Monthly Archives: May 2010

Pasta all’amatriciana (-34 weeks)

Recipe 73: If you don’t know Amatrice is a city in my region, Lazio, and it’s very famous especially for this classic pasta recipe. To say the truth, in my family this has never been cooked too often, but here is the recipe i tried  yesterday and everyone loved it! Also this pasta is very easy and quick, but the taste is really special…i can’t translate the name, you just need to try it.

Ingredients for 4 people: 400 gr of pasta (the best is with bucatini, but in london are difficult to find so also with  spaghetti o linguine will be fine), 1 onion, 150 gr of pancetta, 300 gr of passata of tomatoes, 40 gr of pecorino romano (Waitrose), olive oil, salt, pepper and a bit of chili.

Put some olive oil in a pan and add the pancetta cut in little pieces. Then add the chopped onion and wait for them to cook a bit on a medium fire.

When the onion will become transparent, add the passata of tomatoes, with some salt , pepper and chili. In the meantime you can put some water to boil with some salt and when the water is ready, add the pasta and wait for around 8 minutes.

waiting for the passata and the rest to cook, grate some pecorino cheese. This cheese has the same consistency of the Parmesan, but with a stronger and saltier taste. On the pasta it’s just special!

Check the sauce. If it’s getting too dry, take it off from the fire until the pasta is ready. Then drain the pasta, but keep some water on a side just in case. Add the pasta to the sauce and mix it on the fire so the pasta can absorb all the tomatoes.

Serve it on a plate with some grated pecorino on top and black pepper if you like it.

Buon appetito!

PS. Mamy non sai che delizia…mi sono stupita di me stessa e della ricetta! Anche ad Anna e’ sembrata perfetta…certo con il guanciale ed i bucatini sarebbe stato il massimo, ma almeno questa volta ho trovato il pecorino romano e l’ho grattuggiato fresco con la nuova macchina che mi ha regalato una mia amica! Hai visto che macchinario professionale? Adesso si che non mi ferma piu’ nessuno 🙂

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Torta di carote – Carrots cake

Recipe 74: A little treat for the weekend, easy, quick and nice for any occasion. I was just thinking in the summer holidays when i remembered this classic cake they cook in the mountains where i always go with my parents in august. Every year i can’t just wait for that little paradise in the Alps and i couldn’t resist to have a piece of that delicious cake…so i made it by myself!

Ingredients: 4 carrots not too big, 3 eggs, 130 gr of sugar, 150 gr of flour, 1 spoon of baking powder, 100 gr of butter, 60 gr of grated almonds, a pinch of salt and a bit of icing sugar.

For this recipe i have used for the first time the new kitchen tool, gently donated from Jenny, a friend of mine who is leaving London and though i could have done a good use of this AMAZING machine. In fact I love it already!

However let’s start with the cake: put the yolks egg in a bowl with the sugar and mix them with energy until creamy. Don’t throw away the white because you will need them later. In the meantime melt the butter in a little pan and add it to the eggs and sugar.

At this point you can add the flour and the baking powder, but little by little and mixing in the meantime to avoid any clot. Cut the carrots with a machine or grate them finely and to take out some water, place them in some blotting paper before to add it to the rest.

In the meantime , in a nother bowl, whip -up the white of the eggs that you previously left in a side. To make it easier put a bit of salt in them. This should help them to become spongy quicker.

After you mix the carrots and the grated almond with the rest, add also the white eggs whipped up and mix everything gently going with the spoon from the bottom to the top.

Prepare a baking pan with some butter and flour or just cover it with some baking paper and pour the mix in there.

Put it in an oven already hot, at 170 degree for around 40/45 minutes. To see if it’s ready, place a tooth pick in the cake and if it comes out dry, you can serve your cake! Hot is the best but remember to add a bit of ice sugar on the top!

Enjoy!

PS: Mamy se ti dico torta di carote che ti viene in mente??? a me solo CAMPIGLIO e non vedo l’ora di venire! mi manca cosi’ tanto e una bella fetta di torta alle carote non me la toglie nessuno! Insomma l’altro giorno non facevo che pensare a quest’estate ed alla fine non ho potuto resistere ed ecco cosa ho creato! che te ne pare? Beh l’ho fatta piccola e m’e cresciuta meno del solito, ma il sapore era buonissimo.

Polenta for starter and/or main course (-35 weeks)

Recipe 75: Finally it arrived the summer also in London, but i swear last weekend was still very cold and it rained like in winter, so i decided to cook the last winter dish of the season: Polenta! I prepare starer and main course with that but i think you can enjoy the same starter also with a good weather like in these days.

Ingredients: i bougth the quick Polenta in Carluccio and they sell it in packet of 500gr, but you will need for 3 people no more than 250 gr, then butter, some cheese like brie or better gorgonzola if you like it, Parmesan, salt and pepper.

