Kale and Butternut Wreath


It’s been a few moths since I last posted, but this has been the most special year for me. The most important thing is that I’ve learned to face my fears, and I feel stronger than ever before. I don’t want to get into too much detail because it’s our story, but I recently got divorced to my best friend, and this event triggered a sense of independence I didn’t think I had in me. Continue reading

Strangely, my ex husband and I found a balance in our divorce. We’re there for each other, and I feel incredibly lucky. I feared more the prospective of splitting up than once I was in, and learned that this is the case for so many things in life. At the moment I’m rebuilding my life, but I’m happy to be surrounded by great people, and I’m ready to face whatever will come my way.
2017 is about to end, and since this will be my last recipe for this year I thought I’d post a festive recipe. I had a few friends over last week and made this kale and butternut wreath with a warm cannellini salad. I based my version on this recipe. I always dreaded hosting a vegetarian dinner that wasn’t a fondue or a raclette (our Swiss staple winter food), but now I dare. Even if there are comments on there not being meat, I don’t care anymore. Well I hope you’ll like it.
From the bottom of my heart I wish everyone the best for the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018!


Kale and Butternut Wreath

Recipe for 4
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 40 min

Ingredients:
300 g butternut
1 red onion
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove
A few scrapes of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
40g kale
1 x 32 cm puff pastry round (preferably always use the pure butter kind)
80 g fresh cheese (I used a local kind called ‘Büscion’, but ricotta or fresh goat cheese are just as good alternatives.)
3-4 tbsp. grated Gruyere cheese + 2 extra for dusting the crown
1 egg beaten

Recipe:
Heat oven at 220°C.
Cut the butternut into 1,5-2 cm cubes. Cut the onion in half then into chunks, and divide its layers. Crush the garlic clove with the blade of a knife. Place everything into a baking tin. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil, salt, pepper and a bit of nutmeg, and mix. Bake for 20 min, tossing mid way through the cooking process. Once ready remove form over and let the veggies cool a little (this stage can easily be made a few hours in advance).
Reduce oven heat to 200°C.
Finely chop the kale.
Place the puff pastry on a baking tray lined with oven paper. Cut it into quarters and then each quarter in half. In a round, turn the points outwards to create a star like shape. Make sure the pieces of dough slightly overlap each other.
Scatter the kale at the base of the triangles (optionally season with a little salt), and on top add the cooked butternut and onion. Sprinkle four tablespoons of the grated Gruyere and on each piece place a little of the fresh cheese (about 10g per triangle). Season with pepper. Take the points of the triangles and delicately fold them towards the inside of the wreath.
Add a few drops of water to the beaten egg, and brush the top of the pastry with it. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for about 20 min, until golden brown.

Beet and Roquefort Salad with a Honey Dressing

 

Beet and Roquefort Salad with a Honey Dressing

Summers in Ticino are becoming increasingly warmer, and my diet lately has been made of salads, spare ribs (the only meat I still truly enjoy), and more salads. Continue reading

I’ve been consuming loads of vegetables with chickpeas, beans, and lentils, but for once I wanted something with a stronger taste, and this beet and Roquefort salad with a honey dressing is the result. The sweetness of the honey dressing, and the beetroot contrast the powerful taste of Roquefort. For the texture I dry roasted a few buckwheat grains, with the arugula they make up the crunchy side of the recipe, while for the softness there’s the cooked root and the cheese. This is something I would easily serve during a dinner with friends, either as a starter, or as a side.

Beet and Roquefort Salad with a Honey Dressing

Beet and Roquefort Salad with a Honey Dressing

 

Beet and Roquefort Salad with a Honey Dressing

 

Recipe for 3-4

Prep time: 15 min

 

Ingredients:

4 tbsp. buckwheat

200 g peeled cooked beetroots

50 g arugula

60 g Roquefort

 

Dressing:

1.5 tbsp. runny honey

1.5 tbsp. white wine vinegar

1.5 tbsp. rapeseed oil

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

In a pan toast the buckwheat on a medium fire for 4-5 min, shake pan regularly. Remove from pan once they’re crunchy and fragrant.

