Feeling positive about the fact that Summer may one day arrive; I cleaned the whole terrace furniture. Preparing the outdoor spot means cleaning and waxing a couple of old wooden benches, chairs and a table; this is an activity which woks up quite an appetite. By the time I was finished cleaning and waxing it was windy and almost raining so something warm coming out of the oven felt right; I wanted roesti (or rosti ). The good thing about this recipe is that it works well for a crowd, just fill the whole bottom of the baking dish. Continue reading
The rösti/roesti recipe is part of the Swiss culinary heritage. Originally from Zurich, this potato recipe moved to Bern where it received the name: roesti. This potato cake was first served as a breakfast dish and it was cooked in lard, over time the use of butter became more common. Roesti, in Switzerland is a dish which that has many different versions, the one I prepared is made with non boiled potatoes and the recipe is said to come from the Grison canton. I found this recipe in one of my mother’s old cookbooks and gave it my own twist. One anecdote about this dish is that to us, it means more than just a potato cake. We are a federation of cantons with four different languages and therefore different cultures; the largest regions are the French (or Latin) and the German. The cultural barrier that divides the Swiss German part from the Swiss French one is called Roestigraben (the roesti barrier) (source: http://www.terrenature.ch/terroir/27102011-0000-les-rosti-de-courgenay-sont-une-delicatesse)
Oven Roesti with Caramelized Onions
Recipe for 2
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 35 min
400g peeled starchy potatoes
2 tsp flour
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
3 tsp soft butter
2 red onions
2tsp olive oil
1 tsp thyme leaves
1tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp sour cream
Heat oven at 200 C.
Grate the potatoes with a grater with holes on the larger side (about ½ cm ). Add the flour, salt, pepper nutmeg; mix with your hands. Finally add 2 tsp of the soft butter and mix into the potatoes.
Put the potatoes in an oiled baking tin (shape it but do not press it down) and place in the oven for 30-35 min.
Cut the onions in half and slice into half circle strips. In a pan place the olive oil, onions, thyme, salt and pepper and cook for about 15 min on a low heat. Once the onions are soft add the sugar and the vinegar and cook for another 6-7 min (until caramelized).
To brown the surface of the potatoes, add a little butter on top of the potatoes and continue to cook for another 5-10 min.
Serve the potatoes with a tbsp of sour cream and the caramelized onions.
For long I have been trying to make my boyfriend improve his diet in general but well, he is a stubborn grown up. The thing is that, when he comes over to my place I decide the menu and although I want him to enjoy his dinner, I want him to have other than pizza or chips with mozzarella. This week we have not seen each other much so I decided to make a nourishing aperitif where we could chat without going hungry before dinner. Continue reading
In 1932, the Hungarian researcher S. Györgyi managed to extract the vitamin C. He used two tons of bell peppers to extract half a kilogram of the vitamin under the form of a white crystallized powder. He named the vitamin ascorbic acid, which means ‘capable of preventing scurvy’ (Source- French: http://www.lanutrition.fr/bien-dans-son-assiette/aliments/legumes/poivron/petite-histoire-du-poivron.html )
Flatbreads with Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions
Recipe for 2
Prep. Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 40-45 mins
2 red bell peppers
2 small red onions
2-3 garlic cloves
salt and pepper
2tsp fresh chopped parsley
100g brown flour
0.75 dl buttermilk
2 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
4-6 chopped basil leaves
Bell peppers and onions:
Heat oven at 240°C.
Cut the bell peppers in 3-4cm squares. Cut the onions in half and each half into four pieces. Crush the garlic cloves.
Place the vegetables in an oiled baking tray. Add 1tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss the preparation until the vegetables are coated. Place in the oven for about 20 min, stir the vegetables and cook for another 20min.
While the veggies are in the oven it’s time to prepare the flatbreads.
Mix all the ingredients together except for the basil (I used a blender). Once the dough is even add the basil and work it in by hand.
Leave to rest for 15-20 min.
