Quinoa Kale and Edamame Salad with an Avocado Dressing

Quinoa Kale and Edamame SaladSummer time and cooking is easy… with the hot weather and the wide range of fresh produce, we don’t want to spend too long over a hot stove so cold and healthy meals are always welcome during the summer months. Continue reading

Whether you’re making a barbecue, a picnic or a usual lunch, this recipe will fill you up with valuable nutrients such as fibres (from kale, avocados and edamame) and proteins (from the quinoa).

Some components of this salad can be made ahead so when the time to assemble it comes, it will only take a moment to put together; for instance you can cook the quinoa and the kale a day ahead. On Sunday I’ll enjoy a day of relax and I plan to make a last healthy meal before my thirty-… birthday and I’ve decided to make this salad again and serve it either with some tofu or a couple of eggs. Afterwards I’ll dive into a one of the books I’m reading, under the sun, looking like a glazed doughnut, smothered in 30spf sun cream… I’ll need the relax as the following day I’ll be in contact with my inner child in an acrobatic park. 🙂

Quinoa Kale and Edamame Salad

 

Quinoa Kale and Edamame Salad with an Avocado Dressing

 

Recipe for 4 as a side 

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 15 min

 

Ingredients:

120 g steamed edamame

120 g wilted kale

120 g quinoa

1 spring onion

1 not too large avocado

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. sherry vinegar

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Bring to a boil the quinoa in two times its volume of salted water. Simmer for a about 15 min. or until the grain will have softened. Once done set aside.

Slice the kale into about 1 cm strips and finely slice the spring onion.

Remove the flesh of the avocado, place it in a salad bowl and mash it with a fork. Add the olive oil and the sherry vinegar, season with salt and pepper and mix.

To the bowl add the quinoa, edamame, kale, spring onion and mix.

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.

 

 

Miso Glazed Tofu and Sweet Potatoes

Miso Glazed Tofu Sweet Potatoes

Well these have been an exciting couple of weekends with people I consider as family. After the weekend in Köln I went to a surprise birthday party for a friend and former boarding-school roommate in Barcelona. Continue reading

Her boyfriend organised it and she was so surprised by the party and by our presence (another friend also went all the way to Barcelona for the event). The look on her face was worth the journey and Barcelona a city one can only enjoy.

I took a week off from blogging after that because I had to work on a project. Despite the schedule, these past few weeks I’ve been eating incredibly healthy and I have drastically reduced my hard-cheese and salt intake and have upgraded my daily workout. I can say I feel great. So in the line of what I’ve been eating lately is this post’s recipe: Miso Glazed Tofu & Sweet Potatoes.

Miso Glazed Tofu Sweet Potatoes

Miso Glazed Tofu Sweet Potatoes

 

Miso Glazed Tofu & Sweet Potatoes

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 20-25 min

 

Ingredients:

480g tofu

960g sweet potatoes – peeled

4 tsp. toasted sesame oil

powdered chilli peppers to taste

2 tbsp. brown sugar

4 tbsp. miso paste

4 tbsp. rice vinegar

4 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. water

3 tbsp. sesame seeds

2-3 tbsp. chopped spring onions.

 

Recipe:

Cut the sweet potatoes into 2 cm cubes. Fill a pan with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, cook for 5-7 min (until the sweet potatoes are a little soft but hold well together) and drain.

Cut the tofu into cubes of about the same size as the sweet potatoes. Pat dry the pieces with kitchen paper in order to remove as much moisture as possible.

In a non-stick pan heat the sesame oil on a medium-high fire. Add the sweet potatoes and the tofu with a little salt and brown on all sides, tossing regularly. After about five minutes add the powdered chilli peppers.

Meanwhile prepare the sauce by mixing the miso paste, rice vinegar soya sauce and water together.

Now that the sweet potatoes and tofu are brown, reduce the fire to low and sprinkle the sugar. Once it starts to caramelise, add the miso sauce and immediately toss. Add the sesame seeds, toss again and serve with the spring onion on top.

 

 

 

 

 

Crispy Tofu and Asparagus Rice

Crispy Tofu Asparagus RiceTofu is something I have always liked, unfortunately a lot of the people around aren’t fans or I never really get a chance to cook for them. Continue reading

One I’m trying to convert to like tofu is my mother so today when she came over I made this dish. Knowing she loves everything that is crispy I thought I could pull it off with such a recipe… and I did! She really enjoyed it, so did I and even my fussy dog had a taste of it and ate it. I used some asparagus for this dish because the season will soon end but during the rest of the year there are tons of other options you can pair this with. And depending on which veggies you’re using you could also add some 2-3 cloves of garlic or some onions.

