Zucchini Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta

Zucchini Goat Cheese and Lemon PastaSometimes, finding what to write on a post is already enough of a challenge and then I get the added difficulty of my dog bringing me her toys to play and she can be vocal. Continue reading

At the moment I’m staring down and I can see that two cloth balls and her tiger teddy bear have made their way to my feet. The season of one of my favourite vegetable is coming to an end and I wanted to take advantage of zucchini one last time before next year. Talking about beloved food I paired the zucchini with some goat cheese and to add some freshness I added some lemon juice.

About zucchini…. I guess all regions/countries in the world have names to call their neighbours and here in Ticino, the term we use to call the Swiss Germans is actually “Zucchini”. This name probably has to do with the resonance of the names of the cities of Zug and/or Zurich. I think they call us something like “5 cents”; I haven’t found the exact spelling of the term, which I would spell something like “Chinqueli”. As long as these terms are not offensive, I find them funny and interesting as often there is something historically related to them.

Zucchini Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta

Zucchini Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta

 

Recipe for 4 as a main dish

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 10 min

 

Ingredients:

500 g zucchini

320 g long flat pasta (e.g. pappardelle, tagliatelle, taglierini…)

Juice of 2 lemons

5-6 tbsp. olive oil (optional: extra olive oil to drizzle on top of the pasta at the end)

salt and pepper

160 g goat cheese log

 

Recipe:

Cut the zucchini by their length into 0.5 cm thick slices. Then cut each slice into 0.5 cm strips.

In a bowl combine the lemon juice with 4 tbsp. lemon. Crumble the goat cheese and set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile in a pan heat 1-2 tbsp. olive oil, add the zucchini strips to brown on a medium fire for 5-7 min. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the cooked pasta and the lemon olive oil mix. Toss; add the crumbled cheese, mix (eventually drizzle a little extra olive oil on top) and serve.

One Pan Rice and Butternut Squash

One Pan Rice and Butternut SquashI don’t know about you, but I like it when the sink isn’t overcrowded with dishes, cutting boards, pans, knives and co. Continue reading

That is why I like it when I can throw everything in a pan and, almost magically, in a short time you get a tasty meal. Also, one ingredient I love to take advantage of in autumn is the butternut squash so I came up with this dish. In a few week I should cook for the company that helps me when I have blog related issues, changes and questions and since I will cook in their office, I thought that this is a recipe that could work well. I don’t know how their kitchen is and this is a dish where I don’t need much and it could work as either a first course, a side dish or even as a main course. In case anyone has an idea about other recipes I would love to hear them. I should mention that one of the seven members is a vegetarian and another is lactose intolerant.  :)

 

One Pan Rice and Butternut Squash

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 25 min

Ingredients:

500 g butternut squash (about a small half one)

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion

10 sage leaves

¼ – ½ chopped chilli

Zest of 1 lemon

250 g wild rice mix

5.5 dl stock

4 tbsp. fresh goat cheese

 

Recipe

Peel and then cut the butternut into 1 cm cubes.

Finely chop the sage leaves and the onion.

In a pan place the olive oil and the onion to fry for 4-5 min on a medium fire stirring often. Then add the rice, the butternut cubes, the sage, the lemon zest and the chopped chilli; finally pour over the stock. Cook for 20 minutes on a gentle rolling boil, until the liquid has been absorbed. Stir all together. Serve with the fresh goat cheese on top.

Creamy Leek Pie

Comforting Leek PieLast Saturday we had an evening among friends and guess who cooked?…me. Continue reading

I made some pulled pork, a broccoli salad and meringues with cream as a dessert. I guess this was my first “catering” experience as we brought all the food to Andy’s home and consumed it there. The three of us (Andy my fiancé and me) met at my place, packed everything and placed it in Andy’s car. While my fiancé was moving his car to park it to a better spot, we saw him stop abruptly: he had perforated his tyre. After a little hesitation we decided to change the tyre ourselves. It took us ten minutes to figure it out and twenty minutes to change it but I admit (as someone who doesn’t even have a driver’s licence) I learned something different that day. That night we went to bed at four and since, unlike Ste my fiancé I can’t sleep long in the morning, I decided to get busy in the kitchen and so I prepared this leek pie that we shared once he was released from Morpheus’ arms.