If you prepare the polenta with the quick prepared flour, it’s really quick and easy, otherwise you will need to spend much more time mixing the ingredients. Instead in this case you will just need to boil 1 litre of water and the pour the polenta flour little by little always mixing and adding 1 and half little spoon of salt and some grated pepper.

After a bit the flour will start to take consistency and it will almost appear like mash potatoes. Keep on mixing for 8 minutes trying to eliminate any clot. Then just turn off the fire and place it in a container with some baking paper to et it cold down.

Now the polenta will be so thick that you will able to cut it in pieces, so you can decide to serve it as a starter or just as a main course.  For the starter i suggest you to cut it in little pieces and put it in the oven with some piece of brie or gorgonzola. Cover them with another piece of polenta and put a bit of butter and parmesan on the top.

Put it in the grill for some minute until the cheese will be melted and the top a bit crunchy and brownish. i serve it in a plate with some fresh celery and humus.

For the main course you will absolutely need a meet sauce to serve with eat, so i suggest you to see the previous recipe. With the involtini and their sauce it was just perfect!

Enjoy!

PS. Mamy l’altra settimana ho finalmente comprato la polenta. Faceva un freddo tale che ci stava proprio bene! Ho pensato di cucinarci sia un piccolo antipasto, tipo mini polenta concia (come mi manca quella di campiglio) e poi l’ho servita con gli involtini ed il sugo di carne! Semplice, rapida e buonissima!

Involtini al sugo – Meat rolls in tomato sauce (-36 weeks)

Recipe 76: This is a classic of the sunday lunch when i was in Rome. The dish it’s a bit long because you need some time to cook the meat and create the sauce, but the good stuff is that then you can use the sauce for the pasta too… and I swear it’s really special.

Ingredients for 2 people: 400 gr of meat (if you can find it take always veal, it’s tender and with a nicer taste), 1 egg, 30/40 gr butter, 1 glass of white wine, a tomato sauce can, 1 carrot, 1 celery, some pieces of Emmenthal, 2 garlic cloves, salt, pepper and toothpick.

Put an egg in some boiling water and let it cook. In the meantime cut the meat in 4 slices and press them until they get really thin. Clean the carrot and the celery and cut 4 thin pieces from each of them. Then cut 4 pieces of cheese long like the carrot and the celery.

When the egg is cooked, take it from the water, peal it and cut it in 4 part. Now you can start to fulfill the meat with one piece of each thing and add salt and pepper. Then you will need to close it with some toothpick. The most important thing you need to be careful is to close them in a way the cheese can’t come out too much.

In the meantime put some oil and 20gr butter in a sauce pan and when it boils, place some garlic and wait to be cooked. When the oil will have take all the  taste and the garlic will start to become goldish, take the garlic out and place the meat in the saucepan on a low fire.

Let them became a bit colored and then turn and wait a bit. After around 10 minutes pour the glass of  white wine and wait some more minutes for the wine to evaporate.

At this point i have add some other pieces of carrot and celery just to give more taste and then the tomato sauce can with some more salt and pepper. You can also add a bit of chili if you want.

Now cover the saucepan, set the fire very low and just wait 20 minutes. Then turn the meat and wait for other 20 minutes. Now the meat will be ready and the sauce will have a unique taste! This dish is perfect if served with potatoes, vegetable or just alone. In this case i added some Polenta that is amazing with the meat sauce!

Buon appetito!

PS. Mamy hai visto che belli i miei involtini? Purtroppo come al solito c’e’ stato il problema con la carne di vitella percio’ ho utilizzato la carne di manzo che e’ un po’ piu’ duretta, ma cucinandola a fuoco basso per un bel po’, e’ venuta buonissima. Ed un sugo cosi’ buono non lo mangiavo da un sacco di tempo. Pensa che ho fatto pure la polenta…ero proprio in vena di un pranzo classico domenicale!

Zucchine Trifolate… courgettes easy style! (-37 week)

Recipe 77:  On top of the massive work i had this week and the cooking section i try to do at least on saturday or sunday, this week i also participated to the audition for a cooking TV program. I did it just for fun of course but i still had to cook once more. I was really pleased because they liked my dish a  lot but it’s not this the point. The problem is that i had even less time to cook, so the recipe of this week will be again another easy and quick one to prepare.

Ingredients for 2 people: you will just need 3 big courgettes, olive oil, garlic in powder, salt and Parsley.

This is a classic and simple vegetable dish you can cook every night to go with any meat or fish. So clean the  courgettes and cut them in pieces and not slices. Put some oil in a pan but not more than 2 spoons and when hot put the courgettes.

Add some garlic in powder (because i think it can be mixed better on all the vegetables) and salt. When the courgettes start to fried a bit, add some water and let them cook covered. They will became softer and softer and will create a nice sauce.

Let them cook for about half an hour and then serve with some parsley finely chopped!

Buon appetito!

