Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Swiss Railway Adventure - Photo Diary

I can't believe almost 10 months have passed since my trip to breathtaking Switzerland! Time seems to be passing in an odd way and has little meaning at the moment whilst we're observing the lock down.

I've been having a little sulk about all the travel plans for 2020 that have been put on hold. Thinking of my friends who have had to postpone weddings, those who have been in the final stages of pregnancy in lock down and everything going on in the world now puts things into perspective. This extra time at home has given me food for thought and I've been pondering over the things I'm grateful for and all the wonderful trips I've been lucky enough to go on with my husband have to be at the top of the list.

I'm not going to blabber on too much in this post because I think the photos speak for themselves. Most of these were taken on a broken old iPhone without any skill and Switzerland still looks stunning. I can't quite believe I was really there surrounded by the mighty Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

lauterbrunnen

alpine cow









Jungfrau bahn




cable car

Swiss rosti





lake thun



Stay

We stayed in such a stylish and well appointed apartment during our trip to Switzerland. Maria, our host had decorated the place beautifully and even left us a selection of Swiss treats to enjoy on our first evening. It was the perfect size for me, my husband and dog for our week long stay. You can find the listing here.
The apartment was located a short walk from Wilderswil railway station and we could see the historic Schynige Platte Railway pass us by from the balcony. A railway lovers dream for two railway workers like myself and my husband.
 

Getting around

Train travel is the best way to take in everything that Switzerland has to offer. The sedate pace, the views, the ease and punctuality of Swiss railways all combine to make it the obvious way to explore.

If you’re planning any Swiss travel, particularly if you are planning to travel Switzerland by train, you most likely have come across the Swiss Travel Pass.  The Swiss Travel Pass is an all-inclusive  pass which gives access to the Swiss rail system but also entry to museums and travel on some ferries and cable cars too.

Whilst the price of the pass is expensive, once you add up the price of individual Swiss rail tickets, plus the entry to a few museums you soon make your money back and even start to save. For me the mass meant that you don’t have to worry about making bookings, carrying around multiple train tickets and even being concerned with missing a train - because you can simply catch the next one!


See


I'm sure we only scratched the surface of all the things to do in Jungfrau and the surrounding areas during our trip so I may miss out some 'must see' destinations but here are my holiday highlights:

Jungfraujoch

Jungfraujoch, Europe’s highest railway station was a must see for me. This train ride takes you from Interlaken all the way to 11,000 feet above sea level. You can choose to go via Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald.

A journey to the Jungfraujoch is incredibly popular bit it’s certainly not cheap. When combining some of the best views of the Alps with taking a ride on a modern-day marvel of engineering, this is one train ride worthy of a spot on your bucket list and worth the ticket price.

Route: Lauterbrunnen – Wengen – Kleine Scheidegg– Jungfrau or Interlaken – Zweilütschinen – Grindelwald – Kleine Scheidegg – Jungrfrau.
Duration: Roughly 2 hours one way
Don’t miss: The towns you pass through. They’re so picturesque – so leave time to stop in Wengen or Grindelwald.

Gelmerbahn Funicular

With an incline of 106% this is one of the steepest funiculars in Europe. 

The Gelmerbahn runs daily from 21st May – 25. Oct. It runs roughly every 25 minutes starting at 9.00. The last ride up is 15.48 (16:36 in Jul/Aug) and the last ride down is at 16.00 (16:48 in Jul/Aug).

After a ride with spectacular views you're greeted by Gelmersee, a man-made reservoir with beautifully bluw water. The Gelmer funicular is how the workers got up the mountain to create the reservoir back in the 20's. 

Lake Thun Cruise

Lake Thun is one of most picturesque destinations for a boat cruise that you can experience. I really enjoyed the leisurely trip  from Interlaken to Spiez, taking in the views of the Bernese Oberland on clear blue waters. Spiez Castle is surrounded by vineyards in what is said to be the prettiest bay in Europe.


There are so many more cable cars and trains journeys we took and to be honest, they were all spectacular. You won't be disappointed by any of them. I recommend heading to this site for a full breakdown of all the things to see and do.

