Mushroom Sofficini

Mushroom Sofficini

If you follow this blog, you will be already familiar with sofficini, as I have published a Ham and Cheese Sofficini recipe a while ago.  For all the others who still do not know them, sofficini are delicious pockets of crunchy (yet soft) dough filled with all sorts of scrumptious cheesey goodies.  These are usually sold frozen by a well known brand in Italy and they are some of the most loved food by Italian children.  I have eaten all sorts of sofficini while growing up, and really miss them here in Australia.  So, I have resorted to making them at home.  And they taste even better than the store bought version!  One of my favourite sofficini fillings has always been mushrooms.  I love how well the mushrooms go with cheese and béchamel!  The result is so creamy and gooey and they taste so good.  I always make extra and freeze them, so I have them ready whenever I need a quick lunch or dinner.  This is some of my favourite comfort food!  Enjoy and buon appetito! Continue reading

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Posted in Appetisers, Baking, Italian, Mains, Snack, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Guinness Braised Lamb Shanks

Guinness Braised Lamb Shanks

It’s been quite cold lately here in Sydney and we have had our share of rainy days too.  It truly feels like winter.  I am not complaining, it usually doesn’t last long and I know I will miss this weather once the heat and bush fires start again.  I am trying to make the most of it… and that includes indulging on wintery comfort food, like these Guinness braised Lamb Shanks.  Lamb shanks are delicious when cooked properly… they need to be slow cooked for a long time so that the meat becomes tender and it falls off the bone… then it literally melts in your mouth.  I love beer based stews… if you are not a fan of Guinness, you can also use any other beer you like to make this stew… or add a little brown sugar to the sauce to slightly counteract the bitterness of the Guinness.  But I quite liked it.  This stew HAS to be served with mash potatoes to soak up all that delicious gravy!  Enjoy and stay warm! Continue reading

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Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

It is time again for the “Secret recipe club” reveal!  I am sure you all know what the club is about, but for the few of you who still don’t know about it, here goes a brief explanation.  It is a great concept… each month you are assigned a participating food blogger to make a recipe from and in turn someone else will be assigned your blog.  All you have to do is choose a recipe, make it and blog about it on the specified date.  The only rule is to keep it a secret!  If you are interested in learning more, or want to join the club, please visit the Secret recipe club website.
This month I was assigned Cook with Sara, written by the very talented Sara.  Sara describes herself as a “midwestern girl who loves to cook AND eat” – I can relate to that… well, the second part of it at least! :-)
I made her Strawberry Frozen Yogurt because I had been wanting to make frozen yogurt for forever and I had strawberries in my fridge.  So, what better excuse to make it?  It is a very easy recipe and it is absolutely delicious.  The flavour of the strawberries is so intense that it feels like you are eating frozen strawberries.  I loved it and I will definitely make it again this summer.  It is a great treat for the kids (sans the alcohol) and it’s so much healthier than regular ice cream!
Thank you so much for this great recipe Sara!  Please, make sure you drop by Sara at Cook with Sara and check out her beautiful site! Continue reading

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Posted in Desserts, Fruits, Ice Cream, Snack, The Secret Recipe Club | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Glacier Fusion Daiquiri

Glacier Fusion Daiquiri

I must admit that I love all rum based drinks the most and Daiquiris are among my favourites.  They are easy to make (and to play around with) and I really like the fruity varieties (I do have a thing for sweet drinks).  For my daughter’s Frozen birthday party, I wanted to prepare something for the adults as well… and what better than a blue cocktail?  I played around with what I had in the house and came up with a delicious apple based Daiquiri with a hint of Blue Curaçao that makes this drink a beautiful turquoise, just like the ice on a glacier.  I served this in little shot glasses at the party, but you can have it in normal glasses too.  So, I present to you my Glacier Fusion Daiquiri!  Cheers! Continue reading

