Nothing makes my heart (and belly) sing more than a perfect roast potato. Crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside with a light sprinkling of good quality salt flakes, these definitely belong to the Royal Family of ‘comfort foods’. It’s not really hard to achieve […]
While you may have had Oxtail Stew before, if you haven’t tried this classic Roman recipe you really are missing out. I love slow cooked meats and this is one recipe that is well worth the wait. You will either buy beef or veal ‘tails’, and the butcher will cut […]
If you love Chocolate Mousse, but feel guilty consuming loads of cream, you will love this less guilt-ridden version. It isn’t low calorie, and avocados are high in fat, but they are not high in saturated fat. Instead providing a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat, which […]
I love eggs for breakfast, and if I’m out, there is one dish I will always choose for a satisfying breakfast and that’s Eggs Benedict. I would usually have this as ‘Brunch’, because I would rarely want lunch after a plate of these. So, let’s agree that it’s a decadent brunch option. Eggs Benedict is actually a traditional American breakfast or brunch dish that consists of two halves of an English muffin, each topped with bacon, a poached egg and Hollandaise sauce. I sadly can’t get English muffins here, and I did contemplate making them, but once I dismissed that idea I decided I could still make a version of Eggs Benedict, but make it and Italian version. As long as there is a poached egg and hollandaise sauce… I’m happy. Many serve Eggs Benedict with baby spinach, but I thought I’d add a favourite vegetable that I discovered living in Italy and that’s agretti. Agretti in English is Salsola soda and if you’d like to know exactly what it is you can read about it here. I have allowed one egg per person, but obviously you can add another! Timing is important when it comes to making eggs benedict… just make sure you know exactly what you’re going to do and in what order before you start, and you’ll find that in little time, you’ll be presenting a restaurant worthy breakfast that will definitely impress whoever the lucky recipient is… even if that’s yourself!
Eggs Benedict Italian Style – recipe for two people
- 2 eggs (as fresh as possible)
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- Italian focaccia, pizza bianca or rustic Tuscan bread
- 100g cooked agretti or baby spinach
- olive oil
- 4 slices prosciutto crudo or bacon
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, (to taste)
- 140g melted unsalted butter
- Maldon salt flakes
- If you are using bacon, cook it first and let rest on kitchen paper to absorb excess fat. If using prosciutto crudo, use it as is.
- Boil water in a small saucpean, add a little salt and boil agretti for 5 minutes. Remove, add a teaspoon of olive oil, stir and put aside.
- Bring a large saucepan two-thirds-filled with water to a boil, then add the vinegar. Bring the water to a boil again, then lower the heat to a bare simmer.
- Put focaccia, pizza bianca or crusty bread slices in the oven at 180°C or put under the grill. Pay attention it doesn’t burn.
- While you can make hollandaise sauce a bain marie and whisk it by hand, I find it much easier to to make it in a blender. Melt butter. Put 3 egg yolks, lemon juice, and salt in a blender, blend on medium to medium high speed for about 30 seconds, until eggs lighten in color. Turn blender down to lowest setting and slowly pour in the hot melted butter, while continuing to blend. Add more salt or lemon juice to taste if necessary.
- To poach the eggs, break the eggs into a small bowl, one at a time. Make sure water is just at a very light simmer, and with a spoon, stir the water to create a ‘whirlpool’. Gently drop the egg into the centre and allow to cook. (You can pour more eggs in, one at a time, although I honestly like to do them one at a time.) To achieve a soft poached egg, it should take between 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the size of the egg. When ready, remove gently with a slotted spoon and allow to rest on a clean tea towell or kitchen paper.
- Assemble your Eggs Benedict. Place toasted bread on plate. Add agretti or spinach, top with prosciutto and then gently lay the poached egg on top. Spoon a generous dollop of hollandaise sauce on top, crack some black pepper on top and sprinkle with Maldon salt flakes. You could also garnish with freshly chopped chives if you like.
- Eat as soon as possible!
