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My version: Tiroler Gröstl

groestlThis is a typical dish of Tyrol, a mountain area of Austria, where I had the pleasure to live for 10 beautiful months. If you ever tried Austrian cuisine, you already know how strong in terms of caloric values can be.  But it’s perfect if you need to go ski through Alps.

I called this my version, because I added some champignon mushrooms and used some bacon instead of normal pork shoulder, as the tradition wants. Buon appetito!

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients [for 26 cm pan]

  • 600 gr potatoes (I used the small variety with thin skin, so I could keep it)
  • 40 gr butter
  • 1 big onion
  • 250 gr bacon already cut in stripes
  • 300 gr mushrooms
  • olive oil, salt , pepper
  • some meat broth ( a small glass)
  • fresh parsley

1. Clean and cut your veggies: potatoes, mushrooms and onion. In the meanwhile, bring some water to boil in a big pot.

2. Add to boiling water your potatoes and some salt. Cook with the lid on for 15 min, so they become tender but not too much.  Drain the water, cut them and put them aside.

4. In a pan, heat 40 gr butter. Cut the onion and let it brown in the pan. Add the meat and mushrooms.

5. When they got some color, add some meat broth, homemade (click here for my recipe) or instant,together with your semi-cooked potatoes. Cook until the the broth it is almost absorbed, using a medium-high heat.

6. Spread with parsley and olive oil your pan.

Peperonata ~ Recipe

peperonataPotatoes, peppers and onion are cooked in a wok, with a sweet and sour sauce, made of balsamic vinegar. This recipe recalls Summer time, when peppers are in seasons and are sold for super cheap prices in Sicily. The tradition wants it served cool,but I prefer it lukewarm. Another family recipe: love my daddy.

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 750 gr potatoes
  • 4-5 red peppers
  • 2 onions
  • 45 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 4 teaspoon white sugar
  • mint, salt, oregano and fresh basil
  • 3 tbs olive oil

1. The boring part: peel and wash potatoes, onions and peppers. In the meanwhile, pre-heat a wok with 3 tbs olive oil.

2. When the oil is hot, add onions and let them cook for a couple of minutes.

3.Next, add potatoes only. Smaller they are cut, quicker they will cook.

4. When the potatoes are a bit softer, add peppers and a generous amount of salt. Cook for other 15 minutes.

5. In a glass mix 45 ml balsamic vinegar and 4 teaspoon of white sugar, stir until it dissolves.When the vegetables are almost cooked, add the liquid, wait until it will bed reduced and become creamy.

6. Finish the recipe with herbs: mint (not too much, otherwise it will taste like a toothpaste, true story here)and oregano. Fresh basil, only when the heat is turned off.

Buon appetito!

Quick Idea for Lunch: Savoury Pie

savoury_pieNew series, I hope won’t end as my food diary. Everyday I cook lunch for both me and my husband. They have a canteen at work, but the quality and the price are not always affordable. 8€ is, in my opinion, not a good price for what you can eat there. Generally, I find it a good habit both for finance and healthy reasons.

So, what I want to share now are some of my ideas to make affordable, tasty and easy lunch, with this series ‘Quick ideas for Lunch‘.

All kind of Savoury Pies strike the point: you have carbs and you can full it just with vegetables. Another virtue: they are easy to bring in lunch box without making a mess: zero risk for leaks.

Time:  30 minutes ( follow the direction from your French-pastry package)

Ingredients: 2 portions

  • 1 layer French-pastry ( you can find it in the refrigerated section of supermarket)
  • 200 gr ricotta
  • 2 zucchine
  • 1 carrot
  • 50 gr Parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper

1.Peel and wash carrots and zucchini. Put them in a mixer till you obtain a cream.

2. In a bowl mix all the ingredients: zucchini&carrots, Parmesan cheese, ricotta, pepper and good amount of salt.

3. If you, like me, cook for just 2 person, 1 layer French pastry is enough. If you cook for more portions, use two, one above and one below. Don’t forget to make small holes with a fork, otherwise the French-pastry will become super puffy. Fill the pastry with your cream.

