Category: Italian

Neapolitan Easter Bread

Looking for something different to make this Easter?  This Neapolitan Easter Bread  aka Casatiello Napoletano could be just the thing!  Who can resist the smell of freshly baked bread?  And when that bread is stuffed with salami, bacon, cheese eggs and olives it becomes even more irresistible!  

Neapolitan Easter Bread1

Meantime though, who can believe it’s already Easter?  Where has this year gone?  March is always super busy for me at work and this year has been no exception.  I’ve been working into the early hours of the morning some days!  So, despite my best intentions of blogging MORE this year, it has actually turned into less. It’s also been hard to settle into a routine; with my step father’s passing earlier in the year I am living part of the week at my mum’s house and part of the week at home so my usual routines have had to change.  It has been a hard time in many respects but also has been great spending more time with mum from catching a movie to a manicure to painting classes and most importantly cooking and eating together. 

Neapolitan Easter Bread4

However, March madness is over at work, it all should be smooth sailing from here, right?   Maybe not…I have a crazy May coming up but that is filled with travels and fun rather than work.  Can’t wait.    However, let’s get back to the bread!  I used the Food 52 recipe for Neapolitan Easter Bread except I swapped out the ham for salami. Another difference between this recipe and more traditional versions is that chopped hard boiled eggs are included in the filling whereas traditional versions have them whole on the top of the loaf:

Traditional Neapolitan Easter Bread

I thought having the  eggs on top like that would make it quite difficult to eat!  And believe me, you will want to eat this, it is soooo good!

Neapolitan Easter BreadAnd the good news is that, if you don’t eat it all at once, it keeps really well. I’ve had it in my fridge for nearly a week now and it is still great when you place it under the grill to toast. 

The bread dough was easy to make and  turned out perfectly. 

 

Neapolitan Easter Bread2Then it was simply to put on the filing, roll it up and pop it in the oven. 

The Neapolitan Easter Bread is lovely warm just as it comes!  Food 52 suggest pesto or chimichurri as n accompaniment.  Warm with butter is superb!  Warm with a little bit of guac is also pretty damn special.!!!!

We ALL wanted a slice of it!

Neapolitan Easter Bread3Speaking of Easter, how cute is this little vintage bunny vase of my mum’s?

Bunny VaseHave a wonderful Easter everyone.  I hope the bunny brings you all the chocolate (Or Neapolitan Easter Bread) you wish for! 

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Goldilocksing Vitello Tonnato

Dear People of the Internet,

Have you ever been utterly obsessed by a recipe?  So much so that even when it confounds you time and time again, you have to keep trying to cook it to perfection? Just as Nic Silver is obsessed by Tanis, so have I been consumed by a search for a, no THE, perfect Vitello Tonnato.  My obsession started during the 2015 (2014?) season of My Kitchen Rules when Ash and Camilla made it.  Veal with Tuna Mayonnaise?  Really girls?  Really? But no. Despite my initial misgivings, the judges loved it!  And it’s kind of kooky and very retro.  Which are pretty much my criteria for food obsession.

vitello-tonnato4

They say the course of true love never runs smooth and so it was with my adventures with Vitello Tonnato.

Vitello Tonnato – The Bad

The first Vitello Tonnato I made came from, yep, you guessed it, The A-Z of Cooking, 1977. From the chapter entitled N is for Night Before to be precise.  It looked good enough but oh…..that veal.  That  veal was so stringy and fatty and revolting it was damn near inedible!

vitello-tonnato vitello-tonnato2This was a huge fail on the veal but props to the A-Z of Cooking, the tonnato was good!

Vitello Tonnato – The Ugly

Next up, I  went super modern.  This version of Vitello Tonnato came from a Tasty Reads Book club choice from earlier in the year which espoused the virtues of “clean” living.  The author has apparently lost quite a bit of weight eating this food and I am not surprised.  Pretty much everything I have made from it has been singularly awful. 

 The vitello tonnato was no exception.

The surprise was that the Tonnato was made from tofu.  And I’m not going to go on a tofu bashing rant because, as with everything, tofu has it’s place – miso soup, vegan curries? Awesome, brilliant, the more the better!  It just does not belong in Vitello Tonnato!  I made this to take to a Tasty Reads Cookbook Club meeting. 

