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.

 

Sweet Potato Aubergine Melts

sweet-potato-melts

Last weekend I attended one of my favourite events: the enogastronomic walk that is Gusta il Borgo. Last year I couldn’t be present as I was getting married but this year I wouldn’t have missed for anything in the world. The nine kilometre walk around the beautiful town of Ascona while tasting wine and genuine products is a perfect excuse for some movement in a truly friendly context. Continue reading

Here are a few pictures of our day where the only thing I have to remember next time is to smother myself with more sun cream…

 

 

Summer events may be getting to an end, but fortunately it’s not the case for local, organic produce, like the aubergines in this recipe. With this I decided to make a friendly easy and healthy recipe and thought that tartines, toasts and/or melts are a great match. As I was preparing this recipe I began thinking about the infinity of combinations for every season of the year; for instance, with autumn just around the corner, I’ll try this with some diced butternut squash, goat cheese and some rosemary or sage.

Sweet Potato Melts

 

Sweet Potato Aubergine Melts

Recipe for 8 pieces

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients:

2-3 sweet potatoes

1 small aubergine

1-2 garlic cloves (depending on the size)

30 g quinoa

150 g mozzarella

1-2 chillies

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

16-18 basil leaves

 

Recipe:

Place the quinoa in two times its volume of water, season with salt and bring it to a boil. Simmer for about 15 min, until it’s done and the water will have been absorbed. Once done set aside.

Heat oven at 210°C (fan 190°C).

Meanwhile, clean and dry the sweet potatoes. Lengthwise, cut the extremities and discard them. Now cut the sweet potatoes into 1 cm thick slices and brush them with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper on both sides. Just remember that the amounts in this recipe are made for eight slices. Place the sweet potato in the oven and bake for 25-30 min, turning them once or twice during the cooking process.

Remove the seeds from the chillies and finely chop them, along with the garlic. Cut the aubergine into 1 cm thick slices, stack them (maybe not all at once) and cut them into small cubes.

Add 1 tbsp. olive oil, the chillies and the garlic to a non-stick pan and fry for 2-3 min on a medium heat. Add the aubergine cubes, season with salt and pepper and brown them on all sides tossing regularly. Finally add the cooked quinoa, mix everything together and remove from the fire. Rectify taste if needed.

Slice the mozzarella into ½ cm thick slices.

Once the sweet potatoes are done remove the tray from the oven and evenly spoon the aubergine/quinoa preparation, on top distribute the mozzarella slices.

Turn on the broiler and place the sweet potato melts in the oven for a few minutes. Once the mozzarella will have melted and lightly browed remove the melts from the oven, top with the basil leaves and serve asap.

 

 

Aubergine Halloumi Skewers

Aubergine Halloumi Skewers

It’s such a great time of the year when you can live with the door open and enjoy the mild weather from morning to night. Like in many places, in Switzerland, grill parties are as popular with people as the blueberries in my garden are with blackbirds… Continue reading

So in honour of nice days outdoor eating I thought I’d make some vegetarian skewers which can work a main or as a side dish. Few ingredients are needed to make this recipe and not only it looks nice but the combination of Halloumi cheese and aubergine is something I just love. Enjoy!!!

 

Aubergine Halloumi Skewers Aubergine Halloumi Skewers

 

Aubergine Halloumi Skewers

 

Recipe for 8 skewers

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 10 min

 

Ingredients:

1 medium aubergine

250 g Halloumi cheese

1 spring onion

Olive oil

Pepper

(optional: salt)

 

Recipe:

 

Cut the Halloumi cheese into 2.5-3 cm cubes and do the same with the aubergine. Here, if you wish you can season the aubergine with salt. I didn’t do it as personally I find the Halloumi cheese is already salty enough in combination with the eggplant.

Take one skewer and pierce one aubergine cube, then, pierce a cheese cube (be gentle with the cheese as it may easily break). Alternate the two ingredients on the skewers; in the end you should have about 6-8 cubes on each stick. Lightly brush them with olive oil and season with pepper.

Either on a hot barbecue or on a griddle pan (if you’re don’t have any of them at hand, use a normal pan) place the skewers and allow them to colour on all sides by turning them regularly.

Meanwhile slice the spring onion.

Once the skewers are ready place them on a serving plate, drizzle a little olive oil on them and sprinkle the spring onions as a final touch.

 

 

Crispy Almond Crusted Asparagus

Crispy Almond Crusted Asparagus

Asparagus season is drawing to an end, but before saying, “See you next year” I wanted to make a last recipe for this spring with these green spears. Continue reading

This simple recipe is something versatile since you can serve it on its own as an appetiser or you can serve it as a side dish or on a nice salad, maybe with some cheese or salmon. I wasn’t too sure about the how much to heat the oven so here, I found a recipe for oven roasted asparagus that worked perfectly. For the breading, along with the flour and egg I made a mix of dry roasted ground asparagus and polenta flour, which gave an extra crisp to the texture.

