The festive season is basically here, from here to Christmas we’re booked for dinners basically every weekend day. Tomorrow for example we’re going to a friend’s company dinner. The funny thing is we’re not part of the company but he’s a lawyer and since in the office it’s only him and his secretary, he always bulks up the guest list by multiplying it by five or six times. Although I really like these social events, I know I won’t really be able to stick to my usual vegetarian way (I don’t like to be the fussy guest) and so I aim to enjoy every bit of my meals. One thing I couldn’t live without except from cheese? The super fun and versatile potatoes! It Italian the saying goes: “In cucina la patata è regina.” In English this translates as “In the kitchen the potato is queen.” I totally agree so here is an easy and oh so crispy carrot and potato cakes recipe.
Carrot Potato Cakes
Recipe for 4/ about 16-20 units
Prep time: 20 min.
Cook time: 15-20 min. per batch
400 g potatoes (peeled)
200 g carrots (peeled)
3 tbsp. cream
1 small onion
1/3 tsp. salt and pepper
1 small tbsp. thyme leaves
Vegetable oil or roasting butter
Heat oven at 70°C.
Using a medium holed grater, grate the potatoes and the carrots, and then place them in a clean tea towel and squeeze out most of the moisture.
Finely chop the onion and add it to the potatoes and carrots along with the cream, thyme leaves, salt and pepper and mix all the ingredients together.
Place a non-stick pan on a medium heat and add about 1 tbsp. oil or butter to heat. Take a tablespoon of the grated vegetable mix and place it in the pan, using the back of the spoon to flatten the cake. Cook for about 7-10 minutes per side, until the cakes have browned on both sides. Work in batches and once the cakes are ready, place them in the oven to keep them warm while preparing the rest. The pan I used has a 22-24 cm diameter and I could fit about 5-6 cakes per batch.
Serve as a side dish or as an appetizer, maybe with a yoghurt dip.
Among the dishes I enjoyed eating back when I was in kindergarten was the frittata. Continue reading →
It’s actually the only food I remember they made in that canteen, except for the letter soup served with individually wrapped cream cheese. I remembered and rediscovered the pleasure of eating this dish when I began cooking more seriously about five years ago. I found this baked version on cookieandkate and it’s great because it’s so easy and fuss free that I will surely be making it again and again. Depending on the season and on what veggies I find, it’ll be fun to test all those possible flavour combinations.
Baked Carrot Leek Frittata
150 g carrots peeled and ends cut off
140 g leeks
1 tbsp. butter
60 g grated Gruyere
a generous splash of cream
2 tsp. thyme
Salt and pepper
Heat oven at 200°C.
Julienne the carrots either with a peeler or by using a knife. If using a knife, cut the carrot into about 4-5 cm sections. Slice lengthwise one side of the carrot. Place cut side of carrot down so it doesn’t roll when cutting. Cut carrot into thin slices lengthwise. Stack a few slices on top of each other and slice again lengthwise. You will end up with thin matchsticks. Then julienne the leeks. Again, cut into 4-5 cm sections, divide in half lengthwise and (always lengthwise) thinly slice.
Pace a pan on a medium heat and add the butter, once melted add the vegetables, thyme, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 min, or until just softened. Once done set aside to cool a little.
In a bowl break the eggs and add the cream, the grated cheese, salt and pepper.
Line a baking dish with oven paper and start by placing the vegetables, on top pour the egg mixture. Move the vegetables a little around to make sure the egg is evenly distributed.
Bake for 20-25 min, once the center of the frittata is a little puffed up and bouncy, it’s ready.
The one thing I would really have trouble giving up is cheese. Maybe because I’m Swiss or maybe it’s because it just tastes amazing and it’s an ingredient you can just have so much fun with in the kitchen. Continue reading →
This Bread and Cheese Pudding is something I have already tried last year but this time when I tried it, I found it’s better not having the bread stick out of the mix as I find it becomes too hard and dry. I tested this recipe on my mother and remarkably she took a second helping, which is not very common for her. Do I need to mention I had a second helping too? I took a recipe from the Swiss Cooking book from Betty Bossi and made a few changes to make this dish a little lighter. For instance I replaces the double cream by using plain cream and instead of using three eggs I just used two large ones. This Swiss recipe is just an easy, moist and very tasty dish.
