I’m back from my honeymoon! And I can say we had a great time in France. In ten days I managed to satisfy my history curiosity, to make my taste buds happy with good food and good wine and finally to calm down my shopping cravings. Continue reading →
All this, I experienced in the company of my husband (well, he didn’t find the shopping part as exciting as I did). We spent five days in Paris then moved to Tours where we visited a few of the castles of the Loire Valley. Here are a few pictures of our trip.
We came back on Saturday night and on Sunday my mother came by to return my hairy and wet nosed house mate Kumo, and kindly she also brought me some groceries since I had little left to eat at home. It was not much but I managed to make my lunch a treat by baking these sweet potato slices with this avocado dip. As a base for my sweet potatoes I used the recipe I found on foodfunandhappiness.
Sweet Potato Slices with Avocado Dip
Recipe for 4
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30-35 min
Heat oven at 190°C.
Wash the sweet potatoes and slice them into 0.5 cm pieces. Rinse them under the water to remove as much starch as possible and then dry them well using kitchen paper (this process will make them crispier).
In a bowl add the olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper and garlic powder; add the sweet potato slices and toss until evenly coated. Now add the breadcrumbs and the grated cheese and toss again.
Line a baking tray with oven paper and spread the potatoes on a single layer. Sprinkle any remaining grated cheese and breadcrumb mix left on top of the sweet potato slices. Bake in the oven for 30-35 min, turning them every 10-12 min.
Meanwhile prepare the dip by removing the flesh of the avocado and mashing it with a fork. Combine with the fresh cheese, the chopped onion and cayenne pepper and salt to taste.
Once the potatoes are done serve them immediately with the dip.
In winter it’s always nice to put some colour in you life, that’s what I’ve done with this post. Continue reading →
The superb colour of the butternut squash was enough to lift my day, especially because after a week of sun we’re back under the clouds and the rain (which should be snow by now) and our bones are once again on the waiting list to produce vitamin D. Tuesday, I was working on some notes and I didn’t feel like spending too long in the kitchen so I made this recipe, which is quick to prepare and while it’s cooking in the oven, you don’t really have to keep a close eye on it.
Goat Cheese Butternut Slices
Recipe for 4 as a side dish
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min
1 small butternut squash
150 g goat cheese log (alternatively use hard grated goat cheese)
1 tbsp. finely chopped rosemary leaves
1 tbsp. breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. finely chopped walnuts
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
Heat oven at 190°C.
Cut the butternut in half and slice it crosswise into 1 cm thick slices. Place the pumpkin slices in a sealable bag with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Shake the bag in order to make the oil coat each slice. Place the butternut on a baking tray lined with wax paper and season the slices with salt.
In a bowl finely crumble the goat cheese and add the chopped rosemary leaves, the breadcrumbs, the chopped walnuts, the lemon zest, cayenne pepper, a little salt and pepper.
Sprinkle the goat cheese mix on top of the butternut slices and cook in the oven for about 30 min, or until the squash is soft when pierced with a knife. Serve.
When I looked at this dish yesterday I felt I succeeded in my quest for the day: add colour around me. I love snow and like yesterday, I love going for a walk around my village. I don’t regret a moment although I admit I didn’t dare going with my scooter.
I said I love snow but these past 2-3 weeks I have only seen the sun for two days and when it’s like this, I feel drained and join the weather complaining crowd. I was some time since I had made polenta and as St. Valentine is approaching I thought the colour works well for the occasion. I had fun trying this recipe and I liked the flavor combination between the salad and the polenta with the beetroot. The only thing I would say is that next time I might change the shape because like this they remind me of hamburgers.
Pink Polenta Slices with Lamb’s Lettuce and Goat Cheese Salad
Recipe for 2
Prep time: 8-10 min
Cook time: 15-20 min
80 g cooked beetroots
1 dl milk
120g fine grain polenta
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp chopped walnuts (dry roast them for a more intense taste)
3 tbsp dried cranberries
50 g brie made with goat cheese ( or another goat milk based but creamy cheese)
Cut the beetroot into chunks and put it in a mixer with the milk. Whiz until smooth and pour into a pan with the stock. Bring to a boil and sprinkle in the polenta. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon on a low fire for 7-9 min. Add water if needed and season with salt to taste.
Remove the polenta from the fire, add the butter and mix it in. Pour the mass on a cutting board lined with oven paper. Take another piece of oven paper and place it on the polenta. With another cutting board, press down until the mass is about 2 cm thick. Set aside and leave to cool.
Once it has cooled down cut into the shape you prefer; I made rounds squares are just as fine ( you will actually waste less polenta this way).
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil on a medium heat and add the slices to brown, about 3-4 min per side.
