Pesce in Padella Facile-Facile

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Ahhhhh you are going to love this recipe!

It’s quick, easy, wholesome and full of the Mediterranean goodness that both my Mum and my Nonna always rave about, I can hear them say ” We are not on a diet, we eat a variety of foods and we make sure we use all the foods that are good for you: fruit, vegetables, fish, fats, proteins…… “.

My Nonna is 96 years old, her sisters are all between 80 and 85 years old, my Mamma is 70 years old, my great aunt is 98 years old and I even had a great uncle who lived till he was 104.

I can see now what they have been telling me all my life, it is definitely not a diet, it is a way of life that I am lucky enough to have experienced and I am going to treasure forever.

Thanks to what they taught me I am now teaching my children to enjoy food just like I did as a child, but not just my children need to know what type of food is good for their heart, what food prevent diabetes, obesity, dementia and other serious conditions.

So this recipe has got a little bit of everything, a subtle combination of white wine vinegar and tomatoes, garlic and bayleaf and a little bit of wine ( POCO VINO) …. all those flavours are going to make any fish dish extremely tasty.

It takes me back to my childhood in Sardinia, my beautiful island in the South of Italy, and somehow I hope with this dish I am taking you there too……

 

Serving 4 people

Ingredients

4 pieces of any type of white fish

handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

handful of bayleaf

1 garlic clove, peeled and halved

50ml of good quality white wine vinegar

50ml of red wine

50ml extra virgin olive oil

100ml tomato passata

pinch of salt

fresh basil

 

 

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Preparation

Put the oil, garlic and bayleaf in a large pan. Simmer and add the fish. Season the fish with salt. Cook on a medium heat for 3/4 minutes. Pour the wine in and let it blend in with the fish, add the passata and gently mix with a spoon. Pour in the white wine vinegar and cook on a low heat for another 10 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook until they soften up. Sprinkle some fresh basil and season with more salt if needed. Pronto!! 

Serve with some roast new potatoes and a mozzarella salad, your family will love it 🙂

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Camone – Amore

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I was walking around Borough Market the other day hunting for some fresh produce and  amongst all the lively and colourful tents the most beautiful stall of vegetables had my favourite Sardinian tomatoes! I was elated !!! I grew up eating tomatoes, when I say eating them I mean, both my brother and I used to “steal” them from the fridge and eat them whilst watching the telly… no crisps, no sweets, or any other type of snacks….. at the time only fresh and juicy tomatoes.

The Camone tomatoes  /CAH-MOH-NEH/  have all the properties of the other tomatoes and a distinctive texture followed by the sweetest taste that makes your mouth water at the first bite. If you have never tried I would definitely recommend them. Raw, with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt is what makes them so special. And guess what? They are at the heart of the Mediterranean diet, they are an excellent source of vitamin C, biotin, molybdenum and vitamin K, copper, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin B6, folate, niacin, vitamin E and phosphorus.

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Tomatoes are not only great in salads but I also put them in my children’s pack lunch, my children take after me…..they would eat tomatoes all day long and they also love them as a snack after they come back from school.

My Nonna and my Mamma have done a great job teaching me all I needed to know about eating fresh and healthy produce. Grazie! #BringNonnaBack

Do you you like balsamic vinegar? If you do I have a delicious recipe for you to try:

POMODORINI AL FORNO ALL’ACETO BALSAMICO

Ingredients for 4 people

1 punnet of cherry or baby plum tomatoes (250g-300g)

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

3 tablespoon of good quality balsamic vinegar

handful of fresh Basil

2 bay leaves

salt, pinch

olive oil, 2/3 tbs

Preparation

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Wash the tomatoes and place them into an oven proof dish, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle the bay leaves and basil,  add the garlic, add the balsamic vinegar and mix. Place in the oven for 10 minutes and serve as a side dish to a meat of fish recipe ….. BUONISSIMI!

