eat in my kitchen

To cook, to bake, to eat and to treat.

Tag: tomato

Maltese Stuffed Bell Peppers from my cookbook & a short trip to Malta

Maltese Stuffed Bell Peppers

Old cities and beaches, seafood and wine! When Condé Nast Traveler asked me to take over their Instagram Stories last weekend and share some of my favourite spots in Malta, I immediately booked the flights. There’s no way I would miss a chance to visit my second home!

I’m in the Mediterranean for just a few days at the moment, but it’s enough time to visit my personal hot spots. An early morning boat ride starting in Sliema took me to Valletta to enjoy my first espresso of the day at the beautifully old fashioned Prego Caffe on the capital’s narrow South Street. It’s a beloved morning ritual of many locals, nibbling on buttery breakfast pastizzi filled with ricotta surrounded by the café’s original 60’s decor. A quick visit to the Baroque Saint Francis of Assisi Church (1607) and then I strolled through the streets – one of the most relaxing things I can imagine. If it had been a Sunday, I would have gone to St. John’s Co-Cathedral‘s early morning mass, which is held in Latin accompanied by the most heavenly sounding choir.

On the way to my next destination, Casa Rocca Piccola, I stopped by at the peaceful Lower Barakka Gardens. This place always manages to overwhelm me with its stunning views over The Grand Harbour and The Three Cities – and its almost meditative atmosphere. Frances de Piro was so kind to show me around the 400 year old private Valletta palace Casa Rocca Piccola, where she lives together with her husband, the 9th Marquis de Piro who’s a Knight of Malta, and their family. Many of the private rooms can be visited during guided tours and are a must see for everybody who loves art, history, and architecture.

My man joined me for lunch, which turned into a little feast at Scoglitti right at the sea at the Marsamxett Harbour facing Sliema. Pasta with Maltese prawns, swordfish from the grill, and a bottle of Meridiana Wine Estate‘s fruity white. Maltese Mqaret filled with dates for dessert and we were ready for a nap. Only the thought of an afternoon swim in Malta’s deep blue waters could stop us from having a siesta. We chose the secluded Delimara bay, limestone rocks and crystal-clear turquoise sea are the best conditions for a good snorkeling trip.

My perfect day in Malta wouldn’t be complete without having dinner at Legligin, my favourite restaurant in Valletta offering the most delicious Maltese tapas cooked by our friend Chris. And if it’s a Friday night, you can stroll over to Bridge Bar for their weekly open air Jazz concerts. Sitting on red cushions on the capital’s ancient stairs in front of the bar, sipping on a glass of pastis, and listening to good music make me ask myself why I should ever leave the Mediterranean (sorry Berlin).

As a part of the Instagram takeover, I also shared a recipe from my Eat In My Kitchen cookbook on Condé Nast Traveler‘s website. It’s a Maltese classic: stuffed bell peppers. Stuffed vegetables are a staple in every Maltese home. Tomato, zucchini, eggplant, pepper are filled with meat, seafood, or other vegetables and turned into the coziest treat to please a large Mediterranean family’s appetite. In my version, which you can find below, I go for green peppers cooked al dente – I don’t like them too soft and soggy – stuffed with white fish like cod, tiny zucchini cubes, tomatoes, and parsley refined with a shot of vermouth.

If you can’t travel at the moment, just cook a dish that reminds you of your favourite holiday spot, close your eyes, and you’ll almost be there.

Maltese Stuffed Bell Peppers

 

Maltese Stuffed Bell Peppers

Maltese Stuffed Bell Peppers with Cod, Tomatoes, and Zucchini

from Eat In My Kitchen, To cook, to bake, to eat, and to treat

Serves 4

4 to 5 medium green bell peppers
Olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons butter
510g / 18 ounces cod fillet (or any firm, white fish, such as monkfish or grouper), preferably 1 thick center piece
Fine sea salt
Ground pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, crushed
340g / 12 ounces zucchini, cut into very small cubes
60ml / ¼ cup dry white vermouth, like Noilly Prat, or dry white wine
1 medium tomato, cut into small cubes
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons for garnish

Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F.

Cut the tops off the peppers. Scrape out and discard the seeds and fibers, then rinse the peppers and set aside.

