Sweet Potato Broccoli Tartlets

Sweet Potato Broccoli TartletsI’m always in for any recipe I can make where I just throw everything in a container of some sort, put it in the oven and just taste it once it’s done. Yeah, I like cooking although sometimes I feel a little lazy. Continue reading

So last week I was feeling adventurous and so I decided to give these tartlets a try. When I try new recipe out of my imagination I always feel a little tense and curious but once I saw and tasted the result, I was happy with myself. This is a recipe you cannot get wrong (unless you forget the tartlets in the oven), it’s made with simple and healthy ingredients and the sweet potatoes and the broccoli can easily be cooked in advance. With the days getting cooler I find that tarts and similar recipes go perfectly with the weather… maybe it’s an idea or maybe it’s the cookng method but I find that anything that comes out of the oven has a cosy side to it.



Sweet Potato Broccoli Tartlets


Recipe for 6×10.5 cm tartlet moulds

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 30-35 min



350 g peeled sweet potatoes

150 g broccoli florets

60 g grated Gruyere

3 generous tbsp. flour (+ extra for dusting the moulds)

½ tbsp. smoked paprika

1 egg

Salt and pepper

1 small tbsp. butter (+ extra to grease the moulds)

A handful of arugula leaves (optional)


Recipe :

Cut the sweet potatoes into chunks and boil them in salted water. Once they’re soft drain them.

Using the same pan bring another pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the broccoli florets by boiling them for 2 ½-3 min, drain them and place them in icy water. Remove them from the water and roughly chop them.

Mash the sweet potatoes add the flour and mix. Now add the smoked paprika, the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper. Mix all together and correct taste if needed. Add the egg and mix until it’s combined before adding the chopped broccoli.

Grease the aluminium moulds with butter and dust them with some flour. With a spatula or a spoon fill each mould until the top and even out the top surface. On top of each tartlet add a few pieces of butter.

Cook for about 20 min in a preheated oven at 200°C. Once done leave the tartlets a couple of minutes to cool before removing them from their moulds. If using them, top with arugula leaves and serve.

Mushroom Broccoli Phyllo Pockets

Mushroom Broccoli Parcels With a full week and weekend I was happy to stay at home on Sunday and dedicate myself to a little cooking. Sunday to me is the no sports day, which means I have more time on my hands. Continue reading

With time on my hands and a pack of phyllo pastry waiting in the fridge I got down to preparing these veggie filled pockets. The broccoli and mushroom filling is easy to make and to actually put the pockets together, after the first one or two pieces, you’ll easily get the hang of it. I found it trickier to actually describe the procedure than to make it. These savoury treats are easy to hold in your hands and they will work well for an aperitif or a friendly buffet… one of my favourite ways to spend a meal.



Mushroom Broccoli Phyllo Pockets

Recipe for 8 pieces

Prep time: 35-40 min

Cook time: 30-35 min



180 g chestnut mushrooms

1 red onion

260 g broccoli florets roughly chopped

180 g sour cream

6 sheets rectangular phyllo pastry

2 tbsp. olive oil

40 g melted butter

45 g grated cheese (I used parmesan)

Salt and pepper



Slice the mushrooms into ½ cm pieces. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a non-stick pan and add the mushrooms to brown. Make sure the pieces are all on one layer, otherwise do it in more batches. Once done set the mushrooms aside.

Wipe the pan and add the second tbsp. olive oil along with the chopped onion. Cook until soft for 4-5 on a low-medium fire then add the broccoli florets. Season with salt and pepper and cook on a medium fire until the broccoli turn bright green, stirring regularly. Once the greens are done add the mushrooms and the sour cream and cook for another couple of minutes. Correct seasoning if needed and set aside.

Take one sheet of phyllo pastry and brush it with the melted butter. Take a second piece and place it on top. Brush the second piece of phyllo pastry and add a third one on top. Place the three sheets with the width in front of you. With a pair of kitchen scissors cut the layered pastry in half, then cut each piece into half again. While you are working with phyllo pastry make sure the sheets you’re not using are sealed in some aluminium paper so they don’t dry.

