Spinach and Mushroom Risotto Pie

Spinach and Mushroom Risotto Pie

Being Swiss, I naturally love the food of my country, but I generally find that its generally nutritious composition is better served during the coldest months of the year. Continue reading

Last week I found this rice pie recipe you can find here (in French) and thought it would be a good starting point. The base for this recipe is sweet and it contains raisins (which I don’t really like); instead, I made it into a savoury dish. I used an 18 cm spring form to make this pie, but further down, you’ll find the ration for a larger cake pan, which is a more common size and it can accommodate a larger crowd. What I liked about this spinach and mushroom pie is that without using too much cheese, its taste really comes through and complements the other flavours in the recipe.

Spinach and Mushroom Risotto PieSpinach and Mushroom Risotto Pie

Spinach and Mushroom Risotto Pie

 

Recipe for an 18 cm spring form baking tin – for about 4 people

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 50-60 min

 

Ingredients:

240g risotto rice

100g spinach leaves

20g dried porcini mushrooms

0.8-0.9 l hot vegetable or chicken stock

70g grated Gruyere

1.5 dl white wine

1 onion

2 large eggs

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp. butter

Extra butter and a little flour to grease and dust the spring form tin

 

For a 22-24 cm spring form baking tin, use these ratios:

360g risotto rice

50g spinach

30 g dried porcini

105g grated Gruyere

2.2 dl white wine

3 large eggs

Salt and pepper

1.5 tbsp. butter

Extra butter and a little flour to grease and dust the spring form tin

NOTE: for this second ratio, cook the pie a further 5-10 min

 

Recipe:

Soak the porcini mushrooms for about 30 min in a bowl of warm water. Once they’re soft, drain them and rinse them and roughly chop them.

Chop the onion.

Melt the butter in a pan and add the onion, cook 4-5 min. Add the porcini and the rice and cook the second until it becomes translucent, don’t forget to stir regularly throughout the risotto making process. Add the white wine and let it evaporate entirely. Pour some of the vegetable stock until the rice is covered. As the stock reduces, add more liquid, do not let the rice dry out. Cook the rice for 18 minutes; ideally the rice should still be a little al dente and nice and moist. Towards the end of the cooking process, add the spinach a handful at a time, stirring between each addition. Finally, blend in ¾ of the grated cheese and season with pepper and blend everything together. Leave the risotto to cool. This part of the recipe can easily be made in advance.

Heat oven at 180°C.

Add the two eggs to the cold risotto and mix everything together.

Generously grease the spring form baking tin with butter and dust it with some flour.

Transfer the risotto and egg mix to the baking tin, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake in the lower part of the oven for 30-40 min.

Once the top has a nice brown colour, remove the tin from the oven and let it rest for few minutes. Using a knife, cut around the edge of the pie to detach it from the tin and serve.

 

 

Aargauer Carrot Cupcakes

Carrot CupcakesLast weekend I went to Cologne to spend the weekend with a couple of friends from high school and without going into too many detail I can just say it was marvellous, like each time we meet. Continue reading

On those occasions my aim is always to make the most out of the time spent together and when I come back I’m usually very happy but very tired as well. I woke up on Friday at four and for the three-hour train journey I packed myself a couple of these carrot cupcakes I baked the day before. To make these cupcakes I took the recipe for the carrot cake from canton Aargau (a region in the north of Switzerland) and more or less divided the quantities by two. I took the recipe from the bettybossi site (recipe in French) and was really pleased of the outcome because this recipe has a refreshing taste and light texture. I will definitely be doing this recipe again; it’s a perfect grab and go treat.

 

 

Aargauer Carrot Cupcakes

 

Recipe for 12 cupcakes

Prep time: 30 min

Cooking time: 20 min

 

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

125 g sugar

1 tbsp. very warm water (but not boiling)

40 g flour

125 g thinly grated carrots

125 g blanched ground almonds

zest of ½ lemon + its juice

1 tsp. baking powder

1 pinch salt

Optional: 1 pinch cinnamon

 

For the glazing:

150 g icing sugar

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1-1.5 tbsp. water

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 180°C.

Separate the egg whites from the yolks in two bowls.

To the bowl with the egg yolk add the sugar and water and whisk for about 5 min or until the texture has become foamy.

Now add the lemon juice and zest, carrots, almonds. Mix the flour and baking powder and combine them to the egg yolks, sugar, carrot and lemon and mix until even.

