Chicken & Blue Cheese Salad

Chicken & Blue Cheese SaladI don’t know about you but the transition from winter to spring is always a challenge for me. Between mood and energy swings, I never know how the day will turn out. One solution I found to help me was to simplify everything, even my cooking. This is why I made this straightforward chicken and blue cheese salad with celery. Using leftover chicken, I found this recipe to be versatile as I can spread it on a sandwich for a quick lunch or serve it on toasts for an aperitif or eat it the way it is with some green salad. It’s a refreshing recipe, which is ready in no time; it’s creamy but with a crunch coming from the celery.

Chicken & Blue Cheese Salad

 

Chicken & Blue Cheese Salad

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10-15 min

 

Ingredients:

280 g cooked chicken

140 g celery stalks

100 g mascarpone

100 g Gorgonzola

80 g sour cream

3-4 tbsp. chopped chives

1 tbsp. walnut oil

Pepper

Either 4 buns or some sliced bread

 

Recipe:

Cut the chicken into thin strips and finely slice the celery.

In a bowl mix together the mascarpone, Gorgonzola and sour cream. To it, add the chicken celery, walnuts, chives pepper. Mix all together and either use it for an aperitif on some bread or as a flavourful sandwich filling.

Roasted Onions and Pine Nut Pasta

Roasted Onion and Pine Nut Pasta BowlOver the next week I’ll be quite busy so I will take a small break till next Thursday. Continue reading

Besides engagements and a couple of events, on Thursday we’re going wedding dress shopping with my mother. I am so excited (and stressed) about it. Since I’m sort of short on time I thought about making a quick pasta recipe for this post, which is made with common ingredients but I find it has a twist. I quickly roasted some onions in the oven with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This dish is really easy, it’s ready in little time and it’s something different while using few, basic ingredients.

Roasted Onion and Pine Nut Pasta Bowl

 

Roasted Onions and Pine Nut Pasta

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 10 min

 

Ingredients:

360 g pasta (penne, farfalle… – I always use whole pasta)

300 g red onions (about 4 units)

4 tbsp. dry roasted pine nuts

4 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

3 tbsp. olive oil

1.5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese to taste

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 240°C.

Peel the onions and cut them in half first then into wedges about 0.7 cm wide. Place them in a baking tin and drizzle over half of the oil and all of the balsamic vinegar with the salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for 7-8 minutes tossing the onions once after 3-4 min. Remove the baking tin from the oven when the onions are slightly charred.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to package instructions, then drain and replace in the pan.

Once the onions are done remove them from the oven and add them to the pasta with the rest of the olive oil, the pine nuts parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Combine all the ingredients and serve with Parmesan cheese on the side.

Gruyere Sage Potato & Sweet Potato Gratin

Potato & Sweet Potato GratinI think if I had to choose a last meal I’d go for some kind of gratin. Continue reading

Going through an old potato recipe book (from our “national” Betty Bossi – a brand I find myself liking less and less lately) I found this recipe and decided to adapt it to my taste. To begin with, instead of adding in a few zucchini to the potatoes, I made a 50/50 mix of potatoes and sweet potatoes and added sage for the taste. Secondly, after a first attempt, I removed some of the moisture from the potatoes and the result was less liquid at the bottom of the baking dish. One thing I really enjoyed about this gratin was the use of grated potatoes; each mouthful is well balanced in taste… and personally I like it when I don’t have to look around my dish to pick up what I consider the perfect bite (I guess I’m a bit like Rose Morgan in The Mirror Has Two Faces).

 

 

Gruyere Sage Potato & Sweet Potato Gratin

 

Ingredients:

350 g peeled waxy potatoes

350 g peeled sweet potatoes

80 g grated Gruyere

1 tbsp. butter + more to grease baking dish

2 tbsp. finely sliced sage leaves

1 tsp. salt

2 dl milk

2 dl cream

Pepper and nutmeg

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 200°C.

In a bowl grate the potatoes and sweet potatoes. Place them in a clean tea towel and squeeze out most of the excess moisture.

Ina a pan melt the butter and add the sage leaves to cook for 1-2 min, then combine with the grated potatoes and sweet potatoes and mix well. Mix in the grated cheese too. Place everything in a greased baking dish.

In another bowl combine the milk and cream with the salt, a little nutmeg and pepper. Mix all together and pout it over the other ingredients, which are already in the baking dish.

Cook for 40-45 min in the oven.