Cut the beetroot into chunks of about 2 cm. On a serving plate, alternate the arugula leaves, the beetroot pieces, the buckwheat grains, and crumble the Roquefort on top.

In a bowl, mix the ingredients for the dressing, and drizzle on top of the salad.

Summer Lentil Salad

Summer Lentil Salad 4.1Hi everyone, I’m still alive. I haven’t been very present in the last few months, but I’m going through some changes in my life, and I needed to focus on myself. My motivation has come back, and soon I will make some changes to my blog, too. At the moment I’m still planning and getting my ideas down, and in September you’ll see some changes. Continue reading

Like any good tease, I’ll keep the mystery going, and reveal bit by bit my idea.

It’s my first recipe for this summer, and with a load of local produce to choose from, I’m in heaven. This recipe is inspired by a salad I saw last year on the wonderful smittenkitchen site, and I made my own version of it, according to the local produce I found. The two recipes use lentils and Burrata, a cheese whose name is already a guarantee (burro meaning butter in Italian). Instead of using zucchini, I used an aubergine, and tomatoes, which give moisture to the salad.

Summer Lentil Salad 5.1

 

Summer Lentil Salad

 

Recipe for 4

Time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients:

120g Puy lentils

2 tomatoes

A 150g Burrata

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 aubergine

Salt and pepper

A small bunch basil leaves

 

Recipe:

Rinse the lentils and place them in 1l water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 25 min.

Meanwhile dice the aubergine into 2 cm cubes. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a pan over medium fire, add the aubergine, and season with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides, and set aside once it’s ready.

Prepare the dressing by mixing 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp. olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut the tomatoes into roughly 1 cm pieces and set aside.

Divide the creamy Burrata into chunks.

Mix the aubergines with the lentils, the tomatoes, and the dressing. Transfer about a third into a salad bowl, and scatter a third of the Burrata with a few basil leaves. Repeat until all ingredients have been used, and serve.

Cauliflower Pasta Nests

Cauliflower Pasta Nests 5.1To celebrate the spring season I thought nests would be a great way to serve this baked spaghetti recipe. Continue reading

Maybe because growing up we never ate much pasta, but it’s not something I don’t cook too often, when I do instead, I often make a pasta bake. Last week I was looking at some recipes and fell across this recipe on the swissmilk site (recipe in French). I liked the visual side of and decided to make my own version; I used veggies instead of herbs, and spaghetti instead of the ‘Chinese’ noodles they used in the recipe. I wanted to use whole-wheat pasta, and that’s why I used spaghetti as I didn’t really have an alternative in my local grocery store. For this recipe, the best types of pasta you can use are the fine ones like vermicelli, spaghettini, …

I wish you all a happy Easter!

 

 Cauliflower Pasta Nests 1.1

 

 

Cauliflower Pasta Nests

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 25-30 min

 

Ingredients:

280 g spaghetti (preferably the fine ones, I used normal ones because I wanted to use the whole wheat kind and choice was limited

2 dl milk + 2-3 tbsp. extra milk

2 dl cream (I used 1/2 fat)

200 g cauliflower florets

2 tbsp. slivered almonds.

2 eggs

80 g grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 180°C.

Cook the pasta al dente in salted boiling water and drain.

Meanwhile chop the cauliflower florets into small pieces. Add it to the pasta once it’s cooked.

Using a fork roll the pasta into eight nests and place them in a baking dish one next to the other. Whatever chopped cauliflower and pine nuts are left in the pan, add it on top of the pasta nests

In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, 20 g of the grated Parmesan, almonds and milk. Mix them, and set aside.

In a larger bowl combine the cream, milk, eggs, 60 g of the grated cheese, pepper, and optionally salt. Mix and pour it on the pasta. If like me, your dish is a little too wide the nests might rise above the milk and cream mix, just press it down a little.

On top of the nests, evenly sprinkle the soaked almonds, breadcrumbs and cheese.

Bake in the over for about 20 min and enjoy!

