PEPERONI RIPIENI – Stuffed Peppers

Hot or cold, same day or the next… you are going to LOVE this dish ❤️

This is what us Italians call:

“UN PIATTO COMPLETO” a complete dish ☺️ it’s complete as vegetables and meat are combined together but there’s also a veggie option for my vegetarian friends 🌱

Ingredients

(Serving 4/5 ) 

4/6 peppers ( yellow/red or orange)

500g beef mince

One boiled potato 🥔 (medium size)

2 garlic cloves , one garlic clove finely chopped; the other clove left whole

Handful of fresh Parsley 🌱

Bread crumbs ( handful) 

One egg 🥚 

Olive oil 

Salt, tsp 🧂 

Plain Tomato Passata 300g

Dried Oregano 🌿 , tsp

Parmesan or cheddar

Vegetarian option ( Swap mince for Rice)

150g Plain rice 🍚 (boiled) 

Handful of cherry tomatoes (diced)

Basil 🌿, handful, chopped 

1 garlic clove 🧄, halved

Cappers (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees 

In a large bowl mix the mince with chopped garlic, chopped parsley, an egg and a handful of breadcrumbs. Add a tsp of salt 🧂and mix everything in. 

Halve the peppers, take the seeds out and place the mince inside the peppers (starting with a tablespoon of mince first and keep filling the peppers until they are completely full). If you have some mince leftover you can make some meatballs and cook them in the sauce.

Place them on a tray and bake them for 20 minutes at 190 degrees 

In a large pan add a couple of tbs of olive oil, add the oregano 🌿 and the whole garlic, put the pan on a medium heat. Add the passata 🍅, season with salt and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes.

Take the peppers out the oven, place them in the pan and keep cooking them in the pan, with the lid on.

Sprinkle some cheese and keep cooking until the cheese melts completely 

Veggie option:

Boil 150g of rice.

Mix the tomatoes 🍅 ,capers, basil 🌿 and the rice together.

Fill the peppers and sprinkle some breadcrumbs ( breadcrumbs will avoid the rice to dry up once in the oven), drizzle with olive oil 

Place the peppers on an oven tray and bake for 20 minutes at 190 degrees or until the peppers are softened 

You can add some grilled asparagus or courgettes as a fresh side dish to go with it

Buon appetito ☺️

PASTA AL TONNO E POMODORINI

…. As simple as that ❤️ A few fresh ingredients for a quick pasta dish that your whole family will love ☺️

TONNO /TOH-NOH/ 🐟

POMODORINI /POH-MOH-DOH-REE-NEE/ 🍅

Or we should also say : Protein, Amino acid, omega 3 , vitamin C, antioxidants, potassium, vitamin K ❤️

How does it sound?

Ingredients

300g Short pasta (Penne, Farfalle,Fusilli)

1 tin of tuna

A punnet of cherry tomatoes 250g 🍅(halved or diced)

1 or 2 garlic cloves 🧄 (finely chopped)

1 handful of basil, chopped

salt

3/4 tbsp olive oil

Preparation

Boil some water (1 litre) for the pasta, don’t forget to add a tablespoon of coarse salt in the water. Put the pasta into the water and cook for 10/12 (following the cooking time on the packet but do not overcook it ).

Put the olive oil in a pan on a medium heat 🔥 and add the tomatoes 🍅 and the salt 🧂

Cook for a couple of minutes and add the garlic 🧄, stir and add the tuna (make sure it’s drained).

Keep stirring. Cook only for a few minutes (the tomatoes need to stay a bit crunchy). Turn the heat off. Sprinkle the basil 🌿

The pasta should be ready by now. Drain it and pour the sauce into the pasta. Mix it together 💪🏻Pronto!

You can add a handful of fresh cherry tomatoes 🍅 some olives or some diced mozzarella ❤️ Enjoy……………….even the next day!

Risotto agli Asparagi e Limone

Hands up who loves Risotto?

We doooooo!!! It’s that kind of comfort food, creamy, warm and full of goodness beautiful food that will take you back to Italy, … the best way I would describe it is it’s like receiving a hug on a plate 🙂 and who doesn’t need a hug right now?

You can use any of your favorite vegetables but today we are using ASPARAGI /AH-SPAH-RAH-JEE/ Asparagus (a great source of nutrients, including vitamins A, C and K), with the freshness of a lemon.

Are you ready? PRONTI?

Serving 4 people

Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

350g Arborio rice

500ml vegetable stock or 500ml hot water (1 gelatine type chicken cube to mix in the water)

white onion, half,  finely chopped

50g butter

150g asparagus, sliced (tips left whole)

zest of one lemon ( do not grate the white pith which is bitter and should not be eaten)

2tbs extra virgin olive oil

handful of rest parsley, finely chopped

fresh parmesan, as much as you like!!!!!

