Apple Tart with Crunchy Almonds

Apple Tart with Crispy Almonds

I’m back! I hope everyone had a nice winter holiday, if you were lucky, you might even have had some snow; unfortunately here in Switzerland we craved and waited for it, but it only arrived the day we travelled back. The car had more fun with the snow than we did… Continue reading

Back home, I don’t know about you, but after the holiday season, which is filled with elaborated and not so light dishes, I like to go back to some simplicity and this apple tart (with a little twist) was a great way to satisfy my sweet tooth. This is the kind of recipe I would usually serve during an easy evening, for example with my girlfriends; I cut it up into bite size pieces and place it in the middle of the table, this way my everyone eats the amount they want, I find it’s a friendly way of serving dessert, and between chats and sips you see it progressively disappearing.

Because almonds work great with apples, I looked for an alternative to what I usually do, which is spreading them in ground form under the fruit; I found this crispy topping idea here and applied it to my recipe and I really liked the end result, its taste and its consistency.

Apple Tart with Crispy Almonds

 

Apple Tart with Crunchy Almonds

 

Serves 8

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

 

Ingredients:

A 25×42 cm puff pastry sheet

3 baking apples like boskoop

100 g slivered almonds

60 g sugar

2 tbsp. milk

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 220°C.

Toast the almonds in a dry non-stick pan over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes, toss regularly until lightly browned; transfer into a bowl.

Core the apples and pass them through a slicer. I left the skin on, it’s more rustic and it has added nutritional value.

Spread the puff pastry out on a baking tray and spread over the apples by overlapping them by half.

Add the butter, sugar and milk to the frying pan over medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted, bring to the boil continue cooking for 1 minute. Add the almonds and mix well before turning into the pastry case. Without waiting, evenly spread the caramelized almonds over the apples.

Bake for 15 minutes in the middle of the oven. Serve warm or at room temperature, maybe with some vanilla ice cream.

 

 

Carrot Chicken and Peanut Lettuce Wraps

Carrot Chicken and Peanut Lettuce Wraps

I have a thing for food pairings and I’m always on the lookout for new ideas. For this post I consulted my beloved The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit and a flavour pairing that grabbed my attention was the combination of carrots with salted peanuts. Continue reading

I didn’t want to make a simple salad out of it so I decided to make some lettuce wraps instead. In my lettuce wraps I also added some of the leftover chicken I had, and some coriander. The recipe in the book is taken from Nigella Lawson’s “The Rainbow Room’s Carrot and Peanut Salad”. The recipe calls for a generous amount of vinegar, which will cut through the oiliness of the peanuts. The vinegar will add a quality to the dish one can associate with some Asian salads. This super easy recipe is within everyone’s reach and the ingredients used are easily found all year round. I served this as an aperitif between friends and it was quickly put together went down perfectly with a little white wine.

 

 

 

Carrot Chicken and Peanut Lettuce Wraps

Recipe for 10 pieces

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: –

 

Ingredients:

120 cooked chicken

10 baby lettuce leaves

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. rapeseed oil

2 carrots (not too large)

3-4 tbsp. salted peanuts

2 generous tbsp. chopped coriander leaves

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Peel the carrots and grate them using a small holed grater. Place them in a bowl. Finely chop the coriander leaves, add them to the carrots and mix.

Using a fork shred the cooked chicken meat.

In a small bowl combine the red wine vinegar, the rapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roughly chop the peanuts.

Take the lettuce leaves and start by evenly distributing the carrots, followed by the chicken and finally the peanuts. Place the lettuce wraps on a serving plate and drizzle with the dressing.

 

Vegetable Flan

Vegetable Flan

Last week with a couple of friends we inaugurated the coming of autumn with the first cheese fondue of the season. That would be the first of a long weekend of fun celebratory events. Continue reading

Came Sunday, all I wanted was to hang around the home: no sports, wide pants and top, film and lit fireplace. I also wanted some easy to make food and found this flan recipe (in French), which I found would suit the mood. I made a few small changes and additions to the original version, the main one being the addition of lentils and some extra cheese.

 

 

Vegetable Flan

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 35 min

 

Ingredients:

130 cooked lentils (if you still have to cook them, the equivalent is 50 g raw lentils)

2 tomatoes

2 small zucchini

1 onion

2 tbsp. of thyme leaves

20 cl of fresh cream

4 tbsp. flour

4 eggs

100 g grated hard goat cheese (or any other cheese you like)

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Preheat the oven th.6 (180°C).

Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds, then cut them into small cubes of about 1 cm. Now take the zucchini and make zucchini spaghetti using a spiralizer. Alternatively, if you’re using a knife, cut the zucchini by its length into thin slices and then cut each slice into spaghetti like strings. A third alternative is to cut them into cubes of 1 cm. Chop the onion.

Mix all the vegetables, the thyme, the lentils and the grated cheese and place everything in a greased baking dish.

Add the flour to a bowl; add the cream and mix; then add the eggs, salt and pepper, blend all the ingredients together. Pour on the vegetables and gently move them to make sure the egg mix fills any gaps.

