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.

Chicken, Butternut and Chestnut Pan Fry

Chicken Butternut and Chestnut Pan Fry
That’s it; autumn has officially started a couple of days ago. Today I noticed that even the cows have come down from the alps for the cold  and grassless months to come. By the way, don’t you like it when colours start shifting, evenings get a little colder and it’s time to restart taking advantage of the fireplace (if you have one)? I love this; it’s such a cosy time of the year. To celebrate the beginning of this new season, I wanted to make a recipe that contained some of the autumn staples; in this case they are butternut squash and chestnuts. To make this recipe I went to check on Niki Segnit’s The Flavour Thesaurus and, although I already know the book pretty well by now, I found that rosemary worked well with the butternut squash and the chestnuts. I had this dish with some fresh bread but you can accompany it with either potatoes, spaetzle or pasta…

Chicken Butternut and Chestnut Pan Fry

Chicken, Butternut and Chestnut Pan Fry

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 25 min

 

 

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts

1 onion

500 g butternut squash cut into 2-3 cm chunks

120 g cooked chestnuts

1 tbsp. chopped rosemary leaves

4 dl chicken or vegetable stock

1,2 dl cream

3-4 tbsp. rapeseed oil

Cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Cut the chicken into regular chunks of 2-3 cm pieces and season them with salt and pepper. Heat 1-2 tbsp. oil in a pan; add the chicken to brown on all sides on a medium-high fire. Once done, remove from the pan and set aside.

Chop the onion and using the same pan cook with 1-2 tbsp. oil on a low-medium heat until translucent, about 5-7 min. Raise the heat a little, add the pumpkin, season with a little salt pepper and brown on all sides.

Add back the chicken with the rosemary, the cayenne pepper (up to taste) and the chestnuts, cook further for another minute or so and then add the stock. Let it reduce to about half stirring form time to time.

Pour in the cream and stir to combine with the reduced stock. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, correct taste with salt and/or pepper if needed and serve.

 

 

Grape Juice Pie – Tarte au Raisiné

Grape Juice Pie - Tarte au Raisiné Like every year I was looking forward to last Tuesday: we have been harvesting our grape. Continue reading

We are always a group of about eight people and after everything has been picked clean and has been loaded onto the cars we reward ourselves with a nice glass (or two) of wine. I also usually always prepare something to graze and so this year I decided I’d try to make this traditional pie from the French speaking part of Switzerland. I though this recipe would go well with the harvesting theme since it’s a grape juice pie. I made it over the lunch break and was quite curious to taste it. I wasn’t the first to get my hands on it but the general consensus was a very positive one. Once I managed to get a piece I found the pie had a somewhat delicious caramel taste and fortunately it was not something too heavy neither in the mouth nor on the stomach. The only thing I want to say is that usually this pie is made with white grape juice but since I couldn’t find any, I went for the red grape kind.

Each year I always look forward to this day because the company is always friendly and we always have a good time and since many of them knew my father well, I’m always asking about anecdotes I may not have heard before… but then, what happens on harvest day stays in harvest day ;)

 

Grape Juice Pie – Tarte au Raisiné

 

For a 28-30 cm pie dish

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook time: 1h 30

 

Ingredients:

400 g short crust pastry – about 32 cm diameter

1l natural grape juice

1,5 dl milk

2 dl cream

2-3 tbsp. flour

1 tbsp. butter

2 eggs

1 tbsp. sugar

 

Recipe:

Bring the grape juice to a boil and let it reduce to 1,5 dl. Once reduced the result should be a syrupy mass. Once done set aside to cool.

Meanwhile combine the milk, cream and flour in a pan; heat them while constantly stirring until it becomes a smooth paste. Set aside and leave to cool.

In a bowl combine the eggs and the sugar and whisk.

Roll out the pastry on a pie dish; pierce more time with a fork.

Mix together the reduced grape juice with the milk, cream, flour combination and then add the whisked sugar and eggs. Stir all together and pour in the short crust pastry lined pie dish.

