Monthly Archives: April 2010

Gnocchi di semolino alla Romana – Semolina Gnocchi

Recipe 79: When i was little sometimes my mum was bringing me to her collegue’s house and i still remember that days because she used to cook always the same for me and her girl: Gnocchi di Semolino. I discovered this recipe in her house and i will always remember her while cooking them! I used to love that afternoons!

Today i will share this recipe with you. This is a dish really good for parties, because you just put the Gnocchi in the oven and everyone will be happy!

Ingredients you will need for 4 people: 200 gr of Semolina, 800ml of milk, 2 egg yolks, 50gr butter, 50gr grated Parmesan, a bit of breadcrumbs, nutmeg and salt.

Put the milk in a big sauce pan and let it boil on a low fire . Then add the semolina little by little stirring and after a bit also some salt, nutmeg and 10gr butter. Mix with a whip to avoid clots.

Cook the semolina on a low fire for 10-15 minutes while mixing with a wooden spoon. When ready take it out from the fire and add the egg yolks, 30gr of butter and 30 gr of grated Parmesan.

Mix it all again and when it takes the right consistency, pour the semolina on a board. I suggest you to put some baking paper on it just to reduce the possibility of the Semolina to stick. With the help of a spatula create a good layer high around 2 cm and leave it until it get cold (some minutes).

If the Semolina seems too sticky dredge some flour on it and then with a little cup cut some discs large about 5cm. Put them on a baking tray where you could have put some butter and breadcrumbs or just a baking paper. Place the gnocchi one near the other, in lines.

When all the mix is finished and the tray are full, just add on top the rest of the grated Parmesan, a bit of breadcrumbs and  the rest of the butter in little pieces here and there. Put in the oven at 200 degree for about 20 minutes, checking the top is not getting too burnt.

Serve it on a plate, better if with some vegetable or even a sauce meat! Try with the Spezzatino! it was really a good combination. Enjoy!

PS. Mamy questi gnocchi di semolino erano proprio buoni, quasi come quelli di Grazia! ancora me li ricordo. E qui sono piaciuti a tutti perche nessuno li aveva mai mangiati…pensa neanche Anna! Che vergogna per una romana.

Spezzatino in bianco – my mum’s stew

Recipe 80: This is a classic meat recipe and because it’s very simple the most important thing is the quality and taste of the meat. Exactly for this reason i was trying to find some diced veal in the supermarket but unfortunately there is nothing to do…in England it’s very hard to find it. So i had to take some classic beef meat but the dish came quite well anyway.

Ingredients for 6 people: 1 carrot, 1 onion, celery, parsley, olive oil, some white wine and around 800gr/1kg diced veal or beef  meat, salt and pepper.

Cut finely the parsley (half of the bunch they normally sell here), the carrot, the onion and some celery. Put in a sauce pan some olive oil, let it get warm and then add to it all the previous ingredients already cut. Mix and let it cook for a time.
When they seems a bit cooked, the onion is goldish and they released all the flavors, add the meat and cook it for some minutes, just the time for that to take color.


Add some white wine and then turn the fire down and let it cook for long time always checking the quantity of liquid. Add some salt and pepper, mix and leave it on the fire. The veal is very tender so won’t need too much time, but fr the beef i suggest you to cook it for at least half an hour .
Serve in a plate with vegetable or other food but not to complex or tasty. The meat will have a very nice taste and could be a pity to loose it with some other heavy flavors.

Buon appetito!

PS. Mamy qui trovare la vitella e’ un miracolo! Niente neanche questa volta! Sarei dovuta andare in centro per prenderla e sinceramnete non avevo proprio tempo. Ho preso invece della carne di manzo organica, sperando fosse piu’ saporita… ed alla fine non e’ venuta male. Certo sempre un po’ piu’ duretta rispetto alla vitella, ma con le verdurine e gli gnocchi di patate si e’ sposata perfettamente.

Another italian classic: ham, figs and Caprese salad (-39weeks)

Recipe 81: Big announcement this weekend. The figs are arrived in the supermarket! OK these are not the best figs ever, very sweet and soft, but they are good enough to have another classic italian dish for a light lunch or starter.

Ingredients: you will just need 4-5 figs, some Parma ham, 1 mozzarella, 4-5 tomatoes, 1 avocado or only some basil leaves, salt and olive oil.

For the Prosciutto e Fichi, just peal the figs and cut them in half. Put the ham on a plate with them and that’s all.

To make the dish a bit more complete, just add the Caprese salad: cut the mozzarella in slices, then wash the tomatoes and cut them in slices too and serve in a plate placing them alternately. Then if you want, you can just add between the slices some basil leaves as we do in Italy, but otherwise you can also peal an avocado and add some slices of this too. With some olive oil, salt and pepper the dish will be ready!