Whisk the egg whites to a peak and fold it in with the rest of the ingredients until just combined.

Place the paper moulds in the cupcake tin and evenly distribute the mass in the individual portions.

Bake in the lower part of the oven for about 20 minutes. If you insert a toothpick and it comes out dry: they’re ready. Let them rest a few minutes before removing them from their mould and then transfer them to a rack to let them cool completely.

To prepare the glazing mix the sugar, lemon juice and water. The consistence should be thick but a bit runny. Take a cupcake and add about a tsp. of glazing and spread it with the back of a spoon or by tipping it to make the glazing spread over the top.

 

Bread and Cheese Pudding

Bread and Cheese Pudding

The one thing I would really have trouble giving up is cheese. Maybe because I’m Swiss or maybe it’s because it just tastes amazing and it’s an ingredient you can just have so much fun with in the kitchen. Continue reading

This Bread and Cheese Pudding is something I have already tried last year but this time when I tried it, I found it’s better not having the bread stick out of the mix as I find it becomes too hard and dry. I tested this recipe on my mother and remarkably she took a second helping, which is not very common for her. Do I need to mention I had a second helping too? I took a recipe from the Swiss Cooking book from Betty Bossi and made a few changes to make this dish a little lighter. For instance I replaces the double cream by using plain cream and instead of using three eggs I just used two large ones. This Swiss recipe is just an easy, moist and very tasty dish.

 

 

Bread and Cheese Pudding

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 25 min

 

Ingredients:

350 g white bread

2 tbsp. soft butter (optional)

1 dl dry white wine (alternatively use white grape juice with a few drops of lemon in it)

3 dl milk

2 large eggs

150g semi hard cheese (Gruyere, Emmetaler…)

¾ tsp. salt

Pepper

2 dl cream

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 240°C.

Slice the bread into 1-1.5cm thick pieces. Optionally, butter each slice on one side with the butter and toast in the oven for about 5 min. Once done reduce the oven heat to 200°C. Place the bread slices in a baking dish by overlapping them.

In a bowl mix the milk with the eggs, salt and pepper.

Stiffly whisk the cream and gently fold it in with the milk/egg mix.

Pour over the bread slices and bake in the oven for 20 min.

Serve with a crunchy salad.

Zurich Style Chicken Strips

Zurich Style Chicken StripsOur honeymoon is approaching but we haven’t chosen the destination yet. Will it be France and the castles of the Loire Valley or Scotland? Well, if someone wants to weigh in, opinions are more than welcome! Continue reading

While doing the groceries since I found some Swiss, fresh, organic button mushrooms so I thought I would give the “Zurich Geschnetzeltes” a try, but instead of using veal meat I used chicken. This meat with its creamy mushroom sauce is usually served with “Roesti” but a potato mash or some tagliatelle will be fine too. I took the recipe from the Swiss Cooking book I have from Alfred Haefeli.

Zurich Style Chicken Strips

 

Zurich Style Chicken Strips

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 15-20 mi

 

Ingredients:

2-3 tbsp. roasting butter

500 g chicken breasts

A large pinch flour

1 small onion, diced

200 g mushrooms (I used the chestnut kind)

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 dl white wine

1 dl vegetable stock

2 dl cream

1 tsp. cornstarch

1 bunch parsley

 

Recipe:

Finely chop the onion and the parsley, slice the mushrooms into ½ cm thick pieces and set all aside.

Cut the chicken breasts into 1.5-2 cm thick strips and season it with salt and pepper.

Over a high heat melt the butter in a pan and sear the chicken. Dust it with the flour, toss and set aside in a warm place.

Using the same pan, lower the fire, add more butter if needed and roast the onions and mushrooms for about 5 minutes tossing a couple of times. Add the lemon juice and the white wine and let it reduce to half of its volume.

In a bowl place the cornstarch, add a little cream and mix. Add the rest of the cream and the vegetable stock and then pour into the pan with the mushrooms and onions. Simmer until the sauce has thickened and add the chicken. Cook for another 2-3, add salt and pepper to taste and before serving sprinkle with the parsley.

Traditionally this dish is served with Roesti.

