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.

 

 

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.

 

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.

Baked Carrot Leek Frittata

Baked Carrot Leek Frittata
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

6 eggs

60 g grated Gruyere

a generous splash of cream

2 tsp. thyme

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

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.

Bread and Cheese Pudding

Bread and Cheese Pudding

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

 

Ingredients:

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

Pepper

2 dl cream

 

Recipe:

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.

Serve with a crunchy salad.

Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed ZucchiniDid I already mention my passion for zucchini and stuffed veggies? Well, I have combined the two of them and this is one possible result. Continue reading

In the beginning I wanted to use minced meat but since I’m in a very vegetarian phase I decided to use eggs as a protein. I guess in the end this recipe could be called “frittata stuffed zucchini”. This is a light recipe, which works great when the weather is hot and you don’t want to have a heavy meal.

 

 

Stuffed Zucchini

 

Recipe for 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main dish

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 50-55 min

 

Ingredients:

2 zucchini about 17 cm long

1 yellow pepper

1 red pepper

1 red onion

40-50 g grated cheese (I used Parmesan)

40 g breadcrumbs

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tbsp. chopped basil

Olive oil

2 eggs

Optional: butter

 

Recipe:

Cut the zucchini in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds using a teaspoon. Take the seeds and chop them.

Remove the stem and the seeds from the bell peppers and dice them into about 1 cm pieces. Chop the onion

In a pan heat 1 tbsp. olive oil on a medium fire and place the zucchini halves cut side down to brown for 4-5 min. Once done remove them from the pan and place them on a baking tray lined with oven paper.

Wipe the pan, pour another tbsp. olive oil and add the onions. Cook until they have softened, 4-5 min. Then add the peppers season with salt, pepper and the oregano and cook for about 10-12 min. Finally add the zucchini and cook all the ingredients for a further 5 min. Correct taste with salt and pepper if needed and set aside to cool a little.

Break the eggs in a bowl and add ¾ of the grated cheese, the breadcrumbs, the basil and pepper.

Mix the content of the bowl to the vegetables.

Drizzle a little olive oil in the zucchini shells and season with a little salt then evenly spoon in the vegetable/egg mix. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and add a few butter flakes on top. Bake in the middle of the oven at 180°C for 30 min.

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.

 

Spinach & Mushroom Spaetzle Gratin


Spinach Mushroom Spaetzle Gratin The great thing with spaetzle is that it’s a made from scratch type of pasta is quick to prepare and doesn’t need great skills to put together. Continue reading

Personally I love the consistency and taste of spaetzle. For this gratin recipe I’ve added mushrooms and spinach because they are a delicious flavour combination that is easy to find all year round. I served this dish with a simple salad but if you want to serve some meat, a nice piece of chicken would marry well with the rest of the ingredients.

Spinach Mushroom Spaetzle Gratin Spinach Mushroom Spaetzle Gratin

 

Spinach & Mushroom Spaetzle Gratin

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 40-45 min

 

Ingredients

 

Spaetzle:

400 g flour

4 eggs

1.5 dl milk

1.5 dl water

2 tsp. salt

 

Gratin:

2 knobs butter (plus more to grease the baking dish)

150 g chestnut mushrooms

150 g cooked spinach (frozen one are fine too)

200 g sour cream (I used ½ fat)

A splash of cream

80 grams grated Swiss cheese (I used Sbrinz)

2-3 tbsp. breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

Place the flour and salt in a bowl.

Beat the eggs together and mix them in the bowl with the flour.

Combine the water and the milk and gradually add them to the other ingredients while whisking. The batter should be dense but still a little runny.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and place a large holed colander (or even better on a spaetzle grater) on top. Take about ¼ of the batter, put it in the colander and press down so the better falls in the water. Once the spaetzle come to the surface it means the are ready. Place them in a bowl and set aside.

Finely chop the spinach and slice the mushrooms into 0.5 cm thick slices.

Melt the butter in a non-stick pan and add the mushrooms. Once they have browned on both sides remove them from the pan and set them aside. Using the same pan melt the second knob of butter and add the spaetzle to brown for about 7 minutes, tossing from time to time. Add the spinach and mushrooms, mix and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pan from the fire and add the sour cream, cream and 50g of the grated cheese. After mixing all together transfer to a greased baking dish and sprinkle on top the rest of the cheese and the breadcrumbs.

Bake for 25-30 min at 190°C. Once the top has browned remove the dish from oven and wait a few minutes before serving.