29-08-2015 The Day We Said Yes & A Welcome to Autumn

29-08-2015 The Day We Said Yes & A Welcome to Autumn

The reason I took a break last week is because on the 29th of August we got married! 😀

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Since I still had guests from away that stayed home I decided to dedicate my attention to them…besides the fact that I really needed some rest from all the pre-wedding stress and the partying (the night before the big event I only slept four hours). I can only say that the day exceeded my expectations as we had such an incredible time, ambience and weather: a day made of all the flavours of love. Here are just a few of the pictures from a wedding in southern Switzerland.

 

Since our wedding occurred on the last actual weekend of real summer weather and now we’re gently slipping into autumn I decided to welcome the new season by cooking something with butternut squash. A nice casserole/gratin always makes me happy and with cooler evenings it’s a dish that works well. I wanted the flavours to “marry” well together. After consulting my Flavour Thesaurus from Nikki Segnit I decided to use some goat cheese and rosemary to accompany the butternut squash and potatoes. I decided to lightly roast the potatoes and butternut before baking them in the oven, this added some extra flavour to the dish. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Butternut Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

 

 

 

Butternut Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

Recipe for 4-6

Prep time: 20-25 min

Cook time: 40-45 min

 

Ingredients:

500 g waxy potatoes

500 g butternut squash

1 tbsp. chopped rosemary leaves

2 garlic cloves

Cayenne pepper

1.5 dl milk

200 g sour cream (I used ½ fat)

1 egg

100 g grated hard goat cheese

1 tbsp. vegetable oil (+ extra to grease baking dish)

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Peel the potatoes cut them into 2 cm pieces. Bring a pan filled with salty water to a boil and cook the potatoes until they’re soft. Once they’re ready drain them.

Meanwhile cut the butternut squash into 2 cm pieces, too. Pass the garlic through a garlic crusher.

On a medium fire, in a non-stick pan heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil and add the potatoes and butternut pieces to brown. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Toss regularly. After about 10 minutes add the rosemary and garlic and continue cooking for another 5-10 min.

In a bowl combine the sour cream, milk and the egg and mix all together.

Grease a baking dish and transfer the vegetables, on top sprinkle the grated goat cheese and finally pour the milk, sour cream and egg mixture.

Cook in a preheated oven at 220°C for 15-20 min.

Crispy Oven Polenta Chicken

Crispy Oven Polenta Chicken Relaxed food without the need of cutlery is sociable and fun. This is exactly what I did with on my weekly lunch with my mother. With the wedding coming up and two families colliding, there’s much to talk about and a nice meal does help reducing the stress. I found some great looking organic chicken thighs. Continue reading

Like mother like daughter…. Both of us love crispy food so a nice crust made with polenta, was a great match. Using the ingredients I had at hand, I adapted my version from the recipe I found on the foodandwine.com.

Crispy Oven Polenta Chicken

 

Crispy Oven Polenta Chicken

 

Recipe for 8 pieces (1-2 pieces p.p)

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 45-55 min

 

Ingredients:

8 chicken thighs

Juice of 1 lemon

6 tbsp. fine grain polenta flour

3 tbsp. flour

1 tbsp. finely chopped rosemary leaves

1 dl milk

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

 

Recipe

Start by drizzling the lemon juice over the chicken. Leave for 15-30 minutes to marinate.

Meanwhile heat your oven at 180°C.

In a bowl pour the milk, in another one mix the fine polenta flour, plain flour and the chopped rosemary leaves.

Dry the meat with some kitchen paper then season generously it with salt and pepper.

Dip one chicken thigh first in the milk then evenly coat with the polenta flour mixture.

Heat half of the olive oil in a pan on a medium-high fire and place half of the chicken to brown on both sides for about 4-5 min per side. Once done set aside. Repeat with the second batch.

Line a baking try with aluminium foil and place a rack on top. Place the chicken pieces on top and cook in the lower part of the oven for 35-45 minutes. If juices of the chicken run clear when pierced, you’re ready to take them out. Serve either warm or at room temperature. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

 

Chicken, Butternut and Chestnut Pan Fry

Chicken Butternut and Chestnut Pan Fry
That’s it; autumn has officially started a couple of days ago. Continue reading

