Swiss Apple Tiramisu

I posted this originally in 2012, and wanted to share it with those new to the blog!  I’ll be making this tonight as a dessert to Swiss cheese fondue; despite the cream layer, it will make a light and refreshing contrast to the heavier main meal.  Over a decade ago, I got this recipe from a Swiss friend; I’ve made it dozens of times, and it always gets rave reviews and requests for the recipe!  Unlike other tiramisu, this has no raw eggs, or coffee.

 

lady finger cookies

Lady Fingers Cookies

Swiss Apple Tiramisu

 

750 gr. apples

Peel them, chop into large chunks, and blitz them with a chopper (or knife if you’re a purist) into a coarse apple puree.  Add:

1 Tbs. vanilla sugar

½ lemon’s juice

1 C. apple juice

a dash of Amaretto or almond extract

Mix it all together into an apple sauce.  Next, in a separate bowl, mix the cream layer:

500 gr. mascarpone

5 dl. whipped cream

2 Tbs. apple schnapps (Calvados)

Beat til foamy.  You’ll also need:

3 pkgs. Lady Finger cookies (approx. 18 per 2 layers = 36)

In a casserole dish, layer as follows: A bit of applesauce, then rows of biscuits, and whipped topping; repeat once more.

Make this at least an hour before serving, and chill it until time to serve.  I stab toothpicks around the edge and a few down the centre to keep the plastic foil from touching a nicely-smoothed surface.

Salt-Roasted Cashew Nuts

Here’s a recipe that’s fast, simple and delicious… it can’t get any better than that!  A batch of these freshly roasted will liven up a party, or make a nice, healthy snack for some time to come.  For another great recipe to match, try my smoked almonds too!

For a twist, try adding other spices instead of salt, or just let the taste of the nuts come shining through.  Eat them as-is, or sprinkle them over salads, or Asian, Indian or Persian cuisine.

Salt-Roasted CashewsSalt-Roasted Cashew Nuts

To start off, pre-heat your oven to 350°F (180°C).  You’ll need a shallow baking pan (and a piece of baking paper or baking mat), a bowl and spoon.

1 lb. (450 gr.) raw cashews

Salt

Just a bit of oil (either coconut oil, or olive oil for the best tastes)

Spread cashews in a single layer over the pan (you might need to use more than one pan, depending on the size). Then roast for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are golden-brown.  Keep an eye on these, as they can tend to burn!

Pour them into a large bowl, add a bit of oil (start with a tsp. or less) and stir, coating completely—if the nuts are stirred well it won’t take much oil at all!—then stir in salt (start off under-salting, and add to taste – it’s easier to add more than to remove!).  Done!

 

BEET & WALNUT DIP with CORIANDER

This week the young woman living with us cooked  (with her boyfriend) a surprise dinner for us; she chose a few vegan and vegetarian recipes, and this was the appetizer.  It was amazing, and well worth sharing!  The beet gives a vibrant touch to the meal, and the flavor combinations are almost addictive.

beet & walnut dipBEET & WALNUT DIP with CORIANDER

4 small beets, scrubbed & boiled until tender (or pre-boiled beets)
1 cup walnuts
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
3 teaspoons sherry vinegar or lemon juice
a few fresh herbs, such as coriander (OR thyme, sage – your taste choice!)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup Greek yogurt (optional, to make it a bit more creamy if you’d like)

If you are using fresh beets: Cover the beets with water in a small pot and bring to a boil; simmer until tender, 30-40 minutes (less time if you chop them up first). Drain the water from the pan, then run cold water over the beets, removing stems and skins (which should slip right off now).

Walnuts: In a frying pan, dry-roast the walnuts, stirring constantly, until they smell toasty. Let them cool and, optionally, rub them in a dishtowel to remove more of their skins (which can be bitter).
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, blend the beets, walnuts, garlic, sherry vinegar, herbs and salt; scrape down the side of the bowl every now and then. Blend until the mixture looks like a coarse puree.
With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, then the yogurt (optional).
Taste the mixture and add more salt or vinegar as needed, then scoop into a bowl and serve with fresh veggie sticks, crackers, bread or pita chips.

