Warm Broccoli and Wheat Salad

Broccoli and wheat salad (600 x 450)I think that last week I had something that qualified as a salad instead it felt more like a meal for two. The occasion was really worth it; I met up with a few of my former boarding school mates for the weekend and since we only manage to do this every four to five years, I didn’t want to miss it. I can say that we ate and talked around the table and the whole weekend revolved around dishes that only sounded light by their name. Take my famous Saturday night salad, I mean there  were potatoes, bacon, onions, croutons, eggs, tomatoes, hard cheese and finally  tiny bit of salad; all served in a bread basket (I didn’t finish the basket). Well when I came back, going a little light for a few days felt like a nice idea. Continue reading


About wheat:

Over 8000 years ago humans were already eating wheat; to reach such result, a combination of different types of grass were used. Although my recipe calls for plain wheat, the first thing that come to mind when we talk about wheat is bread. Should you go the British Museum, you can find ancient loaves of bread dating back to the Egyptian times (source: http://www.allaboutwheat.info/history.html ).


Warm Broccoli and Wheat Salad


Recipe for 2

Time: 20-25 min.


Ingredients:

100g wheat

400g broccoli florets (about 1 reasonably large broccoli head)

Zest of ½ lemon

1 large garlic clove

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 large tbsp cider vinegar

3 tbsp olive oil (plus more for roasting)

1 red chilli

10 almonds roughly chopped

2 spring onions

Recipe:

Cook the wheat with some salt according to package instructions, drain and set aside.

Clean the broccoli and cut into small florets. Heat a little water in a pan and blanch the vegetables for 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile slice the spring onions and prepare the salad dressing by mixing 3 tbsp olive oil with 1 large tbsp cider vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste.

Heat about one tsp olive oil in a pan and add the chopped garlic with the red chilli. After 2-3 minutes add the lemon zest, the broccoli, the wheat and stir. Remove from fire and place in a bowl. Add the dressing the almonds, parsley and stir quickly before plating. As a last touch sprinkle the sliced spring onions on top and serve.

Pesto Inspired Frittata

Pesto inspired frittataOn Saturday we had a barbecue with a few friends, pity that in the end there was just one thing missing: the grill. We agreed with my boyfriend that I would take care of the groceries and he’d buy the grill since my old one was not up to the task anymore. He arrived and began to build the thing while I was in the kitchen preparing the salads and so. Soon I would start hearing him cursing at the metal structure; to make a long story short; there were about seven pieces missing (including the ‘on’ button) and there was no way to make it work in a safe manner. With the grill gone we ended up using my griddled pan, there was less charm to it but at least we could eat. I was happy about one thing: all I prepared looked and tasted the way I wanted it to be, especially my frittata which I served during the aperitif. Where I live, and probably in many other places, you always get it right with italian food. Continue reading



About the frittata:

This week, while I looked for information about the frittata, I got reacquainted with an expression I had forgotten about. In Italian there is the expression ‘non girare la frittata’ which litterally means ‘do not flip the frittata’. When making a frittata historical sources write about not to flipping it (or to do so only on the plate it will be served in); there are more examples in cooking books of the time about the subject and one example is the “Libro de arte coquinaria”, the recipes come from Maestro Martino (Martino de Bubeis) a chef who worked in the kitchens of the castello sforzesco at the time where Leaonardo Da Vinci was alive. The fact is that the expression of ‘not to flip the frittata’ this practice also became an expression meaning not to flip or change an ongoing discussion (source, in Italian: http://www.sceltedigusto.it/public/index.php/di-piatto-in-piatto/tipicita/444-la-curiosita-storica-ecco-perche-la-frittata-non-va-rivoltata )


Pesto Inspired Frittata


For 2 as a meal or 4-6 for an aperitif

Time: 15 min


Ingredients:

-4 eggs

-40g grated Parmesan

-4-5 large fresh basil leaves, chopped

-3tsp pine nuts

-1 chopped garlic clove

-Olive oil

-Salt and pepper


Recipe:

Preheat oven at 180C, top burner.

Break the eggs in a bowl and lightly whisk. Add salt, pepper, grated cheese and the basil and shortly whisk again.

