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30 April 2013

Coconut Rice Pudding With Mango Puree and Rum Caramel Sauce

When luck strikes and we get some Asian mangoes from the Asian market in Rome, we celebrate in the kitchen.  The big part of the very sweet mangoes gets eaten as is, like how they should be enjoyed.  Then one small part gets the cooking treatment in my pots and pans.  I would really rather eat them by scooping the chilled pulp from the sliced fruit that just came from the fridge.  It's just like how I used to enjoy them when I was growing up in the midst of mangoes everywhere.  But now that I am thousands of kilometers away from the closest mango tree (I would have to correct this to just a few kilometers if my friend is successful in growing her mango tree which she planted from seed),  I encapsulated the flavor and smell of my favorite fruit.  I used it as a topping to a bowl of coconut rice pudding then I mixed it with a good drizzle of rum caramel sauce.  The flavors are amazing and it perfectly epitomizes my long-lost childhood memories of how a tropical island dessert should be.  

27 April 2013

Pizza Roll Sandwiches With Salami, Cream Cheese & Rucola

I was ready to switch my heavier clothes to lighter ones today when, after waking up to a gray day, I retreated back to heavier layered clothing again. Just the other day, I had to stay in my short-sleeve shirt because it felt like summer just shoved spring out of the way.  It was hot.  With the heat, scenes of picnics and outdoor eating with the kids played in my mind.  It's the time of the year when we like eating quick and easy food under the olive trees outside our house. 

26 April 2013

Orecchiette With Salmon, Spinach, Tomatoes & Lemon

Orecchiette.  For the different varieties of pasta that I have tried, I can only count with my fingers which ones I really like. They are the ones that are compact and catch the sauce perfectly well.  One of them is orecchiette, the ear-shaped pasta with a central depression to catch the sauce better.  It has a good compact body that compensates the amount of sauce that gets caught in its concave shape.  It comes from Puglia, one of the southern regions of Italy and there, they like serving it simply with broccoli rabe and some breadcrumbs.  Its simplicity is what makes it so good.  The flavors of two to three ingredients blend harmoniously well together.  I always say that but it's true with Italian cooking.  Less is better.  But let's go back to this recipe.  For a change, I strayed away from the typical broccoli rabe sauce even if my family and I are crazy about it.  I tried something new using salmon, spinach and tomatoes for a change.  Adding lemon zest gave it a wonderful aromatic side to it.

25 April 2013

Instant Strawberries, Greek Yogurt & Brownie Breakfast Trifle and The Town of Calcata

There was something about the half-finished block of shop-bought brownies, tub of Greek yogurt and fresh strawberries staring back at me whenever I open the fridge.  I knew that I was missing the point the first few times I was sneaking looks at them.  Those three can actually create a quick and delicious breakfast without putting any effort at all.  So here it is, a five-minute sprint breakfast, all for you to enjoy. 

23 April 2013

Spring Green Vegetable Salad With Pecorino & Eggs

Fruit & vegetable markets have an air of healthiness around it.  I feel like if you inhale the air while in the midst of all the beautiful greens, reds, yellows & oranges, you yourself will absorb all the vitamins they keep inside them then cancel out the bad food you had been eating.  Just a thought.  And hope.  I'm not a perfect health food eater but I am trying my best to recompense for the unhealthy way I had been stuffing myself with bad food when I was younger.  That and to guide my kids to healthy eating. 

22 April 2013

Peanut Crusted Chicken and Peanut Rice

I wonder why kids are crazy about chicken.  Wherever they grow up or however they are exposed to food, chicken will always be number one.  And I have two chicken lovers at home, always ready to pounce on them and smothered with its undying partner - ketchup!  I myself grew up with fried chicken thighs delightfully covered with, what else?  Ketchup!  Fortunately, you will never find fried chicken in Italy so my eating habit was put to a halt.  You will only find rotisserie chicken with roasted potatoes.  It's healthier of course and so good too!  But my childhood chicken eating habits nag me at times so I came up with different ways to make my chicken crunchy, and this one has an Asian twist to it being all covered up with peanuts coupled with rice sprinkled with peanuts too.  Yum!  For this recipe, please click on this link

21 April 2013

Simple Italian Grilled Vegetables and The Vatican City

It was around this period, years ago, when I swore to the Italian flag to abide by its laws and be a good citizen with my quivering voice, following the lead of the Vice-Mayor of the comune.  As we concluded the session, the Vice-Mayor and I exchanged hands and she happily gave me her good wishes.  "Auguri signora".  I'm Italian.  I felt strangely emotional and elated. 

