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.

 

 

Aubergine Tomato Mozzarella Towers

Aubergine Tomato Mozzarella TowersMy cooking is mostly made up of vegetarian food but this weekend we should be heading to Crans Montana and if we go there, we will surely visit the Argentinian restaurant for a nice piece of meat. Continue reading

I wrote we should be going there because my fiancé twisted his ankle last weekend and it hasn’t totally healed yet… so I’m keeping my fingers crossed he will feel better tomorrow. So while I’m keeping my hopes up for the getaway weekend, in the line of my usual eating habits I used some Swiss produce to come make these aubergine tomato and mozzarella towers. These towers are very easy to make and they work great as first course or why not as a side dish.

Aubergine Tomato Mozzarella Towers

 

Aubergine Tomato Mozzarella Towers

 

Recipe for 3-4 p.

Prep time: 20-25 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients:

350 g (about 2 small to medium) aubergines or 18 slices of 0.5 cm thick

2 meaty tomatoes

12 basil leaves

200 g mozzarella

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 200°C and line a baking tray or two with parchment paper

Cut the tomatoes and the aubergines crosswise into about ½ cm slices. Brush the aubergines on both sides with some olive oil and season them with salt and pepper then place them on the baking tray. Place the tomatoes too on a baking tray and drizzle a little olive oil on top then season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 25-30 min.

Meanwhile slice the mozzarella into ½ cm slices.

Once the vegetables have taken a nice colour remove them from the oven.

Build the towers by taking one slice of the aubergine, then a slice tomato, a basil leave, the mozzarella, then begin again with a slice aubergine, tomato, basil, mozzarella and finally top with a third aubergine slice. Secure by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the tower. Repeat for the other five remaining towers.

Bake in the over for 5-8 min or until the mozzarella is melting and the ingredients are heated through then serve.

 

 

Roasted Bell Pepper Caprese Salad

Roasted Bell Pepper Caprese SaladLately I’m in a mood for coloured food: red, yellow, bright green. Just by looking at dishes with fresh and vibrant ingredients I feel energised. Continue reading

So in case I continue in a colourful vibe, you’ll know why… Generally I don’t ear caprese salad when I go out because I’m quite difficult with it. First I hate it when you feel pain in your teeth because the tomatoes come straight out of the fridge. Second, I like my tomatoes very thinly sliced for a caprese. To give this classic a twist I used bell peppers, they have a sweet taste I like to pair with mozzarella. This simple recipe is great for occasions such as summer dinners and barbecues and you can also prepare it a few hours in advance to save you time for other things.

Roasted Bell Pepper Caprese Salad Roasted Bell Pepper Caprese Salad

 

Roasted Bell Pepper Caprese Salad

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 40 min

 

Ingredients:

2 red bell peppers

2 yellow bell peppers

300 g mozzarella

2 tbsp. sherry vinegar

4 tbsp. olive oil

1.5 tbsp. chopped basil leaves

1.5 tbsp. roughly chopped almonds (preferably dry roasted)

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

Preheat oven at 200°C.

Place the bell peppers (stem on the side) in a baking tray lined with aluminium foil. Bake in the oven for 40 min, turning them on opposite side after 20 min. Once the bell peppers are charred and seem to collapse remove them from the oven. Wait until you can handle them before peeling the skin (I actually like if there’s a little skin left so I didn’t bother peeling everything off). To do this cut the bell peppers from top to bottom and lay them out flat, remove the stem and the seeds. With a knife or your hands remove the skin from each pepper. Then cut them along where the membrane is and slice horizontally into 2-3 pieces.

Slice the mozzarella into ½ cm thick pieces.

On a single serving, or on four small plates, overlap a piece of red bell pepper, then the yellow bell pepper then the mozzarella. Continue until the ingredients are finished.

In a bowl mix the olive oil, the sherry vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Stir the dressing and drizzle it on top of the salad. Finally sprinkle over the almonds and basil.

