Spinach and Mushroom Risotto Pie

Spinach and Mushroom Risotto Pie

Being Swiss, I naturally love the food of my country, but I generally find that its generally nutritious composition is better served during the coldest months of the year. Continue reading

Last week I found this rice pie recipe you can find here (in French) and thought it would be a good starting point. The base for this recipe is sweet and it contains raisins (which I don’t really like); instead, I made it into a savoury dish. I used an 18 cm spring form to make this pie, but further down, you’ll find the ration for a larger cake pan, which is a more common size and it can accommodate a larger crowd. What I liked about this spinach and mushroom pie is that without using too much cheese, its taste really comes through and complements the other flavours in the recipe.

Spinach and Mushroom Risotto PieSpinach and Mushroom Risotto Pie

Spinach and Mushroom Risotto Pie

 

Recipe for an 18 cm spring form baking tin – for about 4 people

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 50-60 min

 

Ingredients:

240g risotto rice

100g spinach leaves

20g dried porcini mushrooms

0.8-0.9 l hot vegetable or chicken stock

70g grated Gruyere

1.5 dl white wine

1 onion

2 large eggs

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp. butter

Extra butter and a little flour to grease and dust the spring form tin

 

For a 22-24 cm spring form baking tin, use these ratios:

360g risotto rice

50g spinach

30 g dried porcini

105g grated Gruyere

2.2 dl white wine

3 large eggs

Salt and pepper

1.5 tbsp. butter

Extra butter and a little flour to grease and dust the spring form tin

NOTE: for this second ratio, cook the pie a further 5-10 min

 

Recipe:

Soak the porcini mushrooms for about 30 min in a bowl of warm water. Once they’re soft, drain them and rinse them and roughly chop them.

Chop the onion.

Melt the butter in a pan and add the onion, cook 4-5 min. Add the porcini and the rice and cook the second until it becomes translucent, don’t forget to stir regularly throughout the risotto making process. Add the white wine and let it evaporate entirely. Pour some of the vegetable stock until the rice is covered. As the stock reduces, add more liquid, do not let the rice dry out. Cook the rice for 18 minutes; ideally the rice should still be a little al dente and nice and moist. Towards the end of the cooking process, add the spinach a handful at a time, stirring between each addition. Finally, blend in ¾ of the grated cheese and season with pepper and blend everything together. Leave the risotto to cool. This part of the recipe can easily be made in advance.

Heat oven at 180°C.

Add the two eggs to the cold risotto and mix everything together.

Generously grease the spring form baking tin with butter and dust it with some flour.

Transfer the risotto and egg mix to the baking tin, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake in the lower part of the oven for 30-40 min.

Once the top has a nice brown colour, remove the tin from the oven and let it rest for few minutes. Using a knife, cut around the edge of the pie to detach it from the tin and serve.

 

 

Life Is Sweet…

Yoghurt Muesli Cake

I’m back! For this first post after a break, I wanted to post a sweet recipe since at the moment it reflects the summer I’ve had, filled with great friends, amazing moments and exciting news since in October I’ll be starting a master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster! Continue reading

Recently I bought sunglasses that have a yellowish tint and when you look through them, all seems brighter; at the moment, now even when I take them off, all still seems just as bright.

For this recipe, I tried to remain on the Swiss side of the kitchen and so I made this cake, which is inspired by one of our national breakfasts: the bircher muesli. As a starting point I took this easy yoghurt cake recipe from the site Journal des Femmes (in French) and from there I added oats, blueberries and a streusel inspired topping with almonds. Baking is not my strongest point but this recipe was not only easy, but it was also quick to put together and I didn’t end up with a huge mess in my kitchen. All these aspects made the final result even tastier…

 

 

Yoghurt Muesli Cake

Recipe for a 22-24 cm springform cake mould.

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 35-40 min

 

Ingredients:

In this recipe the pot of yoghurt serves of measurement.

