“Älpler” Risotto

“Älpler” RisottoIn Switzerland there is a recipe called “älplermagronen” which translates as the “alpine herdsman macaroni”. Continue reading

This recipe contains pasta (which is sometimes directly cooked in milk) potatoes, cheese and it’s served with onions on top. It’s a delicious recipe but I wanted to do something different, so I made a risotto out of it. To begin with I looked up for a potato risotto recipe I liked which can be found here (in Italian) and from there I made my own adaptations. For the caramelised onions I followed this recipe that I find to be relatively quick and I like the taste of the end result.

Tomorrow is my weekly lunch with my mother who has been proclaimed by her boyfriend as the “risotto queen” and I thought it would be interesting to know what she thinks of my dish. Like traditions, this weekly meeting is something I find comforting: it’s there, it’s regular and we both enjoy it since we can speak our mind more freely than with anyone else. The subjects are often the same but who cares, it’s our moment. Maybe I’ll finally tell her about the old vase I broke before I left for my holiday. I guess the good thing about having the people close to you not reading your blog is that it can be liberating… my mother doesn’t use the internet and my boyfriend doesn’t read it because English is too much of an effort for him.

“Älpler” Risotto “Älpler” Risotto “Älpler” Risotto


“Älpler” Risotto

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 35-40 min



1 onion

280 g potatoes

280 g rice

100 g alpine cheese (alternatively use Gruyere or Appenzeller cheese)

1.4 l stock (it has to be hot)

1 dl white wine


4 tbsp olive oil

2 knobs of butter


For the caramelized onions

2 red onions

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar




For the caramelised onions start by thinly slicing them. Place them in a pan and cook them for 25 min on a low heat, stir occasionally. Now add the sugar and the balsamic vinegar and further cook for another 5-10 min.

While the onions are on the fire thinly chop the onion , peel the potatoes and dice them into 1 cm cubes and cut the cheese into small pieces.

Add 2 tbsp. olive oil to a pan with high sides, add the onion and cook until translucent with a couple tbsp. stock on a medium fire.

Add the potatoes and further cook for another couple of minutes.

Pour in the wine and after a short moment add 1-1.5 ladles of stock, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, stir occasionally. Once the time has passed remove the lid, raise the heat and let the liquid evaporate. Towards the end stir constantly as the potatoes tend to stick to the bottom.

Add another couple of tbsp. of oil and then stir in the rice and toast it well for about one min on a medium fire.

Add 1/3 of the stock and set the timer according to package instructions (usually it’s 15-18 min). Stir regularly and add more stock as it’s being absorbed. Do not let it become too dry as it might spoil the end result.

One min before the risotto is ready add the cheese and the butter, once they have melted serve with the caramelised onions on top.


Rice Medallions with a Sweet and Sour Salad

Rice Medallions & Sweet and Sour Salad 5I didn’t spend too long in the kitchen for Christmas but today, besides packing my suitcase I decided I would spend a little time cooking something I like. Continue reading

I went to the usual cupboard where the cookbooks are piled up in lines and after removing three quarters of the collection I found a piece I had totally forgotten about. It’s a book on vegetarian recipes and it comes from a Swiss brand which also makes cookbooks: Betty Bossy. I have already taken a few of their recipes and if you want to know more about it you can visit their site at bettybossy.ch (unfortunately the site is only in either French or German). I took this recipe and adapted it to the season and to my taste.

Rice Medallions & Sweet and Sour Salad 1


Rice Medallions & Sweet and Sour Salad 3


Rice Medallions with a Sweet and Sour Salad

Recipe for 2

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 25-30 minutes



100 g rice (Arborio or Carnaroli or other risotto rice types)

2.5 dl water

2 small to medium carrots

1 orange

1,5 tsp honey

1,5 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tbsp oil

1 red chili

6-8 roughly chopped walnuts kernels

40 g sbrinz

1 small bunch herbs (I used parsley, thyme and chives)

1 egg

25g flour

1 tbsp oil



Rinse the rice under water and place it in a pan with 2.5 dl water. Bring to a boil and cook on a low fire until done, about 15-17 minutes. Set aside.

