Monthly Archives: November 2009

Mexican food in the City: Wahaca!

wahaca 1Finally, after months of preparation and suspense, the mexican food is now in the CITY: Wahaca has opened a new restaurant in Canary Wharf and I’ve been to see the new place and to try some new recipes.

Wahaca is an “easy” mexican restaurant, because is made for the UK and this means all the menu is easy to understand. You have lots of little dishes to start with and a big variety of main courses you can choose from, but everything is done following the most real mexican way and trying to be cheaper than any other traditional mexican restaurant in London.

But let’s speak about food!

Being in 4 we started ordering a “Wahaca selection”, a mix of some of the best starters they offer in the menu. Some tacos, with beef, fish (the best ones) or pork, quesadillas, tostadas and a little pot with green rice and black beans absolutely amazing.
wahaca 2

As a main course i tried to stay light so… salad. But i have to specify that this contains also meat and rice and just to make it better, it’s served in a fried corn pastry (i don’t know in which other way i can describe it). Very tasty! Some of us took burrito, fish tacos but they serve also a nice soup with homemade tortilla chips, that i suggest as a lighter solution. To drink i have decided to avoid beers (for once) and to try the hibiscus water, a delicious sweet and light red juice very refreshing (especially after the hot sauces you can find there).I love it!

Just to have a taste also of the mexican desserts, we couldn’t go away without churros y chocolate, spicy chocolate ice cream and mango sorbet, my favorite.
wahaca 3

The place is very colorful and nice: lots of graffiti in the inside and the design lights coming down from the ceiling, create a really cosy ambiance. The best part, by the way, are the iron curtains that, composing colorful designs in all the restaurant, give the sensation to be in a mexican market.

Wahaca it’s a little bright place in the grey London!

wahaca 4

PS. Mamy hai visto che carino il nuovo ristorante dove sta Julio? E’ coloratissimo e nonostante sia in piena aria di uffici, all’interno e’ molto accogliente. Poi ho assaggiato dei nuovi piatti che non avevo provato le altre volte e devo dire buonissimi! ho assaggiato i tacos con il pesce, una nuova quesadilla che fanno li, che e’ un piatto simile ad una piadina ma ripiena di una crema di funghi fantastica e poi ho chiesto un’insalata e me l’hanno portata in un cestino di pane di mais croccante buonissimo. Veramente particolare!


Peas… the italian way !

Recipe 122: Today i give you a super easy recipe to eat vegetables in a new way and they are perfect when you have guests….everyone likes peas.

You will need for 3 people: 400 – 500 gr frozen peas (depends by what you are going to serve with them) – 1 onion – 70gr pancetta and 1 vegetable stock.

Piselli con pancetta 1

If you will use frozen peas, you will need to start boiling them. In the meantime, cut the onion and put it in a pan with some olive oil.

After a bit add the pancetta and let everything cook.When the peas are ready, put them too in the pan. In another saucepan place some boiling water and a vegetable stock to create the “brodo”. When this will be ready, add it to the peas, little by little and let them cook.

Piselli con pancetta 2

When they will be soft and the green will be less bright, the peas will be ready to be eaten.

Buon appetito!

PS: questo e’ un classico che non vedevo l’ora di cucinare. Peccato che il guanciale non ce l’abbiamo…veramente non l’ho neanche cercato, ma non dubito sia difficile da trovare. Con la carne e le patate ci stavano veramente deliziosi. Papa’ non sei piu’ il solo a mangiarteli!!!!

Portafogli deliziosi – Delicious wallets

portafogli 1

Recipe 123: This is a dish that i love but it was quite hard to prepare because here in London is very difficult to find veal’s meat. I was especially looking for a particular cut of the veal, very tender and a bit expensive but absolutely delicious, the one called “top round” i think. However at the end i bought some escalopes, but they cut them very thin and pressed them a bit.

