Panna Cotta with Rhubarb Purée and Strawberries

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May is a month in which a lot of fruit and vegetables are in season that taste good only when they are really, really fresh such as asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries. I personally have the tendency to gorge myself on these things until it almost comes out of my ears and I have to wait the rest of the year to regain my appetite ;-).
Except for strawberries, which I would not mind eating all year in huge quantities.
Conveniently, rhubarb and strawberries go together really well which is why we came up with this delicious and easy to prepare dessert.

Dessert for 4 persons (4 bowls of 200 ml)
Preparation time: 20 minutes, + 4 hours cooling

Ingredients
Panna Cotta
500 ml single cream or cream
50 g sugar
1 vanilla bean
4 leaves of gelatine

Rhubarb purée
150 g rhubarb
2 tablespoons honey
100 ml water

4 strawberries

Soak the gelatine in cold water. To prepare the Panna Cotta, bring the cream to a boil and add the sugar. Cut the vanilla bean in half, scrape out the marrow and add it to the cream.
Wring out the gelatine and let it dissolve in the cream while stirring. Fill the cream into small bowls and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Peel the rhubarb and cut into chunks. Put it in a saucepan with the water and the honey and bring to a boil. Let simmer for approx. 5 minutes until the rhubarb starts falling apart.
Allow to cool down and purée it later with an immersion blender.

Just before serving, spread the purée evenly on the Panna Cotta . Decorate with a few fresh strawberries.

Enjoy!
-Kessy –

Salmon with Cream Cheese and Pesto and Asparagus gratinated with Parmesan

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Perhaps you know the situation, when you haven’t anything proper in the fridge and you start combining what is left and suddenly you have a great result of which you think “Hey, that’s great! Let’s always do it like that!”?

This is what happened this weekend. On Friday we bought a bunch of green asparagus, but did not really know what we were going to with it. If nothing better had come to mind, we would have just simply prepared a hollandaise sauce and added it to the “pure asparagus”.
At home, it occurred to us that we still had a piece of salmon fillet in the freezer. Umm … asparagus and salmon? Should go well together. And what else? There is still one opened package of cream cheese and a jar of pesto. Let’s put this on the salmon! And the asparagus? We could top it with the leftover Parmesan.

And the result? Let’s just say – we gave each other a High-Five after the first few bites 😉

Serves 4 people
Preparation time: about 30 minutes

Ingredients

600 g salmon fillet, skinned
approx. 20 g flour
4 tbsp green pesto
4 tbsp cream cheese
1 kg green asparagus
50 g butter, melted
150 g Parmesan
Salt and pepper

Wash the asparagus and cut off the woody end if needed. Place in a pot with plenty of salted water and bring to a boil. Simmer for approx. 8 minutes.

In the meantime, wash the salmon fillet, pat dry and cut into four equal-sized pieces.
Turn the salmon pieces in some flour and then fry in a pan all around for a total of 8-10 minutes or until the salmon is lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 240° C / 465° F grill.

Drain the asparagus and place in a baking dish. Pour over with the melted butter, grate the Parmesan cheese and spread on top. Sprinkle with ground pepper.

Place the salmon in an ovenproof dish. Put a tablespoon of cream cheese and a tablespoon of pesto on each piece of salmon.

Put both forms side by side on a baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes in the upper half of the oven.

Enjoy!
-Kessy –

Hummus with Feta and home-made Pita Bread

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We hope you all had nice Easter holidays and have eaten well! In the last two weeks we have cooked a lot and taken quite a few pictures, but did not really have the time to post any recipes.

Over the holidays, we had dinner and a relaxing evening first at Peter’s parents’ and then with mine, and a friend from my kindergarten years, with whom I established contact again last year after more than 25 years, came to visit us last weekend. So we showed her Basel and recommended the best chocolate shop in town to buy souvenirs.
As always it was really hard for me to leave the shop without buying anything for myself, but we have a whole kitchen drawer full of chocolate and sweet stuff, so my argument and pout was invalid… 😉

So after eating Easter lamb and working on the contents of that chocolate drawer, it was time for something different and we came up with (surprise, surprise) a vegetarian dish from the Middle East.

