26 November 2012

Mince Pies

Make 12 mince pies.

200 grams normal flour
100 grams caster sugar
80 grams butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 pinch of salt
Good quality mincemeat
Muffin cases or muffin tin or (even better) a mince pie tin!

Sift flour and salt. Add sugar. Make a hole in the middle,  add the diced butter and the salt. Start working it until it resembles crumbles. (I do this in a food processor, it only takes few minutes).
Add the egg and the egg yolk and start working with your end quickly until everything gets together.
Shape it like a ball, cover it in cling film and leave it in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.

Switch the oven on at 180 degrees.
Flour the working surface and the rolling pin, and cut the pastry into two pieces.
Start rolling out the pastry (remember to add flour or it will stick to the table!!) as thin as possible.
Cut some of it with the round  cutter, re-rolling the scraps, and cut some using a star-shaped cutter (if you do not have it, just use a smaller cutter).
Line the round pieces into the cases, add a tea spoon of mince meat, then cover with the star-shaped pastry.

Bake into the oven for 25-35 minutes, keeping an eye on the pastry which can burn quite quickly.
When they turn gold, they will be ready.

Cool them off on a wire tray and sprinkle  with icing sugar.

Buon appetito!

25 November 2012

Chicken morsels

This plate contains raw chicken, wash hands and every surface after you finished! Also, please, do not use caged animals!

For two people
3 small chicken breasts
2 table spoons of flour
1 tea-spoon of granary mustard
half a glass of dry white wine
salt and pepper
a splash of extra-virgin olive oil
Capers and Olives (if you like)

Cut the breast into small pieces (you can either use a knife or scissors), put in a bowl, add the flour, salt, pepper, and the granary mustard.

 Add the oil to a non sticking pan and turn the heat on.

Once hot, add the chicken making sure all the pieces are well separated so that they can brown uniformly.

After they have browned both sides (1-2 minutes each side), add the wine and cook it off (2 minutes), add capers and olives (capers are quite salty, just add couple of tea spoons). Turn the heat down and cover for 15-25 minutes (it depends on the size of the pieces, if you are not sure, cut one in half and make sure the juices run out clear!).

Once they are done, you can leave move them to a plate and cook some noodles to go with it!

Buon Appetito!

24 October 2012

Pears and Chocolate cake

You need
4 pears
Half lemon (the juice)
250 grams of sifted self raising flour
50 grams of butter, melted
100 grams of caster sugar
A glass of milk
Half bar of good quality dark chocolate bar, grated
3 eggs

Switch on the oven at 190 degrees.
Cut the pears into chunks, squeeze half a lemon on it and set aside.
Separate the yolks from the whites.
Whisk the whites until they form soft peaks and set aside.
Add the sugar to the yolks and whisk until pale.
Keep whisking, add the milk, the melted butter, and then the flour.
If the batter looks stiff, add more milk. Mix in the whisked whites with a wooden spoon and be careful not to break the air too much.
Add the pears and the grated chocolate.
Pour into a circular cake tin (previously buttered) (I had the one with the hole in the middle, both moulds are fine)
Put into the oven for 30 minutes, check with a tooth peak, if it comes out clean, it is ready, if not wait 10 more minutes.
It's delicious for breakfast!
Buon appetito!

23 September 2012

Squid rings with Pancetta and Small Tomatoes

This is very quick recipe, in 15 minutes you can really impress someone!

For two People
Two small squids
Half a pack of small tomatoes
One pack of Pancetta (Italian pork already cut in small cubes)
One small shallots
Olive oil, salt and pepper

Add some olive oil to a non sticking pan, turn the heat on and start chopping the shallots very finely.
Once the oil is hot, add the shallots and fry until soft and golden (it will take just few minutes).
Chop the tomatoes, add and stir for 3-4 minutes, then add the pancetta cubes until they are cooked (they should take about 5 minutes).
In the meantime, cut the squid into rings, add and cook for 3-4 minutes (if you cook them for too long, they will become rubbery and inedible).
Serve immediately.

If you want, you can add noodles. One nest per person is enough, cook them according to the instructions, when the squid is ready, plate, return the pan to the heat,  and stir briefly the noodles. Plate them with the squid.

Buon appetito!!

Green Lasagne

Ingredients for 6 people
One box of Lasagne Sheets
500 grams of Ricotta Cheese
400 grams of Fresh Spinach
100 grams of Ham
Mushrooms, 200 grams.
One small shallot

For the Besciamella Sauce:
50 grams of unsalted butter
50 grams of plain flour
Grated nutmeg (half of teaspoon)
Parmesan cheese to finish

Switch on the oven at 185 degrees Celsius.

Put the kettle on (this is the quickest way to cook the spinach), add the spinach to a bowl and then pour the boiling water on top. Leave for 5 minutes and drain.
Add the cooked spinach, the ricotta and the Ham to a food processor with a knife blade attached, switch on and get everything mixed.

For the sauce, add the butter and the flour to a small pan, turn the heat on until they combine, keep stirring and add the milk. Stir until everything turns into a liquid sauce. Taste and add salt, pepper and the nutmeg. Transfer the sauce into another small container and use the pan to cook the mushrooms. Add some olive oil and turn the heat on, once the oil is hot, add the shallots and fry them off until they are soft and golden, then add the mushrooms and stir for 5 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste.

