Sunday, 27 March 2011

"When you are free of the world, you can do something about it. As long as you are a prisoner of it, you are helpless to change it. On the contrary, whatever you do will aggravate the situation."

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, "I Am That"

Monday, 21 March 2011

Spinach and ricotta pudding with roasted cherry tomatoes

Last Thursday we had a holiday break. The weather was cold and damp, whith heavy rain falling al day long. We spent the whole day at home, long 'lazy hours' spent in cooking, storytelling and art projects.
The holiday break turned into a baking break: millet and coconut muffins for breakfast; spinach and ricotta pudding with roasted tomatoes for lunch.
As it always happens to me when I am up to several things at the same time, some trivial miniature disasters occured, including: almost burnt muffins, salt-less spinach pudding, and a sticky floor due to Maddalena's collages, happily blooming all over the dining room!

The spinach ricotta pudding recipe comes from my mother's 'memory cookbook', where nothing is written or weighed...but the result is always perfect. I had to be patient enough to weigh the ingredients and adjust to my taste, but, finally, here is the recipe I'd like to share with you.

Ingredients (serves 4):

fresh spinach: 400 gr
ricotta: 250 gr
eggs: 3
parmesan cheese: 6 tablespoons, grated + 3 for gratin
nutmeg powder: one pinch (optional)
butter: 20 gr
corn flour: 3-4 tablespoons
extravirgin olive oli: 1-2 tablespoons
cherry tomatoes: 400 gr

Pre-heat the oven at 180° C. Grease a small baking pan with butter and coat with corn flour.
Wash the spinach carefully, then stew in a saucepan for 10-15 minutes.
Remove from heat and drain the water in excess. Reserve until cool.
In a large bowl whisk together eggs and parmesan cheese then add ricotta cheese, nutmeg and salt to taste, and mix roughly with a fork.
Place the cooled spinach on a chopping board and finely chop whith a chopping knife, then add to the eggs and cheese mixture.
Pour the mixture into the baking pan then cover with corn flour and parmesan and sprinkle with olive oil.
Bake for 30 minutes in the oven, then cook au gratin for 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile wash and drain the tomatoes. Place in a baking pan covered with a baking sheet and sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bake for about 15 minutes.
Serve the spinach and ricotta pudding with roasted tomatoes or tomato sauce.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Cauliflower carpaccio with mustard citronette

Cauliflowers are amongst the most beautiful vegetables you can find in nature: white, green, or purple inflorescences surrounded by a luxuriant leafy nest. No wonder I always pick one at our local market...I like to get the most out of it and serve it as a vegetarian 'carpaccio': raw marinated paper-thin slices, for crunchy and healthy bites!

Ingredients (serves 2):

white cauliflower: 300 gr approximately
lemon juice: 1 lemon
extra virgin olive oil: 1 and ½ tablespoon
mustard: 1 teaspoon
salt: 1 pinch

For garnish:

lemon: 1 teaspoon of finely minced organic lemon zest
black sesame seeds: 1 teaspoon
rocket salad: 1 handful (optional)

Quarter a small cauliflower, discard central core and reserve for other purposes. Slice one quarter (approximately 300 gr.) as thin as possible and place the paper-thin, tree-shaped slices onto 2 plates.

In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice with mustard and salt, then add the extra virgin olive oil and whisk well until combined. Adjust seasoning.

Season the cauliflower carpaccio with the mustard citronette. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and lemon zest. Add rocket salad for garnish.

Marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge before serving.

Monday, 7 March 2011

"Mirrors reflect our bodies. Life, the external environment, reflects our minds."

Thubten Gyatso, "Transforming Problems into the Dharma Path"
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