Peel the carrots and slice them lengthwise. From those long slices cut long and thin strips. Cut the top and bottom part of the orange. Following the shape of the fruit, remove the skin with a knife. With your knife now cut into the orange to remove the sections.

Thinly chop the chili.

In a bowl mix the honey, vinegar, olive oil, salt and chili. Add to the carrots and orange and leave to macerate for about 30 minutes.

Thinly chop the herbs.

Add the flour to the rice, mix and add the cheese, the egg, the herbs, 1 tbsp olive oil and pepper to taste. Divide into portions and shape into little patties.

Heat oil in a pan and add the medallion to brown on each side, 3-4 minutes per side.

Serve warm with the carrot and orange salad garnished with the walnuts.

Bell Pepper Pilaf with Shredded Omelette and Almonds


Last Sunday I went to the wedding anniversary of my boyfriend’s parents. We were on a boat sailing around the Swiss part of the Lago Maggiore (the larger part is in Italy), ‘finger fooding’ and sipping wine. Continue reading

Pity that the umbrella was not an option; it was the first rainy day in a month. After a quick salute and the presentation to the, up to then, unknown members of the family, we went from water on our heads to water underneath our feet in the warmth of the boat. I am happy to say that as soon we got on the boat we sat down and enjoyed the moment; I like it when I don’t have to pretend listening to a speech.Some are great speeches; others gradually become like a background noise disturbing me think ‘Why did I get here this early?’. And I know something about boring speeches. I thought of sharing a couple of pictures of the day because there was a nice familiar atmosphere and I feel we all had a good time.




Yes, I was practicing my food photography skills… which I aim to improve.



L’isola dei Conigli (in English: The Island of the Rabbits)



This is the weather that waited for us when we set foot on land after the boat trip.




Today instead of checking out the history of a recipe or an ingredient, I went to look for information on anniversary celebrations and it logically turn out to be since about forever. For a link between this week’s recipe and a celebration think about what is traditionally thrown at the newlyweds…


About anniversary celebrations:

This is a passage of information I found on the subject; I did not change it because I like the way it’s written:

“From the dawn of humanity, when Homo Sapiens first began walking upright, they have always been a group of dedicated party animals. Life was hard in those days, what with fighting off cave bears and saber toothed tigers. The Ice Age made modern winters look silly. Food was hard to come by. There was no such thing as walking down to the market. It was a rough existence. Any excuse for a celebration was welcome.

If the fish were biting and there was a good catch… a fish food party! If hunters managed to bring home a woolly mammoth so the tribe could eat for a while? Yes…a mammoth party! The problem with those types of parties was that you could go for a very long time between good feasts. There had to be an excuse for celebrations, even during the lean times.

That’s when the cave social director decided that annual events were a good cause for celebration. They started by celebrating big events, like the beginning and end of the nicer weather—what we now call Easter and Thanksgiving. Holidays like that were reliable, but there weren’t too many of them. There had to be other reasons to celebrate that occurred more often. So, birthdays and anniversaries joined the list of holidays.

Of course, anniversaries were a little easier to remember when they were first introduced as a party theme, because most groups didn’t have individual ceremonies. They’d have a big get together and pair off the eligible bachelors with the young unmarried ladies once or twice a year. No one ever forgot the dates and the anniversary party idea was a great hit with everyone. That changed when individual marriage ceremonies began. The anniversary celebration, as we know it, was born. It was probably very soon after when the first husband forgot his anniversary, but by then the tradition was established and it was too late to turn back.”

(from: http://www.chiff.com/a/anniversary-history.htm )


I have a basic pilaf rice recipe which, with what I have learned over the past few years: I dressed it up. This week I am happy to write that I only had to remake this recipe twice. The second time I added a bit more salt and the basil and I was much more satisfied with the way the picture looked.


Bell Pepper Pilaf with Shredded Omelette and Almonds


Recipe for 2

Prep time: 8 min

Cook time: 15-30 min (depending on the cooking time of the chosen rice)



1 bell pepper

1 onion

1 small saffron bag

150 g rice

Olive oil

Zest of ½ lemon

about 15 dry roasted almonds

1/8 tsp paprika

1 good teaspoon grated cheese (I used Parmesan)

3 eggs

A small bunch on basil leaves

3 dl vegetable or chicken stock



Dice the bell pepper and chop the onion.

