Well, that was the end of 2017

So that was the end of 2017. This morning I drove the kids back to my ex in Bellegarde so now I have a lonely week ahead of me before CERN opens up again.

New Years Eve DinnerAnyway yesterday me and the kids celebrated New Years Eve with the usual fois gras canapés, new years dinner, fireworks, watching Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde. Oh and of course watching Dinner for One.

I was not too  unhappy with the new years dinner. I made an entrée of scallops on a bed of salad with a pesto sauce and . . . Burgundy snails. Okay now you probably think I have gone bananas but there is actually an explanation. The two young ones are not at all fond of scallops so they got a plate of Burgundy snails, which they do like, and just a few scallops to taste.

New Years Eve DinnerThe entrée was followed by a lamb rack encrusted with a garlic, rosemary and dried tomatoes and accompanied by country potatoes and haricot verts. Not bad at all.

Well I guess now we have to see what 2018 holds in store. It is not exactly going to take that much to make it a better one than 2017.

Spending the time between Christmas and New Years Eve eating…anything but Christmas food.

As usual when Christmas is over everyone wanted to eat anything but Christmas food. It is also days when we mostly sit down and relax. With CERN being closed for two weeks from the 23rd and the kids having school holidays we can do pretty much what we want.

Well, actually I’m not so sure about the sit down and relax bit though. I feel the holiday days go by faster than working days actually.

The day after Christmas day I had booked tickets in Balexert to watch The Last Jedi in their IMAX salon. With a bit of a sleep in, an early lunch, getting there, watching a two and a half hour movie and a huge mess in the parking garage making us spend almost an hour to get out again the day was pretty much gone when we got back.

At Leon de BruxellesThe day after was fairly calm. We went to Leon de Bruxelles to have some french fries and mussels although I had to do some shopping as well.

Yesterday me, Jonathan and Cassandra went to Ornex to buy the fireworks for New Years Eve. Another one of our small traditions. Cassandra did not really care but she wanted to go to the pet shop in Jardiland (despite the fact that she’s been told that we are not buying any more pets right now).

At Au Carnivore in Geneva with the kidsToday I had booked a table at Au Carnivore in the old town of Geneva were we had a excellent lunch. The name of the restaurant is well chosen so it was of course a nice vegan-free lunch. Then we strolled over to the big butcher at the main shopping street and got us some lamb rack and fois gras for New Years Eve (now I have to think about a recipe too).

The afternoon was comparatively calm. Me and JJ had to go and do some quick shopping but we (especially I) finally got to sit down later when we all played some cards. I really liked to play cards as a kid so it is so nice for me that the kids like it to.

Now I am about to go and fix up some Tacos for tonight and then I guess we’ll sample something from my movie library or Netflix afterwards.

Yes the photos are pretty crappy. Indoor photos taken with a phone leaves somewhat to be desired even with a relatively good phone camera (no matter what the smartphone enthusiasts claim).

Christmas classics: “Julbordet” part 1 & 2 followed by “Julklappsutdelningen”.

Well, yesterday it was time for some of the classic Christmas traditions again. This would of course be the Swedish Christmas buffet followed by the handing out and opening of the Christmas presents.

:Julbordet" Part 2As we have been doing the last couple of years we split the buffet into two. One lunch buffet with the fishy stuff and one evening one with the charcuterie and the hot food.

This is the first year were I’ve been making all the food myself. I have to says that I have been quite nervous. Given how difficult it is to get the proper ingredients for a lot of the dishes here in France it’s not exactly like I can go out and buy me some new ones and start over again if I screw up. In addition the critics, that would be my kids, are quite merciless.

:Julbordet" Part 2Luckily it looks like I managed to get everything right. I am quite happy about how the pickled herring turned out. I made three classical ones and experimented a bit with the last one, a lemon pickled herring. The red and brown cabbage, Christmas mustard etc. etc… all turned out quite good. Actually the only thing I was a bit disappointed with was the Christmas ribs. They turned out a bit bland and not “Christmasey” enough.

Well, I’m happy that went well!

JulklappsutdelningWe’ve picked up a bit of an American Christmas tradition as well. “It is not Christmas until Hans Gruber falls from Nakatomi tower”. So obviously we sat down in the afternoon and watched the original Die Hard.

As usual I’ve snapped a few photos which I published to my Christmas 2017 album on Flickr.

Christmas market in Lausanne

Today me and the kids went to the Swedish Christmas market in Lausanne to get our yearly fix of Swedish food products for Christmas.

Actually we first went to Balexert in Geneva to do some Christmas shopping and to pick up Jonathan’s vest for his suit. It actually went unusually smooth. Even Timothy found something fairly quickly. Not that this years shopping ordeal is over by any means though. I still have quite a few presents to buy myself and the kids have to buy the presents that they are going to give between them as well.

After that shopping spree we drove to Lausanne. It was a bit of a pain to get there as usual. The drivers in the French speaking region of Switzerland must be among the worst highway drivers in Europe. They constantly hug the left lane and never cares about anyone else.

