B&W Wednesday – Torta di nocciole – Hazelnut gluten-free cake – Gâteau aux noisettes sans gluten

(en français, plus bas)

Last week, Mr Artichoke and I decided to enjoy a long weekend in Piemonte, a region in Nothern Italy, famous from its wines, truffles, hazelnuts and many other goodies. We are so lucky to live only a few hours drive from this marvellous country and I often wonder why we are not travelling there more often…

This time, we decided to visit Torino and some pretty places around its region (Alba and Barolo). We were not sure on what to expect of Torino and its reputation of a very industrial city…

Well, fear not the industrial city: Torino has a beautiful historical center and a concentration of very good restaurants… It also has the biggest streeet market in Europe: the Mercato di Porta Palazzo, which spreads its vegetables, fruits, flowers, clothes, etc… on about  53000m2!

As visiting fruits and vegetable market is one of my favourite activity when travelling, I would like to share some snaps with you and send some of them to Susan’s event: Black & White Wednesday, an event that I have been waiting too long to take part in.

A busy market…

Autumn’s delight: pumpkins

Cinderella’s dream…

Guess what? my favourite vegetables …

Pretty chillies: I could put them in a vase!

Colourful grapes….

Fresh olives…

I bought some and am trying to prepare them in brine.

Loved these bi-colour aubergines…

So many yummy Italian Cheeses….

Nocciole… Hazelnuts, a quintessential Piemontese product

Ooops, and I also would like to share with you a very simple and tasty recipe, typical from the region of Piemont: la torta di nocciole, or hazelnut cake. It is a moist and very flavourful cake, which only needs few ingredients. I used fresh hazelnuts brought back from our trip. It took me quite some time to crunch all of them and then powder them, but it is perfectly fine to use already ground hazelnuts!

ingredients for a 20 diameter round cake tin:

35g butter, soft, at room temperature
150g sugar
2 egg yolks
1 pinch of salt
200g hazelnut, ground
2egg whites

Preheat the oven at 180°C.
Mix butter and sugar.
Stir in the egg yolks.
When it is well combined, add a pinch of salt and the powdered hazelnuts.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff.
Gently stir into the mixture.
Line a baking tin with parchment paper and pour the mixture into it.
Bake for 40 minutes.

Gâteau aux noisettes, sans gluten

La semaine dernière, nous avons décidé, avec Mr Artichoke de passer un long week-end dans le Piémont, une région au nord de l’Italie, célèbre pour ses vins, truffes, noisettes et de nombreux autres bonnes choses… Il faut dire que nous avons vraiment beaucoup de chance de vivre à quelques heures seulement de ce merveilleux pays et je me demande souvent pourquoi nous n’y allons pas plus souvent …

Cette fois, nous avons décidé de visiter Turin et sa région, (Alba et Barolo ). Cependant, nous n’étions pas sûrs de ce que nous allions trouver à Turin, avec sa réputation de ville industrielle, pas forcément jolie …

Eh bien, il ne faut pas craindre cette réputation de ville industrielle: Turin a un beau centre historique (ce n’est certes pas Florence ou Rome, mais c’est très joli quand même) et une concentration de très bons restaurants … Elle abrite également le plus grand marché en plein air d’Europe: et selon mon guide, les légumes, fruits, fleurs et beaucoup d’autres choses sont dispersés sur 53000m2. Etant donné que me promener dans les marché aux fruits et légumes est une de mes activités favorites lorsque je voyage, je voudrais partager quelques photos avec vous (voir ci-dessus) et envoyer certaines d’entre elles à l’événement de Susan: Black & White Wednesday, un évènement auquel j’espérai participer depuis longtemps!

Oups, je voudrais aussi partager avec vous une recette très simple et savoureuse,typique de la région du Piémont : la torta di nocciole, ou gâteau aux noisettes. C’est un gâteau très parfumé et moelleux, qui n’a besoin que de très peu d’ingrédients. J’ai utilisé des noisettes fraîches ramenées de notre voyage. Il m’a fallu un certain temps pour les débarrasser de leur coquille et les réduire en poudre, mais il est bien entendu possible d’utiliser directement des noisettes en poudre!

Ingrédients pour un moule de 20cm de diamètre:

35g de beurre, mou, à température ambiante
150g de sucre
2 jaunes d’oeufs
1 pincée de sel
200g de noisettes, moulues
2 blancs d’oeuf

Préchauffer le four à 180 ° C.
Mélanger le beurre et le sucre.
Incorporer les jaunes d’œufs.
Quand le mélange est uniforme ajouter une pincée de sel et les noisettes en poudre.
Dans un autre récipient, battre les blancs d’œufs en neige ferme.
Incorporer délicatement au mélange.
Tapisser un moule avec du papier sulfurisé et verser le mélange dedans.
Cuire au four pendant 40 minutes.