In a heavy pan, large enough to fit the fish, heat a generous splash of olive oil and the butter over medium-high heat. Sear the fish, turning once, for 1 to 3 minutes per side or until golden and flaky—mind that you don’t overcook it. Remove from the heat, break the fish into chunks, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large, heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until soft and golden. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Pour in a little more olive oil, add the zucchini, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 4 minutes or until soft. Add the vermouth and cook, stirring and letting the alcohol burn off, for about 10 seconds. Take the pan off the heat, stir in the tomato and parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To combine the filling, spread half the zucchini-tomato mixture on a large plate, lay the fish on top, and finish with the remaining vegetables. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Season the inside of the bell peppers with salt and pepper. Using a large spoon, generously stuff the peppers with the zucchini-cod mixture without pushing on the filling too much. If you have leftover filling, stuff the fifth bell pepper. Place the tops on the peppers and place them in a baking dish. Add a splash of water to cover the bottom of the dish and bake for about 25 minutes or until the bell peppers are al dente and the tops turn dark. Take the peppers out of the oven, sprinkle with more parsley, and serve warm.

Malta

 

Maltese Stuffed Bell Peppers

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Sandwich with Garden Vegetables

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich with Garden Vegetables

In a couple weeks we’ll be off to Malta and my heart is already there. There isn’t a single day that passes without thinking of my family and friends in the Mediterranean. With every month that summer gets closer, I feel the urge to go there and the pain of not yet being there becomes almost unbearable. As much as I love Berlin – it’s my home – I see myself spending far more time on my beloved archipelago south of Sicily.

You can ask any Maltese person living abroad what he or she misses the most and almost everybody will tell you the sea and family. I’m not Maltese, but I agree. With every passing year I feel closer and closer to the life we live there. Being surrounded by the sea and the people who are so important in my life is a great gift I don’t really want to let go off, but it’s also the food, the pace, the culture and lifestyle that makes me miss this place so much.

In two weeks I’ll be starting my days with a cup of tea in my Maltese mama’s garden, sitting under her citrus trees. Then I’ll pick some honey sweet fruits and crisp vegetables from my favourite mobile vegetable truck in Msida and prepare a luscious breakfast. For whatever reason we started the ritual to have very opulent and rich breakfast sandwiches when we live in the South. If we leave out my spontaneous (but very regular) visits to bakeries, cafés and pastizzi shops, we only eat twice during the day: before we go to the beach and afterwards, and both meals are little feasts. We end our days with Mediterranean inspired dishes but we start the day following the small country’s British tradition. There are fried eggs, different kind of cheese, and a bit of meat on the table. Be it crisp bacon or a selection of course sausages from our butcher in Sliema – classic Maltese style with fennel and coriander or English sausage with apple and sage – our breakfast is quite a hearty affair, often sandwiched between two slices of Malta’s amazing sourdough bread. But what comes with baked beans in the cold North is served with fresh garden vegetables in the South. Juicy cucumber and tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, or sautéed zucchini – qarabali in Maltese – there are always the freshest fruits from the garden involved. You could easily leave out the meat and keep it light and vegetarian, sliced fennel bulb, sautéed onions, or a juicy caponata are nice too, but the current star of the toast scene – thinly sliced avocado – made it into my creation, along with cucumber and red bell pepper.

This is the third sandwich of the tasty trilogy I created for Leerdamer:

Grilled Persimmon, Ham and Cheese Sandwich with Basil

Zucchini Cheese Fritter Sandwich with Strawberries and Lemon Balm

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich with Garden Vegetables

 

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich with Garden Vegetables

Egg, Bacon and Cheese Sandwich with Garden Vegetables

Makes 2 large sandwiches

olive oil
breakfast bacon 8 slim slices
organic eggs 4
flaky sea salt
peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
large rustic buns, cut in half, 2
Leerdammer cheese, or another mild hard cheese, very thinly sliced, about 170g / 6 ounces
small red bell pepper (and or tomato), cut into rings, 1
small organic cucumber, rinsed and scrubbed, very thinly sliced with a mandoline or cheese slicer, 1
medium ripe avocado, very thinly sliced with a mandoline or cheese slicer, 1

In a heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil and cook the bacon until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper, but leave the fat in the pan.

In the pan used to cook the bacon, cook the eggs for a few minutes until the egg yolk is still liquid, season with flaky sea salt and crushed pepper.