Root Vegetables Quinoa Bowl

Root Vegetables Quinoa Bowl

 

Sticking to seasonal produce in winter isn’t always a walk in the vegetable garden, the variety is limited, but if there’s one thing you can count on, it’s root vegetables, and Switzerland has plenty of it. Continue reading

They are not an exclusively winter produce, so this recipe can easily be done all year round. One thing I find works particularly well with such ingredients is adding a little sweetness; so after roasting them, I added a drizzle of maple sugar (for the quantities I quickly checked on the saveur site). For this post I wanted to have a nice flavour combination, so to complement the vegetables, I made a lemony quinoa with the added crunch of hazelnuts. On top I crumbled some goat cheese because it added some freshness to the dish, but it’s something you can easily replace with some chicken breast or even skip the animal proteins altogether (which is how I made it the first time I tried this recipe out). I had this as a main dish, after a smoked salmon based apéritif and it was enough, but if you’re hungry, I’d suggest either serving this as a side or using the ratios below for 2-3 people.

Root Vegetables Quinoa BowlRoot Vegetables Quinoa Bowl

 

Root Vegetables Quinoa Bowl

 

Recipe for 4

Cook time: 20-25 min

Prep time: 15-20 min

 

Ingredients

440 g cooked quinoa (made from 240g uncooked quinoa)

400 g peeled carrots

400 g peeled parsnips

3-4 tbsp. maple syrup

1 onion

1 lemon – juice and zest finely grated

2 tbsp. thyme leaves

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

4 tbsp. dry roasted hazelnuts

4 tbsp. olive oil

100g fresh goat cheese

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

Pre-heat oven at 210°C.

Cut the carrots and parsnips into 2-2.5 cm chunks and place them in a baking tray. Drizzle them with 2 tbsp. olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste and toss. Bake in the oven for 20-25 min, turning the ingredients once or twice during the process.

Meanwhile roughly chop the hazelnuts.

Finely chop the onion and add it to a pan with 2 tbsp. olive oil and cook on a low-medium fire until translucent, about 4-5 min. Add the thyme, zest and lemon juice and cook for a few seconds before adding the quinoa. Mix all the ingredients and cook until warmed through, stirring regularly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from fire; add the hazelnuts and parsley and mix.

Now that the root vegetables are nicely coloured, drizzle over the maple syrup and toss.

In each bowl, place ¼ of the quinoa and ¼ of the parsnips/carrots. With your hands crumble the goat cheese and evenly distribute it.

 

Apple Tart with Crunchy Almonds

Apple Tart with Crispy Almonds

I’m back! I hope everyone had a nice winter holiday, if you were lucky, you might even have had some snow; unfortunately here in Switzerland we craved and waited for it, but it only arrived the day we travelled back. The car had more fun with the snow than we did… Continue reading

Back home, I don’t know about you, but after the holiday season, which is filled with elaborated and not so light dishes, I like to go back to some simplicity and this apple tart (with a little twist) was a great way to satisfy my sweet tooth. This is the kind of recipe I would usually serve during an easy evening, for example with my girlfriends; I cut it up into bite size pieces and place it in the middle of the table, this way my everyone eats the amount they want, I find it’s a friendly way of serving dessert, and between chats and sips you see it progressively disappearing.

Because almonds work great with apples, I looked for an alternative to what I usually do, which is spreading them in ground form under the fruit; I found this crispy topping idea here and applied it to my recipe and I really liked the end result, its taste and its consistency.

Apple Tart with Crispy Almonds

 

Apple Tart with Crunchy Almonds

 

Serves 8

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

 

Ingredients:

A 25×42 cm puff pastry sheet

3 baking apples like boskoop

100 g slivered almonds

60 g sugar

2 tbsp. milk

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 220°C.

Toast the almonds in a dry non-stick pan over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes, toss regularly until lightly browned; transfer into a bowl.

Core the apples and pass them through a slicer. I left the skin on, it’s more rustic and it has added nutritional value.

Spread the puff pastry out on a baking tray and spread over the apples by overlapping them by half.

Add the butter, sugar and milk to the frying pan over medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted, bring to the boil continue cooking for 1 minute. Add the almonds and mix well before turning into the pastry case. Without waiting, evenly spread the caramelized almonds over the apples.

Bake for 15 minutes in the middle of the oven. Serve warm or at room temperature, maybe with some vanilla ice cream.