Pear Crumble with Caramelised Almonds

Pear Crumble with Caramelised AlmondsOn Sunday I woke up in a world covered in white. When I went outside everything looked amazingly beautiful, fairy tale like. It was the first time this year it really snowed and once I stepped outside I felt like in another world. Continue reading

After playing outside with the dog for a while it was a perfect time to cook something that came out of the oven, something sweet and easy. I had previously done some research for my next recipe and decided it would be a crumble. I chose this dish because it’s been so long since I last ate one that I can’t remember when it was. Why did I wait so long? I don’t know, but now that I have the taste of it back in my in mind I find it’s silly to have waited that many years. Scavenging for ideas crumble ideas, I stumbled on this recipe and decided to adapt it to my taste. I wanted to use pears because they’re in season and it’s my favourite fruit when baked (in pies I just adore them). As an addition, as I was doing my shopping, I came across some organic caramelised almonds and decided they would go in as well since they would pair well with my pears. Now the crumble is gone but I’ll be back with another soon. ;)

Pear Crumble with Caramelised Almonds

 

Pear Crumble with Caramelised Almonds

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 1 hour

 

Ingredients:

600 g pears – I used the Williams kind (peeled and cored)

1 heaped tbsp. sugar

1/3 tsp. cinnamon

2 pinches salt

50 g brown sugar

25 g oats

25 g flour

30 g caramelized almonds

40 g butter cut into small cubes (+ more to grease the baking dish)

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 180°C.

Grease a baking dish with butter.

Cut the pears into 2 cm chunks and mix them with the cinnamon, sugar and one pinch salt. Place the fruit mixture in the baking dish.

Chop the caramelized almonds with a knife.

In a bowl combine the brown sugar, oats, flour, pinch of salt and caramelized almonds. Add the butter and with your fingers massage it in the mixture until small clumps form and the result looks even (2-3 minutes).

Bake in the oven for about 1 hour, until the top is nicely browned. Remove from oven and wait 20 minutes before serving.

Crispy Oven Polenta Chicken

Crispy Oven Polenta Chicken Relaxed food without the need of cutlery is sociable and fun. This is exactly what I did with on my weekly lunch with my mother. With the wedding coming up and two families colliding, there’s much to talk about and a nice meal does help reducing the stress. I found some great looking organic chicken thighs. Continue reading

Like mother like daughter…. Both of us love crispy food so a nice crust made with polenta, was a great match. Using the ingredients I had at hand, I adapted my version from the recipe I found on the foodandwine.com.

Crispy Oven Polenta Chicken

 

Crispy Oven Polenta Chicken

 

Recipe for 8 pieces (1-2 pieces p.p)

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 45-55 min

 

Ingredients:

8 chicken thighs

Juice of 1 lemon

6 tbsp. fine grain polenta flour

3 tbsp. flour

1 tbsp. finely chopped rosemary leaves

1 dl milk

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

 

Recipe

Start by drizzling the lemon juice over the chicken. Leave for 15-30 minutes to marinate.

Meanwhile heat your oven at 180°C.

In a bowl pour the milk, in another one mix the fine polenta flour, plain flour and the chopped rosemary leaves.

Dry the meat with some kitchen paper then season generously it with salt and pepper.

Dip one chicken thigh first in the milk then evenly coat with the polenta flour mixture.

Heat half of the olive oil in a pan on a medium-high fire and place half of the chicken to brown on both sides for about 4-5 min per side. Once done set aside. Repeat with the second batch.

Line a baking try with aluminium foil and place a rack on top. Place the chicken pieces on top and cook in the lower part of the oven for 35-45 minutes. If juices of the chicken run clear when pierced, you’re ready to take them out. Serve either warm or at room temperature. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

 

Cauliflower Fritters

Cauliflower FrittersI love fritters. They are easy to make, delicious and adaptable to many flavour combinations. Continue reading

I had some nice organic cauliflower and decided to make these fritters and combine them with one of my favourite Swiss cheeses: Gruyere. To make this recipe I also used some fresh cheese, which in my region we call “Büscion” (which means cork in our dialect). These are popular in my region but surely, wherever you live; you can find your own version of fresh cheeses made with cow’s milk.

As a starting point for this recipe I took a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s site.

Cauliflower Fritters Cauliflower Fritters

 

 

Cauliflower Fritters

Recipe for 8 pieces / 3-4 p.

