Summer Lentil Salad

Summer Lentil Salad 4.1Hi everyone, I’m still alive. I haven’t been very present in the last few months, but I’m going through some changes in my life, and I needed to focus on myself. My motivation has come back, and soon I will make some changes to my blog, too. At the moment I’m still planning and getting my ideas down, and in September you’ll see some changes. Continue reading

Like any good tease, I’ll keep the mystery going, and reveal bit by bit my idea.

It’s my first recipe for this summer, and with a load of local produce to choose from, I’m in heaven. This recipe is inspired by a salad I saw last year on the wonderful smittenkitchen site, and I made my own version of it, according to the local produce I found. The two recipes use lentils and Burrata, a cheese whose name is already a guarantee (burro meaning butter in Italian). Instead of using zucchini, I used an aubergine, and tomatoes, which give moisture to the salad.

Summer Lentil Salad 5.1

 

Summer Lentil Salad

 

Recipe for 4

Time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients:

120g Puy lentils

2 tomatoes

A 150g Burrata

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 aubergine

Salt and pepper

A small bunch basil leaves

 

Recipe:

Rinse the lentils and place them in 1l water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 25 min.

Meanwhile dice the aubergine into 2 cm cubes. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a pan over medium fire, add the aubergine, and season with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides, and set aside once it’s ready.

Prepare the dressing by mixing 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp. olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut the tomatoes into roughly 1 cm pieces and set aside.

Divide the creamy Burrata into chunks.

Mix the aubergines with the lentils, the tomatoes, and the dressing. Transfer about a third into a salad bowl, and scatter a third of the Burrata with a few basil leaves. Repeat until all ingredients have been used, and serve.

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.

 

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.

29-08-2015 The Day We Said Yes & A Welcome to Autumn

29-08-2015 The Day We Said Yes & A Welcome to Autumn

The reason I took a break last week is because on the 29th of August we got married! 😀

Continue reading

Since I still had guests from away that stayed home I decided to dedicate my attention to them…besides the fact that I really needed some rest from all the pre-wedding stress and the partying (the night before the big event I only slept four hours). I can only say that the day exceeded my expectations as we had such an incredible time, ambience and weather: a day made of all the flavours of love. Here are just a few of the pictures from a wedding in southern Switzerland.

 

Since our wedding occurred on the last actual weekend of real summer weather and now we’re gently slipping into autumn I decided to welcome the new season by cooking something with butternut squash. A nice casserole/gratin always makes me happy and with cooler evenings it’s a dish that works well. I wanted the flavours to “marry” well together. After consulting my Flavour Thesaurus from Nikki Segnit I decided to use some goat cheese and rosemary to accompany the butternut squash and potatoes. I decided to lightly roast the potatoes and butternut before baking them in the oven, this added some extra flavour to the dish. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Butternut Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

 

 

 

Butternut Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

Recipe for 4-6

Prep time: 20-25 min

Cook time: 40-45 min

 

Ingredients:

500 g waxy potatoes

500 g butternut squash

1 tbsp. chopped rosemary leaves

2 garlic cloves

Cayenne pepper

1.5 dl milk

200 g sour cream (I used ½ fat)

1 egg

100 g grated hard goat cheese

1 tbsp. vegetable oil (+ extra to grease baking dish)

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Peel the potatoes cut them into 2 cm pieces. Bring a pan filled with salty water to a boil and cook the potatoes until they’re soft. Once they’re ready drain them.

Meanwhile cut the butternut squash into 2 cm pieces, too. Pass the garlic through a garlic crusher.

On a medium fire, in a non-stick pan heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil and add the potatoes and butternut pieces to brown. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Toss regularly. After about 10 minutes add the rosemary and garlic and continue cooking for another 5-10 min.

In a bowl combine the sour cream, milk and the egg and mix all together.

Grease a baking dish and transfer the vegetables, on top sprinkle the grated goat cheese and finally pour the milk, sour cream and egg mixture.

