I was telling my mother today how much I love spring and its produce, the only thing is that the period goes by very fast and I don’t even have the time to get bored with foods like fresh asparagus, artichokes, rhubarb or wild garlic. Continue reading →
This time I really was looking forward to making something with wild garlic; so I made a simple recipe with roasted potatoes and added a homemade wild garlic pesto with walnuts. The plus in this recipe is that the leftover pesto can be used later in many other dishes. The one I made yesterday I used it today on a tomato mozzarella salad. The traditional pesto should be made using a pestle and mortar but to speed up the process I went with my eighties blender (the modern one I owned took its last whizz on an experimental recipe some time ago). Anyway, take advantage of spring and its staple fruits (and veggies)!
Wild Garlic Pesto Potatoes
Recipe for 4-6
Prep time: 15 min (most of the prep time will take place while the potatoes are roasting)
Cook time: 50 min
For the potatoes:
600g new potatoes
Salt and pepper
For the wild garlic pesto:
40 g wild garlic (rinsed and dried)
2 tbsp. walnuts (I quickly dry roasted them)
5 tbsp. grated Parmesan
Heat oven at 200°C/180°C fan/gas.
Cut the potatoes in half and cook them in boiling water for 8-9 min then drain them.
Coat a baking tin with olive oil and add the potatoes. Pour 1 tbsp. olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 20 min. then turn them around. Bake for another 15-20 min, until golden brown and soft inside.
While the potatoes are baking prepare the pesto. Roughly chop the wild garlic and place it in a blender with a splash of olive oil and optionally some salt and process. Add the walnuts and process again. Now add the Parmesan and more olive oil. Blend until smooth and add more olive oil until it has the desired thickness. Transfer to a jar as there will be extra left for other dishes you’re making (pasta, chicken, caprese salad…)
Once the potatoes are done add 1.5-2 tsp. of the pesto, toss and serve.
A part from the different decorations I’ve seen around, I really feel Christmas is just around the corner. Since a few years, in my village there is a contest about who makes the best nativity scene. Continue reading →
The day the contest officially starts there is a small celebration in the village; besides looking at the nice work the inhabitants have made, there are also a few food and drink stands where we can enjoy a nice moment together. Friends of mine produce an amazing cheese and I knew they would hold a Raclette stand so I told them I would come by. When I arrived it was still early but soon people began arriving and not long after I found myself helping them preparing the melted cheese. I had a really nice time and despite my initial idea was go to there, have a bite and a drink, I ended up being among the last people to leave the celebration. Here are a few pictures of the “Via dei Presepi” (“The Path of The Nativity Scenes”).
In the mood for some more delicious melted cheese, I made this recipe, which is very easy but so tasty. For the breading I used walnuts which, with a cheese that has the consistence of a brie works very well. Together I made a radicchio and apple salad with a honey dressing and I found the combination to be just heavenly.
Walnut Crusted Tomme Cheese
Recipe for 4
Prep time: 15 min
Cook Time: 8-10 min
For the cheese
4 tomme cheeses (100 g each – not too soft)
45-50 g chopped walnuts
4 tbsp. breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. flour
1.5-2 tbsp. grape seed oil
For the salad:
2 tbsp. grape seed oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1.5 tbsp. runny honey
Salt and pepper
200 chopped radicchio
1 small apple (I used Braeburn)
Start preparing the salad by mixing the first four ingredients in a bowl. Quarter the apple and slice each quarter. Add the radicchio and apples to the salad, toss and set aside.
Take a dish and add the flour with a little pepper, break the egg in a bowl and mix and in a third dish mix the breadcrumbs with the walnuts.
Start by dipping one tome in the flour, shake of any excess, then pass it in the egg and finally coat with the breadcrumb-walnut mix. Repeat for each piece.
Heat the grape seed oil in a pan and add the breaded tommes to cook for 3-4 min per side.
Remove from pan and serve without waiting accompanied by the salad.
