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Tag: Mozzarella di Bufala

Winter Caprese: Blood Orange, Beetroot, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Winter Caprese: Blood Orange, Beetroot, and Mozzarella di Bufala

I’m sure that I can smell it, I can hear it, if not even feel it on my skin. The promise of spring is in the air. The birds sitting on the naked branches of the tree in front of our living room window know more than us and they sing it out loud. Their voices vibrant and full of energy, they herald winter’s nearing end.

With me, it’s the same every year, I get impatient, frustrated. I can’t wait to pull shorts and dresses out of my wardrobe, and sit outside in one of the city’s cafés on a lazy Saturday afternoon, decadently sipping on a glass of chilled white wine. I want to see ripe tomatoes, lush basil, and plump peas on my kitchen table. I already dreamed of a colourful caprese salad waiting for me on a plate – and then I started to think “Wait, it’s February, hold on!”. But how about a little creativity and open mindedness, what about a winter caprese? There’s mozzarella di Bufala in my fridge, sweet blood oranges replace the tomatoes, and boiled beetroot adds an earthy tone that goes unbelievably well with both the fruit and the cheese. I sprinkled it with a sweet date syrup vinaigrette, but maple syrup would be just as good, and a handful of fresh basil leaves (a hint of summer). It was one of the best lunches I’ve had in a while.

Tomorrow’s the start of the crazy season again, carnival’s back! If you’re looking for some traditional sweet treats for yourself and your loved ones, try one of these sticky fried gems:

German Berliner 

Greek Loukoumades

Maltese Zeppoli

Winter Caprese: Blood Orange, Beetroot, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Winter Caprese: Blood Orange, Beetroot, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Mind that the beetroot has to cook for about 45 minutes.

Serves 2 for lunch or 4 as a starter

medium beetroot 1
bay leaf 1
small blood oranges, peeled and sliced, 4
mozzarella di Bufala, drained and torn into 2 or 4 pieces, 125g / 4 1/2 ounces
fresh basil leaves, a small handful
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar (optional)

For the vinaigrette

olive oil 3 tablespoons
balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon
white balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon
date syrup (or maple syrup) 1/2-1 teaspoon
fine sea salt
ground pepper

Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil, add the beetroot and bay leaf and cook for about 45 minutes or until the beetroot is tender (prick with a skewer to check). Rinse with cold water and let it cool; then peel and slice the beetroot.

For the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, both vinegars, and the date syrup. Season with salt pepper and additional date syrup to taste.

Arrange the beetroot and blood orange in a circle on the plates, place the mozzarella in the middle. Drizzle with the vinaigrette (you might not need all the dressing) and sprinkle with basil and crushed pepper. Serve immediately.

Winter Caprese: Blood Orange, Beetroot, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Winter Caprese: Blood Orange, Beetroot, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Winter Caprese: Blood Orange, Beetroot, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Winter Caprese: Blood Orange, Beetroot, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Spaghetti with Lemon Pistachio Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala

Spaghetti with Lemon Pistachio Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala

I love to end the year with a plate full of spaghetti. It gives me the kind of comfort that pasta masters to perfection. Its beauty and magic lies in simplicity – and in many happy carbs. This year’s combination is tangy, a bit creamy, and nutty –  it makes me feel good and that’s all I need. So here’s my Mediterranean creation to celebrate the changeover from 2016 to 2017: spaghetti with lemon pistachio pesto and mozzarella di Bufala.

In the past 12 months of this turbulent year I felt my limits quite often and I flew higher than I thought I could ever fly without burning my wings. I saw my first cookbook being born, being celebrated during my book tour in Berlin, London, Malta, New York, and Washington. I saw the Eat In My Kitchen book reaching the New York Times’ list of ‘The Best Cookbooks of Fall 2016’, which I still can’t really believe. So much love and support came into my life, so much happiness has been spread through this book that feels like a baby to me. There were unbelievable highs, so many wonderful moments, moments that I will feel thankful for for the rest of my life. But there were also lows and losses that tore trenches into my heart that will hurt for the rest of my life. I lost a person who’s been so close to me that I sometimes can’t even say who’s me and who’s him. He was my mentor, my supporter, my biggest critic, my challenger. He was my friend, my most beloved Swabian, and my step father. I wouldn’t be who I am without him, and I’ll never again be who I was before he left this world. Eat In My Kitchen wouldn’t be what it is without him.

