Mamma Che Fame!

Marvellous Crunchy Veggie Crisps!
Usually I’m not into overly healthy stuff but since I got a dehydrator I found out that you can obtain a crispy and delicious texture without having to fry.
Veggie crisps are especially yummy and they are fun to play around with. 
Two tips: make sure to cut the vegetables in very thin slices and to mildly season them before drying in order to avoid sogginess.
This time I prepared:
-Ultra crunchy beetroots with tarragon, salt and extra virgin olive oil
-Light and savoury zucchini with yeast flakes, rosemary and extra virgin olive oil (yeast flakes give an unexpected “cheesy” flavour)
-Sweet and mildly spicy radish with cinnamon, golden syrup and walnut oil (you can use honey or agave syrup instead)
I can’t give an universal dehydrating timing for these chips because I noticed that it can change depending on your tools. You can also use an oven instead of a dehydrator, just sei it at a very low temperature and dry for quite a long time.

Enjoy!

Update!

Since last time I’ve been in a dehydrating frenzy: I made another batch of zucchini (this time summer squash), a tray of kale and I also tried to work with savoy cabbage (it’s quite chilly in Norway so you can still find these winter veggies). Kale is the superstar of veggie crisps: it’s so crispy and tasty that even my husband loves it. On the other hand I was surprised by the results I obtained with savoy cabbage, so much that I think it became my new personal favourite.
Here are my seasoning tips:
-Summer Squash with extra virgin olive oil, mixed herbs (rosemary, sage and thyme), salt and lemon zest. The lemon makes it super fresh!
-Kale with extra virgin olive oil, salt, tomato paste (double concentrate), grated garlic, yeast flakes and oregano.
-Savoy cabbage with extra virgin olive oil, korean chili flakes (lately I became a kimchi junkie so I’m using it everywhere but feel free to use any kind of chili you like), grated garlic and salt.


Enjoy!Marvellous Crunchy Veggie Crisps!
Usually I’m not into overly healthy stuff but since I got a dehydrator I found out that you can obtain a crispy and delicious texture without having to fry.
Veggie crisps are especially yummy and they are fun to play around with. 
Two tips: make sure to cut the vegetables in very thin slices and to mildly season them before drying in order to avoid sogginess.
This time I prepared:
-Ultra crunchy beetroots with tarragon, salt and extra virgin olive oil
-Light and savoury zucchini with yeast flakes, rosemary and extra virgin olive oil (yeast flakes give an unexpected “cheesy” flavour)
-Sweet and mildly spicy radish with cinnamon, golden syrup and walnut oil (you can use honey or agave syrup instead)
I can’t give an universal dehydrating timing for these chips because I noticed that it can change depending on your tools. You can also use an oven instead of a dehydrator, just sei it at a very low temperature and dry for quite a long time.

Enjoy!

Update!

Since last time I’ve been in a dehydrating frenzy: I made another batch of zucchini (this time summer squash), a tray of kale and I also tried to work with savoy cabbage (it’s quite chilly in Norway so you can still find these winter veggies). Kale is the superstar of veggie crisps: it’s so crispy and tasty that even my husband loves it. On the other hand I was surprised by the results I obtained with savoy cabbage, so much that I think it became my new personal favourite.
Here are my seasoning tips:
-Summer Squash with extra virgin olive oil, mixed herbs (rosemary, sage and thyme), salt and lemon zest. The lemon makes it super fresh!
-Kale with extra virgin olive oil, salt, tomato paste (double concentrate), grated garlic, yeast flakes and oregano.
-Savoy cabbage with extra virgin olive oil, korean chili flakes (lately I became a kimchi junkie so I’m using it everywhere but feel free to use any kind of chili you like), grated garlic and salt.


Enjoy!Marvellous Crunchy Veggie Crisps!
Usually I’m not into overly healthy stuff but since I got a dehydrator I found out that you can obtain a crispy and delicious texture without having to fry.
Veggie crisps are especially yummy and they are fun to play around with. 
Two tips: make sure to cut the vegetables in very thin slices and to mildly season them before drying in order to avoid sogginess.
This time I prepared:
-Ultra crunchy beetroots with tarragon, salt and extra virgin olive oil
-Light and savoury zucchini with yeast flakes, rosemary and extra virgin olive oil (yeast flakes give an unexpected “cheesy” flavour)
-Sweet and mildly spicy radish with cinnamon, golden syrup and walnut oil (you can use honey or agave syrup instead)
I can’t give an universal dehydrating timing for these chips because I noticed that it can change depending on your tools. You can also use an oven instead of a dehydrator, just sei it at a very low temperature and dry for quite a long time.

Enjoy!

Update!

Since last time I’ve been in a dehydrating frenzy: I made another batch of zucchini (this time summer squash), a tray of kale and I also tried to work with savoy cabbage (it’s quite chilly in Norway so you can still find these winter veggies). Kale is the superstar of veggie crisps: it’s so crispy and tasty that even my husband loves it. On the other hand I was surprised by the results I obtained with savoy cabbage, so much that I think it became my new personal favourite.
Here are my seasoning tips:
-Summer Squash with extra virgin olive oil, mixed herbs (rosemary, sage and thyme), salt and lemon zest. The lemon makes it super fresh!
-Kale with extra virgin olive oil, salt, tomato paste (double concentrate), grated garlic, yeast flakes and oregano.
-Savoy cabbage with extra virgin olive oil, korean chili flakes (lately I became a kimchi junkie so I’m using it everywhere but feel free to use any kind of chili you like), grated garlic and salt.


