Easy and tasty lunch idea!

This weekend has been pretty hardcore in terms of partying, so today I really feel like doing nothing. So, what’s the best way to spend a nice and relaxing Sunday? For me it is cooking something easy, then relaxing either watching a movie or doing some nice DIY…still have to decide which of the two I am going to do 🙂

I didn’t have much in the fridge, but after a quick look I came up with some ideas and this is the result:

Wheat with mushrooms and leak, and asparagus with egg.
It might look plain and boring, but it all tastes very nice and it will leave you full but not heavily full, if you know what I mean (you don’t want to eat too much, since you are most probably going to spend the rest of the day on the sofa!). 🙂

I have just boiled some wheat, and once it was done I mixed it with some leaks and mushrooms that I cooked separately in a pan with some olive oil.
The asparagus just need to boil for no more than 3-4 mins, then you can put them in a pan and cook the egg on top of them. Add some salt and pepper as per your taste and enjoy!

I think that some green salad on the side would have finished the dish nicely, but I didn’t have any…and the supermarket if faaaaaar awaaaaaaay! (HelloLazySunday!) 🙂

What about you? How are you spending your Sunday afternoon?

Homemade Pretzels recipe!

We all love Pretzels, don’t we?
You will be happy to hear that it is super easy to bake them at home, you only need to follow a few easy steps.

This is a recipe I tried a few months ago after a trip to Germany, and it made me very happy with the final results.

All you need is:

  • One cup of warm water
  • a pinch of salt (the amount really depends on how salty you want them!)
  • 1 package of dry yeast
  • around 4/5 cups of plain white flour (just see how sticky is the dough and if needed add some more flour)
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • sesame, poppy flowers seed, salt (to decorate the top of your pretzels)

How to make the dough:

Sprinkle the yeast in the warm water cup and stir to dissolve.
Add the mixture to the flour, add the salt and start kneading until you get a smooth and elastic dough. Let it rise for about 1 hour.

When the dough is ready divide it into bits and roll into a long rope and shape. When done, prepare the boiling water and baking soda solution and deep one pretzel at time for about 30 secs. Place the pretzel on a tray, sprinkle them with your favourite toppers (I used sesame, poppy flowers seeds and salt) and they are now ready for the oven!

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden et voilà:

Pretzel

Spaghetti alla chitarra

If you have never tried them, you are really missing out!
I found them in my local Co-operative here in London and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I never thought I would have found them in a supermarket here and I was very pleasantly surprised when I saw them laying on the shelf in front of me. It really made my day! 🙂

Spaghetti alla chitarra

Spaghetti alla chitarra

“It’s just spaghetti!” you may say…but you are wrong! 🙂
“Spaghetti alla chitarra” are a particular square shaped spaghetti called after the tool that is used to make them: the chitarra (the Italian word for guitar). They have a stronger texture than the normal ones and they usually contains eggs as well.

They are perfect with a “cacio e pepe” sauce (parmesan, pecorino cheese, olive oil and black peppers) or with a fresh tomato and rocket sauce…and of course they have to be al dente!

A typical Italian lunch!

My intention was to post something about the Olympics, but I am still editing a few videos and pictures, so I decided to use an old picture to let you discover some typical Italian products.

I know…from the Olympics to food…you might have guessed I am not the most sporty person! Although I am really loving the atmosphere in the city! 🙂

Typical Italian products!

Typical Italian products!

Apologies for the not so stylish table cloth and presentation, but I guess that when I set the table and took the picture, I was not planning to write a blog post about it!

Anyway…let’s talk business!

All these products were bought at the Ferney Voltaire market, a lovely food market at the gates of Geneva, open every Saturday morning until around lunch time.
If you have just moved to Geneva (Switzerland) and you are looking for some nice places to go food shopping, this is definitely the place to go. It is easily reachable by bus from the city centre and it is right across the border with France.
You will be amazed by the huge quantity of fresh vegetables, fruit, fishes, cheese! (Not to mention that it is actually cheaper shopping in near by France rather than in Geneva!).

What’s on the table then?

Mozzarella di bufala (Buffalo Mozzarella): this is typical from the Campania region. It is generally softwer and with a stronger and more intense flavour than the normal mozzarella. It is one of the Italian cheeses, together with Parmigiano and Gorgonzola, the European Union granted the Protected Geographical Status to.

