I like to refer to them as life-saving because they're the perfect dish for a quick lunch and simultaneously cure all your stuffed bread cravings.
200g plain flour "00"
1 and 1/2 tablespoons EVOO
pinch of salt
1. Place the flour, pinch of salt, water and olive oil in a bowl and mix together, then start kneading with your hands until you achieve a smooth and compact ball. Place to rest in the bowl covered by a kitchen towel as you prepare the filling.
2. You can fill them with whatever you please, I usually go for prosciutto crudo or coppa paired with mozzarella or scamorza (I'm a girl of simple tastes) but you can put whatever you like, from grilled veggies to meat, fish, all types of cheese and leafy greens. Cut the cheese into thin slices and have it close by.
3. Separate the large ball of dough into four smaller balls and begin rolling them out until they are thin as crêpes. Heat an iron skillet over high heat and drop in the piadina.
4. Once bubbles begin to form, flip it over and place the cheese on one half, then whichever other topping you chose. Close the piadina in half and after pressing it down for a few seconds remove and eat!
Before making this great recipe, read my blog post on how I failed twice in making focaccia and as to why this is the best recipe for it.
From the book Lievitati di Liguria dolci & salati by Ilaria Fioravanti and Valentina Venuti. It's very simple and straightforward, just keep in mind that it takes more than 3 hours to make.
For the dough:
250g "0" flour
5g brewer's yeast
2 pinches of salt
1 heaped teaspoon of honey
50g water with 2 teaspoons of salt (for the salamoia)
1. Place the flour in a bowl and crumble the brewer's yeast. Add half the water and teaspoon of honey and start mixing with your hands, after a few minutes add the olive oil. Once you've mixed for a few minutes, add the rest of the water and start kneading. The dough will be very sticky at the beginning but don't give up on kneading. Make sure there are no lumps or bumps. Fold the dough in half, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place it in the oven (which is turned off and just has the light on) for 30 minutes.
2. After 30 minutes have passed, pour enough olive oil to cover a baking tray (20x30cm), place the dough on top and spread it out slightly. Let it rest, covered for another 30 minutes.
3. Spread out the dough even more, try and cover the whole baking tray, let it rest for an hour, always covered!
4. Pour some olive oil onto your hands, grease them well and make holes using the top part of your fingers (not just the tips). Start from the top of the focaccia and make your way down to the bottom.
5. Pour the salamoia evenly over the focaccia and then the olive oil. Cover it one last time and let it rest for another hour.
6. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees Celsius and bake the focaccia for 15 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and brush it with olive oil (this will make it look gorgeous and shiny). Remove from the baking tray and cut!
Today I thought I'd share one of the staple recipes from my childhood. This mousse is super easy to make, freezes great and can be eaten with anything: carrots, celery sticks, bread, grissini and so on. If you're not a fan of raw eggs this dish isn't for you.
5 slices of pre-sliced bread
½ a cup of milk
250g canned tuna
2 egg yolks
1. Remove the crusts from the pre-sliced bread and place the bread in a bowl with the milk. Turn the bread a couple of times, to ensure that it has absorbed as much milk as possible. Squeeze as much milk as you can out of each slice and place them in a bowl.
2. Drain the oil from the canned tuna and place it in the bowl with the bread.
3. Add the two egg yolks and butter, which you've cut into chunks.
4. Blend everything together until you've achieved a smooth paste. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Place in a bowl and in the fridge, eat after a couple of hours.
P.S. you can also eat it straight away, but it tastes better once it has rested in the fridge for a bit.
Quarantine is becoming challenging, I must admit. So for today's lunch I wanted to make a veggie dish that would be scrumptious, in the hopes of improving my mood (it did!). I turned to Ottolenghi's cookbook for some inspiration and found this great, DELICIOUS, recipe. #iomifermo
2 large fennels, washed and cut into slices 1.5 cm thick
a handful of cherry tomatoes
200ml single cream
3 garlic cloves
extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper
1 bunch of thyme
for the crumble:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place the chopped fennel in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, the crushed garlic cloves and thyme. Toss everything or mix with a spoon to make sure fennel is well coated.
2. Place the fennel in a baking dish and pour in the cream.
3. To make the crumble, place the flour and sugar in a bowl, and rub the butter into the bowl. Mix the butter with the flour and sugar and keep rubbing until you've achieved what looks like a coarse flour. Add the Parmigiano and mix. Drizzle the crumble over the fennel evenly, cover with tin foil and bake for 45 minutes.
4. Once the 45 mins have passed, remove baking dish from the oven, add the whole cherry tomatoes on top and place back in the oven, uncovered, for another 15 minutes.
This simple recipe is basically a collection of all my favorite ingredients in one, healthy, dish. I also love the mixture of textures—the crunchy courgettes, soft tomatoes and melt-in-your-mouth mozzarella di bufala.
10 cherry tomatoes
150g of mozzarella di bufala (or as much as you want!)
1 tablespoon of sugar
1. Wash all the veggies.
2. Slice the courgette as thinly as you can, using a sharp knife. Place the slices in a bowl.
3. Squeeze the lemon into the bowl with he courgettes and sprinkle some salt. Mix well and leave it to rest (for as much as you want) I usually leave them for a couple of hours.
4. Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place them in a pan with heated olive oil.
5. Sautée them for a few minutes and sprinkle the sugar over them. Let the tomatoes sit with he sugar for one or two minutes and then mix them.
6. Fill a glass with 2 cm of water and pour it into the pan. Cook the tomatoes until the water has evaporated completely and until they look caramelised.
7. Slice the mozzarella di bufala in 2 cm thick slices and place on a dish. Remove the liquid that has formed in the courgette bowl and place them around the mozzarella. Top it all with the tomatoes and a sprinkle of pepper.
This traditional Neapolitan savoury bread or cake is simply delicious. Easy to make, especially for people who don't enjoy chopping and slow cooking things. It tastes even better a couple of days after you make it, and it freezes perfectly.
100g light olive oil
200g plain flour
1 packet of yeast for pizza
200g of black pitted olives
200g diced smoked bacon
200g cheese (Caciocavallo or cheddar)
50g roughly chopped pistachios
1. Beat the eggs with a whisk, add the flour, the olive oil and everything else. Mixing everything together well. In an electric mixer or by hand.
2. Butter a plum cake tin and add a bit of flour, shaking the sides so that it spreads evenly.
3. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes.
Whilst on holiday in Greece, I was fortunate enough to assist a cooking lesson by the local chef, Vassilis. During the lesson he showed us how to make five traditional Cretan dishes, including the famous rice-stuffed tomatoes, known as 'Gemista'.
20 large tomatoes
2 potatoes (peeled)
1 large onion
2 small aubergines
3 handfuls of parboiled rice
1 bunch of mint
1. Wash the tomatoes and cut the top off almost completely, so it forms a lid. Using a spoon remove the tomato pulp and place it in a large bowl. Repeat for all 20 tomatoes.
2. Using the large holes of a cheese grater, grate the tomato pulp, leaving it in the bowl.
3. Grate the potatoes, courgettes, carrots and aubergines in the same way, all in the bowl.
4. Grate the onion and add it to the mix.
5. Add salt, pepper and olive oil and mix, using your hands. Add the mint, roughly chopped.
6. Add the rice to the bowl and mix everything well, the mix should appear quite liquid. Cover and place to rest for 30 mins.
7. Fill each tomato to the top with the mix and close them. Place them in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and cover with tin foil.
8. Roast in the over for 40 minutes.
These mouth-watering bruschette were just one of the many Portuguese delicacies I had the pleasure of discovering during my recent road trip through Porto, Coimbra and Lisbon. They're quick and easy to make, and trust me, everyone loves them.
1 can of sardines
3 garlic cloves
1 handful of parsley
2 sun dried tomatoes
3 cherry tomatoes
3 slices of large bread
1. Cut the slices of large bread into 2 or 3 (depending on the size of the bread) and place onto a baking tray. Turn the oven onto 180 degrees and add the bread. Remove from the oven after 3 minutes and rub each slice with a peeled garlic clove. Flip the bread and place back in the oven for 3 more minutes.
2. Turn off the oven and rub the garlic over the remaining side of the bread. Set aside.
3. Chop the parsley finely and place it in a bowl, add two tablespoons of olive oil.
4. Cut the sun dried tomatoes finely and do the same with the fresh tomatoes. Add them to the bowl with the parsley.
5. Peel the two remaining garlic cloves and dice them very finely, alternatively you can puree them. Add to the bowl.
6. Add a pinch of salt and mix all the ingredients together, making sure they are well combined, adding more olive oil if necessary.
7. Open the can of sardines, and start removing the scales and the head.
8. Place a teaspoon of mixture on each slice of bread, top with one or two chunks of sardine on each. Add a drop of olive oil on each slice and serve.
Behold the perfect finger food to accompany the hundreds of summer barbecues and garden parties (or just plain parties). Super simple, they require a few mundane ingredients, so very little effort is required!
Serves 5 people
8 slices of bread (whichever kind you prefer)
1. Place the eggs in a deep pot and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to boil. When it boils, turn off the gas and let sit for 10 minutes. Then, remove from the pot and run them under cold water.
2. Peel the eggs and place them in a bowl. Cut the crusts off the slices of bread.
3. Add some mayo to the bowl with the boiled eggs and smash them using a potato smasher.
4. Add salt and pepper, to form a thick mix.
5. Spread the mix onto a slice of bread and add a second one on top, to make a sandwich. Do the same for all the mix.
6. Using a sharp knife cut the sandwiches into three, making them thin and long.
I'm not the biggest fan of stuffed vegetables, but these tomatoes are honestly so delicious! Furthermore, this is my great grandmother's recipe, so you know its good!
Time needed: 10 minutes
5 ripe round large tomatoes (with seeds and juices removed)
a bunch of parsley
1 hard boiled egg
120g canned tuna
anchvoies or anchovy paste
stale bread softened in vinegar and squeezed
1. Cut the tomatoes in half, remove the seeds and juices and place face down on a sheet of kitchen roll to dry for 5 minutes.
2. Add all the ingredients except the tomatoes to a blender and blend to form a thick paste.
3. Season the paste with salt, pepper and olive oil.
4. Place roughly one tablespoon of paste in each tomato and smoothen.