Crunchy tea biscuits with corn flour

biscDifficulty:Very easy  Time:Quick

INGREDIENTS (x 6 persons):

  • 250 g white non-raising plain flour
  • 120 g corn flour (for Polenta*)
  • 230 g unsalted butter
  • 140 g powdered sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 yolk
  • 1 (unwaxed) biologic lemon
  • Fine salt
  • Vanilla-flavoured powdered sugar (optional) for decoration


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. In the meanwhile, take out the butter from the fridge and let it soften at room temperature.
  • 2. When soft enough, add it to the powdered sugar, the grated skin of the lemon (only the yellow layer of the skin) and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Blend all the ingredients together, then add the egg and the yolk, and mix it until smooth and homogeneous.
  • 3. In a separate bowl, first mix the two flours together and sieve them into the rest of the mix. Try to avoid lumps. Your mix will be quite soft and a bit sticky.
  • IMG_1706IMG_1710
  • 4. Transfer the mix into a piping bag with a large nozzle and create some big S shaped biscuits directly on the baking tray.
  • 5. Bake in the pre-heated over at 180C (if ventilated 160C) for about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool on a wire rack, then serve with a sprinkle of vanilla-flavoured powdered sugar if you like it.


- The *Polenta dish has its roots in the peasant cuisine of northern Italy. It is made by grinding corn into flour, or meal. It has a rich yellow, yolk-like colour, and has a slightly sweet flavour. Polenta can be cooked to be creamy and thick, or allowed to set and then sliced. (Source:

- You can choose among different type of corn flour according to your preference of granules. I personally like the rough big grains of Polenta flour which can also twist the sensation in the mouth while tasting the biscuits.

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‘Cavolo nero’ soup with feta cheese and pistachios

PrimiNov 16 20170 Comments

soup cavolonero2

Difficulty:Easy Time: Long

INGREDIENTS (x 6 persons):

  • - 200g Cavolo nero leaves
  • - 2 medium size, white baking potatoes
  • - 1 large sweet white onion
  • - extra virgin olive oil
  • - 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • - black pepper
  • - sumac powder (optional)
  • - 1 handful crunched unsalted pistachios
  • - 150g feta cheese, crumbled


  • 1. Start by carefully rinsing all the vegetables. Thinly slice the onion, peel the potatoes and roughly chop them in small blocks. Slice the cavolo nero leaves and set them aside.
  • 2. In a large 5 L pressure cooker, first cook the onion in a slug of olive oil until slightly brown. Then add the potatoes and the cavolo nero, the stock cubes broken in smaller pieces (unless you have it in powder) and cover with 3L of water. Bring to the boil and close the lid of the pressure cooker to block the pressure. When the highest pressure is reached, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 min. Switch off the heat and let it cool down.
  • 3. Blend the mixed vegetables with a handheld blender until creamy. Correct the seasoning, if necessary.
  • 4. Serve it hot with a drizzle of olive oil, black pepper, and a pinch of sumac. Spread a tea-spoon of crumbled feta cheese and pistachios, and enjoy it!


  • - If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can use a deep saucepan with a lid and cook until you get to the desired tenderness of your vegetables. It should simmer for about 40 minute at medium heat.
  • - If you want to get to a more creamy final result, add a teaspoon of single cream or plain yogurt on each dish.
  • - You can prepare a similar type of soup using kale instead of Cavolo nero.
  • - Sumac is a tangy, lemony spice often used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. Try using it in salads instead of lemon juice or to season grilled meat and fish. It is an optional ingredient to this recipe but it can twist the taste of the soup into something slightly different. It is up to you!

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Crunchy tea biscuits with cornflakes, raisins and pine nuts

DolciNov 09 20170 Comments


Difficulty: Very easy  Time: Long

INGREDIENTS (x 10 persons)

  • - 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • - 100g caster sugar
  • - 2 large free-range eggs
  • - 200g plain non-raising flour (“00”)
  • - ½ tsp vanilla-flavoured raising powder
  • - 120g rolled oats
  • - 1 large handful raisins
  • - 20-30g pine nuts
  • - rum (optional)
  • - 150g of cornflakes
  • - icing sugar for decoration


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4 and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
2. Place the raisins to soak in a bowl with a teaspoon of rum in lukewarm water for about 10-15 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, mix the eggs and the sugar until smooth. Then add the butter.
4. Gently add the flour to the mix and, only at the end, add the raising powder. Form a soft mix, then add the pine nuts, and then the raisins. Make sure you drain the raisins from the water.


