Category Archives: takes time

Meat Loaf with Zucchini in Puff Pastry

While living in Zurich, Switzerland, I used to buy cheese at a local cheese store. They carried an amazing selection of Swiss cheese and an terribly good cheese fondue mix. Monthly I picked up the “Chäs-Chuchi”, a magazine that promoted Swiss cheese, from there. The following recipe has it’s origin in this magazine. It calls for Sbrinz and Appenzeller cheese. Sbrinz is the Swiss Parmesan and Appenzeller is a very strong cheese, incomparable to anything else. You can buy it in Deli stores in North America or just replace it by any other kind of cheese. I have used aged Gouda and it worked well.


  • 3 small to medium zucchini
  • 100g Appenzeller cheese, cut in strips.
  • 50g Sbrinz cheese (or Parmesan), grated

For the meat loaf

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 old bun, soaked in water, or breadcrumbs
  • 1 small onion, chopped.
  • 3 twigs of tarragon, minced
  • 3 twigs of parsley, minced
  • 3-4 celery leaves (a European herb), minced
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • salt, pepper, mustard powder, paprika, cayenne pepper.

For the pastry

  • 450g (2 rolls) of butter puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten.


Cut the zucchini lengthwise in quarters. Remove and discard the seeds. Blanch the quarters for 2 minutes (or less) in salt water. Drain well and put on paper towels.

Mix all ingredients for the meat loaf and form a roll.

Unroll the puff pastry sheets and put them together. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Cover a long stripe in the middle of the pastry with half of the zucchini. Put the meat roll on top. Press the cheese strips in the roll and top it with the second half of the zucchini quarters. Close the puff pastry roll using some egg as “glue”. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer the roll upside down onto the sheet. Brush with egg to give it a shiny look and prick a couple of times with a fork. Bake at 375˚F for 30-35 minutes. Serve hot.


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Broccoli Ham Quiche

I made this broccoli ham quiche yesterday to take along for lunch with my friend Erika. She loves it! I baked it at home, then wrapped it in aluminum foil to let it sit and cool off a bit while I was driving to her house. There we enjoyed it together.

When embarking on this quiche adventure give yourself enough time.  If you start from scratch it will take at least 2.5 hours before you can enjoy the fruit of your labour, but it is definitely worth it!


For the dough

  • 200 g flour
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • one pinch of salt
  • 6 tbsp. ice water
  • 1 tbsp. cider vinegar

For the topping

  • 2 cups broccoli florets, precooked or frozen ones
  • 1 cup ham, cubed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg

Cut butter over top of the flour and using your fingers mix the butter under the flour until it looks like fine crumbs. Then add the water and the vinegar, quickly mix and form a ball. Chill for one hour. Roll out the dough and fit into a pie pan, prick the bottom with a fork. Line the dough with foil and fill it with pie weights (I use chick peas). Pre-bake it for 10 min. at 400˚F, then remove the foil and the pie weights and bake five more minutes.

While pre-baking the crust mix eggs, cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg then top the crust with the broccoli, the ham and the egg mixture. Bake at 375˚F for 35-40 minutes.

After baking let the quiche rest for about half an hour before serving so the topping is not liquid any more.



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Sauce Bolognese

The origin of this recipe for a basic meat sauce for pasta and lasagna is from a German cook book with Italian recipes (1) that I own. I changed it a bit, replacing the amount of milk that it asks for by broth. It takes a bit of time to prepare. That’s why I usually prepare it ahead and double or triple the recipe to freeze some portions.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 50g pancetta
  • 300g ground beef
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic glove
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 300g tomatoes from the can
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine.
Prepare the vegetables. Mince pancetta, carrot, celery, onion and garlic (I just use my food processor to do this) and mix with the ground meat. Melt the butter and brown the meat mixture. Add red wine and and bring to boil. Boil until reduced by half, then add broth, tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for about 2 hours.
(1) Marieluise Christl-Licosa, “Echt italienisch kochen. Reizvolle Original-Rezepte und Küchentips”, GU Verlag, 1989.

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Meat Lasagna

This recipe has been a family favourite for years.  I make the sauce Bolognaise ahead and just prepare the Béchamel sauce before the lasagna goes in the oven. By this the preparation time can be reduced to twenty minutes. The baking takes about one hour, so allow enough time before serving.



In a greased casserole dish layer sauce Bolognaise, Bechamel sauce and pasta, about 3 layers. Top layer with both sauces. Bake at 200˚C for 40 min. Top with cheese and bake for 10 min. Let sit for at least 10 min. before serving.

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