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.

Asparagus Lemon Pasta Bake

Asparagus Lemon Pasta BakeIn a hurried week I really wanted to post this recipe, which I really enjoyed. The lemon gives this pasta bake has a light and refreshing taste and it’s asparagus season so I want to take advantage of it! Continue reading

As an inspiration for this recipe I took smittenkitchen’s mushroom Marsala pasta bake, a recipe I’ve been contemplating for some time and finally decided to adapt it to the spring season. I’m going to have to keep it short because I still have to finish packing for a special weekend where I get to spend time with a friend… but before he arrives in Zurich, I want/need to go shopping.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Asparagus Lemon Pasta Bake

Asparagus Lemon Pasta Bake

 

Asparagus Pasta Bake

Recipe for 4-6

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 50-60 min

 

Ingredients:

280g short pasta (I used penne)

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 small-medium onion

0.8 dl white wine

45g butter

30 g flour (or 2 tbsp.)

3.5 dl vegetable stock

80g Parmesan cheese

The juice and zest of 1 small organic lemon

0.9 dl cream

400g asparagus (woody part removed)

 

Recipe:

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water but make sure it’s al dente. Drain it 1-2 minutes before doneness and set it aside.

Slice the asparagus at an angle into 0.5 cm pieces (if using thin asparaguses, cut them into 1-1.5 cm pieces. Chop the onion.

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil on a medium-high heat and add the asparaguses to brown tossing occasionally. Once done set them aside with the pasta.

Reduce the fire to medium-low and add the second tbsp. of olive oil along with the chopped onion. Cook until the onion has softened (4-5 min). Pour in the white wine, lemon juice and lemon zest and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated, don’t stop stirring. Now add the butter and once it has melted, add the flour and continue stirring until it has been combined with the rest of the ingredients. Start adding the stock one splash at the time. Make sure that between splashes, the liquid is well combined. Do so until the stock is finished then let it cook for a couple of minutes to let the sauce thicken. Add the cream, stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the fire and add ¾ of the grated cheese along with the pasta and the asparaguses. Mix everything together. If you’re using an ovenproof pan, you can bake the dish directly in there. If your pan is not oven proof transfer it to a baking dish. Sprinkle the pasta with the remaining grated Parmesan and bake for 25-30 min in a pre-heated oven at 200°C.

Light Sweet Potato Gratin

Light Sweet Potato GratinLooking for new ways to make dishes I like but in a lighter version, I came across this gratin recipe (in French) and decided to give it a try. Continue reading

What I liked about this gratin is that its lightness makes it a dish you can also easily throughout the whole year; even when temperatures rise and you don’t want to eat something too heavy. In my version of the recipe I used sweet potatoes instead of regular ones as they deliver more nutritionally. What I liked about this recipe was its consistency, the potatoes just melted in my mouth. Also, as I can be a little lazy, I loved how you just throw everything in a baking dish and the oven basically takes care of the rest.

Light Sweet Potato Gratin Light Sweet Potato Gratin

 

Light Sweet Potato Gratin

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 50 min

 

Ingredients:

1 kg peeled sweet potatoes

2 dl milk (eventually more if needed)

150 g low fat cream cheese

Salt and pepper

A small pinch nutmeg

1-2 garlic cloves

Butter to grease baking dish

50 g grated cheese (I used Gruyere)

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 170° C

Thinly slice the potatoes using a slicer or a knife.

In a bowl mix the milk and the cream cheese together and add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pass the garlic cloves through a garlic crusher, add them to the bowl and mix again.

Grease a baking dish with the butter and arrange the potatoes in layers. Pour on top the cream cheese and milk mix. Because the sweet potatoes tended to curl up, I covered the gratin with oven paper and put a small lid on it (another type of weight works as well).

Bake for 25 min in the middle of the oven, remove the lid and paper and sprinkle the grated cheese on top. If the gratin looks a little dry add a little more milk. Bake for another 25-30 min uncovered. Once the top has a nice brown colour and the sweet potatoes are nice and soft remove from the oven and serve.

 

Healthy Quinoa Casserole

Healthy Quinoa Casserole
Happy 2016! I’m back after large portions dinners, family, friends and a reasonable amount of party. With my husband and a friend we spent a few days in Crans Montana, even if the snow was sadly scarce, we still had a great time strolling around, tasting wine, treating ourselves to great foods like alpine cheese, fondue, pastries, Argentinean beef on a hot stone… Continue reading

Like many, the beginning of January is ideally for me a detox period. This doesn’t mean I’ll have steamed veggies and water, but at least no alcohol, no meat and not too many sugary and/or fatty foods. So to please myself with healthy food I made a healthy quinoa casserole where the use of cheese is limited and the white sauce contains no butter. A little over a year ago I made the Swiss grape juice pie and although a sweet treat, this recipe required a form of white sauce. Today’s recipe was a great opportunity to re-use such cooking process. With the light béchamel sauce I added the goodness of quinoa, carrots and kale to complement the healthy recipe aura.


