I will have to try again…. Had nothing to do with having a glass or 2 of wine while waiting on the duck to cook of course…..
So today is Apple Cake – its getting colder here so this makes me think of autumn.

Here are the ingredients

275g plain flour

5g bicarbonate of soda

a pinch of salt

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

200g sugar

2 eggs

125m vegetable oil

500g of peeled and chopped apples.

To start whisk the eggs and oil together then add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Then add the apples and mix together – don’t panic – it will look like there isn’t enough batter – but the apples will cook down and add the extra moisture

I used a large loaf tin but you can use 2 small ones or a round cake tin if you prefer – just remember to adjust the cooking times down.  Cook the cake at 180C for an hour – check it is ready insert a knife and pull out to see if the mixture sticks to it.  If it doesn’t then it should be ready.    I throw a quick sprinkling of sugar over the cake now but you don’t need to.   And that is that – slice and eat!

September 11, 2012 / thevazfamily

Pickled Chillies

Hello – here goes – my first blog post – not that anyone is reading but, you know, these things can be scary!

So, I am on the look out for things to do to make my life easier and thought I would post this super easy way to pickle fresh chillies – they then can keep for a year rather than having to buy them all the time.  We use so much of these in our house that I now have to go to the cash and carry to stock up – plus they make nice gifts with a bottle of wine when visiting people – just don’t tell them how easy they are to make!

You start off with your chillies – I love red ones and try not to get the small ones as I don’t want them to be too spicy.

You then slice them up finely – I have used the food processor before but by the time I get it set up and everything chopped it just seems like a lot of effort – I use a knife – its quite relaxing just chopping them up – just remember to wash your fingers afterwards!!     I used a half litre jar – for this I needed 12 large chillies.

You put the sliced chillies into a jar (any sterilized jar will do – I put mine in the dishwasher and use them from there – I used matching ones so I could take photos but normally I use old jam jars etc).  Once the jar is full you add a heaped tablespoon of sea salt and one of sugar.

That done you fill up with vinegar – I used apple vinegar but you can use others if you prefer (or have them in the cupboard – its about making life easier not giving you loads of things to buy).    Close the lid and shake to mix everything up.  Once you have done this they are ready in 24 hours and should in theory keep for a year – though that that would be impossible in our house – all of these  will be gone soon …

September 10, 2012 / thevazfamily


OK – about me – I am a Scottish lass, married to an English man and we live in Switzerland.  I have 2 beautiful children and while I would like to think I am Martha Stewart sadly even I can’t pretend to believe this.  I am trying to make the best of things and make our life as good as can be.  I used to work and have a life before children – now I am trying to create one that allows family life as well as something that gets my brain working (if I still have one!!)   If all else fails a glass or two of wine with friends makes it all worthwhile.

September 10, 2012 / thevazfamily

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