Heat a non-stick pan (oven proof) on medium heat and add the pine nuts. Toss them regularly and when they start releasing the oils they will brown quickly so keep an eye on them. Once they are coloured all over remove them from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan heat (always on medium heat) one tbsp. of olive oil, add the chopped garlic and fry for a minute keeping an eyes on it. Add the egg mixture and stir a bit and then leave. After 2-3 min, once the eggs start to set, add the pine nuts and remove the pan from the oven and move to the oven near the top burner. Leave for about 5 minutes until it the eggs are brown.

Remove from the pan and serve (hot or tepid) either in small pieces for an aperitif or portioned for an easy lunch menu.

Coconut Lentils and Turkey

Coconut lentils and turkeyI guess that the appreciation I have for lentils is something my mother passed on to me. I didn’t inherit her calm though. I declare this week to be a total technological disaster; on Monday I put my music player in the washing machine and yesterday morning my main computer died. Thinking back I admit I slightly lost my patience; fortunately no one saw nor heard me cursing and menacing my laptop of physical punishment. Continue reading

I once heard on the radio that apparently lentils can be a good thing for the mood and this felt like a good excuse to for this recipe. The lentil, or the poor man’s caviar or meat (depending on where you are), is an ancient produce which was among the first to be harvested by humans. During centuries lentils were destined to be consumed by the poor but where the Greeks would follow this ‘rule’, the French Court under Louis XV would bring them back into fashion (at least for a while) thanks to his wife, the queen Marie (source: http://www.vegparadise.com/highestperch22.html )


Coconut Lentils and Turkey

Recipe for 2
Time: 20-25 min


Ingredients:
-1 onion
-1 garlic clove
-2 carrots
-2 celery stalks
-Oil (I used canola)
-½  tsp ground coriander seeds
-1 tsp garam masala
-100g Puy lentils
-2dl vegetable or chicken stock
-2 small turkey steaks or chicken breasts
-2-3 pinches sugar
-2tsp creamed coconut
-2 tsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
Salt and pepper.


Recipe:
Chop the onions and the garlic and dice the carrots and celery into about 1 cm pieces. Heat a tbsp. of oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic and cook on a medium heat until translucent.
Add the carrots and celery and roast for a couple of minutes. Add the ground coriander seeds, garam masala, salt and pepper.  Now add the lentils and the stock; stir and cover; cook for 15-20 min. Stir occasionally.
Cut the turkey into about 3 cm pieces; add salt and pepper and mix in the flavours. Heat 1 tbsp of oil until very hot and add the poultry pieces to sear on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Once the lentils are done there should be a little liquid left, in case there is too much, leave it to reduce without the lid until part of it has evaporated. Add the sugar and the creamed coconut and stir to melt them in. Add the chicken, stir again and serve with some sprinkled coriander on top.

Radish Walnut and Goat Cheese Spaghetti

Radish Walnut and Goat Cheese SpaghettiRadishes always remind me of my childhood; I had to raise my arms to reach the top of the table to grab something. During summer days there would be radishes and salt on the dinner table during the aperitif time; my parents would have a beer, I would have fennel tea. I thought about these moments when I was waxing the wooden furniture on the terrace. It’s almost as if when I clean you have to concentrate on the object and this makes my memories come to life.
Continue reading

Besides my personal history, looking at the bigger picture, it is said that humans probably began eating radishes during the Neolithic era, that was about in 11’000 years ago. This veggie is said to come from the far east; an ancient Chinese writing tell of a recipe of raw carp macerated with radishes, ginger and other herbs. In Europe, it’s the Romans who took care of spreading the culture of this root.
(source: http://www.lesjardinslaurentiens.com/radis_histoire.html )


Radish Walnut and Goat Cheese Spaghetti


Recipe for 2

Time: 15-20 min


Ingredients:

160-180 g spaghetti

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp breadcrumbs

Zest of a ½ small lemon

10 roughly chopped walnut kernels

2 tbsp chopped parsley

50g fresh goat cheese


Recipe:

Slice radishes, about 3 mm thick. Chop the parsley.

Boil water in a pot add salt and the spaghetti; cook them al dente.

Rub the breadcrumbs and the lemon zests together, add salt and pepper. Heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a pan and add the crumb mix and walnuts to brown for a couple of minutes.

Remove the pasta from the water but save about 2-3 tbsp of the cooking juice. Add the spaghetti to the breadcrumbs and mix with the pasta. Add the saved pasta juice and the radishes and mix again.

Plate and sprinkle over the parsley with some crumbled goat cheese.