Aubergine Quinoa Casserole

Aubergine Quinoa Casserole

Spring is blooming and the Ticino region looks amazing at the moment. Yesterday I had the luck to attend an aperitif on the small Islands of Brissago on the Lago Maggiore. Continue reading

Last time I was there was towards the end of the nineties. This place is simply beautiful and the feeling of being on an islands in the middle of the lake is so charming. On the main island there’s a large house that was rebuilt around nineteen hundred. In addition there’s a botanic garden, which complements the beauty of this patch of land in the middle of the lake. Here are a couple of pictures…

Isole di BrissagoIsole di Brissago

Lately I’ve been feeling the influence of the warmer months so I bought some aubergines and made this casserole for my mother and I. Unfortunately I cannot serve it to my husband, he is intolerant to eggplant and has to stay away from tomatoes as much as possible. This casserole is easy to make and if you want to make it ahead, prepare the quinoa with the tomato sauce, bake the aubergines and before the final baking process, simply assemble everything.

 

Aubergine Quinoa Casserole

 

Recipe for 2-3

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 30-35 min.

 

Ingredients:

100g quinoa

1 small can chopped tomatoes

1 small onion

1 garlic clove

Chilli flakes

1.5-2 dl water

A pinch of sugar

1 aubergine (not too large)

2 tsp. olive oil + extra to brush the aubergine slices

75 g grated mozzarella

6-8 basil leaves

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 190°C.

Chop the onion and the garlic.

Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a pan and add the onion and garlic to soften for 4-5 min. I used my cast iron pan but you can make this dish with any other ovenproof pan. Should you not have one, you any other pan then transfer the ingredients to a baking dish before placing it in the oven.

Once the onion and garlic are soft, add the quinoa and roast it for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly. Then add the tomato sauce and the water. Add the pinch of sugar and season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste. Once it’s boiling let the quinoa simmer until the quinoa is cooked through, about 20-25 min. Should the water evaporate, add one more splash.

Meanwhile cut the aubergine lengthways into small 1 cm thick slices. Brush them with olive oil on both sides and season them with salt and pepper. Place the slices on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake on the upper side of the oven for about 20 min. Flip them over after about 10 min.

Once the quinoa is cooked, if you have an ovenproof pan continue using that one, otherwise transfer the whole to a baking dish. On top place the aubergine slices and sprinkle the grated mozzarella on top. Bake in the middle of the oven for 8-10 minutes. Before serving scatter around the basil leaves and serve.

Broccoli Sweet Potato Cakes

Broccoli Sweet Potato CakesVegetarian sharing friendly food is something I love to eat with my mother. When she came over I served these cakes with a salad and a glass of white wine. Continue reading

That it is either for an aperitif or a meal, I like to place this kind of food in the middle of the table so that everyone can help themselves. The broccoli & sweet potato cakes are easy and made with few ingredients. Also, while I chose to bake them (for fat content purpose as I’m trying to shed a couple of kilos) you can also easily pan-fry them. The second option will make the cooking process shorter. Whether you want to serve these cakes for an aperitif or as a side dish during dinner, you can easily prepare the potatoes and broccoli in advance so you can save up time when preparing the rest of the food.

PS: I’ll take a week off blogging as I need to get ahead with my studies, chores and of course my wedding planning. Meanwhile I wish everyone a nice weekend!

Broccoli Sweet Potato Cakes

Broccoli Sweet Potato Cakes

 

 

Broccoli Sweet Potato Cakes

 

Recipe for 16 pieces (1-2 p.p. for an aperitif / 3-4 as a side dish for a meal)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 45 for baked version / 25 for pan fried version

 

Ingredients

400 g sweet potatoes, peeled

400 g broccoli florets

120 g grated hard/semi-hard goat cheese

1 egg

Pepper

Optional: salt and cayenne pepper to taste (and olive oil if you chose to fry the croquettes)

 

Recipe

Blanch the broccoli by placing them in a pot of salted boiling water for 1 ½ – 2 min. Then remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and tranfer them to a bowl of icy water.

Cut the sweet potatoes into chunks and boil them in the water you used to blanch the broccoli (eventually remove a little water). Cook the sweet potatoes until they are soft, about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile evenly chop the broccoli florets.

Once the sweet potatoes are ready mash them and let them cool a little. Add the chopped broccoli, egg, pepper and eventually cayenne pepper and a little salt and mix all together.

You can either bake the cakes in the oven or fry them in a pan. So to cook with less fat I chose to bake them.

Baked: take a tbsp. of the preparation and place it on a baking tray lined with oven paper. Repeat with the rest of the mass. Bake in the oven for 20 min at 200°C then turn them around to brown on the second side.

Pan fried: Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil on a medium fire and portion the cakes with the help of a tbsp. Brown the potato cakes on both sides for about 5 min per side.

