Plum and almond cake

plum and almond cake

 plum and almond cake

A  very kind friend of mine with an orchard and a surplus of plums donated a few kilos of them to me recently. We ate quite a few of them straight out of the bag as they were so delicious, but I’ve also used some to make this lovely cake. The inspiration came from Nigel Slater , although I slightly adapted his original recipe. I didn’t add any walnuts to the mixture, for example, which he does. What is particularly nice about it is the tanginess of the plums in combination with the sweetness of the almonds. My husband took it to a fellow group of volunteers and it pretty much vanished amongst lip smacking sounds of appreciation. I’d like to add that apparently the store bought butterfly cakes that someone else brought in weren’t even touched. Home made wins every time, it would seem!…:-) Continue reading ‘Plum and almond cake’

Courgette and feta cheese bake

courgette and feta cheese bake

             courgette and feta cheese bake

I have had much better luck with my courgette plants this year then in previous years when they looked sad and mouldy (see pic below of my happy babies!) so I had to come up with some recipes in order to use my beloved organic zucchini. I invented this simple bake using what I had in the house at the time: courgettes, eggs, flour, onions and feta cheese. BINGO! Really quick to make but so delicious! I’ve already baked it three times with success. As I invented the  recipe I’m kind of guessing the quantities. I’m sure that if you slightly adapted them not much harm would come to it. Do try it if you are in a hurry. Serve it with a nice salad. Voilà! Continue reading ‘Courgette and feta cheese bake’

La “torta appiccicosa” ai lamponi: ovvero un fondant alla svedese (Kladdkaka)

IMG-20160820-WA0002Ecco qua a cosa serve mandare i figli a studiare all’estero. Una tortina svedese di Laura: la Kladdkaka. Continue reading ‘La “torta appiccicosa” ai lamponi: ovvero un fondant alla svedese (Kladdkaka)’

Roasted summer vegetables

roasted summer vegetables

roasted summer vegetables

Let’s blog something healthy for a change… I love roasted vegetables! And this dish is really straightforward, pleasant to look at and also very tasty. Ideal as a side dish for a barbeque, a quiche, grilled fish or whatever takes your fancy. I let it cool right down and served it at room temperature. I think the flavours develop even more. The inspiration came from Jamie Oliver. Feel free to add/take away any veggies you want: courgettes, butternut squash, asparagus, aubergines, etc. I have made it twice already  in the last couple of weeks, varying the veggies combination. Lovely both times! Continue reading ‘Roasted summer vegetables’

Taralli with fennel seeds (take 3)

taralli with fennel seeds

taralli with fennel seeds

First of all let me explain what taralli are. They are basically gorgeous little snacks which have a similar consistency to crackers/grissini (bread sticks). They come from the Puglia region, which is the heel of Italy, and they are made with an unleavened dough of flour and flavoured in many different ways (with crack black pepper, chillies, fennel seeds etc.). The main ingredients are: flour, olive oil and white wine. The ones I have made are the most common ones. There are many recipes out there and in theory you are supposed to boil them first before you bake them. HOWEVER I tried twice to boil them first and I had to chuck them in the bin. GRRRRR! They were hard as rock and basically unedible. Mind you: it might have something to do with the fact  I later discovered I had used the wrong flour (strong instead of plain). :-( So I must try boiling them again using the right flour and see what happens. In the meantime let me share this recipe with you for which I’ve used my trusted sourdough (yes! Still alive after all these years!), as suggested by my sister in law Stefania (who apparently has been making them successfully in this way for a while). I have used the recipe she sent me on line which comes from the issuu.com website. Continue reading ‘Taralli with fennel seeds (take 3)’

Strawberry tiramisu

strawberry tiramisu

strawberry tiramisu

Dear friends, I am still reeling after the results of the Brexit referendum. I can’t help feeling extremely sad and disappointed at the result. So to cheer myself up I’ve experimented in the kitchen with a summer version of the classic tiramisu. This dessert couldn’t be more appropriate as  “tirami su” in Italian means: pull me up, which is exactly what I need right now!  I  already blogged the classic recipe over two years ago ( see here). Yes, two years! Incredible how times fly. As strawberries are now in season, and you can hope to buy some that will actually TASTE of strawberries, I recommend you try this recipe. It’s simple, it’s light (albeit not from a calories point of view :-( ), it’s different. I’ve already made it three times in the past few weeks and each time it met with 100% approval from my guests. I found the recipe on line on an Italian blog called Le ricette della nonna (= grandma’s recipes). There are several versions floating in cyberspace, a few involving making some sort of custard. But not this one. What are you waiting for? Get your mascarpone and your savoiardi and have a go! Your friends will thank you for it… Continue reading ‘Strawberry tiramisu’

