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!
Please do not hold a grudge on me, my Roman friends, but let’s admit that the Roman cuisine is essentially oriented to the “basics” and to a rusticity that I often do not appreciate. Yet, give credit where credit is due: there are excellent recipes among the Roman ones too, and what I am describing today is exactly one of them, a very easy pasta, though rich in taste and flavour. The must is the ricotta cheese: it has to be the best you can afford.
- 400 gr rigatoni
- 300 gr ricotta cheese
- 80 gr parmesan, freshly grated
- 14 date or cherry tomatoes
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- 5 tbsp extravirgin olive oil of extra good quality, plus extra to garnish
- black pepper, freshly ground, to your taste
In a large bowl whisk by hand the ricotta, parmesan and pepper until creamy. Dice the tomatoes to super tiny cubes and add to the ricotta mixture, together with the basil leaves, washed, drained, pat-dried and cut by hand into small stripes. Season with the oil and let rest for 2 hours at room temperature. Add some sea salt only before serving.
Boil the rigatoni in salted water (keep 1 cup of water in case the sauce is too thick), transfer to the bowl with the sauce and toss everything together. Add a further glug of oil, salt to your taste, some extra pepper and serve.
Potatoes like these are a mind-blowing experience and, OMG, so easy to prepare and so inexpensive that there’s nothing more to tell in order to persuade you. Try them, Scouts honour!
- 1 kg potatoes, peeled and cubed into sizes of 2,5 x 2,5 cm
- 200 gr butter
- 100 gr breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/4 tsp cloves powder
Place the potatoes in cold, salted water with a tbsp vinegar. Bring to a boil and let cook until the potatoes are soft, yet chunkie. Drain and let cool to room temperature.
In a large pan melt the butter, when foaming add the breadcrumbs and spicies and let cook until golden.
Add the potatoes and mix well until completely coated with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to your taste and serve hot.
What is better than figs dipped in a sea of creamy ricotta cheese mix and surprisingly, deliciously crunchy? Either prepared the day ahead and refrigerated or eaten lukewarm, this is a cake you will treasure.
- 500 gr fresh ricotta cheese
- 800 gr figs, ripe but not too soft
- 200 gr caster sugar
- 40 gr brown sugar
- 4 free range eggs
- 6 amaretti biscuits (optional) or 50 gr almonds, skin on, coarsely crushed
- 50 gr butter
In a large bowl mix the ricotta, egg yolks and caster sugar working with a fork.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff and glossy, then incorporate into the ricotta mix.
Grease a ceramic baking dish with some butter, scatter with a few breadcrumbs discarding the excess, then pour the batter. Place the figs halfway in the batter, forming a circle.
Scatter the butter flakes on top, sprinkle the brown sugar and bake in the oven at 190°C for 15 minutes. Now sprinkle the amaretti, crushed with a mortar and pestle, or with the almonds, and bake for an additional 30 minutes. If the gratin becomes too golden, cover with aluminum foil.
Kings of the summer, peppers like these are very simple to prepare yet feature a delicious Middle Eastern flavour which will make you dream of pleasantly being away from home.
- 4 bell peppers
- 100 gr hazelnuts
- 50 gr white sesame seeds
- 2 tsp cumin
- 3 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp vinegar, any kind
- 1 garlic clove
- bread crumbs
Toast the hazelnuts and sesame seeds separately. Let them cool to room temperature, then add the cumin and coriander and reduce to a powder with a food processor. This mix is called Duqqah and it is very common in the Middle East, where they are used to eating it over slices of bread previously dipped in olive oil.
Wash the peppers, eliminate the white part and seeds and quarter them regularly.
In a small food processor, or using a hand blender, emulsify the oil with the vinegar and garlic.
Place the peppers on an oven tray covered with parchment paper, coat with the sauce using a kitchen brush, sprinkle over 3 tbsp of Duqqah (keep the rest in a glass jar up to 1 month) and the same quantity of bread crumbs.
Spray with extra oil.
Bake in the oven, 150° C fan, for around 50 minutes, until brown and crispy.
Season with salt and pepper and serve lukewarm.