Category Archives: friends of the blog

An italian chef in London

Do you want to treat yourself ? What about an amazing dinner cooked by a chef… at your place?

I’m sure you can’t say no! What about if the chef is italian and all his italian dishes are strictly made following the truly italian traditions? Peroni has decided to offer all this …and some beers to some lucky winner of a competition!

I have for you a little preview of the dishes prepared… have a look here and get inspired for your next party. I’m sure Mario will be happy to help.

Canape’: Polenta and wild boar salami, radicchio leaves with potted lobster and bruschetta.

Starter: buffalo ricotta and lemon ravioli with Radicchio di Treviso sauce.

Main: beef fillet, wild mushroom, celeriac pure’, red wine sauce.

Pudding: vanilla panna cotta, roasted spiced plums, orange biscotti.

And here the last picture: I present you Mario… in action!

The mexican food challenge: andale!

Who knows me knows as well that I have some crush on whatever is mexican: food, music, traditions …

Some weeks ago I was then invited to a mexican cooking class in the Waitrose cookery school: Mexican food, the cookery school I wanted to visit since ages… That was an appointment I couldn’t miss!

Gently offered by Discovery ( the brand of mexican products) and by Benito’s Hat a little Mexican chain in London, I had one of the most funniest nights in months. They welcome us with an amazing margarita cocktail and then the chef teach us 2 nice mexican dishes, tasty but also easy to prepare and that I can’t wait to cook them again!

The first was Jicama salad, a fresh starter made off cocumber, lime lemons, peanuts, parmesan cheese and this Jicama, a vegetable similar to a potato. The recipe is something to surprise anyone. The second dish was  king prawns tacos with a spicy sauce made with Discovery Chipotle Paste, that was just gorgeous and that solves lots of my problem with mexican food.

Do you know what happened next??? We had the chance to use the kitchen and have a little mexican cooking competition between bloggers: I loved it! I recreate the dishes plus some little variations. I made chicken, sesame and spinach tacos with the Discovery tortillas, and then prawn tortillas with the magic chipote sauce (1 little spoon of this and 2 big spoon of mayonnaise).

But the great thing was to use all that great kitchen stuff without thinking about washing or cleaning! It’s really a privilege and they have really everything! It was really a great experience! So thanks to Discovery, Benito’s Hat, the girls who invited me and Waitrose for the space!

Ps. of course I didn’t win the competition considering there were so many great food blogger, but here is my favourite recipe: Colin from Shizzling who cooked a fantastic green mole!

Cheesy nights!

Do you want a secret to make any dinner or night with friend top? Just buy cheese and wine.

Never like in the last months I met so many people in love with cheese and wine: french and italian of course, but also english, east european and australian too! The combination of good cheese, crackers, grapes or apples and a great red wine is always a winner.

So what I lately received is a beautiful cheeseboard with some vouchers to try some danish cheeses: Castello.

I normally buy cheese in the supermarket more than in delis, but mainly for a matter of time. Some of the supermarket cheeses are great anyway also if I miss lots of italian cheeses.

Castello cheeses are great for a classic cheeseboard: mainly blue cheeses but with taste and consistencies really different between them and great!

When I went to look for them, I was a bit disappointed to find in the most common supermarket just the 2 different blue cheeses , the danish blue and the creamy blue, and the reserve Herrgard, but when I tried them they were really different and great for the purpose: one milder and harder, the other one slightly different and extremely creamy that with the nutty taste of the Herrdgard … Made anyone happy!

And the cheeseboard where you can write the name of each cheese and dispose all the stuff in the most perfect way, it’s gorgeous!

I really liked and enjoyed my Castello night…and i think you can see it in these pictures!

Ricetta Calve: Rotolo di frittata tonnata

PROMO 1: Oggi mi sono inventata una ricetta e dato che e’ stata un successo, e’ rapida, economica e puo’ essere usato in vari contesti (finger food, pic nic, pranzo veloce, light dinner, antipasto etc) ho pensato di aggiungerlo tra le mie ricette come una ricetta numero zero. Come in ogni vacanza che si rispetti gli ultimi giorni si tenta di usare gli avanzi in frigo, da svuotare prima della partenza. Cosa c’era nel mio?

Un sacco di pomodori (sempre utili in estate) 3 uova una scatoletta di tonno, un po’ di maionese Calve’ residua ed un po’ di formaggio. Ed ecco che mi sono inventata il rotolo di frittata tonnata!

Ho aperto il tonno, l’ho scolato e messo in un piatto con la maionese Calve’ rimasta e un po’ di sale. Da un’altra parte ho sbattuto le uova con il formaggio rimasto grattato e con un po’ di sale.

Ho cotto la frittata e nel mentre o svuotato I pomodori dal centro acquoso e li ho tagliati a pezzettini piccoli e aggiunti al tonno. Quando la frittata si e’ cotta l’ho lasciata raffreddare e poi l’ho ricorperta di un bello strato di tonno, mayonese e pomodori.