Eat

Switzerland can be a tad expensive so we prepared our breakfasts and evening meals at the apartment to both save costs and rest after really long days out exploring. We did treat ourselves to come lovely cakes and coffees whilst out but the standout meal for us was at the Swiss restaurant Weidstübl in Lauterbrunnen. They had a varied choice of traditional dishes like rosti, fondue and sausages and the surroundings were very quaint and cosy. We ate in the outdoor seating area (heated) and our dog Coco was very welcome there.


Until next time, Switzerland!


Gemma
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Thursday, 7 May 2020

Gugelhupf Cake Recipe



Gugelhupf Cake

This is one of my favourite treats and reminds me of my holidays in Zell am See and Innsbruck with my husband. Served both in cafés and Austrian homes, Gugelhupf cake is an absolute classic. There are also sweet raisin-filled yeast bread versions of this cake but the marbled one is equally as delicious.

this is a picture of gugelhupf cake dusted with icing sugar


You will need
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 330g  plain flour
  • 170ml milk
  • 330g icing sugar (plus a little extra to decorate)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp cocoa
Instructions
  • Preheat your oven to 170°C  and coat the bundt cake tin with plenty of melted butter.
  • Whisk the butter with the egg yolk until foamy, add all the icing sugar, and stir until creamy. Add vanilla extract or sugar (sachets of vanilla sugar are very common in Austria and Germany but I've never seen them here)
  • Beat the egg whites until stiff. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Mix half of the flour into the butter mixture and combine. Add the milk, combine, then add remainder of the flour. gently fold in the egg whites.
  • Pour roughly half of this mixture into the cake tin. Add cocoa to the rest and mix. Pour the darker batter on top of the lighter one into the tin.
  • Drag the handle of a wooden spoon or a fork through the batter and wave it around to achieve the marbled look.
  • Bake for 50 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes on a cool rack, then take the cake out of the pan. Dust with icing sugar before serving.



    If you have a go at baking this please tag me in any photos you share, I would love to see.

Gemma
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Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Kimchi fried rice - Kimchi-bokkeumbap 볶음밥


I'm always inspired by my friends Instagram story cook-alongs (I'm looking at you Sophie) but end up eating the same handful of meals on repeat.  I've got a lot more time to cook now that I'm currently working from home and cutting out my daily commute so no excuse not to try some more adventurous dishes.

I've attempted to cook kimchi fried rice for friends a few times but the recipe I'm sharing here is my favourite version. Kimchi fried rice (Bokkeumbap) is a popular Korean fried rice dish that is a great way to use leftovers and provides a super quick and comforting meal. This Korean recipe takes only 20 mins to make from prep to dinner table, ideal for a midweek treat. 

This dish is easy to customise and I've made it with less chilli flakes for friends who don't like things as hot as I do. You can also swap out the pork for tofu, spam or bacon and drop the egg and swap the kimchi for a vegan variety.


Serves: 2
Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins 

You will need:
  • 115 grams kimchi, chopped (I used this one)
  • 3 tablespoons of kimchi juice 
  • 2 teaspoons gochugaru (chilli flakes)
  • 1 teaspoon gochujang 
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce 
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil 
  • 2 servings cooked rice (day old is best) 
  • 115 grams pork belly 
  • 2 Spring onions (finely chopped) 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped  
Directions
  • Cook chopped pork belly in frying pan until slightly browned  
  • Add half of the spring onion and all of the kimchi and cook on high heat 
  • Mix the kimchi juice, garlic, gochujang, gochugaru, sesame oil and soy sauce together  
  • Add the rice and mixed ingredients to the pan and reduce heat to medium
  • Stir until everything is well incorporated and the clumps of rice are broken up, cook for 3 to 4 minutes. 
  • Top with a lovely, runny fried egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds and remaining onions to serve.

    I've also made a recipe card for those who like to print and save these kinds of things 😊
This is a photo of kimcho fried rice with an egg on top

Gemma
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