Of course you could also just buy flatbreads for this recipe and shorten the cooking time from about 2 hours to 15 minutes. But preparing the pita bread by yourself is really worthwhile, and while you’re at it, just make a few more (the bread can be frozen and kept for later use) and use them for example for a deluxe kebab (recipe will follow tomorrow).

Serves 4 people
Preparation time with ready-made bread: 15 minutes
Preparation time with homemade pita bread: 45 minutes, + 50 minutes letting rest

Ingredients

Pita Bread
30 g yeast
200 ml hot water
1 tsp liquid honey
80 g wholemeal flour
270 g white flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Alternatively: 4 small flatbreads

Hummus
2 cans chickpeas / garbanzo beans (250g drained weight)
6 tbsp tahini
6 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
½ bunch of chopped parsley
1 tsp cumin
6 tbsp water
Salt and pepper

100 g feta
½ bunch of parsley
2 tbsp sumac
8 cherry tomatoes (optional)

Mix yeast , ¼ of the water and honey in a bowl. Let rest for 5 minutes until bubbles are forming. Add both types of flour, half of the oil, salt and the remaining water and knead to a smooth dough.
Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and form it into balls. Press each ball flat to about 1 cm and place on baking tray lined with baking paper.
Brush the pita breads with a little water and let them rest for another 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 220° C / 430° F and bake the bread in the middle of the oven for 8 minutes.

For the hummus drain the chickpeas. Add tahini, oil, garlic, water, lemon juice, herbs and spices and puree everything.

Arrange the hummus on plates and crumble the feta cheese over it. Chop the parsley and distribute on the hummus. Generously sprinkle everything with sumac and serve with the pita bread.
If you like, you can add small cherry tomatoes, cucumber pieces or stuffed grape leaves.

Enjoy!
-Kessy –

Dark Chokolate Banana Cupcakes with Pecans

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My father loves dark chocolate and bananas. Fortunately, these two flavours can be combined quite perfectly. So what could be more fitting than to make dark chocolate and banana cupcakes for his birthday? I have amended the cupcakes with a few pecans and repeated the chocolate banana flavour in the frosting.

My father enjoyed them very much and the rest of us? We were happily munching the cupcakes and pleased with his birthday. 🙂

12 Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes
1 large, over-ripe banana
125 ml milk
85 ml sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 egg
120 g sugar
160 g flour
4 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
100 g dark chocolate
30 g pecans

Frosting
100 g butter, softened
1 over-ripe banana, mashed
1 tsp vanilla paste
2 tbsp cocoa powder
130 g powdered sugar
200 g mascarpone
1 pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 175° C / 350° F.

In a medium sized bowl, mash the banana with a fork. Add milk, oil, vanilla paste, egg, and sugar and whisk thoroughly.

Mix the flour with cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
Form a small well in the middle and pour in the banana milk. Mix just until all lumps have dissolved.
Finely chop the chocolate and the pecans and gently fold into the batter.

Put paper liners in a muffin tin and fill to about 2/3 full.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

For the frosting, beat the butter and mascarpone until it is light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the mashed banana, vanilla paste and salt and mix. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder mix well for 2 minutes. Leave in a cool place for ½ hour, then spread the frosting on the cupcakes using a piping bag.

Enjoy!
-Kessy-

Leek Rolls with Ham and Feta

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It’s the time of year in which it feels like about 50% of the people around me have a cold. The wonderful spring weather enticed us to already wear T-shirts and light clothing, but stay out after sunset and you’re frozen to the bone in your between-seasons jacket.
Therefore, a vitamin boost will do no harm. So stock up your vegetable drawer and get started: today we are cooking delicious leek rolls filled with feta cheese and ham. Leek contains a lot of vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid as well as many minerals and iron.
On that note: enjoy and stay healthy!

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Serves 4 people
Preparation time: 15 minutes, + 30 minutes gratinating

Ingredients

3 leeks (about 600 g)
200 g feta cheese
8 slices of ham
300 ml cream
Approx. 80 g grated mountain cheese , e.g. Gruyère
1 tsp cornstarch
Nutmeg
Cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper

Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly. Cut each leek into pieces of approx. 15 cm and blanch them for 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200° C / 390° F.