Cook in a preheated oven at 220°C for 15-20 min.

A Thought for My Dad & Peanut Crusted Chicken with Salsa

Peanut Crusted Chicken with SalsaAfter 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:

My Dad and II 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

 

 

Ingredients

Chicken:

240g chicken breast

70 g peanuts

2 generous tbsp. breadcrumbs

1 egg (beaten)

Salt and pepper

Zest of 1 lime

1 lime

 

Salsa:

200 g meaty tomatoes

1 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves

1 large tbsp. chopped spring onion

½-1 tsp. sugar

1 finely chopped red chilli

Salt

 

 

Recipe:

 

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.

Mediterranean Chickpea & Brown Rice Casserole with Feta Cheese

Mediterranean Chickpea & Brown Rice Casserole with Feta Cheese The stress for the wedding preparations is rising and last weekend my fiancé went on his surprise stag party… which I helped coordinate in secret with the best man. Continue reading

I didn’t see him the rest of the weekend since when he got home he needed to rest. Son on Sunday I had the day to myself and I prepared this casserole inspired by thekitchn. I ate a big portion and kept the rest for another time. In the evening I was still full but a couple of great friends took me out on a surprise evening between girls. We went to have a nice dinner in the nearby Italy and after that, while there was a band playing we had some gelato. It was just what I needed. I realized how thankful and lucky I am to have them in my life. Being quite sensitive at the moment, I was really moved by their gesture. Friends who are there are are an essential thing in life… like good quality food 😉

Mediterranean Chickpea & Brown Rice Casserole with Feta Cheese Mediterranean Chickpea & Brown Rice Casserole with Feta Cheese

 

 

Mediterranean Chickpea & Brown Rice Casserole with Feta Cheese

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 40 min

 

Ingredients:

1 aubergine

2 zucchini

2 tsp. chopped garlic

2 tbsp. olive oil (+ extra for greasing the baking dish)

2 eggs beaten

zest of 1 lemon + the juice of ½ lemon

Cayenne pepper

1 tsp. dried oregano

240 g cooked chickpeas

100 g brown rice (I used the quick cooking type)

200 g feta cheese

0.5 dl cream

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 180°C.

Cook the brown rice according to package instructions. Once done set aside.

Cut the aubergine lengthways into 1 cm thick slices. Still lengthways cut 1 cm strips out of these slices, then cut them crossways into 1 cm cubes. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil on a medium heat and add the aubergines to brown on all sides, tossing every 2-3 min.

Meanwhile cut the zucchini following the same method as with the aubergine. Once the aubergine cubes are done set them aside and using the same pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and brown the zucchini. Toss regularly and after 5 minutes add the chopped garlic and the dried oregano. Once the zucchini are ready add the aubergine back along with the rice, the chickpeas, lemon zest, lemon juice and the cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Once all the ingredients are tepid pour in the beaten eggs and fold them in.

Transfer everything to an oiled baking dish.

In a bowl crumble the feta cheese, add the cream and mix together. Spread the feta preparation on top of the other ingredients and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 min or until the top has a nice colour. Serve alone or with a salad.

Tomato and Mushroom Galette


Tomato Mushroom GaletteI think I’ve gotten into the habit that if I’m feeling a little low, I get in the kitchen and cook something and this always helps. Continue reading

There was nothing wrong but with the wedding approaching it’s sometimes emotionally overwhelming when something unexpected comes up. So to lift my spirits  this post I made this galette. Between cooking and tasting the results, I was back to my usual mood. To make this recipe I took inspiration and example from a galette recipe from smittenkitchen but changed a few things according to what I had at hand. Today in a month is my birthday and I’m already considering the idea of inviting a few friends at home for a party and this recipe (maybe with a different filling) will definitely be on the menu.