5. Place the cornflakes into a deep plate.
6. With damp hands, use a teaspoon to pick up a small amount of the mix and roll it on top of the cornflakes. You should get a small soft biscuit covered by cornflakes.
7. Place each biscuit on the baking tray making sure there is enough space between them. They generally double in size.


8. Bake for 15 minutes until the biscuits colour gold at the edges of the cornflakes.
9. Remove the cookies from the oven and leave them on the hot baking tray for 5 minutes, then put them on a serving plate to cool off.
10. When cooled down completely, generously sprinkle icing sugar on top and serve with a hot tea or coffee.


-  If you wish your biscuits to be browner, you can substitute the caster sugar with a soft light brown sugar eg Demerara.
-  You can use any kind of flour and cornflakes or you like in order to twist the taste.
-  A nice, alternative version of these biscuits is with chocolate chips instead of raisins and pine nuts. You and/or your kids will love it!

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Baked “Schiacciatine” with tomato purée, capers and potatoes


Difficulty:Easy  Time:Long

INGREDIENTS (x 6 persons):

  • - 250 g lean minced beef meat
  • - 250 g minced pork meat
  • - 2 big slices white bread (about 150 g)
  • - 250 ml whole milk
  • - 1 egg
  • - 1 garlic clove, thinly chopped
  • - 1 handful of grated parmesan
  • - 1 large handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • - salt/pepper
  • - extra virgin olive oil
  • - 6 large potatoes, in thin slices (2-3 mm)
  • - mixed roast spices
  • - fresh rosemary brunches
  • - 6 teaspoons of chopped tomatoes (in can)
  • - a handful of small capers, in vinegar
  • - thyme


1. Chop the bread and place it into a bowl so it can suck up milk.

2. In the meanwhile in a large bowl, thoroughly mix the minced meat with the egg, parmesan, parsley and garlic. Drain the bread from the milk and add it to the mix. Finally, season with salt and pepper.

3. When uniform, take a small amount out of the mix and roll it into the shape of a ball with your hands (that you have made wet with cold water). Then press it in order to get the shape of a rough burger. Repeat the procedure until you finish the mix. Set the burgers aside.

4. Pre-heat the oven at 180°C. Place a baking parchment onto a baking tray and spread some oil with a kitchen brush. Then place the potato slices dressed up with the roast spices, salt/pepper and rosemary leaves. Add the burgers with a teaspoon of tomato chops and capers, and then sprinkle thyme on top.

5. Bake everything covered with aluminium foil until the potatoes get tender. Remove the foil and grill at medium heat to get them crusty. I love it!


  • - This recipe directly relates to my childhood memories mainly because my mum prepared them to make meat more attractive for us to eat. Now we adore it!
  • - Basically it uses the ‘schiacciatine’ recipe already published on this blog but without breadcrumbs.
  • - If you have more time, I suggest you to pre-steam the potatoes and to slice or chop them just before baking.

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Pan-fried scallops in speck wrap, on a potato and fennel purée

SecondiDec 29 20151 Comment


Difficulty:Easy  Time:Long

INGREDIENTS (x 4 persons):

For the scallops

  • - Extra virgin olive oil
  • - 8 large or 12 small, cleaned scallops removed from shells
  • - freshly ground black pepper
  • - ½ lemon, juice only
  • - a glass of Brandy liquor
  • - 4 thin slices of Italian speck ham

For the potato and fennel purée

  • - Extra virgin olive oil
  • - 2-3 potatoes, into chunks
  • - salt/pepper
  • - whole milk
  • - 1-2 shallots, finely sliced
  • - 1-2 fennel bulbs, cored and roughly chopped
  • - vegetable stock in powder
  • - 3 teaspoons unsalted butter

Balsamic cream for decoration.


For the scallops, heat a little olive oil in a non-sticky pan over medium heat. Season the scallops with freshly ground black pepper, and then wrap them in half a slice of Speck ham. This will give some extra flavour to the fish. Place them into the pan, sliced-side down, and pour the brandy. Cook until golden-brown, about 1-2 minutes at high heat. Turn the scallops on the other side and reduce the heat. Take extra care to not overcook them.

Remove the scallops from the pan and place them onto a tray with kitchen paper. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over the scallops.

