Archive for the Food Category
After a long day at work, finding a hot dish of baked gooey goodness with tonnes of flavor to dig into is definitely comforting. Now I’ll be honest here – for a long time lasagna with its layers of pasta, creamy béchamel sauce and beef ragu filling was my ultimate go-to-dish when I felt like something hearty. But after having been to Rome last year, things have changed. For it was on my visit to Trastevere where I sat down with a good friend of mine at a little restaurant overlooking Piazza di Santa Maria that I got to savor the taste of sumptuous aubergine parmigiana for the first time. And as I cut into the thin layer of its crispy, cheesy crust to dig into its layers of creamy béchamel, sweet tomato sauce and thinly-sliced aubergines I couldn’t help but think that there was something magically delicious about this rustic Italian dish as I tasted it for the first time.
So, a few weeks after I arrived back home from my holiday in Rome, I felt adamant to recreate the vegetarian dish. And after a few tries, I finally came up with the perfect recipe I liked for the aubergine parmigiana (known as Melanzane parmigiana in Italy). Behold, feast your eyes on the result below!
Jump to Aubergine Parmigiana Recipe>>>
About making the Melanzane Parmigiana
Basically the bulk of the work involves chopping and frying the aubergines which can be a tad time consuming (especially if you’re making a huge dish). Also I like to make my own tomato sauce and béchamel sauce, so this also takes some time to prepare. However, the extra time spent lovingly preparing this dish from scratch is certainly worth it.
Once the aubergines have been lightly fried and the sauces have been made, the layering part of creating this dish is perhaps the most fun part in my opinion. For its during this process that the dish truly comes together.
If you’ve never tried to make this dish before, I suggest you do. It’s not only a great alternative to lasagna, but it’s also much healthier. Have a look at my aubergine parmigiana recipe below and get well on your way to making this fantastic Italian dish!
Our Aubergine Parmigiana Recipe
- 2-3 medium-sized aubergines
- 2 tubs of mozzarella di bufala
- bechamel sauce
- tomato sauce
- Parmigiano/Parmesan cheese
- olive oil
How to make Aubergine Parmigiana :
- Remove the stalks of the aubergines and cut aubergines it into thin slices. Then generously salt the aubergines for 30 to 40 minutes to get rid of the bitterness and to keep from getting discolored.
- Wash the aubergines under running water to get rid off any excess salt.
- Lightly fry the slices of aubergines in a griddle pan.
- Slice up the mozzarella di bufala into thin slices.
- Take out a baking tray and drizzle some olive oil.
- Next start by layering the slices of aubergines.
- Place slices of mozzarella di bufala on the layers of aubergines.
- After pour some tomato sauce on the layers.
- Repeat the layering process until your baking tray is full of ingredients.
- Pour the bechamel sauce in the baking tray and make sure all of your ingredients are covered.
- Add the freshly grated Parmesan cheese and basil on the top.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
Tip: Whilst I always recommend using fresh tomato sauce, if you don’t have time to make tomato sauce, either substitute it with slices of tomato or use canned tomato sauce instead.
Many of you out there may think that risotto is an Italian dish which is really difficult to prepare. Yet, I beg to differ. In fact, I think that it’s one of the biggest cooking myths out there. Take this pumpkin bacon risotto for example, not only is it an easy peasy dish to prepare, but it’s also great fun to make once you’ve mastered the basics!
I started preparing risotto with my mother a few years ago after trying it at a local Italian restaurant. Initially, I started by making an favorite of mine – mushroom and bacon risotto. And over the years, I’ve found that it’s fairly easy to make once you’ve got the process down to the tee. Fundamentally, all you need to create this dish is some time on your hands, a wee bit of patience and of course the right ingredients.
Once it’s done, you’ll be able to dig in and enjoy a scrumptious hearty meal which will make your neighbors jealous! Below you’ll find my recipe for pumpkin bacon risotto, complete with ingredients, directions and serving amount.
My inspiration behind the Bacon Pumpkin Risotto Dish
After the Christmas holidays and a much-needed vacation, I vowed I would eat less cake, bread and greasy foods. But alas the nearest Pizza Hut, located a mere 5-minutes away from the office, had been calling my name for the last week and I couldn’t bear it. I just had to go. So, I grabbed the vouchers that had been sitting on my desk for almost 3 weeks, dumped them in my pocket and off I headed with a friend to the land of cheesy dreams and pizza.
Sure, it was tasty. I can’t argue with that; fast food almost never disappoints in that aspect. Yet, the large pepperoni and the medium hawaiin pizza we scoffed down whilst fighting pangs of hunger left us both bloated and with feelings of guilt as we headed back to the office.
To top it off, once we arrived, 3 birthday cakes lay on the kitchen table just waiting to be cut and consumed ( If you think I’m exaggerating , you’re totally wrong here. We did in fact have 3 colleagues celebrating their birthday on the same day.)So, as you can imagine, yesterday was not the day for healthy eating.
