Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Quick Apple Pie

Yesterday I suddenly noticed that I hadn't baked anything for a while, so I whipped up a quick apple pie (Old Europe style, not the pastry atrocity that the anglophone world likes so much).


120 g butter
100 g sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar
a shot of rum
 3 eggs

200 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk

6 apples, peeled and halved
sesame or almond-splitters

Preheat your oven to 170 centigrade.
Put the butter into a bowl, whip it for a minute or two with your hand-mixer. Then add the sugar, and continue whipping until it the mixture gets creamy. Add the vanilla sugar and the shot of rum.
Add the eggs one by one, whipping for a minute or so before adding the next one.
Mix  the flour and the baking powder, and add it together with the milk to the dough. The resulting mixture should be a very viscous fluid.

Grease up a spring form, and pour the dough in. Place the  halved apples on to, and score their tops with a knife. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sesame (or almonds), and place it in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes - check if it's done by poking it with a chop-stick; if no dough sticks to it it's ready!

Apple pie, right before it's untimely demise, devoured by a horde of hungry physicists

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


It is nearly inconceivable that I, as an Austrian who likes to cook, would not have made Schweinsbraten, i.e. pork roast before, that mainstay of Austrian cuisine (I think we stole it from the Czech, actually). But I mostly cook foreign food, mainly out of curiosity. Also, a long relationship with a vegetarian has atrophied my dead-animal cooking skills.

But! Last Saturday I stumbled over a piece of pork on sale, and pounced on it. And then I made the simplest roast of them all: Schweinsbraten am Salzbeet, or pork roast on salt.

Rub your roast with stuff (I used a mixture of thyme, rosemary, mustard, pepper and salt, with a dash of olive oil), and put it on half a kilogram of salt. If your roast weighs in at more than a kilogram, you might have to double the salt.

Mustard rub on pork. Or vomit on innocent dead piggy, if you are vegetarian

Close-up of pig-carcass on salt bed.
Note the baking paper beneath - it will make clean-up considerably easier

Put it in the oven at 200 degrees centigrade, wait one hour per kilogram. No turning, no basting - just leave the poor thing alone. After an hour: deliciousness! I ate it with some home-made bread and some cooked leek and fennel, and it was good.

It's already dead, might as well eat it

So why the salt? I can only speculate here, but I am guessing that the salt serves two functions: it drains fluids away from the cooking meat, (so no gravy for this roast, which is a drawback), and conducts heat much better than air. Anyway, the main thing is it makes for an excellent roast. Njam!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


A month ago I had my thirtieth birthday. I was all prepared to gnaw on a celebratory piece of shortbread to solemnise this occasion, when suddenly a horde of my friend showed up and drank all my beer:

They had come from Vienna, which is about a thousand kilometres eastwards from Lausanne, to throw me a surprise-birthday party (and R nine months pregnant, too!), which is just slightly beyond awesome. As retribution I will splash their likeness all over the internet, because that's just the kind of friend I am.

We had a full program over the weekend: The cathedral

which we left only slightly damaged behind

The chateau Chillion (which I have now seen trice - it is pretty, though)

and some bowling; here my friend Chruss demonstrates the perfect form for middle-aged males like us.

Last but not least we had some beer (the general opinion of the local  beers was devastating I am afraid. In the end, the tasteless aggression could not stand, and we had to drink them all),

saw the fattest dog of Lausanne

and had a good time here at the shores of Lac Léman. Thanks for coming (Boris' liver: and also for leaving again)!

P.s. (for the shmall one): Twix heisst jetzt Raider!