Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Hot Cross Buns Recipe

My childhood memories around Easter are always sweet. It was the time of year when we hit an absolute record of stashing away sweets and chocolate, that the Easter bunny and various relatives used to bestow on us. But our Easter would not be complete without Hot Cross buns, a very British tradition.

Below you'll find a yummy recipe to make your very own Hot Cross Buns. Make sure you use bread flour, it's the detail that makes all the difference.

For the dough
50 gr ofbutter
1 orange zest
1 cloves
2 cardamom pods
400 gr of bread flour
1 packets of yeast (easy blend)
125 gr of mixed dried fruit
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon of ground ginger
150 ml of milk
1 egg
For the egg wash
1 medium egg (beaten with a little milk)
For the cross on the buns
3 tablespoons plain flour
½ tablespoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
For the sugar glaze
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon boiling water

1.) Heat the milk, butter, orange zest, clove and cardamom pods in a saucepan until the butter melts, then leave to infuse. I have gone rather cardamom mad recently, but this short aromatic infusion gives a heavenly scent to the little fruited buns later.
2.) Measure the flour, yeast and dried fruit into a bowl and add the spices. When the infused milk has reached blood temperature take out the clove and cardamom pods, and beat in the egg. Pour this liquid into the bowl of dry ingredients.
3.) Knead the bowl either by hand or with a machine with a dough hook; if it is too dry add a little more warm milk or water. Keep kneading until you have silky, elastic dough, but bear in mind that the dried fruit will stop this from being exactly satin smooth.
4.) Form into a ball and place in a buttered bowl covered with clingfilm, and leave to prove overnight in the fridge.
5.) Preheat the oven to gas mark 7/220ºC. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
6.) Punch the dough down, and knead it again until it is smooth and elastic. Divide into 16 balls and shape into smooth round buns. I wouldn't start worrying unduly about their size: just halve the dough, and keep halving it until it's in eight pieces, and use that piece to make two buns. Or just keep the dough as it is, and pinch off pieces slightly larger than a ping pong ball and hope you end up with 16 or thereabouts. Not that it matters.
7.) Sit the buns on a baking parchment or Bake-O-Glide-lined baking sheet. Make sure they are quite snug together but not touching. Using the back of an ordinary eating knife, score the tops of the buns with the imprint of a cross. Cover with a teatowel and leave to prove again for about 45 minutes - they should have risen and almost joined up.
8.) Brush the buns with an egg wash, and then mix the flour, sugar and water into a smooth, thick paste. Using a teaspoon, dribble two lines over the buns in the indent of the cross, and then bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
9.) When the hot cross buns come out of the oven, mix the sugar and boiling water together for the glaze, and brush each hot bun to make them sweet and shiny.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter in Lugano 2013

Easter is just around the corner and the weather can only get better. According to Meteo Svizzera it will be a wee bit warmer and - if we're lucky - we might see some sun.

Easter draws a myriad of vacationers and travelers to Lugano every year. Join the festive atmosphere of Easter in the City and explore the numerous intriguing and entertaining activities for young and old.

"Pasqua in Città" (Easter in the City), will take place from Friday through Monday. Every day from 11   to 18.00 the city center will transform into a fun and amusing stage. Each of the main city squares will be hosting a different entertainment programme. You'll have the opportunity of purchasing many local products, which will be exhibited on more than 100 stalls that will be set up in Piazza Riforma, Via Nassa, Piazza Dante, Via Pessina and Via Soave. Don't miss the Street Animation shows along the way.

There will be the “Rabbit’s Den”, at the Piazza della Riforma, dedicated to children. It will feature children’s make-up artists, egg painting activities, Henne tatoos and a Ludobus. During the whole event, three funny rabbits will be distributing sweet little chocolate eggs. You can't miss that!?

Two lovely performances by local Luganese bands are not to be missed either. The Castagnola Philarmonic will be performing on Saturday at 17:00, while the Pregassona Philarmonic will be playing on Monday at 10.30.

