Chestnut Cake

Chestnut Cake First of all….

BEST WISHES & MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!

This will be my last post for 2014 as I will be off next week and will be back on the 6th of January. Continue reading

To end the year well I wanted to make a post with a sweet note: Chestnut Cake from Ticino. I adapted this recipe from this site and I must say that the end result was a very moist cake. With a nice coffee or tea, this cake is a great wintertime treat. I’ll keep this post short as it’s Christmas it’s either a festive or a lazy day, so

SEE YOU IN 2015!

 

 

Chestnut Cake

 

Recipe for a 26 cm wide cake mould (for an 18 cm cake use half the ingredients)

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 1 h 5 min

 

Ingredients:

360 g cooked chestnuts (I used the vacuum packed ones)

200 g melted and cooled butter

340 g fine grain sugar

300 g ground hazelnuts

6 eggs (separated)

1 vanilla pod

 

For the glazing

3 tbsp. hazelnut nougatine

90 g dark chocolate

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 180°C. Grease a loose bottom cake mould.

Mash the chestnuts and set them aside.

Place the egg whites in a bowl and whisk them to a peak.

Place the egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar and whisk them until the mixture becomes lighter in colour. Incise the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add them to the sugar and egg mix, along with the mashed chestnuts, ground hazelnuts and melted butter. Mix all of the ingredients together. Delicately fold in the egg whites in two or three times, without overworking the dough.

Pour the preparation into the cake mould and place in the oven for 1 hour.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool 4-5 min before removing it from the mould and placing it on a wire rack. Let it cool completely.

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and evenly spread it on top of the cake. Sprinkle the hazelnut nougatine on top and wait for the chocolate to harden before serving (mine still had to harden a bit at the centre).

 

Phyllo Leek Tart

Phyllo Leek TartDo you also always struggle finding which dish you will prepare for Christmas dinner? I do, usually I face this dilemma each time I have someone coming over. Continue reading

Finally this yeas I’ll be making a Beef and Ale Casserole and as starter I will be making this Phyllo Leek Tart which I tried out last week. Last weekend, in my fridge I found some phyllo pastry I had to use soon so I decided to make this tart. As much as I’m not a huge puff pastry fan, I love the consistence and lightness of layered phyllo pastry. Other of the main ingredients in this tart are the leeks, which the more I read and learn, are so common in Swiss cuisine (Papet Vaudois, gateau Savièse…). Leeks are an easy local produce to find and it’s a good seasonal produce to take advantage of. I don’t know about you but I love eating leeks with something creamy so to complete the recipe I used crème fraiche, which is a little like for the flammkuchen recipe. The festive season is here and this recipe would work well as a starter as it’s in season and relatively easy to put together.

 

 

 

Phyllo Leek Tart

 

Recipe for 4-6

Prep time:

Cook time: 20 min

 

Ingredients:

300 g leeks

6-7 sheets phyllo pastry (average size of 29cm x 37 cm)

190 g crème fraiche

6 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. thyme leaves

2 tbsp. roughly chopped hazelnuts

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 210°C.

Cut the leeks into about 7-9 cm long pieces. Lengthwise divide each piece into half being careful to keep the layers into place.

Melt one tbsp. butter in a pan and add the leeks to cook for about 4-5 min per side on a medium fire. Season them with salt, pepper and thyme. Be gentle when turning the leeks as they tend to get undone. Once the leeks are cooked set them aside.

Take one sheet of phyllo pastry and brush it with the melted butter. Top it with another sheet of pastry and repeat the process until all sheets are used.

Make a small crust by folding the edges of the pastry a couple of times. If it doesn’t hold, press it gently down. Brush the crust with a little more butter.

Spread the sour cream on the bottom of the tart and, distribute the leeks on top.

Bake in the oven for 10 min, take the tart out and sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts on top and serve.

