Thursday 12 July 2007
Thursday 21 June 2007
These two delicacies are at their best though when squashed between two slices of pizza bianca alla romana, or on foccaccia.
20 gr beer yeast
Place in a bowl, score a cross on the top, cover and let it rest until it has doubled in volume.
Serve with chilled sparkling wine, prosecco is lovely, or, for a more relaxed evening, a big pitcher of lager beer.
Tuesday 12 June 2007
Monday 11 June 2007
Is it really, though?
It's certainly hot these days, but just last friday Rome was absolutely flooded in rain and yours trully finally got back home from work drenched to the bones!
then again, the positive side is I didn't have to bother watering the plants, so that's one plus, I guess.
Anyhow....being that it's summer, and being in a summery mode I went food shopping on saturday (as you do) and bought a basil and a parsley plant, for the astonishing overall cost of 2.00 euro!!!!!
and so, fresh basil and hungry baby.....tadaaaa make some fresh pesto for his dinner.
if you're sick of cooking the usual soups and casseroles for your kids well then you really must try making them a plate of pasta with pesto.
I've still to meet a little one who won't go bonkers when presented with pesto, I don't know why!!!
And you can fiddle with pasta al pesto by adding cherry tomatoes or ricotta cheese to make it a one meal dinner - any mother will agree with me, they are absolute time and stress savers!!!
Pesto is sooooo easy to make, the most important ingredient being good basil, the best is certainly the genoese basil, with its small, oval, pale green leaves, and good extra virgin olive oil.
traditionally you should really make pesto with a pestal and mortar, but it can be a little more energy and time consuming then the good old magimix.
Pesto alla genovese
So what you do is take five big handfuls of basil leaves, three quarts a glass of olive oil, 3 spoonfuls grated parmesan cheese and three of pecorino cheese, 1/2 clove of garlic (the traditinal recipe actually calls for 2, but I think it's a tad eccessive, and could end up compromising your social life), one spoonful of pine nuts.
In the baby version you might prefer to leave out pine nuts if you're afraid of your child being allergic to nuts.
Just put everything in the magimix and give it a few short blasts. you want everything to be crushed and mixed together, but you also want it to retain a little of its crunchiness.
I didn't add salt to the recipe because I'm assuming you're making it for a small child. All you have to do is add salt and a little pepper (I know, it's not in the real and original recipe, but I add pepper to anything I eat) to the pesto destined to the adult's dinner.
My advise is to make a big batch of it, because pesto can really be used with and for anything.
A few spoonfuls on a caprese salad, mixed with cream cheese and spread over a baguette instead of your usual butter, on a bruschetta with slices of tomato, in cuscus....on white fish, on grilled prawns....I'm off on a tangent now!!!!!!!!!
But really there's no limit to it's uses, and again the great thing is that in one go you've prepared a great meal for a hungry little tsunami generally hyperpicky about his food, and dinner for the poor exausted parents, in no time and certain success.
Tuesday 29 May 2007
Being half Italian, having lived in Italy all of my life but most of all with a father who was also a great cook and originally from the Abruzzo region, I'm not too bad when it comes to making meatballs, or as we call them here, polpette.
But burgers...that's an entirely different cup of tea. When I think burger I thinks Big Mac; aka a lot of sauce, lettuce bread and a sliver of tastless meat (don't get me wrong, I'll kill for a Big Mac any day!!!!).
But having read said article, I really wanted to see how a real all american burger would suit my taste buds. And let me tell you, suit me it did!
The great thing is there really is so little to it. Whereas when making polpette you need to add eggs, stale bread soaked in milk, maybe even one mashed potato to the meat and then, with infinite patience roll the above into little balls, which have to then be rolled in flour, gently sauteed and afer all this start working on a sauce, tomato, wine, lemon etc, good old burgers need so little preparation and time it's scary!
And so last night I just knocked up a simple fresh potato salad with lots of onion, celery and mayo, and started working on my burgers.
As the article says, the trick is in the meat. So I went to the butcher's, and had him thickly grind me a nice chunk of beef, with it's fair share of fat (I love meat fat!!).
At home I simply added half a clove of pureed garlic (fresh, not from a tube), a little bit of chopped parsley - again fresh, pepper, one fresh chili pepper, malton salt and worchester sauce.
I left the burgers really thick, say one and a half centimetres (don't ask me the equivalent in inches, 'cos I have no idea!!), and cooked on the hot grill for around 8 minutes.
They were still a little pink in the centre, but far from being raw, and certainly not overly cooked.
Slapped 'em inside a fresh rosetta - tipical roman bun - with a couple of leaves of lettuce, sliced tomato, and sauteed onions.
I admit I couldn't do without the ketchup, but hey, nobody's perfect.
Easy dinner, and great success!
Snooping around the net I fould this site, completely dedicated to hamburger recipes. Some are a little OTT for my taste (bacon and banana burger is not for me, but who am I to judge?), but others are certainly worth a try.
Monday 28 May 2007
My meme interview:
1. What was your favorite dish as a child?
My mum's mac and cheese, my dad's wicked rigatoni all'amatriciana (in true roman stile!) and the stuffed turkey we'd have on Christmas day, which I'll one day attempt making and post on the blog (mum de-bones the whole turkey, and no matter how much attention I pay every xmas, I still haven't mastered the skill).
