eat in my kitchen

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Tag: capers

Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Preserved Lemon – and about letting go

Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Preserved Lemon

Eat In My Kitchen will be out worldwide in 34 days (in English, on October 4th) and my German book will see the book stores even earlier, in less than a month, on September 26th. It’s becoming real. It’s the transition from a project that existed as an idea in the heads of a handful of people to a finished, physical book, which will lean against other books in book shelves and hopefully come to use in many kitchens. Soon, this transition will be complete and then it won’t just be my ‘baby’ anymore. Then it will be out in the world, it will live its own life, create lots of stories around food, and I won’t be a part of it anymore. Soon, it won’t be in my hands anymore.

You could say that it’s not really a huge difference to the blog, which is true to a certain extent. For almost 3 years I’ve been sharing my recipes (more than 600) here, in the digital world. Whoever felt inspired cooked or baked them, many sent me pictures or emails, and enjoyed it. This interaction still made me feel like I’m a part of it, a part of my Eat In My Kitchen blog that changes constantly, it grows and evolves. But the book is different, it’s done, it’s printed, it reached the warehouses already, there’s nothing I could change, even if I wanted to. Now, I have to learn to let go.

Although there’s no work left to be done on the physical book, there’s tons of organization left. My book launch events in London, Berlin, Malta, New York, and Washington seem to need my attention 24/7, there are interviews and photo shoots on my schedule, and so many things that come along with a book, things that I never thought about. It felt like a lot of work writing this book, but to send it out into the world seems even more crazy.

I have a habit, whenever my life resembles a rollercoaster, I try to be a little more disciplined and create a rhythm that I stick to. I have my rituals, I take Saturdays off, I go jogging more regularly, I set up more tea time breaks than usual, and I don’t skip dinner. It’s often quite simple, due to a lack of time and inspiration, but that doesn’t matter. I chop my vegetables, nibble on my cheese, and sip at my wine glass (not every night though). I try to create normality within the chaos, a routine, and that helps me.

My current life leads to recipes that neither require much work or time, nor many ingredients. Unfortunately, the time that’s left for my beloved grocery shopping decreased considerably in the past few months. But there’s no need to complain, those dishes created out of spontaneity taste just as good. On one of those late nights, I opened the door of my fridge, I spotted a head of cauliflower, a jar of my homemade preserved lemons, and capers from Malta. I cut the cabbage into pieces, tossed it in olive oil and my tasty preserves, and ended up with the most delicious comfort food. It was a happy night.

If you’re curious about my Eat In My Kitchen book, you can pre-order it here:

Amazon US – Amazon UK – Amazon Germany

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

Books A Million

Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Preserved Lemon

 

Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Preserved Lemon

Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Preserved Lemon

Serves 2

cored cauliflower, cut into medium pieces, 600g / 1 1/3 pounds
olive oil 60ml / 1/4 cup
preserved lemon, thinly sliced, 1/2
capers, preferably preserved in salt, rinsed, 3 tablespoons
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F.

Spread the cauliflower in a medium baking dish. Add the olive oil, preserved lemon, and capers and toss to combine. Season with a little flaky sea salt (mind that the capers are salty) and crushed pepper. Roast for about 18 minutes or until the cauliflower turns golden. Flip the cauliflower and roast for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, turn on the grill (broiler) for the last few minutes, if you prefer it a bit more crispy. Serve warm or cold.

Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Preserved Lemon

 

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Bean and Caper Dip with Golden Sautéed Zucchini

Caper Bean Dip with golden sautéed Zucchini

Besides all the excitement that our Mediterranean summer offered last month, we also got the chance to spend a more than relaxing, but nonetheless very inspiring evening at one of our friends’ house. Alex and Benjamin live a life that’s just as busy as ours, which makes it a bit difficult to meet. They love to travel, they celebrate their weekly gatherings and dinner parties with their loved ones, and they also split their life between Malta and London. And this I’ll never understand and I’m sure you’d agree if you could see their gorgeous palazzo in the silent heart of Żebbuġ – if I lived there, I’d never leave the house! However, we managed to find a free evening, or rather a few free hours, and visited them for drinks and nibbles.

