Sunday, May 15

Mozzarella, basil and tomato

mozzarella Posted by Hello

Whether you like it just on its own, on a piece of brushetta, in a salad or melted over your pasta, you will enjoy one of the most classic tastes of the italian kitchen.
I prefer it torn apart with hands, drizzled with virgin olive oil, scattered with roughly chopped fresh basil leaves and some cherry tomatoes (in fact, I think I prefer deep red tomatoes on the vine, but if you are too hungry, cherry tom. are quicker). Not to forget - salt and freshly ground black pepper on top.
I love it as a quick starter when I come back from long food shopping, taking bites in between unloading of the goodie bags.

Saturday, May 14

Linguine, creamy garlic fish sauce and cashews


Hello, hello.
Continuing on my 'Made in Italy' theme with this truly superb pasta dish! (I don't mean to promote my cooking here, but this came out really fantastically. Oops! I did it again.)

Linguine has been my favourite pasta for quite a while. I first tried it in an italian chain reastaurant 'Cafe Uno'. It's smooth and just feels nice compared to classic spaghetti. As it is usually served quite plainly in restaurants, I had to make my own version and not with the usual seafood either. This time, a vegetarian linguine full of texture, colour and tastes.

naked linguine

To achieve full contrasting tastes, I grilled all the vegetables (red, orange and green bell peppers, papardelle-cut zucchini, asparagus) and sauteed the mushrooms with garlic on butter for a minute, added parsley at the end and put to side.
Grill the peppers until the skin is completely black all over, then it is very easy to peel.
When you grill zucchini and asparagus, drizzle them with virgin olive oil and ground some black pepper on them.

linguine (cooked in a large pan with water and little olive oil )
6-7 large bell peppers(grilled and cut into strips)
2-3 zucchini (sliced as papardelle and grilled)
bunch of asparagus (grilled)
piece of butter
1-2 tbsp of fresh parsley (chopped)
musrooms (lots, depends how much you like them, :))
cashew nuts (scattered on top of the pasta whole)
Creamy fish garlic sauce:
250 ml cream (I use soya)
piece of butter
2 garlic cloves (processed with knife edge)
splash of fish sauce (nam pla)

whole caboodle Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 11

Kiwi jam (home-made)

kiwi jam Posted by Hello

Over at Chocolate and Zucchini, Clotilde wrote a sweet article about making a pear jam with cocoa nibs which sounds very curious!

It must be something in the air as I made a kiwi jam just last weekend. As I mentioned in my previous post, I always get stuck with lots of kiwis and they overripe and I can't eat them anymore. I used to bin them which I hated doing and I am now wondering why I didn't think to make jam back then.
Well, I just must have got a brainwave out of this food-blogging and there it is - easy peasy kiwi jam.

Tuesday, May 10



One of my most favourite hot desserts!

Again, as always, quite a quickie - apart from fruit prep.
So here you have it:
-apple with mandarines and raisins
-poppyseed with nuts and raisins

I will write more on this tomorrow. If you want to read something about it , take a look at my February post, scroll right down once you are in February.

apple, poppyseed, filo pastry

home-made kiwi jam

Are you like me, bying kiwis for Vitamin C (still hard) and then not noticing when they go too soft and not so nice to eat?
Make a jam! Peel them, put them in a pan with few spoons of sugar and cook over a low heat until absorbed and sticky but still a bit runny.

kiwi jam Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 8

Fresh strawberries

strawberries Posted by Hello

Oh, I nearly forgot! A dessert!
-fresh strawberries
-light brown muscovado sugar
-cream(soya or other)

Polenta fishcakes


When I go shopping for food, I just love stopping at the fresh fish counter and buying all kinds of fish. For me (middle Europian), living near the sea is quite an experience.
So I usually spend quite a lot of money as I want to try different types of fish.

This time, I decided to make some fishcakes out of smoked haddock, white haddock and salmon.
I don't know where the fishcakes in fact originate. But I thought I would give it a slightly italian feel with the polenta covering. It is also known as cornmeal or ground maize. It is yellow and slightly gritty. (see pic below)

fishcakes covered in polenta Posted by Hello

Polenta is used as a alternative to pasta, potatoes or rice and is usually cooked as a meal in the form of firm wedges, which can be also grilled.(see the link) Those are then served with meat or grilled veg.
I also like using it instead of breadcrumbs as it makes a very fine and light covering.

Fishcakes ingredients:
1 white haddock - poached with the skin up together with smoked haddock
1 smoked haddock - poached, skin up (milk to cover the fish and the rest of the veg - 2 sliced carrots, 1 sliced leek, 1 tbsp peppecorns, 2 bay leaves, fresh parsley, splash of white wine or white wine vinegar)
2 pieces of salmon
(grilled plain, no oil!)
2 tbsp fresh coriander
splash of tabasco sauce
splash of fish sauce(nam pla)
roughly mashed potatoes (5 large potatoes cooked)
black pepper
2 eggs (1 for salmon, 1 for haddock mixture)
1-2 tbsp of flour
(1 for salmon - smaller mixture, 1-2 for haddock)
polenta (1/2 bag in a plate)

Prepare 2 bowls as we are making 2 types of fishcakes. Salmon fishcakes and smoked haddock fishcakes. And then, basically, you just mix in all the ingredients.
You can leave it to stand for 1/2 hour covered with a cling film or just form cakes straigh away (if you are too hunugry as I was!)
Pat them between your hands and put them into the polenta and cover both sides and the edges.
Heat virgin olive oil in a large frying pan(preferebaly non-stick) and add the fishcakes. Fry from both sides until golden brown (about 3-5 minutes).

Serve with freshly cut salad and some cheese (haloumi- salty or mozarella- salted, peppered and olive oiled and freshly chopped-basiled, :) ).

Tuesday, May 3

Glowing tuna


Ok, I know this is not Italian but I wanted to try this thai recipe of Delicious Days for some time. A bit of a diversion from my 'May theme'.
Even though it doesn't look so beautiful as the original creator's of DD(deliciousdays), it tastes fabulous and it is really easy to make - marinade 5 minutes, heat the grill 5 minutes and grilling itself about 7 minutes.
I had to change few ingredients but only very slightly.

First of all, I used a very good quality fresh tuna steaks (2 pieces).
Instead of tamarind sauce - I used fish sauce(nam pla) 1-2 tbsp.
Instead of coriander seeds - I used dry coriander leaves.
Also, I used 2 tsp of Bombay mix(includes coriander, cumin, etc.) and when you grill it under the grill (very hot) - add 1 sliced banana.
Please, refer to the DeliciousDays food blog for the recipe.

glowing tuna Posted by Hello

It has quite a spicy flavour but is sweet at the same time. Very nice!!!

And by the way, all the food bloggers out there - we are still on for the Italian theme!!! So, you are all welcome to join, please, refer to the post 'Made in Italy' for the details.
Looking forward to read your inventions.

Sunday, May 1

Spinach ravioli, pancetta and lemon butter


After a long sunny but windy day on the beach, I decided to have even longer but very rewarding end of the day.
After all, I did sign up to spend May the italian way, so I had the best motivation ever.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I decided to try out home-made pasta with a flavour.
I got inspired by Waitrose Food Illustrated magazine and went for the spinach pasta. I altered the filling a little as it was a bit too simple and today I fancied a rich filling full of flavours.

I must say, pasta making is a 10 minute job. What takes a lot of time is the filling!

So, here's the spinach pasta making and ingredients:
100 g fine flour (00 is the best - you will unfortunately find it only in specialist italian shops in England, but you can use ordinary plain as well. I used strong bread gluten-free flour).
1 egg
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp salt

ground black pepper (optional)
150 g wilted spinach (steamed or cooked and squeezed and chopped)

On every 100 g of flour, add 1 egg. From 100 g, you'll get serving for 2 people.
Mix all the ingredients (by hand or whizz in a mixer and finish by hand) in a bowl to start with. Once it holds together - transfer it onto a lightly floured surface( clean worktop) and work well through with the palm of your hand until you get a nice ball.
Wrap in a cling film and put in the fridge whilst you are making the filling.

1/2 red onion
fresh garlic - processed with a tip of the knife
100% ham - chopped small
Saute these ingredients in a little olive oil for 2 minutes and leave to cool, ready for the filling.

1 piece of yellow, orange and 4 pieces of green bell peppers - grilled and skin peeled, chopped
italian hams (you can use a selecion of the smoked ones) - use a handful and chop it
fresh herbs (marjoram, lemon thyme) - chopped
haloumi cheese - grated
1/2 feta cheese - crumbled

In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients and use your fingers to bind them all together.

Before you go onto rolling the pasta, heat water in a big saucepan.

Pasta rolling: On a lightly floured surface, start rolling the pasta with a roller pin. Start in the middle, then turn it around and do the same to flatten the thick parts of the dough on the edge. Keep turning the dough around and upside down carefully and flouring the surface underneath, so that the dough does not get a chance to stick to the surface. Roll it to about 1mm thickness and then start cutting out the circles. ( I had to use the plastic top for the nutella).

Once you have the circles, start laying the filling in the middle of each( about 1 tsp). Then wet the edges of pasta around the filling and stick another circle on top - starting from 1 side, sticking it down and when coming to the other side, you'll have to overlap a tiny bit as we have quite a bit of filling dollop in the middle. Then, place them carefully in the boiling water and wait about 10 minutes for them to cook. They will create air bubble where the filling is if you didn't squash the top circle around the filling tightly as me! (but I was working with a fine dough of gluten-free flour, so it was easy to tear. You should be ok.)

finale Posted by Hello

I decorated the pasta with toasted mixed nuts(sunflower, sesame and something else), melted butter with lemon rind ( in a microwave), leftover spinach and filling.

Serve with a glass of chilled Australian Chardonnay.

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