Roasted Strawberry Barbecue Sauce

Roasted Strawberry Barbecue Sauce

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 Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen, written by my very talented friend Bobbi.  I was so thrilled to get Bobbi’s website!!  We are both in the Sunday Supper Movement and I love her recipes, so I couldn’t wait to get started!  While browsing through all her delicious dishes, I kept coming back to one that really intrigued me… so I simply had to make it:  Roasted Strawberry Barbecue Sauce!  How good does that sound?  And I can guarantee that it tastes as delicious as it looks.  It goes incredibly well with grilled meats and ribs and it is sweet and tangy, with a subtle strawberry flavour.
Thank you so much for this great recipe Bobbi!  Please, make sure you drop by Bobbi at Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen and check out her beautiful site! Continue reading

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Posted in American, Fruits, Sauces, The Secret Recipe Club | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Passion fruit Béarnaise Sauce

 Passion fruit Béarnaise Sauce

This month, the Daring Cooks got a little saucy! Jenni from the Gingered Whisk taught us the basics of how to make the five mother-sauces and encouraged us to get creative with them, creating a wide variety of delicious, fresh sauces in our very own kitchens.
I was really thrilled by this challenge!  I make some sauces very often (béchamel is one of them), but I had never tried to make Béarnaise before.  The thing is, I love to eat it and whenever it’s on the menu, I order it with my steak.  Besides, there was a particular recipe that I had been wanting to try for over a year!  So I am very happy that I finally got the chance to make it and share it with all of you!
I made a Passion fruit Béarnaise Sauce… it’s like a classic Béarnaise – flavoured with a concentrated reduction of white wine vinegar, white wine, eschalots, tarragon, chervil and peppercorns – but with the addition of fresh passion fruit at the end.  It is delicious: fruity and tangy, hearty and sophisticated, smooth and delicate all at the same time and with a touch of tropical on top of that!  I had eaten it in Moorea during out holiday in French Polynesia last year and I was so happy to be able to recreate it!  It goes amazingly well with steaks… give it a try for your next steak dinner and let me know what you think! Continue reading

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Posted in Daring Cooks, Eggs, French, Fruits, Sauces, Tahitian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Royal Tahiti

Royal Tahiti

A little over 1 year ago, my family and I were enjoying the sun and turquoise sea of French Polynesia.  The best sea in the world if you ask me!  We visited Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora and we left a piece of our hearts there.  Besides enjoying all water activities, we also ate very well and came back with a few recipes like Firi Firi, Pineapple and Passion fruit Jam and Mai Tai.  At the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa we also had some amazing drinks.  My favourite was the Royal Tahiti as it has all the flavors of the tropics: rum, coconut and banana!  This cocktail is rich, sweet and creamy and it is quite filling, as it is made with Coconut Ice cream… aren’t you happy that I also shared with you the recipe for a quick Coconut Ice cream?  Cheers my friends! Continue reading

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Casoncelli alla Bergamasca

Casoncelli alla Bergamasca

Today’s post is all about tradition.  I often say that talking about Italian cuisine is not very accurate… every region (and sometimes even city!) has its own cuisine, so it would be more correct to say Italian cuisines.  Every area of Italy has its own traditional stuffed pasta which can differ in shape, size and/or filling.  Tortellini for example, are the traditional stuffed pasta from Bologna, Tortelli are found in Mantova etc.  Today I will take you to the beautiful city of Bergamo, in Lombardy, just 30 minutes from Milan where I was born.  Bergamo is a very ancient city as it dates back to the Celtic times and is divided between the modern area (Citta’ Bassa) and the historic area (Citta’ Alta).  The latter area is full of beautiful monuments.  Today’s recipe is a typical dish from Bergamo: Casoncelli (or casonsèi as they are called in the local dialect).  I have already shared a recipe for Cabbage, Speck and Scamorza Casoncelli in my ebook, which you can find here: Manu’s Christmas Menus.  It is a kind of stuffed pasta with a very particular shape, filled with local/poor ingredients such as sausage, breadcrumbs, parsley, eggs and garlic.  In modern times, cheese and a few other more “noble” ingredients were added too, and the dish that I will share with you today is simply to die for.  Casoncelli alla Bergamasca (aka Bergamo style) are served with a butter and sage sauce and sautéed Italian Speck (or Pancetta).  Enjoy and don’t forget to check out my other Regional Italian recipes! Continue reading

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Posted in Italian, Mains, Meat, Pasta, Regional Italian Dishes, Special Occasions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Coconut Ice Cream