Divide the cheese between the bottom sides of the buns and arrange the bacon and vegetables on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Finish it off with 2 eggs for each sandwich and close the bun. Squeeze and enjoy!

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich with Garden Vegetables

 

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich with Garden Vegetables

 

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich with Garden Vegetables

 

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich with Garden Vegetables

 

cheeseeggvegsandwich10

Fennel Tomato Lasagna with Crunchy Bacon

Bacon Fennel Tomato Lasagna

A couple days ago, my boyfriend and I went to a meeting that finished much earlier than expected. We stepped out into the street on a cold and grey morning, looked at each other, and decided to squeeze in a quick coffee-date. Just the two of us, a black espresso for him, a creamy cappuccino for me, and a flaky chocolate croissant to share. We’re both a bit fed up with all the fancy cafés that sprout like weeds in our neighbourhood and always tend to look the same, no matter if you’re in Berlin, London, or New York. So, we went to our favourite Italian deli for a bit of dolce vita – sipping a fantastic coffee while listening to the patron chatting with his customers in Italian accompanied by a medley of Italian operas. A toddler giggled at us the whole time we sat on our wooden stools and two dogs observed the busy scene (which I usually don’t like in restaurants but they were too cute). The shelves around us presented a tempting selection of chiantis, pasta, polenta, capers, and bottarga. The counter right in front of us was filled with various prosciuttos, salami, ciabatta sandwiches, and homemade pasta treats. And right next to it, we could see scrumptious bowls of every antipasti one can possibly think of. Just the thought of it makes me hungry again.

This is the kind of scene that makes you want to go straight to your kitchen, open a bottle of wine, and start cooking. Italian of course. The weather doesn’t leave the slightest doubt that spring isn’t near yet, so a hearty lasagna is the best thing to have on your plate. Mine is filled with lots of juicy tomatoes, roasted fennel seeds, and the bulb thinly sliced and sautéed, plus crunchy bacon bites, dried chili peppers, a bit of parmesan, and a creamy béchamel sauce. At first, I wanted to combine the fennel with a meaty bolognese but then I remembered a pasta dish that I shared on the blog almost 2 years ago and that changed my mind. You could leave out the bacon, but I recommend you keep it – as long as you’re not a vegetarian. The fennel seeds roast in the meat’s salty juices and merge with the tinned tomatoes into a heavenly sauce. Layered with pasta sheets and the crisp fennel bulb, it’s just what I want on a cold day in February.

Bacon Fennel Tomato Lasagna

 

Bacon Fennel Tomato Lasagna

Fennel Tomato Lasagna with Crunchy Bacon

Serves 4 to 6

For the béchamel sauce

milk 700 ml / 3 cups
a pinch of nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
fine sea salt
ground pepper
unsalted butter 30g / 2 tablespoons
plain flour 30g / 4 tablespoons
large bay leaf 1

For the lasagna

butter, for the baking dish
olive oil
cored fennel bulb, thinly sliced lengthwise, 340g / 12 ounces
fine sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
thick-cut bacon, cut into very small cubes, 200g / 7 ounces
fennel seeds 2 tablespoons
garlic, crushed, 3 cloves
small dried chili peppers, 2
peeled whole tinned tomatoes, chopped, 1.2kg / 2 2/3 pounds
no-boil lasagna noodles, about 250g / 9 ounces
freshly grated Parmesan 100g / 3 1/2 ounces

For the béchamel sauce, combine the milk, nutmeg, and pinches of salt and pepper in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately take the pan off the heat and set aside.

To make the roux for the béchamel, melt the butter in a clean medium saucepan over medium-high heat and as soon as it’s sizzling hot, whisk in the flour. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the roux and whisk until smooth. Add the bay leaf and simmer on low, whisking occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until the texture starts to thicken. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season to taste with nutmeg, salt, and pepper then cover, and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F (conventional setting) and butter a 26 x 20 cm / 10 x 8″ baking dish (or a dish of roughly this size).

In a large, heavy pan, heat a generous splash of olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the fennel slices in batches for about 1 minute per side or until golden and al dente. Spread out the fennel slices next to each other in the pan so that they cook evenly. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate.

