Asparagus Salad..spring is coming!

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Ingredients for 2 people:

  • 300 g of asparagus tips
  • Mixed salad
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • parmesan
  • capers
  • pepper
  • oil
  • salt

Cook hard-boiled eggs, then clean the asparagus and cook them in steam for 5 minutes. I used the white asparagus but are fine even green ones. The important thing is to use only the tips.

In the meanwhile prepare an emulsion of oil, salt andpepper, then add the capers.

Cut the asparagus into pieces, add the eggs as well already cut and put them in a bowl, together with the salad. At this point season with the emulsion obtained and enjoy!

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Tuna and Potatos Meatballs

There is nothing in the fridge but you still feel like you want something good to eat for a  perfect Sunday with friends maybe in front of a movie? The solution is easy: just a can of tuna, boiled potatoes, a bit of cheese and the success is guaranteed.

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Ingredients for 6 people:

  • 200g of boiled potatoes
  • 80g ricotta
  • 200g of tuna in oil
  • 50g of mayonnaise
  • parsley
  • salt
  • zest of one lemon
  • sesame seeds

Boil the potatoesin hot water till they become very soft. Drain, peel and mash them with the appropriate tool.
Add the tuna to the mashed potatoes together with parsley, finely chopped, ricotta, grated lemon zest, salt and mayonnaise.
Mix well and let the dough rest in refrigerator for an hour or so. In the meanwhile, put the sesame seeds into a bowl.
After an hour, take the dough from the fridge, form the meatballs and pass them in sesame seeds.

Easier than this can’t be, what do you think?

Rice pilaf with radicchio, speck and pecorino

The evening of the 15th is approaching and rehearsals begin. We need recipes that are easy to eat, tasty, typical and of course which have an aesthetic effect!  What do you think about these cubic of rice??

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Ingredients:

  • Pepper and salt
  • 60 g of butter
  • vegetable broth (about 8 dl)
  • 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 350 g of long grain rice, Basmati
  • 100 grams Speck (or bacon)
  • 2 small heads of radicchio Rosso
  • 100 grams Smoked scamorza or young pecorino

Prepare the ingredients: cut the radicchio into strips, wash it and dry it; chop the speck or bacon. Put the rice into a bowl and wash it under cold running water. Measure twice the rice’s volume of broth. Heat the broth and, meanwhile, turn on the oven to 170 ° C.

Make the sauce. Make the butter in the pan for a few minutes, add the speck/bacon till it become crispy, then the radicchio previously cooked and mix. After 1 minute, add the rice. Toast it mixing it with all the ingredients until it will be glossy. Add, all at once, the hot broth. Adjust salt and pepper, cover the pan and put in the oven for 16-18 minutes. Without stirring the rice, check the cooking. When ready remove the pan from the oven.

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Let cool rice and at this point creates mall square with a “coppa pasta” or simply small balls. Lay over each piece a small piece of pecorino or scamorza and brown in the oven for 5 minutes.

What do you think about the result?!

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Eggplant and mint: a vegetarian variation on the usual meatballs

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The union of eggplant and mint is in my opinion a perfect union..In summer as in winter this dish is a tasty appetizer or an original main dish, easy to make and very light thanks to the baking. Of course in this gray and rainy day a soup might have been more appropriate , but the meatballs have the advantage that they are a convivial dish, to do together with a bit of music as background…It is this aspect that makes it a perfect Sunday recipe, taking advantage of the fact that we can all stay together at home :)

Plus this morning I took a walk around St. Josse and smells of mint exploding at every store were too strong … impossible to resist , I had to take advantage of it!

Ingredients:

  • 2 or 3 eggplants
  • 6 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan
  • 4 mint sprigs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 o 3 slides of bread soaked in milk
  • salt
  • pepper

Remove the skin from the eggplants and cut them into small cubes. Cook them for about 15 minutes in hot water. Drain and let them rest for an hour or so to cool down and lose all the water with something heavy over them.

