Friday, 31 May 2013

White Fish & Roasted Pepper Puree, and Fashion Pet Peeves

When in Italy, one can only talk of food and fashion. Before I discuss the former in length, I must just get some of my frustrations out on the latter. My father has always told me, “Maria, we’re Italian, we always dress well.” Now, I’m not one to read Vogue, follow fashion blogs and lose control in a shopping mall. I don’t spend 45 minutes in the morning to pick out my outfits and make sure that the accessories match, and I do not judge people’s clothing, at all. Well, in general. I just have three pet peeves, and it just concerns men.

1. Caps worn backwards. I’m sorry, no grown man should ever wear a baseball cap worn backwards. No grown man should actually ever wear a baseball cap at all unless he’s at a baseball game or it’s a sunny day and he has it on for practical reasons. It should not be a part of his outfit on a night out, and it should never, ever be worn backwards. Ever. And it should never be a “look” to wear a cap and then wear your hoodie over it. You’re not cool, this house party isn’t taking place in douchetown. Oh and wearing it in class – take the damn cap off and show some respect.

2. Baggy jeans. I have this uncontrollable urge to pull his trousers up when I see a man with baggy jeans. I don’t want to know your choice of underwear, I barely know you, man. If you can’t run without your trousers falling off then it’s not acceptable to be worn outdoors. Wear a belt. Buy a pair of jeans that fit. For f*ck’s sake, you’re an adult.

3. Skinny jeans. I’m sorry, must we highlight the fact that your legs are thinner than a girl’s? Must we make all the girls feel uncomfortable because your legs are prettier? Man up, you’re worse than the guy with the baggy jeans.

Ok. Now that that’s done, let’s talk food.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

"Can I have it without the mushrooms please?" - A Post on Food Preferences


I am the least picky eater you'll meet. I am not prejudiced against any foods. Yes, some I prefer more than others, and I'm not exactly the biggest fan of liquorice, but if you give it to me, I'll eat it.  Yet, unfortunately, I'm one of the few in the world like this.  I know so many people who refuse to touch anchovies or mushrooms or tomatoes.

So I pondered upon this.  See, food is not only a physical source of nutrition and toxins, but it is also as a source of pleasure and a mediating tool in social relations. Reasons behind our food likes and dislikes are therefore quite interesting.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

How to: Homemade Vanilla Extract

I have decided - at the beginning of the next academic year I'm going to make many of these homemade condiment things, and then give them away as gifts later on.  This requires a couple of weeks to..develop the flavor, and my cured sun-dried tomatoes as well, and same with flavored oils and salts.  I can also give away nut butters, like almond butter, or jams, like this orange and rosemary marmalade.

Anyway, homemade vanilla extract.  I don't know if this is actually more cost-efficient.  Normally I buy this vanilla extract which costs £5.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Shaved Carrot, Raisin & Hazelnut Salad

You know, it's 2013, I'm getting bored of lettuce. I  like it when restaurants make an effort to be creative with salads, but you know what I don't like?  Wedge salads.  That's not being creative, that's just being lazy.  Excuse me, I'm not paying extra to cut up my own lettuce.  I want my lettuce shredded and tossed with the dressing.  I don't want you to just give me a chunk of lettuce, pour some dressing on top, and serve it to me at a price that's more expensive than if it wasn't shredded.  Nuh uh, it doesn't make any economic sense. 

Friday, 24 May 2013

Mini Sachertortes

Another one of Nigel Slater's recipes.  What a man.  He tweets me back on Twitter just to thank me whenever I say something nice to him.  That's a good man right there. 
 I made them in little cylindrical tins and then also some in muffin tins.  If you're gonna do that like me then remember to reduce the baking time, we don't need to waste calories on dry cakes. 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Green Tea Poached Salmon and Greens


Have I ever told you about the duck-fat-poached salmon?  I'm sure I've mentioned it.  Oh it was the best thing to ever enter my mouth.  Beautiful, soft, rich flesh that just instantly disintegrates and melts as it meets your tongue.  The man behind that taught me how that was made, but I cannot bring myself to make it for myself.  Some things I just can't cook, my arteries would clog up and explode just at the process of cooking it.  

So I poached salmon in green tea.  What a downgrade, I know.  It's more delicate and light.  Less indulgent.  Better for your heart and waistline. 

The tea is also flavored with some other spices, and then this salmon sits on a top of garlicky and lemony greens. 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Oven-Puffed Pancakes

I'm done with exams, I'm done with exams! Man I'm behind on Happy Belly! No worries, I'll update twice a day if I have to. Yay I'm done! And today's such a lovely day..although just as I speak the sun went away.....but I'm off to a wine and meat session on the beach soon. So here's a short little post on oven puffed pancakes.

So yes, another addition to my pancake collection.  It's almost like making a yorkshire pudding -- you heat up the pan with oil until it's piping hot, then you put in the batter and woof it rises!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Spiced Raisin and Walnut Cantucci

Cantucci, that's what they're called.  "Biscotti" are just cookies.
These are a bit of a childhood thing for me too. The plain cantucci with almonds, that is. My grandmother used to make them. Of course, she made everything. I remember they were always in these big cookie boxes. They were so small, maybe less than 2 inches wide and less than an inch in height. It's again one of those no-recipe things she just did. She just mixed in enough flour and eggs and everything until it "felt" right. It's funny because I just typed everything in present-tense and had to edit it all. I miss her.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Favorite Sandwiches

Did you know that it's British National Sandwich Week?  Did you also know that I'm the most socially awkward girl when it comes to boys?  I told that fact to a guy I liked today.  We were just texting, he said he was having some sandwiches, and I said did you know it was the National Sandwich Week? And yes, the conversation ended there.  Mmhmm.

