Crispy Free Form Amaretti

Crispy Free Form Amaretti

Bruno
Amaretti are an Italian bitter-sweet almond flavored macaron. Amaretti cookies or bisquits are often used as an ingredient in some other recipe ( see notes). They can be hard to find in your local grocery stores however and may also be a seasonal item. This recipe is a super easy way to make some yourself with ingredients that every grocery store carries.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 40 mins
Course Baked Goods
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients
  

  • 200 g Almond flour or ground almonds
  • 100 g Icing sugar
  • 3 Egg whites
  • 1 tsp Almond extract 2 for a stronger flavour

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl mix the almond flour or ground almonds with the icing sugar
  • Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks
  • Fold the egg whites and the almond extract into the almond/sugar mixture
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Using a couple of teaspoons, scoop up some Amaretti mix and drop onto the parchment paper leaving a couple of centimeters of space in between
  • Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours
  • Preheat the oven to 150°C
  • Bake the Amaretti for 30 minutes or to a nice golden colour
  • Let cool and store in an air tight container

Notes

An example of one of my recipes that uses Amaretti cookies is found HERE
Keyword almond extract, almond flour, amaretti

Pear Torte Ticinese

Pear Torte Ticinese

Bruno
This pear torte has its origins in the Italian speaking Canton of Ticino in Switzerland. The Italian name of this torte would then be "Torta di pere alla Ticinese"
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Dough 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Swiss
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Spring Form

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 250 g Flour All Purpose
  • 150 g Butter unsalted, cold
  • 50 g Sugar
  • 2 ml Salt
  • 5 tbsp Water

Filling

  • 1 kg Pears Bosc, about 5-6
  • 4 Egg yolks
  • 100 g Sugar
  • 200 g Amaretti Cookies See notes
  • 150 ml Heavy cream 35%, Whipping cream

Instructions
 

For Dough

  • In a large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt
  • Cut butter into 1 – 2 cm cubes and add
  • Using your hands, quickly form into a crumbly dough mix
  • Continue to knead dough until you get a nice smooth consistency
  • Form dough into a ball, place on a plate and flatten it down a bit into a half round
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour

Tarte assembly

  • Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a diameter 5-6 cm larger than your spring form
  • Line form with dough pulling up dough on rim about 4-5 cm
  • Press dough carefully against rim and even out height
  • Using your thumb to make decorative impressions along the top of the dough rim
  • Use a fork to prick the dough bottom all over
  • Peel the pears, cut them in half and core them
  • Score the pear halves along their outside length spaced about 5mm and being careful not to cut all the way through
  • Arrange the pear halves radially on the tart bottom using a trimmed half for the middle piece

Filling

  • Using a rolling pin, crush and grind the Amaretti to about the size of coarse salt
  • In a medium bowl beat the egg yolks with the sugar until fluffy
  • Add the crushed Amaretti and fold in the cream
  • Pour and distribute the filling over the pears

To Bake

  • Preheat stove to 200°C
  • Bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes
  • Cool and let set before slicing

Notes

If you can’t find Amaretti cookies, you can make them yourself with this quick and super easy recipe found HERE
You can make the dough for this recipe by combining all ingredients in a food processor and pulsing it until you get to the “crumbly” stage and then finishing it by hand.
The tart crust can also be formed by by using half the dough just for the bottom and the other half cut into thirds, rolled and formed into the rim.
Keyword amaretti, pears, torte

Balsamic Roasted Potatoes And Carrots

The aromas that fill the kitchen and house when you are roasting potatoes and carrots infused with balsamic vinegar and combined with herbs like thyme and rosemary, will leave you salivating in anticipation of the finished dish.

Balsamic Roasted Potatoes And Carrots

Bruno
Roasting potatoes and carrots infused with aromas of balsamic vinegar, thyme and garlic makes for a wonderfully aromatic side dish to serve with pretty much any cool weather main dish.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Canadian, International
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 kg baby mixed colour potatoes cut in half
  • 500 g carrots peeled baby or baby cut
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled, germ removed and smashed
  • 2 shallots peeled and thinly sliced
  • 75 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 50 ml butter melted
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme (2 ml dried)
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (see notes)
  • 5 ml salt
  • 2 ml pepper freshly ground

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 220°C
  • Line a large baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Arrange potatoes, carrots, shallots and garlic in a single layer on sheet
  • Combine the balsamic vinegar, melted butter, dried thyme, (if using), salt and pepper
  • Pour over vegetables and toss to coat
  • If fresh thyme and rosemary is used, insert the sprigs among the veggies
  • Cover the sheet with aluminum foil sealing the edges
  • Roast covered for 45 minutes giving it a good shake every now and then
  • Remove foil and roast for an additional 20 to 30 minutes stirring occasionally until potatoes and carrots are tender and golden
  • Remove any remaining sprigs or stems of the fresh thyme and rosemary (if using) before serving