Here is what I took:

almond-butter-prawnsWhat?  I hear you say.  That looks like the weirdest Vitello Tonnato in the world. It looks more like almond butter grilled prawns.  And you ‘d be right.  If they gave gold medals for things that tasted flipping disgusting and smelled like sick, that Tofu Tonnato would win hands down.  And the roast veal was again dry and fatty.  The veal went to the dogs, the tonnato went in the bin and I went down to the supermarket to buy the prawns for the dish you see above.  Incidentally, the prawns were one of the handful of decent recipes I have cooked from this book!

Vitello Tonnato – The Good

Normally, after two fails at a dish I would give it up as bad job.  But obsession is obsession and I still not done with Vitello Tonnato. And so, I turned back to the initial inspiration for making this dish – The MKR website.

vitello-tonnatoAnd you know what?  The third time was a charm!  This Vitello Tonnato was everything the other’s weren’t.  The veal was lovely and tender, the tonnato was tasty and the accoutrements – pickles, fried capers and micro herbs were perfection!

It was also the gift that kept on giving – it made a lovely dinner, and the next day, wrapped in lettuce leaves it made a super tasty lunch!

vitello-tonnatoHere is a link to the MKR recipe for Vitello Tonnato

The only problem with the MKR Vitello Tonnato is that you poach the veal in a gorgeous stock made with herbs and vegetables and white wine and stock.  And then presumably throw it out.  Not on my watch!  I kept it in the fridge over night and the following evening I roasted up some tomatoes, added this to the stock mix and voila, I had a super quick, easy and delicious tomato soup! Add some grilled cheese and it made the perfect work lunch!

tomato-soup-work-lunch-2

So tell me.  Have you ever been obsessed by a recipe?  And how many times do you try something before giving up on it?

And have a super week! Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2  Related articles

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Torta Mimosa

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today we are celebrating with an Italian treat called a Torta Mimosa.  In Italy, men give the women they love a sprig of mimosa on International Women’s Day (March 8th).  In Australia, it is autumn and we will not have mimosa (what we call wattle) for another six or so months so swapped in some gorgeous lilies instead. 

The Torta Mimosa is also traditionally served on International Women’s Day in Italy. Or as the Italians would say, Festa Della Donna – it sounds so much more glamorous when you say it like that doesn’t it?

Torta Mimosa2The Torta Mimosa, as the name suggests is meant to look like a sprig of mimosa.  I’m not entirely sure that it does but damn it tastes good!

Torta Mimosa

It’s a sponge cake, filled with creme pâtissière (and I added some lemon curd), then covered with small squares of sponge to create the mimosa look.

It’s light, fresh and a lovely way to celebrate all the wonderful,amazing women in your life!

Torta Mimosa4

I am so very lucky to have a many inspirational women in my life – from family, friends, work mates, the tasty reads crew, friends from the gym, to the people who I have met through doing this blog.  I feel privileged to know such a number of smart, witty, sassy, strong women, each of whom help to make my life, and the lives of all around them better and brighter.

Torta Mimosa3

Oh boy…this recipe is not hard to make but there are lots of parts.

  • I made Margaret Fulton’s sponge cake from The Great Australian Cookbook.  Twice. 
  • I used the creme pâtissière from The Joy Of Cooking
  • And I also used some bought lemon curd in the layers to add some tanginess.

Here is a link to a very similar recipe on Epicurious:

Torta Mimosa

Torta Mimosa5To all you wonderful women, I wish you a very happy International Women’s Day! 

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2;

Molten Umami Meatball Sandwiches

 Hello, hello it’s good to be back!

Umami Meatball Sandwich
Molten Meatball Sandwich

Did you miss me? I’ve been on holidays – three weeks out of the grey Melbourne cold and into the warmth of sunny Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia. The holiday was amazing and I will fill you in on the details over the next few weeks, most particularly about the amazing food.

Here is (literally) a taster….

You know how in most supermarkets you get tasting plates?  For example, earlier today in my local supermarket I got to sample 3 kinds of dumplings (prawn, scallop and mushroom), 5 flavours of kombucha tea and some chia pudding…(yeah, my local supermarket is awesome!)  Well, in Cambodia, the taster plates consist of Bamboo Worms…and only  $2 a kilo!

Bamboo Worms
Bamboo Worms

 And these are deep fried crickets….an even better bargain at half the price of the worms…

Crickets
Crickets

 This is me about to taste one of the bamboo worms:

Cambodia Taste Testing
Cambodia Taste Testing

 But before we go there, I wanted to talk to you about meatballs. As much as we love Asian food, after three weeks of it we were craving something that wasn’t.  Funnily enough, we both had cravings for pretty much the same thing. 

