Tag: radicchio

Eat In My Kitchen is out! From the book: Radicchio, Peach & Shallot with Stilton

Radicchio, Peach & Stilton Salad

The Eat In My Kitchen book is out and I’m the happiest person on the planet!

One of the exciting – and often quite challenging – things in life is that you never really know where the journey will take you. It’s like being on a ship out on the open sea. Sometimes it seems like you can control the direction, but it might just be an illusion, and in the end you can only ever go with flow instead of fighting against it. Since I understood this, my life rolls more smoothly than ever. I wasn’t one of those kids that had a clear idea of their future and what it should bring. At the age of 18 I was still a bit clueless about my place in this world, so I decided to go to university and study architecture. I was a good girl and left 4 years later with a diploma in my pocket although I knew I wouldn’t want to work as an architect. Instead, I worked happily in the music industry for 15 years. But things changed, I changed, the music business changed, my direction in life changed. I decided to start a food blog on a cold winter’s day in November 2013, and this decision had more of an impact on my life than I could have imagined back then. I shared a new recipe every day in the first year of Eat In My Kitchen, and although I felt creatively extremely stimulated after those 12 months, I was also exhausted. My writing and photography improved tremendously in that year, and my cooking and baking evolved as well – I became more experimental. However, I had to slow down the pace, it was too much. But the solution was easy: less posts on the blog and I found a rhythm that allowed me to enjoy every single part of being a blogger (it still feels weird to say that).

In the even colder days of February 2015, life, the universe, destiny, luck, or whatever you may call it, had different plans. Holly La Due from Prestel Publishing in New York came into my life, she sent me an email in the morning, we skyped in the afternoon, and sealed our deal in the evening – all in one day. Holly’s decision to ask me if I’d like to write a cookbook, changed my life so drastically that I’m still processing what’s been happening in the past year and a half. I never really got used to seeing myself as a blogger, life was too fast, and now I’m a cookbook author. I still have these moments, when I look at my book using one of the recipes in my own kitchen, and I get a little shock and feel, “wow, that’s my book”. I guess I need a little more time.

Most of the time in life it’s not just us alone, not just a single person who creates, we’re woven into a net of people, ideas, and visions. Whoever pulls the string on one side of the net, affects the whole result. This heavy blue book full of recipes, Eat In My Kitchen – to cook, to bake, to eat, and to treat, is not just lying on my table anymore, today it’s been sent out into the world, now it’s on the book shelves and maybe lying on your table. And this makes me feel peacefully happy and thankful, I could squeeze the world.

This book has been a gift for me from the start. Being able to turn a vision into a physical object makes me feel very humble, I know that this book carries a part of every single person who’s been involved. Thank you, to the most amazing team and friends all over the world:

Holly, Jamie, Jan, Lauren, Karen, Luke, Stephen, Angy, Emma, Oliver, Andrew, Will, Marisa, Ron, Monica, Ellen S, Jen, Pia, Julie, Adeline, Ellen M, Cynthia, Molly, Malin, Yossy, the Cini family, Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, Joanna, Karl, Jo, Iggy, Marina, Türkan, Jörg, Kitty, Hetty, Mama, Uli, Ursula, Uwe, Jenny, Edith, Emma, Alex, Julia, Nina, Kim, Jessica, Luke, Matt, Muxu, Daphne, Nadine, Jan, Essa, Sandra, Chris, Alexandra, Doris, Chris, Anna, Jimmy, Gina, Pattie, Jayne, and all my loved ones.

Thank you my wonderful food loving blog friends, you’ve come back and visited these pages for almost 3 years. Your passion, enthusiasm, your questions and comments, your emails and pictures, made me enjoy my kitchen and my food even more than I already do. You drive me on to dig deeper into culinary traditions and to come up with new ideas every day. Thank you and a big hug!

Today I’ll share the second recipe from my book with you, the colourful salad that made it onto the cover of my book and that became one of my favourites. It’s a luscious composition playing with contrasts: bitter crunchy radicchio, soft and juicy peaches, sweet oven roasted shallots, sharp Stilton, and a little thyme. It’s a beauty on your picnic blanket, a fresh addition to your brunch table, and the easiest starter for a dinner party.

The pictures of me and the picnic scene in this post were taken in July, at Villa Bologna in Malta, for an article in the Eating & Drinking Magazine.

Radicchio, Peach & Stilton Salad

 

Radicchio, Peach & Stilton Salad

Radicchio, Peach, and Roasted Shallot Salad with Blue Cheese

SERVES 2 TO 4

8 shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise (or 4 small red onions, peeled and cut into quarters)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Flaky sea salt
Ground pepper
5 ounces (140 g) radicchio, soft leaves only, torn into pieces
4 ripe peaches, peeled and cut into 8 wedges each
2 ounces (60 g) Fourme d’Ambert, Stilton, or any crumbly blue cheese, crumbled
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

FOR THE DRESSING

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
Fine sea salt
Ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread the shallots on the lined baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, and season to taste with flaky sea salt and pepper. Gently mix with your fingers and roast for 10 minutes. Flip the shallots over and roast for another 5 minutes or until golden brown and soft. Peel any hard or burnt layers off the shallots and set them aside. You can prepare the shallots in advance; they don’t need to be warm.