Next week trying and testing my wedding hair and make up and in addition I’ll be choosing the different décors for the event so I’ll take the week of. I’ll be back the following week. Meanwhile I wish you all a nice weekend!

 

Crispy Tofu and Asparagus Rice

 

Crispy Tofu and Asparagus Rice

 

Recipe for: 4-6 people

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

 

Ingredients:

300 g fine asparagus

300 g tofu

240 g long grain rice (I used basmati)

3 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp. olive oil

2-3 chillies (seeds removed)

3-4 tbsp. rice vinegar

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp. sesame seeds

Soy sauce to serve

 

Recipe:

Cook the rice according to package instructions. Once done set aside.

Finely chop the chillies and roughly chop the asparagus into about 1 cm pieces.

Rinse the tofu and pat it dry with some kitchen paper. Lay a tea towel on a bowl and with your hands crumble the tofu in it. Close the tea towel by twisting it on top and wring out as much moisture as you can.

Heat 2 tbsp. of the sesame oil the tbsp. olive oil to a pan on a high fire. Once the oil is almost at smoking point add the crumbled tofu. Spread it evenly on a single layer in the pan. Season it with salt and pepper. Without touching it, let the tofu fry for a couple of minutes. Once it’s crispy toss and continue to cook it until it’s nice and crispy all over. If the pan is too small do it in two batches, dividing the oil too. Once done set the tofu aside and give the pan a wipe.

Reduce the fire to a medium heat and add the last tbsp. of sesame oil with the chopped chillies. After a minute add the asparagus and cook until they’re done but still crispy, about a couple of minutes. Then add the crispy tofu and the rice, toss and add the rice vinegar. Once all the ingredients are nice and hot transfer them to a serving plate and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Serve with soy sauce on the side.

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad 2.2 These Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad are the kind of dish I love making, eating and sharing. Continue reading

The more I cook the more I notice my love for making veggie filled dishes. On the other hand I also notice that my sweet baking skills have room for improvement… Anyway, since I haven’t seen much sun lately I wanted to encourage warm days by making something with an eye towards summer. Aubergines and salad to me scream warm and sunny days. With the wedges I made the wheat salad by adding ingredients that pair well with aubergines: tomatoes, walnuts, chilli and a little garlic. Easy and healthy, I hope you’ll like it as much as I did.

 

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad

 

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 25-30 min

 

Ingredients

2 small aubergines (stem trimmed) – about 500 g

160 g tomatoes – the meatier the better

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

1-2 cloves garlic

Chilli powder

2 tbsp. dry roasted coarsely chopped walnuts

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

1.5 tbsp. lemon juice

160 g wheat (I used the precooked kind)

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 200°C.

Cut the aubergines in half lengthways, and then cut each half into four equal sized wedges. Brush each piece with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place the wedges (skin side down) on a parchment lined baking tray and cook for 25-30 min in the oven. If the top gets too dark turn the wedges on one side and flip them after a few minutes.

Meanwhile cook the wheat according to package instructions (about 10 min.) in salted water. Drain if needed once done.

Chop the tomato into about ½ cm pieces and using a garlic crusher crush the cloves (alternatively finely chop it)

Prepare the dressing by mixing the lemon juice with 3 tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper.

In a bowl combine the cooked wheat, chopped tomatoes, garlic, parsley, walnuts and dressing.

Place the aubergine wedges on a serving plate(s) and add the wheat salad on top. Serve

 

Red Bean Burger

Red Bean BurgerI love vegetarian/vegan burgers and this recipe is something I keep on making over and over, especially when my mother comes over and we don’t know what to eat. Continue reading

With a few ingredients you’ve got yourself a healthy and filling dish that is easy and quick to prepare. What I also like about burgers is that they are a good source of iron and since my meat intake is relatively limited, this recipe is a good alternative. I prepared this red bean burger and garnished it with what I had at home (tomatoes and salad) although if had had an avocado I would have smashed it with a fork and used it as mayo to smother it all over. The nice thing at least is that I know that in not so long I’ll be having it again and this time I will not forget the avocado.

