Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring Greenstuff: Swiss Chard Pie

Visiting our local market today, there was such an incredible variety of vegetables on display that it was hard to choose.

What caught my eye was a wonderful  fresh and crunchy Swiss Chard.

This  humble but delicious greenstuff has been around for centuries  and has a high contain of vitamin A and C, minerals ,fiber and proteins.

Its slightly bitter taste fades with cooking and gives way to an amazing, delicate flavor.

I usually prepare the filling with a bit of heavy cream, but this time I opted for a more natural approach, letting the fine aroma of the Swiss Chard and Spinach play the main role.

To prepare the Swiss Chard Pie

You need:

For the dough:

300g (10.5 oz.)  flour

½  tea spoon  salt

150g (5.2oz.) cold butter cut in small cubes

1 large egg

1 1/4 spoonful  water

For the filling:

750 g Swiss Chard (large stems removed)  

250g Baby spinach

2 spoonful olive oil

1¼ cup onions cut in small cubes (I used half red and half white onions)
1 red pepper,chopped

4 eggs

1 cup  roughly grated Gruyere cheese

¼ finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup roasted pine nuts

Mix flour and salt.

Add the cold butter cubes and with your fingertips gently blend the butter into the flower.

Delicately knead the dough until the flour has a uniform color.

Beat the egg slightly, mold a whole in the middle of the dough and add  the egg and

 a spoonful of water.

Knead thoroughly until smooth,

Note: do not overprocess, otherwise the crust will toughen.

Shape into a ball and cover with cling film.

Chill for at least 30 minutes or up to three days.

Between 2 cling film sheets roll out dough and place into a greased pie pan.

Press mixture into bottom and up side of the pan.

Use a fork to make wholes over the bottom of the pastry


Wash chard and spinach, remove large stems.
In the meantime boil water in a large pot.

Cook the chard only for about 1 minute or until chard wilts.

Repeat the same procedure with the spinach.( the spinach might take a few seconds less than the chard until it wilts.)

Mix spinach with chard, drain the water and press out excess liquid.

Chop chard and spinach roughly. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large pan and sauté onions and red pepper until glazed.

Add chopped greenstuff, salt and pepper slightly, stir well, then combine carefully the whole eggs and the Gruyere cheese with the vegetable mix.

Pour chard mixture over the prepared crust,
 top with grated Parmesan and  bake in preheated oven at 180°C (370 F)  ,about 40 to 45 minutes or until crust is set.

Wait about 10 to 15 minutes before serving, sprinkle with roasted pine nuts.
Serves 8-10.
Enjoy! See you next Tuesday.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A First Taste Of Summer - Strawberry Delight

Strawberries are one of  Mother Nature’s best gifts.
Their appearance is a sign that summer is underway; they are healthy, low in calories, have a reputation of being very sensual and taste delicious.
Plus they are loaded with vitamins and minerals… what else could we wish for? 
There are so many ways to prepare them, but today I felt like presenting something very uncomplicated and fresh.

With my husband just recovering from a minor surgery, I wanted to spoil him a bit, knowing that he loves desserts and he loves strawberries.
So, who says an easy dessert can’t be delicious?

To prepare the strawberry delight you need:

1 ½ packet of soft cream cheese

¼ cup light cream

¼ cup of sugar
1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice

2 ½ cups of oatmeal cookies

½ cup espresso

1 spoonful amaretto

1 cup strawberry jam

1 spoonful water

2 cups ripe, fresh strawberries


Put the cookies in food processor and crush to rough crumbs.
Apart, beat the cream cheese to soften, add sugar and lemon juice, beating again until mixed well.

 Add the cream and beat again until  mixed to a smooth batter.

Combine the espresso with amaretto

 and mix well with cookie crumbs.

Press the mixture into the bottom of a ring mold.

Pour in the cream cheese mixture.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Clean the strawberries choose six of the nicest ones and set them aside.

Cut the others into small pieces.

Warm the strawberry jam with a bit of water in a pan until it becomes liquid.

Brush the whole strawberries with the still warm jam,

Pour the rest of the liquid jam over the cut strawberries and mix gently. 

Top the ring mold with the strawberry mixture and place one whole strawberry on top.
Take the ring mold carefully out and dust with icing sugar.

Serves 6.

Enjoy, see you next Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sweet Rice Soufflé With Strawberry Sauce

Sweet treat from Austria : Rice Souffle with Strawberry Sauce

This is a classic of the renowned Austrian Patisserie.

 Austrians love candies as much as the love music, so tradition and the cuisine, especially the sweets, are part of our culture and history.

Even though not as famous as the Sacher Torte, the sweet rice soufflé has made a remarkable career among  the ones with a sweet tooth.

It is also another one of my son´s, the biggest sweet tooth in our family, favorites.

It takes a bit of patience to prepare, but you will see that you will be well rewarded.

You need:
250 g (8.8 oz.) short-grain rice

1 l milk

1 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest* (I used lime because I can't find lemon over here, but the taste is more delicate using lemon)

1 teaspoon butter (for the milk)

1/4 cup sugar   (for the milk)

100g (3.5 oz.) butter

150g (5.2 oz.)sugar

3 eggs

A pinch of salt

For the apple filling:

¾ kg apples, peeled and sliced

1 spoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup sugar


For the strawberry sauce:

4 cups ripe, fresh strawberries

3/4 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice


Strawberry sauce:

Mix strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in blender until creamy.

Rice Soufflé :
Peel and thinly slice the apples. Sprinkle with lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Pre cook the rice for 3 minutes in abundant, boiling water.

Drain and rinse with cold water.

Set aside.

Add sugar, the teaspoon of butter and lemon zest to the milk and bring to a  boil.
Add the rice and  cook  at low heat, stirring from time to time for about 10 to 15 minutes or until rice gets soft and creamy.

Set aside and let cool down.

Grease a large, rectangular casserole.

Beat butter (at room temperature) and sugar until creamy then add the yolks one by one
 Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Add the lemon zest and incorporate to the rice mixture.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form.

Gently combine 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into rice mixture, and then add carefully the remaining egg whites.

Spoon half of the rice mixture into a casserole.
Cover with the apples.

Spread the remaining rice mixture until covered.
Bake at medium heat  (220 C) for about 45 minutes or until slightly golden brown.

Let cool down, then cut into small squares or, with a ring mold, into small, round cakes.

Serves 12.   Enjoy!
See you next Tuesday.

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