(Pop)Corn Muffins with Salted Caramel Icing

 

Popcorn Muffins I have already talked in past posts about the Farina Bona (also called Farina Sec’a), which is a kind of flour made of dried corn kernels, which are then roasted and finely ground. Continue reading

This product is typical from the Onsernone Valley, which is geographically situated in the Locarno region. I really love this product as you can do so much with it and, you don’t even need to cook it. The Farina bona has a pronounced toasted flavour and it’s a great addition to many recipes. Personally, among the different recipes I’ve tasted and/or made are: Sablés cookies, Ice cream, Bonella (which is like Nutella but made with the Farina Bona), spaetzle and the Grido. When baking, because of its strong flavour, I combine the Farina Bona with normal flour… but this is up to you. This historical product, which contributed to the diet of our ancestors, can now be found a bit all over Switzerland. Beyond our borders unfortunately it will be super rare to find. It was some time since I wanted to post a recipe made with this flour, but knowing it wouldn’t be available for most, I figured out how to make my own. It’s not the original product but it’s close to it, so if you like it, give it a go with other recipes. For more information (history, recipes…) on the Farina Bona I advise you to visit their website.

On the left is my version, next to it is the original product.

On the left is my version, next to it is the original product.

The first time I tried the popcorn, I popped too much of it and the batter was a weird rocky looking thing. The second time the result was much better. It was the first time I was making popcorn without oil so I searched for tips and found here an article that was very helpful.For the batter I used the Michael Ruhlman’s book Ratio. 

 

 

(Pop)Corn Muffins with Salted Caramel Icing

 

Recipe for 12 muffins

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients

90-100 g natural popcorn kernels

120 g flour

100 g sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

2.4 dl milk

2 eggs

100 g butter (melted)

+ butter and flour to coat the muffin pan

 

For the icing:

2 tbsp. butter

3 tbsp. cream

90 g packed brown sugar

1/3 tsp. salt

About 120 g icing sugar

 

Recipe:

Place a pan on a medium to medium-high heat (I used a non stick one with a glass lid and it worked great), add the popcorn kernels and place the lid on top.

About every 10 seconds move the kernels around by shaking the pan. The aim here is not to get popcorn but to toast the kernels. In the end you should have quite dark toasted kernels with about ¼ of popped popcorn. If the popcorns are starting to pop too much, either reduce the heat or remove the pan from the fire and wait a little before placing it back on (it’s actually an easy task son don’t be daunted by it). Once the kernels are done let them cool.

Place the kernels in a food processor and grind them to a powder. They should look like flour in the end (see picture).

Heat the oven at 200°C.

Grease the muffin tin with butter and dust it with flour.

In a bowl mix the flour, 80 g of the (pop)corn flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. In another bowl combine milk, the eggs and butter. Whisk the wet ingredients together and add the flour mixture. Just blend the ingredients together, without overworking the batter. Evenly pour the mixture in the muffin cups and gently tap the tray on a surface to make sure there are no air pockets. Place in the oven without waiting for 15-18 min. When ready remove from oven and leave for 3-5 min before removing from the moulds and placing them on a wire rack.

Meanwhile prepare the icing. Start by melting the butter then add the cream, the brown sugar and salt. Cook for a couple of minutes on a medium fire. Remove from heat. Beat in the icing sugar bit by bit until you’ve reached the desired consistency.

Spread the icing on top of the muffins and if you want, top them with a piece of popcorn.

 

Broccoli Fries

Broccoli FriesI admit I like munching in front of a film, with the fireplace burning and my dog begging for some food. Continue reading

My fiancé is in regional politics and the campaign is starting so I know that when I’m not accompanying him, I will be enriching my film culture. The good thing is that I will get to watch films in original version 🙂 – In order not to feel too guilty when I treat myself, I try to make lighter and healthier snacks instead of fried chips or salty meats… well, sometimes I succumb to cheese, but I try to limit eating too much of it by using it in smaller quantities. A little of the dairy delight can go a long way and this is what I did for with this recipe. A little cheese for these baked broccoli fries is all that is needed… along with the other ingredients of course.

 

Broccoli Fries

 

Recipe for 2-3 people

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: about 8 min

 

Ingredients

250 g broccoli florets

3 tbsp. breadcrumbs

3 tbsp. finely chopped walnuts

2-3 tbsp. finely grated cheese

¼ – ½ tsp. smoked paprika

1 dl cream

Salt

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 210°C.

Clean and cut the broccoli florets into bite sized pieces.

In a bowl place the cream; in another bowl place the breadcrumbs, walnuts, grated cheese and smoked paprika.