 

 

Spinach and Mushroom Risotto Pie

Spinach and Mushroom Risotto Pie

Being Swiss, I naturally love the food of my country, but I generally find that its generally nutritious composition is better served during the coldest months of the year. Continue reading

Last week I found this rice pie recipe you can find here (in French) and thought it would be a good starting point. The base for this recipe is sweet and it contains raisins (which I don’t really like); instead, I made it into a savoury dish. I used an 18 cm spring form to make this pie, but further down, you’ll find the ration for a larger cake pan, which is a more common size and it can accommodate a larger crowd. What I liked about this spinach and mushroom pie is that without using too much cheese, its taste really comes through and complements the other flavours in the recipe.

Spinach and Mushroom Risotto PieSpinach and Mushroom Risotto Pie

Spinach and Mushroom Risotto Pie

 

Recipe for an 18 cm spring form baking tin – for about 4 people

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 50-60 min

 

Ingredients:

240g risotto rice

100g spinach leaves

20g dried porcini mushrooms

0.8-0.9 l hot vegetable or chicken stock

70g grated Gruyere

1.5 dl white wine

1 onion

2 large eggs

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp. butter

Extra butter and a little flour to grease and dust the spring form tin

 

For a 22-24 cm spring form baking tin, use these ratios:

360g risotto rice

50g spinach

30 g dried porcini

105g grated Gruyere

2.2 dl white wine

3 large eggs

Salt and pepper

1.5 tbsp. butter

Extra butter and a little flour to grease and dust the spring form tin

NOTE: for this second ratio, cook the pie a further 5-10 min

 

Recipe:

Soak the porcini mushrooms for about 30 min in a bowl of warm water. Once they’re soft, drain them and rinse them and roughly chop them.

Chop the onion.

Melt the butter in a pan and add the onion, cook 4-5 min. Add the porcini and the rice and cook the second until it becomes translucent, don’t forget to stir regularly throughout the risotto making process. Add the white wine and let it evaporate entirely. Pour some of the vegetable stock until the rice is covered. As the stock reduces, add more liquid, do not let the rice dry out. Cook the rice for 18 minutes; ideally the rice should still be a little al dente and nice and moist. Towards the end of the cooking process, add the spinach a handful at a time, stirring between each addition. Finally, blend in ¾ of the grated cheese and season with pepper and blend everything together. Leave the risotto to cool. This part of the recipe can easily be made in advance.

Heat oven at 180°C.

Add the two eggs to the cold risotto and mix everything together.

Generously grease the spring form baking tin with butter and dust it with some flour.

Transfer the risotto and egg mix to the baking tin, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake in the lower part of the oven for 30-40 min.

Once the top has a nice brown colour, remove the tin from the oven and let it rest for few minutes. Using a knife, cut around the edge of the pie to detach it from the tin and serve.

 

 

Butternut and Kale Bruschetta

butternut-and-kale-bruschetta-

A few days ago I organised a brunch at home. It was the first time I invited someone over so early but it turned out to be a lot of fun; we started at eleven o’clock in the morning and finished at five the only remaining guest left. Continue reading

I don’t know you, but when I plan something like this, I spend days figuring out what the best recipe for the occasion is, I try to please everyone’s taste and I also always try to make recipes that leave me time to enjoy the moment without being confined to the kitchen. In the end I made pancakes, a raspberry cake, some cold meats, cheese and bread the butternut and kale bruschetta. I decided to share the last dish because it was my personal favourite one. This simple recipe can partly be prepared in advance; in addition it’s also tasty and healthy.

 

butternut-and-kale-bruschetta-butternut-and-kale-bruschetta

 

Butternut and Kale Bruschetta

Recipe for 6 pieces

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 10 min

 

Ingredients:

50 g wilted kale

200 g butternut squash (peeled)

2 tbsp. pine nuts

1 small red onion

olive oil

6 slices bread (if the slice is too large cut it in half) about 1.5 cm thick

2 tbsp. shaved parmesan

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

In a dry pan add the pine nuts and gently roast them tossing regularly so that they son’t burn. Once they have a nice brown colour, transfer them to a small dish and set them aside to cool.

