About Sue Style

Originally from Yorkshire I've lived and worked in Spain, France, Mexico and Switzerland, now based in southern Alsace. Author of 9 books, the latest about Switzerland's finest farmhouse cheeses. I freelance for anyone who'll buy my stuff (FT Weekend, Decanter, France Mag, Culture Cheese Mag et al) plus I give cooking workshops and lead bespoke vineyard tours in Alsace and Baden (just across the Rhine).

Basel’s Ethnic Food Scene

guacamole by Sue StyleWho’d have thunk it? A few years ago — okay, a bit more than a few — when I first came to Basel, foods common in other European countries, none of them particularly challenging (lamb, seafood), were hard to find. The only fish routinely available was farmed trout or Eglifilets/filets de perches. As for anything vaguely ethnic, forget it. Continue reading

Carnival is in the Air

1-1-IMG_8902You can tell Carnival’s in the air when those gorgeous sugar-dusted, deep-fried wonders called Fasnachtskiechle or merveilles de Carnaval start appearing in Swiss shops. At yesterday’s workshop we staged a raid on the pantry/freezer and came up with this super-speedy, super-simple torte for dessert: lay one of these fragile, sugar-dusted wonders in the bottom of a springform tin, arrange scoops of coffee ice cream on top,  slather with whipped cream into which you’ve crumbled some biscuits (Amaretti, Brunsli or more Kiechle crumbs) and top with a second Fasnachtskiechle…da da. A drizzle of dark choccy sauce doesn’t go amiss either. Brilliant for when you get guests at short notice, and it keeps beautifully in the freezer. Continue reading

Take a Winter Dip…into a Swiss Cheese Fondue

SCM photoFood writer and columnist Hattie Ellis (who btw also wrote a delicious book on honey) recently came to a presentation I did on Swiss cheese, together with Rachael Sills of KaseSwiss and Joelle Nebbe-Mornod of Alpine Wines. Now she’s written a lovely piece (The Field, Hattie Ellis) in this month’s issue of The Field all about the wonders of Swiss cheese and how these beauties are increasingly available outside Switzerland.

In London KaseSwiss on Druid Street or La Fromagerie on Moxon Street are great for Swiss cheese, while Whole Foods on Kensington High Street also has a terrific selection. In NYC Murrays and Artisanal have all you need and in Boston (and other cities) Formaggio Kitchen has a good range, while way down in sunny Florida, Caroline Hostettler at Quality Cheese is unbeatable. Loads more stockists are listed in the back of my cheese book.

It reminded me that now’s the time for fondue, if ever there was one (rain sluicing down over the UK, snow over the eastern US…) Continue reading

Thighs versus Breasts

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Guinea fowl thigh with sweet & purple potatoes and courgettes

I don’t know about you, but for myself, I’m a thighs girl. Thighs are meaty and moist. Breasts are lean and dry. At least as far as my fave poultry birds (viz chicken, duck and guinea fowl) are concerned.  And it’s not just the succulent-ness of thighs, it’s their alluring price. Continue reading

Spring and Summer Workshops

After a break for the holidays, my workshops will soon be starting up again. Here’s the proposed schedule for the next months:

1-IMG_8860Raid the Pantry – Thursday 20th  February, 09:30 – 13:30

Ever wondered if you could live for a month (or three) on the contents of your store cupboard/fridge/freezer? We’ll stage a raid on the pantry and transform a selection of staples into simple suppers as well as dinner party specials

mktpadua2Spring Farmer’s Market – Thursday 20th March , 09:30 – 13:30

Spring brings an appetite for fresh, bright, vegetable-rich food. This workshop will sparkle with colours and flavours fresh from the farmer’s market: starters, side dishes, main courses and flatbreads. [Includes an optional visit to my favourite Lörrach Saturday morning market to see, select and buy seasonal produce]  

Easter Lamb Workshop – Thursday 10th April, 09:30-13:30

lamb rack2For our Easter workshop – a special request/suggestion from one of my regulars (thanks Florence!), not advertised in the ECP program – we’ll be focusing on lamb prepared 3-4 different ways, with spring vegetables to complement and a dessert in which chocolate will certainly play a significant part.

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Modern French Bistro, Thursday 8th May, 09:30 – 13:30

Are you hankering after the kind of bistro food that’s always used to be a cornerstone of French cuisine but which seems to have gone AWOL? We’ll revisit and update some fast French bistro favourites: warm salads, fish, steak/duck breast, gratins and classic French desserts.

 

chiles rellenosA Spicy Summer Feast, Thursday 5th June, 09:30 – 13:30

When summer comes, the living – not to mention cooking and eating – should be easy. This workshop will feature a selection of simple, lightly spicy summer specialities with distinct Mexican and Asian accents.

 

All workshops cost CHF110 or €90, which covers your printed recipe booklet and a full lunch menu with wines to match our chosen food.

Looking forward to seeing lots of you again for some fun mornings together!

There’s Life Beyond Skiing in the Valais

Chamoson-001If your thrills when holidaying in Switzerland’s southernmost region have so far been limited to black runs down to Verbier or Zermatt, and the only Valaisan wine to have passed your lips is a jug of après-ski Fendant (shame on you), it’s time to get ready for a different kind of white-knuckle ride. Continue reading

Smoked Salmon & Fennel Quiche

IMG_8798-001Quiche is my go-to supper dish, after I’ve staged a lightning raid on the fridge/freezer/store cupboard. Here’s one that provided a refuge for the last bits of our Christmas smoked salmon and a couple of lonely fennel bulbs lurking in the veggie drawer. Most people think cheese is obligatory in quiche; it isn’t (even in quiche Lorraine). Here it would definitely be de trop. Continue reading

Favourite Holiday Wines (red)

IMG_8784Over the hols we scored some cracking sparklers and whites but there was no shortage of toothsome reds either. It’s been an unusually (for us) carnivorous few days, so meaty reds were required. Direct democracy ruled when it came to choosing the Christmas menu and the popular vote went to a rib of roast beef with potatoes done in duck fat and a gorgeous mix of butternut and red onions with tahini.  Continue reading

Favourite Holiday Wines (sparklers and still whites)

Before slinking off to the bottle bank with the evidence of our Christmas excesses, I had fun fishing bottles out of the wheelie bin, reliving the memories of the ones we especially relished and which we’ll buy again if the opportunity arises – and making a a mental note of which ones not to bother with in the future. Here’s my roundup of sparklers and still whites. Reds will follow.

IMG_8782This being Christmas, there was a fair bit of bubbly around. Chez nous this is rarely Champagne – we work on the principle that a decent, well-made sparkler is always preferable to a run-of-the-mill, non-vintage Champagne and we love hunting down interesting bottles from the regions on our doorstep (Alsace and Baden/Germany) as well as from our other favourite stamping ground, Catalunya. Continue reading

A New Year’s Eve Feast à deux

seared foie gras on a pillow of parsnipsI love New Year’s Eve, on condition that I don’t have to go anywhere or celebrate with anyone except my significant other, and provided we can be in bed by latest 10.30 p.m. It’s the perfect pretext for a very private feast for two. This year ours consisted of seared slices of duck foie perched on a pillow of pureed parsnips with slivers of crisp-fried parsnips and a little Balsamic vinegar drizzled round about (gotta have drizzle). Continue reading