Il mio CousCous

 

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Il mio CousCous

  • Servings: “2”
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Beautiful and fresh for lunch and dinner, this is perfect for packed lunch too and after a workout

Ingredients

 

-100g CousCous

-200ml hot water

-2 spring onions, finely sliced

-1 red or yellow pepper, finely sliced

-3/4 mushrooms, finely chopped

-1 tin of cannellini beans (optional)

-1 courgette, finely sliced

-Fresh chillies, sliced

-Salt

-Olive Oil, 3tbs

-Juice of 1 lemon

-Chopped fresh mint, handful


Directions

  1. Tip couscous into a large bowl, pour over the hot water. Cover with a tea towel, then leave for 10 mins, until fluffy and all the water has been absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, put all the peppers, mushrooms, courgettes and spring onion in a pan with a little olive oil and simmer the vegetables until soft.
  3. Rinse the cannellini beans and add them with the vegetables to the couscous, add a a few slices of chillies (depending how spicy you like it), dress with olive oil, salt and lemon juice and mix, then sprinkle over some fresh mint to serve.
Did you know that amongst all its incredible benefits couscous is not only my ultimate favourite food 💗but also a source of Selenium 🙌🏻which is a powerful anti-oxidant!!! It is an excellent side dish, great for salads, with fish and meat or simply with vegetables. It’s extremely versatile and you can add all your favourite ingredients!! Couscous reminds me of my Mediterranean sea, the nutty flavour brings me back to my childhood when my Mum used to cook our traditional “Fregola Sarda alle Vongole”, Giant Couscous with Clams…FAVOLOSA!!!! I make sure will be sharing with you my family’s recipe 🙂

Serving suggestions : place the couscous on a plate, slice 1 beef tomato, place it on the plate with some green olives, lettuce and one sliced avocado. Drizzle some olive oil and lemon juice…Pronto!!!

CHICKEN STANOTTE

After a great summer ( most of us enjoyed the sunshine somewhere hot ) we are now back in the full swing of our busy lives (….and that not so warm weather), and probably we are all thinking about a nice warm dish we can cook for dinner.

One of the dishes that comes into my head and is also inspired by the latest documentary from Jamie Oliver (#SugarRush), is my Chicken Stanotte (title taken from a well known supermarket brand…), just to show that is as easy to prepare your own sauce instead of buying it ready made. Don’t forget that making your own dish is a simple and healthier option and despite our busy schedules we always need to find some time to cook fresh meals. Stock up your pantry and your fridge with fresh vegetables and fruit! Fresh fruit is an healthier option to sweets, crisps and chocolate bars, most of all after children come back from school. Besides there are so many great dishes we can create with fresh produce.

“Pollo” (POH-LLOOH)  is the Italian for Chicken and Stanotte (STAH-NOH-TTEH)  is “Tonight” or “This Evening” in English 😉

My Nonna would cook chicken as a back up plan on days when there was so much homemade bread left over that you needed a good earthy dish to mop the sauce up!!! #BringNonnaBack

So have all your ingredients ready and let’s start!

Serving

4 people

Ingredients

6/8 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped in chunks

2 celery sticks, chopped in chunks

half red onion, diced

half white onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

handful of rosemary

1 tin of plum tomatoes

2 peppers, chopped in chunks

1 small tub of olives, preferably green

300ml of chicken stock or vegetable stock

salt, a good pinch

olive oil, 4 tablespoons

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Preparation

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees.

In a large bowl marinate the chicken thighs with the garlic, rosemary , salt and olive oil. Leave it to rest for 5 minutes.

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In a large pan (make sure it’s oven proof) put a little olive oil, put the pan on a medium heat and add the vegetables (celery, carrots, peppers red and white onion). Simmer until golden.

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Take a nonstick pan and put it on the heat until warm and add the chicken thighs. Cook them on one side and turn them over once golden. The juice from the marinate will prevent them sticking to the pan. If you wish, add a pinch of salt. Cook with the lid off until both sides are cooked. Put them to one side.

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Add the tin of tomatoes and the stock into the pan with the vegetables, stir and cook with the lid on for 10 minutes.


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Place the chicken thighs into the pan with the vegetables, add the olives. Make sure the sauce covers the meat so it won’t dry up in the oven. Place the pan in the oven and cook for another 10 minutes…..Pronto! 

To give a touch of freshness to your dish you can sprinkle some finely chopped basil. Enjoy your chicken with some warm bread or some rice. Buon Appettito !!!

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Please, please, pretty please!!! Be aware of the added sugar in your food and drinks, cook sensibly and ditch heavy ready sauces!

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A STAR!!……… MINESTRONE

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I know this might not be a very “refreshing” dish but the weather outside is still a bit uncertain and a warm soup full of stars might brighten up our dinner time. This is what in Italian we call : Minestrone, a classic dish that most of Italian children would eat only because they have to! It’s the dish that every Nonna cooks, it’s a must in school dinner menus and it’s the Godfather of the left overs. You’ll be eating it for days and days!

Based on this introduction I will #Bring Nonna Back!!! Bring wholesome, fresh and healthy food back on the table!!! Hey! It worked with me in the 80’s!! I am now going to celebrate this dish and introduce it to modern families of 2015. Add your children’s favourite pasta shape (Lettere-letters, Conchiglie-shells, Farfalline-butterflies ….), they’ll enjoy it even more 🙂

Serves 4 people

Ingredients

1 stick of celery

2 carrots

half of one onion

1 large potato

2 sweet potatoes

150g lentils

1 tin of plum tomatoes

small handful of fresh basil

1lt chicken or vegetable stock ( gelatine stock cubes are great as well, 1 cube per litre)

150g of pasta for soup ( stars, mini farfalle, conchigliette…. you can find them in any local supermarket)

pinch of salt

tbs of olive oil

Preparation

Boil the kettle and pour the hot water in jug with a gelatine cube. Stir it until the cube dissolves and put it aside. Dice the onion, carrots, celery, potato and sweet potatoes. Into a large pot heat the olive oil and add the vegetables. Simmer for a couple of minutes on a medium heat. Add the salt. Pour the stock in the pot. Put the lid on and cook on a low heat. Place the plum tomatoes in a blender with the basil and blend until smooth. Pour the tomatoes into the pot and stir. Wash the lentils under the tap and add them into the soup. Stir and put the lid back on. Add the pasta as well and cook for 15 minutes until the lentils are soft. Your Minestrone is Pronto!   Enjoy with some fresh bread.

P.S. Any vegetable you have in your fridge will add extra flavour, you can never overload your Minestrone….kale, courgette, broccoli, peas, green beans, cauliflower, butter nut, pumpkin…….

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The Sexiest and Simplest Prawn Salad

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After being chosen as an Ambassador for Food Revolution in my area I just had to come up with a dish to celebrate this great achievement. What better than a salad with some of my favourite ingredients all together? Since Food Revolution is to do with the idea of cooking freshly and healthily, which is basically what I love doing, I am very proud to be part of this huge initiative and I hope I can inspire other Mums with my recipes and cooking skills. Healthy food for healthy and happy children!!!!

Ingredients

4/5 medium prawns, cooked and peeled

2 medium tomatoes

couple of cherry tomatoes

handful of iceberg lettuce

handful of rocket

handful of red cabbage

150g natural cottage cheese

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (or glaze if preferred)

handful of basil leaves (half finely chopped, half kept whole)

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Serves 1 person

Preparation

Have your lettuce and cabbage washed and chopped. On a plate start placing the lettuce, cabbage, rocket and the cherry tomatoes. Add the prawns. Slice the medium tomatoes in three and place them on the side of the plate. Use a tea spoon to scoop some of the cheese and put it on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle the basil and add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the rest of the leaves on the salad. Dress with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar….Pronto!!!!

P.S. If you like the combination cottage cheese/ tomatoes, you can always try it with all types of tomato and instead of basil you can sprinkle some dried oregano. They are great as a small appetizer, bite sizes are even better for dinner parties! Did you know cottage cheese has got less fat than mozzarella cheese? 98 calories per 100g against 280 calories per 100g in mozzarella ….. a great alternative 🙂

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Focaccia

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FOCACCIA or FOH-KAH-CHAH = Crusty outside, soft inside and extremely tasty!

If you love bread and pizza, you will have to try this amazing recipe.

This is extremely easy and fun to make!

#BringNonnaBack

Ingredients

500g strong white flour

300ml warm water

7g dry yeast

salt,1 pinch

olive oil,1 tbsp

For the topping :

3 medium ripen tomatoes, sliced

1 tbsp oregano

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

3/4 tbsp olive oil

salt, 1 pinch

Preparation

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. Add the olive oil. Once it is all combined, knead until you have a silky, smooth, elastic dough. 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. 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! Cut it in two halves or leave it whole depending on the size of your focaccia.

Roll the dough and flatten it onto a baking tray pushing to the corners. Use your fingers to make deep dimples in the focaccia, pushing them all the way through the dough to the bottom. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Place the tomatoes into the dimples, sprinkle the oregano, salt, garlic and drizzle  with the olive oil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes….Pronto!  Serve hot or warm.

You can have lots of different toppings: red onion and rosemary, cheese and garlic, balsamic vinegar and white onion, olives and sun dried tomatoes…..Buonissimo!!!!!!