Bread and Cheese Pudding
Recipe for 4
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 25 min
350 g white bread
2 tbsp. soft butter (optional)
1 dl dry white wine (alternatively use white grape juice with a few drops of lemon in it)
3 dl milk
2 large eggs
150g semi hard cheese (Gruyere, Emmetaler…)
¾ tsp. salt
2 dl cream
Heat oven at 240°C.
Slice the bread into 1-1.5cm thick pieces. Optionally, butter each slice on one side with the butter and toast in the oven for about 5 min. Once done reduce the oven heat to 200°C. Place the bread slices in a baking dish by overlapping them.
In a bowl mix the milk with the eggs, salt and pepper.
Stiffly whisk the cream and gently fold it in with the milk/egg mix.
Pour over the bread slices and bake in the oven for 20 min.
I want to begin this post by sending my thoughts to France. As I mentioned last week, that’s the country we decided to spend our honeymoon in and I have been delighted by this country I had forgotten was so great in so many ways. As a history fan though, I know the French population is tough and they will bounce back. Nevertheless I can’t help but think about the victims and my heart is with them. Continue reading →
How can one make a sensible transition from something so sad to something we all enjoy like food? As for the first I have no words, for the latter, I could talk for hours, nutrition matters included… Lately I have noticed that when I eat too much of something containing flour I get spots on my face and as soon as I stop, they slowly disappear… and between you and me, I’ve had enough bad skin during my puberty. As a solution I limit myself to the equivalent of about one portion of pasta per week. It’s a change in my lifestyle but I mostly just have to adapt and find hacks to still please my palate. In the beginning I was surprised by how much I would have to limit myself, especially when you’re dining out as an almost vegetarian (in a place where the range of restaurants is basically limited to Italian food). To get into the no-wheat flow, last week I tried to make some chestnut pancakes, without the addition of flour and, even if they are a little more moist that the normal ones, they actually melt in your mouth, and this is something I really enjoyed! Just in case you don’t want to go full chestnut read the note below.
If you wish to use flour in this recipe, to the dry ingredients add 4 tbsp. flour or gluten free flour. In this case you will need to increase the amount of milk from 1 dl to 1.5 dl and you don’t necessarily need to whisk the egg whites. This will make the pancakes more consistent and in addition you will be able to make more of them! Here are a few images of the version with flour.
Here is the flour-less version
Gluten Free Chestnut Pancakes
Recipe for about 10 pancakes of 7 cm.
Prep time: 10 min.
Cook time: 10-14 min. per batch
200 g boiled chestnuts
2 tsp. baking powder
1 dl milk
2 large eggs
50 g butter (melted)
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
Roasting butter to make the pancakes
Optional: the seeds of one vanilla pod.
Place the chestnuts in a blender and process them until they become like flour. Transfer to a bowl and add the baking powder, sugar and salt.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites into two separate bowls. To the bowl with the yolks add the milk and the melted butter (optionally add the vanilla pod seeds) and mix to combine. Add this to the ground chestnuts, sugar, baking powder and salt and whisk just enough to mix the ingredients.
Whisk the egg whites to a peak and fold them in gently with the rest of the ingredients. Just remember not to overwork the batter, stop as soon as the batter looks combined, even if the result doesn’t look too smooth.
Heat a pan on a medium fire; add a little roasting butter to melt. Once the grease has melted take a large tbsp. of the batter and place it in the pan, using the back of the spoon to spread it out until it’s a small cm thick. Repeat for the number of pancakes that the pan can hold and cook for 5-7 minutes per side. Repeat until the batter is finished and serve with your favourite toppings: honey, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, maple syrup…
Not being beach types we have finally found the destination for our honeymoon and it will be Paris and the Loire Valley: castles, history, food and wine all to be shared with my new husband! Since we’re not leaving for another couple of weeks I’ll keep enjoying my time here in Switzerland. Continue reading →
I love living in a place where there are four distinct seasons, each is as enjoyable as the next for one reason or another. Autumn, not only has beautiful colours, it also has amazing produces and I’m always in for anything with squash or chestnuts. Last Saturday I stayed home getting ahead with my work but to keep my motivation up I felt like spoiling myself with a nice vegetarian burger… something I can hardly make when my husband is home because he loves his meat. After searching for a few ideas on what to cook, the quinoa burger idea grew on me and so I gave it a try. And in the end the roasted vegetables gave a great taste to this meal.
Roasted Butternut Mushroom and Quinoa Burgers
Recipe for 4
Cooking time: 30-35 min
Prep time: 15 min
280 g butternut squash (peeled)
160 g button mushrooms
6 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
120 g quinoa
1 red onion (not too large)
¼- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
¾ tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Heat oven at 210°.
