Tag Archives: recipes

In My Kitchen, March 2018

Autumn has begun but it’s still warm and balmy in Sydney, after an exceptionally dry Summer.   The weather has meant that lots of salads, grilled fish, and omelettes with fresh herbs have been coming out of the kitchen.

In My Kitchen is a monthly link up of kitchens around the world, currently hosted by Sherry at Sherry’s pickings. It has been going for eight years now, started by the lovely Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. A few things to share from the Napoli kitchen over the last few weeks:

With the new year in full swing it was time to wrestle control of the pantry.  A lot of the containers I bought sixteen years ago as a newlywed (sixteen years!) were worse for wear or no longer sealing properly, so it was time for some new containers, and also labels to make it easy to find everything.  I ordered a standard pack from Pretty Pantry Labels (product certainly as described!) and a handful of custom ones from The Pantry Label Shop, and we were good to go.

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On a recent trip to Carriageworks Markets, I liked the sound of these eggplant ravioli from Pasta Gallery and bought some to try.  I served them simply, some baby spinach, semi dried tomatoes, spring onions, olive oil and shaved parmesan.  They were delicious.

I also bought these carrots – aren’t the colours glorious?

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In my kitchen is a new apron, butcher style, that a generous friend bought for me at a recent cooking night.

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I mentioned recently that Mamma Rosa has discovered technology.  In her sixties, Mamma Rosa is texting, emailing and YouTubing with the best of them. She loves watching recipe videos in Italian. I discovered that Mamma Rosa and the Small People are now texting each other – pretty much exclusively about food.  Mamma Rosa writes in Italian, and the Small People text back in a combination of Italian and English.  Their funny little conversations are often about special menu requests (“can you please make us arancini”).  One of them was for a batch of “biscotto”, or what the Small People call “crunchy bread”.  Mamma Rosa’s feather light biscotto – also often called freselle – is ideal for a snack with any topping – avocado, cheese, ricotta, tomato.  We all love it.

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Our chooks have been laying well in this warm weather, although we have encountered a couple of stubborn brooders.  The girls are over a year old now, so officially “hens” rather than “pullets” and the eggs are getting noticeably bigger.  We get a consistent stream of 70 gram plus eggs, except for petite and dainty Grace, who produces corresponding cute petite and dainty eggs.  I do have to be careful when I am baking because of the size as it can result in distorted proportions. Don’t tell the others, but I think Rosie’s eggs are my favourite.

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I’ve been spending a good bit of time thinking about kitchen layout and other cabinetry for the renovation and build, which is slowly making progress.  Hafele have some really clever storage solutions for internal cupboards.

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In my kitchen is a great buy from Aldi recently – dual lemon and lime pack! They will be making their way to our new garden.  They also had fig plants but these disappeared too quickly.

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I hope you all have a lovely March!

In My Kitchen, November 2017

Welcome to the November edition of In My Kitchen.  It is drizzling as I type, some much needed rain hitting Sydney after an almost thirty year record dry spell.

In my kitchen is today’s Daily Telegraph featuring none other than Mamma Rosa!  A couple of weeks ago The Sorella told me Delicious and The Telegraph were in search of family recipes.  As many of you know I have my special little book, so I sent in her crostoli.  She was chuffed (but would have preferred no picture!).

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In my kitchen are brochures brochures brochures.  A few weeks ago with demolition and excavation in full swing at our “grand old lady”, as I sometimes call our house (or more often, our “falling down house”) we moved out.  We were loathe to leave, but safety became an issue.  With not much yet done except the land being cleared – which was a much bigger job than we thought –  and the original house being stripped, the builders and others were already asking which appliances were going in, where I wanted power points, and where the plumbing needed to run so had we decided on taps and toilets.  I haven’t bought any major appliances or household goods for ten years so it was time to look around.  A lot has changed since then, and in some cases I think there are just too many bells and whistles – if you knock, sing or pirouette your dishwasher and/or oven door will open (the knocking one is true, the other two probably aren’t far behind).

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A few weeks ago I went to one of the Sandhurst Festival of Nonna dinners, which was just lovely. We were given a couple of jars of Nonna’s Sugo.  I’m not usually one for bottled sauces, most of them are very acidic, but this one was really good!

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In my kitchen are home grown avocados, courtesy of a colleague’s dad.  Can’t wait till they ripen so I can try them.

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Just outside my kitchen are pots of herbs.  The house we are renting didn’t have much in the way of garden beds, so pots it is for now. At the Festival of Nonna dinner we met the Torrisi family who are long time large scale basil growers, and they gave us an interesting tip – that when you water basil, you should avoid watering the leaves, it apparently grows better.   Can’t be helped in the rain of course, but good to know otherwise.

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That’s it from the Napoli kitchen this month.  IMK is a global monthly link up hosted by Sherry’s Pickings – thanks Sherry!

