Category Archives: Side Dishes

Traditional Recipe: Fried Sage Leaves

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This is another lovely traditional recipe from Genoa; an extremely easy and cheap dish to prepare, especially if you have a sage plant in the garden! Sage is usually a very tough plant, in this cooking process the leaves become very tender and the aroma of this wonderful aromatic herb gets very delicate and pleasant to taste. It is a wonderful starter, but also a great side dish.
You need the kind of sage with big leaves, not all varieties are suitable for this method of preparation.

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Fried Sage Leaves.

For 4 people

Ingredients

200 g (7.05 oz) large leaves of sage, washed and dried

100 g (3.5 oz) of plain flour

1 egg white (as a vegan option, make the batter without egg white)

100 ml (3.38 us fl oz) light beer

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

extra virgin olive oil (for frying)

salt

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Method.

1. In a bowl, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt to the flour. Then slowly pour in the beer, stirring the mixture with a whisk. Cover with a kitchen towel, then let the batter rest for about 30 minutes.

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2. Whip the egg whites until stiff, then stir them gently into the batter, just before frying.

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3. Heat the extra virgin olive oil, meanwhile, dip the sage into the batter. Fry a few leaves at a time, in plenty of oil.

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4. Drain the leaves and place them on a plate with plenty of paper towels, to absorb the excess oil. Season with salt and serve.

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Salvia fritta in pastella.

per 4 persone

Ingredienti

200 g di foglie grosse di salvia, lavate e asciugate

100 g di farina

1 albume (per una dieta vegana, si può fare la pastella senza uovo)

100 ml di birra chiara

1 cucchiaio di olio extra vergine d’oliva (per la pastella)

olio extra vergine d’oliva (per friggere)

sale

Preparazione.

1. In una terrina, unite 1 cucchiaio d’olio, un pizzico di sale alla farina. Versate poi a filo la birra, mescolando con una frusta l’impasto. Ricoprite con un canovaccio e lasciate riposare l’impasto per 30 minuti.

2. Montate l’albume a neve e incorporate delicatamente nella pastella, poco prima di friggere.

3. Fate scaldare l’olio e immergete la salvia nella pastella. Friggete alcune foglie per volta in olio abbondante.

4. Scolate le foglie e appoggiatele su un piatto con abbondante carta assorbente. Salate e servite.

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Delicious Summer Veggie Kebabs

Since the hot weather has finally arrived, it’s time to dust off the barbecue and eat plenty of fresh vegetables and delicious summer fruits! This time of the year we can be really creative with the dishes! Today we are going to prepare some fresh and light summer veggie kebabs and then, we are going to a party! It’s time to participate in Fiesta Friday, a lovely blog event hosted by my friend and talented blogger Angie, from the Novice Gardener, and co-hosted by other wonderful bloggers. This week, Fiesta Friday #21 is co-hosted by  Elaine@Foodbod and Julianna@Foodie On Board.

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This is a lovely light recipe, fresh and full of mediterranean flavours! It could be served as an aperitif, a side dish or a delicious light meal…You choose!

Enjoy!

Tip. You can remove the the bell pepper skin after grilling the vegetables, if you wish.

I left it because it’s quicker.

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Summer Veggie Kebabs.

Ingredients

4 servings

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

1 small aubergine

2 courgettes

green picked olives

1 small fresh goat’s cheese (150 g)

anchovies

cherries tomatoes

8 wooden skewers

For the dressing

6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

2 crushed clove of garlic

some dried or fresh origano

2 small fresh chillies, cut into slices

salt and bleck pepper to taste

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Method.

1. Wash the vegetables, cut them into thin slices and grill them on an electric grill or on a grill pan, previously greased with a little extra virgin olive oil.

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2. Roll the zucchini with the goat’s cheese in the center. Roll the yellow pepper with the anchovies and the red pepper with the olives in the center.

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3. In a small bowl, mix the extra virgin olive oil and some dried origano with crushed garlic and chillies, salt and pepper.