I want to thank all of you for supporting me and my book, for being there and for coming back to these pages here on the blog. Eat In My Kitchen makes me grow every day, this blog makes me go back to my kitchen and experiment more than I would do if I didn’t write about it. Thank you for being on this journey together with me.

Have a peaceful and joyful start into the New Year!

Meike

Spaghetti with Lemon Pistachio Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala

Spaghetti with Lemon Pistachio Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala

Serves 2

dried spaghetti 200g / 7 ounces
olive oil
mozzarella di Bufala, torn into bite sized pieces, 125g / 4 1/2 ounces
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

For the pesto

freshly grated lemon zest 4 tablespoons, plus more for the topping
freshly grated young Parmesan 4 tablespoons, plus more for the topping
finely chopped shelled pistachios (unsalted) about 1 tablespoon, plus more (roughly chopped) for the topping
olive oil 3 tablespoons
fine sea salt

In a large pot filled with salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and stir in a little splash of olive oil.

For the pesto, in a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, Parmesan, pistachios, and olive oil and use the back of a spoon to press the Parmesan into the oil until well combined. Season to taste with salt.

Divide the spaghetti and mozzarella di Bufala between plates. Sprinkle with pesto, additional lemon zest, Parmesan, and pistachios. Season to taste with flaky sea salt and crushed peppercorns, serve immediately.

Spaghetti with Lemon Pistachio Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Spaghetti with Lemon Pistachio Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

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Camping deluxe – Farfalle Pasta with Figs, Mozzarella di Bufala & Honey Butter

Post sponsored by Volkswagen.

Farfalle Pasta with Figs, Mozzarella di Bufala and Honey Butter

Although I can’t really call myself an experienced camper, I’m fascinated by the idea of setting up a tent in the middle of nowhere and keeping the signs of civilization to a minimum.

I got my introduction to camping through my boyfriend. To avoid unnecessary difficulties, he chose wisely and decided to give it a go when we were in his home country – a place where you’re never really completely cut off. He convinced me to take a boat to Comino, Malta’s tiny sister island, which is just the right size to jump bravely into our first outdoor adventure without having to worry about too many risks. Our ‘captain’ dropped us off at the shore, along with our two bags, a tent, and a cooling box. It was August, it was unbearably hot, and I found myself in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, on a rocky island. There was not a single tree in sight. My boyfriend, however, looked at the situation with far more optimism. He knows Comino like his back pocket, thanks to countless trips as a child. He set up our rather basic looking tent within less than 10 minutes, with a little help from his clueless German girlfriend (I really tried hard not to be a burden). And when we were done, we jumped into the gentle waves in a lonely bay and I felt a bit like Robinson Crusoe. All of a sudden I started to like this camping idea.

To prepare our dinner, I collected some twigs and my man made a fire. We even managed to exchange a few of our tomatoes from the cooling box with the fresh catch of a passing fisherman. Then I got comfortable: I couldn’t help but turn the rocks around me into a little desert island kitchen. Olive oil, salt, and pepper were ready to marinate the fish and vegetables for our DIY BBQ and we sat down with a glass of wine (a gift from the fisherman). This dinner tasted so good that I could have cried. Maybe that’s part of the whole camping experience, you’re very close to nature, you depend on the weather, the sunlight, the sea, and the food that nature (or your cooling box) offers you. It makes you humble and it opens your senses, everything feels more intense. To smell, taste, feel, and see is essential when you live in and around a tent or camper van. The night came early and covered our little island in the deepest darkness. As soon as the sun sank into the sea, I felt more sleepy than usual, but also more peaceful. I brushed my teeth in the calm sea and went to bed.