Bake in the oven for 35 min. Once done, use a knife to detach the flan from the edges. This dish can be made ahead. Serve hot or at room temperature.

 

Sweet Potato Aubergine Melts

sweet-potato-melts

Last weekend I attended one of my favourite events: the enogastronomic walk that is Gusta il Borgo. Last year I couldn’t be present as I was getting married but this year I wouldn’t have missed for anything in the world. The nine kilometre walk around the beautiful town of Ascona while tasting wine and genuine products is a perfect excuse for some movement in a truly friendly context. Continue reading

Here are a few pictures of our day where the only thing I have to remember next time is to smother myself with more sun cream…

 

 

Summer events may be getting to an end, but fortunately it’s not the case for local, organic produce, like the aubergines in this recipe. With this I decided to make a friendly easy and healthy recipe and thought that tartines, toasts and/or melts are a great match. As I was preparing this recipe I began thinking about the infinity of combinations for every season of the year; for instance, with autumn just around the corner, I’ll try this with some diced butternut squash, goat cheese and some rosemary or sage.

Sweet Potato Melts

 

Sweet Potato Aubergine Melts

Recipe for 8 pieces

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients:

2-3 sweet potatoes

1 small aubergine

1-2 garlic cloves (depending on the size)

30 g quinoa

150 g mozzarella

1-2 chillies

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

16-18 basil leaves

 

Recipe:

Place the quinoa in two times its volume of water, season with salt and bring it to a boil. Simmer for about 15 min, until it’s done and the water will have been absorbed. Once done set aside.

Heat oven at 210°C (fan 190°C).

Meanwhile, clean and dry the sweet potatoes. Lengthwise, cut the extremities and discard them. Now cut the sweet potatoes into 1 cm thick slices and brush them with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper on both sides. Just remember that the amounts in this recipe are made for eight slices. Place the sweet potato in the oven and bake for 25-30 min, turning them once or twice during the cooking process.

Remove the seeds from the chillies and finely chop them, along with the garlic. Cut the aubergine into 1 cm thick slices, stack them (maybe not all at once) and cut them into small cubes.

Add 1 tbsp. olive oil, the chillies and the garlic to a non-stick pan and fry for 2-3 min on a medium heat. Add the aubergine cubes, season with salt and pepper and brown them on all sides tossing regularly. Finally add the cooked quinoa, mix everything together and remove from the fire. Rectify taste if needed.

Slice the mozzarella into ½ cm thick slices.

Once the sweet potatoes are done remove the tray from the oven and evenly spoon the aubergine/quinoa preparation, on top distribute the mozzarella slices.

Turn on the broiler and place the sweet potato melts in the oven for a few minutes. Once the mozzarella will have melted and lightly browed remove the melts from the oven, top with the basil leaves and serve asap.

 

 

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.

Quinoa Kale and Edamame Salad with an Avocado Dressing

Quinoa Kale and Edamame SaladSummer time and cooking is easy… with the hot weather and the wide range of fresh produce, we don’t want to spend too long over a hot stove so cold and healthy meals are always welcome during the summer months. Continue reading

Whether you’re making a barbecue, a picnic or a usual lunch, this recipe will fill you up with valuable nutrients such as fibres (from kale, avocados and edamame) and proteins (from the quinoa).

Some components of this salad can be made ahead so when the time to assemble it comes, it will only take a moment to put together; for instance you can cook the quinoa and the kale a day ahead. On Sunday I’ll enjoy a day of relax and I plan to make a last healthy meal before my thirty-… birthday and I’ve decided to make this salad again and serve it either with some tofu or a couple of eggs. Afterwards I’ll dive into a one of the books I’m reading, under the sun, looking like a glazed doughnut, smothered in 30spf sun cream… I’ll need the relax as the following day I’ll be in contact with my inner child in an acrobatic park. 🙂

Quinoa Kale and Edamame Salad

 

Quinoa Kale and Edamame Salad with an Avocado Dressing

 

Recipe for 4 as a side 

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 15 min

 

Ingredients:

120 g steamed edamame

120 g wilted kale

120 g quinoa

1 spring onion

1 not too large avocado

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. sherry vinegar

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Bring to a boil the quinoa in two times its volume of salted water. Simmer for a about 15 min. or until the grain will have softened. Once done set aside.

Slice the kale into about 1 cm strips and finely slice the spring onion.

Remove the flesh of the avocado, place it in a salad bowl and mash it with a fork. Add the olive oil and the sherry vinegar, season with salt and pepper and mix.

To the bowl add the quinoa, edamame, kale, spring onion and mix.

Aubergine Halloumi Skewers

Aubergine Halloumi Skewers

It’s such a great time of the year when you can live with the door open and enjoy the mild weather from morning to night. Like in many places, in Switzerland, grill parties are as popular with people as the blueberries in my garden are with blackbirds… Continue reading

So in honour of nice days outdoor eating I thought I’d make some vegetarian skewers which can work a main or as a side dish. Few ingredients are needed to make this recipe and not only it looks nice but the combination of Halloumi cheese and aubergine is something I just love. Enjoy!!!

