Sweet Potato Aubergine Melts

sweet-potato-melts

Last weekend I attended one of my favourite events: the enogastronomic walk that is Gusta il Borgo. Last year I couldn’t be present as I was getting married but this year I wouldn’t have missed for anything in the world. The nine kilometre walk around the beautiful town of Ascona while tasting wine and genuine products is a perfect excuse for some movement in a truly friendly context. Continue reading

Here are a few pictures of our day where the only thing I have to remember next time is to smother myself with more sun cream…

 

 

Summer events may be getting to an end, but fortunately it’s not the case for local, organic produce, like the aubergines in this recipe. With this I decided to make a friendly easy and healthy recipe and thought that tartines, toasts and/or melts are a great match. As I was preparing this recipe I began thinking about the infinity of combinations for every season of the year; for instance, with autumn just around the corner, I’ll try this with some diced butternut squash, goat cheese and some rosemary or sage.

Sweet Potato Melts

 

Sweet Potato Aubergine Melts

Recipe for 8 pieces

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients:

2-3 sweet potatoes

1 small aubergine

1-2 garlic cloves (depending on the size)

30 g quinoa

150 g mozzarella

1-2 chillies

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

16-18 basil leaves

 

Recipe:

Place the quinoa in two times its volume of water, season with salt and bring it to a boil. Simmer for about 15 min, until it’s done and the water will have been absorbed. Once done set aside.

Heat oven at 210°C (fan 190°C).

Meanwhile, clean and dry the sweet potatoes. Lengthwise, cut the extremities and discard them. Now cut the sweet potatoes into 1 cm thick slices and brush them with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper on both sides. Just remember that the amounts in this recipe are made for eight slices. Place the sweet potato in the oven and bake for 25-30 min, turning them once or twice during the cooking process.

Remove the seeds from the chillies and finely chop them, along with the garlic. Cut the aubergine into 1 cm thick slices, stack them (maybe not all at once) and cut them into small cubes.

Add 1 tbsp. olive oil, the chillies and the garlic to a non-stick pan and fry for 2-3 min on a medium heat. Add the aubergine cubes, season with salt and pepper and brown them on all sides tossing regularly. Finally add the cooked quinoa, mix everything together and remove from the fire. Rectify taste if needed.

Slice the mozzarella into ½ cm thick slices.

Once the sweet potatoes are done remove the tray from the oven and evenly spoon the aubergine/quinoa preparation, on top distribute the mozzarella slices.

Turn on the broiler and place the sweet potato melts in the oven for a few minutes. Once the mozzarella will have melted and lightly browed remove the melts from the oven, top with the basil leaves and serve asap.

 

 

Aubergine Halloumi Skewers

Aubergine Halloumi Skewers

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 Aubergine Halloumi Skewers

 

Aubergine Halloumi Skewers

 

Recipe for 8 skewers

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 10 min

 

Ingredients:

1 medium aubergine

250 g Halloumi cheese

1 spring onion

Olive oil

Pepper

(optional: salt)

 

Recipe:

 

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.

 

 

Aubergine Quinoa Casserole

Aubergine Quinoa Casserole

Spring is blooming and the Ticino region looks amazing at the moment. Yesterday I had the luck to attend an aperitif on the small Islands of Brissago on the Lago Maggiore. Continue reading

Last time I was there was towards the end of the nineties. This place is simply beautiful and the feeling of being on an islands in the middle of the lake is so charming. On the main island there’s a large house that was rebuilt around nineteen hundred. In addition there’s a botanic garden, which complements the beauty of this patch of land in the middle of the lake. Here are a couple of pictures…

Isole di BrissagoIsole di Brissago

Lately I’ve been feeling the influence of the warmer months so I bought some aubergines and made this casserole for my mother and I. Unfortunately I cannot serve it to my husband, he is intolerant to eggplant and has to stay away from tomatoes as much as possible. This casserole is easy to make and if you want to make it ahead, prepare the quinoa with the tomato sauce, bake the aubergines and before the final baking process, simply assemble everything.

 

Aubergine Quinoa Casserole

 

Recipe for 2-3

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 30-35 min.

 

Ingredients:

100g quinoa

1 small can chopped tomatoes

1 small onion

1 garlic clove

Chilli flakes

1.5-2 dl water

A pinch of sugar

1 aubergine (not too large)

2 tsp. olive oil + extra to brush the aubergine slices

75 g grated mozzarella

6-8 basil leaves

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 190°C.