Ingredients for 3-4 people: 4 veal escalopes – 4/6 ham slices – 4 good slices of Emmental cheese – 50gr butter – some black pitted olives – some sage leaves – salt – one vegetable stock – 1 glass of dry white wine and, very important, some toothpicks.

Portafogli 2

This dish is very simple: you just need to place the ham the cheese and the black olive (if you like them) on the veal, as shown in the pictures and then you close each piece of meat with 2 or 3 toothpicks an some sage leaves. The secret is just to close them properly, creating almost a triangle, so nothing can come out while you are cooking them.

portafogli deliziosi 3

Put in a pan the 50gr butter and let it melt. Then place the meat in the pan, put some salt and pepper and cook it a bit. In the meantime prepare some boiling water in a little saucepan and add the vegetable stock to create the “brodo’.

When the meat is a bit colored, add the glass of wine and when it’s all evaporated, start to use the brodo: you will add it bit by bit every few minutes, to let the meat cook and to create a nice sauce in the same time. You can also cover the pan if you want. The fire don’t have to be too strong but just enough to cook the meat without burn it. The meat will cook in 15-20 minutes.

Serve in a plate with the sauce on top and with some vegetables.


PS. Mamy, qui la carne di vitella la vendono solo in posti super specializzati. E poi la fesa o noce di vitello e’ proprio inesistente, non sai quanti macellai ho girato! Alla fine ho preso delle fettine, che erano buone ma non tenerissime come la tua. Comunque il piatto e’ venuto buonissimo e poi con tutto questo tempo senza mangiare carne di vitella… ci siamo leccati i baffi! Ho messo le olive nere nella ricetta invece dei carciofini perche’ come sai non sono un’amante dei sottaceti, e diciamo che il sapore delle olive di qui non e’ fortissimo percio’ non si sentiva tanto la differenza, ma giusto il necessario.

Tiramisù (- 63 weeks)

Tiramisu 1

Recipe 124: This is an italian classic dessert and it’s also very easy to prepare, so if you haven’t tried any of my recipes yet, i suggest you to start with this one.

For my mum’s tiramisu’ i used : 300gr mascarpone – 250gr of Savoiardi biscuits ( you can find them in Waitrose, i bought one pack) – 3 eggs but very fresh (you won’t cook them so this is very important) – 3 big spoons of sugar – 5 espresso cups of coffee (i normally do 2 normal coffees and 3 decaf especially if i will serve the dessert in the night and if not all the people normally take coffee) – 1 or 1/2 espresso cup of liquor (Marsala is the best but you can also use Amaretto, Cognac or Quantro) – some sweet chocolate in powder and some chocolate in bits to decorate the Tiramisu’.

tiramisu 2

First you have to create the “zabaione” and for that we mean that you will mix the egg yolks and the sugar until you will reach the consistency of a cream. Then you will add the mascarpone. In another container you will whip the white of the 3 eggs and then you will add it to the rest, being careful to mix from the down to the top.

This is the cream for the Tiramisu’. Nothing is easier and better than this!

tiramisu 3

Now you will prepare the coffees and you will add to that the little cup of liquor.

At this point take one Savoiardi at the time and put it in the coffee but very quickly. They need to absorb a bit of coffee but they don’t have to break or be dump. You can then put them one after the other in a recipient, creating the first layer. I normally put just one side of the biscuits in the coffee and i add some coffee on the top of the them with a spoon when the layer is ready.

tiramisu 4

Add the cream on top of the layer and put some chocolate powder. Then create on top of this a second layer putting again the Savoiardi in the coffee and then in the recipient. Then again the cream and the chocolate. You can create how many layers you want depending by the recipient, the biscuits and the cream available.

tiramisu end

When you arrive at the end, put just the cream and place the dessert in the fridge for at least one hour before to serve it. When you will take it out, decor it with the chocolate powder and chocolate bits: these will give a bit of  “crunchiness” to the Tiramisu’.

Buon appetito!