Tomato Mushroom GaletteTomato and Mushroom Galette

 

Recipe for 4-6 as main or 8 as an appetizer

Prep time: 25-30 min

Cook time: about 1 hour

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

160 grams all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon table salt

110 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled again

60 grams plain yogurt or sour cream

70 ml ice water

 

For the filling:

450 g cherry tomatoes (even better if you can vary the colours)

120 g chestnut mushrooms

1 tbsp. olive oil

3-4 spring onions

60 g grated cheese

Salt and pepper

To glaze: 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water

 

Recipe:

Pastry: In a large bowl combine the salt and the flour. Distribute bits of butter in the bowl and using your fingertips work the ingredients until the preparation looks like breadcrumbs (the largest pieces should be the size of a lentil). In another bowl mix the yoghurt (or sour cream) and the water and add them to the flour mixture. Mix in the liquid with your fingertips until large lumps form then assemble them into a ball and wrap with plastic and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour (and up to 2 days).

Filling: Quarter the mushrooms and roughly chop the spring onions.

In a pan heat the olive oil on a medium fire and add the mushrooms to brown on all sides stirring occasionally. Once they’re nice and brown add the tomatoes and brown these too for a few minutes regularly shaking the pan to tilt them. Once they start to burst season with salt and pepper, cook for another minute or so and turn off the fire. Add the spring onions and set aside.

Making the galette: Heat oven at 200°C. On a floured surface roll out the dough into an approximate 30 cm round shape (don’t worry about precision for this recipe). Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking tray. To do this easily, gently fold the dough into quarters (without cracking it) then transfer it to the baking tray before unfold it. Place the vegetable filling in the centre and spread it out leaving a 6 cm margin around. Spare a small tsp. of the grated cheese (for the crust) while sprinkling the rest of it on top of the filling. Fold the pastry on the outer borders of the galette and brush the pastry with the egg wash; finally sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 30-40 min. Let the galette rest for 5 min before serving.

 

Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed ZucchiniDid I already mention my passion for zucchini and stuffed veggies? Well, I have combined the two of them and this is one possible result. Continue reading

In the beginning I wanted to use minced meat but since I’m in a very vegetarian phase I decided to use eggs as a protein. I guess in the end this recipe could be called “frittata stuffed zucchini”. This is a light recipe, which works great when the weather is hot and you don’t want to have a heavy meal.

 

 

Stuffed Zucchini

 

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

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 50-55 min

 

Ingredients:

2 zucchini about 17 cm long

1 yellow pepper

1 red pepper

1 red onion

40-50 g grated cheese (I used Parmesan)

40 g breadcrumbs

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tbsp. chopped basil

Olive oil

2 eggs

Optional: butter

 

Recipe:

Cut the zucchini in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds using a teaspoon. Take the seeds and chop them.

Remove the stem and the seeds from the bell peppers and dice them into about 1 cm pieces. Chop the onion

In a pan heat 1 tbsp. olive oil on a medium fire and place the zucchini halves cut side down to brown for 4-5 min. Once done remove them from the pan and place them on a baking tray lined with oven paper.

Wipe the pan, pour another tbsp. olive oil and add the onions. Cook until they have softened, 4-5 min. Then add the peppers season with salt, pepper and the oregano and cook for about 10-12 min. Finally add the zucchini and cook all the ingredients for a further 5 min. Correct taste with salt and pepper if needed and set aside to cool a little.

Break the eggs in a bowl and add ¾ of the grated cheese, the breadcrumbs, the basil and pepper.

Mix the content of the bowl to the vegetables.

Drizzle a little olive oil in the zucchini shells and season with a little salt then evenly spoon in the vegetable/egg mix. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and add a few butter flakes on top. Bake in the middle of the oven at 180°C for 30 min.

