Chard, Aubergine and Potatoes: a killer combination.

We recently took over an allotment and it’s being much fun (and work).

Yesterday we finally did our first harvest: potatoes 🙂

Our plot neighbours gave us also some chard and explained how to prepare this (to me) unknown veggie. Everytime we visit the allotment, one of the neighbours gives us something, we are so lucky! 🙂

Today we experimented and the combination of chard, potatoes and supermarket bought aubergine gave me an unexpected satisfaction. 

INGREDIENTS

– 5 potatoes

– 1 chard

– 1 garlic clove

– juice of 1/2 lemon

– 1 aubergine

– white sesame seeds

– olive oil

– sunflower oil

DIRECTIONS

For the POTATOES

– cut them in small cubes (I don’ bother with peeling the iron rich skin)

– in a frying pan heat up a thin layer of sunflower oil

– fry the potatoes until cooked

For the CHARD

– cut the leaves from the stalk and cut in chunks, keeping the hard bits separated from the leaves.

– heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil and cook the garlic for 1 min.

– add the stalks and cook for 3 mins

– add the leaves and cook for further 3 mins.

– dish out and sprinkle with lemon juice

For the AUBERGINES

cut in chunks and soak in cold salted water for 10 mins

– rinse and squeeze

– heat up a thin layer of sunflower oil and cook the aubergines until cooked

– before dishing out sprikle with sesame seeds and cook for 1 min

– dish out and eat.

Jerusalem artichoke, Beetroot and Pecorino Risotto

I did my first locally sourced grocery the other day, I was so excited. I got carried a bit away with the shopping list, but the idea of fresh and organic vegetables was too exciting.

One of the items was Jerusalem artichokes. I obviously thought I would receive artichokes, but instead I had some sort of strange potatoes in my bags.

After extensive research on the topic it was decided they will become risotti.

INGREDIENTS

  • 100gr Jerusalem, cut in small cubes
  • 100gr beetroot, cut in small cubes
  • 1 small leek, cut finely
  • 300gr risotto 
  • 20gr butter
  • 500ml water/broth
  • Pecorino cheese,to taste

    DIRECTIONS

    • If using fresh beetroot, boil it in a little water for 5 mins.
    • When the water has dried out and the beetroot softened, add the butter and cook the leek and the jerusalem artichoke for 10 mins.
    • Add the rice and cook for a couple of minutes.
    • Add the water and salt to taste.
    • Cook until cookes (roughly 17minutes or 7 in a pressure cooker).
    • Stir in the pecorino.
    • Serve and garnish with parsely

    Pumpkin Soup

    As it is getting colder outside, I am in the mood for soups.

    INGREDIENTS

    • A medium/small sized pumpkin
    • Two small potatoes
    • One carrot
    • One onion
    • Salt and pepper
    • Cream cheese (optional)

    DIRECTIONS

    • Chop the vegetables and cut a ‘hat’ from the pumpkin. 
    • Scoop out the stringy flesh and seeda from the pumkin. I used a tablespoon 
    • Scoop out as much flesh as possible. I used a measuring spoon for this process.   
    • Toss all the ingredients in a pan. 
    • Add ca. 500ml water and salt to taste.
    • Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15-20. I have used a pressure cooker, setting soup for 9 minutes.
    • When ready, blend it with a submersion blender.
    • Optional: add some cream cheese (my kids won’t drink milk, so I very often add cheese to many dishes)
    • Serve in its pumpking with its hat on. The kids loooooved it! 

    Oh my Pumpkin

    Today I fell in love with a pumpin. It gave us so much inspiration and energy!

    Well, first of all it flooded us with orange. I love this color, especially if it is autumn!

    I prepared a speedy hearty soup, which warmed us up. 

    While the soup was cooking I have prepared a super powerful snack: pumkin seeds. Lucy loved them!

    Finally we made our first, warming up scary (or scared, as Lucy says) pumpkin.

    Finally, by accident I took a picture that might end up on my ‘food wall’. For some reason this picture makes me very hungry! 🙂

    Happy pumpkin to you all! 🙂

    Energy Balls

    Energy Balls

    • Servings: 8
    • Time: 15 mins
    • Difficulty: very easy
    • Print

    A friend kindly pointed out a need to take care and energies myself… what better excuse to make energy balls!

    Last Christmas I met this lovely New Zelander and she gave me this amazing recipe to boost our energise (obviously I have lost her previous handwritten recipe.. so this is the best I can remember)! I love them 🙂 And they are made with the most obscure, but powerful, ingredients I have ever heard of.

