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?

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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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!

 

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 Russian Salad for spring times

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I don’t really know why in Italy we call this meal ‘Russian Salad’. I am not that sure that it’s a typical Russian traditional food (apologies to our Russian friends if I am wrong). In any case, it’s one of the unavoidable recipes of my grandma’s Sunday dining table. It’s fresh, tasty, healthy (well, maybe it could be healthy if you suppose to eat just that one, without any other additional meal) full of colors and perfect for a spring day. It’s not a real salad, but it is made with a mix of vegetables and cheese that stay together thanks to the mayonnaise  It takes really few minutes for preparing it, and I’m sure that you won’t miss it anymore, once you discover the technique ;)

Ingredients and procedure for the Russian Salad (3/4 people)

  • 5 carrots
  • 300 gr frozen peas
  • 250 gr Emmenthal Cheese
  • 4 big potatoes
  • 400 ml mayonnaise (you can make it by your own, it’s easy and healthier! just follow our recipe on the ‘born in U.S.A. post)

Boil carrots, potatoes and peas. They have to be well cooked, but not too soft, or they will get broken when you mix everything. Let them cool down, until they get cold. Cut every vegetable (but the peas, of course) into cubes (2.5 cm each), as well as the emmenthal cheese. Put vegetables and cheese in a big bowl, adjust with salt, then add the mayonnaise one spoon per time. Mix the mayo with the vegetables, creating an homogeneous compound. Cover the bowl with a lid or some aluminium, and put it in the fridge.

Serve your Russian Salad cold, right from the fridge and enjoy it with some bread!

 

Born in the USA!!!

Good morning people!

Today is an important day for our blog. First of all we are glad to see that the number of visits is increasing, so thank you to all of you!! We are still missing “likes” on Facebook so please, help us to spread the page!!!

Then, as you can understand from the title of this post, we finally decided to permanently convert our blog language to English!! Indeed, after several suggestions (special thanks to Greg, Ivan and Maartje) we realized that it is now time to become 100% international as Brussels is!

And what better way to celebrate this new beginning if not a whole USA evening?

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Now, when you think about USA and food what come to your mind? HAMBURGERS and FRIES!!! Well, the original idea concerned a real barbecue outdoor, but we had to deal with Belgian weather…However, we managed anyway to turn such unhealthy menu into a very nice home made dinner! How?

  1. We went to buy very good Irish meet for the hamburgers. For those of you who lives close to Ambiorix / Shuman you should try this place: JACK O’SHEA http://www.jackoshea.com/brussels-shop.html (here again a special thanks to Greg!)

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  1. We did everything home made: bread, fries and sauces included!!

Ready for the recipes?

Homemade bread for hamburgers (for 8/9  sandwiches)Untitled

  • 500 gr white wheat flour
  • 250 gr durum wheat flour
  • 100 gr butter (the salty one, typical from Belgium)
  • 100 gr water
  • 1 cube of fresh yeast (30 gr circa)
  • 70 gr sugar
  • 40 gr salt
  • Milk, for mixing the dough
  • 1 egg

First of all, you mix the two type of flour in a large bowl. Melt the fresh yeast in 100 gr of mild water, with 50 gr of sugar. Add to the flours the remaining sugar, and the salt, mixing everything. Make a hole in the center of the flours (in Italy we call it ‘fountain’), and pour the melted yeast and its water. Before starting kneading, add in to the bowl the butter that you already cut into small cubes, and finally put the egg. Now you can knead your dough, trying to incorporate the liquid with the solid part. If it’s too sticky, and impossible to knead, add some milk. The final dough has to be perfectly homogeneous  soft, and not chewy. Cover it with a towel, and keep it away from light and windows for at least 1 hour and a half. You’ll see that after this time, the volume is doubled. Now your U.S. Hero Dough is ready to be baked. Divide it into 6/7 small balls, and roll the surface in a dish were you put sesame seeds. Pre-heat the oven at 200 C. Insert the baking pan filled with the first 4 sandwiches (there must be some distance between each sandwich, since in the oven they will grow a lot and they might get attached to each other). They will be ready when their surface is dark golden, and if you immerse a toothpick in the sandwich, the toothpick won’t be wet, and no traces of row dough will appear. Wait until they get colder, then cut them in a half, and fill them with all the things you like!!! Enjoy your meal!!

Mayonnaise sauce:

  • 3 eggs (only the yolk)
  • 250 ml sunflower seeds oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of wine vinegar

Break the eggs one by one. Carefully separate the yolk to the white. Keep the yolks in a bowl with large boards. Add the pinch of salt and the teaspoon of wine vinegar while you already started beating the eggs. Once you obtain a creamy compound, you get to the most exciting and delicate phase: adding the oil. You literary have to add one single drop per time, while you keep on beating the eggs with a whisk. IMPORTANT: While you use the whisk for beating eggs, remember to always beat in the same direction (clockwise, possibly) and with the same intensity. It will take more or less 15 minutes of beating before you finish adding the oil in the bowl. You will see at the end that the compound is now very dense and yellow. When the last oil drop will be dropped into the bowl, your homemade mayonnaise will be ready! You can cover it with an aluminum foil and keep in the fridge for half an hour before using it. You can conserve it in the fridge for 3 days, but I guess your mayonnaise won’t survive more than 5 hours!!!

