Vegetable Flan

Vegetable Flan

Last week with a couple of friends we inaugurated the coming of autumn with the first cheese fondue of the season. That would be the first of a long weekend of fun celebratory events. Continue reading

Came Sunday, all I wanted was to hang around the home: no sports, wide pants and top, film and lit fireplace. I also wanted some easy to make food and found this flan recipe (in French), which I found would suit the mood. I made a few small changes and additions to the original version, the main one being the addition of lentils and some extra cheese.

 

 

Vegetable Flan

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 35 min

 

Ingredients:

130 cooked lentils (if you still have to cook them, the equivalent is 50 g raw lentils)

2 tomatoes

2 small zucchini

1 onion

2 tbsp. of thyme leaves

20 cl of fresh cream

4 tbsp. flour

4 eggs

100 g grated hard goat cheese (or any other cheese you like)

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Preheat the oven th.6 (180°C).

Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds, then cut them into small cubes of about 1 cm. Now take the zucchini and make zucchini spaghetti using a spiralizer. Alternatively, if you’re using a knife, cut the zucchini by its length into thin slices and then cut each slice into spaghetti like strings. A third alternative is to cut them into cubes of 1 cm. Chop the onion.

Mix all the vegetables, the thyme, the lentils and the grated cheese and place everything in a greased baking dish.

Add the flour to a bowl; add the cream and mix; then add the eggs, salt and pepper, blend all the ingredients together. Pour on the vegetables and gently move them to make sure the egg mix fills any gaps.

Bake in the oven for 35 min. Once done, use a knife to detach the flan from the edges. This dish can be made ahead. Serve hot or at room temperature.

 

Zucchini and Feta Chickpea Burgers

Zucchini and Feta Chickpea Burgers

Lately I find loads of organic locally grown zucchini and I have basically been consuming them day on and day off. Besides pan roasting them, adding them to a salad or grilling them, I thought for a change to add them to a Mediterranean style burger: with chickpeas and feta cheese. Continue reading

I tried to make this recipe as simple and straightforward as possible so when time is limited, this recipe can come in hand as a healthy summery treat. Since the heat has increased drastically over the past week, I didn’t feel too hungry so I had the burger on its own, but you can accompany this dish with a nice crunchy salad or some oven sweet potato fries.

 

Zucchini and Feta Chickpea Burgers

Zucchini and Feta Chickpea Burgers

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 8 min

 

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas

1 zucchini (not too large)

1 red onion

1-2 garlic cloves (depending on the size)

100g feta cheese

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

2 heaped tbsp. breadcrumbs

smoked paprika

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Grate the zucchini and the onion in a bowl. Season them with salt, mix and place them in a clean tea towel, in a sieve over a bowl and set them aside to let moisture drip off.

Meanwhile prepare the rest of the recipe by mashing the chickpeas in a bowl (alternatively use s food processor), then crumble the feta and add the breadcrumbs. Pass the garlic though a crusher and add that to the bowl too.

Back to the zucchini and onion, take the tea towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible before adding them to the rest of the ingredients.

Mix all the ingredients together and add salt pepper and smoked paprika to taste. Blend all the ingredients together and form four patties.

On a medium fire heat the olive oil and add the patties to brown on both sides.

Serve in a bun with the garnish of your choice (salad, tomato, avocado, mayo, chilli sauce, ketchup,…)

Light Spaghetti and Zucchini Pasta with Goat Cheese

Light Spaghetti and Zucchini Pasta with Goat CheeseFlavourful and quick pasta recipes always come in handy. To lighten up the calorie content of this pasta dish I have replaced part of the carbs with the zucchini. In the end I was quite surprised about how filling this dish was. Continue reading

In the beginning I wanted to make the zucchini spaghetti using my knife (since I don’t have a spiralizer) but then I found here a simple alternative using a grater that I thought worked well and was also faster. It was my first time making zucchini spaghetti and since I really liked them I now have a new item on my to buy list: the spiralizer. This quick fresh and light recipe turned out to be a tasty dish and surely one of these days this is a recipe I shall serve again… especially since the wedding is less than a month away and I want to keep my food on the light side.

