Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Tuna and Sun Dried tomato Paste

1x180g Can Tuna in Olive Oil
1x200g Can Cannelini Beans drained
4 anchovy fillets
6 sundried tomatoes chopped
1 tbsp chopped pickled onions
1 tbsp chopped parsely
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 heaped tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp tomato paste
few dashes tobasco sauce

Olive Oil, pinch Paprika, lemon slice and mint to garnish.

Add all ingredients including oil from tuna can,  in a food processor and process for 1 minute till a semi smooth paste is formed. Scrape mixture to a clean serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with lemons mint and paprika.  Chill for at least 30minutes before serving and serve with crusty bread or biscuits.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Chorizo and Feta Cheese Stuffed Peppers with Crab Rice Crostini

Normally we stuff peppers with tuna and prawn mixture, however these long Mexican peppers come really nice stuffed with cheese and sausage. I use quinoa to absorb some of the excess moisture and I prefer it to bread crumbs because the pearls remain whole and give a nice texture.  Rice Crostini can be baked at the same time and can be a good alternative to bread or potatoes.

Stuffed Peppers
4 Green Peppers
100g Feta Cheese
100g Chorizo
1 Egg
1 tbsp Chopped Fresh herbs
1 tbsp Quinoa Pearls(or Bread Crumbs)
1 onion Finely Chopped
2 Cups  Garlic Tomato Sauce
1 tbsp olive oil

Crab Rice Crostini

240g Crab Meat
1 Cup Long Grain Rice
2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese
Fresh ground pepper
1 Small onion finely chopped
2 eggs
Butter to grease pan

Put rice and 2 cups water in a casserole cover with lid and bring to boil, reduce heat on lowest setting and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and leave covered to cool for another 15 minutes.  Add crab meat, onion and stir, then add eggs and cheese, ground black pepper and chopped herbs then stir so that all is well combined.  Grease pizza dish with butter, then spread rice mixture evenly and press gently with back of a spoon.  Bake in a 200c oven for 30 minutes.

Crumble feta cheese in a bowl, cut chorizo sausage into small cubes and add to cheese, add herbs, finely chopped onion, quinoa pearls and 1 egg and stir till all is well mixed.  Stuff peppers pressing filling gently inside with a spoon. Heat a griddle or electric sandwich toaster and grill peppers for just 5 minutes.  Put tomato sauce in an oven proof dish, then top with stuffed peppers drizzle one tablespoon olive oil and bake in 200c oven for 30-40 minutes till peppers are well cooked.  Serve with rice crostini.

Eliconi with Calamari a Terra

This is my idea of how to marry two of my favourite summer ingredients... calamari and aubergines!  Sauce is very easy to make but ensure that you turn heat off  after just 1 minute that you throw the squid or else it becomes though and rubbery. Like so squid stays soft even when reheated!

500g Eliconi (or any other short Pasta)
5 Medium Squid cleaned and sliced
3 cups tomato Passata (1 can )
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 medium Aubergine diced
1 clove garlic crushed
1 tbsp chopped fresh Marjoram
few sprigs of basil
100g panchetta
Salt & Pepper
Chilli flakes to garnish - optional

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan add panchetta onion and garlic at once, add diced aubergines and fry till golden.  Add tomato puree then simmer for 15-20mins till it reduce and thickens.  Add sugar, salt & pepper and chopped fresh hebs and stir.  Turn heat to high, add sliced squid and time just one minute.  Turn heat off, cover with lid and leave to rest for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile boil pasta in plenty salted water till al dente, drain and return to pan.  Add sauce to pasta toss and serve.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


This is a delicate way to cure fish.  All firm fleshed oily fish are suitable for this recipe, Salmon, Sea Bass, Sword Fish, Gurbell (as in this recipe), just make sure that the fish is ultra fresh and with no smell at all.  Normally after 24-36 hours it is ready to eat however you can keep it for 1 week.

2 kg Fish filleted, and all bones removed
4 tbsp Coarse Sea Salt
3 tbsp Demerara Sugar
1 tbsp Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
3 tbsp Vodka
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes

Prepare the curing mixture by mixing salt, sugar, pepper and chilli flakes in a bowl.
Cut 1 large piece of baking paper and place over aluminium foil of equal size.  Layer 1 fish fillet skin side down over baking paper.  Sprinkle over half the salt mixture then sprinkle over the chopped dill and then the remaining salt mixture. Pour the vodka all over then layer the other fillet over this time skin side up. Wrap carefully with baking paper then close securely with the foil.  Put wrapped fish on a plate then put another plate over and some weight ( a small brick wrapped in foil will do!) and leave in the refrigerator for about 24-36 hours (not more than a week, the longer the saltier it will become). Turn once or twice.
Remove from wrapping and carefully wipe away some of the dill and salt moisture.  Using a filleting knife, slice thinly and serve with lemon wedges and sliced chilli.


