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 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Cooling between bakes 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
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
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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 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
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
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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 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
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

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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 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
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
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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 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cooling between bakes 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
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
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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 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
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
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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 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Canadian
Servings 6
Calories 600 kcal

Equipment

  • Dutch Oven (see end of this post)

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
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Polenta Gratin or “Polenta alla nonna”

If you love polenta or grits and you’re looking for hearty cool weather dish, this recipe will serve you well.

Polenta Gratin or “Polenta alla nonna”

Bruno
This polenta is actually a polenta, ham, tomato and cheese gratin. A very tasty dish for the cooler times of the year.This recipe uses a couple of ingredients you may not readily find but can easily find substitutes for.The first one of these is “Bramata Polenta” which can be replaced by any brand of coarse ground corn meal or “grits”.The other one is “Raclette” cheese. This can be substituted with (in order of my preference): Jarlsberg, Emmentaler (aka Swiss Cheese) or then Gruyere. If you’re really stuck, use “Mozz”.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Swiss
Servings 8
Calories 275 kcal

Ingredients
  

Polenta

  • 250 g Bramata Polenta coarse yellow corn meal
  • 10 g Butter
  • 1/2 tsp 2 ml salt
  • 1 L Water
  • 150 g Raclette cheese

Filling

  • 250 g Pancetta or cooked ham sliced
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 can 400g Tomatoes, stewed, diced, preferably Pelati or Romano
  • Salt pepper and nutmeg to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot, bring water, salt, and butter to a boil
  • Add the corn meal and cook on low heat until desired consistency is reached 9depending on the type of corn meal used, this may take from a few minutes to 1 hour)
  • Wile the polenta is cooking…
  • Preheat oven to 200 °C (395 °F)
  • Cut pancetta or ham, thin slices or small cubes
  • Chop onions and garlic, fine
  • In a sauce pan melt butter and saute onions and garlic
  • Add ham and cook briefly
  • Add tomatoes and cook 10-15 minutes
  • Add salt and pepper to taste (also add a pinch of dried basil, if desired)
  • Chop 100 g of the Raclette cheese into small cubes and gently stir into the polenta once it is fully cooked
  • With heat off, let sit for 5 minutes, then stir once more, adding a pinch of nutmeg if desired
  • Working very quickly now as polenta will solidify rapidly making it difficult to spread, add half the polenta to a buttered baking dish of sufficient size and evenly spread out
  • Add sauce and spread remaining polenta over top
  • Grate remaining Raclette cheese over top
  • Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until you have a nice golden brown top
  • Serve hot
Keyword bramata polenta, grits, polenta
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Linzer Torte

Another one of my mother’s recipes, the Linzer Torte is a torte that has its origins in Austria but is made in all neighbouring countries in various styles. The major differences are in the nuts ( hazelnuts, walnuts or almonds) and the filling used (redcurrant jam, raspberry jam, apricot jam, or even plum butter). My recipe uses filberts (the closest thing to hazelnuts we get in local supermarkets) and raspberry jam (because that’s what my mother used and she went to cooking school ;-). In reality, pretty much any kind of jam can be used, even marmalade, but tradition sort of calls for raspberry or redcurrant.

Linzer Torte

This is a pretty rich and filling torte. Servings should be fairly small slices. You can always get a second helping.
Prep Time 55 minutes
Cook Time 27 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 22 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Austrian, German, Swiss
Servings 8
Calories 435 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 200 g Flour
  • 200 g Sugar
  • 200 g Hazelnuts or Filberts ground
  • 150 g Butter
  • 1 tbsp “Birnenbrot” spice baking spice
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 500 g Raspberry jam

Instructions
 

  • Add flour to a large bowl
  • Cut butter into small cubes and toss into the flour
  • Using your hands, mix the flour and the butter into a nice crumbly texture
  • Add the sugar, grated nuts, baking powder, lemon zest and mix thoroughly
  • Beat the eggs and add along with the lemon juice
  • Knead the dough thoroughly. then let it rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge
  • Divide the dough into thirds
  • Roll out the first third into a spring form bottom and set up the form
  • Take the second third and roll it into a sausage long enough to go around the inside rim and press it into the side of the form
  • Using a fork, puncture the bottom evenly all accross, then set the whole thing aside in the fridge
  • Taking the last third of the dough, roll it out into a rectangle big enough to make the lattices
  • Here comes one of Chef's tricks
  • Put this rolled out dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and stick it into the freezer for 20 minutes; it will make it a whole lot easier to make and handle the lattice work.
  • Remove the spring form from the fridge and cover the bottom with the raspberry jam
  • Take the lattice dough and cut it into strips
  • Place a series of strips across the torte spacing them the witdth of the strips and trimming them as necessary
  • Fold back every other strip in such a way that you can place the first opposing strip at an angle of about 60
  • Fold the folded back strips back to where they belong and fold back their countereparts
  • Repeat the above steps until you have completed the lattice work across the torte
  • Bake the torte in the oven, preheated to 180 – 200 °C, until you get a nice golden brown
Keyword hazelnuts, raspberry, torte
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Spätzli

Homemade pasta that beats anything you can buy in a store.

Spätzli

Bruno
Spätzli are a traditional Swiss (and German – Spätzle) home-made pasta that is easy to make, looks creative and tastes great fresh or fried.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Austrian, German, Swiss
Servings 6
Calories 215 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 250 g Wheat Flour
  • 2 small eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp sour cream
  • 5 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp butter to fry – if going to

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, add sifted flour and salt
  • In a medium sized bowl combine all other ingredients and wisk together
  • Add this mixture to the flour and wisk vigourously until you obtain a smooth dough and starts to produce large bubbles
  • Let rest to swell for 30 minutes
  • In a large pot, bring 2 litres of water to a boil
  • Scoop a good ladle of dough onto a wooden cutting board
  • Take a chef knife and dip it in the boiling water, then slice a small portion of dough and slide it into the boiling water making sure you dip the knife into the water at the same time again; this helps to prevent the dough from sticking to the knife. The amount and the shape of the dough “dropping” is up to you and you can vary both for additional fun. The traditional shape and size is about a 1/4 tsp of dough and has a slightly elongated shape
  • Repeat the above step in rapid succession until your first batch of dough is used up
  • When the Spätzli are done, they float to the top. Using a slotted spoon or small sieve, scoop out the Spätzli that are done, toss them in a colander and give them a quick rinse with cold water.
  • Continue until all the dough has been cooked
  • To serve, reheat as necessary or fry in butter to a nice golden brown
Keyword pasta
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