Notes

I do not recommend using dried rosemary in this recipe as the needles will not soften sufficiently to make for a pleasant eating experience.
Keyword balsamic vinegar, carrots, potatoes, thyme

Rosemary and Pecan Biscotti

Rosemary and Pecan Biscotti

Bruno
A savoury biscotti to serve at cocktails or with a hot bouillon. The aromatic rosemary is supported with a hint of cayenne pepper and the pecans round out the Umami of this unconventional biscotti.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Cooling between bakes 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Baked Goods
Cuisine International, Italian
Servings 24 biscotti

Ingredients
  

  • 550 ml (2½ cups) Flour All-purpose
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) Baking Powder
  • 25 ml (1 tbsp) Rosemary Fresh, finely chopped
  • 2 ml (½ tsp) Salt
  • 1 ml (¼ tsp) Cayenne pepper
  • 3 Eggs large
  • 125 ml (½ cup) Butter melted and slightly cooled
  • 25 ml (2 tbsp) Milk
  • 250 ml (1 cup) Pecans coarsly chopped and lightly toasted

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • To a large bowl add flour, rosemary, cayenne, salt and mix thoroughly
  • In a medium bowl beat eggs using an electric mixer until fluffy and pale yellow
  • With mixer running, add butter and milk
  • Add this mixture to the flour bowl and stir until combined
  • Stir in pecans
  • Moisten hands with water and grab half the dough
  • Form dough into a roll about 30 cm long and place on one long side of the baking sheet
  • Moisten hands as necessary and form the roll into a log about 33 cm long and 12 cm wide, flattening it down a bit on the process to get a nice biscotti profile
  • Repeat with the other half of the dough placing it on the other side of the baking sheet leaving a gap of about 5 cm between the two
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes to a stage where the dough develops some crack and appears firm when gently pressed on
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes
  • Reduce oven temperature to 160°C
  • Place loaf on a cutting board and, using a bread knife, cut crosswise into slices of about 10 to 15 mm cutting at a slight angle
  • Remove parchment paper from baking sheet and carefully place slices standing up on baking sheet maintaining a gap of 5 – 10 mm
  • Bake for an additional 20 – 25 minutes or until biscotti feel dry when touched on the sides
  • Cool and store in a tight container

Notes

This recipe is easily altered to achieve different flavour profiles, e.g.:
  • Use walnuts instead of pecans
  • Use thyme leaves instead of rosemary
  • Add 200 ml of grated Parmesan
  • Use white wine instead of milk
  • Or, use your imagination
 
Keyword cocktail, nibbles, party snack, savoury

Mixed Green Salad with Smoked Salmon and Crostini

We tend to associate this kind of salad with Spring and Summer. It can however make for a nice treat in any season.

Mixed Green Salad with Smoked Salmon and Crostini

Bruno
A flavourful salad that can be served at any time of the year.
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine International
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

Salad

  • 4 cups Mixed Greens e.g. Mesclun
  • 6 slices Smoked Salmon
  • 12 pieces Crostini store bought or home made
  • 1 tbsp Capers
  • 10 g Parmesan for garnish shaved

Vinaigrette

  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard course grained
  • 1/2 tsp Basil dried
  • 1/2 tsp Tarragon dried
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Add all vinaigrette ingredients to a small bowl and mix thoroughly
  • Divide and arrange salad greens between six salad plates
  • Add a dab or two of cream cheese on each crostini and add to plate
  • On each plate top salad with an artistically arranged slice of smoked salmon
  • Place a few capers on each slice of smoked salmon
  • Spoon vinaigrette over each salad including salmon
  • Grind a few twists of black pepper over each salad
  • Garnish with a few shavings of Parmesan and serve

Notes

When fresh herbs are available use these in place of dried
If fresh parsley is available add a few leaves as additional garnish 
Keyword crostini, mixed greens, mixed salad, smoked salmon

My “Easy Sunday Cake”

As the name says, the “Easy Sunday Cake” is incredibly easy to make and requires only a few ingredients, very little time to make and yet, is always a great hit with family and guests alike. Credit for the original recipe goes to my mother.

