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Pork roast

6 Jun

The past few months were a bit crazy with guests coming over to visit us in the eternal city. The time has been flying! We checked out new restaurants and visited our favourites. Only 3 more weeks to go! It’s unbelievable that almost a year passed so quickly. Last week my friend Sanne who also likes to cook, asked me if I quit writing for my blog. “No way!” I said and told her about the past few months. I thought about the weekend and felt like making a nice oven dish. While cleaning the house, I found the last Christmas edition of an old food magazine. I saw this amazing recipe and immediately was inspired to make it! On Saturday we bought the groceries after a trip to this amazing fairytale city, Civita di Bagnoregio. While the roast was in the oven, we watched a movie and drank a good Italian wine. The roast smelled delicious when it came from the oven and it tasted perfect! I forgot how nice it is to make something from scratch! I hope you enjoy making this recipe as much as I did.

Ingredients

8-10 persons

100 g. mixed mushrooms, 200 g. spinach, 4 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 100 g. pine nuts, 1 piece of pork meat from the belly (1-1,5 kg.), salt and pepper, a food chopper or kitchen machine and kitchen string.

Preparation

Peel and chop the garlic and cut the mushrooms into small pieces and set them aside. Wash the spinach and squeeze the water out. Heat the olive oil, put the garlic in and bake it until it starts to smell good. Then add the pine nuts and the mushrooms bake them for 3 minutes and add the spinach bit by bit until it shrinks. Let it cool off and sieve it until all the water is out. Then, put everything in a food chopper and chop the mix grossly. Flavour it with salt and pepper.

Preheat an electric oven on 200 degrees (or 175 degrees for a convection oven). Cut the pork meat through the length (see pictures) and flavour it with salt and pepper. Put the meat with the fat facing downwards. Rub the pork meat with the spinach meat and coat it nicely. And now the hard part: roll the meat, with the spinach mix, tight and tie the roll with kitchen string. Watch that you don’t push the spinach out of the roll.

Put the roll in an oven dish in the oven for 1,5 hours. From time to time, drain the fat from the oven dish.

I made a nice salad on the side, click here for the recipe.

Buon appetito!

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Green chili

6 Jun

Ingredients

flower tortillas, olive oil, 600 g. chopped beef, 1 teaspoon of sage (I used fresh), salt and pepper, 2 onions, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 green bell peppers, 3 small hot peppers, 4 red tomatoes, 1 lettuce, 1 small bunch of fresh mint, 4 spring onions, 1 lime and yoghurt to serve.

Preparation

Put a large pan on high heat and add some olive oil. Add the chopped beef, sage and salt and pepper. Cook them for a few minutes and stir occasionally. Meanwhile, chop your onions, bell peppers and hot peppers.  Add them to the meat and let the stir fry for 10 minutes. Then you can chop the tomatoes. When the stir looks good, add the chopped tomatoes and a bit of water (as you prefer). A chili needs to be a bit dry, so don’t add too much water. Turn the heat down to medium and let the stir be for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, you can chop the lettuce and the spring onions. Mix it with the mint leaves.

After 10 minutes, add some lime juice, salt and pepper. Warm up the tortillas (want them homemade? click this link!).

Buon appetito!

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Homemade flower tortillas

25 Mrt

Because filled tortillas are one of my favorite dishes, I decided to make my own flower tortillas. Recipes I found showed me that they were not at all hard to make. I was still a bit suspicious that it would not work out, so when I went to the store to buy the ingredients for the green chili recipe, I still bought a package of flower tortillas, just in case. But the tortillas worked out perfectly! They were really easy to make and tasted delicious! So much better than from the store..

Ingredients

300 g. of flower, 250 ml of hand warm water, 40 g. soft butter, 1 teaspoon of salt

Preparation

Chop the butter into small parts and mix it with the flower, salt and water until it is a soft ball of dough. Chop the dough into 12 small parts and roll each part with a rolling pin until it looks like a tortilla (use some extra flower otherwise the tortilla sticks to your rolling pin). Make sure that the size of the tortilla fits into your pan. Heat up a pan and put a tortilla in the pan. Heat each tortilla on both sides until it starts to get a bit brown. You can prepare them in advance and warm them up later.

Want to have an idea for a filling? Click here.

