Mascarpone Matefaim

Mascarpone MatefaimI’m back! After a bad cold and spending time sorting out some personal stuff I’m now feeling better… or at least I’m taking action. As I’ve already mentioned I’m eating much better lately and this indulgent Mascarpone Matefaim recipe is the exception that confirms my new diet rules. Continue reading

A “matefaim “ is a broken up pillow like pancake that you can pair with whatever you fancy. This recipe comes from the Basic Cooking: Cooking Between Friends book from Sabine Sälzer and Sebastian Dickhaut and it’s something I always wanted to try but then it ended up at the bottom of the “recipes I’d like to try list”. Well this time I went for it and it’s a fairly easy procedure for a melt in your mouth result. The messiest part is when the bottom has browned and you have to break the matefaim into smaller bits while the top isn’t very firm yet. In the beginning I thought it would turn out a mess but gladly for me, it didn’t. With all the uses one can make of mascarpone cheese, this is a pretty good one for me.

 

 

Mascarpone Matefaim

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 15-20 min

 

Ingredients:

4 eggs

1 pinch salt

50 g powdered sugar (+ extra for sprinkling on top of the “matefaim”)

1 tbsp. organic lemon zest

4 tbsp. milk

100 g flour

250 g mascarpone

20 g butter

 

Recipe:

Separate the egg whites from the yolks from 2 of the 4 eggs into two bowls. Beat the remaining 2 eggs and add them to the yolks with the salt, powdered sugar and lemon zest. Gradually add the milk, flour and mascarpone.

Whisk the egg whites to a peak and gently fold them in the rest of the preparation. Just remember not to overwork the batter; even if a few lumps of egg white remain it’s not a problem.

In a large pan (don’t use the non-stick kind) melt the butter on a medium fire and spread it on the bottom. Add the batter, which should be 2-3 cm thick and smooth it with a spatula. Let the bottom of this large pancake cook. Once the bottom will have solidified, take a fork or a spatula and break the pancake into small pieces.

Turn the pieces around using a spatula and once they’re brown on all sides place them in a serving plates, sprinkle icing on top. Accompany these matefaim with applesauce, chocolate sauce, a berry coulis or a few apple slices topped with lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Aargauer Carrot Cupcakes

Carrot CupcakesLast weekend I went to Cologne to spend the weekend with a couple of friends from high school and without going into too many detail I can just say it was marvellous, like each time we meet. Continue reading

On those occasions my aim is always to make the most out of the time spent together and when I come back I’m usually very happy but very tired as well. I woke up on Friday at four and for the three-hour train journey I packed myself a couple of these carrot cupcakes I baked the day before. To make these cupcakes I took the recipe for the carrot cake from canton Aargau (a region in the north of Switzerland) and more or less divided the quantities by two. I took the recipe from the bettybossi site (recipe in French) and was really pleased of the outcome because this recipe has a refreshing taste and light texture. I will definitely be doing this recipe again; it’s a perfect grab and go treat.

 

 

Aargauer Carrot Cupcakes

 

Recipe for 12 cupcakes

Prep time: 30 min

Cooking time: 20 min

 

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

125 g sugar

1 tbsp. very warm water (but not boiling)

40 g flour

125 g thinly grated carrots

125 g blanched ground almonds

zest of ½ lemon + its juice

1 tsp. baking powder

1 pinch salt

Optional: 1 pinch cinnamon

 

For the glazing:

150 g icing sugar

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1-1.5 tbsp. water

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 180°C.

Separate the egg whites from the yolks in two bowls.

To the bowl with the egg yolk add the sugar and water and whisk for about 5 min or until the texture has become foamy.

Now add the lemon juice and zest, carrots, almonds. Mix the flour and baking powder and combine them to the egg yolks, sugar, carrot and lemon and mix until even.

Whisk the egg whites to a peak and fold it in with the rest of the ingredients until just combined.

Place the paper moulds in the cupcake tin and evenly distribute the mass in the individual portions.

Bake in the lower part of the oven for about 20 minutes. If you insert a toothpick and it comes out dry: they’re ready. Let them rest a few minutes before removing them from their mould and then transfer them to a rack to let them cool completely.

To prepare the glazing mix the sugar, lemon juice and water. The consistence should be thick but a bit runny. Take a cupcake and add about a tsp. of glazing and spread it with the back of a spoon or by tipping it to make the glazing spread over the 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.