When you meet Alex, a man who seems to either work or spend his time in his beautiful kitchen (click here for pictures), you’re treated to the most scrumptious culinary pleasures. Even his ‘nibbles’ are heavenly. He’s a true connoisseur, a man who loves the fine arts, exquisite food and wine, and who’s always up for a good conversation. Alex is a critical mind and and you’ll never feel bored in his presence. Benjamin is the most beautiful person who’s helped me deal with the struggles of my current crazy life more than once. Whenever my mind and body can’t keep up with the challenges anymore that come with writing a book and organizing book launch events, I call Benjamin. He’s the best reflexologist I know and whatever problem my body comes up with, Benjamin will fix me! And if you happen to be in Malta and you have some time off, spoil yourself and book an appointment with him (I wish I could do that right now!).

But back to the nibbles: I’ve always been a huge fan of Alex’s dips. Be it hummus or smoky grilled eggplant, they are all addictive. And there’s one of his creations that struck me with its subtle salty note. I couldn’t make out what it was at first, but I loved it since I enjoyed the first bite last summer, spread lusciously on a thick slice of crusty Maltese bread. Alex purées boiled yellow split peas, mixes in chopped onion, olive oil, lots of lemon juice, and – here’s the secret – capers. The salty fruits add a special flavour, it doesn’t really taste like caper, it could also be canned tuna. I totally fell for it and couldn’t stop eating the thick spread. Now I made it at home, it was my first try, but in my version I use canned cannellini beans. They are sweet and smooth, velvety, and fit just as well to this Mediterranean composition. A few thick slices of golden sautéed zucchini, some ciabatta, and lunch – or dinner – is served.

Caper Bean Dip with golden sautéed Zucchini

 

Caper Bean Dip with golden sautéed Zucchini

Bean and Caper Dip with Golden Sautéed Zucchini

Serves 2

For the bean caper dip

rinsed and drained canned cannellini beans 360g / 13 ounces
(you could also use boiled yellow split peas as in Alex’s original recipe)
capers, preserved in salt, rinsed, 20g / 1 ounce
small shallot, roughly chopped, 1/2 -1
olive oil 60-75ml / 1/4-1/3 cup
freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 tablespoons

For serving

olive oil
small zucchini, cut into thick slices, 2
fine sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
fresh ciabatta 1 small loaf

For the dip, purée the beans, capers, 1/2 of the shallot, 60ml / 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and lemon juice in a blender. Add more of the shallot to taste and purée until smooth. If the texture is too thick, add more olive oil, and, if necessary, season with additional lemon juice and salt to taste.

In a heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil over high heat, turn the heat down to medium-high, and sauté the zucchinis for 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden with brown sprinkles. The zucchini should only start to soften outside and still have some bite on the inside. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the zucchini between plates and add a dollop of the bean caper dip. Drizzle the dip with a splash of olive oil and sprinkle with a little pepper. Serve with fresh ciabatta, enjoy warm or cold.

Caper Bean Dip with golden sautéed Zucchini

 

Caper Bean Dip with golden sautéed Zucchini

 

zucchinicaperbeandip8

 

zucchinicaperbeandip6

Mozzarella di Bufala and Olive Tapenade Sandwich with Preserved Lemon

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The best sandwiches are often the ones that are thrown together in just a few minutes. You grab whatever your fridge offers without overloading the whole composition and straining your taste buds. Just a few contrasting flavours and textures, the bread has to be fresh – soft and juicy to soak up the filling – and you’re done.

Cheese is made for sandwiches and mozzarella is always a good choice, the creamier mozzarella di bufala or burrata are even better. A dark tapenade made of black olives, capers, and anchovy adds depth, refined with a handful of fresh parsley. This lies on a bed of arugula, the spicy leaves go so well with preserved lemons, which I use for the salty-sour topping. You can find them in big supermarkets but I recommend preserving your own. Tucked in a jar with lots of coarse sea salt for a month, the citrus fruit slowly becomes soft and ready to add some tangy bite to meat and vegetable dishes – or sandwiches.

I developed this sandwich recipe for the West Elm blog, where you can also find this recipe and the wooden chopping board you see in the pictures – it’s just the right size for a loaf of bread and some cheese for late evening cravings on the sofa. The linen napkin and stoneware bowl and plate are also from their shop. This post was sponsored by West Elm to make my kitchen a little prettier!

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Mozzarella di Bufala and Olive Tapenade Sandwich with Preserved Lemon

You can use leftover tapenade for spaghetti.

