venerdì 28 giugno 2013

Zuppetta di ceci e vongole

I love seafood and the combination between clams and chickpeas is so elegant and tasteful!

If you are thinking about a romantic dinner this weekend, you know what you can cook!
Be aware this is a dish to impress!
400 gr chickpeas (2 yields)
250 gr clams
1 garlic clove chopped, unpeeled
white wine
olive oil
baking powder
The night before, soak the chickpeas in a bowl with plenty of water and a tbs of baking soda. The day after, drain and rinse well. Boil them for 1h, 1/2-2h, add salt. Drain and skim off the foam on the top, saving some water (If you use the canned chickpeas, you can go to the next step directly).

In the same pan, smash roughly the chickpeas with an immersion blender, adding 1 tbs 1/2 of oil and half glass of the cooking water till creamy but not smooth.

Put the clams in a bowl with water and rinse twice. Set a covered shallow saucepan on the stove over medium high heat with the claims for 6, 7 min till clams have opened and turn the heat off. Put the clams aside and filter their cooking water in a cup.

In the same saucepan, brown the unpeeled garlic clove chopped with some fresh chili, the clams and sprinkle some white wine (do not add salt since the clams are naturally salty), when reduced add the clams cooking water filtered (It must not cooked more than 10 min otherwise the clams become chewy).
Reheat the smashed chickpeas (lukewarm), if necessary, serve in a bowl with the clams on the top (some with their shells) and fresh parsley.

mercoledì 26 giugno 2013

Carré di tacchino

Here It is terribly hot so let's prepare this express dish that can be cooked in advance and stored in the fridge and served for a lazy dinner or for your weekend brunch.

700 gr minced turkey (serving 6)
150 gr bread
1 egg
200 gr spinach
15 cherry tomatoes
white vinegar

In a bowl marinate the meat with a pinch of ginger and tabasco with 2,3 spoons of white vinegar for half-hour.

In another bowl put the bread cubes and pour the milk over them. Let the bread soak until it is soft then squeeze out the excess milk.

Fold the bread, the egg, the salt and the pepper into the meat bowl.

In the meanwhile put the fresh spinach in a hot pan for 3 minutes. If you use the frozen spinach, boil them and be sure to squeeze out the excess water, they must be pretty dry.

Oil a loaf pan and put a meat layer, some tomatoes cubes and the spinach then cover with a meat layer.

Preheat the oven to 180 and cook for 50 min, the last 30 min with a tinfoil over the pan.

Let cool before slicing. It can be served warm or cold.

lunedì 24 giugno 2013

Pummaroò&Friends: Μουσακάς with Katerina!

When I met Katerina, I loved speaking about her wonderful country, its sea and beaches, its food and its smiling people.
Hello pummaroò friends!
Good quality, home cooked food is what we all need, so thank you Elvira for this recipe-sharing blog.
Today, I will share with you a dish that is a favourite for many in my home country, Cyprus. It's called mousaka. It is a dish that belongs to the Balkan-Mediterranean cuisine too. Here's my greek-cypriot version  of it!
It takes sometime to make, but it's delicious!

Ingredients for 4: 
1 big aubergine                                                                              
2 courgettes                                                                             
2-3 medium sized potatoes                                                     
1 medium sized onion
500 gr minced meat  (pork, beef or chicken)
2 tomatoes grated or tomato paste

For the béchamel sauce
3 tbs flour
2.5 cups of milk
1 egg yolk beaten
2 tbs grated cheese

Wash and peel the aubergine and the potatoes. Wash the courgettes. Cut all the vegetables into slices (not very thick, nor very thin). Put a bit of salt on your sliced vegetables. Put a bit of oil in a big pan and start placing the vegetables on the surface of the pan. When they are cooked on one side turn then on the other. When fried on both sides put them in a plate, where you have placed two layers of absorbing kitchen paper,  so that it absorbs the oil. Do this until you have fried all the slices. Please note that, if you prefer,  you can cook the vegetables by putting them straight on the hot pan, without putting oil.

Once you have finished, preheat the oven to about 170-180°C.

Then, wash the minced meat and chop the onion. Put them in your pan with a bit of oil. When the meat gets a brown colour, add the grated tomatoes or the tomato paste. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and until there is no or little liquid.

