I can really say that this recipe has served me well. I made this quiche on Saturday; I had a little for lunch and stored the rest for later. In the evening I went out to the “White Night” in Locarno, we hung around quite a lot and in the end we had more wine than food. By the time I got back I relished myself with what I had previously stored and this quiche was the perfect two o’clock snack. This easy recipe is great for receiving as it can be made in advance and you can serve it either warm or cold, as an appetizer of as a main meal with a crunchy salad.
For a 26 cm diameter quiche
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 40-45 min
1 small fennel
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
100 g crème fraiche
90 g grated goat cheese
4-5 cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped basil
Salt and pepper
1 round shaped piecrust pastry of about 32 cm diameter
Heat the oven at 210°C.
Cut the onion, the zucchini and the bell pepper into strips. Pass the fennel through a mandolin and crush the garlic with a garlic crusher. Slice the cherry tomatoes and set these aside.
Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onions to cook on a medium fire for a couple of minutes. Then add the rest of the vegetables (except the tomatoes) to cook for 7-8 min. While the vegetables are cooking season with salt pepper and paprika to taste; at the end add the basil. Once done set aside to cool a little.
In a bowl mix the eggs, the crème fraiche and the goat cheese and a little pepper.
Take a pie dish of about 26 cm diameter and cover it with the piecrust pastry. Make little incisions at the bottom with a fork. Add the vegetables and spread them out evenly. Now add the egg, cream and cheese mixture. The dough might run over the edges, either cut it off or fold it in like I did. Place the sliced tomatoes on top. Cook in the lower part of the oven for 30-35 minutes. Serve either warm or at room temperature.
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
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
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.
Lately I really feel like making more finger food and light plates. With the trees blossoming and the days becoming longer and (sometimes) warmer, I want lighter and/or fresher dishes. Continue reading →
I didn’t feel like having a normal size pizza so I made these instead and for me they it worked well a lunch dish with a salad on the side. I decided to use asparagus and goat cheese as a topping because I love this flavour combination and find it goes well with the nuttiness of sesame. For the dough I used the 5:3 ratio for flour to water and added a little sesame oil. Because this time I wants to bake my flatbreads rather than placing them in a pan, I followed the directions I found on the bbc.co.uk site. Once the flatbreads were done I was a little worried they’d be too dry, but once I tasted them I was happy with the result, I found that the asparagus and the cheese brought enough moisture.
Asparagus Goat Cheese Flatbread Pizza
Recipe for four flatbread pizzas, for 6-8 people as an appetizer or 2-3 as a main meal
Prep time: 10 min + 30 min rest
Cook time: 6 min
For the flatbreads
140g whole wheat flour
180 ml lukewarm water
½ tsp instant yeast
2 tsp olive oil + more to grease the baking tray
¼ tsp sugar
For the topping
16 thin cooked asparagus
200g crumbled goat cheese log (or grated hard goat cheese)
Zest of ½ lemon, chopped
1.5 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
4 tbsp thinly sliced spring onions
toasted sesame oil
In a bowl place the water and the yeast, mix and set aside. In another bowl place the flours, the salt and the sugar. Make a well in the middle of the flour, add the water and combine. Add the sesame and olive oil and knead the dough for 5 minutes; until the dough is soft and elastic. Shape the dough in a ball, cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for a half hour.
Heat the oven at maximum temperature.
Take the dough and divide it into four parts. On a lightly floured surface, using your hands or a rolling pin, flatten the flatbreads out until they are about ½ centimetre thick.
Place the flatbreads on a lightly oiled baking tray and leave the oven under the top burner for 2-3 min. Turn the dough and evenly add the asparagus topped with the goat cheese, sesame seeds and lemon zest. Continue to bake for another couple of minutes, or until the dough is nicely browned.
Remove from the oven and top the flatbreads with the sliced spring onion and a light drizzle of toasted sesame oil. Serve as soon as possible.
This past week the weather has bending towards summer rather than spring and we have reached 27°C. Continue reading →
Because of these temperatures I felt like having something seasonal but refreshing so I made these endive wraps. With a friend we enjoyed these wraps with a nice glass of wine; sitting on the (not so comfortable) wooden church benches on my terrace. It was great to feel the outdoor air only wearing a sweater. I had in mind of making some kind of lettuce wrap but instead I found some nice endive a took those instead. The tanginess of the endive leaves with the creamy goat cheese and the sweet but slightly sour apples are a combination I always enjoy. I added some walnuts chives and dried cranberries to complete the flavour.