Polenta and ricotta cake with dates and pecans

polenta and ricotta cake with dates and pecans

polenta and ricotta cake with dates and pecans

I’ll start by confessing I didn’t make this cake. Technically my husband made it, although, to be fair, he was largely executing orders with me standing over his shoulder. The reason why we made this cake together was that he had promised his colleagues at work he would bring a cake in made with his own fair hands. We had ricotta in the fridge as well as the most gorgeous Palestinians dates. Bingo! I found this recipe on the Delia Smith’s blog.  I wasn’t sure about it at first as it has no eggs in it. Also when it first came out of the oven after the recommended 1 hour and three quarters I thought I had overcooked it. However I needn’t have worried. I really liked it, and so, apparently, did my husband’s colleagues. So success all around. And in truth: how could Delia be wrong? Impossible! This is a cake I’ll definitely make again. Continue reading ‘Polenta and ricotta cake with dates and pecans’

Thai red prawn curry

Thai red prawn curry

Thai red prawn curry

Hello hello hello and welcome back to me (and to messing about in the kitchen). I confess that not much experimentation has been going on in the last month or so.  What a lazy so and so. In my defence this is mainly due to the fact that I was in Italy for 2 weeks. When I get back from my holidays I am always out of the swing for a little while. This doesn’t mean I am not doing any cooking, you understand, but I tend to opt for the tried and tested. Anyway, enough trying to justify myself. And what’s wrong with being a bit lazy in the kitchen, now and again?. 😉 This recipe comes from the Jamie Oliver’s 30 minutes meals recipe book which I must admit, I haven’t used all that much. Anyway I was astounded by how good this curry tasted and how easy it was to make. I thoroughly recommend it. I slightly adapted it. For example in the original recipe Jamie uses two different types of prawns: the bog standard ready cooked ones and some raw ones. Well, bollocks to that. Too complicated! I went for the easy ready cooked option and ignored the raw ones, which incidentally made the recipe even easier. Also Jamie cooks sugar snap peas in the curry. I chose to serve them separately, hence they are omitted from the recipe. Continue reading ‘Thai red prawn curry’

Pere cotte nel tè al cardamomo e salsa di cioccolato

20160417_111623_Richtone(HDR)Un dolcetto veloce per far fuori le pere che languono nel frigorifero. Le tradizionali pere al cioccolato che ho cotto nel tè col cardamomo,  invece che nell’acqua e zucchero, per cambiare un po’. Continue reading ‘Pere cotte nel tè al cardamomo e salsa di cioccolato’

Bunet

bunet

bunet

What a peculiar name, isn’t it? Well…in actual fact the name is not even Italian but comes from the Piedmont region of Italy. This is a well known, traditional dessert that they make over there. My parents  are both from Turin, the regional capital of Piemonte, so I thought it would be a good idea to blog it and rediscover my roots, so to speak. Candida has already blogged it, but in Italian, under the name of budinasso. My ingredients are slightly different, albeit the no faff preparation comes from her. There are many different recipes out there. I kind of had a look and did a medley. But, silly me,  I haven’t yet explained what a bunet is. Essentially it’s a big creme caramel enriched with amaretto biscuits, cocoa powder and a bit of liqueur. It’s utterly delicious and dead simple to make. Also not too rich, which I like. I’ve already made it twice since Easter (one was made FOR Easter). The truth is that when I made it the first time round  I had a minor misdemeanour as I totally burnt the caramel (you basically have to watch it like a hawk. One second is golden and ready, the next burnt and fit for the bin!). I had to start over. Anyway, once I mastered the caramel making the rest was a synch. The good thing about it is that you can make it well in advance, as it has to rest in the fridge for a good few hours before being served. In fact you can easily make it the day before you need it. Continue reading ‘Bunet’