In a small oven dish (19x20cm) put the ingredients in layers as follows: potatoes, aubergines, half amount of minced meat, courgettes, rest of the meat.

On top of that you put béchamel sauce. How to prepare the béchamel sauce:
Heat the oil, add the flour and once it changes colour, pour in the milk slowly slowly. You stir constantly until you get a thick sauce. Then you turn out the fire and you add the egg yolk, grated cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

Put it in the oven for 30-40 minutes.


venerdì 21 giugno 2013

Involtini di melanzane

This is the perfect season to cook eggplants.

Let's start the first day of summer with a very simple appetizer for your sunny weekend brunch: the eggplant rolls.

1 big eggplant (for 8 small rolls)
300 gr peeled canned tomato
120 gr mozzarella
1 garlic clove, crushed
evo oil
fresh basil
Parmesan shavings

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan over mid heat with  the garlic cloved crushed, the canned tomato and the fresh basil, salt and stir for 10 min.

Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 0,5 cm slices, sprinkle the slices, both sides, with salt and let them in a colander with a weight on the top for 30 min. Rinse and dry.

Grill the slices. Roll up with a piece of mozzarella and serve with the warm tomato sauce on a big fresh basil leaf.

Garnish with the parmesan shavings. You could also spear wooden skewers into rolls to serve.

mercoledì 19 giugno 2013

Pummaroò&Places: L(i)ove from Nice!

This place is not just a place but I feel like home here!

I have my favorite fish seller, Richard,  that provides me the best fish for a special price! He always welcomes me with a sunny: "Bonjour Elvira, comment allez vous?" He is not only so kind but very charming too. You can find him in Place St François every morning till noon, except Monday!

I love having breakfast at "Le Pain Quotidien" (, now they changed the name into Le pain à table. They have the best fruit bread and granola every tasted and very good jams, the fig one is  incomparable! The owner has nice big moustaches and the manager is a very funny guy, we love speaking about football. When I arrive,  I have my Equipe newspaper on the table and when I leave, he always tells me:"Come on, tell me the truth, you are not a lawyer". Le Pain Quotidien is at the beginning of Cours Saleya/rue St François de Paule.

If you wanna stop for a quirky pause in the Old Town market, go Chez Theresa, she will serve you the typical Socca, a thin, flat cake made from chickpea flour and olive oil while the best Socca is served by Pipo (13, rue Bavastro).


You should try other good specialities: the Niçoise salad (anchovies, shallots, red peppers, tuna, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, cucumber, black olives), Pissaladière (pizza dough topped with onions, anchovies, black olives ), Pan bagnat (big white sandwich with the Niçoise salad), tourte de blette (Swiss chard pie, salty or sweet), the Niçoise Daube (Southern French beef stew), Farcis (Veggies - tomatoes, eggplant, and courgettes- hollowed out and stuffed with ground meat, garlic, and bread crumbs) and do not forget to toast with a local cold rosé wine.

When I need a cuddly moment, I go to Les Causeries de Blandine (8, rue du Pont-Vieux, It's impossible to resist to their homemade gourmandises. A lot of different homemade cakes and a huge variety of tea and coffee .

When It's time to dine out, It's Le Bistrot d'Antoine or Le Comptoir du Marché. They belong to the same owner. Both restaurants have not a lot of tables so the reservation is required and the prices are really good for the quality and the service offered.

Le Bistrot d'Antoine (27, rue de la Préfecture) is in the Old Town.
They have French food with a fresh touch of cookery geniality. I recommend the scallops and their magret de canard. 

Le Comptoir du marché (8, rue du Marché) is in the Old Town too. It is more cozy and homey than Le Bistrot. There is an open kitchen and the staff is very kind, they explain the menu as a wonderful poetry. I recommend the pork cheeks, the foie gras and the sea snails salad and  the scallops with crunchy veggies surely.

