italian

All posts tagged italian

Food and Friends, the Perfect Combo: Tricolere Tiramisu

Published March 9, 2015 by The Feminist

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Whenever my friends and I organize a get-together, food is always involved in one way or another. And I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be! I mean, what better way to express your friendship and love for one another than by devouring some delicious dishes together, right?

No matter whether it is a birthday party with lots of chocolate, a girls’ night in with homemade pizza, a Fifty Shades of Grey-theme night with sushi or just a regular hour of gossip over some cake,  my friends always end up eating food, and my food always ends up being eaten by my friends.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Yesterday, one of my friends threw a belated birthday party and I –as always- was happy to bring some food to give the already very “palpable” party mood another celebratory dimension. I made these cute, awesome and absolutely delicious savory tricolere tiramisu glasses. The combination of a refreshing yellow pepper salsa with two mascarpone mousses is sheer perfection. The basil mascarpone is fragrant yet mild in flavour, whilst the sundried tomato mousse kicks you in the taste buds with an explosion of spicy sundried tomato. A couple of rosemary and sea salt bread sticks serve as the perfect edible spoon.

Like I said, food doesn’t get more celebratory than this!

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Tricolere Tiramisu with Basil and Sundried Tomato Mousse:

Ingredients:

For the basil and mascarpone mousse:

  • 150gr mascarpone cheese
  • 1 entire bush of basil
  • 1/2 clove of garlic
  • salt and black pepper
  • 30gr grated parmesan cheese
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • For the sundried tomato and mascarpone mousse:
  • 100gr mascarpone cheese
  • 70gr sundried tomatoes in oil
  • 1/4 tsp harissa paste
  • For the yellow pepper salsa
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Method

  • 1.Put all the ingredients for the pepper salsa in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to infuse.
  • 2.For the basil mousse, mix the garlic, parmesan cheese and basil together in a blender until fine. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, seasoning and 1 tbsp of the mascarpone. Mix again until you get a lovely, bright green paste.
  • 3.Stir the basil mix under the remaining mascarpone cheese.
  • 4.Spoon a tablespoon of the yellow pepper salsa in each champagne glass. Divide the basil mousse over the six glasses.
  • 5.Put the glasses in the fridge, while you make the second mousse. Mix the sundried tomatoes in a blender with the harissa until smooth. Stir the sundried tomato paste through the mascarpone.
  • 6.Remove the glasses from the fridge. Spoon a tablespoon of pepper salsa on top of the basil mousse. Now spoon the sundried tomato mousse on top. Finish with a leaf of basil, some parmesan flakes and serve with bread sticks.
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Good, Better, Me : A Week of Culinary Wizardry

Published June 20, 2013 by The Feminist

William Shakespeare once said: “Who knows himself a braggart, let him fear this, for it will come to pass that every braggart shall be found an ass.” So in light of this very thoughtful quote, I would like to add that the title of this post was merely chosen as a creative expression of my wandering mind and is supposed to be interpreted with a great deal of irony. 😉

Believe me, I know better than anyone else on this planet that I am not the BEST thing this earth has ever seen. I’m not a brave humanitarian risking my life for others. I haven’t got the voice of an angel, nor do I look like one. And I haven’t won a Nobel prize…yet.

But I can cook. And not just a little. Of course I’m not as brilliant a cook as Jamie Oliver, Yotam Ottolenghi or Nigella Lawson, but sometimes you do need to give yourself credit for the things you can do! Being proud of all the things you have accomplished shouldn’t be seen as bragging, it’s merely stating the facts.

So at the risk of portraying myself as an incredibly Shakespearean ass: I truly surpassed myself this week! Moreover, the following dishes didn’t just taste and look scrumptious, they are also the perfect representation of me as a culinary wizard’s apprentice. These dishes are easy, full of flavour and –as always- not just a copy of recipe in a cookbook.

Udon noodle salad with marinated chicken skewers

“The best chicken I’ve ever tasted” ~ My Dad. That says it all, doesn’t it?