18 April 2013

Rum & Raisin Truffles and Afternoon Tea Cookbook Review


Mention chocolate truffles to me and I will turn to you. Show me some and you will definitely get my full attention. I will always have time to stop and admire the rows of chocolate truffles in display in chocolate shops even when I was a child. Back then, I could barely even reach the height to look at them properly but with my nose pressed against the border of the display rack, and with my toes supporting me to the fullest height, I know they are good and worth all the money that my Mom would pay for. 

17 April 2013

Lemon Leaf-Wrapped Meatballs

I've seen my husband revive ailing plants and trees in our garden more than once.  He nurses them back to good health with a lot of attention and they in turn bounce back to life with more fruit to give.  In our garden, I take care of the flowering plants and herbs while he takes care of the trees.  Most of our fruit trees are untouchable.  Translation?  The wife cannot snip off leaves or flowers that will soon become good fruit.  If I need lemon leaves, it's a long negotiation.  Imagine my distress when I made these meatballs and I needed 20 leaves to wrap each meatball.  I didn't tell him because he was in the office anyway.  But dinner had to be served, all wrapped up with lemon leaves.  His lemon leaves.  All 20 of them.  He was not so happy about that but at least he liked what he was eating.  I think he sneaked out to check his lemon tree after dinner just to be sure that it's still ok.  

16 April 2013

Breakfast Polenta With Pancetta and Eggs and The Town of Civita Castellana

I'm back with my breakfast craze.  Be it savory or sweet, here I am to enjoy it and when I make a new discovery, you can count on me to share it with you.  Like these delicious breakfast polenta for instance.  Just watch out because they are hard to resist! Yum!

15 April 2013

Grilled Salmon With Caramelized Onions

Do you have half an hour and want to have a delicious and healthy meal?  I'm usually in a rush too and I am always hoping for something quick, easy, healthy and delicious on my table.  It's never easy to accomplish all that in one flash and it is my perennial problem.  For all these years, the redundant question I pose to my husband is, "What do you want for dinner?"  Even if I am into food, I am not always perfectly prepared and bursting with ideas.  I have a lot of moments of drawing a blank on what to prepare for the whole family.

13 April 2013

Pineapple, Chicken and Pork Adobo Rice

I already sound like a broken record whenever I recount memories of my past that always find their way connected to FOOD.  I have fond memories of my family, my friends, places and events whenever I think of every single dish that is familiar to me.  But the past is meant to be cherished and left behind because we should always move on to what is next. I respect that because I moved on embracing everything Italian, from this place that I nested on for my kids and husband.  I tried not to look back but cravings from the past jolts me to stop and listen to my needs.  Familiarity is important and this dish is a part of what I am. 

Lemon Cream With Berries

When spring arrives, I can't help capturing its beauty and flavors in a colorful dish.  Lemon, berries and flowers.  What better way is there to express lightness and colors?  So, for the second time in a row, I found a wonderful recipe at La Cucina Italiana's March 2013 issue.  I have a weakness for lemon and strawberry desserts so as usual, the minute I arrived to the magazine's page, I knew that this was going to be my new dessert to prepare. 

09 April 2013

Fish and Potato Squares

If you know me by now and look through my recipes, I like creating little food packages whenever a bit of creativity grips me. But before I embarked in creating them, I bought some food molds that are fundamental in creating them. So if you are like me who happens to enjoy spending more time than usual in wrapping food on food, get yourself some food molds and stick to the basic round and square ones to get you started. This dish is just a simple fish and potato recipe baked in the oven with just the simplest condiments you can find in your kitchen. Salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and fresh thyme. To see my recipe with step-by-step pictures in making these Fish and Potato Squares, hop on over to this link.

06 April 2013

Salmon, Pear and Brie Panino

I am faced with a perennial challenge when I am preparing daily quick lunches because the one I have to feed is extremely picky.  My 3-year old daughter is hard to please with the food and I can only count with my fingers what she eats.  Bread, pears, salmon (smoked & grilled) and cheese.  Did you notice that they're all of the above?  She is now discovering that some greens like lettuce are not really that bad that she allows a few leaves doused in extra virgin olive oil to be included in her diet.  This panino (sandwich) is dedicated to her even if she dissected each ingredient on her plate.  Maybe in time, she will eat them all in one bite.  It makes a delicious blending of flavors if eaten altogether.   The recipe for this panino can be found at this link.

I also develop recipes for and the recipes I submit to them can be accessed from their site.  I thought of sharing the sneak peek here then direct you to the recipe with a link. You can find a list of my other recipes in their site by clicking on this link.

05 April 2013

Sauteed Sausage and Onions With Cabernet Sauvignon

This appetizer is a fruit of reminiscing about my younger days in the company of good friends while we sit around a big table, drink beer and talk all night.  Since almost everyone had a pack of hotdogs in their refrigerators, a sauteed hotdog appetizer with ketchup and onions and other condiments was the easiest we could come up with.  "Other condiments" entails whatever condiments we find that can go with the ketchup.

