Winter evenings - Salad of roasted cauliflower with hazelnuts

I can't remember when I cooked cauliflower the last time. Certainly more than five years ago. I really don't know how to handle this veg. yet once this winter I got so bored of potatoe, leek and cabbage that I bought one. At home I still had no idea what to do with it. After looking through some cook books, I decided to go for yet another Ottoloenghi: Salad of roasted cauliflower with hazelnuts. Delicious!

You'll need:

  • 700 gr cauliflower (just the florets)
  • 5 ts olive oil
  • 30 gr hazelnuts
  • 1 big stalk of celeriac cut into slices
  • 10 gr of flat leaf parsley
  • 50 gr pomegranate seeds
  • 1 ts tc cinnamon
  • 1 ts chilli powder
  • 1 tbs sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 ts maple sirup

Preheat the oven to 220°.
Turn the cauliflower in a mixture of 3 tbs of olive oil, 1/2 ts salt and some pepper.
Roast it for 25 -35 minutes on the top rack of your oven until crisp.
Put in a bowl and let cool.

Turn the oven down to 170° and roast the hazelnuts on a tray lined with greasing paper for 15 minutes.
Let cool, add to the other ingredients.
Mix well, season, serve lukewarm.

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A perfect Picnic and a lovely vegetable salad

I have been asked what to take for the perfect picnic by a Swiss newspaper this week. I don't do proper picnic that often, but when we eat in the garden that is sort of a picnic. In the the beginning we had pretty elaborate picnics where we brought along lots of crazy things that we had prepared in advance. Nowadays we usually try to keep it more simple.

So what is essential for a good picnic?

For me it's all about sitting in the green, chatting, enjoying the summer heat, maybe have a fire going or some lanterns on.
I do want our picnics to look good. I hate all the plastic garbage that you end up with when you just go to the supermarket and buy a few ready made things.
I suggest taking along nice reusable plastic plates like these or even better enamel dishes like these or what we do: keep buying nice old dishes from the secondhand shop .

Then you obviously need a blanket to site on. A summer version could look like this and a spring and autumn one like this.

So what to eat? Most important is a good cheese and if you eat meat maybe a really nice sausage. I usually buy a few different cheeses, sheep, goat and cow. Aged and young ones. Also very popular with us is fig mustard. But I still have to find a good recipe to make the mustard myself.
With this you definitely need some good crisps. My favorites are Tyrells. And a nice bread.
Now that you have the basics you can add a few extras. We usually do some vegetable salads - straight from the garden cooked on the gas cooker, but you can prepare them at home and take them along in big jars.

You can use whatever vegetables you like but our favorite is with sugar peas, peas, broad beans and baby carrots.

Blanch the vegetables - not too long, you still want them to be crisp. In a blender blend a good dollop of extra virgin olive oil and a handful of tarragon ( or dill or flat leave parsley or … ) and some malden salt.
Mix vegetables and herb oil and season with pepper and more salt if needed. Fill into a big glass jar and take along.
Another one I often take along is this potato and trout salad or this

If you make a fire you obviously have to grill some sausages, feta and haloumi cheese.

Don't forget the red wine and some glasses and off you go.

For dessert we often grill some pear & black chocolate breads. Just wrap some chunks of pear o apple and some black chocolate into pizza dough and but them on the grill. Make sure they don't burn. Grill them on the side of the fire or when it's about to go out.

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Red Autumn Salad

It seems wrong to talk about autumn now that we have snow and minus temperature here in Switzerland. But the market and our garden is still full of all these lovely autumn products like figs, chestnuts, pumpkins and such so let's just pretend we don't see the snow.

We had a tasty and very pretty salad the other day which I would like to share with you.

You'll need:

  • red bitter salad leaves
  • 1 raw beetroot, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 3 figs cut into slices
  • 1 tbs chopped freh dill
  • Pecorino cheese

Toss the salad, figs, dill and beetroot in the dressing. Sprinkle with some Pecorino shavings and serve.

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The other caprese

You'll need:

  • lovely ripe tomatoes
  • basil
  • fennel seeds
  • lemon zest
  • good olive oil
  • buffala mozzarella
  • salt and pepper

We fell in love with this variation of the caprese salad. Instead of the traditional seasoning crush some fennel seeds in a mortar.
Add some salt and pepper and some lemon zest. Season the salad with this mixture and sprinkle over some good olive oil.

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Raw asparagus salad

The garden is dominating of menu again - It's asparagus time and we have to harvest every second or third day.
Luckily Deb from smitten kitchen is always coming up with new brilliant asparagus recipes. After last years asparagus pizza with which is already an absolute favorite at coeur de sel she brings us the ribboned asparagus salad with lemon . I can only recommend it it's delicious.

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Mozzarella di Buffala

A new favorite at our place. Mozzarella di Buffala served with a marinade of slightly fried spring onions, a small dash of balsamic vinegar, lemon and lemon zest salt, pepper, very good olive oil and plenty of chopped basil.
I make the whole marinade in the pan over medium heat. In the end I add the basil and let it sit for some minutes. Add it to the mozzarella when it's still warm so the cheese starts to melt a bit.

Goes well with plenty of vegetable salads, good bread and red wine of course.

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Lukewarm potato salad

This a new favorite of mine, lukewarm potato salad with cucumbers and mustard dressing.

Cook the potatoes till soft, meanwhile make a dressing of olive oil, white vine vinegar , plenty of dijon mustard and some crushed juniper berries.
Cut the cucumber into chunks ( without the seeds ) sprinkle with some sea salt and let sit in a colander in the sink for 10 minutes.
When the potatoes are done, drain and add to the sauce. Ad the cucumbers and a good handful of dill, serve lukewarm.

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Spring salad

Spring is good. Last night I made myself this very quick and very tasty salad.  The asparagus and the radish are from our allotment. First harvest this spring.
I don't have cress in the garden but at the moment I really like it I so probably sow some tomorrow. Supposed to be good in keeping the slugs away too.

Luke warm potatoes peeled, radish, some spring onions  greens, a horse radish sour cream dressing , an organic trout filet, some cress and some lemon zest - voilà. Fresh and light and delicious.

Decorate with one asparagus the rest eat with salt pepper, lemon and mayonnaise if you like ( I do ).
The season only started we will eat so much more :-)

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Mixed green salad leaves with luke warm beetroot and roquefort

I'm about to discover the beetroot. Thanks to nigel slaters new cook book "tender" . So far I was almost clueless what to do with a beetroot. I like them raw. I occasionally mad a raw beetroot salad with sesame. I tried soup once but wasn't satisfied.
Nigel has a lovely recipe for a salad whit beetroot and goats cheese which opened my mind.

Here a different approach to the theme:

This salad is really easy. Mixed green leaves, lukewarm beetroot, roquefort cheese. Depending on what else is on the menu garnish with walnuts.

4 small to medium beetroots skin on
mixed green salad leaves
roquefort cheese to garnish
walnut oil
olive oil
dijon mustard
red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Bring a pan of water to boil ad the beetroot and let the beetroots simmer  for approximately 1 hour or until tender. I like them al dente. Let them cool till you can handle them. Take of the skin and cut into slices.

Make a dressing with the walnut oil, olive oil, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
Mix the salad leaves and the beetroot toss in the sauce and garnish with roquefort cheese and walnuts.

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Autumn caprese

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