To think that until a few years ago the only times I ate anything with pumpkin I had it when someone cooked it for me… I’m happy this has changed. Continue reading →
Honestly now that I’m back from my honeymoon, as much as country life is beautiful, now that I’ve re-spent some time in a city, I really miss it. I miss all the attractions and the possibility to talk to random people and so to keep my spirits up, I spend more time in the kitchen and in front of my computer, getting ahead with the novel I started some time ago. So yesterday within the realm of my kitchen, I’ve been making a pasta bake which is my favourite way of having this particular carb: it’s comforting and so tasty!
Butternut Pasta Bake
Recipe for 4
Cook time: 45 min
Prep time: 20 min
800 g butternut (peeled and deseeded)
320 g short pasta (fusilli, penne, rigatoni…)
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 red onion
3 tbsp. chopped sage
½ – 1 dl water or vegetable stock
3 dl cream
2 dl milk
2 knobs butter
6 tbsp. grated cheese (+ 3-4 for topping
3 tbsp. pine nuts
2 tbsp. breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Cut the butternut into cubes (the smaller the pieces the quicker they’ll cook), chop the onion and pass the garlic cloves through a garlic crusher.
Place a pan on a medium heat and add the olive oil and the onion. Cook for 4-5 min. stirring occasionally. Add the sage leaves and the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
Now add the butternut cubes and season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes before pouring in a little water or alternatively some stock (about ½-1 dl). Preferably add the water little by little during the cooking process rather that all at once. Cover the pan and cook until the butternut will have become soft, don’t forget to stir occasionally.
Once the butternut is soft, transfer the content of the pan to a bowl and mash it with a potato masher or if you want a very smooth result use a food processor. Place the mass back in the pan (always on a medium fire), add the cream and the milk and combine the ingredients by stirring. Add the knob of butter and correct taste with salt and pepper if needed. Remove the pan from the fire and add the grated cheese and stir to combine.
While the butternut is softening or once the sauce is done, prepare the pasta in salted boiling water but make sure you cook it until just al dente or once you cook it in the oven it will become too soft. To stop the cooking process, once you drain the pasta pass it under cold water. Add the drained pasta to the sauce and stir to combine.
Transfer the ingredients to a lightly greased baking dish and top with the remaining grated cheese, breadcrumbs and pine nuts (optionally add small pieces of butter on top which will help the browning process). Bake in the oven at 190°C for about 20 min.
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
Recipe for 4-6
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 45 min
650 g cauliflower florets
200 g quinoa
2-3 garlic cloves
4 tbsp. butter (plus extra to grease the baking dish)
4 tbsp. flour
5 dl stock
2 dl milk
3 tbsp. canola oil
80 g grated cheese (I used Gruyere)
Salt and pepper
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.
Last Saturday we had an evening among friends and guess who cooked?…me. Continue reading →
I made some pulled pork, a broccoli salad and meringues with cream as a dessert. I guess this was my first “catering” experience as we brought all the food to Andy’s home and consumed it there. The three of us (Andy my fiancé and me) met at my place, packed everything and placed it in Andy’s car. While my fiancé was moving his car to park it to a better spot, we saw him stop abruptly: he had perforated his tyre. After a little hesitation we decided to change the tyre ourselves. It took us ten minutes to figure it out and twenty minutes to change it but I admit (as someone who doesn’t even have a driver’s licence) I learned something different that day. That night we went to bed at four and since, unlike Ste my fiancé I can’t sleep long in the morning, I decided to get busy in the kitchen and so I prepared this leek pie that we shared once he was released from Morpheus’ arms.
Creamy Leek Pie
For a 28-30 cm pie mould
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 40-45 min
330 g leeks
1 tbsp. butter
100 g sour cream
80 g ham (I used turkey ham)
130g grated Swiss cheese
1 tbsp. flour
2 dl milk
1 tbsp. mustard
1 round short crust pastry (32 cm large)
Salt and pepper
Heat oven at 220°C.
Cut the leeks into ½ cm thick slices.
Heat the butter in a medium non-stick pan; add the leeks, season with salt and pepper. Cook covered for 10 min on a medium fire until they have softened. Meanwhile cut the ham into cubes and add it to the leeks once they are done. Leave aside to cool a little.
In a bowl mix together the milk with the sour cream, the eggs, the flour and a little nutmeg.
Place the short crust in a baking dish, spread the mustard on the bottom and then pierce the dough more times with a fork.
Distribute the leeks and ham on top and follow with the grated cheese. Pour the milk, cream, and egg, flour mixture on top; make sure the liquid covers all the leeks. Sprinkle a little pepper on top and place the pie on the lower part of the oven for 30-35 min.