Put the pan back on the heat and cook the bacon over medium-high heat for about 7-10 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy. Add a little oil if necessary and stir once in a while. Scrape the bacon to the sides of the pan, add a little olive oil (if the pan is too dry) and the fennel seeds, garlic, and chili. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 2 minutes, mind that the seeds don’t turn too dark. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and, stirring occasionally, cook for about 10 minutes over medium-high heat or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Take the pan off the heat and set aside 3 tablespoons of the sauce (for the final layer of the lasagna).

Arrange a layer of pasta on the bottom of the buttered baking dish and spread with 1/3 of the tomato-bacon sauce and sprinkle with 1/4 of the béchamel. Top with 1/3 of the sautéed fennel and 1/4 of the Parmesan. Repeat to make 3 more layers, top the last layer with pasta. Sprinkle with the reserved 3 tablespoons of the tomato-bacon sauce and the remaining béchamel and Parmesan. Bake for 35-45 minutes (depending on the lasagna package instructions) or until the pasta is al dente. To brown the cheese a little, you can switch on the broiler for the last 1 to 2 minutes. Let the lasagna sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving and sprinkle with some crushed peppercorns. Enjoy!

Bacon Fennel Tomato Lasagna

 

Bacon Fennel Tomato Lasagna

 

Bacon Fennel Tomato Lasagna

 

baconfenneltomatolasagna8

 

baconfenneltomatolasagna10

 

Bacon Fennel Tomato Lasagna

Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella Quiche

Tomato, Mozzarella + Basil Quiche

7 months and 210 recipes ago I started eat in my kitchen, it was last November when this adventure began and I had no idea what to expect. I just knew that I wanted to write a post about our food every day, to share my recipes and my love for cooking and baking and that’s what I’ve done till today and what I will continue in the future. When I saw the amount of recipes gathered on the blog, I realized how much has happened since that grey day in November. So much that my webpage can’t even keep up with it, the Recipe page seems to have reached its capacity limit (which I’m working on fixing at the moment!). For now you might not find all the older recipes in the recipe index.

It’s been an overwhelming time, I have received so many emails, so much support and interest in my culinary activities. I want to thank you for that, it’s an amazing experience and a wonderful chance to meet food lovers all over the world who want to join me in my kitchen! I’m very happy about every single comment I get from you, every email and photo I receive about my recipes that you’ve cooked or baked in your kitchen!

I’ve been asked quite often if my cooking has changed in the past few months through the blog. Not really, I’ve always loved creating delicious food with my pots and pans, quite excessively to be honest, but luckily we have many friends who help out whenever I miscalculate how much 2 people can eat! It doesn’t matter how many cakes I bake there are always enough hungry people around me!

There’s no better way to celebrate than with one of my favourite recipes, my beloved quiche! It made its first appearance with leek and tomato, followed by a fennel tart and my bean and ramp quiche. Today’s tart is a delicious tomato, Buffalo mozzarella and basil quiche, the pastry buttery and crisp (as always) but with a little change, I added some olive oil to the dough. The topping is a celebration of Italian summer flavours, sweet tomatoes, creamy Buffalo mozzarella and fresh green basil leaves. It reminds me a bit of pizza, just more fine and buttery!

Tomato, Mozzarella + Basil Quiche

 

Tomato, Mozzarella + Basil Quiche

Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella Quiche

For one quiche you need a round (27cm / 10.5″) or oval baking dish or tart pan.

 

For the short crust base

flour 250g / 8.5 ounces
(I use spelt flour type 630 but you can use any other plain flour)
butter, cold 125g / 4.5 ounces
olive oil 1 tablespoon plus more for brushing the pastry
organic egg 1
salt 1 teaspoon

Combine the flour with the salt. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and work the butter into the flour until combined (there shouldn’t be any lumps of butter left). Add the egg and olive oil and continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a disc, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 15 minutes.

 

The topping

medium sized tomatoes, sliced, 4
Buffalo mozzarella, very thinly sliced, 125g / 4.5 ounces
parmesan, grated 30g / 1 ounce
fresh basil leaves 14 plus 8 leaves (chopped) for topping when the quiche is done
salt and pepper

 

The quiche

Set the oven to 210°C / 410°F top/ bottom heat.

Roll out the dough between cling film and line your baking dish with the flat pastry. Prick it with a fork and blind-bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes. Take it out of the oven and set the temperature down to 180°C / 355°F.

