Thursday, 19 May 2016

Spicy creamy carrot soup with carasau bread

Spicy creamy carrot soup with carasau bread

If you follow my Instagram account @francesca_verrucci you'd probably noticed that I make soups, mainly of the creamy variety, very often.
But I have almost no soup recipe published on the blog so far (with the exception of this pappa al pomodoro). And the reason is that in most cases my soups are the result of improvised recipes, created on the basis of the vegetables I have on hand at the moment - usually seasonal - and, let's say, the mood of the day (simple vs complex, rich vs light, spicy vs mild, smooth vs crunchy).

The result of this modus operandi?
On average a good dinner, with several cases of unexpectedly delicious dishes.
Some iPhone pictures taken just before eating the soup, that means bad artificial light (I usually make soups for dinner), zero styling, impromptu food arrangement, and not much time to take photos (just imagine to have somebody with the spoon in his hand, waiting for you to finish and sit at the table to start eating - and I don't like to eat cold food either).
Few Instagram posts - of course only when pictures are at least decent.
And ... no written recipe.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Roasted Cauliflower and Almond Salad

Roasted Cauliflower and Almond Salad

It's an ongoing challenge between me and cauliflower!
I've said before that cauliflower is not my favorite vegetable (details here and here).
You will say: why do you keep buying it when there are many other vegetables available?
I don't know exactly.
But the good thing is that, when I buy it, I am somehow forced to be more creative than I would be with other vegetables that are more appetizing - at least for me - by nature, like carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, and others that can even be eaten as they are or just cooked in a simple way.

The result is that I've been trying many different recipes with cauliflower, some of which really nice (have a look at this link for cauliflower recipes)..
And I'm glad to share them in case you readers have with this vegetable the same controversial relation as me.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Beetroot and purslane salad with orange dressing

Beetroot and purslane salad with orange dressing

Unfortunately at this time of the year it is quite difficult to find fresh beetroots to cook from scratch.
In fact they are harvested between the end of summer and the beginning of autumn and then kept for the rest of the year (somehow like potatoes). Yesterday for example I found some fresh beets at the supermarket, but they do not have the greens on and are not as juicy as the fresh ones.
And, in any case, if you are craving beetroots when the season is over, you can always use the pre-cooked ones (sold in vacuum-sealed packages): not the same taste and versatility of the fresh ones, but still palatable.

I can't deny that I love beetroots really much; in fact at the moment it is probably one of the vegetables with more recipes on the blog  (check this link for viewing them).

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Hummus (basic recipe)

Basic Hummus

Having spent few years in the Middle East, I've had many occasions to eat hummus.
Hummus is in fact a staple in the Middle East, where it is widely and easily available: you can taste it in most restaurants and cafes (and not only those serving middle eastern cuisine) or buy it fresh from supermarkets or have it delivered by take away / home delivery joints. 
Not all of the available options are equally good though: they may vary from light, creamy and full of flavor, to decent, to heavy or too strong in taste  (too much garlic or oil or use of not high quality ingredients).  
Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to taste a hummus made by a middle eastern home-cook: I really would have liked to try a homemade "family recipe"!

But hummus is actually very popular all across the world now.
And the reason is pretty clear to me: it is absolutely delicious! Also it can be served and eaten in different ways and different occasions: it can be an appetizer served along with bread (preferably pita) or fresh vegetables like in any traditional mezze spread (the Middle Eastern set of appetizers), but it goes well on sandwiches, with roasted / steamed / boiled / sauteed vegetables, as a sauce for vegetarian (see falafel) and non vegetarian "meatballs" and more. And to be honest, I can't resist having plain spoonfuls of hummus directly from the bowl.

Friday, 18 March 2016

My recipe for Social Kitchen: lemon flavored spaghetti with clams, zucchini and bottarga

Lemon flavored spaghetti with clams, zucchini and bottarga

It seems that it took me quite a long time to settle my kitchen out of the sand!
The last time I wrote here on the blog (apparently four months ago, sigh) I was probably too optimistic about the fact that we would have found an apartment and, most important, settled in the new house in a decently reasonable time.
I changed house several times in the past, in different cities and different countries, so I know it's not an easy and quick job, but this time too many things didn't go as they should ...
The positive part is that I've learned something new and unexpected about renting an apartment and Italian bureaucracy that could be of some help in future (and of course, if any of you needs some advice, do not hesitate to contact me; it would be a pleasure to help).

Of all the things we had to get arranged in the new house, the last I got was an home Internet connection which, if you want to be a blogger, is of vital importance - at least as much as the kitchen.
It took me longer than starting the whole blog from scratch, but now I can say I am (almost) ready to get back into blogging regularly.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Sourdough milk bread with Tang Zhong

Sourdough milk bread with Tang Zhong

Even when I am super busy, or not in my kitchen or without my tools - and currently I am at the same time in all of the mentioned conditions - I still love to make bread. Baking my own bread is for me a very relaxing activity - and definitely much less expensive than shopping - and makes me feel as I were at home.
As I said in my previous post, at the moment I am in a temporary accommodation - and so I will be for a while, probably even without an Internet connection for few weeks - where cooking is not as easy and pleasant as it can be in a fully furnished kitchen, with any kind of tool and utensil. This doesn't mean that I order from take-out places or buy ready to eat dishes; but of course I cannot make any sort of recipe, like those requiring a mixer or a blender (I'm missing hummus for example) or particular pans or pots.

But bread, probably because is one of the most basic and fundamental foods, can be made anywhere and requires few simple tools (some bowls, a fork or whisk, a baking tray or a loaf pan) and a oven.
To be totally honest though, I am somehow "forced" (by myself) to bake as I want to keep my sourdough starter alive and kicking.
In any case I am not experimenting a lot: I use to make only tested and simple recipes like rustic sourdough bread and pita.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Wholewheat crostata and some news

Wholewheat crostata

Well, if there are two or three people wondering where I've been lately and why I'm not posting regularly on the blog, I finally want to tell that some important changes are happening in my life.
Please don't worry, it's nothing bad, just something that took most of my time in the last two months and probably will still take it in the next future.
The news is that, after almost two years in Dubai, me and my family just came back to Italy; and exactly for the same reason why we had moved to Dubai two years ago: my husband work. Something we were somehow prepared to, even if we were getting used to Dubai lifestyle and for sure we'll miss it a bit.

To be honest I would have much preferred to cook, take and edit pictures, write recipes and posts rather than doing what I actually did in the last two months, that is in random order: meeting with moving companies for relocating all of our things back to Italy (and realizing how much stuff is possible to accumulate in just two years is quite shocking), finding a school for my son (actually two, as most likely we are going to move from where we are now), make a selection of things to leave back or throw away, wrapping all our clothes and other stuff in plastic covers to protect them during the travel, getting some refunds for activities paid in advance (this apparently easy task was actually a tough one), preparing the luggage to carry with us (one of which almost full of food, of course), meeting with friends to say bye (this was the best part actually, even if the saddest one and even if I didn't have the time to see all the people I would have loved to). And the daily routine? Almost the same as before, of course ...