 

Comforting Leek Pie

 

Creamy Leek Pie

 

For a 28-30 cm pie mould

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 40-45 min

 

Ingredients:

330 g leeks

1 tbsp. butter

100 g sour cream

80 g ham (I used turkey ham)

130g grated Swiss cheese

1 tbsp. flour

2 dl milk

2 eggs

Nutmeg

1 tbsp. mustard

1 round short crust pastry (32 cm large)

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 220°C.

Cut the leeks into ½ cm thick slices.

Heat the butter in a medium non-stick pan; add the leeks, season with salt and pepper. Cook covered for 10 min on a medium fire until they have softened. Meanwhile cut the ham into cubes and add it to the leeks once they are done. Leave aside to cool a little.

In a bowl mix together the milk with the sour cream, the eggs, the flour and a little nutmeg.

Place the short crust in a baking dish, spread the mustard on the bottom and then pierce the dough more times with a fork.

Distribute the leeks and ham on top and follow with the grated cheese. Pour the milk, cream, and egg, flour mixture on top; make sure the liquid covers all the leeks. Sprinkle a little pepper on top and place the pie on the lower part of the oven for 30-35 min.

Fennel and Grapefruit Carpaccio

Fennel and Grapefruit Carpaccio 4.1 I always find it hard to stay awake after lunch, except when I have something light and possibly with little or no carbs at all. Yesterday I had this fennel and grapefruit carpaccio and didn’t feel drowsy; unlike today where I had a pasta bake and I keep on visualising my bed. Continue reading

So, instead of yawning my way through the afternoon, my solution is to get some movement and breathe some fresh air in. Fortunately soon I’ll head to my local butcher to get the meat I ordered for Saturday. I’ll actually be catering for one of our usual dinners with my fiancé and a friend of ours. To get idea through, the two first begun by complimenting my cooking and then, they asked if I could cook and bring the food to Andy’s house. I won’t admit it to them but I liked the idea. After having dinner at his place, we will then go out to the nearby bars (where the choice of places to go out to is slightly better than in the valley I live in).

 

Fennel and Grapefruit Carpaccio Fennel and Grapefruit Carpaccio

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 5-7 min

 

Ingredients

1 large fennel or 2 small ones

2 grapefruits

4 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

4 tbsp. slivered almonds

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

In a non-stick pan place the almonds and roast them until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Slice the top and bottom of the grapefruit and following the contour of the fruit slice the peel all around. Holding the grapefruit above a bowl, cut along the membrane to remove the segments. Keep 2 tbsp. of the juice as you will need it for the dressing.

Cut the bottom of the fennel off and using either a slicer or a knife, thinly slice the fennel(s).

Mix the 2 tbsp. of grapefruit juice with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

On each serving plate place the sliced fennel and then the grapefruit on top. Drizzle the dressing and on top sprinkle the parsley and the slivered almonds. Serve.

The Proposal and Arugula Spaetzle (or Spaetzli)

Arugula Spaetzle
As I wrote last Thursday, my boyfriend and I went to Basel for the weekend. I was quite looking forward to the trip but I wasn’t aware it would turn out to be such a memorable moment. Continue reading

We got there on Friday evening and went to the tapas restaurant we always end up going to. We always enjoy it and anyway, we were so hungry that I think anything would have gone down at that point. After dinner we picked up the dog that had stayed at the hotel and went for a walk. We reached the Mittlere Brücke, a place my boyfriend has been fond of since he was still a student there. We stopped there and that’s where he presented me a ring and asked me to marry him! My heart is beating faster even as I’m writing this. I’m so happy that I can’t contain myself. Well, I guess I don’t even need to tell you my response (which I shouted out while by passers looked at me awkwardly). Little after we went to celebrate with yet another bottle but this time it was champagne. We finished that bottle too, left the dog at the hotel and headed to a club where we danced among the students till three o’clock in the morning. The following day we were in a quite pitiful state and during most of the day we walked around like two zombies; sometimes I actually felt like it was the dog taking us for a walk. Our Saturday evening was quieter and after an aperitif with a tarte flambée we went for yet another round of tapas (we are animals of habit). Our Sunday consisted in traveling back home and getting some rest. What could someone expect more from a weekend? I’d say nothing. Soon we’ll start planning the main event, I want to share the experience. Besides posting recipes I also want to use this blog as a diary.

