(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



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



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.


Chestnut Cake

Chestnut Cake First of all….


This will be my last post for 2014 as I will be off next week and will be back on the 6th of January. Continue reading

To end the year well I wanted to make a post with a sweet note: Chestnut Cake from Ticino. I adapted this recipe from this site and I must say that the end result was a very moist cake. With a nice coffee or tea, this cake is a great wintertime treat. I’ll keep this post short as it’s Christmas it’s either a festive or a lazy day, so

SEE YOU IN 2015!



Chestnut Cake


Recipe for a 26 cm wide cake mould (for an 18 cm cake use half the ingredients)

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 1 h 5 min



360 g cooked chestnuts (I used the vacuum packed ones)

200 g melted and cooled butter

340 g fine grain sugar

300 g ground hazelnuts

6 eggs (separated)

1 vanilla pod


For the glazing

3 tbsp. hazelnut nougatine

90 g dark chocolate



Heat oven at 180°C. Grease a loose bottom cake mould.

Mash the chestnuts and set them aside.

Place the egg whites in a bowl and whisk them to a peak.

Place the egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar and whisk them until the mixture becomes lighter in colour. Incise the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add them to the sugar and egg mix, along with the mashed chestnuts, ground hazelnuts and melted butter. Mix all of the ingredients together. Delicately fold in the egg whites in two or three times, without overworking the dough.

Pour the preparation into the cake mould and place in the oven for 1 hour.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool 4-5 min before removing it from the mould and placing it on a wire rack. Let it cool completely.

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and evenly spread it on top of the cake. Sprinkle the hazelnut nougatine on top and wait for the chocolate to harden before serving (mine still had to harden a bit at the centre).


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



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



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.