Friday, 28 September 2012

HONEY AND RAISINS BISCUITS





Autumn is here and this recipe is perfect for these cold days. They're not too sweet, this time the kids weren't mad about them, but they were perfect for my tea!Love them!!!.

Ingredients for about 20-25 biscuits:

300 g plain flour
120 g butter
100 g honey

1 egg
100 g raisins
1 teaspoon baking powder

Icing sugar

Turn on the oven to 170 degrees.

Soak the raisins in lukewarm water for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime mix the butter until creamy, then add the beaten egg and the honey. Mix until creamy, then add the flour, the baking powder and mix until you get a soft mixture.
Add the dry raisins.

Now make small balls with the mixture and put them far between each other on a baking tray.

Cook for about 15 minutes. When cold, sprinkle with icing sugar.

Monday, 24 September 2012

JAM FILLED MUFFINS



This is the perfect snack for your children and they are very quick to make, you don't even need a mixer! Soft thanks to the Ricotta cheese and with a jam heart...irresistible!!!And please note...NO BUTTER!!!!!!

Ingredients for about 16 small muffins:

150 g self-raising flour
150 g plain flour
160 g sugar
70 ml vegetable oil
130 ml milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100 g Ricotta cheese
100 g jam
Icing sugar to decorate


Turn on the oven to 180 degrees.

In a bowl, mix the flour with the sugar.

In another one, mix the eggs with the oil, the vanilla extract and the milk, then pour the mixture in the other bowl with flour and sugar and mix well.

Add the Ricotta cheese and mix until smooth.

Spoon the mixture into muffin cups until 1/2; add a full teaspoon of jam on each one, then cover with one tablespoon of the mixture.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before turning on a wire rack. Sprinkle on icing sugar when cold.


Friday, 21 September 2012

APPLE STRUDEL


This is one of my favourite desserts. September in Italy is the month in which the apples are picked, so when Autumn comes, it is very common to make apple cakes and desserts. And the strudel, if served with warm custard , can be amazing....it's very very simple to make but for a good result, you need a good puff pastry and good apples. You can change the ingredients if you like, sometimes I put walnuts or pinenuts instead of almonds, a peach instead of an apple, figues instead of prunes....it depends on what I have in the kitchen at the moment!!!


Ingredients:

1 roll of puff pastry
2 sweet apples
80 gr sultanas
20/25 peeled almonds
10 dry pitted prunes
A generous cinnamon dusting
1 lemon
1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar
4 or 5 tablespoons of jam (possibly damson)
A small piece of unsalted butter
Custard (optional)


Turn the oven on to 170 degrees.

Soak the sultanas in lukewarm water and leave them there for about 1 hour.

In the meantime cut the apples into small chunks, the almonds in halves and the prunes in 2 or 4 pieces. Add the grated lemon peel, the sugar, the cinnamon, the sultanas and mix.

Open the puff pastry sheet and put it on a piece of baking paper; spread the jam on it and then add all the ingredients. Fold it and brush it with melted butter (put the butter in a small saucepan and melt over a gentle heat or melt in a small bowl in the microwave). For a lighter version, brush with milk.

Cook it in the oven for about 40 minutes or until golden.

When it’s cold, dust it with icing sugar. Serve it possibly with warm custard.





Thursday, 20 September 2012

BRUSCHETTA WITH TOMATO AND BASIL





This is the quickest, simplest starter that you can make. Bruschettas are great also to accompany an aperitif or for a party buffet. My kids love them.
This is the "without garlic" version, as we are not big fans of garlic. But if you like it, rub the bread slice with a clove of garlic cut in half, before you add the tomatoes on top.

Ingredients for about 6 Bruschettas:

Bread for bruschetta (I usually buy the Tuscan bread for Bruschetta in Waitrose)
300 g ripe-plum tomatoes (I buy Red Choice tomatoes in Waitrose)
5/6 basil leaves
Chilli ( optional)
Salt
Extra virgin olive oil


Toast the bread slices (if you have time, grill them, they taste better!).

In the meantime, wash the tomatoes and cut them into small pieces, discarding the seeds.

 Put the cut tomatoes in a bowl, add some salt, olive oil, the chopped basil and, if you like it, some dried chilli. Mix well and top the bread with the mixture. You'll love it!!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

VEGETABLES STUFFED SQUID





Last Sunday, after the pasta with tuna sauce, I made this dish that has been appreciated also by the kids. Maybe not all of them like squid, but it is worth a try!!


Ingredients for 4 people:

800 g squid  (cleaned, tentacles cut off)
1 carrot
1 potato  
1 courgette
1 small aubergine
30 g pitted green olives  (chopped)
1 tablespoon of capers
1 clove of garlic  (optional)
1/2 glass white wine (optional)  
salt
pepper  
olive oil


First of all, peel and wash the vegetables ( but you don't need to peel the courgette) and grate them with a grater with large holes.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add in the garlic and fry gently until golden; then add the vegetables, half a glass of water and some salt.




Now chop the tentacles and add them to the vegetables.

Add some salt, pepper, the chopped olives and the capers.

When ready ( they don't need to cook for long), fill the squids with the stuffing with the help of a teaspoon and seal the ends with a toothpick.

Now place the squids in the same pan you've used for the stuffing and cook for five minutes. Pour the wine and when evaporated, they're ready to be served (if you cook for children then skip this part).

You can decorate the dish with some cherry tomatoes and parsley.

Monday, 17 September 2012

SPAGHETTI WITH TUNA SAUCE







Hello....I'm finally back after a very long absence....I've spent a beautiful and relaxing holiday in Italy where I've never had to shop, cook, clean or wash the dishes...and this is what I call the PERFECT holiday!!!!!
But now I'm back and looking forward to posting some new recipes. Yesterday we had friends over for lunch and as there were 3 kids I decided to make this Spaghetti as a main course, as usually children love tuna. So, here's the recipe!!!!It took me less than 30 minutes to make it.

Ingredients for 4 people:

350 g spaghetti ( I usually buy De Cecco spaghetti)
400 g cherry tomatoes (or tinned chooped tomatoes)
500 g fresh tuna
20 pitted Kalamata olives (optional)
2 tablespoons of capers (optional)
1/2 onion
1/2 glass white wine (optional)
a pinch of chilli (optional)
salt
Parsley for decoration
Olive oil


Cut the tuna into small chunks.

In a large frying pan, slightly fry the chilli and the chopped onion with some olive oil.

Add the tuna and cook it for about two minutes. At this point you should add the white wine, but if you cook for the kids, skip this part.

Now add the tomatoes, salt and cover. After a while, add the olives and the capers. Then cook for about ten minutes.

In the meantime bring some salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti al dente( I usually turn the oven timer on, so I know exactly when they're ready).

When ready, drain the spaghetti and put them in the pan with the sauce.

Add some olive oil and  mix well. Now serve with a bit of chopped parsley on top.