Gluten Free Chestnut Pancakes

Chestnut Pancakes
I want to begin this post by sending my thoughts to France. As I mentioned last week, that’s the country we decided to spend our honeymoon in and I have been delighted by this country I had forgotten was so great in so many ways. As a history fan though, I know the French population is tough and they will bounce back. Nevertheless I can’t help but think about the victims and my heart is with them. Continue reading

Drawing from Joann Sfar

How can one make a sensible transition from something so sad to something we all enjoy like food? As for the first I have no words, for the latter, I could talk for hours, nutrition matters included… Lately I have noticed that when I eat too much of something containing flour I get spots on my face and as soon as I stop, they slowly disappear… and between you and me, I’ve had enough bad skin during my puberty. As a solution I limit myself to the equivalent of about one portion of pasta per week. It’s a change in my lifestyle but I mostly just have to adapt and find hacks to still please my palate. In the beginning I was surprised by how much I would have to limit myself, especially when you’re dining out as an almost vegetarian (in a place where the range of restaurants is basically limited to Italian food). To get into the no-wheat flow, last week I tried to make some chestnut pancakes, without the addition of flour and, even if they are a little more moist that the normal ones, they actually melt in your mouth, and this is something I really enjoyed! Just in case you don’t want to go full chestnut read the note below.

NOTE:
If you wish to use flour in this recipe, to the dry ingredients add 4 tbsp. flour or gluten free flour. In this case you will need to increase the amount of milk from 1 dl to 1.5 dl and you don’t necessarily need to whisk the egg whites. This will make the pancakes more consistent and in addition you will be able to make more of them! Here are a few images of the version with flour.


Here is the flour-less version

Gluten Free Chestnut Pancakes

Recipe for about 10 pancakes of 7 cm.
Prep time: 10 min.
Cook time: 10-14 min. per batch

Ingredients:
200 g boiled chestnuts
2 tsp. baking powder
1 dl milk
2 large eggs
50 g butter (melted)
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
Roasting butter to make the pancakes
Optional: the seeds of one vanilla pod.

Recipe:
Place the chestnuts in a blender and process them until they become like flour. Transfer to a bowl and add the baking powder, sugar and salt.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites into two separate bowls. To the bowl with the yolks add the milk and the melted butter (optionally add the vanilla pod seeds) and mix to combine. Add this to the ground chestnuts, sugar, baking powder and salt and whisk just enough to mix the ingredients.
Whisk the egg whites to a peak and fold them in gently with the rest of the ingredients. Just remember not to overwork the batter, stop as soon as the batter looks combined, even if the result doesn’t look too smooth.
Heat a pan on a medium fire; add a little roasting butter to melt. Once the grease has melted take a large tbsp. of the batter and place it in the pan, using the back of the spoon to spread it out until it’s a small cm thick. Repeat for the number of pancakes that the pan can hold and cook for 5-7 minutes per side. Repeat until the batter is finished and serve with your favourite toppings: honey, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, maple syrup…

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).

 

Chicken, Butternut and Chestnut Pan Fry

Chicken Butternut and Chestnut Pan Fry
That’s it; autumn has officially started a couple of days ago. Continue reading

Today I noticed that even the cows have come down from the alps for the cold  and grassless months to come. By the way, don’t you like it when colours start shifting, evenings get a little colder and it’s time to restart taking advantage of the fireplace (if you have one)? I love this; it’s such a cosy time of the year. To celebrate the beginning of this new season, I wanted to make a recipe that contained some of the autumn staples; in this case they are butternut squash and chestnuts. To make this recipe I went to check on Niki Segnit’s The Flavour Thesaurus and, although I already know the book pretty well by now, I found that rosemary worked well with the butternut squash and the chestnuts. I had this dish with some fresh bread but you can accompany it with either potatoes, spaetzle or pasta…

Chicken Butternut and Chestnut Pan Fry

Chicken, Butternut and Chestnut Pan Fry

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 25 min

 

 

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts

1 onion

500 g butternut squash cut into 2-3 cm chunks

120 g cooked chestnuts

1 tbsp. chopped rosemary leaves

4 dl chicken or vegetable stock

1,2 dl cream

3-4 tbsp. rapeseed oil

Cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Cut the chicken into regular chunks of 2-3 cm pieces and season them with salt and pepper. Heat 1-2 tbsp. oil in a pan; add the chicken to brown on all sides on a medium-high fire. Once done, remove from the pan and set aside.

Chop the onion and using the same pan cook with 1-2 tbsp. oil on a low-medium heat until translucent, about 5-7 min. Raise the heat a little, add the pumpkin, season with a little salt pepper and brown on all sides.

Add back the chicken with the rosemary, the cayenne pepper (up to taste) and the chestnuts, cook further for another minute or so and then add the stock. Let it reduce to about half stirring form time to time.

Pour in the cream and stir to combine with the reduced stock. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, correct taste with salt and/or pepper if needed and serve.

 

 

Cocoa and Chestnut Muffins

Cocoa and Chestnut Muffins I always like it when a season ends and the next comes up, don’t you? Continue reading

Colours are changing, days are shorter and even if it’s still warm the autumn air and feel is more and more present. The past couple of weeks I have been craving foods like pumpkin soup, fire roasted chestnuts, game meat with spaetzle and on a cold and rainy night I could even go for a fondue… According to this mood I decided to make these cocoa and chestnut muffins. For this recipe I took as a basis Michael Ruhlman’s muffin recipe in his book Ratio. From there I adapted the recipe according to the ingredients I was using. I find that muffins are a friendly food and when I make some I always give at least half of them away. This time, I shared my muffins with my mother and her boyfriend, I brought them when they invited me for dinner last Sunday.

