Eggplant Rolls with Chickpeas Filling

Eggplant Rolls with Chickpeas Filling 1

I love veggies, they are delicious, healthy and light! For this reason I needed a side dish including some of them, went to my pantry room and as I saw the eggplants that my husband bought for me! How beautiful, this will be our dinner, but what should I make with them? Something new? Finally I came across this recipe which I modified to my personal taste and the ingredients available in my pantry. WOW! The rolls are cute, tasty and filling! Will make again for sure!

This recipe sounds complicate, but it’s quite easy and looks pretty.

The rolls could be served as starter as well, especially if sliced; in this case make sure the chickpeas paste is thick enough and fill the eggplants slices until warm. Slice after chilling completely!

Eggplant Rolls with Chickpeas Filling

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Eggplant Rolls with Chickpeas Filling 1

You need

  • 2 big eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coriander seeds or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds or to taste
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 200 g precooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes or to taste
  • 1/4 dried oregano or to taste (variation: add tahini for a baba ganoush filling!)
  • 1 lemon juice or to taste
  • additional olive oil, to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Scented oil to serve


  1. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 3-4 mm thick slices.
  2. Brush them with a little oil on both sides and then grill in a hot grilling pan a couple minutes per each side (until you can see the grilling marks).
  3. When they are done, salt them just slightly and set aside to cool.
  4. Heat olive oil in a non-sticky skillet and roast coriander and cumin until fragrant.
  5. Add onion and garlic and fry until they are translucent and soft.
  6. Add chickpeas, chili flakes and oregano and cook for a few minutes until hot.
  7. Add lemon juice and olive. Transfer to a bowl and blend. If necessary add more lemon juice and olive oil until smooth. You can also add some tablespoons of boiled water until you get a thick not liquid paste.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Spread the chickpea mixture (I used a tablespoon for each, but this depends form the size) over the eggplant slices and roll them up. I suggest to use first the biggest slices, if you have some rest overs you can serve them well seasoned as salad.

Eggplant Rolls with Chickpeas Filling 2

Strawberry Tart – Cuor Di Fragola


Strawberry Tart -   Cuor Di Fragola

I don’t know how many times we made this tart! Last weekend (Valentin day) my husband surprised me preparing this tart, the best strawberry tart per excellence I know!
More than 15 years ago, as I bought this mold, I found this precious recipe in the packaging instructions for the mold itself and the special selection of the ingredients with ginger, sesame seeds and sesame oil attracted my attention and I’m more than glad I made the experiment.
The size of the mold? We use hearth shaped fresh fruits tart mold 27 cm wide and 27 long (about 10 inches). This tart mold has a special shape: the bottom is raised in the center, producing a special shaped shell with an indentation. Invert the shell and fill with cream and fresh fruits.


Strawberry Tart - Cuor die Fragola

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 1hr 15mins
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Strawberry Tart -   Cuor Di Fragola


You need


  • 1 teaspoon butter or 1 teaspoon margarine, to grease the mold
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 lemon ( only peel grated)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, dark quality
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder


  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 5 slices ginger ( very thin)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon agar, powder ( or 1/2-1 tablespoon additional cornstarch)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 10 ounces strawberries ( or other berries if you prefer)


  • 1 teaspoon jelly powder  or 1/2 cup homemade fruit jelly


  1. Grease your mold with butter or margarine and coat well with sesame seeds.
  2. Preheat the oven at 340 °F /175°C (heat and timing are basing it on convection oven).
  3. Blend egg, water and sugar until foamy.
  4. Add grated lemon peel and sesame oil.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Add sifted flour and sifted baking powder to the egg mix and incorporate gently.
  7. Pour the batter in the mold and bake 25 minutes at 340°F (175°C).
  8. Let cool down 15 minutes, remove from the mold and place it on your cake plate.
  9. Prepare your strawberries cleaning them and cutting each one in 2 pieces.
  10. Boil the milk with the ginger.
  11. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  12. In the meanwhile mix together eggs, sugar, cornstarch, agar and vanilla.
  13. Remove the ginger from the milk and incorporate the ginger-flavored milk.
  14. Heat again in a pot stirring continuously until it thickens. Remove from heat.
  15. Spread the cream (still warm but not hot) on the cake base and arrange the strawberries on it.
  16. Prepare the jelly according packaging description or melt the homemade jelly.
  17. Brush the jelly on the strawberries.
  18. Cool down completely and serve.

