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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Posted in Birthday, Drinks, Special Occasions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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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Posted in Baking, Bread, Italian, Snack, Tea Time | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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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Posted in Birthday, Bread, British, Finger food, Sandwiches, Snack, Tea Time, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Rock Candy Lollipops

Rock Candy Lollipops

I made these lollipops for Victoria’s Frozen party.  I wanted to make some candy that resembled ice and these seemed like a cute idea.  I actually loved the way they turned out.  They really looked like ice and they were rough and sparkly.  Just beautiful.  Rock Candy is very easy to make, but it requires time as the sugar has to naturally crystallize.  So allow yourself about a week, as I found that some of them were ready after 3 or 4 days, but others required a little extra time.  This is also a nice project to do together with your kids as it shows them how sugar crystallizes and it also involves them in the process.  Have fun! Continue reading

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Posted in Candy, Desserts, Snack | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Snow Cupcakes

Snow Cupcakes

I made these Snow Cupcakes for my daughter’s Frozen birthday party.  She loves cupcakes, so they are always on her party menus… This time, I wanted to make them a little different.  You see, I love making cupcakes because I think they look really beautiful and you can play around with so many flavour and colour combinations so you never get bored!  I must admit though that I am not a huge buttercream fan.  It’s ok, but I find it a bit heavy, so I can never eat more than one mini cupcake.  Besides, a simple vanilla buttercream would not look as white as snow.  So, how to fix this?  I gave these cupcakes an “Italian twist”.  We often use sweetened whipped cream to decorate our cakes… and it worked beautifully.  It was so white, light and fluffy that it really looked like snow on brown soil.  I then made some snowflakes decorations with Royal Icing to add to the top and they looked really cute!  So, what’s your favourite cupcake topping? Continue reading

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Posted in Baking, Birthday, Cakes, Desserts, Finger food, Snack, Special Occasions, Tea Time | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Troll Cookies

Troll Cookies

Today’s post is about turning a failure into a success story. I had seen some beautiful cookies on Pinterest that looked just like snowballs.  They were covered in icing sugar, which gave the illusion of fresh snow.  So, I had no doubt that I wanted to make them for my daughter’s Frozen party and they ended up on the menu.  The day I baked them, I followed the instructions to the t (or so I think!), but when I baked them, they did not retain their round shape.  They didn’t go completely flat, but surely they did not look like snowballs.  I also put a batch in the freezer for a bit in the hope that it would help them retain their shape… but it did not work.  I was so disappointed.  And I had to think fast.  I had about 30 cookies (that tasted delicious) and I was not going to scratch them off the menu!  And then it hit me.  They looked more like rocks!  So, I transformed them into rocks/trolls.  If you have seen Frozen, you will know that Kristoff’s adoptive family is made up of trolls, that look like… rocks.  There you go… saved!  So, instead of rolling the cookies in just icing sugar, I mixed in some cocoa powder to make them greyish/brownish and then I topped them with a sprinkle of green granulated sugar, which is supposed to be the moss.  Don’t they look cute??  Enjoy! Continue reading

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Posted in Baking, Birthday, Cookies, Desserts, Snack, Special Occasions, Tea Time | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment