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.

 

Peach, Blue Cheese and Arugula Salad with Caramelised Walnuts

Peach, Blue Cheese and Arugula Salad with Caramelised Walnuts So after a week in the very hot southern Spain I’m back and filled with motivation and excitement: – 1 month and 15 days to the wedding! Continue reading

The good thing about being back is that even if it’s too hot for Switzerland standards, it’s still cooler than in Marbella. Nevertheless the temperatures call for fresh recipes where you don’t have to stand too long in front of the kitchen plates. In this recipe I combined blue cheese and peaches because the work really well when paired. In addition I decided to add some caramelised walnuts for the sweet crunch effect. I found a really easy and quick recipe on natashaskitchen.com. Since I didn’t want to over do it with the sugar, I changed a little the proportions and it turned out just fine.

 

Peach, Blue Cheese and Arugula Salad with Caramelised Walnuts

 

Peach, Blue Cheese and Arugula Salad with Caramelized Walnuts

 

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

Prep time 10 min

Cook time 5 min

 

Ingredients:

2 white peaches

50 g walnuts

50 g sugar

½ tbsp. sugar

100 g arugula

140 g Gorgonzola

3 tbsp. olive oil

1.5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat a non-stick pan on a medium fire and add the butter, sugar and walnuts. Cook for five minutes stirring often. Once the sugar has caramelised and is a nice brown colour, transfer the walnuts to a piece of parchment paper, spread them around and let them cool. Once they will have cooled roughly chop them with a large knife.

Cut the peaches in half and then into quarters before de-pitting them. Cut each quarter into three segments.

Cut the Gorgonzola into 1.5-2 cm pieces.

Prepare the dressing by mixing the olive oil with the balsamic vinegar then add salt and pepper to taste.

In a bowl place the arugula and pour in about ¾ of the balsamic dressing. Toss until evenly coated and place in a serving dish. On top distribute the peach sections and the Gorgonzola. Drizzle the remaining dressing and sprinkle the caramelised walnuts. Serve asap.

 

Aubergine Tomato Mozzarella Towers

Aubergine Tomato Mozzarella TowersMy cooking is mostly made up of vegetarian food but this weekend we should be heading to Crans Montana and if we go there, we will surely visit the Argentinian restaurant for a nice piece of meat. Continue reading

I wrote we should be going there because my fiancé twisted his ankle last weekend and it hasn’t totally healed yet… so I’m keeping my fingers crossed he will feel better tomorrow. So while I’m keeping my hopes up for the getaway weekend, in the line of my usual eating habits I used some Swiss produce to come make these aubergine tomato and mozzarella towers. These towers are very easy to make and they work great as first course or why not as a side dish.

Aubergine Tomato Mozzarella Towers

 

Aubergine Tomato Mozzarella Towers

 

Recipe for 3-4 p.

Prep time: 20-25 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients:

350 g (about 2 small to medium) aubergines or 18 slices of 0.5 cm thick

2 meaty tomatoes

12 basil leaves

200 g mozzarella

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 200°C and line a baking tray or two with parchment paper

Cut the tomatoes and the aubergines crosswise into about ½ cm slices. Brush the aubergines on both sides with some olive oil and season them with salt and pepper then place them on the baking tray. Place the tomatoes too on a baking tray and drizzle a little olive oil on top then season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 25-30 min.

Meanwhile slice the mozzarella into ½ cm slices.

Once the vegetables have taken a nice colour remove them from the oven.

Build the towers by taking one slice of the aubergine, then a slice tomato, a basil leave, the mozzarella, then begin again with a slice aubergine, tomato, basil, mozzarella and finally top with a third aubergine slice. Secure by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the tower. Repeat for the other five remaining towers.

Bake in the over for 5-8 min or until the mozzarella is melting and the ingredients are heated through then serve.

 

 

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.

Mushroom Broccoli Phyllo Pockets

Mushroom Broccoli Parcels With a full week and weekend I was happy to stay at home on Sunday and dedicate myself to a little cooking. Sunday to me is the no sports day, which means I have more time on my hands. Continue reading

With time on my hands and a pack of phyllo pastry waiting in the fridge I got down to preparing these veggie filled pockets. The broccoli and mushroom filling is easy to make and to actually put the pockets together, after the first one or two pieces, you’ll easily get the hang of it. I found it trickier to actually describe the procedure than to make it. These savoury treats are easy to hold in your hands and they will work well for an aperitif or a friendly buffet… one of my favourite ways to spend a meal.