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Ingredients(serves 4)

For the marinated chicken:
• 4 chicken breast, cut into fine strips
• 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
• 2 tbsp honey
• 1 large chilli, finely sliced
• 4 tbsp soy sauce
• 2 tbsp fish sauce
• ½ tsp Chinese five spice
• 8 Wooden skewers
For the noodle salad
• 250gr udon noodles
• 2 spring onion, roughly chopped
• Half a cucumber, cut into half-moon slices
• 1 yellow pepper, cut into fine strips
• ½ red pepper, cut into fine strips
• 1 large red chilli, finely sliced
• 1 tbsp honey
• Zest and juice of a lime
• 1 clove of garlic, peeled and grated
• 1 tsp sesame oil
• 2 tbsp soy sauce
• 2 tbsp fish sauce
• Chopped coriander
• Roughly chopped roasted cashew nuts

Method:
1. Combine the marinade ingredients and add the chicken, mixing to coat well. Cover and set aside for at least 2 hours or place in the fridge overnight.
2. Thread the chicken strips onto the skewers. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the skewers on medium heat for 2 minutes on each side until the skewers get a lovely sticky caramel colour.
3. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet, drain and refresh under ice-cold water. Toss the vegetables and the noodles together.
4. In a jug, mix together the soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, sesame oil, lime juice, garlic and chilli and pour over the noodle mixture. Scatter some fresh coriander and roasted cashew nuts over the top.

Couscous stuffed Portobello mushrooms with tahini sauce

The oriental flavours of this dish will turn any boring supper into a fiesta of the foodie’s palate!

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Ingredients (serves 1-2)
• 2 large Portobello mushrooms
• 125gr couscous
• ½ red pepper, finely chopped
• 5 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
• 2 spring onions, finely chopped
• ½ tsp turmeric
• ½ tsp harissa
• 1 tsp falafel herbs
• ½ tsp fenugreek

For the tahini sauce
• 50gr tahini
• 75gr natural yoghurt
• Fresh parsley
• ½ tsp ground cumin

Method:

1. For the sauce, mix all the ingredients together until you get a smooth consistency. Set aside
2. Preheat the oven to 220°C and bake the Portobello mushrooms in the oven for 10 minutes until almost cooked through.
3. Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to packet instruction.
4. Fry the red pepper in some olive oil and add the spices. Stir through the spring onions and sundried tomatoes. Add the cooked couscous and 1 tablespoon of passion fruit vinegar.
5. Stuff the mushrooms with the couscous mixture and sprinkle some chopped nuts on top. Bake in the oven for a further 3-5 minutes.

Red peanut butter turkey curry

This is comfort food at its best! Or as Nigella would say: “Eating it is like being wrapped in a warm cosy blanket.”

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Ingredients (serves 4)

• 600gr cubed stewing turkey
• 1 broccoli, cut into small florets
• 1 pak choi , roughly chopped
• 1 yellow pepper
• 3 tbsp peanut butter
• 400gr can of chopped tomatoes
• 400ml can of coconut milk
• 1 tbsp brown sugar
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• 5cm piece of fresh ginger
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 red onion
• 1 large red chilli
• 2 tbsp garam massala
• Fresh coriander

Method

1. Brown the meat in a large pan. Remove from the pan and set aside. Blend the chilli, garlic, onion, ginger and garam massala together in a blender until you get a smooth paste.
2. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in the pan you used to brown the turkey and add the fresh curry paste. Return the meat to the pan and stir for 30 seconds until the meat is coated in the curry paste. Add the soy sauce, sugar and peanut butter. Stir well.
3. Add the canned tomatoes and coconut milk. Put a lid on and leave to simmer for about an hour.
4. After an hour, stir in the broccoli, pak choi and yellow pepper and let it simmer for another 20-30 minutes.
5. Stir in the fresh coriander and serve with some jasmine rice.

Antipasti Pasta

I am pretty proud of this recipe, I have to say. It’s a pasta dish but with all the ingredients I usually like on a plate of antipasti: sundried tomatoes, cheese, sweet melon, parma ham, artichokes, olives,… You name it! Choose any type of antipasti you like, because they will all go beautifully with the garlic and rocket “sauce”.