These are Tuscan Biscuits, normally served after meal dunked in fortified wine, the Vin Santo.  They are so easy to make and keep well for weeks in an airtight container.  Make sure that all the moisture is drawn out in the final stages of cooking and biscuits are crumbly and crunchy so that they will keep for longer.  You can exchange 50% of nuts with candied peel, raisins or even chocolate chips! This mixture makes about 60 biscuits.
4 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups castor sugar
50g Butter
1 tsp grated orange rind
1/4 tsp Vanilla Essence
4 Eggs
1 tbsp brandy
1 cup Shelled Raw Pistaccios
1/2 cup Pine Nuts
1 cup Red Almonds

Heat oven to 180c.
In a food mixer, add sifted flour, baking powder, sugar, orange rind and chopped butter.  Using a K beater, beat on low spead for just one minute then add eggs, brandy and vanilla essence then beat again till mixture forms thick paste.  Finally add nuts and mix till all is combined. (Do not overbeat).  Lift the mixture and divide in three equal portions.  Carefully mould each portion into long rolls the shape of small baguettes and place on a baking tray.  Wet your hands with a little water and pat over rolls to get a smoother finish.  Bake for 30 minutes till golden.  Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Lower the oven temperature to 160c.  While still warm cut slices 1 cm thick using a bread knife, place again on a baking tray and bake for another 30 minutes turning once after 15 minutes. Ensure that biscuits are compeletly dry before removing from oven. Cool on wire rack and store in an air tight container.  Serve with a chilled glass of Vin Santo.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Baked Bream with Yellow Tomato and Cuttlefish Salsa

4 Black Bream Fillets (or Sea Bass)
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
8 slices Parma Ham
2 Cuttle Fish cleaned
100g Yellow cherry tomatoes
1 Red Chilli pepper sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp demerara sugar
Juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp Vodka
Fresh ground black Pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsely

Fill a small pan with water and bring to boil,  blanch cuttlefish for just 1 minute then lift and when cooled slightly slice thinly and add to a clean bowl.
Make the dressing by adding sugar, salt, lemon, mustard and vodka in a small bowl, then add olive oil slowly stirring continuously to achieve a smooth thick dressing. 
Add dressing to sliced cuttlefish, then add sliced tomatoes, sliced chilli pepper, chopped parsely, and ground black pepper and toss gently.
Make rosettes from Parma ham Slices.  Smear the fish with chopped dill, place on a baking tray skin side down, place two rosettes on each fillet and bake in 200c oven for 10 minutes.

Bean and Ham Hock Soup with Cheese Croutons

I prepare this soup in the morning before leaving off to work.  Then I continue to cook the last 30minutes when I return.
300g Dried Lima Beans
1 Ham Bone
1 Potato
1 Onion
2 clove Garlic
1 Celery stick
1 Bay Leaf 
2 tbsp chopped Kalamatta olives
Ground Black Pepper
Chopped fresh Parsely

4 slices brown bread
2 tbsp grated gouda cheese

Wash Lima Beans under cold running water, place in a large soup pot with Ham bone, chopped onions, chopped celery, diced potato ,crushed garlic, bay leaf and 2 litres water.  Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes.  Turn heat off and leave covered for minimum 1 hour so that beans cook well and soak some liquid.  Remove the ham bone, scrape off any meat and return to pot. Turn heat on again and cook the soup for further 30 minutes.  Finally add chopped olives, crack some black pepper and add chopped parsely. Serve with cheese croutons.

Slice bread into thick sticks and place on a baking tray,  sprinkle grated cheese on top and bake in 160c oven for about 20 minutes till it becomes dry and crispy.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Konafah and Ricotta Pie

Konafah is a middle eastern pastry of fine wheat strings.  You can buy it from Halal Shops and other Arab food Stores.  Although that it might look complicated, it is very easy to work with as the fine strings attach together and are a bit elastic too.  Make sure to be generous with butter and always give the final syrup glaze.  This recipe is for 7inch pie tin.
150g Konafah Pastry
60g butter, melted
500g Ricotta
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
1/4 tsp grated Nutmeg
2 tbsp ground pistaccios
2 tbsp Golden Syrup

Heat oven to 200c. Put Ricotta cheese in a bowl and mash with a fork,  add salt, nutmeg and eggs and stir till all is combined. Brush generously the pie dish using half the melted butter. 
Layer half the pastry and press a little to even it out.   Add the ricotta filling then layer the remaining pastry on top, make sure that all ricotta is well covered.  Brush the pastry delicately with remaining butter then sprinkle with ground pistacchios and bake for 30minutes till golden.  Remove from oven and while hot drizzle the golden syrup on top.