 

 

Melted Swiss Cheeses and Dried Tomato Dip


Melted Swiss Cheeses and Dried Tomato Dip Every place on earth is blessed with typical ingredients and/or dishes. In Switzerland, one thing I’m proud of having access to is our cheese. In such a small country, we have over 450 different types of cheese and this is enough to never get bored about this produce I personally love. Continue reading

One thing you’ll surely always find in my fridge is alpine cheese. For this recipe I wanted to honour this produce and so I adapted the recipe I found on closetcooking.com. Except for the cream cheese, all that is in this recipe comes from the country of Heidi. Sitting beside the fireplace and with a glass of white wine, my fiancé and I shared this melted cheese wonder. Talking about melted cheese, soon I will post a fondue recipe so stay tuned if you love melted cheese when it’s cold outside!

Melted Swiss Cheeses and Dried Tomato Dip

 

Melted Swiss Cheeses and Dried Tomato Dip

 

Recipe for 4 as an appetiser

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients

150 g cream cheese

6-8 dried tomato filets in oil

1 small or ½ onion

50 g Gruyere cheese

30 g Sbrinz (or Parmesan)

30 g Emmental cheese

40 g Sour cream

Pepper

½ tsp smoked Paprika

(optional 2 tbsp. white wine)

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 180°C.

Chop the onion and dice the dried tomatoes. Cook the two ingredients in a pan on a medium fire and cook until the onion has softened, about 4-5 min. Remove from fire and set aside.

Grate all the cheeses and mix them with the sour cream, cream cheese, onion and dried tomatoes, pepper, smoked paprika and optionally the white wine. Place everything in an ovenproof dish and cook for 25-30 min. Serve warm with crostini and/or toasted bread.

 

Mustardy Cauliflower with Herbed Sour Cream

Mustardy Cauliflower with Sour Cream Fortunately now I’m almost back to normal and my appetite is back but when my mother came over last Friday, I was coming down with a cold and didn’t feel too hungry so I made something light for the two of us on our weekly lunch. Continue reading

First, like always, we had a little smoked salmon and then I made this Mustardy Cauliflower with Herbed Sour Cream that we ate with a couple grilled chicken thighs she bought at the local butcher. I prepared the cauliflower; the seasoning and the sour cream earlier in the morning so that when she arrived I only had pop it in the oven at the right time. I liked the mustardy taste the seasoning brought to the lightly charred cauliflower; the sour cream added an additional layer of freshness which I enjoyed and craved for (maybe because I wasn’t feeling too well).

Mustardy Cauliflower with Sour Cream

 

Mustardy Cauliflower with Herbed Sour Cream

 

Recipe for 4 as a side dish

Prep time: 8 min

Cook time: 15-20 min

 

Ingredients

For the cauliflower:

450 g cauliflower florets

2 tsp. mustard powder

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1.5 tbsp. olive oil

½ bag saffron

1 tsp. water

2 tsp. sugar

Salt and pepper

 

For the sour cream:

100 g sour cream (I used ½ fat)

1 small or ½ garlic clove

1 tbsp. chopped parsley

2 tsp. walnut oil

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat the oven on the highest setting of your oven.

In a bowl mix all the ingredients for the cauliflower (except for the cauliflower florets).

Place the cauliflower in a baking tin and pour oven the paste you have just prepared; toss well until all the vegetables are coated. Bake in the oven for 15-20 min, until the cauliflower is lightly charred. Toss 1-2 times during cooking process.

Meanwhile prepare the sour cream. Pass the garlic through a garlic crusher and mix it in the sour cream with the rest of the ingredients. Serve with the warm cauliflower.

 

 

Walnut Crusted Tomme Cheese & a Night Out in The Village

Walnut Crusted Tomme CheeseA part from the different decorations I’ve seen around, I really feel Christmas is just around the corner. Since a few years, in my village there is a contest about who makes the best nativity scene. Continue reading

The day the contest officially starts there is a small celebration in the village; besides looking at the nice work the inhabitants have made, there are also a few food and drink stands where we can enjoy a nice moment together. Friends of mine produce an amazing cheese and I knew they would hold a Raclette stand so I told them I would come by. When I arrived it was still early but soon people began arriving and not long after I found myself helping them preparing the melted cheese. I had a really nice time and despite my initial idea was go to there, have a bite and a drink, I ended up being among the last people to leave the celebration. Here are a few pictures of the “Via dei Presepi” (“The Path of The Nativity Scenes”).

