Cauliflower Pasta Nests

Cauliflower Pasta Nests 5.1To celebrate the spring season I thought nests would be a great way to serve this baked spaghetti recipe. Continue reading

Maybe because growing up we never ate much pasta, but it’s not something I don’t cook too often, when I do instead, I often make a pasta bake. Last week I was looking at some recipes and fell across this recipe on the swissmilk site (recipe in French). I liked the visual side of and decided to make my own version; I used veggies instead of herbs, and spaghetti instead of the ‘Chinese’ noodles they used in the recipe. I wanted to use whole-wheat pasta, and that’s why I used spaghetti as I didn’t really have an alternative in my local grocery store. For this recipe, the best types of pasta you can use are the fine ones like vermicelli, spaghettini, …

I wish you all a happy Easter!

 

 Cauliflower Pasta Nests 1.1

 

 

Cauliflower Pasta Nests

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 25-30 min

 

Ingredients:

280 g spaghetti (preferably the fine ones, I used normal ones because I wanted to use the whole wheat kind and choice was limited

2 dl milk + 2-3 tbsp. extra milk

2 dl cream (I used 1/2 fat)

200 g cauliflower florets

2 tbsp. slivered almonds.

2 eggs

80 g grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 180°C.

Cook the pasta al dente in salted boiling water and drain.

Meanwhile chop the cauliflower florets into small pieces. Add it to the pasta once it’s cooked.

Using a fork roll the pasta into eight nests and place them in a baking dish one next to the other. Whatever chopped cauliflower and pine nuts are left in the pan, add it on top of the pasta nests

In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, 20 g of the grated Parmesan, almonds and milk. Mix them, and set aside.

In a larger bowl combine the cream, milk, eggs, 60 g of the grated cheese, pepper, and optionally salt. Mix and pour it on the pasta. If like me, your dish is a little too wide the nests might rise above the milk and cream mix, just press it down a little.

On top of the nests, evenly sprinkle the soaked almonds, breadcrumbs and cheese.

Bake in the over for about 20 min and enjoy!

Root Vegetables Quinoa Bowl

Root Vegetables Quinoa Bowl

 

Sticking to seasonal produce in winter isn’t always a walk in the vegetable garden, the variety is limited, but if there’s one thing you can count on, it’s root vegetables, and Switzerland has plenty of it. Continue reading

They are not an exclusively winter produce, so this recipe can easily be done all year round. One thing I find works particularly well with such ingredients is adding a little sweetness; so after roasting them, I added a drizzle of maple sugar (for the quantities I quickly checked on the saveur site). For this post I wanted to have a nice flavour combination, so to complement the vegetables, I made a lemony quinoa with the added crunch of hazelnuts. On top I crumbled some goat cheese because it added some freshness to the dish, but it’s something you can easily replace with some chicken breast or even skip the animal proteins altogether (which is how I made it the first time I tried this recipe out). I had this as a main dish, after a smoked salmon based apéritif and it was enough, but if you’re hungry, I’d suggest either serving this as a side or using the ratios below for 2-3 people.

Root Vegetables Quinoa BowlRoot Vegetables Quinoa Bowl

 

Root Vegetables Quinoa Bowl

 

Recipe for 4

Cook time: 20-25 min

Prep time: 15-20 min

 

Ingredients

440 g cooked quinoa (made from 240g uncooked quinoa)

400 g peeled carrots

400 g peeled parsnips

3-4 tbsp. maple syrup

1 onion

1 lemon – juice and zest finely grated

2 tbsp. thyme leaves

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

4 tbsp. dry roasted hazelnuts

4 tbsp. olive oil

100g fresh goat cheese

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

Pre-heat oven at 210°C.

Cut the carrots and parsnips into 2-2.5 cm chunks and place them in a baking tray. Drizzle them with 2 tbsp. olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste and toss. Bake in the oven for 20-25 min, turning the ingredients once or twice during the process.

Meanwhile roughly chop the hazelnuts.

Finely chop the onion and add it to a pan with 2 tbsp. olive oil and cook on a low-medium fire until translucent, about 4-5 min. Add the thyme, zest and lemon juice and cook for a few seconds before adding the quinoa. Mix all the ingredients and cook until warmed through, stirring regularly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from fire; add the hazelnuts and parsley and mix.

Now that the root vegetables are nicely coloured, drizzle over the maple syrup and toss.

In each bowl, place ¼ of the quinoa and ¼ of the parsnips/carrots. With your hands crumble the goat cheese and evenly distribute it.

 

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.

 

 

Butternut and Kale Bruschetta

butternut-and-kale-bruschetta-

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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.

 

 

Zucchini and Feta Chickpea Burgers

Zucchini and Feta Chickpea Burgers

Lately I find loads of organic locally grown zucchini and I have basically been consuming them day on and day off. Besides pan roasting them, adding them to a salad or grilling them, I thought for a change to add them to a Mediterranean style burger: with chickpeas and feta cheese. Continue reading

I tried to make this recipe as simple and straightforward as possible so when time is limited, this recipe can come in hand as a healthy summery treat. Since the heat has increased drastically over the past week, I didn’t feel too hungry so I had the burger on its own, but you can accompany this dish with a nice crunchy salad or some oven sweet potato fries.

 

Zucchini and Feta Chickpea Burgers

Zucchini and Feta Chickpea Burgers

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 8 min

 

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas

1 zucchini (not too large)

1 red onion

1-2 garlic cloves (depending on the size)

100g feta cheese

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

2 heaped tbsp. breadcrumbs

smoked paprika

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Grate the zucchini and the onion in a bowl. Season them with salt, mix and place them in a clean tea towel, in a sieve over a bowl and set them aside to let moisture drip off.

Meanwhile prepare the rest of the recipe by mashing the chickpeas in a bowl (alternatively use s food processor), then crumble the feta and add the breadcrumbs. Pass the garlic though a crusher and add that to the bowl too.

Back to the zucchini and onion, take the tea towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible before adding them to the rest of the ingredients.

Mix all the ingredients together and add salt pepper and smoked paprika to taste. Blend all the ingredients together and form four patties.

On a medium fire heat the olive oil and add the patties to brown on both sides.

Serve in a bun with the garnish of your choice (salad, tomato, avocado, mayo, chilli sauce, ketchup,…)

Crispy Polenta Gnocchi

Crispy Polenta Gnocchi

I know I’ve already said it but each time I eat something with polenta, I recall my father saying how his childhood was all about getting kicked in the backside and eating polenta. Continue reading

In the past polenta a very important source of food in honour of this dish I wanted to make something fun for this post so after a little search, I adapted the recipe I found on citronetvanille and adapted it to what I had in mind: crispy polenta gnocchi.

What I really liked about making this recipe is that I found it to be more straight forward, less messy than the traditional potato gnocchi. As with any gnocchi recipe you can accompany this dish with just about any sauce you like. The reason I made a Gorgonzola sauce is because in Ticino, fi you don’t serve polenta with meat, you often eat it with Gorgonzola. It’s up to you to see what you want to serve it with, but I guarantee you that blue cheese is a great combination.

 

 

 

Crispy Polenta Gnocchi

 

Recipe for 2

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 30 min

 

Ingredients

For the polenta gnocchi:

80 g quick cooking polenta + extra to coat the gnocchi

Milk

90 g flour + extra to flour surface

1 egg

2-3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Slat and pepper

Olive oil

1 knob butter

 

For the sauce:

100 g Gorgonzola

0.7 dl milk

1 small tsp. corn-starch

pepper

 

Recipe:

Bring to a boil the equivalent of 3 ½ times the amount of polenta in a mix of water and milk. Season with salt. Reduce fire to low and stream in the polenta and instead of stirring fold the mass over itself until it will have thickened and it comes away from the sides of the pan (5-7 min). Remove the pan from the heat, add the cheese and fold the mass to combine it. Transfer the polenta to a bowl and place it in the fridge until it will have set and chilled (about 1 hour).