Cut the feta into eight long pieces. Put a piece of feta and some leeks on each slice of ham, roll in and place in a gratin dish.

For the topping, whisk the cream with the grated cheese and the spices and then spread evenly over the leeks rolls.

Gratinate in the oven for approx. 20 to 30 minutes until the surface is golden brown.

Enjoy!
-Kessy-

Tarte Flambee with sun-dried Tomatoes, Feta and Olives

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This week we have once again made one of our favorite dishes: Tarte Flambee or “Flammkuchen” as it is called in Switzerland. It is a kind of “French pizza” from Alsace made from a very thin layer of pastry (a bit like flatbread) topped with sour cream, chopped onions and bacon.
It is usually rather some cold weather comfort food, but we have made this little gem fit for springtime and came up with a Mediterranean version.
Admittedly, the dough is the only reminder left of Flammkuchen, but we are not too strict about it, as the result was finger licking good :-).

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Main course for 2 people, appetizer for 4 people
Preparation time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
200 g flour (we usually use 100 g white flour and 100 g wholemeal flour )
125ml water
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt

about 16 sun-dried tomatoes
15-20 black olives
200 g feta
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 220° C / 430° F.

Mix the flour and the salt in a bowl. Pour in water and oil and knead to a smooth dough. When the dough should be too sticky, add a little more flour.
Roll out the dough thinly (2 mm) to the size of a baking tray. We usually roll out the dough directly on the baking paper, as it is then easier to place on the baking tray without tearing it.

Coarsely chop the tomatoes and olives, crumble the feta and distribute everything evenly on the dough. Pluck the thyme leaves from the sprigs and season the tarte with it. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for approx. 20 minutes in the lower half of the oven until the cheese and the tarte are slightly browned.

Enjoy!
-Kessy-

Tiramisu Cupcakes

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Today’s recipe from “Kessy’s Bakery” comes just in time to sweeten your weekend. The nice spring weather calls for something light and fluffy, so I decided to transform a delicious tiramisu into handy cupcakes. You will be surprised how much they taste like real tiramisu!

Preparation time: 20 minutes + baking 20 minutes
Ingredients for 12 cupcakes

Cupcakes
3 eggs
100 g sugar
50 g flour
50 g cornstarch
1 tbsp custard powder
½ tsp baking powder

Frosting
about 2 little espresso cups of strong espresso or coffee
250 g mascarpone
50 g powdered sugar
100 ml cream
Cocoa powder for dusting

Preheat the oven to 175° C / 350° F.

Separate the eggs and whisk the egg whites until very stiff. Gradually trickle in the sugar and continue stirring until you have a shiny mass.
Fold in the egg yolks.

Mix flour, cornstarch, custard powder and baking powder. Carefully add to the beaten egg whites.
Place paper liners in a cupcake tin and fill in the batter about ¾ full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

In the meantime, cook the espresso. Add powdered sugar to the mascarpone and beat until it is light and fluffy. Stir in 2 tablespoons of espresso. Whip the cream until stiff and fold into the mascarpone.

Repeatedly stab the surface of the cooled cupcakes with a fork. Drizzle approx. 2-3 tsp of espresso on each cupcake and let seep.
Spread the mascarpone cream on the cupcakes. Leave them in a cool place and sprinkle with cocoa powder just before serving.

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Enjoy!
-Kessy-

Spinach Pizza with Fried Eggs and Gruyère

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My absolute favorite food when I was little was spinach with fried eggs (sunny side up). The great challenge of my childhood was to eat the fried egg until only the yolk was left. Of course under all circumstances the yolk had to stay intact until the very end, to be finally consumed in one large bite. I had to eat it exactly like that and not differently!
I admit that even now I eat my fried eggs that way. Of course today I cry a great deal less should the yolk be broken by accident :-).
So when I discovered a recipe for pizza with spinach and fried egg, I just had try it out. And yes, I ate it by cutting around the egg yolk until the very end … 🙂

Serves 4 people
Preparation time: about 10 minutes + 20 minutes baking

Ingredients

1 pack pizza dough (about 600 g)
700 g frozen spinach, de-frosted
300 g mountain cheese , e.g. Gruyère
4 eggs
1 tsp sumac
1 tsp za’atar
4 tsp olive oil
fleur de sel, pepper