Quinoa Tomato Baked Eggs

Quinoa Tomato Baked Eggs Last Sunday, while mister was still in bed recuperating from an evening campaigning through the region, I got into the kitchen and prepared this quinoa, tomato baked eggs. Continue reading

Usually I try to stick to seasonal products but I have to say that I was really in for a change. I made this quick and healthy dish for the two of us and even if my fiancé just had a bite because he had to leave to another of his political events, I still managed to make him eat something, something healthier that he usually does when we are not together. By the way, how do you get a man to care more about what passes through his stomach? After almost eight years I still haven’t figured that out… when you care about someone it’s hard not to nag him about taking better care of himself. My hopes are still up and in the meantime I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe 🙂

Quinoa Tomato Baked Eggs

 

Quinoa Tomato Baked Eggs

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 5 min

Coo time: 20-25 min

 

Ingredients

220 g quinoa

250 g cherry tomatoes

1 onion

1 tsp. dried oregano

½ tbsp. tomato paste

1 tbsp. olive oil

1-2 chilli pepper(s)

Salt and pepper

4 eggs

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

Recipe

 

Cook the quinoa in 1 ½ times its volume in water for 12-15 min. Once done set aside.

Chop the onion and the chilli pepper and divide the cherry tomatoes into 4.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions and chilli, cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes with the oregano, salt and pepper and cook on a low-medium fire for 10 min. Once the tomatoes start breaking apart add the tomato paste and cook for another couple of minutes. Mix in the quinoa. Correct flavour to taste with salt and pepper.

Make four little concavities with the back of a tbsp. and in each add an egg. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 7-9 min, until the egg has reached the desired consistency.

Sprinkle the parsley on top and serve.

One Pan Rice and Butternut Squash

One Pan Rice and Butternut SquashI don’t know about you, but I like it when the sink isn’t overcrowded with dishes, cutting boards, pans, knives and co. Continue reading

That is why I like it when I can throw everything in a pan and, almost magically, in a short time you get a tasty meal. Also, one ingredient I love to take advantage of in autumn is the butternut squash so I came up with this dish. In a few week I should cook for the company that helps me when I have blog related issues, changes and questions and since I will cook in their office, I thought that this is a recipe that could work well. I don’t know how their kitchen is and this is a dish where I don’t need much and it could work as either a first course, a side dish or even as a main course. In case anyone has an idea about other recipes I would love to hear them. I should mention that one of the seven members is a vegetarian and another is lactose intolerant.  🙂

 

One Pan Rice and Butternut Squash

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 25 min

Ingredients:

500 g butternut squash (about a small half one)

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion

10 sage leaves

¼ – ½ chopped chilli

Zest of 1 lemon

250 g wild rice mix

5.5 dl stock

4 tbsp. fresh goat cheese

 

Recipe

Peel and then cut the butternut into 1 cm cubes.

Finely chop the sage leaves and the onion.

In a pan place the olive oil and the onion to fry for 4-5 min on a medium fire stirring often. Then add the rice, the butternut cubes, the sage, the lemon zest and the chopped chilli; finally pour over the stock. Cook for 20 minutes on a gentle rolling boil, until the liquid has been absorbed. Stir all together. Serve with the fresh goat cheese on top.

Apple and Pear Pan Cake

Apple and Pear Pan Cake This recipe has been stored in my head since I was still a teenager and a student. Continue reading

When I went to live on my own for the first time, my mother offered me a small book of recipes for students. I tried a lot of the recipes in this book but this one has a lot of positive points besides its taste. This light cake can be done in a short time and you don’t even need an oven for it. In this recipe I used pears and apples because they are in season here in Switzerland. This recipe though, can be adapted to many other fruits such as cherries, apricots, pineapple…

Apple and Pear Pan Cake

 

Apple and Pear Pan Cake 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

 

Ingredients:

1 pear (e.g. conference)

1 apple (e.g. braeburn)

2 eggs

1 dl milk

2 tbsp flour

3 tbsp icing sugar

Pinch of salt

1 tsp butter

½ baking powder

 

Recipe:

Peel and core the apple and the pear. Cut them into chunks (about 3 cm long). Melt the butter in a non-stick pan (24 cm diameter is ideal) and add the fruits to brown for five minutes on medium heat. The fruits should cover the bottom surface of the pan

In a bowl put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl mix the eggs and the milk and add them to the dry ingredients; whisk until smooth and even. Pour into the pan and lower heat to medium-low. Cover and leave to cook for about 15 min. When the center of the cake has become solid and the bottom is nice and brown, the cake is done.

Place a plate on the pan and flip it. Serve warm or at room temperature and garnish with icing sugar or honey and why not maybe some chopped nuts.