Feb 12 2019

Polenta Mini Balls

Stilish and elegant, these mini polenta balls are the ideal finger food to make the most of a winter dinner.  

For around 25 balls

  • 100 gr quick-cooking polenta
  • 500 ml tap water
  • 1 yolk and a half from free range eggs
  • 45 gr grated parmesan
  • 1/4 tbsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 egg whites, slightly beaten
  • 75 gr hazelnuts, skin on
  • 75 gr raw pistachios

In a heavy-based pan bring the water to a boil; add the polenta and whisk with some energy until well combined. Always stirring the polenta, let it cook for 8 minutes (or follow the instructions on the box).

Add the parmesan, nutmeg, a pinch of  sea salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Now incorporate the eggs, one at a time.

Using a mortar and pestel coarsely chop the pistachios and hazelnuts to a granola.

Very carefully, since the polenta will be hot, make small balls  wetting your hands in water every now and then, in order to give them a more accurate shape.

Coat every ball first in the egg yolks slightly beaten and then in the granola, switching between the two. Delicately put the balls on a tray covered with parchment paper and bake for 12 minutes at 180°C, still.  Serve warm but not too hot.

 

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Posted in Starters, Vegetarian
Jan 15 2019

Peas and Mint Veggie-Vegan Soup

Feeling a little heavy after Christmas? Let’s have a soft detox with this  warm, creamy and healthy veggie-vegan soup: if you want to go vegan, simply omit the feta cheese.

Serves 4

  • 350 fresh or frozen peas (they are not in season!)
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 8 sprigs fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 red chilli pepper,  thinly chopped
  • 100 gr feta cheese
  • 30 gr almonds, skin on, coarsely chopped

Fry the onion in a heavy-based pan with the extravirgin olive oil and the red chilli pepper. Add the potato cubes and let cook for 10 minutes. Add the peas, mix thoroughly and pour in the pan 500 ml of vegetable stock or boiling water: you might need more, depending on the quality of the potato you chose. Let simmer for further 10 minutes, season with salt and pepper to taste and the mint leaves as well (washed and drained). Place in a food processor and whizz until smooth and creamy.

Dice the feta cheese, transfer the soup in 4 bowls and scatter with the feta or almonds, if you fancy the vegan option.

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Posted in Starters, First course, Recipes, Light recipes, Main dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian
Oct 22 2018

Spicy Quinoa Tabbouleh with Crunchy Chickpeas

The traditional  tabbouleh, a largely known Arabic recipe, is a sort of salad based on bulgur and parsley, enriched by other vegetables in varying proportions. It originated in the mountains of Lebanon and Syria and was an essential part of people’s diet in the Middle Ages. In the Libanese version the quantity of parsley is much more than the quantity of bulgur, or the same. In this case I substituted bulgur with quinoa and I did not use the same proportion between quinoa and parsley because I find it a little overwhelming on other more delicate flavours.  The result is an unusual formula which hopefully won’t disappoint you!

Serves 4

  • 150 gr red quinoa, cooked according to the instructions on the box
  • 1 tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 spooons duqqah (see below)
  • 8 spoons good extravirgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 140 gr pink radish sprouts  (or broccoli or whatever sprouts you can find, except bean sprouts)
  • 20 gr parsley, chopped
  • 10 gr fresh coriander, washed and drained
  • juice of 1 lemon

for the duqqah:

  • 50 gr raw hazelnuts, skin on
  • 25 gr white sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder

Separately toast the hazelnuts and sesame, let them cool and then reduce to a powder with a food processor. Incorporate the cumin and coriander, stir well and place in a little jar. .

Sprinkle the chickpeas with the dukkah and add 2 spoons extravirgin olive oil, mix well in order to completely coat the chickpeas, place in a baking tray and bake in the oven, still, at 180°C for 25 minutes, or until the chickpeas are crunchy.

Let the chickpeas cool to room temperature, then in a bowl place the sprouts, parsley, shallots, chickpeas and quinoa. Season with the oil and lemon juice, add salt to taste and garnish with the fresh coriander leaves.

 

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Posted in Starters, International, Recipes, Light recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian
Feb 6 2018

Ezme Salad

Ezme is a Turkish word which can be translated as “mashed”, so this is a kind of a mashed salad, very delicious and easy to prepare. Serve with a plain pita or whole crackers.

Serves 4

  • 4 tomatos
  • 1 large pepper (red or yellow)
  • 1 bunch of parseley
  • 1 small onion
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 spoons extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 spoon pomegranate molasses (if you don’t have it, a simple honey can easily work)

 

Dice the vegetables into very small cubes (concassé) and place in a bowl.

In another little bowl prepare the seasoning: emulsify the oil with the molasses and lemon juice, add salt to your taste and season the vegetables. Stir well and serve.

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Posted in Starters, Sides, International, Recipes, Light recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian
Nov 1 2017

Aubergine and Almond Flan

If you can still get your hands on the last seasonal aubergines, try out this flan recipe right now: original, easy and mouth-watering. If you’ve never tried to combine aubergine with almonds you’ll be impressed by the results!

Serves 6

  • 6 aubergines
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 90 gr parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 2 tbs raisins, previously softened in lukewarm water
  • 2 tbs pine nuts, toasted
  • 6 tbs extravirgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 7 soft amaretto biscuits
  • 3 tbs almonds, skin on and toasted

Place whole garlic in a large pan with some olive oil and fry for a few minutes. In the meantime, chop your aubergines in small even cubes. Remove garlic cloves, and place the aubergine cubes in the pan. Let cook until the aubergines are soft and tender and make sure to keep stirring.

Preheat oven at 180°.

Once the aubergines are fully cooked and tender, remove from heat. Place aubergines in a large bowl,  add eggs, grated parmesan cheese, broke up amaretto biscuits, a bit of cinnamon, chopped fresh basil, raisins and pine nuts. Add salt to taste. With a large spoon, stir all your ingredients together until you have an even mix.

Now grab a well oiled (or buttered) cake tin and sprinkle the tin with crushed almonds. Pour your aubergine mix in the tin, and sprinkle with some more almonds. Place the batter in the tin and sprinkle the surface with almonds again. Now bake in the oven for 40 minutes at 180°. Carefully remove from the oven, check the flan is thoroughly cooked, and let cool. Serve at room temperature with some fresh greens. This dish keeps very well for a few days, so you can prepare it in advance if you like! Enjoy.

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Posted in Starters, Main dishes, Vegetarian
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