Meanwhile prepare the dressing with the olive oil and the vinegar. Cut the cheese into about 1 cm cubes and add them to the salad with the walnuts and the dried cranberries. Add the dressing to the salad, toss and add the rest. Serve with polenta slices.
On Saturday I met up with my friend Lisi and we went for a an aperitif before we wound go and have dinner at her place. With our glass of white wine and some freshly made focaccia, we were on the square of a nearing village. As we talked she told me what she had planned for make for dinner. The menu involved a pumpkin soup as a starter and a veal recipe she wanted to try out; the perspective looked good. Continue reading →
I love the fact that there is a real sense of community in the valley and the people just know each other; the problem is that you always end up getting home later than expected (sometimes much later). To make a long story short, we gained one more guest and Lisi ended up making a Bolognese at ten o’clock. The pasta was delicious but now I had pumpkin on my mind. So the following day I went through my Kindle library and found this recipe from Ottolenghi’s vegetarian cuisine book “Plenty”. I made my own version of this easy recipe which is delicious and healthy.
About the pumpkin:
Native from Central America and Mexico, pumpkins have been cultivated for as far as five thousand years ago. Since that time they have now spread to six continents. A thing which surprised me is that the etymology of the word “pumpkin” comes from a French explorer (Jacque Cartier) who was in the St. Lawrence region of North America, he qualified them as “gros melons.” Translated into English they became “pompions,” and later evolved into the modern “pumpkin” (source: www.history.com). It’s interesting to see how words evolve in time. Sometimes I wonder how the change happened as it is not always evident to find an immediate logic to it.
Crusted Pumpkin Slices
Recipe for 2
Prep time:15 min
Cook time: 30 min
450 g pumkin (skin on)
30 g grated cheese (I used Appezeller cheese but any other cheeses work well too: gruyere, emmentaler…)
1 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 tbsp ground almonds
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped thyme leaves
1 tsp chopped rosemary leaves
Salt (not too much) and pepper
Grated zest of one lemon
1 crushed garlic clove
Heat oven at 190°C.
Cut the pumpkin into wedges about 1 cm thick and set aside.
In a bowl mix the parsley, thyme, rosemary, lemon zest, ground almonds, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, crushed garlic, salt and pepper.
Brush both sides of the pumpkin slices with olive oil and place them on a baking tray covered with oven paper.
Evenly distribute the content of the bowl on the pumpkin slices; lightly pat the preparation and place in the oven for 30 min. I find its taste to be great this way but you can always serve this dish with some sour cream with chopped chopped chives.
I live in Switzerland and more particularly in the small Italian part called Ticino. Since I was small, except through the silly age that is adolescence, I have always had a passion for food and for history. As my first post I thought that using something which is part of Ticino’s food heritage: polenta. The common food heritage we share with northern Italy is geographical and because we have been made Swiss only since 1803: during Napoleon’s empire. Up to the 15th century, before corn began being imported from America, polenta was made out of spelt or rye wheat. The dish was the food of the poor and still over a part of the twentieth century it was a considerable source of energy. Today I often see it during popular events like a village celebration. My father, who was born in 1933, used to say that he grew up getting his backside kicked and eating polenta; there was little polenta… Today I cooked the traditional corn polenta with some veggies and goat cheese. I used zucchini and red bell peppers but you could also use other vegetables such as tomatoes and/or eggplant. Continue reading →
Olive Polenta slices with Mediterranean vegetables and goat cheese.
For 2 people
Time: 30 mins + 20 min rest time
For the Polenta
600ml water (you can replace half of it with milk)
One vegetable stock cube
120g fine polenta
15-20 chopped black olives
1tbsp olive oil
For the Veggies
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
2 rosemary stalks
1 red bell pepper
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp tomato puree
Salt and pepper
100g fresh goat cheese
Chop the olives. Bring the water to a boil and add the stock cube. Add the polenta and let it boil on a low heat during 8 min stirring regularly. Towards the end add the olives and mix them in. Then, lay the polenta out on a surface (I used a rectangular shaped container) , distribute the mass evenly and leave it to cool and harden for 15-20 min.
Cut the red bell pepper and the zucchini in 2 cm pieces and the chop the onion and the garlic.
Heat the oil in a non stick pan and add the onions and garlic, once they start browning add the bell peppers and the rosemary. Cook the peppers on a medium heat for 5 min.
Heat oil in a non stick pan on a medium heat. Cut the polenta into the shape that suits you best and leave it to brown on both sides, about 7 minutes per side on a medium high heat.
Add the zucchini to the peppers stirring occasionally for another 10 min. At half way add the tomato puree.
To serve place the slices of polenta with the vegetables and sprinkle over the crumbled goat cheese and serve.