I’ve been trialling recipes for O’s big party day this weekend and Fried Zucchini is on the menu. I was inspired by my fellow Calabrese friends that post a lot of delicious photos of traditional fried dishes in our group. This recipe is pretty easy and very quick to prepare. I hope my friends and family liked it as much as my little family did.
Fried Zucchini (vegetarian, nut free, soy free)
3 medium zucchini, sliced in thin rounds
1/2 cup or more flour
2 large eggs
1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 large pinches of sea salt, more to serve
Olive oil for frying
First organise your three bowls of flour, beaten eggs and a combined mixture of bread crumbs, grated cheese and sea salt.
Dust the zucchini with flour, this will help them accept the batter. Dip them into the egg and lastly coat with bread crumb mixture. Set aside on a plate or baking tray, until all the zucchini are battered.
Now heat the olive oil in a fry pan, it should be about 1.5-2 cm high. To test if the oil is hot enough put a little breadcrumb in and see if it sizzles. Now you can start putting your battered zucchini rounds into the pan. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan and cook each for about a minute on each side or until golden brown. Place the zucchini on paper towel on a plate or tray to drain the oil.
Once all the zucchini has been fried, place on a serving tray with a pinch of good sea salt to serve.
Carbonara is a dish that I grew up on and nobody makes it like my mum. Sadly I had to give it up several years ago when I stopped eating dairy. Although I now do eat a bit of dairy here and there, I still avoid creamy based pastas sauces. I have read that traditional Roman Carbonara is made with just eggs, pancetta and Pecorino Romano and no cream. Although I think nearly every dish of Carbonara Marco ordered when we travelled around Italy was cream based. In the past, I had tried to make Carbonara without cream (or creamy substitute), but it just wasn’t very good. The egg would scramble, it wasn’t creamy enough and the taste just wasn’t there.
However, I came across this video of Molly from Bon Appétit making a more traditional Carbonara with Mushroom. It looked so creamy and delicious and the perfect way to celebrate Octavia and my love of mushrooms. You can find the recipe here, but I recommend also watching the video below. Molly does a great job of showing how easy it is to make and gives some great tips along the way. It made me realise some of the little mistakes that I had been making, which made my own Carbonara so terrible.
So I tried my hand at Molly’s Mushroom Cabonara and it was so good. I did switch a few of the ingredients for things I already had. I used white and shiitake mushrooms, farfalle pasta, Pecorino Romano, scallions instead of shallots, and basil instead of parsley. These changes didn’t matter so much because the key ingredients are what brought it all together. These include plenty of egg yolks, perfectly seasoned pasta water, hard Italian cheese and flavourful mushrooms. It was also little things like adding pasta water to the eggs before adding to the pan and pushing the mushrooms to caramelise that really made the difference.
The result was a light creamy sauce that perfectly coated the pasta, which was right on point in terms of flavour and seasoning. I honestly didn’t expect it to taste this good and no extra salt was needed to bring out the flavours. My little family also really enjoyed it, which was a bit surprising. O isn’t a fan of pepper and Marco doesn’t love mushrooms, but they both gobbled up the two serves.
Have you tried making traditional Carbonara? What do you think of this recipe?
It’s been a while since I have posted any recipes. I haven’t been as passionate about cooking recently, while I’ve been juggle uni, a testy toddler and constant onslaught of the flu. Cooking has been more a chore of late, but I’m hoping that now I’m on holidays I can experiment with some new recipes. I’m really excited to make some homemade pasta after watching the new docuseries, Salt Fat Acid Heat. If you have Netflix you must check it out and have your passion for food renewed.
So this recipe is just a quick lunch I prepared for myself and my partner, while our daughter was having some Nonna time. I was inspired by Spinach and Potatoes Baked with Eggs from Scandinavian Comfort Food. Since I was missing some of the key ingredients, I italianized it with what I had on hand. I also got to try out my new Lodge caste iron skillet, which I bought as an non-toxic alternative. It was a great to cook with and easy to clean.. Well easy for Marco to clean, since I’m the cook.