Place all ingredients in a blender. With the mixture form small balls, roll in breadcrumbs,  and bake them at 200 degrees for 30 minutes.

Buona domenica e buon appetito :)

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Multivitamin Autumnal Salad

I think I can disagree with those who prefer summer for its seasonal fruits and vegetables. Who said that you can only find colorful meals when the sun is shining and 30 degrees are warming you and your garden? Let me show you this quick but genuine and very colorful recipe that will bring you a perfect balance of taste, vitamins and delight for your sight, for enjoying the amazing season of ‘foliage’, when you can have those long walks in enchanted forests turning red and yellows before Christmas’ snow will come. Despite it’s exotic appearance, my salad gather together the best products Mother Nature offers in this time of the year. And provides you with an excellent combination of C vitamins, essential minerals and Omega 3, containing not only fruit and vegetables, but also some good proteins from smoked salmon. Follow ingredients and procedure, and enjoy this little spot of colors directly on your dish!

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Ingredients for 2 people

  • 1 pomegranate (the little red seeds)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 papaya (soft and well mature)
  • 1 pear
  • 50 gr walnuts
  • 200 gr rocket
  • 300 gr smoked salmon
  • E.V. olive oil (2 spoons)
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • fresh lemon juice

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Procedure

Peel the papaya and the avocado and remove their seed(s). Cut them horizontally into slices. Cut the pomegranate and, with the help of a spoon, take the red seeds, putting them directly into a large bowl where you will also add almost all the slices of papaya and avocado (keep 3-4 slices for decorating the salad at the end). Peel and cut the pear the same way you did with the first two fruits. Add the rocket, and gently mix fruits and vegetables, being careful to not break the slices. Add one spoon of olive oil, and the walnuts. On top of your veggie mixture, put the slices of salmon, add one more spoon of olive oil, some drops of fresh lemon juice, some pepper and salt, and finally the remaining seeds of pomegranate and slices of avocado and papaya. If you appreciate the taste, you can even add few drops of Balsamic Vinegar. Serve it immediately, while the scent and fragrance of fresh cut fruits is still there.

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Potato Croquette filled with Cheddar and Baked Ham

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Belgians had very good reasons for partying hard in the last weeks. Their national football team won 2-1 against Croatia, ensuring a place in the sun among the lucky and walrus ones that will play the next World’s cup. I’m not a big fan of football in general, but I have to admit it: when Italy plays, I am always among the first line of supporters. Maybe it could be incredibly stupid that people rediscover their affection to their Homeland only upon such occasions, but as far as I leave far away from my Country, I became much more patriotic, and I follow with true interest and concern the wisdom of Italian National Team (and, ça va sans dire, the dramatic time that my Country is facing right now).

Pathetic or not, football and sport in general is able to make you cry a river if your National team is going to win and you need – as always –  a good meal that goes with celebrations.! The following recipe is a traditional ‘couch&tv&match’ finger food, crunchy and tasty. You can even prepare it in advance, froze it and keep it for these special occasions.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg potatoes
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese
  • 6 slices baked ham (I truly love the ‘fumè’ version, much more tasty I believe)
  • a couple of eggs
  • bread crumble
  • sunflower seeds oil
  • 2 spoons flour

Boil in enough hot water the potatoes, and peel them once they are ready (they have to be very soft, if you put a fork inside, you have to feel that they are perfectly cooked). While they are still hot, start mashing them (you can use a fork or the proper tool). If they are not sufficiently soft, add 2 spoons of hot milk. Add two eggs and the 2 spoons of flour. Add salt and pepper as well, and mix properly all the ingredients. Be careful: the consistence of the dough you are preparing must be soft but not creamy nor liquid. It has to be dense enough for making balls. Now, put some potato dough in your hand, previously oiled with some olive oil so that the mixture won’t stick on your skin (use a spoon, consider that two full spoons would be enough). Curve your hand, making a hollow in the potato dough, where you will put the slices of cheddar and ham (cut them if their dimensions are not in proportion with the width of the potato disk. Then, cover the surface with another spoon of potato dough. Overall dimension of the ball should be around 10-13 cm diameter. Roll the ball in the bread crumble, trying to keep it compacted and with a precise form. Put the sunflower seeds oil to warm in a frying pan, and when it starts frying, gently put the potato disks one by one. Fry it 4-5 min per side, until it gets golden/brown. Eat your crispy croquettes when they are still warm and crunchy, but be careful to let them get colder a little bit, or inside they’ll burn!

