Globe artichokes and crusted pork chops

Pork is delicious and versatile type of meat. Contrary to many people’s beliefs certain parts of pork can be very low in fat.  This recipe is easy to prepare, and it is a healthy and safe way to eat pork. These thin-sliced chops come from loin and are very lean. They are about 1cm thick and boneless with barely any fat.

The chops are grilled or seared for a short time to retain their moisture. If you are using thicker cutlets you can always flatten them to an even thinness by placing them in-between 2 pieces of cling film and pounding them with a meat-pounder or a rolling pin.

When buying pork chops they should have a rosily white color and the fat should be very white. The meat should be firm and look dry.

In this recipe I have paired the pork chops with cooked new potatoes and fried sage. I used fresh breadcrumbs mixed with ground coriander, but you can substitute it for ground fennel or ground cumin seeds. For the starter I prepared globe artichokes with light vinaigrette. You can also use other types of dips such as: mayonnaise , melted butter or aioli, but those options will also add more calories to the meal.

 

 

Boiled new potatoes

  • 400 g new (young) potatoes
  • butter
  • salt
  1. Wash and scrub potatoes. Cut them into halves.
  2. You don’t need to peel delicate skin of these potatoes. Fill the pot with cold water and put the potatoes in.
  3. Bring to boil, then lower the heat to medium low and simmer until they are tender when pierced with a knife.
  4. Drain the potatoes.
  5. Put the knob of butter over the potatoes; cover until you fry the cutlets.

 

 

Crusted pork chops

  • 4 thin pork chops, lean and boneless
  •  130 g fresh breadcrumbs (white or whole wheat loaf), about 2 cups
  • 2 teaspoon ground coriander (or ground fennel , or ground cumin seeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pinch of ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoon flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoon of sunflower oil
  1.  Remove the crust, put the bread into a food processor, wiz until you form breadcrumbs. spread the breadcrumbs on a baking tray or baking paper and dry for two hours.
  2. In a bowl mix together breadcrumbs, ground coriander and salt.
  3. Pat dry pork chops with paper towels.
  4. Whisk the egg in a hollow dish and put half of the flour and breadcrumb mixture on two different shallow plates.
  5. Put half of the oil in a large skillet and heat it on medium-high.
  6. Dip one of the cutlets into the flour first, shake-off the excess.
  7. Coat in egg then breadcrumbs.
  8. Put them into the skillet. Lower the heat and cook two minutes per side, or until golden brown. Don’t overcook or they will be dry.
  9. Carefully wipe the skillet and put the other half of oil. Repeat the process. Never cram the skillet, always cook in batches.
  10. Take cutlets out of the skillet and put them in a plate. Keep them worm by putting a plate in an oven on a very low temperature.

 

 

Fry sage leafs

  • bunch of fresh sage leafs
  • sunflower oil or olive oil for frying (not extra virgin)
  • salt
  1. Put the sunflower oil into small pot to dept of 3cm, about 1 inch. Heat the oil on medium high until registers  180 C/ 350 F or  test the temperature by putting small piece of bread. Bred should bubble all over. Dry sage leafs well before adding to hot oil. Put no more than four sage leaves at a time for about four seconds. Don’t take to long or they will turn brown. Regulate the heat to prevent the oil from overheating or smoking.
  2. Transfer with a fork or a slotted spoon.
  3. Dry them on kitchen paper. They will crisp as they cool.
  4. With a fork break the potatoes and put salt to taste. You can add a little more butter and reheat for a minute.

 

 

Globe artichokes

  • 4 globe artichokes
  • juice of one lemon
  1. Choose a big enough pot that can hold the artichokes. Fill it with water to about half and bring to boil.
  2. Prepare artichokes. First cut the stalks and make sure that the bottom is well-trimmed so it will sit flat.
  3. Cut off the top third of the artichoke.
  4. Trim the points of the outer leaves with scissors. To prevent discoloration put them in water with some lemon juice while you prepare the other artichokes.
  5. Place the artichokes in the boiling water, stem with the base down. Add some of lemon juice.
  6. Simmer for about  45 min, when testing the leaf will pull out easily. If they turn you can weight them down with a plate.
  7. Take them out of the water and drain in a colander, putting them upside down.
  8. Let them cool, then open the center of the artichoke and pull out all the pale leaves shaped like a cone.
  9. Now you will expose hairy choke (fibrose section) that you should scrape off with a spoon. Put the cone back on the artichoke.

Taking off fibrose part.

 

 

Vinaigrette

  • 4 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoon red vine vinegar
  • salt
  1. In a small bowl whisk oil and vinegar. Add salt to taste.
  2. Divide into four small cups for dipping.
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Spring tea time

My first spring in Switzerland!

My street is surrounded by nature; each week brings new surprises in terms of plants and flowers, flowers that come in rainbow of colors.

