Easy Homemade Hummus

We just love Hummus. The well known Middle Eastern cream is versatile and perfect for every occasion. So much that we would hardly imagine a gathering without it served to accompany crudités or some crunchy bread. And we love homemade hummus even more, whether it’s the strong garlic flavour, or the extra virgin olive oil to do the trick, you have the power to make it your own and enrich it with your favourite ingredients.
All you need is a can of chickpeas and some tahini. In case you don’t have tahini, this recipe will tell you how to make your own using sesame seeds and sesame oil.

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Spinach and Chickpeas Tapa (Espinacas con Garbanzos)

This meatless dish with spinach and chickpeas is a popular Sevillian tapa, in which the cumin seeds and paprika will titillate your palate: these spices makes this very simple dish an unforgettable starter for your guests and a perfect dinner fix when all you have at home is cans and frozen spinach! Popular as a meatless mid-week meal option, we often have it with bread like a bruschetta, or on a bed of roasted potatoes, or just as it is, with a sunny side up on top!

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Russian Salad

For many years, Russian salad has been a mystery for me. In Italy we don’t consume it much, apart from the odd buffet-style dinner party so I never had too much curiosity about making it at home. In London, between my good Russian friend and my Spanish other half, I discovered the many faces of this salad. A favourite tapa in Spain, where they call it Ensaladilla: you will find it in all the menus around the land. A winter favourite in RussiaI got to learn, and taste, that they have meat versions and  fish versions. Continue reading “Russian Salad”

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Babaganush – a Simple Dip

Following the Levantine/Middle Eastern thread, we are back with another aubergine recipe. This time, we are using our beloved vegetables for a famous dip recipe, Babaganush. While there can be variants, the classic recipe is very simple. This is the ideal dip to serve as a starter with crudities, a few toasted slices of your favourite sourdough, or pitta bread, or even some crunchy crispbreads.

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Salmorejo – a Spanish Cold Soup

Weather you’re in Europe and in the middle of a heatwave or, like me, in a tropical country when heatwaves are the only weather you get, cold soups can be very helpful! Salmorejo is more of a cream rather than a soup. It’s a proud dish from Cordoba and very much dislikes to be so often associated with the liquid, drinkable cousin, Gazpacho. So much so that Cordoba university even conducted a scientific study to find the perfect consolidation of ingredients for Salmorejo, with the aim of creating some sort of controlled designation of origin and standardize the perfect proportions for its final homogeneous result. This recipe will serve up an excellent Salmorejo: bring it to its utmost by relying on good quality seasonal tomatoes and garnishing it with well-sourced fresh ingredients. It’s also suitable for vegans!

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Spanish Tortilla (Tortilla de Patatas)

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)”

Dressed Mung Beans – Perfect for Salads

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.

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Chinese Dried Meat – Rou Gan

What do you do with left over minced meat? Try this Rou Gan recipe and turn your meat into a jerky-like snack! It’s saved a lot of expiring meat for me. I’m using minced pork here, but it also works for other types of meat, and of course if you have some leftover meat that’s not minced, you can always put it in a blender.

Bear in mind though that the end result is usually better if you have a cut with a high fat percentage, as the “drying” process will make the lean meat too hard. You can try and add a little vegetable oil to the mince mix if your meat is too lean – feel free to experiment, as this is more of a method than a recipe.

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Carbonara – the Italian Recipe

I won’t dwell too much on the name origin of this Italian classic recipe, for which many are the presumed stories , but none of them sure. What is certain is that this classic recipe from Lazio was popular only after the Second World War, it is one of the most famous recipes in the world, and also one of the simplest pasta sauces there are to make. However, you still find some recipes that get it completely wrong, by adding extra ingredients that are not necessary at all for this recipe. It is definitely a winner at dinner parties with Anglo-Saxon friends – who will wonder at how magically you pulled together their favourite breakfast ingredients in a dinner dish. Serves two people.

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Sesame Tuna and Modified Sauce Messine

Just as much as I easily find good cuts of meat in the Haringey wing of Seven Sisters, well sourced tasty fish is equally as impossible to find. So when I crave it, I make it a proper treat, spending a bit more, but trying to find some sustainably sourced fish. In this case, I got a chunk of tuna from Wholefoods, together with some sea asparagus, and I planned to make something very special with them.  Sauce Messine is a traditional French sauce used for fish – it’s in Elizabeth Davis’ book and I’ve made it a few times, although I almost never have the exact ingredients needed. As usual, I have allowed myself to make some adjustments and the result was simply delightful. This recipe serves two.

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