For the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, both vinegars, and the honey; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange the radicchio, peaches, and shallots in overlapping layers on plates, sprinkle with the crumbled cheese and thyme, drizzle with the dressing, and serve immediately.

Radicchio, Peach & Stilton Salad

 

Radicchio, Peach & Stilton Salad

 

Radicchio, Peach & Stilton Salad

Bitter Endive and Radicchio Salad with sweet Persimmons

Endive, Radicchio and Persimmons Salad

Since I bought my first persimmons at a farmer’s market in Paris many, many years ago I have been hooked on this fruit. Back in those days I wasn’t familiar with how to eat this orange ball of sticky juiciness so I made quite a mess. It was worth it! The rich sweetness that feels like jellied honey in the mouth was an overwhelming experience of taste I would never forget. Since then, I always look forward to this delicate fruit’s season in the winter months. I only buy them when they are very ripe to enjoy their qualities and I prefer sharons, a certain kind of persimmons from Israel. A couple days ago I spotted a few that were so soft that their skin almost burst. Persimmons are a bit like figs, best when they are close to becoming mousse right in your hands, but if you handle them with care they will reward you with the nicest aroma a fruit can offer!

The sharon has so much natural sweetness, they can easily deal with some bitter flavours. I chose endive (chicory) and radicchio for my light Monday salad, both not particularly shy vegetables which I always buy organic as they still have have their distinct bitterness. Combine the red and pale leaves with the ripe fruit and you’ll have a real firework of aromas in your mouth. This bittersweet combination goes with the seasons, soft vineyard pears in autumn, bright red strawberries in summer, or my glowing persimmons in January. The dressing is also more on the sweet site, some olive oil whisked with orange juice, white Balsamico vinegar and maple syrup to balance out the tart leaves. Heavenly!

Endive, Radicchio and Persimmons Salad

 

Endive, Radicchio and Persimmons Salad

 Endive and Radicchio Salad with Persimmons

For 2 people you need

endive (chicory) 1
radicchio 3 large leaves
sharon (or any other ripe and soft persimmon), peeled and cut into bite sized pieces, 1

For the dressing
olive oil 3 tablespoons
freshly squeezed orange juice 1 tablespoon
white Balsamico vinegar 1 tablespoon
maple syrup 1 teaspoon
salt and pepper

Tear the endive and radicchio leaves into pieces and arrange them with the persimmon on a plate. Whisk the ingredients for the dressing, season to taste and sprinkle on top of the salad.

Endive, Radicchio and Persimmons Salad

 

Endive, Radicchio and Persimmons Salad

 

Endive, Radicchio and Persimmons Salad

 

Endive, Radicchio and Persimmons Salad

Crespelle with Radicchio, Potato and Thyme

Radicchio, Potato and Thyme Crespelle

It took me a while to use radicchio not only raw for salads but cooked as well. It was a late discovery, but once I tried it, I loved it, especially for the Italian cuisine! One of my favourites is linguine with radicchio, mustard butter and sautéed chicken liver. My friend Judith told me about this recipe and it became a winter pasta classic in my kitchen. Or my purple risotto with spices and thyme, the colour is beautiful and the mixture of cloves, bay leaf and red wine is so aromatic and rich. Radicchio is great, it’s so strong, its unique bitterness is so dominant that it asks for more flavours to be added to it.

A couple days ago I mentioned that we had family from LA staying with us, so our days were split between walking through the city for some sightseeing and food, either from my kitchen or from one of the great places we visited. Italian restaurants, German restaurants, department stores (we focussed on the fish section), various cafés specialized in German cake, American cake or chocolates from all over the world. We savored for days, as always!

Coming back to the purple radicchio and to one of our lunches at home, I cooked crespelle for us one day, filled with a bitter sweet stuffing of radicchio, potatoes and thyme. I used the herb to refine the pancake dough and the filling which made it come though quite strong. It added a bit more taste to the crepes which would have been to soft for this filling on their own. All the bitterness and sweetness wrapped in these thin pancakes with a creamy Béchamel sauce inside and on top made us all enjoy in silence for a short while, until our delicious Italian wraps were gone!

Here’s a springy green version of my crespelle that I wrote about in March, filled with spinach.