Today on the other hand is. This evening I decided to make a healthy pumpkin bacon risotto- a simple dish packed with loads of flavour.
3 cloves garlic
3 slices of bacon
A dash of cream
Salt to taste
2 spoons flaked Parmesan
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon butter
How to Make Pumpkin Bacon Risotto:
- Chop up the garlic, onion, parsely, bacon and pumpkin into small chunks.
- Heat one spoon of butter in a pan and wait until it melts.
- Lightly fry the garlic, onions and parsely.
- Throw in the pumpkin and bacon to blanch for 5 minutes.
- Next add 2 cups of water and 1 cup of risotto.
- Stir the mixture and simmer.
- Every so often stir the mixture to make sure the rice absorbs the water and doesn’t stick to the pan.
- Once the rice is no longer hard, add a splash of cream and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the Parmesan and stir until melted.
- Serve with a few flakes of Parmesanon top if desired.
Boun Appetite, your pumpkin bacon risotto is now ready to be served and eaten
As much as I love a nice hot plate of spaghetti bolognese on a cold autumn day, I must confess that my heart still yearns for the summer months that have passed and yet will come again. Why? Well, I’m a seafood lover and I believe fresh is always best.
Indeed, if I had the choice, I would feast on the fruits of the blue sea every day. And if there’s one dish I’d choose to eat, it would definitely be Spaghetti alla Vongole with Cherry Tomatoes. Luckily, for me I live in the sunny Mediterranean island, Malta, where fishing is a big industry. So, we do get a nice batch of clams at our local fishmonger once every week or so when the howling autumn wind and rain have shied away from brewing up a storm.
After having tried many versions of this dish, some with tomatoes, some without, there was always this one I’d find myself making time and time again. Below is the recipe I always use. Have a look,prepare and taste the result for yourself! You certainly won’t be disappointed!
4 Cloves Garlic
1 box of cherry tomatoes
1 cup White wine
1 kg Clams
1 cup water
1 box of spaghetti
Cleaning the clams
- On going to the fishmonger, always make sure he doesn’t give you any open clams or ones which are damaged in any way.
- Soak the clams in water for about 20 minutes and give them a chance to breathe. As the clams breathe they will push out any salt and sand.
- Clean the clams from any barnacles, seaweed or any sand.
Method for Preparing Spaghetti alla Vongole
- Chop up the garlic and chilli finely and drizzle some olive oil into a pan.
- Heat the pan on a low flame to fry the garlic and chilli together.
- Once it has been lightly fried, pour in 1/2 cup of water, ½ a cup of wine and the clams.
- Cover the pan with its lid and simmer.
- In the meantime, half the tomatoes with a knife and put them into the pan together with some fresh basil leaves. Keep the pan covered.
- You can then start boiling water in a large pot. Once it’s boiling put in the spaghetti and cook it on low heat for 7-10 minutes. Make sure that it hasn’t gone soggy and that it’s left al dente.
- Once it’s done. Drain your pasta from the water using a sieve, but don’t throw away all the pasta water. Leave a little bit at the bottom of your pot so you’ll have some water to throw in with the clams sauce.
- Put in your drained pasta in the pan with the sauce all with your pasta water. You can then mix the sauce and the spaghetti with a wooden spoon.
Presto that’s the final step!
Now it’s time to dig in, Buon Appetito!
One of my all-time favorite snacks to make at the weekend has got to be nachos loaded with ground beef, melted cheddar, beans, bright red salsa and spicy jalapenos to give the nachos a bit of a kick. Of course, sometimes when I’m not in the mood for so much spice, I also like serving them up with a side of sour cream and some slices of avocado or guacamole in order to help reduce the heat when it all gets too much to handle.
Once it’s done, you’ve got the perfect companion for the weekend. A scrumptious plate of load beef nachos to serve up for you and your loved ones. Is your mouth watering yet? Have a look at our recipe below to get well on your way to making this fantastic treat!
4 cloves garlic
400 grams ground beef
1 tablespoon oil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
1 beef stock cube
1½ cup water
1 packet plain nachos
1 packet shredded mature cheddar
1 can Beans
1 large pan
1 large baking tray
1 sheet of Baking paper
1 small bowl
Method: How to Prepare Loaded Beef Nachos
- Take out a large pan and drizzle some sunflower oil in it. Then, set the pan on low heat.
- Once you’re done, chop up the garlic cloves finely and put them in the pan.
- Fry the garlic lightly and crumble the beef stock into 1/2 a cup of hot water. When the stock dissolves, you can then pour it into the pan and mix it with the garlic.
- In a small bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. These include the paprika, cumin,chilli powder, salt and pepper.