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Ingredients:
• 350gr small pasta
• 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• ½ large red chilli, finely chopped
• 250gr rocket salad, minced in a blender
• Selection of antipasti: melon balls, parma ham, feta, mozzarella, olives, artichokes, sundried tomatoes,…

Method:

1. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Save some of the starchy cooking water for later.
2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and add the garlic and chilli and cook on a low heat.
3. Drain the pasta and tip into the garlic pan. Add the finely minced pocket and a bit of cooking water from the pasta to create a “saucy” tecture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Now it’s up to you: scatter some of your favorite antipasti ingredients over the lovely pasta and dig in!

Italy vs. Asia: One battle, two winners! Spicy mango carpaccio with rice noodles and mint-peanut pesto

Published June 5, 2013 by The Feminist

DSCN2782Carpaccio and pesto are two of the world’s best known and loved Italian dishes. There is just something about incredibly thin slices of raw meat, fish, vegetables or fruit that makes it ridiculously sexy and appealing. The same thing can be said about the traditional basil pesto. That heavenly scent and that fragrant taste are enough to make me go through life as an overly cheerful and euphoric crazy person!

Question is, however, what happens when you transform something so traditionally Italian into an Italasian fusion dish? Italians will no doubt kill me. And so will the Asians. Probably.

Whatever. At least I will die in complete and utter satisfaction because this dish was mind-blowingly delish! The Italian carpaccio became a wonderful mango carpaccio with a tangy and spicy dressing and the basil pesto was turned into a lovely blend of fresh peppery mint and creamy peanut butter.

Sounds amazing, right? 😉

If you want to try this summery dish for yourself, here is the very simple recipe:

Spicy mango carpaccio

ingredients
• One ripe mango
• Chilli powder
• Juice of half a lime
• One spring onion, finely chopped
• Freshly ground pepper

Method:
1. Using a mandolin or sharp knife, slice the mango as finely as possible and arrange the slices on a plate. Sprinkle on some lime juice, pepper, chilli powder and the chopped spring onion.

Rice noodles with a mint and peanut butter pesto

Ingredients (serves one)

• 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
• 1 clove of garlic
• 1 tbsp mirin
• 1 heaped tbsp peanut butter
• 1 tbsp rice vinegar
• Lots and lots of fresh mint leaves
• Splash of fish sauce
• ½ green chilli pepper
• 125gr rice noodles

Method
1. Cook the rice noodles in salted water according to the instructions on the packet.
2. Mix all the ingredients for the pesto (except the spring onion) together in a blender until you get a lovely and thick sauce.
3. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok and stir-fry the spring onions for a minute. Add the cooked rice noodles and mint pesto and stir until all the noodles are beautifully coated.
4. Serve the fragrant mint noodles in the centre of your mango carpaccio.

Convert a carnivore & Save the planet: Anything is possible with these vegan dishes!

Published April 23, 2013 by The Feminist

I know that there are a lot of people who still have an inexplicable lack of faith in vegetarian dishes. For some insane reason they seem to think that “no meat” equals “no flavour”. They worry about whether it will be nutritious or filling enough. If you so much as mention you’re going to cook vegan, you can see the look of pure horror on their faces.
I think those people are idiots. Seriously, it really pisses me off how so many people can still be so ignorant! In sharp contrast to every carnivore’s assumption, vegetarian and vegan food equals versatility. You’re not bound by the “I have to use meat” rule, meaning that you can be as bold and as crazy in the kitchen as you like! You will discover a whole range of new ingredients and new flavour combinations that will simply blow your socks off. A marriage of tastes and textures you wouldn’t have thought possible…
The following two vegan dishes may sound very strange to carnivores (or as I like to cool them, ignorant morons 😉 ) But I can assure you, once they will have tasted this, they will be back for more! These recipes are so cool, interesting and –above all- delicious that they will absolutely forget meat ever existed!
However, let’s not be naïve. Serving these vegan dishes to your carnivore friends won’t suddenly turn them into vegetarians or vegans as well. But it will make them realize that they can indeed survive without their precious piece of meat or fish. They may even be willing to cut back on their meat consumption and be prepared to cook vegetarian dishes of their own!