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E(x)ggs-Benedict

4 Mrt

It must have been all brought under your attention that the Pope in Rome resigned on the 28th of February. Last week when I was on holiday in Austria he said goodbye to everyone of his staff and flew by helicopter to Castel Gandolfo, where he will reside for two months. I read on this nice blog that while the helicopter was flying above Rome, thousand of church bells were ringing. Although I am not religious at all, I have the feeling that this must have been a magical moment. I just feel so excited living in this eternal city during such a historical moment in time! That’s why I want to feature this amazing but difficult recipe, which I was send by my friend David, whom I met during my Italian lessons at the language school. Eggs Benedict is a traditional American breakfast of poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. I had never made or even eaten this before, so this was my first introduction. Although the recipe was difficult to make by myself (I got some help of my fidanzato J), it worked out fine and tasted delicious!

Ingredients

5 tablespoons of white wine, 1 tablespoon of tarragon vinegar (dragon in Dutch; I used normal vinegar because I couldn’t find the tarragon version), 5 grains of pepper, 1 leave of laurel, 2 egg yolks, 75 grams of melted butter, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 2 egg, salt and pepper and 2 slices of toasted bread (and some parsley if you’d like).

Preparation

First, melt the butter and separate the egg yolk from the egg white.

Cook the wine, (tarragon) vinegar, grains of pepper and laurel together for 5 minutes in a small pan on low fire. Then, separate the liquid from the herbs and put the wine in a glass bowl. Add the egg yolk and mix it. Heat up some water in a pan and hang the bowl with the mixed egg yolk on the pan, to heat it with steam. Add the melted butter slowly and mix it gently until the sauce gets thicker. Then, take the bowl and put it in cold water for about 10 seconds. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with a lid to keep the sauce warm.

Heat up 1,5 liter of water and 2 tablespoons of regular vinegar with 2 teaspoons of salt until it almost cooks. Break and egg in a ladle or a soup spoon and put is gently in the hot water. Poach the egg for 5 minutes (for soft boiled) or 7 minutes (for hard boiled). Don’t let the water cook! Meanwhile, toast the bread slices. If the eggs are done, put them on a plate with paper towels to let them dry a bit. Then, put the toast on a plate with on top the poached eggs and then the sauce. Finally add the parsley, salt and pepper. Buon appetito!

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Superbowl Chicken

4 Feb

As I am writing this blog-message, I am starting to recognize that lately I have been eating a lot of comfort food. Maybe I should feature some nice healthy recipes again.. But first! These amazing chicken wings covered in Parmesan cheese found online by my fidanzato. The taste is awesome, different and they are really easy to make, you don’t need to fry them! You just need the oven. Aside that this is more easy, it feels a bit more healthy too 😉

Ingredients

Chicken: 1,5 kg. of chicken wings, 3 liters of water, 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of time, oregano and rosemary, 1 leave of laurel, 2 tablespoons of salt. Marinade: 1,5 base of garlic, 2 teaspoons of fresh black pepper, 1 teaspoon of white pepper, a few flakes of pepperoncini, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, half hand of breadcrumbs, handful of grated Parmesan cheese.

Preparation

For this recipe you can take large or small chicken wings, however small chicken wings will taste a bit better I think, because they can be covered better by the marinade and seasoning. Take the 3 liters of water and add the seasoning written under ‘chicken’. Heat it until the water cooks and add the chicken wings. Wait again until the water temperature rises to boiling temperature and let the wings cook for 15 minutes. After they are cooked, let them dry on a dish for 15 minutes. They need to dry this long, because they need to be dry when you cover them with marinade.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven on 225 degrees and make the marinade with the garlic, black and white pepper, olive oil and flakes of pepperoncini (how many as you like). If the wings are dry, cover them with marinade. Then, add the breadcrumbs and cover the wings. After this, add the grated Parmesan cheese and cover the wings. Put the wings on the griddle and leave the skin part facing upwards. Add some extra Parmesan if you like and put them in the oven for 10-15 minutes. The wings need to become brown and crunchy. Buon appetito!

