Tuesday 13 September 2011

In Switzerland (2) - Arancini, Cafés and Culture

After the excitement of Alessio`s birthday things calmed down a bit.  Partly due to Kathleen not feeling too well.  So I decided to use my time to make some Arancini.  These are delicious Sicilian delicacies which look a bit like oranges, hence the name.  I have tried them once before in an Italian restaurant in St Andrews, but, in honour of Alessio`s Italian heritage, I wanted to try and make the real thing myself.

Preparing the arancini is a bit like slow cooking and comes in stages.  First you make the outside - a mixture of rice, saffron, eggs and cheese.  Then the filling, which traditionally is a meat sauce (ragu) with peas.  Once this has been done you flatten the rice paste and leave everything to cool.  When ready to restart you put the whole show together.  A bit of rice paste, enough to fill the palm of your hand, fill it with the ragu and a bit of cheese, then cover with more rice paste.  Gently massage the mixture into the shape of an orange and leave to set for a bit.  This is what they looked like at this stage.
The final preparation is to dip the arancini, one by one, into beaten egg and then cover with breadcrumbs.  The arancini are now ready for the final cooking - deep frying in hot oil.  Making arancini is not an easy undertaking, in fact it is a rather complicated and time consuming venture.  However it is worth the effort.  Everyone enjoyed them and even Alessio managed to eat his.  Here are a couple of the cooked arancini, ready to eat.
If you fancy trying them out yourself, then here is a very good recipe with accompanying video.  It`s in Italian, but if you scroll down you get photos and instructions for each stage.  Bon Appetit!

By Thursday Kathleen was much better so we spent the day in Zürich.  For breakfast we went to Café Sprüngli on Bahnhofstrasse.  This is a charming café with a 19th century Viennese feel about it.  Everything is high class including the prices - but, hey, we`re worth it.  This is me below, about to indulge in my café crème and croissant.
The highlight of the day was a visit to the Design Museum or Museum für Gestaltung as it is known locally.  This is a pretty non-descript building, but does house some great exhibitions and there are three on display at present.  The main exhibition is High Rise - Idea and Reality.  This is a collection of photos with some mock-ups of some of the most influential and famous high rise buildings in the world.  The main focus is on New York, London, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Zürich.  Some of the photos are incredible and some of the most fascinating are those that show what it is like to live in one of these buildings.  Very impressive.  For a slide show of some of the photos visit the museum`s website here.

The other main exhibition features the work of Swiss artist François Berthoud, who is apparently one of the outstanding fashion illustrators of the present day.  The examples of his work on display are wonderful and the overall tone is light, playful and sexy.  Below is the poster for the exhibition and some of the works on show.

After this brief interlude of culture we popped into another of our favourite cafés, this time the Caffeteria am Limmatplatz.  Here is Kathleen relaxing after a hectic day.

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