I refined the ingredients more from ketchup to tomato puree mixed with a variety of condiments that I found fit for the dish.  The splash of Cabernet was an afterthought and I was so happy that it blended well with the hotdogs.  If there are pictures that rekindle fond memories of the past, there are also certain food that do the same.  Click on this link to take you to the recipe at She Knows.

I also develop recipes for and the recipes I submit to them can be accessed from their site.  I thought of sharing the sneak peek here then direct you to the recipe with a link. Step over at She Knows and check out this recipe. You can also find a list of my other recipes in their site by clicking on this link.

Potato and Onion Salad With Lemon Caper Dressing

We all have a potato dish recipe stashed in our memories that we cook without end and we never get tired of.  Mine is this one, whether I am just having a plate of prosciutto (which is actually my favorite partner with these potatoes), plain meat dish or fish.  It actually goes with everything. If you are not an onion lover, take away the onions and enjoy its tasty combination of flavors.  On our table, you will always find both versions because I prefer this one and the rest of the family go for the onion-free version.  The recipe for this potato dish can be found at this link.

I also develop recipes for and the recipes I submit to them can be accessed from their site.  I thought of sharing the sneak peek here then direct you to the recipe with a link. Step over at She Knows and check out this recipe. You can also find a list of my other recipes in their site by clicking on this link.

04 April 2013

Spaghetti With Breadcrumbs, Wild Fennel and Anchovies (Pasta Ca' Muddica) and the Town of Civita di Bagnoregio

Pasta ca' muddica is the Sicilian of pasta con la mollica which is the Italian of pasta with breadrumbs.  Now that we are done with the introductions, let me tell you how simple (as you can guess from the ingredients) and good this pasta is.  It's a poor man's dish in Sicily and it comes in different versions per province, per town, per household and per person which I think is like every classic recipe.  What I can say about these kinds of dishes is that they have a reason for being around for hundreds of years.  They are simple, inexpensive, healthy and very good. 

03 April 2013

Ginger and Cognac Tea

I know I wrote that the next post should be about the little hamlet we went to for Easter.  It will be the next one after this. A big flow of work has tied me up all day and kept me away from the computer.  While you wait, let me show you this delicious ginger and cognac tea that is sure to relieve any throat discomfort you have or just for the pleasure of having something gingery to drink. 

Ginger tea or salabat, as it is called in the Philippines, is a typical Asian tea drink to relieve throat discomforts.  As a kid, I loved drinking it even if I didn't have any throat problems, to the amusement of the adults, because I love its comforting taste and smell.  Cognac is another drink that helps relieve throat discomforts.  While making a small pot of salabat, I thought of putting them both together in one tea drink.  This is the product of the wonderful combination.  Next time I make my ginger tea, I will have to spike it with cognac.  I prefer this new combination! You can find the recipe at this link.

I also develop recipes for and the recipes I submit to them can be accessed from their site.  I thought of sharing the sneak peek here then direct you to the recipe with a link. Step over at She Knows and check out this recipe. You can also find a list of my other recipes in their site by clicking on this link.

02 April 2013

Banana Pistachio Pancakes With Marsala Syrup

Breakfast.  It's my favorite meal of the day. Being far from being a morning person, I don't understand why.  It's the meal that I tend to skip to gain a few minutes more of sleep.  A ringing alarm clock is my worst enemy and the snooze button is my best buddy.  And the promise of a sumptuous breakfast is the only thing that can make me stand up from bed without the help of a cup of espresso. Pancakes make me walk straight to the kitchen, fire up the stove, flip them and drown them with syrup.  And I like experimenting with new combinations and flavors.  This is one of them which I love!

I also develop recipes for and the recipes I submit to them can be accessed from their site.  I thought of sharing the sneak peek here then direct you to the recipe with a link.

Step over at She Knows and check out this recipe. You can also find a list of my other recipes in their site by clicking on this link.

I am currently preparing the next post with pictures of the town we went to for Easter.  It's a beautiful medieval hamlet called Civita di Bagnoregio and I can't wait to share with you the pictures I took.  I hope you all enjoyed your Easter Holiday!

01 April 2013

Eggs With Green Fava Beans, Peas & Parsley Sauce

While I was browsing the March 2013 issue of La Cucina Italiana, the picture of this recipe jumped out at me.  I'm far from being a green sauce lover, which makes me think that my daughter followed my lead about my hidden aversion of green sauces. How she picked up on it, I don't know, because I hide my food aversions from my kids until they have already established their food preferences especially their dislikes.  I don't want to be the culprit when they suddenly run away from anything creamy green not knowing why they are running away from it in the first place.  Then all arrows point at me.