You can either make 6 different portions, using the foil small trays, or cook a big one.
Add one sheet of lasagne (cut one into two pieces if you are using the small trays), and add the mushrooms as first layer, together with a couple of spoons of besciamella. Add another sheet of lasagne, the ricotta-ham-spinach and continue until the ingredients run out.
Finish with the lasagna, add a spoon of besciamella and grate some parmesan on top, otherwise it will get burnt.
Add into the oven for 30-35 minutes.
Buon appetito!

25 February 2012

Saffron and Pancetta Risotto

Recipe for 4 people

Rice (like Arborio), allow 80 grams per person
100 grams of cubes pancetta (no streaky bacon and PLEASE, try to get pork you know it is responsibly farmed)
Pinch Saffron strands
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
25 grams of butter
Half onion (chopped)
Small glass of white wine
One liter of vegetable stock (you can use cubes)

Prepare the vegetable stock and keep it on low heat.
Add a splash of olive oil to a non-sticky pan and turn the heat on.
When the oil is hot, add the chopped onion to the pan, keep stirring, at low heat, for 4-5 minutes, 
until they are soften. Add the pancetta and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
In the meantime, wash the rice in a colander to get rid off the excess of starch.
Add the rice, turn the heat at full whack, and stir until it becomes translucent.
Add the wine and let it cook off for a couple of minutes.
Add two ladles of stock, turn the heat down, and stir.
Keep adding the stock, one ladle at the time, stirring continuously, until the rice is cooked (look at the label, but it should take around 15 minutes).
5 minutes before the end, put the saffron in a glass, with a bit of stock, stir and then add to the rice.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper (Pancetta is quite salty, so bear this in mind!).
At the end, add a knob of butter, to make it really creamy and delicious.
Buon appetito!

14 February 2012


For 4-5 people

This recipe contains raw eggs!

Very quick Tiramisu recipe, but you should leave it all night in the fridge before eating it!
You need
3 eggs
3 table spoon of sugar
250 grams of Mascarpone (you can find it in any big supermarket)
One packet of sponge fingers buiscuits
3-4 espresso
2 Table spoon of cocoa powder

Separate the eggs whites from the yolks, and whisk them in a clean bowl until they form soft peaks (3-4 minutes should be enough)
Leave them aside and beat the yolks with the sugar, until they are pale and fluffy using the electric whisker at maximum speed (4-5 minutes)
Add the  mascarpone and keep mixing until it is all combined and smooth.
Fold in all the eggs whites, with a wooden spoon, mix slowly until everything is combined.
Pour the espresso in a  small bowl and quickly dip in  the sponge biscuits and align them in a  deep container (Bear in mind you will make at least two layers)
Make one layer, then pour half of the mascarpone cream, evening it out, make another layer with the biscuits and pour in the remaining cream.
Carefully sprinkle the surface with the cocoa powder, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge over-night to set.
Buon appetito!

If you want to make a bigger one, use 5 eggs with 5 table spoons of sugar, 500 grams of mascarpone and  two packs of biscuits.

29 January 2012

Apple Cake

I love this cake, my nana made one for me and Luigi, my hubby, last Christmas and I have decided to give it a go! Although this one has less butter and less sugar than the one she made...
You need
Three eggs
a pinch of salt
80 grams of butter
80 grams of sugar
200 grams of self raising flour
Half a glass of milk
3-4 big apples

Pre-heat the oven at 160 degrees Celsius.
Cut the apples in small pieces, and set them aside
Separate the eggs and whisk the whites (with a pinch of salt) in a very clean bawl until they form peaks (it will take few minutes)
In another bawl, add the yolks and the sugar and whisk until they  look pale.
In the meantime, melt the butter in a small pan at low heat
Add the butter to the yolks and the sugar, and  keep whisking
Carefully, fold in the whites (by hand) and then the apples.
Slightly butter and flour a round cake mould (the type you can open),  add the batter and place in the oven for 40-45 minutes (Check with a tooth-peek, if it comes out clean, the cake is ready!)
Buon appetito!

12 January 2012

Potato Gateau

This is a very SIMPLE recipe, a very good friend of mine taught this to me, thanks Elisa.
For 2-3 people
2 potatoes
100 grams of ham (Try not to get the water addicted one)
1 mozzarella
Grated parmesan (5 table spoons, around 50 grams)
One table spoon of grated breadcrumbs (This is not strictly necessary, it depends on the pan you are using, if you don’t have them, slightly grease the bottom of the pan with one table spoon of olive oil, it will help so the  potatoes won’t stick to the pan)
A small glass of milk
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees
Peel the potatoes and slice them as thin as possible
Alternate one level of potatoes (slightly overlapped) with mozzarella, ham, 2 tablespoons of parmesan, salt and pepper. Terminate with the potatoes and sprinkle over  the parmesan.
Pour the milk from one side (it will help keeping the potatoes moist)
Put in the oven (middle trail) for 40-45 minutes, but check them after 40 minutes with a fork, they should be tender. If not keep them for more minutes and until the top is golden (if you are afraid of burning them, put them in the lower part of the oven)
You can also make this the night before and warm it the day after for lunch!
Buon appetito!