Tuesday, 23 July 2013

WordPress Daily Prompt: You, the Sandwich

If a restaurant were to name something after you, what would it be? Describe it. (Bonus points if you give us a recipe!)

Photographers, artists, poets: show us DINNER.

Cooking Rösti, Calf Sausages and Chicory
Angloswiss Rosti, Swiss Calf sausage and Chicory

Some people eat to live, others live to eat. There is also the third category that even enjoy creating and cooking. I am a bit of everything, although as a golden oldie I am more the eat to live person. In later years everything you eat tends to go southwards on the body and buying new larger clothes every year can become expensive; even my feet have grown. Certain surprising health problems can arrive with age, and even sweet and sugary does not like me today.

As far as food and cooking is concerned, I grew up surrounded by a family that was convinced if I ate my crusts on the bread, I would grow healthy. Crusts on pre-cut English bread packed in plastic were almost as soft and putty-similar as the bread itself, so I am still wondering what the secret of eating crusts would be. I was also repeatedly told to eat the fat, the best part of the meat. It gives you curly hair. Is that why I have such straight hair? There was definitely some hidden meaning in this. Of course, vegetable was also part of the diet. It was green, cooked in water and drained onto the plate. “Does you good” were the words I constantly heard, although I am still wondering what the good part was. When you drain off the water, the little vitamin content left was thrown away. When I reflect on the cooking skills of my family and the logic, I am still surprised that I survived with my vitamin-packed, good-for-you food that I did not like.

Mum always told me “I pity your old man” (cockney) “he will have to live on fish fingers”. Strangely enough “my old man” even eats fish fingers, which I might fry in a blue moon, but otherwise, up to now he seems to thrive on what arrives on the table. My children have also survived and never say no to a Sunday lunch invitation at hotel mama. I would also mention that my youngest son has become quite a good cook and has been known to invite friends for a meal.

To return to my five-star menu. I have many and decided to choose something Swiss with a touch of Anglo (Anglo is the butter part). You would think after the beginnings of my eating/cooking life, I would make a trip to Macdonalds or phone Pizza Luigi for food, but no. I do not like ready cooked meals or pre-frozen meat dishes, where the origins of the meat and part of the animal are doubtful. I now have time, being retired and a golden oldie, and can do it all myself. So let us begin.

Rosti (we Swiss say Röschti) is a Swiss invention. Swiss farmer’s wives would cook large amounts of potato the day before (the potato is then more suitable for a genuine Swiss Röschti) and in the morning would arise with the sun (or cows) to prepare breakfast for their William Tell look-alike husbands. The pre-cooked potato would be grated and fried in pig fat in a large heavy iron pan. After some time on one side, it would be turned and fried on the other side, both sides forming a wonderful brown surface. I have often wondered how Swiss-farmer-wife managed this without a Teflon coating. This must have been the reason why William Tell won the battle against Gessler - he did it all with Rosti.

My version is a little different. I do not cook the potato on the day before, but peel the raw potatoes, grate them raw and fry them in a Teflon coated pan in butter with a sprinkling of salt. Yes, I am a butter cook – no pig fat or otherwise in my kitchen: perhaps a reason why my dimensions have spread over the years. No sticky lumps left behind and it does the job just as well. Mrs. Angloswiss may also fry some finely chopped bacon cubes with the potato (this is then known as a Berner Röschti – Bern type rosti). When one side of the rosti has developed its even crust I put a large plate on the uncrusted side, lift the pan and turn it, sliding the rosti back into the Teflon coated pan to form a crust on the other side (see photo of finished rosti).

What to eat with this wonderful-hit-suspected Angloswiss 5-star rosti, Swiss veal sausages of course. Now I must admit, I had to get used to these sausages. In England we had smaller sausages and the meat mixture was different (Mr. Swiss still refers to them as sawdust sausages). Swiss veal sausages are king-sized, containing a compact pale meat, but with time I acquired the taste. Of course they vary. I buy mine in the local supermarket where there are different types. The one to buy, if you really want the best, is the St. Gall calf sausage. I do not know why, but they have an agricultural show in St. Gall every year, showing their wonderful cows and selling this type of sausage. OK, frying a sausage is no rocket science. Again I fry mine in butter. What would a calf sausage be without a large portion of onion fried with it – again see photo.

Now we have some vegetable. I cook the season vegetable. In this case it was the chicory season, you know that pointy white veg that most only eat raw, but you can also cook it. I cut them lengthwise in a half and fry them in butter again, cooking time about 15 minutes, according to how you like them: with a little bit of salt and pepper for flavour.

I am not the best cook in town, but I like to try something new. I remember when Mr. Swiss once said his mother used to cook brain. I even tried that. Not too bad at all, fried in butter on both sides. It did not seem to increase our intelligence.

It seems I will get bonus points for a recipe, so I expect to be awarded with at least 20 points in the new edition of Gault Milllau (that will look good on the wall next to my certificate for the Pulitzer literature prize).

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  1. I would certainly enjoy this meal!! Well, not the chicory, which I dislike intensely, but the rosti and the calf-sausage most definately!!

    1. But you have never tasted my chicory (cooked in butter of course). By the way there is a gmail waiting for you from me.

    2. Thanks, I've just replied :-))