 

Red Bean Burger

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 8-10 min

 

Ingredients

520 g cooked red kidney beans

4 tbsp. chopped coriander

2 garlic cloves

1 small red onion

2 chilli peppers

Salt

1 tbsp. rapeseed oil

4 buns

Garnish to taste with either: tomatoes, salad, smashed avocado, mayonnaise….

 

Recipe:

Place the beans in a bowl and with the help of a fork or a potato masher mash them.

Crush the garlic with a garlic crusher and finely chop the onion and the red pepper. Add the two ingredients to the bowl along with the coriander and salt to taste.

Mix everything together and form four patties.

Heat the oil in a pan on a medium fire and cook the bean burgers for 4-5 min per side. Once they are nice and brown, garnish your burger according to your taste.

Carrot Hummus

Carrot HummusLast weekend was a very relaxed moment for me and since my fiancé is busy going around for his political campaign, I made myself busy in the kitchen and prepared this lighter hummus made with carrots. I didn’t really have lunch but with a little toasted pita bread I enjoyed it while re-watching a documentary on Henry VIII (I already know so much about the subject but still enjoy hearing about it, history is my drug). It was the second time in my life I was making hummus and the first time (which was a few years ago) was not a satisfying experience. This time on the other hand was much better. I more or less followed the recipe written on the jar of my tahini but for tips on how to proceed I looked up on this site. It’s actually a fun and easy recipe to make and after this test, next time I’ll have guests over, I’ll give it another try, maybe then I’ll use bell peppers or tomatoes…

Carrot Hummus

 

Carrot Hummus

 

Recipe for about 8

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time:15 min

 

Ingredients:

350 g peeled carrots

150 g cooked chickpeas

4 tbsp. olive oil (+ extra to serve)

1 tsp. minced garlic

3 tbsp. lemon juice

70 g tahini

(optional: 3 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves)

 

Recipe:

Cut the carrots in four parts lengthwise and then dice it. Place them in a steamer or a steaming pan and cook them until soft (about 10-15 min). Set them aside.

In a food processor place the tahini and lemon juice and blend for a about a minute. Add the chickpeas and process them for another minute. Repeat with the carrots and olive oil. At this point add the coriander leaves if using them. Place the hummus in a bowl, drizzle a little olive oil on top and serve with pita bread, toasted bread or vegetables.

Orange Arugula and Pistachio Wheat Salad

Orange Arugula and Pistachio Wheat Salad 1.1 Since the beginning of the year I have been eating more or less lightly. I feel encouraged to continue and that’s why I have come up with this Orange Arugula and Pistachio Wheat Salad. Continue reading

After a milestone birthday party this last Saturday, I had not energy on Sunday to stand for too long in the kitchen but I wanted something light and fresh in taste. Unfortunately this year seem like the fondue and other Swiss melted cheese meals are not present. I know I have already talked about the weather in my last post but our environment is so important, and I am worried about such high temperatures and crazy weather. Last year, despite not really having summer weather, it was recorded as one the warmest (if not the warmest) years. At least the warm weather continues for the next few weeks, being outside celebrating carnival time will be more enjoyable… especially when, like some of my friends, it’s almost a celebration marathon: each weekend, from Friday to Sunday plus the week of the carnival of Bellinzona.

 

 

Orange Arugula and Pistachio Wheat Salad

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 10 min

 

Ingredients:

300 g precooked wheat

3 organic blood oranges

2 generous tbsp. chopped parsley

2 handfuls arugula

3 tbsp. olive oil

1.5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

4 tbsp. roughly chopped pistachios

Boiling water

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Trim the extremities of the blood orange. With a knife peel the skin of the orange following the contour with the blade of your knife. Cut the orange segments by slicing along the membrane of the fruit. Cut each segment in half. Repeat with the other oranges.

Bring two times the volume of wheat in salted water to a boil. Add the wheat along with the orange peel of 1 orange. After 10 minutes remove the pan from the fire, drain if necessary and remove the orange peels.

While the wheat is boiling make the dressing by mixing the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the wheat while it’s still warm. If you want you can either let the wheat cool or serve it straight away (with the rest of the ingredients of course).

In a bowl mix the wheat with the parsley, the oranges and the arugula. Sprinkle the pistachios on top and serve.

