Moving to a new country is always a challenge, but going from Switzerland to the US adds the additional complexity that everything runs on a different voltage. So while computers and chargers can generally cope, things like kettles and hairdryers have no chance. My beloved British-made Dualit toaster sadly falls into the latter class.
Rather than spend $259 for a new toaster, I figured there must be a way to convert it to work okay over here, but couldn’t find any definitive evidence. I took a crazy risk on a £39.99 set of replacement elements for a 110V Dualit on ebay which arrived in a couple of days and turned out to be perfect.
All you need to do is unscrew the bottom and switch out the elements. It’s a little fiddly, but this guide will help if you’re scared. Swap out the plug and 20 minutes later you can enjoy your first slices of warm toast. Apparently it sells pretty well over here.
On a Sunday afternoon there’s little better than a warm crumpet, but since I’ve been in living in Switzerland it’s become a little trickier to get hold of them. Then it occurred to me that crumpets probably don’t have to come from a packet.
Delia provided me with a good starting point for the recipe, though I’ll point out a few changes.
First, make sure to grease the cooking rings properly well, otherwise you end up with a sticky mess. Then keep the heat fairly low – ’5′ out of a possible 9 on my stove did the trick – and spoon in as much batter as you need to fill the ring about 15mm high. The recommended single tablespoon was definitely not enough.
Let them cook for a bit and watch out for burning the bottoms, then smother in butter and enjoy with a cup of tea. Splendid!
Since I’ve had a kitchen in my student accommodation, I’ve ‘cooked’ a meal most days, but often this doesn’t stretch far beyond a cheese toastie or frozen pizza.
Now I’ve nothing to do but revise, I thought I may as well cook myself some decent food. To keep me entertained and to somewhat decrease my intake of crap. The lack of utensils/pans/spices/oils makes everything that bit harder than at home, but I guess I’ll have to cope one day.
Some experiments the last couple of nights:
Tomato and Feta Pastry Tart
Time to prepare: 5 mins
Pre-rolled puff pastry
Cooking time: 15 mins
After remembering to defrost the pastry (the main downside to this meal), spread the pesto, chop and place some tomatoes and crumble some feta. Cook in oven on a normal heat. Remove and serve with ripped basil on top.
Really simple, and tastes pretty good.
Slightly more ambitious this time, I tried a proper recipe as opposed to a pile-stuff-on-pastry method.
Caponata by Yotam Ottolenghi
Took the best part of an hour, but turned out reasonably well and proved a nice meal served with warm ciabatta.
Next time, maybe I’ll see if I can branch away from Italian cooking. I’ll find it difficult, believe me. Any suggestions are welcome.