Summery Einsiedeln Pie – With a Soft Potato Crust

Summery Einsiedeln Pie Last Friday after a short night I got active in the morning. After my jog I got to the kitchen and preparing this summer version of the Einsiedlen pie. Continue reading

For lunch I had a friend and her one-year-old daughter coming over. I set the table out on the terrace and we enjoyed a ladies’ only moment. Now I have little experience with children but I didn’t know such a little creature could eat that much… maybe my pie was really good ;). As a dessert the three of us moved to where the blueberries are in my garden and began raiding the trees. This is a new Swiss recipe I found out about and liking the idea of using potatoes as a crust. The crust of this pie is nice and soft and thicker than a usual pie crust and the nice thing is it’s easy to make. I adapted my version from the original recipe I found here (page in French). I filled my pie with some seasonal grilled vegetables to adapt the dish to the warmer days.

 

Summery Einsiedeln Pie

 

Recipe for 4 people / Baking tray (28 x 26 cm) or cake pan (30 cm Ø)

Prep time: 20 min

Cooking time: 1 h 20 min

 

Ingredients

Base:

700 g waxy potatoes boiled

150 g flour

1 ½ tsp. salt

freshly ground pepper

 

Filling:

1 small aubergine

1 small zucchini

2 spring onions

2 eggs beaten

2.5 dl milk

140 g grated cheese (I made a mix of two alpine cheeses but Gruyere or Appenzeller cheese are just as fine)

1 tbsp. flour

salt and pepper

Olive oil

 

Recipe

Slice the aubergine and the zucchini crosswise into 0.5-0.7 cm thick pieces. Brush the slices with a little olive oil and season them with salt and pepper. On a heated griddle pan or barbecue (if you don’t have any of them use a normal non stick pan) grill the slices on both sides. Once they have a nice colour, remove them from the heat and set them aside.

Mash the potatoes. Add the flour, salt and a little pepper and mix.

On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough (1 cm). Lay on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Alternatively you can shape the dough directly in the cake dish lined with baking paper, that’s what I did.

Mix in the eggs, milk, cheese and flour. Flavour. Brown the bacon and onions over medium heat in butter.

Divide the mass to eggs, bacon and onions on the pasta.

Cook ca. 45 Minutes in the lower part of the pre-heated oven at 180 °C. For the last 15 minutes move the tray towards the upper part of the oven to brown its surface. Remove from the oven and let the pie rest for 5 min before serving.

Vanilla Bread Pudding Cake or Torta di Pane alla Vaniglia

Vanilla Bread Pudding Cake I had a truly fun weekend where I volunteered to help out at an enogastronomic walk in Cardada (a mountain just above Locarno). The walk was dedicated to our local produces so I thought I’d post a recipe that is typical from my region: the torta di pane (or bread pudding cake). Continue reading

This is the second torta di pane recipe I post. The difference is that in this version there’s no cocoa powder; instead I used white chocolate for a twist. This kind of recipe is a great way to use leftover bread and it’s so easy that you just can’t get it wrong. For information, this cake is not made to be overly sweet and it should stay nice and moist once it’s cooked. This traditional recipe is something everyone makes here in Ticino and you can also easily find it in restaurants and grottoes.

 

 

Vanilla Bread Pudding Cake or Torta di Pane alla Vaniglia

 

For a 24-26 cm round cake mold

Prep time: 25 min (plus soaking time)

Cook time: about 1 hour

 

Ingredients:

200 g stale bread (white or semi-white)

100 g amaretti

7 dl milk

1 vanilla pod

100 g dried apricots (the sour kind) – I would have loved to use dried physalis but didn’t find them. Sultanas are also an option

Zest of 1 lemon

100 g slivered nuts

60 g white chocolate

2 eggs

40 g sugar

50 g melted butter

Icing Sugar (optional)

 

Recipe:

In a bowl or container break the bread into pieces and add the amaretti.

Pour the milk in a pan. Incise the vanilla pod by its length and scrape out the seeds. Add the pod and the seeds to the milk and bring to a boil. Once ready pour over the stale bread and amaretti and leave to soak for 2-3 hours. You can leave the vanilla pod in, just remember to remove it once the bread and biscuits have soaked.

Chop the dried apricots and place them in a cup. Add hot water and leave them to soak for a couple of hours.

Grate the white chocolate.

Heat oven at 190°C.

Once the bread and amaretti have soaked, mash them with a fork as finely as possible.  Drain the apricots and add them to the bread preparation along with the white chocolate, the lemon zest, and ¾ of the almonds.

In a separate bowl  mix well the eggs and the sugar and add the butter and eventually the grappa. Pour over the rest and mix the ingredients with your hands or with a spatula until the mass looks even.