1 yogurt nature

2 jars of sugar

1 sachet of vanilla sugar

3 jars of flour

1/2 pot of oil

3 eggs

1/2 sachet baking powder

1 pinch of salt

1 ½ pot fine oats

250 g blueberries

Butter or oil to grease the cake mould

 

For the topping:

3 tbsp. finely chopped almonds

2 tbsp. flour

5 tbsp. sugar

2 tbsp. oats

3 tbsp. butter

 

Recipe:

Turn on the oven (180°C). Butter a round mould.

2 Pour the yogurt in a bowl and add in the order in mixing well with a wooden spoon: sugars, the eggs one by one, the flour, baking powder, salt, the oil. Finally delicately fold in the oats and the blueberries.

For the topping place all the ingredients in a bowl and massage them with your fingers until the preparation looks like crumbs.

Transfer the batter in the buttered cake mould and evenly sprinkle the topping on the surface.

Bake for 35-40 minutes on the lower part of the over, by then, when you insert the tip of a toothpick it should come out dry. Leave to cool and unmould.

Aargauer Carrot Cupcakes

Carrot CupcakesLast weekend I went to Cologne to spend the weekend with a couple of friends from high school and without going into too many detail I can just say it was marvellous, like each time we meet. Continue reading

On those occasions my aim is always to make the most out of the time spent together and when I come back I’m usually very happy but very tired as well. I woke up on Friday at four and for the three-hour train journey I packed myself a couple of these carrot cupcakes I baked the day before. To make these cupcakes I took the recipe for the carrot cake from canton Aargau (a region in the north of Switzerland) and more or less divided the quantities by two. I took the recipe from the bettybossi site (recipe in French) and was really pleased of the outcome because this recipe has a refreshing taste and light texture. I will definitely be doing this recipe again; it’s a perfect grab and go treat.

 

 

Aargauer Carrot Cupcakes

 

Recipe for 12 cupcakes

Prep time: 30 min

Cooking time: 20 min

 

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

125 g sugar

1 tbsp. very warm water (but not boiling)

40 g flour

125 g thinly grated carrots

125 g blanched ground almonds

zest of ½ lemon + its juice

1 tsp. baking powder

1 pinch salt

Optional: 1 pinch cinnamon

 

For the glazing:

150 g icing sugar

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1-1.5 tbsp. water

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 180°C.

Separate the egg whites from the yolks in two bowls.

To the bowl with the egg yolk add the sugar and water and whisk for about 5 min or until the texture has become foamy.

Now add the lemon juice and zest, carrots, almonds. Mix the flour and baking powder and combine them to the egg yolks, sugar, carrot and lemon and mix until even.

Whisk the egg whites to a peak and fold it in with the rest of the ingredients until just combined.

Place the paper moulds in the cupcake tin and evenly distribute the mass in the individual portions.

Bake in the lower part of the oven for about 20 minutes. If you insert a toothpick and it comes out dry: they’re ready. Let them rest a few minutes before removing them from their mould and then transfer them to a rack to let them cool completely.

To prepare the glazing mix the sugar, lemon juice and water. The consistence should be thick but a bit runny. Take a cupcake and add about a tsp. of glazing and spread it with the back of a spoon or by tipping it to make the glazing spread over the top.

 

Blueberry & White Peach Pancake Batter Cake

Blueberry & White Peach Pancake Batter Cake It’s blueberry season and this year my garden has been really generous. Generosity doesn’t only come from my garden but also from the birds which are not as greedy as last year… maybe there’s more sources of food elsewhere. I really wanted to post a recipe with blueberries Continue reading

so looked for inspiration and found an idea I liked here and from there I made my own version of this pancake batter pancake. I find it’s a perfect recipe for the summer as its light consistence goes well with the warm weather. This will be my last recipe for the next two weeks. This weekend I’m off to a high school reunion (I can’t wait!) and next Thursday we’re off to Marbella for a week with my fiancé and a friend of ours. Meanwhile I wish you all a great beginning of summer and see ya in a couple of weeks!