Crispy Almond Crusted Asparagus

 

Crispy Almond Crusted Asparagus

 

Recipe for 3-4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 20-25 min

 

Ingredients:

320-340 g asparagus washed woody part removed.

50 g ground almonds

1 large egg beaten

3 generous tbsp. fine grain polenta

2 tbsp. flour

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Pre-heat oven at 220°C.

In a non-stick pan place the ground almonds and dry toast them on a medium fire, stir regularly. Once the almonds will have browned, place them in a dish and set them aside to cool.

Take three shallow dishes and in the first place the flour, in the second place the egg and in the last combine the polenta with the ground almonds and some salt and pepper.

Take an asparagus, dust it with the flour, and then dip it in the egg, making sure there are no dry spots left. Finally evenly coat it with the polenta and almond mix and place the asparagus on a baking tray lined with oven paper. Repeat the process up to the last asparagus.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus. Serve as a side dish, as an appetizer, on a salad….

 

Beet and Feta Fritters

Beet and Feta Fritters
One thing I always like to keep in my fridge is a pack cooked beetroots because in the end they always come in handy as side dish, a dip, with some pasta or some cheese. Continue reading

Hanging in my fridge was a pack that would soon go past its consumption date and so when my mother came over I decided I’d use them to make some beet and feta fritters. As a base for this recipe I found a simple fritter recipe I liked on the justataste blog and adapted it to my version, which aside from the veggies also contained cheese. We really enjoyed the taste of these fritters; the only critique I would make to myself is that I could have let them brown a little more; next time I’ll try not to get stressed about being late for preparing lunch…
In the end we had a nice lunch combination as the fritters went well with our usual smoked salmon aperitif.

Beet and Feta FrittersBeet and Feta FrittersBeet and Feta Fritters


Beet and Feta Fritters

Recipe for 4
Prep time : 15 min
Cook time: 4-6 min per batch

Ingredients:
440g cooked beets without skin
180g feta
2 large egg
90g flour
a handful chopped spring onions
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Recipe:
Grate the beets with a large holed grater and then transfer them to a sieve (with a bowl underneath), season them with a little salt and let them rest for 10-15 min to remove the liquid. Once the time has passed, using the back of a tablespoon or your hands, press on the beets to remove as much moisture as possible. Transfer to a bowl.
Roughly chop the spring onions, crumble the feta cheese and add them to the beets along with the flour and the egg. Mix until evenly combined.
Line a dish with kitchen paper.
Coat the bottom of a pan with oil and place on a medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, take a heaped tbsp. of the beetroot fritter mix and place it on the pan, slightly press it down and shape it into a round. Repeat the operation with as many fritters you can fit, remembering that they should be a 4-5 cm apart from one another. Let the fritters cook for 2-3 minutes and once they are brown flip them and cook until the other side is brown too. Once done place them on the kitchen paper, optionally sprinkle some salt and do another batch.
Serve them by themselves or with some yoghurt or sour cream.

Sweet Potato Slices with Avocado Dip

Sweet Potato Slices with Avocado Dip
I’m back from my honeymoon! And I can say we had a great time in France. In ten days I managed to satisfy my history curiosity, to make my taste buds happy with good food and good wine and finally to calm down my shopping cravings. Continue reading

All this, I experienced in the company of my husband (well, he didn’t find the shopping part as exciting as I did). We spent five days in Paris then moved to Tours where we visited a few of the castles of the Loire Valley. Here are a few pictures of our trip.

We came back on Saturday night and on Sunday my mother came by to return my hairy and wet nosed house mate Kumo, and kindly she also brought me some groceries since I had little left to eat at home. It was not much but I managed to make my lunch a treat by baking these sweet potato slices with this avocado dip. As a base for my sweet potatoes I used the recipe I found on
foodfunandhappiness.

Sweet Potato Slices with Avocado Dip

Sweet Potato Slices with Avocado Dip

Recipe for 4
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30-35 min

Ingredients:

600 g sweet potatoes
2 tbsp. breadcrumbs
4 tbsp. finely grated cheese
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Cayenne pepper
Garlic powder
Salt

Dip:
2 avocadoes
2 tbsp. fresh cheese
2 tbsp. finely chopped onion
Cayenne pepper
Salt

Recipe:
Heat oven at 190°C.
Wash the sweet potatoes and slice them into 0.5 cm pieces. Rinse them under the water to remove as much starch as possible and then dry them well using kitchen paper (this process will make them crispier).
In a bowl add the olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper and garlic powder; add the sweet potato slices and toss until evenly coated. Now add the breadcrumbs and the grated cheese and toss again.
Line a baking tray with oven paper and spread the potatoes on a single layer. Sprinkle any remaining grated cheese and breadcrumb mix left on top of the sweet potato slices. Bake in the oven for 30-35 min, turning them every 10-12 min.
Meanwhile prepare the dip by removing the flesh of the avocado and mashing it with a fork. Combine with the fresh cheese, the chopped onion and cayenne pepper and salt to taste.
Once the potatoes are done serve them immediately with the dip.

Sweet Potato Broccoli Tartlets

Sweet Potato Broccoli TartletsI’m always in for any recipe I can make where I just throw everything in a container of some sort, put it in the oven and just taste it once it’s done. Yeah, I like cooking although sometimes I feel a little lazy. Continue reading

So last week I was feeling adventurous and so I decided to give these tartlets a try. When I try new recipe out of my imagination I always feel a little tense and curious but once I saw and tasted the result, I was happy with myself. This is a recipe you cannot get wrong (unless you forget the tartlets in the oven), it’s made with simple and healthy ingredients and the sweet potatoes and the broccoli can easily be cooked in advance. With the days getting cooler I find that tarts and similar recipes go perfectly with the weather… maybe it’s an idea or maybe it’s the cookng method but I find that anything that comes out of the oven has a cosy side to it.

 

 

Sweet Potato Broccoli Tartlets

 

Recipe for 6×10.5 cm tartlet moulds

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients:

350 g peeled sweet potatoes

150 g broccoli florets

60 g grated Gruyere

3 generous tbsp. flour (+ extra for dusting the moulds)

½ tbsp. smoked paprika

1 egg

Salt and pepper

1 small tbsp. butter (+ extra to grease the moulds)

A handful of arugula leaves (optional)

 

Recipe :

Cut the sweet potatoes into chunks and boil them in salted water. Once they’re soft drain them.

Using the same pan bring another pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the broccoli florets by boiling them for 2 ½-3 min, drain them and place them in icy water. Remove them from the water and roughly chop them.

Mash the sweet potatoes add the flour and mix. Now add the smoked paprika, the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper. Mix all together and correct taste if needed. Add the egg and mix until it’s combined before adding the chopped broccoli.

Grease the aluminium moulds with butter and dust them with some flour. With a spatula or a spoon fill each mould until the top and even out the top surface. On top of each tartlet add a few pieces of butter.

Cook for about 20 min in a preheated oven at 200°C. Once done leave the tartlets a couple of minutes to cool before removing them from their moulds. If using them, top with arugula leaves and serve.

Spinach Cheese Puffs

Spinach Cheese Puffs Last Friday I had guests coming over and we had a raclette evening and used the cheese friends of mine produce in a nearby valley (the breathtaking Verzasca Valley). Continue reading

A raclette doesn’t require much cooking at all except for the boiling the potatoes, but I wanted to use my kitchen for something more so I made these gougères (cheese puffs) for the aperitif and I was happy to see they disappeared quicker than the dried meat I served. Cheese puffs are for me a really fun food to eat, they’re easy to make and always make a nice impression. So as a base for these cheese puffs I went on the marmiton.org site and then I just added the spinach and pine nuts. In the end this turned out to be an evening in honour of Swiss dairy … and oh, how I love this!

 

 

Spinach Cheese Puffs

Recipe for about 30 pieces

Prep time: 25-30 min

Cook time: 30 min

 

Ingredients:

150 g fresh spinach

80 g butter

2.5 dl water

150 g sifted flour

4 eggs

150 g grated Swiss cheese (I used aged Gruyere)

Nutmeg

Salt and pepper

Optional: 2-3 tbsp. pine nuts

 

Recipe:

Turn on oven at 200°C.

In a pan cook the spinach until the leaves are soft. When they’re done let them slightly cool, place them in a tea towel and wring out as much excess moisture as possible. Place the spinach on a cutting board and finely chop them with a large knife.

In a high-sided pan bring the water and the butter to a boil, once it’s simmering add the flour all at once and stir vividly for a minute on a low fire with a wooden spatula, this will make the mass dry up. Remove from the fire a let the dough slightly cool. Add the eggs one by one stirring between each addition until the egg has been combined into the dough. Add the cheese, spinach, a little nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix everything together.

Line a baking tray with oven paper. Using a teaspoon make little balls and place them on the baking tray leaving a little space between each unit as they will grown in size. On top, if using them, place 3-4 pine nuts. Bake in the oven for about 25 min. With these quantities I made three batches and cooked them one at the time. Serve warm or cold.

Vegetarian Quinoa Balls

Vegetarian Quinoa Balls
So here we are, this is the last post before my wedding! Continue reading

Fortunately I’m trying to stay healthy with good food and exercise otherwise my patience and diplomacy could easily get lost on the way…especially for anything that has to do with hair and make up (things I usually avoid dedicating too much time on 😉 ). So for my last post as a non-wedded person I decided to make these vegetarian balls, which turned out surprisingly good, especially once I added the potato to make everything stick together. This is an easy recipe and the good thing is that the veggies and the quinoa can be cooked previously so that the final preparation will take less time to get done.