In my kitchen, April 2017

The gentle coolness of autumn has rolled into the kitchen, bringing with it thoughts of soups, minestrone, and baked dishes like parmeggiana.   As we pick the very last of our tomatoes and cucumbers, the garden is looking very bare and I need to swot up on what to plant next.

We also picked our last baby beetroot, which I gently roasted in the oven.

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One of the Small People has also been tending lovingly to a strawberry plant, of which he is very proud.  He insisted I take a photo!

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Last month I mentioned I was germinating white dragon fruit.  Now teeny sprouts, they are looking very healthy.  My latest challenge has been to try and germinate mulberries.  I adore mulberries, but the season is short and they are very hard to find.  I occasionally stumble across them at a farmers market.  I planted 10 seeds each of the black and white varieties, and waited the prescribed 40 days, and nothing.  When 50 then 60 days passed, I knew it was a fail.  Undeterred, I tried again, planting another 6 seeds of each.   I have one tiny sprout of the black variety!

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For those who don’t like carbs, now is the time to look away.

In my kitchen is a variety of Molisana pasta that we all really like.  It is a really tight curl, Shirley Temple ringlet style, and “holds the sauce” very well.  If you haven’t tried the Molisana brand of pasta, I recommend it.

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One night I used it to make a “pasta forno”, or baked pasta, with peas and eggplant.

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In my kitchen is this lovely plate of biscuits from my darling Godmother.  Her savoiardi were divine, I must ask her for the recipe.

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A fellow bread baking friend and I went up to Victoria’s Basement to get enamel roasters.  Other breadbakers and IMK’ers swear by them.  I was very happy with the result.

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I’m loving these crispy Afghani Dippits made by a local family company in Sydney.  With a smear of avocado or a gooey cheese they are great.

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In my kitchen is also some fresh Afghani bread from a local grocer.  Its kind of like a squashed Turkish bread, really thin but springy at the same time.  The Marito was a big fan.

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I found a panettone lurking in the pantry from Christmas, I’m thinking I’ll make a dessert with it rather than have it straight up.  I’m sure I’ll also put the tin to good use.

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What’s happening in your kitchen? Thanks to Liz at Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things for hosting this month’s link up of kitchens around the world.

In My Kitchen, February 2017

Welcome to the first In My Kitchen for 2017! IMK is a monthly link up hosted by Liz at Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things showcasing what is in blogger kitchens around the world.

Christmas feels like aeons ago.  The tree is gone, the decorations packed away, and Easter Eggs are already in the supermarket.   But a couple of Christmas gifts are being put good to use in my kitchen

The Small People bought me some new oven mitts, having noticed that my old ones were in tatters.  They are heavy duty and very good.

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I love these mugs that the Marito and I use for our daily coffee.   Maybe one day when we fix our falling down grand old lady of a house, it really will be a manor.

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I also received this delicious and thoughtful gift, which will be much enjoyed!

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It has now been just over a year that we moved here. It was too far into the summer last year when we moved in to plant anything but this year we’ve been all over it.

There’s been beautiful tomatoes

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Zucchini and flowers

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Cucumbers, eggplants and eggs from the girls

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Crispy cos lettuce, and figs I picked from our neighbours’ abundant tree (they didn’t even know they had a fig tree, its right down the bottom of the land, and don’t want them!)

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In my kitchen is miso paste that I bought at our local Japanese grocer; I’ve been making miso salmon and miso eggplant

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The Marito bought home a huge bag of mushrooms one day, I used some of it to make polenta with mushrooms, mostly following this recipe

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At the Italian deli recently I found this squid ink pasta by Molisana, who make good pasta.  I haven’t decided on a recipe yet.  Suggestions?

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I hope you are having a great month in your kitchen!

 

 

 

In my Christmas kitchen, December 2016

‘Twas three weeks before Christmas, and in the Napoli house,
the KitchenAid was stirring, much faster than a mouse.
Pretty boxes were laid with paper doillies with care,
Wouldn’t St Nicholas have a feast if he arrived there.

I think St Nicholas would be pretty delighted if he stumbled into my kitchen in the midst of my frenzy of Christmas sweet making in my kitchen. At this time of year, I love to make biscuits and sweets to give to friends, the boys’ school teachers, work colleagues, and clients. It is even more fun hand delivering them.

This weekend’s haul included crostoli, recipe here

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Some moreish little whiskey biscuits, recipe here

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Almond bread, which turned out particularly fantastic, I had to put it quickly in boxes before I ate it all, recipe here

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And some pistachio biscotti, recipe here.

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After that I needed to sit down for a bit.

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Fortunately, with all the eggs I needed, our chooks have been going great guns, each of them laying every single day for the last ten days or so.  One of the girls (my bet is on Lily), has been laying some whopper eggs.  We were pretty impressed with this 88 grammer a week ago

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But then, last Friday morning out of the nesting box came this one, 105 grams! I liken this to giving birth to a 14 pound baby, and I’m surprised whoever laid it didn’t sit down for a week to recover. But no, she laid the next day too.

