Crispy Tofu and Asparagus Rice

Crispy Tofu Asparagus RiceTofu is something I have always liked, unfortunately a lot of the people around aren’t fans or I never really get a chance to cook for them. Continue reading

One I’m trying to convert to like tofu is my mother so today when she came over I made this dish. Knowing she loves everything that is crispy I thought I could pull it off with such a recipe… and I did! She really enjoyed it, so did I and even my fussy dog had a taste of it and ate it. I used some asparagus for this dish because the season will soon end but during the rest of the year there are tons of other options you can pair this with. And depending on which veggies you’re using you could also add some 2-3 cloves of garlic or some onions.

Next week trying and testing my wedding hair and make up and in addition I’ll be choosing the different décors for the event so I’ll take the week of. I’ll be back the following week. Meanwhile I wish you all a nice weekend!

 

Crispy Tofu and Asparagus Rice

 

Crispy Tofu and Asparagus Rice

 

Recipe for: 4-6 people

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

 

Ingredients:

300 g fine asparagus

300 g tofu

240 g long grain rice (I used basmati)

3 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp. olive oil

2-3 chillies (seeds removed)

3-4 tbsp. rice vinegar

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp. sesame seeds

Soy sauce to serve

 

Recipe:

Cook the rice according to package instructions. Once done set aside.

Finely chop the chillies and roughly chop the asparagus into about 1 cm pieces.

Rinse the tofu and pat it dry with some kitchen paper. Lay a tea towel on a bowl and with your hands crumble the tofu in it. Close the tea towel by twisting it on top and wring out as much moisture as you can.

Heat 2 tbsp. of the sesame oil the tbsp. olive oil to a pan on a high fire. Once the oil is almost at smoking point add the crumbled tofu. Spread it evenly on a single layer in the pan. Season it with salt and pepper. Without touching it, let the tofu fry for a couple of minutes. Once it’s crispy toss and continue to cook it until it’s nice and crispy all over. If the pan is too small do it in two batches, dividing the oil too. Once done set the tofu aside and give the pan a wipe.

Reduce the fire to a medium heat and add the last tbsp. of sesame oil with the chopped chillies. After a minute add the asparagus and cook until they’re done but still crispy, about a couple of minutes. Then add the crispy tofu and the rice, toss and add the rice vinegar. Once all the ingredients are nice and hot transfer them to a serving plate and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Serve with soy sauce on the side.

Mushroom Broccoli Phyllo Pockets

Mushroom Broccoli Parcels With a full week and weekend I was happy to stay at home on Sunday and dedicate myself to a little cooking. Sunday to me is the no sports day, which means I have more time on my hands. Continue reading

With time on my hands and a pack of phyllo pastry waiting in the fridge I got down to preparing these veggie filled pockets. The broccoli and mushroom filling is easy to make and to actually put the pockets together, after the first one or two pieces, you’ll easily get the hang of it. I found it trickier to actually describe the procedure than to make it. These savoury treats are easy to hold in your hands and they will work well for an aperitif or a friendly buffet… one of my favourite ways to spend a meal.

 

 

Mushroom Broccoli Phyllo Pockets

Recipe for 8 pieces

Prep time: 35-40 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients:

180 g chestnut mushrooms

1 red onion

260 g broccoli florets roughly chopped

180 g sour cream

6 sheets rectangular phyllo pastry

2 tbsp. olive oil

40 g melted butter

45 g grated cheese (I used parmesan)

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Slice the mushrooms into ½ cm pieces. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a non-stick pan and add the mushrooms to brown. Make sure the pieces are all on one layer, otherwise do it in more batches. Once done set the mushrooms aside.

Wipe the pan and add the second tbsp. olive oil along with the chopped onion. Cook until soft for 4-5 on a low-medium fire then add the broccoli florets. Season with salt and pepper and cook on a medium fire until the broccoli turn bright green, stirring regularly. Once the greens are done add the mushrooms and the sour cream and cook for another couple of minutes. Correct seasoning if needed and set aside.

Take one sheet of phyllo pastry and brush it with the melted butter. Take a second piece and place it on top. Brush the second piece of phyllo pastry and add a third one on top. Place the three sheets with the width in front of you. With a pair of kitchen scissors cut the layered pastry in half, then cut each piece into half again. While you are working with phyllo pastry make sure the sheets you’re not using are sealed in some aluminium paper so they don’t dry.

