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.

 

 

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.

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.

Summery Einsiedeln Pie – With a Soft Potato Crust

Summery Einsiedeln Pie Last Friday after a short night I got active in the morning. After my jog I got to the kitchen and preparing this summer version of the Einsiedlen pie. Continue reading

For lunch I had a friend and her one-year-old daughter coming over. I set the table out on the terrace and we enjoyed a ladies’ only moment. Now I have little experience with children but I didn’t know such a little creature could eat that much… maybe my pie was really good ;). As a dessert the three of us moved to where the blueberries are in my garden and began raiding the trees. This is a new Swiss recipe I found out about and liking the idea of using potatoes as a crust. The crust of this pie is nice and soft and thicker than a usual pie crust and the nice thing is it’s easy to make. I adapted my version from the original recipe I found here (page in French). I filled my pie with some seasonal grilled vegetables to adapt the dish to the warmer days.

 

Summery Einsiedeln Pie

 

Recipe for 4 people / Baking tray (28 x 26 cm) or cake pan (30 cm Ø)

Prep time: 20 min

Cooking time: 1 h 20 min

 

Ingredients

Base:

700 g waxy potatoes boiled

150 g flour

1 ½ tsp. salt

freshly ground pepper

 

Filling:

1 small aubergine

1 small zucchini

2 spring onions

2 eggs beaten

2.5 dl milk

140 g grated cheese (I made a mix of two alpine cheeses but Gruyere or Appenzeller cheese are just as fine)

1 tbsp. flour

salt and pepper

Olive oil

 

Recipe

Slice the aubergine and the zucchini crosswise into 0.5-0.7 cm thick pieces. Brush the slices with a little olive oil and season them with salt and pepper. On a heated griddle pan or barbecue (if you don’t have any of them use a normal non stick pan) grill the slices on both sides. Once they have a nice colour, remove them from the heat and set them aside.

Mash the potatoes. Add the flour, salt and a little pepper and mix.

On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough (1 cm). Lay on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Alternatively you can shape the dough directly in the cake dish lined with baking paper, that’s what I did.

Mix in the eggs, milk, cheese and flour. Flavour. Brown the bacon and onions over medium heat in butter.

Divide the mass to eggs, bacon and onions on the pasta.

Cook ca. 45 Minutes in the lower part of the pre-heated oven at 180 °C. For the last 15 minutes move the tray towards the upper part of the oven to brown its surface. Remove from the oven and let the pie rest for 5 min before serving.

Aubergine Piccata

Aubergine Piccata So yesterday I left early in the afternoon from home and had little time to prepare my lunch and so I made this aubergine piccata. Continue reading

After lunch I got ready and left for Locarno where my appointment to the doctor for my ankle was. I got there and the nurse at the desk looked at me without saying a word, I introduced myself and was very soon told that my appointment wasn’t for Monday but for Tuesday… It was my fault and I got mad at myself. I don’t like getting appointments wrong, don’t you? Despite throwing away an afternoon to get to the doctor and finding out I got the date wrong; at east I enjoyed my lunch.

Aubergine Piccata Aubergine Piccata

 

Aubergine Piccata

 

Recipe for 3-4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 3-12 min

 

Ingredients:

1 Aubergine (350-400g)

3-4 tbsp. flour

80 g grated cheese (I used a firm goat cheese)

3 eggs

2 tbsp. chopped chives

salt

Olive oil or frying butter

 

In a bowl place the flour while in another place the eggs with the grated cheese and the chives.

Cut the aubergine into 0.5 cm thick slices and season them with salt on both sides.

Heat 1 tbsp. oil or butter in a pan.

Take an aubergine slice, coat it in the flour on both sides and then dip it into the egg, cheese and chive mix (make sure you get a good amount of the egg mix on the aubergine) and then place it straight into the pan. Repeat with the other slices and cook for 3-4 min on each side on a medium fire. You will probably need to do this in 2-3 batches so once the slices are done keep them warm in the oven at 70°C. Usually I serve this dish with a simple tomato sauce pasta.