Pizza Inspired Baked Rosti

Pizza Inspired Rosti It’s been some time since I last posted a rosti recipe and since it’s a recipe I really love, here it is. I made this rosti recipe with pizza in my mind. Continue reading

Pizza is not something I eat much during the year but once I find myself craving it. Now, kneading and making dough isn’t my favourite activity in the kitchen – probably because I don’t have a robot to help me – so potatoes provided an easy way to make a crust. In my version I used simple and traditional pizza toppings but then this is a question of personal taste. For instance you could use some bacon, ham, grilled vegetables… My only advice is to use ingredients that are not too wet as the potatoes could become soggy and lose their crispiness (this is why I put the tomatoes on top of the cheese). While I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe, I am announcing that I’ll take a week off and will be back on Tuesday the 7th of April.

Pizza Inspired Rosti

 

Pizza Inspired Baked Rosti

Recipe for 3-4

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 45-50 min

 

Ingredients

1 kg peeled waxy potatoes

180 g mozzarella

300 g cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp. rapeseed oil

3 tbsp. flour

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp. basil leaves

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 210°C.

Coarsely grate the potatoes then place them in a clean tea towel and squeeze out the excess moisture. Add the flour and 1 ¾ tsp. salt then mix. Add the rapeseed oil and mix again.

On a parchment lined baking tray spread out the potatoes in a square or round shape. The patty should not be too compact and for extra crispiness allow a few potato bits to come out of the mass. Place in the oven and cook for 40-45 min.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and either cook them in a pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, or place then in a baking dish and bake them in the oven for 40 min.

Dice the mozzarella into 1 cm pieces and sprinkle it over the potatoes once they are ready. Move the baking tray with the potatoes and cheese near the top burner of the oven and bake for another five minutes, until the mozzarella has melted.

Add the cherry tomatoes on top with the basil and a little pepper and serve.

Note: to prevent the oxidation of the potatoes, place them in the oven as soon as they are grated and you have added the remaining ingredients.

Bacon and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini (800 x 600)I can say that today I am really happy because after years of cooking on an electric stove, today I will be able to cook again on gas. Continue reading

Lately I was getting really annoyed with the electric plates; between the time they take to get warm and the little flexibility in changing temperature fast, it will soon be over. I really feel that soon my recipes will get an upgrade in general. I am as happy as a kid getting her dream Barbie.

In this recipe I am using stale bread, I find that this ingredient is a humble but very versatile food (think for example of eggy bread or bruschetta or if it’s just a little stale it’s perfect to dip in a cheese fondue). Bread in general is the people’s food; but at times in history even that was missing. The valley I live in (the Valle Maggia) has been populated by the since the time of the Celts and through the ages there have been tough times where food was scarce and people either starved or emigrated. Now I still remember when I was in primary school that my teacher used to tell us that people, during meager times did not even have flour to make bread so they would make flour out of the cortex they would collect from the trees.  I find that my valley looks like a small paradise and it’s strange to think that, not so long ago people still struggled to survive.

Bacon and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini

Recipe for 2

Time: 45 min.

Ingredients:

  • 40g stale bread (2-3 days old)
  • 150g mozzarella
  • 80g diced bacon
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 3-4 cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  •  Salt and pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove

Recipe:

  • Preheat oven at 190°C.
  • Cut the zucchini in half lengthways and remove the softer part with a teaspoon. Oil a baking dish and place in the zucchini halves, face up and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a foil and place in the oven for about 20-25 min.
  • While the zucchini are cooking chop the onions and the garlic; cut the tomatoes into quarters and cut the bread into 1.5 cm cubes and cut 100g of the mozzarella into small bits while the rest should be sliced.
  • Brown the diced bacon bits in a pan. Once ready, remove from pan and set aside. In the same pan, on a medium heat,  add the onions and garlic and fry for  3-4 minutes. Now add the tomatoes, thyme, salt and pepper to taste and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from fire and add the bread bits to soak a bit of the tomato juice. Finally add the bacon bits and mix all together. Place in a bowl, add the 2/3 of the mozzarella and mix.
  • Remove the zucchini from the oven and evenly add the filling in to each half. Place the rest of the sliced mozzarella on top and put it back in the oven near the top broiler for about 15 minutes and serve hot.