 

Blueberry & White Peach Pancake Batter Cake

 

Recipe for 6-8 servings / a 22-24 cm x round cake pan

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 45-50 min

 

Ingredients:

2 dl milk

1 vanilla pod

50 g sour cream

2 large eggs

50 g butter melted

225 g all purpose flour

150 g sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

130 g blueberries

1 white peach

Icing sugar

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 180°C and grease a cake pan

Add the sour cream to a bowl. Incise the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add them to the sour cream then mix. Now add the milk eggs and melted butter.

In another bowl place the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. If the baking powder is a little pebbly pass it though a strainer.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and whisk until the dough is smooth. Use a strainer if you end up getting lumps.

Cut the peach in half and remove the pit. Cut each half into two parts and then divide each quarter into two parts.

Pour the batter in the cake pan. Sprinkle the blueberries on top and place the peach wedges in a circle.

Bake for 45-50 min. Once the top of the cake has a nice golden colour (check by inserting a toothpick in the batter and if it comes out dry it means it’s ready) remove it from the oven and wait 5-10 minutes before removing it from its mould. Dust the cake with icing sugar and serve.

 

Vanilla Bread Pudding Cake or Torta di Pane alla Vaniglia

Vanilla Bread Pudding Cake I had a truly fun weekend where I volunteered to help out at an enogastronomic walk in Cardada (a mountain just above Locarno). The walk was dedicated to our local produces so I thought I’d post a recipe that is typical from my region: the torta di pane (or bread pudding cake). Continue reading

This is the second torta di pane recipe I post. The difference is that in this version there’s no cocoa powder; instead I used white chocolate for a twist. This kind of recipe is a great way to use leftover bread and it’s so easy that you just can’t get it wrong. For information, this cake is not made to be overly sweet and it should stay nice and moist once it’s cooked. This traditional recipe is something everyone makes here in Ticino and you can also easily find it in restaurants and grottoes.

 

 

Vanilla Bread Pudding Cake or Torta di Pane alla Vaniglia

 

For a 24-26 cm round cake mold

Prep time: 25 min (plus soaking time)

Cook time: about 1 hour

 

Ingredients:

200 g stale bread (white or semi-white)

100 g amaretti

7 dl milk

1 vanilla pod

100 g dried apricots (the sour kind) – I would have loved to use dried physalis but didn’t find them. Sultanas are also an option

Zest of 1 lemon

100 g slivered nuts

60 g white chocolate

2 eggs

40 g sugar

50 g melted butter

Icing Sugar (optional)

 

Recipe:

In a bowl or container break the bread into pieces and add the amaretti.

Pour the milk in a pan. Incise the vanilla pod by its length and scrape out the seeds. Add the pod and the seeds to the milk and bring to a boil. Once ready pour over the stale bread and amaretti and leave to soak for 2-3 hours. You can leave the vanilla pod in, just remember to remove it once the bread and biscuits have soaked.

Chop the dried apricots and place them in a cup. Add hot water and leave them to soak for a couple of hours.

Grate the white chocolate.

Heat oven at 190°C.

Once the bread and amaretti have soaked, mash them with a fork as finely as possible.  Drain the apricots and add them to the bread preparation along with the white chocolate, the lemon zest, and ¾ of the almonds.

In a separate bowl  mix well the eggs and the sugar and add the butter and eventually the grappa. Pour over the rest and mix the ingredients with your hands or with a spatula until the mass looks even.

Grease the sides of a cake tin and dust with flour. Line the bottom of the cake tin with oven paper. Transfer the preparation to the cake tin and even out the surface. Add the remaining pine nuts and place in the oven for about 1 hour.

Once ready leave to cool before removing from mold. Eventually sprinkle surface with icing sugar.

 

Chestnut Cake

Chestnut Cake First of all….

BEST WISHES & MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!

This will be my last post for 2014 as I will be off next week and will be back on the 6th of January. Continue reading

To end the year well I wanted to make a post with a sweet note: Chestnut Cake from Ticino. I adapted this recipe from this site and I must say that the end result was a very moist cake. With a nice coffee or tea, this cake is a great wintertime treat. I’ll keep this post short as it’s Christmas it’s either a festive or a lazy day, so

SEE YOU IN 2015!