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: about 10 min (per batch)

 

Ingredients:

200 g blanched cauliflower

2 eggs

100 g fresh cheese

50 g grated Gruyere cheese

¼ – ½ tsp. chilli powder

½ tsp. garlic powder

2 heaped tbsp. flour

Rapeseed oil

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

In a bowl combine the eggs, fresh cheese, Gruyere cheese, chilli powder, garlic powder and flour.

Roughly chop the cauliflower and add it to the rest of the ingredients with a little pepper and salt to taste.

Heat a little rapeseed oil (about a tbsp.) in a pan on a medium high fire. For each fritter pour the amount of a large tbsp. of mixture and cook for 4-5 min per side, until nicely browned. Do it in more batches if you can’t cook all the fritters at once. Serve ASAP.

 

Simple Almond Puff Pastries

Simple Almond Stuffed Pastry Usually I don’t eat much sugar, but then there are the less usual times like breakfast time after a night out. Continue reading

So on Sunday while Mr. was sleeping I prepared these puff pastries, which are inspired by a Swiss pie from Canton Glarus. Well, they are partly inspired because the pie usually contains 2 fillings: one half of the pie is filled with an almond paste while the other has a dried prune filling. Choosing only the first filling I made hand sized treats by adapting the recipe I have in my Betty Bossi Swiss Cooking book. The great thing is that if you have some puff pastry waiting to be used, this is a really easy recipe that isn’t overly sweet. At least I get Mr. to eat some nuts by combining it with his passion for sweet food.

 

 

Simple Almond Puff Pastries

 

Recipe for 8 pieces

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 20 min

 

 

Ingredients:

16 rounds butter puff pastry of about 8.5 cm diameter (a can of sliced pineapples has this size)

150 g ground skinless almonds

2 tbsp. melted butter

2 tbsp. lemon juice

2-3 tbsp. water

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

60 g sugar

Icing sugar

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 200°C.

Prepare the almond filling by mixing the ground almonds, melted butter, lemon juice, water, lemon zest and sugar together.

Take one round and in the middle place about a tbsp. of almond mix in the centre. With the tip of your finger dab the edged with a little water. Take another round of puff pastry and place it on top of the first. With the help of a fork close the pastry by pressing on the edges to seal it. Poke a few holes (3-4) in the pastry a place on a parchment lined baking tray. Repeat with the other seven pieces.

Once all the pastries are ready place them in the lower part of the oven and cook for about 20 min, watch that the pastry doesn’t get too brown. Let the almond pastries cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar before serving.

Carrot and Potato Mash

Carrot & Potato Mash A nice mash is something I love, not only because it’s delicious but also because it can be made in advance, it’s easy and it’s a dish you can decline in infinite ways. Continue reading

When my mother came home for our weekly lunch I served this carrot and potato mash with a salad. It’s something we both really like, and it’s also something we used to make us ladies enjoyed a lunch together while my father was away for work or pleasure. For this mash I used Emmental cheese and added thyme because I think these flavours work particularly well when combined with carrots. Actually this recipe is something I surely make again and I will am looking forward to using it next time I’m making a chicken cottage pie.

 

Carrot and Potato Mash

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 20-25 min

Cook time: 35-40 min

 

Ingredients:

750 g peeled waxy potatoes

250 g carrots

50 g butter (melted)

1 dl milk

120 g sour cream

120 g Emmental cheese (the stronger the better) grated

1 tbsp. thyme leaves

1 tbsp. ground almonds

1 tbsp. breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 200°C.

Cut the potatoes and the carrots into 2-3 cm chunks. Place them in pan, add salted cold water and boil them until they’re soft (about 15-20 min).

Remove the water from the potatoes and carrots and using a masher purée them. Combine the butter, milk, sour cream, 100 g Emmental cheese, thyme leaves and pepper. Mix well and eventually correct taste with salt.

Transfer the mash to an ovenproof dish and on top sprinkle the breadcrumbs, ground almonds and the remaining grated cheese. Place in the oven and cook for 18-20 min. Serve.