Goat Cheese and Apple Endive Wraps
For 14 pieces
Prep time: 10 min
140 g goat cheese log
1 apple (I used braeburn)
3 tbsp chopped dried cranberries
4 tbsp chopped chives
3 tbsp chopped walnuts
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
14 endive leaves
Cut the goat cheese into cubes of a small centimetre. Peel and core the apple and cut into cubes the same size as the goat cheese.
Place the cheese and apples in a bowl; add the dried cranberries, the chives, the walnuts and mix.
In another bowl mix the olive oil, the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add ¾ of the dressing to goat cheese and apple and mix. Fill the endive leaves with this mix and drizzle the rest of the dressing on top them.
Cornbread is something I like to serve when I have friends coming over for an aperitif. Continue reading →
This time the context was more private; my boyfriend and I enjoyed this cornbread with a great Spanish red wine. The whole moment was very comforting because we were standing next to the fireplace with all those goodies and outside it was raining; we could hear the raindrops falling on the roof. This is the kind of recipe I like to decline according to my taste on the moment. I found a basic recipe for cornbread on the French site cuisineaz . Apart from the taste, I like the ratio of this recipe because I find it easy to remember and it’s also ready in a short time. In my version of the recipe I replaced a little of the milk with cream and I added some goat cheese and herbs. I went for the goat cheese, rosemary and thyme combination because the other day, while I was doing my groceries I saw a fresh goat cheese which had the two herbs in it and I liked the idea of these ingredients together.
Goat Cheese Rosemary and Thyme Cornbread
Recipe for a 18 cm cake pan with high sides.
Prep time : 10 min
Cook time : 30-35 min
115 g fine polenta flour
115 g flour
1.3 dl milk
4 tbsp cream
1 bag (7 g) dry yeast
20 g cooled melted butter
70 g hard goat cheese
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
1 tbsp thyme leaves
½ tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
Heat oven at 150° C.
Grate the cheese.
In a bowl mix flour, polenta, yeast sugar and salt and pepper. In another bowl wish the egg with a fork, add the milk and the melted butter and lightly mix and add to the flour. Blend all the ingredients together.
Now include the rosemary, the thyme and the cheese. Blend again.
Grease the cake tin with the oil and add the preparation. Place in the oven for 30-35 min. If you want, you can save a little of the goat cheese and sprinkle it over the bread about 10 min before it’s ready (that’s what I did). Check if it’s ready by inserting a toothpick, if it come out dry, the bread is ready. Remove from mould and leave to cool before serving.
After spending ten days in constant company I needed a day at home where the only other heart beating in the house was the dog’s. I decided to stay home and get cooking something new for me. Continue reading →
When I went to do my groceries for my day I saw some nice sweet potatoes and since making gnocchi part of the schedule, I thought that changing from the normal potato ones, could be fun. I can’t remember last time I had gnocchi and I was really looking forward to tasting this dish again. I made this dish only once, it was with my mother and we must have had guests. She only made them on those occasions and this was one of the reasons I wished we had guests more often. In my research for this dish I found a couple recipes at home but like almost always I wanted to see what I would find online. Including one of the versions I have from my mother, I found that many other recipes use the same ratio. I chose to follow the most commonly used version of the recipe and I liked the result; the gnocchi were soft but not mushy nor too floury.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Butter Walnuts and Goat Cheese
Recipe for 4
Prep time: 30-40 min
Cook time: 40-50 min
800 g sweet potatoes
200 g floury potatoes
300 g flour
Salt and pepper
1 good tbsp butter
A handful of sage leaves
Handful dry roasted walnut kernels
120 g goat cheese
Separately boil the sweet potatoes and the potatoes, skin on. Once soft, while still warm, remove skin. Mash the whole lot, mix and leave to cool.
Once cooled place the potato mash on a working surface, add the flour, a pinch of salt and the egg. Blend the whole preparation together without over working it. On a lightly floured surface take a piece of the gnocchi dough and roll it in order to have a 2 cm thick ‘sausage’. With a smooth bladed knife cut away pieces of about 2 cm (not like I did by using a fork). Repeat with the rest of the dough. Leave the gnocchi to rest for 15 minutes before continuing.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil with some salt. Once the water sizzles add the gnocchi and once they rise to the surface remove them from the heat and set them aside. Remember not to overcrowd the pot, otherwise do it in more batches.
If the sage leaves are large, chop them. Cut the cheese into small cubes.
In a non-stick pan melt the butter and add the sage leaves and the walnuts. Cook on a low heat for about 1 minute. Add the gnocchi and toss to coat them. Add the goat cheese and cook further until it starts to melt. Eventually correct taste with salt and pepper, remove from fire and serve.
