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Archive for the ‘italian’ Category

I did not get a picture of my favourite dish from the restaurant in my previous post. But that does not mean that I did not vow to recreate the mix of flavours at my earliest convenience!
The original dish was with fish roe, but I decided to replace it with eggplant for a more vegetarian twist on it. It worked pretty well, although I might try pureeing the eggplant next time instead of frying it up. (I know there’s vegetarian roe… er… but no. There’s no point in even buying that.)

“Japanese Carbonara” with eggplant
(2 portions)
Spaghetti enough for 2 people (depending on your preferred portion size)
1/8l cream
2 egg yolks
1/3-1/2 eggplant (depending on the size of your eggplant)
A small piece of leek or a spring onion, very thinly sliced
Nori, cut into thin strips (I used egg furikake with nori)
(optional) Parsley for decoration

Slice the eggplant and salt it, set to drain for at least 15 minutes.
Pat dry and cut into small pieces, fry with a little salt in neutral oil. (You could use smoked salt to add a little smokyness, I used a few crumbs of smoked chili instead for some extra zing!)
At this point you can also start boiling the pasta al dente in a big pot of salted water.
When the pasta and the eggplant are done (this should ideally coincide in time), drain the pasta, toss it with the cream and arrange on two plates. Arrange the eggplant, leek/spring onion, parsley and egg yolks on top. Sprinkle over the nori and done!

Eat with chopsticks if you can, stirring in the yolk at the table.

I’m submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights hosted this week on The Life & Loves of Grumpy’s Honey Bunch.

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Halloumi, lettuce, rucola, tomatoes and mini-pitas I baked myself (in a break from studying) on Sunday in the big box. Bulgur with sundried tomatoes in the small compartment. I might bring another pita on the side… not decided yet.

This one I made earlier this week but didn’t even have a chance of posting until now, I’ve been so busy. It’s minestrone in the thermos can, a mini-quiche and a whole tomato in the other container and a blue elephant containing butter for the dark bread that I took on the side. It all fit nice and snug in the bag that comes with this set, which is another reason I like this set so much!

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Bento #287

Monday’s not a good day for making bentos in the evening, so a somewhat less elaborate bento today. There’ll be more penguins later this week, be assured.

Italian flag pasta – tossed with pesto and fried mangold on top, tossed with butter and parmesan on top, and tossed with tomato sauce and more of the same sauce on top. Not quite as Japanesely clean as three-colour rice but fun to make!

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Bento #285

Quite a simple bento today… (I have a cold… Meh.)
Pasta, caponata made with baby eggplants from the Asian supermarket (brinjals), asparagus and rosemary decoration.

I tried Brinjals in curry before, but not in European dishes. From a try last night I’d say… interesting.
The taste is there, but the texture is quite different, lots of tiny seeds. It’s a bit of a surprise feeling them on your tongue the first time. But we’ll see how it works at lunchtime!

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Homemade gnocchi in tomato-bell pepper sauce (the smooth version of the recipe below) with parmesan and a basil leaf in the small container; Feta cubes (have to get some protein into me somehow), homegrown yellow and red cherry tomatoes, broccoli, bell pepper and grated carrots in the big container.
Not the most inspired arrangement… I was tired. But it will be yummy! I’m also bringing a bottle of balsamic vinegar dressing for the veggies and feta but I forgot it until after the photo.

Remember these? When I posted about the gnocchi previously, I wasn’t quite happy with the recipe yet. I have filed on the recipe I had a little and it works better now:

Looks much better! (I left out the parsley this time. It looked good on the photo but really, it didn’t add much to the taste.)
Granted, a better quality potato might have worked even better. But this is Sweden and I have to work with what I have on hand…

To be honest, I was surprised at how simple the recipe actually was. If I had known that before, I would have made gnocchi much sooner! It was actually easier than making pasta.
The main problem, as I had suspected, was that the instructions to quarter the potatoes before boiling had been made for big baking potatoes. The ones I can buy here are small – only 5 cm max on the longest side. When boiling them whole and peeling them afterwards, the dough got much drier and stuck together nicely with half the flour.
The ingredients:
500g mealy potatoes, boiled and peeled
100-150g wheat flour
2 egg yolks
1 Tsp. of olive oil, Salt to taste
Mash the potatoes and make into a sticky dough together with the rest of the ingredients. Roll into finger-thick sausages and cut off gnocchi. Boil in portions in salted water until they start floating. As simple as that!

I still have cherry tomatoes ripening and since they’re so good, they deserved to be used reverently. Luckily, this sauce does them justice.
You will need:
about 2 handfuls of homegrown cherry tomatoes
1 red or yellow bell pepper
1 clove of garlic
olive oil, salt, pepper and basil

Halve the bell pepper and roast skin-side up in the oven/broiler until the skin goes black and bubbly. Cool and remove skin. Cut the rest into thin strips and set aside.
Blanch the cherry tomatoes in hot water and de-skin them (cut a cross in the bottom if they’re not all ripe – mine just popped out of their skins without any help though!). Try not to eat all of them like candy before putting them into the sauce.
In a pan, heat olive oil and garlic. Add the tomatoes and bell pepper and let them melt into a still chunky sauce. Season with salt and cracked pepper.

Serve with julienned basil leaves and Parmesan cheese on or tossed with the pasta of your choice.
It works just as well with spaghetti:

I’m submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights hosted this week by Heather at Girlichef.

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Bento #260

Annnd here’s today’s bento.

Organic ravioli with ricotta and spinach, tomato and roasted bell pepper sauce, parmesan cheese in the small box.
Two slices of garlic butter baguette (my coworkers are gonna love me for this =.=), green-and-orange-striped bell pepper slices, cherry tomatoes and a Mozart ball chocolate in the big box.
Freckled Basil leaves as decoration.

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Weekend pasta: Gnocchi!

I got two cooking magazines in the mail yesterday! That would not be so special, but they were sent by my grandma. :)
And they were good – one recipe specifically caught my eye and I had to cook it immediately! I’ve been looking for ways to use some more of my lovely cherry tomatoes, and gnocchi was a challenge I couldn’t resist.

The result: I’m not sure I would recommend the magazine’s method of cooking the potatoes for the gnocchi – the dough got too watery and the gnocchi were quite soft in the end. But the taste was nice, and the sauce, with some changes from my side (I removed several ingredients to keep the taste of the tomatoes more pure) was delicious.

Gnocchi with parsley and tomato-ovenbaked bell pepper, onion and garlic sauce.

Mom – can you print this out and send it to grandma when you get to it, please?

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