It's not only just the things I say.  Once I was at his place and it was so late in the evening that I was absolutely exhausted and was not mentally capable of behaving appropriately...He tried to hold my hand or play with my fingers or whatever, and my response was, "What are you doing?"

Also.  Once a guy took me to watch the fireworks and he kind of just held me from behind, and rather than leaning in or holding his hand or turning and smiling at him, I just stood there.  Stiff as a corpse. 

So.  In honor of the embarrassing moment, I have decided to share with you some of my favorite sandwiches.  Well, I've never actually made/had any of these but these are my favs from the web. 

While that man may have not given a sh#t about National Sandwich Week, I hope you will celebrate this week by making yourself some fancy sandwiches instead of the usual ham and cheese/pb&j and whatnot. 

Smashed Avocado and Chickpea Sandwich from Breanna's Recipe Box
I like avocados and I like chickpeas so this just sounds amazing.  

Saturday, 11 May 2013

A Light Prawn Sandwich

There's quite a wide selection of panini/sandwich/wrap places in this small little town.  Lunch time, while I'm in the library, I always spend a good 20 minutes contemplating where to go.  There's this Italian deli that serves fabulous paninis with an array of beautiful options like sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, salami, pastrami, prosciutto, mozzarella, grilled artichokes and many more.  Those are fantastic.  Sensational.  Italy in a sandwich.  Or I would go to Boots for their really good value for money meal deals.  Or there's this cute little hipster cafe called Taste that serves some ready-made paninis.  And then there's this deli that makes gourmet wraps with just also a lot of options for fillings.... but it shut down unfortunately.  Oh let me entertain you with a story about a guy. 

I called him Wrap Boy.  He was cute and funny, so much so that I was practically going to the deli everyday to have those overpriced wraps.  I even tipped the guy once.  Yes. I tipped a guy for standing there and wrapping things in a flat bread and toasting it.  I tipped him like 15% -- I'm not even this generous to waiters in restaurants who run around with 5 plates in their hands.  Anyway, I asked him out and he never answered my text.  Pssh.  Since then I've stopped going to the deli.  They lost a valuable customer.  Story of my life when it comes to men.  My love life is quite entertaining, maybe I should talk about that more in my blog posts to increase pageviews. 

It's okay.  I'm saving money this way.  Because look, I can make nice sandwiches at home too!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Peanut Meringue Cookies

Fun fact: did you know that peanut allergy's more common in Asians than in any other race?  Seriously, no sh#t, the BBC said so here.   No offense, but I had always felt like only Americans were allergic to peanuts.  One of them is always allergic to something.  This just doesn't happen where I'm from.  In developing countries like China, can you imagine?  A poor starving Chinese child who has food allergies?  I know so many Americans who are allergic to peanuts.  And peanut allergies are never just "oh a small rash" or "I feel ill" afterwards.  No, it's serious anaphylactic -shock-and-unconsciousness-sh#t.  I gave these to a friend, who, upon discovering that they contained peanuts, had to go brush his teeth because his girlfriend is deathly allergic to peanuts.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Classic Hummus

See how pretty this is?  This is so bad, I didn't actually make this - but I did help make it.  This was ages ago at a cookery class I was helping out at.  It was a Lebanese cookery class and I just loved this hummus recipe.  Everyone's got a different hummus recipe, I used to make it with just chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil.  My friend makes it with yoghurt, some add hot sauce, some add spices, but oh this is quite nice.  Tahini's key.  Don't get rid of the tahini.

I was looking over my photos to see what I could post about because it's been days.  It's exam season and I just don't have time to come back home to cook a meal, I live too far away from the library! This is not budget-friendly because I've been eating out for all my meals.  I did make a cake last night, but I wasn't completely satisfied, and I will master this chocolate coconut cake before I post a recipe of it - I hope this tells you something about the recipes I do post.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Carrot Zucchini Ragu' with Whole Wheat Pasta

What goes well with whole wheat pasta, what goes well with whole wheat pasta.  Whole wheat pasta is one of those things that's always been avoided in my family because my conventional Italian father believes it's just one of those new health foods coming from abroad that makes everything taste horrible.   But then I did some research.  Yes, evidently it is healthier but it's also delicious, you've just got to know what sauce to go with it.  Different pastas go with different sauces - no, those penne aren't meant to go with your carbonara.  But it's ok.  The point is, this goes beyond the shape, the taste is actually different.  It's an earthy pasta and so most recipes I found were with roasted vegetables and tomatoes.  So here's my white ragu' with carrots and zucchini.

Be creative with this - add some diced cherry tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes in the beginning.  Add different chopped herbs in the end.  I love making pasta, I really don't make it enough, but it's just one of the easiest things to make.  It's whatever you have in the fridge.  It's the same reason why I love making stir-fries and salads.

Friday, 3 May 2013

White Chocolate Cheesecake

I have three stories on cheesecakes. 
I went through a phase in high school where my favorite dessert was the Starbucks New York Cheesecake.  Oh I loved it and my mom wouldn't make it for me - she said it was too difficult to make.  Years later, I realized that she was probably just watching out for my waistline because it's one of the easiest desserts around.  This is New York cheesecake style in that it's just made with cream cheese.  I quite like ricotta and mascarpone cheesecakes as well.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Matcha Silver Dollar Pancakes

Hi. It's been a long day for me - and you know what I do normally when I start feeling down?  Like any other girl, I start analyzing this and that and really look into myself, but most importantly, I check the date to see if I'm pmsing.  And if I'm not, then I get frustrated with myself because I feel like I have no excuse.  Right now I have no excuse, so I have to just put on a smile and get on with my life. 

© Design by Neat Design Corner