Once there though it was surprisingly easy to get the shopping done and nothing was sold out despite the fact that we were later than usual. I was afraid that there would be massive queues since we were a bit late but there was almost none at all. Smoked eel, fish (sill), Swedish cheese, elk sausages etc. etc. all went into our bags smoothly.

We even got some real “Julmust”. Normally we buy that at Ikea but since the fucking bean counters ruined the Swedish shops at Ikea we buy less and less. This year Ikea’s own brand of “Julmust” was even more abysmal than their usual surrogate. Everyone, except the unsuspecting foreigners, know that “Ikea’s own brand” is just a rewriting of “We buy at as cheep as possible on the world market”. This years batch must have come from North Korea.

After the shopping we want home for a late lunch. I made some Jambalaya-like stuff on peppers, chicken and Chorizo from the Basque region.

To Timothy’s great despair we went out again after lunch. Well him and me at least. We had to go down to the florist where he is going to do his “stage” later. There were some paperwork that had to be done.

I think this was the busiest Saturday in quite a while. We only had time to watch one episode of The Orville just before Cassandra had booked the TV at 6 o’clock in the afternoon. That was when the free beta of Monster Hunter started on PS4.

Well, at least now I can sit down and relax a bit.

Went for some Jalfrezi with the kids last weekend.

Last weekend the kids where at my place for the entire weekend again. We did not really have any specific plans saving our energy and money for the Christmas season. Jonathan needed a new suitcase so we went to Balexert to pick one up but that was more or less all we did.

Lunch at Le Mahal in St Genis-PouillyExcept for a trip to the new restaurant, Le Mahal, in the village. Unfortunately it is yet another Indian one (we now have two of them in this small village) but it is within walking distance and it is open all days of the week.

When I saw that they had Jalfrezi on the menu I had to go for it. It has been years since I had a good Jalfrezi. Jonathan decided to join me. I have to say that it was quite good. It was as spicy as it should be (which means bloody hot) without being so overwhelming that you did not taste any of the other spices.

Lunch at Le Mahal in St Genis-Pouilly

In the evening it was film time as usual. I had just received a box set with all the James Bond movies on Blu-ray so Jonathan jumped on that one. I am actually a bit ashamed that I have not gotten around to add the Bond movies to my collection until now. Of course we are going to watch them in the proper order so last weekend it was time for the first one, Dr. No. I am a wee bit surprised that a movie so old is actually still quite enjoyable.

Well, that´s all for last weekend. The coming weekend is probably going to be spent on shopping for Christmas presents.

Autumn is coming!

Well, actually, autumn is pretty much here already . The threes are loosing their leaves and it is getting cold and rainy. Some people like the autumn for all the colors. Okay, I can agree that it is pretty but it is for such a short period of time. After that it is just dark, cold and wet and you know it is just getting worse because, after having suffered through the autumn you have to suffer through winter. I hate the autumn!

Maybe I am extra negative this autumn with all the calamities that has happened lately as well. Just to add to the miseries my ex’s lawyer finally decided to actually do some work but as usual her “work” basically consisted of throwing together another letter with totally outrageous demands. This woman is batshit crazy. If she has her way she will take whatever I have left and I will have to continue paying for the rest of my professional life. The sad thing is that when me and my ex talks we seem to get along pretty well but then this woman manages to persuade my wife to do something else. I am so feed up with this crap. After the death of my girlfriend and now this I do not really know why I keep going? I’m not really motivated for anything.

Birthday cakeAnyway, let’s try to move over to some more pleasant subjects. We’re almost at the end of October and, with both Cassandra and Jonathan having their birthdays in October, this month is kind of a “birthday month”.

So last weekend we celebrated Jonathan’s birthday. His real birthday was yesterday but then he was back at his university in Lyon so… He wanted to go back to a Japanese restaurant that we’ve been to before along Lac Leman but that one had closed shop so after some looking around on TripAdvisor I found one in downtown Geneva, Sauan, that looked interesting so we went there.

Sauan Japanese Restaurant in GenevaIt was quite a hit actually. The food was excellent and the prices were…acceptable. At least by Swiss standards. Me and Jonathan had one of their seven course menus with a mixture of fish, shellfish, vegetables and some meat. Only two of the courses were actually cooked as in heated. Not that this was much of a surprise of course. Everything was nicely and elegantly served. No forks or knifes. If you cannot manage chop sticks then go somewhere else. Even the soup was supposed to be eaten with only chop sticks. Not that this is really that difficult, it’s just a bit unusual for a westerner to pick out the solid content with chop sticks and then drink the broth using the bowl as a cup.

Then it was of course time for cake in the afternoon back at home.

WP_20171020_17_48_11_RichSince the two small ones didn’t really appreciate the Japanese cuisine as much as me and Jonathan, not enough dead land animals, I had brought home some of the latter for lunch the next day when I made a simple entrecote with fries and a salad. As you can see from the attached photo I also found a nice little sauce to spice it up with.

Now I have just finished my work for this week. Since the kids are on school holidays, at least the two small ones, I have taken the next three days off to spend some time with them. Next week Jonathan will also have three days of holidays so I will repeat the procedure next week.

At the shores of Lac Leman

The swan? Well I just felt like adding this photo at the end of the post 🙂