4. Pierce the stuffed vegetables with the wooden skewers and make 8 kebabs. Serve cold with some garlic-olive oil sauce on the side.

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Spiedini saporiti di verdure.

Ingredienti

Per 4 persone

1 peperone rosso

1 peperone giallo

1 melanzana

2 zucchine

olive verdi snocciolate

1 formaggio fresco di capra (150 g)

acciughe sott’olio

pomodorini ciliegia

8 stecchi di legno per gli spiedini

Per il condimento

6 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva

2 spicchi d’aglio (schiacciati e tagliati finemente)

un mazzetto di origano fresco o un cucchiaio di origano secco

2 peperoncini tagliati a fettine

sale e pepe q. b.

Preparazione.

1. Lavate e tagliate le verdure a fette. Fate grigliare tutte  le verdure su una bistecchiera (o una piastra elettrica), spennellata con abbondante olio extra vergine d’oliva.

2. Arrotolate gli zucchini con un pezzetto di formaggio di capra e le melanzane con mezzo pomodorino al centro. Arrotolate anche il peperone rosso con le olive e il peperone giallo con le acciughe.

3. A parte, mescolate 6 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva con l’origano, l’aglio schiacciato, il peperoncino a fettine, il sale e il pepe.

4. Infilzate le verdure con gli stecchi e create gli spiedini alternando i sapori. Servite gli spiedini freddi con l’olio aromatizzato.

Gorgonzola Salad With Rustic Bread.

This week we have been hit by a heat wave and the thermometer has risen dramatically! With this hot, sticky weather, I really feel like having a lot of raw fruits and veg, but I don’t want to compromise on creativity or flavours….So there isn’t anything like a tasty gorgonzola salad when it comes to freshness and flavour!

This salad is a light, complete meal, but also as a dish that stands somewhere between healthy and comfort food…You will love it! I kept it simple, but you can add toasted walnuts for extra flavour. Walnuts and gorgonzola work perfectly together! So many things can be prepared with these two wonderful ingredients.

But, of course, if you don’t like smelly cheeses, then this dish is definitely not for you! So, look away now!!! 🙂

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Gorgonzola Salad with Rustic Bread.

Ingredients

Preparation: 15 minutes

Easy

Serves 2

crispy lettuce leaves, washed and dried

2 hard-boiled eggs

2 stalks of celery, washed and cut into small cubes

2 large ripe tomatoes, washed and sliced

a few sliced of rustic bread

100 g (3.5 oz) gorgonzola cheese

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

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Method.

1. Bake the slices of bread in the oven (at 200 ° C , 392 °F), until very crispy.

2. Place the lettuce leaves, the sliced tomatoes, the celery and the gorgonzola on the plate (alternate all the ingredients).  Slice the eggs in half and place them in the center.

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3. Add the bread (cut into small pieces) and season with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

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Insalata al gorgonzola.

Preparazione: 15 minuti

Facile

Per 2 persone

alcune foglie di insalata croccante (lavate e asciugate)

2 uova sode

2 gambi di sedano (lavati e tagliati a cubetti)

2 pomodori maturi (lavati e tagliati a fette)

alcune fette di pane rustico

100 g di gorgonzola

5 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva

sale e pepe q. b.

Preparazione.

1. Fate dorare le fette di pane in forno (a 200°C).

2. Appoggiate le foglie di insalata, le fette di pomodoro,  il sedano e il gorgonzola sul piatto, alternando tutti gli ingredienti. Tagliate le uova a metà e sistematele al centro.

3. Aggiungete il pane croccante (tagliato a cubetti piccoli) e condite tutto con abbondante olio extra vergine d’oliva, sale e pepe.

Nota. Aggiungete delle noci tostate per arricchire ulteriormente l’insalata.

Crunchy and Colourful Salad (Low-fat And Packed With Vitamin C!!)