In the Swiss German part of Switzerland, spaetzli is something often eaten in this time of the year with game dishes. I find it’s something which works just as well with chicken or beef or vegetable… Since we were in Basel I though it would be an appropriate recipe to post. I adapted this recipe from the Swiss Cooking book (from Alfred Haefeli).

Arugula Spaetzle

Arugula Spaetzle

 

Arugula Spaetzle

 

Recipe for 4-6 as a side dish

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 30 min

 

Ingredients

300 g arugula

4 eggs

400 g flour

1 dl milk and water

0.5 dl water

1 tsp. salt

Butter

4 tbsp. dry roasted pine nuts

Grated Sbrinz cheese (alternatively use parmesan)

 

Recipe

Place the washed arugula in a pan and cook until they are soft. Place them in a strainer and press to remove excess moisture. Now, either finely chop them or, place in a food processor (like I did).

In a bowl mix and beat the flour, eggs, milk, water and salt with a wooden spatula until small bubbles form then, mix in the arugula. The consistence should be a little like a pancake batter, if it’s thicker just add a little water.

Fill a pan with high sides with salted water and bring to a boil.

If you have a spaetzle make use it by placing the batter on its surface and push down the mass so that it falls into the boiling water. Alternatively use a wooden board and form the spaetzle by scraping the surface with a knife and letting the dough drop into the water. Once the spatzle rise to the surface remove them with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.

In a non stick pan melt some butter and add the spaetzle to brown on a high heat for a couple of minutes (you might have to do this in more batches). At the end add the pine nuts, toss place in a serving dish and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

 

 

Potato Cauliflower Gratin


Cauliflower Potato Gratin Even if it comes to packing for a weekend, I always face the same dilemma: what will I wear? I always pack more than what I need and still end up wishing I had taken that white shirt, those brown pumps or that blue sweater…. Am I the only one in this position? Continue reading

Each time I look at the people traveling with me and, to me they feel more pragmatic in their packing choices. Would you believe that I make a packing list for the weekend? I really do, especially when I’m excited about the trip. Tomorrow with my boyfriend we’re going to Basel till Sunday. I’m really looking forward to it, we’ll attend the autumn fair (Herbstmesse) and I can’t wait to check it out. So let the dilemma begin. At least when I’m in the kitchen the situation is a little better because I actually like missing an ingredient or two: it’s a way to get creative. Fortunately for the potato and cauliflower gratin I had all the ingredients and the process was a smooth one.

Cauliflower Potato Gratin Cauliflower Potato Gratin

 

 

Potato Cauliflower Gratin

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 50-55 min

 

Ingredients:

340 g potatoes

300 g cauliflower

30 g butter

3 tbsp. flour

2 dl milk

2 dl vegetable stock

Nutmeg

60 g grated cheese

Pepper

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 200°C.

Cut the potatoes into 3 cm chunks; place them in salted boiling water and cook until done.

Cut the cauliflower into florets (roughly the same size as the potatoes) and blanch them by boiling them for 3 minutes.

Once the potatoes and cauliflowers are ready place them in a greased baking dish.

Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour while constantly whisking. After about five minutes start adding the milk little by little. Once it has thickened, do the same with the stock. Add a little freshly grated nutmeg, stir a last time and remove from heat. Add 2/3 of the cheese and stir again to melt it in. Pour the white sauce on the potatoes and cauliflower making sure it coats all of the vegetables. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and place in the oven for 20-25 min, until golden brown. Remove from oven and leave for a few minutes before serving.

Apple Beetroot and Crusted Goat Cheese Salad

Apple Beetroot and Crusted Goat Cheese Salad I really didn’t feel like going to the dentist this morning and I almost felt like calling in sick… I thought about it and came to the conclusion that I would just be postponing the unpleasant moment. Continue reading