Radicchio, Potato and Thyme Crespelle

 

Radicchio, Potato and Thyme Crespelle

Radicchio, Potato and Thyme Crespelle

For 4 filled crespelle you need

radicchio, quartered and sliced, 300g / 10.5 ounces
potatoes, cooked, sliced and quartered, 400g / 14 ounces
fresh thyme leaves 2 tablespoons
garlic,  finely chopped, 2
red wine 60ml / 2 ounces
Balsamico vinegar 1 teaspoon
fresh parmesan, grated, 2 tablespoons
olive oil
salt and pepper

In a large pan, heat a splash of olive oil, add the garlic and radicchio and sauté for about 4 minutes or until soft on medium heat. Deglaze with the red wine, take off the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of thyme and the vinegar. Season with salt, pepper and vinegar to taste.

 

For the Béchamel sauce

milk 600ml
butter 30g / 1 ounce
plain flour 30g / 1 ounce
bay leaf 1
a pinch of nutmeg, grated
salt and pepper

In a saucepan, bring the milk with the bay leaf, nutmeg, salt and pepper to the boil.

Melt the butter and whisk in the flour, let it cook on medium heat for 1 minute. Take off the heat and slowly add the hot milk, whisk until smooth and cook for about 3-5 minutes on lowest heat until it’s thick and creamy. Discard the bay leaf and season to taste.

 

For the crespelle

milk 160ml
organic eggs 2
plain flour 130g / 4.5 ounces
salt 1/4 teaspoon
fresh thyme leaves 1 tablespoon
butter for frying

Mix the ingredients well and let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Heat some butter in a large pan and fry 4 thin crespelle, one at a time, golden on both sides.

 

To assemble

Set the oven to 200°C (top/ bottom heat).

Lay a crespelle flat on a plate, spread with 1/4 of the radicchio and potatoes and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the Béchamel sauce on top, roll into a wrap. Continue until all four are done and put them next to each other in a baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Switch on the grill for the last 1-2 minutes, this makes the crespelle a little bit crisp.

Radicchio, Potato and Thyme Crespelle

 

Radicchio, Potato and Thyme Crespelle

 

Radicchio, Potato and Thyme Crespelle

 

Radicchio, Potato and Thyme Crespelle

Radicchio with Caramelised Red Onions and Lemon Thyme

Radicchio with Caramelised Red Onions + Thyme

In the past few days I’ve had caramelised onions on my mind, sweet and syrupy, preferably the red ones or shallots which taste softer and reveal an intense natural sweetness when they are cooked. There is a big bowl in my kitchen which is always filled with onions. I like to have the whole range at hand, red, yellow, white, big and small, but most of the time I use the spicy yellow bulbs, mine are medium sized and organic, they bring tears to my eyes as soon as the knife touches the peel. They are great too cook with but painful to prepare! A few shallots are in the bowl as well and red onions of course which I love to use for pies or in salads, which rarely happens as I’m not too fond of raw onions.

I have a beautiful head of radicchio in my fridge just waiting to be used, the big leaves falling over its sides like a ball gown, almost too perfect to destroy! But I must, I want to combine its bitterness with the sweetness of caramelised red onions and some lemon thyme. The radicchio is uncooked but the onions caramelise in sugary butter, softening over less than 15 minutes before I deglaze their juices with dark Balsamico vinegar. The result is delicious, a salad of bitter sweet flavours glazed in a thick sweet and sour dressing!

Radicchio with Caramelised Red Onions + Thyme

 A Salad of Radicchio, Caramelised Red Onions and Lemon Thyme

For a side dish for 2 you need

radicchio, torn into bite sized pieces, 4 big leaves
medium sized red onions, each cut into 8 pieces (lengthwise), 2
butter 3 tablespoons
sugar 2 tablespoons
Balsamico vinegar 2 tablespoons
olive oil 4 tablespoons
lemon thyme, 10 young and soft sprigs chopped roughly or just the leaves
salt and black pepper

In a large pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of oil together with the butter and sugar on medium temperature. As soon as the butter starts to sizzle add the onions, stir once in a while. Let the onions soften over 10 minutes, they can become a bit dark but shouldn’t burn as that would make them bitter. When the onions are soft, caramelised and have turned a dark red, season with salt and pepper and take them out keeping their caramel juices in the pan. Deglaze the bits and pieces left in the pan with the Balsamico, put on medium heat for a few seconds and mix it so that just a little of the vinegar evaporates. Take it off the heat, pour the liquid into a bowl, whisk with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

On big plates, arrange the radicchio with the caramelised onions on top, carefully as they are very soft, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and add the thyme. Drizzle the thick dressing over the leaves, it’s so strong that a few drops are enough to spread the sweet flavours.