 

 

Chestnut Cake

 

Recipe for a 26 cm wide cake mould (for an 18 cm cake use half the ingredients)

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 1 h 5 min

 

Ingredients:

360 g cooked chestnuts (I used the vacuum packed ones)

200 g melted and cooled butter

340 g fine grain sugar

300 g ground hazelnuts

6 eggs (separated)

1 vanilla pod

 

For the glazing

3 tbsp. hazelnut nougatine

90 g dark chocolate

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 180°C. Grease a loose bottom cake mould.

Mash the chestnuts and set them aside.

Place the egg whites in a bowl and whisk them to a peak.

Place the egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar and whisk them until the mixture becomes lighter in colour. Incise the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add them to the sugar and egg mix, along with the mashed chestnuts, ground hazelnuts and melted butter. Mix all of the ingredients together. Delicately fold in the egg whites in two or three times, without overworking the dough.

Pour the preparation into the cake mould and place in the oven for 1 hour.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool 4-5 min before removing it from the mould and placing it on a wire rack. Let it cool completely.

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and evenly spread it on top of the cake. Sprinkle the hazelnut nougatine on top and wait for the chocolate to harden before serving (mine still had to harden a bit at the centre).

 

Apple Cake

Apple Cake Geographically and historically speaking, Switzerland shares cultural traits with its surrounding countries and sometimes the boundaries are blurred, and this is true especially when it comes to gastronomy. Continue reading

I always thought this kind of apple cake was German; instead there is also a part in Switzerland where it’s considered to be a typical recipe. For this blog post I adapted the recipe from the Suisse Gourmande cookbook which attributes the recipe to Canton Thurgau and which is actually geographically placed just next to the German border. Anyway, I love this kind of cake, no matter where it comes from and Since last week I’ve already made it twice: once with apples and once with pears.

Apple Cake Apple Cake

 

Apple Cake

 

Recipe for a 24 cm cake tin

Prep time: 25-30 min

Cook time: 35-40 min

 

Ingredients:

125 g butter cut into small cubes (+ more to grease the cake tin)

125 g sugar (+ a few tbsp. to dip the apples in)

2 eggs

Juice of ½ lemon

1 vanilla pod (optional)

1 tbsp. yoghurt

5 g raising powder

200 g flour

½ tsp. salt

500 g small-medium apples (about 3-4)

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 180°C.

Grease the cake tin with butter.

Break the eggs, place the egg whites in a bowl and keep the yolks aside. Whisk the egg whites to a peak.

In a bowl cream the butter and the sugar. Incise the vanilla pod (if using it), scrape the seeds out and add them to the butter and sugar. Add the two yolks, the flour, raising powder, salt, lemon and yoghurt. Mix until well combined, then add the whisked albumen and fold it in gently.

Spread the batter at the bottom of the cake tin.

Peel the apples and cut them in half. With each half, make deep incisions on the rounded part and dip that same side in sugar.

Place the apples on the batter slightly pressing them down.

Bake in the oven for 35-40 min.

 

Vully Cake

Vully CakeA few months ago when I went to Lausanne with my mother we met up with her cousins. While we sipped a delicious wine in a pace overlooking the Leman lake I asked them about recipes that are typical from the French part of Switzerland. Continue reading

The first dish that came to mind to everyone is the “Papet Vaudois avec la Saucisse aux Choux” (slow cooked potatoes and leeks served with a cabbage sausage) which is the staple recipe of the canton. I wanted to learn about other dishes and that’s where this recipe was mentioned. I kept the idea in a corner of my head because I knew I would come back to it and in fact, a couple weeks ago I found this recipe and the following day, armed with the right ingredients I got down to work. Frankly I absolutely loved the result because personally I’m not a fan of oversweet food, when I have the feeling the sugar stays in my mouth, I only feel like taking one bite and leave the rest. I find that this cake can even work well for breakfast besides as a sweet treat, dessert or snack. By the way, this sweet version is the most common (sometimes also called the “Salée Sucrée” which literally means the “Salty Sugary”) but there is also the salty one where you add double cream (1.5 tbsp.), bacon (250g) and cumin (60g).