When you live in a big city, as I used to do, spring’s arrival is much more subtle and less impactful than when you live so close to the countryside as I do now.

With the new season and its warmer temperatures entertaining is moving outside; dishes are lighter and more colorful. It is a great time to call friends to come over and try some new seasonal dishes.

I miss teatime in London, where I used to live, because it is a place where you can see all the creativity that goes into preparing a great variety of teatime “menus”, not only at high-end hotels, but also in smaller coffee shops.

The challenge is that some of these treats are quite sweet. If you are like me and can’t resist tasting everything that is on the plate in front of you, the calorie count can be overwhelming!

For the outdoor teatime menu, I am going to share with you, I made classic mini-egg sandwiches with dill, choux profiteroles filled with rose cream, and fruit skewers with lemon-grass syrup.

Because we are now coming to the time-of-year when fresh fruits are becoming more abundant, I am adding them to my menu to bring freshness and vibrant colors.

This treats are also appropriate for an Apero, a Swiss form of socializing that includes finger-food and a glass of drink.

Egg Sandwiches (around 12 petite sandwiches)

  • 8 slices of wheat bread
  • 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh dill
  • salt and pepper
  1. Put the eggs into a saucepan and cover with cold water.
  2. Bring to boil, then immediately lower the heat and simmer for 10 min. Never boil the eggs.
  3. Put cooked eggs into cold water to stop cooking process and peel.
  4. In a small bowl mesh them well with a fork.
  5. Add two tablespoons of mayonnaise and one teaspoon of chopped dill to the eggs. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
  6. Divide the filling on one side of bread slices, and then top with other slices.
  7. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge if not serving within one hour.
  8. When ready to assemble, cut of the crust with serrated knife and then cut the sandwiches into small squares.
  9. I like to use small square cutters.
  10. Just before serving dissolve butter in a small pot and add one teaspoon of dill.
  11. Lightly apply butter mixture on top of each sandwich using a small kitchen brush.
To add a little colour.
Fruit skewers
  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 watermelon
  • 1 honeydew melon
  •  lychees (10-12), peeled and pitted
  • fresh mint (optional)
  • 12 bamboo skewers
  1. You can first remove the skin with a serrated knife before cutting the mango or first cut mango into two halves and then remove the skin. If the mango is not  too soft  you can use a peeler.
  2. Slice the flash of mango by placing the knife slightly away from the center and cut downwards. Repeat on the other side.
  3. Cut the flesh lengthways into strips, then crossways into squares.
  4. Squeeze a little lime juice over the mango to prevent discoloring.
  5. Peel and take the pits out of the lychee. If fresh lychee are not available use caned ones in syrup.
  6. Cut the cantaloupe and the watermelon. Remove the seeds and scoop-out the flash with a melon baller.
  7. Thread the pieces of fruit on the skewers; in between pieces of fruit you can decorate with fresh mint.
  8. Arrange them in small transparent glasses.
  9. Put little bit of lemon grass syrup over.

Lemon grass syrup

  • 1 lemon grass stem, bruised
  •  80 gr granular sugar
  • 135 g water
  • juice of one lime
  1. Place sugar, lime juice and water in a saucepan on low heat until sugar dissolves.
  2. Bring to boil, add  lemon grass stem and cook for three minutes or little longer if you want thicker syrup.
  3. Cool. Put into refrigerator overnight.

Choux profiteroles with a rose cream

 

  •  55 g  butter
  • 170 ml water
  • 55 g plain flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • a pinch of salt
  • 200 ml double cream
  • 2 teaspoon rose-water
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry rose petals
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C.
  2. Sift the flour with a pinch of salt.
  3. Put butter and water in a saucepan and melt the butter over medium heat.
  4. Increase the heat and bring it to boil.
  5. As soon as the liquid boils add the sifted flour in one go. Remove from the heat and with a wooden spoon mix quickly until mixture is smooth and leaves the sides of the pan. Don’t  overbeat.
  6. Spread the mixture on the plate, until it cools slightly, about 10-15min.
  7. When cooled put the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer.
  8. Incorporate eggs a little bit at-a- time so that each addition is well incorporated. In the beginning mixture may look like it is splitting. Continue mixing until smooth and glossy.
  9. Put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a  nozzle ( I used 8mm ) and pipe small chouxs buns 3-4 cm size on a nonstick baking paper. I like a thin silicone sheet that you can reuse and is easily available.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the choux buns are golden and firm.
  11. Place them on a wire rack to cool.
  12. Whisk double cream with rose water and icing sugar.
  13. Cut the tops of the pastry cases.
  14. Put the cream into a piping bag with a small nozzle and pipe into the pastry cases.
  15. Ground some of the rose leafs using paste and mortar.
  16. Dust choux  profiterloes with icing sugar and sprinkle with ground rose leafs.