Brush the pastry with a thin layer of olive oil, spread the mozzarella and basil on top and cover with the tomatoes. Sprinkle with the parmesan, season with salt and pepper and bake for about 25 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft. Let it cool for 10 minutes and sprinkle with the fresh basil.

Tomato, Mozzarella + Basil Quiche

 

Tomato, Mozzarella + Basil Quiche

 

Tomato, Mozzarella + Basil Quiche

Bruschetta with Avocado, Tomato and Red Onions

Bruschetta with Avocado, Tomato and Red Onions

Whenever I have some bread leftovers, bruschetta is my solution! White bread doesn’t stay fresh for so long, after 1-2 days it becomes a bit hard and dry but some olive oil drizzled on top and a few seconds under the grill will bring it back to life. A fruity dip, dripping and a little oily is the fine finish. I put the topping on just before we eat the bread so that it only soaks a little of the juices and the thin crust stays crisp.

Bruschetta can be the base for all kinds of dips, spreads and vegetables. In late summer I fancy one made with sautéed mushrooms, liver and thyme but luckily we aren’t there yet. There’s still lots of food in between now and then, lots of vegetables waiting to be chopped and mixed with some olive oil, garlic and herbs to end up on this crunchy bread. I’ll start with a mix of velvety avocado, fresh tomatoes and a little spicy red onion.

For the 2 of us, I chopped up a ripe avocado with a fork, roughly, I didn’t want to turn it into a mousse. I diced 2 medium sized tomatoes, sweet and ripe, chopped a clove of garlic finely and 1/4 red onion into small cubes. 8 fleshy basil leaves, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of Balsamico vinegar, salt and pepper stirred in made this chunky spread complete. I used a 2 day old baguette for this recipe, sliced and drizzled with a little olive oil, roast under the grill for a minute until it turned golden brown.

bruschetta1-2

 

Bruschetta with Avocado, Tomato and Red Onions

Zucchini, Bell Pepper and Aubergine Moussaka with Lemon Ricotta

Moussaka

My Moussaka, truth be told, is a fruity ratatouille baked with a fluffy lemon ricotta soufflé on top. The traditional Greek Moussaka is made with a Béchamel sauce which I’m not too fond of. I like this creamy sauce in my lasagna or cannelloni but that’s it. The ricotta tastes much lighter, enhanced with lemon zest, nutmeg, parmesan and fresh basil, it gives this dish more of a summer feeling. Contrary to the Greek version, I kept mine vegetarian, there’s no minced meat involved, just zucchini, bell pepper, tomatoes, red onions, lots of parsley and a velvety layer of fried aubergine slices in between the vegetables and the cheese. It stops the ricotta from running into the juicy ratatouille.

When I cook a ratatouille I always make a big batch. This moussaka is perfect as a second day dish for ratatouille leftovers. Topped with the ricotta it just has to bake in the oven for half an hour, great if you have friend’s over for dinner and not much time for preparations! I baked it in small casserole dishes closed with a lid so that each of us could have our own little pot.

Moussaka

 Zucchini, Bell Pepper and Aubergine Moussaka with Lemon Ricotta

I bake the Moussaka in two 12,5cm / 5″ casserole dishes with lids, you could use a big one instead but you may have to bake it a bit longer for the ricotta to set.

For 2-3 people you need

small aubergine, sliced into circles, 1
zucchini, sliced into circles, 1
red bell pepper, thinly sliced, 1
big red onion, quartered and thinly sliced, 1
big tomatoes, chopped, 4
garlic, thinly sliced, 3 cloves
parsley, chopped, 2 tablespoons
Balsamico vinegar 2 tablespoons plus more to taste
olive oil for frying
salt and black pepper

For the topping
ricotta 260g / 9 ounces
organic eggs 2
parmesan, grated, 30g / 1 ounce
small basil leaves, chopped, 30
lemon zest 1 teaspoon
lemon juice 1 teaspoon plus more to taste
(I also added in a little of the liquid of my Moroccan preserved lemons)
nutmeg, ground to taste
salt and pepper

Spread the slices of aubergine on a baking dish and sprinkle with salt on both sides to pull some of its water out. Let it sit for around 15 minutes, rinse the slices and dry between kitchen roll paper. In a large heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil and fry the aubergine for a few minutes on both sides on medium temperature until golden and soft, add a little more oil if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil and fry the onion for a few minutes until golden and soft. Add the bell pepper and garlic and fry for 2 minutes before you add the zucchini. Fry the vegetables for 2-3 minutes and deglaze with 2 tablespoons of Balsamico vinegar. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Add the parsley and season with Balsamico vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

For the topping, mix the ricotta, eggs, parmesan, basil, lemon zest and juice and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F top/ bottom heat.

