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.
- 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
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Quick and easy to prepare (you can make it the day before), luscious to taste and light on your figure: isn’t that a dream? Let’s try this dessert and you will find that dreams do come true… sometimes.
- 100 gr top quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa) + 20 gr for decoration
- 50 gr brown sugar
- 4 free range eggs (you will need only the whites)
- 1 fat free Greek yougurt (170 gr)
- less than a 1/2 tsp lemony salt flakes (or plain salt flakes if you prefer to go easy)
Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in double boiler (a bowl set over a pan of simmering water). Let it cool to room temperature then add the sugar and yougurt. If you fancy a stronger flavour, omit the sugar. Mix well and set aside.
In a perfectly clean bowl pour the egg whites (it is important for it to be clean in order to have perfectly done egg whites, as any kind of grease can block the process) and whisk with and eletric hand mixer to medium-stiff peaks.
Using a whisk or a spatula, very gently mix together the whites with the melted chocolate and yougurt.
Divide the mix into four ramekins and leave to set in the fridge for at least 6 hours before serving.
Scatter the surface of the mousse with grated chocolate and some salt flakes.
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!
- 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.
For those who don’t know it, “bottarga” is a sort of fish eggs (mainly of mullet) dried in their own ovarian sack. Bottarga is a specialty of Sardinia and originates back to the Phoenicians, who once used to visit the island, but the word itself derives from Arabic, whose people were very popular in the Mediterranean. Spaghetti with bottarga makes a royal dish, very easy to prepare as long as you play by the rules. Have fun!
- 320 gr spaghetti
- 1 medium bottarga
- 6 spoons first quality extravirgin olive oil
- 4 bunches parsley, finely chopped
- 1/3 unwaxed lemon, zest grated
- chilly powder
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 cup cooking water, reserved
Place a pan with salted water to the boil; in the meantime peel off the bottarga, coarsely chop and blend in a food processor until powdered. Boil the spaghetti until it has still a little bite to it and place in a bowl with the oil, chilly powder, garlic clove and parsley. Toss to coat and pour 1 cup of cooking water. Add the bottarga, always stirring until you have a creamy, soft consistence. Serve immediately.
Cacciatora in Italian is a word connected to the sport of hunting; the recipe is largely diffused but has Tuscan origins and normally includes meat, chicken or rabbit.
- 400 gr seitan
- 400 gr tomato sauce
- 1 small onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- 150 ml red wine
- 2 spoons extravirgin olive oil
- 1 bunch of parsley
Dice the vegetables into small cubes. Pour the oil in a pan, heat well, and thoroughly roast the seitan.
Add vegetables to the seitan. Let cook for 10 minutes, add the garlic and rosemary too, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes on low heat, stirring every now and then.
Pour the wine, let the alcohol completely evaporate, remove the garlic and rosempary and add the tomato sauce; cook for 10 minutes further and serve scattering with chopped parsley.