Vully Cake

Vully Cake

 

Vully Cake

 

Recipe for 2×30 cm diameter cake tins

Prep time: 20 min + resting time

Cook time: 10-12 min

 

Ingredients:

500 g flour

½ tsp salt

3.5 dl lukewarm milk

20g fresh yeast

80g melted butter (original recipe calls for 40g butter and 40g lard)

4 tbsp. double cream

4 tbsp. sugar

 

Recipe:

In a bowl sift the flour and add the salt. Mix them and make a well in the centre.

Dilute the yeast in 3 dl lukewarm milk and add it to the centre of the flour well along with the melted butter. Gently knead the dough for about 10 min until the preparation is soft and smooth (if the dough is too hard add the last 0.5 dl of milk).

Cover the dough and leave to rise for 45-50 minutes.

Divide the dough into two equal parts and smooth them out in the cake tins with your hands, cover and leave to rise for another 20 min.

Heat oven at around 270°C.

To make the borders pinch the edges while slightly turning your wrist. Prick the dough with a fork several times. Add 2 tbsp. double cream on each cake and spread it out evenly and as a final touch sprinkle the sugar on top. Bake in the oven for 10-12 min.

 

 

Bell Pepper Cake

Bell Pepper Cake I was going through an old cookbook on regional cuisine (L’Arte Culinaria nel Ticino, from 1979) last Friday and I despite I like books with pictures, I like more and more what’s in it. Continue reading

I saw this super simple tomato cake recipe I wanted to try but instead of tomatoes I decided to use bell peppers and onions; they are less watery and I don’t have to use them whole, as written in the directions. Over here it’s the time of the film festival of Locarno and it’s an event I like because the region is filled with different nationalities from all over the world. You can see films the whole day long and in the evening it’s nice to go out because a lot of alternative places that open during this period. There are halls where you can watch movies but the most impressive place is under the stars, in the piazza Grande, where the whole square becomes a cinema. It’s so beautiful to see and since I didn’t take any pictures yet here is the link to the film festival: pardolive.ch. During the evening the weather got progressively worse so at one in the morning I decided to go home and leave my boyfriend and friends to face the rain. As I opened the door, I was so hungry that I didn’t even bother getting changed before having another bite of this cake. Wow, it helped my belly and made my sleep easier… although that might have been the wine 😉

Bell Pepper Cake Bell Pepper Cake Bell Pepper Cake

 

Bell Pepper Cake

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 1h

 

Ingredients

1 kg red and/or yellow bell peppers

2 onions

2-3 tbsp. olive oil

250 g flour

2,5 dl milk or cream

2 eggs

Butter

1 tbsp. chopped basil

1 tbsp. chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 240°C.

Wash the bell peppers, core, deseed and cut them into chunks of about 3 cm. Quarter the onions lengthwise, halve them and divide the layers. Grease a baking tin and add the vegetables with 2 tbsp. olive oil, salt, pepper and toss. Cook in the oven for 30-35 min (until the pepper are lightly charred); toss a couple of times. Once done remove form the oven and leave to slightly cool. In case you feel the bottom is a little dry, add another tbsp. olive oil and toss.

Reduce oven heat to 170°C (to speed the process leave the oven door slightly open).

Meanwhile prepare the batter by mixing the flour and milk together in a bowl. In another bowl beat the two eggs and combine them to the flour and milk. Add the herbs, salt and mix. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and mix to make the preparation more even.

Place in the oven on the top part and after 10 min add some butter on top and continue the cooking process for another 20 min or until the top is nicely browned. Once ready leave 5 min. to cool before serving.

Tip: if you want you can add some cheese to the batter or use it instead of the butter.

 

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.