Preparation

Place the butter in a non-stick pan and melt it on a low/medium heat, add the onion and simmer until golden , add the rice and stir it in. The rice will start roasting and it’s important that it doesn’t burn. Add the asparagus (just the stems, sliced) and mix them with the rice. Add half of the lemon zest and a pinch of salt, stir everything in. Have your stock ready and make sure it’s hot, alternatively melt the gelatine cube in the hot water and mix it thoroughly. Gradually add the stock in the pan and keep stirring the rice, repeat this until you have used all the stock. Add the tips of the asparagus and mix them in. The rice is starting to grow and absorbing all the liquid, add more stock if it looks too sticky or turn the heat up if it’s too wet, keep mixing it throughly. In a separate bowl mix the rest of the lemon zest, olive oil and the parsley and put it aside.

The rice will look creamy and will taste “al dente”.

Serve it with some fresh parmesan, shavings or grated and pour the olive oil, lemon and parsley dressing. Pronto!

P.S. Rice takes 14/15 minutes to cook, should you have used all of your stock and the rice  feels still quite hard, I would recommend to add a little water but don’t over cook it! Never cook your rice for longer than 15 minutes !

Ali con i Peperoni e Bruschetta

So much flavour in a very simple dish made with a very few ingredients.

The secret? A very few ingredients 🙂

We love chicken POLLO /POH-LOH/ but we prefer to eat it on the bone and wings are one of the most flavourful part and fantastic for this delicious recipe.

PEPERONI /PEH-PEH-ROH-NEE/ not to be confused with PEPPERONI the sausage you put on pizza, except when you are in Italy of course, because if you ask for a Pepperoni pizza you’ll get a pizza with peppers on top. Yes! Peppers, beautiful peppers… red, yellow, orange!

So far we only have two ingredients: wings and peppers…..wait! that’s exactly what this dish is called!! The truth is that you don’t need to add anything else a part from 4 tablespoons of olive oil and a good pinch of salt.

To accompany the wings I would recommend a beautiful BRUSCHETTA AL POMODORO …. correctly pronounced /BROO-SKEH-TAH/

A little trick for you to master the best Italian pronunciation is remembering that the letters “C” and “H” together sound the opposite to English, CH = /K/ just like in the word CHIANTI (which I am sure you are familiar with)

So…are you ready? SIETE PRONTI?

🙂

Ingredients:

A packet of chicken wings (roughly 12 wings, halved as they will cook quicker)

3 peppers, red / yellow / orange (sliced quite chunky)

NOT green peppers 

Olive oil, 4 tbs

Salt

One large non-stick pan with lid

A punnet of cherry tomatoes 🍅 (diced)

Garlic  (finely chopped )

Fresh Basil 🌿 (finely chopped)

Bread ( baguette 🥖or any type of bread available 🍞)

Put a large non-stick pan on a medium heat, pour the olive oil in and add the wings. Add the salt, cover with the lid and cook for 10 minutes. Add the peppers and keep cooking for another 10 minutes, stirring every now and again. Add a little more salt if needed. Cook until the wings are golden and the peppers are soft.

In a bowl mix the tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil and salt. Let it marinade for 5 minutes before serving on slices of bread

BUON APPETITO, SONO SICURA CHE VI PIACERÀ 🙂

Insalata di Tonno e Cannellini

Insalata Tonno e Cannellini

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Summer we missed you so much! To celebrate the beautiful sunshine I would like to share a very simple and versatile salad dish that you can have as a starter, a main or a side dish. I learned that freshness and simplicity are always the key to a successful meal….most of all  if you are feeding some hungry teenagers 🙂

I made this salad for a few events that I held in our local community, the exciting thing thing for children is to prepare all the ingredients and to assemble together but the best thing is that children (and grownups) LOVE this dish as it’s full of flavour, freshness and colours.

If you are a vegetarian and you don’t eat fish, you can leave the tuna out and add a handful of cherry tomatoes 🙂

Nonna has always taught us to keep our dishes simple and fresh, this recipe is just perfect for everyone to be eaten in a hot day like today. 

Beautiful and fresh for lunch and dinner, this is perfect as a side dish for a BBQ  

Ingredients

  • one red onion, chopped
  • 400g Cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, diced  
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 3tbs olive oil
  • salt 
  • 2tbs balsamic vinegar
    • 160g Tuna chunks in spring water
    • handful of olives ( I used Nocellara olives but any good quality olives will be fine)

Directions

  1. In a serving dish mix together the cannellini beans, the diced pepper, the diced onion, the tuna, the olives, the basil, the salt, the olive olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.
  2. Ready !!! 🙂
  3. Enjoy on its own or with meat or fish

 

 

Pasta ai Broccoli e Pesto

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Pasta ai Broccoli e Pesto

  • Servings: “4”
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Nonna has always taught us to eat as many vegetables as possible, Broccoli are some of our favourites and they are so good for you! Full of goodness and extremely tasty. This recipe is just perfect for everyone, you can eat it hot or cold 🙂

Beautiful and fresh for lunch and dinner, this is perfect for packed lunch too. Your family will love it!

