Butternut and Kale Bruschetta

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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.

 

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.

 

 

Life Is Sweet…

Yoghurt Muesli Cake

I’m back! For this first post after a break, I wanted to post a sweet recipe since at the moment it reflects the summer I’ve had, filled with great friends, amazing moments and exciting news since in October I’ll be starting a master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster! Continue reading

Recently I bought sunglasses that have a yellowish tint and when you look through them, all seems brighter; at the moment, now even when I take them off, all still seems just as bright.

For this recipe, I tried to remain on the Swiss side of the kitchen and so I made this cake, which is inspired by one of our national breakfasts: the bircher muesli. As a starting point I took this easy yoghurt cake recipe from the site Journal des Femmes (in French) and from there I added oats, blueberries and a streusel inspired topping with almonds. Baking is not my strongest point but this recipe was not only easy, but it was also quick to put together and I didn’t end up with a huge mess in my kitchen. All these aspects made the final result even tastier…

 

 

Yoghurt Muesli Cake

Recipe for a 22-24 cm springform cake mould.

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 35-40 min

 

Ingredients:

In this recipe the pot of yoghurt serves of measurement.

1 yogurt nature

2 jars of sugar

1 sachet of vanilla sugar

3 jars of flour

1/2 pot of oil

3 eggs

1/2 sachet baking powder

1 pinch of salt

1 ½ pot fine oats

250 g blueberries

Butter or oil to grease the cake mould

 

For the topping:

3 tbsp. finely chopped almonds

2 tbsp. flour

5 tbsp. sugar

2 tbsp. oats

3 tbsp. butter

 

Recipe:

Turn on the oven (180°C). Butter a round mould.

2 Pour the yogurt in a bowl and add in the order in mixing well with a wooden spoon: sugars, the eggs one by one, the flour, baking powder, salt, the oil. Finally delicately fold in the oats and the blueberries.

For the topping place all the ingredients in a bowl and massage them with your fingers until the preparation looks like crumbs.

Transfer the batter in the buttered cake mould and evenly sprinkle the topping on the surface.

Bake for 35-40 minutes on the lower part of the over, by then, when you insert the tip of a toothpick it should come out dry. Leave to cool and unmould.

Quinoa Kale and Edamame Salad with an Avocado Dressing

Quinoa Kale and Edamame SaladSummer time and cooking is easy… with the hot weather and the wide range of fresh produce, we don’t want to spend too long over a hot stove so cold and healthy meals are always welcome during the summer months. Continue reading

Whether you’re making a barbecue, a picnic or a usual lunch, this recipe will fill you up with valuable nutrients such as fibres (from kale, avocados and edamame) and proteins (from the quinoa).

Some components of this salad can be made ahead so when the time to assemble it comes, it will only take a moment to put together; for instance you can cook the quinoa and the kale a day ahead. On Sunday I’ll enjoy a day of relax and I plan to make a last healthy meal before my thirty-… birthday and I’ve decided to make this salad again and serve it either with some tofu or a couple of eggs. Afterwards I’ll dive into a one of the books I’m reading, under the sun, looking like a glazed doughnut, smothered in 30spf sun cream… I’ll need the relax as the following day I’ll be in contact with my inner child in an acrobatic park. 🙂

Quinoa Kale and Edamame Salad

 

Quinoa Kale and Edamame Salad with an Avocado Dressing

 

Recipe for 4 as a side 

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 15 min

 

Ingredients:

120 g steamed edamame

120 g wilted kale

120 g quinoa

1 spring onion

1 not too large avocado

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. sherry vinegar

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Bring to a boil the quinoa in two times its volume of salted water. Simmer for a about 15 min. or until the grain will have softened. Once done set aside.

Slice the kale into about 1 cm strips and finely slice the spring onion.

Remove the flesh of the avocado, place it in a salad bowl and mash it with a fork. Add the olive oil and the sherry vinegar, season with salt and pepper and mix.

To the bowl add the quinoa, edamame, kale, spring onion and mix.

Mascarpone Matefaim

Mascarpone MatefaimI’m back! After a bad cold and spending time sorting out some personal stuff I’m now feeling better… or at least I’m taking action. As I’ve already mentioned I’m eating much better lately and this indulgent Mascarpone Matefaim recipe is the exception that confirms my new diet rules. Continue reading

A “matefaim “ is a broken up pillow like pancake that you can pair with whatever you fancy. This recipe comes from the Basic Cooking: Cooking Between Friends book from Sabine Sälzer and Sebastian Dickhaut and it’s something I always wanted to try but then it ended up at the bottom of the “recipes I’d like to try list”. Well this time I went for it and it’s a fairly easy procedure for a melt in your mouth result. The messiest part is when the bottom has browned and you have to break the matefaim into smaller bits while the top isn’t very firm yet. In the beginning I thought it would turn out a mess but gladly for me, it didn’t. With all the uses one can make of mascarpone cheese, this is a pretty good one for me.

 

 

Mascarpone Matefaim

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 15-20 min

 

Ingredients:

4 eggs

1 pinch salt

50 g powdered sugar (+ extra for sprinkling on top of the “matefaim”)

1 tbsp. organic lemon zest

4 tbsp. milk

100 g flour

250 g mascarpone

20 g butter

 

Recipe:

Separate the egg whites from the yolks from 2 of the 4 eggs into two bowls. Beat the remaining 2 eggs and add them to the yolks with the salt, powdered sugar and lemon zest. Gradually add the milk, flour and mascarpone.