Cocoa and Chestnut MuffinsCocoa and Chestnut Muffins

Cocoa and Chestnut Muffins

 

Cocoa and Chestnut Muffins

 

Recipe for 12 muffins

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20-25 min

 

Ingredients:

190 g flour (+ more for dusting)

150 g brown sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

2.3 dl milk

100 g soft butter (+ more to grease the muffin tin)

1 tbsp. cocoa

1 vanilla pod

70g chopped cooked chestnuts

Icing sugar

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 190°C.

Grease the muffin tin with some butter and dust it with flour.

In a bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Incise the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. In a second bowl mix the milk, vanilla seeds and the butter. Once the three ingredients are well combined add the eggs and whisk again.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir until just combined. Fold in the chopped chestnuts and pour the mix in the muffin tin. Gently tap the muffin tim on a surface to make any bubbles come to the surface.

Place in the oven for 20-25 min. Check for doneness with a tooth pick. Remove from the oven and leave them for 3-5 min. Take the muffins out of their moulds and dust them with icing sugar.

Chestnut Waffles

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Autumn is now here and I don’t know about you but I crave those product that come with the colder weather. I am obsessed about foods such as mushrooms, cabbage, grape, creamy  and/or cheesy food  just to mention a few and not to forget chestnuts. Continue reading

Chestnuts also have a sentimental side to them. When I was small, with my mother we would go walk our dogs (a Pointer and a Yorkshire) in the woods just behind our home. Complete with a bag each, we’d stop every few steps to pick up the brown smooth shelled fruits. Once back we would light the fireplace, grab the chestnut pan; incise the chestnuts and get them roasting on a live fire with a humid cloth over them. Once they were nicely charred we would open the shell and taste the chestnuts while giggling and chatting while sitting near the fireplace which warmed our backs. Reminiscing those good times led me to the idea of this week’s recipe. So last Sunday I went down to the cellar and grabbed my (vintage) waffle iron and tried this recipe out. To begin with, I had a classic waffle recipe at home in the form of a little piece of paper stuck in one of my mother’s recipe notebook but I was not sure about the right ratio to combine the chestnuts into the batter. I put the recipe aside and went online. What I found as a good base for my recipe were the Pumpkin Waffles recipe from smittenkitchen.com. In the end I made a combination of my old recipe with the one I found on the net and it turned out to be good match. I made these chestnut waffles twice because the first time, besides forgetting the baking powder, I also forgot to grease the surface of the waffle iron (the result was a shredded waffle all over the waffle iron). On the second try I didn’t skip any step and I added just a bit more sugar and the story ended in a delicious experience. The plus is that waffles leave a good memory of their passage… there was such a sweet smell around the house that would put anyone in a joyful mood.

 

About the chestnut:

In Italian we call them “castagne” which comes from the Latin word “Castanea”. The origin of the tree originates from the Caucasus and it spread from there. The tree of the chestnut was much appreciated by the Romans for its fruits and for the quality of its wood which was optimal for weatherproof constructions. It is easy to imagine how useful the chestnut tree and its fruits was to the people who lived in places like my valley; the cultivation of wheat was either just enough to subsist or scarce after a bad season. The first  positives of the chestnut is that it grows up to heights of 1000 meters (making it grow also on the northern side of the Alps). The second positive is that the amount of calories provided was higher that the common cultivated grains. One of the very common ways to consume chestnuts was by transforming it into flour. It is for this reason that it is called “the tree of the poor’s bread” (source in Italian: http://www.strazzini-marroni.ch/it/cms-storia/storia.html)

 

Chestnut Waffles

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Makes about  12 waffles

Prep time : 15 min

Cook time : about 2 min per waffle

Total time:  about 40 min

 

Ingredients :

 

1 vanilla pod

160g T80 flour

200g vacuum-packed chestnuts

50g sugar

1tsp baking powder

2 eggs

300ml buttermilk

50g butter

¼ tsp salt (+ one pinch for the egg whites)

 

Recipe :

In one bowl mix the dry ingredients  together : the flour, the sugar, the baking powder and the salt.

Put the chestnuts in a blender and reduce it to a puree. Open the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds of both sides.

Separate the eggs and add the yolk to the buttermilk, the vanilla seeds and the mashed chestnuts.

Heat the waffle iron (a higher heat is better because the waffles will have a nicer outside crust).

Add the wet mix to the dry one. Mix but not for long, don’t worry it if doesn’t look too smooth.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form peaks. Add them to the rest of the ingredients and gently incorporate them. Here again it is better not to overwork the batter.

Once the waffle iron is hot grease the surface with either cooking spray or a neutral tasting oil such as rapeseed. Place the batter in the middle of it and lightly spread it out. For my heart shaped waffles I needed about 2 ½ scoops per shape. Close the machine and wait a couple of minutes or until the vapour had almost stopped coming out (of course if your waffle iron has a timer use that, unlike mine which could belong to a vintage range). Serve.

Serving suggestions: honey and hazelnuts, whipped cream, chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla ice cream…