Today my goal is to create a perfect union between a typical Indonesian food like Tempeh and a savoury Mediterranean flavour to achieve a balanced and tasty result. As you might know, Tempeh is the final product of fermented yellow soya beans. Central in the vegan cuisine, Tempeh is a healthy high protein food which can well substitute meat, specially when served together with sauces, vegetabled and dips. Its flavour is slightly acid, which compliments the sweetness of the carrot and onion.
- 1 double pack natural Tempeh (about 150 gr)
- 2 large carrots
- 1 medium white onion
- 1 fresh chilli pepper
- 100 black olives (I normally use Taggiasche)
- 100 ml extravirgin olive oil + extra 4 tbsp
- 20 basil leaves, whashed, drained and tap dried
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
Place the basil leaves in a small food processor together with the olive oil and puls until homogenous and creamy. Pour in a bottle and set aside. This is a simple way to make your own basil oil -you can use it whenever you want to add some flavour to any of your dishes. Just remember to shake it well before using. This will keep up to 2 weeks when correctely stored in the fridge.
In a heavy-based saucepan, or wok, heat 2 tbsp oil and cook the Tempeh, thinly sliced, stirring occasionally, over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes, until soft and a pale caramel colour. Transfer onto a plate and keep warm.
Peel and thinly shave the carrots with the help of a peeler. Slice the onions and chop the red chilli pepper.
In the same saucepan, or wok, in which you cooked the Tempeh saute the onion and red chilli pepper in the remaining 2 tbsp oil until soft and still white. Add the carrots, fry for 40 seconds, the add the olives and Tempeh. Pour in 2 tbsp soya sauce, season with some sea salt according to your taste and let cook for a few more seconds, until thickened. Serve hot.
To complete you dish, place the Tempeh and vegetables in the centre of your plate and drizzle some of the basil oil around it. Enjoy!
Agretti are now in season and this recipe enhances their peculiarly earthy and mineral flavour through the delicacy and sweetness of egg yolks. Seemingly simple, this dish instead features an intriguing complexity that balances all the ingredients’s properties.
- 4 free range eggs (prepare extra to leave room for error)
- 160 gr sea salt
- 40 gr brown sugar
- 4 bundles agretti
- 2 tbsp salted capers
- 6 anchovies in oil
- 6 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
- 1 lemon
Eliminate the hard stalks from the agretti, thoroughly wash and boil in slightly salted water for 3-4 minutes. Rinse with running water to keep the colour.
In a food processor place the capers after rinsing well, anchovies, oil, lemon juice, two stripes of zest and whizz until smooth.
Season the agretti with the sauce (keep some for the decoration) then form 4 nests on 4 individual plates.
Mix the salt and sugar, put on a plate and even the surface. Very carefully lay the egg yolks over the mixture and leave to set around 30 minutes. Using your hands, very gently take the egg yolks from the mixture, shortly rinse under running water and lay on the center of the agretti nests. Decorate with a glug of sauce and serve.
This recipe is the result of a melting pot between a Chinese vegetable like Pak Choi and a very typical North Italian ingredient like hazelnut. I hope you appreciate the flavour as well as the easy and extremely quick cooking.
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped as well
- 2 tbsp sesame oil, or whatever oil you like
- 2 tbsp hazelnuts, skin on
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 medium pak choi, washed, well drained and cut into stripes of 1 cm
In a small pan roast the hazelnuts, let cool to room temperature and reduce to a medium crumble. Set aside.
In a wok or a large, heavy-based pan heat the oil and gently fry the ginger and garlic.
Place the pak choi in the pan, stir well, add the soy sauce and let cook on a medium heat for 2 minutes, frequently stirring. Scatter with the hazelnut crumble and serve hot.
Artichoke patties are an excellent alternative to meat patties, which will surely be appreciated even by the non vegetarian.
For 30 patties
- 3 big artichokes
- 350 gr ricotta cheese
- 100 gr parmesan, grated
- 2 garlic cloves
- extravirgin olive oil
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 40 gr bread crumbs
- zest of 1 organic lemon + the juice for cleaning the artichokes
- 40 gr shelled walnuts, coarsely crushed
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
for the sauce:
- 250 ml Kefir
- the smallest pinch of saffron
Clean and finely slice the artichokes. (see http://www.lagrandemela.info/en/flan-di-carciofi/)
Place the oil and garlic (cloves halved) in a large pan and gently fry until golden, then remove from the pan and add the artichokes. Sautée for 2-3 minutes and pour in the hot vegetable stock. Cover with a lid and let cook over low heat for 10 minutes, until the stock has evaporated and the artichokes are very tender.
Place the artichokes on a board and chop using a knife.
In a bowl pop in the artichokes, ricotta cheese, parmesan, nutmeg, parsley, mint, lemon zest and walnuts. Mix well and if the mixture becomes too soft add the bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Make the patties using your hands, roll into the bread crumbs and place on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Spray with some oil and bake in the oven, still, at 200°C for 20/25 minutes, until golden and cooked through. If you prefer, you can fry the patties in hot oil.
Serve with some good Kefir seasoned with salt and the smallest bit of saffron.
This is a light main course which can even become more complete if you serve it with plain rice and steamed vegetables. It has an intriguing and mild spicy flavour.
- 250 gr mussels (net weight without the shells: you will need about 1,200 kg of fresh whole mussels)
- 1 tin tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, thinly chopped
- 2 tbsp oil (whatever you like: I used extravirgin olive oil, but feel free to use what you prefer)
- 1 red chilli pepper, thinly sliced
- 4 tbsp coconut milk
- 1 pinch of lemon zests
- chopped fresh coriander to taste
Clean the mussels in cold water and blanch in boiling unsalted water for 1 minute or until opened and cooked halfway through. Drain and discard the shells as well as any mussels that haven’t opened and set aside.
In a heavy-based pan place the oil, ginger, garlic and red chilli pepper and let fry gently.
Add the tomatoes thoroughly chopped by hand and cook for 5 minutes.
Time to add the mussels: stir well and pour the coconut milk.
Scatter with the lemon zests , season with salt to taste and, if you like, the chopped coriander. Serve with steamed vegetables (I used green beans) and/or plain jasmine rice.