Sweet Potato Aubergine Melts

sweet-potato-melts

Last weekend I attended one of my favourite events: the enogastronomic walk that is Gusta il Borgo. Last year I couldn’t be present as I was getting married but this year I wouldn’t have missed for anything in the world. The nine kilometre walk around the beautiful town of Ascona while tasting wine and genuine products is a perfect excuse for some movement in a truly friendly context. Continue reading

Here are a few pictures of our day where the only thing I have to remember next time is to smother myself with more sun cream…

 

 

Summer events may be getting to an end, but fortunately it’s not the case for local, organic produce, like the aubergines in this recipe. With this I decided to make a friendly easy and healthy recipe and thought that tartines, toasts and/or melts are a great match. As I was preparing this recipe I began thinking about the infinity of combinations for every season of the year; for instance, with autumn just around the corner, I’ll try this with some diced butternut squash, goat cheese and some rosemary or sage.

Sweet Potato Melts

 

Sweet Potato Aubergine Melts

Recipe for 8 pieces

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients:

2-3 sweet potatoes

1 small aubergine

1-2 garlic cloves (depending on the size)

30 g quinoa

150 g mozzarella

1-2 chillies

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

16-18 basil leaves

 

Recipe:

Place the quinoa in two times its volume of water, season with salt and bring it to a boil. Simmer for about 15 min, until it’s done and the water will have been absorbed. Once done set aside.

Heat oven at 210°C (fan 190°C).

Meanwhile, clean and dry the sweet potatoes. Lengthwise, cut the extremities and discard them. Now cut the sweet potatoes into 1 cm thick slices and brush them with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper on both sides. Just remember that the amounts in this recipe are made for eight slices. Place the sweet potato in the oven and bake for 25-30 min, turning them once or twice during the cooking process.

Remove the seeds from the chillies and finely chop them, along with the garlic. Cut the aubergine into 1 cm thick slices, stack them (maybe not all at once) and cut them into small cubes.

Add 1 tbsp. olive oil, the chillies and the garlic to a non-stick pan and fry for 2-3 min on a medium heat. Add the aubergine cubes, season with salt and pepper and brown them on all sides tossing regularly. Finally add the cooked quinoa, mix everything together and remove from the fire. Rectify taste if needed.

Slice the mozzarella into ½ cm thick slices.

Once the sweet potatoes are done remove the tray from the oven and evenly spoon the aubergine/quinoa preparation, on top distribute the mozzarella slices.

Turn on the broiler and place the sweet potato melts in the oven for a few minutes. Once the mozzarella will have melted and lightly browed remove the melts from the oven, top with the basil leaves and serve asap.

 

 

Wild Garlic Pesto Potatoes

Wild Garlic Pesto Potatoes 7.1I was telling my mother today how much I love spring and its produce, the only thing is that the period goes by very fast and I don’t even have the time to get bored with foods like fresh asparagus, artichokes, rhubarb or wild garlic. Continue reading

This time I really was looking forward to making something with wild garlic; so I made a simple recipe with roasted potatoes and added a homemade wild garlic pesto with walnuts. The plus in this recipe is that the leftover pesto can be used later in many other dishes. The one I made yesterday I used it today on a tomato mozzarella salad. The traditional pesto should be made using a pestle and mortar but to speed up the process I went with my eighties blender (the modern one I owned took its last whizz on an experimental recipe some time ago). Anyway, take advantage of spring and its staple fruits (and veggies)!

 

 

Wild Garlic Pesto Potatoes

 

Recipe for 4-6

Prep time: 15 min (most of the prep time will take place while the potatoes are roasting)

Cook time: 50 min

Ingredients:

For the potatoes:

600g new potatoes

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

For the wild garlic pesto:

40 g wild garlic (rinsed and dried)

2 tbsp. walnuts (I quickly dry roasted them)

5 tbsp. grated Parmesan

Olive oil

optional: salt

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 200°C/180°C fan/gas.

Cut the potatoes in half and cook them in boiling water for 8-9 min then drain them.

Coat a baking tin with olive oil and add the potatoes. Pour 1 tbsp. olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 20 min. then turn them around. Bake for another 15-20 min, until golden brown and soft inside.

While the potatoes are baking prepare the pesto. Roughly chop the wild garlic and place it in a blender with a splash of olive oil and optionally some salt and process. Add the walnuts and process again. Now add the Parmesan and more olive oil. Blend until smooth and add more olive oil until it has the desired thickness. Transfer to a jar as there will be extra left for other dishes you’re making (pasta, chicken, caprese salad…)

Once the potatoes are done add 1.5-2 tsp. of the pesto, toss and serve.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

Sweet Potato Slices with Avocado Dip

Sweet Potato Slices with Avocado Dip
I’m back from my honeymoon! And I can say we had a great time in France. In ten days I managed to satisfy my history curiosity, to make my taste buds happy with good food and good wine and finally to calm down my shopping cravings. Continue reading

All this, I experienced in the company of my husband (well, he didn’t find the shopping part as exciting as I did). We spent five days in Paris then moved to Tours where we visited a few of the castles of the Loire Valley. Here are a few pictures of our trip.

We came back on Saturday night and on Sunday my mother came by to return my hairy and wet nosed house mate Kumo, and kindly she also brought me some groceries since I had little left to eat at home. It was not much but I managed to make my lunch a treat by baking these sweet potato slices with this avocado dip. As a base for my sweet potatoes I used the recipe I found on
foodfunandhappiness.