Coconut Ice Cream

My eldest daughter loves coconut flavoured treats.  She asks me to make coconut cakes, muffins, cupcakes, cookies… You name it.  And off course, coconut ice cream is one of her favourite flavours!  I am happy to oblige as I too like coconut.  It always makes me feel like I am on a tropical island, enjoying the turquoise sea and the warm sun on my skin… so, why not?  This recipe is very easy and quick to make and the result is unbelievably good: in no time you will have a smooth, soft and silky ice cream to eat on its own or use in other recipes (I have something in store for you, so make sure to keep an eye on this page!).  And all of this, using only 3 or 4 ingredients!!  What are you waiting for??  Enjoy! Continue reading

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Posted in Desserts, Ice Cream | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fried Manchego with Tomato and Orange Blossom Jam

Fried Manchego with Tomato and Orange Blossom Jam

In my early 20’s I visited Spain a few times. Oh Spain, an amazing country, one of my favourite places in the world.  I have been to the North (in the Basque country), the center (Madrid is such a beautiful city), the east (I left a piece of my heart in Barcelona and Catalunya) and the South too (Andalucia is a region not to be missed).  I have shared parts of these trips with a friend and we also did some volunteer work in a mountainous area of Catalunya called the Empordà (near Girona), on the Pyrenees.  We had a fantastic time as it was a big group of young people working and living together.  We had to do everything on our own, cooking included.  In the evenings, after a long day of work, we would sit down together to play the guitar and sing.  One of the songs we liked the most was called Desde mi Azotea (which means “from my rooftop/terrace”).  It is a flamenco love song that describes a spring time evening on a rooftop in Andalucia, where “el aire trae aromas de limón y de azahar” – the air brings the aromas of lemon and azahar, the orange blossoms.  Sicily is so similar to the south of Spain, full of citrus trees and Arab influences, so I can easily relate and I love orange blossoms.  Today’s recipe is a delicious tapa: fried Manchego cheese served with a Tomato and Azahar Jam… they go really well together and the jam itself is so so so good, that you will be eating it with or without Manchego!  Enjoy y buen provecho! Continue reading

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Posted in Appetisers, Finger food, Mediterranean, Snack, Spanish, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Minestrone

Minestrone

Having grown up in Milan, where winters are quite cold, I have had my fair share of soups.  In fact, my mum would often make soup for dinner.  My favourite has always been Pasta e Fagioli, but she has always made a fantastic Minestrone.  Contrary to what it may seem, Minestrone is actually a  pretty easy soup to make and it does not take much time at all!  I have been asked a few times by my readers to publish the recipe for Minestrone and I am happy to oblige!  The truth is, there is no real recipe for Minestrone (which, in case you did not know, means “big soup” in Italian), as its ingredients can vary from house to house… and from one week to the other.  We usually make do with what we have in the fridge and play around with seasonal vegetables to come up with all sorts of delicious combinations.  Anyhow, the recipe below is a good representation of authentic Italian Minestrone… feel free to use it as is, or add a few of your favourite vegetables.  I don’t use stock to make my Minestrone.  I try to keep it as healthy as possible, so I use water to help the flavour of the vegetables shine and I do not fry off the vegetables at the beginning of the preparation.  I don’t think it adds anything in terms of taste and when I eat Minestrone, I know it is totally good for me and it tastes delicious.  Also, make sure to add a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil at the end, as that is what makes this soup taste super delicious.  If you want, you can also top it with a sprinkle of cheese.  I like mine with Pecorino Romano, but many Italians prefer Parmigiano Reggiano in their Minestrone.  Also, I add rice to it as I do not like pasta with Minestrone and, even though you can make it with pasta too, I suggest you try it with rice: it is really good.  This is my nonno’s favourite dish… so I dedicate it to him.  Love you nonno!  Buon appetito! Continue reading

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Posted in Italian, Mains, Pasta, Rice, Soups, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vanilla and Yogurt Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce

Vanilla and Yogurt Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce

Don’t you just love a good cheesecake?  I certainly do!  I particularly like today’s recipe as it is a 2 layered cheesecake.  The bottom layer is a normal baked vanilla cheesecake, while the top layer also contains Greek Yogurt… this makes the cake a tad lighter to the palate and a bit fluffier on the whole.  This is also the first baked cheesecake recipe I have ever used and it’s never given me any trouble.  It is very easy to make and tastes delicious.  You can serve it with any fruit sauce you like.  Raspberries are a classic, but any other berries, cherries or passion fruit also work a treat with this cheesecake.  I think this is a classic recipe that everyone should have in their “cake repertoire”, especially if you like to bake!  It is the perfect tea time treat!  Enjoy! Continue reading

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Posted in American, Baking, Cakes, Cheese, Desserts, Sauces, Special Occasions, Tea Time | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment