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!

 

Sunny Sunday: Brighton!

Having lived in the darkness and rain for about two months, as soon as we read the unbelievable news, we looked at each other and we said: “let’s go to Brighton on the beach!”.
Sun! Eventually the sun was shining!!! Since it is not something that happens often we had to make most of it…and spend the whole day out.

We have immediately booked a train ticket on First Capital Connect and thanks to a good deal and to the Network Railcard we got a return ticket for about £6.30 each. Needless to say that this was already an extremely good start! 🙂

We left from London Bridge on a super crowded train full of people with flip flops, sun glasses and a good smell of sunscreen. In a bit more than a hour we were walking by the sea side looking for a nice spot to sit down and relax.

We first sat right next to the Pier but we had to move pretty soon because of those killers seagulls! 🙂 A girl sitting next to us was eating her sandwich, when a seagull came and literally stole it from her hands! That’s was scary and I was really loving my lunch to have it stolen by one of those huge birds!

Talking about lunch…I know, it’s not the most appropriate meal to have on the beach, but I was really craving a fish and chips, and I still remembered how good it was the one I had the first time I went to Brighton…so I had to have one! 🙂
There is a small fish&chips shop right at the beginning of the Pier, on the right side and it sells the best battered cod I have ever had! It’s huge, thick and super crunchy…impossible to resist!

We stayed on the beach till around 4pm, then we went for a nice walk in the city centre and once again I loved every single bit. Those nice narrow streets full of nice shops are so nice, and the sun and all that light made everything even more beautiful.

At around 7.30 we jumped on the train to go back to London and I have fallen asleep as soon as I sat down on the train (as usual!).

Eventually I got some sun tan…I think this is the first time in my life I am so pale in July!

SUN, we love you!

Brighton Pier

Brighton Pier

"Brighton Eye"

“Brighton Eye”

my lunch

my lunch

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!

Asparagus soup with parmesan crispy waffles

It’s been a while since my last post…last days have been super hectic. I have started a new job and tried to settle down a bit. I am happy to say so far so good!

The British summer is slowly arriving and I am trying to re-adjust my menu accordingly.
Today I would like to suggest you a quick and easy recipe: Asparagus soup, with a little Italian twist parmesan crispy waffles.

“OMG soup is not a summer dish” you might say…I disagree! It’s light, quick and easy to make, refreshing, and it doesn’t have to be boiling hot when you eat it.

All you need to do is boiling a few asparagus, then put them in the mixer till they became a smooth cream and eventually add some olive oil, salt and pepper.

The parmesan waffles are also extremely easy to make. All you need to do it putting some grated parmesan on a baking sheet (you can choose the shape, I made them rounded) and bake them for 2-3 mins until they turn golden. Once ready let them cool down or you won’t be able to remove them from the baking sheet.

Enjoy it! 🙂

Asparagus soup

Asparagus soup

Light Spring lunch!

The sun is shining in London town and what’s best than a colorful and light lunch in the balcony?

 

It is really easy and quite quick to prepare:

  1. Preheat over to 180°C
  2. Prepare 2 bowls: one with beaten egg and the other one with a mix of breadcrumbs, sesame and poppy flower seeds
  3. Dip the chicken first into the egg, shaking off any excess and finally into the bread and seeds mix
  4. lay the breaded chicken on the baking sheet and bake for a few minutes (depending on the thickness of the chicken) on each side.
  5. When it’s ready, put it in a big plate with all your fav raw veggies and enjoy!
Have a lovely sunny day!
🙂

 

How to start your weekend: spinach and ricotta ravioli

Hi all!
I woke up in a very good mood this morning and I felt like preparing something nice for lunch.
I opened the fridge to get some inspiration and I thought “mmh ravioli! it’s been a while since the last time i ate them!”
I have seen my mum preparing them thousands of times but I had never tried to make them myself. I must admit it has been pretty easy, but you just need quite a lot of time to prepare the whole thing.
First of all I have boiled some fresh spinach and let them cool down.
Once they are cold, smash them a bit with a fork and then add ricotta, parmigiano cheese, one egg, salt, nutmeg and a bit of ground pepper.
The tricky part is preparing the pasta dough! You might think “easy, it’ just a matter of mixing all the ingredients together..well yes, sort of! You really have to be careful to get the correct texture..not too sticky nor too dry!
I have used two eggs and for the flour..well, you just have to add it little by little until you get the right texture.
Once the dough is ready, you can start filling it: add one full teaspoon of ricotta & spinach filling and put it on the dough at a distance of about 5 cm from each other. Once you have filled one whole line, fold it and then finally shape your ravioli.
How to cook and dress ravioli: boil the ravioli in some salty water till they start floating.
When they are ready put them in a pan with some melted butter and sage. Stir fry for few seconds, add a lot of parmigiano cheese and enjoy!!!

Butter&Sage ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta

 

Butter&Sage ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta

Dish of the day: gnocchetti sardi with aubergine and ricotta!

The recipe is incredibly easy, but I just need to clarify a couple of things.

Gnocchetti sardi is a kind of pasta..they look like a little shell and they have nothing to do with gnocchi. Personally I consider them one of the best kind of pasta and I think they suit incredibly well with this sauce. This is how they look like:

this is how gnocchettin sardi look like!

  • Ricotta salata is a kind of dry ricotta. It is a sheep cheese, extremely tasty and it is absolutely delicious grated on pasta.
How to prepare:

Cut the aubergines in small pieces (1 cm) and let them cook in a pan with some olive oil.
– Please note: the more you fry the aubergine, the tastier will be the pasta… if you opt for a lighter version, reduce the amount of oil and add some water instead.
When all the little pieces will be beautifully gold, take them out of the pan and put them in a plate.
Use the same pan to prepare the tomato sauce: add a can of chopped tomatoes (you don’t need to add more oil, as there will still be some oil from the aubergine) and a bit of salt.
If the tomato sauce is too thick, add a bit of water… I don’t like when the sauce is too dark and thick!
Let the sauce boil for about 15-20 mins.
In the mean time cook the pasta. When it is done, add it to the sauce and then add the aubergine golden pieces.
The smell is already delicious but you just need to follow other two simple steps to make this dish perfect!
  • add the grated ricotta and mix… it will melt down and create a fab cream
  • add some ground pepper and some breadcrumb (it might sounds strange, but trust me it will give a crunchy taste that you will love!)
As I said before…it is really easy and quick but the result is excellent!
Bon appetit!