Light Spaghetti and Zucchini Pasta with Goat Cheese Light Spaghetti and Zucchini Pasta with Goat Cheese

Light Spaghetti and Zucchini Pasta with Goat Cheese

 

 

Light Spaghetti and Zucchini Pasta with Goat Cheese

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10-12 min

Cook time: 8-10 min

 

Ingredients

2-3 zucchini

8 sun dried tomato filets

240 g spaghetti

120 g hard goat cheese

80 g crème fraiche

Zest of 1 organic lemon

4 tbsp. dry roasted pine nuts

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Using either a spiralizer or a large holed grater or even a knife, make the zucchini noodles. As I only have a grater I used it by grating the zucchini through their whole length. The other option is to thinly slice the zucchini by their length and them cut each slice into spaghetti like shapes.

Roughly chop the sun dried tomato filets and grate the hard goat cheese.

Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water according to package instructions.

Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a pan on a medium heat and add the zucchini and the sun dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 min stirring once or twice. Add the crème fraiche, hard goat cheese and lemon zest. Lower the fire and cook until the sauce is dense but still a little runny.

Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce along with the pine nuts. Remove from fire, mix all together, correct taste if needed and serve.

Mediterranean Chickpea & Brown Rice Casserole with Feta Cheese

Mediterranean Chickpea & Brown Rice Casserole with Feta Cheese The stress for the wedding preparations is rising and last weekend my fiancé went on his surprise stag party… which I helped coordinate in secret with the best man. Continue reading

I didn’t see him the rest of the weekend since when he got home he needed to rest. Son on Sunday I had the day to myself and I prepared this casserole inspired by thekitchn. I ate a big portion and kept the rest for another time. In the evening I was still full but a couple of great friends took me out on a surprise evening between girls. We went to have a nice dinner in the nearby Italy and after that, while there was a band playing we had some gelato. It was just what I needed. I realized how thankful and lucky I am to have them in my life. Being quite sensitive at the moment, I was really moved by their gesture. Friends who are there are are an essential thing in life… like good quality food 😉

Mediterranean Chickpea & Brown Rice Casserole with Feta Cheese Mediterranean Chickpea & Brown Rice Casserole with Feta Cheese

 

 

Mediterranean Chickpea & Brown Rice Casserole with Feta Cheese

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 40 min

 

Ingredients:

1 aubergine

2 zucchini

2 tsp. chopped garlic

2 tbsp. olive oil (+ extra for greasing the baking dish)

2 eggs beaten

zest of 1 lemon + the juice of ½ lemon

Cayenne pepper

1 tsp. dried oregano

240 g cooked chickpeas

100 g brown rice (I used the quick cooking type)

200 g feta cheese

0.5 dl cream

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 180°C.

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

Cut the aubergine lengthways into 1 cm thick slices. Still lengthways cut 1 cm strips out of these slices, then cut them crossways into 1 cm cubes. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil on a medium heat and add the aubergines to brown on all sides, tossing every 2-3 min.

Meanwhile cut the zucchini following the same method as with the aubergine. Once the aubergine cubes are done set them aside and using the same pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and brown the zucchini. Toss regularly and after 5 minutes add the chopped garlic and the dried oregano. Once the zucchini are ready add the aubergine back along with the rice, the chickpeas, lemon zest, lemon juice and the cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Once all the ingredients are tepid pour in the beaten eggs and fold them in.

Transfer everything to an oiled baking dish.

In a bowl crumble the feta cheese, add the cream and mix together. Spread the feta preparation on top of the other ingredients and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 min or until the top has a nice colour. Serve alone or with a salad.

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.

Zucchini Sweet Potato Skins

Zucchini Sweet Potato SkinsRecently I find a lot of locally grown organic zucchini so I have been taking advantage of this delicious moment. Continue reading

From simple pan roasted zucchini to putting them in pasta, stuffing them and using them in a cake, the zucchini is just full of potential. This time I stuffed some sweet potato skins with these veggies and with a few ingredients I got myself half of the meal, the other half (in my attempt to loose a few kilos before the summer and especially the wedding) I filled it with a big green salad.

 

Zucchini Sweet Potato Skins

 

Zucchini Sweet Potato Skins 

 

Recipe for 8 pieces or 4-6 p.

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 1h 10 min

 

Ingredients:

4 sweet potatoes

2 zucchini

4 tbsp. pesto

60 g cream cheese

60 g grated cheese (I used Parmesan)

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp. olive oil

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 180°C and place your sweet potatoes to cook for 45 min to 1 h. Once they are tender in the centre when pricked with a fork remove them from the oven and let them cool a few minutes until you can handle them. Scoop out the inside using a spoon leaving between about 0.5-0.8 cm of the sweet potato flesh on the margins. Set the skins aside and mash the sweet potato flesh.