He wanted spaghetti bolognese.  I wanted spaghetti and meatballs.  I was doing  the cooking so spaghetti and meatballs it was!  As I was cooking these, I realised why this is such awesome comfort food (it’s not like either of us has Italian heritage). My meatballs are crammed full of umami flavours – parmesan, mushrooms, tomatoes, red wine….Hmmm…is red wine umami?  Well it’s pretty damn good even if it isn’t.  Also, the original recipe for this called for an anchovy fillet.  I didn’t happen to have any so I added saltiness with a dash of fish sauce…guess what?  More umami!

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti and Meatballs (and the joys of a plate on your knee  in front of the telly…it really is good to be back)

The spaghetti and meatballs were delicious and everything I wanted – something to warm our bones in the winter cold, something that was quick and easy to cook after a day of travelling and something familiar – comfort food at it’s best!!!

They also require very little in terms of fresh ingredients so you can keep shopping to a minimum.  And, if you were super organised, you could make a batch and pop them in the freezer before you left.  (Massive sigh).  I would love to be that organised!!!!  

So, it was spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and then, (this mixture makes a lot of meatballs) I made a molten meatball mountain (i.e, a meatball sandwich ) for my lunch the next day.  The meatballs were great with the spaghetti but for my mind, even better in the sandwich the next day.  And Oscar was on hand for any leftovers.

Of which there were none!

Molten Meatball Sandwich
Molten Meatball Sandwich

 Remember these?   Bamboo Worms

 They tasted like this: Aftermath of the Bamboo Worm

I wouldn’t say this was the worst thing I have ever eaten…but it sure wasn’t good.  The outside was kind of crunchy and not so bad.  It was the inside that was gross.  It didn’t taste so much of anything, it just had an unpleasant texture – mushy and slightly gritty. Not to mention the thought that was impossible to dispel.  “That thing in your mouth?  That’s worm guts…you’re eating worm guts…that thing you just bit into, that was probably work heart….”

Not good.  

Thank goodness I found much better things to eat in Phnom Pehn.  Which I will tell you about next time…

Have a fabulous week!    

PS – Is anyone doing the kombucha thing?  I kind of want to grow my own….if you are please let me know!

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2
 

Umami Meatballs

Umami Meatballs

These delicious meatballs are crammed with umami goodness and are the prefect comfort food for a wintery night or a delicious lunch the following day

Ingredients

  • 500g lamb mince (or you can use ground beef or a mix of pork and veal)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried herbs or 1 tbsp Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs
  • 120g grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 small mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • For the Sauce:
  • 400g can Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • dash fish sauce
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • To Serve:
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley or basil or a mixture
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese (as much or as little as you like)
  • or
  • 1 baguette
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley or basil or both
  • Rocket (Arugula), Baby Kale or other green of your choice
  • Shaved Parmesan or melting cheese of your choice

Instructions

  • Place the minced lamb, garlic, mushrooms, onion, herbs, grated parmesan, chilli flakes and fish sauce in a bowl.
  • Season with some pepper - the fish sauce will add saltiness.
  • Using your hands shape into walnut sized balls.
  • Place in fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large deep frying pan over medium - high heat.
  • Fry the meatballs in batches turning for 3-4 minutes until browned.
  • Set aside.
  • Heat the remaining oil in the same pan over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until soft and then add the sugar, fish sauce and wine.
  • Cook until the wine has reduced by half.
  • Add the tomatoes.
  • Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low and cook for 5-6 minutes until slightly reduced.
  • Add the meatballs and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the sauce has thickened. If you like a thicker sauce (like me) simmer for longer.
  • For Spaghetti
  • If you are having your meatballs with spaghetti, cook this according to the directions on the packet.
  • To serve, place the spaghetti into bowls, top with the meatballs and sauce and sprinkle over some chopped parsley and some shaved parmesan.
  • For A Meatball Sandwich the following day
  • Split your baguette in two lengthwise and lightly toast.
  • Add the oil to a fry pan and heat, add the mushrooms and saute until soft.
  • Remove and set aside
  • Add the meatballs and sauce. Heat through.
  • Add your greens and mushrooms to the toasted baguette.
  • Load on your meatballs and sauce.
  • Sprinkle with herbs,
  • Top with Parmesan
  • Place under grill until the cheese has melted.
  • ENJOY!
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2014/08/10/molten-umami-meatball-mountains/

 

 

 

 

Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Rice? (Daring Kitchen Arancini)

Ever made food where just looking at it made you feel happy?

