1 September 2010
Greens Beans, Hazelnut & Orange Salad
I recently discovered a new type of green bean, the Purple Queen Bush Bean. In actual fact its outer skin is an aubergine colour which turns to a deep shade of green when cooked. Magic!
You could use these for this recipe but I only had normal green beans (French beans) on had, which work just as well. Toasting the hazelnuts removes their slightly bitter taste and allows you to rub off part of the skin, exposing the nut below. The orange is a nice contrast to the nuts and sweetness of the beans.
The original recipe is from the Ottolenghi cookbook. I adapted it as snow peas (mangetout) are often difficult to find here and I try, when possible, to buy local produce.
26 May 2010
Classic asparagus risotto made with arborio rice, onions, stock, Parmesan cheese and fresh asparagus.
The season for asparagus always seems too short. In a blink of an eye it’s gone and you have to wait a whole year to enjoy these tasty shoots again. So when I was in Provence this past weekend I took advantage of the Uzes Market.
There were many different varieties of asparagus to choose from – white, green, purple tipped, but for this recipe I prefered the green. What is great about risotto is that it doesn’t over power the asparagus, but compliments it. This is quintessential Italian cooking, which is all about tasting each ingredient.
See link ‘asparagus risotto‘ below for recipe:
13 May 2010
Wild garlic, ramsons, bear’s garlic….
Whatever you choose to call it, it is delicious and currently in season. In French they call it l’ail des ours (garlic of bears) as apparently this is a brown bear’s Achilles’ heel! Humans also love these wild, garlic flavoured leaves, which are edible and great to use in soups, salads, omelette etc.
Wild garlic is currently in abundance at the local fruits and veg market. Every stall seems to have a large basked of these bright green leaves. I have taken advantage of this and made a basic bear’s garlic pesto, half of which I keep fresh in the fridge and the rest I divide into smaller portion to freeze. There is just too much to use all at once and as the season is relatively short it is a nice way to enjoy bear’s garlic for weeks to come.
Click link below for bear’s garlic pesto recipe:
25 August 2009
What you didn’t know about true Italian tomato sauce…..
Marisa, the concierge in my office building, is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Italian cooking. Born and raised in the small village of Zogno, 4km from San Pellegrino, she grew up with the transitional values of simple & delicious hands on cooking.
At the end of the day when my job is ending and hers is starting, we often spend some time chatting about recipes. She told me that for Italians, the true way of making tomato sauce is with either onions or garlic but never both together. The tomatoes should be very ripe, as that is where the taste comes from and will make or break your sauce. Removing the skin is also essential, as is a generous quantity of fresh basil and hand chopped garlic.
17 November 2008
The DUTCH Series N°2
‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ This is a great saying however this is just one minor detail they left out…. the cooking instructions!
Taking advantage of this little loophole and the fact that it is currently the apple season, I have invented a quick & healthy recipe, within the guidelines of the Dutch Series.
Now I am not suggesting that you run triumphantly down to your doctors’ office, boasting how you have found a justification to eat more desert…. a chink in the dietary armor so to say. Perhaps best to remain discrete and if you do happen to have a sweet tooth, here is your prefect solution to satisfy a craving while keeping an eye on your waistline & budget!
3 November 2008
ROASTED TOMATO & GARLIC SOUP
Two factors influenced this recipe:
- The overflowing bowl of tomatoes sitting on my counter- I went on a shopping spree last weekend buying up every bunch in sight, with views of chopping & freezing tomatoes for the winter months ahead. I think there must have been some pioneer instinct in me that needed to be satisfied. I clearly got a little carried away, as after my 3rd container the pile was only half used…. Luckily there was a plan B!
- The fact that it is the cold & flu season, and people are dropping like flies. Is it really any wonder – you leave the house dressed for the north pole, only to find yourself peeling off the layers by lunchtime… just in time for the sun to set early, the temperature to drop and the sweaters to go back on. It’s a vicious cycle. But they say starve a fever, feed a cold, so best to be prepared!
Roasting the tomatoes & garlic, removes the water, concentrates the flavours and accentuates the sweetness. Plus I added a dash of balsamic vinegar to compliment the velvety unctuousness. This dish is perfect as an entrée/starter – due to it’s intensity you do not need a large blow!
Suggestion – I find smaller tomatoes work best as they have less water. Evenly spread them over a baking sheet with edges, as they still release a considerable amount of water when roasted. I use the remaining liquid in the soup. Also do not peel the whole garlic cloves, their skin keeps them tender.
27 October 2008
A MAN OF 300 CHEESE: In my ever growing pursuit to support & promote our local specialty food shops & producers, those who sweat & toil to bring us superior quality, hand made produce direct from the source, I recently organised an interview with Dominique Ryser, current owner of the Fromagerie Bruand in Geneva.
This was a great opportunity to meeting the man behind the cheese !!! I have often passed his store, and each time la gourmandise (love of food) takes over my senses – no longer am I the self composed, rational shopper with list – no, I have become a mouse… and a large drooling one at that. Completely mesmerized by his cheese display, I forget where I am walking, thinking only of the endless choices infront of me … salty Gruyere, soft tomme, nippy cheddar, crumbly sbrinz, creamy vacherin, velvety chevre…. and all the wonderful recipes that I could make with these. It is truly a sight to hold.
HISTORY: The Fromagerie Bruand was started in 1982 by Mr. & Mrs Bruand, mother & step-father to Dominique Ryser. In 1998 they decided to turn their attention to other pastures, these being outside of Geneva, in the Swiss town of Ovronnaz - Valais. It was here that they opened the Chalet Gourmand, a fine food store offering cheeses (fromages), dried meats (charcuterie), wine (vinothéque) and other local specialty products. The silver lining of this move was that it left room for Dominique, a chef by trade, and his wife Carole to take over the family business that same year.
TODAY: Today they are the proud owners of this flourishing local cheese shop, located in the heart of Geneva’s most prominent food hall, Halle de Rive (the same location of my recent on Pain d’épice (spice bread). Their shop is well lay out and boast a superb collection of over 300 types of cheeses, of which 60% are Swiss, 30% European and 10% coming from abroad. It comes as no surprise that with Dominique’s welcoming attitude, extensive knowledge of cheese and wide selection of quality produce, that the Fromagerie Bruand has build up a loyal clientele and a name of excellence in the industry.
22 September 2008
EMILY THE GREAT’S CARROT & PEAR SOUP
First there was Catherine the Great of Russia (1729 – 1796), and then a few hundred years later, came Emily the Great, my good friend, who proudly gave herself this name at the ripe old age of 2, for surely one great lady in history deserves another!
And a great lady she is, one who I am proud to know, and who was a lifesaver (the pink kind with a gold star) at my wedding this September 6th. So how does the soup fit in you may ask - well in amongst the dress fittings, dinners, last minute ribbons, welcome packages, speech preparations, vows etc, we all had to eat…. so each member of the family took turns putting something delicious together.
Emily’s contribution to the soup pot – was in fact soup, her version of fresh garden carrot, autumn William pear, and spicy Cayenne pepper. Top that with oven baked, olive oil & garlic croutons, and you have a great fall dish, that I couldn’t wait to put on the blog. Afterall today is the 1st day of autumn / fall.