Cheese Stuffed Bread Rolls

Cheese Stuffed Bread Rolls 2Here is my first recipe since my return from my trip in Spain. Continue reading

It was the first time I really travelled through that country and I enjoyed it so much. We first go to Barcelona and I loved the general vibe of the place with its museums and shops. As always, when I travel with my boyfriend, we walk a lot but this time I sprained my ankle the day before leaving so walking was a little harder than usual but I was determined not to show my pain. The biggest frustration in this merit was that for two weeks I couldn’t even consider the idea of wearing high heels and I had three pairs in my suitcase (plus one I bought over there). While we were in Barcelona we went to Sitges for a day to visit a former roommate of mine from when I was in boarding school as a teenager. I wanted to mention this because it was four years since we saw each other last time and we always have a great time together. Besides the great laughs I also met her adorable son and daughter, which were not there yet last time we met and yes, I felt a little like I was their aunt. From Barcelona we flew to Seville for a couple of days, we walked around and saw the inquisition museum (where the entrance was free but I would rather have paid and gotten something more out of the experience). There we also celebrated my birthday on another rooftop bar right in front of the cathedral where the view was just breath taking. The following day we moved to Cordoba just for one night and in the short time we were there we realized one day was a little short so, we’ll get back there one day or another. Our last two stops were in Granada, where we visited the Alhambra and went shopping a little more for my joy but not so much my boyfriend’s. Finally we reached a place near Marbella where we relaxed for a few days in my mother’s holiday home: sun, drinks and pool. Once we got to our final stage we realized we were really a little tired and we enjoyed the sun and water. I also enjoyed the kitchen because halfway though the holiday I began to miss my cooking sessions. Here are a few pictures from our vacation.

This was our holiday and now, back to today’s recipe I thought of making something easy, friendly and a little different. I had the idea for this recipe trotting in my head for a while so I went for it and it turned out well. For the dough I used this quick pizza dough recipe; the only change I made to it is that I reduced the amount of sugar. Easy and quickly ready this recipe works well as an appetizer or why not served with a salad?

 

 

Cheese Stuffed Bread Rolls

Recipe for 8 pieces

Prep time: 20 min (+15 min rest)

Cook time: 15 min

 

Ingredients

250 g flour (if you can use the “00” type)

1 bag (7gr) dry instant yeast

1 tsp sugar

¼ tsp salt + more to sprinkle on top of the bread rolls

1.5 dl lukewarm water (32-36°C)

2 tbsp finely chopped basil

8 pieces hard goat’s cheese cut into 2 cm cubes – about 100 g

Olive oil to brush the bread rolls

 

Recipe

In a bowl combine half of the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add the water and start kneading while gradually adding the rest of the flour. Add the chopped basil and knead further to uniformly blend the green into the dough. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 15 min.

Heat oven at 190°C.

Divide the dough into 8 parts. Take one part, lightly flatten it and place a cube of cheese in the middle. Close the dough around the cheese cube and form a ball. Make sure the dough is nicely sealed or the cheese might run out during the cooking process. Repeat with the other seven parts of cheese and dough. Brush the bread rolls with olive oil and sprinkle over some salt on top (use coarse salt if you have it).

Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove from oven and leave to cool for 5 min before serving.

 

Coconut Chicken with a Basil Sauce

Coconut Chicken with a Basil Sauce (800 x 578)This week the summer weather was almost like an annoying guest who would not eve leave you alone in the evening to enjoy some spare time. When the weather is like this , I usually feel like eating something that is either fresh or that tastes fresh. I thought that for a ladies’ night this dish would have been appropriate to start us off, especially served with some chilled white wine. This coconut chicken and the basil dip sauce have a touch of exotic … something that always makes me feel like I’m on holiday. Continue reading

I would just like to say that for the sauce I took the inspiration from Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Beef Lettuce Wraps’ recipe (from his Ultimate Cookery Course book). In my recipe I have replaced coriander leaves with basil and I have directly added some chopped spring onion.