Place the quinoa in 1½ its volume in water and bring it to a boil until done, about 12-15 min. Once done set aside and let it cool a little.
Cut the butternut squash into cubes of 1.5-2 cm. Peel and slice the onion by its length and then cut it in half.
Place the butternut squash, the mushrooms and the onion pieces in a baking tin, drizzle with 1-1.5 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss and bake in the oven for about 20 min. flipping the ingredients once or twice.
Once the vegetables are brown remove them from the oven and let them cool a little before finely chopping them.
In a bowl combine the chopped vegetables, quinoa, Parmesan cheese, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper and a dash olive oil. Mix everything together and let it rest for about 30 min.
Once the time is up form four patties about 1.5-2 cm thick.
On a medium to high fire heat a couple tbsp. olive oil in a pan and add the burgers to brown on both sides, cook for about 3-5 min per side. Serve them either on their own or with a bun complete with your desired topping.
I hope everyone had a nice Easter. Like in many of these occasions, mine was filled with good food. Continue reading →
On Sunday we had the traditional baby goat at my fiancé’s parent’s home. On Monday we had lunch at his aunt’s place. This is the time of the year where tourists come back and frankly it’s nice to see the streets repopulated with people enjoying the mild weather. On Saturday I had no appointments so I left home early to do my groceries as to avoid the crowd. With some time on my hands, I baked these soft polenta cookies, which turned out to not only be a treat but also a practical breakfast the following day. These easy to make cookies are soft and at the same time they have a light crunch given by the polenta flour. This recipe has a nice texture combination and the lemon brings extra freshness to the overall taste.
Soft Polenta Cookies
Recipe for about 16 units
Prep time: 15 min (+ 1 hour resting time)
Cook time: 20 min
80 g soft butter
80 g sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
140 g fine grain polenta flour
120 g flour
1.5 tsp. raising powder
A pinch of salt
Cream butter an sugar together for about 4-5 min.
Mix in the egg then add the lemon juice and zest.
In another bowl combine the polenta flour, flour, rising powder and salt.
Add little by little the dry ingredients to the wet one until you get an even mass.
Let the dough rest for an hour.
Make little balls of about 3 cm and place them on a baking tray lined with oven paper. Once you have placed them slightly flatten them with the palm of your hand. Remember to leave some space between each unit.
Cook in the oven for 20 minutes at 180°C.
Once done, place the soft polenta cookies on a rack to cool and dust them with icing sugar as a final touch.
Last Sunday, while mister was still in bed recuperating from an evening campaigning through the region, I got into the kitchen and prepared this quinoa, tomato baked eggs. Continue reading →
Usually I try to stick to seasonal products but I have to say that I was really in for a change. I made this quick and healthy dish for the two of us and even if my fiancé just had a bite because he had to leave to another of his political events, I still managed to make him eat something, something healthier that he usually does when we are not together. By the way, how do you get a man to care more about what passes through his stomach? After almost eight years I still haven’t figured that out… when you care about someone it’s hard not to nag him about taking better care of himself. My hopes are still up and in the meantime I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe 🙂
Quinoa Tomato Baked Eggs
Recipe for 4
Prep time: 5 min
Coo time: 20-25 min
220 g quinoa
250 g cherry tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. olive oil
1-2 chilli pepper(s)
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
Cook the quinoa in 1 ½ times its volume in water for 12-15 min. Once done set aside.
Chop the onion and the chilli pepper and divide the cherry tomatoes into 4.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions and chilli, cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes with the oregano, salt and pepper and cook on a low-medium fire for 10 min. Once the tomatoes start breaking apart add the tomato paste and cook for another couple of minutes. Mix in the quinoa. Correct flavour to taste with salt and pepper.
Make four little concavities with the back of a tbsp. and in each add an egg. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 7-9 min, until the egg has reached the desired consistency.