Enjoy!Marvellous Crunchy Veggie Crisps!
Usually I’m not into overly healthy stuff but since I got a dehydrator I found out that you can obtain a crispy and delicious texture without having to fry.
Veggie crisps are especially yummy and they are fun to play around with. 
Two tips: make sure to cut the vegetables in very thin slices and to mildly season them before drying in order to avoid sogginess.
This time I prepared:
-Ultra crunchy beetroots with tarragon, salt and extra virgin olive oil
-Light and savoury zucchini with yeast flakes, rosemary and extra virgin olive oil (yeast flakes give an unexpected “cheesy” flavour)
-Sweet and mildly spicy radish with cinnamon, golden syrup and walnut oil (you can use honey or agave syrup instead)
I can’t give an universal dehydrating timing for these chips because I noticed that it can change depending on your tools. You can also use an oven instead of a dehydrator, just sei it at a very low temperature and dry for quite a long time.

Enjoy!

Update!

Since last time I’ve been in a dehydrating frenzy: I made another batch of zucchini (this time summer squash), a tray of kale and I also tried to work with savoy cabbage (it’s quite chilly in Norway so you can still find these winter veggies). Kale is the superstar of veggie crisps: it’s so crispy and tasty that even my husband loves it. On the other hand I was surprised by the results I obtained with savoy cabbage, so much that I think it became my new personal favourite.
Here are my seasoning tips:
-Summer Squash with extra virgin olive oil, mixed herbs (rosemary, sage and thyme), salt and lemon zest. The lemon makes it super fresh!
-Kale with extra virgin olive oil, salt, tomato paste (double concentrate), grated garlic, yeast flakes and oregano.
-Savoy cabbage with extra virgin olive oil, korean chili flakes (lately I became a kimchi junkie so I’m using it everywhere but feel free to use any kind of chili you like), grated garlic and salt.


Enjoy!Marvellous Crunchy Veggie Crisps!
Usually I’m not into overly healthy stuff but since I got a dehydrator I found out that you can obtain a crispy and delicious texture without having to fry.
Veggie crisps are especially yummy and they are fun to play around with. 
Two tips: make sure to cut the vegetables in very thin slices and to mildly season them before drying in order to avoid sogginess.
This time I prepared:
-Ultra crunchy beetroots with tarragon, salt and extra virgin olive oil
-Light and savoury zucchini with yeast flakes, rosemary and extra virgin olive oil (yeast flakes give an unexpected “cheesy” flavour)
-Sweet and mildly spicy radish with cinnamon, golden syrup and walnut oil (you can use honey or agave syrup instead)
I can’t give an universal dehydrating timing for these chips because I noticed that it can change depending on your tools. You can also use an oven instead of a dehydrator, just sei it at a very low temperature and dry for quite a long time.

Enjoy!

Update!

Since last time I’ve been in a dehydrating frenzy: I made another batch of zucchini (this time summer squash), a tray of kale and I also tried to work with savoy cabbage (it’s quite chilly in Norway so you can still find these winter veggies). Kale is the superstar of veggie crisps: it’s so crispy and tasty that even my husband loves it. On the other hand I was surprised by the results I obtained with savoy cabbage, so much that I think it became my new personal favourite.
Here are my seasoning tips:
-Summer Squash with extra virgin olive oil, mixed herbs (rosemary, sage and thyme), salt and lemon zest. The lemon makes it super fresh!
-Kale with extra virgin olive oil, salt, tomato paste (double concentrate), grated garlic, yeast flakes and oregano.
-Savoy cabbage with extra virgin olive oil, korean chili flakes (lately I became a kimchi junkie so I’m using it everywhere but feel free to use any kind of chili you like), grated garlic and salt.


Enjoy!Marvellous Crunchy Veggie Crisps!
Usually I’m not into overly healthy stuff but since I got a dehydrator I found out that you can obtain a crispy and delicious texture without having to fry.
Veggie crisps are especially yummy and they are fun to play around with. 
Two tips: make sure to cut the vegetables in very thin slices and to mildly season them before drying in order to avoid sogginess.
This time I prepared:
-Ultra crunchy beetroots with tarragon, salt and extra virgin olive oil
-Light and savoury zucchini with yeast flakes, rosemary and extra virgin olive oil (yeast flakes give an unexpected “cheesy” flavour)
-Sweet and mildly spicy radish with cinnamon, golden syrup and walnut oil (you can use honey or agave syrup instead)
I can’t give an universal dehydrating timing for these chips because I noticed that it can change depending on your tools. You can also use an oven instead of a dehydrator, just sei it at a very low temperature and dry for quite a long time.

Enjoy!

Update!

Since last time I’ve been in a dehydrating frenzy: I made another batch of zucchini (this time summer squash), a tray of kale and I also tried to work with savoy cabbage (it’s quite chilly in Norway so you can still find these winter veggies). Kale is the superstar of veggie crisps: it’s so crispy and tasty that even my husband loves it. On the other hand I was surprised by the results I obtained with savoy cabbage, so much that I think it became my new personal favourite.
Here are my seasoning tips:
-Summer Squash with extra virgin olive oil, mixed herbs (rosemary, sage and thyme), salt and lemon zest. The lemon makes it super fresh!
-Kale with extra virgin olive oil, salt, tomato paste (double concentrate), grated garlic, yeast flakes and oregano.
-Savoy cabbage with extra virgin olive oil, korean chili flakes (lately I became a kimchi junkie so I’m using it everywhere but feel free to use any kind of chili you like), grated garlic and salt.


Enjoy!Marvellous Crunchy Veggie Crisps!
Usually I’m not into overly healthy stuff but since I got a dehydrator I found out that you can obtain a crispy and delicious texture without having to fry.
Veggie crisps are especially yummy and they are fun to play around with. 
Two tips: make sure to cut the vegetables in very thin slices and to mildly season them before drying in order to avoid sogginess.
This time I prepared:
-Ultra crunchy beetroots with tarragon, salt and extra virgin olive oil
-Light and savoury zucchini with yeast flakes, rosemary and extra virgin olive oil (yeast flakes give an unexpected “cheesy” flavour)
-Sweet and mildly spicy radish with cinnamon, golden syrup and walnut oil (you can use honey or agave syrup instead)
I can’t give an universal dehydrating timing for these chips because I noticed that it can change depending on your tools. You can also use an oven instead of a dehydrator, just sei it at a very low temperature and dry for quite a long time.