 

Red Lentil Aubergine and Goat Cheese Bites

Red Lentil Aubergine and Goat Cheese Bites I really like meat when I go out but after three days of consecutive meat packed meals it felt really good to go back to vegetarian food. Continue reading

Last Thursday we went to an Indian restaurant I absolutely love and where on that day there is a buffet which always displays different dishes and I felt compelled to taste a little of everything. On Friday I was with old friends I have been hanging out for almost 20 years and we had salami and cheese as an appetizer and spare ribs, skewers and sausages as a main meal. Finally on Saturday we went to the opening of a restaurant and ended up having a beef filet after a whole bunch of freshly made Italian appetizers. I would qualify these three days as delicious but on Sunday it felt great to replace meat and wine with these lentil bites, a salad and water or tea. In this recipe I used a bunch of ingredients I truly enjoy and that work well together. The only thing to watch out is not to go for an aubergine that is too large or you might end up having a lentil mix that is too watery.

Red Lentil Aubergine and Goat Cheese Bites Red Lentil Aubergine and Goat Cheese Bites

 

Red Lentil Aubergine and Goat Cheese Bites

 

For about 20 units

Prep time: 35 min

Cook time: 45-50 min

 

180 g red lentils

1 small aubergine

8 sun dried tomato filets in olive oil

80 g hard goat cheese grated

2 finely chopped garlic cloves

1 tsp dried chilies

2 tbsp chopped parsley

2 tbsp chopped basil

2 tbsp chopped spring onion

Zest of one lemon

Salt and pepper

1 large egg

2-3 tbsp water

8-9 tbsp breadcrumbs

2 tbsp olive oil

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 200°C.

Cut the aubergine in half lengthwise. Incise the inside with a knife making a few horizontal and vertical cuts. Brush cut side with olive oil and place on baking paper face side down. Cook in the oven for 35-40 min.

Meanwhile cook the lentils according to package instructions and set aside to cool.

Finely chop the sun dried tomatoes, the garlic, the parsley and the basil.

When the aubergines are done remove the inside meat with the help of a spoon. Place the pulp in a bowl along with the lentils and mash them. Add the sun dried tomatoes, herbs, chillies, goat cheese, lemon zest, spring onion salt, pepper and mix well.

Take a tbsp of the lentil preparation and form little balls of about 3,5-4 cm. Beat the egg in a bowl and add the water. In another bowl place the breadcrumbs. Take one ball and pass it first in the egg wash, then roll it in the bread crumbs.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan and add the balls to brown on a medium fire (about 8-10 min). Serve warm either as an appetizer or as a meal, maybe with a salad with balsamic dressing.

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich / Sandwich aux Légumes Grillés

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich One of my favourite way to have vegetables is to grill them. When I make a barbecue at home, in the “to grill” platter there are always either zucchini, aubergines, peppers, tomatoes or mushrooms. Continue reading

With this weather the barbecue season is officially open. I didn’t take out the whole barbecue yet but with my griddle pan I made ourselves a salad with grilled chicken, zucchini and aubergines. I made more vegetables than I needed so that I could use the leftover veggies the following day. I knew my lunch break would be relatively limited because after my morning jog I wanted to clean and mow the lawn of my garden and later I have to get to work. Once the garden looked less like a wild pasture, I was ravenous and went to the kitchen to prepare this sandwich. I sat in the sun, on the edge of my terrace with my feet in the freshly cut grass under my bare feet.

For this recipe I had a quick look on the net and found a couple ideas I liked: one from biggirlssmallkitchen and the other is from Rachael Ray. In the end I adapted the recipes to what I had at hand.

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 10-14 min

Ingredients :

2 zucchini

1 aubergine

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

4 rustic buns

120 g mayonnaise

10-12 sun dried tomato fillets in oil

½ tsp paprika

1-2 spring onions

A handful arugula

 

Recipe:

Slice the zucchini and the aubergine at an angle into 1 cm pieces thick. Brush each slice with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a griddle pan (if you don’t have one use a normal pan) and add the sliced vegetables to brown on both sides, between 5-7 min per side. Once done, set aside.