Take a few pieces of broccoli and soak them in the cream, let excess drip and then coat them with the breadcrumb, walnut mixture. To prevent the dry mixture from getting too soaked I divided the quantity and used them one at the time.

Once they are coated place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and cook in the oven for 8-9 min. Serve.

 

 

Grape Juice Pie – Tarte au Raisiné

Grape Juice Pie - Tarte au Raisiné Like every year I was looking forward to last Tuesday: we have been harvesting our grape. Continue reading

We are always a group of about eight people and after everything has been picked clean and has been loaded onto the cars we reward ourselves with a nice glass (or two) of wine. I also usually always prepare something to graze and so this year I decided I’d try to make this traditional pie from the French speaking part of Switzerland. I though this recipe would go well with the harvesting theme since it’s a grape juice pie. I made it over the lunch break and was quite curious to taste it. I wasn’t the first to get my hands on it but the general consensus was a very positive one. Once I managed to get a piece I found the pie had a somewhat delicious caramel taste and fortunately it was not something too heavy neither in the mouth nor on the stomach. The only thing I want to say is that usually this pie is made with white grape juice but since I couldn’t find any, I went for the red grape kind.

Each year I always look forward to this day because the company is always friendly and we always have a good time and since many of them knew my father well, I’m always asking about anecdotes I may not have heard before… but then, what happens on harvest day stays in harvest day 😉

 

Grape Juice Pie – Tarte au Raisiné

 

For a 28-30 cm pie dish

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook time: 1h 30

 

Ingredients:

400 g short crust pastry – about 32 cm diameter

1l natural grape juice

1,5 dl milk

2 dl cream

2-3 tbsp. flour

1 tbsp. butter

2 eggs

1 tbsp. sugar

 

Recipe:

Bring the grape juice to a boil and let it reduce to 1,5 dl. Once reduced the result should be a syrupy mass. Once done set aside to cool.

Meanwhile combine the milk, cream and flour in a pan; heat them while constantly stirring until it becomes a smooth paste. Set aside and leave to cool.

In a bowl combine the eggs and the sugar and whisk.

Roll out the pastry on a pie dish; pierce more time with a fork.

Mix together the reduced grape juice with the milk, cream, flour combination and then add the whisked sugar and eggs. Stir all together and pour in the short crust pastry lined pie dish.

Cook in a preheated oven at 200°C for 30-35 min.

 

Note: this recipe comes from Alfred Haeferli’s Swiss Cooking book.

Individual Apricot Tarts

Individual Apricot Tarts This week when I went to do my groceries I bought some beautiful Swiss apricots and very soon I knew I would make something with them. Continue reading

I remembered this recipe (from a book I don’t even have anymore) which was so easy that I wanted to re-try it out. The main difference between my version and the one form the cookbook is that in the other recipe they called for canned apricots; but really, for me there is no comparison with the taste and consistence of a beautiful fresh fruit. I decided to only make four of them and my idea was to keep them and enjoy them throughout the day, well, they ended up being my lunch (fortunately I run every day so I didn’t feel too guilty). These tarts work well as a dessert (maybe with some ice cream or whipped cream) or as part of a brunch or for tea time. My initial plan was to enjoy them last weekend with my boyfriend but since we are leaving to Spain in a few days he woke up early to got to work.

 

 

Individual Apricot Tarts

 

Recipe for 8 pieces

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 15 min

 

Ingredients

8 apricots

8 puff pastry rectangles about 8×13 cm (if you can, always go for the pure butter kind)

20-30 g melted butter

2-3 tbsp. icing sugar

40 g dark chocolate

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 210°C.

In a pan bring water to a boil and place the apricots in it. Depending on ripeness leave the to cook for about 1 min (if they are not too ripe leave them a little longer) them move them to a cold bath. Once they have cooled down remove the skin and cut them in half removing the pit.

Line a baking tray with oven paper and place the puff pastry pieces on top. Brush them with the butter and place two apricot halves on top of each puff pastry rectangle. With the help of a sieve, sprinkle over the icing sugar. Bake for about 10-12 min in the oven, once the pastry has browned remove the tray and place the individual tarts on a rack to cool.

In a bain-marie slowly melt the chocolate (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl with the chocolate). Place some oven paper under the rack with the tarts this way it’ll be much less messy. Dip the tip of a teaspoon in the melted chocolate and drizzle it over the tarts going for left to right or the other way round. Leave the chocolate to harden and if you want serve these individual tarts with some whipped cream or/and ice cream.

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.