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
Recipe for 6 pieces
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 10 min
50 g wilted kale
200 g butternut squash (peeled)
2 tbsp. pine nuts
1 small red onion
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
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.
I have a thing for food pairings and I’m always on the lookout for new ideas. For this post I consulted my beloved The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit and a flavour pairing that grabbed my attention was the combination of carrots with salted peanuts. Continue reading →
I didn’t want to make a simple salad out of it so I decided to make some lettuce wraps instead. In my lettuce wraps I also added some of the leftover chicken I had, and some coriander. The recipe in the book is taken from Nigella Lawson’s “The Rainbow Room’s Carrot and Peanut Salad”. The recipe calls for a generous amount of vinegar, which will cut through the oiliness of the peanuts. The vinegar will add a quality to the dish one can associate with some Asian salads. This super easy recipe is within everyone’s reach and the ingredients used are easily found all year round. I served this as an aperitif between friends and it was quickly put together went down perfectly with a little white wine.
Carrot Chicken and Peanut Lettuce Wraps
Recipe for 10 pieces
Prep time: 10-15 min
Cook time: –
120 cooked chicken
10 baby lettuce leaves
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. rapeseed oil
2 carrots (not too large)
3-4 tbsp. salted peanuts
2 generous tbsp. chopped coriander leaves
Salt and pepper
Peel the carrots and grate them using a small holed grater. Place them in a bowl. Finely chop the coriander leaves, add them to the carrots and mix.
Using a fork shred the cooked chicken meat.
In a small bowl combine the red wine vinegar, the rapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Roughly chop the peanuts.
Take the lettuce leaves and start by evenly distributing the carrots, followed by the chicken and finally the peanuts. Place the lettuce wraps on a serving plate and drizzle with the dressing.
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
Recipe for 8 skewers
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 10 min
1 medium aubergine
250 g Halloumi cheese
1 spring onion
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.
The 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
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.
Among the dishes I enjoyed eating back when I was in kindergarten was the frittata. Continue reading →
It’s actually the only food I remember they made in that canteen, except for the letter soup served with individually wrapped cream cheese. I remembered and rediscovered the pleasure of eating this dish when I began cooking more seriously about five years ago. I found this baked version on cookieandkate and it’s great because it’s so easy and fuss free that I will surely be making it again and again. Depending on the season and on what veggies I find, it’ll be fun to test all those possible flavour combinations.
Baked Carrot Leek Frittata
150 g carrots peeled and ends cut off
140 g leeks
1 tbsp. butter
60 g grated Gruyere
a generous splash of cream
2 tsp. thyme
Salt and pepper
Heat oven at 200°C.
Julienne the carrots either with a peeler or by using a knife. If using a knife, cut the carrot into about 4-5 cm sections. Slice lengthwise one side of the carrot. Place cut side of carrot down so it doesn’t roll when cutting. Cut carrot into thin slices lengthwise. Stack a few slices on top of each other and slice again lengthwise. You will end up with thin matchsticks. Then julienne the leeks. Again, cut into 4-5 cm sections, divide in half lengthwise and (always lengthwise) thinly slice.
Pace a pan on a medium heat and add the butter, once melted add the vegetables, thyme, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 min, or until just softened. Once done set aside to cool a little.
In a bowl break the eggs and add the cream, the grated cheese, salt and pepper.
Line a baking dish with oven paper and start by placing the vegetables, on top pour the egg mixture. Move the vegetables a little around to make sure the egg is evenly distributed.
Bake for 20-25 min, once the center of the frittata is a little puffed up and bouncy, it’s ready.
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
Recipe for 4
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30-35 min
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.
Not being beach types we have finally found the destination for our honeymoon and it will be Paris and the Loire Valley: castles, history, food and wine all to be shared with my new husband! Since we’re not leaving for another couple of weeks I’ll keep enjoying my time here in Switzerland. Continue reading →
I love living in a place where there are four distinct seasons, each is as enjoyable as the next for one reason or another. Autumn, not only has beautiful colours, it also has amazing produces and I’m always in for anything with squash or chestnuts. Last Saturday I stayed home getting ahead with my work but to keep my motivation up I felt like spoiling myself with a nice vegetarian burger… something I can hardly make when my husband is home because he loves his meat. After searching for a few ideas on what to cook, the quinoa burger idea grew on me and so I gave it a try. And in the end the roasted vegetables gave a great taste to this meal.
Roasted Butternut Mushroom and Quinoa Burgers
Recipe for 4
Cooking time: 30-35 min
Prep time: 15 min
280 g butternut squash (peeled)
160 g button mushrooms
6 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
120 g quinoa
1 red onion (not too large)
¼- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
¾ tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Heat oven at 210°.
Place the quinoa in 1½ its volume in water and bring it to a boil until done, about 12-15 min. Once done set aside and let it cool a little.
Cut the butternut squash into cubes of 1.5-2 cm. Peel and slice the onion by its length and then cut it in half.