This dish can serve two hungry people or three, if you add another egg. I served it with a fresh green salad coated with my new favourite ingredient, Cobrum Estate Lemon Infused EVO. I also used this oil in the hash to infuse it with a fresh lemon flavour. If you watch the first episode of Salt, Fat Acid Heat, you will get why I’m a bit obsessed with EVO right now.
Just when I thought I picked up all the kindy bugs, I just got another one this week. I was feeling pretty terrible today and was thinking of ubering some Japanese ramen. But I was so hungry I didn’t want to wait 40 minutes for delivery. I really wanted soup but I have ran out of stock. So while I was scouring the pantry, I found some Instant miso soup that I had bought in Singapore. So my lunch crisis was solved.
This noddle bowl for one was inspired by Vegan Ramen bowl from Chloe Flavor: Saucy, Crispy, Spicy, Vegan. The soup base is a lot different and quicker to prepare. I did cook my tofu and vegetables in hoisin sauce and add it to the soup last, similar to Chloe’s recipe. This dish only took me 15 minutes to prepare and gave my insides a warm hug.
Orecchiette is one of my favourite pasta since I was a child. It actually means ‘small ears’ and originated from the Italian region of Puglia (the heel of the boot). It is traditionally paired with rapini (Orecchiette alle cime di rapa) or a tomato based sauce with horse meat (Orecchiette con ragu’ di cavallo). However, since these ingredients are rarer and/or not appetising, I often see it paired with sausage, broccoli and chilli.
This is a veganised version of a recipe by Jenn Segal of Once Upon a Chef, which was adapted from Lidia Bastianich’s recipe found in Lidia’s Italian Table. I used Tofurky Sauage in place of Italian sausage as well as a salted organic vegan butter and vegetable stock. Jenn also uses Pecorino Romano, which is my favourite Italian cheese, but I held back, as I’m trying to go completely dairy free right now. There is plenty of flavour in this dish, so you really don’t need cheese or even a vegan cheese substitute. Of course, I tested this recipe on my meat and dairy loving partner, who approved of the flavours and didn’t add any sneaky cheese when I wasn’t looking. This recipe is quick and easy and of course delicious as well.
We aren’t huge fans of coriander in my household. It’s not a herb we cook with a lot or use as a garnish. One way that I do like to use it is when I make Coriander Cashew Pesto, to serve with potatoes (eg. Roasted Potato Salad with Coriander Pesto Aioli). Something magical happens when you blend it with cashews and the taste transforms into something really different delicious. Another way I love to have it is with noodles and sauteed vegetables.
This is a delicious 15-minute meal that you can make when you hangry and need to get some healthy greens in your body asap. I whipped this up last night after my toddler was put to bed and I finally had some peace to make something without complaints. After it was made and eaten I figured the rest of the family would probably have enjoyed this too. I just won’t mention its coriander next time…
You can make this dish gluten-free, by changing the noodles. I really like the crunch of green beans and bok choy, but you can use any quick cooking greens. If you don’t have cooked or can chickpeas, swap for tofu or some whole cashews. The Coriander Pesto can be made ahead of time. I also used this batch for in a chicken schnitzel and salad sandwich, on top of brown rice crackers and dollop on homemade veggie pizza.
For Octavia’s 3rd birthday this year, I made some special cupcakes for her big party, with her favourite fruit of the moment, blueberries. These mini cupcakes are a great size for little people and dessert tables with a few options.
This recipe is similar to the cupcakes I made last year for her Trolls 2nd Birthday. This year I changed the fruit, shrunk them down, used less sugar in my frosting and organic butter inside of Nutlex. I found that the butter did better in the heat since Nutlex seems to melt and separate. If you have a better dairy-free butter alternative in your country then feel free to make them vegan. If you can’t get a good quality vegan butter then an organic grass-fed butter is the healthier option if you really want to include the frosting.
This recipe was not meant to be the star of lunch today. It was just meant to accompany the Roasted Carrot Hummus from my new amazing cookbook, Chloe Flavor: Saucy, Crispy, Spicy, Vegan, however, it was just so delicious I had to share it.
