The start of summer means the start of homemade basil pesto. Homemade pesto is a million times better than anything you will buy in the stores and is not very hard. I always make pesto with a mortar and pestle. It allows me to control the consistency and I like being able to see it all come together right in front of your eyes rather than whizzing everything in a blender. This recipe, like many others, is straight Italian Food Safari (Lucio Galletto) and adding potatoes and green beans is a nice variation to traditional basil pesto dishes.
This cake is from an old Maggie Beer cook book I came across. It is super rich and full of chocolate, inside and on top! It uses almond meal with a bit of a flour which could be substituted out to make it gluten free. It’s best to serve this cake the day you make it as I put it in the fridge overnight and it dried out a little unfortunately. Still a great recipe if you like rich, dense chocolate cakes!
Mastering rice without a rice cooker is somewhat difficult. This dish is a combination of Thai & Indonesian Fried Rice as I didn’t have all the ingredients for either. For me, that’s what cooking is all about. Experimenting and taking bits of pieces from various dishes to make your own. You’ll be surprised with what you can create without following a recipe exactly and often it will even be better than what you were meant to make.
Osso buco is one of my favourite slow cooked dishes. This time I used veal shanks instead of beef. This is slow cooked in diced tomaotes and chicken stock for about 2 hours. The base of the sauce is onion, garlic, anchovies, celery, carrots and white wine. The longer you simmer the dish the better it will be. Don’t be impatient.
Served with mash potatoes, garnished with chives.
This dish combines 3 of my favourites… pasta, chicken and basil pesto (homemade of course). There is something therapeutic about making pesto in a mortar & pestle. It takes longer than a blender but you have better control over the outcome. Cook the pasta till al dente, add the warm chicken then coat with plenty of pesto and top with parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil. I love parmesan cheese so find myself always going back for extra toppings mid-way through!
It has taken a while but I finally got round to roasting a chicken and why hadn’t I done this earlier!? This is a Jamie Oliver inspired recipe. The chicken sits on a combination of potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, onion and garlic, cooking the entire time with the chicken. The beauty of this dish is it’s pretty simple. No fancy marinades, just olive oil and seasoning. Add water to the bottom of the dish to stop the vegetables from burning too much (I didn’t really add enough but they still tasted great!).
Cooking for me is about learning and experimenting with new ingredients, flavours and combinations. Sometimes this means getting inspiration from others, following recipes or sometimes going with my own ideas. When I saw this vegetable I didn’t even know what it but was curious as to what was underneath it’s purple and funny looking skin. It is actually a German turnip or cabbage and can be eaten raw or cooked. I baked it with truffle oil like any other hard vegetable. Without giving away the taste, I can say I will be buying this again.
Take a chance in the kitchen and buy something you’ve never had before. You’ll be surprised at what you can find in your local fresh food shops. Happy 2015 everyone!
Great dishes don’t have to difficult. Pick a few ingredients you love or have tasted recently and try recreating your own delicious meal. For me, beetroot and feta go well together and they are always in my kitchen. Tonight I added roasted pumpkin (in coconut oil) for something different. Kale is something I’ve been cooking with more and more lately. I prefer it to normal salad leaves because you control the texture when steaming (crunchy or softer).
Finish this salad with olive oil and sprinkle with pine nuts. Simple and easy for those not too confident in the kitchen.
Sometimes the best meals are simple ones shared with a bottle (or many bottles) of red and family.
Here we have spaghetti with homemade passata, cooked with extra garlic and onion for more flavour.
A celebration of life, happiness and great Italian food!
In 2013 my new years resolution was to cook a new Italian dish every week. The only requirement was that it had to be something I had not cooked before and had to be from an Italian cookbook or Italian cooking blog. This Easter I prepared some of my favourite Italian dishes for my close friends. Pleasure to share great food with great wine and great people!
Home cooked Italian from my Nonna’s recipes to Italian-Australian and Italian cooks. Can’t go wrong.