Thursday, April 29, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Yep, I did, but actually the evenings are still cold, some days are cold, most are wet!!!
And then there is this dust cloud, my husband couldn't fly to London for the Book Fair on Saturday, but in a way I was happy: many of our friends are stranded in other continents, and unable to get home, it would have been worst if he was stuck there instead. I really feel for all those travelers, being so often one of them, and unsure about our own future plans now.
So, more evenings at home with the family, and more 'wintery' food on the stove.
Polenta with mushrooms
I discovered frozen mixed mushrooms (apparently with some pieces of porcini in it, but I couldn’t see many). In any case, unable to forage now, these looked good to me.
I used a 300g bag of mixed mushrooms
30g dried porcini mushrooms,
a few garlic cloves
The dried porcini mushrooms need to be soaked for a an hour or so.
Sauté the garlic with the olive oil, add the frozen mushrooms, and after five minutes the porcini mushrooms and their soaking water. Add the tomato passata (about a cup) and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir often and add water if necessary. Add salt to taste.
I served these mushrooms with polenta, and then, since I had a few left over, I made some pasta the day after.
I heard from other bloggers about the Garofalo brand, in NZ I could only find it in one shop, and it was too expensive even to consider, so I thought that I should try it while I am in Italy. I choose mezze maniche for this dish.
Mezze maniche with mushrooms
I cooked the mezze maniche al dente. In the meantime I warmed up the pan with the left-over mushrooms and added 250 ml of cream. Then I added some freshly chopped Italian parsley and some freshly ground pepper. I drained the mezze maniche and passed them in the pan with the mushroom and cream sauce. They tasted great!
Friday, April 16, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
This is not about food, or travel, or books...but please indulge a mum who loves to play with her kids :-)!! Well, maybe this post is a little about travel really, traveling with children in fact. We have been away for 7 weeks now, the kids could only carry a handful of toys, and now we live in an apartment and they go to the local school (weeks in and weeks off) and self-study as much as they can. They are learning so many things, from the Italian language to history and geography, and art. But the lovely thing about children is that they never stop playing, wherever they are. This is what keeps them happy and healthy!
Monday, April 12, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
This is not a Nigella Lawson’s recipe, but a recipe using nigella seeds.
I don’t have many spices (yet) in my new kitchen, but this possibly makes me more inventive. Also, I am not sure if this could be defined as Indian food, certainly it is Indian inspired, I served it with a Dahl and basmati rice, and it was a winner!!! Of course your comments are welcomed!
Here is the recipe:
500 g potatoes (Agria or similar ‘floury’ potatoes)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp nigella seeds
half tsp ground coriander
half tsp cumin powder
1 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
one cup fresh coriander (or parsley) leaves
Peel the potatoes and cut into 4-5 cm cubes. In a large wok or frying pan with high borders heat the oil and add the garlic cloves and nigella seeds. When the seeds start to crackle add the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, and a little salt. Add the cubed potatoes and coat well with the spices. Stir constantly, and when the potatoes start to become too dry add a cup of water. Cover and simmer on low, stirring from time to time and adding water every time the mixture gets too dry. When all the potatoes are cooked, and most are almost pureed and creamy, remove from the heat. Finely chop a cup of washed fresh coriander or parsley (or a mixture of both) leaves, and add to the potatoes. Stir and serve.
Serve as part of an Indian meal, and if you like top with natural yogurt.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Photo by Alessandra Zecchini©
For this soup I used a packet of 3 parboiled cereals: rice, barley and spelt. The brand is Gallo – a mainstream Italian rice brand. Traditionally Gallo brand had rice only, so I was happy to discover this 3-cereals combo, which is easy to use.
¼ green cabbage
1 celery stalk, with leaves
100 g fresh borlotti beans
a few parsley leaves, chopped
2 l water
rock salt to taste
200 g Gallo brand mixed rice, barley and spelt
1 tbsp tomato puree
Extra virgin olive oil
Cut the vegetables and place in a large pot with the water. Bring to the boil, remove the scum that may form at the top, add salt and pepper and then simmer slowly, for 10 minutes. When the beans look cooked add the cereals (they are parboiled so they will take about 15 minutes, but cook them for at least 20 to get the flavour through). Add the tomato puree, and then remove from the heat. Serve hot or warm, drizzled with olive oil. It tastes better the day after.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
And then I made a variation to serve in verrines, possibly in shot glasses for a fancy summer party. I blended the capsicum with olive oil, salt and a drop of lemon. I added some parsley to the green ones to have a stronger colour. Then I made layers and this time I used thick Greek style yogurt (always with garlic and salt). A vegan variation, without yogurt, is fine, if you like some layers of 'almost white' colour use a cannellini beans hummus or a mush potato salad (both beans and potatoes go well with roasted capsicums).
Thursday, April 1, 2010
I cannot buy dried borlotti beans in New Zealand, they are all imported and heat treated, or fumigated, or not sure what they actually do with them at MAF, the fact is that they are impossible to cook!
‘Untreated’ beans are easy to cook, and they make a fantastic stock.
Soak the borlotti in water for 10 hours, changing often the water and washing them at the same time. Then cook them with plenty of water, removing any scam that forms at the top with a slotted spoon.
They should cook in one hour, taste to see. I add salt when they are nearly ready, and when I stopped removing excess scum from the top. Your beans are ready for any recipe now! Keep the stock, it can be used for soups, or as stock when a recipe requires it.
Stewed Borlotti Beans with Smoked Paprika
Stewed Borlotti Beans with Smoked Paprika
Here I chopped a small white onion, a small carrot and a celery stalk with leaves. I sautéd the vegetables with some extra virgin olive oil, and then I added the beans, and some of their sock, which is already salty.
I cooked the beans, adding stock little by little, until they started to mush lightly. I added some smoked paprika, stirred, and served with some crusty bread on the side.
Photos by Alessandra Zecchini©