Pearl barley tabouleh with marinated feta


A bit more nutritious and wholesome than regular tabouleh, but a very interesting spin on this dish. The kind of stuff that makes you look forward for your lunch box…

Pearl barley tabouleh with marinated feta (adapted from Yotam Ottolengi’s column in The Guardian)


  • 40g pearl barley
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 80g parsley, leaves and stems
  • 4 spring onions (about 40g in total), finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 40g cashew nuts, lightly toasted and crushed roughly
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into 1cm dice
  • ½ teasponn ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 60ml olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper


Put the pearl barley in a small saucepan, cover with water and boil for 30-35 minutes, until tender but still with a bite. Drain into a fine sieve, shake to remove all the water and transfer to a large bowl.

Break the feta into rough pieces about 2cm in size, and mix in a small bowl with the olive oil, za’atar, coriander seeds and cumin. Gently mix together and leave to marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Chop the parsley finely and place in a bowl with the spring onion, garlic, cashew nuts, green pepper, allspice, lemon juice, olive oil and cooked pearl barley. Mix well together and season to taste.

Roasted pork loin with garlic and rosemary


A very simplified version of Thomas Keller’s brined pork tenderloin with lemon and rosemary. Not as a good as, for obvious reasons, but good enough for a lunch box.  Or to add to a salad. Or to make a sandwich. One of the best dishes of this year – easy, delicious and versatile.

Roast Pork Loin with Garlic and Rosemary (adapted from a recipe found in


  • 4 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 2 1/2-pound boneless pork loin roast


1. Preheat oven to 200°c .

2. Line the roasting tray with parchment paper.

3. Mix the garlic, the rosemary, the salt and the freshly ground black pepper.

4. Rub the garlic mixture all over pork.

5. Place the pork, fat side down, in the baking tray.

6. Roast the pork for about 45min until thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 70°C., a

7. Remove from the oven; let it rest for about 10 minutes. Serve.

Brined pork tenderloin with lemon and rosemary


A tribute to my rosemary plant, who sadly passed away after 4 years of loyally providing springs for many different dishes  It was a very long Winter and… sadly, it just gave up waiting for the sun and the good weather, leaving a big empty to fill in my kitchen.  I got it as a birthday present and, in the meanwhile, a lot had happened. It made my company during many hours of happy and unhappy moments, inspired and uninspired cooking, every day and festive meals…  Dishes like this chestnut with rosemary pesto, this roasted chicken or this fish wrapped in ham, to mention a few. How to better to celebrate her life but to use it in a Thomas Keller dish?

Brined pork tenderloin with lemon and rosemary  (adapted from Thomas Keller‘s Ad hoc at home)


For the brine

  • 85g honey (app 1/4) cup + 2 tablespoons honey
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 3 fresh rosemary springs
  • bunch of fresh thyme sprigs (about 15g)
  • bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley springs  (about 15g)
  • 12 cloves garlic, crushed with the skin left on
  • 2 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 150g  salt
  • 2L water

For the pork

  • 2 pork tenderloin, silverskin removed
  • Olive oil to taste
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons  unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic clove, crushed
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 fresh rosemary spring
  • 8 slices cured lemon slices
  • sea salt


Combine all the ingredients for the brine in a big pot, cover and bring to boil. Stir and let it boil until the salt is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let it cool completely.

Put the pork tenderloin and brine in a bowl just big enough to hold them. Let sit in the fridge for 4 hours. Be careful about the time – otherwise the pork will be too salty.

Remove the pork from the brine, discarding the liquid. Rinse it & pat the meat until dry. Let the pork rest at room temperature for about half hour.

In the meanwhile, preheat oven to 175oC/350 F.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan until piping hot. Season the tenderloin for salt and pepper, add them to pan and sear until golden brown in all sides (about 6min).

Add the butter, garlic, thyme, rosemary and lemon slices. Let it cook for another 2min, tilting the pan and using a spoon to baste the pork with the pan juices. r two minutes basting the herbs, lemon & garlic with the juices in the pan.

Transfer the pork to a roasting pan with a rack set in it. Overlap the lemon slices down the length of the tenderloin, overlapping them a little. Top with the thyme, rosemary and garlic. Roast for 20 minutes, until the core of the pork is between 60oC-65oC. Remove from the heat and let it rest for 15min (it should be medium-rare to medium).

Slice the pork in diagonal unto 1 to 3cm thick slices. Arrange the slices on a serving platter and garnish with the garlic, rosemary and salt.

Minted pea and feta scrambled eggs

scrambled eggs feta minted peas

The day cannot go wrong if you have this for brunch – this is a real feel good dish. Mint and peas are one of the finest flavour combinations, and so is eggs and feta… And it feels like spring is right here.

Minted pea and feta scrambled eggs (adapted from Dave Myers and Si King’s The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight)


  • 30g frozen peas
  • 40g feta cheese, drained
  • ½ tablespoon of dried min
  • 3 medium eggs
  • Oil olive to coat the bottom of a frying pan
  • Salt and black pepper


Cook the peas following the instructions in the package.

Mix the eggs with a whisker and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Put enough olive oil to coat the bottom a medium size frying pan, and place it over medium heat until it is piping hot.

Lower the heat and pour the eggs in the frying pan. When they begin to set, use a wooden spoon to draw the cooked eggs to the center. Do this several times until all the uncooked egg is set.

Scatter the peas and feta over the set eggs and cook for another 3 minutes until the feta starts to melt.

Transfer the scrambled eggs to a plate.

Savoury cookies with parlsey and tahini spread


B. was wondering what to do with a bottle of tahini he had sitting on his fridge. “What is this used for?”, he asked. “Oh, well, plenty of stuff like humus… and errrr… humus…. or even maybe carrot hummus, if you will“, I answered a bit mortified by the lack of options. Seriously, is tahini used just  for hummus? After googling for a few minutes, it seems it also very popular in vegan cuisine, including lebanese inspired brownies (add beetroot for extra touch of healthiness), it is fundamental for baba ghanoush and  the hero in all sorts of  yoghurty-garlicky-herb-y dips. Like for example, this one  I found in Jerusalem (but of course…). As a bonus, these savoury biscuits, a favourite of Yotam’s father. Totally addictive…

Savoury cookies with parsley and tahini spread  (adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi‘Jerusalem)



  • 500g of plain flour sifted
  • 100mL of sunflower oil
  • 100 unsalted butter diced and left to soften
  • 1 teaspoon of fast action dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds toasted and very lightly crushed
  • App 100mL of water
  • 1 medium egg, whisked
  • 2 teaspoon white (and black) sesame seeds

Dipping sauce

  • 35g flat leaf parsley (stems and leaves)
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 25g light tahini paste
  • 125g Greek  yoghurt (drained)
  • 25mL lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt



Preheat the oven to 200 oC. Place the sifted flour in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour the oil into the well, add the butter, yeast, baking power, sugar, salt and the spices and stir together until the dough is formed. Add the water gradually while stirring until the dough is smooth. Knead for a couple of minutes.

Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Divide the dough into small bowls, about 25g each. On a clean surface, roll the balls into long snakes, around 1cm thick and 12-15cm long. Make a closed out of each snake dough, and put on the parchment paper leaving a 2 cm distance between each of them. Brush each ring with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds. Leave to prove for 30min.

Bake the biscuits in the oven for 22min, until golden brown. Allow to cool before storing. They will keep for 10days.

Dipping sauce

Blitz all the ingredients together to get a smooth, uniform green sauce you can use to coat the cookies. Add a bit more water if necessary.

Beetroot soup with tarragon yogurt ice cubes

beetroot soup with tarragon

And we here go: #beetrootgate dish number 2. Truth to be said, T. found the recipe and executed it with no fault.  Don’t let the unusual combination of flavors stop you to try this soup. In fact, it is delicious. Ideal to serve as an appetizer or for brunch.

Beetroot soup with tarragon yogurt ice cubes (adapted from BBC Goodfood)


For the soup

  • 3 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 75ml red wine
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1l vegetable stock
  • 500g cooked beetroot , unvinegared, roughly chopped

For the yogurt ice cubes

  • 500g pot natural yogurt
  • small bunch tarragon


 For the yogurt ice cubes

To make the ice cubes, mix the yogurt with a handful of chopped tarragon leaves

Half-fill  ice cube trays

Cover with cling film and freeze overnight.

For the soup

Put the onions and sugar in a saucepan, cover with a lid, then cook over moderate heat for 10 mins, shaking the pan from time to time.

Pour in the wine and vinegar and bubble away until syrupy.

Now pour in the stock, add the beetroot and a handful of tarragon leaves. Bring to the boil, then cook for 15 mins.

Blend the soup until smooth

Season with lots of black pepper

Serve hot with a yogurt ice cube on top

Roasted pumpkin wedges with dill sour cream

The good thing is that this is a delicious pumpkin dish. The bad one, that Autumn is here. I somehow feel I didn’t had enough of Summer. From here to Christmas is only a small leap. Thank God for the produce of the season to help me cross this bridge…

Roasted pumpkin wedges with sour cream (adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty)


  • For the wedges
  • 1 pumpkin (about 700g), desseeded  pumpkin, and cut 1 about 2cm slices, skin on
  • 50g grated Parmesan
  • 3 table spoons of  finely chopped thyme
  • 6  table spoons of parsley
  • the grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 2  crushed garlic cloves
  • Enough olive oil to brush the pumpkin wedges

For the dill sour cream

  • 12o mL of sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped dill
  • salt and withe pepper


Pre heat the oven to 190 oC.

