Cucina Bianca

Well I have hit the 1000 views mark, so big thanks to all who have visited my page. I really hope you have enjoyed reading and maybe even been inspired by my dishes. I haven’t posted for around a week now as I have been very busy at work. I have been cooking of course, so here’s a little catch up…..

Cucina Bianca is a way of cooking in Italy using very basic, white ingredients. Although this sounds boring, I combined cabbage, potatoes and a smoky cheese and the finished product was amazing. I began by putting some chopped Savoy cabbage leaves into boiling water to boil away for around 10 minutes, then I turned my attention to the humble potatoes. I peeled, chopped thinly then blanched the potatoes for a few minutes.
Once your vegetables are ready, grease a baking dish with plenty of butter. Lay down a layer of potatoes, covering with a couple of knobs of butter. Cover with a layer of Savoy cabbage and top with thinly cut strips of cheese (I used a smoky cheddar). Repeat the layers until you have used all ingredients. Finish with a layer of cheese and into the oven for 25 mins.

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Simple is not the word and this dish is so hearty, healthy and can be notched up on a budget, it’s just fantastic!

Leftovers

We often cook too much of a portion and most of us either put leftovers in the fridge for later, put in the fridge and forget about them, put them in the freezer or worse of all just throw them away. In my case I put my leftover Sicilian salmon (although there was no salmon left) into the fridge to have for lunch.
However, instead of simply reheating it I wanted to try be a bit more adventurous. I had the idea of shaping them into small balls, coating them in breadcrumbs then shallow frying them and oh boy what a delight!
I very simply added 1 egg into the leftover sauce to get a nice sticky consistency and make some breadcrumbs. Take a tablespoon of the mixture and shape into balls before coating them in the breadcrumbs. Once nicely coated, shallow fry until they have a nice golden colour and there you go, simplicity!

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I served this over some rocket tossed in balsamic vinegar, a lovely light lunch pack full of flavour. The mixture actually tasted a little sweet and sour, the chillies as sultanas in the sauce really married together well.
Quite excited for the next few days, I predict another pizza is on the card soon, I want to try a beetroot risotto and have some chicken as well. Will keep you all posted of course.

Happy eating everyone!

J

All you need is food

If I ever needed proof that food solves all your problems then I got some today. A rather dismal day at work forgotten in the time it took me to gather my ingredients for tonight’s dinner. I have been really healthy recently, and tonight’s dinner was no exception, Chicken with courgettes, sugar snap peas and some basil rocket.

You may have noticed already, but I don’t like doing too much to ingredients. I would go as far to say that I am put off by complicated recipes that have a huge list of ingredients. I say keep it simple and let the ingredients do the talking.
I very simply seasoned some chicken breasts and fried in a little basil olive oil on all sides until there as a little colour in them. I then placed the chicken into a pre heated oven at 180degrees for 10 minutes. Meanwhile I chopped a courgette into thin strips and added to some boiling chicken stock to poach for a few minutes.
That is all the cooking I am planning to do. I will mix some of the aforementioned basil oil in with rocket and serve the sugar snap peas raw. Raw peas take me back to my childhood when every spring I would get in trouble for stealing my mums peas from the garden. I just loved the texture, the freshness and the sweetness of these awesome vegetables.
10 minutes in the oven and my chicken was lovely and juicy. Do take care with chicken, I pierced the thickest part of the breast and looked for juices to run clear. Any sign of pinkness and it needs more time.
I served the chicken over the rocket, drained the courgettes and finished with a nice big pile of raw peas. Delicious, healthy, quick and very very simple. Happy James, and what was it I was so annoyed about? I can’t remember. Thank you food!

Happy eating everyone

J

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Lunchtime Kick

The weather is still foul here; gusty winds and horizontal rain, just horrible. On the positive side however, it is always good to turn to some classic dishes for comfort, this morning I made one such classic to help warm the coggles at lunch time, Penne alla Arrabiata with chilli and fennel sausages.

Yet again, this was a very quick dish to put together, taking the time it took the water to boil and cook the pasta. We got some delicious italian style sausages from our local supermarket bursting with fennel and chilli, they are very very special. I started off by frying the sausages wit some olive oil before turning my attention to the sauce….

I very simply chopped some garlic and onion and added to some passata. I then added 1 tsp of sugar and a whole chilli with all the seeds. I do love chilli, especially when the wind and rain are battering the windows. I cooked the sauce together for around 7-8 minutes as the sausages fried and the pasta boiled.

Once the sausages were done, I cut them into nice chunks and added them to the sauce. A few minutes later and my pasta was nice and al dente. Needless to say I couldn’t stop thinking about my inch all day and it did not disappoint. The mixture of fennel, chilli and tomato together with the delicious al dente pene, it was very special. I just love pasta, and garlic, and chilli and tomato sauce, and fennel haha.

Thank you to all who have visited my blog, I really hope you are enjoying my ramblings on food and do continue to keep in touch. There is no better way to interact with people than through food.

As always, happy eating everyone! Remember that so long as you have food on your plate, you have solved all problems for the time being!

J

Lunch in Minutes

I am beginning to get good at conjuring up dishes with available ingredients and cooking them very quickly to take to work for lunch. This morning my meal was a combo of cupboard favourites and leftovers. I’ve made capers and olives in a tomato sauce served on top of leftover crusty bread.

I quickly, but carefully, slices 1 onion, 1 red chilli and added to a saucepan.

I then added 1 tbsp of capers and a handful of black pitted olives.

To finish, a generous dashing of passata to cover all the ingredients, and 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar.

Whilst it cooked on the stove I cut a piece of Emily’s delicious home baked bread and placed at the bottom of my little plastic tub. Pour over the sauce and add a sprinkling of Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil, delicious. I just cannot wait for lunch now!

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Emily was feeling a little under the weather this morning so I may have to try a centuries old recipe from Tuscany, one that is said to have healing properties, Garmugia. Watch this space……

Hope you all have a great day, fuelled on good food

Happy eating

J