Take one of the four strips and place a tbsp. of the prepared vegetables at one of the two extremities, on top sprinkle a tsp. of the grated cheese. Fold the pastry where the filling is by placing an angle towards the other side of the strip (see picture). Now that you have the main shape continue to fold the pastry until the end of the strip. Seal the pastry parcel by brushing a little butter on the last fold. Place fold down on a baking tray lined with oven paper. Repeat with the rest of the strips and repeat the whole operation with the last three sheets of phyllo pastry.

Quinoa Cauliflower Casserole

Quinoa Cauliflower Casserole Since a few years the Ascension a Pentecost period rhymes with little sleep, a concentrated social life and little time to get ahead with my projects… Continue reading

so I hope I didn’t make any mistakes while writing this recipe. Since casseroles are a love of mine I thought I’d make one with an eye on the healthy side. I used quinoa, cauliflower and tried to limit the amount of milk I used to remove a few calories. Although I guess the problem of something one likes, has a lot to do with the quantity besides the kind of food being served. I admit that since I liked it, I didn’t pull back and ended up feeling stuffed. Fortunately regrets didn’t last for long. I hope you’ll like it and meanwhile I wish you all great weekend.

 

Quinoa Cauliflower Casserole

 

 

Quinoa Cauliflower Casserole

 

Recipe for 4-6

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 45 min

 

Ingredients:

650 g cauliflower florets

200 g quinoa

2-3 garlic cloves

4 tbsp. butter (plus extra to grease the baking dish)

4 tbsp. flour

Nutmeg

5 dl stock

2 dl milk

3 tbsp. canola oil

80 g grated cheese (I used Gruyere)

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Cook the quinoa in two times its volume in salted water for 12-15 min. Once done set aside.

Meanwhile cut the cauliflower florets into smaller florets, about the size of a small walnut.

Finely chop the garlic.

Heat the vegetable oil in a pan and add the cauliflower. Cook on a medium-high fire for a couple of minutes stirring regularly. Season the cauliflower with salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and reduce fire if the cauliflower is browning too quickly. Cook for a further 4-6 min. Once done, remove the pan from the fire, add in the quinoa and mix. Now transfer the whole to a greased baking dish and set aside.

On a low-medium fire melt the butter in a pan with high sides, add a little nutmeg and the flour and start whisking for 3-4 min. Now start pouring the milk little by little while still whisking. Once the milk is finished start pouring the stock. Let the white sauce densify between one addition of liquid and another. Once you have used up all the liquid and your sauce is ready remove the pan from heat and add in 50 grams of the grated cheese and stir.

Pour the white sauce on top of the quinoa and cauliflower. With the help of a spatula or a fork gently integrate the white sauce with the other ingredients. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and cook on the upper part of your preheated oven a 190°C for about 20 min or until top is nice and brown. Remove from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

 

Vanilla Bread Pudding Cake or Torta di Pane alla Vaniglia

Vanilla Bread Pudding Cake I had a truly fun weekend where I volunteered to help out at an enogastronomic walk in Cardada (a mountain just above Locarno). The walk was dedicated to our local produces so I thought I’d post a recipe that is typical from my region: the torta di pane (or bread pudding cake). Continue reading

This is the second torta di pane recipe I post. The difference is that in this version there’s no cocoa powder; instead I used white chocolate for a twist. This kind of recipe is a great way to use leftover bread and it’s so easy that you just can’t get it wrong. For information, this cake is not made to be overly sweet and it should stay nice and moist once it’s cooked. This traditional recipe is something everyone makes here in Ticino and you can also easily find it in restaurants and grottoes.

 

 

Vanilla Bread Pudding Cake or Torta di Pane alla Vaniglia

 

For a 24-26 cm round cake mold

Prep time: 25 min (plus soaking time)

Cook time: about 1 hour

 

Ingredients:

200 g stale bread (white or semi-white)

100 g amaretti

7 dl milk

1 vanilla pod

100 g dried apricots (the sour kind) – I would have loved to use dried physalis but didn’t find them. Sultanas are also an option

Zest of 1 lemon

100 g slivered nuts

60 g white chocolate

2 eggs

40 g sugar

50 g melted butter

Icing Sugar (optional)

 

Recipe:

In a bowl or container break the bread into pieces and add the amaretti.

Pour the milk in a pan. Incise the vanilla pod by its length and scrape out the seeds. Add the pod and the seeds to the milk and bring to a boil. Once ready pour over the stale bread and amaretti and leave to soak for 2-3 hours. You can leave the vanilla pod in, just remember to remove it once the bread and biscuits have soaked.

Chop the dried apricots and place them in a cup. Add hot water and leave them to soak for a couple of hours.