Enjoy!

Update!

Since last time I’ve been in a dehydrating frenzy: I made another batch of zucchini (this time summer squash), a tray of kale and I also tried to work with savoy cabbage (it’s quite chilly in Norway so you can still find these winter veggies). Kale is the superstar of veggie crisps: it’s so crispy and tasty that even my husband loves it. On the other hand I was surprised by the results I obtained with savoy cabbage, so much that I think it became my new personal favourite.
Here are my seasoning tips:
-Summer Squash with extra virgin olive oil, mixed herbs (rosemary, sage and thyme), salt and lemon zest. The lemon makes it super fresh!
-Kale with extra virgin olive oil, salt, tomato paste (double concentrate), grated garlic, yeast flakes and oregano.
-Savoy cabbage with extra virgin olive oil, korean chili flakes (lately I became a kimchi junkie so I’m using it everywhere but feel free to use any kind of chili you like), grated garlic and salt.


Enjoy!Marvellous Crunchy Veggie Crisps!
Usually I’m not into overly healthy stuff but since I got a dehydrator I found out that you can obtain a crispy and delicious texture without having to fry.
Veggie crisps are especially yummy and they are fun to play around with. 
Two tips: make sure to cut the vegetables in very thin slices and to mildly season them before drying in order to avoid sogginess.
This time I prepared:
-Ultra crunchy beetroots with tarragon, salt and extra virgin olive oil
-Light and savoury zucchini with yeast flakes, rosemary and extra virgin olive oil (yeast flakes give an unexpected “cheesy” flavour)
-Sweet and mildly spicy radish with cinnamon, golden syrup and walnut oil (you can use honey or agave syrup instead)
I can’t give an universal dehydrating timing for these chips because I noticed that it can change depending on your tools. You can also use an oven instead of a dehydrator, just sei it at a very low temperature and dry for quite a long time.

Enjoy!

Update!

Since last time I’ve been in a dehydrating frenzy: I made another batch of zucchini (this time summer squash), a tray of kale and I also tried to work with savoy cabbage (it’s quite chilly in Norway so you can still find these winter veggies). Kale is the superstar of veggie crisps: it’s so crispy and tasty that even my husband loves it. On the other hand I was surprised by the results I obtained with savoy cabbage, so much that I think it became my new personal favourite.
Here are my seasoning tips:
-Summer Squash with extra virgin olive oil, mixed herbs (rosemary, sage and thyme), salt and lemon zest. The lemon makes it super fresh!
-Kale with extra virgin olive oil, salt, tomato paste (double concentrate), grated garlic, yeast flakes and oregano.
-Savoy cabbage with extra virgin olive oil, korean chili flakes (lately I became a kimchi junkie so I’m using it everywhere but feel free to use any kind of chili you like), grated garlic and salt.


Enjoy!

Marvellous Crunchy Veggie Crisps!

Usually I’m not into overly healthy stuff but since I got a dehydrator I found out that you can obtain a crispy and delicious texture without having to fry.

Veggie crisps are especially yummy and they are fun to play around with. 

Two tips: make sure to cut the vegetables in very thin slices and to mildly season them before drying in order to avoid sogginess.

This time I prepared:

-Ultra crunchy beetroots with tarragon, salt and extra virgin olive oil

-Light and savoury zucchini with yeast flakes, rosemary and extra virgin olive oil (yeast flakes give an unexpected “cheesy” flavour)

-Sweet and mildly spicy radish with cinnamon, golden syrup and walnut oil (you can use honey or agave syrup instead)

I can’t give an universal dehydrating timing for these chips because I noticed that it can change depending on your tools. You can also use an oven instead of a dehydrator, just sei it at a very low temperature and dry for quite a long time.

Enjoy!

Update!

Since last time I’ve been in a dehydrating frenzy: I made another batch of zucchini (this time summer squash), a tray of kale and I also tried to work with savoy cabbage (it’s quite chilly in Norway so you can still find these winter veggies). 
Kale is the superstar of veggie crisps: it’s so crispy and tasty that even my husband loves it. 
On the other hand I was surprised by the results I obtained with savoy cabbage, so much that I think it became my new personal favourite.

Here are my seasoning tips:

-Summer Squash with extra virgin olive oil, mixed herbs (rosemary, sage and thyme), salt and lemon zest. The lemon makes it super fresh!

-Kale with extra virgin olive oil, salt, tomato paste (double concentrate), grated garlic, yeast flakes and oregano.

-Savoy cabbage with extra virgin olive oil, korean chili flakes (lately I became a kimchi junkie so I’m using it everywhere but feel free to use any kind of chili you like), grated garlic and salt.

Enjoy!


Drunk and Spicy Candied Bacon


Bacon is sooo 2012, but can you really get sick of it? I don’t.  There are lot of version of this recipe and I chose to write about the boozy one. I didn’t include quantities because it’s not necessary and you can customize as you please. Behold the power of the Drunk and Spicy Candied Bacon!

As much bacon as you like (Norwegian friends, use Villmarksbacon!)
Enough whiskey to marinate your bacon
Light brown sugar to coat the stripes of bacon
Cayenne pepper 
Black pepper
Powdered onion
Maldon Salt
Marinate the bacon overnight in your whiskey of choice (I used Canadian Club).
Drip the bacon and turn on your oven at 175 °C.
In the meantime mix sugar with spices (except for salt) and coat the stripes evenly.
Put the bacon on the racks and cook for around 20 minutes or until the borders are brown and the center is crispy.
Remember to put something like an aluminium foil under the rack in order to collect fat and melted sugar that surely will drop.

When ready sprinkle with salt, let it cool and serve. 

