Aubergine Quinoa Casserole

Aubergine Quinoa Casserole

Spring is blooming and the Ticino region looks amazing at the moment. Yesterday I had the luck to attend an aperitif on the small Islands of Brissago on the Lago Maggiore. Continue reading

Last time I was there was towards the end of the nineties. This place is simply beautiful and the feeling of being on an islands in the middle of the lake is so charming. On the main island there’s a large house that was rebuilt around nineteen hundred. In addition there’s a botanic garden, which complements the beauty of this patch of land in the middle of the lake. Here are a couple of pictures…

Isole di BrissagoIsole di Brissago

Lately I’ve been feeling the influence of the warmer months so I bought some aubergines and made this casserole for my mother and I. Unfortunately I cannot serve it to my husband, he is intolerant to eggplant and has to stay away from tomatoes as much as possible. This casserole is easy to make and if you want to make it ahead, prepare the quinoa with the tomato sauce, bake the aubergines and before the final baking process, simply assemble everything.

 

Aubergine Quinoa Casserole

 

Recipe for 2-3

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 30-35 min.

 

Ingredients:

100g quinoa

1 small can chopped tomatoes

1 small onion

1 garlic clove

Chilli flakes

1.5-2 dl water

A pinch of sugar

1 aubergine (not too large)

2 tsp. olive oil + extra to brush the aubergine slices

75 g grated mozzarella

6-8 basil leaves

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 190°C.

Chop the onion and the garlic.

Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a pan and add the onion and garlic to soften for 4-5 min. I used my cast iron pan but you can make this dish with any other ovenproof pan. Should you not have one, you any other pan then transfer the ingredients to a baking dish before placing it in the oven.

Once the onion and garlic are soft, add the quinoa and roast it for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly. Then add the tomato sauce and the water. Add the pinch of sugar and season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste. Once it’s boiling let the quinoa simmer until the quinoa is cooked through, about 20-25 min. Should the water evaporate, add one more splash.

Meanwhile cut the aubergine lengthways into small 1 cm thick slices. Brush them with olive oil on both sides and season them with salt and pepper. Place the slices on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake on the upper side of the oven for about 20 min. Flip them over after about 10 min.

Once the quinoa is cooked, if you have an ovenproof pan continue using that one, otherwise transfer the whole to a baking dish. On top place the aubergine slices and sprinkle the grated mozzarella on top. Bake in the middle of the oven for 8-10 minutes. Before serving scatter around the basil leaves and serve.

Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew

Cauliflower and Chickpea StewOn Sunday I’ll be heading to southern Spain with my mother for five days. It’s going to be the first time in seventeen years we leave together for such a long time. Continue reading

I’m excited but I hope we’ll get along well and will have a good time together. Like every mother/daughter relationship, there may be tensions. Fortunately we never hold a grudge for long 🙂

With an eye towards our upcoming trip, I wanted to post something colourful so I made this cauliflower and chickpea stew. This recipe is not only easy but it can partly or wholly be made in advance. Once you decide to serve it, just heat it up and add the final touch with the coriander leaves. I served this vegan stew with rice but you can also serve it with some bread, some eggs, chicken…

See you in a couple of weeks!

 

 

Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew

 

Recipe for 4 as a main

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 1h 30 min

 

Ingredients:

3 garlic cloves

1 large red onion

2 cans chopped tomatoes

2 cans chickpeas

400-450 g cauliflower florets

A three fingered pinch of sugar

Salt and pepper

2 tsp. harissa

Smoked paprika

2 tbsp. olive oil

4-5 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves

 

Recipe:

 

Chop the onion and the garlic. Heat olive oil on a pan over medium heat and add them onion and garlic to fry for 5 min or until translucent. Add the tomato sauce, the harissa and season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika to taste. Cover and let the tomatoes simmer on a low heat for about 1½ hour, stirring occasionally. You can also cook the sauce for 30 min to 1 hour but more is better in this case (not only the taste will improve but its nutritional properties too). Alternatively cook the sauce in advance and reheat it when you need it.

Add the cauliflower florets and the chickpeas; toss and cook for a further 6-8 min. Once the cauliflower is cooked to your liking (I like it when it still has a crunch) and the chickpeas are hot.

On top sprinkle the coriander just before serving.

