countdown and sushi

 

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Ok guys, I’m in the countdown mood, ready to leave Bologna in a couple of days. I won’t tell you my destination now, but it’s about sea, marine and forestal reserves, mountains and italian culinary tradition. I will come back with a backpack full of regional recipes, nice pics of wonderful places and funny anecdotes about food to tell you.
BUT..
Before to leave I have a present for you!
This is one of my favorite recipes ever, and this one in particular is my personal one, adapted, modified and readjusted to my taste.
I am sure you will love it, you only have to pay attention to 3 things:
1.Fish has to be more than fresh, almost alive :)
2.Rice must absorb all water but remain “al dente”.
3.Use chopsticks (or hands) and enjoy!

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Ingredients

600 grams sticky rice (in Italy you can use “riso Roma” and fits perfect)
850 ml water

125 ml rice vinegar (I actually use apple vinegar)
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt

nori seaweed sheets
raw fish (salmon, tuna, swordfish, porbeagle, shrimps)
cucumber – peeled and cut in strips
avocado – peeled, pit removed and cut into slices
whatever else you like

pickled ginger
soy sauce
wasabi

bamboo rolling mat

Rinse the rice a couple of times, until water runs clear.
Put the rice in a pot with cold water. Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 mins without uncover (I use a glass lid). In a small saucepan combine vinegar, salt and sugar and cook until sugar and salt dissolve, stir well while cooking, then let it cool until rice’s cooked.
Put the cooked rice in a wooden or glass (but not iron) bowl and stir with the vinegar. Flutter with a fun while stirring as to hand out vapor and allow to cool to room temperature.

NIGIRI
Prepare fish for wrapping by slicing against the grain into thin slices. Grab a bit of rice and roll it into a small nugget in your hand. To prevent rice sticking on your hands, dip fingers in a bowl with 1 part of vinegar and 8 of water. Place the rice ball on top of the fish slice or shrimp, if you like it, you can smear a bit of wasabi between rice and fish, then squeeze gently to make it adhere.
et aside while you assemble the remaining pieces of fish and shrimp.
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MAKI ROLL
Place a sheet of nori on a bamboo rolling mat. Soak fingers in your “8 parts water-1 vinegar” bowl and spread a handful of sushi rice over half the sheet; firmly press rice along the edges.
Arrange ingredients of your choice about 2 cm from the bottom of the rice. I love the tuna-cucumber and avocado-salmon combination but you can also switch it or add other ingredients.
Roll up the maki tightly, helped by the bamboo rolling mat, leaving the last cm of the nori sheet exposed. Dip your fingertips into a bowl of water and wet the last inch of the nori, then finish rolling it closed. Cut with a sharp, wet knife, divide in two parts, then cut again both parts in two or three parts.

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I leave you with this wonderful sushi etiquette.
Have a nice holiday!
Claudia

sushi-etiquette

A successful experiment

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Sometimes you have to risk .. in the kitchen as well as in life!

Few days ago I had the visit of one of my French friend who, after having lived for many years between Morocco and Algeria, is fond of strong flavors and spices, combinations of fish and fruit, mix of flavors that she easily recreates here in Brussels where there are many different kinds of markets and shops with similar ingredients. So, as I was preparing dinner for a friend, I decided to ask her some advises for a good starter. This is the result: toasted bread with smoked swordfish, accompanied by a sauce made with cream cheese mixed to turmeric and lemon and then covered with chopped pistachios and few leaves of mint!!

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Ingredients:

  • 200g swordfish
  • toast bread
  • 100g philadelphia
  • 1 lemon
  • turmeric
  • mint
  • pistachios

You should start toasting the bread, then cut every slide in 2 triangles and spread on them a cream made with philadelphia, the juice and the rind of 1 lemon and a bit of tumeric. Spread over a slide of swordfish and finish the dish with some choped pistachios and few leaves of mint!

My suggestion is to do them just before eating them. If not, the bread will become soft! And be careful with the tumeric, indeed the taste, if you do not use to eat it, is very strong!

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Napoli e Sorrento..

Hello people!

I would like to apologize for the the long silence from my side but after the end of my job contract here in Brussels I took advantage of my days off to travel a bit. And what better place than an Organic Agriturismo on the Costiera Amalfitana for regenerating, recharging the batteries and savoring again the taste of simplicity? I suggest it to all of you.

The Agriturismo is called Le Tore http://www.agriturismosorrentoletore.com/. It is not very cheap but..it’s worth it! You want evidence? In this case I think that images can express better than words what I mean so…I leave you with some pictures and see you soon with new recipes!