Buon appetito! View Larger

Drunk and Spicy Candied Bacon

Bacon is sooo 2012, but can you really get sick of it? I don’t.  There are lot of version of this recipe and I chose to write about the boozy one. I didn’t include quantities because it’s not necessary and you can customize as you please. Behold the power of the Drunk and Spicy Candied Bacon!

  • As much bacon as you like (Norwegian friends, use Villmarksbacon!)
  • Enough whiskey to marinate your bacon
  • Light brown sugar to coat the stripes of bacon
  • Cayenne pepper 
  • Black pepper
  • Powdered onion
  • Maldon Salt

Marinate the bacon overnight in your whiskey of choice (I used Canadian Club).

Drip the bacon and turn on your oven at 175 °C.

In the meantime mix sugar with spices (except for salt) and coat the stripes evenly.

Put the bacon on the racks and cook for around 20 minutes or until the borders are brown and the center is crispy.

Remember to put something like an aluminium foil under the rack in order to collect fat and melted sugar that surely will drop.

When ready sprinkle with salt, let it cool and serve. 

Buon appetito!


Rigatoni con la Coda alla Vaccinara alla Maniera di Ada Boni (Old School Roman Ox Tail Stew with Rigatoni)

I know I promised to be more frequent with my posts but stuff happened in the meantime.
I moved to a new place, I broke all my good plates (that’s why you see a tiny bowl in the picture) and I was generally submerged by other things. I hope you’re all well and up for some more tasty Italian recipes.
Today’s recipe is a milestone of the Italian tradition: Coda alla Vaccinara.
I followed the instructions of a very respected keeper of Rome’s culinary culture: Ada Boni.
This woman wasn’t a professional but thanks to her passion she collected the core of Roman cuisine’s tradition in a couple of books released by the end of the 1920’s.
Her work is still considered as a sort of Bible in the matter so there’s no better source if you want to cook this kind of stuff.
Roman cooking is straight to the point and badass: the ingredients are seasonal and “poor”, the pairings rustic and the portions abundant.
It’s the total opposite of modern fancy cooking as it’s honest, heartwarming, super yummy and “real” food.
Eating a traditional Roman dishes is a bit like leaping back in 1800’s Italy, when being poor meant you had to adapt and using creativity to put together nutrient and satisfying food with whatever was available. 
Maybe the idea of eating the tail of an animal can gross you out if it’s not in your culture but it’s well worth to try: it’s delicious, cheap and it proves that offal deserves our respect too.
The original recipe doesn’t specify quantities so I’m just reporting the amounts I used. With this setting me and my husband had a rich dinner and a good plate of pasta the following day.
To make a good old Coda alla Vaccinara you’ll need:

Strutto (creamy lard obtained from pork fat), one spoonful 
Lard (the pancetta-like one), finely minced
1 big yellow onion, finely diced
1 big carrot, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Parsley
1,5 kg Ox tail cut and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
Half a glass of red wine (there’s no need to use a fancy one)
Warm water
2 spoonfuls of tomato concentrate
6 celery stalks cut crosswise in 5 cm chunks, blanched and set aside (this is MANDATORY)
Melt strutto in a large pan on low fire.
When it’s transparent add the lard (neither of them should fry for now, so be careful with the temperature) and let it cook until it dissolves.
I used Lardo Di Colonnata cause it comes from my husband’s hometown and it’s tasty as hell, but any kind of lard will do.
Gently raise the flame and add onion, carrot, garlic and celery. 
Stir until they soften up and the onion gets a blonde tan.
Raise the flame again to medium/high fire and add the oxtail, salt and pepper.
Cook the tail until it becomes golden brown and then add the wine.
Let it simmer until the alcohol evaporates. 
Add the tomato paste, stir and finally cover with the warm water.
Set the flame at a very low fire and find something to do in the meantime because this will take a few hours.
Tradition dictates that Coda alla Vaccinara should cook for about six hours and stirred from time to time.
When only 30 minutes of cooking time are left boil a bowl of salted water and blanche the celery for one minute ca. (save this water for a mischievous project I’ll explain later).
Add the celery to the ox tail mix (which should be dark and thick by now) for the last ten minutes. 

Now your Coda alla Vaccinara is ready. 
Enjoy it with a generous glass of wine.
For maximum debauchery you could boil the water from the celeries and cook some Rigatoni in it then stir them in with part of the ox tails and their sauce. This way you’ll obtain one of the tastier pasta dishes ever to go along your Coda.
Trust me, the extra effort is worth it. You can also prepare this pasta the day after (this is what I did: I ate the Coda in the evening and it was too dark to take pictures so I waited for the next day for a good bowl of pasta).
Traditionally Coda alla Vaccinara is made with ox tails and cheeks (gaffi) but I didn’t find the latter (Oslo people: if you know where I can find them contact me!). Anyway cooking something that was on a face together with something near the arse says a lot about Roman spirit.

Buon appetito! 

Rigatoni con la Coda alla Vaccinara alla Maniera di Ada Boni (Old School Roman Ox Tail Stew with Rigatoni)

I know I promised to be more frequent with my posts but stuff happened in the meantime.

I moved to a new place, I broke all my good plates (that’s why you see a tiny bowl in the picture) and I was generally submerged by other things. I hope you’re all well and up for some more tasty Italian recipes.

Today’s recipe is a milestone of the Italian tradition: Coda alla Vaccinara.

I followed the instructions of a very respected keeper of Rome’s culinary culture: Ada Boni.

This woman wasn’t a professional but thanks to her passion she collected the core of Roman cuisine’s tradition in a couple of books released by the end of the 1920’s.

Her work is still considered as a sort of Bible in the matter so there’s no better source if you want to cook this kind of stuff.

Roman cooking is straight to the point and badass: the ingredients are seasonal and “poor”, the pairings rustic and the portions abundant.

It’s the total opposite of modern fancy cooking as it’s honest, heartwarming, super yummy and “real” food.

Eating a traditional Roman dishes is a bit like leaping back in 1800’s Italy, when being poor meant you had to adapt and using creativity to put together nutrient and satisfying food with whatever was available. 