Slice the pumpkin, keeping the skin. The wedges should be about 2 cm thick .

Lay the pumpkin wedges on a tray lined with baking parchment  and brush them with olive oil

For the crust, by mix  in a small bowl the Parmesan, the chopped parsley and thyme, the lemon zest, the garlic and some pepper (check for salt. Normally you won’t need to add it as the Parmesan is salty enough).

Sprinkle generously the wedges, with the crust mix.They should all be covered with a few millimeter layer of crust. If the

Put in the oven and roast for 30min or until the wedges are soft and tender. If the topping starts to get too dark, cover the tray with  foil

In the meanwhile, start the dill sour cream. Mix all the ingredients (sour cream dill, salt and pepper).

You can serve it warm or cold (better warm…)

Grilled lettuce hearts with a mint vinaigrette

Grilling lettuces hearts might sound like a cardinal sin. However, if you are bored of eating lettuce with a traditional dressing, this is a very, very, very easy  to do dish with surprising results. Serve either as an appetizer or a side dish.

Grilled lettuce hearts with a mint vinaigrette  (adapted from Ferran Adrià’s The Family Meal)


  • the leaves of 8 springs of fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon of   mustard 
  • 1 tablespoon of cherry vinegar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 lettuce hearts, cut in half lengthways and seasoned with salt and pepper


To make the vinaigrette, put the mints leaves  in a tall beaker. Then, drop in the mustard, the vinegar, the egg yolk and one portion of the olive oil. Start mixing with a hand held blender. Add the olive oil bit by bit, without stopping the blender. It is done when the mint looks chopped, right before it starts to convert into a mayonnaise (be careful not to over do it). Season with salt and pepper.

Cover the surface of a large frying pain (or a grilling one) with olive oil, and heat it. Drop in the lettuce heart and let them fry over medium heat until they are golden on both sides (it will take about 5 minutes). Once out  of the pan, cut them half lengthways again.

Put the 4 wedges on a plate and poor the vinaigrette on top it. Serve while warm.

Marinated mozzarella and tomato

If you had lived in Zurich for long enough, you will  have quickly learnt that if the sun is out, you have to leave home and in enjoy it while it is there. God only knows when you will be able to enjoy again walking down the street without having to resort to several layers of clothing. It could be next day, but it can also be in a week, in a month or next year (if ever!). This Summer, it was even more extreme than usual. After a few weeks of sheer desperation, we found ourselves enjoying each quasi-summer day like it was the last one. And, many times it seemed like that indeed it was, and that we all would be condemned to an existence plagued with cashmere cardigans, heavy scarfs and thick stockings….  So, in a nutshell – there was not really a lot of opportunities for cool dishes.  Except, maybe this one, from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty. An italian classic, converted into a ubiquitous dish:tomato-mozzarella-basil dictatorship. But, this one has a twist – roasted fennel seeds – which makes it outstanding. Not the usual watered stuff you get so often here in Zurich…

Marinated mozzarella and tomato (adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty)


For the salad

  • 250g mozzarella (use buffalo mozzarella for best results)
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, cut in wedges

For the marinade

  • 1/2 tablespoon of crushed roasted fennel seeds
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 15 basil leafs shredded
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped oregano
  • olive oil to taste (or a mix 1:1 of olive oil and rapeseed oil)
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste


For the marinade

First, put the fennel seeds in a small frying pan and heat until they start to pop. Drop them in a mortar and grind them until you have a chunky powder.

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Drop in the shredded mozzarella (shred the cheese and the basil with your hands, for an extra touch of rusticity).

Set aside for a about 20min

For the salad

In a plate, put the marinated cheese and the tomatoes side by side. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil, if necessary and serve.


A curious detail: if you check the English entry of Wikipedia for trivia, you will learn saltimbocca are popular in southern Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Greece; if you check the German entry, you will find out they are a delicacy typical of the Rome area. I haven’t been to Rome yet, but I would not be surprised if the native never heard about it or you were served something totally different when you asked for them.

In any case, M. – a German – was kind enough to drive me through the complexities of the making of saltimbocca. I managed to reproduce it the day after without much effort. In the background, risotto alla milanese, courtesy of M.


  • As many veal cutlets or scallops as you need
  • As many slices of cured ham as you have slices of veal (if you want to be very precise, it has to be prosciutto. In my case, it had to be jamón)
  • As many slices of fresh sages as you have slices of veal.
  • Olive oil
  • Wooden toothpick


Flatten the cutlets if needed. Lay them a clean surface, then put on top of each a slice of prosciutto and top it with the leaf of sage. Affix the prosciutto to the veal with a toothpick.

Heat the olive oil in a  skillet and sauté the cutlets until done. Don’t put too many of them on the skillet, otherwise they will be boiled. You will need to allow more time on the veal side than the prosciutto side. Season to taste and serve them risotto alla milanese.