28 July 2014

Warm Barley, Chickpea and Tomato Salad with Grilled Chicken


Putting pearl barley in our regular diet at home has been my aim lately. It's rich in fibers which is important for us, especially for the kids. They do get fibers from the bowls of cornflakes that they keep munching on throughout the day. I say munch because they eat them like chips. Dry, no milk, no yogurt. It's strange I know. I eat cornflakes exactly the same way they do. I know that I am not guilty of teaching them the improper way to eat them. Oh well, like mother, like kids.

26 July 2014

Fish and Artichokes with White Wine


When I am at the fish shop and the place is empty, I always use that opportunity to question the fishmonger. How to keep the clams a day before cooking, what kind of fish is best for a certain type of cooking, do I keep the scales or not, or to give me advice on how to cook new kinds of seafood that I would like to try. The other day, I got some orata or gilt-head bream. There were no sole for the kids and gilt-head bream is my usual second choice to buy. I got 3 medium ones for dinner.

25 July 2014

Quick Fish with Chickpeas, Tomatoes and Sage


We all have recipes that we instantly think of when we have three minutes to think of what to cook for dinner. When I am at the seafood section of the supermarket, I usually get some sole or plaice. The children love them simply covered with breadcrumbs, Mediterranean style or this dish where I cook them with chickpeas and tomatoes. It's an instant hit with my picky-eating kids.

24 July 2014

Mini Puff Pastry Tarts with Asparagus, Pancetta and Cream of Parmesan


Italian courses are a lot and it took me about a couple of years to go through all the courses with success, meaning eating everything served to me from the first course to the last one. I used to give up after the pasta because not only are the courses a lot, the servings are also abundant. There's antipasto (appetizer), pasta or risotto (the first course), secondo (second/main course) with contorno (side dish), sometimes frutta (fruit) then lastly, the dolce (dessert). At times, each course even has more than one dish.

21 July 2014

3 Fresh Fruit Summer Cocktails


The temperature is soaring! When I step out of the house and feel myself melting rapidly in the heat, I feel like escaping indoors and not go out anymore until summer finishes. Not unless I am dressed to combat the heat with just a bathing suit on me and lukewarm water waiting for me to dip in. And of course, a nice cold fruity cold alcoholic cocktail to keep me cool. Then I'll stay outdoors willingly.

20 July 2014

Asian-Style Garlicky Spicy Sautèed Shrimp


I was speaking with someone once about how the simplest recipes can be better than their complex counterparts at times. I like both simple and complex methods of cooking but I usually leave the complex ones to the good chefs who can wow me with their creations. This makes dining out a good reason to try out innovative dishes. But most of the time, I look for simple dishes with minimal ingredients. I like it when I identify the ingredients used in the dishes and that is one reason that prods me to cook at home. I like to keep my cooking simple.

19 July 2014

La Francesca Resort in Bonassola, Liguria (Italian Riviera)


Just after the Cinque Terre (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare), the rocky and hilly coastline continues on to Levanto then to Bonassola where La Francesca Resort is set amidst the Parco Naturale del Bracco-Mesco, a protected natural woods of Mediterannean maquis and pines. La Francesca covers 15 hectares of land facing the Ligurian Sea and is in the middle of Levanto and Bonassola connected by a 4 km. foot and tunnel path that used to be an old railroad connection between the two towns.

14 July 2014

Risotto with Leeks and Fennel


It may not sound as good as it is in reality, but this risotto has a wonderful combination of subtle flavors of leeks, fennel and Parmigiano Reggiano. It's not the kind that impresses you with explosive tastes at the first taste. It's the kind that impresses you with its lovely flavors as you go from the first to the next ones. It's not highfalutin and complex. It's simple and it's comforting. And it's something that I would like to have at home with my family because it's healthy.

French Fries alla Carbonara (Pecorino and Pancetta French Fries)


When I thought of making these fries, I was amused at the idea. At the same time, I was also excited to try making them. I was quite sure that they will come out very tasty because of the Pecorino and crunchy pancetta. They really tasted great! Baked or fried? I would always choose baked over fried so off they went to the oven until they reached the perfect crunch that I was looking for. I will make these over and over again if I can if only pancetta (or bacon) is healthier. But for the meantime, make a batch and tell me what you think.

13 July 2014

Chocolate Salami


When we take the food from our childhood to adulthood, it has a special attachment to us that brings back beautiful memories with every bite we make. Then if that food goes through another generation who are our kids, it becomes much more special. This chocolate salami was my husband's favorite when he was young. It came from his grandmother to his mother, and now to our kids.