May 20, 2013

roasted spiced chickpeas... cuz we need some heat

ok, so i was wrong, the sun did peek thru the clouds a few times, and flowers have been stubbornly blooming, but where s the warmth?

guess we just have to make some ourselves, so here s what i did (and yes, i do admit it, the power of the internet showed me some inspiring ideas via Pinterest etc...)

so here goes, i m making it simple now:

take 400 gr of cooked chickpeas (canned is fine), wash and drain:

and now have some fun choosing your own spices; i use 1 tablespoon of this Chili Explosion mix from the Santa Maria brand because it makes life easier (but feel free to make any spice mix you like... cayenne pepper, ground chili, ground black pepper, ground cumin, garam masala, a touch of salt... the combinations are endless) mixed with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then toss the drained chickpeas into this spicy oil until well coated.

roast the chickpeas on a lined baking tray in a hot oven (200°C / 400°F) until crispy, that is between 30-40 minutes.

watch out, once you start (and they re great still hot from the oven) it s hard to stop munching on these babies...

May 3, 2013

spring... finally

where to start...

it has been a long long long winter, but i believe that finally the sun is getting the upper hand and the winter gods have given up in this part of the world.

and just when the nights were warming up little by little, our waterheater decided to blow its last breath... so, there were a few nervous moments trying to find a good plumber (actually pretty hard even tho there s so many around) who also had the time to come as soon as possible to install a brand new heater (i can take a bit of cold, but not going without hot water for too long)!
however, as i write this, they re here... banging away, and hopefully by this evening, i ll be able to have a long hot bath!

meanwhile, food-wise, spring means new young fresh vegetables and lighter dishes.

whereas during the dark months i d happily go for musky woolly mushrooms in a risotto, this time i just had to go for the season s white asparagus combined with little sweet peas.

and when you need some time to clear your head and just contemplate the cooking process, making a risotto can be meditative and relaxing.



500 gr white asparagus, stalks peeled and cut into 3 cm pieces, then steamed lightly
280 gr arborio or carnaroli rice
250 gr green peas (thawed if from frozen)
2 banana shallots, finely chopped
1500 ml light chicken stock, kept warm
20 gr unsalted butter
100 ml double cream
70 ml Noilly Prat vermouth
rapeseed oil
salt and pepper
Pecorino Romano cheese for grating


1. using a heavy based casserole, start by gently sweating the chopped shallots in some rapeseed oil
2. add the rice and toast for about 5 minutes
3. add the Noilly Prat and stir until it has been absorbed
4. then keep adding the stock, ladle by ladle, waiting and stirring in between until the stock too has been absorbed
5. add the steamed asparagus pieces halfway through the cooking process
6. at the end of cooking (it will take about half an hour to 40 minutes, working gently) add the thawed peas and warm through
7. finally add the butter and cream and let it all melt in, then season to taste with salt and pepper and a grating of nutmeg (which is unusual but somehow works really well)
8. serve all'onda, meaning slightly loose, with a grating of the Pecorino Romano.

a soft and gentle risotto.

i m ready for those brighter days, bring it on!