Chop the onion and the garlic.

Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a pan and add the onion and garlic to soften for 4-5 min. I used my cast iron pan but you can make this dish with any other ovenproof pan. Should you not have one, you any other pan then transfer the ingredients to a baking dish before placing it in the oven.

Once the onion and garlic are soft, add the quinoa and roast it for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly. Then add the tomato sauce and the water. Add the pinch of sugar and season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste. Once it’s boiling let the quinoa simmer until the quinoa is cooked through, about 20-25 min. Should the water evaporate, add one more splash.

Meanwhile cut the aubergine lengthways into small 1 cm thick slices. Brush them with olive oil on both sides and season them with salt and pepper. Place the slices on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake on the upper side of the oven for about 20 min. Flip them over after about 10 min.

Once the quinoa is cooked, if you have an ovenproof pan continue using that one, otherwise transfer the whole to a baking dish. On top place the aubergine slices and sprinkle the grated mozzarella on top. Bake in the middle of the oven for 8-10 minutes. Before serving scatter around the basil leaves and serve.

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.

Summery Einsiedeln Pie – With a Soft Potato Crust

Summery Einsiedeln Pie Last Friday after a short night I got active in the morning. After my jog I got to the kitchen and preparing this summer version of the Einsiedlen pie. Continue reading

For lunch I had a friend and her one-year-old daughter coming over. I set the table out on the terrace and we enjoyed a ladies’ only moment. Now I have little experience with children but I didn’t know such a little creature could eat that much… maybe my pie was really good ;). As a dessert the three of us moved to where the blueberries are in my garden and began raiding the trees. This is a new Swiss recipe I found out about and liking the idea of using potatoes as a crust. The crust of this pie is nice and soft and thicker than a usual pie crust and the nice thing is it’s easy to make. I adapted my version from the original recipe I found here (page in French). I filled my pie with some seasonal grilled vegetables to adapt the dish to the warmer days.

 

Summery Einsiedeln Pie

 

Recipe for 4 people / Baking tray (28 x 26 cm) or cake pan (30 cm Ø)

Prep time: 20 min

Cooking time: 1 h 20 min

 

Ingredients

Base:

700 g waxy potatoes boiled

150 g flour

1 ½ tsp. salt

freshly ground pepper

 

Filling:

1 small aubergine

1 small zucchini

2 spring onions

2 eggs beaten

2.5 dl milk

140 g grated cheese (I made a mix of two alpine cheeses but Gruyere or Appenzeller cheese are just as fine)

1 tbsp. flour

salt and pepper

Olive oil

 

Recipe

Slice the aubergine and the zucchini crosswise into 0.5-0.7 cm thick pieces. Brush the slices with a little olive oil and season them with salt and pepper. On a heated griddle pan or barbecue (if you don’t have any of them use a normal non stick pan) grill the slices on both sides. Once they have a nice colour, remove them from the heat and set them aside.

Mash the potatoes. Add the flour, salt and a little pepper and mix.

On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough (1 cm). Lay on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Alternatively you can shape the dough directly in the cake dish lined with baking paper, that’s what I did.

Mix in the eggs, milk, cheese and flour. Flavour. Brown the bacon and onions over medium heat in butter.

Divide the mass to eggs, bacon and onions on the pasta.

Cook ca. 45 Minutes in the lower part of the pre-heated oven at 180 °C. For the last 15 minutes move the tray towards the upper part of the oven to brown its surface. Remove from the oven and let the pie rest for 5 min before serving.

Aubergine Tomato Mozzarella Towers

Aubergine Tomato Mozzarella TowersMy cooking is mostly made up of vegetarian food but this weekend we should be heading to Crans Montana and if we go there, we will surely visit the Argentinian restaurant for a nice piece of meat. Continue reading

I wrote we should be going there because my fiancé twisted his ankle last weekend and it hasn’t totally healed yet… so I’m keeping my fingers crossed he will feel better tomorrow. So while I’m keeping my hopes up for the getaway weekend, in the line of my usual eating habits I used some Swiss produce to come make these aubergine tomato and mozzarella towers. These towers are very easy to make and they work great as first course or why not as a side dish.