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Gnocchi alla Romana

Gnocchi alla Romana

This month, the Daring Cooks challenged us to think inside the box – the icebox, that is! Audax taught us some really cool tips and tricks for stocking our freezers with prepare-ahead meals that can keep our taste buds satisfied even during the busiest of times.
It is back to school time for many families in the Northern hemisphere and for many others that time will come soon.  As for us down here, we are still in the thick of it with Term 3 well on its way.  So, recipes for made-ahead meals are always welcome.  I often stock up on goodies whenever I have some extra time in the kitchen.  Weekends and school holidays are the time during which I do some extra cooking.  Whenever I make something for lunch/dinner that requires a little more time and effort, I make a little more and freeze it for later.  I freeze so many things: gnocchi (both potato and ricotta ones), lasagne (both assembled or just the pasta sheets), ravioli, tortellini, gyoza or momos, sofficini, fish couscous, soups, involtini… you name it.  That’s how we get to have a good dinner every day, even during busy school days.  Today, I will share with you the recipe for another one of our favourite freezer friendly meals: Gnocchi alla Romana.  These are not your everyday gnocchi.  They are made with semolina and milk, cut in rounds and then baked with Parmigiano Reggiano and butter until golden brown.  They are some of the best comfort food Italy has to offer.  It is a traditional recipe from Rome, as the name suggests and they are apparently the first kind of gnocchi ever made, as they date back (in a very similar form) to the Roman Empire!  They are really easy to make and they freeze beautifully, so I always make extra.  Enjoy and don’t forget to check out all my Regional Italian recipes! Continue reading

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Posted in Baking, Daring Cooks, Italian, Mains, Regional Italian Dishes, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Smorrebrod

Smorrebrod

You may not know this, but I have always had a fascination for Scandinavia.  I have visited Denmark a few times and I have been to Finland and Norway too.  Growing up, I have had my share of Scandinavian food and I must say it is delicious.  One of my favourite dishes is definitely Smørrebrød http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sm%C3%B8rrebr%C3%B8d (also known as Smørbrød in Norway and Smörgås in Sweden).  So what it is?  It is an open sandwich made with sour dough rye bread (called rugbrød).  The slice of bread is then buttered (no wonder Smørrebrød literally means butter and bread!) and topped with all sorts of delicious local produce from cheese, to vegetables, to meat, or fish!  There are so many varieties, that you could eat it everyday and never get bored!  As the movie Frozen is set in the Norwegian fjords, I thought of making these for Victoria’s birthday party http://www.manusmenu.com/victorias-7th-birthday.  I made 3 kinds of Smørrebrød: Roast beef with Remoulade and Crispy Onions, Gravlax and Sweet Dill Mustard Sauce, and Potatoes and Mayo.  They were all a hit and we did not have any leftovers!  Enjoy! Continue reading

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Posted in Appetisers, Birthday, Bread, Finger food, Fish, Mains, Sandwiches, Sauces, Scandinavian, Snack, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Elsa’s Plait

Elsa's Plait

I love savoury dishes much more than sweets, so I always make sure to have a few savoury options at parties as I know kids will need something more than sugary treats.  I made this bread plait for Victoria’s Frozen party, to simulate Elsa’s long plait.  It’s a soft bread filled with ham and mozzarella.  For the bread, I used a traditional Sicilian recipe that is often used to make savoury dishes like this.  I love it as it is easy to make and very forgiving and it tastes delicious as it is just slightly sweet.  I find that it goes very well with any filling (check out my Ravazzate recipe for a Bolognese-like filling) and ham and cheese is a classic of Italian cuisine.  It turned out delicious!  Try it and let me know!  Enjoy! Continue reading

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Cucumber Sandwiches

Cucumber Sandwiches

The first time I had Cucumber Sandwiches, they were served as part of a high tea I attended with friends.  To me, the idea of having savoury treats along with tea sounded quite weird.  You see, Italians only have sweets with tea (mainly cookies or pastries), so the thought of eating a cucumber sandwich (of all things!) along with a cup of tea had never crossed my mind.  But as you know, I am happy to try anything (well, almost!) and I was blown away.  The freshness and slight crunch of the cucumber, the softness of the bread and the creaminess of the butter are a delight to the palate and they do indeed go really well with tea!  I made these for my daughter’s Frozen birthday party.  If you have seen the movie, you will know why… but for the rest of you… there’s a duet in the movie that goes like this: “[Hans:] I mean it’s crazy… [Anna:] What? [Hans:] We finish each other’s- [Anna:] Sandwiches! [Hans:] That’s what I was gonna say!” The whole song is hilarious and my girls love it.  So sandwiches could not be skipped.  I filled some with tuna, ceam cheese and olives and others with ham and cheese and then I made these cucumber sandwiches.  They are refreshing, simple and delicious!  Enjoy! Continue reading

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