Healthy Quinoa Casserole

Healthy Quinoa Casserole

Recipe for 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main meal

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 45 min
Ingredients:

120 g quinoa

120 g carrots

120 g kale

1 red onion

60 g grated Gruyere

1 tbsp. butter

50 g flour

2.5 dl milk

2.5 dl vegetable stock (alternatively replace this part with more milk)

salt and pepper

Topping:

20 g grated Gruyere

3 tbsp. breadcrumbs

3 tbsp. milk

(optional: 1 tbsp. butter)

 

Recipe:

Place the quinoa in a pan in two times its volume of water and bring to a boil. Cook for 13-15 min. Set aside once done.

Wilt the kale in a pan over medium heat with a couple tbsp. water until the leaves have softened then set aside.

Prepare the white sauce by placing the flour in a bowl and adding a little milk. Whisk until the ingredients are combined and gradually add the rest of the milk and the stock. Transfer to a pan with high sides and heat the white sauce by constantly stirring. Once the preparation has thickened, remove form the fire and add the grated cheese and stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chop the onion and cut the carrot into small cubes of about 0.5 cm. To cut the carrots, start by slicing by their length into 0.5 pieces. Take each slice and cut strips out of them. Finally place the strips together and cut them into small cubes.

Melt the butter in a pan and add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook on a low-medium heat for about 10 min or until the carrot has softened but is not mushy. Stir occasionally.

Coarsely chop the kale and add it to the carrots and onion along with the quinoa and the white sauce. Mix until all ingredients are combined and transfer to a baking dish.

In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, 2 tbsp. milk and the grated cheese, mix and spread over the other ingredients. Optionally scatter a pieces of butter on top. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 15-20 min at 200°C.

29-08-2015 The Day We Said Yes & A Welcome to Autumn

29-08-2015 The Day We Said Yes & A Welcome to Autumn

The reason I took a break last week is because on the 29th of August we got married! 😀

Continue reading

Since I still had guests from away that stayed home I decided to dedicate my attention to them…besides the fact that I really needed some rest from all the pre-wedding stress and the partying (the night before the big event I only slept four hours). I can only say that the day exceeded my expectations as we had such an incredible time, ambience and weather: a day made of all the flavours of love. Here are just a few of the pictures from a wedding in southern Switzerland.

 

Since our wedding occurred on the last actual weekend of real summer weather and now we’re gently slipping into autumn I decided to welcome the new season by cooking something with butternut squash. A nice casserole/gratin always makes me happy and with cooler evenings it’s a dish that works well. I wanted the flavours to “marry” well together. After consulting my Flavour Thesaurus from Nikki Segnit I decided to use some goat cheese and rosemary to accompany the butternut squash and potatoes. I decided to lightly roast the potatoes and butternut before baking them in the oven, this added some extra flavour to the dish. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Butternut Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

 

 

 

Butternut Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

Recipe for 4-6

Prep time: 20-25 min

Cook time: 40-45 min

 

Ingredients:

500 g waxy potatoes

500 g butternut squash

1 tbsp. chopped rosemary leaves

2 garlic cloves

Cayenne pepper

1.5 dl milk

200 g sour cream (I used ½ fat)

1 egg

100 g grated hard goat cheese

1 tbsp. vegetable oil (+ extra to grease baking dish)

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Peel the potatoes cut them into 2 cm pieces. Bring a pan filled with salty water to a boil and cook the potatoes until they’re soft. Once they’re ready drain them.

Meanwhile cut the butternut squash into 2 cm pieces, too. Pass the garlic through a garlic crusher.

On a medium fire, in a non-stick pan heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil and add the potatoes and butternut pieces to brown. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Toss regularly. After about 10 minutes add the rosemary and garlic and continue cooking for another 5-10 min.

In a bowl combine the sour cream, milk and the egg and mix all together.

Grease a baking dish and transfer the vegetables, on top sprinkle the grated goat cheese and finally pour the milk, sour cream and egg mixture.

Cook in a preheated oven at 220°C for 15-20 min.

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.

Quinoa Cauliflower Casserole

Quinoa Cauliflower Casserole Since a few years the Ascension a Pentecost period rhymes with little sleep, a concentrated social life and little time to get ahead with my projects… Continue reading

so I hope I didn’t make any mistakes while writing this recipe. Since casseroles are a love of mine I thought I’d make one with an eye on the healthy side. I used quinoa, cauliflower and tried to limit the amount of milk I used to remove a few calories. Although I guess the problem of something one likes, has a lot to do with the quantity besides the kind of food being served. I admit that since I liked it, I didn’t pull back and ended up feeling stuffed. Fortunately regrets didn’t last for long. I hope you’ll like it and meanwhile I wish you all great weekend.

