Sunday, 23 August 2015

Five Favourite Recipes from Sicilian Food by Mary Taylor Simeti

I just heard on BBC Radio 4's Food Programme (Sundays at 12:30 pm, Mondays at 3:30 pm),  that next week's edition, part of the Food Heroes series, will feature Mary Taylor Simeti, so I decided that this should be my next list.

1. Caponata - Sweet and Sour Eggplant.
aubergines/eggplants, celery, green olives, capers, tomato sauce, vinegar, cocoa powder.

I love aubergines, and Mary Taylor Simeti's version includes the optional use of cocoa powder, a baroque touch, which I always add.


Caponata
Caponata

2. Pesto Trapanese.
garlic, basil, almonds, tomatoes, olive oil.

This Sicilian pesto uses ground almonds instead of Parmesan cheese, and is a hit with me because mature cheeses give me headaches.

3. Pasta Capricciosa - Pasta with Capers and Mint.
tomato sauce, garlic, capers, mint, cream.

4. Fegato ai Sette Cannoli - Sette Cannoli's Liver.
winter squash, garlic, mint, wine vinegar (actually a vegan recipe).

The author explains that Sette Cannoli was a poor neighborhood in Palermo.

5. Cuddureddi - Christmas Cookies.
filled with figs, walnuts, almonds, raisins, citrus peel, chocolate, honey, vino cotto, spices.

D decided that they were not unlike mince pies.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Five Favourite Recipes from An Invitation to Italian Cooking by Antonio Carluccio


My top 5 of the recipes I've tried from An Invitation to Italian Cooking.

1. Pollo al Forno con Patate -  Roast Chicken with Potatoes.
chicken, potatoes, onion, unpeeled garlic cloves,  rosemary

2. Peperoni Fritti con Aglio, Capperi e Aceto - Fried Peppers with Garlic, Capers and Vinegar.

3. Pasticcio di Polenta - Timbale of Polenta.
polenta, tomato sauce, cheese (fontina, Gorgonzola, Parmesan)

4. Patate Fritte con Aglio e Rosmarino - Fried Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary.
potatoes, olive oil, unpeeled garlic cloves, rosemary
a fried meatless version of 1.

5. Stewed Quinces.
serve with mascarpone

I discovered after I'd had it for some time, that my paperback edition of the book is slightly abridged, and this last recipe was one that was missing from it.


Stewed quinces in bowl.
Stewed Quinces



Stewed Quinces

Harvest 2015, Peas

Harvested a grand total of 9 peas from 3 pea plants. Peas are green and wrinkled.

I grew a variety of old-fashioned peas called Nec Plus Ultra, in containers. They were supposed to be tall peas, up to 6 ft, and indeed, even in the relatively small containers they got to a good 4-5 ft. They had white flowers, but only set 1 or 2 pods per plant. So I had one plant with a single pod and 3 peas, one plant with 2 small pods each with 1 pea, and the third plant had 2 pods with 2 peas each.

I sowed another 3 plants a while after the first 3, and those did not fare very well. One got munched by something at a very early stage, the second one had the tip munched by something, but survived, only to die off after getting maybe 18 inches high, and the third one seems also about to die off.

Peas, beans and broad beans seem to have been attacked by all colours of aphids - black, green, yellow, this year, and have not done very well.

I grew some black beans, which did not grow more than maybe 4 inches tall,  got attacked by some very small insects at a very early stage, and gradually died off. I had given up on them, when one of the plants produced pale violet flowers, and set one small bean pod which, at a couple of inches long, is quite large compared to the size of the plant.

But our raspberry canes and morello cherry tree have had good crops, so it's not been all bad.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Five Favourite Recipes from The Complete Spanish Cookbook by Jacki Passmore

This is not a vegetarian cookbook, but most of the recipes I have cooked from it involve medleys of Mediterranean vegetables, although if you want to split hairs, courgettes, tomatoes and peppers came originally from the New World.

My top 5 recipes:

1. Samfaina - Catalan Braised Vegetable Sauce.
red peppers, onions, aubergines, zucchini, tomatoes

samfaina_2013s.jpg
Samfaina

2. Tumbret - Mallorca Vegetable Flan.
aubergines, potatoes, green peppers, onion, tomatoes

3. Pisto Castellano - Braised Peppers and Aubergine.
red peppers, green peppers, aubergines, onion, tomatoes

4. Pisto de Calabacin - Braised Zucchini.
red peppers, zucchini, onions, tomatoes


Pisto de Calabacin

5. Pimientos a la Chilindron - Pepper Casserole.
red peppers, onion, tomatoes, bacon or jamon serrano

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Five Favourite Ethnic Cookbooks

Since I'm not managing to post much, I thought I would try to kick-start something by posting lists. And to start things off, a list of favourite cookery books that I have cooked international dishes from.

1. Chinese
Lucille Liang - Chinese Regional Cooking

2. North African
Time-Life Foods of the World - A Quintet of Cuisines

3. Indian
Madhur Jaffrey - Flavours of India

4. Spanish
Jacki Passmore - The Complete Spanish Cookbook

5. Jewish
Claudia Roden -  The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey From Samarkand to New York

I think I'm going to extend the list though, as I soon realised that there were some favorites missing.


6. Sicilian
Mary Taylor Simeti - Sicilian Food

7. Mexican
Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz - The New Complete Book of Mexican Cooking

8. Middle Eastern
Arto der Haroutunian - Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East 

9. French
The Roux Brothers - French Country Cooking

10. Indonesian
Sri Owen - The Home Book of Indonesian Cooking

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Azzurro!

Blue, blue sky today, without a cloud in sight,
looks like a postcard for somewhere tropical,
except that the green are mainly deciduous broadleaf
trees rather than palm trees. Intending to enjoy
the mini-heat wave while it lasts.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Chocolate Week

This week is chocolate week in the UK, usually I only realise it after it's been and gone. I'm afraid the big Chocolate Show at Olympia is a bit expensive for me, (not sure where I got this idea, I think I must have confused it with some of the other events, because on looking back I found that it was only about 14 pounds or so, so try again next year) but look out for special events and tastings at department store chocolate counters.

I managed to get a taste of some chili chocolate by Melt. The chocolate had chili seeds in it, but I didn't really taste much chili heat, maybe I didn't get any bits of chili in the pieces of chocolate that I tasted. Still, the chocolate was very smooth and creamy, I was really impressed.

I also tasted two very different chocolates from Madagascar, one from Madecasse, which was supposed to have lots of citrusy notes, but I don't think I was able to taste them, and another 70% chocolate made in  Belgium by a chocolatier whose name I can't remember because I had not heard of him before (I think it is Benoit Nihant). The second one I really liked.