Nov 15 2018

Cauliflower Pudding with Black Olive Pesto

As I would simply put it, this pudding is my signature dish. The pudding in itself is delicate yet savory, while the pesto sauce features a real triumph of aromas.  Please notice that the real zing to the pesto comes from the olives, so take care of choosing the best possible quality. 

Serves 4

  • 800 gr cauliflower, florets removed and washed
  • 150 ml milk
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 80 gr pecorino cheese, grated
  • 3 tbsp extravirgin olive oil

for the pesto:

  • 100 gr black olives, deseeded: if you are lucky enough to find the Taggiasche sort that will be the best! Otherwise, a good alternative is Greek black olives, which are surely easier to locate.
  • 100 ml top quality Italian extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salted capers, accurately washed and drained
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 3 anchovies in oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder (or chilli flakes, if you prefer it less spicy)
  • rind and juice of 1 organic orange

Boil the cauliflower in hot salted water, drain and sautéè in a large pan with the oil until golden. Reduce to a purée using the back of a spoon. Let it cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs with the pecorino cheese and milk and add a little black pepper powder.  Add the cauliflower and mix thoroughly.

Grease the inside of a plain bundt cake tin with some olive oil and pour in the batter. Bake in the oven, still, at 190°C, bainmarie, for 50 minutes.

Prepare the pesto by putting all the ingredients in a food processor until creamy and blended.

Leave the pudding to cool a little before turning out, garnish with the pesto and serve. You can make the pudding a day ahead and warm it in the microwave just before serving: cover with the pesto only after warmed up, so that the sauce won’t cook.

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Posted in Sides, Recipes, Main dishes, Vegetarian
Jun 7 2018

Bread and cheese patties

These patties come from Abruzzo, in central Italy, which has been recently beaten by a strong earthquake. My quoting an Abruzzese recipe is a kind of hommage to that beautiful and wounded land (now in full swing again!). It is a savoury recipe perfect for those who don’t eat meat end are looking for a main dish equally robust.

Serves 4

  • 300 gr white bread
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 50 gr pecorino cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tin tomatoes (preferably Italian)
  • 4 spoons extravirgin olive oil of good quality
  • oil for frying (I prefer peanut oil)

In a large, heavy based pan place the oil and garlic and cook until golden, then add the tomatoes, thoroughly minced. Add salt and pepper to taste and let cook for around 15 minutes, stirring constantly.

Wet the bread with lukeworm water, set aside for 30 minutes and drain well, reducing using your hands to a kind of paste. Otherwise, quickly chop the bread with a blender just for a few seconds.

Add the eggs, pecorino cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

Make some flat patties and fry in hot oil.

Dry with paper towel.  Place the patties into the sauce and let simmer on super low heat for 10 minutes  (you may need to add a drop of water if the sauce is too thick). Serve immediately.




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Posted in Recipes, Main dishes, Vegetarian
Mar 28 2018

Burmese king prawns in spiced tomato paste

This flavory and wondrous recipe is of Burmese origins, specifically by William Myatwunna, an excellent chef in Yangon, whom I had the honor of cooking with. My version is just a little lighter in onions, garlic and oil, only to better adapt it to the European taste.

Serves 4

  • 16 king prawns
  • 12 tbsp peanut oil
  • 5 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 6 medium onions
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 5 thumbs ginger, peeled and pounded
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 medium yellow or green pepper cut into fine rings
  • 4 sprigs of mint leaves
  • 8 tinned tomatoes

Shell the prawns, leave the tail but remove the black spinal vein. Wash under running water and pat dry. Season with half the turmeric, salt, pepper and fish sauce and marinate for 5 minutes.

Blend the tomatoes to a paste and finely cut the peppers into rings. Peel the ginger, garlic and onions and pound (or chop) separately.

Heat the oil in a large pan with the other half of the turmeric powder, add pounded ginger and garlic until fragrant, add the pounded onions and sautée until golden brown.

Now add the red chilli  powder and tomato paste and cook, while stirring continously, for 2-3 minutes.

Add the prawns and a little bit of water and cook for 3 minutes, turning the prawns gently once. Add salt to taste. Remove the prawns from the pan and set aside.

When the oil almost sizzles add the peppers, then transfer all to a dish, garnishing with mint leaves.

Serve with plain boiled green beans or rice.

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Posted in International, Recipes, Main dishes, 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
May 16 2017

Gaeta’s Tiella with Italian Endives

This recipe comes from the beautiful city of Gaeta, located south of Rome, right in the heart of the Mediterranean; the smells and flavours of this dish remind me of the sea, beautiful sunny days and picnics.


for the dough

  • 400 gr flour
  • 20 gr fresh beer yeast
  • 70 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 200 ml water

for the filling

  • 2 kg fresh escarole (a type of Italian endives; you could substitute endives to escarole if you can’t find it!)
  • 2/3 garlic cloves
  • good quality black olives (if you can find taggiasche olives, they’re perfect for this recipe!)
  • 100 gr raisins
  • 60 gr pine nuts, toasted
  • 30 gr capers (rinsed if salted)
  • 10 anchovies
  • chilli powder or flakes to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil

Wash escarole or endive, cut into strips and dry very well. In a large saucepan, heat some olive oil and cook garlic cloves for a few minutes. Remove them and add the olives to the pan, cook for a few minutes and then add the escarole (or endive) strips. Stir well. Cover pan with a lid and let cook until soft. At this point add pine nuts, raisins and capers, as well as the anchovies (break them into smaller pieces first). Add chilli flakes or powder to taste. Stir and cook on high heat until all water from the vegetables has evaporated. Add salt to taste and set aside.  

To prepare the dough, break up the yeast and melt in in 100ml lukewarm water and add flour in a large bowl. Slowly add the remaining water and mix in. Without mixing up the dough too much (as this might make it too tough) shape the mix into a ball. Let rest for one hour, during which the dough should double in size. Now take the dough, and press it with your hands to create a fairly thin round layer (sort of like a pizza base). Cover a 25cm oiled cake tin with your stretched dough,  and let the excess around the sides be. Preheat oven at 180°.

Stuff your base with the escarole filling, then take the remaining dough and shape into a thinner layer, and place this over the top of your filling like a pie. Now fold the excess around the sides over the top layer. Lightly pierce the top layer with a fork and drizzle some olive oil on top. Now bake in the over at 180° for one hour. Once the top looks crispy and golden, your tiella is ready!

Though this dish takes a little bit of work, it is really worth it. You can make more than one and keep them in the freezer- if you don’t end up eating all of them in one sitting- which could definitely happen.

Servite la tiella tiepida, meglio se il giorno dopo.

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Posted in First course, Recipes, Main dishes, Vegetarian
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