For the potato purée, fill a large pot with about 2 inches water. Add potatoes to a steamer basket and steam until tender, 20 to 30 minutes depending on their size.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove the potatoes from the steamer basket. Drain, and immediately press through a medium mesh sieve into the saucepan where you put the butter. Adjust creaminess with whole milk. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To make the fennel purée, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a deep saucepan over medium heat, add the shallot and cook for about 1 minute. Add the fennel and keep on cooking for a few minutes, while stirring, until both shallot and fennel are translucent. Add the stock powder and allow simmering until soft. Note that the liquid should reduce by two-thirds, which generally takes 10-15 mins. Remove from the heat, transfer the mix into a blender and then mix it with the potato purée. Set aside, keeping warm.

To serve, place some fennel and potato purée onto each plate. Place the scallops on top and decorate with some balsamic cream.


  • - You can substitute the Italian Speck ham with delicate English bacon.
  • - You can also make a purée only with fennels or only just potatoes, depending on your personal taste. A good alternative is celery in place of the fennel.

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“Pasticciotti alla leccese”- cream pastries from Lecce

DolciOct 13 20150 Comments


Difficulty:Easy  Time:Very long

“Pasta Frolla “(crust pastry base)


  • - 600 gr plain flour
  • - 300 gr unsalted butter
  • - 300 gr caster (granulated) sugar
  • - 6 egg yolks
  • - 1 lemon zest (grated)
  • - 1 pinch of salt


  • 1.  Sift the flour in a circle, add the softened butter, mix quickly.
  • 2. Recreate a circle and add in the middle the sugar, the lemon zest, the yolks, and the pinch of salt.
  • 3. Mix quickly and shape it in a ball.
  • 4. Cover with plastic food wrap (the original recipe had linen cloth!) and let it rest in the fridge for at least 20 mins.

“Crema pasticciera”


  • - 1/2 liter whole milk
  • - 4 egg yolks
  • - 70 gr plain flour
  • - 100 gr caster sugar
  • - 1 lemon peel


  • 1. Separate the yolks, and make sure you keep 1-2 egg whites for later.
  • 2. In a non stick pot mix yolks and sugar with a wooden spoon, add the  flour and the lemon peel (make sure you don’t cut the internal white part).
  • 3. Heat  the milk separately, and then slowly pour it on the mix while still hot. make sure you mix constantly.
  • 4. Put the pot on the stove, moderate temperature, continue to mix until the cream reaches the desired consistency. Let it cool down when ready.

Putting them together:

  • - Pre-heat the oven at 170 degrees celsius.
  • - Take the ball of pasta frolla out of the fridge, sprinkle the working area with flour and roll it flat to get to a thickness of about 7-8 mm butter a muffin or cupcake pan, and then sprinkle with flour, removing the excess flour (the original recipe has an oval shape if you could find a good pan).
  • - For each pasticciotto, cut 2 pieces of pasta frolla: the bottom one to cover the walls of the containers, and the top one, slightly smaller to be used as a top cover.
  • - Fill each muffin/container with the bottom round, fill in the crema pasticciera, and then put the cover and make sure you close the edges well.
  • - Whisk the egg whites and brush the tops of the pasticciotti.
  • - Put the cupcake pan in the oven for 10mins at 170C, then raise the temperature to 200C and bake until the pasticciotti turn golden/amber color.
  • - Take out of the oven, and let them cool down before taking them out of the pan.





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Polpette di Melanzane


Difficulty:Easy Time:Long

INGREDIENTS (x 4 persons):

  • - 2 large aubergines
  • - 1 egg
  • - 1 handful freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • - 1 handful Italian Pecorino romano cheese
  • - 1 small handful of flat parsley, finely chopped
  • - Salt and pepper (optional)
  • - 2 tablespoons with breadcrumbs plus what is needed for the breaded meatballs
  • - few mint leaves, finely chopped
  • - 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 180 ° C. Wrap the aubergines in aluminum foil and place them on a baking sheet. Cook them wrapped up for about 45 minutes until they become soft.
  • 2. Then, take them out from the oven, remove the foil and let them cool down. At this point, cut each aubergine in two halves and with a spoon, remove the inner pulp, scraping well all around the peel. Make sure you remove the seeds as they are bitter and  can ruin the taste of the “polpette”.
  • 3. Place the pulp in a strainer, which is set on a bowl. Cover with a plate that has a slightly smaller diameter than the strainer. Place a weight on the plate to create pressure on the aubergines and allow for the removal of excess liquid. Leave all of this in position for about 15 minutes.
  • 4. Take the aubergines out of the strainer, chop them well with a knife, and put them into a large bowl. Add the egg, the grated cheese, parsley and mint, breadcrumbs to the veggies. Adjust with a pinch salt and pepper (optional).
  • 5. Pour a slug of olive oil on the bottom of a baking tray that you covered with a baking paper earlier. Pick some of the mix with wet hands and mould a little ball which you will roll in the breadcrumbs.
  • 6. Bake all the balls for about 40 minutes, but ensure turning the meatballs after 20 minutes. They need to get a golden and crusty surface. Serve them warm. Enjoy!


