Melanzane -Vi Amo- I Love You

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What’s your feel good food? That kind of food that can lift your spirits immediately, that doesn’t only feed your body but your brain 🧠 too with positive vibes and awesomeness 😍 Everyone has one, no matter what our age is, we all have that special food that we crave, that we love and that will put a smile on our face straight away 💕 mine has to be MELANZANE 🍆 /MEH-LAN-TSAH-NEH/ Aubergines 🍆 I would choose them over everything else 💚 here they are:  “Baked Aubergines with Garlic Breadcrumbs” 👌🏻super easy, fresh and delicious 💚 this is a vegetarian dish that can be eaten hot or cold, with rice, with a fresh salad, even in a bun as a substitute to burgers 🙂

 

Melanzane - Vi Amo - I love You

  • Servings: 4-5
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Nonna has always taught us to eat as many vegetables as possible and no many people are familiar with aubergines, please give it a try and let Nonna know what your feedback is 🙂 this recipe is just perfect for everyone to be eaten hot or cold. 

Beautiful and fresh for lunch and dinner with a side dish or just on its on

Ingredients

  • 2 aubergines, sliced (1.5cm thick) 
  • 100g of home made breadcrumbs – great to use some stale bread and make your own breadcrumbs… as you know we don’t waste any food 🙂 
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed
  • handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • 4tbs olive oil
  • 2tsp salt  

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven at 190 degrees. Slice the aubergines length ways (1/1.5 cm thick). Place them on a non stick tray, sprinkle a pinch of salt and some olive oil (the olive oil keeps them moist). Bake for 15 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, the garlic, the parsley and a pinch of salt. Mix in a little olive oil and a table spoon of water ( it’ll be easier to spread the breadcrumbs)
  3. Turn the aubergines over and with a teaspoon place the breadcrumbs evenly on each one. Add a little more salt and bake for another 15 minutes until golden.
  4. Pronte!! Enjoy them hot or cold, I love them either way

 

 

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

 

 

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!

 

 

Insalata per Campioni

Starting 2018 with some freshness and what a great boost for those that are working out 💪🏻

I called this Salad “Salad for Champions” : Tuna, potatoes, eggs and green beans….carbs, proteins, vitamins and sunshine all in one ONE dish.

How can only a few ingredients make a dish so tasty? Well, this is exactly what Nonnas do, they only use what it’s going to be good for you and they cook it in the simplest way ❤️

 

This salad is truly delicious and my whole family love it. It’s also a great idea for pack lunches too 😊

Serving 4 people

Ingredients

2/3 medium potatoes (peeled and diced)

300g fine green beans

4 eggs (1 egg per person)

1 tin of tuna ( in oil )

Juice of 1 lemon

Olive oil, 3 tbs

Salt, pinch

Preparation

Put the potatoes in a large pan, cover with water and bring it to the boil. Boil for 5 minuets and then add the green beans in with the potatoes. Boil for another 5 minuets ( or less if you like your beans “al dente”).

While the potatoes and green beans are cooking, place the eggs in a smaller pan, cover with water and bring it to the boil, cook for 8 minuets. Drain the vegetables and place them into a large serving dish, add the tuna (flake it with a fork). Peel the eggs and halve them. Prepare the dressing: mix the olive oil, the lemon juice and salt and pour it all over the salad. Pronta!

Pollo alla Cacciatora – Hunter Chicken

 

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When it’s cold outside you need a recipe to warm up the whole family, Hunter Chicken is just perfect! In italian we say Pollo all Cacciatora “Hunter Chicken”  /POH-LOH AH-LAH CAH-CHAH-TOH-RAH/ and it is another great recipe that will bring the family together. It reminds me of a winter’s day, about 27 years ago (I would have been 15 years “young” ) and like every teenager coming home from school it was the highlight of my day!! I was always looking forward to coming home, most of all after all those tests and long hours learning about what I though it was boring ( at that time I thought all teachers were evil, I wonder if it’s what my students think about me now!!) … as I walked in, the whole house smelt divine but I was far too tired to chat about my day. A huge pot of Hunter Chicken was ready on the table with some fresh bread to mop up the dishes ( SCARPETTA  /SCAR-PEH-TAH/ ) , the first bite and slowly I got my speech back. It was my kinda comfort food, when I say “Comfort” it means that not only did it bring the family to sit together but it also brought the comfort I needed as a teenager to speak up, to chat, to talk….

Now that I am a Mamma  I am on the other side of the table, preparing my Hunter Chicken for my family, hoping that it’ll help my teenage children to open up and talk about their day. Bringing families together is what my food is all about 🙂

Serving 6

Ingredients

1 kg Chicken (thighs and/or drumsticks)

3 carrots, diced

3 celery sticks, diced

1 small onion, diced

1 garlic clove, whole

handful of rosemary

2 tins of plum tomatoes

100g white wine

100g cappers

salt 1/2 tsp

olive oil, 3/4 tbs

Preparation

In a large saucepan heat the the olive oil and add the chicken. Cook for 5 minutes until the skin is golden. Add the carrots, celery, onion, salt, garlic and rosemary. Pour the wine and cook until the alcohol evaporates. Add the tomatoes , the cappers and cook on a low heat for 40 minutes. If needed add more salt. Pronto!!