Cook in a preheated oven at 200°C for 30-35 min.

 

Note: this recipe comes from Alfred Haeferli’s Swiss Cooking book.

Potato and Beetroot Rosti

Potato and Beetroot Rosti I find rosti is a little like pasta or pizza: there’s infinity of combinations you can make. This time I have paired the usual potatoes with fresh beetroot. I like the earthy taste of the beetroot and this works so well with potatoes… I guess I’ve already said it, but I think that rosti is the Swiss comfort food and this time, the plus, is that it’s a dish high in colours. I just feel at home when I eat it. I served this rosti I made a blue cheese sauce by mixing 40g Roquefort, 100 g half-fat sour cream and pepper.

By the way, I’m sorry for the slight delay. We’ve been harvesting the whole day and I ran a little late since it’s almost a tradition to have a drink after work.

Potato and Beetroot Rosti Potato and Beetroot Rosti

Potato and Beetroot Rosti

Recipe for 3-4 as a side dish or for 1-2 as a main meal

Prep time:15 min

Cook time: 35-40 min

 

Ingredients:

 

200 g raw beetroot

600 g boiled potatoes, peeled

1 onion

2 tbsp. rapeseed oil

2 tbsp. butter

Salt and pepper

Recipe:

In a bowl grate the beetroot with a large holed grater. Either using a tea towel or using

a sieve, remove excess moisture.

In a second bowl grate the potatoes.

Chop the onion and add it to a pan with the rapeseed oil. Cook onion on a low-medium fire until translucent, about 5-7 min. Add the beetroot and the potatoes to the pan and cook them on a medium fire for 8-10 min, occasionally stirring. Season the preparation with salt and pepper to taste.

Shape the rosti into a patty and leave it to colour for 10-15 min. A couple of minutes before turning the rosti add half of the butter around the edges.

Turn the rosti with the help of a lid or a dish and leave to colour for another 10-15 min. Repeat the process by adding the butter the in last few minutes of the cooking process.

Serve warm, eventually with the blue cheese sauce.

Cocoa and Chestnut Muffins

Cocoa and Chestnut Muffins I always like it when a season ends and the next comes up, don’t you? Continue reading

Colours are changing, days are shorter and even if it’s still warm the autumn air and feel is more and more present. The past couple of weeks I have been craving foods like pumpkin soup, fire roasted chestnuts, game meat with spaetzle and on a cold and rainy night I could even go for a fondue… According to this mood I decided to make these cocoa and chestnut muffins. For this recipe I took as a basis Michael Ruhlman’s muffin recipe in his book Ratio. From there I adapted the recipe according to the ingredients I was using. I find that muffins are a friendly food and when I make some I always give at least half of them away. This time, I shared my muffins with my mother and her boyfriend, I brought them when they invited me for dinner last Sunday.

Cocoa and Chestnut MuffinsCocoa and Chestnut Muffins

Cocoa and Chestnut Muffins

 

Cocoa and Chestnut Muffins

 

Recipe for 12 muffins

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20-25 min

 

Ingredients:

190 g flour (+ more for dusting)

150 g brown sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

2.3 dl milk

100 g soft butter (+ more to grease the muffin tin)

1 tbsp. cocoa

1 vanilla pod

70g chopped cooked chestnuts

Icing sugar

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 190°C.

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

In a bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Incise the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. In a second bowl mix the milk, vanilla seeds and the butter. Once the three ingredients are well combined add the eggs and whisk again.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir until just combined. Fold in the chopped chestnuts and pour the mix in the muffin tin. Gently tap the muffin tim on a surface to make any bubbles come to the surface.

Place in the oven for 20-25 min. Check for doneness with a tooth pick. Remove from the oven and leave them for 3-5 min. Take the muffins out of their moulds and dust them with icing sugar.