  • - Due to the nature of the aubergine, the final mix can feel too soft to be moulded. In that case, add some extra breadcrumbs to the mix.
  • - Be very careful when you turn the “polpette” in the oven because they can still be very soft and  break easily.
  • - These polpette are also very tasty when you add minced meat, such as beef.

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Chicken chunks and avocado salad

chickpartysalad 5

Difficulty:Very easy  Time:Quick

INGREDIENTS (x 4 persons):

  • - 1 large head of Iceberg lettuce, in small chops
  • - 2 fillets of organic chicken breasts
  • - ½ red pepper, thinly sliced
  • - 10 cherry tomatoes cut in halves
  • - 1 handful of flat parsley
  • - 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds
  • - 1/2 freshly-squeezed large lemon juice
  • - 3-4 slices of Italian pancetta slices
  • - 1 small, mature avocado pulp, into small pieces
  • - 1 garlic clove (optional)
  • - extra-virgin olive oil
  • - salt
  • - freshly ground black pepper


  • 1. Preheat the barbecue, or griddle, to high temperature. Grill the chicken breast fillets until golden, then set these aside.
  • 2. Meanwhile combine the lettuce with the peppers, the avocado, the cherry tomatoes with the sunflower seeds and the parsley. After this add the chicken, chopped into small bits.
  • 3. In a separate non-sticky pan, cook the pancetta slices at high heat until crispy. Remove and place them on a kitchen paper foil to absorb the excess oil. Then cut them into small pieces.
  • 4. Dress the salad with salt and pepper, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil and finish by garnishing with the pancetta crumbles. Enjoy your party!


  • - This dish is a very fresh, quick one for the summers.
  • - You can use a fresh pepper or a grilled and peeled one, according to your taste and the time you have to prepare it.
  • - It is not always easy to find Italian pancetta, or otherwise Italian speck ham, everywhere. In Northern countries, such as UK, bacon is a very good alternative.

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Fresh fennel, wild rocket and pine nuts salad

insalata inci 2

Difficulty:Very easy  Time:Quick

INGREDIENTS (x 4 persons)

  • - 1 large fennel thinly sliced
  • - 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • - 1 orange
  • - 1 spring onion
  • - 3-4 fronds of dill
  • - extra-virgin olive oil
  • - 70 g wild rocket
  • - 1 handful of pine nuts
  • - salt


Start by slice thinly the fennel, the spring onion and the dill. Place them in a large salad bowl together with the wild rocket and the pine nuts. Peel the orange, dice it and add it to the rest of the veggies into the salad bowl. Keep the orange juice in a separate bowl where you will add the lemon juice, the olive oil and some salt. Beat with a fork and pour it on the salad before serving.

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Courgettes “Angelica”


Difficulty:Very easy  Time:Quick

INGREDIENTS (x 4 persons):

  • - 500g medium size courgettes
  • - 2 shallots, thinly chopped
  • - ½ glass white vinegar
  • - 2-3 teaspoons caster sugar
  • - 1 handful of aromatic herbs (mint, oregano, marjoram, thyme, basil), thinly chopped
  • - salt/pepper


Start by cutting the courgettes over the long side in very thin slices. Place them separately in a bowl.

zucchine angeliche prep

Then, in a frying pan, slug some olive oil and stew the shallots until slightly brown in colour. Add the courgettes a few at the time (not all together at once), and cook them at high heat until slightly soft. Then, add the sugar and the vinegar. As soon as the vinegar dried out, turn the heat off and adjust the taste with salt and pepper. Place the courgettes into a serving plate and add the aromatic herbs. Eat them cold or at room temperature.


  • - The quickest way to slice the courgettes is with a slicer or a potato peeler.
  • - This dish is a nice starter and can be served with crackers or crusty bread.
  • -  You can prepare the courgettes “Angelica” in advance, which saves you time…and stress!

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