Aubergine Tomato Mozzarella Towers

 

Aubergine Tomato Mozzarella Towers

 

Recipe for 3-4 p.

Prep time: 20-25 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients:

350 g (about 2 small to medium) aubergines or 18 slices of 0.5 cm thick

2 meaty tomatoes

12 basil leaves

200 g mozzarella

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 200°C and line a baking tray or two with parchment paper

Cut the tomatoes and the aubergines crosswise into about ½ cm slices. Brush the aubergines on both sides with some olive oil and season them with salt and pepper then place them on the baking tray. Place the tomatoes too on a baking tray and drizzle a little olive oil on top then season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 25-30 min.

Meanwhile slice the mozzarella into ½ cm slices.

Once the vegetables have taken a nice colour remove them from the oven.

Build the towers by taking one slice of the aubergine, then a slice tomato, a basil leave, the mozzarella, then begin again with a slice aubergine, tomato, basil, mozzarella and finally top with a third aubergine slice. Secure by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the tower. Repeat for the other five remaining towers.

Bake in the over for 5-8 min or until the mozzarella is melting and the ingredients are heated through then serve.

 

 

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad 2.2 These Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad are the kind of dish I love making, eating and sharing. Continue reading

The more I cook the more I notice my love for making veggie filled dishes. On the other hand I also notice that my sweet baking skills have room for improvement… Anyway, since I haven’t seen much sun lately I wanted to encourage warm days by making something with an eye towards summer. Aubergines and salad to me scream warm and sunny days. With the wedges I made the wheat salad by adding ingredients that pair well with aubergines: tomatoes, walnuts, chilli and a little garlic. Easy and healthy, I hope you’ll like it as much as I did.

 

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad

 

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 25-30 min

 

Ingredients

2 small aubergines (stem trimmed) – about 500 g

160 g tomatoes – the meatier the better

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

1-2 cloves garlic

Chilli powder

2 tbsp. dry roasted coarsely chopped walnuts

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

1.5 tbsp. lemon juice

160 g wheat (I used the precooked kind)

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 200°C.

Cut the aubergines in half lengthways, and then cut each half into four equal sized wedges. Brush each piece with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place the wedges (skin side down) on a parchment lined baking tray and cook for 25-30 min in the oven. If the top gets too dark turn the wedges on one side and flip them after a few minutes.

Meanwhile cook the wheat according to package instructions (about 10 min.) in salted water. Drain if needed once done.

Chop the tomato into about ½ cm pieces and using a garlic crusher crush the cloves (alternatively finely chop it)

Prepare the dressing by mixing the lemon juice with 3 tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper.

In a bowl combine the cooked wheat, chopped tomatoes, garlic, parsley, walnuts and dressing.

Place the aubergine wedges on a serving plate(s) and add the wheat salad on top. Serve

 

Aubergine Piccata

Aubergine Piccata So yesterday I left early in the afternoon from home and had little time to prepare my lunch and so I made this aubergine piccata. Continue reading

After lunch I got ready and left for Locarno where my appointment to the doctor for my ankle was. I got there and the nurse at the desk looked at me without saying a word, I introduced myself and was very soon told that my appointment wasn’t for Monday but for Tuesday… It was my fault and I got mad at myself. I don’t like getting appointments wrong, don’t you? Despite throwing away an afternoon to get to the doctor and finding out I got the date wrong; at east I enjoyed my lunch.

Aubergine Piccata Aubergine Piccata

 

Aubergine Piccata

 

Recipe for 3-4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 3-12 min

 

Ingredients:

1 Aubergine (350-400g)

3-4 tbsp. flour

80 g grated cheese (I used a firm goat cheese)

3 eggs

2 tbsp. chopped chives

salt

Olive oil or frying butter

 

In a bowl place the flour while in another place the eggs with the grated cheese and the chives.

Cut the aubergine into 0.5 cm thick slices and season them with salt on both sides.

Heat 1 tbsp. oil or butter in a pan.

Take an aubergine slice, coat it in the flour on both sides and then dip it into the egg, cheese and chive mix (make sure you get a good amount of the egg mix on the aubergine) and then place it straight into the pan. Repeat with the other slices and cook for 3-4 min on each side on a medium fire. You will probably need to do this in 2-3 batches so once the slices are done keep them warm in the oven at 70°C. Usually I serve this dish with a simple tomato sauce pasta.

 

Stuffed Aubergine Pasta Bake

Stuffed Aubergine Pasta Bake Pasta bake is something I can’t resist. Continue reading

I have been making them for over ten years and whether it’s for a simple meal or for a dinner between friends it always has its success. I made this pasta bake thinking about my mother who, up to a couple of months ago, never dared to give it a try. Since I’m writing this blog, as I already wrote it, she has been facing some of her fears in the kitchen such as risotto, croquettes and now the pasta bake. I told her just to give it a try and that it was easy; the following day she phoned me and told me how much her and her boyfriend enjoyed it (when he takes a second refill it means he likes it). For this recipe I didn’t even look up a recipe, I just went with what I had at home and thought it would be nice to have the dish already portioned. Actually I also gladly noticed that it makes the washing up quicker… which is always on the plus side.                             I wish you all a great weekend, I’ll be off to beautiful Crans Montana with my boyfriend for the weekend. For two days I’ll be setting the healthy life style on the side since we’ll surely party and will be eating rosti, Argentinian meat, dried meat and if it’s chilly why not a cheese fondue!

 

Stuffed Aubergine Pasta Bake

 

Recipe for 2 as a main meal or for 4 as a first course

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 45 min

 

Ingredients:

160 g short pasta such as elbow macaroni, orecchiette, pennette…

2 Aubergines

Olive oil

4-5 thyme sprigs

2 garlic cloves

1 egg

120 g cherry tomatoes quartered (roughly 8 pieces)

60 g grated cheese

¼ – ½ tsp. dried chillies

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 200°C.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions and once done, add a little olive oil and leave it to cool.

Meanwhile cut the aubergines in half lengthways and incise them deeply (without piercing the skin) making diagonal lines about 2-3 cm between cuts. Brush the cut side with olive oil.

Quarter the garlic cloves and push two pieces in the cut flesh for each aubergine half, do the same with the thyme sprigs. Season the aubergines with salt and cook in the oven for 30 min or until the flesh has softened. Once the aubergines are out of the oven, remove the thyme sprigs and set the garlic aside. With the help of a spoon scoop out the flesh, just be careful not to break the skin, as you will soon need it.

Chop the aubergine flesh and the garlic and let them to cool for 5 min before adding them to the pasta along with the egg, the cherry tomatoes, ¾ of the grated cheese, dried chillies, salt and pepper to taste. Mix all together and evenly spoon the preparation in the aubergine skins. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top. Replace them in the oven and cook for 15-18 min.

Borlotti Bean and Aubergine Salad

Borlotti Bean and Aubergine Salad This is the kind of dish I love making for myself in summer. Continue reading

First my dog is not trying to get a piece of it because there is no meat and secondly I cannot do it when my boyfriend is home because he cannot eat aubergines. Did I just put my dog in front of my boyfriend? Apparently I did, but then , I only see him about once a week (my boyfriend, not the dog) and this leaves me the freedom to make all recipes I enjoy. Since it was some time I had not made any dish with beans, I thought it would be a good idea. When I don’t plan meals I end up using the canned form but when I do I always feel a little guilty because of the bisphenol-A. This time my conscience was clean as I went all the way and soaked my beans and cooked them the following day. For this recipe I combined ingredients I enjoy (I especially like the aubergine walnut combination) and the end result turned out to be a real treat.

Borlotti Bean and Aubergine Salad

 

Borlotti Bean and Aubergine Salad

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 15 min

 

Ingredients

450 g cooked borlotti (the canned ones will also do the trick)

6-7cherry tomatoes

1 large aubergine

2 tbsp chopped basil

7-8 dry roasted walnut kernels

2 garlic cloves

2 tbsp lemon juice

4 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

1 spring onion

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 240°

Cut the aubergine into cubes of about 1.5 cm. With the blade of a knife crush the garlic. Place both ingredients in a baking dish with two tbsp. olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Toss and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Toss the vegetables half way through the roasting process.

Meanwhile chop the spring onion and the walnut kernels and quarter the cherry tomatoes.

In a bowl make the vinaigrette bay combining the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Remove the aubergines from the oven and add them to the salad dressing bowl with the borlotti beans, the basil and the walnut kernels and the tomatoes. Toss and on top add the chopped spring onions. Serve.