Farfalle Pasta with Figs, Mozzarella di Bufala and Honey Butter

Most of my activities on the Maltese Islands are documented in thousands of pictures, but the idea of camping – at least in my eyes – is about being unplugged and as far away from any technical devices as possible. So there’s no photographic evidence of my first or our following Comino camping adventures. However, when I spoke to my mother about camping recently, she brought many stories and pictures back to mind that I hadn’t thought of in decades. My parents and my sister went to the Camargue, in southern France in the 70s, to a place with the beautiful name Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. They didn’t have a tent but an old Volkswagen van. I always loved the old photographs, of them on the beach and in old villages, on ancient narrow cobblestone streets. The ease of a camper on their faces. One of the nicest camper vans I know belongs to our friends Luke and Jessica in Malta. Their gorgeous four wheeled gem is baby blue, built in 1968, and its restoration took them 10 months, but all the patience, sweat, and love they put into it was worth it.

Stephanie Le from Canada also shared her love for camping with me in our meet in your kitchen feature a few weeks ago. She’s a pro, she even manages to create a Beef Stroganoff when she’s out in the woods. Stephanie made me think about the culinary challenges that you have to face when you limit your life to a few bags and a grill or gas stove. It also makes a huge difference if you’re in a place that still allows you to forage, or where fishermen offer you the best fish you ever tasted in your whole life. I’m talking about a rather romantic kind of camping here, away from the crowds and civilization and its disturbing visual and acoustic side effects.

Let’s say you’ll be out in the wilderness, for 1-2 nights, and you can upgrade your meal with some fruit and dairy products, the cooling box will keep it fresh for a day. When Volkswagen asked me to come up with a recipe – an eat in my kitchen on the road creation – I couldn’t help but think of camping deluxe. A kind of camping that satisfies the longings of a gourmet who ended up off the beaten track. The senses stimulated by the whole outdoor experience, ready to be caressed by a beautiful plate of farfalle with ripe figs, creamy mozzarella di bufala, velvety honey butter, and fragrant basil. The dried pasta and honey are easy to store, the figs and herbs can be kept in a lunch box, and the mozzarella and butter stay fresh in the cooling box. This would be my ideal treat for a night under the clear black sky.

For more delicious recipes and kitchen inspiration, visit Volkswagen’s Pinterest community board Food Blogger for Volkswagen.

Farfalle Pasta with Figs, Mozzarella di Bufala and Honey Butter

 

Farfalle Pasta with Figs, Mozzarella di Bufala and Honey Butter

Farfalle Pasta with Figs, Mozzarella di Bufala and Honey Butter

Serves 2

farfalle pasta 200g / 7 ounces
butter 3 tablespoons
honey 1 1/2-2 teaspoons
large figs, cut into 8 wedges each, 2
mozzarella di bufala, torn into pieces, 125g / 4 1/2 ounces
fresh basil leaves, a small handful
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
flaky sea salt

Cook the farfalle in salted water until al dente.

In the pot used to cook the pasta, heat the butter and honey and whisk until combined. Mix in the farfalle, stir, and divide between 2 plates. Arrange the figs, mozzarella, and basil on top and season with crushed pepper and flaky sea salt to taste.

Enjoy warm or cold.

Farfalle Pasta with Figs, Mozzarella di Bufala and Honey Butter

 

Farfalle Pasta with Figs, Mozzarella di Bufala and Honey Butter

 

Farfalle Pasta with Figs, Mozzarella di Bufala and Honey Butter

 

Farfalle Pasta with Figs, Mozzarella di Bufala and Honey Butter

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

I got my first KitchenAid and I feel like a little girl on Christmas Eve. To call the current mood in my kitchen excitement would be a serious understatement.

After years of seeing – and admiring – these sparkly, polished beauties in the kitchens of my friends and family (my sister has two!), the time had come to get my own. At a certain age, one deserves these special treats. I’m a strong believer that it’s good to wait for things in life, it strengthens your character and makes you deeply appreciate what you have. But 20 years of waiting was more than enough, that’s how long it took me to finally see this powerful stand mixer on my marble counter tops.