Last week my friend Simo went for a quick visit to her brother and when she came back, along with a bottle of Dolcetto d’Avola she brought along a large pack of artisanal grissini made by her brother who is a baker back in Italy. Thank you Simo. With the heat of the summer I don’t always feel too hungry so I ended up eating this dip with the grissini as a meal with a small glass of white wine. I sat on the terrace overlooking my garden and while I was munching on these treats I watched a tutorial on how to do my make up in a different way as on Friday I’m attending the opening party for the Ascona Jazz Festival. I admit it, make up isn’t my strong point.
To make this dip I looked up in my Flavour Thesaurus book which always has great ideas for combining different kinds of food. Since arugula comes from the same family as watercress I told myself I’d try this combination. Come to think of the end result I guess this creamy dip could also work well as a dressing for a salad, maybe with tomatoes…
Arugula and Walnut Dip
Prep time: 5 min
30 g arugula
150 g Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
2 tbsp olive oil (+ more to drizzle on top at the end)
4-5 dry roasted walnut kernels
1 spring onion (white part only)
Salt and Pepper
Cut the spring onion into chunks.
In a food processor finely blend the walnuts first, then add the arugula, the spring onion and the olive oil.
Mix the whole with the Greek yoghurt add the grated Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh bread, raw veggies or grissini (like I did)
So a couple of days ago I was doing my groceries found some Swiss grown aubergines. Since I knew I wouldn’t see my boyfriend in the evening, I decided I’d enjoy them with a nice glass of wine and while watching the film Milk.Stefano (my boyfriend) doesn’t eat aubergines and usually when we eat together I often make something with meat. This was an evening to enjoy with and by myself. After consulting The Flavour Thesaurus (fortunately it’s in e-book version or the ink would have faded from the pages). I liked the idea of Aubergines and walnuts, so I decided to go with this. Instead of frying it in a pan like I did last year with my breaded zucchini, I decided to bake them in the oven and followed the directions I found here.
Walnut Breaded Aubergine with Sour Cream Dip
Recipe for 3-4 as an appetizer.
Prep time: 15-20 min
Cook time: 12-16 min
For the aubergines:
1 medium aubergine
4 tbsp breadcrumbs
3 tbsp finely chopped roasted walnuts
¼ tsp chili powder
Zest of 1 small lemon finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp water
2 tbsp flour
(optional: a drizzle of oil on the slices before baking)
For the dip:
150 ml sour cream
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 small crushed garlic clove
1 tbsp chopped spring onion
Switch the oven on at 230°C.
For the dip, in a bowl, mix all the ingredients together and set aside.
In a bowl place the flour. In another mix the egg with the water and in the third the combine breadcrumbs, walnuts, chili pepper and lemon zest.
Remove the top and bottom of the aubergine and two extremities on the side. Cut lengthways making slices of about 1 cm thick. Cut each slice into four parts.
Season the aubergine pieces with salt and pepper. Take one piece and coat it with the flour, then with the egg and finally in with the breadcrumb mix. Place on a parchment lined baking tray. Repeat with the rest of the aubergine pieces.
Now you can eventually drizzle with the olive oil. Place in the oven and leave to cook for 6-8 min. Turn the slices and cook for another four minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm with the sour cream dip.
This recipe could also work as a side dish topped with a little tomato sauce.
What better than a warm soup when it’s cold outside? Well, there are other things but this is a blog about cooking. Continue reading →
I personally have periods where I could eat soup every day and other times it’s the opposite. I’m still in Valais and a friend and former school mate from Germany has come to stay with me for a few days. The day she arrived I thought it would be nice to have a simple lunch so I made this soup and served it with some brown bread. My ideas was to make a soup with a food combination I like and of course to make it with seasonal products. Endive is seasonal and it marries so well with blue cheese. I went and baked the endive; for the rest of the soup I followed the same method I use when I make a blue cheese sauce for pasta, I just added a little more cream.
Endive and Blue Cheese Soup
Recipe for 2
Prep time : 10 minutes
Cook time : 45 minutes
500 g endive
70 g Roquefort
Salt and pepper
1.2 dl cream
1 large tbsp melted butter
A few walnut kernels (and eventually a little walnut oil)
Heat oven at 220°C.
