Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Foods I miss - from my childhood....


Bovril!!! This is a beef extract that can be used to make a broth or else on buttered toast. YUMMEEE..I think there is something similar that is vegetarian called Vegemite which is also yeast based but Bovril is the best.

Kinnie! This is an acquired taste...
in Italy you can get something similar
called chinotto - but not the same!
Kinnie is made of a blend of herbs and citrus.

Twistees! Great cheesy
Snacks - I guess you could
compare them to cheetos
but they are unique!

Pastizzi! made with ricotta cheese filling or peas. Also can be found in some parts of Canada and Australia - UNIQUE! They are called cheesecakes but have no resemblance to cheesecake as you would know it!


I Love risotto - the trick is to have the patience to add the broth a bit at a time - as soon as it seems to start drying up then add more. Also use the correct rice as it has to be starchy.


25g/1oz unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 leek ,(white only) ,chopped
50g/1¾oz chestnut mushrooms, chopped
100g/3½oz risotto rice
50ml/2fl oz white wine
300ml/10fl oz hot chicken stock
50g/1¾oz Dolcelatte (Italian creme cheese)
salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat the butter and oil in a saucepan over a medium heat.
2. Add the onion, garlic, leek and mushroom and fry for two minutes, or until soft.
3. Add the rice and wine and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat slightly and simmer until the wine is completely absorbed.
4. Add the stock in spoonfuls, adding more as the liquid get absorbed and stirring in between. Keep doing this until the rice is completely cooked through.
5. Add the Dolcelatte and stir with a spoon until melted. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
6. To serve, spoon onto a serving plate.

I also like to add some roughly grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Variations can also include adding peas or different types of mushrooms.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Arancini di Riso

Gli arancini di riso

This Sicilian recipe may take a bit of time to make but it's worth it
Time: 50 mins

Ingredients for 15 arancini:
500 gms riso arborio (risotto rice)
1 small packet of saffron
150gms mozzarella cubed
350 gr. Minced meat (mix beef , and pork)
150 gr. Small peas
200 gr. Tomato sauce
150 gr. Grated cheese
3 eggs
200 gr. flour
400 gr. breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper

Boil the rice in a pan of salted water adding the pack of saffron when it reaches boiling.
When the water has boiled and turned yellow thanks to the saffron, add one or two tablespoons of oil and also add the grated cheese.
Mix and let the rice stand while you make the filling.

Fry the minced meat and add salt and pepper.
Add the tomato sauce and the pre boiled peas until you have a rather dense sauce.
Let simmer for about 15 mins.
Now that the rice has cooled, shape it into about 15 roundish shapes and with the help of a teaspoon insert the sauce and a piece of mozzarella in the middle, add more rice to close the 'hole' and form into a pyramid or egg shape.
Roll the arancini in the flower, the beaten egg and then in the breadcrumbs.
Fry until golden
They can be eaten hot or cold but when hot, the melted mozzarella inside tastes great.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Maltese Rabbit Stew

OK, so I can hear some of you saying eeeeuuuuuuuuooo.....eating a bunny..

But rabbit is actually one of the traditional Maltese dishes. The sauce is also great served over spaghetti

1 rabbit, cut up in pieces
2 cups of red wine
1/4 tsp Rosemary
1 large onion, chopped
5 medium carrots, sliced
5 medium potatoes
1 medium turnip (kohl rabi)
1/4 cup tomato paste
60 ml water (1/4 cup)
1 tsp corn flour
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
and...believe it or not....a small can of peas...yes canned peas! for some reason these work best!

1. In a large frying pan, lightly brown the rabbit pieces in cooking oil.
2. Add the 2 cups of wine, salt, pepper and rosemary.
3. Cover tightly and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, or until rabbit is getting tender.
4. Peel and chop vegetables.
5. Remove rabbit from heat transfer to a larger pot If there are any fleshless bones, remove them.
6. Add vegetables and bay leaf to rabbit pot.
7.Mix the corn flour with the 60 ml water and the crushed garlic.
8. Add to the stew stirring occasionally.
9. Simmer for another 40 minutes, until all veggies are soft and the stew slightly thickened.
10. Add the peas and cook for a few more minutes

Note: You can use this stew also as topping to dishes of boiled spaghetti


It's important to use pine nuts and not walnuts as some recipes state - the difference is amazing. This is a great Italian sauce that's best with pasta.

Making pesto by hand in a mortar produces the most authentic and delicious results but a food processor on a low setting can be used to gently and minimally chop leaves before proceeding.

Delicious tossed with pasta, pesto also makes an excellent topping for pizza. Try a little served along with grilled chicken or drizzled over slices of ripe summer tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.

¼ cup pine nuts
2 cups tightly packed basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed, peel removed
Coarse sea salt
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil


Place pine nuts in a medium skillet and heat over medium-low heat.
Cook, occasionally shaking the pan back and forth over the heat, until nuts are toasted, 6 to 8 minutes.
Transfer nuts to a plate to cool completely.
Rinse basil and gently, but thoroughly, pat dry with paper towels.
Place in a processorwith cooled pine nuts, garlic and pinch salt.
Use the food processor on a low setting to turn basil into a paste.
Add both cheeses into mixture to combine.
In a slow and steady steam, add oil, keeping processor on lowest setting (as if you were making mayonnaise).

Pesto is best used the same day but keeps, its surface covered with a thin layer of olive oil and tightly covered, chilled, for 3 days. You can also hermetically seal it in a jar.

To dress pasta, toss with hot pasta (just cooked and drained), add a tablespoon or two of butter and toss again. Serve at once.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

English Custard

Serves 8
2 cups (500ml) milk
6 egg yolks
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 vanilla pod
rind of one small lemon - thickly cut

Heat milk in a saucepan with the vanilla and lemon rind
Bring to the boil.
Remove from heat and cool a little.
Beat egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl for about 10 minutes or until light and fluffy.
Little by little, stir in warm milk until well mixed.
Cook stirring constantly with a whisk untei mixture starts to thicken (Do not allow to boil). Remove from heat, place over a pan of ice and allow to cool completely, stirring from time to time.
You can serve this custard as a dessert or use it as garnish or filling of another dessert like the ENGLISH TRIFLE....which will be my next post!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Melanzane Alla Parmiggiana- parmesan aubergine-eggplant


1 Kg egg plant(aubergine)
100 gr. grated parmisan cheese
200 gr. mozzarella- grated
2 cans tomatoes
some flour
2 onions
Olive Oil

Cut the eggplant lengthwise, salt slightly, place aluminum foil on top and a weight ( a cook book!)
Let stay for about an hour.
In the meantime, fry onions and garlic in olive oil. add the tomatoes and herbs and let simmer for about 30 mins.
Pre heat the oven to 180C or 380F
Rinse the egg plant and fry gently untill almost cooked.
Layer the vegetables with mozzarella, sauce and grated cheese ending with a layer of mozzarella
Cook for about 30 mins


Monday, June 22, 2009

Minestra (Maltese Version)

This is a great way of using up veggies!


2 carrots
2 courgettes
2 cloves garlic
1 large onion
4 medium potatoes
1 turnip or 1 kohl rabi
2 celery stalks
4 medium savoy cabbage leaves
250g butternut squash or pumpkin
100gms fresh peas
1 spoonful of olive oil
salt and pepper
(you can also add lentils and fava beans)
1tbs tomato puree (optional)
Vegetable broth

Heat the oil and fry the onions and garlic lightly.
Add the chopped up veggies and saute for a few minutes
Add the vegetable broth,(the more you add the less thick the minestra will be - generally it is served rather thinck but thats up to you!)
bring to the boil and then simmer until vegetables are tender.

Serve with a good topping of grated parmigian or romano cheese.

This dish can also be pureed for those who dont like chunks of veggies and prefer a smoother soup.


Kourabiedes (Greece)

Kourabiedes - Greek cookies that taste of heaven!
Yield: 30 Pieces

Yield: 30 Pieces

2 cups unsalted butter
1 cup icing/powdered sugar
3 Egg yolks
3 tbls Brandy
2 tsps Vanilla extract
6 cups Flour
1/2 cup Almonds (blanched), chopped
1 lb Icing/powdered sugar

Beat the butter with the sugar until it becomes fluffy.
Add the egg yolks one by one, beating continuously.
Add the brandy and vanilla.
Blend in the almonds and the flour, a cup at a time. Use enough flour to get a firm dough (it may take a bit more or less than the amount mentioned in the ingredients list).
Use your hands to do the mixing, as an electric mixer will be useless after the first two or three cups of flour have been added.
Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Shape the dough into balls, about one inch in diameter, flatten them and place on greased cookie sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Roll each cookie (while it is still hot) in the powdered sugar and put it back on the cookie sheet.
Repeat this step once more, so that you get a thicker coating.
Place the coated cookies on a platter, liberally sprinkling each layer and the bottom of the platter with powdered sugar.
When you are done, there shouldn't be any sugar left.
Let them cool and they are ready to eat!
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All the recipes here have either been sent to me, adapted by me or found on the web. If I know the source I always give credit to the author/website. If you know of a source I may have missed please let me know.