30 May 2012

Strawberry & Mascarpone Swiss Roll


As I often said to anyone listening, I am not a baker.  A frustrated one, if you want to know really.   I have long admired beautiful cakes and had never thought (but always dreamt) that I can create a simple, pretty one.  My kids said it's bella (beautiful) and I take their word for it and then they said it's molto buona (very good) and I take that as a real compliment.  The only complaint from my son was, why I had  to put that white thing.  I forgot that he doesn't like anything suspiciously white in his food.   I told him that the white thing, that is called mascarpone, is a part of the cake that would make the cake incomplete if I didn't put it. 

29 May 2012

Riccioli al Barolo con Salsiccia e Funghi and the Town of Talamello

As soon as I walked in the shop, the rows of colossal bags of red, ribbon-like pasta caught my attention.  To make the packaging even more attractive, they were all sealed with big, blue bows embossed with the manufacturer's name in gold.   Upon closer look, I read Riccioli al Barolo.  I saw sparkles. I love Barolo wine and to capture its taste in pasta is something that I had to try. A kilo each made the bags almost half as tall as my daughter.   They were too much and cost like gold but they were waiting to be taken home.

27 May 2012

Macedonia di Frutta al Limoncello


I'm in a blogging binge here so have patience with me.  I had been scrolling down my posted recipes and when I reached the fruit part, I was surprised that I haven't shared this one yet.  I do have a an old post about the strawberries with Limoncello or Vermouth.  This is the basic fruit salad here that I immediately loved as soon as I learned it from my mother-in-law as soon as I moved here.   It's a typical way to serve the fruits after a big meal whatever season it is but it is served more in spring and summer when the fruits in season are in abundance. 

26 May 2012

Pan Seared Mediterranean Plaice


We all have a recipe or two that we turn to when we don't feel like spending time planning what to cook, rushing to the shops looking for certain ingredients or measuring and hoping that it will come out good.  I have one fish recipe up my sleeve that has never failed me for the past ten years.  I have tried this with all kinds of fish, fresh or frozen, filleted or whole, but today I would like to share with you the best fish that goes with this recipe.  

I use white fish like branzino or spigola (seabass) and orata (gilt-head bream) but the one that goes perfectly well with it is platessa (plaice), which is very similar to sole.  

25 May 2012

Barley Salad with Chickpeas, Fava Beans & Peas and a Giveaway


There we were, among hundreds of adults in the stands with some toddlers and infants, while hundreds of kids in colorful costumes were in the arena, coming from different schools from the outskirts of Rome and other towns guesting for the Roman school dance festival.  These kids had been practicing their dances for months that even my son, who had grown up disliking anything that entails movement of the hips, arms and legs, was transformed into a dancing machine after too much practicing.   And I was happy to witness this wonderful transformation through the lens of my camera.

23 May 2012

Nutella & Cherry Pizza


It's pizza making night at home.  I like and I don't like it for two reasons.  It's laborious, roots me to the kitchen all throughout the pizza making process and we don't get to eat our pizzas hot altogether.   The good thing about it, is that we get to choose whatever we want to put on them and Mommy (The one and only, me!) makes them. 

21 May 2012

Speck Skewers with Herb Mayonnaise and Grilled Mediterranean Aubergine Bundles with Provola: A Virtual Potluck


Over an overseas call, I was giving my sister an educational trip to the blogging world in a nutshell.   She is one of those people whose mind antagonizes anything computerized and has no space for acceptance of the technological advancement.  Her world stopped in the 80's and we often tease her about it.  She does not have a full grasp of how the virtual world works yet and has no understanding how wide its reach is.   When I told her about the virtual Memorial Day potluck I got invited to, she couldn't get over her amusement.  A virtual potluck party is beyond her imagination. 

What:   Virtual Memorial Day Potluck
Where:  Celebrations.com
When:    21 May 2012

A Sicilian Summer Breakfast: Tris di Granita con Brioche


I know it's not summer yet but with all the ice creams floating around the food blogs, I couldn't resist making something cold and fruity on my own.  I have yet to take out my ice cream maker so ice creams are not in the plan.  Whipping up Asian dishes the past days caught me in a coconut scented kitchen to the distress of the noses of my children.  So I thought, something familiar is in order this time.   Sicilian.

20 May 2012

Taho: Soft Tofu, Vanilla Syrup & Tapioca in a Glass


"Taho is soft tofu mixed with sago pearls and syrup slightly flavored with vanilla served in a glass.  Oh, and it's our breakfast."  

That was how I explained what this taho is to my husband after I came back to our room early in the morning on our first morning in the Philippines.   Poor guy almost died of a heart attack after I sprung out of the bed with surprising speed and ran out the bedroom without giving any explanation.  He knows that nothing, even shaking of the bed or dousing of cold water can make me stir out of my morning sleep.  He diligently takes me my coffee to bed every morning to help me clear up the morning cobwebs in my head.  He couldn't believe that there's something more powerful than coffee that can make me jump up like that and it doesn't even contain caffeine.   

18 May 2012

Coconut Pandan Crepes


The aroma of pandan (pandanus amaryllifolius belonging to the screwpine genus) is unmistakably Asian and grips me to familiarity. Happy thoughts came about from my childhood as I remember the smell of pandan permeating the kitchen when rice was cooking in my parents' house.  In Asian cooking, a knot of pandan leaf is used to give fragrance & flavor to the rice.  It has a distinguishing scent that I cannot pinpoint nor even come close to describing. It is reminiscent of fresh grass with a floral hint and an earthy tone. Mmmm, maybe I'm not the world's best describer but believe me, it has a good aroma. 