Place the butternut squash, the mushrooms and the onion pieces in a baking tin, drizzle with 1-1.5 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss and bake in the oven for about 20 min. flipping the ingredients once or twice.
Once the vegetables are brown remove them from the oven and let them cool a little before finely chopping them.
In a bowl combine the chopped vegetables, quinoa, Parmesan cheese, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper and a dash olive oil. Mix everything together and let it rest for about 30 min.
Once the time is up form four patties about 1.5-2 cm thick.
On a medium to high fire heat a couple tbsp. olive oil in a pan and add the burgers to brown on both sides, cook for about 3-5 min per side. Serve them either on their own or with a bun complete with your desired topping.
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
150 g fresh spinach
80 g butter
2.5 dl water
150 g sifted flour
150 g grated Swiss cheese (I used aged Gruyere)
Salt and pepper
Optional: 2-3 tbsp. pine nuts
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.
After some time I have posted a recipe with some meat. As time goes by, I find myself eating less and less meat. The only things I really still enjoy are chicken and spare ribs. I guess it’s eating with my fingers what I truly enjoy. In this recipe I have tried to combine flavours that all go well together according to The Flavour Thesaurus (from Niki Segnit) book: chicken, peanuts, tomato, coriander leaves, chilli and lime. This is the cookbook I have been using the most, I find it inspiring and even when I’m not looking for a recipe I browse through the ingredients for the fun of it. Continue reading →
After hesitating I decided to write something more personal than usual. Today is a sad anniversary for me and I’m finding it difficult to concentrate. Exactly seventeen years ago my father died and with my wedding coming up, I am finding this anniversary more difficult than usual. On this occasion I wanted to share a picture of the two of us back in 1997:
I so wish that on my wedding I could turn around and see him sitting next to my mother, looking at me the way he used to. Tomorrow I will certainly feel better and anyway this is life. I felt like sharing this event because I wish everyone could have known what a great person he was. I really miss him but I am also really thankful to have had him in my life, no matter how long it lasted. Thank you Dad.
Peanut Crusted Chicken with Salsa
Recipe for 4 as an appetiser or 2 as a meal
Prep time: 15-20 min
Cook time: 12-15 min
240g chicken breast
70 g peanuts
2 generous tbsp. breadcrumbs
1 egg (beaten)
Salt and pepper
Zest of 1 lime
200 g meaty tomatoes
1 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves
1 large tbsp. chopped spring onion
½-1 tsp. sugar
1 finely chopped red chilli
Heat oven at 190°C.
Cut the tomato(es) into small pieces and then finely chop them. Place them in a small holed strainer and season them with salt. Place the strainer in a bowl and leave aside.
Coarsely process the peanuts and place them in a bowl with the breadcrumbs and lime zest.
In another bowl place the beaten egg.
Cut the chicken into about 4 cm pieces and season it generously with salt and pepper. Dip the each piece in the beaten egg first and then evenly coat with the peanut and breadcrumb mix. Place the pieces on a parchment lined baking tray and cook for 12-15 min in the oven.
Meanwhile prepare the salsa by mixing the tomatoes in a bowl along with the coriander leaves, spring onion, sugar, red chilli and salt.
Once the chicken is ready place it in a serving plate with the salsa on the side.
Cut the lime into wedges and place them on top of the chicken for each to drizzle according to their taste.
I love foods that get along with each other; they are just a wonder to combine… like tomato and avocado. So this week I thought I’d make a simple, quick but tasty sandwich with such simple ingredients. This is a sandwich I made last week with my mother when we had an improvised picnic on the terrace under the hot sun. Continue reading →
I am also really excited to announce that from October on I will be blogging for the tasty association the “amis da la forcheta” which is an association that focuses on products from Ticino by organising gastronomic events and walks. They are a group that proudly supports locals products and also, they have an eye on ecological sustainability. All of these aspects I personally consider to be really important. Over the next few weeks I will write more about it; but for now I am really excited to share the news! With a heart full of excitement I wish you all a great week 😀
Tomato Sandwich with Avocado Mayo
Recipe for 4:
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 5 min
8 1 cm thick slices brown bread
2 small avocadoes
4 small tbsp. mayonnaise
2 meaty tomatoes (I used the beef heart kind)
2 spring onions (white part only)
A few salad leaves
Salt and pepper
Toast the four slices of bread either in a toaster or in an oven. Once they’re lightly toasted let the cool by leaning them on something so that they don’t lay flat and therefore loose they crunchiness.
Remove the hard part of the tomatoes and slice them into 3-4 mm thick pieces. Do the same with the spring onion.
Cut the avocadoes in two, remove the pit and remove the meat with the help of a tbsp. Place the avocado meat in a bowl and mash it with a fork. Add mayo and powdered chilli to taste and mix all together.
Take a slice of bread and spread on one side a generous layer of the avocado mayo. On top place the tomatoes and the spring onion, season with salt and pepper, add the salad leaves and top with a second slice of bread. Repeat with the rest of the bread slice and the ingredients and serve.