On Sunday I woke up in a world covered in white. When I went outside everything looked amazingly beautiful, fairy tale like. It was the first time this year it really snowed and once I stepped outside I felt like in another world. Continue reading →
After playing outside with the dog for a while it was a perfect time to cook something that came out of the oven, something sweet and easy. I had previously done some research for my next recipe and decided it would be a crumble. I chose this dish because it’s been so long since I last ate one that I can’t remember when it was. Why did I wait so long? I don’t know, but now that I have the taste of it back in my in mind I find it’s silly to have waited that many years. Scavenging for ideas crumble ideas, I stumbled on this recipe and decided to adapt it to my taste. I wanted to use pears because they’re in season and it’s my favourite fruit when baked (in pies I just adore them). As an addition, as I was doing my shopping, I came across some organic caramelised almonds and decided they would go in as well since they would pair well with my pears. Now the crumble is gone but I’ll be back with another soon. 😉
Pear Crumble with Caramelised Almonds
Recipe for 4
Prep time: 10-15 min
Cook time: 1 hour
600 g pears – I used the Williams kind (peeled and cored)
1 heaped tbsp. sugar
1/3 tsp. cinnamon
2 pinches salt
50 g brown sugar
25 g oats
25 g flour
30 g caramelized almonds
40 g butter cut into small cubes (+ more to grease the baking dish)
Heat oven at 180°C.
Grease a baking dish with butter.
Cut the pears into 2 cm chunks and mix them with the cinnamon, sugar and one pinch salt. Place the fruit mixture in the baking dish.
Chop the caramelized almonds with a knife.
In a bowl combine the brown sugar, oats, flour, pinch of salt and caramelized almonds. Add the butter and with your fingers massage it in the mixture until small clumps form and the result looks even (2-3 minutes).
Bake in the oven for about 1 hour, until the top is nicely browned. Remove from oven and wait 20 minutes before serving.
Usually I don’t eat much sugar, but then there are the less usual times like breakfast time after a night out. Continue reading →
So on Sunday while Mr. was sleeping I prepared these puff pastries, which are inspired by a Swiss pie from Canton Glarus. Well, they are partly inspired because the pie usually contains 2 fillings: one half of the pie is filled with an almond paste while the other has a dried prune filling. Choosing only the first filling I made hand sized treats by adapting the recipe I have in my Betty Bossi Swiss Cooking book. The great thing is that if you have some puff pastry waiting to be used, this is a really easy recipe that isn’t overly sweet. At least I get Mr. to eat some nuts by combining it with his passion for sweet food.
Simple Almond Puff Pastries
Recipe for 8 pieces
Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 20 min
16 rounds butter puff pastry of about 8.5 cm diameter (a can of sliced pineapples has this size)
150 g ground skinless almonds
2 tbsp. melted butter
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2-3 tbsp. water
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
60 g sugar
Heat oven at 200°C.
Prepare the almond filling by mixing the ground almonds, melted butter, lemon juice, water, lemon zest and sugar together.
Take one round and in the middle place about a tbsp. of almond mix in the centre. With the tip of your finger dab the edged with a little water. Take another round of puff pastry and place it on top of the first. With the help of a fork close the pastry by pressing on the edges to seal it. Poke a few holes (3-4) in the pastry a place on a parchment lined baking tray. Repeat with the other seven pieces.
Once all the pastries are ready place them in the lower part of the oven and cook for about 20 min, watch that the pastry doesn’t get too brown. Let the almond pastries cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar before serving.
Seeing old Dutch acquaintances over the Christmas holidays made me think about the time I lived in Amsterdam. Continue reading →
Besides being a city I absolutely fell in love with, I also often enjoyed having the nice sandwiches you could find around town. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten as many sandwiches as during that year. Among my favourite combinations was one I often chose, with goat cheese and honey. Thinking about that year made me want to eat something similar and so I made these toasts. In this recipe I added some beetroots and arugula because they add taste, texture and the eye also wants its part. These toasts can work for a quick lunch (1-2 p.p.) maybe with a salad, or a brunch or whenever you feel like it.
Goat Cheese Toasts
Recipe for 4 pieces
Prep time: 5-10 min
Cooke time: 15-20 min
4 slices bread (1.5-2 cm thick, I used brown bread)
120 g goat cheese log
2 tbsp. sour cream
2 tbsp. dry roasted pine nuts
4 tsp. runny honey
12 thin beetroots wedges (a few millimetres thick)
Heat oven at 180°C.
Spread a little butter on each side of the bread slices and place them in the oven until lightly toasted, about 5-7 min.
Meanwhile crumble the cheese in a bowl and add the sour cream with some pepper. Mix the ingredients together.
Take the bread slices out of the oven and spoon over the goat cheese sour cream mix. Replace the slices in upper part the oven and cook them for about 15 min. Once the cheese starts to slightly brown, take them out.
Drizzle 1 tsp. honey over each slice, then; on each bread piece place 3 beetroot wedges and a few arugula leaves on top. Sprinkle with the pine nuts as a finishing touch. Serve.