 

 

Mushroom Broccoli Phyllo Pockets

Recipe for 8 pieces

Prep time: 35-40 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients:

180 g chestnut mushrooms

1 red onion

260 g broccoli florets roughly chopped

180 g sour cream

6 sheets rectangular phyllo pastry

2 tbsp. olive oil

40 g melted butter

45 g grated cheese (I used parmesan)

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Slice the mushrooms into ½ cm pieces. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a non-stick pan and add the mushrooms to brown. Make sure the pieces are all on one layer, otherwise do it in more batches. Once done set the mushrooms aside.

Wipe the pan and add the second tbsp. olive oil along with the chopped onion. Cook until soft for 4-5 on a low-medium fire then add the broccoli florets. Season with salt and pepper and cook on a medium fire until the broccoli turn bright green, stirring regularly. Once the greens are done add the mushrooms and the sour cream and cook for another couple of minutes. Correct seasoning if needed and set aside.

Take one sheet of phyllo pastry and brush it with the melted butter. Take a second piece and place it on top. Brush the second piece of phyllo pastry and add a third one on top. Place the three sheets with the width in front of you. With a pair of kitchen scissors cut the layered pastry in half, then cut each piece into half again. While you are working with phyllo pastry make sure the sheets you’re not using are sealed in some aluminium paper so they don’t dry.

Take one of the four strips and place a tbsp. of the prepared vegetables at one of the two extremities, on top sprinkle a tsp. of the grated cheese. Fold the pastry where the filling is by placing an angle towards the other side of the strip (see picture). Now that you have the main shape continue to fold the pastry until the end of the strip. Seal the pastry parcel by brushing a little butter on the last fold. Place fold down on a baking tray lined with oven paper. Repeat with the rest of the strips and repeat the whole operation with the last three sheets of phyllo pastry.

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad 2.2 These Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad are the kind of dish I love making, eating and sharing. Continue reading

The more I cook the more I notice my love for making veggie filled dishes. On the other hand I also notice that my sweet baking skills have room for improvement… Anyway, since I haven’t seen much sun lately I wanted to encourage warm days by making something with an eye towards summer. Aubergines and salad to me scream warm and sunny days. With the wedges I made the wheat salad by adding ingredients that pair well with aubergines: tomatoes, walnuts, chilli and a little garlic. Easy and healthy, I hope you’ll like it as much as I did.

 

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad

 

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 25-30 min

 

Ingredients

2 small aubergines (stem trimmed) – about 500 g

160 g tomatoes – the meatier the better

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

1-2 cloves garlic

Chilli powder

2 tbsp. dry roasted coarsely chopped walnuts

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

1.5 tbsp. lemon juice

160 g wheat (I used the precooked kind)

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 200°C.

Cut the aubergines in half lengthways, and then cut each half into four equal sized wedges. Brush each piece with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place the wedges (skin side down) on a parchment lined baking tray and cook for 25-30 min in the oven. If the top gets too dark turn the wedges on one side and flip them after a few minutes.

Meanwhile cook the wheat according to package instructions (about 10 min.) in salted water. Drain if needed once done.

Chop the tomato into about ½ cm pieces and using a garlic crusher crush the cloves (alternatively finely chop it)

Prepare the dressing by mixing the lemon juice with 3 tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper.

In a bowl combine the cooked wheat, chopped tomatoes, garlic, parsley, walnuts and dressing.

Place the aubergine wedges on a serving plate(s) and add the wheat salad on top. Serve

 

Pan Fried Artichokes with Croutons

Pan Fried Artichokes with CroutonsI have to admit that some dishes really are more difficult to photograph than others. Anyway, I just love spring for its seasonal produces and I always try to make the most out of this time of the year since it only lasts a limited time. Continue reading

I had some leftover bread that was going a little stale and since it was made with whole flour I didn’t feel like making breadcrumbs. Finally I decided to combine it with the artichokes and so I came up with this dish. Adding a little sun-dried tomatoes and olives with the final touch of the Parmesan flakes really brought the dish together. This is a simple and friendly recipe with a Mediterranean inspiration that will work well for a relaxed lunch or dinner.

