Pear Crumble with Caramelised Almonds

Pear Crumble with Caramelised AlmondsOn Sunday I woke up in a world covered in white. When I went outside everything looked amazingly beautiful, fairy tale like. It was the first time this year it really snowed and once I stepped outside I felt like in another world. Continue reading

After playing outside with the dog for a while it was a perfect time to cook something that came out of the oven, something sweet and easy. I had previously done some research for my next recipe and decided it would be a crumble. I chose this dish because it’s been so long since I last ate one that I can’t remember when it was. Why did I wait so long? I don’t know, but now that I have the taste of it back in my in mind I find it’s silly to have waited that many years. Scavenging for ideas crumble ideas, I stumbled on this recipe and decided to adapt it to my taste. I wanted to use pears because they’re in season and it’s my favourite fruit when baked (in pies I just adore them). As an addition, as I was doing my shopping, I came across some organic caramelised almonds and decided they would go in as well since they would pair well with my pears. Now the crumble is gone but I’ll be back with another soon. 😉

Pear Crumble with Caramelised Almonds

 

Pear Crumble with Caramelised Almonds

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 1 hour

 

Ingredients:

600 g pears – I used the Williams kind (peeled and cored)

1 heaped tbsp. sugar

1/3 tsp. cinnamon

2 pinches salt

50 g brown sugar

25 g oats

25 g flour

30 g caramelized almonds

40 g butter cut into small cubes (+ more to grease the baking dish)

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 180°C.

Grease a baking dish with butter.

Cut the pears into 2 cm chunks and mix them with the cinnamon, sugar and one pinch salt. Place the fruit mixture in the baking dish.

Chop the caramelized almonds with a knife.

In a bowl combine the brown sugar, oats, flour, pinch of salt and caramelized almonds. Add the butter and with your fingers massage it in the mixture until small clumps form and the result looks even (2-3 minutes).

Bake in the oven for about 1 hour, until the top is nicely browned. Remove from oven and wait 20 minutes before serving.

Carrot and Potato Mash

Carrot & Potato Mash A nice mash is something I love, not only because it’s delicious but also because it can be made in advance, it’s easy and it’s a dish you can decline in infinite ways. Continue reading

When my mother came home for our weekly lunch I served this carrot and potato mash with a salad. It’s something we both really like, and it’s also something we used to make us ladies enjoyed a lunch together while my father was away for work or pleasure. For this mash I used Emmental cheese and added thyme because I think these flavours work particularly well when combined with carrots. Actually this recipe is something I surely make again and I will am looking forward to using it next time I’m making a chicken cottage pie.

 

Carrot and Potato Mash

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 20-25 min

Cook time: 35-40 min

 

Ingredients:

750 g peeled waxy potatoes

250 g carrots

50 g butter (melted)

1 dl milk

120 g sour cream

120 g Emmental cheese (the stronger the better) grated

1 tbsp. thyme leaves

1 tbsp. ground almonds

1 tbsp. breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 200°C.

Cut the potatoes and the carrots into 2-3 cm chunks. Place them in pan, add salted cold water and boil them until they’re soft (about 15-20 min).

Remove the water from the potatoes and carrots and using a masher purée them. Combine the butter, milk, sour cream, 100 g Emmental cheese, thyme leaves and pepper. Mix well and eventually correct taste with salt.

Transfer the mash to an ovenproof dish and on top sprinkle the breadcrumbs, ground almonds and the remaining grated cheese. Place in the oven and cook for 18-20 min. Serve.

 

Fennel and Grapefruit Carpaccio

Fennel and Grapefruit Carpaccio 4.1 I always find it hard to stay awake after lunch, except when I have something light and possibly with little or no carbs at all. Yesterday I had this fennel and grapefruit carpaccio and didn’t feel drowsy; unlike today where I had a pasta bake and I keep on visualising my bed. Continue reading

So, instead of yawning my way through the afternoon, my solution is to get some movement and breathe some fresh air in. Fortunately soon I’ll head to my local butcher to get the meat I ordered for Saturday. I’ll actually be catering for one of our usual dinners with my fiancé and a friend of ours. To get idea through, the two first begun by complimenting my cooking and then, they asked if I could cook and bring the food to Andy’s house. I won’t admit it to them but I liked the idea. After having dinner at his place, we will then go out to the nearby bars (where the choice of places to go out to is slightly better than in the valley I live in).

