ROCKET PESTO

8 April 2010

Rocket (Arugula) Pesto

ROCKET (ARUGULA) PESTO

Peppery rocket pesto is a nice alternative to basil.

Now I love basil pesto just as much as the next person, but every once and a while it’s nice to have  a change. Instead of basil leaves and pine nuts I like to use rocket (arugula) and pecans. The strong peppery taste of rocket with the mellowing effect of the slightly sweet pecans works perfectly together

When you think rocket, the first thing that generally comes to mind is salad. Don’t limit yourself, break free, break free I tell you!

This rocket pecan pesto is great with pasta, meat, fish even rice. Why not use it in a sandwich instead of mayonnaise or mustard.

See the link ‘‘rocket pesto” below for recipe:

Rocket Pesto

BAKED APPLES

12 January 2010

Baked Apples

Baked Apples seemed to be an appropriate welcome back, New Years resolution, apple desert recipe.  What better way to satisfy your sweet tooth while watching your waist line. Plus baked apples are a cinch to make… core, stuff, bake. That’s it. No fuss no muss.

Olivier’s parents have an apple orchard in France and this year they were overwhelmed with the yield. There were enough apples for the Russian army I tell you. So each week we receive a top up, which means I continuously have a bag of these golden red globes in my fridge. I would be complaining except that they are absolutely delicious and make wonderful apple sauce, pies, cakes, muffins not to mention baked apples.

BAKED APPLES

ALMOND BUTTER

7 April 2009

sp-almond-butter

Almond Butter

ALMOND BUTTER : Every once and a while I get a hankering for peanut butter. But I normally put it aside when faced with the astronomical price of Sfr 5 (~$5) for a small 250g jar. In Switzerland peanut butter does not rank amongst the basic, inexpensive food staples  –  it is an imported oddity, that many Swiss people, like my husband, have never tried. The whole idea of peanut butter & jam sandwiches, not to mention banana left him cold. That was of course until he tried it and like the rest of us, fell hopelessly in love with this sticky nutty spread. It makes me think of the film Meet Jo Black when the butler asks him what he would like, ‘just the butter & a spoon?’.

There is another perversity in this whole peanut butter loving situation and that is that it normally gives me a stomach ache. I think it has something to do with the oils they use to make it. Which got me to thinking about making nut butters in general and people with peanut allergies. It must be especially hard on children not being able to eat certain foods and helpful for mothers to have tasty alternatives. Coincidence would have it that I had two packages of whole almonds and a little free time, so I set about making my own almond butter.

Rave reviews is all I have to say. Absolutely delicious! The only issue I ran into was the desire to further reduce the amount of oil used, however the choice was between that and ruining my new blender, so I decided not to risk it. However if you do try this recipe with less oil please let me know how it turns out. I also recommend substituting a little almond oil instead of sunflower, it adds to the almond butter taste, which has a slight sweetness with a hint of sea salt to compliment.

ALMOND BUTTER

FESENJAN : lamb recipe

20 January 2009

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FESENJAN : Persian lamb recipe

Don’t you just love  how life has little culinary surprises in store for you…

This year we spent New Years Eve in a quaint Swiss chalet, nestled in the mountains of Eastern Switzerland. It was here that I had the good fortune of meeting Roswit & her daughter Lilly, in the kitchen…. We got to talking about cooking (funny that!) and it turns out that Roswit’s husband is Iranian and she’s learned to make several Persian dishes over the years. This explained why the chalet was filled with the delicious smells & fragrant spices during the holidays.

To my delight we exchanged details and one week later I opened my emails to find her wonderful Fesenjan recipe. This is a traditional Persian dish of duck, in a walnuts & pomegranate sauce. Roswit’s version uses lamb meatballs in a thick walnut, tomato & pomegranate sauce. It is not just the delicious scent of this dish that will capture your heart, not to mention your appetite, but the sumptuous flavour combinations. The lamb with cinnamon, garlic & a hint of sweet/sour pomegranate, with the unctuous nutty sauce that almost tastes creamy without the use of actual cream.

In the future I will try this recipe with chicken or duck and perhaps decorate the top with pomegranate seeds. I also recommend using fresh whole grain / whole wheat bread instead of white bread or bread crumbs as it keeps the meat very moist & juicy. I also used a slightly larger quantity of lamb (280 grams total), as I prefer this meat to onion ratio. This dish is excellent served on a bed of basmati onion rice (** see recipe at end of post).

