Sunday, March 22, 2009


Gremolata, which is also spelled “gremolada,” is a condiment that is traditionally served with Ossobucco, which is an Italian dish of braised veal shank. Gremolata is a chopped herb condiment made of garlic, parsley, and lemon peel. Although it is a common accompaniment to veal, the citrus element in gremolata makes it a wonderful addition to seafood and lamb dishes.
Here is a very simple gremolata recipe:

what you need
1 small bunch of flat-leafed parsley
1 lemon
1 large clove of garlic
cracked Black pepper

what to do
Wash and dry the parsley. Finely chop enough to yield two tablespoons
Mince the garlic.
Grate the peel of the lemon until you have produced one teaspoon of zest.
Mix all of the above in a small bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Many chefs like to prepare the ingredients together in a mortar and pestle to ensure that the flavors of each ingredient mingle before the gremolata is served.

Sprinkle over your dish prior to serving

zabaglione with marinated berries

what you need
2 egg yolks per person
2 teaspoons Sugar
1 small sherry glass full of Marsala

what to do
beat the yolks and the sugar together until they are white and frothy. Stir in the Marsala and put the whole mixture into a thick pan (an untinned copper sugar-boiling pan is the best utensil for zabaglione) over a low heat. If you don't have a copper bowl use a double boiler or a bowl over a large pot of boiling water. Stir continuously as for a custard, taking great care that the zabaglione does not curdle. It must not boil. As soon as it thickens pour it into warmed glasses and serve immediately

marinated berries
what you need
2 punnet fresh mixed berries
60ml white sambucca
1/3 cup sugar

what to do
Meanwhile, place the berries in a pan with the sugar and sambucca. Stir over low heat for 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

To serve place berries in the bottom of a tall glass and top with the warn Zabaglione, dust with greshly grated cinimon.

olive tapanade

what you need
2 cups good-quality kalamata olives, pitted
4 anchovies, drained
1/2 small garlic clove, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
·1/2 lemon, juiced

what to do
Place olives, anchovies, garlic and capers in a small food processor. Process until mixture is almost smooth. With the motor running, slowly add 2 tablespoons oil, in a thin steady stream, until mixture forms a thick, smooth paste (adding oil slowly prevents the tapenade from separating).
Transfer tapenade to a small bowl. Stir in 2 teaspoons lemon juice, or more if desired.
Season with pepper. Transfer to a sterilised glass jar or container. Pour remaining 2 teaspoons oil over tapenade to cover surface. Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Friday, March 20, 2009

braised beef cheeks

what you need
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 (12-oz) beef cheeks, trimmed of excess fat
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1/2 celery rib, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups red wine (preferably a dry Lambrusco or Chianti)
1 lge can whole tomatoes including juice, chopped (3 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

what to do
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof wide heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. While oil is heating, pat beef cheeks dry and season with salt and pepper. Brown beef, without crowding, on all sides, about 20 minutes total, and transfer with tongs to a bowl. Pour off fat from pot, then add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and cook onion, carrot, and celery over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Stir cocoa powder into vegetable mixture, then add wine and scrape up any brown bits. Increase heat to high and boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
Return cheeks (with any juices) to pot and add tomatoes with juice, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then braise, covered, in middle of oven until very tender, for about 3 hours.
Once cooked I prefer to strain the sauce and remove all the vegetables, great served with either, polenta, mash or shreaded with fresh pasta

grilled polenta

what you need
8 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups polenta/yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup grated Parmesan
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Olive oil

what to do
Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal in a slow steady stream. Lower heat and continue to whisk until the polenta is thick and smooth, about 20 minutes. Add the cream and butter and continue to stir until incorporated. Remove from heat, fold in Parmesan and black pepper. Pour the polenta into a buttered 9 by 13-inch shallow baking dish and spread evenly with a spatula. Cover and chill a few hours. Cut the polenta into squares.
Brush both sides with olive oil and transfer to a hot grill. Grill on both sides until golden brown.