 

 

Tomato Sandwich with Avocado Mayo

Tomato Sandwich with Avocado Mayo

I love foods that get along with each other; they are just a wonder to combine… like tomato and avocado. So this week I thought I’d make a simple, quick but tasty sandwich with such simple ingredients. This is a sandwich I made last week with my mother when we had an improvised picnic on the terrace under the hot sun. Continue reading

I am also really excited to announce that from October on I will be blogging for the tasty association the “amis da la forcheta” which is an association that focuses on products from Ticino by organising gastronomic events and walks. They are a group that proudly supports locals products and also, they have an eye on ecological sustainability. All of these aspects I personally consider to be really important. Over the next few weeks I will write more about it; but for now I am really excited to share the news! With a heart full of excitement I wish you all a great week 😀

Tomato Sandwich with Avocado Mayo

 

Tomato Sandwich with Avocado Mayo

 

Recipe for 4:

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 5 min

 

Ingredients:

8 1 cm thick slices brown bread

2 small avocadoes

4 small tbsp. mayonnaise

2 meaty tomatoes (I used the beef heart kind)

2 spring onions (white part only)

A few salad leaves

Powdered chilli

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Toast the four slices of bread either in a toaster or in an oven. Once they’re lightly toasted let the cool by leaning them on something so that they don’t lay flat and therefore loose they crunchiness.

Remove the hard part of the tomatoes and slice them into 3-4 mm thick pieces. Do the same with the spring onion.

Cut the avocadoes in two, remove the pit and remove the meat with the help of a tbsp. Place the avocado meat in a bowl and mash it with a fork. Add mayo and powdered chilli to taste and mix all together.

Take a slice of bread and spread on one side a generous layer of the avocado mayo. On top place the tomatoes and the spring onion, season with salt and pepper, add the salad leaves and top with a second slice of bread. Repeat with the rest of the bread slice and the ingredients and serve.

 

Tomato and Mushroom Galette


Tomato Mushroom GaletteI think I’ve gotten into the habit that if I’m feeling a little low, I get in the kitchen and cook something and this always helps. Continue reading

There was nothing wrong but with the wedding approaching it’s sometimes emotionally overwhelming when something unexpected comes up. So to lift my spirits  this post I made this galette. Between cooking and tasting the results, I was back to my usual mood. To make this recipe I took inspiration and example from a galette recipe from smittenkitchen but changed a few things according to what I had at hand. Today in a month is my birthday and I’m already considering the idea of inviting a few friends at home for a party and this recipe (maybe with a different filling) will definitely be on the menu.

Tomato Mushroom GaletteTomato and Mushroom Galette

 

Recipe for 4-6 as main or 8 as an appetizer

Prep time: 25-30 min

Cook time: about 1 hour

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

160 grams all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon table salt

110 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled again

60 grams plain yogurt or sour cream

70 ml ice water

 

For the filling:

450 g cherry tomatoes (even better if you can vary the colours)

120 g chestnut mushrooms

1 tbsp. olive oil

3-4 spring onions

60 g grated cheese

Salt and pepper

To glaze: 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water

 

Recipe:

Pastry: In a large bowl combine the salt and the flour. Distribute bits of butter in the bowl and using your fingertips work the ingredients until the preparation looks like breadcrumbs (the largest pieces should be the size of a lentil). In another bowl mix the yoghurt (or sour cream) and the water and add them to the flour mixture. Mix in the liquid with your fingertips until large lumps form then assemble them into a ball and wrap with plastic and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour (and up to 2 days).

Filling: Quarter the mushrooms and roughly chop the spring onions.

In a pan heat the olive oil on a medium fire and add the mushrooms to brown on all sides stirring occasionally. Once they’re nice and brown add the tomatoes and brown these too for a few minutes regularly shaking the pan to tilt them. Once they start to burst season with salt and pepper, cook for another minute or so and turn off the fire. Add the spring onions and set aside.

Making the galette: Heat oven at 200°C. On a floured surface roll out the dough into an approximate 30 cm round shape (don’t worry about precision for this recipe). Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking tray. To do this easily, gently fold the dough into quarters (without cracking it) then transfer it to the baking tray before unfold it. Place the vegetable filling in the centre and spread it out leaving a 6 cm margin around. Spare a small tsp. of the grated cheese (for the crust) while sprinkling the rest of it on top of the filling. Fold the pastry on the outer borders of the galette and brush the pastry with the egg wash; finally sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 30-40 min. Let the galette rest for 5 min before serving.