 

Fennel and Grapefruit Carpaccio Fennel and Grapefruit Carpaccio

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 5-7 min

 

Ingredients

1 large fennel or 2 small ones

2 grapefruits

4 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

4 tbsp. slivered almonds

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

In a non-stick pan place the almonds and roast them until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Slice the top and bottom of the grapefruit and following the contour of the fruit slice the peel all around. Holding the grapefruit above a bowl, cut along the membrane to remove the segments. Keep 2 tbsp. of the juice as you will need it for the dressing.

Cut the bottom of the fennel off and using either a slicer or a knife, thinly slice the fennel(s).

Mix the 2 tbsp. of grapefruit juice with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

On each serving plate place the sliced fennel and then the grapefruit on top. Drizzle the dressing and on top sprinkle the parsley and the slivered almonds. Serve.

Blueberry and Almond Muffins

Blueberry and Almond Muffins I was really looking forward to making something with the blueberries form my garden. Continue reading

It’s my favourite fruit and last year I couldn’t eve take advantage of them since the birds seem to have gotten to them before me. This year at least, they are leaving them a bit more alone. For this recipe I had a look at Michael Ruhlman’s book Ratio and adapted my recipe from that: I added the ground almonds and the blueberries. I also wanted to wanted to try adding a crumble top so online I found this recipe allrecipes.com but since I don’t really like food that is too sweet I reduced the amount to be placed on the muffins. Enjoy!

Blueberry and Almond Muffins   Blueberry and Almond Muffins

 

Blueberry and Almond Muffins

 

Recipe for 12 muffins

Preo time: 15 min

Cook time: 25-30 min

 

Ingredients

100g blueberries

180 g flour + more for dusting

50 g ground almonds

100 g sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 large eggs

100 g butter + more for greasing the pan

2 dl milk

 

For crumble topping:

20 g butter

35 g flour

40 g sugar

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 200°C. Grease the muffin tins and dust them with some flour.

Place the ground almonds in a non stick pan and cook until lightly browned, toss regularly. Once done set aside.

In a bowl mix the flour, ground almonds, the sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl mix the eggs with the butter and milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones until just combined together

In a third bowl lightly dust the blueberries with flour and mix them into the batter.

Prepare the crumble topping by placing all the ingredients in a bold and work the with either a for or with your hands (I used both) until the mix is fine and even.

Fill the muffin cups with the batter till the edge. On top sprinkle the crumble topping and quickly place in the oven to cook for 20-25 min.

Remove from the oven and wait five minutes before removing them from their mould and placing them on a rack to cool.

 

Chocolate Rocks / Rochers au Chocolat


Chocolate Rocks The only thing that can go wrong in this recipe is if you overheat the chocolate. Continue reading

It’s quick to prepare and it’s a nice treat to enjoy oven a cup of coffee or just like that, because you feel you deserve it…  This recipe is dedicated to my grandfather. In ten days it will be one year he is not with us anymore and I felt like remembering him. About three years ago he gave me this recipe which has been hanging on my fridge since then. Unfortunately I can’t tell where it comes from because I only have one single page of the magazine it came from. And my grandfather read a lot of them.

I adapted the recipe to my taste as the recipe only calls for cornflakes or almonds. I chose to use both and to add some dried fruits. I will surely make these treats again and next time I will give other ingredients a try such as walnuts or hazelnuts or sprinkle on some coconut or use dried pears or mangoes or… Well, the choice is there and it comes down to personal taste.

 

Happy Easter to everyone!

 

Chocolate Rocks 6Chocolate Rocks 4

Chocolate Rocks

 

Makes about 14-16 pieces

Time: 25 min

 

Ingredients

150 g dark chocolate

100 g milk chocolate

30 g butter

½ vanilla pod

20 g dried cherries chopped

45 g cornflakes

35 g slivered almonds

 

Recipe

Break up the chocolate into pieces and placed in a bowl. Scrape out the vanilla seeds and add them to the chocolate along with the butter.

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. The water shouldn’t touch the bowl and the chocolate should not become too hot.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and gently stir to coat the cornflakes, cherries and almonds.

On a tray lined with parchment paper, using a couple teaspoons, make little piles. Leave to solidify completely but avoid placing them in the fridge (they will lose shine). Store them in a hermetically sealed tin box for up to two weeks.

 

*******

Version Française

 Chocolate Rocks 5

La seule chose qui peut mal se passer en préparant cette recette, c’est si on chauffe trop le chocolat. Il faut peu de temps pour préparer ces friandises qui sont à déguster avec une tasse de café ou juste comme ça, parce que on se dit qu’on le mérite… Cette recette je la dédie à mon grand-père. Dans dix jours ça va faire un an qu’il n’est plus avec nous et j’avais envie de faire quelque chose pour me rappeler de lui. Il m’avait donné cette recette il y a environ trois ans et cette recette est restée collée sur mon réfrigérateur tout ce temps. Je ne peux pas dire d’où vient cette recette car c’est une page provenant d’un des nombreux magazines qu’il lisait.