Cook for 30 min for 180° , last ten minutes you can switch to convention-oven to obtain a nice crispy gold effect.

Buon Pranzo!

Meat Salad ~ Recipe

meat_saladAnd finally the second part of bouillon recipe,in other words, how to use the boiled meat that we used for it. This salad is not super healthy, because I put some mayonnaise in it ( 3 tablespoons), but bare in mind that all the taste and good nutrition elements are in the broth, not in the meat anymore. That’s why you need to add a little bit of character to it.  I keep it in the fridges covered with wrapping paper, and it remains quite good for 2 – maximum 3 days. This recipe is very quickly because I buy most of the ingredients already in a jar. It’s also a good idea, together with tortellini in broth for a complete meal for guests, only need to add some dessert at the end.

Time:  10 minutes

Ingredients: 8 portions

  • 500 gr beef bouillon meat ( already cooked)
  • 3 tbs mayonnaise
  • 300 gr carrots  in vinegar
  • 300 gr celery in vinegar
  • 150 gr beetroot preserves ( I use the one with red cranberries)
  • 2 boiled potatoes ( from the previous broth we made)
  • pepper, salt and parsley

meat_salad011. Use your hands to reduce the meat in little pieces.

2. Wash carefully the vinegar from carrots and celery off and add them to the bowl.

3. Add 3 tbs spoon mayonnaise, potatoes cut in chunks, beetroot ( which will hint a wonderful pink color), salt and pepper and parsley. Give it a taste and make sure it won’t need any salt more.

And it’s done, buon appetito!!!

Beef Bouillon ~ Recipe

meat_broth01‘Tortellini in broth’ is the perfect ending dish for this winter. I can’t wait to take my heavy jackets off. I am fed up with this onion style, with gloves and scarf, and hat…This recipe is perfect to warm you up, but it’s also good to keep in your refrigerator and use the bouillon for many other recipes. Homemade bouillon makes the difference, unfortunately.  Unfortunately because it is not quick to make and it is required for so many meals preparations that I tend to use premade stock-cube, that contains a lot of additional fat. It can stay up to 2 weeks in your freezer.

Time:  1½ -2 hours

Ingredients: [around 3 liters]

  • 500 gr beef soup meat
  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 celery stick
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 onions (or a big one)
  • 3 tomatoes
  • pepper, salt, rosemary

meat_broth1.Peel and wash all the vegetables. Cut them roughly in half. Put them in a big and deep pot.

2. Add the meat (keep the little fat that it could have), together with around 3,5 liter of water. Everything needs to be covered by 4 inches of water. I know it can sound too much, but part of it will evaporate during the slow cooking process. Don’t forget to season it with salt and pepper, in a generous amount.

3. Keep the lid semi-opened and cook with medium-slow heat for about 1 hour and half, till the meat is completely tender, as well as the carrots.

4. Take the meet off and let it cool down aside. Soon I will post a recipe specific about how to use the bouillon meat.

5. Now you have two options: the former- you can filter the liquid, in order to obtain a delicate taste and smooth liquid consistence, the latter- you can strain the veggy, blend them,and add them again in the pot. This second option is thicker but also tastier, in my opinion.

Buon appetito!

My Sicilian Pesto ~ Recipe

sicilian_pestoAs you’ll read below I wrote a general name as “salty cheese”, because now that I live abroad, I know how hard is to find all Italian cheese, such us ‘ricotta salata‘ or ‘primosale” etc, so I simply adapted this recipe with any kind of salty cheese I am able to find. I tried with Feta, and it taste amazing!This recipe is inspired by the famous ‘pesto alla trapanese‘, but I changed it a little bit to my own taste. Trapani is a beautiful sea city in the west Sicily.

Easy and quick, with few ingredients.This is my favorite dressing of a quick pasta recipe ever! Yumm… In this picture I was using ‘spinach pasta’, but with a regular kind of pasta it is as tasty.

Note: You will need an electric chopper/blender.