Polenta is best served with and dish containing sauce to soak up, such as osso bucco, goulash or even top with a good tomato sauce and freshly grated pecorino cheese, or as of a part of a antipasto platter

gluten free pasta

This pasta is made from amaranth flour which is milled from the seeds of the amaranth plant, this flour boasts a higher percentage of protein than most other grains, and has more fiber than wheat and rice. It is also higher in the amino acid lysine, which some food scientists believe makes it a more complete protein than flour made from other grains. Amaranth flour can be used in cookies, crackers, baking mixes, and cereals. Amaranth flour should be available in most health food store.

what you need
225g/8oz Amaranth flour
125g/5oz Tapioca Flour
1 Egg
1 tbsp Walnut Oil
1-2 tablespoons Water

what to do
Sift together the flours into a large mixing bowl.
Make a well in the centre then add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. until smooth and elastic.
Cover with clingfilm and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
Roll out thinly and cut into whatever pasta shape you require.
Cook in boiling water for 3-4 minutes and toss through your sauce

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Abruzzese style spaghetti with garlic and oil

what you need
500 grams of spaghetti
125 ml olive oil
whole garlic clove
4-5 anchovies (optional)
fresh oregano choppede
1 small chilli
10 grams parsley, chopped

what to do
Put the oil into a large fry pan, heat and gently fry one whole garlic clove. As soon as the garlic colours lightly, take it out and put in the anchovies which have been cleaned and chopped. Let this flavour over a very low heat, stirring the anchovies with a wooden spoon till they become a pulp.
When the anchovies are completely mush, add a pinch of oregano and at the last moment a good piece of chilli and a spoon of finely chopped parsley.
Cook the pasta al dente in a big pot of salted, rapidly boiling water. Follow cooking instructions on packet (most timing instructions on commercial spaghetti packets are quite accurate) then drain in a colander. Toss through the sauce and serve immediately into heated bowls. Top with extra parsley

Monday, March 9, 2009

osso bucco

Osso buco is a regional dish from Piedmont, Italy, traditionally made using veal shanks, which are sometimes sold as 'osso buco' in supermarkets. The marrow in the shanks is what gives them that rich flavour.

what you need
1/2 cup plain flour
8 (175g each) veal shanks
1/2 cup olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup white wine
400g can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
2 dried bay leaves
soft polenta, to serve

what to do
Preheat oven to 150°C. Sprinkle flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper.
Coat both sides veal in flour, shaking off excess. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook shanks, in batches, for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until lightly browned. Transfer to a 4-litre capacity ovenproof dish.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 7 to 8 minutes or until soft. Increase heat to high. Add wine and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, stock, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to the boil. Pour over veal. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Uncover and cook for a further 30 minutes or until veal is very tender and sauce reduces slightly. Remove bay leaves.

Serve on soft polenta or creamy mash potatoes

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Grissini are pencil-sized sticks of crispy, dry bread originating in Turin and the surrounding area in Italy. They are originally thought to have been created in the 14th century; according to a local tradition, they would be instead invented by a baker in northern Italy in 1679.

The original recipe, grissino torinese (as still made in Turin), differs from the modern version in that it is thicker, longer, hand-made, often twisted and has a more bread-like texture. The most popular variations are named grissino stirato (straight) and grissino rubatà (hand-rolled).
Grissini are a must with antipasto, try wraping traditional hams and continental meats around them before eating.
what you need
623 g flour
397 g water at room temperature·
6.5 g (2 tsp) instant yeast
9 g (1.5 tsp) salt
28 g (2 Tsp) olive oil
topping of your choice (I used a mixture of seasalt and cracked pepper)

what to do
Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a large food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
Combine the water and olive oil in a liquid measuring cup. With the processor running, add the liquid to the dry ingredients in a steady stream.
Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 90 seconds.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled container. Cover the container and let the dough ferment at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 1.5 – 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350F. A baking stone and steam are not needed.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

peach pickle

Try this pickle alongside roast pork, duck or chicken and you won’t be sorry. It would also go perfectly with a salad of grilled chicken, extra-virgin olive oil-dressed rocket leaves and a good scattering of pecorino or crumble of feta

what you need
500 ml (2 cups) white wine vinegar
375 ml (1½ cups) red wine vinegar
330 gm (1½ cups) caster sugar
10 cloves
6 juniper berries
3 fresh bay leaves
9 firm, ripe peaches, cut into wedges

what to do
Combine vinegars, sugar, spices, bay leaves and 2 tsp sea salt in a saucepan. Stir occasionally over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil over high heat, add peaches and cook for 1 minute, then transfer peaches to sterilised jars with a slotted spoon. Pour in syrup, seal jars, stand until cooled, then store in refrigerator. Peach pickle will keep refrigerated for 2-3 weeks after opening.