I love French food but I am Neapolitan, I need to eat Pizza. If you wanna taste a real Neapolitan pizza, stop at Les Amoureux (
Monica and Ivan, the owners, have a cozy pizzeria behind the port (46, Boulevard Stalingrad). Be sure to book in advance since the place is always crowded. Try also the wonderful dessert, called Pastiera and their good strong Italian coffee. At the end of your dinner Ivan will be pleased to offer you a delicious Limoncello. Les Amoureux is open from Tuesday to Saturday only for dinner from 19:30.


lunedì 17 giugno 2013

Mezze maniche con frutti di mare

Never fish on Monday!!! Why? There is no fish market on Monday unless some friend have gathered mussels and clams!!! I know I am lucky to have such special friends!

I would like to dedicate this post to a wonderful mom, Margaret Pace. She loves cooking Italian food and I hope to meet her in Malta very soon.

200 gr mezze maniche rigate (serving two)
300 gr mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
300 gr clams
1 big garlic clove
lemon zest
white wine
olive oil

Rinse the mussels 3/4 times and put the clams in a bowl with water and rinse twice. Set two separate covered shallow saucepans (or I use the same pan  but cooking the clam and the mussel in two different moments, one after the other) on the stove over medium high heat with the shellfish for 6, 7 min till they have opened and turn the heat off (discard any that do not open after this time). Put the shellfish aside and filter their cooking water in a cup.

In a big skillet put 2 tbs of olive oil, the big garlic clove crushed unpeeled and the shellfish, when the garlic is brown, discard it, add some white wine until reduced and the cooking water you saved (do not add salt).

Drain your pasta and fold it into the skillet, tossing until well combined (adding pasta water, if necessary to stir better).

Serve with parsley and lemon zest.

venerdì 14 giugno 2013

Pummaroò&Friends: Bloemkoolschotel with Sabine!

Sabine comes from Bruges, a city in which I lived for a year. She will share a typical recipe from Flanders.

My big thanks to Sabine, a very lovely person. She works for the College of Europe, she is a wife and a mom of two sweet children, Elena and Milan. They are very cute, aren't they? 

1kg potatoes
1kg mixed mince
1 large cauliflower
whole milk
30 gr flour
30 gr best butter
Italian spices

Cook the potatoes in water with a sniff of salt and some Italian spices, until tender, then drain. Make puree with milk, nutmeg and pepper.

Cook the cauliflower florets in water with a sniff of salt and again some Italian spices, until tender (reserve the cooking liquid for later, for the béchamel sauce).

Bake your mixed mince in a skillet.

For the béchamel sauce, melt the butter and add little by little the flour, stir well.

Now take three deep tablespoons (like the one you use for making soup) of your cooking liquid from the cauliflower and stir, then add 2 deep tablespoons whole milk and bring to taste with one whole nutmeg. Stir until you have a liquid mass.

Preheat the oven to 200 ° C. Take a large heatproof casserole. Fill it first with your baked minced, then put the cauliflower florets on it, you cover with your béchamel sauce and then on top your mashed potatoes, you arrange it until everything is covered. You can use a fork to make some rows for a form. Then you put a few pieces of butter on top so you have a nice crispy crust.

Put the casserole in the oven at 180 ° C for 10 minutes and then another three minutes on the grill stand for that crispy crust.

mercoledì 12 giugno 2013

Mr. Tiramisù

I do not know if I am a good lawyer but my tiramisù is definitely a masterpiece!

I want to dedicate this dessert to a very good friend of mine, Antonio, to celebrate his 30th birthday!

400 gr mascarpone
4 yolks
2 egg whites
80 gr sugar
Savoiardi (ladyfingers in English, boudoirs in French)
Coffee (preferably espresso)
Cocoa powder, unsweetened

In a large bowl beat yolks and sugar with electric beaters until pale, foamy and thick. In a different bowl beat the egg whites till soft peak form.

Using a spatula or a big wooden spoon add the mascarpone at room temperature and 2/3 tbs of cold coffee then gently fold the whipped egg whites in.

Dip the ladyfingers into the cold coffee and start the first layer into your serving dish (25x18cm) then add the cream another ladyfingers layer, topping with the cream. Put into the fridge at least 4 hours,  preferably overnight.

Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.

A special thanks to Veronika Knobova who took the pictures.

lunedì 10 giugno 2013

Bocconcini di pollo aranciati

Yellow and orange, sunny colors to start the week positevly!

