Asparagus Lemon Pasta Bake

Asparagus Lemon Pasta BakeIn a hurried week I really wanted to post this recipe, which I really enjoyed. The lemon gives this pasta bake has a light and refreshing taste and it’s asparagus season so I want to take advantage of it! Continue reading

As an inspiration for this recipe I took smittenkitchen’s mushroom Marsala pasta bake, a recipe I’ve been contemplating for some time and finally decided to adapt it to the spring season. I’m going to have to keep it short because I still have to finish packing for a special weekend where I get to spend time with a friend… but before he arrives in Zurich, I want/need to go shopping.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Asparagus Lemon Pasta Bake

Asparagus Lemon Pasta Bake

 

Asparagus Pasta Bake

Recipe for 4-6

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 50-60 min

 

Ingredients:

280g short pasta (I used penne)

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 small-medium onion

0.8 dl white wine

45g butter

30 g flour (or 2 tbsp.)

3.5 dl vegetable stock

80g Parmesan cheese

The juice and zest of 1 small organic lemon

0.9 dl cream

400g asparagus (woody part removed)

 

Recipe:

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water but make sure it’s al dente. Drain it 1-2 minutes before doneness and set it aside.

Slice the asparagus at an angle into 0.5 cm pieces (if using thin asparaguses, cut them into 1-1.5 cm pieces. Chop the onion.

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil on a medium-high heat and add the asparaguses to brown tossing occasionally. Once done set them aside with the pasta.

Reduce the fire to medium-low and add the second tbsp. of olive oil along with the chopped onion. Cook until the onion has softened (4-5 min). Pour in the white wine, lemon juice and lemon zest and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated, don’t stop stirring. Now add the butter and once it has melted, add the flour and continue stirring until it has been combined with the rest of the ingredients. Start adding the stock one splash at the time. Make sure that between splashes, the liquid is well combined. Do so until the stock is finished then let it cook for a couple of minutes to let the sauce thicken. Add the cream, stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the fire and add ¾ of the grated cheese along with the pasta and the asparaguses. Mix everything together. If you’re using an ovenproof pan, you can bake the dish directly in there. If your pan is not oven proof transfer it to a baking dish. Sprinkle the pasta with the remaining grated Parmesan and bake for 25-30 min in a pre-heated oven at 200°C.

Tricoloured Rice

Tricoloured RiceI’m back from a really enjoyable week in Spain. After so many years it was great to spend a few days with my mother. We had errands to run but we surely didn’t skip on the laughs, tapas, wine, sun and when travelling a Bloody Mary or two never hurt. Feeling jolly, I decided to post a colourful recipe that reflects the week we had. As a base for this recipe I took the avocado cilantro lime rice from closetcooking. I just love the way the mashed avocado blends in the rice. From now on, each time I’ll pair avocado and rice, I’ll do it this way.

Tricoloured Rice

 

 

Tricoloured Rice

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 25-30 min

 

Ingredients:

300 g cherry tomatoes

240 g rice (I used quick cooking whole rice)

2 small avocadoes

4 generous tbsp. chopped coriander leaves

150 g mozzarella

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Sherry vinegar

 

Recipe:

Preheat oven at 160°C.

Quarter the cherry tomatoes and place them in a baking dish cut side up. Drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on them. Bake in the oven for 25-30 min.

Meanwhile cook the rice according to package instructions.

Remove the flesh of the avocadoes, place them in a bowl and mash them with a fork. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add to the rice and mix.

Cut the mozzarella into 1 cm cubes and add it to the rice with the tomatoes and coriander. Blend all the ingredients together, correct taste with salt pepper and sherry vinegar to your liking. Serve warm or cold.