Beef & Feta Cabbage Rolls

Recently my husband requested Cabbage Rolls with Feta and ground beef; I couldn’t find a good recipe, so I came up with this.  It’s a wee bit of work, but well worth the time!  You could mix up the components the day before if you wanted, to save time on the day.  It’s worthy of being a guest menu, especially when served with a robust red wine.  As a side dish you could serve green beans or another steamed vegetable.

Cabbage RollsBeef & Feta Cabbage Rolls

500 gr. ground beef

1-2 packages Feta cheese, diced

cumin, salt, pepper to taste

lemon juice

1 onion, chopped

5-6 fresh mushrooms, sliced

2-3 C. rice, boiled

Saute the onions and mushrooms, adding the meat and browning.  Spice to taste, then toss in the Feta to melt into the mixture.  Set aside to cool, stirring in the rice whenever it is ready.

Savoy Cabbage

1 head Savoy Cabbage

You can prepare the cabbage one of two ways:  Either blanch the entire head in a large pot of boiling water, or do as I did:  Carefully separate the individual leaves, wash them, and “shave” down the thick spines to make them more flexible once softened.  Quickly microwave the leaves in batches (30 seconds to 1 minute on full power); this will make them pliable to roll.  Let them cool down a bit before handling.

250 gr. Grated cheese of your choice (Parmesan, Gruyére, etc.) to sprinkle on top just before baking

~1/2 – 1 C. Bread crumbs to sprinkle on top for an extra crunch (optional)

 

This next recipe is a basic white sauce; you can either use this or your own recipe, or mix up a batch of Make-Ahead Sauce.

BECHAMEL SAUCE (White Sauce)

6 Tbs. Butter

8 Tbs. Flour

4 C. (1 L) milk

Salt & white pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a saucepan over moderate heat.  Stir in the flour & cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until it has lost the floury aroma.  Do not allow to brown.  Add the milk gradually, stirring to dissolve any lumps that have formed.  Heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce boils & becomes thick.  Spice to taste.

 

To Assemble:

Taking each leave, spoon in a bit of the meat mixture in the centre and roll the leave around it, laying the leaf seam-side down in a casserole dish.  Repeat until the casserole dish is full; any leftover meat can either be saved for a later meal or spread out atop the cabbage rolls.  Pour in the prepared White Sauce, and then top with the grated cheese. Place in a preheated oven at 200°C (400°F) for ~45-60 minutes, or until the cheese / bread crumb topping browns nicely.

Serve with a dry red wine.

Bolivian Peanut Soup (Chupe de Mani)

I took a break from this particular blog for a couple weeks; I’ve been finishing off another book manuscript, and haven’t had time for a “natter” !  But with cold weather coming on, I’ve been cooking up warm recipes lately.  This Bolivian soup recipe is a great way to use seasonal ingredients; we had bought a batch of roasted peanuts that turned out to be not quite roasted and were too bland to eat as-is, and so this soup was a tasty solution.

Bolivian Chupe de Mani (peanut Soup)

Bolivian Chupe de Mani (Peanut Soup)

4 C. Beef Broth (or vegetable, for Vegetarian)

1 Med. Onion, chopped

1 sm. tomato, chopped (or 5-6 cherry tomatoes, quartered)

½ C. cooked Peas

½ C. raw peanuts, blended to paste or chopped finely in a blender

1 Carrot, cooked  & chopped

a handful of freshly chopped coriander

Sauté onion, in oil.  Add everything else, cook gently for 30 min. (until the peanuts are well done, and the carrots are soft), serve hot.  To thicken soup:  simmer diced potato in soup,  & add diced beef morsels to the broth for a heartier version.

Tip:  If you want to add a zing to this soup, toss in a tablespoon full of chopped salted lemons, or spiced limes.  It’s a delicious addition!

North African Spiced Carrot Soup

Photo credit: MichellePetersJones / flickr.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: MichellePetersJones / flickr.com / CC BY-NC-ND

This is a recipe that I’ve made again and again; easy to make, and yet it adds an exotic touch to any complementary meal.  I serve it with a variety of Moroccan dishes, and even Persian dishes.  The cumin and coriander make a smooth backdrop to the carrots, but it’s the ginger, orange juice & hint of cayenne that really make it sparkle!  A little potato adds silky texture; if your carrots aren’t sweet, use a sweet potato instead, or a bit of honey.