Makes 4 small sandwiches

For the olive tapenade

pitted black olives, preferably Kalamata, 100g / 3 1/2 ounces
flat-leaf parsley leaves 10g / 1 small handful
small red onion, chopped, 1/2
capers, preferably preserved in salt, rinsed and dried, 1 tablespoon
anchovy filet, rinsed, 1 (optional)
olive oil 6 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon
Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon
Ground pepper

ciabatta, 8 small slices
fresh rucola, 1 handful
mozzarella di bufala, torn into small pieces, 125g / 4 1/2 ounces
preserved lemon, thinly sliced, 1/4
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

For the tapenade, purée the olives, parsley, onion, capers, anchovy (optional), olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, and pepper in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season with additional mustard, lemon juice, and pepper to taste.

Divide the rucola and mozzarella between 4 slices of bread and sprinkle with the tapenade, preserved lemon, and crushed pepper.

mozzarellatapenadelemonsandwich6.5

 

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Mozzarella di Bufala and Olive Tapenade Sandwich with Preserved Lemon

 

Mozzarella di Bufala and Olive Tapenade Sandwich with Preserved Lemon

 

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Linguine with Fennel, Capers and Lemon

Linguine with Fennel, Capers and Lemon

My fennel carpaccio with salty capers and lemon is one of my favourite winter salads, I always have a couple bulbs in the fridge to prepare this 2-minute lunch or dinner for us. The vegetable is a tasty alternative to cabbages because, for whatever reason, it retains its strong aroma even when it’s out of its (natural) season. It’s always strong and present, be it baked in the oven as a gratin with parmesan sprinkled on top, with butter beans in a hearty soup or as a crunchy addition to salads. I would definitely suffer much more from the absence of summery tomatoes, zucchini and bell pepper if there wasn’t fennel in the house!

It’s been a while that we had a plate of pasta on our table, which is quite unusual for us. Inspired by my carpaccio, I pulled the linguine package out of the pantry and mixed it with thin fennel slices sautéed for just 2 minutes, a handful of capers from Gozo, lemon zest and juice. It was a quick and light dish, tasty and simply good!

Linguine with Fennel, Capers and Lemon

 

Linguine with Fennel, Capers and Lemon

Linguine with Fennel, Capers and Lemon

For 2 people you need

linguine 200g / 7 ounces
medium sized fennel bulb, bottom cut off, very thinly sliced, 1
capers, rinsed and dried, a small handful, to taste
lemon zest to taste
freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1-2 tablespoons, to taste
salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar, to taste
olive oil

Cook the pasta in salted water al dente, keep some of the water in a mug and set aside.

In a pan, heat a splash of olive oil and sauté the fennel for 1 minute on each side on medium-high heat. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and stir in a splash of the water used to cook the linguine and the lemon juice. Sprinkle with capers and season with salt, pepper and lemon zest and juice to taste.

Linguine with Fennel, Capers and Lemon

 

Linguine with Fennel, Capers and Lemon

 

Linguine with Fennel, Capers and Lemon

Juicy Lamb, Moroccan Lemon and Caper Sandwich

Lamb, Lemon, Rucola and Caper Sandwich

Maltese capers, dried tomatoes, wild fennel seeds, honey and sea salt, these were just some of the goods I took home with me from my last trip to the Mediterranean island and these were also the ingredients I offered Malin from The Bread Exchange to choose from for our next sandwich. The sourdough queen went for salty capers and then it was my turn to come up with an idea for our next eat in my kitchen x The Bread Exchange creation.

Malin called me in the morning when the bread was done, after a night without much sleep as she had to get up a couple times to take care of her caper sourdough bread. I jumped on my bike excitedly to meet her in her kitchen which was already filled with the sweetest smell of freshly baked bread when I arrived. When she showed me her beautiful loaf of bread, juicy and spongy on the inside as always, refined with capers and the amazing oily crust that Malin mastered to perfection, I couldn’t wait to get started in my kitchen! A colourful composition of a few strong flavours, a wave of tastes on the tongue, that was my idea when I held the warm bread in my hands.

This inspiration led to a rich sandwich voluptuously stuffed with tender slices of lamb fillet, cooked for just a few minutes to keep it pink on the inside, thin strips of my Moroccan preserved lemons, crisp lemon peel roasted in olive oil (I used both the infused oil and the rind), salty capers and spicy rucola leaves. This was one of those moments when I wasn’t sure if I went a bit overboard with the flavours, especially when they are all so powerful on their own. But the first bite cleared any doubts, there wasn’t too much of anything, it was just right!

This sandwich has been featured on Food52!