Jump to Recipe

Easy Sunday Cake

The “Easy Sunday Cake” is a light dessert that goes well with an after dinner coffee or digestive.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Swiss
Servings 12
Calories 347 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 250 g (8 oz) Flour Pastry or all purpose
  • 250 g (8 oz) Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 250 ml (1 cup) Milk
  • 150 ml (2/3 cup) Oil e.g. vegetable but NOT Olive oil
  • 1/2 package of Vanilla sugar
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) Baking powder
  • 100 g (3 – 4 oz) Hazelnuts or Filberts ground
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) Cocoa powder
  • Icing sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F)
  • In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until foamy with a hand mixer.
  • Add milk and oil while continuing to mix on low speed
  • Incorporate flour, hazelnuts, baking powder, vanilla sugar and Cocoa powder
  • Pour mixture into a suitable baking pan (loaf, spring form, Bundt etc.)
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean
  • Let cake cool of and then finish with a dusting of icing sugar
Keyword cake, easy

Trout Fillets Amandine aka “Truite Amandine”

Truite Amandine or Trout Fillets with Almonds is a fairly regular dish in our house. It’s easy to make, light fare, looks and tastes great and lends itself as everyday dinner as well as for entertaining.I typically use whole almonds and slice them myself. I like having a bit of skin on the almonds for colour as opposed to using store bought ones that are just plain white.

Trout Fillets Amandine aka “Truite Amandine”

Bruno
The recipe below is for 2-3 people, depending on the size of the fillet. Use 2 fillets if you are feeding more or if the fillets are small, use one per person.Make sure you serve a nice glass of white to go with that. I might suggest a Riesling of Cabinet quality.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Servings 4
Calories 135 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large trout fillet 250 g (8 oz), skin on
  • 1 shallot finely sliced into rings
  • 6 almonds roasted and sliced or a small hand full if store bought sliced
  • 1 sprig of fresh dill or 1/2 tsp of dried parsely or thyme make suitable substitutes, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat you stove to 180°C (350°F)
  • Thoroughly wash the fillet in cold water, then pat dry
  • Prepare a piece or pieces of aluminum foil large enough to hold the fillet and butter them so the fillet doesn't stick
  • Place the fillet on the foil skin down
  • Dowse fillet with lemon juice to your taste
  • Sprinkle dill over fillets
  • Spread shallots over fillet
  • Distribute almonds over fillet
  • Add some salt and pepper to your liking
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (adjust time to your oven and your liking)
  • Finish on broil for 2 minutes or until you get a nice looking colour 🙂
  • Serve immediately with sides of your choice, e.g. rice, asparagus or what ever green is in your fridge
    Trout Fillets Amandine
Keyword almonds, fish, trout

Espresso Chocolate Chunk Biscotti

Espresso Chocolate Chunk Biscotti

Bruno
This Biscotti recipe combines the incredibly rich flavours of fresh ground espresso and luxurious chocolate into a most delightful dipper for your early morning coffee.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Cooling between bakes 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Baked Goods
Cuisine International, Italian

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 250 ml Sugar granulated
  • 125 ml Cocoa powder unsweetened
  • 50 ml Espresso finely ground
  • 675 ml Flour all-purpose
  • 12 ml Baking powder
  • 1 ml Salt
  • 3 Eggs large
  • 125 ml Milk
  • 50 ml Butter melted and slightly cooled
  • 5 ml Vanilla extract
  • 250 ml Chocolate chunks and chips semi sweet

Glaze

  • 175 ml Icing sugar
  • 25 ml Water

Instructions
 

Dough

  • Preheat oven to 160°C
  • Line large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • In a large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa and espresso grounds, stirring until no more lumps remain
  • Stir in flour, baking powder and salt
  • In a medium sized bowl and using an electric mixer, beat the eggs until fluffy and pale yellow
  • Slowly add milk, butter and vanilla while continuing to run mixer at low speed
  • Add this mixture to the flour bowl and stir until well combined
  • Incorporate chocolate chunks and chips quickly using your hands
  • Moisten your hands slightly and scoop up half the dough
  • Form dough into a roll about 30 cm long and place on one long side of the baking sheet
  • Moisten hands as necessary and form the roll into a log about 33 cm long and 12 cm wide, flattening it down a bit on the process to get a nice biscotti profile
  • Repeat with the other half of the dough placing it on the other side of the baking sheet leaving a gap of about 5 cm between the two

Bake

  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes to a stage where the dough develops some crack and appears firm when gently pressed on
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes
  • Reduce oven temperature to 150°C
  • Place loaf on a cutting board and, using a bread knife, cut crosswise into slices of about 10 to 15 mm cutting at a slight angle
  • Remove parchment paper from baking sheet and carefully place slices standing up on baking sheet maintaining a gap of 5 – 10 mm
  • Bake for an additional 25 – 30 minutes or until biscotti feel dry when touched on the sides
  • Cool completely and move slices back together

Glaze

  • Combine icing sugar and water stirring until you get a thick creamy texture*
  • Drizzle the glaze over the biscotti forming several lines along the length of the loafs
  • Let glaze harden overnight before storing in a tight container

Notes

* Add more sugar if the glaze is too thin. It should just barely be able to flow slowly from a spoon dipped in the glaze
Keyword chocolate, cocoa, espresso

Curry Shrimp Risotto Gratin

This Curry Shrimp Risotto Gratin is based on a classic Spanish dish.