Burrata: is a fresh cheese typical from Puglia region. The main characteristic is a solid mozzarella outer shell, and a creamy mix of mozzarella and cream inside.

Porchetta: is a savory pork roast typical from Ariccia, a small town in the province of Rome. It is flavoured with garlic, rosemary, fennel and it is traditionally rosted over wood.

A tip: both Mozzarella di bufala and burrata are best if served at room temperature. Porchetta is delicious in a warm panini!

 

A summer thought: Gelato!

While sitting on the sofa on a rainy (for a change!) summer day, sipping a boiling coffee and craving for a huge ice-cream possibly by the sea, with lot of sun and some light fresh marine breeze…I thought that since I can’t actually have neither of those things, I could at least share a few thoughts with you! 🙂

First of all…since I have been living abroad, it happened a lot of time listening to people saying: “I prefer gelato over ice-cream”. Mmmh…I don’t want to sound like the typical Italian that turns super picky when it comes to food, but let me clarify one little thing: gelato and ice-cream are the same thing! Ice-cream is the English translation for gelato, not more not less.
I had some people telling me that gelato is more creamy, while ice-cream is more…ice-y? Mmmh, not sure where this misconception comes from, but I assure you that it’s 100% wrong! 🙂 Gelato and ice-cream have the same texture..because they are the same thing! The less creamy version is called sorbet, and it generally has fruit flavours and contains no diary products.

The history of ice-cream goes back in the centuries: apparently an ice-cream like food was eaten in China back in 618-97AD, and also Roman emperors used to eat something similar made out of snow brought to the cities by slaves and then mixed with fruit.

Well, I think we can all easily understand why it became more and more popular over the centuries: it’s delicious! I have never met anyone who don’t like it…and what about those huge ice-creams eaten for lunch during the hottest summer days?! Yum, I’d better stop day dreaming.

I have eaten a lot (and I mean A LOT) of lovely ice-cream in my life, but I have recently discovered a new shop who makes proper artisanal ice-cream and that immediately became one of my favourite: Grom.

A friend of mine introduced me to the Grom’s world when I visited her a few months ago in Milan, however I found out that it is originally from Turin and there are a few other shops in other cities as well.

The shops have this old fashioned look and as soon as you get in you really expect to get a fantastic ice-cream. What I extremely like is that they only use high quality and seasonal products: in fact beyond the typical and most common flavours you can find a few others that change depending on the season or even month.

…I would be so eager to taste the July’s flavour: Peach sorbet with Colombian chocolate and Amaretti biscuits! YUM!

Anyway, this is how Grom’s ice-cream looks like…I really love the way it is shaped on the cone! 🙂

Mango, Pistacho and Chocolate ice-cream!

Grom…any plan to open a shop in London?! 🙂

Focaccia: mediterranean flavours

What’s the best way to end a busy and super funny weekend?
Easy: bake something tasty and possibly that reminds you of your home country. Olives, cherry tomatoes, olive oil and rosemarine…mmh I love them!

Yesterday evening when I came back home after having watched the Wimbledon final in a local pub, I opened my cupboard and luckily I had all the ingredients I needed…well, almost. I didn’t have any yeast, but hey, one of the things I love about London is that you can find anything anywhere, at any time.

For the dough I used around 600 grams of flour, one sachet of dried yeast, one glass of milk (I found out it makes the dough softer) and a pinch of salt.
First you have to melt the yeast in a glass of warm water (please note that the water should not be too hot or it will destroy the yeast’s effect), when ready pour it over the flour and start mixing. When all the water has been absorbed, pour the milk (better if slightly warm) and keep mixing till you get a smooth and soft dough.

Place it on a baking tray (the same one you are going to use to bake it) and let it rise for about one hour.
Advice: warm up the oven for a few seconds, turn it off and put the dough…this will make the rising process faster!

Once the dough has doubled its size you can start dressing it. I normally put olives, cherry tomatoes, a hint of rosemarine and pepper, and I finish everything with some olive oil.

Bake for about 40 minutes in the oven at 180°C and enjoy it! 🙂

Mediterranean focaccia!

Mediterranean focaccia!