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).

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.

IMG_5315-1

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

Favourite Holiday Food

I’m feeling a little flat (not to mention a similar-sounding word that’s shorter by one letter) after the holidays, but it was brilliant fun and I’m consoling myself with the memory of it all, from the planning (love figuring out what we’re going to eat) right through to the feasting.

IMG_8728Best/favourite foods of the holidays? First off: a Pata Negra ham procured by our kids who live in Spain and sent on in advance of their arrival by courier – we all got better at carving it in thin slices as the holidays wore on and the almost-last flakes provided a wonderful tapa at yesterday’s post-walk New Year’s Day lunch in Alsace (on the terrace in bright sunshine and 18 degrees, no kidding). Continue reading

Keep Calm…Carry on Cooking!

choucroute & smoked salmon-001The menu at my last workshop of the season (Keep Calm…Carry on Cooking) took us around the world, starting in Alsace with little charlottes of fresh choucroute with smoked salmon turned out over a lamb’s lettuce salad and surrounded with avocado segments. Next we headed for Morocco with some cigar-sized crispy brik pastry parcels filled with duck and citron confit with a harissa-spicy dipping sauce – great finger food for parties or just while you’re waiting for the main event. We also did a Spanish soup of fennel and veg. with mussels and saffron, while the main course was full-on Mexican – Aztec pie with layers of tortillas, cooked turkey (great home for leftovers), tomato sauce, peppers and chiles poblanos, and sweetcorn. kohlrabi + apple-001A salad of kohlrabi with shaved apples and a lime dressing made a good, sharp, crunchy counterpoint and we finished in Italy with a limoncello tiramisu – just had to try that one out after tasting one down on the Amalfi Coast in October.

The tips and tricks to take the pressure off harried holiday cooks were fun too, and formed the backbone of my once-monthly foodie chat on last Tuesday’s English Show on Radio X Basel (94.5FM in the Basel region, podcast here). Here’s a selection of ideas that should help anyone here in the Dreiländereck (and further afield) with their holiday planning. Continue reading

Why don’t more French restaurants do wines by the glass?

IMG_6732-1Considering France’s reputation where wine is concerned, it’s always puzzled me that their restaurants are so stuck in the Dark Ages when it comes to offering decent drops by the glass. Feel feel to disagree (better still, give me lots of addresses to prove me wrong) but my impression is that eateries in almost any other country do a better job. Of the ones I’ve eaten out in of late, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, the UK and Australia get lots of brownie points. In some countries they simply bring you the bottle, invite you to drink what you like from it and charge you according to consumption (or stick the cork back into it for you to take home). Spain is admirable at this, plus their wine markups are exemplary in their modesty. Continue reading

Comfort Food at the Christmas Markets

Christmas market on Barfüsserplatz, copyright Basel Tourismus

Christmas market on Barfüsserplatz, copyright Basel Tourismus

If you’re feeling oppressed by tat and tinsel, bothered by obese Santas and fed up with canned Christmas carols, it could be time for a visit to the cross-border triangle formed by Alsace, Basel and the Black Forest. Wooden booths like tiny chalets settle down around cathedrals and town halls, offering goods that privilege the hand-crafted, classy and rare over the cheap, cheerless and Made in China. Better still, Christmas markets over here are not just a buying frenzy, they’re a social occasion, a chance to meet up with old friends – a sort of northerly, wintery version of the Latin summer evening paseo. Feet are stamped, frozen fingers are wrapped round cups of mulled wine, stupendously calorific comfort food with local accents is offered on every corner. For complete perfection, snowflakes drift gently down and muffle the voices and footsteps of the shuffling crowds. Continue reading