 

Aubergine Tomato Mozzarella Towers

Aubergine Tomato Mozzarella TowersMy cooking is mostly made up of vegetarian food but this weekend we should be heading to Crans Montana and if we go there, we will surely visit the Argentinian restaurant for a nice piece of meat. Continue reading

I wrote we should be going there because my fiancé twisted his ankle last weekend and it hasn’t totally healed yet… so I’m keeping my fingers crossed he will feel better tomorrow. So while I’m keeping my hopes up for the getaway weekend, in the line of my usual eating habits I used some Swiss produce to come make these aubergine tomato and mozzarella towers. These towers are very easy to make and they work great as first course or why not as a side dish.

Aubergine Tomato Mozzarella Towers

 

Aubergine Tomato Mozzarella Towers

 

Recipe for 3-4 p.

Prep time: 20-25 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients:

350 g (about 2 small to medium) aubergines or 18 slices of 0.5 cm thick

2 meaty tomatoes

12 basil leaves

200 g mozzarella

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 200°C and line a baking tray or two with parchment paper

Cut the tomatoes and the aubergines crosswise into about ½ cm slices. Brush the aubergines on both sides with some olive oil and season them with salt and pepper then place them on the baking tray. Place the tomatoes too on a baking tray and drizzle a little olive oil on top then season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 25-30 min.

Meanwhile slice the mozzarella into ½ cm slices.

Once the vegetables have taken a nice colour remove them from the oven.

Build the towers by taking one slice of the aubergine, then a slice tomato, a basil leave, the mozzarella, then begin again with a slice aubergine, tomato, basil, mozzarella and finally top with a third aubergine slice. Secure by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the tower. Repeat for the other five remaining towers.

Bake in the over for 5-8 min or until the mozzarella is melting and the ingredients are heated through then serve.

 

 

Lazy Tomato Pasta Bake

Lazy Tomato Pasta BakeThe wedding preparations have been speeding up lately. Tonight we’re meeting the caterer and on Thursday we’re going to look for Mister’s wedding outfit. And last week we had our trial dinner where when we arrived they were not expecting us so we ended up being offered an enormous amount of food as it was taken straight from the menu and it wasn’t sampled. Continue reading

I managed to control myself but my fiancé still felt full the following day. Since time is short I made a recipe that would not take me too much time chopping, prepping and/or looking after the stove; hence this lazy tomato pasta bake. I don’t cook much with ricotta just because I often forget about this ingredient, but in this recipe it worked really well as it added extra creaminess to the whole dish. With a classic combination of tomato and basil, we really feasted on this pasta bake.

 

 

Lazy Tomato Basil Pasta Bake

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 55-60 min

 

Ingredients

200g cherry tomatoes

320g short pasta

Olive oil

2 tsp. finely chopped garlic

200 g ricotta

2 dl cream

Salt and pepper

140 g grated cheese

A small bunch basil leaves

Cayenne pepper

2 tbsp. breadcrumbs

(optional: a few flakes of butter)

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 200°C.

Halve the cherry tomatoes. Grease a baking dish with olive oil and the tomatoes (cut side up) by spreading them on a single layer. On the sprinkle a tbsp. olive oil and season them generously with salt and pepper. Cook them for 35-40 min on the upper part of the oven.

Meanwhile cook the pasta al dente according to package instructions in salted boiling water. If the pasta is ready and you have time to let it sit there add a little olive oil to prevent it from sticking together.

Finely slice the basil.

In a bowl mix together the ricotta, cream, 120g of the grated cheese, cayenne pepper to taste, the garlic, the basil and a little pepper.

Once the tomatoes are roasted take the dish out and add the pasta and the ricotta, cream, cheese mix. Blend all ingredients together evenly before sprinkling on top the remaining grated cheese, the breadcrumbs and eventually the butter flakes that will ensure a nice browning on top. Replace the baking dish on the upper part of the oven and cook for another 20 min.

Pizza Inspired Baked Rosti

Pizza Inspired Rosti It’s been some time since I last posted a rosti recipe and since it’s a recipe I really love, here it is. I made this rosti recipe with pizza in my mind. Continue reading

Pizza is not something I eat much during the year but once I find myself craving it. Now, kneading and making dough isn’t my favourite activity in the kitchen – probably because I don’t have a robot to help me – so potatoes provided an easy way to make a crust. In my version I used simple and traditional pizza toppings but then this is a question of personal taste. For instance you could use some bacon, ham, grilled vegetables… My only advice is to use ingredients that are not too wet as the potatoes could become soggy and lose their crispiness (this is why I put the tomatoes on top of the cheese). While I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe, I am announcing that I’ll take a week off and will be back on Tuesday the 7th of April.