Cut into 4 equal parts and flatten each until each patty reaches about 12cm diameter.
Heat a pan over medium heat. Heat a ½ tsp olive oil and add one of the patties for about 2-3 min. When the dough starts to bubble, turn it for another 2-3 min.
Remove and place on a rack. Repeat for the other pieces.
Place the flatbreads and the bell peppers and onions on a dish and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.
I can’t remember the last time I had endive. This veggie, with its slightly bitter taste, is something I love to pair with blue cheese; this is what motivated this week’s recipe. I cooked this for my mother and I for our almost traditional Thursday lunch get-together. Continue reading
Historically, hazards and accidents have often been at the origin of discoveries; in cooking this happened so often. The endive is the result of such hazard. The discovery of the endive is attributed to a Belgian farmer who, around 1830, forgot to look after the chicory he had been growing. The roots had grown into endives and when the farmer tasted them, he liked their distinctive flavour (info: http://www.veraveg.org/Veg%20History/Veg%20History%20Endive.html ).
Caramelized Endive with Blue Cheese and Walnuts
For 2 people:
Time: 25-30 min
1 generous tsp sugar
2 tsp breadcrumbs
3 dry roasted chopped walnut kernels
40g blue cheese (I used Roquefort)
2-3 chopped sage leaves
2 small tsp sour cream
Salt and pepper
Heat the oven at 200C and lightly oil a baking dish.
Cut the cleaned and dried endives in half. On a reasonably hot pan add the butter and sugar. Once the butter starts to bubble add the endives face down and leave them until browned and caramelized, about 3 min. Remove and place in the oiled baking dish.
In a bowl mix the bread crumbs, the chopped sage and walnuts, pepper and a little salt.
Crumble the blue cheese in the mix and rub the preparation together until evenly mixed. Add the sour cream and mix again.
Spoon a quarter of the blue cheese preparation on each endive half and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.
I got the idea for this week’s recipe when I went to town (Locarno) and found some unusual purple carrots which I had never tasted before. There is something else that motivated this recipe: the rain. Since one month I have to keep my drive to go out and enjoy spring because it just keeps on raining. I decided I’d keep my spirits up by cooking something comforting like these cocotte eggs and soldiers. In this recipe I like the smoothness between the egg and the pureed vegetables. Continue reading
A few weeks ago I bought the Flavour Thesaurus and since then, each day I have a look at ideas for food combinations and it gets my ideas going. This gazpacho recipe works well as a refreshing first course. The first thing I like about this dish is that it is a little bit of health in a bowl; the second is its rapidity in making it. Because of the good health conscience this recipe gives me I wondered when the idea of how and what a balanced diet looks like. During the second part of the 19th century, the chemist Wilbur O. Continue reading
Atwater was the first to search into nutrition and the human diet. He began with the theory that the food we consume should be balanced when it comes to nutrients and this would contribute to a healthier body (source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/398570-the-history-of-eating-healthy/ ). With other scientists, Atwater also invented the way we measure the energy provided by food. The Atwater system invented the food calories (source and further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilbur_Olin_Atwater ).
Avocado and Cucumber Gazpacho
Recipe for 2 people
Time: 10 min
1 slice bread (I used a small flat bun)
1 grated garlic clove
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 tsp hazelnut oil
2 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 tbsp chopped coriander
5-6 cherry tomatoes
1 small red onion
Lightly brush both sides of the bread with a little olive oil (you can add some spices if you want). Brown the bread in an oven. Let it cool and cut it into small squares and place in a small bowl.
Peel and deseed the cucumber. Cut the avocado in two and remove the flesh from the avocado. Pass them both through a blender until smooth. Add the grated garlic, ginger, hazelnut oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Quickly blend again. Pour into a couple of bowls and add the chopped coriander on top.
Chop the red onion and the tomatoes and place each in a separate bowl. Serve the soup and let each choose what to eat it with: bread, tomatoes and/or onion.
Further ideas to serve it with: crumbled feta cheese, crispy bacon or chicken ham.