Today I noticed that even the cows have come down from the alps for the cold  and grassless months to come. By the way, don’t you like it when colours start shifting, evenings get a little colder and it’s time to restart taking advantage of the fireplace (if you have one)? I love this; it’s such a cosy time of the year. To celebrate the beginning of this new season, I wanted to make a recipe that contained some of the autumn staples; in this case they are butternut squash and chestnuts. To make this recipe I went to check on Niki Segnit’s The Flavour Thesaurus and, although I already know the book pretty well by now, I found that rosemary worked well with the butternut squash and the chestnuts. I had this dish with some fresh bread but you can accompany it with either potatoes, spaetzle or pasta…

Chicken Butternut and Chestnut Pan Fry

Chicken, Butternut and Chestnut Pan Fry

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 25 min

 

 

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts

1 onion

500 g butternut squash cut into 2-3 cm chunks

120 g cooked chestnuts

1 tbsp. chopped rosemary leaves

4 dl chicken or vegetable stock

1,2 dl cream

3-4 tbsp. rapeseed oil

Cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Cut the chicken into regular chunks of 2-3 cm pieces and season them with salt and pepper. Heat 1-2 tbsp. oil in a pan; add the chicken to brown on all sides on a medium-high fire. Once done, remove from the pan and set aside.

Chop the onion and using the same pan cook with 1-2 tbsp. oil on a low-medium heat until translucent, about 5-7 min. Raise the heat a little, add the pumpkin, season with a little salt pepper and brown on all sides.

Add back the chicken with the rosemary, the cayenne pepper (up to taste) and the chestnuts, cook further for another minute or so and then add the stock. Let it reduce to about half stirring form time to time.

Pour in the cream and stir to combine with the reduced stock. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, correct taste with salt and/or pepper if needed and serve.

 

 

Goat Cheese Rosemary and Thyme Cornbread

Goat Cheese Rosemary and Thyme Cornbread Cornbread is something I like to serve when I have friends coming over for an aperitif. Continue reading

This time the context was more private; my boyfriend and I enjoyed this cornbread with a great Spanish red wine. The whole moment was very comforting because we were standing next to the fireplace with all those goodies and outside it was raining; we could hear the raindrops falling on the roof. This is the kind of recipe I like to decline according to my taste on the moment. I found a basic recipe for cornbread on the French site cuisineaz . Apart from the taste, I like the ratio of this recipe because I find it easy to remember and it’s also ready in a short time. In my version of the recipe I replaced a little of the milk with cream and I added some goat cheese and herbs. I went for the goat cheese, rosemary and thyme combination because the other day, while I was doing my groceries I saw a fresh goat cheese which had the two herbs in it and I liked the idea of these ingredients together.

 

Goat Cheese Rosemary and Thyme Cornbread

 

Goat Cheese Rosemary and Thyme Cornbread

 

Recipe for a 18 cm cake pan with high sides.

Prep time : 10 min

Cook time : 30-35 min

 

Ingredients :

115 g fine polenta flour

115 g flour

1.3 dl milk

4 tbsp cream

1 bag (7 g) dry yeast

20 g cooled melted butter

70 g hard goat cheese

1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary

1 tbsp thyme leaves

½  tsp salt

1 egg

Pepper

2 tsp sugar

Oil

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 150° C.

Grate the cheese.

In a bowl mix flour, polenta, yeast sugar and salt and pepper. In another bowl wish the egg with a fork, add the milk and the melted butter and lightly mix and add to the flour. Blend all the ingredients together.

Now include the rosemary, the thyme and the cheese.  Blend again.

Grease the cake tin with the oil and add the preparation. Place in the oven for 30-35 min. If you want, you can save a little of the goat cheese and sprinkle it over the bread about 10 min before it’s ready (that’s what I did). Check if it’s ready by inserting a toothpick, if it come out dry, the bread is ready. Remove from mould and leave to cool before serving.

Rosemary Chilli Oven Baked Potatoes

Oven Baked Potatoes 1Things have been a bit hectic lately and I was made to believe that it was me who would cook for Christmas. Continue reading

So I began looking for ideas which are not too heavy on the stomach but which still had a festive side to it. A nice slow cooked meat with these potatoes would have been my choice. I am writing in the conditional because I guess none of this is going to happen since plans change by the day; it seems like a difficult thing to agree on a time, date and place. Before I was quite excited to cook but now that things have changed, at least, I will not have to get stressed out in the kitchen. Now at least I have time to look for all the Christmas shopping I have not yet taken care of… and this is not necessarily an easy task.

Oven Baked Potatoes 3 Oven Baked Potatoes 2

Rosemary Chilli Oven Baked Potatoes

 

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time : 45 minutes

 

Ingredients:

 

6-8 potatoes

1tbsp olive oil

1-2 rosemary stalks

1-2 red chilies

Salt

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 220°C.

