Monday, 30 April 2012


A few days ago I found sales in Waitrose so I got a few aubergines and courgettes...but I didn't know what to do with them!At the end I decided to make a sauce for pasta. It was really tasty, but it could be tastier using vegetables bought at the market in the right season ( from June to September). But I got a great result, so I can't complain!!!

Ingredients for 4 people:

400 gr Pasta ( the best for this sauce are Fusilli, Penne or Paccheri)
1 medium sized aubergine ( about 300 g)
1 courgette
Kalamata olives (you choose the quantity!)
1 tablespoon of salted capers ( the salted ones are much tastier then the ones in water; just remember to rinse them well and leave them in a bowl full of water for a couple of hours before using them)
A few leaves of basil
400 g chopped tomatoes
1/4 onion
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Chop the onion and put it in a pan with olive oil to fry lightly. When gold, add the aubergine and the courgette cut into small chunks. Add some salt and cook on a slow heat with the lid for 15 minutes, then take off the lid and cook for other 5/10 minutes. Check often that the vegetables don't stick to the bottom of the pan, mixing.
When the vegetables are cooked, add the chopped tomatoes, some more salt, pepper, the chopped basil leaves, the drained capers and the Kalamata olives.Cook for about 10 minutes.

In the meantime cook the pasta in boiling water. When ready drain and serve with the sauce and some grated Parmesan on top.

Friday, 27 April 2012


This is a different way to eat gnocchi; my children don't like much spinach, but they loved this dish, so I've finally found a way to make them eat some vegetables!!!Sometimes we have to cheat....

Ingredients for 4 people:

500 g frozen spinach
3 eggs
300 g slightly dry bread
30 g flour
a few leaves of sage
40 g grated Parmesan cheese
60 g butter
salt and pepper

Grind the bread in a food processor.

Dip the frozen spinach in salted boiling water; once defrosted drain and squeeze them to remove as much water as possible. Now chop them and put them in a bowl. Add the eggs, the flour, the bread and a pinch of salt: you should get a quite stiff mixture; you can add a bit of milk if it is too stiff or a bit of bread if it is too fluid.

Now flour your hands and get small quantities of the mixture; then, using your hands, form gnocchi the size of a walnut and flour them. Boil them in salted water, drain as soon as they rise to the surface and put them on a serving plate. Now melt the butter in a pan with the sage leaves and pour on the gnocchi, adding some Parmesan cheese and some pepper (optional).


Wednesday, 25 April 2012


Ingredients for about 30 biscuits:  

150 g butter 
130 g icing sugar 
2 lemons
250 g plain flour 
20 g cornflour 
1 pinch of salt 
1 teaspoon vanilla essence 
 Icing sugar to decorate

In a bowl mix the butter with the sugar,  the grated lemon peel, the lemon juice and the pinch of salt.

Work the mixture until it reaches a creamy texture, then add the flour, the cornflour and the vanilla essence and continue to work it until it just holds together. Form a  few 3 cm diameter sausages, then wrap them in cling film and let them rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or until they've become hard.

When 2 hours have passed, take them out of the fridge and cut them into 1 cm slices.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180 ° for about 10 minutes, or until golden; when lukewarm roll them in icing sugar and serve.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


I love Tiramisu' and this is a nice spring version of it. I served it after a light dinner, as it is quite heavy as a dessert...but amazing!!!!!

Ingredients for 3 large dessert glasses:

100 g of Savoiardi (Ladyfingers) biscuits 

For the Mascarpone cream:
250 gr Mascarpone cheese
2 spoons of sugar
1 egg

For the strawberry puree and juice:
400 g of strawberries
1/2 glass of water
1 spoon of sugar

Cut off the tops of the strawberries and slice the berries. Reserve 6 or more whole berries for the garnish.

In a blender, place the rest of the sliced berries and 1 tablespoon of sugar  and blend to puree. Put 1/3 of the puree in a bowl and add the water to it. Mix well and set aside.

Beat the egg until frothy. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat for other 10 or 15 minutes until creamy. Then add the Mascarpone cheese and beat 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth.

Get the 3 dessert glasses, pour the strawberry puree at the bottom, then some Mascarpone cream, then some other strawberry puree.

Place the ladyfingers onto a serving plate, cut them into halves, then brush each with the diluted strawberry puree on both sides.

Now add a layer of ladyfingers in the glasses, then again strawberry juice and Mascarpone cream. Then ladyfingers again; go on until you reach the top, then decorate with the sliced strawberries you kept aside. If you like, you can add some mint leaves for decoration.

Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving to allow cookies to soften.