In every period of my life, I had my favourite KitchenAid colour. In my young twenties, I loved the creamy white surface, followed by a fascination for the 50s and their soft pastels. Light blue, mint, or pink, I would have taken any of them. Then I got into puristic minimalism and only a black mixer would have made it into my kitchen. In my thirties, I fell for light yellow, but now, all of a sudden, I had to make a decision and decide which colour I would finally get and see for the rest of my life. It wasn’t easy and it took a few visits to various appliance shops. In the end, I had to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of cream, yellow, black, copper (which looks really hot), and brushed stainless steel. This process brought back lots of memories of the different eras of my life connected to each colour. After a couple weeks, my decision was made: brushed stainless steel is the winner! When the large package arrived I couldn’t wait to see my object of desire on my counter tops – I was almost hysterical, which is excusable in my eyes, it’s been 20 years after all. So here it is and it looks amazing. The mixer’s metallic surface fits perfectly to my white marble and brushed aluminium wall panels. I’m totally in love and can’t stop looking at it.

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Testing its functionality was the next step, I had never used a KitchenAid before. My unbreakable hand mixer, a gift from my mother when I moved into my first flat two decades ago, has been a loyal partner during all my kitchen adventures. I was a little nervous and decided to start with two easy recipes – Sunday morning pancakes and Sunday evening pizza. This allowed me to get used to the three different attachments. My hand mixer only has two, but my new beauty offers a whisk, a paddle, and a hook –  I needed a conference call with my sister to figure out when to use what.

Before I switched on the power, I had to call my boyfriend for this special moment. And this was our maiden voyage: I – rather the mixer – started beating the egg whites with such calm, persistence, and firm perfection that I thought I’d never touch my hand mixer ever again (sorry hand mixer). My next project – pizza dough – gave me the same satisfaction. The yeast dough was well mixed, smooth, and ready to be kneaded with my hands for a few minutes, which I always do to turn it into a soft and silky ball. I thought I’d use the time while the dough was getting mixed in the machine to prepare the toppings, however, I couldn’t help but sit next to it with a glass of rosé wine in my hand and watch it work with elated enthusiasm.

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Our first KitchenAid pizza was such a great success that I made another one only three days later, but this time it was an oily pizza bianca topped with green asparagus, Italian salsiccia, and mozzarella di bufala. On our latest Saturday leisure trip, we went to the food market at Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg in Berlin and enjoyed a luscious piece of very oily pizza bianca at Sironi. The baker, Mr. Sironi, went for a topping of broccoli, sausage, and mozzarella. It was very minimal and very good and a reminder that it’s time for a white pizza in my kitchen. I find it lighter and quicker to prepare and it tastes just as good when it’s cold, which makes it perfect for summer picnics or easy dinners on the balcony or in the garden. I’m really impressed by the simple combination of greens, mozzarella, and sausage. Asparagus is in season at the moment, but feel free to replace it with broccoli, leek, zucchini or whatever veg comes to your mind. You could also add a little garlic oil, which I don’t find necessary. But we’re talking about pizza, so everybody should just follow their personal preferences. Enjoy!

Click here for more pizza inspiration.

Thank you KitchenAid for helping me make my little kitchen dream come true!

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

I start to prepare the dough 2 hours before I bake the pizza to give it enough time to rise and I bake it on a hot baking sheet, which has a similar effect to a pizza stone.

Makes 2 pizzas

For the dough

plain flour 350g / 2 2/3 cups
fast-acting yeast 1 (7g / 1/4 ounce) envelope
fine sea salt 1 teaspoon
water, lukewarm, 180ml / 3/4 cup
olive oil 6 tablespoons

For the topping

olive oil
green asparagus, trimmed, 14 young stalks
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
large Italian salsiccia sausage (or any other coarse sausage), skin removed and cut into chunks, 1
mozzarella di bufala, torn into chunks, 125 g / 4 1/5 ounces

For the dough, combine the flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the lukewarm water and olive oil and knead on medium-high speed for a few minutes until well combined. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. Transfer the dough to a table or countertop and continue kneading and punching it down with your hands for about 4 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic ball of dough. Place the dough back in the mixer bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm place, or preferably in a 35°C / 100°F warm oven, for about 60 minutes or until doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, prepare the topping: Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a large, heavy pan and sauté the asparagus, turning occasionally, on medium-high heat for about 7 minutes. Season with flaky sea salt and crushed pepper to taste and set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, take it out of the bowl, and divide into 2 parts. On a well-floured work surface or pizza peel, stretch or roll each piece of dough into a 28cm / 11″ disc. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about 30 minutes or until puffy.