Maybe the idea of eating the tail of an animal can gross you out if it’s not in your culture but it’s well worth to try: it’s delicious, cheap and it proves that offal deserves our respect too.

The original recipe doesn’t specify quantities so I’m just reporting the amounts I used. With this setting me and my husband had a rich dinner and a good plate of pasta the following day.

To make a good old Coda alla Vaccinara you’ll need:

  • Strutto (creamy lard obtained from pork fat), one spoonful 
  • Lard (the pancetta-like one), finely minced
  • 1 big yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 big carrot, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • Parsley
  • 1,5 kg Ox tail cut and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Half a glass of red wine (there’s no need to use a fancy one)
  • Warm water
  • 2 spoonfuls of tomato concentrate
  • 6 celery stalks cut crosswise in 5 cm chunks, blanched and set aside (this is MANDATORY)

Melt strutto in a large pan on low fire.

When it’s transparent add the lard (neither of them should fry for now, so be careful with the temperature) and let it cook until it dissolves.

I used Lardo Di Colonnata cause it comes from my husband’s hometown and it’s tasty as hell, but any kind of lard will do.

Gently raise the flame and add onion, carrot, garlic and celery. 

Stir until they soften up and the onion gets a blonde tan.

Raise the flame again to medium/high fire and add the oxtail, salt and pepper.

Cook the tail until it becomes golden brown and then add the wine.

Let it simmer until the alcohol evaporates. 

Add the tomato paste, stir and finally cover with the warm water.

Set the flame at a very low fire and find something to do in the meantime because this will take a few hours.

Tradition dictates that Coda alla Vaccinara should cook for about six hours and stirred from time to time.

When only 30 minutes of cooking time are left boil a bowl of salted water and blanche the celery for one minute ca. (save this water for a mischievous project I’ll explain later).

Add the celery to the ox tail mix (which should be dark and thick by now) for the last ten minutes. 

Now your Coda alla Vaccinara is ready. 

Enjoy it with a generous glass of wine.

For maximum debauchery you could boil the water from the celeries and cook some Rigatoni in it then stir them in with part of the ox tails and their sauce. This way you’ll obtain one of the tastier pasta dishes ever to go along your Coda.

Trust me, the extra effort is worth it. You can also prepare this pasta the day after (this is what I did: I ate the Coda in the evening and it was too dark to take pictures so I waited for the next day for a good bowl of pasta).

Traditionally Coda alla Vaccinara is made with ox tails and cheeks (gaffi) but I didn’t find the latter (Oslo people: if you know where I can find them contact me!). Anyway cooking something that was on a face together with something near the arse says a lot about Roman spirit.

Buon appetito! 


"Please forgive me Friends" Pasta with Veggies and Yumminess

Dear Friends, 

long time no see! 

Lately I’ve been absorbed by my annoying Real Life™ so I didn’t manage to post anything new for a while. I hope that in the meantime you didn’t go on a diet (ew!) or starve to death. To apologize I’m presenting you an easy, yummy, economic and summerish (and, sweet baby Jesus, also vegan!) pasta recipe. Here are the ingredients for 4 people, go go go!

  • 500 g of spaghetti (the recommended dose would be 100 g of pasta for each person but we’re not sissies so we rather abound)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 courgettes
  • 1/2 aubergines (depends on the dimension)
  • fresh thyme
  • the zest of one lemon (just the yellow part, the white one is gross)
  • toasted breadcrumbs 
  • salt
  • pepper (optional)
  • extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven at 200 celsius degrees, meanwhile chop the veggies in small cubes, season them with oil and salt and arrange them on an oven tray. Roast them briefly, keeping in mind that later on you’ll have to sauté them again in a pan and nobody wants mushy and overcooked veggies. Boil a decent amount of salted water (pasta should be well submerged in the liquid) and cook pasta keeping it very al dente. Put aside some cooking water (a glass should be enough). Heat up some olive oil in a large pan, add pasta, the veggies and stir like there’s no tomorrow. If it feels too dry add some of the cooking water. When everything is well mixed add the thyme and half of the breadcrumbs. Adjust salt and pepper. Dish up, sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs, add some grated lemon zest and a dash of oil then garnish with thyme. (I also added Parmesan because I’m addicted to it)

 

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Buon appetito!

P.S. This post is dedicated to code name: Mago Salamini. You know who you are.


Pretty onions with fruity balsamic glaze

Onions are amazing. They add strengt to warm dishes and salad, they’re healthy and if you cut them right they can also look very good. As I said before I’m an avid consumer of onions so I came up with this combination to try something new with one of my favourite ingredients. Those who feel strange about having just onion as side dish will be won over by the fruity sweetness and aromatic sourness of the glaze, which is a perfect match for the flavour of the baked “lotus”. This dish is easy, appealing, economic and tasty: why not give it a try? Here are the ingredients:

  • 2 medium red onions
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • a pinch of salt
  • a dash of olive oil

Preheat the oven at 160 celsius degrees then cut the onions in 8 wedges without chopping them completely. Leave them attached to the bottom of the onion. Wrap them in some aluminum foil and bake them for about 30 minutes, the texture should be slightly crunchy so make sure you don’t overcook them. Heat up all the other ingredients in a casserole whisking energetically until the mixture becomes a dark and shiny syrup. Take the onions out of the oven (be careful, they burn like hell) and gently dish them, try to be very delicate because this yummy “lotus” can easily loose its shape. Aiding yourself with a large spoon pour some fruity balsamic glaze on top (I’m sure you will manage to do a better job than me in this). Serve warm as a side dish or as an uncommon and healthy aperitif with some chilled Prosecco wine, if you like it you can grind some white pepper on top.

Buon appetito!