PS. Mamy eccomi qui con il tiramisu’ e non sai….mi sono scordata il Marsala. Mi sarei mangiata le mani, ma alla fine ho messo un liquore francese che abbiamo qui. Non e’ la stessa cosa pero’…buonissimo!e nenache troppo pesante se preso in piccole dosi. L’unica cosa che ho aggiunto rispetto alla tua ricetta sono le gocce di cioccolato in cima, che ci fanno proprio da ciliegina sulla torta!

Eat Tate, drink Tate… but especially visit TATE!

This won’t be a normal post about all the delicious things you can eat at the Tate Modern, but just a quick post to share my choices of light food in the museum and especially my feedback about the “exposition of the year”… or at least this seems to be the message they want to pass, considering the massive advertising.

pop-life So POP LIFE is “THE” exposition organized this autumn in the Tate Modern, one of the most interesting museum in London, in my opinion. I like modern art and i like to discover always new works and artists. I like their way to renovate always their program and the exposition are normally really nice.

We couldn’t miss to go to see this too, also considering the big buzz around it. When we arrived there, there was a special price to see the 2 new expositions together and we went for it…. and thanks God we did it.

Before to start the tour we had a little breakfast in the little cafe at the first floor. We ate Tate and we drunk Tate: with my great pleasure, instead to sell justBreakfast at the Tate Modern rich pastries or cakes, i found also a little glass of Caramel Popcorn (maybe it was something connected with the POP exposition)! So just a nice and light start! The coffee too was quite good!

After that we visit the expositions, starting for the one we didn’t plan to see: the artist is called John Baldessari. I have never known anything about him and thanks to his conceptual art and the good explanation of his work, made by the curator, i really like it and had a great time there.

Basically his work wants to point out irony in contemporary art theory and practices or reduce it to absurdity. On top of that, he is just crazy but very clever. His art has been featured in more than 200 solo exhibitions in the US (where he come from) and Europe and it’s really interesting.

God nose After this “pure beauty” we went to see the “major” exhibition and it was absolutely disappointing! First of all it was full of people and it was impossible to see anything properly; then this is not the first pop art exposition i see and the works there, weren’t as interesting as lots other i saw before. Finally it was quite disorganized, there was lots of staff, but not a real progression, guideline or engaging presentations.

However, I’m not an art expert and I don’t want to impose my point of view. The only thing i want to say is that if you want to go, buy the ticket for both of them (16£), because Baldessari is really good and you could be really disappointed from Pop Life.

PS. Mamy oggi ho parlato delle mostre che siamo andati a vedere con Julio. In pratica Londra e’ piena di manifesti per solo una delle 2 ed alla fine si scopre che non e’ proprio niente di che, mentre l’altra, che passa inosservata e’ molto interessante. Chissa’ se papa’ conosce l’artista americano Baldessari? fa dei quadri assurdi e simpaticissimi. Questo qui al lato l’ha chiamato “il naso di DIO”.

From the Halloween Menu’: Chocolate mousse and some spiders

choc mousse 1

Recipe 125: And to close the Halloween menu’, here are the desserts: little ghosts and sweets spiders.

To make the Chocolate mousse you need (for 8 people): 8 plastic glasses – 15/20 chocolate biscuits (I used 2 packets of Maryland biscuits because they are quite little), 300 gr dark chocolate, 6 egg yolks, 450/500 gr of cream to whip or you can just use the white of the eggs for a lighter version, but you will need at least 8 whites to whip – a spoon of icing sugar – 30gr butter and some chocolate bits for decorations.

Then for the spiders you will have to buy just some liquorice sweets, some round shaped and some wheels.

choc mousse 2

Put the chocolate in pieces in a sauce pan and let it melt on the fire. It could be better to cook it inside of another sauce pan with boiling water. In this way you won’t risk the chocolate to stick or burn in the pan. When the chocolate is all melted, take it off from the fire and add the 6 egg yolks and the butter. Mix until you have a consistency similar to the first picture up here.

Then whip the cream (or the white of the eggs) and add this to the rest and mix everything again. Leave just a bit of the cream for the final decoration.