Preheat the oven to 200° C / 390° F. Roll out the pizza dough if necessary. Then divide into 4 equal parts and place on a tray lined with baking paper.
Grate the cheese and spread it evenly on the pizza dough. Drain the de-frosted spinach well and distribute evenly on the four slices of pizza, but leave a depression in the middle of each pizza.
Sprinkle with sumac, za’atar and pepper and drizzle each pizza with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Take from the oven and carefully crack an egg into the middle of each well. Sprinkle with a bit of fleur de sel and put it in the oven for another 5 minutes until the egg whites are solid, but the yolk still liquid.

Enjoy!
-Kessy –

Source: adapted from “Plenty”

Orange and Chocolate Flavoured Almond Cantuccini

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About two years ago we spent a week in Tuscany. Although we were already quite busy with wining and dining, sightseeing, and general idleness 🙂 , we could still fit in a half-day cooking class.
After we had prepared 6 different types of pasta and a divine tiramisu under the guidance of our friendly cook, we concluded the class with home-made crispy Cantuccini.

The course itself was a lot of fun; the difficulty was that we were served ALL SIX VARIETIES of pasta as the grand finale. Not that this would not have been palatable – quite the contrary, but after plate number 3 this stuff just comes out of your ears. While we bravely managed to polish off a small bowl of the Tiramisu afterwards, already feeling slightly queasy, there was really no more room for the Cantuccini. Luckily, the cook had mercy and handed them to us in a little baggie to save for later … 🙂

Maybe this experience was the reason why we’ve been waiting a whole two years to try these little treats at home. In retrospect a real mistake, because the baking result of today was quite impressive and it is also prepared in a jiffy.
We added a fine chocolate and orange flavor to the original recipe. And while we are sitting outside and enjoying the sun with a cup of coffee and some fresh Cantuccini we really can say, it could not have been more beautiful today in Tuscany.

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Makes approx. 500 g Cantuccini
Preparation time: 15 minutes, + 30 minutes letting rest, + 30 minutes baking

Ingredients

100 g ground almonds
350 g flour
½ packet baking powder
1 packet vanilla sugar
200 g almonds
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
zest of 2 oranges
250 g sugar
50 g butter, softened
5 eggs
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons dessert wine (Vin Santo)

In a bowl, combine and mix flour, ground almonds, baking powder, vanilla sugar, almonds, cocoa powder and orange zest. Incorporate the soft butter, sugar, honey and the dessert wine. Add 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks and knead well.
Leave the dough for about half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 170 °C / 340 °F.
Divide the dough into 3 parts, form long rolls (about 4-5 cm in diameter) and place on a baking sheet. Brush the surface with the yolk of the remaining egg and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cut into slices directly after removing the Cantuccini from the oven and leave to cool.

Enjoy!
-Kessy-

Warm Lentil Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Feta

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In time for the weekend, Peter has managed to get a cold – so much for our weekend plans. Duhh!
But it was a bit rainy anyway, so we just used the opportunity to snuggle up on the couch with a big pot of tea and some cookies and watched a few movies.
Corresponding to our weekend lethargy, we just prepared something from the category “cooking without cooking”. For this recipe you really only have to cook the lentils, the rest is only a little cutting and stirring.

The salad can be enjoyed warm as a light main course, but is also very good as an appetizer or side dish.

Serves 4 people
Preparation time: about 40 minutes

Ingredients

250 g green lentils
about 8 sun dried tomatoes
1 small onion
100 g feta
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ bunch of parsley
¼ bunch of chives
¼ bunch of dill
1 tsp Fleur de Sel
pepper

Place the lentils in a pan with water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes until they are cooked.

In the meantime, cut the onion into rings; place them in a bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with salt and leave for it for a few minutes.

Cut the dried tomatoes and feta into small pieces and mix with the olive oil, crushed garlic and pepper. Chop the herbs and mix in. Finally, add in the onion.

When the lentils are cooked, let them cool down a bit. Then fold in with the rest of the salad while still warm.

Goes well with pita bread.

Enjoy!
-Kessy-