Saturday, August 20, 2016


We moved in to our new digs back in June. Most things are in order, and we're ready for a housewarming! The fete is Sunday, so I've spent Friday night and most of today cooking, baking, and tidying for the folks coming tomorrow.

While living in CH, I was fortunate to have worked in production at a pie shop, and was able to pick a few 'tried and true' recipes--no savoury pies, unfortunately--while there. The Swiss women who ran the joint were a bit suspicious and secretive, so none who worked in the kitchen were allowed to write anything down. They even made their chef, an English woman called Gwen, sign some sort of agreement stating that she would not share or use the shop's recipes outside of work. I found that baffling especially given the fact that all of the recipes were provided to the shop by Gwen herself.

There was a sort of 'recipe bible' we could consult were we to get stuck on a prep step, but, in the main, we were to learn the recipes by rote, ultimately dispensing with using the bible entirely. The repetition of doing the same thing all day, every day, meant that I learned quite quickly how to concoct our products without the help of any printed notes. This also meant that I could easily transfer all measurements and directions from my head to pen & paper once home. Mind you, I didn't care much to do anything with what I had learned in their kitchen. It wasn't like I was going to dash out and open a competing pie shop just down the road. However, the fact that they were so uptight about the recipes made me want to take a few of them with me when I left their employ.

Here is one of them:

Ice Tea 

The recipe yields approximately 5 liters.
5 bags of mint tea plus 3 bags each of ceylon, rosehip, and elderflower tea
250 grams of sugar
juice of three lemons
1/2 liter of orange juice

Boil 2.5 liters of water then add the ceylon tea. Remove ceylon tea bags after five minutes, then add the herbal teas plus sugar. After five minutes remove pot from heat and add 2.5 liters of cold water, lemon juice and orange juice. Let stand approximately 12 hours before straining through muslin or a sieve and serve!


  1. How weird. Particularly trying to deny Gwen use of her own recipes. Legally I think they would have troubles there - particularly if she developed them before starting work with them.

    1. PS: Good luck with your housewarming. I hope it is wonderful (and that someone else cleans up).

    2. Thanks, E.C.! I hope all goes well, too. I've tried my hand at the family Swedish meatball recipe. Fingers crossed they are edible!

  2. Interesting about the bakery. I used to bake for a tea room and my desserts started selling more than the owners'. I overheard her asking someone if they had my recipe. I think I've shared all my recipes because I rarely measure and the more you do it, you learn things that others can't replicate. Have a great time at your housewarming.

    1. Yeah, I had a brief 'what if the owners see this post?' moment as I hit 'publish'. I used to be a fill-in worker at a collectively run business called The Juice Bar & we had a thick binder filled with the store's recipes, both current and dated. Customers were encouraged to copy down what recipes they wanted. I liked it.

  3. I know a lot of places that make people sign those kinds of agreements, and some of them get really ridiculous. Hence why those people came to us so we could sue someone over it....

    1. I guess I do get it, but the eyebrow raising bit was having the chef, creator of recipes, sign a confidentiality agreement. If she'd wanted to open her own pie shop she would have already!


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