Tag Archives: italian recipe

Pasta, Prawn and Apple Salad


Today, I am going to write about a simple yet stylish recipe, that is just right for a hot summer day. So keep it in mind when is hot outside. I got this from a book I keep mentioning here, “Good Housekeeping Cookery Book” – 1985. All you need is love, pasta, prawn and apples. You can find these in your heart, on the shelves of a supermarket and for the first thing you don’t need money. For the rest, well, you can always ask a friend or your neighbour or your mum. So, you need very little. 😉 Ready, steady, cook

Pasta, Prawn and Apple Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 175 g (6 oz) pasta shells
  • 150 ml (1/2 pint) unsweetened apple juice
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) chopped fresh mint
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) white wine vinegar (you can use fresh lemon juice instead)
  • 225 g (8 oz) peeled prawns
  • 2 crisp dessert apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • lettuce leaves
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika, to garnish

Method:

  • Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 6-12 minutes until tender or according to the instructions. Drain well, rinse in cold running water and drain again.
  • Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk together the apple juice, mint, vinegar and seasoning.
  • Dry the prawns with absorbent kitchen paper. Quarter, core and roughly chop the apples. Stir the prawns, apple and cooked pasta into the dressing until well mixed. Cover tightly with cling film (or aluminium foil or just a lid for ecological purposes) and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  • Wash the lettuce leaves, dry and shred finely. Arrange the lettuce in a bowl and spoon the prawn salad on top. Sprinkle with paprika. Now, share the bowl and enjoy the food. x

Bon appetite!

Biscuits With Love


Today I would love to eat some homemade biscuits. I will not cook them though as I am not in the mood. Would there anyone make them for me? Mum? Anyone? Lol. At least I can describe the way I make them. With love, of course. This is the main ingredient. I am afraid I didn’t write down on the printed recipe, the name of the book I took it from. If anyone knows it, please, write to me. I am concentrating in visualising the biscuits. I made them a few times and I loved them every time. I could eat them all and because the recipe here gives me just a few biscuits, I double the ingredients and I have to my heart’s desire. Yummy! Here they are:

Soft biscotti with chocolate

Biscotti morbidi con cioccolata

Serves 10

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 250 g plain flour
  • 65 g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 100 g chocolate chunks or roughly chopped plain chocolate (use a good one, of at least 70% cocoa)
  • 150 g pistachio nuts
  • 100 g butter, softened
  • 225 g unrefined golden caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs, at room temperature

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180˚C/ 350˚F, gas mark 4.
  • Grease a baking sheet with a little butter and dust lightly with a little of the flour.
  • Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, chocolate chunks and pistachio nuts in a bowl.
  • In another bowl, beat together the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until well combined.
  • Stir in the flour mixture until it forms a stiff dough. Place the dough on the baking sheet and press onto shape until it is 30 cm long and 10 cm wide.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when you insert it into the biscotti. Remove and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Place on a wire rack and leave to cool to room temperature. Slice into thick fingers and serve with coffee or vin santo.

Bon appetite!

Courgette Rice With Feta & Olives


This is the last day of July and I would love to end it with a recipe. Especially because I was a bit idle these days, I wasn’t in the mood of writing almost anything. But I will do my best now and put into English my last recipe that was in Romanian. Let me tell you a little about this recipe. As you are already accustomed now, there is a story behind the recipe. I was at my sister’s house and I wanted to impress her with my cooking skills. My sister is very conservative in cooking and she has her tastes, as we all do. I asked her if she had tried a risotto before. She said no. So then, I would make  one for her and her husband to taste and see for themselves how they liked it. I searched the Internet on one of my favorite sites, www.bcgoodfood.com and there I found the recipe. It contained one of my favorite vegetables, courgettes or zucchini. Perfect, I said to myself. It didn’t have meat as well, so it was a very healthy and light dish for a hot summer day. I worked hard but in the end I failed to impress. My sister is just not into rice or anything not-meaty. In my humble opinion, it is a very delicious dish and I would make it anytime. But it is not for everybody. There are people who would hate it and there are people who would love it. So, there you go! 😉 De gustibus non est disputandum.

But in spite of that, for those who would like to try it, here is the recipe, adapted so that it can be made anywhere. I tell you why. In Romania, for example, courgettes are quite expensive and rare in the supermarkets so they can be replaced with another squash that you can find in large amounts everywhere in the summer time. And so on.