Radicchio with Caramelised Red Onions + Thyme

A Purple Risotto with Bitter Radicchio

Radicchio Risotto

When it comes to risotto I like the rice to have a bit of bite, with a velvety texture and not too liquid. I always make mine with broth and wine adding a little at a time so that I don’t miss the point of my favoured texture. What’s great about this meal is that it’s made of ingredients which I usually have in stock. There are always one or two vegetables in my fridge waiting to be used and Arborio rice, onions, garlic, olive oil and wine to cook is on my shelves anyway. So it’s perfect for an indecisive day when I don’t know what to put on my cooker, or I don’t have the time to think about dinner. Conveniently, it’s also ready in half an hour!

My purple risotto has a biting bitterness from the radicchio which combines very well with the thyme. The rice is infused with the strong flavours in my broth and spices. I use a bay leaf and cloves which introduce a woody element to the bitterness (although that sounds strange, it describes it best!). When I cook with radicchio I like to have a strong counterpart to balance out its dominant character.

Radicchio Risotto

 Radicchio Risotto with Spices and Thyme

For 2 hungry people you need

Arborio rice 200g / 7 ounces
radicchio, quartered and cut into slices, 1 medium sized head
(I cut a few radicchio slices very thinly which I leave uncooked for the topping)
onion, chopped finely, 1
garlic, cut in half, 1 clove
red wine around 200ml
broth 1200-1500ml
thyme leaves from  4-6 sprigs
bay leaf 1
cloves 2
salt and black pepper
olive oil for frying
butter 1 tablespoon

In a large pot, fry the onions and garlic in a little olive oil until golden and soft, stir in the rice and radicchio and fry on medium temperature for a couple minutes. Deglaze with 1/3 of the wine, let it cook until evaporated and repeat twice, stirring in between. Add 4 sprigs of the thyme, the spices, salt and pepper and some of the stock, enough to cover the rice. The temperature should be between low and medium. When the liquid has been absorbed continue to add more broth, a little at a time stirring in between. Depending on the rice, it sometimes needs more or less liquids. When the rice is al dente and the broth is more or less absorbed take it off the heat, take out the spices, stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange on plates sprinkled with the uncooked radicchio slices and some thyme leaves.

 

Bitter Radicchio and Spicy Mustard Butter Pasta

Pasta dishes are one of my favorite dinners as they are very easy to prepare but they always give me the feeling that I have created something special. It’s always a little feast. My friend Judith told me about this wonderful combination of spaghetti, radicchio, dijon mustard butter and chicken liver (for those who don’t fancy liver this recipe also works very well without). I fell in love with the combination of spicy mustard butter and bitter radicchio which makes a very nice, velvety sauce for the pasta. Together with a glass of red wine this puts me in a cozy, relaxed mood, a perfect December evening dinner.

Once in a while I feel a strong appetite for liver so I bought some organic chicken liver today. When I was a child, my mother used to fry liver together with onion rings and thick apple slices and I loved it. I have a real weak spot for traditional comfort food. The recipe today will be lighter but still comfortable. I choose Linguine made by Delverde for our dinner, the most delicious pasta made with water from the Verde river in the Abruzzi region in Italy. Another family recommendation. Linguine fits very well when you want to mix your pasta with vegetables or meat and not only with a sauce as they have more bite than spaghetti.

Linguine with Radicchio, Mustard Butter and Chicken Liver

For a generous dinner for 2 people you need

pasta for 2, around 200g / 7 ounces
radicchio, quartered and chopped in 1cm slices, 300g / 10.5 ounces
butter 30g / 1 ounce plus for frying
smooth Dijon mustard 4-6 teaspoons
organic chicken liver, rinsed, dried and cleaned of their thicker skins, 150g / 5 ounces
brandy or red wine for deglazing
oil for frying
flour for dusting the liver
pasta water
salt and pepper

It doesn’t take long to prepare this meal but you will have to coordinate everything within 10 minutes. It is easiest to prepare as much as possible in advance before you start cooking.

Cook the pasta and take out a cup of the pasta water after it has been cooking for a few minutes as we need some of this liquid for the sauce.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan on low heat and mix in the mustard, it might curdle a bit, don’t worry. Add a good splash of the pasta water to get a more liquid sauce. Taste to see if the mustard comes through strong enough, you can make it quite tasty as it will get mixed with lots of pasta.

At the same time heat up some butter with a dash of oil in a frying pan. Mix a few tablespoons of flour with salt and pepper on a plate to turn the liver in. Fry the liver for a few minutes on medium heat but watch them as they don’t need long and dry out quickly. Deglaze with a tiny dash of brandy or wine, it should cook down straight away. Take the liver out and keep warm under a plate.

Pour some oil in the used but dry pan (wipe it with kitchen roll if necessary) and fry the sliced radicchio for a few minutes, turn and watch, it won’t need long either. Mix the cooked pasta in the pan together with the radiocchio and your mustard butter sauce. Season with salt and pepper and arrange on plates with the liver on top. Have a sip of your wine and relax!