A note to Switzerland and a very herby omelette
This post has been sponsored by Swiss herbal sweets expert; Ricola.
Ricola make delicious herbal sweets using natural herbal ingredients exclusively cultivated on Swiss soil without the use of any pesticides. I frequently visit one of the original Ricola herb gardens in Zermatt, Switzerland. It is a place close to my home and to my heart.
I have called Switzerland my second home since I was eleven when my parents built a place high up in the alps in Zermatt. Switzerland was familiar from before then too and I think I must have been just four years old when I was secured into miniature skis with velcro straps. My family loved the mountains and we spent Easter’s, school half terms and summer holidays in various Swiss mountain towns; Sas Fee, Wengen and finally Zermatt where we found our real home. Often we’d spend the entire summer there. Nine glorious weeks of mountain socks and hikes to lunch, backpacks filled with bread rolls for picnics by the lake and lots of board games on the balcony. Unlike life in London, in Switzerland we spent most of our time outside. Even our summer homework would be done out on a rug in the garden which was really just a field backing onto another field with some well humored sheep. I still spend a lot of time in Switzerland although less than I would like (I miss school summer holidays). There are a few things that those endless summers taught me and principles I apply to my everyday life. Even in a city like London I’ve found there are ways to ‘be more Swiss’.
Get outside more
At the heart of Switzerland is a deep love for nature and respect for environment. I try to spend as much time outside as I can. I walk to most of my meetings and always try to eat outside if I am spending the rest of the day at my desk. I will find a patch pf green or even just a bench to enjoy my lunch. I’ve recently started having ‘walking meetings’ too. In the summer months I love to pack impromptu picnics and meet friends on the green or in the park. Rarely is it fancy. Usually a punnet of strawberries, some good bread and wine, sometimes cheese. Making sure I spend time outdoors keeps me calm and it also makes me more observant. I notice things that I otherwise might miss; an attractive tree, the sound of the wind or the birds. I feel more present both outside but also in my day to day working life.
Appreciate ingredients and enjoy them.
We always grew herbs in our window boxes in Zermatt. I do this at home in my very small London flat today. It is a small effort that brings me much joy. Things like rosemary, sage and thyme are especially resilient and work well with the unpredictable English weather. Basil prefers to be inside and if you keep it watered it can last a very long time. Fresh herbs make such a difference to even the simplest of meals. When I am very tired or have had a busy day I will often make an omelette for supper. I will pack it full with fresh basil, dill, sage and thyme, some cheese if I have it and enjoy it with a slice of toasted rye or just as it is. I’ve placed the recipe for my very herby omelette below. The recipe uses sage and thyme (two of the herbs used in Ricola sweets).
Say hello more and smile.
The Swiss are a happy nation and Switzerland has been voted the happiest country in the world. I am convinced it has to do with the friendliness of its people and the basic etiquette of saying ‘hello.’ It is an almost effortless thing to do and yet so rarely do we take a moment to say hello to passers by. I make a real effort to say hello to the people I come across during my day and to smile! They say smiling is contagious. I can’t think of a better thing to catch.
A very herby omelette
Feel free to mix up the herbs as you wish.
- 3 large free range eggs
- a good knob of butter
- a small handful of basil
- a small handful of dill
- about 3 sage leaves
- about a tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- a handful of gruyere cheese or feta (if you like)
Break your eggs into a medium sized bowl and whisk them well. Finely chop your herbs and add these to your eggs.
Melt the butter in a frying pan and allow the pan to reach a medium heat. Pour in your eggs and give the pan a bit of shake to add as much air into the eggs as you can.
Season genrously with salt and pepper. When the edges are starting to crisp add your cheese (if using) and flip half your omelette to cover the other half so that it is a semi circle shape. Cook this way for a minute before turning off the heat and cooking for a further minute on the other side.
Plate up and enjoy warm with some toast on the side if you like.