- Next, put all of your ground beef into the pan together with your dry ingredients. Stir the mixture using a wooden spoon and simmer. Keep stirring the beef and add another ½ cup of water, if your mixture appears to have dried up. The beef should take approximately twenty minutes to cook.
- Drain the can of beans from the liquid by using a sieve. Then, add the beans to the mixture.
- While the beef is cooking in the pan, you should then take out a large baking tray and cover it with a sheet of baking paper.
- Open your packet of nachos and cover your baking tray with a thin layer of nachos.
- Put some shredded cheddar on the nachos and cover them with another thin layer of crispy nachos. Once again, put some shredded cheddar on the nachos along with some dollops of salsa and beef. You can also add some jalapenos if desired.
- Bake in the oven for about 10-15 mins on 180 °C until the cheddar has melted.
- Once they’re done, you can add a few slices of avocado and sour cream to your nachos either on top or on the side.
Go ahead dig in, you know you want to!
Melted gooey cheese is as sinful and decadent as food comes. In fact, the very thought of it seduces me and makes me drool. And when this particularly scrumptious appetizer is paired with freshly made cranberry sauce and a bit of crunch my love for cheese turns into more of a liaison.
This particular baked brie recipe is a favorite of mine and has been used countless times to impress guests. However, when I don’t find myself entertaining friends or family, I also use this simple dish as a mood lifter, especially if I’ve had one of those not-so-good days at the office. Nevertheless, what I’d like to specify to you is that the wonderful thing about this baked brie dish is that it’s completely vegetarian! So, if you happen to be catering for two types of eaters, you won’t have to flick through dozens of cookbooks in order to think of two separate dishes to prepare for meat-eaters and vegetarians. You’ll be able to please both with this scrumptious appetizer that will leave both you and your guests wanting more!
If you’re making one parcel to share between guests, this simple dish will only take you about 15 minutes to prepare. However, provided that you decide to make individual portions of this dish, it will probably take you longer.
1 Round of Brie
1 Packet of Phyllo Pastry
3 TableSpoons of Butter (Melted)
1 Packet of Dried Cranberries / 1 Box of Fresh Cranberries
⅓ Cup Orange rind /Lemon zest
3 Tablespoons Honey /Sugar
2 teaspoons Cornstarch
2 cups water
½ a pack of walnuts
2 tablespoons of honey to drizzle
Preparing the Cranberry Sauce:
1/ Boil a cup of water in a pot.
2/ Throw in the dried cranberries in the hot water to hydrate them and set the burner on a low flame. Allow the sauce to simmer for around 10 to 15 minutes.
3/ If the water has dried out, you should then add one cup of water to the mixture.
4/ Next, sweeten the mixture by adding sugar or honey.
5/ Add 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to thicken sauce.
6/ Simmer sauce until ready.
7/ Once the sauce reaches the right consistency, you can take it off the flame.
Preparing the Baked Brie Phyllo Parcel:
1/ Heat the oven to 180 ℃ or 400 °F.
2/ Melt the butter in saucepan or put it in a bowl and melt in the microwave.
3/ Separate the layers of phyllo pastry carefully.
4/ Lay out the sheets of pastry on a flat surface and gently brush the pastry with the melted butter.
5/ Place the round of Brie in the center of the pastry and half so. Then proceed to pour some cranberry sauce in the center and sand which together.
6/ Next, seal the pastry and lightly brush the outside with butter. Have a look at the photo below to get an idea of what it should look like.
7/ Cover a baking tray with baking paper and place the baked Brie Phyllo Pastry on it. Once you’re done place the tray in the oven and bake until golden brown.
Placing the Food:
1/ Place the pastry in the middle of the plate and drizzle honey along with some cranberry sauce.
2/ Put the golden brown phyllo pastry parcel in the center of the plate.
2/ Add some extra garnish by drizzling some more honey and crushed walnuts.
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One of my summer favorites has definitely got to be mozzarella and tomato salad. Both sumptuous and refreshing, this particular salad doesn’t take much work to prepare. Its main ingredients are milky Italian mozzarella di buffola, ripe cherry tomatoes, fresh green rucola, olives and a drizzle of balsamic and olive oil. This simple recipe is reminiscent of Mediterranean food at its finest. It’s one you can prepare for work or even to entertain guests as its presentation will certainly whet their appetite. All you need to do is follow the easy steps below and you’ll be well on your way to having a great meal.
Mozzarella di buffola
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Salt and pepper
- Slice the cherry tomatoes using a sharp knife and place in a bowl. Place a few basil leaves in the same container, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and the bowl with cellophane and set aside.
- Next, wash some rucola and spread out on a plate. Place olives on the rucola and add the tomato mixture that was previously set aside to your salad.
- After, drain the mozzarella from all the access water it’s been stored with. Chop up into slices and season with rock salt and ground pepper. Last but not least, drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the white cheese and dig in!