Rhubarb and strawberries crumble

It’s Springtime in Norway, and for me this means a few things: enjoying sunny days, taking naps and the amazing pairing of rhubarb and strawberry. Sweet, tart and deliciously British this dessert is dummy-proof. Obviously you can replace the fruit  with whatever you like, but it seems offensive not to exploit April’s fruits while they last. If you don’t devour all the crumble at once, you can keep the stamps (non-cooked)  in the freezer for no more than three months. Here are the ingredients:

Crumble:

  • 170 g all-purpose flour
  • 110 g butter, softened ( plus a bit for each stamp you’ll use)
  • 100 g brown sugar ( plus a pinch for each stamp )
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 vanilla stem (just the seeds)
  • a pinch of salt

Fruit:

  • 600 g rhubarb, cleaned and chopped
  • 400 g strawberries, cleaned and chopped
  • 30 g brown sugar 

Cook the rhubarb, sugar and water at low flame In a little casserole for about ten minutes, minding to stir occasionally. You don’t want it to stick and burn! Let the rhubarb rest and cool down, then add the strawberries. If you use other kinds of fruit (for example cherries, apples, etc), let them rest with some sugar and instead of water use lemon juice. In the meantime mix the ingredients for the crumble In a large bowl and work them with your fingertips to form sandy crumbs. Butter your stamps and sprinkle with brown sugar, pour in the strawberry and rhubarb mix with some of its juices and top with the crumbs. Cook for ten minutes in a pre-heated oven at 200 Celsius degrees. Serve while it’s hot with vanilla ice-cream, whipped cream or other toppings of your choice.

As you can see I have a badass Motörhead spoon.

Buon appetito!


Sicilian salad

This colorful and tasty salad is one of the pillars of Sicilian cuisine. Its flavors and its variety of textures are perfectly balanced and create an extremely fresh and juicy mix. My only suggestion is to use sweet oranges to obtain an harmonious composition. As you can see it’s a very simple salad but it looks and tastes great and it’s perfect for cleaning your taste buds after a massive feast of grilled meat. Indeed it’s a really good idea as a side dish for a picnic or  a barbecue.

 

Ingredients:

  • Orange, in wedges - each split in half lengthwise
  • Fennel, in wedges
  • Red onion, in wedges
  • Black olives
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

 

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and a dash of olive oil.

 

Buon appetito!


Huevos y patatas à la Nini

My husband, who’s very much into eggs, wanted a snack and I had been reading about lots of Spanish recipes so I opened the fridge and I picked up some ingredients that could match his taste and my Iberian inspirations. I’m not a Spanish cuisine expert by any means, but part of my family lived in Spain for many years and I spent a few summers and Christmas Eves there. My interest and this recipe could very well come from stuff that I tasted during my Spanish visits and got stuck into my sub-conscious or something. If some Spanish people or some Spanish cuisine aficionados could point me to the proper name of this recipe I would be very grateful. I read so many recipes that they got mixed up in my head so I’m not sure which one I made, or which ones I combined to prepare this dish. These “Huevos y Patatas à la Nini” fill you up and are really tasty but they’re not exactly pretty to look at.  Here are the ingredients!

For each egg:

  • 3 slices of Chorizo, diced in thick cubes
  • half of an onion, sliced
  • 1 slice of Manchego cheese, roughly diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato concentrate solved in 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 potato, boiled, peeled and sliced
  • 1 slice of toasted bread
  • Chili pepper, flaked
  • Salt
  • A dash of olive oil

Stir-fry with the onion and the Chorizo in little oil until the onion is soft, add  potatoes, stir well and add the tomato concentrate. Let the water evaporate a bit and crack the eggs over the pan. Pour in the Manchego cheese and the chili flakes. Stir gently trying not to break the yolks, lower the flame, cover with a lid and let it cook for five minutes. In the meantime toast the bread. When the whites are done but the yolks are still pretty liquid, lay the toasted bread on a plate and pour the rest of the stuff over it. Salt it according to taste and serve. 

¡Buen provecho!


Bacon-wrapped asparaguses and celeriac purée

This relatively economic dish is a yummy treat for these critical times, and despite the presence of King Bacon it has a simple yet refined taste. The asparagus-egg combo is a classic and a guaranteed success, so I will not indulge in too many explanations. On the other hand the celeriac is an unusual yet fitting addition and the walnut oil adds an earthy flavor that makes this dish more “important”. Rich people can add black truffle flakes, vegetarians can drop the bacon, vegans can drop the egg, the butter and the cheese too and fruitarians will have to stick to a bowl of apples or something. There we go!

For two:

  • 6 asparaguses, cleaned 
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1 tiny celery root (celeriac), cleaned and chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • rosemary 
  • butter 
  • Parmigiano cheese
  • walnut oil
  • water
  • salt
  • pepper

Put the asparaguses in boiling salted water and let them cook for a couple of minutes. Let them cool down and then wrap them with bacon. Delicately dip the eggs in water with a spoon and boil them for about five minutes (if you want you can use the same water where you cooked the asparaguses). Put the celeriac in a tall casserole, salt it and barely cover it with water. Top with a lid and boil until soft. When it’s ready blend with a hand-mixer and add a pinch of rosemary. Cream with butter and Parmigiano. Maintain it warm. Cook the bacon-wrapped asparaguses in a non-stick pan until the bacon is nice and crunchy. When everything is ready, lay a celeriac purée bed on a dish and top it with the asparaguses and the eggs. Add salt, pepper and a dash of walnut oil.

(The eggs should be a bit more liquid than they look in the pictures but I overcooked them!)

Buon appetito!


Seriously yummy pumpkin, vanilla and peanut butter milkshake

This “recipe” is good solution for a quick snack, for a sudden sugar drop or as a dessert substitute for people who’re not into baking. The only “slow” thing about this milkshake is the pumpkin puree, but you can prepare it in advance and put the excess amount in the freezer. The process is extremely simple:  you just need to clean and dice a butternut pumpkin in big pieces, cook it in the oven at 180 degrees until it’s soft and then mash it. Put it in a container if you wish to keep it in your freezer, it will last for one or two months. Sweet without being too sugary, this milkshake is tasty and nourishing! 