About Coconut:

Coconut is a fruit that has been around for so long that we do not really know where its origin lies. What we know though, is how its name originated. Here is an extract of the information I found. I did not really change anything about the test as I find the whole passage to be interesting: “The word coconut did not appear until after the Portuguese explorers in the 15th century. The explorers found this fruit growing on Indian Ocean islands, they described the coconut shell as a coco, or “grinning face” of a monkey because of its 3 dark holes at its base which look like a pop-eyed merry face. From then on, it was referred to as the “coconut”.
Although its name was recorded in Sanskrit in the early beginnings of history, the coconut was unknown to the western world until the 6th century, when it was imported into Egypt from the Indian Ocean–and still made little impression, though Marco Polo recognized it as “Pharaoh’s nut” when he ran across it in India on his travels.
In the Middle Ages, coconuts were so rare and so cherished that their shells were polished and mounted in gold. By the 19th century, however, new transportation routes made them common in European markets–and throwing objects (“coconut shies”) at local side shows.” (source: http://www.coconutrepublic.org/coconut_story.php )


Coconut Chicken with a Basil Sauce

Recipe for 4-6 as appetizer (or with some rice and green beans it could work as a meal for 2)
Prep. Time : 15-20 min
Cook Time : 25-30 min


Ingredients :

For the chicken :
1 ½ tsp flour
½ dl buttermilk
3 tbsp shredded coconut
½ tsp lime zest
¼ tsp ground chilli powder
Salt and pepper
8 chicken strips (or about 220-250g chicken breast)


For the dressing :
1tsp sesame oil
1tbsp soy sauce
Juice of ½ lime
1 tsp sugar
1 small chilli thinly sliced
1 spring onion thinly sliced (the green part only)
1tsp olive oil
7-8 chopped basil leaves


Chicken Recipe :

Heat the oven at 200°C.

Take three bowls. In the first place the flour, in the second the buttermilk and in the third place the shredded coconut. With the coconut bowl add the salt (about ¼ to ½ tsp), the pepper, ground chilli and the lime zest and rub the preparation together to blend in the flavours.

Take one strip of chicken and coat it with the flour. Move it to the buttermilk and soak it and let gravity drip away the excess. Finally coat the chicken with the coconut preparation. Repeat with all the strips.

Place the prepared chicken in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes. When the chicken is ready let it rest for 3-minutes before serving.

For the sauce :

While the chicken is cooking it’s time to make thesauce. In a bowl mix the sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice and sugar together ; then add the red chilli, the basil and the chopped spring onion.

Grilled Zucchini and Bacon Risotto

Grilled Zucchini and Bacon Risotto (800 x 587)Okay, I’ll tell the truth: Continue reading

this is my first attempt at risotto (and I felt really quite happy about the result). Although I live less than a two hour drive from Milan, I have never really made risotto, I used to only be an observer of the process. I guess I found it a boring dish for a reason I am still trying to figure out. I guess that leaving for a week to Portugal gave me some new stimulus in trying out new recipes,  I feel so refreshed. By the way, I totally recommend Portugal as a destination, from the food to the people and also the whole city of Lisbon, all is really beautiful. I particularly liked the little streets and the beautiful buildings decorated with tiles that come in just so many colours and designs. It was a great opportunity to practice my photography skill (which are still at a beginner level).


About Risotto:


Between the 1300 and the 1700 rice was attributed one unique way of cooking: and that is in water. It was in 1779 that a cook from Macerate in the Marche region in Italy wrote about gently fried a bit of butter and wetting the rice with broth. Very soon the technique became more elaborated by adding, for example, some chopped onion. Through time risotto became more complex but it was in 1929 that a well known cook in Milan named Felice Luraschi published a recipe book  called “Il Nuovo Cuoco Milanese Economico” (or “The New Economic Milanese Cook”). The recipe called for rice with butter, beef marrow, saffron, nutmeg, stock and completed with grated cheese (source – Italian: http://www.risottoallamilanese.com/ )

 


Grilled Zucchini and Bacon Risotto


Recipe for 2


Time: 35-40 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 zucchini

8 slices of streaky bacon

20g butter (plus a small teaspoon for a finishing touch)

1 onion

100g risotto rice

30g parmesan cheese

2.5dl stock

4-5 basil leaves

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:


Slice the zucchini at an angle (about 1 cm thick). Pour one teaspoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat a griddle pan (if you don’t have one just use an normal non-stick pan). Once the zucchini slices are coloured on both sides remove from the heat and set them aside.

Bring the broth to a boil and set aside.

Heat another pan and add the bacon to cook until brown and crisp. Remove from pan and set aside. Wipe the pan and on a low heat add the butter along with the onions . Without letting the onions brown cook them until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the rice and cook for another 4-5minutes, stir often until the grains are translucent. Add 1/3 of the broth and stir often until all the liquid has been absorbed. Once the rice looks more on the dry side add the second third and stir regularly again. Finally, repeat the operation of adding broth for a last time and stir until rice has basically soaked up the liquid.