Turkish Lamb and Quince Stew (Avya Yahnisi)

Turkish Lamb and Quince StewLamb, quince and spices melts they flavor perfectly in flavorful dish. If you don’t know quince in meat dishes, this recipe is a way to be introduced in them.

For this recipe I used several small quinces form the garden that I keep in the storage.

You need:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 kg c lamb, fat removed, cut in 1 inch pieces
  • 1 large onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 kg (optional) quinces, peeled, cored, and quartered (I doubled the quantity)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Heat 2 tablespoon oil over high heat in a deep frying pan or stew pot. Add lamb and brown it in several portions removing it to a plate when browned.
  2. Heat the other 2 tablespoon oil over high heat and add the onion and cook gently for about 5 minutes, until translucent and light golden.
  3. Add the pomegranate molasses and the water. Stir well, to mix in the browned juices.
  4. Return lamb to the pan and add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, salt, and pepper.
  5. Cover and simmer for one hour. Adjust salt and add water if necessary. This is a stew and the meat should be kept in juices.
  6. Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the quinces and cook over high heat for several minutes until caramelized. Turn the pieces from time to time.
  7. Add sugar, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, stir once, and place on top of the lamb in the pan.
  8. Cover, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes until the lamb is tender, shaking the pan occasionally. Don’t stir, this would damage the quinces!
  9. Serve hot with fresh bread, bulgur, rice or what you like!

Apricot Tarte Tatin with Herbs

Apricot Tarte Tatin with Herbs 1

This quick tart Tatin looks like a jewel! The only a few ingredients and you get a wonderful tart which can be prepared with frozen fruit as in my case with frozen apricots. Our small apricots were perfect for this recipe, but I’m sure I could prepare this with fresh figs (eventually sliced) perhaps spiced with cinnamon as well. In this sense this recipe should be simply a suggestion, you can adapt it to the fruits available as well as herbs (savory, thyme, rosemary, lavender, sage…).

For a 26 cm/1o inch mold double the ingredients!

You need (for a 18cm/ 7 inch mold)

  • 250-300 g fresh apricots (with skin, de-stoned and cut in half)
  • 50 g sugar (depends from sweetness of fruits)
  • 20 g butter, for the caramel
  • 1/2 lemon zest, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon fresh savory leaves
  • 2 sheets of filo pastry
  • 20 g melted butter, for the filo pastry sheets


  1. Place sugar and butter into the ceramic mold under the broiler. Broil until browned.
  2. Remove from the oven, switch oven to normal heat at 180°C (not broiler!) and quickly add in the apricot halves (cut side-down).
  3. Scatter 2/3 of lemon zest and savory leaves. With the spoon try to push them in-between apricots. Note: You cannot add zest and savory prior apricots as they would burn and turn black.
  4. Let it bubble for 5-8 minutes on a medium heat. Note: if you use frozen apricots, reduce to 2 minutes as they would be mush.
  5. Prepare the 2-4 whole rounds (letting little more for border) of filo, you will use the cutouts first.
  6. Remove from the oven on top of the apricots the filo cutouts and filo rounds, brushing every layer with the melted butter.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top of the filo is a deep golden brown.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool down about 10 minutes.
  9. Turn the tart upside down into a heat-proof serving plate on top of the mold face side-down and flip. Now the plate is resting on your counter surface. When you lift the skillet the apricots of the tart Tatin will be on top.
  10. Allow to cool for 15 minutes and just before serving scatter with reserved lemon zest and savory leaves!