Here are the quantities for one glass:

  • 4 tablespoons of butternut pumpkin puree (it’s better if you use it when almost-defrosted, it will make your milkshake even creamier!)
  • 1 cup of cold milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice-cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter
  • a dash of nutmeg

Blend the pumpkin, the milk, the ice-cream and the peanut butter together, grate some nutmeg on top and serve.

Gluttons can add some whipped cream, but I assure you this milkshake is extremely yummy as it is. If you want to variate, you can use vanilla yogurt instead of ice-cream. It’s not the same of course, but you’ll get a really good smoothie anyway. This combination was inspired by a pumpkin and macadamia nuts ice-cream I tasted at Gelateria Islanda in Bologna, Italy. On a sultry, hot Italian summer day this wonderful and fresh hand-crafted gelato prepared by super-skilled people made my taste buds go crazy and just made me feel much better. Here’s the link to Gelateria Islanda’s website. I strongly suggest to stop by if you’re visiting Bologna! www.gelateriaislanda.it

Enjoy!


Carrot, sesame and miso soup

This is a very simple, satisfying and colorful vegetables and miso soup. It’s also highly customizable: the main ingredient still needs to be carrot (it should make up for 2/3 of the total ingredients) but  you can add any vegetable you want, providing that they have a “discreet” color that would not overwhelm the tonality of the carrots. I suggest not to use potatoes because I think they don’t pair very well with miso. This soup is perfect to warm up hungry bellies and also it has an excellent protein contribution despite being completely vegan. I will not write quantities here so you can decide yourself, according to your own taste. Here we go!

  • Carrots, cleaned and chopped
  • Leek, cleaned and chopped
  • Cabbage, cleaned and chopped
  • Fresh ginger, grated
  • Shiro Miso (white miso)
  • Roasted sesame seeds
  • Sesame oil
  • Chili peppers (if you like)
  • A dash of peanut oil
  • Water

Heat up the peanut oil in a large casserole and add leek and ginger. Stir-fry until the leek is soft then add cabbage and carrots. Toast them a little then cover with some water (make sure that the water completely covers up the ingredients). Cover the casserole with a lid and boil for about 20 minutes. When the carrots are soft take the casserole off the fire and blend the ingredients with a hand-mixer. Add the miso and stir until it dissolves (make sure miso doesn’t boil, or you’ll “kill” it). Dish up and decorate with sesame seeds, sesame oil and thin stripes of chili peppers. 

If you manage to find purple carrots (which are the original European variety) use them: your soup will be purple and its taste will be more rich. Another excellent possible addition is chopped up shiitake mushrooms, sautéed and added right before the sesame.  

 

Buon appetito!


Homemade Pizza

I’m a big fan of pizza and I would eat it for breakfast, lunch and supper.  Since I moved to Oslo it’s one of the few things I miss, and not wanting to become the usual Italian that complains about the quality of pizza in foreign countries I decided to try and prepare it myself. I’m no pizza maker and I never baked a pizza before, as usually in Italy pizzerias just deal in pizzas and restaurants take care of all the rest. Also in Italy there’s not much need to learn how to do it since it’s very easy to find good pizza for a cheap price. I anticipate that this pizza turned out pretty ugly, yet super-fluffy and tasty. I followed a recipe for “Pizza Napoletana”, which is the version I enjoy the most because it’s thick and soft. Sorry for the long introduction but pizza is a very serious business for Italians (and especially people from Naples!) and I wanted to put things in perspective: this is a homesick pizza baked in a simple electric oven. I chose not to include mozzarella because as all Italians I’m picky on its quality and I haven’t been able to find one  that I like here in Oslo yet (if anybody has suggestions regarding this, please write me a  PM!). Here are the quantities for two pizzas:

  • 500 g white flour
  • 250 ml lukewarm water
  • 12 g salt
  • 18 g brewer’s yeast
  • 4 g white sugar

Melt sugar and yeast in the water (yeast “eats” the sugar, thus helping the rising of the dough), then add the yeasted-water to flour and salt and knead until the dough is smooth and be careful not to overdo it. Put the dough in a large bowl, cover with a wet cloth napkin or plastic and let it rest for a couple of hours. Split the dough in two and put the two pieces in two separate bowls, then let them rest overnight (or at least for 4-6 hours more). When the time is right, prepare a flat surface by sprinkling it with flour and start to work the dough with circular movements of your palms. Focus on the central part of the dough and mind that the perimeter will have to be thicker in order to form a crust. Don’t use the rolling pin since it’s wrong to do it in this case. When the dough is flattened and ready, top with your ingredients of choice - in this case I used tomato sauce, anchovies and capers. Don’t forget that pizza often needs also a hint of basil or oregano. Lay the pizza on a flat, oiled (use extra-virgin olive oil of course) surface and bake at 180 degrees for 7-8 minutes, depending on the oven and on the thickness of the dough.

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A little postface: in Italy you’re allowed to top your pizza with pretty much anything you want, except chicken and pineapple. Also, Prosciutto Crudo should never be cooked, but just added right after baking. Don’t be scared by the picture, the pizza tasted great! Anyway, practice makes perfect. If you want to see some videos of pizza kneading as reference, I suggest to copy and paste these keywords on youtube: “come stendere la pizza”.

Buon appetito!