All you have to do afterwards is just focusing on your loved team. This time, I felt like supporting Belgium, just for once, as a special thanks to the land that is gently hosting me and giving me a good job and a warm house to live. And with no doubts, this time, I cried: ‘Go, Red Devils, Go!’

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5 minutes, 4 ingredients and a guaranteed success!

Hot bresaola rolls with cream cheese and truffle oil:I know that the ingredients of this recipe are a bit more expensive than usual but it’s worth it!

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Ingredients:

  • 100g bresaola in slices
  • 100g philadelphia
  • few drops of truffle oil (you can find it also at Delezhe)
  • rocket
  • salt and pepper

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Prepare the cheese creme mixing the philadelphia with few drops of truffle oil (the taste is very strong) and a bit of salt and pepper. Then, fill each slice of bresaola with a tea spoon of creme and close the rolls.

Leave the rolls in the pan for a few minutes, just long enough that the bresaola get a little crispy and the cheese is melted. When the rolls are ready  distribute them on a bed of rocket (I used salad since I didn’t have rocket at home) previously topped with olive oil and salt.

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5 minutes and…enjoy your meal!

 

When desire and need match!

22:30. Coming back home after having enjoyed a new summer in Brussels. I feel sooo good (probably also for the few glasses of wine I have just finished to drink but still, I feel good).

It is the first time I am posting an article at this time but I thought of all of you, of all the people that, for different reasons, are coming late at home, they have their fridge almost empty but they need, they want, they deserve something good to eat and maybe, as in my case, also to bring the day after to the office for lunch (don’t worry, I am still unemployed, I am just working few weeks for a project).

What I have at home are those products we always have in our kitchen: canned tuna, eggs, some kind of creamy cheese, etc. What to do with these ingredients? A tuna mousse! Perfect to eat inside a crunchy baguette but also with a salad.

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You can prepare it in few minutes in the late evening (like me) but also in the morning before going to work and it can solve a lot of problems for you: an improvised aperitif at home, a snack for the kids, a picnic, your lunch box for the office or a strange craving for something good and tasty after one of those drinks out with friends that take you to drink a lot and eat almost nothing :)

Ingredients:

  • 250 g of philadelphia or ricotta
  • 1 boiled egg
  • 1 big pack of canned tuna
  • capers as much as you like
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • a bit of parsley or thyme or oregano (the one you have at home)
  • salt
  • If you like a stronger taste you can add 1 or 2 anchovies in oil.

Put all the ingredients together into the mixer until they become a cream. That’s it. I told you it was very easy :)

Then, if you want to create something more sophisticate you can always add some boiled potatoes and olives and you will have a great tuna salad!

Buon appetito e buona notte..

 

Friends, Small talk and…Bruschetta!

Hello!

I apologize for this week of silence but I have been to a very special wedding in Sicily. The most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen, the best weekend ever. I am so ​​full of happiness, serenity, love and cheerfulness that I think I will be happy for all the next year:)

40 people, friends from childhood, a big family together in a big sicilian farmhouse for an entire weekend. Who could ask for more? And then, if at the center of the garden there is also a huge BBQ on which have been cooked more than 16 kg of lamb, many of fennel sausage, and ribs bracciole all washed down with gallons of Sicilian wine..No words, only happyness!