Spring is here and with it comes the time of serious dieting! From this week on I want to dedicate a little time to preparing light recipes and meals.
To start with, I prepared a beautiful and super-healthy salad with only a little amount of calories, but full of crunchy flavours!

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This salad can definitely be a very satisfying low-cal lunch, low in fat and carb, but rich in fibres, potassium, protein and vitamin C.
As a side dish, it goes well with several courses and you can serve it with feta cheese, if you prefer a richer kind of salad.
If I were to imagine this salad as a dress, it would be a feel-good garment made ​​of a strong natural fibre, with a very cheerful but elegant floral pattern. Suitable for mid-season, with a comfortable slimming line. Definitely a perfect fit!… I know, It’s just a salad! 🙂

Corn salad with red cabbage, fava beans and apples.

Ingredients

Preparation: 15 minutes

For 2 servings

60 g (2 oz) corn salad (or lamb’s lettuce)

a handful of almonds, shelled

50 g (1.76 oz) fresh fava beans (with the pods removed)

2 small apples, washed

130 g (4.58 oz) red cabbage

the juice of 1/2 a lemon

salt and pepper to taste

4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to taste

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Method.

1. Wash, and clean and dry the corn salad.

2. Wash, and slice the cabbage finely and arrange it on the plates.

3. Place the fava beans over the cabbage, then add the salad leaves.

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4. Cut and marinate the apples in the juice of half a lemon for a few minutes. Then, mix the apples and the almonds with the salad (breaking some almonds into pieces).

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5. Season with plenty of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

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Insalata croccante con cavolo rosso, fave e valerianella.

Ingredienti

Per 2 persone

Preparazione:15 minuti

60 g di valerianella

una manciata di mandorle sgusciate

50 g di fave fresche, senza scorza

2 mele, lavate

130 g di cavolo rosso

il succo di mezzo limone

sale e pepe q.b.

4 cucchiai di olio extravergine d’oliva q.b.

Preparazione.

1. Lavate e asciugate la valerianella.

2. Lavate il cavolo e tagliatelo finemente. Sistematelo sul fondo dei piatti.

3. Aggiungete le fave, posizionatele sopra il cavolo con la valerianella.

4. Aggiungete le mandorle (sbriciolandone solo alcune) con le mele tagliate a pezzetti e precedentemente marinate nel succo di mezzo limone per qualche minuto.

5. Condite con abbondante olio extra vergine d’oliva, sale e pepe.

Smoked aubergine puree with egg sauce and tomatoes.

This week I am posting a recipe elaborated and prepared by Anahita Tcheraghali, an Iranian friend. It’s a revisitation of the traditional Iranian dish “mirzà ghasemì”. The combination of egg sauce (a light hollandaise sauce) and smoked aubergines in this recipe is quite unusual and a little surprising. You might want to add a little more lemon, in my opinion the lemon helps to bring the flavours together. Overall, as I said, quite an uncommon but interesting dish, quick and easy to prepare.

Anahita prepared this dish in the most traditional way, directly on the flame, however as a healthier and safer cooking method,  you can use the oven instead.

Ingredients
Serves 4
2 medium size aubergines (eggplants)
300 g (10.58 oz) piccadilly tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
3 egg yolks
250 ml (8.45 fl oz) milk
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of butter
sesame seeds, a handful
a dash of lemon juice
a pinch of ground nutmeg
salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil to taste
1. Pierce the aubergines and put them to roast on a high heat, directly on the flame (or you can use the oven).
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2. Peel the aubergines, add the garlic and salt, then puree the vegetables using a fork.
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3. Separately, wash, clean and cut the tomatoes, removing the seeds.
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4. Toast the sesame seeds for about ten minutes in a frying pan.
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5. In a small thick saucepan, mix the egg yolks with milk, then stir for about ten minutes over a low heat (be careful not to boil the mixture)
6. Turn off the heat. Add the butter (cut into small pieces) with salt and some nutmeg.
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Preparation of the dish.
1. Shape a dome with the aubergine puree and make a hole in the centre.
2. Pour the egg sauce onto the puree and onto the plate.
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3. Sprinkle the tomatoes (cut into small pieces) and sesame seeds on top.
4. Season with salt, pepper, a dash of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.
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Purea di melanzane affumicate con crema all’uovo.