Courgette Rice With Feta & Olives

Serves 4

Ready in 25-35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 100 g feta cheese, crumbled (or fat cow cheese that you can find fresh at the market)
  • handful of pitted black olives , roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped (this is the best but if it is winter and you can’t find fresh, try dry or may be you put some fresh ones in the freezer)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 courgettes, roughly sliced (or other squash)
  • 250 g risotto rice , such as arborio
  • 1 l hot vegetable stock (if you don’t have this stock, try boiled water but it will ruin a lot of the taste)
  • 140 g petits pois (or go with peas, fresh or frozen)

Method:

  • Mix together the feta, olives, parsley and 2 tbsp of the olive oil.
  • Heat remaining oil in a large, deep pan. Tip in onion, sizzle gently for 5 minutes until softened. Add courgettes, soften for a couple of minutes, then stir in rice.
  • Pour in a ladleful of stock and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add another ladle of stock and repeat until all the stock has been used, adding petit pois a couple of minutes before the last ladle. If you use peas, put them a little more ahead as they take longer to soften. Simmer until rice is tender and juices creamy. Ladle into bowls, then scatter over feta and olive crumble.

Bon appetite!

Beautiful Italy


Zucchini alla ricotta

Zucchini alla ricotta 

Zucchini alla ricotta

Zucchini alla ricotta my way

Do you want something light, tasty, easy and delicious for a hot summer day? Go for an Italian recipe. Try my suggestion: courgettes stuffed with ricotta or as Italians would say: Zucchini alla Ricotta.

I would eat this meal quite often, if you ask me. Contrary to that, I have made it only twice so far. Once in London, once in Romania. So there is enough time to make it in the near future. My inspiration is in a book I have written about  it here: “Good Housekeeping All Colour Party Cook Book” 1992.

I would also add another recipe for a home-made sauce. This sauce works with everything, from pasta, pizza to this recipe. So you must make it too, but don’t worry, it is very easy.

Let’s get to  work, pardon me, to read. 😉

Zucchini alla Ricotta

(Courgettes stuffed with Ricotta)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 even-sized courgettes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, skinned and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, skinned and crushed
  • 175 g (6 oz) Ricotta cheese (if you don’t have Ricotta, try a fresh cheese)
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 3 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
  • fresh basil sprigs, to garnish
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper

For the quick tomato sauce:

  • 397 g (14 oz) can tomatoes
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 1 small onion, skinned and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, skinned and crushed (optional)
  • pinch of dried basil
  • pinch of sugar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Method:

  • Score the courgettes length-ways with the prongs of a fork, then cut them in half lengthways.
  • Scoop out the flesh from the courgette halves with a sharp-edged teaspoon. Leave a thin margin of flesh next to the skin and make sure not to scoop out all the flesh from the bottoms or the skin may break.
  • Blanch the courgette shells in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain, then stand skin side up on absorbent paper.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion, garlic and scooped-out flesh from the courgettes. Fry gently for about 5 minutes until soft and lightly coloured, then turn into a bowl and add the Ricotta, basil, salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.
  • Spoon the Ricotta filling into the drained courgette shells, dividing it equally between them.
  • Make the sauce now. The recipe says 300 ml but this sauce makes about 450 ml (3/4 pint). But as they say, there is never enough sauce, so use it all. So, put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If you don’t have either of these, try mash everything or just add them directly to a saucepan. The sauce is perfectly fine like this too.
  • Heat in a saucepan for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened.
  • Pour the tomato sauce into the bottom of a shallow ovenproof dish which is large enough to hold the courgettes in a single layer. Place the filled courgettes in the dish side by side. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
  • Bake in the oven at 200°C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with fresh basil sprigs.

Bon appetite!

Tortellini With Mushroom Cream Sauce


I am not in the mood for writing anything today. That is why I will be short. The recipe I have chosen is a very tasty and fragrant one. It is that good that you will empty your plate at once. I bet on that. So let’s eat some

Tortellini With Mushroom Cream Sauce

Time: 18 min

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 185 g (6 oz) small mushrooms
  • 1 small lemon
  • 60 g (2 oz) butter ( you know already, 80-82 % fat)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 300 ml (9 1/2 fl oz) cream
  • black pepper
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 500 g (1 lb ) cooked tortellini, drained and kept warm

Method:

  • Slice the whole mushrooms finely. Grate the lemon rind finely. Melt the butter in a medium-sized pan and cook the mushrooms over medium heat for 30 seconds.
  • Add the garlic, cream, lemon rind, freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg. Stir over low heat for 1-2 minutes. Stir through the grated Parmesan cheese and cook gently for 3 minutes further.
  • Place the cooked tortellini in a warm serving dish. Add the sauce and stir gently to combine well. Serve immediately.

Bon Appetite!

This dish is perfect, easy and sooo delicious. I picked it up from the cookbook “Confident Cooking – Classic Essential Pasta”, 1996. In case you have it, don’t look here! 😉