Monthly Archives: June 2013

spaghetti and tuna


I prefer not to cook tinned tuna when making a sauce for pasta. When I’m lazy I just add the the contents of the tin to the spaghetti and add a few olives, capers and fresh tomato. Otherwise I use the food processor, as I did last night.

I whizz together a drained tin of tuna, some black olives, some capers. a few anchovies and herbs ( parsley and marjory). I dress the spaghetti with the mixture and plenty of extra-virgin olive oil.

We ate this on the terrace in beautiful sunshine last night. Magic!

mince , peas and mint


I usually make this with beef mince, but lamb or veal mince would be good too.

I chop a large onion and begin to sauté it gently in olive oil. I grind up some cumin and cardamom and add that to the onions with a sprinkle of cinnamon , a tablespoon of curry and some chilli flakes. I add the mince and brown it over a high heat. I add a handful of frozen peas, salt, cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Just before serving I add a handful of chopped mint and a glug of extra-virgin olive oil.

Today we had this with boiled rice.

chinese beef and noodles


With time for a little extra care this morning, I prepared this family favourite, with beef instead of the usual pork.

I finely slice two frying steaks and julienne a carrot and half an onion. I make the pasta by whizzing an egg with 100 gm flour and a splash of olive oil in the magimix. The dough rests half an hour, then I roll it out thinly and cut  fine tagliatelle .

When the water comes to the boil, I fry the steak quickly in a little olive oil. Next, I add the carrot and onion and season with salt and five spice powder. I drop the pasta in the boiling salted water. I add a splash of soy sauce to the meat, drain the pasta and add it to the pan to absorb the juices.

Shop-bought Chinese or Italian noodles make life easier. But there’s nothing like home-made pasta!



I love soups. This takes a little careful chopping, but the cooking is quick and simple.

I chop small dice of whatever vegetables I have: carrot, fennel, courgette, cabbage, potato, tomato, onion, leek … and add them to a pot of boiling water with some stock granules and a handful of frozen peas. It simmers for 30 minutes. Apart I cook 50 gm of pasta per person – I usually use ditaloni, but broken spaghetti are fine too. To serve, I add the pasta to the soup and sprinkle on top some fresh herbs, or parmesan or a swirl of olive oil or even harissa.

I often make minestrone to last a few days, in which case, on the second or third day, I make a change by whizzing it all up to make a “cream of vegetable”.

pork cutlets


A fresher day today, the air conditioning is not on…yet. I made cutlets for lunch.

I bash slices of pork as thinly as possible with the meat hammer. Then each goes into beaten egg ang then into breadcrumbs. I cook them for a few minutes each side in olive oil, adding salt and pepper and sage leaves. I pat them in kitchen paper to remove excess oil.

The idea was to have plenty left over to eat cold, but only two were left!

cold tandoori chicken


I have given this recipe before but…it’s a good way to disguise supermarket chicken.

I skin chicken pieces, make deep slashes in the meat and marinade them for three hours in yogurt mixed with lemon juice, salt and tandoori spices ( also curry works well, though you don’t get the red colour). They cook in a preheated oven at 200°C for 45minutes to an hour. I turn them a few times during the roasting process.

I made this yesterday, so today we had it cold with salad.

cucumber salad


The summer heat is fierce. I cooked a lot of tandoori chicken this morning, so we can eat it cold for the next day or two. Very handy. Today I did a cucumber salad to go with the chicken.

I peel and finely slice 4 cucumbers. I put them in a colander with salt and cover them with a plate with some weights on it. After a few hours I squeeze as much water out of them as possible. I dress the vegetable with vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

I sometimes dress the cucumber as my mother would have: a little chopped onion, vinegar, mayo, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Other times, I mix the cucumber with yogurt, Greek-style.


latkes and grilled chicken


I like grilled chicken breast in summer, and it couldn’t be  a simpler dish, as long as the slices of chicken breast are thinnly sliced. They just need 2 minutes on each side and a generous sprinkling of fresh herbs, salt and pepper. I often use chicken like this in a caesar salad buy today I accompanied it with potato latkes.

I grate some potatoes into a bowl of water and leave them to soak for 10 minutes. I drain the potatoes and put them into a clean towel and squeeze out all the water. I mix them with an egg white, a tablespoon of flour, salt and pepper. I fry the mixture in spoonfuls in olive oil in a frying pan, flattening each little mound into a patty shape with the back of the spoon. They cook for 3 minutes each side.



apple tart


 My mother made this tart with all sorts of fruit; this is the apple version. Needless to say, hers were a great deal superior to my efforts!

I make the pastry in the Magimix: 150 gm flour, 75 gm butter, a pinch of salt and a little water. This rests in the fridge for 30 minutes. I peel and slice 2-3 eating apples (Golden Delicious works best for me) and sprinkle a spoon of sugar on them. I roll out the pastry and fill a 20 cm tin. I arrange the apples in the case and put it into the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes at 200°C. I take out the tin and pour in an egg yolk and a spoon of sugar mixed with a glass of cream. It continues to cook in the oven for another 20 minutes.

This tart doesn’t keep very well, but usually it gets eaten up at one sitting!

wild spinach omelette


Wild spinach grows around the malghe (cattle stations) on the alpine pastures of Asiago. We picked enough for a frittata (flat omelette). Locals call the plant “farinei” on account of the “flour” (farina) on the underside of the leaves.

I wash the spinach and cook it in a large pot. (There’s no need to add water.) When cool enough to handle I squeeze  the spinach dry. I sauté a little chopped onion in olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and add the chopped spinach, season and cook briefly. I dissolve a little flour in milk and break in four eggs, whisking them lighly with salt and pepper. I remove the spinach from the pan, add a little extra olive oil and pour in the eggs. I arrange the vegetable on top and when the underside is cooked, I put the pan under the pre-heated grill to cook the topside. I slide the frittata onto its serving plate. Good hot,tepid or cold!

Purists say a frittata should be made in a cast iron pan, should not contain flour and should be flipped with the aid of a large plate. That’s as may be, my way is simpler!