Add the saffron and the lemon zest to the stock and set aside.

In a pan put 1 tbsp olive oil and add the bell pepper and onion. Cook on a medium-low fire until the onion is  translucent, about 4-5 min. Pour in the stock, bring it to a boil and sprinkle in the rice. Reduce heat and leave to simmer until rice has absorbed the water (normal rice should be about 20 min, quick rice about 10 min).

Break the eggs, add salt and pepper and whisk them with a fork.

In a non-stick pan, on a medium heat, add 1 tsp olive oil and make sure the bottom of the pan is evenly greased. Reduce the heat and add the egg. As soon as it begins to take at the bottom you can move the egg around with a fork for about 30-40 seconds, then leave it to cook further or another 45 seconds or until the upper surface has become firmer. Sprinkle over the grated cheese, leave a short moment, fold the omelette in two and remove from fire. Now you can chop the omelette into strips.

Slice the basil leaves and add them to the rice along with the omelette strips and mix delicately. Roughly chop the almonds and sprinkle on the rice. Serve.

Grilled Zucchini and Bacon Risotto

Grilled Zucchini and Bacon Risotto (800 x 587)Okay, I’ll tell the truth: Continue reading

this is my first attempt at risotto (and I felt really quite happy about the result). Although I live less than a two hour drive from Milan, I have never really made risotto, I used to only be an observer of the process. I guess I found it a boring dish for a reason I am still trying to figure out. I guess that leaving for a week to Portugal gave me some new stimulus in trying out new recipes,  I feel so refreshed. By the way, I totally recommend Portugal as a destination, from the food to the people and also the whole city of Lisbon, all is really beautiful. I particularly liked the little streets and the beautiful buildings decorated with tiles that come in just so many colours and designs. It was a great opportunity to practice my photography skill (which are still at a beginner level).

About Risotto:

Between the 1300 and the 1700 rice was attributed one unique way of cooking: and that is in water. It was in 1779 that a cook from Macerate in the Marche region in Italy wrote about gently fried a bit of butter and wetting the rice with broth. Very soon the technique became more elaborated by adding, for example, some chopped onion. Through time risotto became more complex but it was in 1929 that a well known cook in Milan named Felice Luraschi published a recipe book  called “Il Nuovo Cuoco Milanese Economico” (or “The New Economic Milanese Cook”). The recipe called for rice with butter, beef marrow, saffron, nutmeg, stock and completed with grated cheese (source – Italian: http://www.risottoallamilanese.com/ )


Grilled Zucchini and Bacon Risotto

Recipe for 2

Time: 35-40 minutes



1 zucchini

8 slices of streaky bacon

20g butter (plus a small teaspoon for a finishing touch)

1 onion

100g risotto rice

30g parmesan cheese

2.5dl stock

4-5 basil leaves

Salt and pepper



Slice the zucchini at an angle (about 1 cm thick). Pour one teaspoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat a griddle pan (if you don’t have one just use an normal non-stick pan). Once the zucchini slices are coloured on both sides remove from the heat and set them aside.

Bring the broth to a boil and set aside.

Heat another pan and add the bacon to cook until brown and crisp. Remove from pan and set aside. Wipe the pan and on a low heat add the butter along with the onions . Without letting the onions brown cook them until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the rice and cook for another 4-5minutes, stir often until the grains are translucent. Add 1/3 of the broth and stir often until all the liquid has been absorbed. Once the rice looks more on the dry side add the second third and stir regularly again. Finally, repeat the operation of adding broth for a last time and stir until rice has basically soaked up the liquid.

Add the grated cheese and incorporate it in the preparation. Cut the bacon and the zucchini into small pieces and chop the basil. Add the three ingredients with to the rice and blend them in. To make your risotto richer here is when  you can add a bit more butter. Eventually correct to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve and drizzle a little bit of olive oil and optionally some parmesan shavings.