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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chickpeas soup

1 can of chickpeas
1-2 carrots
2 stalk of western celery (can be substitute with chinese celery)
1 onion
2-3 spoons extra virgin olive oil
water or stock (I normally use water)

I use extra virgin olive oil because I love it and my mum used to say that in a simple recipe the quality of the ingredients has a big impact on the result. Sometimes I have no time after a day outside in the playground and I use a mix of celery, carrot, onion that I have ready in the freezer. Of course fresh vegetable are best but frozen from fresh vegetable chopped works too.
Chickpeas from a can are quick and already cooked just be sure to rinse with water before using it. If you have time buy dry chickpeas (cityshop normally has) soak in water overnight and cook till tender in water with salt (from 1 to 2 hours or 40 minutes in pressure cooker).
Chop celery, carrots, onion and cook till tender with olive oil.
This recipe helped me to go trough my first diet ever. Diet lasted 3 days without bread and all those yummy carbohydrates and than I decided I love food to much to keep doing it. I really like chickpeas and will post others recipes with them. Here is today's soup, perfect for a rainy day and good for the kids too.

Chop onion, celery and carrots and cook them with olive oil till tender.
Add the chickpeas after rinsed. Stir and let it cook for a minute.
Add water or stock, how much? It depends if you like the soup more liquid or more dense like a cream. I add (as in the picture) just a little because I wanted a cream.
Cook for 20 minutes.
Blend and serve. A piece of garlic bread go perfectly together and pepper grounded on top add more intensity.
Happy rainy day!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Zucchini and Mushrooms Frittata

Almost an omelette, "Frittata" is the result of eggs broken, beaten and cooked in a pan or in the oven. Simple frittata is just with onions but the options are almost infinite. Is your fridge crying empty and you have just eggs and some vegetables? Ready, done. Just a piece of salami? Then pepperoni frittata! 

If mum tells you have made a "frittata" that's another story ... it means you have messed things up and ... better to clean up before she get mad.

Let's have a look at the recipe here. I got all my stuff from kate and kimi online website http://www.kateandkimi.com/ and I loved the baby zucchini.

3 eggs
1/2 onion
10 baby zucchini or 2 big one (yellow and green)
some mushroom (as you like because you can go wrong)
a pinch of salt, pepper 
2 spoon extra virgin olive oil (or any oil you use for cooking). 
Butter works too but I like to stay more in the healthy side. A trick is to fried the onions or the garlic with a little olive oil and a couple of spoons of water. 

1. Cook separately the mushroom (I did with a piece of garlic and olive oil) till tender.

2. Cut round and sauté the zucchini (I did with garlic and oil). I like zucchini when they are still crunchy and not too soft.
3. Beat the eggs and add a pinch of salt and pepper (parsley if you have finely chopped). Season with spices if you like.
4. Fry the onions with oil and water (light version) till onions are transparent or fry till brown if you like. Add the zucchini and the mushrooms (quantity as you like) and stir for 1-2 minutes. I had more zucchini than mushroom, they were gone by the time I made the frittata.
5. Pour into the frying pan the eggs beaten and let it cook over low heat until set, shaking the pan often to stop sticking. 
6. If you are brave turn the frittata so it will be evenly cooked or cut in 4 pieces and turn every piece as I did.
Depending on how many eggs and how big is the pan you can have a thin or thick frittata. A big pan with little eggs made a thin frittata that cook more easily, a thicker one is more soft in the middle, pick you choice and do experiment.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Strawberry Glaze

I'm so thrilled to have Stefania join the blog!! I'm so excited to get some new authentic Italian recipes. It is definitely one of my favorite cuisine!

I have been meaning to post this recipe ever since strawberries came into season. I figured I had better do it quick before they are completely gone.

This glaze works well both as a topping for strawberry short cake or to make *fresh strawberry pie. And it's so simple!

2 tbsp (30ml) strawberry jello powder (FYI: a small box contains about 6 tbsp so after you use it, you can put a clip on the bag and seal it up to use for the next time. This is the only ingredient that may be a bit hard to find but I've seen it at Carrefour and City shop so you shouldn't have too much trouble)
2 Tbsp (30ml) cornstarch
1/3 cup (80ml) sugar
1/2 cup (100g) cup water
pinch of salt
1 tsp(5ml) lemon juice


In a small saucepan add the strawberry gelatine.
Add cornstarch,
pinch of salt

water and lemon juice.
Stir to combine.
Heat on medium high until boiling. Boil for one minute, while stirring.
Cool slightly; about 5 minutes. Pour over cut strawberries.
Stir to combine.

 Serve over cake for strawberry short cake.

*If making fresh strawberry pie, double the amount of glaze. After combining the glaze with the starwberries, pour into a precooked pie shell or graham cracker shell. Chill until set and top with whipped cream.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rucola Pesto.

My first post is about a very simple and scented sauce: Pesto.
With this recipe I'd like to thank Heather for inviting me to her blog and I virtually offer her my personal taste of italian cuisine.
With this mediterranean breeze on the Gourmet DIY Shanghai I hope you will be prepare for summer. Who lives here knows that spring is just so short and after the cold and rainy winter we had this year, summer will be soon at the door,  hot and humid.
What is better than an easy and fresh green thing that can be spread on a piece of bread or a ready to use sauce in the fridge for a pasta or rice?
The name "pesto" is the italian for pestle and it refers to the manual grinder made of stone that was used in the past. Here I've prepared a rucola pesto.

For a jar to store in fridge:
80-100 grams of basil or rucola leaves
50 grams of parmesan cheese
50 grams of pine nuts (I've used pine nuts and pecan)
olive oil (better if extra virgin) around 150 grams 
1 garlic clove

Wash the rucola leaves (or basil) and let it dry before using it. Put cheese, pine nuts and garlic (if you don't like garlic it can be omitted) in a grinder or food processor. If you don't have a food processor (in shanghai not all have) just use a manual grinder or a pestle. Add the leaves, salt and the olive oil and grind together till the sauce comes like a cream. Store in a glass container cover with more olive oil on top to prevent the pesto to change its vibrant color.
If covered with oil it will last one week in the fridge and of course ... if you don't have a piece of bread to dip in!
Pine nuts are expensive and sometimes difficult to find so any of the following works, just experiment: almonds, nuts, hazelnuts, pecan.

Monday, May 6, 2013


So this might be kind of lame, but I thought I'd share since this is one of our favorite 'family night' treats here in Shanghai.

Digestive biscuits

Spread nutella on one half of a digestive biscuit. Toast marshmallows over a small flame. Place toasted marshmallows on chocolate covered biscuit and covered with another biscuit.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Instant Breadcrumbs

I can't tell you the number of times I've had the end of the baguette go stale before we finish it.
I bought a baguette last week and then my ayi ended up making dinner a whole bunch of nights in a row so there it sat on the counter until it became hard as a rock. The boys had been begging me to make them spaghetti and meatballs (I guess I've read them Olivia books a few too many times) so I figured that I would use the stale baguette to make breadcrumbs to go in the meatballs. Only problem is that I don't have a food processor and I didn't relish the idea of using a rolling pin to smash the baguette(such a mess, takes so long, and the pieces are large and uneven)
So I came up with the brilliant idea to use my cheese grater instead.
It worked great! The breadcrumbs were really fine- all the same size and perfect for using for meatballs.