Healing Foods: Artichoke and banana flowers Round-Up & giveaway winners

Artichokes and banana flowers? I know that one of the two might still have a mysterious aura for some of you, but after seeing the 17 recipes for this month’s Healing Food series, I am sure that you won’t resist the temptation of discovering them…

You might however wonder what the connection between artichokes and banana flowers is.

The explanation is simple: initially I had chosen artichokes as theme for this month’s Healing Foods, but shortly after the announcement, I was informed that artichokes can’t be found in India…  So, I first came with cardoon, which is from the same species than artichokes, but it turned out that it was not available in India either… Mocha or banana flowers then came to my mind. Not only do they look and taste a bit similar but they required quite some time to trim and prepare, exactly like fresh artichokes…

I am very impressed by the quality and originality of  recipes sent by 11 talented ladies for this event and I would like to thank all of them for their creativity! You are awesome, ladies – vous êtes géniales, Mesdames! Merci beaucoup!

A big thank you to  Siri to have given me the opportunity to host this event during the month of March and to Pritya books who is generously giving away these two great books:

Cooking At Home With Pedatha: Awarded Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the World 2006, this book documents the culinary legacy of an illustrious Indian grandmother for posterity.


Sukham Ayu: Winner of Best Health & Nutrition Book in the World 2009 – Second Place, this beautiful book has been researched at KARE, an idyllic Ayurvedic research & rejeuvenation establishment near Pune.

There are still many artichoke recipes that I want to share with you but I ran short of time during March, so I could only post two recipes and repost 2 old ones. My future personal challenge will be to come up with a recipe for actually sweet artichokes… so stay tuned!

Before discovering who are the lucky winners of the books, let’s discover the round-up for the month of March:

The recipes are shown in the order I received them click on the pic or hyperlink to go to the recipe:

Johanna from “Green Gourmet Giraffe”  prepared artichoke muffins that she took  for a picnic at the zoo:

The preparation of  these Banana flowers chops brought back lovely childhood memories to Sukanya from “Saffron streaks” ,:

Janet from “The Taste Space” has been experimenting with variations of her recipes. I really enjoyed reading the creative process behind these beautiful Artichoke and Spinach Rice Paper Rolls with Lemon Rosemary Baked Tofu

Priya from “Priya’s easy and tasty recipes” – first experimented with artichoke calzone :


… and she liked this veggie so much, that she got inspired for two more recipes:

a very innovative artichoke and curry leaves chutney and…

and an equally innovative artichoke, potato and mushroom curry:

Nivedita from “Panfusine – Iyer’n Chef” was happily singing ABBA’s songs  and nearly choked of delight when she first tasted her artichoke masala vadai,

Did you know that artichoke existed in the Greek Mythology? Discover what happened to the beautiful Cynara  and enjoy these  delicious artichoke lasagna sent by  Ivy from “Kopiaste … to Greek Hospitality”  :

What about an Indo-Iranian fusion dish?

Malli from “Malli’s Mint and Mimosa” loves Iranian chelow kebabs and got inspired to prepare a vegetarian version using banana blossoms : check out her Iranian black bean Kebab with mocha :

Simona from  “Briciole”  is fan of  Italian artichokes, she prepared a hummus with artichoke, check her post to see  how many strands has the beautiful home-made challah bread she served with it…

Don’t be scared of fresh baby artichokes! Amy from “Savory moments” was nicely surprised on how easy it is to clean and trim them and she prepared these  delicious lemon and thyme braised baby artichokes:

Are you tempted to cook banana flowers but you are no sure on what is the edible part and how to extract it? Fear no more, Vijitha from “A Foodie in her cooking hat” has not only sent us this Banana Flower stir fry, she is also providing a thorough explanation on how to prepare the flowers.

Nawel from “Jeux d’épices et Saveurs” is proud to share the recipe of  “Artichoke, fava beans and dry tomatoes stir fry” , which will be featured next month in a French magazine. As her recipe was in French, the translation has been provided below the picture :

Ingredients for  4 servings
1 shallot
2 cloves garlic
280 g peeled frozen fava beans
4-5 frozen artichoke hearts
130 g chickpeas
5 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp strong or mild paprika
½ bunch chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 ½  tbsp olive oil
100 ml water
Salt and pepper
Cut artichoke hearts into quarters. Cut the sun-dried tomatoes in three.
Peel the shallot and chop it finely. Peel the garlic cloves and crush them.
Heat the olive oil in a pan, on low heat and add the shallot.
Fry for 1 minute. Add the artichokes, beans, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper.
Stir and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add the cold water, stir and add the spices.
Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 more minutes.

And finally, voilà your Sweet Artichoke’s artichoke recipes….

An artichoke and chickpeas curry, that can be eaten cold as salad, which is really great when you have left overs… (here)

… a rather unusual way of eating artichokes, as filling for these savoury hazelnut sandwich cookies (here)

and,  from Sweet Artichoke’s archives:

I had celebrated my 100th post with an artichoke tapenade, which was also my first posted recipe with artichokes!