North African Spiced Carrot Soup

1 Litre + (1 quart +) vegetable boullion (stock)

1 Tbs. light olive oil

1 medium yellow onion; thinly sliced

1 tsp. salt

2 cloves garlic; minced

1½ tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

2 tsp. fresh ginger root; grated

1 cayenne pepper

900 gr. carrots; thinly sliced

1 medium potato; thinly sliced

½ C. fresh orange juice

½ C. creme fraiche (cream cheese, or even yoghurt will do well too)

2 Tbs. fresh coriander leaves, coarsely chopped

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot & add the onion & ½ tsp. salt. Saute over medium heat until it begins to release its juices, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, cumin, coriander, ginger, & a few pinches of cayenne. Cook until the onion is very soft, about 10 minutes, adding a little stock if it sticks to the pan.   Add the carrots, potato, 1 tsp. salt, & 1 qt. (1 L.) stock. Bring to a gentle boil and then reduce the heat, cover, & simmer until the carrots are very tender, about 15 minutes. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth, using a little extra stock if needed. Return to the pot, add the orange juice, & thin with stock to the desired consistency. Season with salt to taste and, for additional heat, a pinch or two of cayenne.  Garnish each serving with a swirl of creme fraiche & sprinkle with cilantro.

Salted Lemon Guacamole

This is a side dish.  Usually one would add more lemon juice and salt, but these are both amply supplied by the salted lemon in its own juice.

This goes well with a lemon salsa (coming up next!), and the Empanadas.  En Guete!

Salted Lemon Guacamole

This goes great with the Southwest Beef Empanadas & Salted Lemon Salsa!

This goes great with the Southwest Beef Empanadas & Salted Lemon Salsa!

3 avocados, sliced in two, pitted, and sliced / scooped into a blender

a dash of lemon or lime juice per avocado

1 shallot, coarsely chopped and tossed into the blender

1 Tbs. Chopped salted lemons, tossed into the blender

 

Blend these ingredients until smooth.  Add:

 

a handful of freshly-washed coriander leaves, finely chopped

1-2 Tbs. salted lemons, finely chopped

pepper to taste

3-4 Tbs. Plain yoghurt or sour cream, to give it a smooth taste

1 meaty tomato, diced and folded in to the blender mixture

 

Fold in all of these ingredients into the blended ingredients, and pour all into a serving bowl.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Spiced Preserved Limes

Spiced Preserved Limes

Spiced Preserved Limes

This is a recipe I’ve adapted from one calling for pickling the limes in oil.  I prefer this method as it leaves the limes with a more natural taste and without added oils.

If you chose to do it with oils, add 2/1 cups of olive oil to a sauce pan and bring to a boil, then allow to completely cool before using in place of the lime juice.  You could then use that oil, as the limes are used up, in your cooking.  Just make sure that the limes remaining in the jar have enough oil to keep them covered.  Oiled limes should be kept in the refridgerator after opening.

As with the Salted Lemons recipe, please use limes that have not been treated with insecticides, as you will be eating the whole lime, peeling included.

Spiced Preserved Limes

8 limes, washed and sliced into quarters

1 Tbs. Cumin seeds

1 Tbs. Black peppercorns

1 Tbs. Coridander seeds

1 Tbs. Crushed hot pepper

1 Tbs. Dried garlic flakes

1 tsp. Ground ginger or 1/2 Tbs. dried ginger flakes

1 tsp. Whole cloves

3-4 Tbs. Coarse sea salt

lime juice to top up the jar

Stir the whole spices together in a large glass (non-reactive) bowl.  Toss the lime quarters in the spices to coat, and then spoon into your chosen jar.  Let them sit for 30 minutes.  Pour in the lime juice to cover the limes, and seal the jar. Place it in a cool, dark place for 4 weeks to develop the flavors and soften the rinds.

This amount fills a 1-litre jar to the brim, packed tightly, which requires minimal lime juice to fill the jar.