As I am writing this article, I can´t quite believe tomorrow is the first of August. June and July seem to have flown by and I genuinely don´t know how. I´m behind on my reading, behind on my book club, all the while I am skeptically glancing at the book stack I plan on taking on holidays with me next week. July in particularly has been a month of little reading. The books I´ve managed to read, were all started (and two even finished) on planes and my biggest regret is that I still haven´t finished Killing Commendatore, the book for the book club that was scheduled for beginning of July, and for which I am still keeping people waiting. But while I fight with my guilty consciousness, let me tell how about the books that I did manage to read this month.
Confession time: this is probably the most impromptu #homemadeMonday and #guestchefseries I´ve ever done. I had to take a last minute trip to Romania and didn´t get to plan ahead, so today I found myself in Bucharest, at my friend Julie´s house, with a calendar full of meetings and no plan for what to share. And since I would have really felt like I was letting you down if I came up with nothing today, I convinced my friend Julie that the roasted chicken she was preparing for us for lunch is totally worth going up on the blog, especially as it has a special ingredient I would have never thought of adding to it! Keep reading to find out more.
My trip to Amsterdam is so fresh, that I haven´t even unpacked the cheese I brought back, but I really wanted to write about it asap, lest I forget all the powerful impression this wonderful city have left on me. Full disclaimer: this is my second time in Amsterdam, and I actually stayed for six days, but since I didn´t really take any time off, and worked for almost four of those days, I compressed an itinerary for three days, and adapted it to someone who´s never been there, touching upon all my favourite places. Now since I´m a huge foodie, I will reserve a whole other article to speak about all my favourite food places, but I´ll still mention them here in passing, so you know where to eat at least one fabulous meal a day. Let´s go? Or shall I say “Laten we gaan”?
For my first ten years of eating pizza, I always, always, always went for the prosciutto e funghi option. I guess that´s not so unusual for a kid, to find THE pizza and stick to it until adulthood. Maybe a bit more unusual (to not use the word sad), is that once I reached teenagehood, I found myself a new pizza I stuck with for about ten years, and that was Hawaii (outrageous, I know). And now, in adulthood, I´ve been stuck on Diavola. So essentially, it´s been three pizza flavours defining my life, and I rarely strayed from them. Recently, though, I found myself twice (and that is a lot!), choosing pizzas with figs in them, a combination I never thought would work. And boy, did I like it. I liked it so much that after doing some testing at home, I came up with an own prosciutto and fig pizza recipe, which I´m happily sharing with you this #homemadeMonday. I promise that even if it doesn´t sound like your cup of tea (or slice of pizza), you´ll be amazed by how good this combo tastes.
I´m typing this #homemadeMonday from the Hoxton´s lobby (take it as a great recommendation if you want to have a nice drink while you´re in Amsterdam). I´ve just head some poached eggs on an English muffin and half an avo toast, but my mouth is still watering at the thought of this week´s recipe – a couscous with fried apricots, halloumi, sundried tomatoes and mint. I just find the combination so utterly perfect, that I never want to try couscous any other way. Although, I will also continue making it in hubby´s favourite fashion – find the recipe here.
Pears are definitely not in my top five favourite fruit, but I find myself adding to dishes over and over again – like in this drunken pear risotto or in this perfect winter salad (shhhh, it´s perfect for summer too!). And then when Pinterest gave me the idea to wrap them in prosciutto, with a bit of creamy cheese and a mango chutney topping, I felt like I died and went straight to heaven. It´s a stretch to call this an actual recipe, considering there´s no cooking involved, but I thought I´d nonetheless put it on the blog for your next brunch session.
The month of June has been an abysmal failure if you judge it by the number of books I read, which is a big, fat null. Obviously, that number should not be something to guide yourself by, but I do feel guilty for not having a proper book club recap for you all so instead I compiled a list of five light-ish beach reads that could inspire you for your summer holiday. I won´t give away too much, but here are the books I would love re-reading on a sandy beach, with a margarita in my hand.
June marks the one year anniversary of the #guestchefseries and not that I´ve run out of friends, but this month I am actually repeating a guest chef. Meanting, you are now meeting my 97 year old Nonna again, this time for her delicious (and beautiful) ratatouille dish. We cooked it together a couple of weeks ago and then I reproduced it at home, in a prettier format, to share with you all as I think it´s the perfect dinner party recipe. And while it might look fancy it´s actually super easy to make! Keep reading…
To me, all dishes I end up loving carry with them the story of when, where and with whom I first had them. When it comes to minestrone, I wish I could tell you I had it on a narrow Italian street as I was visiting that beautiful country, but the reality is, I first tried minestrone on a dark day, in a tiny Italian restaurant in the middle of Berlin, with my friend Sam. I loved it instantly but it wasn´t until years later that I finally tried doing it myself at home. And now, after much testing and tasting, I bring you this recipe (inspired by Magnolia´s Table). Minestrone is an ancient soup, literally dating from B.C. times, in what was the Roman empire. And while you can technically throw in it any veggies, I find that there are a few “cannot miss” ones – like celery and carrot. Anyway, read on to see how I make minestrone for the whole block.
For someone who doesn´t like quinoa, I sure am persistent in trying to find combinations that will work with it. That´s how this #homemadeMonday edition came about. Me, myself and I, strolling around the farmers´ market in the search for veggies that would work well with this earthy seed. I came up with radishes (oddly enough, one of my least favourite veggies), cucumber and of course – feta cheese. What resulted is a fresh summer salad, with earthy tones, that makes for a great light, yet rich in vitamins lunch or dinner. Read on for the recipe.