Aubergine Piccata

Aubergine Piccata So yesterday I left early in the afternoon from home and had little time to prepare my lunch and so I made this aubergine piccata. Continue reading

After lunch I got ready and left for Locarno where my appointment to the doctor for my ankle was. I got there and the nurse at the desk looked at me without saying a word, I introduced myself and was very soon told that my appointment wasn’t for Monday but for Tuesday… It was my fault and I got mad at myself. I don’t like getting appointments wrong, don’t you? Despite throwing away an afternoon to get to the doctor and finding out I got the date wrong; at east I enjoyed my lunch.

Aubergine Piccata Aubergine Piccata

 

Aubergine Piccata

 

Recipe for 3-4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 3-12 min

 

Ingredients:

1 Aubergine (350-400g)

3-4 tbsp. flour

80 g grated cheese (I used a firm goat cheese)

3 eggs

2 tbsp. chopped chives

salt

Olive oil or frying butter

 

In a bowl place the flour while in another place the eggs with the grated cheese and the chives.

Cut the aubergine into 0.5 cm thick slices and season them with salt on both sides.

Heat 1 tbsp. oil or butter in a pan.

Take an aubergine slice, coat it in the flour on both sides and then dip it into the egg, cheese and chive mix (make sure you get a good amount of the egg mix on the aubergine) and then place it straight into the pan. Repeat with the other slices and cook for 3-4 min on each side on a medium fire. You will probably need to do this in 2-3 batches so once the slices are done keep them warm in the oven at 70°C. Usually I serve this dish with a simple tomato sauce pasta.

 

Cheesy Chicken Skewers with Honeyed Carrot Salad

Cheesy Chicken Skewers with Honeyed Carrot SaladAfter a pretty busy weekend where I had visits, I attended the enogastronomic walk and on Sunday I had the summer party organised by my boyfriend’s political party; it’s nice to be back into a more calm routine. Continue reading

Yesterday I had my weekly lunch with my mother and usually I make something vegetarian since we both like it but this time I wanted to make something a little different and so I came up with these mince chicken skewers and this honeyed carrot salad. With the chicken I paired some Emmentaler cheese that has a relatively sweet taste and its flavour goes well with the chicken meat and the honeyed carrot salad.

Cheesy Chicken Skewers with Honeyed Carrot Salad

 

Cheesy Chicken Skewers with Honeyed Carrot Salad

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 10-12 min

 

Ingredients

For the chicken:

600 g chicken minced meat

2 tbsp. breadcrumbs

2 tbsp. thyme leaves

1 tsp. mustard powder

optional: cayenne pepper

4 tbsp. grated Emmentaler cheese

1 large spring onion – only the bulb

salt and pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

 

For the carrot salad:

3 tbsp. olive oil

1.5 tbsp. cider vinegar

1 tbsp. runny honey

salt and pepper

1 tbsp chopped parsley

3 grated carrots – not too large ones

1 finely chopped spring onion (white part only)

 

Recipe:

For the carrot salad, in a bowl combine the olive oil, cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Mix well and add the carrots and parsley. Toss and leave to macerate.

Meanwhile in another bowl mix the minced chicken, breadcrumbs, thyme, mustard powder, grated cheese, salt, pepper and optionally the cayenne pepper. Finely chop the spring onion and add it to the rest of the mix. Blend all together and divide the mass into 8 equal parts. Take one part and with your hands form sausage like shapes; repeat with the rest of the meat. Insert a wooden skewer stick into each “sausage”.

Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil and place the skewers to colour on all sides and allow them to cook through for 10-12 minutes.

Serve the salad with the skewers and some crusty bread.