PS. Mamy finalmente le ho cucinate anche io! basta con sempre ‘ste zucchine lesse, meglio trifolate! Anche a Nat sono piaciute tanto! Semplici semplici ma con quel gusto in piu’. E poi questa settimana proprio non avevo tempo di provare altro con anche la torta da cucinare per la trasmissione Tv. Comunque gli e’ piaciuta un sacco! Non sai come se la sono gustata la crema della crostata! La tua ricetta della crema e’ insuperabile!

Risotto alla Pescatora – Easy Seafood Risotto

Recipe 78: This week it’s another tough one and i didn’t really have time to cook too much… but at least in the weekend i tried to treat myself.

So last weekend I prepared this nice Seafood Risotto, of course in a simplified version respect to the one that wants you to clean, cut all the fresh fish and to take the shells off from the seafood. I just bought a selection of seafood already clean and I add some king prawns, to make it more tasty! Anyway here in the supermarkets it’s very hard to find nice fresh fish. I need to go to Borough Market for a real food shopping!

The ingredients for 3/4 people are: 240gr of seafood selection, 140gr of king prawns, 300/400gr of rice, 1 glass of white wine, onion, garlic, 1 chilli, parsley and some spoons of tomato sauce.

Cut finely the onion, some garlic cloves and half of a red chili. Put all this in a pan with some oil and let it cook while you wash the seafood.

When the onion get goldish, add the fish, 2 or 3 spoons of tomato sauce, some salt and pepper and i also use to add some butter just to give more taste.

After a bit on the fire, pour 2 ladles of hot water (better if you had put some fish stock to boil in it or if you bought some fresh fish and you cooked it in there before) and let it cook for 15-20 minute. In the meantime you can put the rice to cook in a sauce pan with some boiling water.

When the water will be evaporated, you will have a nice sauce, but to make it even better add the last touch, a glass of white wine, mix it and wait until the sauce get a bit thick again.

Cut some parsley and when the rice is ready, add the sauce to the rice and serve it with the fresh parsley.

I wouldn’t put Parmesan on it… we normally don’t use it for pasta with fish, but if the rice it’s a bit dry and if you just used a little quantity of tomato sauce, i think could be nice to add a bit of lemon. Depend by your taste!

Enjoy!

PS. Mamy, lo so tu questa ricetta non la facevi praticamente mai, ma io avevo una voglia di frutti di mare che ho tentato di trovare una ricettina facile facile per poter avere un bel risotto alla pescatora in poco tempo. Che te ne pare?

Almost half way there: -38 weeks and -5kg :)

Today i won’t post a recipe but just a little update for who is curious to know what is happening to my diet.

Normally it’s at the beginning of May that everyone starts to think again in diets and kilos: the summer is near, the cloths are less heavy, you bring back in your wardrobe the stuff of the previous summer… and there the scream…. “how is it possible i don’t enter anymore in my summer trouser???”

But this year thanks god i didn’t have to scream…i just had to buy new trousers!

Ok here are the results of my challenge until now:

In 2 weeks i will be at half of my challenge (70 weeks in total).

In this 33 weeks i cooked 62 recipes and i magically lost … 5kg and 1 size!

I have to say i didn’t suffer too much, i have just been a bit careful in eating lots of vegetable and fruits and less pasta in the night preferring fish and meat. But of course i have still eaten all the dishes i cooked, i went to eat outside various times, i didn’t control myself in Christmas or Easter… so i lived a kind of normal life. In reality i’m also starting to think that some good days of great food it’s like a shock for the body after some weeks of diet… it’s like the metabolism is working more after receiving all this food. My unties was always telling me this! So finally having some good food for some days, it’s not a problem at all… and i’m the real prove of this!

The other thing i can add it’s that the GYM helps! This is the first year where i’m kind of constant and with a class  twice a week and some good walk when i could, the kilos seems to have gone away without suffer too much!

However i’m still just half way from my real target and these will be the worst kilos to loose, but at least i’m already quite happy to don’t have any bad surprise this year! 🙂 Maybe the summer season won’t be so scary!

For all of you who are instead having this bad time of the year,(i understand you all i swear!) i can just tell you that are still missing 2 months (more or less) to the real holidays and it’s still possible to be lose 2-3 Kg …so just add some gym to your routine, walk, eat fruit and musley in the morning, salad at lunch and fish or meat with vegatable for dinner, but also cook a nice meal at least once a week and you will get there!

Good luck to everyone (me included)!

PS. Mamy oggi mi sono pesata e ho finalmente scoperto di essere a meta’ della sfida. Ho perso 5 kg dei 10 che avevo in mente all’inizio e ho ancora due settimane prima di raggiungere la meta’ dei giorni e delle ricette fissate. Non male no??? quindi a questo punto ho tratto anche delle conclusioni: 1) la costanza nella ginnastica ed in una dieta moderata portano risultati a lungo termine. 2) le mangiate megagalattiche natalizie e pasquali hanno smosso il metabolismo perche’ quest’anno non mi hanno creato nessun problema. Insomma se stai attenta prima e dopo, le mangiate ti possono anche essere d’aiuto!