I do not like the red meat too much so I always try to combine new ingredients to cook turkey and chicken.

These chicken chunks are prepared with the last oranges of the season ...summer is coming!

300 gr chicken breast chunks (serving 2 people)
2 oranges (both the juice and the zest)
35 gr butter
Taggiasca olives (they are sweet fruity and mild)

Flour the chunks and shake off  the excess. Set a skillet over medium heat with the butter; once melted, add the chunks with the juice of fresh oranges and salt.

Turn the heat off when the chunks are golden-brown (about 12/15 min) and garnish with orange zest and some smashed Taggisca olives.

venerdì 7 giugno 2013

Insalata di farro

I am keen on grains! 

Spelt is sweet, fluffy but always nicely al dente. It's high in protein and fiber, a very good alternative to pasta and rice. I usually prepare it in salad with some fresh seasonal veggies or cooked like risotto.

This recipe is perfect to be cooked in advance and stored in the fridge. It could be a good suggestion to serve for a Sunday brunch!

200 gr spelt (serving 2 people)
1 eggplant
10 raw tomatoes (datterino or cherry)
200 gr cottage cheese
evo oil
fresh basil

To cook the grain add a cup of water for every cup of spelt. Drain, add some evo oil and let it cool.

Set a non-stick skillet over high heat, add the eggplant diced. Toss constantly, let it browned then cool down.

In a bowl, slice the tomatoes, mix with the eggplants, the salt and the cottage cheese, fold the spelt in.

Serve with some fresh basil.


giovedì 6 giugno 2013

Pummaroo'&Friend: Paella with Rosana!

This is the first post about a new page, Pummaroò Friend! Here friends share the recipes of their Country, childhood or just their favorite ones.
Today with us...Rosana, a smart woman from Andalusia!
    A big thanks to her and to Maribel, her mom.
Hello everybody!

I am Rosana and I come from Spain. I’m very happy and proud to have been invited by Elvira to share a Spanish recipe with you. I will give you my mom’s recipe (the most delicious ever). It’s juicier than your regular dry paella, and includes a lot of seafood, as is the style in Andalousia.

Quantities are intuitive, unless otherwise indicated. This will serve around 4 hungry people or 6 people who claim to only want a “tapa”:

- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 peppers (1 green, 1 red)
- 2-3 tomatoes (depending on their size)
- Peas (to taste)
- Sweet paprika
- Saffran (a few threads)
- Yellow spice/coloring. The only one we have always used (since the times of my grandma) is Aeroplano, which has been around since the 1920's! You can purchase it online here:
- A bite of white wine
- Green beans
- Artichokes
- Any other veggie you fancy!
- Chicken breast cut into dice
- Prawns, calamari/squid, mussels, and whatever seafood strikes your fancy, to taste (around 500 gr should do. But of course, the more and better seafood you put in, the better your paella will be...this is no rocket science).
- Round rice, NEVER the long grain/basmati type. You should count 1 handful of rice per person, plus a little extra handful.

