Sep 13 2019

Potatoes Cubes with Buttery Spicy Breadcrumbs

Potatoes like these are a mind-blowing experience and, OMG, so easy to prepare and so inexpensive that there’s nothing more to tell in order to persuade you. Try them, Scouts honour!

Serves 4-6

  • 1 kg potatoes, peeled and cubed into sizes of 2,5 x 2,5 cm
  • 200 gr butter
  • 100 gr breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp cloves powder

Place the potatoes in cold, salted water with a tbsp vinegar. Bring to a boil and let cook until the potatoes are soft, yet chunkie. Drain and let cool to room temperature.

In a large pan melt the butter, when foaming add the breadcrumbs and spicies and let cook until golden.

Add the potatoes and mix well until completely coated with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to your taste and serve hot.

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Aug 19 2019

Super Crunchy Fig and Ricotta Cheese Gratin

What is better than figs dipped in a sea of creamy ricotta cheese mix and surprisingly, deliciously crunchy? Either prepared the day ahead and refrigerated or eaten lukewarm, this is a cake you will treasure.

Serves 8

  • 500 gr fresh ricotta cheese
  • 800 gr figs, ripe but not too soft
  • 200 gr caster sugar
  • 40 gr brown sugar
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 6 amaretti biscuits (optional) or 50 gr almonds, skin on, coarsely crushed
  • 50 gr butter

In a large bowl mix the ricotta, egg yolks and caster sugar working with a fork.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff and glossy, then incorporate into the ricotta mix.

Grease a ceramic baking dish with some butter, scatter with a few breadcrumbs discarding the excess, then pour the batter. Place the figs halfway in the batter, forming a circle.

Scatter the butter flakes on top, sprinkle the brown sugar and bake in the oven at 190°C for 15 minutes. Now sprinkle the amaretti, crushed with a mortar and pestle, or with the almonds, and bake for an additional 30 minutes. If the gratin becomes too golden, cover with aluminum foil.

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Jul 31 2019

Middle Eastern Bell Peppers

Kings of the summer, peppers like these are very simple to prepare yet feature a delicious Middle Eastern flavour which will make you dream of pleasantly being away from home.

Serves 4

  • 4 bell peppers
  • 100 gr hazelnuts
  • 50 gr white sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 3 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp vinegar, any kind
  • 1 garlic clove
  • bread crumbs

Toast the hazelnuts and sesame seeds separately. Let them cool to room temperature, then add the cumin and coriander and reduce to a powder with a food processor. This mix is called Duqqah and it is very common in the Middle East, where they are used to eating it over slices of bread previously dipped in olive oil.

Wash the peppers, eliminate the white part and seeds and quarter them regularly.

In a small food processor, or using a hand blender, emulsify the oil with the vinegar and garlic.

Place the peppers on an oven tray covered with parchment paper, coat with the sauce using a kitchen brush, sprinkle over 3 tbsp of Duqqah (keep the rest in a glass jar up to 1 month) and the same quantity of bread crumbs.

Spray with extra oil.

Bake in the oven, 150° C fan, for around 50 minutes, until brown and crispy.

Season with salt and pepper and serve lukewarm.

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Posted in Sides, International, Recipes, Light recipes, Vegetarian
Jul 13 2019

Aubergine and Coconut Millefeuille Cake

 If you like it different, try this recipe! It is an unusual dessert, with a very festive Sicilian touch in the combination of chocolate and aubergines (did you know that the original Caponata included some cocoa as well?)  and besides, it is perfect for summertime when aubergines have the best flavour and colour.

Serves 4

  • 2 round aubergines
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated or sliced coconut
  • 150 gr dark chocolate (70% cocoa), better if flavoured with red chilli pepper, chopped with a knife
  • 150 gr double cream
  • 1 tin coconut milk (400 ml)
  • 125 ml whole milk
  • 50 gr rice flour
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • peanuts oil for frying

Wash, drain and dry the aubergines, then slice them thin. Fry in hot oil and place over kitchen paper and pat dry in order to eliminate any exceeding oil.

In a saucepan pour the two milks, whisking well with the sugar and flour. Cook over low heat,  always working with your whisk, until as thick and smooth as a béchamel. Cover with cling film, placed directly on the surface so that the cream won’t crack.  Let it reach room temperature, then rest in the fridge for 2 hours.

In another saucepan pour the double cream and bring to a boil over an extremely low heat: be careful not to burn the cream.  Incorporate the chocolate and  mix thoroughly until the ganache is glossy and any chocolate lumps are perfectly melted. Set aside.

Start composing the millefeuille cake: place one slice of aubergine onto a serving dish, scoop some coconut cream over (see above) and repeat until you reach the height you like. At the end pour the ganache, scatter the fresh coconut on top and serve immediately.

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Jun 29 2019

Hasselback Potatoes

Normally served with game and soaked with butter, these potatoes are of Swedish origin: crispy golden stacks of delicious potatoes cooked in the oven with a zing of lemon and herbs are perfect with whatever main dish you like, be it meat or not. As an Italian, I normally go for extravirgin olive oil, but if you fancy using butter, feel absolutely free to do so.

Serves 6

  • 1,5 kg potatoes, peeled
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 100 ml extravirgin olive oil (or butter) + extra for the oven dish

Slice the potatoes about 0,25 cm thick using a mandoline or the food processor and place in a bowl with cold water.

Finely chop the zest of the lemons, add to the garlic and combine everything with the oil (or melted butter)and herbs.

Drain the potatoes, pat dry and stack the slices around the edges of an oven dish, previously greased with oil or butter, alligning them tightly so that each stack supports the other. Drizzle over the sauce, add some sea salt and pepper to your taste and bake in the oven at 180° C with fan.

Bake for 75 minutes, until crisp and golden: if the potatoes are going too brown, cover with aluminum foil.  Test the potatoes with a skewer to make sure they are properly cooked through, then remove from the oven and serve hot.

 

 

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Posted in Sides, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian
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