Ingredients

  • 350g pasta (short pasta preferably)
  • 250g Broccoli florets
  • handful of fresh basil
  • handful of parsley
  • 3tbs olive oil
  • salt, pinch
  • pinenuts, 100g
  • 1 clove of garlic

Directions

  1. Boil 1 litre of water in a large saucepan. Add a table spoon of course salt and add the pasta in. Follow the cooking times on the package and add the broccoli florets 4 minutes before the pasta is cooked.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, use a pestle and mortar (or a hand blender will do the job too) and blend together the basil, parley, olive oil, salt, pine nuts and garlic. No nuts if you have a nut allergy. You can add a handful of parmesan cheese or a handful of fresh rocket.
  3. Drain the pasta and the broccoli.  Mix together with the pesto and ENJOY!!!

 

Pane al Pomodoro

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Pane al Pomodoro

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print

 

 

A fresh recipe perfect for the whole family.

Pane al Pomodoro: that beautiful texture, that unmistakable aroma.. it is one of the clearest food memories I have form my childhood. I was probably 5 years old when in the summer holidays with my brother and my cousins we all used to spend the day at my Nonna’s home, she would bake for us this beautiful bread, still one of our favourite dishes, Happy memories  🙂

 

 

Beautiful for lunch, dinner or as a snack, this is perfect for packed lunch too 

Ingredients

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 300ml warm water
  • 2tsp dried yeast
  • 2tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt. Gently mix with a fork. Pour half of the water into another mixing bowl and add the yeast. Thoroughly dissolve the yeast in the water until the water turns into a brownish colour. Pour some of the “brownish” water into the flour and with a fork or your fingers mix it all in. Continue to add water a little at a time ( you will have to add the other half of the water), combining well until you have picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl.
  2. Add the olive oil. Once it is all combined, knead until you have a silky, smooth, elastic dough.
  3. Kneading: Push the dough out in one direction with the heel of your hand, then fold it back on itself. Turn the dough by 90 degrees and repeat. Kneading in this way stretches the gluten and makes the dough elastic. Do this for about 4 or 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Work quickly so that the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands – if it does get too sticky you can add a little flour to your hands. Now your dough needs to rest.
  4. Place it into a large bowl (you can use the same one you used for the flour), cover the bowl with a damp tea towel, this will avoid the dough once is proven to stick to the tea towel. Set it aside to prove (somewhere warm), this should take 1 hour and the dough should double in size. Now your dough is ready!
  5. Preheat the oven to 220C/fan 200 degrees. Halve 150g of plum tomatoes and take out the seeds with a little spoon. Mix the tomatoes with a good pinch of salt, a table spoon of olive oil and a table spoon of dried oregano.
  6. Tip out the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a round shape (or a square, depending on the shape of your baking tray). You may have to stretch it with your hands a little. Put it inside a non stick tray (alternatively you can use a baking sheet).
  7. Push the tomatoes inside the dough leaving a little gap between each other, sprinkle a little more salt and pour 4/5 tablespoons of olive oil all aver your bread.
  8. Bake for 15/20 minutes, until the bread in golden!
  9. P.S. You can add different toppings: onion and balsamic vinegar, salt and rosemary or many more…

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MINESTRONE Soup made with all the leftovers

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Minestrone Soup

Comfort food perfect for the whole family.


This what I call Comfort Food Italian Style, whether it’s cold or hot outside it will warm your family up or it’s delicious eaten cold too.

Nonna taught us NOT to throw anything away, this recipe is about using up all the leftovers in the fridge and in the pantry like fresh vegetables, pulses and even stale bread!! You can serve it with some home made pesto and home made crostini 🙂

Ingredients

  • handful of curly kale, washed and chopped
  • 2/3 sweet potatoes (or ordinary potatoes), diced
  • 1/2 carrots, diced
  • 1 courgette, diced
    • 2 celery sticks, diced
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 litre vegetable stock
    • 1 tin chick peas
    • 150 gr Spaghetti, broken into small pieces
    • salt

Directions

  1. Put the olive oil in a large pan and simmer the carrot, celery, the onion and the potatoes on a medium heat
  2. Add the salt and stir the vegetables. Add the curly kale, the stock and cook with a lid on for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the chick peas and the spaghetti
  4. Cook with a lid on for 15 minutes, add more salt and water if needed

Hello my friend, I am going to take you to my little island….