Cut the zucchini into about 1 cm cubes. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a pan on a medium fire and add the zucchini to cook. Brown them on all sides tossing regularly. I like to keep my veggies on the crunchy side so I cooked them for about 5-7 min. Once done season them with salt and pepper, add the pesto and toss.

In a bowl mix the cream cheese, ¾ of the grated cheese and the mashed sweet potatoes. Add the mixed ingredients to the zucchini and gently combine.

Evenly spoon in the zucchini and cheese preparation in the sweet potato skins and sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top.

Bake in the oven for about 15 min.

 

Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed ZucchiniDid I already mention my passion for zucchini and stuffed veggies? Well, I have combined the two of them and this is one possible result. Continue reading

In the beginning I wanted to use minced meat but since I’m in a very vegetarian phase I decided to use eggs as a protein. I guess in the end this recipe could be called “frittata stuffed zucchini”. This is a light recipe, which works great when the weather is hot and you don’t want to have a heavy meal.

 

 

Stuffed Zucchini

 

Recipe for 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main dish

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 50-55 min

 

Ingredients:

2 zucchini about 17 cm long

1 yellow pepper

1 red pepper

1 red onion

40-50 g grated cheese (I used Parmesan)

40 g breadcrumbs

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tbsp. chopped basil

Olive oil

2 eggs

Optional: butter

 

Recipe:

Cut the zucchini in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds using a teaspoon. Take the seeds and chop them.

Remove the stem and the seeds from the bell peppers and dice them into about 1 cm pieces. Chop the onion

In a pan heat 1 tbsp. olive oil on a medium fire and place the zucchini halves cut side down to brown for 4-5 min. Once done remove them from the pan and place them on a baking tray lined with oven paper.

Wipe the pan, pour another tbsp. olive oil and add the onions. Cook until they have softened, 4-5 min. Then add the peppers season with salt, pepper and the oregano and cook for about 10-12 min. Finally add the zucchini and cook all the ingredients for a further 5 min. Correct taste with salt and pepper if needed and set aside to cool a little.

Break the eggs in a bowl and add ¾ of the grated cheese, the breadcrumbs, the basil and pepper.

Mix the content of the bowl to the vegetables.

Drizzle a little olive oil in the zucchini shells and season with a little salt then evenly spoon in the vegetable/egg mix. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and add a few butter flakes on top. Bake in the middle of the oven at 180°C for 30 min.

Zucchini Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta

Zucchini Goat Cheese and Lemon PastaSometimes, finding what to write on a post is already enough of a challenge and then I get the added difficulty of my dog bringing me her toys to play and she can be vocal. Continue reading

At the moment I’m staring down and I can see that two cloth balls and her tiger teddy bear have made their way to my feet. The season of one of my favourite vegetable is coming to an end and I wanted to take advantage of zucchini one last time before next year. Talking about beloved food I paired the zucchini with some goat cheese and to add some freshness I added some lemon juice.

About zucchini…. I guess all regions/countries in the world have names to call their neighbours and here in Ticino, the term we use to call the Swiss Germans is actually “Zucchini”. This name probably has to do with the resonance of the names of the cities of Zug and/or Zurich. I think they call us something like “5 cents”; I haven’t found the exact spelling of the term, which I would spell something like “Chinqueli”. As long as these terms are not offensive, I find them funny and interesting as often there is something historically related to them.

Zucchini Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta

Zucchini Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta

 

Recipe for 4 as a main dish

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 10 min

 

Ingredients:

500 g zucchini

320 g long flat pasta (e.g. pappardelle, tagliatelle, taglierini…)

Juice of 2 lemons

5-6 tbsp. olive oil (optional: extra olive oil to drizzle on top of the pasta at the end)

salt and pepper

160 g goat cheese log

 

Recipe:

Cut the zucchini by their length into 0.5 cm thick slices. Then cut each slice into 0.5 cm strips.

In a bowl combine the lemon juice with 4 tbsp. lemon. Crumble the goat cheese and set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile in a pan heat 1-2 tbsp. olive oil, add the zucchini strips to brown on a medium fire for 5-7 min. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the cooked pasta and the lemon olive oil mix. Toss; add the crumbled cheese, mix (eventually drizzle a little extra olive oil on top) and serve.