In the mood for some more delicious melted cheese, I made this recipe, which is very easy but so tasty. For the breading I used walnuts which, with a cheese that has the consistence of a brie works very well. Together I made a radicchio and apple salad with a honey dressing and I found the combination to be just heavenly.

 

Walnut Crusted Tomme Cheese

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook Time: 8-10 min

 

Ingredients:

For the cheese

4 tomme cheeses (100 g each – not too soft)

45-50 g chopped walnuts

4 tbsp. breadcrumbs

2 tbsp. flour

Pepper

1 egg

1.5-2 tbsp. grape seed oil

 

For the salad:

2 tbsp. grape seed oil

1 tbsp. white wine vinegar

1.5 tbsp. runny honey

Salt and pepper

200 chopped radicchio

1 small apple (I used Braeburn)

 

Recipe:

Start preparing the salad by mixing the first four ingredients in a bowl. Quarter the apple and slice each quarter. Add the radicchio and apples to the salad, toss and set aside.

Take a dish and add the flour with a little pepper, break the egg in a bowl and mix and in a third dish mix the breadcrumbs with the walnuts.

Start by dipping one tome in the flour, shake of any excess, then pass it in the egg and finally coat with the breadcrumb-walnut mix. Repeat for each piece.

Heat the grape seed oil in a pan and add the breaded tommes to cook for 3-4 min per side.

Remove from pan and serve without waiting accompanied by the salad.

 

Smooth Barley and Broccoli Risotto (Orzotto)

Smooth Broccoli Barley Risotto (Orzotto)  It was the first time I tried making barley risotto and found it’s a very nice alternative to the traditional rice based kind. Continue reading

Usually I like to bite into the texture of the added ingredients to the dish but, mashing the broccoli allows a nice balance with each bite you take. One great thing with this dish or any kind of risotto is when you have some leftovers. I often make an extra portion and the following day I make croquettes out of it. Usually I just shape the rice or barley into little balls, eventually I dip them into an egg wash and then I coat them with breadcrumbs and brown them in a pan with a little olive oil. When I was small, I used to look forward to the day-after risotto makeover…

 

 

Smooth Barley and Broccoli Risotto (Orzotto)

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients

300 g blanched broccoli florets

1.2 l vegetable stock (hot)

80-100 g Grated cheese (Sbrinz, Parmesan, Grana…)

1 onion

5 tbsp butter

300 g pearled barley

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 pinch salt

Pepper

 

Recipe:

Process the broccoli until pureed and set aside.

Chop the onion and place it in a pan with 1-2 tbsp. butter, cook until soft, about 4-5 min. Turn up the heat and add the barley, toss and cook for about a minute. Add the lemon juice and the zest while wile you keep on stirring.

Once the lemon has been absorbed into the rice, reduce heat and start adding 1 ladle of stock with a pinch of salt while continuously stirring. Once the stock has been absorbed add the second ladle. Continue stirring and each time the stock has been absorbed add another ladle. After about 25 minutes taste the barley to check if it’s cooked, if not, continue for another few minutes.

Once you’re satisfied with the consistence of the rice, add the mashed broccoli and some pepper and stir to combine.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the rest of the butter with the grated cheese. Serve, eventually with some additional grated cheese on top.

Goat Cheese Butternut Slices

Goat Cheese Butternut In winter it’s always nice to put some colour in you life, that’s what I’ve done with this post. Continue reading

The superb colour of the butternut squash was enough to lift my day, especially because after a week of sun we’re back under the clouds and the rain (which should be snow by now) and our bones are once again on the waiting list to produce vitamin D. Tuesday, I was working on some notes and I didn’t feel like spending too long in the kitchen so I made this recipe, which is quick to prepare and while it’s cooking in the oven, you don’t really have to keep a close eye on it.

