Peach, Blue Cheese and Arugula Salad with Caramelised Walnuts

Peach, Blue Cheese and Arugula Salad with Caramelised Walnuts So after a week in the very hot southern Spain I’m back and filled with motivation and excitement: – 1 month and 15 days to the wedding! Continue reading

The good thing about being back is that even if it’s too hot for Switzerland standards, it’s still cooler than in Marbella. Nevertheless the temperatures call for fresh recipes where you don’t have to stand too long in front of the kitchen plates. In this recipe I combined blue cheese and peaches because the work really well when paired. In addition I decided to add some caramelised walnuts for the sweet crunch effect. I found a really easy and quick recipe on natashaskitchen.com. Since I didn’t want to over do it with the sugar, I changed a little the proportions and it turned out just fine.

 

Peach, Blue Cheese and Arugula Salad with Caramelised Walnuts

 

Peach, Blue Cheese and Arugula Salad with Caramelized Walnuts

 

Recipe for 4 as a starter or a side dish or 2 as a main

Prep time 10 min

Cook time 5 min

 

Ingredients:

2 white peaches

50 g walnuts

50 g sugar

½ tbsp. sugar

100 g arugula

140 g Gorgonzola

3 tbsp. olive oil

1.5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat a non-stick pan on a medium fire and add the butter, sugar and walnuts. Cook for five minutes stirring often. Once the sugar has caramelised and is a nice brown colour, transfer the walnuts to a piece of parchment paper, spread them around and let them cool. Once they will have cooled roughly chop them with a large knife.

Cut the peaches in half and then into quarters before de-pitting them. Cut each quarter into three segments.

Cut the Gorgonzola into 1.5-2 cm pieces.

Prepare the dressing by mixing the olive oil with the balsamic vinegar then add salt and pepper to taste.

In a bowl place the arugula and pour in about ¾ of the balsamic dressing. Toss until evenly coated and place in a serving dish. On top distribute the peach sections and the Gorgonzola. Drizzle the remaining dressing and sprinkle the caramelised walnuts. Serve asap.

 

Chicken & Blue Cheese Salad

Chicken & Blue Cheese SaladI don’t know about you but the transition from winter to spring is always a challenge for me. Between mood and energy swings, I never know how the day will turn out. One solution I found to help me was to simplify everything, even my cooking. This is why I made this straightforward chicken and blue cheese salad with celery. Using leftover chicken, I found this recipe to be versatile as I can spread it on a sandwich for a quick lunch or serve it on toasts for an aperitif or eat it the way it is with some green salad. It’s a refreshing recipe, which is ready in no time; it’s creamy but with a crunch coming from the celery.

Chicken & Blue Cheese Salad

 

Chicken & Blue Cheese Salad

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10-15 min

 

Ingredients:

280 g cooked chicken

140 g celery stalks

100 g mascarpone

100 g Gorgonzola

80 g sour cream

3-4 tbsp. chopped chives

1 tbsp. walnut oil

Pepper

Either 4 buns or some sliced bread

 

Recipe:

Cut the chicken into thin strips and finely slice the celery.

In a bowl mix together the mascarpone, Gorgonzola and sour cream. To it, add the chicken celery, walnuts, chives pepper. Mix all together and either use it for an aperitif on some bread or as a flavourful sandwich filling.

Broccoli Gorgonzola and Walnut Pasta Bake + My Day at Gusta il Borgo 2013 event

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As I mentioned last week, last Saturday I attended the enogastronomic walk “Gusta in Borgo 2013” Continue reading

which is an event organised by the association of the “Amis da la Forcheta” ( the term is in our Italian derived dialect and in English it translates as the “friends of the fork” ). I was really looking forward to the event and I was so right. I met up with my boyfriend Stefano and an old friend of ours Andreas for coffee before we headed to the departure point. We were among the last ones to depart so the sun was already up and it was warm. Throughout the walk there were nine spots where we enjoyed all kinds of treats: from coffee and a filled croissant, to beer and scrambled eggs and bacon, to cheese and wine, fried fish and veggies, risotto…

Here are a few pictures of the day. We walked through the nine stops with our little bags containing the tasting glass which was to be pulled out each time we saw a tent and a bunch of people around it. My advice is that if you have the possibility to attend such an event, it is really worth participating; there is a great ambience, you encourage local products and walking is good for the mind and the body. In case there is nothing in your area, come and join Gusta il Borgo next year!

These were my two adventure companions.