J’ai adapté la recette selon mes gouts vu que sur la feuille on parlait que de cornflakes ou de amandes en bâtonnets. J’ai utilisé les deux et en plus j’ai ajouté des fruits secs. Ces friandises je vais surement les refaire mais la prochaine fois j’essaierai d’autres ingrédients comme des noix ou noisettes, ou ajouter de la noix de coco, ou utiliser d’autres fruits secs comme des poires ou des mangues… Enfin, le choix est la et tout ça dépend de notre goût personnel.

 

Joyeuses Pâques à tous !

 

Chocolate Rocks

Rochers au Chocolat

 

Pour 14-16 pièces

Temps : 25 min

 

Ingrédients:

150 g chocolat noir

100 g chocolat au lait

30 g beurre

½ gousse de vanille

20 g cerises séchées hachées

45 g cornflakes

35 g amandes en bâtonnets

 

Recette

Cassez le chocolat en morceau et placez le dans un bol. Grattez les graines et ajoutez-le au chocolat avec le beurre.

Fondre le chocolat dans un bain marie. L’eau ne devrait pas toucher le bol et le chocolat ne doit pas non plus devenir trop chaud.

Ajouter le reste des ingrédients au bol et mélanger délicatement pour couvrir les cornflakes, les cerises et les amandes.

Sur un plan de travail ou un plateau couvert de papier sulfurisé, à l’aide de deux cuillères, former des petits tas. Laisser refroidir en évitant de les placer dans le réfrigérateur (il perdent leur brillance). Conserver dans une boite en fer blanc hermétique jusqu’à 2 semaines.

Carrot cake

Carrot Cake One thing I really appreciate since having a blog is that, bit by bit, I am recollecting my mother’s recipes which gave such great taste to my childhood. Continue reading

Last Thursday we got together and made this carrot cake. She arrived home with all the ingredients and while we were having coffee at the kitchen counter I saw she was eager to start. My impression was confirmed when she said:

“So, two more minutes and then let’s bake.”

But then, she is always a little stressed…As a reminder of the ingredients and procedure she took a picture of the carrot cake recipe which is part of an actual cooking encyclopaedia from the 70’s-80’s (there are 18 volumes or so). We moved to the kitchen and while she grated the carrots I prepared the batter. This moment felt like going back in time, when we would bake something or make cookies together. One recipe I used to particularly like was the Cola cake which was a recipe I had gotten from a children’s book. By twelve the cake was out of the oven and I prepared a with spelt salad. We didn’t have dessert but as soon as she left, I have a couple slices of my share of the cake and I was just delicious. The lemon zest gives a fresh taste to the cake and the almonds add to the texture.

 

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Carrot cake

Recipe for a cm cake mould

 

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 45 min

 

Ingredients

250 g grated carrots

4 eggs

150 g sugar

100 g flour

100 g almonds

Zest of 1 lemon

4 level spoonful raising powder

1 three fingered pinch of salt

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 180°C.

Separate the egg whites form the yolks. In a bowl mix the sugar with the yolks.  Sift the flour and the raising powder and blend it well with the yolk and sugar and mix.

Whisk the egg withes with the pinch of salt to a peak.

Chop the almonds and add them with the carrots and lemon zest to the batter.

Add the pinch of salt to the egg whites and whisk them to a peak. Gently combine them to the batter; just remember not to over work the mass.

Grease a cake mold with oil and add the batter. Place in the oven for 45 minutes. Check if center is done by inserting a toothpick in the middle. If it comes out dry, remove the cake from the oven and leave it to rest. After 10-15 minutes remove it from the mold and place it on a rack to finish cooling.

Serve with a little icing sugar sprinkled on it or a lemon icing.

