The Aunts visiting

This weekend, the Aunts from the Netherlands1 visited us, and this was a nice opportunity for me to unwind with some nice cooking. The goal was to have really nice food, straightforward to make, and be in the general Mediterranean area with respect to the flavours. The one constraint we had was that one of the Aunts is vegetarian, so we had a vegetarian option with every meal.

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Salmon, polenta chips, and zucchini fritters


This dish is a combination of two recipes from a cookbook I recently discovered entitled “How to be a better cook.” I like how the dishes are simple, classic, and yet innovative. The book is intended to be a guide for those that do not dare enter the kitchen; indeed, the concept of the show that bares the same name is to take a newbie cook (i.e., someone who thinks that cooking an omelet is easy) and teaching them how to make a three-course meal from scratch.

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Spaghetti alle vongole


One of the things I miss the most in this land locked country is fresh fish. And by fresh I do not mean fillets that your fishmonger extracts from a well styled iced window. No, by fresh I mean fish that was swimming the previous evening in the Adriatic sea, and is now on my plate.

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Salmon with lentils


I am attempting to reduce my carbs input, and this recipe just hits the spot. It is surprisingly delicious, with two crucial points in the recipe. First, the crispy salmon crust that is made by searing the fish in a very hot pan; second, the addition of vinegar to the lentils adds a fantastic freshness.

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Pear frangipane tart


If you ever wondered how to cram as much butter in a cake per cubic centimeter, wonder no more.

This recipe is based on a cake presented by Michel Roux Jr. on the BBC show Food and Drink. I suppose Michel Roux was targeting the Brit’s soft spot for preserved fruits when he constructed the recipe. But for me, the more intriguing part of the recipe was the French bit: frangipane and shortcrust pastry.

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A tub of ricotta


Some things make me happy for no good reason.

I was making ricotta pancakes the past weekend for breakfast, and the first step in the recipe was to mix a tub of ricotta with some eggs. I turned the ricotta tub over my bowl, and the ricotta came perfectly out, in one drop, no residue on the tub. That made me happy.

A flower bouquet, my way


It makes me very happy to stumble upon a cake recipe that is both stunning and simple to make. It is not that I do not enjoy a challenge—on the contrary—but the beauty of simplicity is something I can readily appreciate. My Mom found this recipe on Youtube: it is not unusual that there is something useful in the 300 hours of video that are uploaded every minute. When my Dad sent me the photos and the link, I was hooked: I do not remember the last time I was so thrilled by a recipe, so it did not take long for the first try.

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