2 melanzane di media grandezza lunghe o tonde

300 g di pomodorini piccadilly o datterini

3 tuorli d’uovo

250 ml di latte

1 spicchio d’aglio

1 cucchiaio da tavola di burro

una manciata di semi di sesamo

un pizzico di noce montata

un po’ di succo di limone

olio extra vergine di oliva, sale e pepe q b

1. Forate le melanzane e mettetele ad abbrustolire su fiamma viva (oppure potete usare il forno).

2. Spellate le melanzane, aggiungete una testa d’aglio (a cui è stata tolta l’anima) ,un po’ di sale e riducetele in purea.

3. A parte, lavate, pulite e tagliate i pomodorini a dadini.

4.Tostate i semi di sesamo per una decina di minuti in una padella.

5. In un pentolino, mischiate i tuorli con il latte. Fate pastorizzare la crema a fuoco basso per una decina di minuti, senza portare a bollore.

6. Spegnete la fiamma. Aggiungere il burro a tocchetti con della noce moscata e un pizzico di sale.

Preparazione del piatto.

1. Formate una cupola con la purea di melanzane e create un buco al centro.

2. Versate la crema all’uovo prima sulla purea e poi sulla base del piatto.

3. Cospargete i pomodorini e i semi di sesamo sulla crema.

4. Condite con olio, sale, pepe e una spruzzatina di limone.

Pinzimonio (vegetable crudites) with yogurt and mustard sauce.

This week we are going to prepare a lovely platter of Italian-style vegetable crudites (Pinzimonio) with a nice creamy sauce. Light and healthy, this colorful platter consists of a mixture of crunchy vegetables, usually cut into sticks and served with a dressing on the side. For this recipe I prepared a slightly chilled dipping sauce, made with yogurt and mustard.

 Ingredients

4-6 servings

1 large tomato

3 medium carrots

1 yellow pepper

1 red pepper

1/2 fennel

1 bunch of red radicchio leaves

1 bunch of radishes

3 stalks of celery

 for the sauce

1 low-fat greek yogurt ( 170 g, 5.99 oz, unsweetened)

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons strong mustard

a pinch of honey

salt and paprika to taste

Method.

1. Wash and prepare all the vegetable, then cut them into sticks ( except the radicchio leaves and radishes). Put all the vegetable to soak in cold water for a few minutes and drain.

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2. Separately, prepare a sauce combining the yogurt with mustard and the honey.

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3. Add vinegar, olive oil, salt and paprika to the mixture.

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4. Put the sauce to cool in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

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5. Serve the vegetables on a large dish (or two) with the sauce in the centre.

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Pinzimonio di verdure con salsa di yogurt e senape.

1 pomodoro grande

3 carote medie

1 peperone giallo

1 peperone rosso

1/2 finocchio

1 mazzetto di radicchio rosso

1 mazzetto di ravanelli

3 coste di sedano

 per la salsa

1 yogurt greco magro (170 g, non zuccherato)

1 cucchiai di aceto di mele

1 cucchiaio di olio extravergine di oliva

2 cucchiai di senape

pochissimo miele

sale e paprica q b

Preparazione.

1. Lavate, mondate e tagliate le verdure a bastoncino, tranne il radicchio e i ravanelli. Immergete le verdure in acqua molto fredda per qualche minuto.

2. A parte, preparate una salsa unendo lo yogurt alla senape e al miele.

3. Aggiungete l’olio, l’aceto di mele, il sale e la paprica.

4. Mettete la salsa a raffreddare in frigorifero per 30 minuti. 

5. Servite le verdure in un piatto grande da portata (o due) , con la salsa al centro.

My Favourite Oven-Baked Falafels.