Pink scampi, grapefruit and honey cocktail

This tiny fruit salad is a refreshing and juicy appetizer, it’s healthy and light but still delicious. The grapefruit’s bitter sourness is balanced by the honey dressing and the buttery texture of the beans. This salad is perfect for regular meals as well as cocktail parties also because it has its own natural bowl. In addition to being beautiful and yummy it’s also pretty quick to make. Here’s the ingredients for 1 appetizer:

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 3/5 scampi
  • a tiny fist of butter beans 
  • 1tsp of honey
  • a dash of olive oil
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • black pepper, freshly grounded
  • the green part of a spring onion

Cut the grapefruit in two pieces one of which should take 3/4 of the whole fruit. Using a sharp and small knife take out the grapefruit’s pulp with circular movements. Chop the pulp in fine pieces and set it aside. Quickly boil the shrimps keeping them in their own husks (it depends on size of the scampi but 1 minute should suffice), drain, let them cool down and peel them. In a cup whisk oil and honey until they blend together. Gently mix scampi, grapefruit’s pulp and butter beans in a bowl and add the honey dressing. Pour the salad in the grapefruit’s emptied skin. Dip the spring onion cut in thin stripes in ice-cold water so it curls up. Top with sea salt, pepper and spring onion. Serve possibly with a good chilled Prosecco wine.

Buon appetito!


Izakaya style Japanese snacks

I love japanese food. Like most I discovered it with sushi and since I liked that combination of flavours I decided to broaden my knowledge in this field. Amon other things I found out about the snacks usually served in izakayas (traditional japanese bars) and they immediately caught my attention. I never actually went to Japan but my husband did a couple of times so he serves me as tester for the authenticity of the dishes. From my experience Japanese food is variegated but the basic flavors are just a handful that get mixed up in different ways: shoyu, mirin, dashi, sesame, rice vinegar, sake and miso. Don’t expect a flat way of cooking though, their different dosages and combinations open up a wide array of colours from sweet to savory, from sour to umami. I made a small selection of snacks (usually served with beer, sake or other liquors) that I like. Two of the recipes (Negi Misoyaki and Komachiae) are from my Japanese cuisine bible “Il Giappone in cucina” by Graziana Canova Tura (which I recommend to all my Italian speaking readers, since I don’t know if this was translated to English), I first ate the Miso dip in Izakaya bar in Oslo and since I liked it a lot I tried to recreate it at home with satisfying results. One of the things that I learned by reading Canova Tura’s book is that Japanese people don’t like the number four very much because it’s bad luck, so when you dish up avoid to put groups of four bites on the table. I deliberately chose not to include edamame (salty beans) because you can just buy them and steam them.

Cooking this stuff is really fulfilling because it’s yummy and it also looks great, though I have to admit that Japanese food always tastes better when somebody else cooks it for you. Roll up your sleeves, and start cooking!

Miso Dip

  • 3tbsp of white miso paste
  • 1 tsp of dark miso paste
  • 1tbsp of chili peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp of rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp of mirin
  • few leaves of cabbage 

for the topping:

  • spring onion
  • roasted black sesame seeds
  • grated ginger

Mix all the ingredients except for the cabbage and lei it rest for at least one hour, add the topping as you see fit and serve. You can use other raw vegetables with this dip such as carrots, leeks, broccoli and so on.

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Sautéed Shiitake

  • 4 big/6 medium/9 small dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1tsp of mirin
  • 1tsp of shoyu
  • 1tsp of vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp of mushrooms soaking water

for the topping

  • shichimi tōgarashi
  • spring onion
  • a few drops of sesame oil

Soak the shiitake for at elate 3 hours, rinse and cut in slices. In a frying pan mix oil, miring, shoe and the water, when it starts boiling add the mushrooms and stir fry until the liquid is absorbed. Add the topping as you see fit and serve.

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Salmon Teriyaki

  • 1cup of salmon meat, diced
  • teriyaki sauce as needed (this is already demanding so just buy ready made teriyaki sauce)

for the topping:

  • sesame seeds
  • cucumber strips

Marinate the salmon bites in teriyaki sauce overnight the cook the in a nonstick pan. Don’t overcook or the meat or it will be ruined. Add the topping as you see fit and serve.

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Negi Misoyaki (Miso Leeks)

  • 1/2 cup leeks, sliced
  • 1tbsp of ginger, grated
  • 1tsp of white mis
  • 3 tsp of shiitake soaking water (or just water)

for the topping:

  • lemon zest
  • thin stripes of chili peppers 

Mix the ingredients in a pan and stir fry until the leek is soft. Add the topping as you see fit and serve.

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Fried Tofu

  • 1/2 silken tofu loaf, cut in 3 pieces
  • corn flour
  • 1cup of vegetable oil

for the cream;

  • 1/2tsp of dashi powder
  • 1tbsp of shoyu
  • 1 tsp of ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup of shiitake soaking water (or just water) 
  • 2tbsp of cold water
  • 1tbsp of corn starch

for the topping;

  • daikon, grated
  • roasted black sesame seeds
  • sliced cucumber
  • sliced spring onion
  • shichimi tōgarashi

With a clean cloth napkin gently dry the tofu bites and cover them in flour. In a small cup mix dashi, shoyu, ginger and the shiitake soaking water, mix and pour in a casserole. In an other glass dissolve the corn starch in the cold water. Cook at low/medium fire and when it starts boiling add the corn starched water and stir energetically until it thickens up. In a pan heat up the oil and when it’s ready pour in the tofu and fry until it’s nice and golden. In the serving plate lay the grated daikon, place the tofu chunks and pour the sauce on it. Add the topping as you see fit and serve. 

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Komachiae (Misterious Croquettes)

  • 120g of chicken skin
  • 2tbsp of sake
  • 2tbsp of rice vinegar
  • 2tbsp of dash broth
  • 1tbsp of sugar
  • 1tbsp of shoyu
  • salt

for the topping

  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1tsbp of roasted sesame seeds
  • thin stripes of chili peppers

Scratch the chicken skin with a knife to take off the fat, cut in thin strips and stir fry with sake and a pinch of salt until it’s crispy and curled up. Drain out the grease. Wash and partially peel the cucumber, cut it in thin stripes, rinse with cold water and drain. mix up vinegar, dashi broth, sugar and shoyu in a bowl. Add cucumber slices and the chicken skin crispy curls and stir well. Add the topping as you see fit and serve.

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いただきます!