Take one of the four strips and place a tbsp. of the prepared vegetables at one of the two extremities, on top sprinkle a tsp. of the grated cheese. Fold the pastry where the filling is by placing an angle towards the other side of the strip (see picture). Now that you have the main shape continue to fold the pastry until the end of the strip. Seal the pastry parcel by brushing a little butter on the last fold. Place fold down on a baking tray lined with oven paper. Repeat with the rest of the strips and repeat the whole operation with the last three sheets of phyllo pastry.

Broccoli Sweet Potato Cakes

Broccoli Sweet Potato CakesVegetarian sharing friendly food is something I love to eat with my mother. When she came over I served these cakes with a salad and a glass of white wine. Continue reading

That it is either for an aperitif or a meal, I like to place this kind of food in the middle of the table so that everyone can help themselves. The broccoli & sweet potato cakes are easy and made with few ingredients. Also, while I chose to bake them (for fat content purpose as I’m trying to shed a couple of kilos) you can also easily pan-fry them. The second option will make the cooking process shorter. Whether you want to serve these cakes for an aperitif or as a side dish during dinner, you can easily prepare the potatoes and broccoli in advance so you can save up time when preparing the rest of the food.

PS: I’ll take a week off blogging as I need to get ahead with my studies, chores and of course my wedding planning. Meanwhile I wish everyone a nice weekend!

Broccoli Sweet Potato Cakes

Broccoli Sweet Potato Cakes



Broccoli Sweet Potato Cakes


Recipe for 16 pieces (1-2 p.p. for an aperitif / 3-4 as a side dish for a meal)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 45 for baked version / 25 for pan fried version



400 g sweet potatoes, peeled

400 g broccoli florets

120 g grated hard/semi-hard goat cheese

1 egg


Optional: salt and cayenne pepper to taste (and olive oil if you chose to fry the croquettes)



Blanch the broccoli by placing them in a pot of salted boiling water for 1 ½ – 2 min. Then remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and tranfer them to a bowl of icy water.

Cut the sweet potatoes into chunks and boil them in the water you used to blanch the broccoli (eventually remove a little water). Cook the sweet potatoes until they are soft, about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile evenly chop the broccoli florets.

Once the sweet potatoes are ready mash them and let them cool a little. Add the chopped broccoli, egg, pepper and eventually cayenne pepper and a little salt and mix all together.

You can either bake the cakes in the oven or fry them in a pan. So to cook with less fat I chose to bake them.

Baked: take a tbsp. of the preparation and place it on a baking tray lined with oven paper. Repeat with the rest of the mass. Bake in the oven for 20 min at 200°C then turn them around to brown on the second side.

Pan fried: Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil on a medium fire and portion the cakes with the help of a tbsp. Brown the potato cakes on both sides for about 5 min per side.

Broccoli Fries

Broccoli FriesI admit I like munching in front of a film, with the fireplace burning and my dog begging for some food. Continue reading

My fiancé is in regional politics and the campaign is starting so I know that when I’m not accompanying him, I will be enriching my film culture. The good thing is that I will get to watch films in original version 🙂 – In order not to feel too guilty when I treat myself, I try to make lighter and healthier snacks instead of fried chips or salty meats… well, sometimes I succumb to cheese, but I try to limit eating too much of it by using it in smaller quantities. A little of the dairy delight can go a long way and this is what I did for with this recipe. A little cheese for these baked broccoli fries is all that is needed… along with the other ingredients of course.


Broccoli Fries


Recipe for 2-3 people

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: about 8 min



250 g broccoli florets

3 tbsp. breadcrumbs

3 tbsp. finely chopped walnuts

2-3 tbsp. finely grated cheese

¼ – ½ tsp. smoked paprika

1 dl cream




Heat oven at 210°C.

Clean and cut the broccoli florets into bite sized pieces.

In a bowl place the cream; in another bowl place the breadcrumbs, walnuts, grated cheese and smoked paprika.

Take a few pieces of broccoli and soak them in the cream, let excess drip and then coat them with the breadcrumb, walnut mixture. To prevent the dry mixture from getting too soaked I divided the quantity and used them one at the time.