More people eating less meat. That is the ultimate goal. And these vegan dishes will help us achieve it!

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Oriental Seitan and Salsify Stir-fry with dried cranberries

I know this may sound like a really really really odd combination, but I am actually incredibly proud of this dish! I love salsify but I wanted to do something completely different with it ( so not the usual salsify in béchamel sauce). I wanted to create something new and vibrant. I honestly have NO  idea why I suddenly thought dried cranberries would do the trick – but hey- who am I to question my own brilliance? This dish is packed full of flavour and all its different textures marry together like a culinary harmony. The juiciness of the seitan, the earthiness of the salsify, the sweet-sour fruitiness of the cranberries, the crunch of the nuts and seeds and that gorgeous blend of spices and fragrant coriander… it almost sounds poetic!

Ingredients (serves 1):

• 100gr seitan, cut into small chunks
• 200gr salsify, I used the canned pre-cooked ones, but if you the courage to tackle that annoyingly sticky root vegetable by yourself, be my guest
• Handful of dried cranberries
• Handful of nuts and seeds
• Handful of chopped coriander
• Juice of half an orange
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 2tsp curry powder
• 3 pieces of candied ginger (in syrup) , finely chopped
Method:
1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan and fry the seitan chunks until they’re golden browns and crisp.
2. Add the drained salsify and the spices and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the cranberries, ginger, nuts and seeds and the orange juice to create a wonderful sticky gravy.
4. Stir in the chopped coriander et voila! : A speedy, wonderfully nutritious and healthy dinner!

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Tomato and pea curry with coconut and coriander risotto
This is fusion cooking at its best. Indian meets Italian, or as I like to call it: Italindian. The sharpness of the tomatoes blends incredibly well with the sweetness of the peas. The hot and spicy kick of the fragrant curry and the rich creaminess of the risotto create the perfect symphony of flavours. This is simply a must for everyone who loves a classic Indian curry or a traditional Italian risotto. It’s the best of both worlds, but with an edgy twist!
Ingredients(serves 4)
For the curry:
• 500gr cherry tomatoes, halved
• 500gr frozen peas
• 2 onions, finely sliced
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 500ml of passata
• 1tsp chilli powder
• 1 ½ tbsp garam massala
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• 2 tsp brown sugar
• 2 tsp turmeric
For the risotto:
• 320gr risotto rice
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 400ml coconut milk
• 400ml vegetable stock
• Lots of fresh coriander
Method
1. Heat one tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wide casserole or pan that comes with a lid, and add the chopped onions, garlic and all the spices, stirring frequently as you cook them over a low to medium heat for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the tomato passata and the brown sugar and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes so that all the spices can infuse the tomato sauce.
3. Add the peas and tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary and cook for a further 10 minutes.
4. For the risotto, sauté the onion in a tablespoon of oil for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir until all the grains of rice have a nice oily coating.
5. Add a ladle full of the stock to the pan and stir well. Cook until nearly all of the stock has been absorbed and then add another ladleful of the stock. Do the same with the coconut cream, this will give the risotto the most wonderfully rich texture.
6. When the rice is cooked, stir through the chopped coriander.

Sicilian pasta with a Belgian twist: yes, it is possible! Spaghetti alle acciughe with amazing Brussels sprouts

