Posts Tagged ‘italian’

Today’s Lunch

April 5, 2009

It was cold & gloomy today, and at lunchtime I felt like having something a bit fancy-shmancy as well as quick & easy. I have been harvesting some decent-sized tomatoes lately, so I really wanted to showcase them somehow. Bruschetta was the perfect solution.

I used a lovely sourdough from work for my bruschetta, but use any thick cut crusty loaf.

I made mine with tuna, diced tomatoes, grated cheese & oregano, but use anything: avocado, mushrooms, capers, olives, smoked salmon… The possibilities are endless. Grill or bake until bread is crispy & your ingredients are heated through. Dig in & enjoy!

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Hazelnut Tea Biscuits

October 25, 2008

Staying at home studying all day is driving me crazy…. So I decided to make a little treat for myself. These traditional Italian bisciuts (traditionally called Nocciolini – from the Italian word Nocciole, meaning Hazlenuts) are perfect with tea or coffee, and since I find myself consuming more of each every day, I couldn’t think of anything more perfect to make.

Recipe taken from Capalbo, Whiteman, Wright & Boggiano’s Italian Cooking Encyclopedia (Lifetime Distributers, NSW, Aust.)

Makes about 25 biscuits.

You will need:

115g Softened butter

3/4 Cup icing sugar

1  Cup Plain flour

3/4 Cup ground hazelnuts (usually sold as Hazel Meal)

1 egg yolk

Blanched whole hazelnuts to decorate*

Icing sugar to finish

* If, like me, you cannot find blanched hazelnuts, you can blanch your own beforehand. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and spread out hazelnuts on a baking tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the skin starts to flake off. Remove from oven and poor into a handtowel. Wrap up & leave for another 10 minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle start rubbing the skins off the nuts with the towel, most of the skin should come off easily. Of course you can skip this step altogether, I just think that nude hazelnuts look better!

To make the biscuits:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line 2 or 3 baking trays with baking paper.

Cream butter & sugar together until light & fluffy. Add egg yolk, flour & ground hazelnuts, and beat until evenly mixed. Your batter will be quite stiff & dry looking.

Take teaspoonfuls of batter and roll them between the palms of your hands to make little balls. The biscuits only flatten slightly when baked so you can put them fairly close together. Press a hazelnut into the center of each one. Bake for 10-15 mintes or until golden brown. The original recipe says to bake one tray at a time, but I’ve never had any problem putting them all in at once.

Let the biscuits cool & dust with icing sugar. Serve with coffee or tea while on a study break 🙂

Lauren’s Lazy Lasagna

October 21, 2008

After a day of wind rain & hail (yes, hail!) I could think of nothing better then a big plate of spaghetti bolognese for dinner tonight. But. lasagna would be really yummy too wouldn’t it?? But I just couldn’t be bothered with all the layers etc… So I settled for something in between a lasagna & a bolognese. I call it my lazy lasagna!!

Bolognese Sauce:

You can make up the bolognese sauce in advance and freeze it. The amount of sauce in this recipe is too much, but you can always freeze it for another day (in fact the more you make the better, it’s like a staple food around my house. Freeze it in portions that are easy to use).

You will need:

2 kgs beef mince

2 brown onions, finely chopped

2 cans crushed tomatoes (or for those who are clever enough to bottle their own tomato purree, 2 jars!)

1/2 cup tomato paste

1 cup fruit chutney (absolutely necessary – gives a wonderful sweetness to the sauce & a gorgeous deep red colour as well)

Fresh seasonal vegetables, finely chopped (totally your choice – I have been known to use carrots, celery, mushrooms & capsicum at different times in my sauces)

3 cloves garlic, crushed

Fresh or dried herbs to taste (today I used basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley & oregano)

4-5 Bay leaves

Splash of red wine if desired

Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat up a good amount of olive oil. Fry mince meat until cooked through, making sure to break up any chunks of mince. Boil off meat juices, and then add onion & cook until soft. Add rest of ingredients except for the garlic, and simmer on low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic in the last ten minutes, and take a taste test, add anything else you think the sauce needs.

Let cool in the pot for a few minutes, before tranferring it to your containers for fridge and/or freezer.

Putting together your lazy lasagna:

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Put a large pot of water on to boil; you will need to select a pasta type with large holes or spaces with which to catch the sauce with., such as Conchiglie (large shells), Fusilli (large spirals) or Rigatoni which is what I used tonight. While pasta is cooking, you will need to make a batch of white sauce, which I’ve already detailed here.

Drain pasta once it’s al dente, and return it to the now-empty pot, and stir in a good amount of your bolognese sauce to coat all the pasta (the sauce will need to be warmish to do this; if you try to do it with sauce straight out of the fridge you’ll rip your pasta apart trying to stir the sauce through). Pour pasta mix into a baking dish, leaving some space for the white sauce. Spread pasta out evenly & then gently pour the white sauce onto the pasta so it forms an even layer over the pasta mix. Top with grated cheese if desired, and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.

Serve & warm yourself on a cold Wintery night!