Apricot Tarte Tatin with Herbs 2

Pollo Gratinato –Parmesan Chicken au Gratin

Pollo Gratinato –Parmesan Chicken au Gratin

Crispy juicy skinless chicken? No problem, this recipe is for you and you will be surprised by the tenderness of the meat and the crispy delicious coat.

The amount of dressing and coating is approximate what I needed. If you opt for a longer marinating time you may increase the dressing quantity.

The choice of the ingredient is typically Italian; however we can find many Italian recipes using simply milk or beaten egg instead of dressing.

For this recipe I used chicken legs but you can use skinless breasts instead.

You need:


  • 4 skinless chicken legs or breasts

Dressing (you can use a ready dressing instead, but I prefer the homemade balsamic dressing):

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (white or red)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon mustard sauce
  • 2 teaspoon tomatoes paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt


  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika ground
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or dried thyme
  • c dried rosemary powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pepper to taste
  • Olive oil to drizzle (optional)


  1. Mix together the ingredients for the dressing.
  2. Toss well the chicken with the dressing to marinate for at least 20 minutes (you can marinate it for a few hours in the fridge as well).
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
  4. In a flat bowl mix all the ingredients for the coating (except the olive oil).
  5. Coat the chicken piece by piece with the crumbs mixture and place them in a baking foil.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil and if you like mix rest of dressing and crumbs and lightly press on the chicken.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes until browned and chicken done.

Gnocchi di Patate – Italian Potatoes Dumplings

gnocchi di patate 3


Quanto sono buoni i gnocchi! Do you know gnocchi, the Italian potatoes dumplings?

They are served as pasta, with tomatoes sauce, with Parmesan cheese, with heated butter with sage.

In the shops most gnocchi are made mostly with semolina, but the Italian housewives are used to prepare this with potatoes because they are more tasty and I imagine that potatoes were available from the own vegetable garden (people had to buy flour). Another great variation is with the addition of pumpkin which was previous cooked in the oven in order to get a better taste and to reduce water content.

I don’t know why I forget to prepare gnocchi more often as they are light delicious and easy to prepare. We were used to prepare lot of them, this saves the time for the 2, 3… meal but it was too much time consuming for the first meal. If you have more time, you can make plenty boil them and freeze them for the next meal; you will have to place them (still frozen) in hot salted water and boil them for about 5-6 minutes until hot.

For this reason today I will prepare only what we need for 4 persons and I will have fun. I’m ready to start. Enjoy.


  • 500 g potatoes
  • 1 medium egg
  • 200 g flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Boil the unpeeled potatoes in enough salted water until tender (time depends on the size).
  2. Drain and peel the potatoes until still with a knife. You can use a towel to protect the hand holding the potatoes.
  3. Mash the potatoes into a bowl using a potato ricer or with a “passe vite”.
  4. Add egg, flour and salt.
  5. Work with your hand until the dough comes together and you get a smooth dough, if necessary add more flour.
  6. Now put the dough onto the floured working surface and work little bit more until elastic enough to be shaped.
  7. Roll a portion of the dough onto the well-floured surface into a snake (or sausage) about 1 ½ cm think.
  8. With a knife cut into 2 cm pieced.
  9. Using a fork take a single gnocchi and press, roll it for form the typical pattern. Proceed piece by piece in the same way placing each gnocchi on a floured tea towel on a baking tray, spaced apart. This will prevent sticking and helps when it’s time to add them to the hot salted water.
  10. Bring at least 3 liters of hot water to boil. Add salt as need and 3 tablespoon of a neutral vegetal oil.
  11. Add the gnocchi carefully to the salted water. Stir once and wait for 1-2 minutes until they rise to the surface.
  12. Drain and serve immediately. If you have to store them in a bowl add little butter, and toss gently; this will prevent sticking.

Cuajada Maracuja Dessert

Cuajada Maracuja Dessert

The intense flavor of maracuja makes these simply and super light dessert exotic and enjoyable.

After the festivities I think we should try to stay light without missing the taste.

The help came from this incredible tasty fruits, the cuajada envelopes I got from Spain and the super light cream cheese I have at home. I tried replacing the sugar by aspartame, but you may also try with stevia or sugar of course.

This make 4 normal sized portions or 8 mini one as in my picture.

You need:


  • 500 ml milk (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cuajada envelope (I always use Royal cuajada, but Rennet could work as well, the rennet curdling following the packet instructions!)
  • 150-200 g (one package) light cream cheese
  • 50 g sugar or the corresponding amount sweetener

Maracuja jelly:

  • 125 ml tropical juice
  • 125 ml water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or the corresponding amount sweetener
  • 1 envelope jelly powder for sweets (or the necessary amount for 250 ml liquid)
  • 1 or 2 maracuja fruits


  1. Pour 400 milk (2 cups) and into a medium sauce pan and bring to almost to boil.
  2. While milk is heating, pour the milk into a cup and mix with the contents of the cuajada envelope using a wire whip.
  3. Add light cream cheese and sugar (or substitute) to the heated milk and stir to dissolve. Check if you need more sweetener (depends on your taste).
  4. As soon as the milk-cheese mixture begins to boil, pour in the cuajada mixture and stir constantly. Remove from heat as soon as the mixture boils again.
  5. Pour into glasses of ramequin mold and let cool down for at least 2 hours.
  6. Bring juice, water sugar and jelly to boil stirring constantly.
  7. In the meantime open maracuja and spoon out the content.
  8. As soon it begins to boil and thickens remove from heat and pour over the chilled curd.
  9. Spoon the maracuja over the jelly and chill completely before serving.

Horchata – Mexican Rice Beverage

Horchata 3

Our son served us this refreshing drink as a wonderful souvenir from Mexico.

This sweet refreshing drink is mostly served chilled or over ice originated in Valencia (Spain) and has become a favorite summertime refreshment throughout Spain and South America.

But there is another story about this drink! Many years ago, as I was still a little child, I remember I got a delicious white drink with almonds flavor called “orzata” (Italian) or Orgeat syrup in English.

It seems that this kind of drink originated in several places around the globe as the Egyptians as well the Mayas already prepared this with different kind of seeds.

The name “horchata”or “orzata” comes the grain from a plant called Hordeum vulgare (Latin), orzo (Italian), cebada (Spanish) or barley (English) as this drink was make by a mixture of barley and almonds.

It’s almost impossible to give THE best recipe of horchata as there are so many different possibilities to prepare this refreshing drink.

Most recipes says you have to sieve the rice, but if you stir the mixture you will see that the rice automatically separates from the liquid and this step is not really necessary. I let this up to you.

You can choose how much milk or water you prefer but I really like only one quarter of milk or even less.

You need:

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup milk 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 teaspoon cinnamon ground, to taste (quantity depends on taste and on quality)
  • 2/3 cup sugar


  1. Blend half of the water and rice until finely grinded.
  2. Add the second half of the water stir and let sit at room temperature for at least 3 hours.
  3. Sieve with a cheesecloth to remove the rice (optional).
  4. Add milk, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar
  5. Stir well and chill before serving.
  6. Fill into glasses and top with little cinnamon.


Variations based on cinnamon:

  • Replace milk with almond milk.
  • Replace milk with water, but add 1/2 cup of peeled almonds to the rice and blend together.
  • Replace milk by the desired quantity of condensed milk or powdered milk (blend it first).
  • Replace 1 cup of riche by 1/2 cup rice and 1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut.
  • Replace water by milk.
  • Replace milk by water.

Variations different flavors:

  • Ginger and lemongrass
  • Coffee and cinnamon
  • Cacao and cinnamon
  • Berries
  • Melon seeds instead of rice
  • Tigernuts (chufas) instead of rice

Horchata 7

Apple and Pomegranate Upside-Down Cake

Apple and Pomegranate Upside Down Cake 2

For this month I decided to post for my friends a recipe with pomegranate.

Most of recipes I saw ask for ready mixes as “yellow cake mix” or “pudding mix” but as a convinced “make it yourself” chef I found that the easiest way for me is to convert my upside down cake recipe to an easy and versatile recipe for many kind of fruits. The basic ingredients for the batter of the cake are always the same (always on hand) and the fruit topping can be changed according to the season.