Blend the tomato fillets to a paste and mix them with the mayo along with the paprika. Thinly slice the spring onions.

Cut the buns in half and spread the tomato mayo on one side of the cut bread. Layer the aubergine, then the zucchini , the spring onions and the arugula.

 *******

Version Française

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich Une des manières que je préfère mes légumes c’est de les griller. Quand on fait un barbecue à la maison dans le lot ‘à griller’ il y a toujours des courgettes, aubergines, poivrons, tomates ou champignons. Et avec ce beau temps, la saison des grillades est officiellement ouverte. Je n’ai pas encore vraiment sorti mon barbecue mais avec ma poêle grill je nous ai fait une salade de poulet avec des courgettes et aubergines grillés. J’ai préparé plus de légumes qu’il fallait et le jour suivant j’en ai profité pour gagner due temps en cuisine. Je savais que mon temps serait limité pour ma pause déjeuner ; après mon jogging du matin j’ai tondu mon jardin et après je devais me mettre au travail. Une fois que le jardin ne ressemblait plus à un champ, j’avais une faim de loup. Je me suis dépêchée d’aller à la cuisine et j’ai préparé ce sandwich que j’ai dégusté au soleil, sur le bord de ma terrasse avec les pieds dans le gazon fraichement coupé.

Pour cette recette j’ai donné un coup d’œil en ligne et j’ai trouvé une paire de recettes qui me plaisaient : une est de biggirlssmallkitchen et l’autre est de Rachael Ray. À la fin j’ai adapté les deux recette selon ce que j’avais à portée de main.

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

 Sandwich aux Légumes Grillés

 

Recette pour 4

Temps de préparation: 20 min

Temps cuisson: 10-14 min

 

Ingrédients:

2 courgettes

1 aubergine

Huile d’olive

Sel et poivre

4 petit pains rustiques

120 g mayonnaise

10-12 filets de tomates séchées

½ cc paprika

1-2 oignons nouveaux

Une poignée de roquette

 

Recette

En biais, couper les courgettes et l’aubergine en tranches de 1 cm. À l’aide d’un pinceau, enrober d’huile chaque tranche sur les deux côtés et assaisonner de sel et de poivre.  Chauffer une poêle grill (sinon utiliser une poêle traditionnelle) et ajouter les légumes en tranche pour colorer des deux côtés, env. 5-7 min par côté. Une fois qu’ils sont prêts les mettre de côté.

Mixer les filets de tomate pour les réduire en pâte, les mélanger à la mayonnaise et ajouter le paprika. Couper les oignons nouveaux en fines tranches.

Couper les petits pains en deux et tartiner la mayo aux tomates sur l’intérieur d’un des deux côtés. En couches, disposer sur le pain les aubergines, les courgettes, les oignons nouveaux et la roquette.

Walnut Breaded Aubergine with Sour Cream Dip

Walnut Breaded Aubergine with Sour Cream Dip

I am an absolute fan of breaded and/or battered vegetables. Continue reading

So a couple of days ago I was doing my groceries  found some Swiss grown aubergines. Since I knew I wouldn’t see my boyfriend in the evening, I decided I’d enjoy them with a nice glass of wine and while watching the film Milk. Stefano (my boyfriend) doesn’t eat aubergines and usually when we eat together I often make something with meat. This was an evening to enjoy with and by myself. After consulting The Flavour Thesaurus (fortunately it’s in e-book version or the ink would have faded from the pages). I liked the idea of Aubergines and walnuts, so I decided to go with this. Instead of frying it in a pan like I did last year with my breaded zucchini, I decided to bake them in the oven and followed the directions I found here.

Walnut Breaded Aubergine with Sour Cream Dip

Walnut Breaded Aubergine with Sour Cream Dip

Walnut Breaded Aubergine with Sour Cream Dip

Recipe for 3-4 as an appetizer.