Cut the endives in half lengthwise and place in an oven proof dish. Pour over the melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the endives are soft.
Meanwhile in a pan place the cream and the Roquefort in a pan and cook on a low fire until the cheese has melted.
Once the endives are ready place them in a blender and whiz until pureed. Add them to the Roquefort and cream and mix.
Serve hot and garnish with roughly chopped walnuts and eventually a drizzle of walnut oil.
Tonight after a while it should rain, maybe with a bit of luck the snow will finally cover the top of the Alps. I really want to ski next week but at the moment there is really not much snow. I know my friends would say:
‘But Fanny, you never ski anyway’.
Not (totally) true. It’s just because I’m a perfectionist when it comes to skiing conditions: sun, good snow and possibly not too many people. Anyway tonight, with my boyfriend, I want to make it a cosy evening and except for the salad, nothing will require the use of covers. I went for a selection of local products with crudités and these cheese baskets are something I wanted to try. I recently found the idea for this recipe on cheesesfromswitzerland once I was looking for some other kind of information on Swiss cheese. Unfortunately this recipe appears not to be on-line any more but they have other interesting ideas besides general information on Swiss cheese. Their version was made with ham, celery, croutons and a dressing containing apple juice and mustard. With the rain as a background sound, we will enjoy our meal and watch a few episodes of the third season of Game of Thrones.
Makes 6 bites
Prep time : 10 minutes
Cook time: 7 minutes
60g grated cheese (for example a coarse Gruyère)
½ tsp flour
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1 tsp cider or apple vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 handful baby spinach
Heat oven at 220°C.
Take enough oven paper to line the surface of a baking tray. Cut the paper into 6 equal parts and place them on the tray.
Mix the flour, the cheese and a bit of pepper together. On each piece of oven paper place about 2 tsp of the preparation to form a round of about 8 cm. I helped myself with a round mould. Place in the oven for about 7 minutes (keep an eye on the process). Once you like the colour remove the tray from the oven (my advice is to cook the cheese rounds a bit more than what I did in the pictures). Take one piece of the paper with the cheese on it and flip it over the an upside down espresso cup or similar sized container. Remove the paper and leave to cool.
In a small bowl mix the mustard, the honey, the vinegar and a bit of salt together.
Thinly slice the spinach leaves and mix them with the dressing (you might not need to use all of the dressing).
Roughly chop the walnuts and the cranberries.
Once the cheese nests have cooled, delicately remove them from the cups and fill them with a bit of spinach and sprinkle a bit of walnuts and cranberries.
In Ticino this is the low tourism season and with the cold, all the grottoes are closed until spring. I miss them, and I miss one in particular: the grotto Lafranchi in Coglio which a couple villages away from where I live. Continue reading →
I have already mentioned this place but since I cannot go there at the moment I wanted to try to make this cabbage and apple salad. This salad is part of a dish served with a venison tartar and even if it was in the first course in the autumn menu I found it more than enough. So the grotto is closed but I can still have their food. Tonight I’m going out with a couple of friends to the ice skating ring they have set up in the Piazza Grande in Locarno; around the ring is a bunch of stands and one of them is occupied by Davide and his chef Carlo from the grotto. Last week we got there too late and it was closed so this time I hope we can make it. Anyway, ice skating is not really in our plans…
Cabbage and Apple Salad with Honey Dressing
Prep time: 10 min
Recipe for 2
250 g shredded cabbage
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp roasted walnuts
Peel the apple, cut it into four parts and core. Take each piece and cut it lengthways into four. Turn the apple quart and slice into 0.5 thick pieces. Add to the cabbage.
Chop the walnuts and add ¾ to the salad.
In a bowl mix together the honey, the vinegar, the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Add to the cabbage and apple and blend well. Place on a serving plate and sprinkle with the remaining walnuts. Serve with crusty bread or game and why not some cheese…