Curry Shrimp Risotto Gratin

Bruno
The Curry Shrimp Risotto Gratin is one of those dishes that may well make it into your regular monthly repetoire. It’s easy to make, tastes great and will impress your friends with the fancy version, i.e. I make two versions of it, a “plain” and a “fancy” one. The fancy one simply adds one large shrimp per person on top as a decorative kicker.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine International, Spanish
Servings 6
Calories 280 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 150 g (1 cup) Risotto rice Arborio but if you can get it – Vialone or Carnaroli preferred
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Curry
  • 150 ml (¾) cup white wine
  • 350 ml (1½ cups) chicken boullion
  • 200 g large shrimp about 18 shrimp of size 31-40
  • 6 extra jumbo shrimp – size 16-20 optional
  • 1 small jar of Artichoke hearts about 6 pcs., diced
  • 5 tbsp Parmesan grated
  • 180 g 3/4 cup Sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra butter for gratin

Instructions
 

  • In large pot heat butter and olive oil
  • Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes
  • Add rice and stir until evenly coated, then add curry and again stir to coat, about 2 minutes
  • Add wine to deglaze and cook until nearly absorbed
  • Add bouillon one ladle at a time and continue to cook with minimal stirring, always waiting until liquid is nearly absorbed, about 20 minutes
  • Stir in artichoke hearts, then add shrimp
  • Mix in 3 tbsp of the Parmesan, reserving rest
  • Carefully fold in sour cream, then transfer to a (round) gratin dish
  • Top with remaining Parmesan
  • Decorate with Extra Jumbo Shrimp if using
  • Distribute flakes of butter all over top and bake in pre-heated oven at 220°C for 10 minutes.
  • Finish under grill setting until you obtain a golden crust
  • Serve with a nice glass of white wine
Keyword curry, risotto, shrimp

Smoked Ham Hock with Roast Potatoes

Some notes to the recipe below: I typically cook some dried green beans as an additional side. These I soak for a few hours ahead, drain and add to the dutch oven a half hour before time is up, continuing to cook while the hock and potatoes are roasting.I also frequently add a couple of carrots to the dish by tossing the peeled carrots into the dutch oven about a half hour before time is up (i.e. along with the above beans, if using). The precooked carrots are added to the roasting dish along with the other ingredients.

Smoked Ham Hock with Roast Potatoes

Slowly cooked and roasted smoked ham hocks are another one of my favorite cool weather foods. This recipe takes on a Canadian flair with a maple glaze on the hock and potatoes.A very simple, inexpensive and highly satisfying main course.This recipe uses a ham hock of about 1.2 kg (2.6 lb)
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Canadian
Servings 6
Calories 600 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 smoked ham hock 2 if small
  • 0.5 – 1 Kg (1 – 2lb) potatoes
  • 3 garlic gloves
  • 1 Onion chopped into 8 pieces
  • 3 Cloves optional cut into quarters
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) Fresh chopped ginger
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • A few pepper corn
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) thyme
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) paprika
  • 2.5 ml (1/2) tsp coriander
  • 120 ml (1/2) cup butter, melted
  • 60 ml (1/4) cup mayonaise
  • 60 ml (1/4) cup dijon mustard
  • 60 ml (1/4) cup maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Place ham hock, onion, pepper corns, clove of garlic, ginger (optional cloves) and bay leaves into a suitable Dutch Oven or Casserole
  • Add a few cups of water and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover the Dutch Oven or Casserole and slowly simmer for 2-3 hours depending on the size.
  • Take out the pork hock and place it on the baking tray.
  • Prepare the glaze by combining mustard, mayonnaise and maple syrup.
  • Add peeled and cut potatoes to the baking tray with ham hock.
  • Add chopped garlic and season everything with paprika, thyme, coriander, salt and pepper.
  • Using the cooking brush cover everything with the glaze.
  • Preheat the oven to 215 C (420 F).
  • Melt ½ cups of melted butter and pour it over potatoes.
  • Roast pork and potatoes until browned for about 20 minutes.
  • Carve and serve
    Smoked Ham Hock with Roast Potatoes
Keyword fall, ham, ham hock