I am really trying hard to stick to seasonal vegetables, especially that in this season the choice is quite limited in Switzerland. Continue reading →
The good thing is though, it’s a work out for my creativity and I like to try out recipes with what I have in my fridge. And one thing which is never missing in my fridge is veggies. It was not always like this, in the past the only vegetables I prepared at home were salad and frozen vegetables. I liked vegetables but I didn’t feel confident enough to through myself and admittedly I was lazy. I had the habit and knowledge of veggies but not the hang of it. At least I was on the right path, unlike when I was a teenager. Well, during my high school years my diet consisted of pizzas, crêpes and yes salads: only when, with some friends, we would go on a diet. Our resolution lasted about two days and then we’d just forget about it. The longest time we held on was five days. I remember once we set a punishment where if one of us would fall into temptation even with just one bite of chocolate, chips, cheese… we would have to get down and do a hundred sit ups. The end of the diet came when one of us fell for chocolate and on about her forty-fifth sit-up we told ourselves that a few apples a day was okay but as a dessert.
Winter Vegetable Stir-Fry
Recipe for 2 as main / 2 as side dish
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min
400 g waxy potatoes (I used the Charlotte kind)
1 small leek
150 g Savoy cabbage
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 heaped tsp mustard powder
½ tsp paprika
2 dl water
2-3 tbsp crème fraîche
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
Salt and pepper
Cut the potatoes lengthwise and slice each half into 1 cm pieces. Cut the carrot into 3-4 cm long strips. Half the leek and slice into 2 cm pieces. Roughly cut the Savoy cabbage.
Heat 2 tbsp rapeseed oil and add the potatoes with some salt to brown on all sides for about 8 min, stir occasionally. Add the mustard powder and the other ingredients one at the time, regularly stirring to mix the ingredients. Add the water and ½ tsp salt and cook on a medium low heat for about 25 min, stir occasionally.
Once the vegetables are done add the crème fraîche, stir and cook for another 3-4 min. Correct the taste if needed and add the pumpkin seeds. Serve warm, as a main dish or as a side with meat or fish.
Back at home things have gone back to their usual rhythm except for the fact that this week I have broken one of my grocery shopping rules: Continue reading →
I have bought commercial puff pastry. Usually I order it at my local baker because I know it’s made with butter and no other fat. I have trouble understanding why I Switzerland it’s almost impossible to find pure butter puff pastry in any food store, even in the organic ones. All store bought puff pastries I have seen are made with vegetable oil and the taste is clearly different. This week, when I made this recipe for my boyfriend and me I told him about my frustration about the no-butter puff pastry and he agreed with me. Next time I will use real puff pastry. I found the idea of this recipe in the book I bought over the Christmas holidays. This is a simple recipe idea which can be easily adapted to any taste. Next time I have guests I may try this with salmon instead of chicken.
Creamy Chicken and Leek Puff Pastry
Recipe for 4
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20-25 min
4 8X10cm rectangles puff pastry
350 g chicken breasts
1 tbsp butter
320 g leeks
1.6 dl chicken stock
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1.6 dl cream
Optional: egg or milk to brush the puff pastry
Heat oven at 220°C.
Slightly roll out the puff pastry triangles, eventually brush them with some egg or milk. Place in the oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Slice the chicken into about 0.8 cm pieces and in case the breast is large divide into two each slice.
Heat some olive oil in a pan and add the chicken to brown on all sides. Once ready set aside.
Chop the shallot and julienne the leeks. Put the butter in a pan and add the leeks, shallot,, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and cook to soften for 8-10 minutes. Add the stock, the lemon juice and the lemon zest; leave to reduce by half. Add the cream and cook for a few minutes more. Add the chicken and stir.
Take the puff pastry rectangles and cut them in half horizontally. Place on a plate the bottom half of the rectangle, add the leeks and chicken and place top part of the puff pastry shapes on top. Serve warm.
I have been here in the canton Valais for a few days and it’s great to see that the snow has finally arrived. This context has inspired this week’s cheese on toast recipe or in French ‘croûte au fromage’. Continue reading →
This dish is a staple recipe I always associate with the mountain and the ski season. This is an incredibly easy recipe which I have decided to add vegetables in order to add a bit of nutritional value. When I was small my mother used to make this dish so I decided to ask her and have a quick look at the only version I have of this recipe: this is the result. I am happy about the taste but next time I will definitely use ‘raclette’ cheese instead, it suits this mountain themed dish better.
I wish to all of you a great end of 2013 and an even better start of 2014. Happy New Year!
Cheese on Toast with Leeks
Recipe for 2
Prep time : 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
200 g leeks
4 large bread slices or 6 smaller ones
200 g flavourful grated cheese (I used a mix of Gruyère and Appenzeller)
1 tsp flour
0.5 dl white wine (you can use milk for children)
1 dl cream
Salt and pepper
Heat oven at 220°C.
Slice the leeks and place them in a pan with some butter, season with salt and pepper. Cook on a medium fire until soft and set aside.
Toast the bread slices. Spread a little mustard and the optional butter on one surface of the bread slices. Place them in a greased oven proof dish (you can either use individual dishes or one for all). Drizzle the wine (or milk) over them. Set aside so the bread can soak a little.
In a bowl mix the cheese, the flour, the cream and season with pepper and eventually nutmeg.
Take the dish with the bread and place the leeks on top of the slices. Now add the cheese mix on top and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes keeping an eye on the process. Serve hot eventually with a salad.
When spring is not in full blow yet, it can still be cold outside and that’s when I feel like having some nice creamy food but something not too heavy. So yesterday my mother came over and I cooked something I knew she’d like because of the leeks. Leeks are in a lot of traditional dishes among them is my mother’s delicious Swiss Papet Vaudois: a soup (leeks and potatoes) which is basically reduced and served with the traditional cabbage sausage from the Canton Vaud. Anyhow leeks have been around for a long time and the Roman emperor Nero was known to consume a lot of the vegetable. Continue reading →
Nero is an interesting character and there are a events in his life which are still a mystery today (like did he set Rome on fire? More and more historians say he didn’t but there’s no definite answer). One aspect of his life which we know is that he loved performing so much that he identified himself with the god Apollo; who is in fact the god of music and poetry. Because Nero loved being on stage it is said that he ate a lot of leeks in order to clear his voice (www.fr.wikipedia.org).
Potato cakes with creamy leeks
For 2 people
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 18 mins
-4 floury potatoes
-2tbsp olive oil
-80g bacon or pancetta cut in small pieces
-Salt and pepper
Peel and grate the potatoes with a grater with large holes. Quickly rinse under water and then remove the most liquid by pressing it. I used a colander. Add salt and pepper.
Make four patties with the potatoes. Heat oil in a non-stick pan on medium/high heat and add the potato cakes. Leave them 10 min to brown on one side and the turn them for another 8-10 minutes.
In a pan cook the bacon until crisp. Once ready remove the bacon from the pan and place aside. Wipe the pan.
While the potatoes are browning thinly chop the onion; cut the leeks in half and then into about 1.5 cm parts.
Heat one tsp olive oil in the pan previously used for the bacon, on a medium heat and add the onions to brown for about 3 minutes. Then add the leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 7-10 minutes or until soft. At the last moment add the sour cream and mix.