Lamb, Lemon, Rucola and Caper Sandwich

 

Lamb, Lemon, Rucola and Caper Sandwich

 Lamb, Moroccan Lemon and Caper Sandwich

For 4 closed sandwiches you need

the best sourdough bread you can get, 8 thick slices
lamb fillet 250g / 9 ounces
Moroccan preserved lemons, cut into thin strips, 1/4
lemon peel, 6 long strips
olive oil 3 tablespoons plus more for frying
capers, rinsed and drained, 1 heaped tablespoon
fresh rucola (arugula) leaves, a small handful
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
salt

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F. 

In a small baking dish, mix 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the lemon peel and roast in the oven for 6 minutes or until the lemon is crisp and golden (it shouldn’t be brown!). Set the oil and roasted peel aside.

In a heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil, season the lamb fillet with salt and pepper and brown for 1 1/2 -2 minutes on each side. The meat should stay pink to keep its juiciness. Wrap the fillet in aluminum foil and set aside for a few minutes.

Drizzle a little of the lemon oil on a slice of bread and cover with a few rucola leaves. Cut the lamb fillet into thin slices and spread on top of the greens. Scatter over some strips of Moroccan lemon, roasted lemon peel, capers and lemon oil. Sprinkle with some crushed black pepper and close with another slice of bread.

Lamb, Lemon, Rucola and Caper Sandwich

Here are all of the eat in my kitchen x The Bread Exchange sandwiches we created so far:

Sainte-Maure Chèvre, Rosemary Oil and Olive Sandwich

Roast Apricots on Turmeric Bread with Cardamom Crème Fraîche

Lamb, Lemon, Rucola and Caper Sandwich

 

Lamb, Lemon, Rucola and Caper Sandwich

 

Lamb, Lemon, Rucola and Caper Sandwich

 

Lamb, Lemon, Rucola and Caper Sandwich

 

Lamb, Lemon, Rucola and Caper Sandwich

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto with Capers, Anchovies and Lemon

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto

This pesto is so rich in unbeatably strong aromas, velvety black olives, fresh parsley, salty capers and anchovies, spicy onions and garlic and some lemon juice and mustard to finish it off! It resembles the Provençal tapenade but the parsley and onions give it a lighter and fresher touch, it makes this dish feel Italian. It’s great with pasta but also as a spread on crunchy grilled bruschetta. Although I’m not the biggest fan of raw onions I must say that they make sense in this recipe, they add more of a sharp spiciness than an overpowering taste of onions which is quite often the case when this uncooked vegetable is involved.

This is another one of those convenient pantry/ fridge/ balcony dishes, made with ingredients that I always find in these three places! My mother used to make a similar pesto with pasta, I played around with it over the years, added a few flavours until it became this recipe. You could also add some sun-dried tomatoes, chop in some fresh tomatoes or replace the parsley with basil. That’s what I love about pesto, it can follow your mood and kitchen stock!

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto

 

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto with Capers, Anchovies and Lemon

For 3-4 people you need

linguine or spaghetti, cooked al dente, 300-400g / 10.5-14 ounces
black (preferably Kalamata) olives 15
parsley, the leaves of a medium sized bunch, leave out a few leaves, roughly chopped, for the topping
anchovies, rinsed and dried, 2
capers 1 tablespoon
shallot 15g / 1/2 ounce
garlic, 2 cloves
pine nuts 15g / 1/2 ounce
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 teaspoon plus more to taste
mustard 1/8 teaspoon plus more to taste
olive oil 50ml / 1 3/4 ounces
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar for the topping

Mix the ingredients in a food processor, it should be a smooth paste. Season with lemon juice and mustard to taste.

Serve the pasta with the pesto on warm, big plates, sprinkled with black pepper and parsley.

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto

 

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto

 

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto

 

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto

A Maltese Beach Ftira with Tomato, Capers, Olives and Mint

Maltese Ftira with Tomatoes, Capers + Mint

Today I will share a sandwich with you that is as simple as it is perfect, Ftira mimlija – or filled, round Ftira bread.  This sandwich doesn’t require many ingredients but the few you use must be of exceptional quality. All you need is an extraordinarily delicious loaf of white sourdough bread, finest quality extra virgin olive oil, ripe tomatoes, red onions, olives, capers and fresh mint and basil leaves. This is a Maltese classic which you can buy at every beach kiosk and bar in many variations, some of them are also made with tuna, anchovies, bell pepper, Gbejna (Maltese goat cheese) or coarse sausage. I prefer to keep it simple, that’s how my friend Essa makes them and that’s the recipe I will share with you, it’s my favourite! Every Maltese family has their own traditional recipe for this popular snack, so there isn’t only one way to prepare it.