Pizza Inspired Rosti

 

Pizza Inspired Baked Rosti

Recipe for 3-4

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 45-50 min

 

Ingredients

1 kg peeled waxy potatoes

180 g mozzarella

300 g cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp. rapeseed oil

3 tbsp. flour

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp. basil leaves

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 210°C.

Coarsely grate the potatoes then place them in a clean tea towel and squeeze out the excess moisture. Add the flour and 1 ¾ tsp. salt then mix. Add the rapeseed oil and mix again.

On a parchment lined baking tray spread out the potatoes in a square or round shape. The patty should not be too compact and for extra crispiness allow a few potato bits to come out of the mass. Place in the oven and cook for 40-45 min.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and either cook them in a pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, or place then in a baking dish and bake them in the oven for 40 min.

Dice the mozzarella into 1 cm pieces and sprinkle it over the potatoes once they are ready. Move the baking tray with the potatoes and cheese near the top burner of the oven and bake for another five minutes, until the mozzarella has melted.

Add the cherry tomatoes on top with the basil and a little pepper and serve.

Note: to prevent the oxidation of the potatoes, place them in the oven as soon as they are grated and you have added the remaining ingredients.

Quinoa Tomato Baked Eggs

Quinoa Tomato Baked Eggs Last Sunday, while mister was still in bed recuperating from an evening campaigning through the region, I got into the kitchen and prepared this quinoa, tomato baked eggs. Continue reading

Usually I try to stick to seasonal products but I have to say that I was really in for a change. I made this quick and healthy dish for the two of us and even if my fiancé just had a bite because he had to leave to another of his political events, I still managed to make him eat something, something healthier that he usually does when we are not together. By the way, how do you get a man to care more about what passes through his stomach? After almost eight years I still haven’t figured that out… when you care about someone it’s hard not to nag him about taking better care of himself. My hopes are still up and in the meantime I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe 🙂

Quinoa Tomato Baked Eggs

 

Quinoa Tomato Baked Eggs

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 5 min

Coo time: 20-25 min

 

Ingredients

220 g quinoa

250 g cherry tomatoes

1 onion

1 tsp. dried oregano

½ tbsp. tomato paste

1 tbsp. olive oil

1-2 chilli pepper(s)

Salt and pepper

4 eggs

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

Recipe

 

Cook the quinoa in 1 ½ times its volume in water for 12-15 min. Once done set aside.

Chop the onion and the chilli pepper and divide the cherry tomatoes into 4.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions and chilli, cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes with the oregano, salt and pepper and cook on a low-medium fire for 10 min. Once the tomatoes start breaking apart add the tomato paste and cook for another couple of minutes. Mix in the quinoa. Correct flavour to taste with salt and pepper.

Make four little concavities with the back of a tbsp. and in each add an egg. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 7-9 min, until the egg has reached the desired consistency.

Sprinkle the parsley on top and serve.

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.

 

Tomato Burrata Toasts

Tomato Burrata ToastsLast weekend, after a night out with my fiancé and a friend I slept at his place and on Sunday he brought me back home and we hung around a little together. Continue reading

Lately, our discussions are a lot about our wedding: who knows it, their reactions, the guests, and the possible venues… The thing is that we have two hard heads and I can see there will be debates ahead regarding just about every single detail. While we talked and joked I began feeling a little hungry and remembered I had some burrata in the fridge. The thought was enough to make me crave for it. I thought of making a quick aperitif for the both of us and so I put this pizza inspired recipe together in almost no time.

Tomato Burrata Toasts

 

Tomato Burrata Toasts

 

Recipe for 4 as an appetizer

Prep time: 8 min

Cook time: 15 min

 

 

Ingredients:

22 cm long piece of baguette

300 g cherry tomatoes

1 tsp. dried oregano

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

75 g burrata

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 220°C.

Chop the onion into 2 cm pieces and make sure the layers are divided.

In an ovenproof dish place the cherry tomatoes, the onion, and the dried oregano, salt and pepper. Add one tbsp. olive oil, toss and place in the oven for 15 min.

Meanwhile cut the baguette into two lengthwise and brush it with olive oil. After the tomatoes have cooked for about 10 min, place the baguettes in the oven too and cook until nicely toasted.

Remove the bread from the oven and set it aside. Take the tomatoes and roughly mash them with a fork.

Take one bread half and spread half of the tomatoes over it, repeat with the other piece of bread. Cut the burrata into pieces and add it on top of the tomatoes. Cut each toasted piece of bread into four pieces and serve.