Fennel and Grapefruit Carpaccio

Fennel and Grapefruit Carpaccio 4.1 I always find it hard to stay awake after lunch, except when I have something light and possibly with little or no carbs at all. Yesterday I had this fennel and grapefruit carpaccio and didn’t feel drowsy; unlike today where I had a pasta bake and I keep on visualising my bed. Continue reading

So, instead of yawning my way through the afternoon, my solution is to get some movement and breathe some fresh air in. Fortunately soon I’ll head to my local butcher to get the meat I ordered for Saturday. I’ll actually be catering for one of our usual dinners with my fiancé and a friend of ours. To get idea through, the two first begun by complimenting my cooking and then, they asked if I could cook and bring the food to Andy’s house. I won’t admit it to them but I liked the idea. After having dinner at his place, we will then go out to the nearby bars (where the choice of places to go out to is slightly better than in the valley I live in).

 

Fennel and Grapefruit Carpaccio Fennel and Grapefruit Carpaccio

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 5-7 min

 

Ingredients

1 large fennel or 2 small ones

2 grapefruits

4 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

4 tbsp. slivered almonds

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

In a non-stick pan place the almonds and roast them until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Slice the top and bottom of the grapefruit and following the contour of the fruit slice the peel all around. Holding the grapefruit above a bowl, cut along the membrane to remove the segments. Keep 2 tbsp. of the juice as you will need it for the dressing.

Cut the bottom of the fennel off and using either a slicer or a knife, thinly slice the fennel(s).

Mix the 2 tbsp. of grapefruit juice with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

On each serving plate place the sliced fennel and then the grapefruit on top. Drizzle the dressing and on top sprinkle the parsley and the slivered almonds. Serve.

Friar’s Spaghetti

Friar's Spaghetti When I read about recipes I am always interested in knowing where the name or history of such or such recipe comes from. Continue reading

The names and the ingredients that make up the traditional dishes of my canton Ticino, many times come from two strands of our past society: the first are the peasants and second are the friars/monks.

As I read today’s recipe I began wandering through this book and found 6 recipes that contain the word peasant or shepherd (Peasant’s Soup, Peasant’s Polenta, Peasant’s Rabbit…) and almost as many containing the word friar/monk (Friar’s Spaghetti, Friar’s Pie or the liquor called Nocino which is allegedly attributed to the monks’ savoir faire, this drink is also very common in Northern Italy). These two categories of our past society reflect a humble lifestyle, in fact the recipes are usually simple and the ingredients used are the most common ones (pasta, polenta, tomatoes, spinach, cheese, herbs, garlic…)

I’m a true history fan and when it comes to my places of origin (canton Ticino and canton Vaud) I can’t seem to get enough. That said I am enthusiastic to say that I’m gently going back to writing the novel I began a couple of years ago. The story I have in mind takes in consideration the historical facts about Ticino and my Maggia Valley so as I get a grip on new curiosities I want to share them with you. Today as we’re on the religious subject, I remember reading that during the witch burning times, which were regulated and controlled by the catholic Church, in Ticino people were such fanatics about burning people (mostly women) at the stake that even the authorities in Milan at a certain point in time recommended to calm down the fires. And if I remember well the name of the last woman sentenced to be burned at the stake in Ticino was Barbara Fontana in about 1704.

Today’s recipe is the Friar’s Spaghetti, in fact the ingredients used for the pasta are incredibly simple but nonetheless delicious: tomatoes, chillies, breadcrumbs, garlic and olive oil. My twist to this recipe is that instead of using canned tomatoes I used fresh cherry tomatoes and I added the chives, besides these the procedure is basically the same.

Friar's Spaghetti Friar's Spaghetti Friar's Spaghetti

 

Friar’s Spaghetti

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 13-15 min

 

Ingredients

400 g spaghetti (I used wholemeal ones)

400 g cherry tomatoes

2 heaped tbsp. breadcrumbs

2 garlic cloves

¼ tsp. dried chillies (if you like it more spicy just increase the amount)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp. chopped chives

 

Recipe

 

Halve the cherry tomatoes and finely chop the garlic.

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a pan and add the breadcrumbs, garlic and chillies. Cook for 3-4 minutes on a low-medium fire, until the bread becomes crisp. Add a couple tbsp.. olive oil and the cherry tomatoes and leave them to cook until they have coloured and are starting to break down. Season with salt and pepper according to taste.

Cook the pasta al dente according to package instructions. Once you have removed the water, add them to the sauce. Mix well and sprinkle with the chopped chives before serving.