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 This was the second stop where we tasted local beer with scrambled eggs and bacon. I don’t really drink beer but this one was an exception, it had a refined taste and the gas comes from natural fermentation. IMG_0828

 

The third stop was a bit of a walk and with the sun hitting it was warm but the reward was worth the effort, at least this is the way I see it. My friend Andreas (in the blue shirt) instead could have done with having a taxi driving him from one stop to the other.

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This spot was in the middle of the town of Ascona. We Had some more wine and goat cheese with a raw pumpkin carpaccio and goat cheese dried meat.

 

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This stop I particularly liked because the products came from my valley (Valle Maggia) and behind the counters I found some acquaintances.

 

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Venison tartar, venison dried meat and a small dark bread roll.

 

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This is the Terreni alla Maggia and among other products they produce rice (they have the northernmost rice cultivation in Europe). We had a simple but delicious risotto.

 

 

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This is how our beautiful day went. At the arrival we had one more drink and we headed to my place and ended the day with the same tastin glass that had accompanied us throughout the day. The only difference was the content…

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About the pasta bake:

The pasta bake is an ancient recipe which dates back to the middle ages. In the beginning the dish was served at banquets but soon the recipe spread out to the general population and still today is it seen as a festive dish in Italy. There is no basic recipe and the dish is subject to personal taste and the available ingredients (source http://thepaddingtonfoodie.com/2013/02/13/pasticcio-di-pasta-al-forno-a-pasta-bake-by-any-other-name/ ).

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Broccoli Gorgonzola and Walnut Pasta Bake

 

Recipe for 2

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients :

160g short pasta (fusilli, penne…)

160g of small broccoli florets

1 onion

1 knob of butter + more for greasing the baking dish and to sprinkle on top of the pasta bake

a pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp flour

100g Gorgonzola

6 tbsp cream, it shouldn’t be too liquid

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp breadcrumbs

1 tbsp grated Parmesan

12 walnut kernels, chopped

 

Recipe :

Heat oven at 200°C

Cook the pasta until almost ready that is make it very al dente. Towards the last 3-4 of the cooking process throw in the broccoli florets to blanch. Set aside.

Chop the onion and cut the Gorgonzola into cubes.

In a pan melt the butter, add the onion and sweat for 4-5 min. Cook on a medium heat until the onion is translucent. Reduce the heat and add the cream, the flour, the grated nutmeg, the pepper and the Gorgonzola . Stir occasionally until the cheese has melted, about 4-5 min . Taste and add salt if needed. Add the pasta to the pan and mix it in the sauce.

Grease an oven proof dish and add the pasta. On top sprinkle the grated Parmesan, the breadcrumbs and the chopped walnut kernels. Sprinkle a few bits of butter on top and place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the surface is nice and brown. Serve hot.

Crunchy salad with blue cheese dressing

Celery apples and rocket saladI don’t know why but lately I tend to have gorgonzola a lot. I use it with polenta, avocadoes, bacon, bread, pears and so on. I often thought that the origin of this cheese must have been the result of an accident. Through history there are so many inventions attributed to accidents and this is not only in the kitchen; it is also in other scientific discoveries (like penicillin). Crepes, for example, are said to have originated when a batter like preparation was dropped on a hot stone by mistake. And in the same category of good accidents I also found Gorgonzola. The legend occurs in Gorgonzola (a town near Milan)and the cheese is said to have been created by a young and dairyman trying to repair the rennet he messed up. He was in love and passion for a girl made him neglect the process of cheese making. Thank you love.
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I made this salad for my usual Thursday lunch with my mother. I like cooking for her because our tastes are similar. People influence what you cook and I like it because it forces me to try out new dishes and discover the result and when you get it, it is such a great satisfaction.


Crunchy salad with blue cheese dressing.

Recipe for 2

Time: less than 20 min

Ingredients:

80g gorgonzola

80g half fat sour cream

1 tbsp lemon juice or white wine vinegar

1 tsp olive oil

8 walnut halves

4 slices of streaky bacon

3 branches celery

1 good handful of rocket salad

2 apples (I chose braeburn)

Salt and pepper

 


Recipe:


Place the gorgonzola in a bowl and soften it with a fork. Add the sour cream, the lemon juice the salt and the pepper. Mix all the ingredients.

Heat a pan and toast the walnuts. Remove them from the pan and set aside to cool.
In the same pan brown the bacon.

Cut the celery into thin strips.

Peel and core the apples, cut them into pieces the same size as the celery.

Roughly chop the walnuts and the bacon.

Mix the celery, apples and rocket with the blue cheese dressing and plate.

Add the walnuts and the bacon on top.