Cut the butternut squash into small cubes of about 1 cm. Finely chop the wilted kale and the onion.

Add 1 tbsp. olive oil and the onions to a pan. Cook them on a medium fire until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the butternut cubes and let them brown on all sides, tossing occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Once the butternut has softened (although it shouldn’t become mushy) add the kale and cook for another 2-3 min. Add the pine nuts, season to taste with salt and pepper and set the pan aside.

Turn on you oven broiler. Take the bread and brush it with olive oil on both parts. Place the slices under the broiler and toast them for a couple of minutes on each side. Check regularly as they can easily burn.

Spread the toasted slices on a serving dish, on top evenly distribute the butternut, kale, pine nut mix.

Top with the parmesan shavings and optionally drizzle a little more olive oil. Serve.

 

Carrot Chicken and Peanut Lettuce Wraps

Carrot Chicken and Peanut Lettuce Wraps

I have a thing for food pairings and I’m always on the lookout for new ideas. For this post I consulted my beloved The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit and a flavour pairing that grabbed my attention was the combination of carrots with salted peanuts. Continue reading

I didn’t want to make a simple salad out of it so I decided to make some lettuce wraps instead. In my lettuce wraps I also added some of the leftover chicken I had, and some coriander. The recipe in the book is taken from Nigella Lawson’s “The Rainbow Room’s Carrot and Peanut Salad”. The recipe calls for a generous amount of vinegar, which will cut through the oiliness of the peanuts. The vinegar will add a quality to the dish one can associate with some Asian salads. This super easy recipe is within everyone’s reach and the ingredients used are easily found all year round. I served this as an aperitif between friends and it was quickly put together went down perfectly with a little white wine.

 

 

 

Carrot Chicken and Peanut Lettuce Wraps

Recipe for 10 pieces

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: –

 

Ingredients:

120 cooked chicken

10 baby lettuce leaves

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. rapeseed oil

2 carrots (not too large)

3-4 tbsp. salted peanuts

2 generous tbsp. chopped coriander leaves

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Peel the carrots and grate them using a small holed grater. Place them in a bowl. Finely chop the coriander leaves, add them to the carrots and mix.

Using a fork shred the cooked chicken meat.

In a small bowl combine the red wine vinegar, the rapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roughly chop the peanuts.

Take the lettuce leaves and start by evenly distributing the carrots, followed by the chicken and finally the peanuts. Place the lettuce wraps on a serving plate and drizzle with the dressing.

 

Vegetable Flan

Vegetable Flan

Last week with a couple of friends we inaugurated the coming of autumn with the first cheese fondue of the season. That would be the first of a long weekend of fun celebratory events. Continue reading

Came Sunday, all I wanted was to hang around the home: no sports, wide pants and top, film and lit fireplace. I also wanted some easy to make food and found this flan recipe (in French), which I found would suit the mood. I made a few small changes and additions to the original version, the main one being the addition of lentils and some extra cheese.

 

 

Vegetable Flan

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 35 min

 

Ingredients:

130 cooked lentils (if you still have to cook them, the equivalent is 50 g raw lentils)

2 tomatoes

2 small zucchini

1 onion

2 tbsp. of thyme leaves

20 cl of fresh cream

4 tbsp. flour

4 eggs

100 g grated hard goat cheese (or any other cheese you like)

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Preheat the oven th.6 (180°C).

Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds, then cut them into small cubes of about 1 cm. Now take the zucchini and make zucchini spaghetti using a spiralizer. Alternatively, if you’re using a knife, cut the zucchini by its length into thin slices and then cut each slice into spaghetti like strings. A third alternative is to cut them into cubes of 1 cm. Chop the onion.

Mix all the vegetables, the thyme, the lentils and the grated cheese and place everything in a greased baking dish.

Add the flour to a bowl; add the cream and mix; then add the eggs, salt and pepper, blend all the ingredients together. Pour on the vegetables and gently move them to make sure the egg mix fills any gaps.

Bake in the oven for 35 min. Once done, use a knife to detach the flan from the edges. This dish can be made ahead. Serve hot or at room temperature.