May 13 2019

Artichoke Patties

 

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.

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Posted in Recipes, Light recipes, Main dishes, Vegetarian
Apr 1 2019

Thai Mussel with Coconut and Lemon

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.

Serves 3/4 

  • 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.

 

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Mar 11 2019

Artichoke Flan

I am pretty sure you will love this artichoke flan: artichokes are in season, the recipe is easy and the flan can be made the day before. You will just have to warm it a little before serving and decorate it according to your taste.

Serves 8

  • 750 ml fresh whole milk
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 100 gr plain flour
  • 80 gr butter
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 3 large artichokes
  • 1 small onion, thinly chopped
  • 4 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 1 lemon

Clean and trim the artichokes (if you are wondering how, look at this good video tutorial https://www.finecooking.com/article/how-to-trim-artichokes), halve and reduce to thin slices. Place the slices in cold water and juice from 1 lemon as you go along so they don’t darken in colour.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan, then add the chopped onion and fry until tender. Add the artichokes, cover the pan with a lid, and let cook for 10 minutes. At this point remove the lid and let the juice almost completely dry.

For the béchamel: melt butter slowly in a saucepan, stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Turn down the heat and slowly pour in the milk, while accurately whisking. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and season well with salt and pepper. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, parmesan and the artichokes and stir well. Set aside.

Whisk  the eggs whites until they form soft peaks or until stiff and glossy and combine with the artichoke mixture using a spatula, so that the fluffy egg whites you have thoroughly worked won’t be damaged. Wash, dry and chop the basil leaves by hand, and add to the mixture. Do not use scissors to cut herbs, or they will turn sour and loose flavour together with their essential oils.

Grease a tin with butter, dust with some flour and remove the excess. Pour in the artichoke mix, level the surface and beat the bottom of the tin on a hard surface in order to eliminate possible bubbles. Bake at 180°C, still, for 45 minutes. When ready, turn the flan over while still lukewarm- gently moving a knife between the flan and the tin first if needed- or it will irreparably stick to the tin. In case it unluckily happens, you can fix the tragedy by warming up the flan over a very low heat for a couple of minutes and trying again.

 

 

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Posted in Recipes, Main dishes, Vegetarian
Jan 27 2019

Tempeh with Artichokes

Tempeh is the result of a process of fermentation of yellow soya beans. Very important in the vegan cuisine, tempeh is a healthy and proteic food which can well substitute meat, specially when served together with sauces, vegetables and dips. In this case, I am suggesting a recipe which mimics more than vaguely a classic Italian dish, stew with artichokes.

Serves 4

  • 300 gr tempeh
  • 2 large artichokes
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder

Clean and trim the artichokes (if you are wondering how, look at this good video tutorial https://www.finecooking.com/article/how-to-trim-artichokes), halve and reduce to thin slices, in the meantime keeping them in cold water acidulated with the lemon juice so that they don’t turn black.

Let the onion simmer with 2 tbsp extravirgin olive oil and a little water until white but tender, add the artichokes, cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and brown off.

Add the parsley and salt to taste. Cube the tempeh and marinate with the soya sauce and chilli powder for 10 minutes.

Sautée the  tempeh in a clean pan with 1 tbsp extravirgin olive oil,  mix with the artichokes and serve hot.

 

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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
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