Roasted Bell Pepper Caprese Salad

Roasted Bell Pepper Caprese SaladLately I’m in a mood for coloured food: red, yellow, bright green. Just by looking at dishes with fresh and vibrant ingredients I feel energised. Continue reading

So in case I continue in a colourful vibe, you’ll know why… Generally I don’t ear caprese salad when I go out because I’m quite difficult with it. First I hate it when you feel pain in your teeth because the tomatoes come straight out of the fridge. Second, I like my tomatoes very thinly sliced for a caprese. To give this classic a twist I used bell peppers, they have a sweet taste I like to pair with mozzarella. This simple recipe is great for occasions such as summer dinners and barbecues and you can also prepare it a few hours in advance to save you time for other things.

Roasted Bell Pepper Caprese Salad Roasted Bell Pepper Caprese Salad

 

Roasted Bell Pepper Caprese Salad

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 40 min

 

Ingredients:

2 red bell peppers

2 yellow bell peppers

300 g mozzarella

2 tbsp. sherry vinegar

4 tbsp. olive oil

1.5 tbsp. chopped basil leaves

1.5 tbsp. roughly chopped almonds (preferably dry roasted)

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

Preheat oven at 200°C.

Place the bell peppers (stem on the side) in a baking tray lined with aluminium foil. Bake in the oven for 40 min, turning them on opposite side after 20 min. Once the bell peppers are charred and seem to collapse remove them from the oven. Wait until you can handle them before peeling the skin (I actually like if there’s a little skin left so I didn’t bother peeling everything off). To do this cut the bell peppers from top to bottom and lay them out flat, remove the stem and the seeds. With a knife or your hands remove the skin from each pepper. Then cut them along where the membrane is and slice horizontally into 2-3 pieces.

Slice the mozzarella into ½ cm thick pieces.

On a single serving, or on four small plates, overlap a piece of red bell pepper, then the yellow bell pepper then the mozzarella. Continue until the ingredients are finished.

In a bowl mix the olive oil, the sherry vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Stir the dressing and drizzle it on top of the salad. Finally sprinkle over the almonds and basil.

Grido – A Traditional Recipe

Grido
I must have been seven or eight years old when first tried Grido and I can still remember the moment. Continue reading

Growing up, I spent many weekends with my two best childhood friends, in their parent’s house up the mountain, above my village. During one of those getaways there, Flavia their mother, called us back to the house and when I entered I saw everyone standing by the fire, when I approached it, I saw a bowl with some kind of batter inside it and I asked:

“What is it?”

“It’s a Grido.” Flavia replied while handing me one of these things that to me looked like a crêpe/tortilla hybrid.

It only took one bite to become a fan of this treat. A couple of years ago, I fell across this recipe, which my father had written down on one of our old cookbooks. I was excited because I would have always loved to know what went into the batter.

This recipe is something almost exclusive from my valley, the Valle Maggia. If I ask people from the nearby town of Locarno, most don’t know what a Grido is, besides thinking that it’s a way to shout (un grido in Italian mean a shout).

Ideally one should cook the Grido on the fire (like in my childhood), if you have all the appropriate material, I would strongly recommend giving this cooking method a try (maybe on a cold night or around a campfire). Traditionally Grido is served with salted butter melted on top, but this recipe can be treated as if it was a normal crêpe or tortilla: have fun filling it with whatever you like. I like my Grido the traditional way but with a little jam it’s great too.

 

Grido

 

Grido

 

Recipe for 4 large pieces

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 20 min

 

Ingredients:

180 g flour

60 g fine grain polenta

3 dl water (add more water if you wish to make thinner Grido, I like them a little thick)

½ tsp. salt

Cooking oil to brush the pan (rapeseed oil, sunflower oil…)

To garnish: Salted butter (alternatively use normal butter and add salt)

 

 

Recipe:

 

In a bowl combine the flour, the polenta and the salt.

Start adding the water bit by bit while constantly whisking.

Heat a pan on a medium/high heat and brush it with oil.

Add ¼ of the batter and spread it out on the surface of the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the surfaces start to brown.

If you are serving the grido the traditional way, add and spread the salted butter on one side while it’s still in the pan, fold or roll the the grido and serve. Repeat with the other portions.