Pan Fried Artichokes with Croutons

 

Pan Fried Artichokes with Croutons

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 20 min

 

Ingredients

4 artichoke hearts

200 g bread – preferably a little stale

2 tbsp. olive oil

18-20 olives

8 sun-dried tomato fillets

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

Parmesan flakes

 

Dressing

1.5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

 

Recipe

 

Cut the artichoke hearts in four parts and remove the hairy part with a knife. Cut each quarter in half. While preparing them, fill a bowl with water and add lemon juice to prevent them from oxidising.

Cut the bread into 2 cm cubes.

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil on a medium fire and add the artichokes with salt and pepper to brown on the cut side for 5-7 min. Turn them and brown the other cut side for another 4-5 min. Once done set aside.

Heat the second tbsp. of olive oil and add the bread cubes to brown on all sides.

Meanwhile halve the olives and cut the sun-dried tomatoes into strips. Also, make the dressing by mixing the ingredients together and set aside.

Once the croutons are nicely coloured add the olives, the sun-dried tomatoes and the artichokes to the pan. Cook another couple of minutes then remove from the fire and add the dressing.

Serve with the Parmesan flakes sprinkled on top.

Bacon & Radish Salad

Bacon Radish Salad Yesterday was my weekly lunch with my mother and since we were out doing groceries till later than usual I wanted to make something quick for the two of us, so I prepared this recipe while we sipped some wine and enjoyed a little smoked salmon on the kitchen counter. Continue reading

The glass of wine and salmon has over the last couple of years become a mother daughter ritual, and I love it. Usually I cook very little with bacon but for a quick a tasty dish, it’s always a great addition. While we were grocery shopping, I found locally produced organic radishes and they just went great with this salad as it added colour, texture and a slightly spicy taste to the recipe.

Bacon Radish Salad

 

 

Bacon & Radish Salad

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 7-9 min

Cook time: 5 min

 

Ingredients

200 g bacon

200 g radishes

100 g salad leaves

1-2 spring onion (white part only)

2-3 tbsp. pumpkin seeds

1.5 tbsp. white wine vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

Cook the bacon until crispy and nicely browned. Remove from heat and place on some kitchen paper. Cut the bacon into 2-3 cm pieces.

Finely slice the spring onion(s) and the radishes.

In a bowl make the dressing by mixing the vinegar and olive oil with salt and pepper to taste. Add the radishes and spring onions, mix and add the salad leaves and the pumpkin seeds. Toss all together and if using a serving plate transfer the salad. Top with the bacon and serve with some crusty bread.

Roasted Onions and Pine Nut Pasta

Roasted Onion and Pine Nut Pasta BowlOver the next week I’ll be quite busy so I will take a small break till next Thursday. Continue reading

Besides engagements and a couple of events, on Thursday we’re going wedding dress shopping with my mother. I am so excited (and stressed) about it. Since I’m sort of short on time I thought about making a quick pasta recipe for this post, which is made with common ingredients but I find it has a twist. I quickly roasted some onions in the oven with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This dish is really easy, it’s ready in little time and it’s something different while using few, basic ingredients.

Roasted Onion and Pine Nut Pasta Bowl

 

Roasted Onions and Pine Nut Pasta

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 10 min

 

Ingredients:

360 g pasta (penne, farfalle… – I always use whole pasta)

300 g red onions (about 4 units)

4 tbsp. dry roasted pine nuts

4 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

3 tbsp. olive oil

1.5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese to taste

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 240°C.

Peel the onions and cut them in half first then into wedges about 0.7 cm wide. Place them in a baking tin and drizzle over half of the oil and all of the balsamic vinegar with the salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for 7-8 minutes tossing the onions once after 3-4 min. Remove the baking tin from the oven when the onions are slightly charred.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to package instructions, then drain and replace in the pan.

Once the onions are done remove them from the oven and add them to the pasta with the rest of the olive oil, the pine nuts parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Combine all the ingredients and serve with Parmesan cheese on the side.