 

Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew

Cauliflower and Chickpea StewOn Sunday I’ll be heading to southern Spain with my mother for five days. It’s going to be the first time in seventeen years we leave together for such a long time. Continue reading

I’m excited but I hope we’ll get along well and will have a good time together. Like every mother/daughter relationship, there may be tensions. Fortunately we never hold a grudge for long 🙂

With an eye towards our upcoming trip, I wanted to post something colourful so I made this cauliflower and chickpea stew. This recipe is not only easy but it can partly or wholly be made in advance. Once you decide to serve it, just heat it up and add the final touch with the coriander leaves. I served this vegan stew with rice but you can also serve it with some bread, some eggs, chicken…

See you in a couple of weeks!

 

 

Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew

 

Recipe for 4 as a main

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 1h 30 min

 

Ingredients:

3 garlic cloves

1 large red onion

2 cans chopped tomatoes

2 cans chickpeas

400-450 g cauliflower florets

A three fingered pinch of sugar

Salt and pepper

2 tsp. harissa

Smoked paprika

2 tbsp. olive oil

4-5 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves

 

Recipe:

 

Chop the onion and the garlic. Heat olive oil on a pan over medium heat and add them onion and garlic to fry for 5 min or until translucent. Add the tomato sauce, the harissa and season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika to taste. Cover and let the tomatoes simmer on a low heat for about 1½ hour, stirring occasionally. You can also cook the sauce for 30 min to 1 hour but more is better in this case (not only the taste will improve but its nutritional properties too). Alternatively cook the sauce in advance and reheat it when you need it.

Add the cauliflower florets and the chickpeas; toss and cook for a further 6-8 min. Once the cauliflower is cooked to your liking (I like it when it still has a crunch) and the chickpeas are hot.

On top sprinkle the coriander just before serving.

 

 

Light Sweet Potato Gratin

Light Sweet Potato GratinLooking for new ways to make dishes I like but in a lighter version, I came across this gratin recipe (in French) and decided to give it a try. Continue reading

What I liked about this gratin is that its lightness makes it a dish you can also easily throughout the whole year; even when temperatures rise and you don’t want to eat something too heavy. In my version of the recipe I used sweet potatoes instead of regular ones as they deliver more nutritionally. What I liked about this recipe was its consistency, the potatoes just melted in my mouth. Also, as I can be a little lazy, I loved how you just throw everything in a baking dish and the oven basically takes care of the rest.

Light Sweet Potato Gratin Light Sweet Potato Gratin

 

Light Sweet Potato Gratin

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 50 min

 

Ingredients:

1 kg peeled sweet potatoes

2 dl milk (eventually more if needed)

150 g low fat cream cheese

Salt and pepper

A small pinch nutmeg

1-2 garlic cloves

Butter to grease baking dish

50 g grated cheese (I used Gruyere)

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 170° C

Thinly slice the potatoes using a slicer or a knife.

In a bowl mix the milk and the cream cheese together and add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pass the garlic cloves through a garlic crusher, add them to the bowl and mix again.

Grease a baking dish with the butter and arrange the potatoes in layers. Pour on top the cream cheese and milk mix. Because the sweet potatoes tended to curl up, I covered the gratin with oven paper and put a small lid on it (another type of weight works as well).

Bake for 25 min in the middle of the oven, remove the lid and paper and sprinkle the grated cheese on top. If the gratin looks a little dry add a little more milk. Bake for another 25-30 min uncovered. Once the top has a nice brown colour and the sweet potatoes are nice and soft remove from the oven and serve.

 

Miso Glazed Tofu and Sweet Potatoes

Miso Glazed Tofu Sweet Potatoes

Well these have been an exciting couple of weekends with people I consider as family. After the weekend in Köln I went to a surprise birthday party for a friend and former boarding-school roommate in Barcelona. Continue reading

Her boyfriend organised it and she was so surprised by the party and by our presence (another friend also went all the way to Barcelona for the event). The look on her face was worth the journey and Barcelona a city one can only enjoy.

I took a week off from blogging after that because I had to work on a project. Despite the schedule, these past few weeks I’ve been eating incredibly healthy and I have drastically reduced my hard-cheese and salt intake and have upgraded my daily workout. I can say I feel great. So in the line of what I’ve been eating lately is this post’s recipe: Miso Glazed Tofu & Sweet Potatoes.

