Roasted Onions and Pine Nut Pasta

Roasted Onion and Pine Nut Pasta BowlOver the next week I’ll be quite busy so I will take a small break till next Thursday. Continue reading

Besides engagements and a couple of events, on Thursday we’re going wedding dress shopping with my mother. I am so excited (and stressed) about it. Since I’m sort of short on time I thought about making a quick pasta recipe for this post, which is made with common ingredients but I find it has a twist. I quickly roasted some onions in the oven with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This dish is really easy, it’s ready in little time and it’s something different while using few, basic ingredients.

Roasted Onion and Pine Nut Pasta Bowl

 

Roasted Onions and Pine Nut Pasta

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 10 min

 

Ingredients:

360 g pasta (penne, farfalle… – I always use whole pasta)

300 g red onions (about 4 units)

4 tbsp. dry roasted pine nuts

4 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

3 tbsp. olive oil

1.5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese to taste

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 240°C.

Peel the onions and cut them in half first then into wedges about 0.7 cm wide. Place them in a baking tin and drizzle over half of the oil and all of the balsamic vinegar with the salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for 7-8 minutes tossing the onions once after 3-4 min. Remove the baking tin from the oven when the onions are slightly charred.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to package instructions, then drain and replace in the pan.

Once the onions are done remove them from the oven and add them to the pasta with the rest of the olive oil, the pine nuts parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Combine all the ingredients and serve with Parmesan cheese on the side.

“Älpler” Risotto

“Älpler” RisottoIn Switzerland there is a recipe called “älplermagronen” which translates as the “alpine herdsman macaroni”. Continue reading

This recipe contains pasta (which is sometimes directly cooked in milk) potatoes, cheese and it’s served with onions on top. It’s a delicious recipe but I wanted to do something different, so I made a risotto out of it. To begin with I looked up for a potato risotto recipe I liked which can be found here (in Italian) and from there I made my own adaptations. For the caramelised onions I followed this recipe that I find to be relatively quick and I like the taste of the end result.

Tomorrow is my weekly lunch with my mother who has been proclaimed by her boyfriend as the “risotto queen” and I thought it would be interesting to know what she thinks of my dish. Like traditions, this weekly meeting is something I find comforting: it’s there, it’s regular and we both enjoy it since we can speak our mind more freely than with anyone else. The subjects are often the same but who cares, it’s our moment. Maybe I’ll finally tell her about the old vase I broke before I left for my holiday. I guess the good thing about having the people close to you not reading your blog is that it can be liberating… my mother doesn’t use the internet and my boyfriend doesn’t read it because English is too much of an effort for him.

“Älpler” Risotto “Älpler” Risotto “Älpler” Risotto

 

“Älpler” Risotto

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 35-40 min

 

Ingredients

1 onion

280 g potatoes

280 g rice

100 g alpine cheese (alternatively use Gruyere or Appenzeller cheese)

1.4 l stock (it has to be hot)

1 dl white wine

Pepper

4 tbsp olive oil

2 knobs of butter

 

For the caramelized onions

2 red onions

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

salt

 

Recipe

For the caramelised onions start by thinly slicing them. Place them in a pan and cook them for 25 min on a low heat, stir occasionally. Now add the sugar and the balsamic vinegar and further cook for another 5-10 min.

While the onions are on the fire thinly chop the onion , peel the potatoes and dice them into 1 cm cubes and cut the cheese into small pieces.

Add 2 tbsp. olive oil to a pan with high sides, add the onion and cook until translucent with a couple tbsp. stock on a medium fire.

Add the potatoes and further cook for another couple of minutes.

Pour in the wine and after a short moment add 1-1.5 ladles of stock, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, stir occasionally. Once the time has passed remove the lid, raise the heat and let the liquid evaporate. Towards the end stir constantly as the potatoes tend to stick to the bottom.

Add another couple of tbsp. of oil and then stir in the rice and toast it well for about one min on a medium fire.

Add 1/3 of the stock and set the timer according to package instructions (usually it’s 15-18 min). Stir regularly and add more stock as it’s being absorbed. Do not let it become too dry as it might spoil the end result.

One min before the risotto is ready add the cheese and the butter, once they have melted serve with the caramelised onions on top.

 

Appetizer Cheese Balls

Cheese Balls 1Two days ago I came back from my holiday in Crans Montana. It was a great ten day stay and I can’t wait to be back, at least on weekends. Continue reading

During the first part of the holiday I had a visit from my former boarding schoolmate Ramona. For new year’s eve my boyfriend joined us and after Ramona left we spent a few days together. With Ramona we skied a bit, skated a bit, ate a bit more but especially chatted loads (being three years we hadn’t met up might have contributed). On the 31st we walked up towards the beginning of the slopes and had a meat fondue. At midnight we cheered together before coming down to the village with burning torches to light our path. We continued the celebrations till eight in the morning, finishing the last bottle of champagne. Here are a few memories of our new year’s eve.