The day I asked my friend Anita to come with me to Sardinia for a short visit I did not realise that that trip would have meant so much for both of us. For me it meant that my beautiful country with its food, its history, its traditions and its way of living would have been such a source of inspiration. For my friend it meant that the way of eating and enjoying food would have changed for good for her and her family.

Here is how she experienced Sardinia:

Sunday

The first word that sprung to my mind as we drove up the winding road through the green mountains and along the coastline of turquoise waters: PARADISE!!

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The beautiful blue sky and temperature of 26 degrees at the end of the summer, 2 and a half hours flight from home, I instantly felt relaxed.

Sitting with Lara and her Mum Gina in the garden, drinking -Yes you’ve guessed it, coffee, very traditional when passing time with friends and family, they would pop by and have a good chat and a strong cup of coffee.

 

Surrounded by olive trees, cactus plants and fresh herbs, I was excited to experience the real Sardinia. What better way than to stay with my friend Lara and her Mum at their B&B Le Colline di Morimenta and live and eat as they do.

 

Whilst we relaxed Gina busied herself in the kitchen preparing lunch -here she is the Queen and the Boss of her kitchen. Sat around the table together we enjoyed goat stew, pasta in sauce and fried aubergines in breadcrumbs. I could instantly taste the freshness and the quality of the food.

We were also joined by Lara’s friend Thomas and his two children from Germany, who also have a passion for fresh healthy food and he has come to experience the Mediterranean diet and get some great ideas to share.

Later we dropped in on neighbours who welcomed us all into their home offering coffee, cakes, lots of conversations and laughter.

For our evening meal we all joined in preparing a lovely banquet of fresh prawns, aubergines, salad, pasta and lots of water and a few glasses of local wine. Even though I felt I’d eaten so much it was all very healthy and no need to snack in between meals. I am starting to realise why they have such a healthy diet and the highest level of centenarians.

 

Monday 

Today we all came together in the kitchen to make ravioli, one of their favourite dishes. It was absolutely delicious, all freshly made and another opportunity to chat and laugh together.

 

After lunch we headed to the beach. As I walked around the corner I was greeted by pure white sand and crystal clear aqua sea. It was absolutely stunning! Families would often go down to the beach and bring lunch, fresh fruit, pasta dishes and plenty of water.

 

Tuesday

After breakfast I joined Lara and Gina on their trip to the local supermarket for ingredients for today’s lunch and dinner. Straight away I noticed the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables, all the colours and the quality was amazing, the meat and fish were so varied and so much choice. There seemed to be so many aisles of fresh produce and one aisle of treats. If only our supermarkets were like this I think there would not be so many people eating the wrong foods.

 

Lunch was pork steak and salad. I got to sample some ‘mortadella’ and gorgonzola which Lara says is her favourite food when she comes home. I tried fennel for the first time also, sliced and drizzled with a little olive oil, squeeze of lemon and pinch of salt. I didn’t know fennel was so good for your digestive system. I’ve always walked past this vegetable not really knowing what to do with it. You can also add to soups and stews.

Mediterranean food, lots of water, sun, family around the table taking time to talk to each other is such a good life recipe we should all be able to enjoy!

My time here is Sardinia is something I have thoroughly enjoyed and have gained some knowledge of how to cook fresh healthy dishes that are simple to prepare. Taking time to sit at the dinner table and talk to each about the days events without gadgets taking centerstage.

I hope to bring some of my experience to my family, unfortunately I cannot bring home the sun but if I can feed my family some heathy wholesome food with a touch of Italy they would feel the sun shining through.

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Risotto allo Zafferano e Asparagi

 

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This is a little different to my previous recipe 🙂

It’s my first cooking video and I wanted to share it with you.

I am cooking for my friends and I am Bringing Nonna to their home sharing with them all her precious advice.

I must say it was harder than I thought, being in front of the camera and trying to be as natural as possible….. Hope you’ll enjoy 🙂

 

Serving 3 people 

 

Ingredients 

250g Arborio rice

800ml Vegetable stock

pinch of salt,

knob of butter

tbs olive oil

half onion

handful of asparagus, sliced

a tsp saffron

 

Preparation 

Place the butter on a no-stick pan, the olive oil and melt in on a low heat, add the onion and simmer until golden. Add the rice and stir it. The rice will start roasting and it’s important that it doesn’t burn. Have your stock ready and make sure it’s hot, alternatively melt the gelatine cube in the hot water and mix it thoroughly. Gradually add the stock in the pan and keep stirring the rice, repeat this until you have used all the stock. Add the asparagus  Sprinkle the saffron and mix it throughly. Cook for another 2 minutes. The rice will look creamy and will taste “al dente” . Serve it with some fresh parmesan, shavings or grated. Pronto!