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 12-16 min

 

Ingredients

For the aubergines:

1 medium aubergine

4 tbsp breadcrumbs

3 tbsp finely chopped roasted walnuts

¼ tsp chili powder

Zest of 1 small lemon finely chopped

Salt and pepper

1 egg

1-2 tbsp water

2 tbsp flour

(optional: a drizzle of oil on the slices before baking)

 

For the dip:

150 ml sour cream

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 small crushed garlic clove

1 tbsp chopped spring onion

 

Recipe

Switch the oven on at 230°C.

For the dip, in a bowl, mix all the ingredients together and set aside.

In a bowl place the flour. In another mix the egg with the water and in the third the combine breadcrumbs, walnuts, chili pepper and lemon zest.

Remove the top and bottom of the aubergine and two extremities on the side. Cut lengthways making slices of about 1 cm thick. Cut each slice into four parts.

Season the aubergine pieces with salt and pepper. Take one piece and coat it with the flour, then with the egg and finally in with the breadcrumb mix. Place on a parchment lined baking tray. Repeat with the rest of the aubergine pieces.

Now you can eventually drizzle with the olive oil. Place in the oven and leave to cook for 6-8 min. Turn the slices and cook for another four minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm with the sour cream dip.

This recipe could also work as a side dish topped with a little tomato sauce.

Aubergine rolls with a grilled onion vinaigrette

Aubergine rolls with a grilled onion vinaigrette - 1 (600 x 448)

Lately my home has been a coming and going of people which is something I am really enjoying; especially if I can cook for/with them. I always say that for me there are not enough meals in a day to quench my cooking passion (…well almost). Apart from my friends visiting I have been able to meet up with my mother for my weekly lunch and I felt that these aubergine rolls would be a nice idea for the summer which is gently giving room to the autumn light and warm colours. Continue reading

About the aubergine:

It is believed that India is the land of origin of the aubergine/eggplant; yet the earliest accounts of the vegetable are found in China and they come from around the 5th century . Even when it comes to the date of cultivation of the eggplant there is some confusion in the Chinese references. Li-Hui-Lin writes in his Vegetables of Ancient China that records indicate China was growing eggplant in vegetable gardens from 500 BCE; however, they may not have considered it an edible until the second century BCE. Southwest Asia is also taken into consideration when speaking about its origins and this is mainly relevant to the different varieties that can be found there (although there is no proof about this).Besides the origin of the eggplant, what I found interesting is the fact that the aubergine was first used as an ornamental item with its varieties of colours and shapes instead of being consumed (source: http://www.vegparadise.com/highestperch67.html )

Aubergine rolls with a grilled onion vinaigrette - 2 (600 x 400)

Aubergine rolls with a grilled onion vinaigrette

 

Recipe for 2

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 15-20 min

 

Ingredients :

1 aubergine

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

100g fresh goat cheese

1 tsp fresh thyme

2 heaped tsp dry roasted pine nuts

 

For the dressing :

3 tbsp olive oil

1 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

1 medium onion

 

Recipe :

Take the aubergine and cut it lengthwise. Slice off the rounded ends and then evenly cut the aubergine into four  strips. On each slice brush one side with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Heat a griddle pan (if you don’t have one a normal one is fine too) and add the aubergine on the oiled side to cook. Once the aubergine is well coloured brush and season the second side and flip the slices and leave to brown. Once they are ready set aside.

Take the onion and cut slices of about 0.5 cm. Brush each side with olive oil and repeat the same operation as with the aubergine.  If you have enough room you can do both operations at the same time.

Soften the goat cheese with a fork until it’s creamy ; add the thyme leaves, the pine nuts, salt, pepper (eventually a drizzle of olive oil) and mix together.

On the wider sides of the aubergine slices evenly distribute the goat cheese mix ad roll them up.

For the vinaigrette mix the olive oil, the balsamic vinegar salt and pepper. Chop the grilled onios and add them to the sauce.

To serve place a handful of soft salad leaves and about 50g halved cherry tomatoes in each plate ; place the aubergine rolls on top and add the vinaigrette on top.