Choc mousse 4

Break all the biscuits and divide them for the 8 glasses. Put in each glass a good quantity of mousse and then put everything in the fridge for at least one hour.

Take the glasses out of the fridge a bit before to serve them and add the remaining whip cream. Finally dust them with chocolate bits and serve it. ENJOY!

Choc mousse 3

These spiders instead are just an easy composition made of circular liquorice and pieces of liquorice wheels. Tilt love liquorice!

PS. Mamy quanto mi sei venuta in mente quando ho comprato le liquerizie per fare i ragnetti! ti piacciono? Le rotelle erano buonissime ma le altre tonde non erano un granche’ a dire il vero. Comunque io ero gia’ soddisfatta con la mia mousse, che e’ inevitabilmente pesante, ma cosi buona! e con i biscotti sul fondo e la panna in cima… era una delizia!

From the Halloween menu’: Risotto alla zucca

Pumpkin risotto 1

Recipe 126: This is a risotto my mum uses to cook often in autumn and not just for Halloween. I really like the taste, because delicate and unique thanks to the rosemary and sage together. And for this Halloween i decided to cook it again but the big deal wasn’t the recipe, but the pumpkin to use!!!!

Here in London you have at least 3 qualities available in Halloween time: the classic for craving, a little little one and the butternut. Last year i tried the little one and it was a big delusion: absolutely not tasty! This year i wanted to try the butternut because it seems to be very tasty instead, but i also wanted my craved pumpkin….so at the end i decided to cook the rice with the big classic pumpkin, hoping in a bit of luck! And at the end i was quite lucky!!

So here are the ingredients for 8 people: 1kg pumpkin (already clean without skin, seeds and all the filaments) – 750/800gr rice – 100gr butter – 2 onions – 2 glass of white wine – 2 vegetable stock cubes – 8 slices of cheese for burgers (the one that melt easily) salt – pepper – 5/6 sage leaves – 2 banches of rosemary – 2 cloves of garlic and big bunch of parsley (I suggest flat leaves ).

Pumpkin risotto 2

I started from the pumpkin. With my friend help we cut it in 2 and we start to clean the first half. After taking of all the good part, i realized it wasn’t enough, so i used also the other part and Nat get busy carving this amazing spooky face. This means that a medium pumpkin is about 1 kg after all the cleaning.

After this, wash, cut in little pieces and mix all together the sage, rosemary, the garlic, the 2 onions and put the “trito” (the mix of cut ingredients) to cook in a big saucepan with the butter. In the meantime add vegetable stock in another little saucepan with boiling water to create the ‘brodo’. Wait for the “trito” to became mild and colored and then start to add the pumpkin in little pieces (otherwise will be quite long to cook). Let it toast a bit and then add some “brodo”.

pampkin risotto 3

The pumpkin will take a bit too cook and it will reduce quite a lot, taking out lots of water. However continue to mix always and to cook it until the pumpkin becomes very soft and add other brodo as soon as the water start to miss in the pan. At this point you can add the rice, make it toast a bit and then add the 2 glasses of wine. As soon as this will be absorbed, you will add, little by little, new “brodo” prepared with another stock as before.

Pumpkin risotto 4

At this point you have just to wait the rice to cook and this will take around 20 minutes, depending by the quantity of the rice used. Have try after a bit and add the salt and pepper you think are missing. Just before to be ready, cut the cheese in little pieces and add them to the rice to give extra taste to the plate, but also without it will be very good.

Pumpkin risotto 5

When everything is ready, serve the rice in a plate with the parsley cut in little pieces and with lots of Parmesan as usual!

Buon appetito!

Ps. Mamy questo e’ il primo piatto in cui tutti hanno fatto il bis! ero contentissima e alcuni di loro non avevano mai provato il riso alla zucca! La Streghetta ha colpito nel segno! Pero’ devo ammettere che la zucca italiana ha piu’ sapore, ma d’altronde questo e’ il problema di tutta la frutta e la verdura qui.