Enjoy and have a nice weekend!

PS. Mamy lo scorso fine settimana non ho potuto resistere a prosciutto e fichi! quando ho visto i fichi al supermercato per quanto piccolini non ho potuto fare a meno di prenderli. E con un po’ di prosciutto crudo ed una caprese, mi sono fatta proprio un bel pranzetti all’italiana!

Sogliola alla mugnaia – Sole Mullier’s style

Recipe 82: And this week finally fish! It was a bit of time that i wasn’t cooking fish following a recipe from my mum. I normally just cook salmon or cod in the oven with vegetables. Instead last weekend i thought about this recipe that i never cooked here in London: Sogliole alla mugnaia or Soles Mullier’s style as i think you call them here.

Ingredients: 2 soles (sorry i couldn’t find them and i bought 2 plaices fillets, but they came good as well, because very similar to soles), some flour, around 50 gr butter, parsley, one lemon and salt.

The preparation is very easy as usual: just place some flour on a kitchen board and then place the fish on the flour and cover with some more flour. If you want the fish really well fried add enough flour, for a light version instead just add the necessary to cover them.

Put a pan with 20gr of butter on the fire, while in another little saucepan you will place the rest of the butter, the parsley finely cut and the juice of half a lemon. Wait for the butter to melt and mix it all on a low fire until it takes the consistency of a  sauce. Place the fish in the pan and let it cook for some minutes (3-4 minutes).

Turn the fish and let it cook in the other side until it get goldish like the top, but also keep on mixing the sauce to avoid burning it. When the fish is ready you can place it on a plate and you can add salt and pepper. Then pour the sauce on top and  serve with vegetable and half a lemon.With the fish i normally cook broccoli or potatoes and this time i serve the dish with some Pure’. You can find the recipe here! The taste of these two together is just perfect!

Buon appetito!

PS. Mamy ma da quanto e’ che non mi fai la sogliola alla mugnaia??? io praticamente mangiavo il pesce con gusto solo quando me lo facevi cosi! Purtroppo qui trovare le sogliole vuol dire averci proprio fortuna! Nella selezione dei pesci al supermercato sono un po’ strani… le cose piu’ basiche non ce le hanno! Quindi mi sono un po’ arrangiata con una platessa ma e’ venuta buonissima uguale… e poi con il pure’ vicino ancora meglio!

Pure’ di patate – mash potatoes (- 40 weeks)

Recipe 83: I have to be fair… this week i didn’t have so much time, not to cook, not to blog but not even to eat uff! So finally i also needed to think about something very easy and quite quick to cook and here is a basic recipe that couldn’t miss on my blog: the pure’ or purea in correct italian or as you say here mash potatoes!

Ingredients: you will just need 2-3 big potatoes, some milk, butter, nutmeg, salt, pepper and of course Parmesan.

Just clean, peal and cut the potatoes. Put them in same boiling water  for around 20 minutes. When ready, drain them and mash them with a fork.

At this point  add some  butter, around 25 gr and some milk but don’t too much otherwise the pure’ will be too liquid. Mix it all adding salt, pepper and a good quantity of nutmeg! If still too consistent you can add some more milk and now taste it! Anymore salt, milk or butter?

The pure’ it’s now ready but don’t forget the last touch… some grated Parmesan, i would say around 20-30 gr. Now serve it and enjoy!

PS: Mamy, questo era proprio immancabile nelle mie ricette… altro che i pure’ insipidi che fanno qui! Ad avercelo un’italiano in cucina che ci mette latte burro e parmigiano! E quando lo facevi tu era festa a casa! Proprio buono e niente a che vedere con le solite patate lesse!

Highlights from the Organic Food Exhibition

Last weekend i had the chance to visit the exhibition of natural and organic products organized here in London, in Olympia: the organic food you know is growing everyday more and especially here in UK, the care for natural and organic products is very high.

I was curious to know a bit more, meet the industries and the clients, but also the simple passionate: between infusions, beauty products, vitamins and healthy food, I was happy to find also a little italian group of stands. So let’s start from them.

The first stand to catch my attention was “il Panificio Zannella“, a little stand of salty natural bakery products. Maybe it’s because here there is not a big tradition of crackers and grissini, but i love all these crunchy salty snacks and these one where made in any kind of flavor.

Then i found the classic italian Olives, but this time made by an organic farm “Gaudiano” and these were very good. Moving to cheeses instead there was an amazing stand from Campania with Bufalo mozzarella, cheeses and the classic mozzarella. Thanks good they were there! The brand is “Ponte Reale“. Finally to help the sweet tooth there was the “Aiello” brand with the tozzetti biscuits and nuts covered in chocolate or almonds in sugar and chocolate. Too good!