Time:  7 minutes

Ingredients:  [ for 2 person]

  • 1 big tomato or
  • 50 gr any salty cheese ( better of course is with ‘ricotta salata‘..but also Feta is good)
  • 15 leaves fresh basil
  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper ( good amount)
  • pine nuts (20 gr ca.)
  • almonds (6 -7) ( you can skip them)

1. Just toss everything in the blender and push the bottom!

2.Keep always one glass of boiling water from your pasta and add it in the sauce in order to make it creamier.

Buon appetito!!!

 

Potatoes Purèe ~ Family Recipe

purèeWho doesn’t love smashed potatoes?They are not the lightest side dish, but they taste amazing. This recipe is my father’s, it’s light and delicate. It is perfect to be served not only with meat, but also with fish. Be prepared to the fact, that once you get used to fresh purèe, you won’t be able to eat the pre-cooked one sold in the supermarket.

One trick: you can always boil potatoes with the skin: when you smash them, the skin get trapped in potatoes masher and doesn’t pass through.

Time:  1 hour preparation + 15 min cooking

Ingredients:  [ 4 portions]

  • 700 gr boiled potatoes
  • 50 gr grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 glasses milk
  • 2 spoons butter
  • pepper, salt, fresh parsley,nutmeg

1. Boil the potatoes until they are soft. You can use normal pots or, if you own it, a pressure cooker.

2. Smash the potatoes directly inside a pot. Add 2 spoons of butter, with a medium heat, starts add one by one the milk glasses. Use a whisk to stir.

3. Add slowly Parmesan cheese, pepper, small amount of salt. When you see the first bubble, it’s ready. Add some fresh parsley.

Once it cools down a little, it will be denser, don’t worry!

Buon appetito!

Chocolate Cookie

chocolate_cookieSince I moved out of Italy, there is something that I really miss finding in the supermarket: cookies. We have a wide range and assortment; on the contrary, here in Germany cookies are often disappointing :( The one  you can find in a bakery are not, but often, they are quite expensive and taste awful. So I decided to self-make them more often, or at least try to.

Time:  30 minute preparation + 20 min cooking

Ingredients:  20-25 cookies

  • 110 gr butter
  • 220 gr 50% dark chocolate
  • 2 eggs ( both white and yolk)
  • 100 gr white sugar
  • 220 gr white flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

1. Melt the butter and the chocolate previously cut in small pieces with low temperature.

2. In a bowl, mix eggs and sugar with a whisk.

3. Add in the bowl: melted chocolate, flour and baking powder. Cover and let it rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

4. Make little balls with the help of a scoop and place them on a baking sheet tray.

Cook for 20 minutes for 180°c and Buon Appetito!!!

Snow peas with tomatoes sauce

snow_peaThis kind of peas are rare to find in my island, but in other Italian region, for example Lazio, are quite common. My uncle lives in Rome and used to cook them for me.This is the easiest way to make them, you can serve like this as side-dish or cook some pasta together. I looked around to see what kind of nutritional properties they have; apparently, they come from the family of peas, but even better, here you can eat the entire pod skin, which contains a lot of goodies in!

You can boil them first, and after you drained them, finish some minutes cooking in the pan. Or, you can be just lazy as I am, using one pan and not boiling them.

Time:  30 minutes

Ingredients:  4 portions

  • 500 gr fresh snow peas
  • 1 big onion
  • 4 fresh tomatoes or 250 gr peeled tomatoes in a can
  • pepper, salt
  • basil
  • olive oil

1. Peel the onion and wash it together with snow peas under cold water.

2. Cut finely the onion. Heat some olive oil in a pan with high hedges. When it’s hot enough, let the onion becomes gold.

3. Add the snow peas cut in half (in this way they get quicker cooked and also easier eaten) and peeled tomatoes can. Otherwise, boil some water and sink the tomatoes in for 5 minutes. The skin will crack and you can easily remove it and add them in the pan.

4. Cook until snow peas are tender, around 30 minutes with a lid on. Add salt and pepper, garnish with fresh basil.

Buon appetito