Add the grated cheese and incorporate it in the preparation. Cut the bacon and the zucchini into small pieces and chop the basil. Add the three ingredients with to the rice and blend them in. To make your risotto richer here is when  you can add a bit more butter. Eventually correct to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve and drizzle a little bit of olive oil and optionally some parmesan shavings.

Potato Salad with Basil and Lemon Dressing

Potato salad with basil and lemon dressing (816 x 612)Since barbecue is associated to gathering during summertime I thought I’d try a potato salad I had not tried before. So when my boyfriend came over to my place a few days ago we made a tête-à-tête barbecue and I made it an occasion to try this recipe out. Coming Continue reading

from the new world, potatoes are such a great addition to our diet and I found out that making a salad out of the spud is not a recent finding, not at all actually… John Gerrard (british herbalist and author, 1545-1612) is said to have noted down one of the first potato salad recipes in 1597 in his The Herball, or generall historie of plantes. According to Arnold Shircliffe (executive chef of Chicago’s Edgewater Beach Hotel during the 1920’s) the potatoes are ‘sometimes boiled and sopped in wine, by others boiled with prunes , and likewise others dress them (after roasting them in the ashes) in oil, vinegar and salt, every man according to his own taste. However they be dressed, they comfort, nourish and strengthen the body’ (source: http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodsalads.html ).

  • Potato Salad with Basil and Lemon Dressing
  • Recipe for 2
  • Time: 45 min (+ 1 hour resting time)
  • Ingredients:
  • 400g potatoes
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 5-6 freshly chopped basil leaves
  • 1/2  tsp mild mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large spring onion (or 2 small ones)
  • (eventually you can add some grated garlic to the dressing)

 

Recipe:

  • Heat the oven at 200°C.
  • Cut the potatoes in about 2 cm chuncks and boil them in some water with salt. Once they are soft remove the water and one teaspoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix and make sure all potatoes are coated. Place them in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes or until brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool.
  • For the dressing mix together the olive oil, the lemon juice, the mustard, salt, pepper and eventually the grated garlic and the chopped basil leaves.
  • Once the potatoes have cooled down add the dressing, mix and garnish with chopped spring onions.

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.

Flatbreads with Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions

Flatbreads with Roasted Bell Peppers and OnionsFor long I have been trying to make my boyfriend improve his diet in general but well, he is a stubborn grown up. The thing is that, when he comes over to my place I decide the menu and although I want him to enjoy his dinner, I want him to have other than pizza or chips with mozzarella. This week we have not seen each other much so I decided to make a nourishing aperitif where we could chat without going hungry before dinner. Continue reading

In 1932, the Hungarian researcher S. Györgyi managed to extract the vitamin C. He used two tons of bell peppers to extract half a kilogram of the vitamin under the form of a white crystallized powder. He named the vitamin ascorbic acid, which means ‘capable of preventing scurvy’ (Source- French: http://www.lanutrition.fr/bien-dans-son-assiette/aliments/legumes/poivron/petite-histoire-du-poivron.html )


Flatbreads with Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions


Recipe for 2

Prep. Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 40-45 mins


Ingredients

Vegetables:

2 red bell peppers

2 small red onions

2-3 garlic cloves

olive oil

salt and pepper

2tsp fresh chopped parsley


Flatbreads:

100g brown flour

0.75 dl buttermilk

2 tsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

4-6 chopped basil leaves


Recipe(s)

Bell peppers and onions:

Heat oven at 240°C.

Cut the bell peppers in 3-4cm squares. Cut the onions in half and each half into four pieces. Crush the garlic cloves.

Place the vegetables in an oiled baking tray. Add 1tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss the preparation until the vegetables are coated. Place in the oven for about 20 min, stir the vegetables and cook for another 20min.


While the veggies are in the oven it’s time to prepare the flatbreads.


Flatbreads:

Mix all the ingredients together except for the basil (I used a blender). Once the dough is even add the basil and work it in by hand.

Leave to rest for 15-20 min.

Cut into 4 equal parts and flatten each until each patty reaches about 12cm diameter.

Heat a pan over medium heat. Heat a ½ tsp olive oil and add one of the patties for about 2-3 min. When the dough starts to bubble, turn it for another 2-3 min.

Remove and place on a rack. Repeat for the other pieces.

Place the flatbreads and the bell peppers and onions on a dish and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.