First off, please note that this is a Swiss “Cheese Pie”, not a “Swiss Cheese” Pie even though it actually uses Emmentaler (aka Swiss Cheese). Ok, now that I’ve thoroughly confused you….
While we call this a cheese pie as cheese is the lead actor, it wouldn’t be the same without the strong supporting cast of bacon and onion. So really, it should be called a “Cheese, Bacon and Onion Pie”.
The recipe below is more or less the traditional version but lends itself to variation, substitutions and experimentation.
For example, use red onions instead of yellow ones or even leeks instead of onions. And try any other melting cheeses such as e.g. Fontina or Jarlsberg etc.
Swiss Cheese Pie
A Swiss "Cheese Pie" but actually more appropriately a "Bacon, Cheese and Onion Pie".
- 1 roll Puff Pastry
- 1 Onion large, finely chopped
- 100 g Bacon thick cut, chopped into small pieces
- 100 g Emmental grated, coarse
- 100 g Sprienz or Parmesan grated, fine
- 200 ml Cream 35%
- 2 Eggs
- Nutmeg to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Olive oil extra virgin
Defrost pastry dough overnight if frozen
Preheat oven to 220°C
Roll out pastry dough to fit into spring form plus extra to form the rim of the pie
Use a fork to pierce the bottom every few centimeters
Refrigerate until ready to fill
In a medium frying pan, fry bacon on medium heat until fat starts to render.
Add chopped onion to bacon and sautée until softened
Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature
In a medium bowl combine Emmental and Sprienz (or Parmesan)
In another medium bowl add cream, eggs, a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of pepper
Whisk until evenly combined
Remove Spring form from fridge
Evenly distribute the bacon and onion mixture over the pie bottom
Evenly distribute the cheese mix over the bacon and onions
Pour the cream and egg mixture evenly over the pie
Bake the pie in the lower part of the oven for about 45 minutes
Check the pie periodically and if the cheese starts to brown too quickly, cover with aluminium foil.
Remove from oven when done and let cool to set for a few minutes
Slice and serve
You can easily substitute the Emmental with Gruyere for a tangier taste or even Appenzeller for some real attitude.
Sprienz can only be found in some better cheese boutiques and usually only in larger urban centres so Parmesan is normally the go-to substitute.
Do not bake this pie in convection mode. It will burn the cheese before the dough is baked through.
This pie is usually served with a simple green salad and a glass of white wine (think Riesling, Gewürtztraminer or Grüner Veltliner but any other white with some decent acidity will do)
Clafoutis is by definition a seasonal baked desert of French origins using fresh black cherries. My Clafoutis (clafouti) recipe uses frozen cherries as these are available year round and so is no longer confined to be a seasonal desert. Clafoutis was among one of Monet's favourite deserts.
- 600 g Cherries frozen, 1 bag
- 125 g Flour all purpose or pastry
- 150 g Sugar superfine
- 2 Eggs
- 100 ml Milk
- 8 g Vanilla sugar 1 sachet
- 1 tbsp Butter softened, for greasing pie dish
- 1 pinch Salt
Add flour to a medium sized bowl
Add 50 grams of the sugar, the vanilla sugar and a pinch of salt, then stir to combine
Add milk to a small bowl and break the eggs into the milk
Scramble the eggs and milk with a fork until well blended
Add egg and milk mixture to flour and whisk to obtain a smooth pancake like batter
Preheat oven to 180°C
Grease the pie dish with the butter
Place the strained cherries into the pie dish in a single layer
Pour the batter evenly over the cherries
Sprinkle 50 grams of the sugar evenly over the top of the pie
Bake for 45 minutes
Add the remaining 50 grams of the sugar to the sauce pan with the cherry juices
Simmer on low heat until all the sugar is dissolved and he juices have reduced and thickened to a fairly thick syrup (think honey)
Set aside to cool
Drizzle artistically over servings of Clafoutis and serving dish
If cherries are in season, by all means use about 500 grams of fresh cherries with stems removed and pitted, although leaving the pits in is permissible and, according to tradition, even desirable as it is said to enhance the flavours and aromas of the Clafoutis. Alas, in that case serve this dessert with a warning and, please, no cherry pit spitting contests 🙂
In any event, use black cherries if available.
If using fresh cherries you will not have the juices to make the coulis. Of course you can always take a handful of cherries, turn them into a puree with a blender and strain out the juices to make the coulis.
The original source for this recipe came from the book “The Monet Cookbook – Recipes from Giverny” available from Amazon.
This cheesecake has to be my all time favourite cheesecake and will impress your guests and make them beg for seconds. It takes a bit of time but is actually easy to make and requires no baking.
Chocolatey Pear And Amaretto Cheesecake
This decadent and somewhat exotic cheesecake is like no other and is suitable for the highest level of gourmet entertaining. The ingredients are fairly common but also easily substituted. The fact that it does not require any baking might be a welcome change too.