I love the colour of beetroot and its earthy taste and the fact that they are easy to find all year round (at least in pre-cooked form). Continue reading →
This is a dip I have been making a few times when I have guests. I find this recipe to have a earthy but refreshing taste, besides the lovely colour. Honestly I don’t remember how this recipe came together. It’s probably logic somewhere since the two main ingredients basically have a subscription to my fridge. Their shelf life is quite long and I love their taste and versatility. And to think that four years ago, when I did not cook much, I saw beetroot as a the small reddish component in a salad just before the main meal. Today I find I was quite wrong.
Have a nice week.
Goat Cheese and Beetroot Dip
Appetizer for 3-4
Prep time : 10 minutes
100 g fresh goat cheese
150 g cooked beetroots
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp hazelnut oil
Salt and pepper
In a blender place the cheese and whiz until it has softened.
Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well, until the mass is nice and even.
In Italian there is the saying “In cucina la patata è regina” and this literally means “In the kitchen the potato is queen”. Continue reading →
To me this recipe is a proof of the versatility of the potato. This recipe comes from another my mother’s old cookbooks. It’s almost a ritual to go over the old cupboard and open the bottom door and take out a few of the stacked books. In there you can find just about any kind of cuisine and one of these cookbooks is dedicated to potatoes. When I found this terrine I thought it’d be a fun recipe to try. In my version I added some goat cheese; I used carrots and onions instead of bell peppers and chose different herbs from the printed recipe. This recipe can be made ahead and/or frozen and it works well for a dinner between friends. I am always looking for make ahead recipes, it means: no stress, one dish less to prepare and more time to take care of my quite problematic hair. Next Wednesday I will cook for a few friends and after this terrine I am thinking of serving some venison maybe with some cabbage and chestnuts… I am open to outside ideas.
Recipe for a 22 cm cake mold
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 20 min
400 g peeled potatoes (floury type is better)
50 g butter (+ 1 tbsp for frying)
60 g fresh goat cheese
1 tbsp thyme
1 small bunch chopped parsley leaves
Salt and pepper
1.25 dl cream (I used ½ fat)
Boil the potatoes, remove the water and while they are still hot mash them well.
Melt the butter and whip it with the goat cheese into the mash . Mix until smooth and even. Set aside.
Dice the carrots and the onion into small pieces.
Heat the tbsp butter in a pan and add the vegetable, the thyme, salt and pepper; steam them for about 5 min, cool and add to the potatoes with the parsley, about a ¼ tsp salt and pepper and nutmeg to taste.
Whip the cream and delicately add it to the potatoes.
Place some cellophane to line the inside of the cake mold and fill it with the potato preparation. Take the care to press the mass down to fill and air pockets (it still tastes good but it’s less appealing to the eye…). Smooth the surface of the terrine, cover and place in the fridge for 4 hours. Slice and serve as a first course or as a main with a salad, salmon or chicken.
This recipe can be made one day in advance and can be frozen too. Why not browning the slices in a bit of fat and serve them warm…
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
Recipe for 2
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 15-20 min
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
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.
Radishes always remind me of my childhood; I had to raise my arms to reach the top of the table to grab something. During summer days there would be radishes and salt on the dinner table during the aperitif time; my parents would have a beer, I would have fennel tea. I thought about these moments when I was waxing the wooden furniture on the terrace. It’s almost as if when I clean you have to concentrate on the object and this makes my memories come to life. Continue reading →
Besides my personal history, looking at the bigger picture, it is said that humans probably began eating radishes during the Neolithic era, that was about in 11’000 years ago. This veggie is said to come from the far east; an ancient Chinese writing tell of a recipe of raw carp macerated with radishes, ginger and other herbs. In Europe, it’s the Romans who took care of spreading the culture of this root.
(source: http://www.lesjardinslaurentiens.com/radis_histoire.html )
Radish Walnut and Goat Cheese Spaghetti
Recipe for 2
Time: 15-20 min
160-180 g spaghetti
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
Zest of a ½ small lemon
10 roughly chopped walnut kernels
2 tbsp chopped parsley
50g fresh goat cheese
Slice radishes, about 3 mm thick. Chop the parsley.
Boil water in a pot add salt and the spaghetti; cook them al dente.
Rub the breadcrumbs and the lemon zests together, add salt and pepper. Heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a pan and add the crumb mix and walnuts to brown for a couple of minutes.
Remove the pasta from the water but save about 2-3 tbsp of the cooking juice. Add the spaghetti to the breadcrumbs and mix with the pasta. Add the saved pasta juice and the radishes and mix again.
Plate and sprinkle over the parsley with some crumbled goat cheese.