Divide the vegetables between the 2 casserole dishes, cover with 3-4 slices of aubergine and spread the ricotta mixture gently on top. Cover with lids and bake for around 35 minutes until the ricotta mixture is set.

Moussaka

Buffalo Mozzarella, Cuore Di Bue Tomato and Mint Salad

Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato + Mint Salad

When I saw these beautiful Cuore Di Bue Tomatoes in the vegetable department of my local organic shop I had to buy them. I know these tomatoes from Malta where farmers sell them from their vegetable trucks at every street corner in the towns. These mobile shops are piled high with ripe, colourful fruits  and vegetables from the island, surrounded by women chatting and exchanging the latest gossip while waiting to have their vegetables weighed. Many of them have been going to the same farmer for years and I gladly follow this tradition. Whenever I’m there I buy my groceries from my vegetable man, Leli, twice a week he parks his truck under pink oleander trees in the middle of Msida. He is one of the most friendly, calm and humble people I know, he doesn’t talk much but he always has a little smile on his face. Before we leave the island at the end of our holidays, we visit him one last time to say good-bye, I never know who is more sad, him or us!

Back to the Cuore Di Bue Tomatoes, I buy and eat them in bulk when I’m Malta. Their taste is far away from most of the tomatoes you can buy in the cities, they are strong and sweet, very intense, they taste like real tomatoes! Their name comes from their shape and size which is similar to an ox heart but I thought that the Italian name, Cuore Di Bue sounds a bit nicer than Oxheart Tomatoes!

I had a buffalo mozzarella in my fridge which had to be used soon, a quick salad mixed with my beautiful tomatoes was the first idea that came into my mind. I still love this Italian classic which can be a delicious starter or snack when it’s made with good quality ingredients. Unfortunately, lots of restaurants offer it made with tasteless tomatoes and mozzarella, which has damaged its image a little over the years. Buffalo milk however creates a very strong mozzarella which is great for this salad, to add a green taste as strong as this cheese, I replaced the traditionally used basil with mint. Our salad for 2 was ready within seconds, 125g / 4.5 ounces of buffalo mozzarella roughly torn into bite sized pieces mixed with 2 ripe Cuore Di Bue tomatoes sliced thinly and a few leaves from my mint plant. The dressing was as easy, 3 tablespoons of olive oil whisked with 2 tablespoons of Balsamico vinegar, salt and pepper.

Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato + Mint Salad

 

Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato + Mint Salad

Spaghetti with Crisp Bacon, Tomatoes and Fennel Seeds

Bacon Fennel Tomato Pasta

A fruity tomato sauce with spaghetti together with a glass of red wine can never go wrong. To add some crisp bacon and fennel seeds makes it even better! I don’t even remember all the different variations on tomato sauces I’ve made in my life but this one is really good, and quick to prepare. For days I’ve been wanting to make a Sauce Bolognese but I never found the time as it needs to cook for an hour. This one here is meaty as well but only needs 10 minutes on the cooker. The bacon (I used lots of it!) makes it hearty and the aromatic spice adds a Mediterranean touch to it.

For 2 people I used 100g / 3.5 ounces of bacon, cut into little cubes and fried until golden and crunchy. I fried 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds, 2 cloves of garlic (crushed) and 1 small dried chili together with the meat for about 2 minutes before I added 400g / 14 ounces of tinned tomatoes (crushed), 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper. The sauce simmered on medium temperature for 8 minutes while the spaghetti (200g / 7 ounces ) cooked in lots of salted water until they were al dente.

If you prefer a vegetarian sauce just leave out the bacon and add a bit more olive oil to fry the fennel seeds, I make that sometimes and it’s great, too.

Bacon Fennel Tomato Pasta

 

Bacon Fennel Tomato Pasta

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