21 January 2012

Quince Mousse on a "Red Coulis"

We still have a huge load of quince, which we are storing in our cool larder, where they seem to be keeping well. In a way this is an autumn recipe, but it was part of a meal I cooked for my parents’ traditional New Year’s Eve dinner (held a bit later this year as we were away until 6 January).
There was a small dollop of cream in the middle of the plate, but the pattern I tried to do with it didn't work out. Just as well as the mirror effect of the coulis cancelled it out anyway...


 What you need for the quince mousse

  • 1 kg quince, backed for about 30-40 minutes till tender
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 100 ml quince liqueur or schnapps (apple or pear will do as well)
  • 100 ml rum
  • 300 g brown sugar
  • 400 ml cream, whipped

What you do

  1. Put the quince into a baking tray and bake at 180° until they are tender. Peel, core and cube the baked quince.
  2. Add the lemon juice, spirits and sugar and cook until soft. (With the resulting syrup you can boil up the core and peel for additional jellification before straining the liquid back into the quince cubes.)
  3. Put the mixture through a sieve or liquidise. Leave the purée to cool.
  4. Whip the cream and fold it gently into the cool purée.
  5. Keep refrigerated for at least 24 hours before using.
  6. Serve in scoops on the red coulis.



The "Red Coulis"

  1. Warm 100 g damassine or plum jam or sloe jelly. Liquidise the jam and pass through a sieve.  
  2. Add lemon juice (and plum schnapps or sloe gin respectively if thus inclined) to taste.
  3. Pour on the cold plates and sit the scoops of mousse in the red liquid.
  4. Garnish with a sprig of peppermint or lemon balm.


14 January 2012

Gnocchi with Boursin Sauce

In summer I tend to avoid heavy duty dairy cooking, but with the lower temperatures in winter and the increased need for comfort foods I tend to use more cream and cheese.

This is a pretty quick dinner because I don't make the gnocchi myself. I have done on occasion because my Ticinesi godmother Aunt Pina awakened my love for them: hers were the best I have ever tasted, firm yet fluffy.  But it is a lot of work and nowadays some of the ones you can buy in the shops are pretty damn good. So, apologies for my laziness here, but as a result, preparing this dinner takes about as long as boiling up the water for the gnocchi and allowing them to come up to the surface of the cooking water, once you put them on (about 15 minutes).

Next to the ingredients under "What you need" you can see Caroline’s Chicory and Apple Salad with Walnuts (see below).

What you need

  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • tblsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic pressed
  • 100 ml good white wine
  • 1 vegie stock cube
  • 100 gr Boursin (alternatively you can use a creamy blue cheese as well) cut into cubes
  • 100 ml crème fraîche
  • 100 ml fresh cream
  • cheese spice mix (I get mine from my old friend Daniel Enz, “Bio Käse-Mix – teeparadies-Kreation”; if you want to make it yourself, experiment with fenugreek, cumin, dried garlic, nutmeg, paprika, coriander chillies, etc. all ground up very fine)
  • salt, pepper
  • 3 tblsp grated parmesan cheese

What you do

  1. Melt the butter and sauté the onions with letting them brown. Add the garlic and stir to prevent it too from browning (as it would start tasting bitter otherwise).
  2. Pour in the white wine and the stock cube
  3. Stir in the boursin until it has dissolved in the wine.
  4. Add the crème fraîche and the cream and reduce.
  5. Season to taste with cheese spice mix, salt and pepper.
  6. Simmer to reduce a bit further while the gnocchi rise to the top of the boiling water.
  7. Serve with grated parmesan or pecorino romano.

To add a bit of vitamins here:

Caroline’s chicory and Apple Salad with Walnuts

5 chicory sliced
2 firm apples (, mouth-sized, thin pieces
1 handful of walnut kernels
salt, pepper
cider vinegar
pumpkin seed oil

In the salad bowl mix salt, pepper and cider vinegar before adding the pumpkin seed oil.
Add the apples and the chicory and serve with fresh bread.

Caroline has also made her own balsamico-style quince vinegar. More of which at some later stage…

07 January 2012

Galette Cannelloni with (Root) Vegetable Filling

It’s been some time since the last posting, due to pre-Christmas frenzy and then two weeks spent travelling around Rwanda with my family. But here is a recipe I did before Christmas and meant to post in December that is a typical winter dish and easy to prepare in advance.





Galettes are a kind of pancake or crepe made with buckwheat flour and generally better for a savoury meal. I grind the buckwheat fresh, but in many organic shops you can get it as flour. (Sorry for the picture on its side; I can't turn it for some stupid reason)
150 g buckwheat flour
1 egg
100 ml milk
150 ml water
1 tsp salt
50 g butter       melted

Mix all ingredients and leave the batter to sit in the fridge for at least an hour to allow the buckwheat to absorb the liquid.
Then bake individual thin pancakes in a buttered griddle or frying pan. 




The Galette Cannelloni:

What you need

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 fennel cubed
  • 4 small waxy potatoes cubed
  • 2 small carrots sliced
  • ½ kohlrabi cubed
  • optionally: cubed parsley root, parsnip or fresh beetroot
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (I used wild garlic chopped and frozen in a bit of olive oil)
  • 150ml of passata (or liquidised pellati tomatoes)
  • 100 ml white wine or dry sherry
  • berbere spice mix ((Ethiopian spice mix) (; I get mine from these folks:
  • salt
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • Provencal herbs
  • grated cheese (I really like pecorino romano with this dish)

What you do

  1. Fry the onions and the fennel in a little olive oil without letting them brown.
  2. Add the potatoes and the other vegetables, then squeeze in the garlic.
  3. Season with berbere and a vegetable stock cube, then add the sherry or white wine. Lastly sprinkle with the Provencal herbs.
  4. Add the tomato passata and simmer until the potatoes are done but still firm. The vegetables should still be al dente but reasonably dry.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary.
  6. Put the mixture across the galettes and roll them up. Place the cannelloni in a buttered oven-proof dish. If you need to make this in advance, you can now place the dish in the fridge till needed.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180°, spread the rest of the filling across the top if there is any, sprinkle with freshly grated cheese and place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the top is browning.