(I found this recipe on http://foodwishes.blogspot.it /)

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‘Long Live the Queen’ cupcakes

3 Feb

Tomorrow it will be exactly one week ago when the Dutch queen announced the abdication in favor of her son. Such an historical moment for us Dutch people! Inspired by this I decided to make something orange, which we use at special national occasions, such as football matches and queens day and which is in fact the last name of our royal family. At first I wanted to make the typical dutch treat ‘tompouce’ topped off with an orange glace, but then I found this wonderful recipe in Nigella Lawson’s book “How to become a domestic goddess”. Although the cupcakes are not exactly orange, they do require orange carrots. 🙂

Ingredients

Cupcakes: 100 g. brown sugar, 1,75 dl. sunflower oil, 2 large eggs, 225 g. flower, 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda (‘zuiveringszout’ or ‘dubbelkoolzuur soda’ in Dutch), 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, a bit of salt, grated skin of 1/2 lemon, grated skin of 1/2 orange or a whole mandarin, 150 g. of carrots, 100 g. of walnuts. Glace: 125 g. of mascarpone, 250 g. of powdered sugar, 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 12 half walnuts.

Preparation

Preheat the oven on 200 degrees. Mix the brown sugar and the oil together and add the eggs one by one. Add the flower, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and citrus grate. Mix this and then add the grated carrots and mashed walnuts and mix it again. Add the mix in the cups and bake the cupcakes in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, you can make the glace. Sieve the powdered sugar and mix this with the mascarpone and lemon juice. When the cupcakes are ready, take them out of the oven and let them cool off for a while. If you think they are done, put the glace on the cakes and add a walnut on each. Mmmm 🙂 Buon appetito!

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Dutch Peasoup with an Italian Twist

23 Jan

Last week I was in the Netherlands for my new job and I realized that I had missed the winter conditions so much! Here in Rome it’s just around 13 degrees and this weekend it was raining constantly. But, even though I am complaining right now, in 2 months the weather will definitely be much better!! Anyway, I got this amazing cookbook of Sophie Dahl from the girlfriend of my brother over christmas, and one of the recipes is a perfect example of the situation I am in right now. A peasoup with homemade pesto! When I told my boyfriend, or ‘fidanzato’ in Italian which sounds more mature than boyfriend :-), that we were about to eat peasoup, he looked at me almost disgusted! The peasoup that we dutch people are supposed to eat when we go iceskating outside, is not an extremely delicious dish.. however, this recipe of Sophie Dahl made the whole memory of thick and not so tasty peasoup go away!! And please, make the pesto yourself, because it’s soooo good..

Ingredients

For the pesto: 1 hand of fresh basil (only the leaves), 1 clove of garlic, a few tablespoons of pine nuts, 4 tablespoons of oliveoil, 25 g. of grated Parmezan cheese (Grana Padano for instance), salt and pepper. For the soup: 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 small onion, 2 small zucchini chopped in pieces, 8 dl. of chicken or vegetable stock, 450 g. of peas (from a can or from the freezer), 1 large hand of rucola.

Preparation

Add the ingredients for the pesto together in a bowl and blend them until you will get a smooth sauce. You can also make it a bit thinner with some water. Flavor it if you’d like. Then, add the olive oil in a large pan and add the chopped onion. Wait until the onion is soft, then you can add the chopped zucchini and stock. Let it simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the peas and the rucola and heat the soup until it cooks. When the soup cooks, let it on the fire for about 3 to 4 minutes until everything is soft. Take the blender again and blend the soup until it is smooth. Let everyone add the pesto to their soup themselves. Buon appetito!

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Pasta alla Norma

9 Jan

After three fantastic weeks with family for christmas and friends for new years, normal life has begun again this past monday. I have never liked the weeks after the holidays, because you have to put the christmas tree away and now I have to miss everyone again. But, I will also be starting my new job next week! So this will be very exciting 🙂

Because the past few weeks have been so busy, I did not have the time to write about food. However I did eat fantastic meals! In my upcoming posts I will feature some of these great experiences.

But for now, a post about healthy vegetarian pasta to forget the voracious diners! This pasta was recommended to me by the lovely wife of my landlord. When we went to pick up her mother from the train station, they immediately started talking about food and recipes after they greeted each other. Oh how I love Italians! Although I had just eaten, the recipe sounded delicious, so here it is :-).