Miso Glazed Tofu Sweet Potatoes

Miso Glazed Tofu Sweet Potatoes

 

Miso Glazed Tofu & Sweet Potatoes

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 20-25 min

 

Ingredients:

480g tofu

960g sweet potatoes – peeled

4 tsp. toasted sesame oil

powdered chilli peppers to taste

2 tbsp. brown sugar

4 tbsp. miso paste

4 tbsp. rice vinegar

4 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. water

3 tbsp. sesame seeds

2-3 tbsp. chopped spring onions.

 

Recipe:

Cut the sweet potatoes into 2 cm cubes. Fill a pan with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, cook for 5-7 min (until the sweet potatoes are a little soft but hold well together) and drain.

Cut the tofu into cubes of about the same size as the sweet potatoes. Pat dry the pieces with kitchen paper in order to remove as much moisture as possible.

In a non-stick pan heat the sesame oil on a medium-high fire. Add the sweet potatoes and the tofu with a little salt and brown on all sides, tossing regularly. After about five minutes add the powdered chilli peppers.

Meanwhile prepare the sauce by mixing the miso paste, rice vinegar soya sauce and water together.

Now that the sweet potatoes and tofu are brown, reduce the fire to low and sprinkle the sugar. Once it starts to caramelise, add the miso sauce and immediately toss. Add the sesame seeds, toss again and serve with the spring onion on 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.

One Pan Alpine Pasta

One Pan Alpine PastaI love one-pan dishes, I find them fun, easy to make and no chance of towering up dishes in the sink which will have to be cleaned after the meal! I made this dish for my mother and myself one day we were running short of time but now that I’ve tried it, I’d totally remake it for an evening between friends, maybe with a nice platter of dried meat as a starter and a nice glass of wine (the latter is not a “maybe”). I found the base for this recipe in my Swiss Cooking book (by Alfred Haefeli) and adapted it in order to make it become a one-pan dish to save time and clean kitchenware.

Tip: To make this recipe a little lighter, instead of using whole milk I used the half-fat kind and I found it didn’t affect the final result.

 

 

One Pan Alpine Pasta

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 5-7 min

Cook time: 15-20 min

 

Ingredients:

200g short pasta (choose a kind of pasta that takes between 12-15 min to cook, I used rigatoni)

500g peeled potatoes

1 large onion

1-2 garlic cloves

5 dl vegetable stock

1 dl milk

2 dl cream

1 tsp. cornstarch

200 g alpine cheese or Gruyere

Nutmeg

Pepper

 

Recipe:

Cut the potatoes into 2cm cubes and chop the onion and the garlic.

Place the pasta, potatoes, onion and garlic and in a pan.

In a small bowl place the cornstarch along with a little milk and mix until the combined.

Pour over the stock, milk, cream and diluted corn starch, nutmeg and pepper and bring to a rolling boil and leave to cook stirring occasionally until the pasta and potatoes are cooked and the whole become creamy. If needed reduce heat.

Meanwhile grate the cheese.

Once the ingredients are cooked through, remove the pan from the fire, add the grated cheese and mix. Should the cheese not be completely melted, add the pan back to the fire for a short moment while constantly stirring. Optionally sprinkle a little more pepper and serve.

Healthy Quinoa Casserole

Healthy Quinoa Casserole
Happy 2016! I’m back after large portions dinners, family, friends and a reasonable amount of party. With my husband and a friend we spent a few days in Crans Montana, even if the snow was sadly scarce, we still had a great time strolling around, tasting wine, treating ourselves to great foods like alpine cheese, fondue, pastries, Argentinean beef on a hot stone… Continue reading

Like many, the beginning of January is ideally for me a detox period. This doesn’t mean I’ll have steamed veggies and water, but at least no alcohol, no meat and not too many sugary and/or fatty foods. So to please myself with healthy food I made a healthy quinoa casserole where the use of cheese is limited and the white sauce contains no butter. A little over a year ago I made the Swiss grape juice pie and although a sweet treat, this recipe required a form of white sauce. Today’s recipe was a great opportunity to re-use such cooking process. With the light béchamel sauce I added the goodness of quinoa, carrots and kale to complement the healthy recipe aura.