Chocolate Waffle Cookies

Chocolate Waffle Cookies

I can go for weeks without having a sweet treat and then my sweet craving go like from Dr Jekyll to Mr Hyde. Continue reading

In an attempt to minimise my intake I bake something not overly sweet but which I will still enjoy: here is the context where this kind of chocolate waffle cookies are made. I took this recipe from an old book about cookies from Pat Alburey. It’s the second time I make these and the more I eat them, the more I enjoy them. The cookie part is made of a thin waffle that is crispy on the outside and soft inside, while the topping is pure melted chocolate with something nutty on top. These cookies thin little treats and once I begin, I find it hard to stop munching on them… next time I’ll try and bake a large one instead of many little ones.

 

 

Chocolate Waffle Cookies

Recipe for 32 pieces

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 15 min

 

Ingredients:

60 g soft butter

90 g powdered sugar

a few drops vanilla extract

3 egg whites

A small pinch of salt

70g sieved flour

30 g cooled melted butter

120 dark chocolate

30 toasted hazelnuts – finely chopped (alternatively, like in the book, use shredded coconut)

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 220°C.

In a bowl place the butter and the powdered sugar and whisk until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and mix.

Whisk the egg whites with the salt until they’re foamy and add them gradually to the butter and sugar, mixing between additions. Add the sifted flour in two-three times, mixing between additions. Finally combine the melted butter.

Line a baking tray with oven paper. Take a spoonful of the batter, place it on the baking tray and gently flatten it with the back of the spoon. Space the portions apart, as the cookies will spread during the cooking process. You will need to make this in two batches so prepare one tray and bake it in the oven for 7-8 while you prepare the second one. A tip, keep an eye on the cooking process, while I made mine, I was doing the dishes and took the cookies out at the last moment.

Once the cookies are browned on the sides, remove them from the heat and transfer them to a rack and let them cool completely (it won’t take long).

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and using a teaspoon or a spatula, spread over the chocolate evenly.

Finally sprinkle the toasted hazelnuts on top of the cookies and leave to rest until the chocolate will have hardened.

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.

Apple Crumb Cake

Apple Crumb Cake When I satisfy my sweet tooth I’d rather go for a homemade recipe like this apple crumb cake instead of an icing covered, cream filled pastry. This recipe comes from smittenkitchen but instead of using blueberries I caramelised apples, which are in season. Continue reading

During the making of this cake my house smelled wonderful and the great thing is that my dog’s fur was perfumed by it for days. The “poor” creature got even more hugs than she usually does. I shared this cake with some friends and the following day, the whole treat was just a memory 🙂

 

 

Apple Crumb Cake

Recipe for a 22-24 cm cake pan with high sides

Prep time: 25-30 min

Cook time: 45-50 min

 

Ingredients

For the caramelised apples:

2 large dessert apples

1 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. sugar

 

For the topping:

40 g flour

100 g sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

55 g butter

A pinch salt

 

For the cake:

240 g flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

55 g soft butter

150 g sugar

1 tbsp. orange zest (or lemon)

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1.2 dl milk

50 g hazelnuts (I used dry roasted ones)

 

Recipe:

Grease and flour a 23-24 baking tin with high sides and line it with baking paper.

Peel and core the apples and cut them into about 1 cm cubes. Heat sugar and butter in a pan and once the sugar starts to melt add the apples. Cook for about 5 minutes tossing occasionally, until the apples have caramelised. Once done set them aside.

Prepare the topping by adding tall the ingredients to a bowl and crumbling them with the tip of your fingers. Once the preparation is crumbly set it aside.

For the cake use a bowl to mix flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl whisk the butter and sugar together until the preparation is soft and light. Add the vanilla extract and the egg and beat until just combined. Add about 1/3 of the flour mix and beat until just combined. Add half of the milk mix and repeat with the remaining ingredients, ending with the flour. Fold in the caramelised apples until they’re evenly distributed. Transfer the cake batter to the tin and distribute it evenly.

Roughly chop the hazelnuts and scatter them on the surface of the cake. Now add the streusel topping and distribute it evenly.

Bake in the oven for 35-40 min. Test cake readiness with a toothpick: if it comes out dry, it’s ready. Let the cake cool for at least 20 minutes before removing it from its mould. Optionally dust with powdered sugar.

 

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.