Ingredients

2 onions, 1 cloves of garlic, 1 large eggplant or 2 small ones, 2 cans of tomato pulp, 300 g. of whole-wheat (here is the healthy touch!) spaghetti, 1 hand of basil.

Preparation

Cut the onions and garlic. Put some olive oil in a pan and bake the vegetables until they glaze. Meanwhile cut the eggplant in small pieces and and them to the stir. Cook some water in a pan and add the spaghetti. I added a little guy called ‘Al Dente’ we got as a present! He starts to whistle the Aida after 7 minutes, so we know the pasta is ready 🙂

Serve the spaghetti with the sauce and a few leaves of basil. Buon appetito!

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French tarte tatin with shallots

18 Dec

Yesterday I made this great recipe that I would not want you guys to miss out on! Imagine a a Parisian bistro on a dark winter evening in Saint-Germain-Des-Prais and while you have dinner, you gush about the fantastic paintings of Edgar Degas you saw in Musee D’Orsay earlier. God, I love Paris!

I thought this recipe was quite easy to make because you only need to cut peel the shallots and cut the brie. So maybe this is also an idea for a night during the week? Just read the recipe and find out yourself!

Ingredients

50 g. of cane sugar, 150 ml. of red wine (merlot for instance), 5 slices of puff pastry, 500 g. of shallots, 1 egg, 150 g of (mixed) lettuce, 150 g of french cheese (I chose Brie, but you can also choose soft goat cheese or Port Salut), 100 g. of walnuts, 4 tablespoons of olive oil. You also need a closed cake pan of 24-26 cm. with a minimum side of 3-4 cm.

Preparation

Put the sugar and the wine in a pan and let it cook on low fire until it becomes a syrup. This takes a while! Preheat the oven on 200 degrees. Peel the shallots and cut them in half in the length. When the syrup is ready, take it off the fire and pour it in the cake pan. Rotate the pan until every part of the bottom is covered in syrup. Press the shallots into the syrup and cover the whole bottom. You need to do this nicely, because you will turn the tarte upside down when it’s ready!

When the whole pan is covered, spread the puff pastry onto the shallots and cover the whole tarte. Smear the egg onto the puff pastry and pick with a fork some wholes in the tarte. Put the tarte in the oven for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the salad with the lettuce, cut Brie parts and walnuts. Season it with salt and pepper and use 4 tablespoons of olive oil.

Buon appetit!

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Italian Cheesfondue

9 Dec

Today (8th of December) was a special holiday in Italy: the feast of the immaculate conception. It celebrates the conception of virgin Mary nine months before the nativity on the 8th of September. Besides being a christian tradition, it is also the start of the Italian holiday season, and the day that everyone puts up his Christmas tree. For the Netherlands, this is a bit early, because Sinterklaas had just gone back to Spain, but for me, a lover of the holiday season, this is perfect!

After putting up the Christmas tree we made this perfect winter recipe, cheese fondue! We always use standard cheese fondues packages from the supermarket, but now, having this blog, we decided to make an fondue ourselves with Italian cheeses. I found this nice recipe online with Grana Padano and Mozzarella cheese and it tasted lovely! Because we didn’t bring our fonduepan with us this summer, used something else. I remembered that I once ate a very nice cheesefondue in an Italian restaurant as an appetizer in a small basket of bread. The idea of eating a fondue as an appetizer was a little bit stupid.., but the bread basket was perfect! We used our bread baking machine to make a small white bread, but of course you can also make a bread just using the oven.

Ingredients

300 ml. of dry white wine (vegetable stock), 1 knob of garlic, 2 shallots, 300 g. young cheese (Gouda), 150 g. Grana Padano, 250 g. of Mozzarella, 2 tablespoons of water/Grappa, 2 tablespoons of maizena flour, italian spices such as Oregano, Rosemary and Basil.

Preparation

Grate the young cheese and Grana Padano and chop the Mozzarella into small parts. Add the wine, chopped garlic and shallots to a large pan and heat it until it cooks. Add the grated cheese to the wine bit by bit  and stir it until everything is melted. Mix the water with the maizena flour and Italian spices and add it to the fondue. Keep stirring until the fondue gets thicker.

If you chose to use a (self made) bread, chop off the top of the bread and add the cheese fondue into the bread. Enjoy!

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