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Gazpacho – a Spanish Cold Soup

Living in Singapore, you can always be certain of one thing: the weather will be hot. Apart from some spells of fresh wind here and there, and the frequent tropical rains, the temperature plays always between 25ºC and 30ºC. Tapping on my husband’s Spanish heritage, we often turn to cold soups to beat the heat. Gazpacho is certainly one of those dishes that keeps you cool in hot days, and makes it ever so easy when all you have to do is just take it out of the fridge and prepare some garnishes to go with it. Tomato, cucumber and green pepper are the base of this soup, that can be left thick and eaten with a spoon, or can even be served with ice in a glass and drank with a straw!

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Passion Fruit Bomboloni

Call them krapfen, bomboloni or doughnuts,  we all seem to have a fondness to stuff our faces with fried dough bombs, usually stuffed with even more gluttonous ingredients. Krapfen are usually filled with apricot jam, while bomboloni are a lot richer, filled with crème patissiere or even nutella! I was lucky enough to have some fresh passion fruits that I could pick up from the common garden’s harvest, so I decided to come up with a quick curd, which seemed perfect to fill in some doughnuts. I always follow Lilvienna’s krapfen recipe, but I add some lemon and orange zest to intensify the aromas.  Continue reading “Passion Fruit Bomboloni”

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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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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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Homemade Pasta

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”

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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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Melanzane Parmigiana_Recipe

Aubergine/Eggplants Parmigiana – a Classic Veggie Bake

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”

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Dongbei Stew – Luan Dun with Ribs and Winter Vegetables

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!

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