After that i went a bit around and i discovered lots of interesting things:  first of all a new brand of infusions invented by Mr Scruff, Dj and cartoonist in life and now also producer of this “make us a brew“. Go and check their website… this tea is too funny! And coming back to the past instead, i found the Dragonfly Tea stand with also the well known TickTock brand … so vintage but always good!

Speaking about famous brands here are two protagonist of the scene: “Eat natural” with their delicious bars (I’m addicted) and known also in Italy and “Montezumas“, an organic chocolate english brand that presented, in this occasion, a new flavor: chilli and lime. I can swear it was really good, the ingredients were really well mixed with chocolate, the taste was good not too strong and i could feel the hot of the chilli and the sour of the lime. Impressive! finally i was captured by the Booja Booja Stand, where they served amazing chocolate truffles and organic ice cream!

Then i came across the stand from Ecuador and there i lost my mind: they offered me creackers with exotic organic jams! Banano, papaya, mango…delicious! and then i tried the platano crisps called “Plantain chips” and they were super tasty!

Finally i will spend two words for some new products i tested there and that i want to recommend: from Hungary i discovered some organic salty or sweet snack made by millet and produced by “I love bio“. Then a brand for children “Ella’s kitchen“: it’s a family of organic products for babies from juices to food, but really really nice… no one could resist to their stand!

I also discovered a nice brand for wheat and gluten free products. It was full of this kind of stands, but this is my choice after i tried some of their tasty products, Hale&Hearty. Last but not the least, i present you The Granola from Rude Healt. I love granola and this was really good: they serve it in little plastic glasses with some white yogurt.

I would like then to open a little chapter on Fruit Juice: i went there hoping to find my favorite one and classic in Italy, the pear juice but instead there wasn’t any not even here. However i found 2 nice juice organic brands that i can suggest: Organic Village where i tried a peach juice really reach in fruit and not just watery, and Elite Naturel from Turkey that use to do pear juice and other weird but very good fruit juices like Quince Juice. I never seen this fruit before!

PS. Mamy l’altra settimana sono andata ad un’altra fiera, questa volta era tutta di prodotti naturali e organici, da creme di bellezza a integratori a prodotti culinari. Anche questa volta ho trovato un gruppo di stands italiani, ma erano un po’ pochini! Diciamo che  ho soprattutto fatto un giro tra i prodotti organici che vanno di piu’ qui in Inghilterra: da quelli senza glutine, a prodotti naturali dall’ecuador o dal brasile, a famosi marchi inglesi che si trovano in ogni supermercato. Immagina che ho anche chiesto se ci fosse qualcuno specializzato in prodotti aproteici ma non ho trovato nulla! Comunque ha partecipato un numero incredibile di  persone. In Inghilterra c’e’ veramente la fissazione per l’organico!

Chocolate Salami…recicling Easter eggs

Recipe 84: I was thinking what i was going to do with the Easter chocolate egg we still have at home and then the idea… of course the chocolate salami or Salame al cioccolato. This was a must when i was little. I used to love it so much and this was the better excuse to cook it again.

Ingredients: 200gr chocolate (better if dark but in this case i just used the one for the Easter egg), 100 gr sugar, 100gr butter, 2 eggs, some almond in pieces if you like them and 300gr biscuits.

This is a very quick recipe too because you don’t need to cook anything. Take your Easter chocolate egg or any chocolate and cut it in pieces and place them in a saucepan. Put another bigger saucepan on the fire with some boiling water and place the little saucepan in it. In this way the chocolate will melt without burn or being in direct contact with the fire.

While the chocolate is melting you can crumble the biscuits and put them in a recipient.

In another bowl put the butter, the sugar and the 2 eggs and mix it all until the butter get very soft. Then you can add the chocolate and mix again until all the ingredients are nicely blended.

At this point you can add the crumbled biscuits, the almond in pieces if you like them and i have also added some chocolate sprinkle to give more color. Unfortunately the chocolate egg was made with a very milky chocolate and the color is not as dark as was supposed to be.

Put all the mix on a big aluminum paper and close it giving the shape of a salami. Put in the fridge for at least half an hour and then serve it in slices.

Enjoy!

PS. Mamy hai visto di cosa mi sono ricordata? il mitico salame di cioccolata… che a dire la verita’ sembra piu’ una mortadella visto il colore, ma che comunque mi ricorda un sacco quelli che facevamo quando ero piccola. Ho usato l’uovo di Pasqua che c’era avanzato, ma era di queste cioccolate molto al latte, percio’ spero solo non sia troppo dolce.