Oven-baked broad bean falafel (front view 1 with yellow cloth)

Falafel is delicious middle eastern food, usually prepared with dried chickpeas or dried broad beans (fava beans). Broad bean falafel is a traditional egyptian recipe. Being rich in vegetable protein, this food is an excellent alternative to meatballs in vegetarian diet. In this recipe, I changed a few steps in order to get a little lighter dish. Falafels can be served with a yogurt and cucumber sauce, or with fresh tomato salad.

Oven-cooked broad bean falafel (raw on a plate, front view) 

Oven-cooked broad bean falafels.

Ingredients

Serves 2-4  (16 falafel)

preparation: 20 minutes + 12 hours to soak the beans in water + 30 minutes (minimum) refrigeration

cooking time: 30 minutes

150 g (5.2 oz) dried broad beans

1 large onion

1 clove of garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon cumin seeds (ground)

1 teaspoon coriander seeds (ground)

1 tablespoon sesame seeds (ground)

1 tablespoon wholemeal flour (or plain flour)

1 teaspoon baking powder or baking soda

3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt (maybe a little less)

pepper to taste

Method.

1. Let the beans soak in a bowl overnight (12 hours, at least).. Lay a kitchen towel on a table and rub the broad beans to dry them up.

Step 1. Soak the beans, then dry them with a towel.

2. Put the beans in a food processor and chop finely with the onion, garlic and parsley. Add the seeds (already finely ground), flour , salt , pepper and baking powder. Mix well.

Step 2. Chop the beans with garlic, the onions and all the other ingredients.

Step 2. Chop the beans with garlic, the onions and all the other ingredients.

3. Place the mixture to cool for 30 minutes in the refrigerator (sometimes I leave it in the fridge for hours, I think my falafels taste even better afterwards). Form small balls with the mixture.

Step 3. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes, then shape small balls.

4. In a frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil, then fry the balls until they are golden on all sides. Place all the falafels in a greased baking tray and cook in the oven at 170 ° C (338° F) for about 20 minutes. Serve while still warm.

Step 4. fry the falafel until golden, then bake for 20 minutes.

Falafel di fave cotti al forno.

Ingredienti

2-4 persone (16 falafel)

Preparazione: 20 minuti + 12 ore per fare ammorbidire le fave in acqua + 30 minuti (minimo) per far riposare l’impasto nel frigo.

Cottura: 30 minuti

150 g di fave secche

1 cipolla grande

1 spicchio d’aglio

2 cucchiai di prezzemolo fresco tritato

1 cucchiaino di semi di cumino tritati

1 cucchiaino di semi di coriandolo tritati

1 cucchiaio di semi di sesamo tritati

1 cucchiaio di farina integrale (o farina normale)

3 cucchiai di olio extravergine d’oliva

1 cucchiaino di lievito in polvere o bicarbonato per uso alimentare

1  cucchiaino scarso di sale e pepe q. b.

Preparazione.

1. Lasciate le fave a bagno in una ciotola per tutta la notte. Stendete un panno sul tavolo e asciugate le fave strofinandole bene. 

2. Mettete i legumi in un tritatutto e tritateli molto finemente con la cipolla, l’aglio e il prezzemolo. Aggiungete i semi ( già finemente tritati), la farina, il sale , il pepe e il lievito in polvere (o bicarbonato). Mescolate bene tutto.

3. Lasciate riposare l’impasto per almeno 30 minuti nel frigorifero ( lasciandolo riposare più a lungo, ho dei risultati anche migliori). Con l’impasto ottenuto, formate tante polpette di piccole dimensioni.

4. In una padella scaldate 3 cucchiai di olio extravergine d’oliva, poi fate soffriggere le polpette facendole dorare su tutti i lati. Quando le polpette saranno completamente dorate, mettetele in una teglia leggermente unta e fatele cuocere a 170° per 20 minuti. Servite i falafel quando sono ancora caldi.