 

Amor Polenta Cake

36. Amor Polenta 3 (800 x 600)It was only a couple of months ago that I first tried a polenta cake. Continue reading

I took a friend of mine to one of my favorite restaurants, at the Grotto Lafranchi in my Valley Maggia. It’s a place I just like everything about: the food is delicious and the atmosphere is so friendly (this is a must for me, I’d rather have so-so food but a great environment than the other way round). Since I go there often since a couple of years I know the small team and the chef proposed us one preview of the autumn desserts: the Amor Polenta. He served us this cake with a white chocolate sauce and pink peppercorns. The little crunch the polenta gives to this cake is why I fell for it so I decided to make my own. I went online and looked for a few different recipes ( imenudibenedetta.blogspot.com and gusto-arte.fr) and had a look in my cookbooks for tips on making a good pound cake and worked on this recipe. I was happy with the result although my version of the cake was a sweeter than the one I remember tasting and since I serve it without the white chocolate sauce it works well this way. Anyway this is an easy but delicious cake which I ended up eating more than I would have liked to…

About the Amor Polenta:

I would have liked to know more about the origins and myths tied to this cake but I have found not particular historic references. I found out that this recipe comes from northern Italy, from Varese, in fact it is also called “Dolce di Varese”.  Originally this recipe it was something the poor would make and traditionally this recipe is made in a long cake pan with a fluted base (source: www.pasticceriasieni.it)

36. Amor Poolenta 1 (800 x 497)

Amor Polenta Cake

Recipe for a 20 cm cake mold

Prep time : 15 min

Cook time : 40-45 min

 

Ingredients :

100 g powdered sugar

100 g butter (remove from fridge a couple of hours before use) + more to grease the mold

40 g wheat starch

40 g white flour + more for the mold

80 g fine grain polenta

2 eggs

1 yolk

1 vanilla pod

½ bag dry yeast

1 pinch salt

(optional : 1 grated lemon zest or a shot of liquor such as Kirsch)

 

Recipe :

Heat oven at 180°C.

Sift the wheat starch with the flour and the yeast.

Split the vanilla pod and remove the seeds.

In a bowl place the sugar and the butter.  Cream them together for 5 min. Start adding the eggs and the yolk one at the time. While mixing, now add the flour/starch mix little by little to the rest. Next add the vanilla, the salt, the polenta and the ground almonds.

Take a 20 cm baking tin. First rub the butter on the inside and then coat with flour. Pour the preparation into the tin and bake for about 45 min (my over is pretty warm so I had to turn the heat down a little towards the end, you might want to consider how yours works too). When you insert a toothpick in the cake and it comes out dry the cake is ready. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 10 min. Remove from the tin and leave to cool for 30 min before serving.

Crusted Pumpkin Slices

34. Crusted Pumpkin Slices (800 x 635)On Saturday I met up with my friend Lisi and we went for a an aperitif before we wound go and have dinner at her place. With our glass of white wine and some freshly made focaccia, we were on the square of a nearing village. As we talked she told me what she had planned for make for dinner. The menu involved a pumpkin soup as a starter and a veal recipe she wanted to try out; the perspective looked good. Continue reading

I love the fact that there is a real sense of community in the valley and the people just know each other; the problem is that you always end up getting home later than expected (sometimes much later). To make a long story short, we gained one more guest and Lisi ended up making a Bolognese at ten o’clock. The pasta was delicious but now I had pumpkin on my mind. So the following day I went through my Kindle library and found this recipe from Ottolenghi’s vegetarian cuisine book “Plenty”. I made my own version of this easy recipe which is delicious and healthy.

About the pumpkin:

Native from Central America and Mexico, pumpkins have been cultivated for as far as five thousand years ago. Since that time they have now spread to six continents. A thing which surprised me is that the etymology of the word “pumpkin” comes from a French explorer (Jacque Cartier) who was in the St. Lawrence region of North America, he qualified them as “gros melons.” Translated into English they became “pompions,” and later evolved into the modern “pumpkin” (source: www.history.com).  It’s interesting to see how words evolve in time. Sometimes I wonder how the change happened as it is not always evident to find an immediate logic to it.

 

Crusted Pumpkin Slices

Recipe for 2

Prep time:15 min

Cook time: 30 min

 

Ingredients:

450 g pumkin (skin on)

30 g grated cheese (I used Appezeller cheese but any other cheeses work well too: gruyere, emmentaler…)

1 tbsp breadcrumbs

1 tbsp ground almonds

2 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tsp chopped thyme leaves

1 tsp chopped rosemary leaves

Salt (not too much) and pepper

Grated zest of one lemon

1 crushed garlic clove

Olive oil

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 190°C.

Cut the pumpkin into wedges about 1 cm thick and set aside.

In a bowl mix the parsley, thyme, rosemary, lemon zest, ground almonds, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, crushed garlic, salt and pepper.

Brush both sides of the pumpkin slices with olive oil and place them on a baking tray covered with oven paper.

Evenly distribute the content of the bowl on the pumpkin slices; lightly pat the preparation and place in the oven for 30 min. I find its taste to be great this way but you can always serve this dish with some sour cream with chopped chopped chives.