Sunday, September 10, 2006

Indonesian dinner # 3 and Mount Pilatus

I have so much in my head right now, that I’m not really sure where to begin. I think the best is to start where I promised to start: our last “Indonesian summer party”.

Ever since we told Ma about the first of three Indonesian nights, she wanted to be part of it and meet all our friends, too, so she offered to cook for the group. Because we knew we’d be expecting about 9 guests (plus the four of us), OrangeX decided to take the Friday off to do the groceries and help Ma with the preparation of the meal for the next day. She decided to make a very traditional Nasi Koening (pronounced nasi kooning). It is an aromatic yellow rice, usually part of the Indonesian “Rijstafel” or Rice Table. It can be served with just about any meat (satay skewers, meat balls, chicken, etc.), but Ma opted for meat balls, and chicken thighs and drumsticks served with the obligatory sambals (chilli pastes) on the side. Sliced of cucumber, bell pepper, thin stripes of omelette and dried onion topped the whole thing off. As a starter, she had also made her wonderful Pasteitjes which are something like the Indian samosas, but the dough is filled with a mix of glass noodles, ground beef, onions, garlic (??.. yeah, probably…), carrots and peas that has simmered in a special mix of spices and herbs, then baked in the oven. These are served with a sweet/hot chilli sauce. Yummy!

On Saturday, we prepared the tables out in the garden since the weather looked promising. We were supposed to be 13 people that evening, but Paolo was not feeling well, so he cancelled and Markus decided to stay at home to take care of him. The first guests, Thomas and Nicole arrived first. It was a good thing, since a couple of weeks before, they had brought us a 3 litre bottle of Crémant (bubbly wine) that we had cooled as a welcome drink. I promptly asked him to open it for me and then… the cork broke off!

Not only did it break off, but all the air had somehow escaped and whilst trying to pull it out with a normal corkscrew, the cork just fell into with the slightest push. Poor Thomas! He felt so bad, although he couldn’t have known when he bought it! Luckily, we had enough reserve in our fridge to cover all requests. Rammy, John, Diana and Andi arrived, followed by Doug and we had a few drinks and chats before serving the pasteitjes. Later, Ma, OrangeX and I went up to prepare the plates of nasi koening for each guest. We had a lovely evening with our friends and were even able to enjoy the whole meal outside.

Around 2 am, a few drops of rain started falling, so we all scrunched up under the balcony and I pulled out the sun screen to cover us all. We enjoyed coffee, a few single malts and Speckkoek, and all we had a fun time together. You’ll find all the pictures of the evening here.

On the Sunday, we took a quick drive to Paolo and Markus to bring them a doggy bag that we had carefully prepared of the dinner that we had the evening before. Paolo was feeling a bit better, but still not well. After that, we decided to go to Mount Pilatus, which is about an hour 15 minutes awas from Basel. We took the gondola cableway to Fräkmüntegg, the second highest stop to the top of the Pilatus because 1) we weren't sure how Pa would manage a lower concentration of oxygen (because of his damaged lungs) and 2) the last drive down would have left us but 15-20 minutes of view. Although the Pilatus is by far not the highest peak in Switzerland, we did get to 1416 meters over sea level and Pa took it very well. He really enjoyed the view and the clean air. Pa is very quiet and many would think that he is not enjoying it or that he's just staring into emptiness. He's not! He was fully in awe, probably feeling tiny before those great mountains and peaks covered with the eternal snow, but taking in everything he could. It's a scene I'll never forget. We took in the beautiful view over Lucerne and the lake, had a coffee and sandwich and went back down again. See pictures here.

Yesterday, we drove Ma and Pa back to the Airport. It was again a very sad event. I hate goodbyes and it was so good to have them over for the past three weeks. I will surely miss them, but we will be back in Holland to visit before we go to Canada. For them however, it's their last visit to see us in Switzerland. Well, maybe. I know they will miss it. I hope that Pa stays healthy enough to visit us in our new home in Canada. I truely do.

6 comments:

Ginnie said...

You know that I'm that fly on your wall/terrace every time you have these shindigs! I get so tickled by all your descriptions, as though I were there enjoying it all with you. I LOVE diverse food like that! Oh my. I know you've got to be missing Ma's cooking help now. But clearly you enjoyed it while you had it. And dear, dear Pa! I saw that he sat across from you in that one pic. He loves the lady who married his son, and vice versa.

Now, enjoy the quiet time! And listen to your Soul (last post).

CanadianSwiss said...

Thank you, Ginnie. I will :)

Expat Traveler said...

Yeah I just want to be part of one! I guess P and I both miss that as we haven't found that right combo of friends to really hang out yet with here...

But your time sounds like fun. I think pilatus is aobut the same height as Grouse here... AMazing how I can't relate the two (pilatus must be higher!)

I'm looking at the pics now, so excited!!!

I cant wait to be able to travel again!

CanadianSwiss said...

ET: That'll come :-) We might not find the right bunch the first time around, but you have to try it out. And don't forget... I've been around here for 22+ years, so I've met many interesting and/or fun people :-)

xmichra said...

As always, beautiful images..and you write too well sometimes. the description of food makesmy mouth water! hehe...

CanadianSwiss said...

I try my best, Xmichra ;-)