 

(Pop)Corn Muffins with Salted Caramel Icing

 

Popcorn Muffins I have already talked in past posts about the Farina Bona (also called Farina Sec’a), which is a kind of flour made of dried corn kernels, which are then roasted and finely ground. Continue reading

This product is typical from the Onsernone Valley, which is geographically situated in the Locarno region. I really love this product as you can do so much with it and, you don’t even need to cook it. The Farina bona has a pronounced toasted flavour and it’s a great addition to many recipes. Personally, among the different recipes I’ve tasted and/or made are: Sablés cookies, Ice cream, Bonella (which is like Nutella but made with the Farina Bona), spaetzle and the Grido. When baking, because of its strong flavour, I combine the Farina Bona with normal flour… but this is up to you. This historical product, which contributed to the diet of our ancestors, can now be found a bit all over Switzerland. Beyond our borders unfortunately it will be super rare to find. It was some time since I wanted to post a recipe made with this flour, but knowing it wouldn’t be available for most, I figured out how to make my own. It’s not the original product but it’s close to it, so if you like it, give it a go with other recipes. For more information (history, recipes…) on the Farina Bona I advise you to visit their website.

On the left is my version, next to it is the original product.

On the left is my version, next to it is the original product.

The first time I tried the popcorn, I popped too much of it and the batter was a weird rocky looking thing. The second time the result was much better. It was the first time I was making popcorn without oil so I searched for tips and found here an article that was very helpful.For the batter I used the Michael Ruhlman’s book Ratio. 

 

 

(Pop)Corn Muffins with Salted Caramel Icing

 

Recipe for 12 muffins

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients

90-100 g natural popcorn kernels

120 g flour

100 g sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

2.4 dl milk

2 eggs

100 g butter (melted)

+ butter and flour to coat the muffin pan

 

For the icing:

2 tbsp. butter

3 tbsp. cream

90 g packed brown sugar

1/3 tsp. salt

About 120 g icing sugar

 

Recipe:

Place a pan on a medium to medium-high heat (I used a non stick one with a glass lid and it worked great), add the popcorn kernels and place the lid on top.

About every 10 seconds move the kernels around by shaking the pan. The aim here is not to get popcorn but to toast the kernels. In the end you should have quite dark toasted kernels with about ¼ of popped popcorn. If the popcorns are starting to pop too much, either reduce the heat or remove the pan from the fire and wait a little before placing it back on (it’s actually an easy task son don’t be daunted by it). Once the kernels are done let them cool.

Place the kernels in a food processor and grind them to a powder. They should look like flour in the end (see picture).

Heat the oven at 200°C.

Grease the muffin tin with butter and dust it with flour.

In a bowl mix the flour, 80 g of the (pop)corn flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. In another bowl combine milk, the eggs and butter. Whisk the wet ingredients together and add the flour mixture. Just blend the ingredients together, without overworking the batter. Evenly pour the mixture in the muffin cups and gently tap the tray on a surface to make sure there are no air pockets. Place in the oven without waiting for 15-18 min. When ready remove from oven and leave for 3-5 min before removing from the moulds and placing them on a wire rack.

Meanwhile prepare the icing. Start by melting the butter then add the cream, the brown sugar and salt. Cook for a couple of minutes on a medium fire. Remove from heat. Beat in the icing sugar bit by bit until you’ve reached the desired consistency.

Spread the icing on top of the muffins and if you want, top them with a piece of popcorn.

 

Broccoli Fries

Broccoli FriesI admit I like munching in front of a film, with the fireplace burning and my dog begging for some food. Continue reading

My fiancé is in regional politics and the campaign is starting so I know that when I’m not accompanying him, I will be enriching my film culture. The good thing is that I will get to watch films in original version :) – In order not to feel too guilty when I treat myself, I try to make lighter and healthier snacks instead of fried chips or salty meats… well, sometimes I succumb to cheese, but I try to limit eating too much of it by using it in smaller quantities. A little of the dairy delight can go a long way and this is what I did for with this recipe. A little cheese for these baked broccoli fries is all that is needed… along with the other ingredients of course.

 

Broccoli Fries

 

Recipe for 2-3 people

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: about 8 min

 

Ingredients

250 g broccoli florets

3 tbsp. breadcrumbs

3 tbsp. finely chopped walnuts

2-3 tbsp. finely grated cheese

¼ – ½ tsp. smoked paprika

1 dl cream

Salt

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 210°C.

Clean and cut the broccoli florets into bite sized pieces.

In a bowl place the cream; in another bowl place the breadcrumbs, walnuts, grated cheese and smoked paprika.

Take a few pieces of broccoli and soak them in the cream, let excess drip and then coat them with the breadcrumb, walnut mixture. To prevent the dry mixture from getting too soaked I divided the quantity and used them one at the time.

Once they are coated place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and cook in the oven for 8-9 min. Serve.