Grease the sides of a cake tin and dust with flour. Line the bottom of the cake tin with oven paper. Transfer the preparation to the cake tin and even out the surface. Add the remaining pine nuts and place in the oven for about 1 hour.

Once ready leave to cool before removing from mold. Eventually sprinkle surface with icing sugar.

 

Grido – A Traditional Recipe

Grido
I must have been seven or eight years old when first tried Grido and I can still remember the moment. Continue reading

Growing up, I spent many weekends with my two best childhood friends, in their parent’s house up the mountain, above my village. During one of those getaways there, Flavia their mother, called us back to the house and when I entered I saw everyone standing by the fire, when I approached it, I saw a bowl with some kind of batter inside it and I asked:

“What is it?”

“It’s a Grido.” Flavia replied while handing me one of these things that to me looked like a crêpe/tortilla hybrid.

It only took one bite to become a fan of this treat. A couple of years ago, I fell across this recipe, which my father had written down on one of our old cookbooks. I was excited because I would have always loved to know what went into the batter.

This recipe is something almost exclusive from my valley, the Valle Maggia. If I ask people from the nearby town of Locarno, most don’t know what a Grido is, besides thinking that it’s a way to shout (un grido in Italian mean a shout).

Ideally one should cook the Grido on the fire (like in my childhood), if you have all the appropriate material, I would strongly recommend giving this cooking method a try (maybe on a cold night or around a campfire). Traditionally Grido is served with salted butter melted on top, but this recipe can be treated as if it was a normal crêpe or tortilla: have fun filling it with whatever you like. I like my Grido the traditional way but with a little jam it’s great too.

 

Grido

 

Grido

 

Recipe for 4 large pieces

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 20 min

 

Ingredients:

180 g flour

60 g fine grain polenta

3 dl water (add more water if you wish to make thinner Grido, I like them a little thick)

½ tsp. salt

Cooking oil to brush the pan (rapeseed oil, sunflower oil…)

To garnish: Salted butter (alternatively use normal butter and add salt)

 

 

Recipe:

 

In a bowl combine the flour, the polenta and the salt.

Start adding the water bit by bit while constantly whisking.

Heat a pan on a medium/high heat and brush it with oil.

Add ¼ of the batter and spread it out on the surface of the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the surfaces start to brown.

If you are serving the grido the traditional way, add and spread the salted butter on one side while it’s still in the pan, fold or roll the the grido and serve. Repeat with the other portions.

 

Melted Swiss Cheeses and Dried Tomato Dip


Melted Swiss Cheeses and Dried Tomato Dip Every place on earth is blessed with typical ingredients and/or dishes. In Switzerland, one thing I’m proud of having access to is our cheese. In such a small country, we have over 450 different types of cheese and this is enough to never get bored about this produce I personally love. Continue reading

One thing you’ll surely always find in my fridge is alpine cheese. For this recipe I wanted to honour this produce and so I adapted the recipe I found on closetcooking.com. Except for the cream cheese, all that is in this recipe comes from the country of Heidi. Sitting beside the fireplace and with a glass of white wine, my fiancé and I shared this melted cheese wonder. Talking about melted cheese, soon I will post a fondue recipe so stay tuned if you love melted cheese when it’s cold outside!

Melted Swiss Cheeses and Dried Tomato Dip

 

Melted Swiss Cheeses and Dried Tomato Dip

 

Recipe for 4 as an appetiser

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients

150 g cream cheese

6-8 dried tomato filets in oil

1 small or ½ onion

50 g Gruyere cheese

30 g Sbrinz (or Parmesan)

30 g Emmental cheese

40 g Sour cream

Pepper

½ tsp smoked Paprika

(optional 2 tbsp. white wine)

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 180°C.

Chop the onion and dice the dried tomatoes. Cook the two ingredients in a pan on a medium fire and cook until the onion has softened, about 4-5 min. Remove from fire and set aside.

Grate all the cheeses and mix them with the sour cream, cream cheese, onion and dried tomatoes, pepper, smoked paprika and optionally the white wine. Place everything in an ovenproof dish and cook for 25-30 min. Serve warm with crostini and/or toasted bread.