Place a baking sheet (or pizza stone) on the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to the highest temperature, 260°C / 500°F or higher.

Once the baking sheet is hot, carefully take it out of the oven, flip it over, and place it on a trivet or other heat-safe surface. Arrange 1 of the risen dough discs on the baking sheet and spread half the asparagus, salsiccia, and mozzarella di bufala on top. Push the asparagus gently into the dough. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a little flaky sea salt, and crushed pepper and bake on the bottom of the oven for about 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and crisp and the mozzarella is golden. Repeat to make the second pizza and serve hot or cold.

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

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Mozzarella di Bufala and Olive Tapenade Sandwich with Preserved Lemon

mozzarellatapenadelemonsandwich1

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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Watermelon Caprese with Mozzarella di Bufala, Basil and Mint

Watermelon with Mozzarella di Bufala, Basil and Mint

The past few days on the island called for light and easy treats from the kitchen – it’s been hot in Malta and quite a challenge for a northern girl like me. I witnessed 50°C (122°F) measured in the sun and, although I prefer warmth over cold, it’s been beyond enjoyable. The sea is my daily escape, whenever I get the chance to jump into the cool waters, it feels like my brain cells finally start working again. There’s a reason why life’s pace is slower in the Mediterranean, the body just can’t cope any other way. Luckily, we’re off to Berlin today and we’ll have 3 weeks to cool off a little before we get back to Malta’s burning sun.

On the culinary side, I tried to defy the extreme weather conditions with lots of water, juicy peaches and melons. I noticed a growing watermelon trend in the web in the past few weeks that I had wanted to avoid. It felt like a flood of melon popsicle, melon soup and melon salad recipes – no need to bother you with another one on eat in my kitchen. But then, I thought of this delicious combination of chilled watermelon, creamy mozzarella di bufala, olive oil, sea salt, basil, mint and a little black pepper and I thought it wouldn’t be fair not to share this easy pleasure. If you find yourself in the Mediterranean, or anywhere else in the world where the temperatures seem unbearable and where sweet and juicy watermelons are accessible, prepare a plate of melon caprese, slow down and relax!

Watermelon with Mozzarella di Bufala, Basil and Mint

 

Watermelon with Mozzarella di Bufala, Basil and Mint

 Watermelon Caprese with Mozzarella di Bufala, Basil and Mint

Serves 3-4

chilled, ripe watermelon, sliced into thin triangles, 1/8-1/4
mozzarella di bufala, torn into bite sized pieces, 125g / 4 1/2oz
olive oil
fresh basil leaves about 16
fresh mint leaves about 8
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

Arrange the melon and mozzarella on a large plate, drizzle with a splash of olive oil and sprinkle with basil, mint, salt and pepper.

Watermelon with Mozzarella di Bufala, Basil and Mint

 

Watermelon with Mozzarella di Bufala, Basil and Mint

 

Watermelon with Mozzarella di Bufala, Basil and Mint

 

Watermelon with Mozzarella di Bufala, Basil and Mint

 

Watermelon with Mozzarella di Bufala, Basil and Mint

Spinach Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala Sandwich with Black Olives

Spinach Rucola Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala Sandwich

The combination of mozzarella di bufala and pesto has been with me for as long as I can remember cooking. No matter if it’s been praised or put down in the media, I always loved its honest simplicity. The little mounds of fine buffalo milk go so well with the fresh sharpness of green herbs, all these concentrated leaves packed with flavours, like basil, rucola or parsley. Mixed with nuts and seeds, parmesan and garlic, this dish offers one of the purest Italian pleasures in the kitchen.