Take the chilled polenta and scrape it with a fork to crumble it. Add the flour and some salt and mix the ingredients together. Now add the egg and mix until the mass looks even. Dust with flour your working surface, move the gnocchi mass onto the surface and divide into 2-3 parts. Take each part and roll it into about 3 cm thick strips. Take a fork and start making the gnocchi by sectioning them every 2 cm.

Bring a large pan filled with salted water to a boil and add the gnocchi. Once they come to the surface, it means they are cooked so remove them with a slotted spoon and set them aside on a cutting board or a bowl with a wide bottom. Dust them with the uncooked polenta until evenly coated.

For the sauce: Pour a fraction of the milk into a cup, add the corn-starch and mix until all lumps will have disappeared. Pour the milk/corn-starch with the milk and the Gorgonzola into a pan and place it over a low heat. Cook the ingredients for 8-10 min, once the ingredients are combined and the sauce has thickened set it aside and reheat it just before serving.

In a non-stick pan, heat 1-1.5 tbsp. olive oil on a medium-high fire. Add the gnocchi and brown them on all sides, occasionally stirring. Once ready, serve them with the Gorgonzola sauce.

Aubergine Quinoa Casserole

Aubergine Quinoa Casserole

Spring is blooming and the Ticino region looks amazing at the moment. Yesterday I had the luck to attend an aperitif on the small Islands of Brissago on the Lago Maggiore. Continue reading

Last time I was there was towards the end of the nineties. This place is simply beautiful and the feeling of being on an islands in the middle of the lake is so charming. On the main island there’s a large house that was rebuilt around nineteen hundred. In addition there’s a botanic garden, which complements the beauty of this patch of land in the middle of the lake. Here are a couple of pictures…

Isole di BrissagoIsole di Brissago

Lately I’ve been feeling the influence of the warmer months so I bought some aubergines and made this casserole for my mother and I. Unfortunately I cannot serve it to my husband, he is intolerant to eggplant and has to stay away from tomatoes as much as possible. This casserole is easy to make and if you want to make it ahead, prepare the quinoa with the tomato sauce, bake the aubergines and before the final baking process, simply assemble everything.

 

Aubergine Quinoa Casserole

 

Recipe for 2-3

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 30-35 min.

 

Ingredients:

100g quinoa

1 small can chopped tomatoes

1 small onion

1 garlic clove

Chilli flakes

1.5-2 dl water

A pinch of sugar

1 aubergine (not too large)

2 tsp. olive oil + extra to brush the aubergine slices

75 g grated mozzarella

6-8 basil leaves

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 190°C.

Chop the onion and the garlic.

Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a pan and add the onion and garlic to soften for 4-5 min. I used my cast iron pan but you can make this dish with any other ovenproof pan. Should you not have one, you any other pan then transfer the ingredients to a baking dish before placing it in the oven.

Once the onion and garlic are soft, add the quinoa and roast it for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly. Then add the tomato sauce and the water. Add the pinch of sugar and season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste. Once it’s boiling let the quinoa simmer until the quinoa is cooked through, about 20-25 min. Should the water evaporate, add one more splash.

Meanwhile cut the aubergine lengthways into small 1 cm thick slices. Brush them with olive oil on both sides and season them with salt and pepper. Place the slices on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake on the upper side of the oven for about 20 min. Flip them over after about 10 min.

Once the quinoa is cooked, if you have an ovenproof pan continue using that one, otherwise transfer the whole to a baking dish. On top place the aubergine slices and sprinkle the grated mozzarella on top. Bake in the middle of the oven for 8-10 minutes. Before serving scatter around the basil leaves and serve.