So I got ready and took the ten-minute walk to the bus stop (under the rain). For once the hourly bus was on time and I had just taken my seat when my phone rang: it was the dentist’s assistant telling me that he was ill and that my appointment was to be postponed. I continued my journey into town for some groceries anyway and a nice coffee break with a childhood friend of mine. I came back it was past noon and since I wasn’t in a hurry, I walked at slower pace, taking the time to look at the surroundings and their changing red autumn colours. The way home is partly on a dirt path among the fields and as beautiful as it may be; I couldn’t help but notice that some people still haven’t learned not to littler in the nature. I found wrappers and cigarette butts. Personally it saddens me to see how little people care and how little they realize the harm they are doing. Well, I ended up staying there and picked up what I could find and placed it in the bin which was just a couple of meters away (I admit I cursed a little at whoever did this). Once I got home I wrote this blog post and searched for an appropriate quote:

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”

– Robert Swan

Apple Beetroot and Crusted Goat Cheese Salad

 Apple Beetroot and Crusted Goat Cheese Salad

Apple Beetroot and Crusted Goat Cheese Salad

 

Recipe for 4 as a starter

Prep time: 12 min

Cook time: 4-5 min

 

Ingredients

For the salad:

2 cooked beetroots

2 apples

100 g soft green salad or arugula

1 onion

200 g goat cheese log

1 egg

4 tbsp. breadcrumbs

4 tbsp. chopped walnuts

1 tbsp. olive oil

 

For the dressing:

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. walnut oil

1 tbsp. runny honey

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

Cut the beetroot into 2-3 cm chunks.

Peel and core the apples and roughly cut into the same size as the beetroots.

Thinly slice the onion.

In a small bowl mix together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, walnut oil, honey and salt and pepper to taste.

On each plate, place the salad leaves and on top add the beetroots, apples and sliced onions.

Cut or break with your hands the goat cheese into pieces of about 3-4 cm. In a bowl break the egg and beat it with a fork. In a second bowl place the walnuts and the breadcrumbs. First pass the cheese pieces into the egg wash and then roll them in the walnut breadcrumb mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan and add the breaded goat cheese to cook for 2-3 minutes, until they start getting soft but are not too runny.

Finally add the dressing just before serving the breaded goat cheese and serve.

 

Barley and Zucchini Burgers

Barley and Zucchini Burgers Does anyone ever feel tired when seasons change? Continue reading

I do. One thing I have found helps though is to eat healthy and limit the size of portions. If I eat a rich lunch I can’t seem to be able to keep my eyes open in the afternoon. In this state of mind I have made these burgers which my mother had already made a few months ago and recommended the recipe to me. I adapted the recipe, according to my taste, from one of the Betty Bossi cookbooks. If you wonder what or who Betty Bossy is here is a link to the description I found on Wikipedia, which I thought was short but accurate. I grew up with my mother (who comes from the French part of Switzerland) checking those books out. Personally as much as I like their recipes I try to avoid their ready made products (which only exist since a few years) because I have a little trouble with either the components or the taste.

 Barley and Zucchini Burgers

 

Barley and Zucchini Burgers

 

Recipe for 2 as a meal or for 4 as an appetizer

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 40 min

 

Ingredients

For the burgers:

120 g pearled barley

1 sachet saffron

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 zucchini

1 garlic clove

4 fillets sun dried tomatoes

1 tsp. olive oil + more for the burgers

2 tbsp. flour

1 egg

2 tbsp. grated Sbrinz or Parmesan

Salt and pepper

 

For the sauce:

80 g yoghurt

2 tbsp. cream cheese

2 tbsp. chopped chives

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

Place the barley in boiling water corresponding to four times its amount. To the water add some salt, the saffron and the cayenne pepper. Cook for 25-30 min (or until tender) and drain if necessary.

Meanwhile roughly grate the zucchini and pass the garlic through a garlic crusher. Thinly slice the sun-dried tomatoes. Add 1 tsp. olive oil and sauté the zucchini and garlic for 5-6 min; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and cook for another couple of minutes.

Let everything cool down a little then in a bowl mix the barley with the zucchini and tomatoes, the flour, the egg and the grated cheese.

Make 8 equal sized burgers and cook them on a medium fire with a little olive oil for about 5 min per side. Serve.

For the sauce just mix all the ingredients together and season to taste with salt and pepper. If making this recipe as a main meal, serve with a salad or veggies or in a bun.

