Sunday, May 13, 2007

Recipe: Couscous and meatballs.


For 4/5 servings you will need:
2 medium zucchini
2 large carrots
1 small onion
2 medium capsicums
4 tblsps pure olive oil
2 tsps curry powder

For the meatballs:

400 gr. very lean beef or veal mince
1 large egg ( or 2 small ones)
5 tblsps mature cheese, grated
2 heaped tblsps fine dry breadcrumbs
finely chopped parsley
pinch salt
few tblsps milk
extra oil for frying.

Heat the olive oil in a large casserole, add the chopped carrots, capsicums, onion, celery, parsley, curry powder and a little salt. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes stirring often. Meanwhile prepare the meatballs: mix all the ingredients together adding a little milk if mixture is too dry. Roll into round balls of about 1in diameter. Heat extra oil in a frying pan and seal meatballs quickly on medium-high flame till they change colour. Do not brown. Drain on kitchen paper and add them and the chopped zucchini to the casserole. Cook on low flame for about 30 minutes.
You might find that there isn't enough liquid at this stage. Add a little water, but remember that the zucchini will release a lot of liquid when they are cooked. For this reason I usually remove the lid after about 20 minutes and let the liquid in excess evaporate.
Prepare the couscous following the instructions on the packet and top with the vegetable-meatballs mixture.
Here's the dish ready to be enjoyed!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Sweet Memories shawl:

Like all chronic sentimentals I cherish all things and objects which remind me of special moments of the past, my childhood and adolescence in particular.
A few years ago I noticed that a crochet sweater made by my mother in the early
70's for me had been ruined by moths. I won't talk about the disappointment, but after a few days past regretting not having taken better precautions against the nasty horrible insects I decided I could give new life to that lovely creamy white lace weight wool by recycling it, so I ripped the sweater but not before making a swatch of that pretty stitch my mother used for it.
The wool is still in my stash waiting to be turned into some pretty top or something else, but I was eager to use the stitch and so I thought.....why not a shawl? This is what I came up with and I'm quite happy with the result.

Changing the subject, today is my dad's 79th birthday.
Auguri papa'! Ti voglio tanto bene.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Recipe: Orecchiette Primavera.

Just as I promised here's the recipe for Orecchiette Primavera.
For 4-5 servings you will need:

400gr. pasta (orecchiette or some other type)
1 tbsp finely chopped onion (possibly spring onion)
3/4 cup frozen baby peas
3/4 cup potatoes in small dices
1/4 cup chopped Parma ham ( bacon or plain ham will do)
1 tblsp butter
2 tbsps olive oil
200 ml cream
2-3 tbsps grated parmesan cheese ( or any tasty mature cheese)

Melt butter in a casserole, add oil, peas, potatoes and saute' gently adding a little water when needed
add salt ( use little salt because the ham and the parmesan cheese will add a lot of sapidity to the sauce) and pepper and continue cooking till the vegetables are just tender.
Add the parsley and the ham.
Cook for further 2 minutes, add the cream ( here in Italy we use a very thick cream for this type of recipe which has the consistency of cream cheese)
fold the cream with the rest of the ingredients and turn off the flame.
Cook the pasta in penty of water and a little salt " al dente" and drain well. I have used orecchiette but other types are just as good , such as pennette.
Put the casserole back on the stove on a low flame, add the pasta and the parmesan cheese
mix everything
serve hot.
This dish is delicious and it can be made in less than 30 minutes! Try it and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Too many holidays?

Why haven't I blogged much lately? Good question. I guess it happens even to the most addicted blogger to have a moment of "defiance", a time when the events of everyday life seem too banal to share with anyone else except the people who are closer to us.
I have mentioned before that here in Italy spring gives the start to a sequence of local festivities which punctually close with fireworks. Yesterday it was St. George's day here. Although I didn't go out to see the celebrations I did enjoy the fireworks since they were clearly visible from here.

My dogs were simply terrified by the noise, poor babies!
Not much to report on the knitting front. I've been mainly swatching for a couple of projects I have in mind with some success but being the usual perfectionist, I am obviously not satisfied and I plan to swatch, swatch, swatch till I find what I'm looking for. Assuming that what I'm looking for exists!
So how have I been filling the long and warm spring days we are experiencing then? Well, cooking!
Take a look:

these are called "arancine", which means small oranges, because those are what they resemble. They are made with rice and the mouth watering filling is meat, cheese, peas, and tomato sauce.

I have called this dish "Orecchiette primavera". Orecchiette is a type of pasta which can be found dry or fresh and is typical of a region called Puglia. They can be cooked in many ways and I made up a delicious sauce which I will post soon for everyone to enjoy!
And finally I have been trying my new bread machine:
sultana bread....


pizza bread! (my recipe).

And last but not least....cannoli!!

well, I didn't make these actually although the ones I occasionally make myself are just as good.
Imagine a crisp but tender pastry with a light aroma of cinnamon....a melt-in- the-mouth filling made with the freshest ricotta cheese with a hint of lemon and tiny bits of rich dark chocolate...and finally a sprinkle of icing sugar....heaven!!!!!
If anyone is interested in trying out my "orecchiette primavera", stay tuned as I will be posting a recipe in the next few days.