    Ingredients

    • 1 tbsp spirulina powder
    • 1 tbsp maca powder
    • 1 tbsp chia seeds
    • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • 1 tbsp coconut oil
    • 1 teaspoon tahini
    • 2 tbsp ground almonds
    • 12 dates (mehjoli), steamed and then blended

    Directions

    1. Steam the dates for 10mins to soften them up. Mix them with honey and coconut oil and blend them.
    2. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
    3. Form little one bite truffle balls (it is a very sticky job)
    4. Roll them in different finishes (coconut, almonds, walnuts or crazy colored cake decorating things) and gently push the decoration in.
    5. Eat.
    6. You can store them in an air-tight container for up 10 days.
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    Little Baskets

    Little Baskets

    • Servings: 8
    • Time: 30 mins
    • Difficulty: easy
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    These baskets would make a cute little appearance as starter or side.

    This really creative Lady has heavily inspired this recipe. I have added courgettes, sweet potatoes and cheese 🙂

    Ingredients

    • 1 pack of ready made puff pastry
    • 1 courgette, cut in thin disks
    • 1 big potato, cut in thin disks
    • 1 sweet potato, cut in thin disks
    • cheese, cut in long sticks

    Directions

    1. Preheat the oven at 180°C. Unroll the puff pastry and cut lines to make strips of roughly 5cm in width. Each strip will make a basket.
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    3. Place one disk of potato, one disk of courgette and one disk of sweet potato, covering half the width of the strip, and repeat for the full lenght of the strip. Place sticks of cheese at the bottom.
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    5. Fold the bottom of the puff pastry strip on the disks and cheese. Then roll it and put it in a cupcake tin.
    6. Repeat for the 9 strips.
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    8. Cook in the oven for 20 mins. If conventional oven, keep the tray quite low, to prevent the vegetables from burining.
    9. When cooked, place them on a rack to cool down.
    10. Eat.
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    Carrot Cake – reduced sugar

    Carrot Cake - reduced sugar

    • Servings: 8
    • Time: 60 mins
    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print

    Today Lucy was a Bunny and demanded a carrot cake for her Daddy’s birthday, as simple as that… the only little particular was that, as far as I can recollect, Daddy’s birthday falls in July!

    For the filling I have used the milk based cream from the chocolate roll recipe.

    Ingredients

    • 300gr self-raising flour
    • 100ml vegetable oil (I wouldn’t suggest olive oil)
    • 4 eggs
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • 4 dates (even more, but I only had 4 left)
    • a handful of raisins
    • 2 handfuls of (wal)nuts (I could only find mixed nuts)
    • 350gr of carrots
    • 1tsp bicarbonateof soda
    • 1tsp cinnamon

    Directions

    1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 ° C.
    2. Grate the carrots, dates and nuts (I used our robot grater).
    3. In a bowl mix all the ingredients together.
    4. Line with parchment paper a 25cm cake tin.
    5. Pour the mix in the cake tin and cook for approximately 30 min.
    6. OPTIONAL
    7. While it is cooking, prepare the filling. I have used the same milk based cream from the chocolate roll.
    8. Let it cool, then cut horizontally in half, fill with your favourite cream and reassemble.
    9. Eat.

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    Indian Flavoured Rice

    Indian Flavoured Rice

    • Servings: 2
    • Time: 15 mins
    • Difficulty: very easy
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    A very good friend of mine, Shraddha, taught me to make this yellow Indian rice, but I am a very bad student and failed to properly write down everything.

    This is my best attempt to reproduce her amazing rice.
    I have added two little ingredients: garlic and ginger. Here st home everybody was poorly, so I though od adding these ingredients to boost up our immune system a bit 🙂

    Ingredients

    • 160gr basmati rice
    • 2tbsp of olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
    • 1 small garlic clove, grated (my twist to the original recipe)
    • 1cm ginger, grated (my twist to the original recipe)
    • 1tsp dark mustard seeds
    • 1tsp cumin seeds
    • 1/2tsp Vandevi
    • 1 tomato, chopped
    • 1 cup of green peas
    • juice from 1/2 lemon
    • salt, pepper and chilli

    Directions

    1. Wash the rice
    2. Bring to the boil a pan with water enough to cover the rice, and cook according to packaging instruction. Add salt to taste and the turmeric (really you are supposed to cook the turmeric with the spicies, but my daughter only wants yellow rice with no tomatoes or peas.. therefore the twist).
    3. In a frying pan, heat the oil and add mustard and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop add the tomatoes, cook for a couple of minutes, with the garlic and the ginger.
    4. Add the Vadevi, chilli, green peas and cook for one minute.
    5. Add the lemon juice.
    6. When the rice is cooked, drain it or let the water dry out at high heat.
    7. Stir the rice in the frying pan.
    8. Eat.