I still have plenty of apples from the garden and a so I had to buy only a beautiful pomegranate fruit.

To seed the pomegranate: cut the skin horizontally, brake the fruit, loose slightly the skin without braking, invert on a bowl and tap with a wooden spoon.

For baking I used a springform as it’s easier to invert and remove the bottom of the mold without destroying the fruits arrangement. In an alternative you can use a mold and invert carefully.

You need:

Fruit layer:

  • 3 medium apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 pomegranate


  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup milk


  1. Place the sliced apples in a bowl with the brandy to marinate for about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  3. Place the butter in a round springform (baking mold with removable border) or in another baking pan of 14-26 cm (9-10 inches) until when melted sprinkle with the sugar.
  4. In the meantime seed the pomegranate.
  5. Take the mold out of the oven and arrange apple slices like a flower and leaving the center free.
  6. Fill the center with pomegranate seed. The excess seeds can be used for decoration.
  7. For the cake batter beat the butter with the sugar and the vanilla sugar until well blended. Add eggs one by one and beating until very soft.
  8. Add flour, baking powder, salt and milk (add brandy from the marinade if still any). Beat until you get a creamy heavy mixture.
  9. Pour batter over the apples and spread it with a spatula to cover the fruits.
  10. Bake at 180°C/350°F for about 30 minutes or until done (toothpick test).
  11. Let rest for about 15 minutes, remove the border of the mold, invert on a serving plate and remove the bottom using a spatula if necessary.
  12. Spread remaining pomegranate seeds around the cake and serve warm or cold.

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Fastenwähe – Carnival Caraway Seed Pretzels of Basel


The Fastenwähe, Fastenweyen or Fastenwaje is a carnival (Fasnacht) caraway-seed pretzel sold on every bakery of Basel during Lenten  (Fasten means Lenten!) and carnival period and really only around this time of year. The Basler Fasnacht is Switzerland’s biggest Carnival festival, held annually in the week following Ash Wednesday and lasts for exactly 72 hours. During this time the city is in celebration mode with deeply rooted local traditions, ranging from “Gugge music”, “Piccolo music” (a kind of sopranino flute), wonderful colored laterns,  to traditional Fasnacht dishes as the “Basler Mehlsuppe” (a hearty broth made from flour and onion) and the Fastenwähe, the recipe proposed in this blog.

The Fastenwähe made it’s very first appearance way back in the year 1554 in the Swiss Rheinfelden 20 km away from Basel (Switzerland).

These rolls are very easy to prepare, they need to rise only once and your can enjoy them warm (just form the oven), cold or filled with ham, cheese or to your taste.

More about Fastenwähe (in German):

You need


  • 250 ml milk, lukewarm
  • 100 g butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 500 g white flour
  • 15 g fresh yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 -2 tablespoon caraway seeds (not cumin!)


  1. In a bowl combine milk, butter, sugar and half of the flour. Mix well.
  2. Add yeast, mix well again and let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the flour, the salt and work for about 10 minutes and form a soft and elastic dough. Let rest for about 10 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 12-15 portions and form with each a 15 cm long oval roll. You can use a rolling pin or simply press and stretch with your hands.
  5. Flat the rolls and with the knife make 4 opposite slits into each piece; the cuts should be about 5 cm long (as shown in the photo). Place each piece on prepared tray (I needed 3 trays).
  6. In the meanwhile in a small bowl mix the egg yolk and the water for the topping and brush the breads with it. Top with caraway seed.
  7. Keep for about 2 hours in the oven (temperature off, light on) or until they double their volume. For a better rising I recommend to pot a bowl with warm water on the bottom of the oven.
  8. Take out of the oven (including the bowl of water) and preheat the oven at 200°C.
  9. Now place a fireproof bowl with hot water (to produce steam and get soft rolls) into the oven and bake the breads of the first tray for 15-20 minutes until golden. Let cool on a grade end enjoy them.

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