 

Aubergine Halloumi Skewers Aubergine Halloumi Skewers

 

Aubergine Halloumi Skewers

 

Recipe for 8 skewers

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 10 min

 

Ingredients:

1 medium aubergine

250 g Halloumi cheese

1 spring onion

Olive oil

Pepper

(optional: salt)

 

Recipe:

 

Cut the Halloumi cheese into 2.5-3 cm cubes and do the same with the aubergine. Here, if you wish you can season the aubergine with salt. I didn’t do it as personally I find the Halloumi cheese is already salty enough in combination with the eggplant.

Take one skewer and pierce one aubergine cube, then, pierce a cheese cube (be gentle with the cheese as it may easily break). Alternate the two ingredients on the skewers; in the end you should have about 6-8 cubes on each stick. Lightly brush them with olive oil and season with pepper.

Either on a hot barbecue or on a griddle pan (if you’re don’t have any of them at hand, use a normal pan) place the skewers and allow them to colour on all sides by turning them regularly.

Meanwhile slice the spring onion.

Once the skewers are ready place them on a serving plate, drizzle a little olive oil on them and sprinkle the spring onions as a final touch.

 

 

Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew

Cauliflower and Chickpea StewOn Sunday I’ll be heading to southern Spain with my mother for five days. It’s going to be the first time in seventeen years we leave together for such a long time. Continue reading

I’m excited but I hope we’ll get along well and will have a good time together. Like every mother/daughter relationship, there may be tensions. Fortunately we never hold a grudge for long 🙂

With an eye towards our upcoming trip, I wanted to post something colourful so I made this cauliflower and chickpea stew. This recipe is not only easy but it can partly or wholly be made in advance. Once you decide to serve it, just heat it up and add the final touch with the coriander leaves. I served this vegan stew with rice but you can also serve it with some bread, some eggs, chicken…

See you in a couple of weeks!

 

 

Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew

 

Recipe for 4 as a main

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 1h 30 min

 

Ingredients:

3 garlic cloves

1 large red onion

2 cans chopped tomatoes

2 cans chickpeas

400-450 g cauliflower florets

A three fingered pinch of sugar

Salt and pepper

2 tsp. harissa

Smoked paprika

2 tbsp. olive oil

4-5 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves

 

Recipe:

 

Chop the onion and the garlic. Heat olive oil on a pan over medium heat and add them onion and garlic to fry for 5 min or until translucent. Add the tomato sauce, the harissa and season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika to taste. Cover and let the tomatoes simmer on a low heat for about 1½ hour, stirring occasionally. You can also cook the sauce for 30 min to 1 hour but more is better in this case (not only the taste will improve but its nutritional properties too). Alternatively cook the sauce in advance and reheat it when you need it.

Add the cauliflower florets and the chickpeas; toss and cook for a further 6-8 min. Once the cauliflower is cooked to your liking (I like it when it still has a crunch) and the chickpeas are hot.

On top sprinkle the coriander just before serving.

 

 

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.

 

Beet and Feta Fritters

Beet and Feta Fritters
One thing I always like to keep in my fridge is a pack cooked beetroots because in the end they always come in handy as side dish, a dip, with some pasta or some cheese. Continue reading

Hanging in my fridge was a pack that would soon go past its consumption date and so when my mother came over I decided I’d use them to make some beet and feta fritters. As a base for this recipe I found a simple fritter recipe I liked on the justataste blog and adapted it to my version, which aside from the veggies also contained cheese. We really enjoyed the taste of these fritters; the only critique I would make to myself is that I could have let them brown a little more; next time I’ll try not to get stressed about being late for preparing lunch…
In the end we had a nice lunch combination as the fritters went well with our usual smoked salmon aperitif.

Beet and Feta FrittersBeet and Feta FrittersBeet and Feta Fritters


Beet and Feta Fritters

Recipe for 4
Prep time : 15 min
Cook time: 4-6 min per batch

Ingredients:
440g cooked beets without skin
180g feta
2 large egg
90g flour
a handful chopped spring onions
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Recipe:
Grate the beets with a large holed grater and then transfer them to a sieve (with a bowl underneath), season them with a little salt and let them rest for 10-15 min to remove the liquid. Once the time has passed, using the back of a tablespoon or your hands, press on the beets to remove as much moisture as possible. Transfer to a bowl.
Roughly chop the spring onions, crumble the feta cheese and add them to the beets along with the flour and the egg. Mix until evenly combined.
Line a dish with kitchen paper.
Coat the bottom of a pan with oil and place on a medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, take a heaped tbsp. of the beetroot fritter mix and place it on the pan, slightly press it down and shape it into a round. Repeat the operation with as many fritters you can fit, remembering that they should be a 4-5 cm apart from one another. Let the fritters cook for 2-3 minutes and once they are brown flip them and cook until the other side is brown too. Once done place them on the kitchen paper, optionally sprinkle some salt and do another batch.
Serve them by themselves or with some yoghurt or sour cream.