This creation is all merit of my friends’ obsession with feta and making flatbreads, which I am extremely thankful for. It all began when we discovered that roasting tomatoes with feta was delicious, and that it could be eaten with everything. Then came the idea to make homemade flatbreads, and pairing the two together seemed like the obvious choice.
Makes 2 flatbreads
For the flatbreads
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
For the topping
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
½ an onion
2 tablespoons white/brown sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Wash the tomatoes and place in a baking tray. Coat evenly with olive oil and drizzle with rock salt, mixed herbs, pepper and rosemary. Roast for 25/30 minutes.
2. In the meantime, place the flour in a large bowl, and start gradually adding water. Knead the dough till it has a firm consistency, adding the olive oil and herbs. The dough should spring back when poked.
3. Chop the onion in slices and cook with butter. Halfway through being cooked, add white or brown sugar to caramelise.
4. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and cover with crumbled feta. Place back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
5. On a wooden surface, spread out some flour, to stop the dough from sticking. Cut the dough into two smaller balls and start rolling it out. The flatbreads should be less than 1cm thick.
6. Heat a large pan over high heat with a drop of olive oil and place the flatbreads in, one at the time, flipping them every 3 minutes to cook them properly.
7. As they are cooking, turn off the oven and remove the baking tray. Mix the tomatoes and feta so they form a kind of sauce.
8. Top the cooked flatbreads with caramelised onions and then the roasted tomatoes and feta. Sprinkle with pepper.
One of the many reasons why I love summer so much is zucchini flowers. These delicate, edible flours can be cooked and eaten in so many ways they never get boring. This version is one of the lighter ones, perfect as an appetiser or for an aperitivo.
What you'll need
Oven dish / baking tray
9 zucchini flowers
200g caprino cheese (soft goat cheese)
mixed herbs (chives, rosemary, marjoram, oregano)
salt and pepper
1. Clean the flowers thoroughly, leaving them to dry on a clean tea towel.
2. Place the goats cheese, herbs, parmesan and egg in a bowl. Using a fork, squish the ingredients together and mix well.
3. Taste the mix and add salt and pepper if needed.
4. Using your hands, open the flowers and gently push in the mix. Add mix to almost completely fill the flowers.
5. Place on an oven tray and roast at 160 degrees for 10/15 minutes.
My quest for making an amazing Focaccia topped with yummy things began when I visited the very popular food shop “Eataly” in Milan. As I was walking by the bread counter I saw three amazing focaccias topped with courgette flowers, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, stracchino, gorgonzola and so on. I cheated slightly in making mine as I did not make the focaccia base myself but bought it instead.
Serves 6 people as an appetiser
What you'll need
1 baking tray
1 focaccia/pizza pastry base
200g mozzarella / stracchino
20g rocket salad
8 fresh cherry tomatoes
½ a courgette
1. Roll out the base and place in the oven and cook according to packet instructions.
2. In the meantime, dice the courgette and cook in a pan with some olive oil.
3. When the base is ready, remove from the oven.
4. Start placing the various items on it, starting from the cheese. Followed by the tomatoes, courgette and rocket salad.
5. Top with olive oil, salt, pepper and dollops of pesto.
6. Place back in the still warm oven for a minute or two and then serve hot.
I’m going to take a brief moment and feel proud of this beautiful Pinterest-like lunch platter I made this summer. Okay, moment is over. I decided to make it because I LOVE bruschette and anything on toast. My reasoning behind it was that it would be great to have your whole lunch on the same cutting board, with a mixture of flavours and ingredients. I made my way to ‘Coop’ supermarket which has an excellent selection of fresh produce and bought the most delicious and creamy ‘burrata’ cheese of my life.
1 bunch of cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of fresh basil
½ an aubergine
200g burrata cheese
4 slices prosciutto crudo
3 ripe figs
20g plain yoghurt
3 teaspoons of honey
1 clove of garlic
5 slices of large whole wheat bread
1. Wash the aubergine and cut it into thin 5mm slices. Place a grill over high heat and the aubergine slices on top of that. Cook till both sides are roasted and soft (yet crunchy).
2. Dice the cherry tomatoes, place in a bowl and season with pepper, salt and olive oil.
3. Slice the bread and toast it for 3 minutes.
4. You can now start assembling the platter. For the first, traditional bruschetta rub the garlic on one side of the bread. Add almost all the tomatoes, a few chopped-up basil leaves and a whole one for presentation.
5. For the second bruschetta place the grilled slices of aubergine, chunks of burrata and few remaining diced tomatoes. Coat the toast with olive oil and add basil.
6. For the third one place the four slices of prosciutto on the bread and top with the sliced figs.
7. Finally, for the ‘dessert’ bruschetta top it with yoghurt, the sliced figs and finally the honey.
8. Cut into small pieces the remaining slice of bread and if you have any left-over ingredients, place them in little bowls on the platter.
Enjoy! And don't forget to send me pictures if you ever make this yourself!
I first tried this delicious appetiser in Greece last year, and with the help of my Greek friends managed to make it again this summer. Fava beans (or split beans) are not as easy to find in Italy and only shops like Waitrose have them in the UK. I found out that red lentils do the job equally, and therefore used them to make the paste.
Makes 5 portions
What you'll need
250g red lentils or split beans
2 onions finely chopped
1 bunch of parsley
2 garlic cloves
salt & pepper
juice from 1 lemon
1. Chop the garlic finely and place in the pot with one onion, add olive oil and let sizzle.
2. When the onions have browned add the lentils or beans, letting them roast for one or two minutes.
3. Pour in sufficient cold water to cover them completely and stir constantly.
4. When the water has been almost completely absorbed, pour in more water. Repeat this action until the lentils or beans are soft and slightly disintegrated, forming a paste.
5. Season with salt and pepper and pour in olive oil, lots of oil, until the paste is of the desired consistency and creaminess.
6. Pour in the juice and stir thoroughly.
7. Add the chopped parsley and raw onion (if you prefer cooking the onion do so before adding it). At this point you can choose whether to serve it like this, as I did, or blend it to achieve a smoother paste.
These are one of my favourite "aperitivo" food, which my grandma always makes for me, and even though mine will never be as good, I do try.
What you'll need
pot to boil eggs
20 prawns, peeled
125g canned tuna
bunch of parsley
salt & pepper
1. Place the eggs in a pot, cover with cold water, so that there is roughly 1cm of waterabove them. Turn on heat.
2. When water boils, turn off gas, cover the pot with a lid and leave them to sit for 10 minutes.
3. After 10 minutes place them under the cold faucet for 3 minutes, till the eggs no longer feel warm to the touch. Peel them carefully.
4. Cut the eggs in half (vertically) and carefully remove the yolk.
5. Place all the yolks in the food processor with the tuna, mayonnaise and 8 prawns.
Blend, then add parsley. Keep adding mayo till a smooth consistency is achieved, season.
6. Using a teaspoon, place the mixture back onto the egg halves, add a prawn on each one and serve.