Fries: 

Cut very very thin the potatoes (it is perfect to use the peeler!) then fry them into sunflowers seeds oil. They should become very crunchy!

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Additional ingredients: 

You can add to your hamburger what you like:

  • many different kinds of cheese (We had Gouda and Gorgonzola cheese)
  • salad and rocket ( to be at least a bit healthy)
  • other vegetables (we made roasted mushrooms)
  • Here in Belgium you can also find very nice Mustard sauces!
  • For those of you who are not allergic like me to onions you can even include caramelized onions (for doing this just cook the cut onions with a bit of sugar and balsamic vinegar)
  • Finally, for a proper USA hamburger, you cannot forget the fried bacon!!!

Now, do you want to see the final result? Here you have it:

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 Some suggestions:

  • Coke and Beers are the best drinks to swallow this menu. In this case the beer was of course made in Belgium!!!
  • Eat the meal listening proper USA music, if a bit trash it will be even more fun! (We actually finished the evening listening Mila&Shiro and De Andre’, thus, be careful because the combination of American food and Belgian beers can be dangerous!)
  • After the dinner, if you are too stuff for further beers or food (and you will, believe me), just lay on your couch and watch ‘The Avengers’, or the most recent ‘Olympus has fallen’, or, if you have more classical taste in movies as I do, go for ‘Some likes it hot’, the masterpiece from Billy Wilder with the legendary Marilyn. Just to keep the U.S. mood turned on!

 

Happiness is homemade: insalatina primaverile…from Brussels with love!

CONTEST

http://thedreamingseed.blogspot.it/2013/04/happiness-is-homemade-il-mio-primo.html

Eccoci qui…il nostro primo contest ufficiale..che emozione!! Ma come non farsi convincere con un titolo come questo? Happyness is homemade…sembra il nostro motto! Le regole base per parteciparvici sono semplici: preparazione che richieda meno di 30 minuti, stagionalità e filiera corta dei prodotti usati, e idee originali!!

La ricetta è venuta da se..un insalatina..fresca, primaverile, ideale per queste prime giornate di sole, velocissima da preparare ma, allo stesso tempo, di grande soddisfazione sia per un elegante antipasto se avete ospiti a cena sia come piatto unico se tornate a casa tardi e non sapete cosa prepararvi di buono! Non si tratta infatti di un insalatina triste e priva di gusto, tutt’altro!

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Ovvimente nel nostro caso gli ingredienti sono si a km zero ma..essendo noi a Brussels sono prodotti belgi!!!

Vi ho incuriosito? E allora eccovi gli ingredienti:

  • Rucola (agricultura bio) / Rocket
  • Ravanelli (agricultura bio) / Radishes
  • Pinoli / Pine nuts
  • Uvetta sultanina / Raisins
  • Mostarda belga / Belgian mustard
  • Milele al timo locale / thyme honey
  • Formaggio tenero di chevre belga / soft goat cheese
  • Sale al rosmarino / Rosemary salt
  • Olio extravergine d’oliva (questo, dobbiamo ammetterlo, viene da casa nostra, in Italia..quando ci vuole ci vuole!) / Extra virgin olive oil 

Brussels ha la fortuna di essere piena di mercatini locali dove potrete trovare ogni genere di delizia locale e biologica. Alla fine di rue Charles Quint per esempio, zona Ambiorix, il venerdi pomeriggio ce n’è uno bellissimo con un intero banco di formaggi e yogourt biologici dove potrete trovare lo chevre di questa ricetta, ne serve uno cremoso ma non troppo morbido. Sembra allo stesso mercato c’è anche uno dei miei banchi di pane preferiti…ma simili prodotti li trovate anche a Chatelain in mercoledi pomeriggio ed in quel caso potrete approfittarne per restare li fino a tardi in compagnia di amici e di una buona bottiglia di vino! Ancora, un altro mercato molto interessate è a Flagey il sabato mattina! Insomma…avete l’imbarazzo della scelta.

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Prearazione: Lavate ed asciugate con cura la rucola facendo attenzione a tagliare i gambi più grossi e duri. Mettetela in una ciotola assieme ai ravanelli precedentemente lavati e tagliati a listarelle sottili, l’uvetta e i pinoli fatti prima tostare in padella. A questo punto preparate l’emulsione per il condimento con olio extravergine d’oliva, sale al rosmarino, miele al timo e senape (qui la chiamano mostarda) - se non ne trovate una logale va benissimo anche quella di Dijon. Per le quantità di tutti gli ingredienti, compresi quelli per la salsa, io sono andata ad occhio…vedete un po’ voi. Il miele e la senape solitamente vanno in parti quasi uguali. Condite l’insalata con l’emulsione, infine preparate i piatti adagiando sopra ogni porzione 2 o 3 fettine di formaggio di capra fatto scottare leggermente in padella o nel forno. Importante: per il formaggio bastano davvero pochissimi minuti, non deve essere fuso!

