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.
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.
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.
This #homemadeMonday called for a light dish – not because of any efforts towards a summer body (all bodies are summer bodies) but because it´s Sangria season and that to me means light dishes and heavy Sangria jars. And since the farmers´ market I go to on Saturdays has been displaying an exquisite selection of zucchinis for the past few days, I thought of giving the raw zucchini a chance. Mind you, I´ve only ever tasted cooked zucchini before, but was pleasantly surprised by how the raw version tasted. I inspired myself from this recipe – changing some things like replacing the goat cheese for feta cheese, the pine nuts for walnuts, choosing amaranth microgreens for an even nutty-er flavour and coating it all with honey instead of lemon juice. Read on for my recipe, or check the one I linked.
Perhaps one of my most prized family possessions is this old cooking book which 40 years ago must have been present in every single Romanian household – Silvia Jurcovan´s Carte de Bucate. It was initially my grandma´s, then my mom´s and when I turned 27 my mom gave it to me. Inside its yellow pages, I found more yellow pages, with short and simple dessert recipes, hand written by my grandma and collected from her various friends and relative. That gave me the idea to make my grandma this month´s honorary #guestchef. In her honour I made a simple strawberry cake and improved on it with a cocoa cream and some decorative strawberries. It is so simple to make, tasted deliciously and looked so great, my grandma would have surely loved it. I hope you do too.
I know what you´re thinking – what an odd name for a recipe. How can eggs look like dumplings and what does avo toast have to do with them? Well originally, this was of cooking eggs was supposed to yield us poached eggs. But I realised that if I let them cook just a little bit longer, and get the yolk hard boiled, the egg white ends up looking like a dumpling and it all looks gorgeous on an avocado toast, making an epic brunch menu. So this #homemadeMonday I´ll be showing you how to make eggs that look like dumplings and put them on an avo toast, with a hollandaise topping and sprinkled with chilli flakes.