Once they are coated place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and cook in the oven for 8-9 min. Serve.



Smooth Barley and Broccoli Risotto (Orzotto)

Smooth Broccoli Barley Risotto (Orzotto)  It was the first time I tried making barley risotto and found it’s a very nice alternative to the traditional rice based kind. Continue reading

Usually I like to bite into the texture of the added ingredients to the dish but, mashing the broccoli allows a nice balance with each bite you take. One great thing with this dish or any kind of risotto is when you have some leftovers. I often make an extra portion and the following day I make croquettes out of it. Usually I just shape the rice or barley into little balls, eventually I dip them into an egg wash and then I coat them with breadcrumbs and brown them in a pan with a little olive oil. When I was small, I used to look forward to the day-after risotto makeover…



Smooth Barley and Broccoli Risotto (Orzotto)


Recipe for 4

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 30-35 min



300 g blanched broccoli florets

1.2 l vegetable stock (hot)

80-100 g Grated cheese (Sbrinz, Parmesan, Grana…)

1 onion

5 tbsp butter

300 g pearled barley

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 pinch salt




Process the broccoli until pureed and set aside.

Chop the onion and place it in a pan with 1-2 tbsp. butter, cook until soft, about 4-5 min. Turn up the heat and add the barley, toss and cook for about a minute. Add the lemon juice and the zest while wile you keep on stirring.

Once the lemon has been absorbed into the rice, reduce heat and start adding 1 ladle of stock with a pinch of salt while continuously stirring. Once the stock has been absorbed add the second ladle. Continue stirring and each time the stock has been absorbed add another ladle. After about 25 minutes taste the barley to check if it’s cooked, if not, continue for another few minutes.

Once you’re satisfied with the consistence of the rice, add the mashed broccoli and some pepper and stir to combine.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the rest of the butter with the grated cheese. Serve, eventually with some additional grated cheese on top.

Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pasta – Pâtes au Pesto de Brocolis Rôtis

Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pasta
I don’t eat pasta that often but when I do it has to be something I really like and that is either a pasta bake or pasta with vegetables. Continue reading

Last week my mother came over, the sun was out and after our usual glass of wine with a little smoked salmon, we enjoyed this pasta dish outdoors on the terrace. Besides watching the birds stealing our cherries from the trees, we had a nice discussion and I want to thank her because she is really encouraging me to go forward in this particular time in my life.

For this recipe I took the inspiration from bbcgoodfood and made my own version. The main change I made is I roasted the broccoli instead of boiling them. Also I used Sbrinz cheese instead of parmesan and added a little parsley. It turned out that we both really enjoyed this dish and even the dog, who never eats pasta nor rice approved it 😉 .

Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pasta


Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pasta


Recipe for 4 as main dish  / for 8 as a first course

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time : 15 min




400 g pasta (I used conchiglie)

280 g broccoli florets

2 garlic cloves

Zest of 1 lemon

¼ – ½ tsp dried chillies

3 tbsp dry roasted pine nuts

1 tbsp roughly chopped parsley

0.8  dl olive oil

3 tbsp grated Sbrinz (plus more if you want to sprinkle on top before serving)

Salt and pepper



Turn on oven to the highest temperature.

Crush the garlic cloves with the blade of a knife.

In an oven proof dish place the broccoli, the garlic, a couple tbsp olive oil and toss. Place in the oven for about 15 min stirring a couple of times to ensure even roasting.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to package instructions.

Place the roasted broccoli, the garlic and the parsley, the lemon zest in a blender and puree them. Add the pine nuts, the chilies, the cheese, the rest of the oil, salt and pepper to taste. Mix the ingredients.

Toss the broccoli pesto with the pasta and serve. Optionally sprinkle a little more cheese on top and serve warm.