Depending on the time I have for my sandwich preparations I choose between the stuffed Ftira or a quick beach version without a filling, the equally famous Hobz biz-Zejt u Tadam (bread with oil and tomatoes). When I only have a few minutes left before our friends ring at the door to pick us up to go to the beach, this is my choice! I cut the bread in half, dip it in a plate of olive oil, rub it with a cut, ripe tomato and sprinkle it with coarse sea salt and crushed pepper. When you close the bread and push it together, it will soak the fruity and oily juices until you take it out of your bag after a long swim in the sea. Delicious! Jenny (my Maltese Mama) prepares these for us sometimes and I’m always happy when she pulls this snack out of her cooling box!

I think it’s time for a quick introduction for those of you who don’t really have an idea of where I am at the moment. The islands of Malta lie 80 km (50 miles) south of Sicily in the Mediterranean sea. This tiny country is formed by the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino and a few smaller uninhabited rocks, it’s one of the smallest and most densely populated countries in the world. Its beautiful baroque capital is called Valletta which is a UNESCO World Heritage city. While we’re here, we live on the island Malta which is the largest of them all but still very small – only 28 x 13km / 17 x 8 miles!

Maltese Ftira with Tomatoes, Capers + Mint

 

Maltese Ftira with Tomatoes, Capers + Mint

Maltese Ftira Sandwich with Tomato, Capers, Olives and Mint

For 2 Ftiras Sandwiches you need

Ftira, 2 quarters or 2 sourdough buns
big tomatoes, chopped, 2
capers, rinsed and dried, 1-2 teaspoons
small red onion, chopped, 1-2 teaspoons
black olives, chopped, 6
big basil leaves 6
small mint leaves 6
olive oil 4-8 tablespoons
salt and pepper

Sprinkle each slice of the Ftira or bun with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and put the tomatoes, capers, onion, olives and herbs on top. Season with salt and pepper to taste and close the sandwich, enjoy!

Maltese Ftira with Tomatoes, Capers + Mint

 

Maltese Ftira with Tomatoes, Capers + Mint

 

Maltese Ftira with Tomatoes, Capers + Mint

 

Maltese Ftira with Tomatoes, Capers + Mint

 

Maltese Ftira with Tomatoes, Capers + Mint

Spaghetti with Zucchini, Tomatoes, Olives and Basil

Spaghetti with Zucchini, Tomato, Capers + Olives

The beginning of July is the perfect time to throw a few of my favourite vegetables on a big plate of spaghetti. This dish is basically a Mediterranean Caponata, just without aubergine as it would have stretched the cooking time and changed the texture – I didn’t want a juicy sauce, I was after some crunchiness! I mixed lots of zucchini with my Gozitan capers, anchovies and garlic and sautéed everything for a very short time. This way, the vegetables stay firm and fresh like a salad.

My tomatoes, olives and basil weren’t even cooked,  I just mixed them together with some olive oil into the warm pasta. When vegetables reach the peak of their season they don’t need long to spread their aroma. Spoiled by the sun, strong in flavour and full of vitamins, they have this intense taste of summer that I’ve been waiting for for months. A few minutes in the hot pan and they were done, that’s one of summer’s kitchen qualities!

Spaghetti with Zucchini, Tomato, Capers + Olives

 Spaghetti with Zucchini, Tomatoes, Olives and Basil

For 3-4 people you need

spaghetti 300-400g / 10.5-14 ounces
zucchini, cut in half and sliced, 350g / 12.5 ounces
anchovies, rinsed, dried and finely chopped, 1 1/2
garlic, thinly sliced, 3 cloves
capers 2 heaped tablespoons
tomatoes, cut into cubes, 350g / 12.5 ounces
black olives (whole or chopped) 8
fresh basil leaves 10
optionally: fresh mint, chopped, 5 leaves
black pepper
olive oil

Cook the pasta in lots of salted water al dente.

In a large heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil, add the anchovies, garlic and capers and cook for 1 minute on a medium heat. Add the zucchini and a little more oil and cook for 5 minutes on high-medium temperature, stirring every now and then. Season with pepper (no salt!) and mix into the spaghetti, add a tiny bit of olive oil if the pasta is too dry. Stir in the tomatoes, olives, basil and mint and serve immediately. There should be enough saltiness from the anchovies and capers, I didn’t need to add anymore.

Spaghetti with Zucchini, Tomato, Capers + Olives

 

Spaghetti with Zucchini, Tomato, Capers + Olives

 

Spaghetti with Zucchini, Tomato, Capers + Olives

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