 

 

 

Goat Cheese Butternut Slices

 

Recipe for 4 as a side dish

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 30 min

 

Ingredients:

1 small butternut squash

150 g goat cheese log (alternatively use hard grated goat cheese)

1 tbsp. finely chopped rosemary leaves

1 tbsp. breadcrumbs

2 tbsp. finely chopped walnuts

Zest of 1 lemon

Cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp. olive oil

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 190°C.

Cut the butternut in half and slice it crosswise into 1 cm thick slices. Place the pumpkin slices in a sealable bag with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Shake the bag in order to make the oil coat each slice. Place the butternut on a baking tray lined with wax paper and season the slices with salt.

In a bowl finely crumble the goat cheese and add the chopped rosemary leaves, the breadcrumbs, the chopped walnuts, the lemon zest, cayenne pepper, a little salt and pepper.

Sprinkle the goat cheese mix on top of the butternut slices and cook in the oven for about 30 min, or until the squash is soft when pierced with a knife. Serve.

 

Pizokel

Pizokel So on Saturday we had my fiancé’s birthday party: it was an absolutely fun and delightful evening. Continue reading

Thanks to the help of my friends I managed not having to run around the whole day… I actually even had time to have a twenty-minute siesta 😉 For the event I knew my fiancé really wanted “pizzocheri” because he loves this dish. This pasta recipe is attributed to the Valtellina in Italy, which is a direct neighbour to the Swiss Canton of Grisons. Grisons also has another recipe which phonetically sounds like the pasta dish and these are the Pizokel, which actually look more like spaetzle that the more usual pasta. For Saturday’s dinner I made a combination and an adaptation of the two. What I really love about this recipe is the combination of the taste between the buckwheat flour of the Pizokel and the cheese…

Recipe adapted from:

stephanedecotterd.com (in French)

accademiadelpizzocchero.it (in Italian)

 

 

 

Pizokel

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min (+ rest time)

Cook time: 25 min

 

Ingredients

160 g flour

250 g buckwheat flour

2 eggs

1 dl milk

2 tsp. salt

Nutmeg

2-2.5 dl water

50 g butter

250 g cheese (a cheese that is fruity and flavourful)

100 g grated Sbrinz or Parmesan

200 g savoy cabbage

230 g potatoes

1 garlic clove

1 tbsp. rapeseed oil

 

Recipe

For the Pizokel mix in a bowl the two flours, salt and nutmeg. Make a well in the centre, add the eggs and start working the batter while adding the milk little by little. The batter should be semi-liquid and should be sticky; to do this, add the water until it has reached such a consistence. Let the batter rest for at least an hour in the fridge.

Meanwhile, cut the cheese in small pieces, pass the garlic clove through a garlic crusher (and set them aside). Dice the potatoes and cut the savoy cabbage leaves into pieces. Bring salted water to a boil and add the potatoes, when they are almost cooked add the savoy cabbage for 2-3 minutes, remove from fire and strain. Set aside.

Remove the batter from the fridge. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Take a wooden board and make sure it’s damp with water. Place a portion of the batter on top of it and with the help of a wet spatula (I used a flat bladed knife), scrape small tbsp. portions into the boiling water. Once the pizokel come to the surface they are ready. Remove them with a slotted spoon and set them aside (add a little oil to keep them from sticking together). Repeat with the rest of the batter.

In a pan heat a tbsp. rapeseed oil and add the pizokel to brown, add the butter to improve browning process. Add the garlic, potatoes and savoy cabbage; continue cooking for a couple of minutes.

In a warm serving plate, place 1/3 of the pizokel, on top sprinkle half of each of the two cheeses. Repeat the layers once more and finally top with the remaining pizokel. Serve without waiting.