About the menu of the wedding I will maybe show you some pictures later on since we all know that images speak more than words. In the meanwhile we should, I should, come back to the reality, to Brussels, where the weather is not longer very good and we start to spend our evenings at home, maybe with good friends and a bottle of wine, speaking about our summers and our loves.

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To Silvia, me and our friends, it often happens  that we start our evenings outside, with an apero, and then we decide to continue our chat at home in front of something good to eat. However, not always the fridge is full of ingredients and possibilities so..sometimes creativity is essential. The recipe I want to give you today is exactly the result of one of this evenings!

Bruschetta with avocado, tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala and chilli oil. So easy soooo good!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 soft avocado
  • few tomatoes
  • 1 mozzarella di bufala
  • brown bread
  • chilli oil

Toast the bread, spread on it the avocado and put on top the small pieces of tomatoes and mozzarella. Then, season with chilli oil and salt!

Have fun

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Italian Quiche with Tomatoes Confit, Chèvre Cheese and Oregano

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 Actually this is not a real quiche, this is why I added the adjective “italian” in the title :) Inded, here there are no eggs and no cream but just tomatoes and cheese..let’s check together the ingredients:

  • a pack of puff pastry
  • 3 or 4 ripe tomatoes on the vine (better if you have the cherry tomato, I didn’t have them)
  • chèvre cheese, the one you can can into slices
  • oregano, salt, pepper, sugar and olive oil q.b.

FIrst of all we should prepare the tomatoes confit, that means caramelized.

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The process is very simple: you should cut the tomatoes into slices or in 2 parts (it depend by how big are the tomatoes), place the slices on a baking and season them with some sugar (better if borwn), salt, pepper, oregano and olive oil. Then, put everything into the oven 150° for 1h30 more or less.

At this point roll out the puff pastry, prick the pastry with a fork, stretch the tomatoes on it and cover everything with small peaces of chèvre cheese and a bit of olive oil.

This should stand in the oven, 180°, for around 40 min. but you should check when the pastry becomes golden.

Enjoy!

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A Summer as Unemployed!

Hello people!

As I told you we are back, ready to face together another super cold Belgian winter and its challenges (such as my thirtieth birthday which is in few months OMG!). We have a lot of news for you: first of all Claudia in September will start her new column about Italian Regional recipes, one every week! Then, we have planned new workshops for you in the next months so that for the end of the year you will become experts in cooking Italian recipes. Of course we are also full of new amazing recipes for you and finally…finally there are other surprises but I cannot tell you everything right now so..stay tuned!

But before we dive headfirst into all the problems of everyday life and of the return from holidays let’s enjoy together these last days of summer.

I leave you with a new recipe, perfect for a dinner on the terrace but before that I would like to take you on a tour of all the flavors, smells, places and people I met this summer. A summer as unemplyed that, trying to see the situation in a positive way, has allowed me to have much time to travel, discover, have fun, reflect and make important decisions! Are you ready? Fasten your seat belts, we start: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and, finally, the Alps!

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Ok I think I should stop..I feel like my parents that, after returning from a trip, they forced daughters, relatives and friends to see all their slides and pictures for an entire evening.

So..the recipe of today is a special grilled roll made with grilled vegetables stuffed with cheese and ham. (for the vegetarian people you can use only cheese!).

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant (vetter the violet and round)
  • 1 round zucchini
  • olive oil
  • cheese (the one you prefer but it should be able to melt, also mozzarella can be good)
  • cooked ham

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First of all you should cut all the vegetables in thin slices (better with the elettric slicer but be careful  not to cut yourself!). Then, cover each slice with some olive oil and grill them. At this point stuff each grilled slice of eggplant with a piece of cheese and a piece of ham and cover the slice with a grilled slice of zucchini. Finally, you should roll this kind of “sandwich” on itself, close the roll with a toothpick and pass it back on the grill so that the cheese melts a bit. It should be served still hot!

If you have a grill on the terrace or in the garden it is perfect to have a nice outdoor dinner with friends!

A presto. Buona fine e buon inizio…

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.

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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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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:

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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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