Food Recipes

Swiss Chard Gratin

From “Fireside Food for Cold Winter Nights: More than 75 Comforting and Warming Recipes” by Lizzie Kamenetzky (Ryland Peters & Small)
Photography by Nassima Rothacker copyright Ryland Peters & Small, 2015, 2021

“Fireside Food for Cold Winter Nights” can be purchased on Amazon or through


My gratin is iron-rich and full of goodness, only somewhat negated by the cream and cheese! This gratin is great as a meal in itself with a little added bacon if you want a meaty hit.


  • 1 3⁄4 lb. (800g) Swiss chard
  • 3 1⁄2 tablespoons (50g) butter
  • 1⁄2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (75g) plain/all-purpose flour
  • scant 1 cup (200 ml) crème fraîche
  • 1 1⁄4 cups (300 ml) double/heavy cream
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup (50g) fresh breadcrumbs
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon and a good squeeze of juice
  • heaping 1⁄2 cup (50g) grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt and ground black pepper


Preheat the grill/broiler to medium. Bring a pan of water to a boil and blanch the chard for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain and refresh under cold running water. Squeeze out as much of the water as possible and set aside.

Melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the crème fraîche, cream, and a good grating of nutmeg. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Season.

Mix the breadcrumbs with the lemon zest, cheese, and olive oil.

Mix the chard and the sauce together. Spoon the chard into a large ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs, then put under the grill/broiler for a couple of minutes until golden brown and bubbling. (If you like, you can mix the sauce with the chard and leave until ready to cook. Heat through in a medium oven for 5 to 10 minutes before browning under the grill/broiler.)

Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Food Recipes

Hungarian Goulash Soup

From “Fireside Food for Cold Winter Nights: More than 75 Comforting and Warming Recipes” by Lizzie Kamenetzky (Ryland Peters & Small)
Photography by Nassima Rothacker copyright Ryland Peters & Small, 2015, 2021

“Fireside Food for Cold Winter Nights” can be purchased on Amazon or through


This Hungarian dish spread into the mountains, where it is always popular in the huts and cabins as a hearty meal on the slopes and trails. There is a healthy kick of paprika with the added richness of sour cream, which helps to make this one of the most warming and comforting dishes. This is also delicious made with pork instead of beef—use a slow-cook cut such as shoulder/butt and cut it into large chunks.


  • olive oil, to fry
  • 3 3⁄4 oz. (100g) smoked streaky/fatty bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 1⁄4 lb. (1kg) braising steak or beef shin, cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) chunks
  • 2 heaped tablespoons plain/all-purpose flour
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 red peppers/bell peppers, deseeded and sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5 juniper berries, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon hot paprika
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée/paste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 5 cups (1.2 liters) beef stock
  • 11 oz. (300g) waxy potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 2 beetroot/beets, cut into chunks
  • sea salt and ground
  • black pepper
  • freshly chopped parsley and sour cream, to serve


Heat a good layer of olive oil in a flameproof casserole or large saucepan and fry the bacon over medium heat until starting to color. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Dust the beef in the flour with plenty of seasoning, then brown in batches over high heat in the same pan, adding more oil if necessary. Remove and set aside with the bacon.

Add a little more oil to the pan and add the onions and peppers/bell peppers. Fry for 10 minutes until softened and the onions start to color. Add the garlic, juniper, bay, and spices, and fry for a few minutes before adding the tomato purée/paste, vinegar, and stock.

Return the beef and bacon to the pan and season well. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 2 to 2 1⁄2 hours until the beef is starting to become really tender.

Add the potatoes and beetroot/beets to the pan and simmer, with the lid off, until the vegetables are tender.

Stir in the parsley and serve in large warmed bowls with generous dollops of sour cream.

Food Recipes


From “Fireside Food for Cold Winter Nights: More than 75 Comforting and Warming Recipes” by Lizzie Kamenetzky (Ryland Peters & Small)
Photography by Nassima Rothacker copyright Ryland Peters & Small, 2015, 2021

“Fireside Food for Cold Winter Nights” can be purchased on Amazon or through


Said to be the oldest cake in the world, this torte is named after the Austrian city of Linz. The crust is delightfully crumbly and its spiced, jammy filling is just the thing to take the edge off a wintry chill. A useful piece of advice to grind hazelnuts without them turning oily is to put them in a food processor with half the flour, and pulse them together until the hazelnuts are finely ground into the flour.


  • 1 1⁄2 cups (150g) mixed finely ground hazelnuts and almonds
  • 2 cups (275g) plain/all-purpose flour, plus extra to dust
  • 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice/apple pie spice
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (225g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1⁄2 cup plus 1 2⁄3 tablespoons (85g) icing/confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 egg yolks, plus 1 egg yolk beaten with a little water, to glaze
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon and a squeeze of juice
  • 3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
  • 10 tablespoons each of redcurrant jelly and raspberry jam/jelly, mixed together
  • 9-inch (23-cm) fluted, round, loose-bottomed tart pan, greased

SERVES 10 to 12

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) Gas 4.