 

Brunsli – Swiss Chocolate Cookies

Brunsli - Swiss Chocolate Cookies
I don’t know about you but I love organising dinner parties. I get so excited when I can plan, prepare, cook, decorate, welcome the guests and entertain them. Continue reading

This Saturday, after a long time I’m hosting my fiancé’s birthday party at my home. The guest list is getting longer by the minute and honestly I don’t really know where to place everyone since I’m afraid the table will be too small for the number of guests. I have a couple of days to figure this out.

Talking about parties, soon the festive season will start and a thing I like to do is to spread the love with a few sweet treats like these “Basler Brunsli”. It’s the first time I’ve made them, usually I would taste the store bought ones and I can gladly say that these are so much better than the commercial ones. These traditional Swiss cookies, besides being gluten-free, have a great chocolaty taste without being dry. Now that I have tried these, I will never go back to the store bought ones. For this easy recipe I went around the Internet and saw that the ratios are basically everywhere the same. In my version of the recipe (which I adapted from the site: famillesuisse.ch ), I added a little cocoa powder and a little salt.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL WHO CELEBRATE IT! 😀

Brunsli - Swiss Chocolate Cookies

 

Brunsli – Swiss Chocolate Cookies

 

Recipe for about 30-35 pieces (depending on the cookie cutter size)

Prep time: 30 min (+ 6-12 hours resting time)

Cooking time: 5 min

 

Ingredients:

250 g ground almonds

200 g sugar (I used brown sugar)

1 tbsp. cocoa powder

100 g dark chocolate (85% cocoa beans)

2 egg whites

½ tsp. salt

1 pinch cinnamon powder

 

Recipe

In a bowl mix the ground almonds, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon.

In another bowl whisk the egg whites to a peak (optionally add a pinch of salt).

Gently blend the egg whites with the content of the first bowl.

Fill a third bowl with warm water (not boiling) and place the chocolate to soften for 3-4 min (it’s important not to stir). After the time has passed, remove the water and add the chocolate to the rest of the ingredients and gently fold the chocolate in.

Roll out the dough until it’s about 1 cm thick. To do this place the dough between to pieces of waxed paper, the situation will be less sticky and easier to work with.

Using the cookie cutter of your choice, start cutting out the shapes. To make the removal of the dough easier, dip the cookie cutter into a little sugar. When there is no more room to cut any more cookies, gather the dough and roll it out once more. Repeat until the dough is finished.

Place the cookies on a baking tray lined with waxed paper and let them dry between 6 hours to a whole night.

Heat the oven to 250 and bake for 5 min. Remove from the oven and let them cool on a rack.

Creamy Leek Pie

Comforting Leek PieLast Saturday we had an evening among friends and guess who cooked?…me. Continue reading

I made some pulled pork, a broccoli salad and meringues with cream as a dessert. I guess this was my first “catering” experience as we brought all the food to Andy’s home and consumed it there. The three of us (Andy my fiancé and me) met at my place, packed everything and placed it in Andy’s car. While my fiancé was moving his car to park it to a better spot, we saw him stop abruptly: he had perforated his tyre. After a little hesitation we decided to change the tyre ourselves. It took us ten minutes to figure it out and twenty minutes to change it but I admit (as someone who doesn’t even have a driver’s licence) I learned something different that day. That night we went to bed at four and since, unlike Ste my fiancé I can’t sleep long in the morning, I decided to get busy in the kitchen and so I prepared this leek pie that we shared once he was released from Morpheus’ arms.

 

Comforting Leek Pie

 

Creamy Leek Pie

 

For a 28-30 cm pie mould

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 40-45 min

 

Ingredients:

330 g leeks

1 tbsp. butter

100 g sour cream

80 g ham (I used turkey ham)

130g grated Swiss cheese

1 tbsp. flour

2 dl milk

2 eggs

Nutmeg

1 tbsp. mustard

1 round short crust pastry (32 cm large)

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 220°C.

Cut the leeks into ½ cm thick slices.

Heat the butter in a medium non-stick pan; add the leeks, season with salt and pepper. Cook covered for 10 min on a medium fire until they have softened. Meanwhile cut the ham into cubes and add it to the leeks once they are done. Leave aside to cool a little.

In a bowl mix together the milk with the sour cream, the eggs, the flour and a little nutmeg.

Place the short crust in a baking dish, spread the mustard on the bottom and then pierce the dough more times with a fork.

Distribute the leeks and ham on top and follow with the grated cheese. Pour the milk, cream, and egg, flour mixture on top; make sure the liquid covers all the leeks. Sprinkle a little pepper on top and place the pie on the lower part of the oven for 30-35 min.