Wash and dry the rocket, making sure to cut the stems thicker and hard. Put it in a bowl along with radishes previously washed and cut into thin strips, raisins and roasted pine nuts. At this point, prepare the emulsion for the dressing with extra virgin olive oil, rosemary salt, thyme honey and mustard. For the quantities of all the ingredients, including those for the sauce, I did with approximation, depending by your personal taste. However, the honey and mustard usually go in almost equal parts. Season the salad with the emulsion and finally prepared dishes serving over each portion 2 or 3 slices of goat cheese made ​​lightly sear in a pan or in the oven. Important: For the cheese really enough a few minutes, should not be cast!

Buon appetito e incrociate le dita per noi per questo contest!!!

 

 

Calamari alla Lampedusana

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Incredibile…cielo azzurro e sole splendente a Brussels..è durato solo un istante..un breve attimo ma è stato un attimo perfetto, anzi, una domenica perfetta! Confidiamo si ripeta domenica prossima, nel frattempo, riguardando questo foto, mi è venuto in mente che non ho ancora postato una ricettina che sa fortemente di mare ed estate e di sole. Arriva diretta diretta da lampedusa..certo leggermente rivisitata e sicuramente senza lo stesso sapore di mare ma..comunque buonissima.

Ammetto che i calamari e le seppie non sono tra i miei piatti forti, ho sempre paura che diventino duri o gommosi ma in realtà cucinarli è facilissimo e il costo è limitato, cosa che non guasta mai. Noi per 2 mega calamaroni (per 4 persone) abbiamo speso 8€, più che fattibili direi, e se poi chiedete al vostro pescivendolo di pulirveli..bhè..non sarà nemmeno troppo faticoso prepararli. Di cosa sto parlando? Dei CALAMARI RIPIENI ALLA LAMPEDUSANA

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Sembrano più difficili di quanto siano in realtà. Partiamo:

  • 2 calamari medio grandi puliti
  • uvetta
  • pinoli
  • prezzemolo
  • ricotta salata dura
  • parmigiano grattuggiato
  • pangrattato
  • 1 uovo
  • vino bianco
  • 2 Medium/ Large Squids
  • Raisins
  • Parsley
  • Salty ricotta
  • Pine nuts
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • White wine

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Dunque…iniziamo…tagliate a piccolissimi pezzettini i tentacoli e le “ali” del calamaro e metteteli in padella senza nulla aspettando che rilascino tutta la loro acqua. A questo punto unitevi un po’ d’olio e fateli soffriggere qualche minuto. Nel frattempo preparate il resto del ripieno con 4, 5 cucchiai di parmigiano grattuggiato, pangrattato, ricotta salata o caciotta tagliata a pezzettini, prezzemolo, pinoli e uvetta. Le quantità di questi ingredienti dipendono dal vostro gusto personale e dalla dimensione dei calamari. A questo punto unite al ripieno anche i pezzettini di tentacoli precedentemente passati in padella, amalgamate il tutto con un uovo e imbottite i calamari! Una volta pieni chiudeteli con uno stuzzicadente e..voilà, il gioco è fatto! Ora avete 2 alternative: potete cuocerli in padella con un po di sugo oppure, come ho fatto io, farli andare in forno con un bicchiere abbondante di vino bianco, coperti da una stagnola di modo che non si secchino. 180° per 30-40 minuti sempre a seconda della dimensione dei calamari. Poi provate a sentire con una forchetta quando sono teneri.

So guys…we can start! You have to cut into small pieces squid’s tentacles and “wings” putting them in a pan, until their natural water had been released.  After this steps, add oil into the pan, letting them frying for few minutes. Meanwhile, you can prepare squid’s stuffing with: 4-5 spoons of grated parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salty ricotta, parsley, raisin and pine nuts. Quantities of these ingredients depend on your personal taste and squid’s size. At this point add the pieces of tentacles previously cooked in the pan into the stuffing, mix them well together with an egg and finally stuff the squids! Once filled, close them with a toothpick and … voilà, les jeux sont faits! At this step you have two choices: you can cook them in a pan with a bit of tomato sauce or, as I did, you can put them in the oven adding a glass of white wine, covering them with aluminum foil so they do not dry out. Cook them at 180 ° for 30-40 minutes, but remember that baking time always depends on squids’ size (and on your oven’s capacity!). As a last step, insert a fork inside squids. If the fork go inside them easily, they are ready!

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Ovviamente un piatto così va accompagnato come si deve, e non parlo solo di un buon bicchiere di bianco, parlo anche di un contorno appropriato. Vi lascio quindi con un’altra ricettina interessante nel caso vi avanzi un po’ del ripieno dei calamari e non sappiate cosa farne:

  • 3 patate grandi bollite
  • 500 g di spinacini freschi bolliti
  • il ripieno avanzato dei calamari
  • un aggiunta di uvetta e pinoli

Fate rosolare il tutto in padella con un po’ di sale e di olio per alcuni minuti affinchè i sapori si mescolino alla perfezioni e le patate facciano un po’ di crostici! Da servire tiepido.

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