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Here is the Monster Egg as we called it pictured next to a 70 gram egg, which is considered “extra large” in the supermarket.  It is exactly fifty percent more in weight. And here it is in my hand, to give you a feel. I’m hoping this means the girls are happy!

I hope you are having a lovely December in your corner of the world.  Have a peak at other kitchens in the In My Kitchen series, hosted by Lovely Liz at Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things.

Buon Natale from the Napoli Household.

Panettone and Pandoro

To me, it never feels like Christmas is coming until I open the first panettone.  In late November, the Italian delis around Sydney are filled with different varieties shipped from the big brand Italian bakeries – the more traditional with candied fruit or sultanas, or more recent varieties with flavours like limoncello cream and chocolate.  I am a bit  particular about the ones I buy, and that means mostly avoiding the ones you’ll find in the major supermarket chains. Among the mass produced ones, brands I like include Motta, Paluani and Bauli, which you’ll typically buy for $10-$15. Pay up and you’ll get something more bespoke or artisan.

There are lots of stories about the origin of panettone, including one that it was named after some bloke called Tony (“pane di toni”). In any case it is known that it originated in Milan and was always made for Christmas and New Year, with Angelo Motta becoming one of the early large producers back in 1919.  Pandoro (“bread of gold”) on the other hand comes from Verona, and, as its name implies, is a golden fluffy sweet bread without any fruit.  Typically made in a star formation, give it a shake in the bag with the provided icing sugar and it is meant to resemble snow falling down a mountain.

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If you are ambitious, you could try and make some of your own, but its a three day proving process and a real labour of love.  I’ll leave it to the experts thank you very much; but if you’re up for it, you’ll find a recipe in a book I have and really like, The Italian Baker.

I love my panettone and pandoro straight up with a good espresso.  But there are plenty of other things you can do with it, starting with making it French toast for breakfast. Slice your pandoro or panettone to the desired thickness; in a bowl beat an egg, a little milk, a little icing sugar and some vanilla extract, dip your pandoro and fry in a pan with melted butter.  Add some yoghurt and fresh fruit and dust with icing sugar.  Buonissimo.

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Then there are plenty of desserts, like this Amalfi lemon delicious with limoncello custard, recipe here.

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Or this caramelised panettone with grilled peaches, recipe here

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For a very rich and very extravagant dessert that will feed a crowd, try this blueberry, mango and praline trifle, recipe here

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A family favourite is this Torta di Verona recipe.

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How ever you have it, you can’t go too far wrong. Buon natale!

Four years in

This week my friend Francesca over at Almost Italian posted about her three year “blogaversary”.  I realised that October is also my blogaversary, it has been four years!  As Francesca says, it is a complete mystery why some posts are so popular, or how people find them, while others languish at the bottom of the heap.

A friend at work actually started this blog for me, there is no way I would have done it.  So with a bit of help and a few YouTube videos I navigated my way around basic html and setting up links and the like.  I know that if I want to grow I should go down the path of “self hosted” and “plug ins” and Google Analytics.  But that was never the plan.  It’s a record, a keepsake, an easy place to find my own recipes rather than going through my scrap book and files, knowing that piece of paper with the ingredients list is somewhere in the pile. It has also been an unexpectedly great way to come across other like minded, delightful people, each with their own story.

So following in Francesca’s footsteps here are my most popular posts over the last four years. Surprisingly, at the top of the list is this one on Sydney’s Best Cannoli.  It is a rare day when someone doesn’t look at it.  Forget doughnuts and tella balls, cannoli is where its at.

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More understandably popular is this post on Sydney Private Dining Rooms, which needs a bit of an update given restaurant closures and new openings.  In the lead up to Christmas in particular this one gets a lot of hits.

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It is very closely followed by Mamma Rosa’s lemon biscuits.  If you google “Italian lemon biscuits” somehow this one has made it to page one of Google.  I must make these again, the Marito loves them.

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Most months on the blog you’ll see an “In My Kitchen” post. The monthly IMK series was started by Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, and is a linkup of bloggers all around the world, showing, as the name suggests, what is going on in the kitchen.  Scour the posts of the global tribe of IMK’ers and you’ll see every manner of kitchen gadgets, ingredients, recipes, wedding and birthday preparations, and the occasional renovation. It’s good fun.  My most popular IMK post was when we left our very modern house of 13 years (which we built) and moved to a falling down heap with more space, which we adore.

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And at the bottom of the pile is this Restaurant Dictionary.  Goodness knows we need one most times we dine out these days. But maybe only I do!

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I never really expected to do this for four years. Will I do it for another four? I don’t know. But it is a nice change from the myriad of numbers I look at all day at my computer at work. Thanks so much to those who read and comment, I really do appreciate it.