FESENJAN

ALMOND COOKIES

5 December 2008

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HONEY ALMOND COOKIES

Leafing through my cookbooks in preparation for Christmas baking, I realised that cookie making really falls into three main categories:

  1. drop cookies
  2. cut-out cookies
  3. cylinder cookies

DROP COOKIES: are those that require just a finger and a spoon, to drop small quantities of dough onto cookies sheets. This is the no fuss no muss method, especially handy when baking with children.

CUT-OUT COOKIES: the pretty though time consuming cousin… involving the chilling & rolling out of dough, to make lovely shapes, that can be iced and decorated.

CYLINDER COOKIES:are made by rolling the dough into a cylindrical form & then slicing it into rounds. Often used to make shortbread cookies (sablés).

My recipe for honey almond cookies falls into the first category, for though I love making pretty cut-out cookies, and will soon be doing so for the holiday season, I often need a quick baking solution after work.

So where is the ‘click & sniff’ button when you really need it – there is a button for just about everything else now a days, and it would definately be worth while, as the scent of toasted almonds with caramelising honey, will leave you fainting from felicity.

ALMOND COOKIES

ALMOND CAKE

20 May 2008

Almond Cake

ALMOND CAKE {GATEAU AUX AMANDES}: I think my pantry has been learning old tricks from the washing machine – you put two socks in and only one comes out…. you place a packet of almonds in the pantry and they vanish – coincidence I THINK NOT!

To avoid ‘the hunt of humiliation’ the only logical solution was to get their 1st – buy the almonds and use them right away. Which in my case in not difficult as I am a big fan of this nut.

The original recipe for this cake comes from Thomas Keller’s cookbook ‘Bouchon’, and uses almond paste and amaretto. I first tried this recipe using 2 substitutions : almond essence & ‘masse d’amande’ – a very thick French almond butter made with ground almonds, soya beans and sugar.

My cake turned out wonderfully moist & flavourful – which got me to thinking. If others wanted the same results & didn’t have access to this almond paste, it would be useful to know how to make it from scratch. Thus I have created a homemade recipe, which makes a little extra almond paste that you can keep in the fridge and use as a spread on toast – delicious dear diary!

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See link ‘Almond cake‘ below for the recipe:

ALMOND CAKE

CHESTNUT YOGHURT CAKE

3 March 2008

Chestnut yogurt cake

CHESTNUT YOGURT CAKE

It seems as though every culture has their own, good oldfashioned, mother’s milk cake – the Chinese have their pound cake, the English their victoria sponge, the French love a moist ‘quatre quart’ as do the Swiss, and I was recently introduced to the wonderful world of ‘yoghurt / yogurt cake’ which has become a staple in my kitchen.

What makes this cake so perfect is that it is uncomplicated, yet versatile – to be served alone or with jam & butter, to accompany coffee, tea or milk as is your preference (or your age)  – speaking of which doesn’t appear to influence the love for this cake amongst children and adults alike. It is perfect for tea time, the gouter (aka snack) or just when you feel like something a little bit sweet.

I often come home at the end of the day with a hankering to bake but an aversion to spending hours doing so. The yoghurt cake is a great soulution, as it can be made using two bowls, in less than 10 minutes, with endless flavours and to really bring the selling point home it is as good as any cake can be for your waist line as it uses more yoghurt than butter. I have taken to making it on it’s own or with lemon zest, coco powder, vanilla bean and most recently purée de marron AKA chestnut purée.

<strong><em> CHESTNUT YOGHURT CAKE</em></strong>

GRANOLA

20 November 2007

Granola maison!

GRANOLA: To be or not to be a breakfast person, that is the question …

I for one used to fall into the latter category… a category reserved for those of us who don’t do mornings… rush out the door like mad women (as if there was time for toast let alone breakfast) and find themselves sitting at their desk before the sun has even risen, sipping on a cup of coffee. Healthy you say…. I think not!!!

It took moving to Geneva and living with my other half – a breakfast fiend, tartine nut, jam addict and general muesli fan… to make me turn over a new leaf or should I say grain.

With breakfast becoming an increasingly important meal of my day, I started paying more attention to the ingredients I was eating…. and was shocked to discover the amount of salt, white sugar & hydrogenated oils that most granola brands add. Something had to be done! So I set to work on making my own healthy recipe.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can personalise it… I use the rolled oats as a base and then add and subtract the nuts, seeds & dried fruits I feel like.

GRANOLA

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