Healthy Quinoa Casserole

Healthy Quinoa Casserole

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

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 45 min
Ingredients:

120 g quinoa

120 g carrots

120 g kale

1 red onion

60 g grated Gruyere

1 tbsp. butter

50 g flour

2.5 dl milk

2.5 dl vegetable stock (alternatively replace this part with more milk)

salt and pepper

Topping:

20 g grated Gruyere

3 tbsp. breadcrumbs

3 tbsp. milk

(optional: 1 tbsp. butter)

 

Recipe:

Place the quinoa in a pan in two times its volume of water and bring to a boil. Cook for 13-15 min. Set aside once done.

Wilt the kale in a pan over medium heat with a couple tbsp. water until the leaves have softened then set aside.

Prepare the white sauce by placing the flour in a bowl and adding a little milk. Whisk until the ingredients are combined and gradually add the rest of the milk and the stock. Transfer to a pan with high sides and heat the white sauce by constantly stirring. Once the preparation has thickened, remove form the fire and add the grated cheese and stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chop the onion and cut the carrot into small cubes of about 0.5 cm. To cut the carrots, start by slicing by their length into 0.5 pieces. Take each slice and cut strips out of them. Finally place the strips together and cut them into small cubes.

Melt the butter in a pan and add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook on a low-medium heat for about 10 min or until the carrot has softened but is not mushy. Stir occasionally.

Coarsely chop the kale and add it to the carrots and onion along with the quinoa and the white sauce. Mix until all ingredients are combined and transfer to a baking dish.

In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, 2 tbsp. milk and the grated cheese, mix and spread over the other ingredients. Optionally scatter a pieces of butter on top. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 15-20 min at 200°C.

Carrot Potato Cakes

Carrot Potato Cakes 4.1The 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

 

Recipe:

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.

Cauliflower Gruyere Soup

Cauliflower Gruyere Soup

It hasn’t snowed yet in the southern part of Switzerland but temperatures have significantly changed. When I wake up in the morning all seems frozen and this sight is enough to enter in soup mood. Continue reading

Most of the time I make something with the vegetables at hand but this time I felt like making something creamier. Cauliflower and cheese are a great flavour combination so instead baking it in a gratin or mixing it with some pasta; I thought this would be a nice alternative. In the beginning I thought of only making a cheese soup but then I changed my mind and in the end, I also added the cauliflower.

Cauliflower Gruyere Soup

 

Cauliflower Gruyere Soup

Recipe for 4-6

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time:20-25 min

 

Ingredients:

500 g cauliflower florets

240 g potatoes

160 g Gruyere cheese

2-3 garlic cloves

1 tbsp. butter

0.9-1 l vegetable stock

Pepper

 

Recipe:

Finely chop the garlic. Peel the potatoes and cut them into about 1 cm cubes. Eventually cut the florets into smaller pieces if they are very large. Coarsely grate the Gruyere cheese.

Melt the butter in a pan and add the garlic to cook on a low to medium fire for 4-5 min. Once it has softened add the potatoes and the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 min or until the potatoes you can easily insert a knife in them. Add the cauliflower florets and continue simmering for another 8-10 min.

Now you have two choices: either place everything in a food processor which will be more straightforward but the end result will be less smooth. The second alternative is to pass the soup through a strainer and set aside the liquid while you only process the solid ingredients before mixing everything back together.

Replace the soup on a low fire until it simmers again then remove it, add pepper to taste and the cheese and stir until it has melted. Serve with crusty bread and eventually top with dry roasted almonds, walnuts, chia seeds or whatever suits your taste.