Apple Cake

Apple Cake Geographically and historically speaking, Switzerland shares cultural traits with its surrounding countries and sometimes the boundaries are blurred, and this is true especially when it comes to gastronomy. Continue reading

I always thought this kind of apple cake was German; instead there is also a part in Switzerland where it’s considered to be a typical recipe. For this blog post I adapted the recipe from the Suisse Gourmande cookbook which attributes the recipe to Canton Thurgau and which is actually geographically placed just next to the German border. Anyway, I love this kind of cake, no matter where it comes from and Since last week I’ve already made it twice: once with apples and once with pears.

Apple Cake Apple Cake

 

Apple Cake

 

Recipe for a 24 cm cake tin

Prep time: 25-30 min

Cook time: 35-40 min

 

Ingredients:

125 g butter cut into small cubes (+ more to grease the cake tin)

125 g sugar (+ a few tbsp. to dip the apples in)

2 eggs

Juice of ½ lemon

1 vanilla pod (optional)

1 tbsp. yoghurt

5 g raising powder

200 g flour

½ tsp. salt

500 g small-medium apples (about 3-4)

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 180°C.

Grease the cake tin with butter.

Break the eggs, place the egg whites in a bowl and keep the yolks aside. Whisk the egg whites to a peak.

In a bowl cream the butter and the sugar. Incise the vanilla pod (if using it), scrape the seeds out and add them to the butter and sugar. Add the two yolks, the flour, raising powder, salt, lemon and yoghurt. Mix until well combined, then add the whisked albumen and fold it in gently.

Spread the batter at the bottom of the cake tin.

Peel the apples and cut them in half. With each half, make deep incisions on the rounded part and dip that same side in sugar.

Place the apples on the batter slightly pressing them down.

Bake in the oven for 35-40 min.

 

Spinach and Mushroom Rice Casserole

Spinach and Mushroom Rice Casserole It’s almost the weekend and with my boyfriend we were supposed to go to… to… we haven’t decided yet. Continue reading

Well, we were supposed to go on weekend but unfortunately he forgot he already had an engagement so we have postponed it to October and I think it’ll be Basel: the city he cherishes because he studied there and personally I like the place. One thing I’m really looking forward to is a bit (or a lot) of shopping. After two months I’m really motivated about shopping, unlike my boyfriend. The only thing he looks for when we go shopping is the couch or any kind of seating surface available. At least he forgets about the waiting time he has endured when we go out for a tapas dinner. About food, I made this recipe yesterday; it fit well with the weather that was cloudy and cool. I took as a reference for this recipe Broccoli Cheddar and Wild Rice Casserole from smittenkitchen.

Spinach and Mushroom Rice Casserole 4 Spinach and Mushroom Rice CasseroleSpinach and Mushroom Rice Casserole

 

 

Spinach and Mushroom Rice Casserole

 

Recipe for 4 as a side or 2 as a main meal

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 50 min

 

Ingredients

For the rice:

130 g rice

300 g spinach

1 onion

100 g button mushrooms

2 tbsp. diced sundried tomatoes

2 tbsp. butter

3-4 dl vegetable or chicken stock (preferably low in salt)

Salt and pepper

 

For the topping:

2 tbsp. butter

Nutmeg

2 tbsp. flour

1.5 dl milk

3 dl vegetable or chicken stock (preferably low in salt)

60 g grated Swiss cheese

2 tbsp. breadcrumbs

 

Recipe

 

Heat oven at 200°C.

Grease a baking dish.

Chop the onion and slice the mushrooms.

Cook the spinach in a pan. Once done place them in a sieve and remove excess liquid and then chop.

In a pan heat 2 tbsp. butter and add the onion. Cook until translucent (about 4-5 min) then add the mushrooms. Season with the salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms have browned. Add the sundried tomatoes and the rice: cook for about a minute. Add one dl of stock and wait for it to be absorbed by the rice while stirring often. Once the rice has become somewhat dry, add the second dl of and repeat until the third dl of stock will have been absorbed (this should take about 15-18 min). Add the chopped spinach, mix and pour into a greased baking dish.

In a pan melt the butter, add a little nutmeg and cook for a minute or so on low heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook for a 3-4 minutes and start adding in the milk little by little while still whisking. Add the broth too and cook for about 5 min or until thickened. Remove from heat, add in half of the grated cheese and stir until melted.

Evenly pour the white sauce over the rice and vegetables. On top sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese and the breadcrumbs. Eventually you can add a few small pieces of butter to make the top even more golden brown coloured.

Place in the oven for about 15 min.