Version Française

Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pasta  Je ne mange pas de pâtes si souvent mais quand je m’y mets ça doit être quelque chose que j’apprécie vraiment ; c’est-à-dire en gratin ou avec des légumes. La semaine dernière ma mère est venue chez moi, le soleil était aussi de la partie et après notre traditionnel verre de vin avec un peu de saumon fumé, nous avons dégusté cette assiette de pâtes dehors, sur la terrasse. À part regarder les oiseaux voler les cerises de nos arbres, nous avons eu une belle discussion et je voudrais la remercier parce qu’elle m’encourage à avancer dans cette période particulaire dans ma vie.

Pour cette recette j’ai pris l’inspiration de bbcgoodfood. et j’en ai fait ma version. Le changement principal que j’ai fait c’est que j’ai rôti les brocoli au lieu de les bouillir. Aussi, j’ai utilisé du sbrinz à la place du parmesan et j’ai ajouté un peu de persil. On a vraiment bien aimé le résultat final ; même mon chien à apprécié : elle qui ne mange jamais ni de pâtes ni de riz 😉

Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pasta


Pâtes au Pesto de Brocolis Rôtis


Recette pour 4 comme plat principal / 8 comme entrée

Temps de préparation: 10-15 min

Temps de cuisson: 15 min



400 g pâtes

280 g fleurons de brocoli

2 gousses d’ail

Le zeste d’un citron

¼ – ½ cs piments séchés

3 cs pignons grillés à sec

1 cs de persil grossièrement coupé

0.8 dl huile d’olive

3 cs Sbrinz râpé

Sel et poivre



Allumez le four à la température la plus haute.

Ecraser l’ail à l’aide de la lame d’un couteau.

Dans un plat allant au four mettre les brocolis, l’ail et 2 cs d’huile d’olive et mélanger. Placer dans le four pendant 15 min environ en mélangeant deux fois pour assurer un rôtissage uniforme.

Pendant ce temps cuire les pâtes dans de l’eau bouillante salée selon les instructions sur l’emballage.

Placer les brocolis, l’ail le persil, le zeste de citron dans un mixer et réduire en purée. Ajouter les pignons, les piments séchés, le fromage, le reste de l’huile, sel et poivre selon le goût. Mélanger le tout.

Unir le pesto de brocoli aux pâtes et servir. Optionnellement ajouter encore un peu de fromage râpé dessus et servir chaud.

Broccoli Gorgonzola and Walnut Pasta Bake + My Day at Gusta il Borgo 2013 event

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As I mentioned last week, last Saturday I attended the enogastronomic walk “Gusta in Borgo 2013” Continue reading

which is an event organised by the association of the “Amis da la Forcheta” ( the term is in our Italian derived dialect and in English it translates as the “friends of the fork” ). I was really looking forward to the event and I was so right. I met up with my boyfriend Stefano and an old friend of ours Andreas for coffee before we headed to the departure point. We were among the last ones to depart so the sun was already up and it was warm. Throughout the walk there were nine spots where we enjoyed all kinds of treats: from coffee and a filled croissant, to beer and scrambled eggs and bacon, to cheese and wine, fried fish and veggies, risotto…

Here are a few pictures of the day. We walked through the nine stops with our little bags containing the tasting glass which was to be pulled out each time we saw a tent and a bunch of people around it. My advice is that if you have the possibility to attend such an event, it is really worth participating; there is a great ambience, you encourage local products and walking is good for the mind and the body. In case there is nothing in your area, come and join Gusta il Borgo next year!

These were my two adventure companions.


 This was the second stop where we tasted local beer with scrambled eggs and bacon. I don’t really drink beer but this one was an exception, it had a refined taste and the gas comes from natural fermentation. IMG_0828


The third stop was a bit of a walk and with the sun hitting it was warm but the reward was worth the effort, at least this is the way I see it. My friend Andreas (in the blue shirt) instead could have done with having a taxi driving him from one stop to the other.





This spot was in the middle of the town of Ascona. We Had some more wine and goat cheese with a raw pumpkin carpaccio and goat cheese dried meat.




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This stop I particularly liked because the products came from my valley (Valle Maggia) and behind the counters I found some acquaintances.




Venison tartar, venison dried meat and a small dark bread roll.