Gusta il Borgo 2014

Gusta il Borgo 2014 Last Saturday with the same small group of three we met up like last year to participate at the 3rd edition of the enogastronomic walk Gusta il Borgo 2014 held in Ascona, by the Amis da la Forcheta. Even if I had a cold and (from what I learned yesterday) a small stress fracture on my ankle, I would not have missed this event for almost anything in the world. I was right to go anyway because like last year we had a great time filled with laughs, great food and drinks. With our tasting glass around our necks, the map and a few supplementary goodies, we began our walk at half past eleven. At a short distance from the starting point was the first stop where we were served coffee, a croissant and muesli with farina bona flakes and raspberries. While we began eating our “breakfast” a group of men arrived and one of them began to wear strange clothes for a man while the others watched and laughed; soon we found out that they were celebrating a bachelor party. This was an entertaining start. Continue reading

Potato Galette

Potato Galette I’m always looking for side dishes I like and this recipe is one I’ll certainly be doing again. Continue reading

Besides liking the taste and its simplicity, I also like the way it looks. I found this recipe in one of my old Betty Bossi books. In the beginning I wasn’t sure about how to place the potatoes in the pan but it ended up being quite simple. I had this dish for lunch with my mother and we ate it with some simple roasted tomatoes, but this is just one of the many alternatives you could chose to serve it with: many kinds of meat, veggies, salad or even some melted cheese…

Potato Galette

Potato Galette

 

Recipe for 3-4 as a side dish

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 25 min

 

Ingredients:

450g waxy potatoes

1.5 tbsp. butter

¼ tsp. salt

Pepper

2-3 tsp. fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage or parsley…it’s up to you)

 

Recipe:

Thinly pass the potatoes through a slicer (electric or manual), place them in a bowl and season with the salt and pepper.

In a pan melt 1 tbsp. butter and coat the whole bottom with it. Remove from heat. Start adding the potatoes, they should widely overlap and end up making two layers in total. Personally I began from the centre and worked my way outwards making a spiral like shape.

Cover the potatoes and replace on the fire in a low heat to stew for 15 min. Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium high to colour the potatoes. After about 5 min turn the galette with the help of a lid or a plate and slide back into the pan. Add the rest of the butter around the potatoes, sprinkle the herbs on top and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve.

Vully Cake

Vully CakeA few months ago when I went to Lausanne with my mother we met up with her cousins. While we sipped a delicious wine in a pace overlooking the Leman lake I asked them about recipes that are typical from the French part of Switzerland. Continue reading

The first dish that came to mind to everyone is the “Papet Vaudois avec la Saucisse aux Choux” (slow cooked potatoes and leeks served with a cabbage sausage) which is the staple recipe of the canton. I wanted to learn about other dishes and that’s where this recipe was mentioned. I kept the idea in a corner of my head because I knew I would come back to it and in fact, a couple weeks ago I found this recipe and the following day, armed with the right ingredients I got down to work. Frankly I absolutely loved the result because personally I’m not a fan of oversweet food, when I have the feeling the sugar stays in my mouth, I only feel like taking one bite and leave the rest. I find that this cake can even work well for breakfast besides as a sweet treat, dessert or snack. By the way, this sweet version is the most common (sometimes also called the “Salée Sucrée” which literally means the “Salty Sugary”) but there is also the salty one where you add double cream (1.5 tbsp.), bacon (250g) and cumin (60g).

Vully Cake

Vully Cake

 

Vully Cake

 

Recipe for 2×30 cm diameter cake tins

Prep time: 20 min + resting time

Cook time: 10-12 min

 

Ingredients:

500 g flour

½ tsp salt

3.5 dl lukewarm milk

20g fresh yeast

80g melted butter (original recipe calls for 40g butter and 40g lard)

4 tbsp. double cream

4 tbsp. sugar

 

Recipe:

In a bowl sift the flour and add the salt. Mix them and make a well in the centre.

Dilute the yeast in 3 dl lukewarm milk and add it to the centre of the flour well along with the melted butter. Gently knead the dough for about 10 min until the preparation is soft and smooth (if the dough is too hard add the last 0.5 dl of milk).

Cover the dough and leave to rise for 45-50 minutes.

Divide the dough into two equal parts and smooth them out in the cake tins with your hands, cover and leave to rise for another 20 min.

Heat oven at around 270°C.

To make the borders pinch the edges while slightly turning your wrist. Prick the dough with a fork several times. Add 2 tbsp. double cream on each cake and spread it out evenly and as a final touch sprinkle the sugar on top. Bake in the oven for 10-12 min.