Venue: Pasqua in città
Where: downtown Lugano
When: March 29th to April 1st, 2013
Tiem: 11:00 - 18:00
Click here for the detailed programme:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Olive Grove Trail

Looking for a new walking experience? Have you ever heard of the Olive trail? Well, it is right in your back yard, so to speak....

You'll discover a route with views across Lake Lugano, on which a landscape reminiscent of the Mediterranean can be enjoyed.

The path winds along the countryside between Castagnola and Gandria and crosses hillsides of ancient olive trees where just recently fruiting olive trees have been reintroduced. You can reach the path either from Castagnola (close to the old Municipal), or from Gandria (start from the parking area at the canton’s street above the village).

The path is described beginning in Gandria and is identified by the olive logo. On the 7-kilometer-long "Sentiero dell'olivo" strtetch, 18 information boards bring you closer to the history and scientific nature of olive tree growth and the oil won from olives.

The idea of the Olive Tree path was conceived of by the “Friends of the Olive Tree” association in collaboration with the Fund of Naturalistic and Archeological Sites in Gandria belonging to the Foundation of the Italian speaking Switzerland for Scientific Research and University Studies.

Open season: All the year
Difficulty: easy
Km: 4
Elevation difference: 85 m
Duration: 2 h
Itinerary: Gandria-San Domenico-Castagnola
For detailed info click here:

Monday, March 25, 2013

A fun water battle

A little video I came across by the French supermarket chain Monoprix to start the week with a smile. Maybe Coop or Migros can find some inspiriation for their next advertising campaign.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Swiss Winter Wonderland

Maybe we should forget about time this season? Eventhough the calendar marks mid-March, the temperatures are still low and the Swiss Alps continue to resemble a lovely winter wonderland. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

The land of watches makes you forget time very easily -- during holidays in the snow, on beautiful winter hiking trails with stunning Alpine panoramas, in comfy ski huts and wonderful wellness hotels. Welcome to winter wonderland:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Swiss German attitude

Now, I know one becomes more Swiss than the Swiss when one moves abroad but I just had to share this jewel I came across thanks to Newly SwissedSwatch has published their annual report entirely in Swiss German...

Swiss German is not officially a language but a dialect. We do not have a standardized orthography and every canton - yes even neighbours or friends from the same town - will spell a word differently. We are all correct. It seems the Swatch report is written in Bärn dütsch (the Bernese local accent).

Bravo for the the courage shown and time spent in delivering a piece of true Swiss culture. It sure warmed many hearts around the globe, not only at home.

If you look carefully you'll see that the coats-of-arms have been slightly altered in a fun way on this report as well.

So Swiss....

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

IWCL Evening Group March 2013 Event

It's time to get together again. Come meet other International residents and locals with an global outlook. Don't worry if you are by yourself or concerned that you won't know anybody. Mix and mingle is the motto and that is exaclty what everybody is there for. The International Women's Club of Lugano invite you to meet new people, find like-minded individuals to share a glass of wine and exchange experiences of Lugano and the world. A smile will get you a long way, trust me!

Get ready for spring and meet for a great evening at one of the nicest places in the heart of Lugano: the Osteria Trani.

For more info contact IWCL at or just simply show up.

Venue: IWCL Evening Group March 2013 Event
Where: Osteria Trani, Via Cattedrale 12, 6900 Lugano
When: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Time: 19:30

Monday, March 11, 2013

English Film Club Lugano featuring: The Help

To all filmgoers. The English Film Club of Lugano invites you to their programme at the Cinema CITTADELLA. They have put together a selection of recent films of different genres which they hope will both appeal to their faithful members and encourage new ones. The films will all be shown in V.O. with English sub-titles.

Next Thursday, March 14th and Friday, March 15th, 2013 they'll be showing the film: The Help

The story:
The film is based on the bestseller by Kathryn Stockett and set in Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1960s, at the beginning of the Civil Rights movement. Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone) is a southern society girl who returns from college determined to become a writer. It is the time when rich white women hire black women to raise their children and care for their houses, ruling over them and paying them little. Skeeter Phelan grew up in such a household. Skeeter, who is disturbed by the underlying racism, is hired to write a housekeeping column for the local newspaper but instead decides to interview the black women who have been doing the housekeeping for the prominent southern families of her friends.