Soon Ramona left and the plans with my boyfriend should have been similar to the ones with Ramona, but unfortunately the weather was bad. It’s actually not the first time that he comes up and the weather is bad, last year and the year before that it was the same. So we ended up having walks, longer meals and enjoyed the comfort of the indoors. During one of our walks with my dog I stopped by a shop with magazines and books. Five minutes later I came out with a couple of beautiful books on Swiss recipes and products (the first is La Suisse Gourmande and the second is Saveurs D’Antan) . The following evening I was ready to try the first recipe I put my eyes on: these cheese balls. With my boyfriend we stayed in and after this appetizer we had an oven baked chicken with a warm broccoli salad.

 

Cheese Balls 3

Appetizer Cheese Balls

Recipe for about 8 balls

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 8-10 minutes

Ingredients :

200 g cheese (I bought tasty alpine cheese but another tasty kind of cheese like Appenzeller or Gruyère work well too)

Pepper

100 g breadcrumbs

50 g roasted onions

1 tbsp chopped parsley

100 g flour

1 egg, beaten

Oil

 

Recipe:

Grate the cheese with a large holed grater and add pepper to taste. With this cheese form little balls (I made about 8).

In a bowl mix the breadcrumbs the onions together and the parsley.

Take one cheese ball and roll it in the egg, then the flour and finally in the breadcrumb mix.

Heat the oil in a pan at 170°C. Add the cheese balls and brown them. I had to turn them quite often because once the cheese starts melting the balls quickly lose their initial shape. Serve immediately.

 

Vegetable Rolls

Vegetable Rolls 4 (800 x 601)This week I originally had another idea for the recipe; I wanted to make a bread gratin. I did do it but I find it turned out to be bland and the consistency I was not really fond of. Continue reading

So I went through my cookbooks and stopped where I had previously put tags (about every two pages). I wanted to bake and make something with either bread or any kind of dough and found this recipe for rolls. The recipe is one among the many vintage cookbooks my mother used to own. As she didn’t literally give them to me and that is why now I try not to remind her of them so she doesn’t ask them back. It’s easy and one thing I particularly liked is the dough. I will surely remake this ad I works well for a party or as a snack. On the day I went to see how dried meat is made, I came back late at night and not having had dinner yet I had a couple of these babies.  Soon I will make this recipe again and I would actually like to try a sweet version, maybe with pears…for our Wednesday’s ladies’ night it would probably go down well.

Vegetable Rolls 1 (800 x 601)

Vegetable Rolls

 

Ingredients:

For the dough:

500 g flour (white or semi-white)

1 tsp salt

30 g fresh yeast

3 dl milk ( I used half-fat)

60 g butter melted and cooled

 

For the filling:

1-2 tbsp butter

6 large onions

4 carrots (not too small)

2 garlic cloves crushed

Salt and pepper

A handful chopped parsley

2 handfuls roasted walnuts

Nutmeg (optional)

 

 

In a bowl mix the flour and the salt. Place the yeast in the milk and dilute. Incorporate the milk and the butter to the flour and knead the dough until soft and elastic. Cover and leave to until it has risen double of its size, about 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile cut the carrots into thin strips. Cut the onions in half and slice them a little thicker than the carrots.

Heat the butter in a pan and add the carrots and the onions. Add the crushed garlic cloves and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until soft, about 20 minutes, and stir regularly. Once done set aside to cool.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough in a rectangular shape (about 40 x 60 cm).

Chop the walnuts.

Now spread the vegetables and sprinkle the walnuts and the parsley (eventually the nutmeg) on the dough leaving a 3 cm margin on one of the longer sides. Roll the dough tight and use the uncovered part of the dough to seal it.

Heat the oven at 200°C.

Cut the rolled dough into slices of about 3-4 cm. Place them in a baking tray lined with parchment paper and leave them for 15 minutes to set.

Place the baking tray on the lower side of the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Ideally these should be served tepid but either hot or cooled is fine too.

Pumpkin Knoepfle / Spaetzle with Sage Butter and Caramelized Onions

Pumpkin Knoepfle 6As a student, I remember going to the supermarket and buying the ready made spaetzle. Continue reading

Once you have tried home made ones I can tell you: there’s no comparison with the commercial products. Now I know why I wouldn’t get excited over the store bought ones: plastic consistence and a lack of flavour in general. When I made these ones, the bad memories of the flavourless disappeared and was replaced this version. I found the recipe in a book I recently bought and instead of using spinach I used pumpkin. I like the way it turned out from the first try. Next week is my turn to cook for our new weekly event: the ladies’ night. I thought I could make some knoepfle, maybe served with some meat. Anyway there’s basically still one week to go and I know I will probably change my mind three or four times before I take a decision. Thinking about it, I get the same dilemma when I have to choose which shoes to pack when leaving for a weekend. So, this is my version of the spaetzle / knoepfle or as we call them in Switzerland spaetzli and knoepfli.