Sometimes, one needs a little change without moving too far away from the original formula, a new variation which can lead to surprising results, nonetheless very satisfying. My pesto was next on this list! I replaced the traditional herbs with another tasty leave, baby spinach. Their fine aroma of iron, its distinct bitterness which isn’t fully developed in the young leaves seemed like the right choice. The obligatory olive oil and parmesan made it nice and smooth but the fresh garlic had to stay out as I was worried that it would be too overpowering. I added some rucola (arugula) instead which gave the spinach a boost, nutty sunflower seeds instead of the sweet pine seeds, a hint of nutmeg, salt and pepper and it was done. It also tastes fantastic with pasta!

My pesto made quite a dramatic appearance on my Italian ciabatta sandwich. I topped it with aromatic black olives which turned them into a stunning Mediterranean beauty. What can I say about the first bite, it was juicy, fresh and green, the soft milkyness in contrast to the oily depth of the black fruits. It was great!

Spinach Rucola Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala Sandwich

 

Spinach Rucola Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala Sandwich

Spinach Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala Sandwich with Black Olives

You can also use the pesto recipe for pasta.

For 2 sandwiches you need

ciabatta bread (with or without black olives), cut into thick slices
mozzarella di bufala, torn into bite sized pieces, 125g / 4 1/2 ounces
black olives 4-6
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar, for the topping

For the pesto
fresh baby spinach 125g / 4 1/2 ounces
rucola 25g / 1 ounce plus a small handful
sunflower seeds 2 tablespoons
olive oil 100ml / 3 1/4 ounces
parmesan, grated, 25g / 1 ounce
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon
salt 1/4 teaspoon
a pinch of sugar
a pinch of nutmeg
pepper

Purée the ingredients for the pesto in a blender until smooth, season to taste.

Arrange a few rucola leaves on 2 slices of bread and lay the mozzarella on top. Sprinkle with the pesto, olives and the crushed black pepper. Close the sandwich and enjoy!

Spinach Rucola Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala Sandwich

 

Spinach Rucola Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala Sandwich

 

Spinach Rucola Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala Sandwich

 

Spinach Rucola Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala Sandwich

Persimmons, Mozzarella di Bufala, Prosciutto di Parma and Basil

Persimmon, Mozzarella and Basil

Whenever I spot ripe persimmons at the market, honey sweet and so soft that the skin can barely hold their juicy flesh, you can be sure that I’l buy a box full of them. It’s one of those fruits that, when you catch the right moment of ripeness which is often limited to only one or two days they offer a culinary experience of perfection. All I need is a spoon to scoop out their luscious deliciousness and I’m happy! There are a few fruits which demand such perfect timing for satisfying consumption, avocados for sure, mangos and kiwis too, but if you succeed, it’s a food memory saved for a lifetime. One of the best I ever had was in Paris, I bought two persimmons, so soft that they almost slipped out of my hands as I enjoyed them. Eating them was a mess but tasting them was a pure pleasure!

I felt so lucky when I found persimmons that reached that exact state and I knew I would have to eat them that very day to enjoy them to the fullest. I tore them into large, juice dripping chunks and mixed them on a plate with some soft Mozzarella di Bufala and thin slices of Prosciutto di Parma. I finished off this truly heavenly composition with a few basil leaves and a sweet dressing made of white Balsamico vinegar and maple syrup. It was so perfect that both of us were just speechless and savoured in silence!

Persimmon, Mozzarella and Basil

 Persimmons, Mozzarella di Bufala, Prosciutto di Parma and Basil

For 2 people you need

very ripe and soft persimmons, peeled and torn into chunks, 2
Mozzarella di Bufala, drained and torn into chunks, 125g / 4.5 ounces
thin slices of Prosciutto di Parma or San Daniele, 8
olive oil 2 tablespoons
white Balsamico vinegar 1 tablespoon
maple syrup 1/2 teaspoon plus more to taste
salt and pepper
fresh basil leaves, a small handful

Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange the persimmons, mozzarella and prosciutto on 1 or 2 plates and sprinkle with the dressing and basil leaves.

Persimmon, Mozzarella and Basil

 

Persimmon, Mozzarella and Basil

 

Persimmon, Mozzarella and Basil

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