Keep the winter blues at bay with these comforting recipes from Canada, Austria and Switzerland
This is an Austrian version of macaroni cheese that translates as ‘little cheese sparrows’. You can buy special spätzle makers – I have a beautiful vintage one that my husband’s Austrian granny gave me – but you can use anything with holes, such as a colander or box grater, to make these tasty little morsels. Although this is perfectly delicious as a simple supper, I served these as a side with lemony roast chicken and it made a gorgeous Sunday lunch. You can try adding little pancetta or bacon bits into your onion as you fry for extra flavour. Serves 4 as a main, or 6 as a side 400 g plain/all-purpose flour
A good pinch of sea salt
Freshly grated nutmeg
125 ml water
100 g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large onions, thinly sliced
200 g grated Alpine melty cheese, such as a mixture of Gruyère and Emmenthal
Ground black pepper
1. Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt and a good grating of nutmeg. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs. Gradually stir, incorporating the flour, adding the water gradually. You should have a soft dough, almost like a thick batter. Keep beating until bubbles start to appear in the dough. Set aside to rest for about 30 minutes.
2. Melt 75 g/1⁄3 cup of the butter and the oil in a large pan and add the onions. Cook over a low heat for 15–20 minutes, stirring regularly until they are an even golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
3. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Take dollops of the dough and push through a spätzle maker, colander or the large holes of a grater or potato ricer into the water. You should have little wiggles of pasta in the water. They will all end up different shapes, but don’t worry – that is how they should be. Once they rise to the surface, they are cooked.
4. Scoop out with a slotted spoon into a warm dish and continue cooking the rest of the dough. Once you have cooked all the spätzle, empty the pan and return the cooked spätzle to it. Toss them with the rest of the butter and the cheese over a low heat until the cheese is melted.
5. Season with plenty of black pepper and tip back into the serving dish. Serve scattered with the golden fried onions.
An elegant and rich Swiss dish from Zurich, this dish is similar to stroganoff. There are lots of versions of this dish, but I wanted to keep it simple. Veal is traditionally used, but you can use beef or pork just as easily. Serves 4 2 tablespoons olive oil
500 g veal escalope, beef sirloin or pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons plain/all-purpose flour, seasoned
20 g unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
200 g button/white mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
125ml white wine
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, and a squeeze of the juice
100 ml double/heavy cream
1 teaspoon paprika
Freshly chopped parsley, to garnish
Sea salt and ground black pepper
1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan/skillet. Dust the meat in the seasoned flour, then fry in batches, until browned all over, adding a splash more oil if you need to. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Deglaze the pan with a splash of water and reserve the liquid. Add the butter to the pan and fry the onion for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms, increase the heat, season and cook until the mushrooms are golden. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
3. Return the meat and juices to the pan and pour in the wine, bubble for a minute then add the lemon zest, cream, reserved deglazing water to loosen and the paprika. Simmer for 3 minutes then serve scattered with lots of parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice and with creamy mash, rice or noodles.
A wonderful Canadian speciality, these tarts are a little like a treacle tart but without the breadcrumbs. Everyone I asked had their own recipe, but this is my version, simple and sweet with a rich hint of maple syrup and a hit of nuts. I like these warm with a drizzle of cream. Makes 24 250 g plus 2 tablespoons plain/all-purpose flour, plus extra to dust
2 tablespoons caster/superfine sugar
A good pinch of fine sea salt
100 g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
75 g cold lard, cut into cubes
1 egg yolk
2–3 tablespoons ice-cold water
For the filling
100 g light muscovado sugar
75 ml maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
100 ml double/heavy cream
60 g unsalted butter
50 g chopped walnuts or pecan nuts
125 g raisins
1. Mix the flour with the sugar and salt. Either in a food processor or with your fingertips, rub in the cold butter and lard until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and then add enough cold water to bring the mixture together.
2. Knead briefly into a smooth dough then shape into a disc and chill for 10 minutes. Roll out on a lightly floured surface and cut out 24 discs 7.5 cm/3 in. in diameter using a fluted cutter. Line the tart pans with the pastry and chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
3. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) Gas 5. Beat the eggs with the sugar, syrup, vanilla and cream. Pour into a pan, add the butter and cook over a low heat until the butter is melted and the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat. Stir in the nuts and raisins.
4. Divide between the tart shells. Bake for 16–18 minutes until the filling is set and golden. Cool for a few minutes before turning out. Serve warm or cold.
These recipes were taken from Winter Cabin Cooking by Lizzie Kamenetzky. Photography by Nassima Rothacker, published by Ryland Peters & Small. Buy your copy here