1   El Sofrito, Stir fry (on a mid-heat) with EVO (of course) in this order:
-       First the garlic cloves (peeled and chopped) until they’re golden.
-       Second, the peppers (cut into stripes).
-       Third, when the peppers are barely stiff, add the tomatoes (you have to peel the skin off and take the seeds out).
It is important to follow this order, due to the different cooking time of each ingredient. Softly stir fry them until they caramelise and acquire a sauce-like texture. Take this pan out of the heat, but leave its contents inside.
Now, still out of the heat, add 2/3 teaspoonfuls of sweet paprika. Please, only add this when the veggies are already cooked and out of the heat. If you add the paprika before, it will become bitter!
2   The Chicken
In another pan stir fry the chicken. Leave it quite on the uncooked side, since it will be receiving more heat later and it might go dry if you overcook it now.
3   The Veggies
In a pot boil 750ml of water. When it boils, and only when it boils, add the green beans for 10 minutes and not more. They should be cooked but al dente, and they should be emerald green. Also prepare the peas in the same water (add them before or after the beans, depending on whether the peas are frozen or fresh). Take the veggies out of the pot and cool them down with a splash of cold water so that the cooking process stops, but don't throw the used boiling water away! Like Elvira recommended with the Vellutata, why use plain water when you can use flavoured one which is also full of vitamins and minerals from the veggies?
Of course if you are using other veggies, follow logic and cook them in the most appropriate manner for them. Just remember: leave them slightly undercooked.
4   The Seafood
Boil another 750 ml of water and prepare the seafood as necessary. Again, leave them slightly uncooked, since they will receive more heat later on. Take them out of the water so that the cooking process stops, but don't throw the water away!
5   Boiling
Now take the pan that still has the peppers, etc. inside and add the chicken and about half the boiling water from the veggies and seafood that you had kept aside. If you are using calamari/squid add it now, but do not add the rest of the more tender seafood yet. Make this all boil for around 15 min. Then add the saffron, the wine, a bit of salt to taste. Let it boil (over a high flame) for a few more minutes.
6   The Rice
Add more of the leftover boiling water from the veggies and seafood that you had kept aside, and incorporate the rice and the yellow spice. For the next 15 minutes you will start by boiling on a high flame and then you will gradually reduce the fire, little by little, to a low simmer. All this time make sure to stir up constantly - otherwise the rice will stick to the rest of the pan and burn. Keep on adding leftover boiling water when needed.
Remember the song “Bootylicious”? “Read my lips carefully if you like it juicy…”
7   The Final Touch
After these 15 minutes are over, take the pan out of the fire, add the beans, the peas and the seafood and cover up the pan. Leave it to rest for around 5 minutes.
Eat it now! If you leave it laying around the rice will suck up the water and you will get a mushy, dry paella. Eating it just out of the fire is the best.

Some people ask me whether you need a huge flat pan (“paellera”) to cook this. That would be ideal. However, I have not had any problems cooking paella in an ordinary big frying pan (when I’ve cooked for several people I have used 2 frying pans).

Have fun cooking and let us know how it goes!

Hugs from Málaga, Ciudad del Paraíso.

mercoledì 5 giugno 2013

Pesce spada sciué sciué

In Neapolitan Sciué Sciué means easy, fast and quick!

I love cooking fish in a very easy way to keep all juices and nutritional facts intact.

Swordfish is low carb but full of protein with an unmistakable, meaty and firm flavour.

2 slices of swordfish
15 cherry tomatoes
1 garlic clove
olive oil
parsley stalks

Prepare a marinade with olive oil, ginger, the garlic clove chopped and some tabasco drops into a shallow dish and mix well. Add the swordfish, turning to coat, and leave to marinate for 10 min.

Set a skillet on the stove over high medium heat. Drain the swordfish and discard the marinade, when the skillet is very very hot, put the fish into the pan and lower the heat.

Add the cherry tomatoes sliced, the salt and cook for 6, 7 min each side (time needed depends on slice thickness).

Garnish with parsley stalks and olive oil.

martedì 4 giugno 2013

Bucatini all'amatriciana

One of the most widely known Italian traditional dish!

Its origins date back to the late 18th century in central Italy, from the town of Amatrice, not far from Rome.
I lived in the Eternal city for a while and every Roman is sure to have the authentic recipe passed on through the generations. I hope that nobody will be unhappy with my list of ingredients for 2.

200 gr bucatini
80 gr cured pork cheek (guanciale)
250 gr peeled canned San Marzano tomatoes
pecorino romano cheese
olive oil

Pan fry the guanciale, cut into strips, over low heat till It renders the fat (if It is not enough, add a tbs of olive oil). It must not be crispy. Turn the heat off and put the strips aside.
In the same pan with the pork fat, cook the tomatoes (in advance crushed with a fork) for 10 min with some chili and salt.
Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce, adding the guanciale strips and some grated pecorino cheese.

lunedì 3 giugno 2013

Vellutata verde

Mondays need comfort food!

Green Velvet Soup for 2 to start the week warmly!

4, 5 courgettes
parmesan shavings
red pepper flakes
2 tbs evo oil

Boil the courgettes, not chopped, salt and drain, saving the water.

Blend the vegetables with a food processor or an immersion blender, adding some cooking water (a cup) and 2 tbs of oil.

Serve warm or hotter with parmesan shavings and red pepper flakes.