Summers in Ticino are becoming increasingly warmer, and my diet lately has been made of salads, spare ribs (the only meat I still truly enjoy), and more salads. Continue reading →
I’ve been consuming loads of vegetables with chickpeas, beans, and lentils, but for once I wanted something with a stronger taste, and this beet and Roquefort salad with a honey dressing is the result. The sweetness of the honey dressing, and the beetroot contrast the powerful taste of Roquefort. For the texture I dry roasted a few buckwheat grains, with the arugula they make up the crunchy side of the recipe, while for the softness there’s the cooked root and the cheese. This is something I would easily serve during a dinner with friends, either as a starter, or as a side.
Beet and Roquefort Salad with a Honey Dressing
Recipe for 3-4
Prep time: 15 min
4 tbsp. buckwheat
200 g peeled cooked beetroots
50 g arugula
60 g Roquefort
1.5 tbsp. runny honey
1.5 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1.5 tbsp. rapeseed oil
Salt and pepper
In a pan toast the buckwheat on a medium fire for 4-5 min, shake pan regularly. Remove from pan once they’re crunchy and fragrant.
Cut the beetroot into chunks of about 2 cm. On a serving plate, alternate the arugula leaves, the beetroot pieces, the buckwheat grains, and crumble the Roquefort on top.
In a bowl, mix the ingredients for the dressing, and drizzle on top of the salad.
So after a week in the very hot southern Spain I’m back and filled with motivation and excitement: – 1 month and 15 days to the wedding! Continue reading →
The good thing about being back is that even if it’s too hot for Switzerland standards, it’s still cooler than in Marbella. Nevertheless the temperatures call for fresh recipes where you don’t have to stand too long in front of the kitchen plates. In this recipe I combined blue cheese and peaches because the work really well when paired. In addition I decided to add some caramelised walnuts for the sweet crunch effect. I found a really easy and quick recipe on natashaskitchen.com. Since I didn’t want to over do it with the sugar, I changed a little the proportions and it turned out just fine.
Peach, Blue Cheese and Arugula Salad with Caramelized Walnuts
Recipe for 4 as a starter or a side dish or 2 as a main
Prep time 10 min
Cook time 5 min
2 white peaches
50 g walnuts
50 g sugar
½ tbsp. sugar
100 g arugula
140 g Gorgonzola
3 tbsp. olive oil
1.5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Heat a non-stick pan on a medium fire and add the butter, sugar and walnuts. Cook for five minutes stirring often. Once the sugar has caramelised and is a nice brown colour, transfer the walnuts to a piece of parchment paper, spread them around and let them cool. Once they will have cooled roughly chop them with a large knife.
Cut the peaches in half and then into quarters before de-pitting them. Cut each quarter into three segments.
Cut the Gorgonzola into 1.5-2 cm pieces.
Prepare the dressing by mixing the olive oil with the balsamic vinegar then add salt and pepper to taste.
In a bowl place the arugula and pour in about ¾ of the balsamic dressing. Toss until evenly coated and place in a serving dish. On top distribute the peach sections and the Gorgonzola. Drizzle the remaining dressing and sprinkle the caramelised walnuts. Serve asap.
Seeing old Dutch acquaintances over the Christmas holidays made me think about the time I lived in Amsterdam. Continue reading →
Besides being a city I absolutely fell in love with, I also often enjoyed having the nice sandwiches you could find around town. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten as many sandwiches as during that year. Among my favourite combinations was one I often chose, with goat cheese and honey. Thinking about that year made me want to eat something similar and so I made these toasts. In this recipe I added some beetroots and arugula because they add taste, texture and the eye also wants its part. These toasts can work for a quick lunch (1-2 p.p.) maybe with a salad, or a brunch or whenever you feel like it.
Goat Cheese Toasts
Recipe for 4 pieces
Prep time: 5-10 min
Cooke time: 15-20 min
4 slices bread (1.5-2 cm thick, I used brown bread)
120 g goat cheese log
2 tbsp. sour cream
2 tbsp. dry roasted pine nuts
4 tsp. runny honey
12 thin beetroots wedges (a few millimetres thick)
Heat oven at 180°C.
Spread a little butter on each side of the bread slices and place them in the oven until lightly toasted, about 5-7 min.
Meanwhile crumble the cheese in a bowl and add the sour cream with some pepper. Mix the ingredients together.