- 2 Pears large, ripe, preferably Bosc
- 50 g Sugar Super Fine or Caster
- 100 ml Water
- 1 Vanilla Pod
- 150 g Graham Cracker Crumbs see notes
- 50 g Butter unsalted
- 4 tbsp Nutella see notes
- 300 g Cream Cheese Philadelphia type
- 125 g Sugar Super Fine or Caster
- 550 ml Whipping Cream 35%
- 3 tbsp Amaretto Liqueur e.g. Disaronno
- 100 g Amaretti Biscuits see notes
- 60 g Chocolate Dark or Semi Sweet
- 1 tbsp Icing Sugar
Peal and quarter pears
Core the quarters
Slice quarters in half lengthwise to end up with ⅛ slices
Chop the slices into 4-5 mm chunks
In a small saucepan dissolve the sugar in the water over medium heat
Split the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into a large bowl
Cut the pod halves in two and add to the sugar syrup simmering 5 minutes to infuse
Remove the vanilla pod pieces and add the pears
Simmer for 10 minutes
Strain, set aside and let pears cool off
Add Graham Cracker Crumbs to a medium sized bowl
In a small sauce pan melt the butter
Add the Nutella and stir to dissolve
Add this mixture to the Graham Cracker Crumbs and mix really well
Tip this mix into the spring form and distribute evenly over the bottom pressing it down firmly
Place in refrigerator for 45 minutes
Crush the Amaretti Bisquits using a rolling pin until you get crumbs about the size of Panko crumbs
Add the cream cheese to the bowl with the vanilla seeds
Add the sugar
Using a hand mixer or a whisk beat the mixture until evenly mixed and creamy
Slowly add 450 ml of the cream while continuing to mix
Add the Amaretto liqueur
Continue to beat the mixture at an increased speed until you get a soft peaks consistency
Fold in the Amaretti crumbs and the poached pear chunks
Remove the spring form from the fridge
Ladle the filling over the cake bottom and level the surface
Chill in the refrigerator for 45 minutes until well set
Pour the remaining 50 ml of cream over top in a thin layer
Chill again for a minimum of 30 minutes
Unmold the cake by running a thin-bladed knife around the edges of the cake and pop off the spring form rim
Use a palette or pastry knife slid under the cake and transfer to a suitable flat serving plate or cake bell
Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl (see notes)
Spread the chocolate in a thin, even layer over a smooth surface such as a marble slab, Corian type countertop or the underside of a clean baking sheet
Let cool off until set
Using a sharp knife held at an angle of about 25° and working quickly, draw it across the surface to shave the chocolate into good sized curls
Arrange the chocolate curls on top of the cake
Finish this masterpiece by dusting it with icing sugar
Instead of using Graham Cracker Crumbs you can also use digestive biscuits turned into fine crumbs using a blender or food processor.
Nutella can be substituted with any other chocolate spread especially if you have allergies to nuts.
If you can’t find Amaretti biscuits in your local supermarket just make your own a day ahead (See my recipe here).
Melting chocolate the traditional way over a hot water bath has never worked well for me so I use the microwave as follows (adjust process according to how powerful your microwave is – my current one is not):
Times given in this recipe are only approximate and the total time needed depends on how well you are organized or how good you are at multitasking as you can overlap some processes and have them going simultaneously.
- Blast chocolate at full power for 30 seconds
- Let sit for 60 seconds
- Test chocolate with a clean wooden or silicone spatula
- If you can easily stir the chocolate, you’re done. If not, repeat the process until you can
This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe I found in Gordon Ramseys book “Christmas with Gordon”.
Most meatloaf recipes are pretty much the same and while perfectly good and satisfying, I always felt they lack imagination and are missing out on flavour. That said, there are typically two ingredients in conventional meatloaf recipes that I actually profoundly dislike. One is Ketchup and the other is Worcestershire Sauce. So here is a recipe that substitutes those two components with ingredients that I believe make for a better meat loaf. But there is more to it than just that, so…
Proscuitto Wrapped Meatloaf
Take your same old boring meatloaf to the next level with this recipe and you will never go back to you the one your Grandma has handed down to you.
- 1 kg Ground beef regular or lean but not extra lean
- 8-10 slices Proscuitto
- 250 ml Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 Onion large
- ¼ cup Kalamata olives pitted and chopped
- 2 Eggs large
- 3 cloves Garlic peeled, germ removed, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp BBQ sauce *see notes
- ½ tin Tomato paste
- 3 sprigs Thyme fresh, leafs only, *see notes
- 1 sprig Rosemary fresh, leafs only, chopped, *see notes
- 1 tsp Basil dried
- 1 tsp Parsley dried
- 3 tsp Beef bullion powder or 2 cubes crumbled
- 1 tsp Black pepper
- 1 tin Tomato past about ¼ cup
- 1 tbsp Honey e.g. wildflour
- 3 tbsp Water warm
- 2 tsp Soy sauce
- 1 tsp Hot sauce optional
Add Panko to a large bowl
Chop onion into chunks and purée in a blender
Add onion purée to Panko and mix well
Add all dry ingredients and mix well
Add remaining ingredients and mix well using your hands
Form mixture into a loaf
On a clean surface or cutting board lay out proscuitto in two overlapping rows of 4 slices and place loaf at one end
Start rolling the loaf across the proscuitto. It shoud pick up the proscuitto but you may have to coax it along to adhere to the loaf
If necessary, use two more slices of proscuitto to cover the ends of the log
Transfer the loaf into the prepared loaf tin or baking dish
Brush ½ the glaze generously over the loaf
Bake the loaf for 45 minutes
Remove from oven and brush it with most of the remaing glaze
Bake the loaf for an additional 30 minutes
Remove from oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes
Turn out, brush remaining glaze over top and carve into slices about 20 to 25 mm thick
Serve with your favorite sides and gravy (Shown here wth Hasselback potato and green beans)
I use Bulls Eye Hickory BBQ sauce. It’s a staple in my house. Feel free to substitute with your favorite flavour, e.g. Chipotle, Guiness etc.
If fresh herbs are not available, substitute dry ones except for rosemary. Dried rosemary will not soften enough to integrate well into the finished loaf.
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
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.
- 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
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
I do not recommend using dried rosemary in this recipe as the needles will not soften sufficiently to make for a pleasant eating experience.
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
A flavourful salad that can be served at any time of the year.
- 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
- 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
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
When fresh herbs are available use these in place of dried
If fresh parsley is available add a few leaves as additional garnish
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.
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Easy Sunday Cake
The “Easy Sunday Cake” is a light dessert that goes well with an after dinner coffee or digestive.
- 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
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