2. What´s your fondest food memory?
There's two really.
The first is my dad, who passed away four years ago (it still seems like yesterday he'd be waiting up for me at night reading a book or the paper in the kitchen!), strolling around the kitchen preparing one of his magical sugos together for dinner on the rare occasion when he'd be spending sunday with us, away from work and enjoying the bustle and noise of family life. And the memory of all my xmasses in Ireland, my mother's land, preparing dinner with the family. My grandad popping a bottle of bubbly while I'd be peeling the potatoes, mum attacking the said turkey, my aunt preparing the stuffing, and then all of us trying to make the oven work (why do these things allways break down when you need them the most???), with Top of the Pops in the background.
3. How did you meet your husband?
I saw him the first time in my best friend's house one summer of...many years ago. I'd just come out of a long relationship, and had no interest in men whatsoever. He came into the house with a smug face, harldy said hello to me, and then went along for his own business chatting to his mates, never bothering to take a second look at me (or so I thought!)
I met him again a year later at a party, my dad had recently passed away, and again was in no mood to chat or be chatted up by men. We met again another couple of times after that, and even though he showed interest in me, I completely dismissed the chance of there ever being anything between us - famous last words, eh?
Then one night in a club, after one to many Camparis he offered to walk me to my car, and next thing I was in his arms!
Our relationship was quite shaky at first, we both had deep scars to show, and we had (still have) very different in personalities. I'm very open and confide blindly in people (again, I've got the scars to show it!), whereas he's, or rather was, a very closed person. But, four years down the line, we are still passionately (really!) in love with one another, and have an adorable, if a little hyperactive, son to prove it.
4. What are your all time favorite books/movies?
I love -with an absolute passion - the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Dr Frankenfurter is my kind of guy (kinky, I know. But we've all got our little fetishes, and men in fishnet tights and high heels is mine!!! To this I do wish to add that dear hubby has never worn, and never will wear fishnet tights!!!)
Some like it hot. I adore oldies, and this is by far my favorite. I used to think Tony Curtis was the hight of sexy, John Lemmon the best of commedians, Marilyn was just so marvelous, and the dialogues are wicked. Maybe I also love it because it was certainly one of my dads favourites too.
Bridget Jones diary - because for most of my life (take away the last 6 years) I was plump, shy, insecure, a little clumsy (ok, I still am clumsy!), a general mess with men, even if I did have my fare share of admirers. So I really do feel for her, plus I'm a romantic all the way, and love happy endings
The Sting - I mean, you just can't decide which one if the cutest, Robert or Paul!!!!
Books....hmmmm not easy.....I'm a real bookworm, hope I don't leave any out.....
So here goes:
The Master and Margarita - Bulgakov
Funny, gory, romantic and absolutely crazy description of Russia during the difficult Lenin times. I actually only read a few pages a day 'cos I didn't want it to end!
Emily Bronte's Wuthering heights. I read it the first time when I was no more then 13, and to meHeatcliff became the man of my romantic, still childish dreams.
Funny to say that my husband's caracther is very like his!
Perfume - Peter Suskind
I just couldn't put this book down! Yyou feel sorry for Grenouile while at the same time you find him repulsive, scary, just plain weird, but oh, so carismatic!
Kafka's The Metamorphosis. Gregor Samsa is soo soo sad, every page you turn your heart just keeps on going out to him. True magic, it always moves me to tears.
Anything by Oscar Wilde, but most of all the Ballad of Reading Goal. To think that a true dandy like him had to go through the hell of prison - in Victorian times! - and still be able to compose such music through words is incredible.
In fact it hits me so much each time I read it that here's a link to it. Please, if you've never read it, do! It will move even the most heartless of people, believe me!!!!
All of Jorge Amado's books. Nowriter was ever so good at describing the heart and soul of women.
5. Who is your biggest inspiration (in cooking or otherwise)?
Let's start with the easy bit! In the kitchen it has to be my mum, 'cos she's one hell of a cook! Creative, with a wicked imagination but also really diligent when it comes to following the rules of certain recipes. People still remember when she once stuffed a previously stuffed pheasant inside a chicken inside turkey!!!!!!!
In my life.....I really hate to say this.....but probably my mum, again.
Corny, I know. Especially when I think of all the times I promised myself while growing up that I would do anything to never ever ever be like her!!!!
how things change over time, eh? She's a strong willed woman, who faced true pain and loss in her life holding her chin up, never losing her cool, always remaining positive towards life, never letting herself go.
And all in all a pretty good mum, even if there were times when I really hated her guts!!!!
So here it is, my dears. If anybody would like me to send them questions for a meme interview, here I am!
Again, thank you Marce!! Love, Candida
DIRECTIONS FOR THE INTERVIEW MEME
1. Leave a comment saying, “Interview me" and be sure to leave your address.
2. I'll come back to you with five questions
3. You will update your blog with the answers
.4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
Friday 25 May 2007
But I like a challenge any time it looks me in the eyes, and I've stubornly been testing my hand on the baking front, with promising results.
Melt butter and add wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix VERY (believe me when I say very!) very little, just barelly enough for the flour to have mixed in completely.
It will look very lumpy and dense, and that's the way we like it.
P.s. to all, if you have other recipes, variations, ideas re muffins....LET ME KNOW!!!! I want to try them all!