It is well known that Italians need a constant intake of carbs and, if we don’t have pasta for a few days, we’ll feel as if we haven’t eaten it for years. Nowadays pasta is consumed mostly dried, as the latest generations see the making of fresh pasta confined to the most traditional shapes and the stuffed variety of pasta, such as tortellini or ravioli. Continue reading “Homemade Pasta”
Considered the key dish of Spanish cuisine, tortilla is one of our go to recipes when we have guests or when we are looking for an easy fix with few ingredients. Distinguished from its Italian cousin frittata by its characteristic thickness, it can also contain other featured ingredients, such as chorizo, like this one does. But of course, tortilla can be enjoyed by vegetarians, who instead of adding chorizo can add their favourite greens, or simply add a lot of parsley to the mix. This serves eight if eaten as a starter or four as a main – but keep it between two, and you can have seconds! Continue reading “Spanish Tortilla (Tortilla de Patatas)”
Do you remember what bread tastes like? To be honest I didn’t, or maybe I never knew! The most basic presence on our tables, yet the most satisfactory to bake at home. Bread has certainly become a luxury nowadays – or at least the good quality kind. None of us have much time, but once you start baking your own bread, it becomes an obsession, … Continue reading Basic Loaf of Bread
Keeping a balanced diet means playing a lot with your veggies to find ways to create interesting meals that involve vegetables only. This is what I do in order to reduce the amount of meat consumed weekly in the household. Keep some chilies in your fridge and you’ll realise that they can really add a lot of character to your dishes.
In this case, I simply grilled some vegetables I had in the fridge, but thanks to the magic combo of chili, vinegar (or lemon) and honey, they felt like a very special dish. I served them with roasted potatoes, which added crunchiness and substance to this super healthy dinner.
Making Spanish dishes often feels like taking a trip to the origin of my Sardinian heritage. As Sardinia was invaded by the Spanish for many years, I always look for similarities with their culture: from the syntax, to the societal constructs, to the ingredients we put on our table. Almonds are definitely a staple in both Spanish and Sardinian cuisines. In Sardinia we have bitter … Continue reading Pollo en Pepitoria – A Spanish Sunday Lunch
Aubergines, or eggplants, are amongst my favourite vegetables to cook, and I really enjoy finding new ways of presenting them at the table and giving them a new taste. This aubergines recipe is inspired by a dish I found in the book Jerusalem, by Ottolenghi and Tamimi, which was given to me as a present not so long ago. As you can imagine, in the land where baba ghanoush was created, aubergines have an essential place in the kitchen and perhaps aubergines are the reason why I lust so much over Levantine and Middle Eastern cuisine. The original recipe comes with a sauce made of chopped lemons, which I had to change because my other half doesn’t like lemon that much. Also, I had to change some of the spices compared to the original recipe, simply because I did not have the required ones in my cupboard. The result was still magnificent, I believe, thanks to the feta cheese, something I would have never dreamed of adding to fried onions. If you don’t believe it, please try this recipe, you won’t regret it!
Add mung beans to your diet, and you’ll have the blessings of nutritionists, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and Ayurvedic docs alike. This tiny green bean is so packed with goodness that simply makes everyone agree on its invaluable nutrition. Magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6, proteins, folate, you name it! Unlike a few trendy super-foods, this legume is largely available in Asia, and you can still find it at honest prices! So I added it to my veggie-packed weekly meals, and cooked it like I do with lentils sometimes, dry and flavoured, ready to be added to salads.
I wish I had a magic realism story to tell you about Meatballs and life in the Sardinian countryside, but actually they are all about just-realism. Polpette, AKA meatballs, are probably one of the most common dishes throughout Italy: a dish that speaks about daily life, time spent in the kitchen with your nonna or mamma, crumbling dry bread with your hands. Also, meatballs are probably one of the first recipes one learns to cook, because it’s fun. I can tell you a story of dirty hands, trying to reproduce a perfect sphere of meat, and the only magic here is that my mother never fried the balls before putting them in the tomato sauce, but they never – well, almost never – broke.
Whatever the season, here’s a classic Italian veggie bake: Aubergine Parmigiana. As usual with typical dishes, this is a homemade tradition and every family has their own method and ingredients to make it. My friend Gianfranco from Puglia always says “You can be as beautiful as ever, but if you don’t know how to make parmigiana, you have no charm!” – this saying, applicable to men and women alike, illustrates how big a staple of the Italian kitchen this recipe is. Continue reading “Aubergine/Eggplants Parmigiana – a Classic Veggie Bake”
Stew is one of the best hearty and warming winter foods, and North-Eastern Chinese (Dongbei) cuisine is full of these. Luan Dun (cooked here with ribs and winter vegetables) literally means messy stew, so as you can imagine, the recipe is far from precise. It also involves ripping as many ingredients apart with your hands as possible (instead of cutting it neatly with your cleaver/kitchen knife), so it’s a great way to relieve stress!