Author Archive for Lucina

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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’

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’

Victoria sponge cake

Victoria sponge cake

                       Victoria sponge cake

Hello everyone and sorry for the disappearing act but I fell victim to the most vicious flu I have ever had in my life. Loads of my students had it and I have got to admit I wasn’t overly sympathetic with them…until I got it myself, of course! It took me nearly 3 weeks to feel human again! Next year: vaccine here I come. But enough of my state of health. What I am blogging today is a classic of English baking: A Victoria sandwich cake, which is basically a plain sponge cake filled with buttercream and raspberry or strawberry jam.  Every tea room will have one on sale. It is that common. And yet I had never actually made one until just over a week ago when my husband, who is very partial to it, kindly requested one on his birthday. How could I refuse? Plus it is not a particularly difficult cake to make. The only “complication” is that you have to bake two cakes of the same diameter. I have got to say I really enjoyed it. In truth I prefer more simple types of cakes. The recipe is taken from Felicity Cloake’ s Guardian column . Continue reading ‘Victoria sponge cake’

A simple carrot cake

a simple carrot cake

                        a simple carrot cake

Hello again. Here is the carrot cake I made for the Amnestea event which I promised to blog. Much simpler than my previous 2012 version (see here). There must exist hundreds of different carrot cake recipes out there and I reckon I am entitled to blog a different one every four years, aren’t I? 😉  I had never made this particular one before but I must say I thought it was very good. The recipe is an adapted one I found, would you believe, on the sachet of the Italian baking powder Pane degli angeli.  The sultanas and the spices weren’t in the original recipe, for example. Anyway, here it is. Much nicer than its burnt sister. And Tomik the cat is much happier too! Continue reading ‘A simple carrot cake’

I bring you….a misdemeanour!

an unhappy misdemeanour

happy misdemeanour

Yes…my dear friends, as its name suggests this blog is not meant to just crow about culinary successes but also share the disasters. And here is my latest. I had committed myself to bake a cake for a local Amnestea event (read: tea and cakes afternoon to raise funds for Amnesty International). The cake I had planned to bake was Candida’s gorgeous torta caprese al limone, which I have now made several times with great results. Everything was going well until I put it in the oven. Unfortunately instead of turning the oven on I inadvertently switched the grill on. After putting  the cake in the oven I then  proceeded to work on the computer upstairs and didn’t come back downstairs for another 40 minutes only to be greeted by a smell of burnt food and a blackened , sunk in the middle, sad looking cake. ARGH! DISASTER!! I couldn’t possibly take THAT to the Amnestea event! My reputation would suffer! Needless to say I had to dispose of the cake and quickly make another (husband wasn’t impressed!) , which is the carrot cake I am going to blog in just a few minutes. :-( So you see? Nobody is perfect! And we shall just have to file this little “accident” as a senior moment…:-)

Roasted pumpkin with toasted sweetcorn soup

roasted pumpkin and toasted sweetcorn soup

  roasted pumpkin and toasted sweetcorn soup

Hello all you soup lovers! Who doesn’t like a soup when the weather is cold and grey like it is at the moment? Here’s a delicious recipe to add to  your repertoire.  Really simple but extremely tasty. And the colour is gorgeous: a lovely bright orange! I got the inspiration from Delia Smith but I adapted it quite significantly. For a start I roasted the pumpkin and scooped the flesh out instead of peeling it and cooking it from raw, which is what Delia does. It’s such a faff to peel a pumpkin and life ain’t long enough. I find that roasting it and using the cooked flesh is so much easier for soups and many other recipes besides (like risotto, for instance). Secondly I chose not to liquidize it as you get the nice texture of the sweetcorn this way. Anyway…try it and see for yourself how good it is! :-) Continue reading ‘Roasted pumpkin with toasted sweetcorn soup’

Pasta with cavolo nero, ricotta and pancetta

pasta with cavolo nero, ricotta and pancetta

pasta with cavolo nero, ricotta and pancetta

Can you believe that now you can buy cavolo nero (literally: black cabbage) here in the North of England? For those who don’t know what it is: it’s a cabbage with a longish, knobbly, blackish  sort of leaf, very common in Tuscany. I confess I had never cooked with it before but apparently it’s packed full of minerals and vitamins and really good for you. I made this simple pasta dish not so long ago and was really quite pleased with it. Mind you, I made the mistake of not getting rid of the woody stalk which of the cabbage which was rather hard and chewy. Next time I would only use the leaves. I found the recipe on the Giallo zafferano blog. Continue reading ‘Pasta with cavolo nero, ricotta and pancetta’

Spiced orange cake with Christmas pudding ice cream

orange spiced cake

orange spiced cake with Christmas pudding ice cream

While waiting to see the new year in let me share this amazing cake with you. It was recommended to me by my friend Janet, who is the unrivalled queen of all cakes, puddings and desserts. Well, I tried it over the Christmas holidays and was really impressed with it.  So thank you Janet! The good thing about it is that it’s fat free as well as gluten free. That’s right: no butter or flour! How great is that? And yet it’s so moist and flavoursome. Just think how many “difficult” friends you can cater for with this one. Unfortunately it is not suitable for vegans as there are eggs in it, LOADS in fact, but hey! You can’t please everyone, can you?  I really urge you to make it. You won’t be disappointed. Obviously you don’t have to make the ice cream to go with it. I did it as I had some leftover Christmas pudding. I confess it’s a doddle for me as I’m the proud owner of a Gaggia ice cream maker which Candi gave me many many years ago. It is still working and it makes some wonderful ice cream. Of course you can enjoy the cake as it is or simply serve it with some cream of course. The recipe is by Tom Kerridge, slightly adapted. Continue reading ‘Spiced orange cake with Christmas pudding ice cream’

Sicilian lemon and orange sweet bread

Sicilian lemon and orange sweet bread

Sicilian lemon and orange sweet bread

Christmas is approaching and what better than this lovely enriched bread which resembles panettone? The good thing about it is that it is not as difficult! I have already made it twice and both times it was a success. If you like experimenting with bread, try it! You won’t be disappointed. Lovely with a glass of spumante, I reckon. It is from Paul Hollywood’s Bread book. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients. It is actually straightforward. Have a Merry Christmas everyone! Continue reading ‘Sicilian lemon and orange sweet bread’

Pumpkin/ beetroot spätzle

pumpkin spatzle

pumpkin spatzle

beetroot spatzle

beetroot spatzle

Yes I know, I blogged the spinach spätzle not so long ago. So what is this? I am cheating, right? Well…in truth, although technically they are the same thing , in practice they taste very differently because of the ingredients I used. Plus I was dead chuffed with my experimenting and wanted to share it.. Both my pumpkin and beetroot spätzle  were very successful and dead easy to make. Not to speak of their lovely colour: bright orange and bright purple. Ironically I never used the spätzle maker for God knows how long, and in the space of a few weeks I have used it several times. Just like London buses: nothing comes for ages and then three come all at once. Isn’t that what you say? I have got to confess this blog has become my online personal recipe book. Dead convenient to use and much better than the old flying bits of paper and torn up greasy recipe pages from various magazines I used to keep tucked in many notebooks.  Continue reading ‘Pumpkin/ beetroot spätzle’