Sweet Potato Slices with Avocado Dip

Sweet Potato Slices with Avocado Dip

Recipe for 4
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30-35 min

Ingredients:

600 g sweet potatoes
2 tbsp. breadcrumbs
4 tbsp. finely grated cheese
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Cayenne pepper
Garlic powder
Salt

Dip:
2 avocadoes
2 tbsp. fresh cheese
2 tbsp. finely chopped onion
Cayenne pepper
Salt

Recipe:
Heat oven at 190°C.
Wash the sweet potatoes and slice them into 0.5 cm pieces. Rinse them under the water to remove as much starch as possible and then dry them well using kitchen paper (this process will make them crispier).
In a bowl add the olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper and garlic powder; add the sweet potato slices and toss until evenly coated. Now add the breadcrumbs and the grated cheese and toss again.
Line a baking tray with oven paper and spread the potatoes on a single layer. Sprinkle any remaining grated cheese and breadcrumb mix left on top of the sweet potato slices. Bake in the oven for 30-35 min, turning them every 10-12 min.
Meanwhile prepare the dip by removing the flesh of the avocado and mashing it with a fork. Combine with the fresh cheese, the chopped onion and cayenne pepper and salt to taste.
Once the potatoes are done serve them immediately with the dip.

Oven Roasted Potatoes Raclette Style

Oven Roasted Potatoes Raclette StyleIn Switzerland when the weather gets cooler we always enjoy our melted cheese and serve it with few other ingredients. This means we either go for a fondue or a raclette. In fact, since the beginning of September I’ve already had raclette four times and I haven’t grown tired of it yet. Continue reading

So for this post I made something inspired from this national dish but instead of boiling the potatoes I baked them and as a final touch I added the cheese on top and let it melt through the layers. For the potatoes I found a nice recipe on layersofhappiness, which matched what I had in mind. In my version of the spuds I added a little less flavourings because raclette is served with simple boiled potatoes and I wanted to stick with the simplicity of the dish. I will make it again… especially if I feel lazy about taking out the whole raclette maker.

Oven Roasted Potatoes Raclette Style

 

Oven Roasted Potatoes Raclette Style

Recipe for 4-6

Prep time: 15-20min

Cook time: 1h 15min-1h 35min

 

Ingredients:

800 g waxy potatoes (preferably all about the same size)

3-4 tbsp. rapeseed oil (+extra to grease baking dish)

Paprika (sweet or spicy)

Salt and pepper

160 g raclette cheese cut into slices (alternatively use Emmetaler or Gruyère)

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 230°C.

Grease a baking dish with rapeseed oil.

Make sure that after washing the potatoes they are dry. Slice them into 3-4 mm thick slices and arrange the on a baking tray by overlapping them. Season them with salt pepper and paprika. On top drizzle 2 tbsp. of the rapeseed oil and place in the oven.

Cook for about 35-45 minutes and then drizzle another 1-2 tbsp. oil before baking for another 30-40 min.

Once the potatoes have a nice brown colour add the cheese slices on top and bake for a final 8-10 min. or until it has melted and it’s bubbling. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

 

 

Sweet Potato Broccoli Tartlets

Sweet Potato Broccoli TartletsI’m always in for any recipe I can make where I just throw everything in a container of some sort, put it in the oven and just taste it once it’s done. Yeah, I like cooking although sometimes I feel a little lazy. Continue reading

So last week I was feeling adventurous and so I decided to give these tartlets a try. When I try new recipe out of my imagination I always feel a little tense and curious but once I saw and tasted the result, I was happy with myself. This is a recipe you cannot get wrong (unless you forget the tartlets in the oven), it’s made with simple and healthy ingredients and the sweet potatoes and the broccoli can easily be cooked in advance. With the days getting cooler I find that tarts and similar recipes go perfectly with the weather… maybe it’s an idea or maybe it’s the cookng method but I find that anything that comes out of the oven has a cosy side to it.

 

 

Sweet Potato Broccoli Tartlets

 

Recipe for 6×10.5 cm tartlet moulds

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients:

350 g peeled sweet potatoes

150 g broccoli florets

60 g grated Gruyere

3 generous tbsp. flour (+ extra for dusting the moulds)

½ tbsp. smoked paprika

1 egg

Salt and pepper

1 small tbsp. butter (+ extra to grease the moulds)

A handful of arugula leaves (optional)

 

Recipe :

Cut the sweet potatoes into chunks and boil them in salted water. Once they’re soft drain them.

Using the same pan bring another pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the broccoli florets by boiling them for 2 ½-3 min, drain them and place them in icy water. Remove them from the water and roughly chop them.

Mash the sweet potatoes add the flour and mix. Now add the smoked paprika, the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper. Mix all together and correct taste if needed. Add the egg and mix until it’s combined before adding the chopped broccoli.

Grease the aluminium moulds with butter and dust them with some flour. With a spatula or a spoon fill each mould until the top and even out the top surface. On top of each tartlet add a few pieces of butter.

Cook for about 20 min in a preheated oven at 200°C. Once done leave the tartlets a couple of minutes to cool before removing them from their moulds. If using them, top with arugula leaves and serve.