 

Quinoa Cauliflower Casserole

 

 

Quinoa Cauliflower Casserole

 

Recipe for 4-6

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 45 min

 

Ingredients:

650 g cauliflower florets

200 g quinoa

2-3 garlic cloves

4 tbsp. butter (plus extra to grease the baking dish)

4 tbsp. flour

Nutmeg

5 dl stock

2 dl milk

3 tbsp. canola oil

80 g grated cheese (I used Gruyere)

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Cook the quinoa in two times its volume in salted water for 12-15 min. Once done set aside.

Meanwhile cut the cauliflower florets into smaller florets, about the size of a small walnut.

Finely chop the garlic.

Heat the vegetable oil in a pan and add the cauliflower. Cook on a medium-high fire for a couple of minutes stirring regularly. Season the cauliflower with salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and reduce fire if the cauliflower is browning too quickly. Cook for a further 4-6 min. Once done, remove the pan from the fire, add in the quinoa and mix. Now transfer the whole to a greased baking dish and set aside.

On a low-medium fire melt the butter in a pan with high sides, add a little nutmeg and the flour and start whisking for 3-4 min. Now start pouring the milk little by little while still whisking. Once the milk is finished start pouring the stock. Let the white sauce densify between one addition of liquid and another. Once you have used up all the liquid and your sauce is ready remove the pan from heat and add in 50 grams of the grated cheese and stir.

Pour the white sauce on top of the quinoa and cauliflower. With the help of a spatula or a fork gently integrate the white sauce with the other ingredients. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and cook on the upper part of your preheated oven a 190°C for about 20 min or until top is nice and brown. Remove from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

 

Spinach and Mushroom Rice Casserole

Spinach and Mushroom Rice Casserole It’s almost the weekend and with my boyfriend we were supposed to go to… to… we haven’t decided yet. Continue reading

Well, we were supposed to go on weekend but unfortunately he forgot he already had an engagement so we have postponed it to October and I think it’ll be Basel: the city he cherishes because he studied there and personally I like the place. One thing I’m really looking forward to is a bit (or a lot) of shopping. After two months I’m really motivated about shopping, unlike my boyfriend. The only thing he looks for when we go shopping is the couch or any kind of seating surface available. At least he forgets about the waiting time he has endured when we go out for a tapas dinner. About food, I made this recipe yesterday; it fit well with the weather that was cloudy and cool. I took as a reference for this recipe Broccoli Cheddar and Wild Rice Casserole from smittenkitchen.

Spinach and Mushroom Rice Casserole 4 Spinach and Mushroom Rice CasseroleSpinach and Mushroom Rice Casserole

 

 

Spinach and Mushroom Rice Casserole

 

Recipe for 4 as a side or 2 as a main meal

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 50 min

 

Ingredients

For the rice:

130 g rice

300 g spinach

1 onion

100 g button mushrooms

2 tbsp. diced sundried tomatoes

2 tbsp. butter

3-4 dl vegetable or chicken stock (preferably low in salt)

Salt and pepper

 

For the topping:

2 tbsp. butter

Nutmeg

2 tbsp. flour

1.5 dl milk

3 dl vegetable or chicken stock (preferably low in salt)

60 g grated Swiss cheese

2 tbsp. breadcrumbs

 

Recipe

 

Heat oven at 200°C.

Grease a baking dish.

Chop the onion and slice the mushrooms.

Cook the spinach in a pan. Once done place them in a sieve and remove excess liquid and then chop.

In a pan heat 2 tbsp. butter and add the onion. Cook until translucent (about 4-5 min) then add the mushrooms. Season with the salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms have browned. Add the sundried tomatoes and the rice: cook for about a minute. Add one dl of stock and wait for it to be absorbed by the rice while stirring often. Once the rice has become somewhat dry, add the second dl of and repeat until the third dl of stock will have been absorbed (this should take about 15-18 min). Add the chopped spinach, mix and pour into a greased baking dish.

In a pan melt the butter, add a little nutmeg and cook for a minute or so on low heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook for a 3-4 minutes and start adding in the milk little by little while still whisking. Add the broth too and cook for about 5 min or until thickened. Remove from heat, add in half of the grated cheese and stir until melted.

Evenly pour the white sauce over the rice and vegetables. On top sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese and the breadcrumbs. Eventually you can add a few small pieces of butter to make the top even more golden brown coloured.

Place in the oven for about 15 min.