Thursday, 29 October 2009

Licia's Quiche Lorrainishe

This is a cross between quiche and Italy's torta rustica (savoury pie), while the recipe is basically inspired by the famous quiche Lorraine, there are a few key modifications I made, so it became "Lorrainish" :-p Possibilities for variations are abound, you can use any cheeses that melt well, or potatoes can be substituted with broccoli, cauliflower or asparagus depending on the season. They are also great for picnic or potluck as they still taste good at room temperature.

Licia's Quiche Lorrainishe

1 small onion, chopped
150g speck or smoked bacon, shredded thin
1 large potato, chopped into small cubes (a little less than 1cm for quick cooking)
Olive oil
3 eggs
250g ricotta
80g gorgonzola, cubed
100g fontina (or gruyere, emmental or edam), shredded
dash of black pepper
240-300g sheet of puff pastry dough

In a large skillet heat up about 2tbsp of olive oil. Add onion, speck/bacon and potato until onion and potato are cooked through. Transfer the mixture on an absorbent paper and let it cool to the room temperature.

In the meanwhile line a pie form about 28cm diametre with the puff pastry sheet, covering well also the side.
Punch some holes on the bottom surface, cover with a wax paper and pour some dried beans evenly(just to loosely cover the bottom surface in a single layer).
Blind bake the pie shell for about 10 minutes at 200°C, until the edges are lightly browned.
Beat together the eggs and ricotta until well blended. Add the cheeses and the sautèed mixture, season with a dash of black pepper. Mix well.

Remove the beans* and the wax paper from the pie shell, and pour the egg-cheese mixture over the shell. Spread it out evenly.

Put the pie back to the oven and bake another 12-15 minutes, until the surface is nicely golden.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Strawberry Millefoglie (Mille-Feuille)

Strawberry Millefoglie (Mille-feuille)

Using the ready made puff pastry sheets, this is a magical dessert that is very easy to make and looks and tastes absolutely fantastic!! Of course for a variation, you can try other fruit sauces, raspberry, blackberry or peaches also work very well. My recommendation also is to make some extra strawberry sauce, which will be always handy for ice cream, crepes, strawberry shortcakes etc!!

3 ready made puff pastry, about 20-22cm square*
*you can also cut the squares out of unbaked sheets, poke some holes on the surface with the fork and bake at 190-200° until golden brown.
custard (crema pasticcera), about 700ml see recipe at

strawberry sauce
500g strawberry, fresh or frozen
200g gelling sugar for jam (sugar with pectin added)
juice of 1/2 lemon
powdered gelatin, if needed

Prepare the custard. Let it chill.
Prepare the strawberry sauce, by roughly whipping the strawberries in a mixer, leaving them still a bit chunky. In a sauce pan heat up the strawberries, sugar and the lemon juice together, bring to a boil and let it simmer for a few minutes. Stir often. If it is still too liquidy, mix in a tiny bit (half a teaspoonful or less) of powdered gelatin, stir well and let it dissolve and add to the cooking mixture, let it boil for another minute or so. Let it cool down.

Spread the custard generously over a sheet of puff pastry, then cover with another pastry sheet. repeat the procedure with the rest of the custard cream twice. Over the surface (should be the top layer of the custard) generously spread the strawberry sauce.

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Oven Roasted Bell Peppers

Oven Roasted Bell Peppers (Sicilia, Lazio)

They are delicious "tapa" by themselves, or an alternative topping for bruschetta. While roasting, do not worry about the burnt patches on the surface, they are just external skins which are to be easily peeled off. Alternatively the peppers can be roasted on a barbeque grill during a cookout, which makes a nice accompaniment to the meal.

4 bell large bell peppers (for choreographic effect, 2 red 2 yellow)
4 garlic cloves
handful of capers
handful of pine nuts
extra virgine olive oil

Cut off the top of the bell peppers, place one garlic clove inside each bell peppers.
Place the bell peppers on a shallow baking dish, roast them in the oven at 180°C for about 30-35 minutes, or until they are full cooked and limp. Turn over the peppers once around 15-20 minutes into cooking.
Take off the peppers and let it cool off, until you can comfortably handle them. They should be still quite warm.
Peel off the external skin of the peppers. (once the peppers cool off too much it becomes more difficult to peel!) Then rip them into several strips.
Take the garlic from the inside of the peppers, mush them up.
Rinse the capers under running water to eliminate the excess salt, then chop it up.
Toss the pepper strips with the mushed up garlic, caper and pine nuts.
Drizzle with good quality extra virgine olive oil, serve at room temperature.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Chick Salad al Avocado

This is no ordinary boring chicken salad, avocado is a wonderful companion of chicken, crispy bacon and toasted cashew adds the nice flavour kick for your sandwich/wrap. Turkey can also be used in place of the chicken, and this will be a fresh idea for the leftover roast during the upcoming holiday season!


-450g/1lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked* and roughly shredded
(*Grilled, pan fried, boiled in a light broth with a bayleaf, or leftover roast, according to your preference/convenience)
-100g/3,5oz bacon crispily cooked and flaked
-50g cashew, crushed and toasted
-2 big plump ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
-splash of lime juice
-mixture of mayonnaise and sour cream, as needed to coat the ingredients sufficiently, but not to drown them
-dash of black pepper.

combine all the ingredients, coating them with the condiment thoroughly.
Serve chilled or at room temperature, by itself or as a filling for wraps/sandwiches.