Venue: The Help
Where: Cinema Cittadella, Corso Elvezia 35  6900 Lugano, Tel. 091/923'24'33
When: Thursday & Friday, March 14th & 15th, 2013
Time: 18.15

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Brunch at the Lido of Lugano

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.”
A.A. Milne

Spring is definately around the corner! The Lugano Lido is reopening its doors this weekend. The long winter wait is over, soon the lounge chairs will be out again and you'll be able to chill on the sundeck with a stunning view onto the San Salvatore. If you squint your eyes you can imagine yourself in Rio, trust me! In the meantime, enjoy a delicious brunch which offers a variety of regional and Mediterranean dishes.

The Restaurant aL LiDO was founded by four young professionals in the fields of gastronomy, communications and management consultancy, who from an early age had spent their summers here on the beach of the Lido of Lugano.

It was during a winter get-together that they came up with the idea - based on memories of their teenage days at the Lido - to promote one of the most beautiful places in Lugano.

The City Council appreciated their concept and was enthusiastic to let them develop it and so, out of the many applicants, conferred the management of the restaurant to these young men. And so it happened!

Venue: Lugano Lido Brunch
Where: Viale Castagnola 6, 6900 Lugano
When: every Sunday, Breakfast buffet from 11am, lunch buffet (warm and cold and sweet) from noon onwards.
Price: CHF 42.- included warm drinks and water. Special prices for children under 12.
Reservation: Tel: 091/ 971 55 00

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lugano - the city of children

The City of Children is the site dedicated to children, their parents and teachers. It is a very rich site, which is destined to grow, thanks to contributions made by all those - children, parents and teachers alike - who send material or who simply provide advice. You are kindly invited you to visit the site and send them your comments!

The site contains areas, information and content specially devised for youngsters (between 5 and 11 years old). It is a virtual area, which youngsters and their parents and teachers can explore to find out even more about Lugano and all it has to offer. You can also have fun with online and traditional games, studying themes linked to the world of children and their relationship with computers. In addition, you can find out about elementary classes and class activities and much more.

Take a moment to check it out here: The website is in Italian but site’s structure, and the graphic, technological approach adopted as well as the text, content and everything "behind" the creation of the City of Children, have been specially devised in order to facilitate navigation and to stimulate the curiosity of all those, young and old alike, who are involved in some way in the world of children.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Expat Expo 2013 in Lugano - March 10th

“The ideal place for me is the one in which it is most natural to live as a foreigner.”
Italo Calvino

The Expat Expo was a huge success last year and lots of fun. It is a chance to meet and learn about clubs, schools, businesses and services that cater to the English speaking community in the Ticino.

Lots of give aways and admission is free. Join Chef Vesnuccia for a live cooking demonstration at 12:00 and 14:00. Derrick Feole will play several sets on his historical 1931 Selmer Tenor Saxophone which belonged to Joe Viola the former sax player with the original Glen Miller Orchestra. Come and see Yoga Roof's demonstration class at 15:00 with senior teacher Kelly Griswold, studio co-founder.

There are also activities for children. Don't miss out - come play, sing and swing with Ready Steady Move! enthused team and let them capture your hearts and heads too with their wonderful learning method! Join the 4 Events team at the bouncy castle.

Please spread the word among your friends and associates.

60 exhibitors from all over Switzerland along with many local companies and clubs from Lugano will be on hand to greet you and introduce you to their specialties and make you feel more at home in Ticino, whether you are here for a week or a lifetime! Join them for a day of discovery!

More info at

Venue: 2nd Expat-Expo Lugano
Where: Palazzo dei Congressi, Piazza Indipendenza 4, 6900 Lugano
When: Sunday, March 10th, 2013
Time: 11:00 - 17:00
Free admission!
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