I did not come back from our trip to Roma with designer shoes or clothes, but with fresh Roman artichokes, bought at one of the local market… delicious in these pasta ai carciofi (here)

By now, I do hope that you are feeling hungry…. and tempted by these goodies….

It is my pleasure to announce the lucky winners of the two books:

*drums rolling….*

I first prepared an alphabetical list of all participants:

Then I went on http://www.randomizer.org:

which drew number 11 and number 8.

Congratulations to Vijitha and Priya!

Please send me your contact details at:  sweetartichoke@gmail.com

Penne with beans and pistacchio pesto – Penne au pesto de haricots verts et pistaches

(en français, plus bas)

A few days ago, one of my colleagues came back from a trip in Tajikistan and brought us different kind of dry fruits, among which almonds and pistachios… OMG, these pistachios were very very tiny, but their taste was amazing: like a concentrate of pistachios… Needless to say that I have been munching pistachios for the past few days and that I have become slightly obsessed with them!…So why not put them in a pesto? I love preparing pesto, because it is so versatile: forget about the classical combination of basil-pine nuts-garlic… Try different kinds of nuts, different herbs (for example: coriander, see: here) and why not… French beans and pistachios!!

By the way, there is still time to send my your recipes for the AWED on Persian food … You have until 31st January !

Ingredients for 3-4 servings :
300g French beans, washed, ends removed
1 spring onion, green part only
3 tablespoons pistachios

4 tablespoons parsley, coarsely chopped
½ green chilli
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Pasta of your choice for 3-4 servings
1 dl of the water in which the pasta were cooked
Optional: grated parmeggiano cheese to your liking

Bring a pot of water with a teaspoon of salt to the boil. Add the beans, keeping aside about 15 raw beans that will be used later. Let them simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly crunchy. Drain them and keep aside.
Prepare the pesto:
Blend together: the raw beans, 1/3 of the cooked beans, chilli, spring onion greens, pistachios, olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper.
Cook the pasta al-dente. As they will again cook later with the beans and pesto, I would suggest to cook them 1 or 2 minutes less than indicated on the package. Drain them, keeping in a bowl about 1dl of the cookingwater.
Combine the beans and pasta with a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Put on medium heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the pesto and a little more water and cook for one more minute.
Serve with some grated parmeggiano cheese and some chopped pistachios.

I am sending these penne to Presto Pasta Nights #198, hosted this week by Jen of Tastes of Home. Pasta Presto Nights is a weekly event started by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast and  Presto Pasta Nights.

Penne aux haricots vert avec pesto aux pistaches et haricots

Il ya quelques jours, une de mes collègues est revenue d’un voyage au Tadjikistan et nous a apporté différents types de fruits secs, dont des amandes et des pistaches … OMG, ces pistaches sont toutes petites,  mais leur goût est étonnant: c’est un vrai  concentré de pistaches! Inutile de dire que j’ai croqué des pistaches tous ces jours et que je suis totalement accro à la pistache!! Alors pourquoi ne pas les mettre dans un pesto? J’adore préparer des pestos, parce qu’il y a tellement de possibilités d’être inventif avec : oublions  la combinaison classique de pignons, basilic et ail … On peut combiner différentes sortes de noix, d’herbes, comme par exemple de la coriander (ici) et pourquoi pas … des haricots verts et des pistaches!

Ingrédients pour 3-4 personnes:
300g haricots verts, lavés et équeutés
1 cébette, partie verte seulement
3 cuillères à soupe de pistaches

4cuillères à soupe de persil plat,ciselé pas trop finement

½ piment vert
3 cuillères à soupe d’huile d’olive
Sel et poivre
Pâtes de votre choix pour 3-4 personnes
1 dl d’eau de cuisson des pâtes
Facultatif : du parmesan râpé
Porter une casserole d’eau avec une cuillère à café de sel à ébullition. Ajouter les haricots en gardant de côté environ 15 haricots crus qui seront utilisés plus tard. Laisser cuire pendant 5 minutes ou jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient encore légèrement croquants. Egoutter et les mettre de côté.
Préparer le pesto:
Mixer ensemble: les haricots crus, 1 / 3 des haricots cuits, le piment, le vert de cébette, les pistaches, l’huile d’olive, du sel et du poivre fraîchement moulu.
Faire cuire les pâtes al dente. Comme elles vont encore cuire un peu plus tard avec les haricots et le pesto, je vous suggère de les cuire 1 ou 2 minutes de moins que ce qui est indiqué sur l’emballage. Egoutter les pâtes et garder dans un bol environ 1 dl de l’eau.
Mélanger les haricots et les pâtes avec quelques cuillères à soupe d’eau de cuisson. Cuire à feu moyen pendant 1 minute, en remuant constamment. Ajouter le pesto et un peu plus d’eau et faire cuire une minute de plus.
Servir avec un peu de parmesan râpé et quelques pistaches concassées.