Tag Archives: recipes

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.

Winter warmers

I know it isn’t officially Winter yet, but it has certainly felt like it with some of those cold, dark, stormy nights.  There’s nothing better than a warm and hearty – but still healthy – meal on nights like that.  Of late I’ve been preparing a lot of stuffed vegetable dishes that go into the oven, usually on a Saturday or Sunday as during the week I keep things pretty simple.  On the weekend I like dishes where I can do some or all of the ingredient prep in stages throughout the day, as I’m ducking in and out of the house constantly in between the boys sport and other myriad of activities.  Then when evening comes I can just put the dish into the oven, all the prep and cleaning up done.

One weekend I made stuffed cabbage rolls.  I used rice and mushrooms, with some toasted breadcrumbs for texture.  Mamma Rosa also likes to use noodles.  As I’d bought a whole cabbage and still had a good bit left, the next day I chopped it up and slow braised it with some leek and a little stock, its a nice little side dish.winterwarmers (2)

Stuffed artichokes.  Traditionally in Italy these are stuffed with a meat filling, but a simple breadcrumb, parsley and parmesan filling can also work very nicely.  You can cook them in a tomato sauce or mix some white wine, olive oil, stock and herbs.winterwarmers (5)

Another weekend I did some stuffed large mushrooms.  In these I put tuna, pinenuts, chopped boiled egg, parsley and breadcrumbs, drizzled with olive oil and into the oven they went.  You can be very versatile and imaginative in your fillings for all these vegetables, whatever takes your fancy.  Spinach and ricotta works nicely too on the mushrooms, and throw on some coarse breadcrumbs to add texture.winterwarmers (3)

In an effort to minimise waste, I used the large stalks from the mushrooms as part of a mushroom stock for a mushroom risotto the next day.winterwarmers (1)

During the week it is simple soup dishes like this that take about 15 minutes.  I sautéed some onion in some olive oil, added couple of tablespoons of tomato paste and sautéed some more, a litre or so of stock, a cup of risoni, some cannellini beans, and to finish throw in some baby spinach and grated parmesan.winterwarmers (6)

The other day I had a craving for a soup that Mamma Rosa used to make me when I was a little girl, so decided to make it – its a polenta soup, with tomato and broccoli.  This is “cucina povera” – peasant food – at its finest.  Delicious.winterwarmers (4)