Serve with a loaf of bread and steamed or panfried vegetables. Roast potatoes are great too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Polpette al Sugo – Meatballs in Red Sauce

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Polpette = Meatballs = Italian Comfort Food 🙂

Nonna and Mamma used to make Meatballs all the time and I can still remember the excitement about dinner time!

In a cold day I used to love coming home from school to find one of my favourite dishes, Pasta and Meatballs in a rich tomato sauce…. awww it tasted amazing!!!

Today I am making this dish for my family and I hope I can inspire your family too!

#BringNonnaBack and Bring Families Together ❤️

Serves 4/6 people

 

Ingredients for the Polpette-Meatballs

250g beef Mince, good quality
250g pork mince
1 egg
100g bread crumbs
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
handful of parsley, finely chopped
l pinch of salt
sunflower oil for frying

Preparation
In a large bowl place the mince and add the egg, parsley, garlic, salt and bread crumbs. Mix all together with a fork or with your hand making sure you combine all the ingredients. If the mix feels too wet you can add some more bread crumbs, if it feels too dry add a splash of milk. Once the mix is smooth you can start rolling it into small balls, size of a 10p coin. I tent to make them a bit small as it’s easier for the children to eat them all in one go!

Option 1: Heat some sunflower oil in a large pan (filling all the bottom of the pan )and place 6/8 meatballs at the time. Cook them for 4/5 minutes, keep stirring them until golden. Prepare a large dish with some kitchen roll on the side and once the meatballs are ready to come out the pan, drain them and place them on the  kitchen roll to rest and to lose some of the oil. Add a pinch of salt. Keep doing the same until you have cooked all the meatballs.
Option 2: Preheat the oven at 200 degrees, place the meatballs on a flat oven tray and put the in the oven for 25 minutes until golden.

For the Sugo-Sauce

Ingredients
Half of a medium white onion, finely chopped
800/900g of plain tomato Passata (You can find passata in any good supermarket, it’s in a carton or in a bottle)
A handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
Olive oil, 2 tbs
Salt, a pinch
Sugar, a pinch (to lower the acidity of the tomatoes)
Preparation

Heat a large pan, add the olive oil and the onion. Simmer the onion only for a few minutes untill golden, don’t cook it for too long as it can easily burn.
Add the passata, the salt and sugar and cover with a lid.
PLAN B: if you haven’t got any passata 2 tins of chopped or plum tomatoes will do! Blend them first if possible and pour them into the oil, follow the instructions as before
Turn the heat down and let it cook for 10 minutes, stirring it every now and again.
Finally add your basil and let the sauce embrace the leaves… your Sugo is ready!
Place the meatballs into the sauce, make sure they are all covered, put the lid on and  keep cooking the sauce and the meatballs for another 10 minutes on a low heat.
Enjoy your Polpette with some fresh bread or pasta. Buon Apettito!

Zucchine Fries

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This  is a great recipe for a healthy and tasty snack that the whole family would love!

In Italian we call them ZUCCHINE  /ZOO-KEY-NEH/ = Courgettes and they are the star of this simple dish. People often think that courgettes are plain and tasteless…. did you know that they are:

  • High Source of Antioxidants and Vitamin C. …
  • Have Anti-Inflammatory Properties that Can Improve Heart Health. …
  • High Source of Potassium. …
  • Help Improve Digestion. …
  • Low in Calories and Carbs. …
  • Helps Maintain Eye Health. …
  • Good Source of Energizing B Vitamins. …
  • Can Help Control Diabetes..

They are very popular in our Mediterranean Diet and you can cook them in so many different ways!

My Nonna used to bake (or fry) many other vegetables in bread crumbs (aubergine, pepper, cauliflower..), she even made her own version of mozzarella sticks! Today we are using courgettes. The best bit about it is that my little girl made them from scratch, she loves cooking and she is a very quick learner. Children love engaging with food most of all if they can get their hands dirty! 🙂

Serving 4 

Ingredients

2 large courgettes, cut in length ways

2 eggs

handful of Parmesan cheese, grated

handful of dried origano

200g homemade breadcrumbs

Pinch of salt

Olive oil, 3 tbs

Fresh Rosemary to decorate

Preparation 

Preheat the oven at 190 degrees. Whisk two eggs and add the courgettes in. Mix well. In a different bowl mix the parmesan, the oregano, the bread crumbs and salt. Put the courgettes into the bread crumbs and mix. Put the courgette sticks on a tray, add a little olive oil and bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Pronto!

Please watch our video 🙂