Barley and Zucchini Burgers

Barley and Zucchini Burgers Does anyone ever feel tired when seasons change? Continue reading

I do. One thing I have found helps though is to eat healthy and limit the size of portions. If I eat a rich lunch I can’t seem to be able to keep my eyes open in the afternoon. In this state of mind I have made these burgers which my mother had already made a few months ago and recommended the recipe to me. I adapted the recipe, according to my taste, from one of the Betty Bossi cookbooks. If you wonder what or who Betty Bossy is here is a link to the description I found on Wikipedia, which I thought was short but accurate. I grew up with my mother (who comes from the French part of Switzerland) checking those books out. Personally as much as I like their recipes I try to avoid their ready made products (which only exist since a few years) because I have a little trouble with either the components or the taste.

 Barley and Zucchini Burgers

 

Barley and Zucchini Burgers

 

Recipe for 2 as a meal or for 4 as an appetizer

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 40 min

 

Ingredients

For the burgers:

120 g pearled barley

1 sachet saffron

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 zucchini

1 garlic clove

4 fillets sun dried tomatoes

1 tsp. olive oil + more for the burgers

2 tbsp. flour

1 egg

2 tbsp. grated Sbrinz or Parmesan

Salt and pepper

 

For the sauce:

80 g yoghurt

2 tbsp. cream cheese

2 tbsp. chopped chives

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

Place the barley in boiling water corresponding to four times its amount. To the water add some salt, the saffron and the cayenne pepper. Cook for 25-30 min (or until tender) and drain if necessary.

Meanwhile roughly grate the zucchini and pass the garlic through a garlic crusher. Thinly slice the sun-dried tomatoes. Add 1 tsp. olive oil and sauté the zucchini and garlic for 5-6 min; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and cook for another couple of minutes.

Let everything cool down a little then in a bowl mix the barley with the zucchini and tomatoes, the flour, the egg and the grated cheese.

Make 8 equal sized burgers and cook them on a medium fire with a little olive oil for about 5 min per side. Serve.

For the sauce just mix all the ingredients together and season to taste with salt and pepper. If making this recipe as a main meal, serve with a salad or veggies or in a bun.

Zucchini and Quinoa Salad

Zucchini and Quinoa SaladI absolutely adore zucchini, don’t you? Continue reading

Besides loving their taste, especially when they’re grilled, health wise they have their good arguments and they are very low on calories. I know my calories because when I was twelve I became anorexic and in that process I learned about all the calories in basically all foods and among my favourites were zucchini, salad, cucumbers, tomatoes… They say that the mind retains what it considers important and these food facts have stuck to me more than the grammar rules that apply to the Italian language. In case anyone has questions about anorexia I would be glad to answer them, of course in the margins of my personal experience and knowledge. But today I’m here to talk about zucchini and this salad which is a healthy meal and my mother will agree with me since we enjoyed it together yesterday over a sunny lunch (an almost rare event this summer). The idea to cut the zucchini this way, I found it as I was going through the Betty Bossi site (in French or German) and, I thought it would look and taste nice in a salad (chunky vegetables have a texture I really like). The recipe I saw on the site served it with tomatoes but as I wanted to make this a main dish I replaced them with quinoa, onions, goat cheese and hazelnuts.

Zucchini and Quinoa Salad

Zucchini and Quinoa Salad

 

Recipe for 4 as a main meal or 8 as a starter

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 12-20 min

 

Ingredients:

4 small to medium zucchini

160 g quinoa

4 tbsp. olive oil + more to brush the zucchini

2 tbsp. hazelnut oil

2 tbsp. cider vinegar

salt and pepper

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

1 small red onion

100 g fresh goat cheese

1-handful hazelnuts (preferably dry roasted)

 

Recipe

After washing and drying the zucchini, cut them in half lengthwise and then, always lengthwise, cut each half into three equal parts. Brush the zucchini with olive oil. Heat a griddle pan (if you don’t have one use a normal one instead) and add the zucchini slices to colour on all sides on a medium fire. I did it in more batches and once a few pieces were ready, I seasoned with salt and set them aside.

Meanwhile cook the quinoa in two times its volume in water with a little salt for about 10 min. Should there be any, remove excess water.

For the dressing mix together the 4tbsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. hazelnut oil, the 2 tbsp. cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add half of the dressing to the cooked quinoa along with the chopped parsley. Finely chop the onion and add it to the quinoa too.

Roughly chop the hazelnuts.

Place six zucchini strips on each plate, on top add the quinoa, now crumble the goat cheese before adding the hazelnuts. To finish, drizzle the remaining dressing on each dish.