Published March 29, 2013 by The Feminist

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Thank goodness for Sicilian food! And thank goodness for my best friend who speaks fluent Italian so I don’t have to consult a dictionary every time I want to cook something Italian! Of course, I could just say “spaghetti with anchovy” but that just sounds really boring. “Spaghetti alle acciughe”, on the other hand, sounds like summer on a plate, reminiscent of the hot weather on the island of Mount Etna.
I am big fan of Sicilian food and I especially adore the combination of sweet and salty in their pasta dishes. However, this is not your typical Sicilian dish. In fact, most Sicilians will probably get a heart attack merely from looking at the title of this blog post. (Jeeez, such wussies!)
So to all the Italian/ Sicilian/ “Do not mess with classic dishes”-ian people out there: don’t read on! To all the rest: try the recipe, it is a true delight! 😉
This simple whole wheat pasta dish combines the classic flavours of Sicily (raisins, anchovy, lemon) with the typical gutsy ingredients Belgium is so renowned for (Brussels Sprouts). If I had to compare this dish with a Hollywood couple, it would be Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling. Hot and steamy. But also very robust and mysterious. Oh yes, this dish is Eva and Ryan intertwined in one big bowl of pasta… I better stop with this comparison because it is getting a bit out of hand 😉

Spaghetti alle acciughi with Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients :

• 350gr wholeweat spaghetti or linguini
• 500gr Brussels sprouts, trimmed
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
• Handful of raisins
• Zest and juice of half of lemon
• Handful of roasted flaked almonds
• Parmesan, grated
• 25 anchovy fillets, in oil

Method:

1. Bring a large pan of water to boil, add plenty of salt and cook the pasta according to packet instructions. (Save some of the starchy cooking water for the pasta sauce)
2. Meanwhile, blanche the Brussels sprouts for a couple of minutes and then rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking process. Cut the al dente Brussels sprouts in half.
3. Heat three tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and fry for three minutes until the onion has softened.
4. Then stir in the cooked pasta, Brussels sprouts, anchovy fillets and raisins.
5. Add some of the cooking water from the pasta to give the pasta a glossy look and smoother texture.
6. To finish, stir through lots of grated parmesan cheese, sprinkle some lemon juice and zest over the top and garnish with some crunchy almond flakes.

Some things are better left unsaid. But then again, that’s just not my style so I’m going to say it anyway: This was delicious!

Published February 27, 2013 by The Feminist

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Some things are better left unsaid. Other things ought to be shared with every person on the planet. This recipe falls in the latter category (no surprise there, I presume?)This pesto, courgette and mozzarella tart is healthy, hearty and delicious! The pesto is full of flavour and the beautifully grilled courgette slices work so well with the milky white of the mozzarella.
And what’s more: It is ridiculously easy to make and 100% meat-free! Even the most blatantly innate meat-loving cynic will love this bright and sunny dish. Serve with a triple bean and cherry tomato salad (forgot to take a picture of that one, sorry!) and you won’t even remember meat ever existed!

And no, I’m NOT exaggerating!

Pesto, courgette and mozzarella tart

Ingredients:

• 1 sheet puff pastry
• 2 small-medium size courgettes, in slices of approx. 5 mm
• 200gr good quality mozzarella cheese
• Homemade or store-bought pesto (I won’t judge 😉 )
• Basil leaves to decorate

Method:

1. Grill the slices of courgette on a hot grill until nice grill marks appear.
2. Preheat the oven to 200°C and place the puff pastry on a non-stick baking sheet.
3. Generously spread pesto over the pastry base, leaving a 2cm gap around the edge of the tart.
4. Arrange the courgette and mozzarella slices in a spiral shape on top of the pesto, overlapping slightly.
5. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Fold over the edges of the puff pastry and put bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
7. Garnish with basil leaves and buon appetito!

Mamma Mia: a Belgian student cooking Italian

Published November 5, 2012 by The Feminist

Italian cooking is by far one of the world’s most varied cuisines, with dishes perfect for every occasion.
From pizza to pasta.
From pollo cacciatore to risotto.
From anti pasti to dolce.
Everyone simply loves Italian food! But the thing I love about it the most, is that it is made for sharing. Sharing food with family and friends is one of life’s greatest pleasures. No dainty presentation but honest dishes prepared with love and dedication. Big portions and big flavours!
On the menu today:

Vegetable orzotto : comfort food as it should be: little effort but great impact


Turkey fillets topped with slices of courgette and mozzarella: succulent meat, crispy courgette and gooey cheese. Heaven on a platter!
This is what I imagine Nigella would cook and Sofia Loren would eat…