I hope you’re having a great Easter weekend. We are spending the weekend at home, cleaning, toilet training and cooking. On Good Friday I decided to was a great opportunity to make fresh pasta, while I had a couple of grandparents home to watch my tot. I love making pasta, but its something I don’t do often. However, recently I was catching up on Gastropod episodes (my favourite podcast channel) and I listened to Remembrance of Things Pasta: A Saucy Tale. This really got me yearning to make homemade pasta.
So I finally got out the handwritten Italian recipes that I learned while studying in Milan. As part of our Food and Culture course at the university, we had about five cooking lessons that taught us how to make regional dishes. We actually had to write the recipes in Italian, while we watched and help the chef making the dishes. So with a little help from my Italian dictionary, I refreshed my memory on some of those delicious and more unusual dishes we made.
One of the dishes I prepared was Culurgiones Campidanese. This regional Sardinia filled pasta, typically containing potatoes, pecorino cheese, casu ‘e fitta (Sardinian cheese), mint and pepper, but it varies from town to town. It is served with a tomato sauce or butter and sage and can also be grilled or fried. The town of Ulassai (Ogliastra, Sardinia), until the 1960s, only prepared this filled pasta on the day of the dead (sa di e ir mortos). Other towns throughout Oglisstra and Barbagia regions also served this dish for special occasions, such as giving thanks at the end of a wheat harvest and to honour their ancestors. The culurgiones is a symbol of esteem, respect and friendship.
The recipe that we made at the university didn’t contain cheese, possibly because some of us were dairy free. Since I’m a big lover of Pecorino cheese (a hard sheep cheese), next time I would add it for a bit more flavour. The culurgiones were filled with potato, mint saffron and black pepper. So I have shared my translated and hopefully accurate account of this recipe for you today.
For the shape of this pasta, I consulted this Youtube video. I’m not sure I nailed the shape but I haven’t had as much practice as these ladies.
Today I bring you another 15min meal, which is easy to put together. I used one of my favourite ingredients that I recently discovered, pecorino cheese rind. I remember reading a while ago to keep Parmesan rind for sauce and soup. It’s meant to give great depth of umami flavour.
I try to stick to sheep and goats cheeses since I have an intolerance to cows milk and cheese. So my cheese of choice is always pecorino, which is a hard Roman sheeps cheese. I buy the imported cheese from Costco, rather than then Australian blends that usually have cows milk in them. I have been saving my pecorino rinds for a while and adding cubes of them to red pasta sauces. I recently found they are delicious to add to fresh tomato or olive oil to coat the pasta. They melt a little and have a chewy texture and nice cheesy taste.
For this dish, I also used Chickpea fusilli pasta, which has extra protein and fibre, then regular pasta and gluten-free. Semolina fusilli pasta would also work fine, which is my usual go-to. I had organic cherry tomatoes, which were so full of flavour. Cherry tomatoes are usually sweeter and delicious then regular tomatoes, but you could always use diced tomatoes instead. For the vegetables I just used some zucchini and silverbeet, which complement the pasta. You could use your favourite veggie combination to add to this dish or no veggies at all if you prefer.
Chickpea pasta with Cherry tomatoes and Pecorino rind
What do you do when you’re so hot and hangry and there seems likes there’s nothing to eat for lunch. Well, nothing except some leftover couscous and a few veggies in the fridge. Salad would be my usual go-to, but my little girl doesn’t eat salad. I thought about a warm salad with beans and veggies, but I had no canned beans. So this lunch was created in 15 minutes using whatever I could find on hand.
I spiced the veggies with Turmeric Latte spice blend, which has been neglected lately in back of the cupboard. The Coconut Yoghurt Tzatziki was also a nice refreshing side that helped cool the meal down. Octavia won’t swallow cucumber, so she got yoghurt and with a dash of honey on the side, so everybody wins.
What is your go-to dish that you can whip up in a jiffy in times of hangriness?
Do you hate coriander (cilantro) or just not that fond of it? I am not crazy about it myself and my partner really hates it. However, there is one way that we love it. When blended into a creamy pesto sauce, the taste transforms into something else.
We love coriander pesto drizzled over roasted potatoes. I usually serve it over roasted kipfler potatoes or roasted sweet potato mash (flesh removed from whole sweet potato).