I hope you’ll enjoy it and keep fingers crossed for Saturday…may I not fall while walking down the aisle 😉

Vegetarian Quinoa Balls Vegetarian Quinoa Balls

 

Vegetarian Quinoa Balls

 

For about 13-14 balls

Pre time: 30 min

Cook time: 40 min

 

Ingredients:

1 bell pepper

1 corncob

1 red onion

2 tbsp. tomato paste

1-2 red chilli peppers

160 g boiled potatoes

90 g quinoa

300 g tofu

1.5 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves

1 large egg

2 tbsp. vegetable oil (+extra to grease the baking tray)

Salt

 

Recipe:

Cut off the top and the bottom of the bell pepper; remove the seeds and any other white part. Cut it in half and the cut it into 0.5 cm strips. Now chop the strips into 0.5 cm pieces.

Remove the grains from the corn by holding almost vertically and running the blade of a large knife downwards. Finally finely chop the onion.

Heat a non-stick pan on a medium fire; add 1 tbsp. oil with the chopped onion and cook for 4-5 min stirring regularly. Then add the bell pepper and the corn, season with salt and cook for about 8 minutes stirring regularly. Add the tomato paste and the chilli and cook for another 3-4 min.

In a high-sided pan add the portion of quinoa and two times its amount in water. Bring to a boil and let it simmer on a low fire for 15 minutes. Once done add it to the vegetables season with salt and let everything cool until lukewarm.

Mash the boiled potatoes and finely crumble the tofu. Add them to the vegetables and quinoa along with the coriander leaves and the egg. Mix until all is evenly distributed and with your hands form little balls of about 5 cm. Grease a baking dish and place the vegetarian balls in it. Combine 1 tbsp. tomato paste, 1 tbsp. oil and a few drops water in a small cup or bowl. Brush the top of the vegi balls before baking them for 20 min in a preheated the oven at 190°C. Serve asap.

 

A Thought for My Dad & Peanut Crusted Chicken with Salsa

Peanut Crusted Chicken with SalsaAfter some time I have posted a recipe with some meat. As time goes by, I find myself eating less and less meat. The only things I really still enjoy are chicken and spare ribs. I guess it’s eating with my fingers what I truly enjoy. In this recipe I have tried to combine flavours that all go well together according to The Flavour Thesaurus (from Niki Segnit) book: chicken, peanuts, tomato, coriander leaves, chilli and lime. This is the cookbook I have been using the most, I find it inspiring and even when I’m not looking for a recipe I browse through the ingredients for the fun of it. Continue reading

 

After hesitating I decided to write something more personal than usual. Today is a sad anniversary for me and I’m finding it difficult to concentrate. Exactly seventeen years ago my father died and with my wedding coming up, I am finding this anniversary more difficult than usual. On this occasion I wanted to share a picture of the two of us back in 1997:

My Dad and II so wish that on my wedding I could turn around and see him sitting next to my mother, looking at me the way he used to. Tomorrow I will certainly feel better and anyway this is life. I felt like sharing this event because I wish everyone could have known what a great person he was. I really miss him but I am also really thankful to have had him in my life, no matter how long it lasted. Thank you Dad.

 

 

Peanut Crusted Chicken with Salsa

 

Recipe for 4 as an appetiser or 2 as a meal

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 12-15 min

 

 

Ingredients

Chicken:

240g chicken breast

70 g peanuts

2 generous tbsp. breadcrumbs

1 egg (beaten)

Salt and pepper

Zest of 1 lime

1 lime

 

Salsa:

200 g meaty tomatoes

1 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves

1 large tbsp. chopped spring onion

½-1 tsp. sugar

1 finely chopped red chilli

Salt

 

 

Recipe:

 

Heat oven at 190°C.

Cut the tomato(es) into small pieces and then finely chop them. Place them in a small holed strainer and season them with salt. Place the strainer in a bowl and leave aside.

Coarsely process the peanuts and place them in a bowl with the breadcrumbs and lime zest.

In another bowl place the beaten egg.

Cut the chicken into about 4 cm pieces and season it generously with salt and pepper. Dip the each piece in the beaten egg first and then evenly coat with the peanut and breadcrumb mix. Place the pieces on a parchment lined baking tray and cook for 12-15 min in the oven.

Meanwhile prepare the salsa by mixing the tomatoes in a bowl along with the coriander leaves, spring onion, sugar, red chilli and salt.

Once the chicken is ready place it in a serving plate with the salsa on the side.

Cut the lime into wedges and place them on top of the chicken for each to drizzle according to their taste.