This is the Terreni alla Maggia and among other products they produce rice (they have the northernmost rice cultivation in Europe). We had a simple but delicious risotto.








This is how our beautiful day went. At the arrival we had one more drink and we headed to my place and ended the day with the same tastin glass that had accompanied us throughout the day. The only difference was the content…

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About the pasta bake:

The pasta bake is an ancient recipe which dates back to the middle ages. In the beginning the dish was served at banquets but soon the recipe spread out to the general population and still today is it seen as a festive dish in Italy. There is no basic recipe and the dish is subject to personal taste and the available ingredients (source http://thepaddingtonfoodie.com/2013/02/13/pasticcio-di-pasta-al-forno-a-pasta-bake-by-any-other-name/ ).

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Broccoli Gorgonzola and Walnut PastaBake-1 (800 x 598)


Broccoli Gorgonzola and Walnut Pasta Bake


Recipe for 2

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients :

160g short pasta (fusilli, penne…)

160g of small broccoli florets

1 onion

1 knob of butter + more for greasing the baking dish and to sprinkle on top of the pasta bake

a pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp flour

100g Gorgonzola

6 tbsp cream, it shouldn’t be too liquid

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp breadcrumbs

1 tbsp grated Parmesan

12 walnut kernels, chopped


Recipe :

Heat oven at 200°C

Cook the pasta until almost ready that is make it very al dente. Towards the last 3-4 of the cooking process throw in the broccoli florets to blanch. Set aside.

Chop the onion and cut the Gorgonzola into cubes.

In a pan melt the butter, add the onion and sweat for 4-5 min. Cook on a medium heat until the onion is translucent. Reduce the heat and add the cream, the flour, the grated nutmeg, the pepper and the Gorgonzola . Stir occasionally until the cheese has melted, about 4-5 min . Taste and add salt if needed. Add the pasta to the pan and mix it in the sauce.

Grease an oven proof dish and add the pasta. On top sprinkle the grated Parmesan, the breadcrumbs and the chopped walnut kernels. Sprinkle a few bits of butter on top and place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the surface is nice and brown. Serve hot.

Warm Broccoli and Wheat Salad

Broccoli and wheat salad (600 x 450)I think that last week I had something that qualified as a salad instead it felt more like a meal for two. The occasion was really worth it; I met up with a few of my former boarding school mates for the weekend and since we only manage to do this every four to five years, I didn’t want to miss it. I can say that we ate and talked around the table and the whole weekend revolved around dishes that only sounded light by their name. Take my famous Saturday night salad, I mean there  were potatoes, bacon, onions, croutons, eggs, tomatoes, hard cheese and finally  tiny bit of salad; all served in a bread basket (I didn’t finish the basket). Well when I came back, going a little light for a few days felt like a nice idea. Continue reading

About wheat:

Over 8000 years ago humans were already eating wheat; to reach such result, a combination of different types of grass were used. Although my recipe calls for plain wheat, the first thing that come to mind when we talk about wheat is bread. Should you go the British Museum, you can find ancient loaves of bread dating back to the Egyptian times (source: http://www.allaboutwheat.info/history.html ).

Warm Broccoli and Wheat Salad

Recipe for 2

Time: 20-25 min.


100g wheat

400g broccoli florets (about 1 reasonably large broccoli head)

Zest of ½ lemon

1 large garlic clove

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 large tbsp cider vinegar

3 tbsp olive oil (plus more for roasting)

1 red chilli

10 almonds roughly chopped

2 spring onions


Cook the wheat with some salt according to package instructions, drain and set aside.

Clean the broccoli and cut into small florets. Heat a little water in a pan and blanch the vegetables for 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile slice the spring onions and prepare the salad dressing by mixing 3 tbsp olive oil with 1 large tbsp cider vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste.

Heat about one tsp olive oil in a pan and add the chopped garlic with the red chilli. After 2-3 minutes add the lemon zest, the broccoli, the wheat and stir. Remove from fire and place in a bowl. Add the dressing the almonds, parsley and stir quickly before plating. As a last touch sprinkle the sliced spring onions on top and serve.