17 May 2012

Banana Heart & Shrimp in Coconut Milk and Esquilino Market


I have been cooped up in my kitchen for the past days cooking endlessly.  I love cooking but I came to the point of wanting to raise both my arms to the air and shout surrender.  Or wave my white dishtowel.   The reason is, I recently discovered that there is a fresh produce Asian market in Rome and I bought more fresh food than I can handle.

16 May 2012

Jackfruit Tapioca Trifle with Muscovado & Coconut


I remember always bracing for the tummy ache my Mom would always warn me about if I eat too much jackfruit.   There was always a little fear behind every bite I make.  I never really had the dreaded tummy ache nor did I ever try to find out if her warnings were true.  I had a feeling that those warnings were pointed at me because once I sit down with a bowl of cleaned jackfruit pods, I wouldn't stop eating until they're all gone and I'm completely full.   It was a reason I used to avoid having dinner. 

14 May 2012

Tris di Banana


Show me a tris di dessert (trio of desserts) in a restaurant menu, and I will never say no to it.  I love having different kinds of small desserts in one plate.  Dessert is the most pleasurable part of a meal and a tris is synonymous to laying back and being indulged with a succession of sweet little dishes. A little taste of everything is better than having a lot of a single thing. 

11 May 2012

Braised Mediterranean Chicken with Red Currants & Passito di Pantelleria



Che buon odore!  Stai cucinando col Marsala, Mommy?  (What a good odor!  Are you cooking with Marsala, Mommy?)

My son greeted me with this surprising question as soon as he opened the door to the house.  I was pleasantly surprised that he can already understand the ingredients I use in cooking with a mere whiff of it.   He loves my chicken cooked with Marsala wine and his ideal chicken recipe is my Lemony Chicken Marsala

He peered in the pan and saw the red currants, tomatoes, olives and lemon cooking with the chicken.   I told him that this time I was using another kind of wine.  Passito di Pantelleria

Evviva!  Sara' buono!  (Great!  It will good!)

10 May 2012

Mediterranean Black Linguine and the Republic of San Marino


As I promised, here is the post about the Republic of San Marino.  The pictures, like the rest of the old ones I had been posting the past days, are taken by my old reliable Lumix point and shoot.  Those were the days when I'd rather click fast with a handy camera while my husband handled the bigger DSLR.  

08 May 2012

Black Venere & Basmati Rice Timballo with Grilled Vegetables & Shrimp and the Town of San Leo



Grilled asparagus.  Grilled capsicum.  Grilled shrimp.  Cooked basmati rice.  Cooked black venere rice.  Taking these food out left some empty gaps in the fridge.  My main objective that day was to finish these leftovers within the day.  Better if they can all stay together in one new dish.  And I have about two hours to make that happen.  

06 May 2012

Fiori d'Acacia Fritti (Fried Black Locust Flowers) and the Medieval Town & Castle of Gradara


Most of you should be unfamiliar with these flowers because they are not widely used in cooking.  Well cooking with flowers is not really everyone's thing.  What am I saying? 

First, let me introduce them to you.  Their botanical name is Robinia Pseudoacacia.  False Acacia would be its literal translation.  They are also known as Black Locust Flowers in English and simply Fiori d'Acacia in Italian, even if they are not really acacia.

Fritelle di Mele (Apple Fritters)


There's always a period for everything and I am a long way off with these treats.  I had been wanting to make some frittele di mele (apple fritters) for a long time but I just kept on passing it up for other things.  They usually appear in winter, most especially in the northern region of Italy, Alto Aldige, the apple region of the country.  Then there's a more specific period.  During the Carnevale (Carnival or Mardi Gras).  Now, can you see how far off I am from its period?   Let's just pretend it's February.

04 May 2012

Chive Blossom Vinegar


I took the bottle with the vibrant pink liquid to the cupboard and placed it in front where I can easily see it and grab it. Right beside my choice of vinegar of the moment, honey vinegar. This pink one is like a trophy because I made it. And I'm really happy with the result.  I never thought I would ever describe any vinegar as beautiful.  It is, isn't it?  The color is so vibrant!  It has the chive flavor and it's good with salads. 

03 May 2012

Panini di Savoiardi con Nutella, Caffe' & Cocco


NUTELLA.  

It's the current magic word at home that replaced miele (honey), the long time protagonist in the kids' choice of spread on their bread.    Now, we are buying one jar after the other with an alarming speed.  

02 May 2012

Italian Grilled Seafood & Vegetable Platter


Rain, rain, go away.  Come again another day!  

Come to think of it, rain was really previsioned for Labor Day but when we woke up that morning, the sun was shining so bright that it was imperative to hasten our morning preps and run outside to enjoy it.  In summer shirts. 

01 May 2012

Boccole with Asparagus, Guanciale & Tomatoes and The Village of Ceri (Part 2)


Communicating whole sentences without uttering a single word is possible if you live in Italy. 

Italians are animated conversationalists accompanied by the innumerable gestures that the language has.  When I just moved here, I loved to step back and watch how the conversations flow by watching the gesticulations.  You can understand what is being spoken about from how the hands, eyes, shoulders and heads move (strongly aided by voices that can be heard from far, far away).