Ho creato il rotolo e poi ho fissato degli stuzzicadenti per delimitare le fette e mantenerle intatte.

Ho tagliato le fette e le ho servire con uan bella insalatina fresca.

Che ve ne pare? Io vi posso dire che era buonissimo questo rotolo ☺ e ho fatto la felicita’ di mia mamma svuotandole il frigo!

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!

Highlights from the Dolce vita event (11/14 March-London)

Finally i felt again at home for 2 afternoon: lots of great food, wines, nice people and fun.

Maybe for the majority of the stands it was a really hard work, because the event was really packed and the people were quite demanding, but i think it came up a good image of Italy and its products. Here some highlights for you and soon some good product testing too.

Let’s start from the very south with some good treats from Sicily: i couldn’t resist to try the sweets made with almonds, the amazing Cannoli from Trapani and the classic Arancini.

Then i had the pleasure to meet some nice people from Puglia, Roberto Maci with his amazing Taralli (the best ones of the event), Maria Alessia Masiello from “La perla del sud” with a nice concept to relaunch the territory from also a food prospective, and finally i tried the olive oil from Alberobello, very very good and not expensive at all, and for the first time le “fave fritte”, a kind of fried seed you can see in the picture. I loved that!

Then i have to say a massive thanks to Andrea Livi, who bring from Caserta, some oustanding Bufala Mozzarella in the event. He was the only one to present this product and on top of the superb taste and quality of the mozzarella, i felt in love with their logo and concept “Bianca la Bufala“. The dishes they prepared speak alone!

Then, going up in the peninsula i have met the stand of  Cinque Terre Riviera: as everyone knows that is an amazing place in Italy and this company has created a nice packet of occasions in that place for everyone to enjoy. There are rentals for any necessity, from holiday to wedding cerimonies and lots of services like also cooking lessons to enjoy the food of the territory in the best way. At the stand they brought their own chef , Lorenzo Lazzeri, in charge of the courses in Italy, who was explaining the products and preparing amazing dishes.

From Piemonte instead i found a big stand “Gustar divino“, that was selling from cheeses, to ham, wines and of course cakes and sweets. Here i tried the classic “Brutti e Buoni”, a crunchy biscuit made of some particular nuts and sugar…. i was without words and it remind me the summer holiday in the north of Italy.

Lots were also the stands of wines and liquors but i leave you the link to Buongusto wines, where i tried an amazing Sangiovese, Trottolo Montecucco, and to Evangelista e Sauro for their nice vibe and their great Limoncello that could not miss an event like this.

Finally i’m very proud to announce my favourite stands: ICECREAM! That is a real need in London and i’m always looking for a good place where to enjoy a nice one. Now i’m pleaced to present you two nice choices for your icecream time. The first one is Ariela, who you will find in different places in London but especially in Hampstead with “Slice of ice” (try the flavour cream and rasberry fruit), while the other is Oddono’s, with its funny gang, that you probably saw in Selfridges. This is a very reach creamy icecream and i loved its Bacio flavour. Now i finally know where to go for a nice relaxing bit of italian icecream.

But my best highlight and satisfaction was to meet the king of the italian restaurants here in London. Thanks to Foodinthecity, with Niccolo’ Bittante e Simon Johnson, i could have this picture with Carluccio!!! Hilarous!

PS. Mamy sono stata per due giorni ad un evento che si e’ svolto qui a Londra con l’esposizioni di vari prodotti italiani : oltre ad essermi divertita un sacco, aver respirato un po’ d’aria di casa e aver fatto un sacco di incontri interessanti, non sai che buoni prodotti ho trovato, biologici, naturali e freschissimi. Poi ho finalmente trovato anche due bei nuovi posti capaci di fare dei bei coni gelato all’italiana ed mi hanno fatto la foto con Carluccio che e’ il proprietario della catena di ristoranti italiani piu’ famosa qui a Londra! Sono stati pomeriggi esilaranti!

Christmas present for the blog… for an organized 2010!

This is the Christmas present for my blog, something i saw a long time ago but i was waiting the right occasion to buy it! Christmas was the perfect time and i went to Waterstones directly.

There are lots of different places where you can find recipes notebooks, but this is the nicest and more useful for me: basically i can finally put in order all my mum recipes and divide them between the ones i already cooked and the ones missing. On top of that you can also open it and use it as a support to read directly your recipe while you are cooking! Just amazing and if someone is interested it costs 15£.

Let’s hope with this present the 2010 will be more organized!

PS. Mamy ti piace questo ricettario che mi son comprata? ti fa invidia eh? ora oltre a mettere in ordine tutte le tue ricette e a dividerle tra quelle gia’ provate e quelle che mi mancano, posso anche aprirlo e usarlo come leggio mentre cucino! Inizio ad essere molto piu’ organizzata!