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Tzatziki for a fits and starts summer

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Hey you!
What’s up in Brussels?
Here in Italy summer still plods on, one day we fight with muggy weather and mosquitos, the next one we spend half an hour in front of our closet looking for a buried sweater…
But the sun is really shining today and we don’t feel like cooking, we feel like eating fresh stuff that you can prepare quickly, so you can go out, to the park, to the beach or wherever you can relish from the rays of sunlight.
That’s why today I propose you a fresh appetizer (also served with main dishes as a sauce) coming from Greece but popular in all Middle East and more: Tzatziki!
Of course the recipe has tons of variations, hope you’ll enjoy mine.

Have a wonderful weekend
Claudia

here’s my recipe:

TZATZIKI

Ingredients

300 gr. Greek yogurt (I used the 0% fat)
2 cucumber
a tablespoon of dill
a table spoon of minced mint leaves
a tablespoon of apple vinegar
a clove of garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt

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Start by peeling and grating the cucumbers, then put it in a strainer with a bit of salt, squeeze a bit and leave one hour or until the excess of water is discarded. Place the yogurt in a bowl and add squashed garlic, dill, and fresh mint.

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After one hour squeeze the cucumber then add to the yogurt. Add salt, apple vinegar and extravirgen olive oil.
Stir the mixture well and put in the fridge.
You will fully appreciate the herbs fragrance if you taste it the day after you prepared it.
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A midsummer night’s dessert

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Here we go again, dear followers from Brussels and beyond!

Due to increasing degrees and amazing shining sun, we recently turned into lazy crazy viveurs, enjoying ‘la dolce vita’ and clearly abandoning our mission of spreading Italian food culture through our little blog.

We’ll try to remediate with a simple, but extremely effective recipe that perfectly deals with hot temperatures and season products (and time restraints, if you have unexpected guests at dinner!)

All you need for this dessert is some good fresh Belgian strawberries (the little and sweet ones), blackberries, peaches and other seasonal fresh fruit. Greek yoghurt together with a pinch of whipped cream and choppeed hazelnuts will complete your midsummer night’s dessert.

Ingredients for 4 cups of desserts

500 gr straberries
2 peaches
500 gr blackberries
500 gr greek yoghurt
250 ml cream (to be whipped)
60 gr cane sugar
200 gr chopped hazelnuts
4 little glass cups (or transparent cups)

Procedure

Wash and cut the fruits into small, regular pieces. In a bowl, mix the youghurt with the sugar, and in another bowl whip the cream until it get hard enough that it does not move from the boards of the bowl. Mix gently the two creams until you obtain a soft, hefty compound. In each cup, put a first layer of strawberries, and cover it with a spoon of the cream, pouring over the cream the chopped hazelnuts. Continue creating your layers alternating fruit, cream and hazelnuts. Complete the top with chopped hazelnuts, and decorating the surface according to your inspiration (using just hazelnuts, or bigger pieces of fruits,etc.). Put it in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving it.

A special thanks to Berta for the amazing pictures!

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DDR-comfortfood: Goulash with potatoes

 

Last weekend I was in Berlin.
Berlin is an amazing city were you can eat every kind of food, from sushi to kebab, passing trough the Vientamese, the Sudanese, and the Italian (of course!) cuisine. Except from Schnitz’l und pommes and the famous currywurst, apparently, the most difficult to find seems to be the German one! That’s why, after a couple of hours, I (happily) resigned myself to the culinary diversity and decided to postpone my date with German food.
..And my patience has been rewarded!! Indeed the last day of the trip, I found a wonderful cookbook with typical DDR recipes. As soon as I came back home I revisited a couple of them and today I propose you my version of DDR-Goulash with potatoes.

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GOULASH WITH POTATOES
INGREDIENTS (4 persons)

4 potatoes
500-700 grams of beef
2 onions
2 carrots
1 stick of celery
tomato paste (double concentrate)
cumin, paprika, grated nutmeg, marjoram, a couple of lay leaves
30 grams of butter
2-3 tablespoons of flour
1 glass of red wine
1 liter of water or broth
extravirgen olive oil
salt&pepper

Boil the potatoes for 30 mins in hot water, strain, peel and put aside in a bowl.
Cut the beef in cubes and cover with flour, then slice thinly the vegetables (onions, carrots and celery).Pour a little bit of oil in a big soup pot, tha lay leaves, add butter and as soon as it melts add vegetables and stir until well sauté. After a couple of minutes add beef cubes covered with flour and stir gently. Simmer with red wine until reduced. Squeeze the tomato paste on the top, add broth, cumin, paprika, grated nutmeg and marjoram. Cook for an hour or until the sauce is reduced. Add salt and pepper.
Cut the potatoes and pour the Goulash on the top.
DDR cookbook suggest to eat it really hot.

Enjoy!
Claudia

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