Whisk the egg whites to a peak and gently fold them in the rest of the preparation. Just remember not to overwork the batter; even if a few lumps of egg white remain it’s not a problem.

In a large pan (don’t use the non-stick kind) melt the butter on a medium fire and spread it on the bottom. Add the batter, which should be 2-3 cm thick and smooth it with a spatula. Let the bottom of this large pancake cook. Once the bottom will have solidified, take a fork or a spatula and break the pancake into small pieces.

Turn the pieces around using a spatula and once they’re brown on all sides place them in a serving plates, sprinkle icing on top. Accompany these matefaim with applesauce, chocolate sauce, a berry coulis or a few apple slices topped with lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar.

 

 

Aargauer Carrot Cupcakes

Carrot CupcakesLast weekend I went to Cologne to spend the weekend with a couple of friends from high school and without going into too many detail I can just say it was marvellous, like each time we meet. Continue reading

On those occasions my aim is always to make the most out of the time spent together and when I come back I’m usually very happy but very tired as well. I woke up on Friday at four and for the three-hour train journey I packed myself a couple of these carrot cupcakes I baked the day before. To make these cupcakes I took the recipe for the carrot cake from canton Aargau (a region in the north of Switzerland) and more or less divided the quantities by two. I took the recipe from the bettybossi site (recipe in French) and was really pleased of the outcome because this recipe has a refreshing taste and light texture. I will definitely be doing this recipe again; it’s a perfect grab and go treat.

 

 

Aargauer Carrot Cupcakes

 

Recipe for 12 cupcakes

Prep time: 30 min

Cooking time: 20 min

 

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

125 g sugar

1 tbsp. very warm water (but not boiling)

40 g flour

125 g thinly grated carrots

125 g blanched ground almonds

zest of ½ lemon + its juice

1 tsp. baking powder

1 pinch salt

Optional: 1 pinch cinnamon

 

For the glazing:

150 g icing sugar

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1-1.5 tbsp. water

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 180°C.

Separate the egg whites from the yolks in two bowls.

To the bowl with the egg yolk add the sugar and water and whisk for about 5 min or until the texture has become foamy.

Now add the lemon juice and zest, carrots, almonds. Mix the flour and baking powder and combine them to the egg yolks, sugar, carrot and lemon and mix until even.

Whisk the egg whites to a peak and fold it in with the rest of the ingredients until just combined.

Place the paper moulds in the cupcake tin and evenly distribute the mass in the individual portions.

Bake in the lower part of the oven for about 20 minutes. If you insert a toothpick and it comes out dry: they’re ready. Let them rest a few minutes before removing them from their mould and then transfer them to a rack to let them cool completely.

To prepare the glazing mix the sugar, lemon juice and water. The consistence should be thick but a bit runny. Take a cupcake and add about a tsp. of glazing and spread it with the back of a spoon or by tipping it to make the glazing spread over the top.

 

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.

Apple Crumb Cake

Apple Crumb Cake When I satisfy my sweet tooth I’d rather go for a homemade recipe like this apple crumb cake instead of an icing covered, cream filled pastry. This recipe comes from smittenkitchen but instead of using blueberries I caramelised apples, which are in season. Continue reading

During the making of this cake my house smelled wonderful and the great thing is that my dog’s fur was perfumed by it for days. The “poor” creature got even more hugs than she usually does. I shared this cake with some friends and the following day, the whole treat was just a memory 🙂

 

 

Apple Crumb Cake

Recipe for a 22-24 cm cake pan with high sides

Prep time: 25-30 min

Cook time: 45-50 min

 

Ingredients

For the caramelised apples:

2 large dessert apples

1 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. sugar

 

For the topping:

40 g flour

100 g sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

55 g butter

A pinch salt

 

For the cake:

240 g flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

55 g soft butter

150 g sugar

1 tbsp. orange zest (or lemon)

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1.2 dl milk

50 g hazelnuts (I used dry roasted ones)

 

Recipe:

Grease and flour a 23-24 baking tin with high sides and line it with baking paper.

Peel and core the apples and cut them into about 1 cm cubes. Heat sugar and butter in a pan and once the sugar starts to melt add the apples. Cook for about 5 minutes tossing occasionally, until the apples have caramelised. Once done set them aside.

Prepare the topping by adding tall the ingredients to a bowl and crumbling them with the tip of your fingers. Once the preparation is crumbly set it aside.

For the cake use a bowl to mix flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl whisk the butter and sugar together until the preparation is soft and light. Add the vanilla extract and the egg and beat until just combined. Add about 1/3 of the flour mix and beat until just combined. Add half of the milk mix and repeat with the remaining ingredients, ending with the flour. Fold in the caramelised apples until they’re evenly distributed. Transfer the cake batter to the tin and distribute it evenly.

Roughly chop the hazelnuts and scatter them on the surface of the cake. Now add the streusel topping and distribute it evenly.

Bake in the oven for 35-40 min. Test cake readiness with a toothpick: if it comes out dry, it’s ready. Let the cake cool for at least 20 minutes before removing it from its mould. Optionally dust with powdered sugar.