Uova alla Benedict
- 2 uova (il più fresco possibile)
- 2 cucchiaini di aceto bianco
- focaccia, pizza bianca o il pane casalingo
- 100g agretti o spinaci
- olio d’oliva
- 4 fette di prosciutto crudo
- 3 tuorli d’uovo
- 1 cucchiaio di succo di limone
- 1/2 cucchiaino di sale, (a piacere)
- 140g di burro fuso salato
- scaglie di sale Maldon
Pancakes are always a favourite breakfast choice in my house, especially with my son Joseph. It isn’t strange for him the request pancakes at any time of the day actually, and has a habit of requesting them late at night after dinner too. Pancake batter […]
Although this recipe is traditionally made with sardines, I used fresh anchovies. I visited my fish monger and he didn’t have sardines, but he had a beautiful tray of anchovies already cleaned & filetted… so I decided I’d just make the same recipe with a smaller fish. The combination of ingredients in this dish are a marriage of wonderful flavours that I sincerely love. Sarde a Beccafico is a recipe from Sicily, and I don’t think there’s anything that comes out of Sicily’s kitchen that I don’t love, savoury or sweet! These can be eaten as an Appetiser, an accompaniment to a summer Aperitivo or as a Main Course.
Sarde a Beccafico
- 500g fresh sardines (or anchovies)
- 100g breadcrumbs (preferably homemade)
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons currants
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- juice of 1 lemon
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- salt & pepper
- Bay leaves
- zest of 1 orange
- Clean fish carefully, remove scales and gently flatten the sardine skin side down. Starting at the head end, carefully lift up the backbone and pull it away from the fillet; discard the backbone. (Or ask your friendly fish monger to do this for you). It is traditional to leave the tails attached, but you can remove them if you prefer.
- Toast the breadcrumbs gently in a frying pan, stirring and moving them around the pan. When they are golden, place breadcrumbs into a bowl. Don’t just remove the frying pan from the heat, because the breadcrumbs will continue cooking and could burn.
- To the breadcrumbs, add the garlic, currants, pinenuts and a little olive oil. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
- Lay your sardines flat (skin side down) and using a teaspoon, spoon a little of the breadcrumb mixture on top. Starting at the head end, roll up the sardine and place it in a shallow baking dish, lightly oiled with olive oil. The tails should be sticking up. (my anchovies were without tails). Alternate the rows of sardines with bay leaves and keep everything tight and snug to prevent the fish opening while in the oven.
- In a small bowl, add lemon juice, a little olive oil, salt, pepper and orange zest. Pour this evenly over the sardines.
- Place in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15 minutes.
- These are delicious eaten hot, luke warm, or even cold!
- Like many recipes throughout Italy, even in a small province, or island like Sicily, recipes can vary depending where you live. This is another recipe I found, which has a few more ingredients added to the filling. The procedure is the same….. so… the choice is yours which sounds more appealing…
- 900g fresh sardines
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1/3 cup currants, plumped in water
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- 8 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 6 black olives, pitted and slivered
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- Juice and zest of 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 dozen bay leaves
ITALIANO: Sarde a Beccafico
- 500g di sarde
- 100g di pangrattato
- 2 cucchiai di pinoli
- 2 cucchiai di uvetta passolina
- 1 spicchio di aglio, tritato
- succo di 1 limone
- olio extravergine di oliva
- sale e pepe
- foglie di alloro
- scorza di arancia
- Pulite con pazienza le sarde, togliendo la lisca centrale e la testa. Apritele a libro. (Puoi anche chiedere il tuo pescevendolo di fare il lavoro di pulizia per te).
- Tostate il pangrattato in una padella mescolando con attenzione finchè non sarà dorato. Togliete dalla padella altrimenti continua a tostare, e metterlo in una ciotola.
- Al pangrattato, aggiungere l’aglio, olio, i pinoli e l’uvetta (fatta rinvenire in acqua tiepida). Mescolare tutto finchè il composto sarà omogeneo.
- Distribuitene un cucchiaino su ogni sarda (dal lato interno) e arrotolatela su se stessa. Disponete i rotolini di sarde in una teglia unta di olio altertnandoli con le foglie di alloro e stringendoli bene in modo che si sostengano tra loro.
- Spremete il succo di limone, e unite il sale, pepe, olio extravergine e la scorza di arancia. Bagnare le sarde, e infornate per 15 minuti a 180°C. Si mangiano caldi o freddi.