Mix the ground nuts, flour, mixed spice/apple pie spice, and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the icing/confectioners’ sugar, stir well, then quickly mix in the two egg yolks, lemon zest, and juice, so that the mixture starts to come together.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until smooth. Remove one-third of the dough. Shape the smaller piece into a disc, wrap in cling film/plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Roll out the remaining dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle large enough to line the tart pan. Lift into the pan and press into an even layer over the base and sides, patching any gaps, as the dough is very crumbly. Add any trimmings to the pastry disc in the fridge. Chill the base for 10 minutes.

Put the base in the preheated oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until it has barely begun to color, then set aside to cool. While the base is baking, roll out the remaining dough between 2 sheets of baking parchment into a circle about 10 inches (25cm), then return to the fridge for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the cooked base of the torte with the breadcrumbs, then spoon the redcurrant jelly and raspberry jam/jelly evenly over the top (spoon on in blobs, and then use a palette knife/metal spatula to spread them out).

Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge and take off the sheets of baking parchment. Cut the pastry into strips, about 3⁄4 inches (2cm) wide, across the diagonal. Lay these, one at a time, over the jam/jelly, using a long spatula, as the pastry is crumbly, to make a criss-cross lattice pattern. Neaten the edges by pressing any excess pastry against the side of the pan.

Brush the pastry with the egg yolk glaze, then bake for 45 to 50 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.


Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Kabocha is also called the Japanese pumpkin. It is smaller, but more flavorful and sweeter compared to the North American pumpkin we so often see. The kabocha has dense flesh and becomes buttery liquid when cooked—perfect for this creamy soup. The squash is easily found in places like Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, or Asian supermarkets.

Serves 4


  • 800g Kabocha   (about a half of the Kabocha)
  • 2 medium yellow onions (110 g)
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 4 cups or 32 fl oz./ 946ml of organic chicken stock
  • 10g butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 120ml heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon of Jane’s Krazy Original Salt Marinade & Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon roasted pumpkin seeds for decoration
  • A hint of black pepper



  1. Scrape out pumpkin seeds and remove skin.
  2. Cut the pumpkin into cubes.
    If the skin is difficult to remove, place the pumpkin on a plate skin side down, wrapped with plastic wrap. Microwave on 600w for 5 minutes. If the skin is still too hard to remove, add another 5 minutes with skin side up. Steaming is a good alternative for those who want to avoid using a microwave. Avoid cooking the pumpkin too much to preserve flavor.
  3. Heat butter and olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over high heat, sauté the garlic and onion for about 10 minutes until the onion turns translucent.
  4. Place pumpkin into the same pot, sauté until very tender.
  5. Add the chicken stock.
  6. Add 1 teaspoon of Jane’s Krazy Original Salt Marinade & Seasoning.
  7. Bring the soup to boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, simmer for about 20 minutes.
  8. Move the pot off the heat.
  9. Use a hand blender to purée the soup till smooth.
  10. Change the setting to “whisk” and whisk the soup. By adding this extra step, your pumpkin soup will have a restaurant quality, silky smooth consistency.
  11. Add 110ml heavy cream to your soup for a richer flavor.
  12. Whisk the remaining 10ml of heavy cream until texture thickens.
  13. Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Add 1 teaspoon of whisked heavy cream on the top of the soup.
  14. Sprinkle pepper and roasted pumpkin seeds. Garnish with parsley if desired.
  15. Ready to serve.






Food Lifestyle Recipes

Vin Chaud (French Mulled Wine)

Vin chaud is a popular and traditional winter beverage that is usually made with red wine along with various spices. Similar to eggnog or hot cider in the States, vin chaud is the hot drink that you can find at Christmas markets in France and across various European countries during the Christmas season. It’s sweet and flavorful. Tastes like sunshine in a cup and a warm hug from Santa.

Note: You can use any wine for this recipe. Expensive wines are unnecessary since it will be cooked with fruits and spices. Personally, I prefer to use the wine from Burgundy that has strawberry, black cherry and spice. For this recipe I often use Beaujolais Villages (new wine of the year) from Louis Jadot. This wine uses Gemay Noir grapes, which is very light and has fruit-forward flavor that fits this recipe well. It is a good wine to pair with hors d’oeuvres and mild cheeses. The best of all, it is at a very reasonable price (around $10 a bottle) but is of high quality for cooking and making desserts.

4 Servings

3 Cups Red Wine

5 Cinnamon Sticks (4 for decorations)

6 Whole Cloves

1 Orange: (3-4mm round sliced)

1 Lemon: (3-4mm round sliced)

¼ Cup Cane Sugar

A handful fresh cranberries for decoration


  1. Combine wine, 3 slices of orange, 4 slices of lemon, 1 cinnamon stick, 6 whole cloves and sugar into a large saucepan. Heat over medium till boiled. (For those who dislike alcohol, heat wine on low heat for 30 minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Then, add the sugar, citrus, spices and simmer for 10 minutes).
  2. Remove from heat and cover with lid. Let it sit at least 30 minutes to allow the aroma from citrus and spices to transfer to the wine.
  3. Serve the wine with 1 slice of fresh orange,1 slice of fresh lemon, 1 cinnamon stick, and a few fresh cranberries.
  4. Vin chaud can be prepared in advance. Just remove the spices and citrus before storing in a container. Reheat before serving.