Take the bread slices out of the oven and spoon over the goat cheese sour cream mix. Replace the slices in upper part the oven and cook them for about 15 min. Once the cheese starts to slightly brown, take them out.
Drizzle 1 tsp. honey over each slice, then; on each bread piece place 3 beetroot wedges and a few arugula leaves on top. Sprinkle with the pine nuts as a finishing touch. Serve.
As I wrote last Thursday, my boyfriend and I went to Basel for the weekend. I was quite looking forward to the trip but I wasn’t aware it would turn out to be such a memorable moment. Continue reading →
We got there on Friday evening and went to the tapas restaurant we always end up going to. We always enjoy it and anyway, we were so hungry that I think anything would have gone down at that point. After dinner we picked up the dog that had stayed at the hotel and went for a walk. We reached the Mittlere Brücke, a place my boyfriend has been fond of since he was still a student there. We stopped there and that’s where he presented me a ring and asked me to marry him! My heart is beating faster even as I’m writing this. I’m so happy that I can’t contain myself. Well, I guess I don’t even need to tell you my response (which I shouted out while by passers looked at me awkwardly). Little after we went to celebrate with yet another bottle but this time it was champagne. We finished that bottle too, left the dog at the hotel and headed to a club where we danced among the students till three o’clock in the morning. The following day we were in a quite pitiful state and during most of the day we walked around like two zombies; sometimes I actually felt like it was the dog taking us for a walk. Our Saturday evening was quieter and after an aperitif with a tarte flambée we went for yet another round of tapas (we are animals of habit). Our Sunday consisted in traveling back home and getting some rest. What could someone expect more from a weekend? I’d say nothing. Soon we’ll start planning the main event, I want to share the experience. Besides posting recipes I also want to use this blog as a diary.
In the Swiss German part of Switzerland, spaetzli is something often eaten in this time of the year with game dishes. I find it’s something which works just as well with chicken or beef or vegetable… Since we were in Basel I though it would be an appropriate recipe to post. I adapted this recipe from the Swiss Cooking book (from Alfred Haefeli).
Recipe for 4-6 as a side dish
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min
300 g arugula
400 g flour
1 dl milk and water
0.5 dl water
1 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. dry roasted pine nuts
Grated Sbrinz cheese (alternatively use parmesan)
Place the washed arugula in a pan and cook until they are soft. Place them in a strainer and press to remove excess moisture. Now, either finely chop them or, place in a food processor (like I did).
In a bowl mix and beat the flour, eggs, milk, water and salt with a wooden spatula until small bubbles form then, mix in the arugula. The consistence should be a little like a pancake batter, if it’s thicker just add a little water.
Fill a pan with high sides with salted water and bring to a boil.
If you have a spaetzle make use it by placing the batter on its surface and push down the mass so that it falls into the boiling water. Alternatively use a wooden board and form the spaetzle by scraping the surface with a knife and letting the dough drop into the water. Once the spatzle rise to the surface remove them with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.
In a non stick pan melt some butter and add the spaetzle to brown on a high heat for a couple of minutes (you might have to do this in more batches). At the end add the pine nuts, toss place in a serving dish and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
Last week my friend Simo went for a quick visit to her brother and when she came back, along with a bottle of Dolcetto d’Avola she brought along a large pack of artisanal grissini made by her brother who is a baker back in Italy. Thank you Simo. With the heat of the summer I don’t always feel too hungry so I ended up eating this dip with the grissini as a meal with a small glass of white wine. I sat on the terrace overlooking my garden and while I was munching on these treats I watched a tutorial on how to do my make up in a different way as on Friday I’m attending the opening party for the Ascona Jazz Festival. I admit it, make up isn’t my strong point.
To make this dip I looked up in my Flavour Thesaurus book which always has great ideas for combining different kinds of food. Since arugula comes from the same family as watercress I told myself I’d try this combination. Come to think of the end result I guess this creamy dip could also work well as a dressing for a salad, maybe with tomatoes…
Arugula and Walnut Dip
Prep time: 5 min
30 g arugula
150 g Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
2 tbsp olive oil (+ more to drizzle on top at the end)
4-5 dry roasted walnut kernels
1 spring onion (white part only)
Salt and Pepper
Cut the spring onion into chunks.
In a food processor finely blend the walnuts first, then add the arugula, the spring onion and the olive oil.
Mix the whole with the Greek yoghurt add the grated Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh bread, raw veggies or grissini (like I did)