Spinach and Cheese Arancini
Spinach and Cheese Arancini

That’s how I felt with the December Daring Kitchen Challenge.  Just looking at these golden balls of goodness made me smile.

Yes, I did just say golden balls of goodness, and yes, I did have a little smirk as I did.

Sigh.

I so have the mind of a 12-year-old boy.  And you know what?  This whole post is full of stuff like that.

So, you know, take a moment….watch this clip from a British tv show called, I kid you not,  Golden Balls, which appears to be a game show version of the Prisoner’s dilemma.   (Yay, I knew that Philosophy major would come in handy one day!  Stay tuned, next week…Baking with Nietzsche…)

Anyway, marvel at the British nuttiness of it all and come back ready to talk about arancini….

Golden Balls

Ok, I’m ready.  Arancini.

January’s Daring Cooks’ challenge was a ball! The lovely Manu from Manu’s Menu brought our taste buds to the streets of Sicily and taught us her family tradition of making arancine – filled and fried balls of risotto. Delizioso!

These were super delizioso but believe me, you’re not making them in any sort of hurry.  These babies need some time and devotion to the cause.

First you’ve got to make:

The Risotto

Arancini Ingredients
Arancini Ingredients

I’ll put the full recipe at the end.  but this is actually a great risotto recipe.

What you end up with is this.  How gorgeous is this bright yellow?

This lovely sunshiney yellow is well on its way to becoming my favourite colour. And mmmmm…butter….

Saffron Risotto
Saffron Risotto

Then you lay it into a tray to cool and then you make…

Golden Balls o’ Sunshine…

Saffron Risotto Balls
Saffron Risotto Balls

And you know what?  You could stop right here and crumb these babies and they would be all kinds of delicious.  But in the daring kitchen, we’re turning that flavour experience up to 11.  Yeah.  EL-EV-EN.

Starting With:

The Bechamel

Wow.  has there ever been a bigger moment of cognitive dissonance?

Did you all just fist pump the air Eye of the Tiger style and then do a double take?

Bechamel?  WTF?  BlecHHHHHamel  more like.  Isn’t that the creepy white sauce that tastes like glue?

Bear with me..this one’s good.

You need to make it quite thick.

Bechamel Sauce
Bechamel Sauce

And finally:

The Filling

I chose to do a spinach and mozzarella filling.  The recipe has a meat ragu version and  a cheese version.

I didn’t get  a photo of the sauteed spinach.

But it looked like sauteed spinach.

Trust me.

Filling the Arancini 1
Filling the Arancini 1

You make a hole in the Risotto ball and add the filling ingredients – sauce, cheese, spinach.

And close.

Word to the wise.  Do the sauce first.  I’ll show you what happens in a moment if you try to do the sauce last…

Filling the Arancini 2
Filling the Arancini 2

One of these things does not quite belong…guess which one of these was the one where I put the sauce in last?

Filled Arancini
Filled Arancini

See what I mean about this being a labour of love?

It’s not all over yet folks, now you gotta egg them, crumb them and fry them up.

Bet you’re thinking you can sit down and have a quiet bottle of vino and some valium  now aren’t you?

Not so fast, Speedy.  These are fabulous and you could quite easily eat them as is.  Look at that oozy goodness….

Yep, oozy goodness from my golden balls…don’t roll your eyes…you were warned.

Spinach and Cheese Arancini 3
Spinach and Cheese Arancini 3

But remember when i said we were taking this up to eleven?

For eleven you need my spicy tomato relish (recipe below)

The arancini have a delightful crunch, then the aromatic risotto and the creamy cheesey garlicy goodness of the filling. The relish brings some heat and some tanginess. And that my friends is the five food groups covered.

Plus it has spinach so it’s good for you.

Like I said.  Eleven.

Spinach and Cheese Arancini with Tomato and Date Relish

Arancini recipe:

HERE

And just because I love you all, here’s the classic Spinal Tap clip about….

Eleven

Have a fabulous week,  And what ever you love doing – this week, take it to eleven!

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

 

 

Follow
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com
Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE
%d bloggers like this: