Winter Barley Salad

Winter Barley Salad 3It was nice to spend a few days on the lighter side after the Christmas holidays. The food was delicious there but I missed having my usual load of veggies. I spent one week eating things I like but filled with good stuff. Continue reading

I know that Fabio, a friend of mine went through a one week juice detox. It’s a good thing but personally I like to use as many sense I can when I eat. I guess my admiration towards Fabio is even greater because I know the passion of good food is something we have in common.

The other day I was reading through blogs and I saw The Paddington Foodie’s recipe of “Roasted Beetroot and Carrot Salad With Puy Lentils, Rocket and Feta” : I felt a craving for the carrot beetroot combination. With my head in the kitchen cupboard I was looking for ideas, when I found some barley and began putting this recipe together. In the end this recipe came together very spontaneously. I like these moments because I am always curious to taste the end result.

Winter Barley Salad 1

Winter Barley Salad


Recipe  for 2-3

Prep time : 15-20 minutes

Cook time: 35-40 minutes


Ingredients :

60 g pearl barley

200 g carrots

1 small onion

½ tsp thyme

3 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp cider vinegar

1 orange

150 beetroot

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 small handful roughly chopped walnuts



Preheat oven at 220°C.

Put the barley into a pan and add four times its amount of water with some salt. Bring to a boil, cover and cook on low heat for 35-40 minutes (water should have absorbed by then).

Peel the carrot and quarter them. Cut into pieces of about 3 cm. Cut the onion in half and then each half into four parts, divide them up. I an oven proof dish add the carrots the onions 1 tbsp olive oil, dry thyme, salt and pepper. Mix and place in the oven for about 30 min, until they are lightly charred.

For the dressing mix the tbsp cider vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cut the beetroot into cubes of 1.5 cm. With a knife remove the orange peel and cut out each section. Divide each section in two.

Once the carrots and the barley are ready mix them with the beet root, the orange, the parsley, the walnuts and the dressing. Toss and serve.


Goat Cheese and Beetroot Dip

Beetroot Dip 5I love the colour of beetroot and its earthy taste and the fact that they are easy to find all year round (at least in pre-cooked form). Continue reading

 This is a dip I have been making a few times when I have guests.  I find this recipe to have a earthy but refreshing taste, besides the lovely colour. Honestly I don’t remember how this recipe came together. It’s probably logic somewhere since the two main ingredients basically have a subscription to my fridge. Their shelf life is quite long and I love their taste and versatility. And to think that four years ago, when I did not cook much, I saw beetroot as a the small reddish component in a salad just before the main meal. Today I find I was quite wrong.

Have a nice week.

Beetroot Dip 1Beetroot Dip 7

Goat Cheese and Beetroot Dip


Appetizer for 3-4

Prep time : 10 minutes


Ingredients :

100 g fresh goat cheese

150 g cooked beetroots

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

2 tsp hazelnut oil

Salt and pepper



In a blender place the cheese and whiz until it has softened.

Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well, until the mass is nice and even.

Serve with crostini, fresh bread or grissini.

Smoked Salmon and Beetroot Carpaccio with Horseradish Dressing

Smoked Salmon and Beetroot Carpaccio with Horseradish Dressing 2 (800 x 560)

These past few days my idea was to stay on the light side because this weekend I am attending an enogastronomic  walk which takes place in Ascona, a lakeside town just a few kilometres away from my valley. I am so looking forward to the event, especially since last year I couldn’t go because I had to work. The event is called ‘Gusta il Borgo’ and this is the kind of activity I find there is never enough: people, food, wine and a nice walk (link: ). Continue reading

I’ll be taking loads of pictures and post them next week. So for a light and quick dish I thought that a nice smoked salmon and beetroot carpaccio would have done the trick. Soon colder days will come and I will not feel like having cool food on a daily basis. Horseradish works well with either salmon or beetroot and another thing I particularly like are the colours. I was removing the smoked salmon from the package and thinking about the recipe I realized I did not know much about the history of the process of food smoking….


About smoked food :

Smoking food is something extremely interesting because first it cures food and second it gives it such a wonderful flavour. It is believed that the process of food smoking was almost as ancient as man cooking with fire. Sumerian tribes already smoked fish about 3500BC. Since that time humans have used the technique also in order not to succumb famine during the cold months. Another fact is that the smoking process has changed very little since the beginning of its practice; first the meat is brined for a few hours/day then the food is dried and placed to be smoked (source: )


Smoked Salmon and Beetroot Carpaccio with Horseradish Dressing


Prep time : 10 min


Ingredients :

200g smoked salmon

100-150g beetroot

1 small red onion


Dressing :

3 tbsp olive oil

1.5 tbsp cider vinegar

2 tsp prepared horseradish

Salt and pepper


Recipe :

For the dressing mix all the ingredients together and aside.

Slice the beetroot and the onion as thinly as possible.

On each plate place the smoked salmon on the outer edge and in the middle place the sliced beetroot. On top, sprinkle the onion and finally drizzle the dressing on top. Serve with freshly baked bread.

Roasted Beetroot with Goat Cheese and Horseradish Cream

8. Roasted beetroot with goat cheese and horseradish creamThis week I was diving into the fridge to see what I could cook and my eyes fell on some beetroots; it was some time I had not used beetroots: that would be my inspiration for the day. The first time I made this recipe it was for a dinner party and that was my first course; this time instead, I chose to make it as a light and coloured lunch dish. After all the Easter chocolate bunnies and cakes and little treats I need a little lightness. Continue reading

Earthy and with such a wonderful colour, the beetroot is a beauty of a veg. I was looking up some information about beetroot and I found a very interesting site about the beetroot and its history. There are a lot of other historical references so if anyone wants to check it out go to:

Have a nice weekend.

Roasted beetroot with goat cheese and horseradish cream

Recipe for 2

Time: 15 min


500g cooked beetroots cut into chunks

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 ½ tbsp olive oil

80g fresh goat cheese

1 ½ tbsp jarred grated horseradish

1½ tbsp fresh thyme

8-10 toasted walnut kernels

Salt, pepper


Heat oil in a pan and add the beetroots. Add salt and pepper and let them quickly roast over a medium high heat for 4-5 min. Remove from heat.

In a bowl soften the goat cheese crushing it with a fork. Add the horseradish, the thyme, the ½ tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper.

Roughly chop the walnut kernels.

On each plate spoon the goat cheese mix then add the beetroots and finally sprinkle over the walnuts and serve with fresh brown bread.