Grate the white chocolate.

Heat oven at 190°C.

Once the bread and amaretti have soaked, mash them with a fork as finely as possible.  Drain the apricots and add them to the bread preparation along with the white chocolate, the lemon zest, and ¾ of the almonds.

In a separate bowl  mix well the eggs and the sugar and add the butter and eventually the grappa. Pour over the rest and mix the ingredients with your hands or with a spatula until the mass looks even.

Grease the sides of a cake tin and dust with flour. Line the bottom of the cake tin with oven paper. Transfer the preparation to the cake tin and even out the surface. Add the remaining pine nuts and place in the oven for about 1 hour.

Once ready leave to cool before removing from mold. Eventually sprinkle surface with icing sugar.

 

Roasted Bell Pepper Caprese Salad

Roasted Bell Pepper Caprese SaladLately I’m in a mood for coloured food: red, yellow, bright green. Just by looking at dishes with fresh and vibrant ingredients I feel energised. Continue reading

So in case I continue in a colourful vibe, you’ll know why… Generally I don’t ear caprese salad when I go out because I’m quite difficult with it. First I hate it when you feel pain in your teeth because the tomatoes come straight out of the fridge. Second, I like my tomatoes very thinly sliced for a caprese. To give this classic a twist I used bell peppers, they have a sweet taste I like to pair with mozzarella. This simple recipe is great for occasions such as summer dinners and barbecues and you can also prepare it a few hours in advance to save you time for other things.

Roasted Bell Pepper Caprese Salad Roasted Bell Pepper Caprese Salad

 

Roasted Bell Pepper Caprese Salad

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 40 min

 

Ingredients:

2 red bell peppers

2 yellow bell peppers

300 g mozzarella

2 tbsp. sherry vinegar

4 tbsp. olive oil

1.5 tbsp. chopped basil leaves

1.5 tbsp. roughly chopped almonds (preferably dry roasted)

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

Preheat oven at 200°C.

Place the bell peppers (stem on the side) in a baking tray lined with aluminium foil. Bake in the oven for 40 min, turning them on opposite side after 20 min. Once the bell peppers are charred and seem to collapse remove them from the oven. Wait until you can handle them before peeling the skin (I actually like if there’s a little skin left so I didn’t bother peeling everything off). To do this cut the bell peppers from top to bottom and lay them out flat, remove the stem and the seeds. With a knife or your hands remove the skin from each pepper. Then cut them along where the membrane is and slice horizontally into 2-3 pieces.

Slice the mozzarella into ½ cm thick pieces.

On a single serving, or on four small plates, overlap a piece of red bell pepper, then the yellow bell pepper then the mozzarella. Continue until the ingredients are finished.

In a bowl mix the olive oil, the sherry vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Stir the dressing and drizzle it on top of the salad. Finally sprinkle over the almonds and basil.

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad 2.2 These Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad are the kind of dish I love making, eating and sharing. Continue reading

The more I cook the more I notice my love for making veggie filled dishes. On the other hand I also notice that my sweet baking skills have room for improvement… Anyway, since I haven’t seen much sun lately I wanted to encourage warm days by making something with an eye towards summer. Aubergines and salad to me scream warm and sunny days. With the wedges I made the wheat salad by adding ingredients that pair well with aubergines: tomatoes, walnuts, chilli and a little garlic. Easy and healthy, I hope you’ll like it as much as I did.

 

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad

 

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 25-30 min

 

Ingredients

2 small aubergines (stem trimmed) – about 500 g

160 g tomatoes – the meatier the better

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

1-2 cloves garlic

Chilli powder

2 tbsp. dry roasted coarsely chopped walnuts

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

1.5 tbsp. lemon juice

160 g wheat (I used the precooked kind)

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 200°C.

Cut the aubergines in half lengthways, and then cut each half into four equal sized wedges. Brush each piece with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place the wedges (skin side down) on a parchment lined baking tray and cook for 25-30 min in the oven. If the top gets too dark turn the wedges on one side and flip them after a few minutes.

Meanwhile cook the wheat according to package instructions (about 10 min.) in salted water. Drain if needed once done.

Chop the tomato into about ½ cm pieces and using a garlic crusher crush the cloves (alternatively finely chop it)

Prepare the dressing by mixing the lemon juice with 3 tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper.

In a bowl combine the cooked wheat, chopped tomatoes, garlic, parsley, walnuts and dressing.

Place the aubergine wedges on a serving plate(s) and add the wheat salad on top. Serve