Belgian Endive/Witlof/Chicory Salad with Mandarins and Walnuts

There are few vegetables that have different names in the UK, the US, and Australia, but witlof is one of them. Witlof is what it’s called in Australia and the Netherlands, but it is called Belgian Endive in the US and Chicory in the UK. In this post I’m going to stick to witlof, as this is a Dutch salad.

A witlof salad with mandarins and walnuts is a very homey Dutch dish, that is often made with canned mandarins and store-bought dressing. As such it is okay but nothing special. With a few touches I’ve transformed it into something a lot better: using fresh mandarins rather than from a can, toasting the walnuts, and making my own dressing with fresh mandarin juice and zest, honey and walnut oil. Continue reading “Belgian Endive/Witlof/Chicory Salad with Mandarins and Walnuts”

Tian Provençal

When I saw Richard McGary’s vegetable tian, I knew I’d prepare one too. A tian is actually named after the traditional earthenware dish they are made in. There are vegetable tians, meat tians, and fish tians. I wanted to prepare a tian as a side dish, and so I chose a very traditional tian provençal with eggplant, zucchini, and tomato. Don’t let the simplicity fool you: this tian bursts with flavor anyway thanks to the slow roasting and the herbes de provence. I do not own an actual tian from Provence. For presentation purposes I opted to make single serving mini tians using small ovenproof dishes, but that did mean that it was more difficult to neatly arrange the sliced vegetables. Continue reading “Tian Provençal”

Pizza ai Funghi (Pizza with Mushrooms)

Now that I’ve got the hang of making great pizza at home using cold-fermented dough and baking it tender but crispy in 3 minutes on an aluminum plate, it is time to make pizzas with different toppings. Mushrooms are always a favorite, and the most important thing to get it right is to always sauté the mushrooms before putting them on a pizza. When you bake the mushrooms raw, they will release a lot of liquid that will make your pizza soggy. For additional flavor I like to sauté the mushrooms trifolati, with garlic and parsley. Ingredients For 1 pizza cold-fermented … Continue reading Pizza ai Funghi (Pizza with Mushrooms)

Pasta with Peas and Tomato (Mafaldine Piselli e Pomodoro)

This is a very simple light pasta dish with vegetables, and the nice thing is that you don’t have to go shopping for it if you sieved tomatoes and pasta in your pantry, peas in your freezer, parmigiano in your fridge, and parsley in your garden. In other words, all ingredients keep very well. If you can get good fresh tomatoes where you are, by all means use them instead! But with the ridiculously cold summer we’ve been having here, fresh tomatoes just aren’t good enough. The white wine is optional, it adds freshness and complexity to the dish. I … Continue reading Pasta with Peas and Tomato (Mafaldine Piselli e Pomodoro)

Home-made Orecchiette with Tomato and Basil

This post is dedicated to Natasha from Come Due Maiali. She was one of the first followers of my blog and is one of those fellow bloggers who has made this journey such a great experience. When I posted about orecchiette with mussels and broccoli almost six months ago, she commented that she’s a huge orecchiette fan and would love to get her hands on wholemeal orecchiette. I then responded that she could always make her own, even though I had never yet made orecchiette by hand. I decided to give it a try myself, and now was the time … Continue reading Home-made Orecchiette with Tomato and Basil

How to make home-made Vegetable Stock

The success of dishes such as soup and risotto depends to a great extent on the stock used. It will be so much better if you make your own stock from scratch rather than using a bouillon cube. I was about to post a recipe that requires vegetable stock, and realized that I had not posted about how to make vegetable stock yet. So this one comes first, and the truffle, leek and shallot risotto will follow tomorrow. The nice thing is that you can make this for free if you save up vegetable scraps in the crisper of your … Continue reading How to make home-made Vegetable Stock


Peperonata is a classic Italian side dish with peppers as the main ingredient. It is good with light meats such as chicken, rabbit or even frog legs. It is simple to make, healthy and very tasty. Instead of eating it as a side, you could also serve peperonata as pasta sauce over penne rigate, or even as a topping for crostini. Ingredients 1 red pepper (capsicum) 1 yellow pepper (capsicum) 1 green pepper (capsicum) 200 ml (1 cup) passata (sieved tomatoes) 150 grams (1/3 pound) red onions 1 garlic glove salt and fresly ground black pepper olive oil Preparation Slice … Continue reading Peperonata

Fusilli ai Peperoni (Pasta with roasted peppers)

A simple and healthy dish with a delicious flavor: pasta with roasted peppers. The other flavors (basil, anchovies, garlic, chilli pepper) are only used to support and enhance the flavor of roasted peppers. Ingredients For 2 servings 150-200 grams (1/3-1/2 pound) of fusilli or other short pasta such as rigatoni 2 red peppers 500 grams (1 pound) plum tomatoes 3 anchovy fillets, minced (optional) 1 clove garlic, minced dried chilli pepper olive oil salt 6 leaves basil Preparation Preheat the oven to 250C/480F. Brush the red peppers lightly with olive oil. This helps to cook the skin at a higher … Continue reading Fusilli ai Peperoni (Pasta with roasted peppers)