Category Archives: Italian

Spaghetti with piri-piri sausages and black olive tapenade

Last weekend, at Chez Kalra’s we made some really awesome black olive tapenade. And joy of joys, we brought the leftover tapenade home with us, leaving our lovely hosts to make some more.

Now while the tapenade tastes lovely with some toasted bread and possibly a little cheese, since that day I’ve been drooling at the idea of having it tossed with a little spaghetti. I happen to have some chilli garlic spaghetti that I got on my last trip to Milan and I figured the taste and colour would go perfectly with the glistening black tapenade. Add in some thick piri-piri sausages, and some garlic and herbs and we have a winner. A delightful dinner for two, so quick and easy that I made in the time it took for the pasta to cook.

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Sundried Tomatoes – without the sun!

We love sun-dried tomatoes. They taste great in a variety of dishes, from anti-pasti to salads and sandwiches, even as an addition to simple spaghetti al’olio.

Sun drying tomatoes is usually a very easy affair. All you need are tomatoes and plenty of strong sunshine. Alas, the UK weather is so fickle that we cannot be guaranteed of continuous sunshine for any length of time. But I had a huge box of cherry tomatoes that were just begging to be used.

So here is my version; simple oven-dried cherry tomatoes with garlic and sea salt. The concentration of flavours into these tiny slivers of rich tomatoey goodness is amazing – truly sunshine in every bite, even on a gloomy and rainy day. Thanks for the inspiration, Rhea.

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Maritozzi Con La Panna (Roman cream buns)

 The June bread challenge set for us in the We Knead to Bake group was ‘Maritozzi Con La Panna’ – which is an Italian sweet bun, sort of like a brioche. They have an orange and vanilla flavour and are traditionally filled with whipped cream or with a glaze or even dusting of icing sugar. We decided to forego both versions, and they tasted brilliant even served as-is with our evening tea/coffee. The combination of orange with vanilla was very nice, and the raisins and toasted pine nuts provided an interesting texture with each bite.

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‘Gone-in-ten-minutes’ Rosemary and Thyme Focaccia

This classic Italian bread is a firm favourite in our household. It rarely lasts long, so much so that I’ve nicknamed it my ‘gone-in-ten-minutes’ focaccia. It is super easy to make, requiring very low skills in bread making or kneading. What it does require though, is a little self-belief and confidence in handling wet doughs, and the faith that it will turn out alright despite appearances.

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Avocado, Mozzarella and Salami Open Sandwich

Avocado, Mozarella and Salami Open Sandwich

Continuing the theme of avocado breakfasts, here is another gem that resulted from an impromptu raid through the fridge for leftovers and things that needed fnishing up.

  • Take one slice of toast. I had used a multiseeded brown bread. It needs to be crunchy to add that exta bit of texture in contrast to the softness of the avocado and mozzarella.
  • Slather it with some philadelphia cream cheese and red pepper hummus
  • Layer on some mixed italian salami
  • Top with chunks of fresh avocado and mozzarella
  • Drizzle with a little flavoured olive oil. I used some that was left over from a jar of homemade  thyme, rosemary and garlic flavoured sundried tomatoes. You could also alternatively dot it with sriracha sauce for an extra kick


Penne with garlic chilli pesto

Inspiration time in our household. Recently someone gave me some homemade chilli garlic pesto. Made with home grown basil and chillies. And it was some of the best I’ve ever tasted. I will now have to get the recipe and create this masterpiece from scratch myself.

In the meantime, some penne with garlic chilli pesto, and sprinkle of parmigiano reggiano. Sometimes the simplest things are the tastiest. When you can taste each ingredient, and they sing together in perfect harmony on your palate, you know you’ve got a winner.

Penne with Chilli Garli Pesto

Penne with a homemade chilli garlic pesto

Pea, Rocket, Ham and Pesto soup

Soups are a big favourite in our house, especially homemade ones, and we are constantly on the lookout for new and interesting recipes. I had got a packet of rocket leaves the other day to use in salads, but as usual, forgot to add them when making the salad. I hate wasting and throwing away food, and so started thinking of other ways to use the leaves. This soup has a brilliant attractive green colour that just pulls you in to give it a try. I kept the texture a bit thick and grainy, but it can be easily made into a smooth velvety soup as well.

Pea, rocket, ham & pesto soup

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