Make deep incisions sidewise of each potato. Each incision should not go all the way through and should be about 2-3 mm away from the next.

Remove the seeds from the chili and cut into thin strips of about 1-2 cm long.

Brush the potatoes with the olive oil.

In the slits push in a few rosemary leaves alternating them with the red chilies. Add salt.

Cover and place in the oven for about 40 minutes or until soft when pierced with a knife. Remove cover and cook for another 5 minutes.

Potato and Mushroom Gratin with Rosemary

Potato and Mushroom gratin with Rosemary 1To me the staple comfort food is a potato gratin. Continue reading

It’s creamy and it’s delicious during the colder months, especially when in the past thirty days the sun has barely appeared for ten percent of the time. Because when I don’t see the sun for a while I need to keep my spirits up, lately I have been going out quite often to dinners and evenings.  So when I get to spend an evening at home, I like to spoil myself with something I like and potato gratin is just a great candidate.  Potato gratin is an dish which is easy to make and I love to decline it into the flavour which inspires me on the moment. A few months ago I bought the eBook “The Flavour Thesaurus” and since then, I don’t know how many hours I have spent navigating through the pages (see at the end of the post). I find this book is an incredible source of inspiration and it had almost become a game to me to find the possible combinations. Often I have a look at it before going to sleep and it is when my arms start hurting by holding up my iPad that I realize I have been reading for too long.

Potato and Mushroom gratin with Rosemary 4

 

Potato and Mushroom Gratin with Rosemary

 

Recipe for 1-2 as a main dish 3-4 as a side dish

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 55 min

 

Ingredients:

120 g mushrooms ( I could not find anything else at the nearby supermarket, if you have something better go ahead)

1 onion

1 tbsp olive oil

40 g Gruyère

300-350 g potatoes (the firmer kind)

1 dl milk

1 dl cream

½ tbsp fresh rosemary leaves chopped

Salt and Pepper

Nutmeg (optional)

 

Heat the oven at 200°C.

Cut the mushrooms in half and make slices of about 0.5 cm pieces. Also cut the onion in half and slice it too, not as thick as the mushrooms though.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onion. After a couple of minutes add the mushrooms and brown without turning them too often. If you wish you can add some pepper. Once done set aside.

Pass the potatoes through a slicer.

In a bowl mix the milk, cream and cheese.

In a greased baking dish add the potatoes, mushrooms and onions and toss them until evenly distributed. Now add the dairy mix, pour over and give another quick toss. Place in the oven for 45-50 minutes and serve hot.

This dish can be served with a simple salad or it can work as a side dish for meat.

 

Grilled Asparagus with Hazelnut and Rosemary Dressing

Grilled Asparagus with Hazelnut and Rosemary DressingIt’s always nice when spring comes and you can find more and more varieties of vegetables that don’t come from another continent where they have probably travelled for weeks. It’s asparagus season and I can’t find any reason not to enjoy it. I love the classic combination of asparagus and egg, but it’s always nice to taste and try out other combinations too. This week decided I’d have my asparagus with a tangy vinaigrette and a little cheese to make it richer.
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The ancient Greeks and Romans already used the technique of mixing vinegar and oil to dress vegetables. The term ‘vinaigrette’ came much later. In the English language, it was in 1699 that John Evelin is thought to be the first to write about the cold sauce in his book Acetaria (source: http://www.kitchenproject.com/history/SaladDressing/Vinaigrette-History.htm ).


Grilled Asparagus with Hazelnut and Rosemary Dressing

Recipe for 2 people:

Prep.Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 5 min

 


Ingredients:

400g asparagus

3tsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 garlic clove

1tsp rosemary leaves

1 ½ tbsp hazelnut oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp gruyere flakes

1 ½ tbsp dry roasted hazelnuts


Recipe:

 

Heat a griddle pan or if you don’t have one use a normal non stick pan.

Pour 2 tsp of olive oil on the asparagus and make sure they are evenly coated. Add salt and pepper.

Place the asparagus in the heated pan and let them colour for 3-6 min (this will depend on the size of the asparagus). Turn the asparagus on the other side and brown for another 3-6 min.

In a blender put the peeled garlic clove with the rosemary and mix. Place the blended ingredients in a bowl and add the hazelnut oil, the tsp of olive oil, the balsamic vinegar and the salt and pepper. Mix.

Roughly chop the hazelnuts.

Plate the asparagus and while it is still warm pour the vinaigrette on top, sprinkle over the cheese flakes and the chopped hazelnuts. Serve with some fresh bread.