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    Courgette Patties

    Courgette Patties

    • Servings: 2
    • Time: 15 mins
    • Difficulty: very easy
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    I made this recipe hoping my kids would enjoy some hidden veggies… well, I had lots and lots of patties today 🙂

    This dish is best served with Tzatziki and a nice fresh rocket salad, or in a bap as veggie-hamburger and sprinkled with fresh mint.

    Confession: I think I have started blogging my recipes only to be able to take a photo of a stack of patties and post it. What a satisfacion!

    Ingredients

    • 1 courgette
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 glass of milk
    • 3 tbsp of flour
    • 3 tbsp of breadcrumbs
    • salt and pepper

    Directions

    1. Grate the courgettes with a large cheese grater. Sprinkle it with salt and squeeze the excess water out.
    2. Mix all the ingredients together.
    3. Preheat a non-stick frying pan with a teaspoon of oil (just to make sure it will really be non stick), then make little patties with a heaped tablespoon of the mixture. Pat them flat and cook 3 minutes each side, or until cookeed, on a medium heat.

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    Pizza – my slow and nearly authentic recipe

    Pizza - My slow and nearly authentic recipe

    • Servings: 8
    • Time: 7 hours
    • Difficulty: not difficult, just slow
    • Print

    Pizza Pizza Pizza, I cannot live without it! I’d rather eat pizza in a proper Pizzeria with a Wood Fired Oven, but it is not always possible. Therefore, as a non Napolitan  (Pizza was born in Napoli) I attempt to make a Pizza experience at home. I use a Kitchen Robot to help with the kneading process.

    This recipe is inspired by the “official recipe” written by Associazione Verace Napoletana Pizza , which you can find here.

    Because I have modified the original recipe and because I am not using a Wood Fired Oven, by the Italian Law, my pizza is not “verace/authentic”.

    The original recipe asks to use 25-27gr of salt. Because I am cooking this pizza for my young daughter I reduced this quantity. Also, the original recipe only requires 1.5gr of fresh yeast. Because I want to speed up on the process I have doubled the required yeast (3 to 5gr in total) and shortened the waiting time.

    Last, I have added 1tbsp of olive oil, as I don’t have a wood fired oven and I need the dough to retain more elasticity and moisture during the cooking process.

    Ingredients

      Ingredients for the dough:

    • 900gr 00 grade flour
    • 500ml lukewarm water
    • 3 to 5gr fresh yeast (the original recipe calls for 1.5gr)
    • 15gr salt (the original recipe calls for 25-27gr)
    • 1tbsp of olive oil.
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      Equipment (optional):

    • Pizza stone (“pietra refrattaria”).
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      For the topping:

    • Tin of tomatoes
    • Mozzarella, chopped 
    • – Olive oil,  salt, pepper, oregano and basil

    Directions

      Directions for the dough:

    1. 11:00 am: put the salt in a small bowl and add part of the water. Stir until the salt has dissolved.
    2. 11:02 am: add the yeast in the bowl with the rest of the water. Stir until the yeast has dissolved. Add the oil.
    3. 11:04 am: put the flour in the Kitchen Robot bowl and keep on minimum speed. Slowly add the yeasty water, then the salty water. Let it knead for 15min at low speed.
    4. 11:15 am: keep the dough in the bowl and cover it with a humid cloth and let it rest of 1.5/2 hours, until doubled in size.
    5. 1:00 pm: prepare the “panetti” (small balls of dough). Each panetto will have to be 180-200gr.
    6. 1:30 pm: dust with flour the panetti.
    7. 1:32 pm: cover the panetti with clingfilm and let rise for 3 to 6 hours.
    8. Dinner time: preheat the oven at 275°C. Dust with flour (I use semolina flour) your surface and place one panetto. With the tip of your fingers gently tap in the centre of the panetto and at the same time make it turn clockwise (like a vinyl). As the disk gets bigger, use the full length of your fingers until you can pat/turn the disk with the whole of your hands. I do sometimes attempt some acrobatic pizza spreading, but it is not always successful.
    9. Dust with flour a large cutting board and place the fully extended disk. Put 3 tbsp of chopped tomatoes, then the mozzarella and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Put in the oven.
    10.  

      COOKING TIP

      I have developed the following system to obtain the best result.

    11. Cook 4 minutes at 275°C, then switch to grill assisted oven for 2.5 minutes (our oven will keep max. 230°C when in grill assisted mode).
    12. Bring back the oven to 275°C and cook the next pizza, until you are done.
    13. Eat.

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