Pumpkin Knoepfle 1

Pumpkin Knoepfle / Spaetzle with Sage Butter and Caramelized Onions

Prep time:

Cook time:

Ingredients:

300-400 g pumpkin cut into cubes

400 g white flour

4 Eggs

1 tsp salt

0.75 dl milk

0.75 dl water

¼ tsp nutmeg

2-3 tbsp butter

A small bunch of chopped sage leaves

2 red onions

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 small tbsp sugar

 

For the knoepfle:

Soften the squash cubes in a pan with a couple tbsp water on a low-medium fire.  Once they are soft (after about 15 minutes, depending on cube size) remove from fire and mash well. Set aside to cool (if there is, remove excess of liquid).

Add the flour with salt, nutmeg, milk, water, eggs. Mix all together with a wooden until bubbles form. Add the mashed squash and mix it in. Set aside to rise for 30 min.

Heat water with salt. Divide the dough into four parts and use either a knoepfle sieve or scrape the dough on a cutting board, making the small pieces fall into the water (these will be larger and will become spaetzle). When the knoepfle rise to the surface they are ready. Remove them with a skimming ladle and rinse under cold water.

Heat 2 -3 tbsp butter with the sage leaves. Once the butter is starting to colour, add the knoepfle to brown.

 

For the caramelized onions:

While the dough is resting cut the onions in ½ and slice them.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil on a low fire and add the onions. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so the onions don’t burn.

Once the onions are soft (personally I like them when still have a bit of a bite) add the sugar and balsamic vinegar and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until caramelized.

 

-Serve the knoepfle with the caramelized onions and eventually some good grated cheese.

 

Potato Terrine

Potato Terrine 4 (800 x 615)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.

 

Potato Terrine

Potato Terrine 1 (800 x 644)

Recipe for a 22 cm cake mold

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 20 min

 

Ingredients :

400 g peeled potatoes (floury type is better)

50 g butter (+ 1 tbsp for frying)

60 g fresh goat cheese

2 carrots

1 onion

1 tbsp thyme

1 small bunch chopped parsley leaves

Salt and pepper

Nutmeg

1.25 dl cream (I used ½ fat)

 

Recipe :

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…

Flatbreads with Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions

Flatbreads with Roasted Bell Peppers and OnionsFor long I have been trying to make my boyfriend improve his diet in general but well, he is a stubborn grown up. The thing is that, when he comes over to my place I decide the menu and although I want him to enjoy his dinner, I want him to have other than pizza or chips with mozzarella. This week we have not seen each other much so I decided to make a nourishing aperitif where we could chat without going hungry before dinner. Continue reading

In 1932, the Hungarian researcher S. Györgyi managed to extract the vitamin C. He used two tons of bell peppers to extract half a kilogram of the vitamin under the form of a white crystallized powder. He named the vitamin ascorbic acid, which means ‘capable of preventing scurvy’ (Source- French: http://www.lanutrition.fr/bien-dans-son-assiette/aliments/legumes/poivron/petite-histoire-du-poivron.html )


Flatbreads with Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions


Recipe for 2

Prep. Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 40-45 mins


Ingredients

Vegetables:

2 red bell peppers

2 small red onions

2-3 garlic cloves

olive oil

salt and pepper

2tsp fresh chopped parsley


Flatbreads:

100g brown flour

0.75 dl buttermilk

2 tsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

4-6 chopped basil leaves


Recipe(s)

Bell peppers and onions:

Heat oven at 240°C.

Cut the bell peppers in 3-4cm squares. Cut the onions in half and each half into four pieces. Crush the garlic cloves.

Place the vegetables in an oiled baking tray. Add 1tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss the preparation until the vegetables are coated. Place in the oven for about 20 min, stir the vegetables and cook for another 20min.


While the veggies are in the oven it’s time to prepare the flatbreads.


Flatbreads:

Mix all the ingredients together except for the basil (I used a blender). Once the dough is even add the basil and work it in by hand.

Leave to rest for 15-20 min.

Cut into 4 equal parts and flatten each until each patty reaches about 12cm diameter.

Heat a pan over medium heat. Heat a ½ tsp olive oil and add one of the patties for about 2-3 min. When the dough starts to bubble, turn it for another 2-3 min.

Remove and place on a rack. Repeat for the other pieces.

Place the flatbreads and the bell peppers and onions on a dish and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.